This is quite a unique socially critical science fiction comedy! With a great lead. Lakeith Stanfield is the kind of actor who’s been in a lot of movies recently, but hasn’t quite had a major hit as a lead. This wasn’t a hit either. But it got him noticed a bit more.

He’s Cassius Green, a young man ready to start a career in a telemarketing company. When he starts using his white voice, his sales performance goes up and he’s ready to get promoted to be a Power Caller. But that promotion isn’t without consequences. He’s losing his friends and his girlfriend and he’s entering a world he can’t seem to escape.

The first half of the movie is great. It shows a guy who’s questioning his lack of ambition and then suddenly finds the talent that can bring in the big bucks. It comes with a lot of quirky humor. And some visual surprises as well. Then the social critique becomes stronger and it almost becomes too much of a pamflet against capitalism. Luckily, the last part becomes so bizarre that it kills the seriousness. If you wonder what equisapiens are, watch until the end.

It’s not by Michel Gondry. But feels inspired by his movies.

www.imdb.com/title/tt5688932

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A Month By The Lake – **

Posted: May 3, 2019 in 1995, Dramedy, romcom, UK, USA, XX

On the long way to Lake Como by train and plane, it looked like the perfect moment to watch the movie all local guides seem to refer to if they run out of stories to tell about George Clooney.

Back in 1995, Vanessa Redgrave starred in a romantic comedy about an older woman retreating in a villa near lake Como. An older man arrives at the retreat and she feels intrigued by him. They go for a drink and then a tennis date, but the chemistry just isn’t there. Until a young woman arrives and messes things up. She’s a big flirt, but the older man falls for her. Enough for the older woman to start flirting with a young man.

Of course, it all ends well. It’s very predictable. It’s a nice movie to watch, when you’re familiar with the region where it’s been filmed. And Vanessa Redgrave is excellent, thanks to the quirky character she can embody. Edward Fox is well selected to play the love interest. But Uma Thurman as the young flirt is terrible though. This movie was released after Pulp Fiction, but it looks like she has no acting experience whatever. Totally miscast.

No let’s see in the next couple of days how easy it is to find romance in this gorgeous district.

https://www.imdb.com/title/tt0113849/

 

This movie starts with an older man learning a young boy some tricks to shoplift in a supermarket. On their way home, they find a small and hungry girl and decide to give her some food and some shelter. It’s very clear from the beginning: this isn’t the story of some crazy rich Asians. No, this is a story about how the poor survive in the economic wonder that is called Japan.

The aforementioned home has three more characters: a senior lady who seems to be the owner of the house. A middle aged woman who appears to be the wife/mother of the shoplifting father/son and a younger female who somehow seems to be the granddaughter of the older lady. It’s easy to assume the relationships between these characters, but there’s something off. 

The little girl doesn’t seem to want to return home and moreover, her new family discovers that she’s been abused. They could report it to the police, but they don’t. They could also inform her parents about her whereabouts, but they don’t. They decide to raise her as if she were their own child.

And then things get really weird an bizarre. Soon it turns out that this not an ordinary family and they live an existence full of lies. They steal and scam their way through life. But they seem to have found each other in this tiny apartment, which now six of them share.

A lot of questions arise and when you finally feel like you’re getting things explained, even more questions arise. This is very compelling and intriguing, but it does leave you with a bit of a wtf feeling at the end.

It’s clear to see why this is an award winning festival favorite. It doesn’t bore at all. The character introduction is great. The acting is good. It’s set in a world that is quite uncommon for Western eyes. It has multiple open endings. And it’s filmed in a detailed way. Some scenes are brilliant. The one minute reaction of the ‘mother’ in her interrogation about the reason for the ‘kidnapping’ of a child is pretty amazing. The shot in the end where the kid is on the bus is simple but perfect. The nude/passion scene feels so real, especially when it abruptly ends when the kids come home.

It’s quite a unique experience.

www.imdb.com/title/tt8075192

Homecoming – **

Posted: April 30, 2019 in 2019, Concert Movie, Musical, USA, XX

Beyoncé gave a brilliant concert at Coachella last year.

She decided to make a documentary about it and have it shown on Netflix.

It’s apparently edited/directed by herself. Which means she’s a terrible editor and director.

The show itself is AMAZING. The way it’s filmed and edited not.

The show is excellent. It’s the kind of performance you want to have been looking at live, as it was happening. The choreography in some parts is incredible. The re-worked songs sound great. The homecoming theme with the brassbands and cheerleading squad make it unique. Beyoncé is shining. She looks proud, strong, happy.

But throughout the documentary you just want the show to just go on. Way too often the flow of the show is stopped by behind the scenes stories. Sure it’s important to learn that she’s the first black american woman to headline the festival. Sure it’s important to learn that it’s quite a feat to put on such a show after having given birth to twins. Sure it’s interesting to see that almost the entire crew is black and given a chance to be part of something special. That’s all important. Yes.

But you know what? It’s all very superficial. A few statements here and there. A few images here and there. A few memories here and there. If you want to make a point, make a full documentary about that. Don’t interrupt a great live show with tidbits that don’t really say anything at all. You’re all sucked up in the concert and then bam, blablabla, then back to the show, then bam, more blablablabla. It’s tiring. It’s a bad concept. Either make an in depth behind the scenes/preparation documentary. Or show the live concert. Don’t mix them up. Or do it like others have done better in the past.

www.imdb.com/title/tt10147546

If Beale Street Could Talk – **

Posted: April 26, 2019 in 2018, Drama, Romance, USA, XX

Hm.

After 21 days of not being able to see a movie on any platform, this seemed like the best choice. If Beale Street Could Talk is an award winning, well-rated, poetic, romantic story by the director of Moonlight. 

It’s a beautifully filmed movie. And it’s well acted.

But that’s about it really. The pace of the movie is slow, which isn’t that bad, but the story is pretty boring. It’s about two people who are in love and ready to start a family. However, the young man is arrested and put behind bars on the accusation of rape. And the young woman needs to start finding ways of proving her boyfriend’s innocence.

Now this premise can lead to all kinds of intriguing, dramatic hurdles. But the actual obstacles are pretty dull. The man is innocent. A racist cop was able to make the rape victim identify him as the violator. He’s behind bars. A lawyer is expensive. The young woman doesn’t have the money. But she still supports and loves the father of her child. Period.

Yawn.

We get introduced to the religiously fanatic mother of the accused. Now that’s a storyline worth exploring. We get introduced to the joyful, but aggressive father of the accused who slaps his wife when she starst cursing the unborn baby. Now that’s intriguing. We get introduced to the sisters of the accused, who seem to shun everything about him. Why? We’d like to know what’s going on in that family. We see the accused get a few anger fits. Is he like his dad? So shouldn’t there be some doubt about his innocence?

No. the guy is innocent. Period.

And his pregnant girlfriend loves and supports him no matter what. Period.

Pretty boring, no? Not memorable at all. #disappointed

The book is probably better.

www.imdb.com/title/tt7125860

 

Watched this a week ago.

Kinda forgot what it was all about.

Ah yes. Marvel Universe. Female heroine. Sassy Brie Larson. Funny Samuel Jackson. Chase scenes. Aliens. A plot twist. A lot of confusion. Earthlings bonding with aliens against a common evil force. Nineties. Cool soundtrack.

www.imdb.com/title/tt4154664

 

Dumbo (2019) – **

Posted: April 2, 2019 in 2019, Children/Family, Fantasy, USA, XX

Whatever happened with Tim Burton? The last good film he made was Big Fish from 2003.

This isn’t really bad. It’s just not exciting or original or funny.

It’s interesting to see how they adapted the animation story from 1941. In fact, the original movie is told in maybe 30 minutes or so. And it’s clear that the makers changed whatever felt wrong in that version. The references to some of the main characters in the original are subtle. The mother elephant is brought to the circus, already pregnant. There’s a stork flying by, but he’s not ‘bringing the baby’. There’s a mouse dressed as a ringmaster as well, but it’s only briefly on screen. They did a great job making Dumbo look like a clown. The pink elephant parade is well re-interpreted. When the mother is locked up in train carriage, it looks exactly the same as in the Disney classic. But where are the crows? Was Disney afraid for ‘racial’ controversy ?

But once the original story is told there’s more drama and action coming. The original ends with Dumbo realizing he can fly… This movie focuses on whatever happens next. It starts with two children being reunited with their father who returned from the war in Europe (missing an arm). He’s appointed to be in charge of the elephant show, but already has trouble when the new animal gives birth to a ‘freak’. Once the freak becomes the star of the show, the whole circus moves to some kind of amusement park and that’s where more trouble starts.

They managed to make a decent live action movie of a pretty sad children’s story. But it’s not enchanting or charming. No matter how cute Dumbo looks. None of the new (human) characters excite.

www.imdb.com/title/tt3861390