So, I just watched ‘Kate,’ an action flick on Netflix (not bad, I’d give it a solid 8.5/10) and I thought I’d pop and see the score. Hmmm… seems quite low… I wonder why?
Then I see this review:
There’s a load of reviews like this, sometimes the woman-hating is better disguised than this, mostly not.
But, wow, this man is a walking lake of toxic masculinity. Hoo boy!
‘Kate‘ is a finely-crafted, atmospheric action film that mixes up many aesthetics; there’s obviously some John Wick in here with very unrealistic but well-choreographed fight sequences, some weeb-baiting with big dollops of TECH-NOIR-ZAIBATSU-NEON and many, many perfect assassin tropes.
What ‘Kate’ does better than most films is that it actually has great actors at the emotional cruxes of the plot. Harrelson and Winstead have a great chemistry as Handler and Asset respectively which grounds what could otherwise dissolves into a sea of squibs and gory, weightless deaths.
The central premise of Winstead’s race through the night also makes it all the more fun (I won’t spoil it here, obviously) and it’s almost Columbo-ish in that we know the end but we still want to see how she gets there.
There’s not one hammy turn, everyone lends a heft to, let’s face it, comic-book level unrealistic action scenes. And that helps sell it, at least on the emotional level. Props particularly to young actress Miku Patricia Martineau for a nuanced performance that has to cover a huge gamut of emotional situations. Look, it’s an action flick, you have to suspend your disbelief a little. In real life, even hardened soldiers can suffer from PTSD for years. But the characters in action films – BLAM! BLAM! BLAM! No worries.
So, within those genre confines, ‘Kate’ is a fine film with some beautiful moments of stillness in between the raining shards of glass and gouts of Kensington Gore.
Go get a bag of popcorn and a huge slurpee, settle back and be prepared for a tear or two to go along with the thrills and spills.
“Annihilating an ecosystem for political appearances is not my modus operandi.”
So, how do you know when you’ve just watched a great film? Not a good film but a great film? Film is such an accretion of magical sleight-of-hand, such an array of hidden talents that I think you have to feel it. In your nads. It hits you precisely because you didn’t see that punch coming, you didn’t notice a setup. If you do notice something like editing or acting or the EQ on a microphone, that most usually means that the film has failed, unless it’s deliberately going for some neo-Brechtian questioning of form, of course.
The first time I watched Class Rank, I didn’t notice any of the technical aspects, I was way too immersed in the story. So, firstly, let’s say that Class Rank is magnificent from a technical point of view. Whoever worked on this film, from sound to set to edit to make-up to grips to costume, every single person who lifted the tiniest of their tiny fingers, you get a fucking A+. And a gold star. You’ve helped create a hyper-naturalistic story that feels like I’m watching a documentary about my most awkward moments at secondary school. Artifice invisible, I’m left with raw emotion.
As ever, no spoilers here but the basic premise is of hyper-geeky Bernard (Skyler Gisondo) and over-achiever Veronica (Olivia Holt). She has her eyes set on Yale and higher but this appears stymied when she only achieves a class rank of second, instead of first. Shenanigans then ensue when she realises Bernard may be able to help her if she in turn helps him with his campaign to replace French with Chinese on the school curriculum.
This may all seem very generic and, looking at the bald words, it is. If this were another rites-of-passage movie, many high jinks would line up to be ticked off, all present and correct. But Class Rank doesn’t do that. Instead, it does a deep dive into the characters of Veronica and Bernard, one that drags your heart along with it. Even as you laugh at the undeniably funny lines they trade, you know you’re not laughing at them in a cruel way. When Bernard asks, “Surely the melting of your dairy products is not more important than the future education of your child?” I giggled but he’s actually right. Like most of us geeks, both kids are well aware they’re out of step without it being simplified into your classic ‘jocks versus geeks’ or other high school comedy cliches.
Filling out their world is an ensemble of characters who are equally real even if they get much shorter screen time. No character is under-written or unimportant here. The gentle banter between Bernard’s Grandpa (Bruce Dern) and the editor of the local paper (Kathleen Chalfant) is sweet without ever being that special ageist sickly of ‘oooh, look, old people holding hands, aww!’ Veronica’s Mom (Kristin Chenoweth) is similarly un-caricatured and, again, I forgot she was acting… she was just her Mom in a tender and loving way. Then there’s Nick Krause’s insouciant grace as the shop bagger, Mike, watch out for him. I’m not kidding when I say the final scene with him made my eyes sting. Damn this hayfever.
Let me also take this paragraph to congratulate this film on having A GREAT SOUNDTRACK. In this respect, it’s the antithesis of most Hollywood in that there’s space and beats and it never intrudes or de-stabilises, it supports and helps tell the story. Y’know, like scores are meant to do? Well done, Brian Byrne. In a cinematic world overflowing with the same threadbare martial beats and monotonous pitchbent braaaaams, his score is a cold glass of water in a bloody desert.
It’s the final act of the film that left me stunned enough that I’m writing this review. When the complications happen, Holt and Gisondo are stunning, I was on the edge of my seat. There is such rawness and honesty here that it hurts, built as it is on how we’ve come to know and love both characters during the film. Nothing is overdone, everything makes emotional sense. It’s so rare to see scenes like this in film and even more amazing when you realise the actors were nineteen or twenty when they filmed them. These two motherfuckers played keepy uppy with my heart and I’m a cynical, fat old man. Be forewarned!
Finally, I have to praise writer Benjamin August and director Eric Stoltz for a brilliant story, perfectly delivered. This film could have settled with being farcical, it could have been throwaway, it could have been silly. Instead, there is such heart and candour here, about love, friendship, about the human condition at every age. As soon as the credits finished, I started writing this review and re-started the film from the beginning. I’m enjoying it even more second time around. Thank you for giving me this wonderful film.
It’s now one of my favourite films about love. I know I’ll be watching it again many times in the future.
I was expecting this to be quite throwaway and was really only drawn in by Weaver and Rodriguez. But then, up pop Shalhoub, Lapaglia etc. ~ there are no bad performances in this film.
That being said it veers between B-movie with an A-movie cast and arthouse, Looper-esque weirdness. That’s not an insult as I love B-movies and arty indie films. The tone is unique; so much that it’s truly suspenseful. You really don’t know what’s going to happen, despite large parts being flashback. The gender identity themes are very now even though, apparently, this is a very old original script?
I loved the VERY Looper end, it was the perfect little Hammer Horror flourish.
Here’s an example of the idiotic Tory raving on IMDB:
Pure racism, pure sexism, pure flagshaggin, Brexiteer, Trumpet bullshit. These are the idiots who complain about black people in fantasy films or books – dragons, no problem. BLACK PEOPLE – HOW DARE THEYYY?
Similarly, military action-type films like this are always full of gaffes and goofs. They are not documentaries, they are pure popcorn. Everything is fake from the sounds of the guns to the never-emptying magazines. And yet… Without Remorse comes in for a kicking for “accuracy.” Yeah, sure, like “ethics in games journalism.” Where were all those fuckheads when CDPR blatantly bribed their way into huge hype for Cyberpunk 2077 before delivering a less-than-half-baked lumpy potato of a game? About as visible as Pro-Lifers on antiwar marches.
So, this is the review I left:
I was gonna give the film a 6/10 but I thought I should at least try to even out all the bile from Tory scum so I gave it a 10 instead. 🙂
If you want a feel good film that might make you shed a lil tear of awh but leaves you smiling, this should do the job!
There are romances, there are kisses, there are un-requited passions but there is only one really ridiculous sequence, the rest is very lifelike. The film delivers the hardest thing: make drama seem like everyday life while still being drama.
Excellent performances all round, a hugely refreshing absence of 1950s gender stereotypes and.. you know… some realness in the fantasy!
Above all, it’s an ensemble piece and great to watch a group of actors just having such great chemistry with each other, including the kids who are just too sweet!
A great romp, based on the Arthurian legends but set in a modern, believable Britain. Like Attack The Block, the film depicts kids without going all Disney and syrupy and shite.
Also, a really lovely, inventive score that has some of the best melding of orchestral and electronic sounds I’ve heard in years, by the Electric Wave Bureau, Albarn’s outfit.
AAAND another great directorial / writing outing for Joe Cornish. He’s just getting better and better… Some beautiful Spielbergian touches with the kids and also a fair amount of classic Brit ambience.
Just watched this and spent most of the last half hour weeping. The scenes with Hall and his pregnant wife…. you’d have to be made of fucking stone not to tear up.
I never saw Everest when it was first released, I don’t know why. But this is a seriously moving film. It never strays into worthiness or hagiography, opting instead for an almost documentary feel. I deliberately didn’t look up the true story it’s based on beforehand because I didn’t want the ending spoiled. So, when it did come, I had no idea who would make it off the mountain or not. And I did keep hoping, ridiculously, that they would all make it.
When it comes… oh god.
What makes it worse is that I watched the iTunes Extras which features interviews with the bereaved relatives including a daughter who never got to meet her father. Again, I dare you to watch that without dehydrating yourself through crying.
The heart of this film and the respect it pays to the real human lives it portrays is very rare. Add that to the wonderful acting, script and visual effects and you have one hell of a film, one that I know I’ll be coming back to in the future.
Just watched PM&TWW with my bff and I feel really emotionally wrung out. It’s perhaps the most positive, honest film depiction of polyamory I’ve seen so far.
As someone who’s been in both mono and poly relationships (though I’d never go mono again), this film finally gets past the prurience and into the meat of the emotions. Situations can get so emotionally superhyperovercharged and the level of understanding and communication you all need is… well… it can be a shock at first. But in a world where 95% of relationships are lies told to cover temporary lusts, honesty can seem like a slap in the face.
I felt so moved at the end of the film, it made me miss different exes so much in so many ways. But the way I look at it is probably similar to how Marston did; I’m blessed to have had those women in my life whether it’s for 14 weeks or 14 years.
In 2018, I wish that people still didn’t equate jealousy with love, with abuse as some kind of sign of caring. Owning someone like property, making them a slave, is not a virtue.