If you read me enough you know that “Coming-Of-Age” is my least favorite film genre. I wrote about it recently because there seems to be yet another boom of films coming out of late in that genre. I was expecting something much different from Tahara, but ultimately it’s just the latest film with “Coming-of-Age” characters I can’t stand. It’s about two friends who go to the funeral of a former classmate. Sounds like it should be about how the death effected these young women, but instead they are completely vapid, awful human beings that I instantly couldn’t stand. The one girl is trying to get a boy interested in her because that’s what you do at a funeral. The other girl is thrown for a loop when she kisses her friend. Again, all things you totally do at a funeral. Plus there’s unnecessary animation. These characters are much younger than me so I can’t relate to them or today’s teens. They just come across as terrible people and I didn’t care about anything they did or said throughout the movie. The one actress is also in Bodies Bodies Bodies and that is terrible too so clearly none of these new movies work for me.
The next four films are from the Ukraine and show the world what life is like during wartime. They aren’t about the current Russian invasion, but instead are about the Russian aggression going back to 2014. I’ll admit I’m an ignorant American who doesn’t know much about the the past 8 years of Russian/Ukrainian turmoil nor do I know much about Ukrainian cinema. First is Reflection which is about a surgeon who is taken prisoner by Russians. He is forced to help tortured soldiers and is eventually part of a prisoner exchange and is freed. It’s probably the most straight forward of the four films and the lead actor is quite good. You understand what happens to him, the murder of other men and his struggle when he first gets home because another man he and his family knows was also involved. To me it’s the best of the four.
Donbass is a multi-chapter look at a territory heavily influenced by war. It’s a dark comedy, but I don’t think it translated well because I didn’t quite get the comedic elements. There is a German journalist. A guy whose car is taken from him. A woman trying to bring her mother home and out of a bunker. People just trying to live daily life in a warzone. I think not knowing Ukrainian cinema hurts on this one because the style of it and all the different story breaks confused me.
Next is Bad Roads which also has different storylines in it. It opens with a principal being pulled over and not having his passport. Two girls wait for their boyfriends to get off their shift. A woman runs over a hen and gets blackmailed into paying a lot for it and they take her car, etc. This is also another film where the style didn’t work for me. I understand they are trying to show different lives during this time, but I didn’t particularly like the filmmaking.
Last we have The Earth is Blue as an Orange which is a documentary about life during the war. A family is chronicled and the daughter wants to be a filmmaker. The family is interviewed along with soldiers and those around them. A house is bombed, you see tanks drive through all while this family is trying to live their lives and everything is recorded. It comes across more as a narrative feature than documentary despite shot that way. Again as an American we aren’t always aware of these stories or films and I’m sure not being used to their type of filmmaking loses something in translation
Next is NCIS: Los Angeles: The Thirteenth Season. This is a show I only watch to review, but my parents enjoy it. My mom likes the original NCIS better although now that Mark Harmon is gone she might enjoy this one more. I do think this Los Angeles series has more action than the other series and I do like Chris O’Donnell and LL Cool J in their roles. Episodes include the apparent suicide of a sailor who leapt to his death while on LSD, an unidentified aircraft crashes into a Navy fighter jet, a military dog is kidnapped, two men explode when they try to break into a military base, an LA casino is robbed. It’s not something I watch during the season, but don’t mind getting it on DVD to review.
The last two releases come from Mill Creek Entertainment. First is County Line: All In which finds a re-enactor dead and two counties fight over jurisdiction. Tom Wopat plays the old school sheriff who clashes with the new, younger female sheriff from the other county. He has ties to everyone involved from the mayor to fellow officers. She thinks he’s biased and that because he knows these people he shouldn’t be involved. Of course they end up solving everything and getting along. It’s not a great movie and feels like a “Made-for-TV’ movie from the 1990s. It’s not unwatchable or anything, but I wouldn’t go out of my way to see it again.
Last we have Paranormal Highway, a documentary series on unexplained events. I watch things like Ancient Aliens so something like this at least interests me. Sure it’s not groundbreaking stuff, but I at least don’t mind watching it. I know some of it already from watching unexplained shows, but it held my attention. It’s a 5-part series that travels from places like the Pacific Northwest, Colorado, Arkansas, Wyoming and Bigfoot territory. Plus it has a bonus disc about aliens in the Rockies. It’s not overly original, but if you are into conspiracy theories, aliens, creatures and the like, it’s pretty fun.