Missing Review

The title Missing may sound generic, but the film is exhilarating. When there is suspicion in a film’s central plot point, evidencehelps build the storyline into an invigorating thriller flick. Missing contains many technological fascinations. The movie is all viewed through a computer screen, a tablet screen, or an Apple device screen. The film also contains interesting scenes involving figuring out passwords, accounts, and background research which result in evidence which spirals into an anxious state-of-mind. For those who know the film Searching, Missing is by the same directors, Nicholas D. Johnson and Will Merrick. This time they return with a plot and setup much like Searching, but this time they take the suspense to a new level. Missing is one of those films where reality feels real through showing how much information technology can save.

Missing is intriguing because of its multiple components. The film showcases authorities, technology, social media, and a wide range of technicalities for its puzzle. Missing is a not your common film of what goes wrong when someone disappears,but it will make its audience cringe. The directing and writing are calculated and provide misinformation which adds more anxiety. The harrowing truths discovered in Missing build an even tougher trail to pursue, but that’s part of what hooked me. The film is like screen time on top of screen time in the form of a movie.

The plot of Missing involves a mother, Grace (played by Nia Long), and her daughter June (played by Storm Reid) who have a typical mother-daughter relationship. June is often ignorant of her mom’s requests and frequently gets annoyed that her mom is just being a mom. June is also addicted to her technology (the primary reason why the whole film is practically through computer screens). Her mom goes out of town with her boyfriend Kevin (played by Ken Leung). At first, June is ecstatic because this is a moment of freedom for her. As the day comes around for her mother to return, Grace falls off the grid. She does not respond to her phone, or her messages and it makes June very nervous. June begins to fill out a missing person’s report and goes through many databases to figure out where her mom might be.

The stress and anxiety are shown purely in the eyes of June throughout Missing. June begins to hack the profiles on Kevin’s accounts to find the locations or transactions which may lead to the whereabouts of her mom. The crazy thing is that Kevin does not always use his real name. June comes across multiple accounts, several past incidences, and more disturbinginformation. June only wants to find her mom, but she also wants to ensure her mom is safe. Missing shows how far one will go to find a person they love.

As June’s story evolves, Missing bombards social media with the fact that June’s mom is missing. Her mom’s name may be out there, but the social media factor can help the matter or make matters worse. Missing will make its viewers wonder how much technology or hidden information can work to June’s advantage. Because she is a teenager, there may be more risks for her and/or her mom. Missing is hard to take at times due to the overwhelming news and media that surrounds June and her situation which reflects today’s reality.

There are always layers of finding the truth in a thriller film. For example, June’s father supposedly passed away, however thefull story is never explained to her. As June realizes that some of the the evidence she finds does not add up, some of what she comes across may link to her past as well and may reveal more than expected. The realizations made by June and the authoritiesin their search to find her missing mother are gut-wrenching. Missing is creative in the investigative and critical sense. There are no good resolutions, but there is always hope in each piece of evidence discovered.

Missing is a masterpiece. It paints a clear picture that revealshow the technological world is not as safe and secure as the world may think. Can June crack the case and find her momherself? Are the authorities and the media helpful sources to track her missing mom? Why would there be more unexplained circumstances found through technology? Those answers are all found in the film itself. I believe audiences will appreciate Missing because of its faithful representation of what lengths someone will go to protect the one they love most. Three and a half stars for Missing.

Broker Review

“His films embrace the mystery of life and encourage us to think about why we are here, and what makes us truly happy.”

-Roger Ebert

The words film critic Roger Ebert (1942-2013) used to describe Hirokazu Koreeda’s films hold true to this day. Koreeda is a director with a vision to have his films’ characters placed in situations impacted by society. His film Broker is a film of human feelings. Koreeda’s eye for artistic direction is thought-provoking. He tackles conflicts with society from a heartfelt perspective. Koreeda took audiences on a questionable and dazzling journey with Shoplifters (2018). He does so again with Broker which is a cinematic experience where love and sacrifice are looked upon deeply. The film has inevitable consequences, and it all comes down to the challenge of making the right choice.

Broker takes place in South Korea. The film introduces us to a mother named So-young (played by Ji-eun Lee). So-young carries her baby Woo-sung to a church to be adopted. She changes her mind when she realizes that an active group could try to sell her child. There are two guys who are part of the operation named Sang-hyeon and Dong-Soo (played by Song Kang-ho and Dong-won Gang). As So-young explains her difficult situation, the men realize they have a mission to help So-young find the right family for her child. This causes the group to flee with Woo-sung on a road trip. On this trip, their goal is to to find a family that can give Woo-sung a life that So-young cannot provide.

Two detectives discreetly follow them on their journey. The detectives are Soo-jin and Lee (played by Bae Doona and Lee Joo-young). On the road trip, So-young feels all kinds of guilt and frustration, but she also feels like a true mother the more time she spends with Sang-hyeon, Dong-Soo, and her baby. The most moving parts of Broker involve the realizations of how someone can change their life and how someone can help another person find a better life. Broker is deep and fascinating throughout its portrayal of a tough and emotional road trip.

As So-young tries to find a family to adopt her child, my feelings for herstarted to warm my heart. The writing in the film portrays that So-young is selective and difficult concerning who may adopt her child. What I realized is that she is not a bad mother, she just can’t take good care of her child at her current stage of life. However, that does not mean she will never be able to. The connections she makes with Sang-hyeon and Dong-Soo drive her to keep thinking of her options during their road trip. With the detectives on them, So-young begins to put her errors, her legalities, and benefits together. The hardest part is that regardless of what So-young does right for Woo-sung, she will still suffer consequences. Broker is about So-young being able to handle the mental anguish she may suffer, while at the same time knowing her child will be in a better place with food, safety, and care until she can pay for her errors.

I love films that create a dynamic that involves cultural challenges, and Broker does just that. The themes of tough love, life’s challenges, and new beginnings are where Broker finds its meaning. The message is found in the many drastic choices that come along in the film and the ultimate decision is in the hands of So-young. The detectives find themselves in a blur regarding how to handle the situation because there is nothing wrong with what Sang-Lyeon, Dong-Soo, and So-young are trying to do. They simply want to help So-young’s child live a fulfilling life.

In the scenery of the film, the audience will experience images of what may play out for So-young. As her mindset shifts during the road trip, she feels she is in good hands with Sang-Lyeon and Dong-Soo. They create a tight bond and love spending time together. In addition to the film’s goal of finding a new family for So-young’s child, the story also creates a wealth of positive vibes on this unexpected adventure the three of them find themselves on. Broker is a ride about making friends and uncovering realizations in unlikely places.

Broker dazzles its audience with a story about making choices. I love the thriving characters of the Sang-Lyeon, Dong-Soo, and So-young. The mission to help an infant find a life that cannot be fulfilled is displayed with the most poetic energy I have seen from Koreeda. Broker is breathtaking as it portrays a path of empathy and compassion in its character development and its writing.  The entire story is a beautiful one of humanistic value. Four stars for Broker.

Plane Review

In Plane, Gerard Butler plays his typical tough guy with a macho attitude role, ready to take on any dangers. And he does shine at times in the film. But overall the film is a mess. It felt like a couple of episodes of the TV series Lost, mixed with the film Flight of the Phoenix (2004). Not my idea of an entertaining cinematic experience.

The plot of this below average action flick has Butler playing Brodie Torrance, the pilot of a passenger plane. His co-pilot is Dele, played by Yoson An. When their plane hits turbulence due to torrential weather they have to make an emergency landing, but they land on an island inhabited by warriors. The crew and passengers are in danger but one passenger, Louis Gaspare, played by Mike Colter, knows how to fight and survive. Louis is a criminal, but he just may become the hero.

Plane is much like other films starring Gerald Butler where there is peril, and he has to get people to safety. I was thinking back to some of his previous films such as Geostorm (2017) and Greenland(2020). Again, same theme as Plane—Butler protecting others and getting them to safety. Butler is generally excellent in these types of roles, and Plane does crank up the violence a notch, but the script is rushed and off balance, and it seems to go in circles. So as I’ve mentioned, my viewing experience with Plane was not rewarding.

One of the problems with Plane is that it starts with a mediocre foundation and goes right into danger zone moments, so the suspense factor was just not there. The shooting scenes were somewhat invigorating, as was the plane crash sequence. But where is the film going? Down a rabbit hole of a poor cinema, in my opinion.

Is Plane a captivating title? Maybe. Is the plot at least is attention-grabbing? Yes. Is the film entertaining? Not really. Will Plane feel the same as other Butler action thrillers? Yes, it will feel the same, because the truth is that it is the same as his previous projects. I really did try to remain positive with this review, but I couldn’t. I just found the film shallow and boring. Just two stars for Plane.

Treating cinema in many forms of art!

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