Archive for June, 2010

Seen at home. On dvd.

While cleaning up my living room, I noticed several dvd’s in my collection that I haven’t seen yet. They are part of the Quality Film Collection, which is an awesome series where you get one for free if you buy two movies at really moderate prices. One of them is this Sydney Lumet movie that flopped at the box office and only played like 2 weeks in the art house theatres (over here).

It’s good though. Not great, just good. The story is pulp. Two brothers decide to rob their parents’ jewelry store but that goes wrong. They also share the same woman, which they only find out later of course. Yeah that’s about it. Some people die. There’s sex. But that’s about it. Pulp.

But what makes it better than average though, is the acting. If I’d had the talent of Philip Seymour Hoffman, I would want his career. He just seems to get plenty of parts and always delivers. Ethan Hawke is Ethan Hawke. He can’t act, but he just plays the parts very well. It just always seems to be the same part. ūüėČ He has a scene with Brian F. O’Byrne in the beginning of the movie, the same actor he has a scene with in the second half of¬†Brooklyn’s Finest. Well, Ethan is Ethan. Twice. The other guy is an other guy in each movie. And then there’s Marisa Tomei. I like Marisa, but it seems like she can only get parts where she has to undress. Nothing against seeing her nude, but it’s a shame she doesn’t get any other parts. Albert Finney is also good. A bit weird, but good. So all in all, the actors save this movie.

Don’t watch the trailer. It’s basically the summary of the movie. You’ve seen the trailer, you’ve seen the movie.

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Seen at the UGC Antwerp on Saturday, June 26. In 3D.

There’s all kinds of ways to make your cinema visit special. You can go see a movie with dozens of friends (a fond memory of a friends outing to the horror comedy Arachnophobia in 1990 comes to mind). You can try to be the only one in the theatre at the screening of a thriller which makes it a bit extra scary (that experience saved Twisted from being a complete disaster). (by the way: whatever happened to Ashley Judd?). You can also smoke pot, especially if you go and see Lost Highway by David Lynch. A must I would say. Not the movie. Or you can just decide to see a movie a little bit intoxicated by alcohol. That’s what happened last saturday as a friend of mine decided to go see Toy Story 3 after having drunk several beers during our summer visit of Antwerp. Well, we absolutely LOVED the movie and laughed our asses off.

The two previous Toy Story movies charmed me a lot. It made me revere the talent of the Pixar guys (and maybe a few girls). I remember thinking how it was possible that they could make me feel so moved by the emotions and dramatic situations of toys! They have made several other great movies since and even though I’m always sceptical, they surprise me with their ongoing quality. And again with Toy Story 3 they managed to MOVE me.

First there’s this guilt you feel after you leave the theatre. It’s incredible how almost every adult leaving the theatre is talking and thinking about the whereabouts of their old favorite toys. Then there’s the humor. The introduction of Ken is hilarious. I kind of hope they’ll make a spin off with Ken and Barbie in the main roles. They both surprised me a lot! And finally, there’s suspense! My God, some moments were pure horror. That baby doll! Scarier than any Saw movie. This is definitely the Temple Of Doom of the Toy Story franchise.

I’m actually not sure why I don’t give this movie four stars. Maybe I need to see it again with the consumption of alcohol.

The A Team – 1/2

Posted: June 23, 2010 in 1/2, Action, USA
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Seen at the Kinepolis Kortrijk on June 23

24 years ago I played Face on the elementary school playground. And Hannibal. Hey, I could pull a Murdock anytime as well. I just never played B.A. I preferred to be the charming, the intelligent or the wacko one. Not go and punch people in the eye. Ah, memories.

However, what memories? That’s the only thing I recall from the ’80s action tv series: the role plays on the schoolyard. My older sister took me to see¬†The A-Team today, because ‘I was such a big fan of the show when I was a kid’. Really? I couldn’t even remember what the show was all about. I need to see some older episodes to be at peace with this association of being ‘a fan of the show’, because after having seen this movie I certainly am NOT.

What a crap movie this was. I finished it, hence the half a star rating in stead of a plain zero. However, there was nothing I liked about this movie. Sure, there was action and the action kept coming. But apart from that: nada, rien, nichts, niets, nothing. I don’t even want to spill more words on it.

Two things though that make me start HATING movie making all over the world.

1) Movies cost so much money to make, yet nobody invests in a ‘proof viewer’ who watches to finished movie for inaccuracies, like a ‘proof reader’ does for news articles. Example: there’s an aerial view of the Cathedral and nearby train station of Cologne and the movie makers want the audience to believe it is Frankfurt. I think the city of Cologne should SUE! It’s a detail and I’m sure 95 percent of the viewers don’t know the Dom of Cologne and/or haven’t noticed, but it’s just aaaaaaaaaaaaaaarghhhhhhhh.

2) Someone should tell movie makers to stop filming conversations between people on different locations and then edit them as if it’s one ongoing conversation. I hate that. Example: there’s this CIA guy talking to Hannibal in the visitor room of the prison, the conversation continues as the men are walking outside, then finishes back in the room again. Hate that inconsistency.

Yeah, I’m a nut. I’ll stop now. This blog should be therapeutic in a positive way, not in a frustrating way.

I’ll be short. Being a huge fan of the first seasons of Dexter, I’m really disappointed by this third chapter. And the reason is simple: Miquel Prado. What a ridiculous character. The story line just didn’t work for me. I didn’t buy it at all. Dexter finding a ‘friend’. Yeah right. Things just didn’t add up. Out of nothing comes this man and this woman who suddenly become the best man and woman on the wedding of Dexter and Rita. Hello! I wanted to know more about the Skinner. Why didn’t they develop that story line? I wanted to know more about Joey Quinn’s past. But maybe they will develop that in season 4. No. Season 3 didn’t do it for me.

Why still two and a half stars then? Because the other characters are awesome and the actors are amazing. Dexter is my man. There’s a Dexter in all of us (and I’m not talking about serial killer instincts here). Michael C Hall is able to make you totally forget that you basically know him as a whining gay guy in Six Feet Under. He’s Dexter now. And I’m sure in future shows and movies, he’ll be that character too. ¬†And Jennifer Carter grows as an actress in her fascinating role of Dexter’s sister Debra Morgan. The acting saved the season. Curious about season 4 though.

Mauvaise Foi – **

Posted: June 21, 2010 in Drama, France, XX
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Seen at home / Sunday, June 20.

Finally, after a few years of browsing through the always rewarding second hand dvd stores on the Zuidstraat and around the Anneesensplein in Brussels, I found Mauvaise Foi. It’s one of those rare movies that you never find a copy of in the racks, which made me conclude that everyone who bought the movie loved it so much that they don’t bother selling it again. Only 6 euro’s. With Dutch subtitles. How lucky did I feel! I would have paid 10 or even 12, but I didn’t and I’m happy. Cos after all that wait, the movie wasn’t all that impressive.

The promise is nice though. It’s a movie directed by Roschdy Zem, which is apart from Said Taghamoui and Sami Bouajila, my favorite French-Magreb actor. He also stars in it and this time in a more charming role. His co-actress is Cecile de France, which is by far the best Belgian actress of the last decade (and totally ignored by the Flemish media). And the story line read like it could be interesting: Jewish girl loves arab guy, arab guy loves jewish girl, she gets pregant, they have to tell their parents, there’s a clash between religions, but they live happily ever after. Hm. Actually, the story line isn’t that interesting. I just wanted to see the movie because Roschdy Zem and Cecile de France were in it and they look hot together. Sorry sometimes that’s a reason to see a movie.

Well they do look hot together, but their together scenes aren’t always that hot. I did miss some chemistry. Cecile de France was also way more expressive than Roschdy Zem, who probably didn’t intend to come across as lame and unemotional. It really isn’t a romantic comedy which the trailer kind of promises. There’s not that much humor in the movie and you never really believe that his couple could ever be succesful. Too bad really.

You can’t have a relationship for 4 years and then suddenly start thinking about the fact that your religions aren’t compatible. That just didn’t make sense. That you hide your partner for four years, okay. That you finally realize you have to introduce them to your parents after it turns out they will be grand parents, okay. But that you start hanging jewish good luck charms and start doing the ramadan upon the news that you’ll get a baby, hm.

A good try and not a complete waste of time, but not that special. Just that end left a bitter taste. There’s actually two ends. One that kind of makes you like French movies. And then an extra minute that really did NOT need to be there at all. Actually, do watch the movie (I have it on dvd remember) and tell me what you think of the end.

Seen at UGC de Brouckère / Sunday, June 20

I went to the cinema to see El Secreto De Su Ojos, but changed my mind when I noticed a billboard from Brooklyn’s Finest. Yes, billboards do work sometimes. I had never heard of the movie, never seen the trailer, never read anything on imdb about it. I guess my cinema passion is dying out slowly. However,just having been to Brooklyn and the fact it was directed by Antoine Fugua (who made the classic Training Day) were apparently two good enough reasons to go see this flick. And a good decision it was.

In short: the movie focuses on three cops from the NYPD who each have their own issues. The least interesting one is Don Cheadle’s character who is an undercover cop in the BK projects torn between the desire to get promoted to a normal office job at the police department and choosing a life as a drug lord criminal. As much of a great character actor Don Cheadle is, there was not one moment I believed he would choose for the crime world. I did believe his frustration and his anger (there’s an excellent restroom scene where he needs some time for himself), but I didn’t believe his tough guy act. The two other characters are more intriguing, especially because the actor performances were surprisingly strong. Richard Gere’s bland expressions worked for a change as he plays a worn out cop waiting for his retirement, mocked at by younger aggressive cops and ready to just give it up by one pull of the trigger. I believed this character! Even when he gets a blow job from quite an attractive whore. No macho – I’m still that young stud from An Officer and A Gentlemen – behaviour, but just an older guy struggling with his libido. My favorite character though was performed by Ethan Hawke who starts to look like Matt Dillon the more I see him act. His catholic guilt driven cop needs fast money and does what he has to do to get it, which includes stealing drug money and killing as well. Killing out of necessity, because his wife may lose their unborn twins if they don’t move to a bigger, moist free house. Just for your information: he’s ‘catholic’ so he already has four or five children (wasn’t really clear).

I first gave the movie two and a half stars, because the directing, editing, soundtrack, storylines aren’t that original or extraordinary, but writing about and thinking back at the actor’s performances, it’s definitely worth three stars. The trailer may not look promising (I probably wouldn’t have gone to see the movie, if I had first seen the trailer), but it gets my thumbs up. And it was nice to see Wesley Snipes again and ¬†Michael K Williams (Omar from The Wire) even though their parts were futile.

Twelve Angry Men – *

Posted: June 11, 2010 in Drama, USA, X

Seen on iTunes at home.

A 0.99 $ rental on iTunes. A classic. A must-see. A bore.

This is basically a theatre piece filmed for a cinema audience. What happens when one person in the jury does not want to go for a unanimous vote? They discuss. 90 minutes long. It’s still actual. But it really is a bore to watch. Next!