Spling reviews Love Sarah, Resistance and Ava as broadcast on Talking Movies, Fine Music Radio. Listen to podcast.
Good morning – welcome to Talking Movies, I’m Spling…
This week, we’re talking about a romance drama, a historical biographical drama and an action thriller.
Starting off with a film now on circuit…
A young woman enlists the help of an old friend and her grandma to fulfill her mother’s dream of opening a bakery.
Director: Eliza Schroeder
Stars: Celia Imrie, Shelley Conn and Shannon Tarbet
– Love Sarah is a sweet and lightweight indie romance drama, a perfect Sunday afternoon film.
– Centred around an artisan bakery in Notting Hill, Sarah’s untimely passing interconnects three estranged women who make it their mission to realise her dream.
– Setting up shop, unexpected romance and differentiating themselves from many similar bakeries in the neighbourhood – Love Sarah deals with death and rebirth.
– It’s a gentle film, compelled by a good cast and a breezy story that will entice foodies with the eclectic mix of confectionary goods.
– The equivalent of “a nice cup of tea and a bikkie”, the romance drama is harmless in its “keep calm and carry on” demeanour.
– While refreshing for a drama to approach storytelling in such a cool-headed way, this pleasant state is lightly entertaining if a little numb.
– Celia Imrie’s presence gives it more credibility with some dry quips to add some distinctly British humour.
– Aiming for nice, Love Sarah hits its mark, adding more texture in its inclusive political undercurrent.
– It’s the sort of sweet and easy-going drama that you’ll remember for being sugar and spice, all things nice.
– In fact, it’s so nice that it would disrupt some equilibrium if one were to give it any less than…
A satisfactory 6 on the splingometer!
Moving on to a film on Showmax…
The story of mime Marcel Marceau as he works to save the lives of ten thousand orphans during World War II.
Writer-Director: Jonathan Jakubowicz
Stars: Jesse Eisenberg, Clémence Poésy and Matthias Schweighöfer
– Marcel is the most famous mime in history and deserves the spotlight in this important World War II biographical drama.
– While Jesse Eisenberg is no Roberto Benigni, his casting will divide audiences.
– It’s one of his best performances to date embodying the fighting spirit of the figure with a hidden nervousness.
– Yet, much like Inglourious Basterds… it’s the villain who steals the show with Schweighöfer as the sadistic killer and family man, Klaus Barbie.
– Resistance is an earnest historical drama, which certainly carries itself with grace, handsomely mounted with fine production values.
– While a powerful, necessary and timely story about self-sacrifice, it lacks the identity, script and full-fledged characters to land amid its influences.
– Whether by virtue of the original story or by design, it seems to borrow from better films such as Life is Beautiful, Defiance and Jakob the Liar.
– Uneven in tone and light on character, Resistance is admirable in its noble ambitions but frustrating by its lack of connection.
– The visuals and magnitude of the story add prestige, followed through by Eisenberg’s star presence but it fumbles with several subplots and isn’t as engaging or powerful as you’d hope.
– It’s not in the same league as its influences but is compelling, has many powerful moments and relays a stirring true story with the best of intentions in spite of its diverting flaws.
It did just enough to get a satisfactory 6 on the splingometer!
And finally a movie on Showmax…
A deadly assassin is forced to fight for her own survival.
Director: Tate Taylor
Stars: Jessica Chastain, John Malkovich and Colin Farrell
– Chastain is an actor of substance who has proven herself with great performances in Zero Dark Thirty, Molly’s Game and Miss Sloane to name a few.
– Best known for drama, the critically-acclaimed Chastain broadens her genre spectrum with Ava, a La Femme Nikita style thriller.
– Taking on a much more physical performance, she’s more than up to the task, having gone through a rigorous preparation regime.
– Playing opposite Malkovich, Farrell, Common and Davis, this assassin thriller is backed by a stellar supporting cast.
– Making it more Chastain-friendly, the screenwriters explore her home life as in American Sniper and her inner turmoil when it comes to dispatching bad eggs.
– From globe-trotting missions to dealing with family issues back home, this see-sawing thriller is a tricky balancing act.
– Unfortunately, the domestic strife undercuts the assassin mode rather than adding complexity to the character portrait.
– Struggling with an uneven screenplay and trying to sell Chastain as an action-ready lethal beauty… it’s just out of reach.
– As entertaining as the action sequences are and as watchable as Chastain is, this half-baked thriller ultimately just doesn’t jel.
– Perhaps casting someone with more comedy experience would have helped marry the two worlds and smooth over tonal inconsistencies.
A flat 5 on the splingometer!
So just to wrap up…
LOVE SARAH… a warm, sweet and lightweight Sunday afternoon foodie romance drama with a gentle political undercurrent… A satisfactory 6!
RESISTANCE… fine production values, earnest intentions, key performances and an important true story compel this uneven, familiar and thin World War II biopic… A satisfactory 6!
AVA… this stellar and thrilling assassin action thriller’s ambitions are offset by a tonally imbalanced and off-key script… A flat 5!
For more movie reviews, previous Talking Movies podcasts and upcoming Bingeing with Spling watch parties visit splingmovies.com.
And remember, Don’t WING it, SPL!NG it!