2019 TIFF Movie Review: WASP NETWORK (France/Belgium/Spain/Brazil 2019) ***

Wasp Network Poster
The story of five Cuban political prisoners who had been imprisoned by the United States since the late 1990s on charges of espionage and murder.

Director:

Olivier Assayas

WASP NETWORK is a multi-level political thriller that tells the story of numerous characters set in the Cuban American cold war.  Director Assayas did CARLOS which spanned a 181-minute lengthy running time.  WASP NETWORK has more stories to tell and it seems really rushed in Assayas’ storytelling in this 2-hour film.  The primary story is set in December 1990. Airline pilot René González (Edgar Ramírez) steals a plane and flees Cuba, which is about to topple into an economic crisis precipitated by the collapse of the Soviet Union.

Having abandoned his wife (Oscar winner Penelope Cruz) and daughter, René, now based in Miami, is regarded as a coward and a traitor, though in letters home he explains that he is fighting for a more just and prosperous Cuba as a member of the activist organization Brothers to the Rescue.  

Another character is fellow exile and pilot Juan Pablo Roque (Wagner Moura). René gradually becomes more aware of the moral compromises the Brothers make to do their work — and the degree to which the CIA is involved in supporting anti-Castro activities.  Director Assayas makes the CIA the story’s chief villain.

Trailer: https://www.cineuropa.org/en/video/rdID/375491/f/t/

Advertisements

2019 TIFF Movie Review: KNIVES OUT (USA 2019) ***1/2

Knives Out Poster
Trailer

A detective investigates the death of a patriarch of an eccentric, combative family.

Director:

Rian Johnson

Writer:

Rian Johnson

Director Rian Johnson (Star Wars: The Last Jedi, Looper) assembles an all-star cast (Toni Collette, Jamie Lee Curtis, Ana de Armas, Chris Evans, Don Johnson, Michael Shannon, and LaKeith Stanfield) in a brilliantly conceived whodunit Agatha Christie style that brings back good memories of films like CLUE, MURDER BY DEATH and THE LAST OF SHEILA.  A wealthy author, Harlan Thrombrey (Christopher Plummer) is apparently murdered and detective Benoit Blanc (Daniel Craig) is being paid a stack of cash by an unknown family member to solve the case.  

Every member of the family household is suspect as each one has been denied the inheritance and has a motive for killing.  The maid/nurse is also suspect as she is the last one to see Harlan.  The film moves fast just as these kind of whodunits go and one can never figure out who did it, though good guesses could be made. 

 Craig is great speaking in what a family member calls a ridiculous southern Texan leghorn accent.  Johnson directs in good fun and his film is totally entertaining as a super whodunit with a few unexpected plot twists in the end.

Trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xi-1NchUqMA

Happy Birthday: Ana de Armas

anadearmas.jpgHappy Birthday actor Ana de Armas

Born: Ana Celia de Armas Caso
April 30, 1988 in Havana, Cuba

Married to: Marc Clotet (July 2011 – 2013) (divorced)

At age of 14 she began her studies at the National Theatre School of Havana, where she graduated after 4 years. At 16 she made her first film called Una rosa de Francia (2006) directed by Manuel Gutiérrez Aragón. Then came the movie Madrigal (2007), directed by Fernando Pérez, and El edén perdido (2007), directed by Manuel Estudillo. In 2006 she moved to Spain where she continued her film career, and started on TV. She currently lives between Madrid and Barcelona. She is now preparing her next film Hands of Stone.