The Perfection (dir. Richard Shepard, 2019) – Strange events unfold when musical prodigy Lizzie encounters the former star pupil of her school.
A deceptively simple thriller slips in slick blood across genres. Avoid trailers at all costs.
Art demands perfection and thrives on competition. This endless pressure to be the best can manifest dangerous demands. In Whiplash, it coerces hurtful abuse out of two musicians in their strive for the ideal.
Borrowing the same note, The Perfection sees the same ghost haunt cello prodigy Charlotte (Allison Williams), whose promising career was cut short upon her mother’s illness. When she meets the new star pupil of her former school Lizzie (Logan Browning), she is driven to violent jealousy… or so we are led to believe.
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Durante la tormenta / Mirage (dir. Oriol Paulo, 2019) – Two storms connect a woman’s murder and a child’s vanishing, 25 years apart.
Director Oriol Paulo has produced yet another compelling genre film that delivers in suspense and heart, despite predictable turns.
25 years ago, during a 72-hour storm, young Nico (Julio Bohigas-Couto) was killed in a car accident after witnessing a murder. Present day sees another storm occur, during which Vera (Adriana Ugarte) find a way to reach Nico before his death. She prevents his death with a warning, only to be swept up in the butterfly effect of the altered events.
Something a small as the flutter of a butterfly’s wing can cause a typhoon halfway around the world, so claims the Chaos Theory that rings true for Vera. Her perfect life falls apart when she learns that her child Gloria was never born, and that she is no longer who she believed herself to be.
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The Photographer of Mauthausen / El fotógrafo de Mauthausen (dir. Mar Targarona, 2019) – Francesc Boix, a Spaniard inmate in the Austrian concentration camp, tries to save the photographic evidence of the horrors committed within.
Boix’s subtle rebellion against the Nazi death camps proves one of the most important events in history, and The Photographer of Mauthausen is necessary telling of these less known heroics.
The Mauthausen Concentration Camp was one of Nazi Germany’s most brutal concentration camps, meant mostly for the Reich’s political prisoners. Over 8,000 Spaniards were interned at the camp, of which more than half lost their lives to the Nazis’ atrocious abuse and murders. These war crimes might have gone unpunished, if not for the courage of Francesc Boix (played by Mario Casas).
The warden’s right-hand man and reluctant photographer gained privileges that few had. But even at Boix’s young age, none of that was important to him. Instead, he plotted a rebellion and risked his life, all to hide the evidence that the Nazis wished to destroy. The Photographer of Mauthausen is a long-due homage to the bravery of Boix and the other Spaniard heroes, who succeeded in saving over 3,000 photographs from destruction.
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The Dirt (dir. Jeff Tremaine, 2019) – Mötley Crüe dishes the dirt on how they came to be one of the most notorious rock ‘n roll groups in history.
Unapologetically wild, The Dirt delivers a disappointingly shallow play-by-play of Mötley Crüe’s chaotic frivolity.
The Dirt is in every way an affront to modern society, where strong women reign and amoral heroes are often frowned upon. It is thus unsurprising for vitriol to befall the Crüe stories of sex, drugs, and rock n’ roll, back in an era long gone. Much of the criticism is sadly rightful, this coming from a Crüehead who has been eager for the film.
Faithfulness is far from its fatal flaw, as one may expect. Accuracy is of little importance in a biopic, and even if it is, the insane stories are mostly true. Any readers of The Heroin Diaries and the titular biography would know that The Dirt is as accurate as the band’s drug-addled memories allow.
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Triple Frontier (dir. J.C. Chandor, 2019) – Former Special Forces soldiers plan to rob a known cartel boss, but the mission soon spirals out of control.
Focusing more on the thrills of the heist than its motivations, the thematic ideas of Triple Frontier sadly never come into fruition.
Triple Frontier opens with retired captain William ‘Ironhead’ Miller (Charlie Hunnam) standing before a hall of young soldiers, freshfaced as he had once been. He recounts his moment of post-traumatic stress induced violence in a grocery store, painfully aware of how war has changed him.
The rest of his ex-military crew has not adjusted well to civilian life either. Post-war, Tom ‘Redfly’ Davis (Ben Affleck) ends up a divorced, absent father with an estranged teen daughter. Former pilot Francisco ‘Catfish’ Morales (Pedro Pascal) has fallen into shady company, revoked of his license to fly while under investigation.
Then, we have Santiago ‘Pope’ Garcia (Oscar Isaac), who appears to have it all together. In fact, it is as though the man is ready-made for the battlefield. The now-private military advisor is the one with the big plans, gathering his A-Team to raid the home of a kingpin under the pretense of a government-backed mission.
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A Twelve-Year Night / La noche de 12 años (dir. Álvaro Brechner, 2018) – Under the military dictatorship of Uruguay back in 1973, nine Tupamaro prisoners were kept in solitary confinement for twelve years.
A Twelve-Year Night puts to screen an appalling chapter of Uruguayan history, revelatory of the worst – and the best – of human nature.
It was 1973. Military dictatorship reigned over Uruguay, where political prisoners are taken and incarcerated without trial. Nine men spent over 4,300 days in solitary confinement, an unimaginable nightmare enough to drive anyone mad.
Isolation almost eclipses the pain of physical torture, as A Twelve Year Night powerfully puts the stories of three prisoners on display. The archaic punishment sees them cut off from the world and their family, all for the crime of holding on to their own political beliefs.
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