The Adventures of Baron Munchausen (1988): Adventure / Comedy / Fantasy

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In times of war and reason, Baron Munchausen shows up to inspire with a story of a lifetime that bypasses reality and goes down the rabbit hole of evocative fantasy and mythical adventure.

From Constantinople to the moon, to the centre of the Earth, to the belly of the beast, and back, Baron Munchausen travels towards fabled worlds encountering heroes and deities. Nostalgia, love, dreams, childhood innocence and hope rise up through Munchausen’s escapades. A social commentary inspired by the Odyssey… delineated in a British aristocratic manner.

As one of my first cinematic experiences, Terry Gilliam makes me reminisce about my childhood years and the way I used to see the world. Where, like in the film, reality and imagination blend into one and shape a harmless world where even the abhorrent tragedy of war can be a lot easier to swallow and man’s cruelty be tolerable.

John Neville, Eric Idle, Sarah Polley, Jonathan Pryce, Uma Thurman, Robin Williams (unpaid and uncredited) and the rest of the cast shared Gilliam’s vision of a better world than ours and supported him to see it through as the unfathomably humongous production complications wouldn’t stop appearing.

But reality’s misfortunes were defeated by prevalent, mythical will that projected it eventually to the silver screen.

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Sorry to Bother You (2018): Comedy / Fantasy / Sci-Fi

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In a parallel universe, in Oakland, a telemarketer goes from having nothing to having everything to losing it all over again when in reality he had it all, lost it, and then tries to gain it again.

Is it perplexed? So is the film… Before I write any review, I make sure not to read other reviews or critiques so I know for a fact that I am stating my point of view and my point of view alone. “Sorry to Bother You” is “Comedy”, is “Fantasy”, but it is not “Sci-Fi”. It looks like a fresh take on Charlie Kaufman’s way of thinking, topped up with Boots Riley’s unique approach. Before watching it, the range of comments I had heard spanned from “genius” to “moronic” and from “amazing” to “horrendous”. So, chances are that you will either love it or loathe it. Here’s what I think…

Cassius Green represents the number of times you have asked yourself “Why does no one see how wrong the world is”? At first, he sees it. Then he becomes part of it. And then he wakes up, gets out, and does something about it. Lakeith Stanfield is brilliant as Cassius who lives in a surrealistically psychedelic world, like ours, just more artistically – Kaufman-esque – portrayed. Well, in our world, Donald Trump is the President of the United States of America, a laughable joke from “The Simpsons” (1989), so not that much more…

Steve Lift (Armie Hammer) represents the system that feeds off greed. And our ambition to do something more with our lives, and become something better, and change that system, can fool even ourselves and become that very same greed that feeds it.

“Sorry to Bother You” parodies our world not because it wants to undermine it. Boots Riley comprehends the “If you want to tell people the truth, you’d better make them laugh or they’ll kill you” (George Bernard Shaw) mentality, and through a respectful, meaningful, and didactic parable, makes you laugh but also “see” how much work needs to be done so our world can be a tad more understood.

Last but not least, Detroit, who is none other than the one and only, breathtaking, and always dazzling woman and actress Tessa Thompson represents love. In a subtle and artistic form, she has always been the one to prevent us from going astray and make us become the people that we always hoped we would be.

Scrooged (1988): Comedy / Drama / Fantasy

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A cold-hearted, spiteful TV executive, hell-bent on ruining everyone’s Christmas around him is paid a visit by three ghosts on Christmas Eve.

A modern adaptation of Charles Dickens’ “A Christmas Carol”. Funny, emotional, didactic, “Scrooged” will make you laugh but also mist your eyes. You’ll love every second of it. Bill Murray goes over the top and exceeds everyone’s expectations. Karen Allen is a beauty and makes you smile every time she does. Alfre Woodard is amazing as always. Danny Elfman was, is, and always will be the master of Christmas scores. And last but not least, the incredibly versatile Richard Donner who orchestrates this brilliant film giving it the befitting, illustrious style it deserves. Shame that he and Murray didn’t work well together. A massive round of applause to all cast and crew for making this film a classic for us to enjoy to this very day and encourage us to… put a little love in our heart!

I take my hat off to Richard Donner and everyone in the production team where, in the most festive period of the year, in one of the most troubled years of South Africa, in their way, they offer their support against the atrocity of apartheid.

Filth (2013): Comedy / Crime / Drama

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A mentally unstable, crooked, alcoholic, drug addict cop stops at nothing to get the promotion he is so passionately after while fighting with his inner demons.

I’ll start this way… Until “The Last King of Scotland” (2006), James McAvoy was not my cup of tea. By far not! After “X-Men: First Class”, I started changing my mind. After “Filth” I knew I couldn’t have been more wrong. Or, actually, I had been wrong that much once more. With Leonardo DiCaprio after “Gangs of New York” (2002). But then all of us men were. So, I apologise to both.

James McAvoy in “Filth” gave the best performance of his life in 2013. And John S. Baird directed the best film of his career – Even though “Cass” (2008) was pretty amazing too. “Filth” will make you laugh and it will make you cry, and it will make you laugh and cry again and again until you don’t know how to feel anymore about anyone. Based on the novel by Irvine Welsh, “Filth” is one of the best Scottish films since “Trainspotting” (1996), yet another novel by Irvine Welsh. Changing genre every five minutes, “Filth” is a dramatically funny, surrealistically twisted cinematic journey through the paranoia of a corrupted, deranged, bipolar cop that will drive you bonkers. It’s worth mentioning that Jim Broadbent, in the hallucinatory world, is scarily hilarious.

McAvoy’s psychedelic performance here will prepare you for his cringing performance in “Split” (2016) and the upcoming “Glass” (2019). See how it all started…

Fun fact: “Trainspotting” and “Filth”, potentially, coexist in the same universe.

Game Night (2018): Action / Comedy / Crime

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A game night between a group of friends goes awry when one of the participants gets kidnapped by gangsters.

It is exactly what you expect from a Jason Bateman comedy: Foul language, surreal characters, brilliant chemistry between the actors, non-realistic, yet comedic and graphic twists and turns, and shameless jokes. And, as there are a lot of game references, a really clever and befitting idea is the use of “tilt-shift” lens which gives the aerial shots the miniaturized look of the board game “Game of Life”.

You loved “The Switch” (2010), “Horrible Bosses” (2011), “Bad Words” (2013), and the like? You’ll love “Game Night” too.

BlacKkKlansman (2018): Biography / Comedy / Crime

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Sarcastic, serious, light, but also profound, “BlacKkKlansman” hits the nail. Incredible performances, stupendous directing, and meticulous writing mix perfectly for more than two hours in a film stamped with Spike Lee’s persona and talent.

John David Washington, Adam Driver, and Michael Buscemi, infiltrate and take down from the inside Topher Grace’s “KKK” in a humorous and not depressing way and add some entertaining fiction to these, based on a true story, events. Laura Harrier, Ryan Eggold, and Jasper Pääkkönen are equally exceptional.

There has been some negative reviews regarding the different approach the film has comparing to the book but people need to realize that the moving pictures is an entirely different medium which addresses a much larger and diverse audience. Consequently, if the film doesn’t focus on the undercover work against the black activists, or presents the “KKK” as caricatures, us, the viewers, we either accept or not the adaptation’s angle on the subject matter.

Before you start casting stones though, just in case you haven’t watched it yet, or simply missed it, “BlacKkKlansman” makes you smile and laugh for the first two hours and brings tears to your eyes only for the last two minutes because it is about love and hope rather than hate and despair.

Tales of Halloween (2015): Comedy / Horror

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“The ABC’s of Death” (2012) for Halloween. Here’s what’s on the menu:

Babysitters with their guts hanging out, kids slaughtering adults, wives baking their husbands alive, human skewers, decapitating pumpkins, Voorhees vs aliens, cannibalism, and more…

Entertainment for the whole family! Ten comedy / horror gruesome stories, ten brilliant excuses for you and your ghoul mates to get rat-arsed, doped, and trick-or-treat the shit out of each other. Have fun!

Tucker and Dale vs Evil (2010): Comedy / Horror

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I’ll just cut to the chase here… You feelin’ low? You wanna get high? Next stop… “Tucker and Dale vs Evil”. The remedy. The answer to your prayers. Everything that’s going wrong in this world, wrapped in one movie. It gets crazier… 10 wins, 14 nominations. If you are thinking “WTF?!” no one will blame you. If you are not thinking “WTF?!” then this film is for you.

That said, “Tucker and Dale vs Evil” has the most honest intentions. It doesn’t trick you for a second. A spoof that brilliantly parodizes horrors from “Friday the 13th” to every “cabin in the woods”. Profusely, for the “male/female under 25” American audience. Sounds like your thing? Knock yourself out!

Ocean’s 8 (2018): Action / Comedy / Crime

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The feminist version that no one asked for. Nothing funny. Nothing new. Multicultural cast just to attract diverse audience – which was not attracted anyway. No twists. More plot holes than a Swiss cheese. I could go on and on… The adjectives to characterize this film reside only in Pandora’s box.

I was running errands throughout the whole film and I didn’t miss a thing. But then, on the other hand, I knew what was going to happen before I even started watching. The disappointing part is not the film. It is not even the A-list cast signing on. It is Steven Soderbergh wearing the producer’s hat behind it.

Suburbicon (2017): Comedy / Crime / Drama

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Somehow, back then, that film went under my radar. I must have been doing something really important when the trailer came out… or something really dull. Anyway, not that anyone cares, not knowing anything about it, I watched it and, 5′ into the film, I figured out that it’s, somehow, a Cohen brothers film. The disappeared Clooney does a spot on job, if you asked me, behind the camera. The acting is there, the character hyperbole is instantly obvious, and all the Cohen atmosphere is overwhelming.

Having said all that, the film did overly poor, and the reviews were bad, bordering horrendous. I can see why some of them but the bad blood and the personal-level animosity, feels entirely uncalled for. Dark comedies are not for everyone. Suck it up!