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The Last Dance (2020)
Engaging docuseries even for non-fans
I'm in no way a basketball fan or even a sports fan, but these series got me entertained and engaged until the end.
It's just a shame they chose to jump back and forth in the timeline, it really wasn't necessary and made it quite confusing sometimes.
The other regrets I have is that none of the personal lives of these big stars are mentioned. I think it would have been interesting - without intruding too much - to see if such tremendous pressure took a toll or not on their relationships and loved ones. Some of these people's personnalities (MJ especially) were probably quite difficult to live with !
I grew up in the 80s, aware of the name Jordan as a teenager, but it was fun to really see with my own eyes why he became such an icon even before the instant-starmeter of nowadays social medias.
Paradise City (2021)
So terribly bad
I don't usually write a review when I haven't watched the whole show, but with this one I'll make an exception : I made it until the end of ep.4 cringing the whole time.
It is just so atrociously bad I couldn't go further.
The writing, the acting, the representation of musicians and the business, ... none of it has any authenticity or quality to it. It's kind of a performance to be so out of touch with reality when there are many professionals amongst the crew. I guess it falls on the director for making very bad choices.
Sorry I really tried.
Well crafted series
This is well structured, oriented but not too blatantly biased in my opinion, and not too stretched out either, as too many true crime series are. You could probably cut 1 hour out, but most of it isn't fillers or repeats. It's facts, interviews, court appearances and some emotional feedback from the concerned individuals, which is important to understand the story and develop an opinion on who they are.
I wish it were a bit more documented : even though we get more towards the end, the first episodes are really lacking - I suppose it goes to show the point the defense makes later on, but we are a bit lost at the beginning.
In any case, the chronology of events is well exposed and clear, of course a bit more screentime of the opposite side would have been appreciated, but as we can expect not many were interested in taking part in this telling of the story.
Now here are a couple personnal thoughts concerning the content of the story : It is truly scary to see such incompetence considering the stakes - both for the defendant and the victim(s). Neither get justice and it is heartbreaking and maddening to think that this little boy and his family will probably never get closure. And all will keep scars for the rest of their lives.
Final very trivial thought : who the hell is Jake Brydon ? He comes out of nowhere and is interviewed as an expert on the case ? It seemed to me like he was trying to get publicity or something for his involvment. Weird guy.
Wild Wild Country (2018)
So much potential, so little depth... Click bait series !
Beware of the 10 stars bots... they all have the same thing to say : "wow ! Netflix makes such great content !" Suspicious much ?
My humble review : A good investigative story on this cult, including the american interlude, would be really interesting, but that's not this show.
This is the incomplete and very biased (and I would actually be leaning on the new-age commune side if it weren't so blatantly partial) "story" these series are telling : a group of very open-minded progressive mystics left India in the 80s to build a huge eco-friendly modern commune outside of Nowhere, Oregon ; it didn't sit well with the all-white kind of backwater aging local community to be invaded by such ungodly sex-crazed brown free spirits ; and so, in spite of all their ingenuity and political savviness, the good Rajneesheen were chased by the whole American bigot establishment back to India to live on and prosper blissfully to this day... Yes, you should be rooting for the gentle self-explorers !
But the lack of basic background information on the cult (why do they wear all shades of red (really, why ?!), why did they leave India in the first place ? How did they finance all of this ? What was the philosophy ? Why did people join ?...), and the lack of basic facts and chronology on the criminal case too - which is the core subject of the series - made the whole thing very shallow, and in the end, not interesting at all and just unsatisfying.
Les filles du soleil (2018)
A story of women
Beyond the backdrop of the Kurds centuries-old fight for freedom and the even more dramatic recent history, which is gripping enough in itself, this is a film about (mostly) two women and their life struggle to exist, each in their individual way and circumstances.
I think any woman would relate, but the performance delivered by Golshifteh Farahani is beyond outstanding and can't leave you unaffected.
Black Gold (2011)
Emir Nesib seriously miscast
Great sceneries and epic story, and awesome performances by Tahar Rahim and especially Riz Ahmed, however the casting of Antonio Banderas as Emir Nesib is a big mistake in my opinion. His spanish accent and overall terrible acting is particularly cringey in this instance.
Several actors in this film are not at all of arab descent, and most of them still give a great performance (Mark Strong, Freida Pinto), but Banderas really spoils it all for me.
The Outpost (2019)
I came to this as a silly B action flick, but it was very well acted, directed and edited. It feels very realistic and intense, and way more profound than I thought it would be. You come to care deeply for these guys and the absurdity of their sacrifice, the stupidity of war, especially in these circumstances.
It ended up being way more moving, interesting and even thought-provoking than your typical dumb action blockbuster, as fast paced as it is.
A "new" and beautiful take on the legend
For people who are not overly and obsessively attached to the anime version - like most or all of those who give terrible reviews it seems - this is a great take on the legend of Mulan.
Cinematography, costumes and sets are really great, I loved the end credits which are especially beautiful, and most of the actors are very good, the lead most of all.
I don't think I've ever given a 10 stars review before, but this is so worth it. Everything about these 8 episodes is absolutely perfectly accomplished. The characters, the writing, the editing and the atmosphere... There are also some really great shots here.
Most of all I think what I really appreciated is the approach that the show-runners have taken on the very serious subject matter that is sexual assault and its aftermath, and more specifically how it is treated by the police.
It is a very delicate and sensitive approach, which is exquisite, but also a much needed critic of the actual law enforcement behaviour and response nowadays.
The only unrealistic thing about it - and it is a systemic problem that would also be important to emphasize - is that ***SPOILER*** the scumbag actually gets a proportionate sentence to the scarring he's caused, that is almoste never the case in real life. And also maybe that two such badass female detectives exist a mere county away is not so realistic either... and yet both of these extraordinary things truly happenned ! How happy does that make you ?! ***END OF SPOILER***
All in all, it was very emotional for me the whole way through, and it didn't hit one wrong note in my opinion.
Warrior Nun (2020)
Got ok after a few episodes
I had my preconceptions about this one, thought the premise was kinda ridiculous, and it does start out pretty bad.
But the cinematography is good and I kept watching, it got quite fun after a couple episodes. Don't expect any depth or anything, it's just some mindless entertainment.
such a waste
This could have been really good, it has great production value (apart from some weird CGI), great actors, and the story - though completely different from the legend it's supposed to be based on - has some good basis.
But unfortunately, the writing is terrible and it's painful to see these great actors try to give life to those miserable lines. The editing is quite bad as well.
I don't mind the diversity, on the contrary, but Arthur and Nimue's story is so bad, cheesy and childish, it made me hate Arthur (the bad lines didn't help). I think it was the worst part of the show, and since it's about the two main characters, it takes a lot of strength to suffer through it and enjoy the rest which would have really been much better without it.
If you forget it's supposed to be based on a well-known and beloved legend (I suppose they banked on that popularity factor), it could have been a good story.
The Sinner (2017)
very good disturbing series
Season 1 was really good. A completely new take on criminal drama with very good acting and cinematography, and excellent writing : you always thought you knew where it was going to take you, and then... not quite what you expected !
Season 2 tried to feed the suspense a little bit too hard in my opinion, some twists and turns led nowhere, but the acting and everything was still very good too.
Season 3 was a whole different premice, and I didn't quite like it as much, especially because Bill Pullman's Detective Ambrose was even darker than in the first two, and it got a little bit too disturbing for me. What I really appreciated in the other seasons - getting to understand and sympathize with a murderer - didn't happen for me on this one. Maybe it was me, but up until the end Matt Bomer's psychology still isn't clear to me. But maybe that was the point ?
Spinning Out (2020)
Watched it during a heatwave, it helped
There is nothing really worth remembering about this, it might have the virtue of starting conversations on mental disorders in highly competitive sports... maybe.
Most of the issues packed in these 10 episodes (bipolar disorder, sexual abuse, racism, police brutality, teen pregnancy, abusively competitive parenting, social inequalities... and many more) were all meant with very good intentions I'm sure, but none of them seem fully researched, owned or realistically portrayed. They just kind of, laid them all there on the surface. Don't worry, it never gets really deep at all, you can watch it as a soap if you want.
I must admit, even though they all lack depth I still got attached to several characters : Kat and Carol with all their flaws, selfish, destructive and unbalanced as they are, had me rooting for them. Dasha was ok, a little bit too cliché for me but still sweet. I had more trouble with Justin even until the end, meh. But the star for me was Mandy : though only a supporting character, the character development was good and the acting too, that woman was truly great !
It's kind of a detail on the overall quality of the show, but I must say, though not a connaisseur of figure skating at all, I had my belief brutally suspended each time they tried to paste the actors' faces on the skating doubles' bodies, it had me cringing how badly it was done. And sometimes they didn't even bother, and the doubles were so evidently not the actors I don't undersatnd how they left it like that.
As I said in the title, I watched this during a heatwave in August 2020 south of France, and the cold atmosphere, the mountains, ice, snow, and desaturated colours definately helped me through it !