In the city of Tel Aviv, two young Palestinian women blur the lines between the traditional and the modern. Lalia (Mouna Hawa) is an overworked criminal lawyer. Salma is a bartender who working to become a career DJ. Both work by day and go clubbing by night. That is until Nur (Shaden Kanboura) moves in. As a traditional Muslim girl going to University, Nur finds herself both fascinated and intimidated by Lalia and Salma’s sophisticated lifestyle. Soon, she comes to see the perks of their lifestyle. But she’s put to the test when her traditional fiancée comes to the apartment.
She’s not the only one going through life changes. Lalia finds herself falling for a Muslim man even more modern than she is. Salma finds herself clashing with her Christian family when she comes out of the closet.
This film is guaranteed to blow away preconceived notions of life in both Palestine and Israel. From what I’ve seen in the trailer, this film seems to have a humorous yet grounded look at the everyday lives of unconventional women. And I’m sure we’re going to love these characters.
Aaron Sorkin is one of the few celebrity screenwriters. After gaining acclaim for writing for tv and films, including the Emmy Winner the West Wing and the Oscar Winner the Social Network, Sorkin makes his directorial debut with this biopic of a former Olympic Athlete who hit the big time with her own casino, which got her in trouble with the authorities.
Jessica Chastain plays Molly Bloom, a real life Olympic-Class Skier who in his early twenties, ran the world’s most exclusive high-stakes poker game. She attracted celebrities and billionaires for eight years, but none of them could by her off. But her work attracted the attention of the FBI, who thought she was running an illegal ring. But did she?
Though he’s earned international acclaim, he’s still garners criticisms for his underwritten female characters. While you could counter argue with well-written characters like CJ (Allison Janney), there are times when you can see validity in moments when male characters mansplain for the sake of exposition. With a woman in the lead, Sorkin seems determined to fix this problem. Judging by the acclaim, he seems to be succeeding.
To be honest, I didn’t think I’d like the first live action adaptation of the book series starring the raincoat-wearing, marmalade-eating Peruvian bear in England. It seemed like one of several lazy films feeding on people’s nostalgia. Fortunately, Paddington turned out to be a pleasant surprise; a charming British gem with Wes Anderson-like visuals, quirky characters and an adorable bumbling bear voiced by Ben Whishaw. I have high hopes for the sequel.
By now, Paddington has reawakened the lives of the Brown family, especially the formerly disgruntled Henry (Hugh Bonneville) and has become a beloved member of Windsor Gardens. Now her Aunty Lucy (voiced by Imelda Staunton) coming to London for her 100th Birthday, Paddington has his eyes set a rare pop-up book as a gift. But as he’s working odd jobs to afford it, the book gets stolen by master thief Phoenix Buchanan (Hugh Grant). To add insult to injury, Paddington is wrongfully accused of the theft. So, Mary Brown (Sally Hawkins) takes it upon herself to clear Paddington’s name.
The made the movies so special was the visuals. It bears a resemblance to Wes Anderson’s trademark visual style, but with a livelier tone. The result is many eye-catching images, especially one where a doll house opens to reveal the Brown family going on their day. Just as charming are the cast, with an all-star British cast including Peter Capaldi, Michael Gambon and Jim Broadbent. But what makes the film is Ben Whishaw’s performance as Paddington. Considering his bumbling antics and oblivious demeanor, the wrong actor would make Paddington annoying. Whishaw brings an innocent charm that made the bear so endearing to begin with.
Judging by the critical acclaim, this sequel seems to live up to the original.
It is surprising to realize this is the first time Tom Hanks and Meryl Streep are acting together. It’s even more surprising when you realize this is the first time Steven Spielberg’s directing Meryl Streep. Given how bellowed these three are, you’d think these events would have happened a lot earlier. Aw well, better late than ever.
In this intense political biopic, Steep plays Katherine Graham, who became America’s first female newspaper publisher when she was promoted in the Washington Post. She’s and editor Ben Bradlee (Tom Hanks) are in for a scoop when they get access to leaked documents revealing a cover up that spans four presidents involving the Vietnam War. But by printing these documents, they draw the wrath of Richard Nixon. Now they face the trial of their lives while they try to fight to hold the US Government accountable.
This film is a reminder of the importance for institutions to hold the government accountable for its actions. It’s also a reminder of how the Government will try to undermine these institutions to retain their power.
When 9/11 happened, Captain Mitch Nelson (Chris Hemsworth) lead a small group of special forces into Afghanistan to fight the Taliban. His team was the first to fight the Taliban in Afghanistan. And they had to do it on horseback. First the first time, we have a movie telling the story of the Horse Soldiers.
We got quite a cast, including Michael Shannon, William Fichtner and Michael Pena; all guaranteed to give good performances. This film is almost guaranteed to garner big box office draws, with many moviegoers loving heroic, action filled biopics like this one. It also helps to have as much marketing as this one is.
Set in Post-Civil War America, Captain Joseph J. Blocker (Christian Bale) lives with the trauma of war as a legend he doesn’t want to be. Then one day, Colonel Abraham Biggs (Stephen Lang) orders him to take dying Chief Yellow Hawk (Wes Studi) back to his home in Montana. Living with deep seeded hatred towards Native Americans, Captain Blocker is forced to complete this mission.
Along the way, they are encounter Rosalie Quaid (Rosamund Pike), a woman who fights to ensure her faith after losing her family. So, begins a journey in the merciless environment of the American Landscape, there they will face enemies of all walks of life. But it won’t compare the demons they have within.
Both this film and 12 Strong are receiving some heavy marketing at major theatres, with previews popping up in every film intended to adults. This one is a little riskier, because its taking on themes of racism, faith, and the consequences of war. With Scott Cooper directing, this one’s guaranteed to not skimp on the violence. But this film won’t just portray physical violence, but psychological violence. Cooper’s certainly showed a mastery in the later in the intense dinner scene from Black Mass. I imagine there’ll be a battle of wills between Blocker and Hawk, with Blocker making his contempt clear and Hawk defiantly not speaking.
THE LEISURE SEEKER
With a growing number of quirky comedies starring veteran actors being hits, this one is guaranteed to be a hit among fans, especially with Donald Sutherland and Helen Mirren in the lead.
They play an elderly couple enjoying their later years. With John (Sutherland) going through dementia, his wife Ella (Mirren) decides to take him to Ernest Hemingway’s house. So, they pack up an old RV they christened the Leisure Seeker and hit the road. Shenanigans Ensue.
Judging by the trailer, there seems to be a blend of humor and heart.
MARY AND THE WITCH’S FLOWER
All the way from Japan comes this magical fantasy.
Based on The Little Broomstick by Mary Stewart (voiced by Ruby Barnhill (English version) or Hana Sugisaki (Japanese version)), this anime tells the story of an ordinary British girl from the English countryside who becomes a witch after discovering a magical flower gives her magic powers. With a mysterious cat close by, a magic broom takes her to Endor College, a special school of witches led by Headmistress Madam Mumblechook (Yuki Amami (Japanese) or Kate Winslet (English)) and Doctor Dee (Fumiyo Kohinata (Japanese) or Jim Broadbent (English)). While learning to use her powers, she must discover the secrets of the flowers to save the day.
Director Hiromasa Yonebayashi seems to have a fascination with British fantasy. He’s already adapted Mary Norton’s the Borrowers into The Secret World of Arrietty and has recently received an Oscar Nomination for his adaptation of Joan G. Robinson’s novel When Marnie Was Here. In the last two, he successfully applies Studio Ghibli’s trademark look. This film not only share’s the Studio Ghibli look, but it’s storytelling elements. This film shares’ Ghibli’s unique type of fantasy, incorporating cities in the sky, shape shifting water and sludge creatures. These films also tend to center around little girls on adventures.
But it’s not a Studio Ghibli film. In fact, it’s the first film release of Studio Ponoc. With Ghibli’s future still uncertain, it seems some of the animators have decided to break out on their own using what they’ve learned from Hayao Miyazaki and Isao Takahata. Hopefully, this will be the start of something beautiful.