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In times of war, heroism is not just for men.

Female Agents (2008) is a film based on real events, true stories and real heroines as a tribute to the brave Female World War II Resistance fighters, who were constantly in the shadow of men yet had an undeniably profound impact on the events of the war.

This sounded like a film about a crack team of women from all backgrounds setting out to kill a high-ranking Nazi officer – a menagerie of Nazi ass-kicking women?! Yes please: Louise is a trained sniper, Jeanne (played by Julie Depardieu) is a prostitute with a heart of steel, Gaëlle is a young and brilliant explosives expert, Suzy is a stunning former showgirl and Nazi Officer’s one-time lover, and Maria is an Italian contessa undercover with the French Resistance. This mixture of women, with little to no training between them, are thrown together to rescue a British geologist and to assassinate the high-ranking SS officer.

As female characters, it often felt like there was weakness in the face of a terrible masculine force (there were no female SS agents in the whole of France in 1944, apparently, only nurses and secretaries) – which may be historically accurate but makes for frustrating viewing. The … Continue reading →

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A golden future awaits you. Just kidding.

Lilja 4-ever (2002) is a serious film – it’s a cruel, compelling watch for anyone in the West, but it’s most definitely not a film for escapism. Based on actual suicides of escaped post-Soviet child prostitutes in the suburbs of Sweden, Lilja 4-ever is a well-executed drama. It presents moody and stark cinematography, fine script-writing and brilliant acting. Lilja 4-ever is not a documentary, but its subject is unremittingly grim and real: the tragic personal results of the continued, desperate corrosion of Eastern European society and its hungrily opportunistic exploitation in the isolated suburbs of the West.

The title character, Lilja, lives in an unnamed city of the former Soviet Republic. Poverty and despair are fundamentals of the scenery as much as the dilapidated block of flats and the grey skies. Lilja finds herself abandoned by her mother, living in a hovel with no electricity. Nobody cares about her: not her Mother, or her Aunt.

Lilja’s age is unknown. Her only true friend, Volodya, was kicked out of his abusive home and sleeps in an abandoned military base where both characters’ parents used to work. Lilja and Volodya encourage each other and support each other with the limited resources they … Continue reading →

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Bread makes you fat?!

So, you could say that Scott Pilgrim VS The World (2010) is old news now. But, I’ve watched the film 3 or 4 times in the last 2 months. I read all the graphic novels in a 48 hour period, and I want to add my 2 cents to the discussion about this film.

It seems to have really divided people – like Marmite – some love it for its comic book style, funny jokes and, of course, Michael Cera playing Michael Cera. Some hate it – but I don’t have a clue why…

The bare bones of this film make it just another love story for 20-something slackers with no ambition or direction (hi! culture comment) – but with the addition of flaming swords, epic duels, a lot of 8-bit video game madness and comic book pop-ups it quickly becomes so much more.

Scott Pilgrim is recovering from a break-up with a singer called Envy Adams by dating Knives Chau , a 17-year-old Catholic schoolgirl. He is still basking in her tactless adoration when he becomes smitten with Ramona Flowers, a 24-year-old riot-grrl with multi-coloured hair (and an awesome wardrobe) and begins pursuing Ramona, despite receiving a … Continue reading →

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They call him… Machete!

I’m not dead – woo! Life has been busy, but I won’t bore you with the details. Instead, I am going to review Machete (2010), which I think is taking it’s place at number 1 of “Sarah’s most amazing films this year” list (I don’t really have a list, but never mind). Move over, Inception – you’re no way near as cool!

If you’ve read reviews of Machete and come away feeling a little let down or disappointed – don’t worry. Don’t pay attention to those reviews, they’ve really missed the point of this film. Danny Trejo stars in this B-movie by Robert Rodriguez which grew out of a spoof trailer devised for the “Grindhouse” double-bill created with Quentin Tarantino back in 2007.

The film opens, and before the credits have even run, it has already racked up a serious body count. Enjoyed under the guise of the classic blaxploitation film (more Mexploitation), Machete is a treat for all ages, provided you enjoy splattering blood, hilarious use of entrails, pointlessly topless or naked women, and, of course, general badassery. Quite possibly the best scene being when Machete abseils out of a Hospital window using a bad guy’s intestines – … Continue reading →

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