Archive for June, 2011

A few years ago, this television series became the most watched tv series in Flanders ever. Everyone I talked to, loved this series. Never heard any negative comment at all. But for some reason (not having a tv, dvd box still too expensive) I hadn’t seen it yet.

Being probably the only Fleming not having seen the show, I thought it was about time. And I’m glad I did.

The storytelling is fun. The setting and premise couldn’t be more Flemish: a butcher family in a small town needs to deal with every day challenges: cheating, secrets from the past, discussions about the will (even before the person actually is dead), … Really nothing that extraordinary, but it’s the details that make this series so great. And, apart from one character (JB), every single one of the others is excellent. Difficult to say which one is my favorite.

When it comes to acting Sien Eggers is phenomenal! Never thought she could carry a role like that. You believe every moment she’s on screen. Lucas Van den Eynde is always good. That’s one of the best actors we have. During the last episodes the creators made him do too silly stuff to really make this series his own. Tom Van Dyck always plays a loser, in this case a guy with a mental disability. It’s like he can only play parts like that. Too bad. I don’t think he’s that good an actor, but his role was important and he did well. Peter Van den Eede made me laugh the most I think. We all know a pietje precies (fusspot) in the family or around us. Koen de Graeve is also funny, even though his part is small. But the best imitation of a character we all kind of know somewhere in the street or in the family was given by Herwig Illegems. Thumbs up for the script writers who added this character to the show as he’s the perfect tool to answer questions that the audience has, but realistically would never be asked by any of the main characters. That was ingenious! He’s the kind of lonesome, curious guy who always wants to know everything…

Seven episodes isn’t much, but then again, more episodes might have killed the atmosphere. There are still a lot of questions. And a second series would probably be very popular as well.

Great home-grown cinema! Yet, not perfect.

The Reader – *1/2

Posted: June 23, 2011 in Drama, Germany, USA, X1/2

A few years ago, Kate Wynslet was nominated twice for Best Actress at the Oscars. One time for her amazing tour de force in Revolutionary Road and one time for a blank performance in The Reader. Someone needs to explain me how she could ever have won the award for the latter. Is it because she interprets a former SS guard who can’t read and write and gets old the longer the movie takes? Or is it because she is naked half of the time in the first part of the movie? Or is it because she speaks English with a faux German accent? I don’t know.

The movie itself is set in Germany. I don’t really mind the fact that the actors are speaking English that much. But why on earth does it have to be an English with a weird German accent? The story is about Michael Berg, who had an affair with an older woman when he was 15. Later as a law student, he attends her trial in which she turned out to have been an SS officer responsible for the death of several prisoners during WWII. She gets a life sentence, even though she could have gotten less if only she had admitted to the court that she was an illiterate. The boy knew she was, but didn’t intervene. The shock and guilt marked him for life. And that life you get to see.  For more than 2 hours long. Interpreted by Ralph Fiennes, who’s also as blank acting as in nothing else he’s played in before.

I’m sure the movie will find its audience. Actually, it HAS found its audience. It found me as an audience, only because  I found the dvd for only 2 euros on a flea market. Just about what it’s worth.

Back And Forth – ***

Posted: June 21, 2011 in Documentary, USA, XXX

Seen on tv

When it comes to music documentaries, this is IT! Started watching it and already learned several things I hadn’t known before of the band and the creation of their albums. Every (ex) member talks very openly about their doubts and frustrations, but never in a vengeful way. I don’t think it’s that easy to be in one of the biggest rock bands of the world.

I’m not sure if people who don’t know/like the Foo Fighters, will appreciate this movie or not. They probably won’t. But, if you have some interest in rock music and you like some songs of the Foo Fighters, you will only appreciate this band even more after seeing this documentary, which is edited effectively. No interview is too long. No concert take out is too long. It just fits.

Tommy – *

Posted: June 16, 2011 in Musical, UK, X

 

Saw this movie as it was on tv and I was kind of curious how it would develop. it’s really not much of a movie, more than a collection of seventies rock video clips with a story. That story is simple: a young blind/deaf kid becomes a flipper champion. something like that. I hated the music. (written by The Who). But some scenes were just so weird that they became funny. And i did watch it until the end. so it couldn’t have been all that bad.

 

Jindabyne – **1/2

Posted: June 12, 2011 in Australia, Drama, XX1/2

Bought this dvd for 2 euro in Toulon. It’s from the makers of Lantana, which I thought was one of the best movies made in the 2000s. The story takes place in a remote town in Australia. Four men who go fishing in a nature park find the body of a raped Aboriginal woman. Instead of immediately reporting the crime scene, they decide to first finish their fishing weekend. Upon their return to the village they get almost as much blame as the rapist/killer.

The main reason why I finished the movie was because of the performance of Laura Linney, who amazes me more and more. She has this natural way of acting, like Kate Wynslet has as well. There is absolutely nothing fake in her performances. She’s the wife of one of the men who went fishing and can’t understand how her husband didn’t report the crime. She accuses him of being racist (What if it was a white boy?) and tries to make up for her husbands mistake by collecting money for the woman’s funeral for instance. The husband on the other hand can’t understand her sudden concern because of things happened in their recent past. You never get to see flashbacks (a relief), but you can just imagine and empathize with the past by seeing the actors in the present.

I don’t like to give away too much as the movie is very rich in different plot lines. There are plenty of other characters popping up with each their own history. And each of them is interesting enough to get a bigger focus. The story build up is fascinating, but instead of reaching to a climax it leaves you behind with more questions. Who are these people? How did they end up so hurt? What will happen to them? If this would have been a pilot for a tv series, I would definitely have watched the rest of the episodes. It would be great television. But it’s a movie and leaves you, in that format, unsatisfied. I don’t mind an open ending from time to time, but it doesn’t work when you get tiny bits of information about a dozen of characters and none of the information matters in the end.

http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0382765/

Fast Food Nation – **1/2

Posted: June 10, 2011 in Documentary, Drama, USA, XX1/2

Serious shit there. literally. Never thought I would watch a movie about shit in hamburgers, which is the premise of this low-budget anti meat business statement.

I love meat, so I’m not going to stop eating hamburgers after having seen this. But I guess, a lot of people who see this movie, will. Or at least think about skipping a visit to fast food joints like McDonalds.  In that sense the movie has a purpose. Kind of. I read it’s based on a non fiction book about the nasty world of hamburger producers. I’m interested in reading the book. Regardless if the movie is good or not, I was fascinated by the topic.

This movie not only shows you what actually happens to the cows before they become hamburgers, it also focuses on the illegal (Mexican) workforce in those huge slaughterhouses/production sites. That I found much more shocking. I don’t care if there’s parts of shit in my Double Whopper. I’m sure it’s only very little amounts. And like Bruce Willis’ character says: nobody dies from swallowing a little bit of cow dung. I do care about the safety and treatment of illegals at big companies who love to profit from cheap workforce, but dump them when something goes wrong. Maybe there’s a socialist in me. Somewhere. Deep inside.

The movie itself isn’t all that good though. The acting is at moments ridiculously amateur. I think the person who cast hypocrite punkpop bore Avril Lavigne as a meat fighter should get fired. And Ethan Hawke just isn’t a good actor, unless he plays a loser cop or gets lost in Vienna with a French girl. But the script also has its flaws. There’s just too many stories and they don’t even merge at the end of the movie. Had this been a tv series, it could have developed to something unique. Now, it’s just a nobel initiative to make people aware of what they eat and how it’s produced. Nothing more.

Oh in case you wonder. A manager from a fictitious fast food burger company needs to find out how on earth science students could find so much shit in their most popular hamburger, the Big One. He goes to the production plant to find out more and digs a bit deeper into the rumours that go around the town. In the meantime several illegal Mexicans cross the border and try to get a job at the production plant. Their jobs are shitty, but they make more money than at home and they go for the American Dream.

Valkyrie – 0

Posted: June 8, 2011 in biopic, Thriller, USA

As I’m always talking about Graf von Staufenberg on my walking tours in Bamberg (where he lived), I thought it was about time to watch the movie about his failed attempt to assassinate Hitler. The fact that the movie focuses on one moment in history and the main character is performed by Tom Cruise did not really make me all too excited. And my scepticism was proven right. This movie SUCKS. Read the wikipedia page about the failed attempt and save yourself two hours of bullshit.

Sorry, Carice. It should have been your breakthrough in the US, but you’re only 2 minutes in the picture.