'The dining room table' and 8 other premieres to see on platforms

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'The dining room table' and 8 other premieres to see on platforms

The dream life of Miss Fran (Rachel Lambert)

What an eye Daisy Ridley has. After achieving fame playing Rey Skywalker in three 'Star Wars' sequels, the British actress had to redirect her career so as not to end up becoming a new Hayden Christensen. The resounding failure of 'Chaos Walking' (2021) did not bode well. Ridley decided to take matters into her own hands: she gave her agent a list of filmmakers she would like to work with. Among them was the unknown Rachel Lambert, whose only film up to that point, 'In the Radiant City' (2016), had barely circulated outside of festivals.

The choice could not have been better. 'The Dream Life of Miss Fran', a horrible translation of the original 'Sometimes I Think About Dying', has confirmed that Ridley knows how to do much more than swing a laser sword (it is her best performance to date) and has unveiled a very promising director. Filmed on the Oregon coast, in the melancholic Astoria (the town of 'The Goonies'), Lambert uses the aesthetic codes of indie cinema to tell the story of an introverted office worker who will see how her small world of isolation and suicidal fantasies will take a turn. I'll turn around when a new co-worker arrives. A romance as delicate and sad as Julee Cruise's 'Mysteries of Love' that plays at a particularly beautiful moment in the film. 8.
Available: Filmin

Are you there, God? It's me, Margaret (Kelly Fremon)

In the United States it is known as “the rule book,” a youth classic that has been passed down from generation to generation since 1970. Its author, Judy Blume, has always been very reluctant to have her books made into movies. However, when Kelly Fremon appeared on the project to adapt 'Are You There, God? It's me, Margaret', she didn't think twice: there was no one better than the director and screenwriter of 'The Edge of Seventeen' (2016) to carry it out.

Blume was right: the movie is great. A fun and tender “coming of age” that describes with great sensitivity and humor the sentimental and existential convulsions of a preteen (fabulous Abby Ryder Fortson). A girl who has just changed cities (from New York to a suburban neighborhood in New Jersey), is experiencing the changes of puberty and doesn't know what to do with religion: be Christian like her mother's family, Jewish like her father's, or stop believing in God? An example of how to make youth films without nonsense or moralism. 8.
Available: Prime Video, Apple TV+

The criminals (Rodrigo Moreno)

After its successful festival tour, from Cannes to San Sebastián, and after being chosen by Argentina for the Oscars, 'The Criminals' had a fleeting premiere in Spanish theaters, where exactly 312 spectators saw it (ICAA data), something already common in this type of films (it was also the case of the extraordinary 'Trenque Lauquen'). Now, with its premiere on platforms, it should find its audience.

Inspired by the Argentine classic 'Barely a Criminal' (1944), the new work by Rodrigo Moreno ('El Custodio') is a robbery film with a playful and Bressonian spirit (there is a quote from 'The Money'), where the intrigue It is not important. Based on the criminal drama, the director takes various deviations, both formal and narrative, to articulate a long story (three hours long, although divided into two halves), full of inventiveness, which reflects and fantasizes about the possibility of freeing oneself from the labor and moral ties imposed by the capitalist system through money. That is: robbing those who rob, from the bank. Movie. 8'5.
Available: Filmin

Falcon Lake (Charlotte Le Bon)

Another case similar to the previous one. Charlotte Le Bon's notable debut debuted undercover last summer and was seen by just over a thousand viewers (it could also be seen at the Atlántida Film Fest). A very free adaptation of the graphic novel 'A Sister' (Diábolo, 2017) by Bastien Vivés, 'Falcon Lake' is a unique coming-of-age story crossed by the codes of the horror genre. The film portrays a youthful romance, a summer love between a Parisian teenager and a slightly older girl whom he meets during his vacation on a lake in Quebec.

What seems to be a topical and nostalgic story of summer growing up, with bike rides, drinking bottles in the countryside and first sexual experiences, is transformed, thanks to its delicate staging, the choice of the 1:37 format (which favors intimacy of the story), the point of view (always focused on the two young protagonists, with the parents out of the frame) and a suggestive soundtrack that accentuates the fantastic nature of the narrative, in a beautiful ghost story of those that are told through the light of the bonfire. 7.7.
Available: Filmin

Metronom (Alexandru Belc)

One of the most celebrated debuts in recent years. Romanian Alexandru Belc came to Cannes with his first fiction film and won the award for best director in the Un Certain Regard section. 'Metronom' tells a story of teenage initiation set in Bucharest in 1972, in the middle of the Ceausescu era. Much of the film takes place at a student party where “Metronom” is heard, a clandestine musical program hosted by the exiled announcer Cornel Chiriac, which was broadcast from Germany through the famous Radio Free Europe.

While hits by Jimi Hendrix, Janis Joplin or The Doors play, the students dance, drink and make jokes about the dictator. Until the Securitate, the regime's brutal secret police, arrives. The director uses the square format as a way to emphasize the feeling of oppression and surveillance to which Romanian society at the time was subjected and the bureaucratic hell and abuses of power that they had to suffer if they were arrested. 'Metronom' is a remarkable story about the end of sentimental and political innocence, about the decisive weight that the sociopolitical context has in human relationships. 7.5.
Available: Movistar+

Fierce Dog (Jean-Baptiste Durand)

Another fabulous debut. 'Fierce Dog' has been one of last year's revelations in France, competing for seven Cesar Awards and winning two: Best First Feature and Newcomer for Raphael Quenard, one of the emerging stars of French cinema, who, curiously, was also nominated for Best Leading Actor for 'Yannick' (available on Filmin).

'Fierce Dog' is a summer tale, a story of friendship and first loves set in a town in the south of France. The film stands out for two aspects: the extraordinary script signed by the director himself, Jean-Baptiste Durand, a script full of subtlety, psychological richness and dramatic depth when it comes to portraying the relationships between the characters (if it had not competed with 'Anatomy of a fall' would surely have won the Cesar), and the stupendous performance of the leading trio: in addition to Quenard, Anthony Bajon ('Atenea', 'Teddy') and Galatea Bellugi ('A low fire'), all of them nominated. A director to follow very closely. 8.
Available: Filmin, Apple TV

Vera (Tizza Covi, Rainer Frimmel)

Vera Gemma is a kind of Italian-style Bethlehem Esteban. She is a salsa and reality television star, with a striking presence and a face deformed by the scalpel, she is famous for being the daughter of the sex symbol and spaghetti western icon Giuliano Gemma. “Poor thing, how handsome her father was,” Vera says that she has heard thousands of times in her life. Growing up in the shadow of a beautiful, famous and talented parent is one of the themes explored in this very interesting hybrid between fiction, autofiction and documentary, made by the Italian-Austrian filmmaker couple Tizza Covi and Rainer Frimmel.

The other theme, developed in a fictional plot, also tells us about parent-child relationships, but this time marked by poverty, family breakdown and petty crime. Vera's driver runs over a small child, the son of a humble family, and the celebrity decides to take care of him. These two plot and formal lines mix and confuse until they give shape to the portrait of Vera. A portrait in which we intuit, rather than discover, the person hiding behind the character. 'Vera' is an example that there can be more truth in fiction than in the fake reality of celebrity. 7.9.
Available: Filmin

Flora and her son Max (John Carney)

You have to see how good John Carney is at indie musicals, the mastery he has of the genre. After making himself known with the delicious 'Once' (2007), making all of Hollywood whistle pop melodies with 'Begin Again' (2013) and returning to his native Dublin (and the one of his childhood, in the 80s) in the remarkable 'Sing Street' (2016), the director and musician (former bassist of The Frames) returns with another film with an irresistible melody. Presented successfully at the Sundance festival, Apple went ahead of Amazon and paid a fortune for it, as it did with 'CODA' years ago.

Eve Hewson (Bono's daughter) and Joseph Gordon-Levitt (musician as well as actor) are the protagonists of this musical comedy with touches of social and magical realism. Two frustrated characters – a single mother who works as a babysitter and is unable to connect with her teenage son and a failed musician who teaches guitar lessons online – for whom music will serve as therapy, a vehicle for sentimental connection and vital springboard. Carney still plays the same old chords, but the melody still sounds just as catchy and charming. 7.5.
Available: Apple TV+

The dining room table (Caye Casas)

A message from Stephen King – “I don't think you've ever seen a movie as black as this one” – was enough to send expectations through the roof. 'The Dining Table' has gone from barely getting distribution in theaters, to becoming a small phenomenon in its streaming premiere. As usual, it's not that big of a deal.

'The dining room table' is based on a very powerful plot premise. Caye Casas, known for the granguiñolesca 'Matar a Dios' (2017), made with Albert Pintó ('Malasaña 32', 'Nowhere'), proposes an enormously bold and macabre situation capable of leaving the viewer with their jaw on the floor . From there, the film balances between black comedy, psychological thriller and marital drama. Although she never falls, her step is not very safe either: the mix of tones squeaks a little and some characters (the girl, the salesman) are not very accomplished. Still, even with the feeling of being in front of an elongated short film – it would have been a magnificent episode of a horror anthology like 'V/H/S' or 'The Cabinet of Curiosities' – the film is quite enjoyable. 6.9.
Available: Filmin

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Simon Müller

Simon Müller is the driving force behind UMusic, embodying a lifelong passion for all things melodious. Born and raised in New York, his love for music took form at an early age and fueled his journey from an avid music enthusiast to the founder of a leading music-centered website. Simon's diverse musical tastes and intrinsic understanding of acoustic elements offer a unique perspective to the UMusic community. Sporting a dedicated commitment to aural enrichment and hearing health, his vision extends beyond just delivering news - he aspires to create a network of informed, appreciative music lovers. Spend a moment in Mueller's company, and you'd find his passion infectious – music isn’t simply his job, it’s his heartbeat.