Penetrating the Interminable Mystery Of ‘Ismael’s Ghosts’

By Anthony Peyton, Edited by Olivia Norwood

2018 has already had a good share of foreign films, when you put Zama and Fantastic Woman (which won Best Foreign Film at the 2018 Oscars) in the mix. It was exciting to see that a French foreign film was coming to theatres as I knew it would have an interesting plot and involve a person named Pierre as all french films inevitably have.

Ismael’s Ghosts ended up becoming very confusing very fast. It was simple, at first, seemingly about a woman named Sylvia (Charlotte Gainsbourg) and her boyfriend of two years, Ismael (Mathieu Amalric), who have to recover from a strange turn of events as Ismael’s presumed dead wife Corletta (Marion Cotillard) shows up at an unexpected time.

The acting was slightly better than mediocre. The actors and actresses were new to me, for the most part. Amalric was previously in The Grand Budapest Hotel, Munich, and Quantum of Solace. Cotillard is a one-time academy award winning actress for La Vie en Rose and also appeared in Inception.

As for the plot, it’s complexity develops into something significantly more mysterious, intense, and confusing. This included a story about Ismael as a director and his movie which ends up being part of the twist at the end. At least, I think it was. It got so complicated at the end that I couldn’t tell if it was a twist or something I was just missing the whole time.

Overall, Ismael’s Ghosts was a fine movie. It was confusing beyond confusing but that was its biggest flaw. Make sure you’re ready, though, because it’s the longest 2 hour and 15 minute film you’ll ever watch. As in, it will feel like you’ve been there for a full year before you leave.


My Rating: 74%

Acting: 3/4

Cinematography: 3.3/4

Story: 2.8/4

Enjoyability: 2.8/4

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‘6 Balloons’ and its Unexpected Greatness

By Olivia Norwood, Edited by Therese Gardner

As we all know, Netflix is the new outlet for films that may not have gotten the attention it needed. It’s great because when they slap that well known label on it then people are guaranteed to come across it. Not only are these stories given a bigger platform but, actors are given roles beyond being typecast in the same role. This is the case with the new Netflix drama, 6 Balloons.

When Katie (Abbi Jacobsen) attempts to throw a birthday party for her boyfriend, she’s disrupted by her heroin-addicted brother, Seth (Dave Franco), who is in need of a detox center. The two take an overwhelming journey around the city while also dealing with his toddler daughter.

The plot is as simple as any other film- simpler than most addiction-based films. But instead of it being in the perspective of the addicted, it’s in the perspective of the enabler. Katie’s life revolves around her brother’s issues as she takes him to detox and rehab centers only for him to relapse. She then ends up buying him drugs to help with his pain even though she knows he won’t actually get better. It’s a complex story with complex characters that you don’t normally see in cinema – even if these people exist in real life.

6 Balloons is strong in not only the plot, but also the acting. It’s headed by actors who are normally found in the genre of comedy. Broad City’s Abbi Jacobsen and The Disaster Artist’s Dave Franco are surprisingly successful in bringing these characters to life in the most authentic way. They’re the performances that we’ve always wanted from Franco and never expected from Jacobsen.

Franco doesn’t shy away from showing the glaring and harsh realities of being an addict who needs to stay high just to survive while Jacobsen gives us a spoonful of the truth and what the difference is between caring for someone and letting them continue their destructive habits. Not only were these roles a little daring but they were the perfect start for these actors to branch out and gain more recognition for their true range of talent.

6 Balloons is a powerful indie drama with actors that prove themselves to their regular audience and fans and a story that is just as gripping and meaningful as the movies on the bigger silver screen.


My Rating: 81%

Acting: 3.5/4

Cinematography: 3/4

Story: 3.5/4

Enjoyability: 3/4

‘Dude’: Netflix Is Killing It

By Anthony Peyton, Edited by Julia Wilson

Netflix has returned with Dude, a movie about drugs, prom, high school, death, and everything else involving the teen lifestyle. Don’t be afraid though! This movie is far from stereotypical. It’s a completely unique blend of acting and a story worth paying attention to.

Lucy Hale (Pretty Little Liars, Truth or Dare) stars as Lily, the Student Council President who is just trying to get through her life with her three best friends, Chloe (Kathryn Prescott, Finding Carter), Amelia (Alexandra Shipp, Love, Simon), and Rebecca (Awkwafina, Ocean’s 8). On top of that, she finds the rest of life’s pleasures in prom planning and PCP.

Hale is not new to the four best friends whole shebang as she became very experienced in Pretty Little Liars. Even being a huge fan of that show myself, I confidently believe that she plays the best friend role at her best in Dude.

Along that, she gets to stand aside such outstanding actresses who all know what they are doing. Seeing Shipp play such a badass teen character (which is nothing new, she did the same thing in Love, Simon) was so much fun and just added to the performances of everyone else. Prescott and Awkwafina also did this well, providing to the environment and story as a whole.

Aside from that, shoutout to Alex Wolff who gave an incredibly good performance as Hale’s almost counterpart, Noah.

The acting was obviously one of my favorite parts of this movie, but it wasn’t the only good thing.

The preppy school girl with her friends taking several types of extreme drugs was another interesting plot point to look at. The girls made their way through tons of PCP and several Donkey Bongs full of weed. Not every class president you see in a movie is going to be that wild, so it’s important to give movies like these a chance. Several of the characters in the movie were dealing with the death of another character at the beginning of the movie, and it gives an underlying tone to the message at the end of the movie.

Regardless, all of that returns to the cliché high school movie where everyone has to decide what they want to do after high school. What college to go to, what boys to go off to college with, but most of all; who are your true friends?
Dude was my favorite Netflix movie of the year so far. There’s tons of lessons that you can pick and choose, whether it’s about what you want to do after high school or just how many drugs you should – or should not – do by the time of your senior prom.


My Rating: 92%

Acting: 3.8/4

Cinematography: 3.4/4

Story: 3.7/4

Enjoyability: 3.8/4