Archive for November, 2011

The Help – **1/2

Posted: November 30, 2011 in 2011, Drama, USA, XX1/2

This summer The Help became a surprise box office hit in the US, but after having watched the movie it makes perfectly sense that this is this year’s Blind Side. The acting is very good, the script rolls well, there’s some humor in it and the emotional scenes are well-dosed. Hey, this movie may even be historically relevant (for American viewers) and it all ends well. Kinda. So yeah, this deserves to be a box office hit. But just as with the Blind Side, it’s not going to be doing much over here in Europe and will be perceived as a made for television weekend movie.

The fact is: most Europeans don’t have an interest in the segregation issues of the US of A. So I’m sure a lot of people will just pass on the movie just because of the boring premise. Who cares about a move about rich white housewives from the sixties that treat their african american maids, who do their household and raise their children, like shit, right? However, the movie does help to get an idea of what went on in the southern states up until the seventies. And some might say up until now. Europe has all kinds of racial tensions as well, which have been the subject of many a great movie. But this is other fare. The movie is over fast enough to not get bored and to not feel like you’ve been watching a modern-day sermon.

It’s interesting to read the reactions to the movie on the internet. Apparently a lot of African-Americans do not like the movie and feel like the story is told from a white perspective, which of course is a fact since the writer of the book/script was a young white woman. But is that really so wrong? Yes, Spike Lee would have told the story in a total different way. And yes, it might have been a cooler and more explosive movie, but none of the people who grew up in a segregation atmosphere would have wanted to see that. So I’m all in for a more gentile, extremely careful movie that will make some people think about what went on in the recent past and what’s going on in some places around the world at the moment. (Just think about the Indian house slaves in Dubai)

Yeah. nothing wrong with this movie. Just a very safe one.



50/50 – **

Posted: November 29, 2011 in 2011, Comedy, Drama, USA, XX

Okay, the idea is great. The acting of the two main characters as well. But in the end, it’s really not such a good movie. There’s too many moments that are annoying.

It’s all about a guy who learns he has cancer in his spine and doctors give him 50 percent change of surviving. As he starts with chemo he needs to deal with his cheating girlfriend, his over caring mother and a new unexperienced therapist. But above all he has to face his own fears as well.

The best parts are from Seth Rogen. I mean, he’s funny in general, but this time his lines are just right on. Sure his friend has cancer, but hey, why not make fun and use of it? Why not try to get laid being that guy who takes care of his sick friend so well? Yeah, Seth Rogen saves the movie.

Joseph Gorden-Levitt is a great actor, but here he’s just okay. I guess I just had issues with his character being such a loser really. It just wasn’t really believable how he dealt with his own diagnosis. Angelica Huston is also okay as his mother. The rest of the cast is totally miscast.

Again, the movie has its merits and there are both funny and dramatic scenes. But in the end it just didn’t work (for me). I couldn’t help comparing with Le Temps Qui Reste, a French movie about a guy who finds out he’s going to die from cancer. Now that movie may not have had that much humor, but everything you noticed was believable. Here, there’s just too many scenes that are unbelievable. Like the encounter with the unexperienced therapist who will turn out to be his love interest at the end. It’s not a give away, you can tell from the first scene they have together. And the appointments with the doctor are incredibly stereotypical and unjust to their profession.

oh well… one to watch and forget

Sometimes people write stories about their past that turn into a book and later into a movie that gets a lot of attention in international film festivals because the movie is from a different part of the world than Hollywood. That’s awesome for the author! But not so much for the viewer. In the end this is just a boring coming of age children’s movie set in a period of time that wasn’t all too pretty (Brazil in the seventies) and in a community that is little known (the Sao Paulo Jews). The acting isn’t impressive at all. It’s as if the kids are waiting before the director tells them what to say and do. Nothing spontaneous at all. And we really don’t get to learn anything at all about the oppression of liberal minds in the seventies (which was the main reason why i wanted to see this movie).

Oh, and did I mention that it’s made for kids? at least that’s how it comes across…

In The Loop – **1/2

Posted: November 18, 2011 in 2009, Comedy, UK, XX1/2

Bought this dvd for 1 euro in a local appliance store as a package of 5 for 5 euro. I hadn’t heard about this movie at all, but a British political satire sounded like fun. And it was fun. It took me about half an hour to get into the story though, but once I did, I couldn’t stop watching.

The story is set on the eve of a declaration of war and focuses on what goes on behind the scenes in several American and British governmental departments. At least, that’s what I made out of it. I admit that I didn’t quite get the functions of the many characters. The ‘main’ character is the British Secretary of State for International Development, whatever that means. And you have all kinds of Directors of Communications and Communication Managers and Assistants and Assistant Secretaries. Just too many titles! In the end what you need to know is that some people want a war and others don’t and many more just go with the flow and don’t care about the war as long as it’s all well communicated and there’s a career move in it.

The story comes along very fast. There’s no pause at all. The dialogues are never-ending and there’s no moment of silence whatsoever. The lines of the characters are hilarious. the situations are bizarre. And some of the humor is totally absurd. Again, it took me half an hour to ‘get it’. The references are hard to follow. Some are very local (to restaurants in Washington DC), others are very universal (to movie characters and pop artists). But the funniest of them all are the many hilarious quotes during insults and comparisons.

Here are some I copied from the quotes on imdb:

“You get sarcastic with me again and I will stuff so much cotton wool down your fucking throat it’ll come out your arse like the tail on a Playboy bunny”

” Twelve thousand troops. But that’s not enough. That’s the amount that are going to die. And at the end of a war you need some soldiers left, really, or else it looks like you’ve lost. ”

“Just fucking do it! Otherwise you’ll find yourself in some medieval war zone in the Caucasus with your arse in the air, trying to persuade a group of men in balaclavas that sustained sexual violence is not the fucking way forward! ”

It’s not the easiest movie to watch and you really have to dig British humor I guess. It’s like The Office meets West Wing meets Pulp Fiction (for the dialogues). There’s only one ‘famous’ actor in it and he actually spoils it for the rest of the perfect ‘ensemble’ cast. It’s Tony Soprano! I don’t care if James Gandolfini is the actor’s real name, it’s Tony Soprano in a US general uniform. Sorry for James, but he’ll never ever get rid of his Soprano image. The big star of the movie is the foul-mouthed Scotsman Peter Capaldi! What a riot!

As a huge Spielberg fan, I had to see this movie. As an inhabitant of Belgium, of which the main character is a symbol, as well. Tintin however, was never my favorite comic character. I have read all the albums as a kid of course, but I never read them twice. Tintin is also a symbol of the French-speaking part of Belgium and is more seen as a French character rather than someone from Belgium. He’s not that popular in Flanders. None of my friends liked Tintin when I was a kid. And from what I hear not many of them like him now.

After having seen the movie, I am still not a fan of Tintin. This is really the most boring comic character I’ve ever seen on the big screen. There’s plenty of action and adventure in the movie, but there are no emotions whatsoever and there’s absolutely no humor at all. Technically speaking it’s quite amazing. I’m not a fan of 3D at all, but I wasn’t so annoyed by it either this time. There’s only ten scenes or so where the 3D is effective, so you can ask yourself if it’s really worth all the extra money. I’m sure the 2D version is equally good/bad. The adventure is, as already mentioned, non stop! So it’s really amazing how a non stop roller coasting adventure can be so incredibly boring. Hm.

Belgium is known to be the most boring country in Europe (for the Brits). This movie will only confirm that image.


Oh, in case you wonder what it’s all about: Tintin buys a ship model which apparently holds a key to a big secret and a treasure. The rest is just the quest for the treasure.

See at the Kinepolis Kortrijk

It’s no longer unusual to see a Flemish movie in the cinema’s anymore. I think there are three of them in the top 5 at the moment, which means people start to appreciate local cinema fare. This one is a bit of an odd one out. It’s really an arty-farty movie, which probably wouldn’t have been produced ten years ago, but thanks to the success of other movies there’s money for strange, surrealistic fairy tales like this.

Not much makes sense in this picture, but that alone makes it fascinating. It’s so surreal that you start to appreciate the weirdness of it. Het Varken Van Madonna means the Pig of Madonna and even though there are references to the famous singer it really has little to do with her. The pig is a mechanical tool that does look like a pig, but basically is used to make pigs in pig farms horny so that they will reproduce faster and more efficiently. The main character of the movie is a sales person who needs to sell this tool in one of the furthest corners of the country and gets stuck in a small village called Madonna where everybody he meets seems crazy  or dead.

Again, though the story is so ridiculously made up, it’s a very entertaining movie. You never know what’s coming up next and after a while you just don’t get surprised by the weirdness anymore. The humor is absurd, but it’s not predictable. It comes around the corner where you least expect it. I personally really liked the movie as it takes place in the area where I’m from. I can relate to the dialect spoken by many of the characters and I can relate to the history of the area too, as I often visit the Flanders Fields area where the memories of the Great War are still very much alive.

Kevin Janssens, who plays the sales person, does a great job as being totally confused and lost in this middle of nowhere village. He hasn’t really convinced me in any other movie as being a good actor, but he’s pretty phenomenal here. You can just believe his confusing. It’s like nobody on the film set told him what the movie would be about and you see him constantly think: WTF! The rest of the cast is overacting, but with a purpose of course.  I like the fact that the director really played with the prejudice that people from bigger cities like Antwerp have about this remote part of Flanders. Sure, it’s all a bit more old-fashioned and conservative here, but the way it’s portrayed it looks as if this part got stuck in the 1950s. When the sales person asks where the hotspot is for his iPhone, you can imagine what the reaction of the locals will be! I’m still laughing, writing this down. Because even though there are hotspots everywhere here, I’m sure several of the villagers there would not know what the hell the guy is talking about. I also really liked the story about the ghost of a WWI soldier who is roaming around the fields and the grand-daughter who is looking for his bones. That maybe be far-fetched, but it shows how the war is not forgotten there.

In the end, you either like this movie or you don’t. It would be interesting to see who liked this picture abroad, because it’s such a local movie. If someone outside of Flanders saw this movie, let me know!

Californication Season 4 – 1/2

Posted: November 15, 2011 in Comedy, TV series, USA

Whatever happened to Californication? I loved the first three seasons so much! This is such a crap season. Really, I fast forwarded half of the season in the hope of seeing something that would intrigue me again. BUt nothing. I thought maybe the whole trial at the end would bring some excitement, but nada!

Why did I dislike this season so much. Well, it’s very strange to write it down like this, but this series is JUST about sex. That’s all that it is about. ANd it gets SO boring. yes, hank moody can get any woman he wants. we know it now. yes, the mother of his daughter will always have a weakness for him no matter what he does. but NO, he does not love her as much as you thought he did in the first three seasons. if he really would love her he would change and he doesn’t, so feel empathy? Why feel empathy for him and why feel empathy for her? And what is a tv show without empathy?

Oh, and this time, NONE of the side characters have anything interesting to say at all. What a waste of production money.