Category Archives: Movies 2019

Spanish Film Festival: La Misma Sangre (Common Blood)

The adult children of a middle-aged couple are shocked when their mother dies mysteriously in the kitchen of their suburban home. The son-in-law suspects that the father has killed her, and the daughters are faced with the dilemma of supporting their surviving parent as the accusations mount up.  It’s described as a thriller, but I saw it more as a family drama, although the end was pretty graphic.

The movie is subtitled in English (even though the trailer is not), but the Spanish wasn’t too fast.

Spanish Film Festival: El Reino (The Realm)

Manual Lopez-Vidal is a politician who has been on the take for years, and it has funded his affluent, elite lifestyle. Now that he is about to be exposed, he is determined to bring everyone else down with him.  At first a political movie, it takes on the aspect of a thriller as incriminating flashdrives are sought, found and handed on, and the closing scenes on a television set reminded me a bit of ‘The Hour’ as the tension rises.

Just as well it’s subtitled- I could barely catch a thing.

Movie: Hotel Mumbai

This movie is based on the 2008 Mumbai terrorist attacks that spanned twelve locations over a period of four days. The film concentrates on the attack on the Taj Mahal Hotel, a dominating landmark in Mumbai that evokes British imperialism and the simultaneous presence of  obscene wealth and obscene poverty. The film reminded me of the disaster movies of the 1970s (Towering Inferno, or The Poseidon Adventure) where, as a viewer, you become invested in a small number of people amidst the anonymous and largely ignored carnage of other people as background. Perhaps we’ve grown up a bit, because not everybody here makes it out alive.

I saw this film at a Crybaby Session at a local cinema. I wondered if the gunshots and explosions would transform the snuffling little bundles into real crybabies, but the noise wasn’t too overpowering (perhaps they had it turned down?). There was a lot of violence here -rather too much perhaps as Wikipedia estimates the number of deaths at the Taj Mahal at 31 and I’m sure that the film depicted many more deaths than that.

My daughter-in-law and I had high tea at the Taj Mahal eight years later (see my travel blog entries here and here). Other than the memorial outside the hotel, there was no sign of the damage and carnage. It didn’t occur to us at the time, and it was sobering to realize, that many of the staff working there had experienced the terror attack.


Movie: Green Book

Set in 1962, a world-class pianist engages the services of Tony Lip to drive him on his tour of the Southern states. The title refers to the ‘The Negro Motorist Green Book’, a guide to where Afro-Americans could safely fill up with petrol, get a meal, or stay the night.  In picking up on themes of racism, homosexual stigma and prejudice, it’s a worthy movie, but not Best Picture surely. Too  sugar-coated and feel-good.

My rating: 4 stars

Movie: Bohemian Rhapsody

I saw this a few weeks ago. Probably everybody else in the world has seen it too.

Yes, Rami Malek captures Freddie Mercury well. Yes, it was good to hear all that Queen music again. But the first half of the film just felt like a lame Saturday afternoon “I know boys! Let’s start a band!!” matinee film (for those of us old enough to remember matinee films). I couldn’t believe just how bad it was.

But then the Live Aid concert started, and it was very, very good (especially when you compare the real footage with the film.)

So, it just goes to show – the old saying was right: it’s not how you start but how you finish.

Movie: Colette


(From a few weeks back)

It’s a pity that Keira Knightly was case as Colette in this movie. She’s too well-known and I was consciously aware of that throughout most of this movie, except for one striking scene where she becomes very angry. Dominic West was very good, and disappeared better into the character. I must confess to never having read any of her work, and really knew little about her. Still, an interesting take on celebrity and marketing in the literary world of a century ago.

My rating: 3.5 stars

Movie: Vice

There isn’t a moment in this movie when you don’t believe that you’re looking at Dick Cheney.  Where’s Batman in this jowly, stolid man? The really frightening thing is that the philosophy of Presidential and Vice Presidential power that Cheney leveraged hasn’t been changed. And look at who are in the White House now – I am just as apprehensive about Pence as I am about Trump-  operating from the same principles….

My rating: 4/5