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The Big Screen 2018

We (re-)subscribed to a cinema pass last summer, thus once again became regulars of the cineplex near us. However, in between diving-related activities, we haven’t quite found quite as much free time to go as we’d like.

01 | Kimi no Na wa (Your Name) – we were late to the party but glad to catch up on this fantasy, parallel-universe, body-swapping anime that is funny, poignant, engaging and wistful, although to a predictable ending. [7/10]

02 | Darkest Hour – I do not know much of Churchill so to get a glimpse of the man and the magic of Gary Oldman in portraying him at the start of his tenure as Prime Minister of the United Kingdom made this an interesting history lesson. [8/10]

03 | Vers la lumière (Radiance) – essentially a story on the romance between a photographer (who is going blind) and a script writer (to describe movies to the blind), it felt slow and perhaps too intellectual for the chemistry to be truly believable. [4/10]

04 | In the Fade – what an intense movie, of deep love, of profound hate, of society and race in conflict; Kruger played the remarkable protagonist who had to face the lost of her family, bias and injustice, and find a resolution in her own way. [8/10]

05 | The Greatest Showman – in need of a light-hearted weekend movie, I thoroughly enjoyed the musical feast by Jackman and co., peppered with a good dose of fuzzy, feel-good and happy-end sparkles. [8/10]

06 | The Post – how timely because this feels like a reminder to modern press to fight against accusations of “fake news” and the importance of free press as check and balance in face of power held by the electeds. [7/10]

07 | Table 19 – a decent rom-com for light in-flight entertainment but won’t be one I’d pay to watch at the cinema. [4/10]

08 | Testament of Youth – adaptation of the autobiography of Vera Brittain, it is harrowing to see how she lost her brother, her fiancé, and her friends within a short few years during the WW1. [7/10]

09 | The Shape of Water – beautifully filmed fantasy with a sassy lead, although I find it hard to emotionally connect to the storyline. And people has got to stop referring this as the movie of sex with a fish-monster. [6/10]

10 | Phantom Thread – precise, academically executed, it is disconcerting how the lead couple found themselves only capable of love through dysfunctional need to be dependent on one another. [7/10]

11 | Call Me By Your Name – the tug within Elio does not always translate in the movie, which tries to fit too many isolated scenes to make the story flow; it was saved by the strong closing scenes. [6/10]

12 | Wajib – The bond that ties a father and a son, the former still living in Nazareth while the latter abroad, was tested as they butt heads over ideas and ideologies amid wedding preparations of a daughter/sister. [9/10]

13 | L’Insulte – It stems from an insult grew from deep-seated psychological disturbance and became a national conflict between races and religions, when those involved were both good men in their way own; life is never quite that black and white. [8/10]

14 | Razzia – The themes of injustice and oppression run across several intersecting lives, while these characters themselves try to reconcile the traditional and the modern, conflicting cultures and believes. [6/10]

15 | Dolphins – A Disneynature documentary, some beautiful visuals but the slow narrative and some incoherent story-telling made this relatively dull in comparison to BBC’s Blue Planet. [4/10]

16 | Red Sparrow – Not particularly a fan of the gruesome scenes where women were subject to acts that shall not be described here, it was nevertheless a decent thriller with its multiple twists to keep track on. [5/10]

17 | Ocean’s 8 – It won’t win the Oscar but it is by far the most fun movie I’ve seen in a while, with a strong cast and a good twist to end the heist. One small complaint: the make up is just too much, thick like a pad, which flatters no one – tone.it.down! [8/10]

18 | Shelter (Le Dossier Mona Lina) – An interesting psychological thriller which explores the relationship between two women – a former intelligence agent and a former informant – thus exploring their common and conflicting points. [7/10]

19 | The Charmer – It’s not easy for an immigrant to make a new, stable life through series of deception and lies without being ensnared in it himself, charming as he may be in appearance. [7/10]

20 | The Children Act (My Lady) – Adapted based on a novel of the same name by Ian McEwan, Emma Thompson is exquisite as Judge Fiona Maye, navigating a legal area of heightened sensitivity with such sensibility. [9/10]

21 | On Chesil Beach – Yet another adaptation of Ian McEwan’s novel, this is an exercise of contrast: different upbringing and class, rash behaviour vs strict social code, and alas obstinance that brought more pain than it should. [7/10]

22 | Burning – Oh gosh, I don’t know if the reviewers were watching the same movie I did, because this is probably the worst movie I’ve seen (ever). I kept waiting for something to change my mind, but what I should have done was leave instead of watching on. [0/10]

23 | Première Année – Interesting look into French education system (which I have little knowledge on), in particular, how the medecine faculty runs when they’re oversubscribed. [7/10]

24 | La saveur de ramen – A little trip down Asian memory lane although the pace of the movie can be a bit slow. I got very hungry for food from home afterwards though. [5/10]

25 | Girl – Unexpectedly fabulous film about a teenager in transition while attending a ballet academy, compounding two situations that are never easy despite support received. I love it that I don’t feel a political push on the topic of gender, just a look into humanity and mental strength. [9/10]

26 | Capharnaüm – This movie is no walk in the park and reminds us how children in many parts of the world are living in conditions that shouldn’t be anyone’s one day of life, never mind every day. [7/10]

27 | First Man – Despite being used to the notion of astronauts living on the ISS and working in space, the story of man’s landing on the moon is still fascinating considering the limit of technology they possessed back in the days. [8/10]

28 | Kursk – I was but an ignorant child when Kursk happened in real life. Conspiracy theories aside, this is a beautifully filmed movie while having me shaking my head: how easily lives of some can be sacrificed in the name of a country’s pride. [9/10]

29 | Le jeu – Ah, our smartphones, appendages that get us in more trouble than we could imagine. Don’t ever play a game of “let’s put our phone in the middle and we’ll all go through everything that comes in over dinner”. Fun watch. [8/10]

30 | Madagascar – Very late to get to know this animation on friends’ encouragement, and it certainly elicited a lot of laughs. Great for an easy, chilly night in. [8/10]

31 | Everest – I can’t even start to fathom what push the folks to want to conquer the highest peak, because when things go wrong, it can go really wrong. [7/10]

32 | Sauver ou périr – A peek into the life of a fireman in Paris, and how he had to dig deep when his life turned upside down following an accident while on duty. [7/10]

33 | Shoplifters (Une affaire de famille) – Is it better to be able to “choose” you family? A look into life touched by poverty but rich in warmth and love, even when questionable judgement was made. [8/10]

34 | Roma – A beautiful black and white photographic film and compelling tale of a housemaid in Mexico City in the 1970s, so many issues women faced back then are still issues today. [7/10]

35 | Sir – We looked into the society of India where caste and social position are prominent thoughts when it comes to relationships. [8/10]

36 | A Quiet Place – Well-paced, cleverly-plotted thriller where very few words would nevertheless bring on a barrage of emotions when it comes to protecting one’s family. [9/10]

37 | Disobedience – The conflict between religion, sexuality and freedom of choice makes the headline but the film felt too long at times while staying mostly on the surface. [5/10]


Urgh I missed these so to catch up at some point?
– Everybody Knows
– A Simple Favor
– The Crimes of Grindelwald
– Pupille

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