Archive for Based on a true story

Big Beach Films, Depth of Field, Kindred Spirit,

Awkwafina, Tzi Ma, Diana Lin, Aoi Mizuhara, Shuzhen Zhao, Gil Perez-Abraham, Jim Liu, Han Chen, Diane Dehn, Ines Laimins, Yongbo Jiang, Hong Lu, X Mayo, Becca Khalil

This is a story of a young Chinese lady, Billi (Awkafina) who is struggling to survive in New York City on her own. Billi is close enough to her parents, but trying to survive on her own without their help. She is still close to her Grandmother in China, and keeps in touch with her as her dreams fall by the wayside one by one. When her Grandmother is diagnosed with terminal lung cancer, the family uses the excuse of Billi’s cousin’s (who lives in Japan) snap wedding to make a trip home to China for one last visit to her Grandmother. Her parents don’t want Billi to go because of her hard times with the finances, but Billi goes anyway. The family has decided to lie to Grandmother and not tell her about the cancer. The journey brings a lot of pain and joy to the entire family as they all are together for this side celebration while trying to hide the sadness of the fact that this may be last time they ever see Grandmother again.

This film was really wonderfully done. It is a touching story that is very, very Chinese. This is really a Chinese story, and the culture and customs are really interesting for an American guy like me to see. Sometimes life is really different. This film was advertised as a Comedy, but one look at the trailer lets you know that this is going to be a very heart touching dramatic piece for sure. I was right. Although some of it is really funny at times, it still really tugs the heart strings a LOT. I remember the laughs and jokes we had at my own Dad’s funeral a year ago, while feeling the sorrow at losing a parent, but remembering as well the good times and fun we had. This is the same way, as the family is really happy to get together, and see each other, and it’s too bad it’s a such a sad occasion that brings them together. It was also interesting to note that this is a biographical story loosely based on Writer and Director Lulu Wang’s real life story of a visit to China to visit her Grandmother under similar conditions where they used a mostly fake wedding as an excuse to go home to visit her Grandmother who they determined not to tell about her cancer in a similar fashion. Also, it was very, very difficult to get this movie even made, as Lulu found American producers would not touch it because it was too Chinese with all Chinese characters, and a LOT of the dialog is in Chinese and subtitled, while Chinese producers would not make it either because it was too American. I think after the success of “Crazy Rich Asians” it was finally able to be made. (This is merely my opinion, and probably wrong as obviously this movie took a long time to come to fruition, but it is a good thought). At any rate, it was an extremely moving movie, and very much worth the cost of a movie ticket to see this excellent story. I really enjoyed this film, and I would highly recommend it, as likely it is one of those films that is hard to find and is a hidden gem that may be way off your radar. If you can get a chance to see this film, I can really highly recommend it. I want to also mention that this was a great vehicle for Awkwafina. This is really her movie, as it should be, and she and Grandmother really carry the movie without only a little help from the rest of the cast. Not that they were not good, as well, but Awkafina really knocked this one out of the park. She was really funny in “Crazy Rich Asians” and that led to a hosting role on “Saturday Night Live which she also nailed, but his is a very serious and very somber role which shows her amazing acting ability and she really nailed it. I suspected she was a really good actress, but this one really shows she is no shallow actress only capable of playing a silly fool character. The really gave 100% to this role and she was awesome. I hope she is give the recognition she certainly deserves from this movie, as it so well well written, directed, produced, and performed that I consider it a must see. Enjoy it. I really did!

EdG – EdsReview Dot Com – A Movie Review Blog

 

 

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The Weinstein Company, Screen Australia, See-Saw Films,

Dev Patel, Rooney Mara, Nicole Kidman, David Wenham, Pallavi Sharda, Tannishtha Chatterjee, Nawazuddin Siddiqui, Eamon Farren, Priyanka Bose, Benjamin Rigby, Menik Gooneratne, Anna Samson, Arka Das, Deepti Naval

The year was 1986. A 5 year old boy, Saroo (Sunny Pawar, Dev Patel) is off on an adventure with his big brother, but becomes lost and alone. He climbs aboard an empty train to sleep, but is unaware the train is decommissioned and is being driven to Calcutta, thousands of miles away. When he finally escapes the train, he is all alone in a a new city where he can’t speak the language and has nowhere to go. Saroo’s life greatly changes, but as he matures, he can’t help wondering who he was and where he came from and he feels the need to find out based on the little bit he can remember.

Another Hidden Gem of a film that I love to find and bring to you. This is a true story, based on the book “A Long Way Home” by the real Saroo Brierley. This movie will touch you. It is an Australian Independent film, and is probably one of the movies you have never heard of. I found it streaming on Netflix and with the insistence of my daughter, I decided to watch it. To say that it had an effect on me is an understatement. This is one of those movies that will stay with me forever. This is such an awesome story, and the time and effort put into getting the right people to play each of the roles really shows. IMDB claims that 4000 boys were looked at to play 5 year old Saroo. The one that they ended up with, Sunny Pawar, though not an actor at all, was perfect in the role and did an absolutely amazing job. The fact that this is a real story and actually happened, makes it all the more impactful and really touches your heart. The fact that Saroo isn’t alone, and that thousands of children go missing in India every every year makes it more touching. Everyone in this film gave their heart to it, and it shows. IF you don’t have a Netflix account, the price of it is well worth it just for this film. Seriously, this is a great movie. I’m sure that fact that Weinstein Company owns the film is a concern to many people, but this movie is far too valuable to let that bother you. This is a story that needs to be told. Make sure to stick with it to the end, because if you don’t read the text at end, you can easily spend the rest of your life wondering why this movie is titled “Lion”. It also has some great clips of the real people from the film and well of real footage of a really special meeting in India at the end. This is one of the best stories I’ve seen in a long time, and one that I highly recommend for everyone. It is an amazing journey.

EdG – EdsReview Dot Com – A Movie Review Blog

 

 

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Emmett/Furla/Oasis Films (EFO Films), Hat and Cat Productions, Ingenious Media,

Arnold Schwarzenegger, Scoot McNairy, Maggie Grace, Martin Donovan, Hannah Ware, Mariana Klaveno, Kevin Zegers, Larry Sullivan, Glenn Morshower, Christopher Darga

Jake (Scoot McNairy) is an air traffic controller. There is a perfect storm. They work at a small tower in Europe and direct planes from one tower to another. There are only two men on duty, and one man decides to take a nap to catch up on some needed sleep leaving Jake alone in the tower. That night a repairman is working on one of their systems which makes Alex’s job a bit harder. Due to circumstances beyond his control, a terrible air crash happens. Jake is devastated at the crash and blames himself, but a hard worker, Roman (Arnold Schwarzenegger) is at the airport waiting for his wife and daughter to arrive on one of the planes taht went down. Roman, too, is devastated and tries to work through his grief, but instead decides that it’s his duty to exact revenge on the person that took his wife and daughter away from him. This is a dramatic story based on the real event, that looks closely into the grief and suffering of two men who were affected by the same event, but in vastly different ways.

This is a very interesting story, based on true events of an awful crash that was caused by a perfect storm of events. One small change could have avoided the whole thing. The movie is very gripping and pulls you into the story, but it’s not a lot of action and events, but develops slowly and carefully as we really get into the heads of the people involved and the feelings and emotions they face. This is not an air crash movie, it’s more of a character study, although the crash is a major part of the story. There are a lot of people who feel this film is too slow, so be prepared for what you’re going to see. You are really, as I said before, going to get into the heads of both men, and so it does take a lot of effort to let us see into their psyche so clearly, and as a result, it does have to unwrap slowly, and it does fully take us through the tragedy and we are able to understand that the crash was over quickly for those who were on the plane, but the agony and grief lasts long for those who are left behind. I’ve seen many stories in the movies and on TV about plane crashes, but none that tackled the suffering of the survivors better than this one did. I enjoyed this film, and would recommend it to you if you think you would be interested in the “Aftermath” of a true story like this is.

EdG – EdsReview Dot Com – A Movie Review Blog

 

 

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Syncopy, Warner Bros., Dombey Street Productions,

Fionn Whitehead, Tom Glynn-Carney, Jack Lowden, Harry Styles, Aneurin Barnard, James D’Arcy, Barry Keoghan, Kenneth Branagh, Cillian Murphy, Mark Rylance, Tom Hardy

The Battle of Dunkirk, and the famous evacuation is one of the great stories of World War II. The Germans had been tearing through France and The Allied forces found themselves surrounded by the Germans on the beach in Dunkirk, France. A German army that outnumbered the Allies two to one had them pushed back to the sea. The English Channel was the only thing between the British and their homeland, and Churchill decided it was expedient to bring as many home as humanly possible. Knowing that the next stop for the Germans would be the British Isles, they decided not to risk all their ships on a cause that could have left them in big trouble should the German bombers sink all their ships, they called on civilian ships such as barges and ferryboats, down to fishing boats and private yachts to all head for Dunkirk to rescue as many as they could. Something that has never totally understood happened where the Germans stopped advancing and held their position for a number of days instead of wiping out the Allied forces on the beach. Instead they constantly attacked from the air with bombs and machine guns. But the halt of the advance, for whatever reason gave Britain the time to remove over 300,000 soldiers back to England. This historical wartime film by Christopher Nolan is a brand new telling of the events of that week and the evacuation that certainly changed the outcome of the war in the end.

This is an excellent blockbuster of a film. I got to see it in IMAX and it was certainly very much worth it for the huge screen and the amazing sound system. When the bombs explode and the ships shoot their big guns, it shakes you to the core, and it feels like you’re in the plane when they fire those machine guns. The big screen and sound effects were amazing. It has been such a long time since I saw a really, really good World War II movie. Pearl Harbor was a love story, but this is an unabashed War movie and it doesn’t have time for love interests. Historically, most of it seem pretty accurate although a few changes had to made to make it into a movie, and I can imagine that the characters in the story were representative of real people, although maybe not actual individuals. There are a couple of stories which are told simultaneously for the most part, and everything sort of ties up together nicely, probably not like real life where it was so very chaotic. The acting is excellent, but there isn’t a need for huge Hollywood stars, as this is such a powerful story, that the events are the real stars of the film. It’s very well paced, kept to about an hour and three quarters which is about perfect, and is about the best movie I’ve seen in a long time. It’s interesting how in war, it’s much easier to look back and analyze and make different choices after that fact. In the Civil War, the battle of Gettysburg was an accident, and the whole thing was about shoes. Both armies needed shoes, and Gettysburg was the place to get them. The North had fought for 3 days, and on the fourth day, both armies stayed in their camps and watched each other. The Southern Army was crushed, but General Meade decided not to attach General Lee and the Confederate Army while Lee was sitting wondering why they didn’t attack and put and end to them on that day, as they were finished. Meade’s thinking was that he had won the battle, and if he dared to attack on the 4th day, he might turn his victory into a defeat. His cowardly decision, some say, drove Lincoln crazy and added years to the war which could have been over that very day. In the case of the Battle of Dunkirk, what would have happened had the Germans driven forward and attacked them on the beach. They had double the men, and the Allies had left behind most of their heavy equipment, ammo, and supplies. There is much debate over why they stopped advancing with their tanks and decided to sit and wait and allow the British to evacuate 300,000 soldiers to live and fight another day. It was a great victory for the Germans, but did not wipe out the Allied forces at it could have. Many have argued different reasons for the decision, but it certainly had a huge effect on the success of getting all those men out of a suicide situation for sure. Perhaps it was like Meade, who was just afraid to turn a win into a loss, or perhaps there was much more to it. Had they been moving so fast that they outrun their supply train, and needed to catch up? Were there political reasons for letting the Allies escape? I guess we’ll never know, but this film tells us what happened, and that’s what really matters. This is such a beautiful and touching and moving film that it’s something you definitely should see, even if you’re anti-war. The good news, and the lift it gave to the British folks certainly was an important thing, perhaps even more important that the actual effect of getting those 300,000 men back. Had they lost them, it would have been a hard blow to morale in Britain. Go see this, and watch it on the biggest brightest screen you can find before you miss it. This is one film that is truly a MUST SEE!

EdG – EdsReview Dot Com – A Movie Review Blog

 

 

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Production Co: Keep Your Head, MICA Entertainment, MadRiver Pictures,

Charlie Hunnam, Robert Pattinson, Sienna Miller, Tom Holland, Angus Macfadyen, Ian McDiarmid, Franco Nero

Percy Fawcett (Charlie Hunnam) was a British Colonel and explorer who became enamored with the idea of discovering a hidden city in the South American Amazon jungle. He was convinced that the city existed, but his first expedition had to turn back. After fighting in World War I, he insisted on making another expedition to find this ancient city once and for all. Raising the funding himself, he and his son set out to find this city, along with his native guides and helpers, but disappeared in 1925 and neither were ever found. Based on the true evidence, the docu-drama based upon the book by David Grann and as much real evidence that could be found. Additionally there was much additional evidence discovered since then which is very interesting to see which is presented to us. This adventure is an exciting story based on the true events.

This film covered an interesting adventure story based upon the true events that occurred in the early 20th Century. This is a story that I had not heard before, and I really enjoyed the facts of the story, and did some additional research after the fact that I found quite interesting. The look of this movie is stupendous, and the photography is absolutely stunning. Director James Gray is well noted for very beautiful films, but the sad part is that the story could have been much more interesting than it was. I found myself very bored with the story as it plodded along, and I think it was a missed opportunity. Mr. Gray wrote the screenplay based upon the book, and if he had some assistance in making the story a little bit more intense, it would have ended up being a much better movie. As it was, the acting suffered as result of the script, and though all the actors put in a lot of effort, I feel that the lack of excitement in the script ended up hurting the film. This is a story filled with interesting facts, this is not very well presented. It’s too bad, but this is what we have. I gave this movie a middle of the road rating due to the shortcomings compared with the interest I had in the subject. I hope someone can come along with a better version sometime in the future, but unless you are very interested in the subject, I can’t highly recommend this film, although the cinematography is really good too, so that might make it worth it to see. For myself, I’m glad I saw it, but I was disappointed as I was waiting for this one for a long time.

EdG – EdsReview Dot Com – A Movie Review Blog

 

 

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