Archive for December, 2012

The Impossible – **1/2

Posted: December 28, 2012 in 2012, Disaster, Drama, Spain, XX1/2

Eight years ago a tsunami hit Thailand, Indonesia, Malaysia, Sri Lanka, India, the Maldives and other South Eastern countries. It’s one of those shocking moments in life that make you realize how fragile we still are. I don’t really remember where I was when I heard the news, but I remember how devastated I was seeing the images in the aftermath.

And now there’s a movie, produced and made in Spain but staring an English-speaking cast, that will draw all those people to the cinema, who want to know what really happened there. It’s based on a true story about a family of five getting separated by the tsunami and hoping for the impossible to reconnect. It’s very dramatic, but the fact that it’s a true story makes it acceptable. The tsunami scenes are impressive and it’s very emotional when certain family members reunite. This is a perfect example of a good drama with all the ingredients that  you get taught at the movie directing school. It’s just missing that extra originality that makes a good movie great. And there are a few scenes that are unintentionally funny when they should scare or touch you emotionally. Like when Ewan McGregor makes a phone call home for instance. Not your best acting, mate!

The stand out performance in this movie is not coming from Naomi Watts, but from the young Tom Holland who absolutely steals every single scene he’s in. Not since Jamie Bell in Billy Elliot did a young kid perform this good.

 

http://www.imdb.com/title/tt1649419/

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Tsunami 2004 – Die Todeswelle

Posted: December 28, 2012 in 2011, Documentary, Germany

After seeing The Impossible, I got home and looked up more stories from Tsunami survivors. I found this ZDF documentary online. It’s well made. They focus on a few stories that kind of intertwine and they tell almost exactly the same as what you get to see in the movie. It’s in German, so not all of you will understand. But the amateur footage  of the Tsunami is incredibly scary. And it’s weird to hear the story of the family Hansi, who also got separated and only reunite after a few days.

Transamerica – *1/2

Posted: December 27, 2012 in 2005, Dramedy, LGBT themed, Road Trip, USA, X1/2

Had this dvd on my shelf for a while. Just never got myself to watch it. Now that I did and I can sell the dvd or give it away. Not going to keep it. No thanks.

Sabrina, or Bree as she wants to be called, used to be Stanley. She saved up a lot of money for the final operation and is ready to become a real woman. But then she gets a phone call from a prison in New York, where a young kid called Toby needs someone to bail him out. Toby turns out to be Stanley’s son! A son! That’s all she needs in the most important week of her life. And a drug addict/street prostitute on top of that. Bree does decide to pick up her son in New York and takes him home to Los Angeles on a road trip, with necessary family encounters.

Yeah, it’s a road movie about a transgender and his/her son. That leads to awkward situations. It’s all a bit far-fetched. There are not enough empathy to make it a good drama. There are not enough jokes to make it a good comedy. The acting is okay and sure, it’s interesting to see a woman play the role of a man wanting to be a woman, but Felicity Huffman is just doing an okay job as Bree.

Weird movie, but one that I finished, so I guess it had some potential.

http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0407265/

Thank iTunes for their 99 cent rentals! I’ve seen a lot of cool stuff already for just a buck.

Nuit Blanche is one of those surprises. It isn’t exactly a good movie, but it entertains and it had my attention from the first scene to the last. It starts off with two corrupt police officers stealing drugs from a local mafia lord. Nothing unique about that. But one of the police officers was recognized and the mafia decide to kidnap his kid and hold it hostage in a huge nightclub until the drugs are returned. And that’s where the fun begins. 80 percent of this movie takes places in this nightclub, which makes it the real star of this original and unintended funny French action vehicle.

There’s something incredibly charming about the amateur approach of this action movie. A US remake is bound to be a big flop. The coolest ingredient of this movie is that every character is stripped off of their super hero status and they all look like total fuck-ups. Everyone just seems to act in a very unusual way. It’s surprising to have your perception of mafia lords, drug traffickers and corrupt police officers be tested. Real mafia lords and drug criminals fire their guns much faster! Or not? The other characters in the nightclub are just the way people are at a nightclub. Not every bar tender is a hunk. Not every waitress is a babe. Not every visitor is photo model. I also loved the fact that people danced like they do in a club and that the nightclub is packed like some nightclubs are packed. Other movies seem to film in nightclubs where there are no people (dancing)! So, hooray for this one. The escape scenes are frustrating because of the big crowds in the club. It looks incredibly stupid for the anti-hero to struggle through dozens of people walking up the stairs. But that’s how it is in clubs!  The fight scenes are also so silly that you can only believe them to be true. A lot of those scenes take place in the kitchen of the restaurant that is attached to the club, where the chefs just constantly get interrupted  by the Jackie Chan-like conflicts.

It all becomes pretty violent in the end with very typical action thriller plot twists, but that doesn’t matter. Nuit Blanche is a French term for partying all night long until the break of dawn and even though the main characters don’t really party, it’s one of those nights that no-one will ever forget.

http://www.imdb.com/title/tt1683921/

Looper – **1/2

Posted: December 20, 2012 in 2012, Action, Science Fiction, USA, XX1/2

Heralded as the best science fiction thriller of the year, Looper tells the story of a guy whose job it is to kill people sent from the future. It’s a pretty lucrative job, but it comes with a prize: he knows he won’t live that long as one day the mafia who employs him will have him killed as well. And such is the case on one fatal day when Joe needs to kill his future self. Shocked, he doubts for a moment and his future self runs off.

That’s all I knew about the story and that’s all you need to know. Oh, maybe it’s worth mentioning that Joe’s future self has a mission in the present: get rid of an evildoer from the future while he’s still a kid.

It isn’t half as confusing as it sounds. It’s just a very clever set up for an semi-intelligent action movie. It’s not as ingenious as Inception or Strange Days, but it’s much better than The Terminator! Joseph Gordon-Levitt amazes again as the young Joe, who’s acting under so much make up that you can see the resemblance with the guy playing his older self: the equally amazing Bruce Willis.

Time flies watching this movie, which is a good thing. And even though it’s all very weird, it does make sense most of the time. But the directing isn’t so impressive. The action scenes aren’t extraordinary and the editing is terrible. Again, Inception, it isn’t. But that movie had a budget five time bigger than this one, so we shouldn’t compare.

http://www.imdb.com/title/tt1276104/

Tsotsi – *1/2

Posted: December 19, 2012 in 2005, Drama, South Africa, X1/2

Yawn.

My fears were legit. This IS a boring movie. Nothing like Cidade de Deus at all. Not that I thought it would be as cool and funky and action packed with humor and lust. But still. A car jacking goes wrong when the carjacker finds a baby in the back seat. Now what? Raise it, change your life and give it back?

So, it’s set in Johannesburg and that adds to the drama I guess. But change the location to Los Angeles and you just have one lousy b-movie. the acting is bad. the story is simplistic. the moral is silly. Only the soundtrack is refreshing and there are a few moments where the main actor actually does shine. But apart from that:

Yawn.

 

http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0468565

Bernie – ***1/2

Posted: December 19, 2012 in 2011, Comedy, USA, XXX1/2

A strong contender for best actor in a comedy at the Golden Globes 2013 is Jack Black, who delivers my absolute favorite performance of the year in Bernie, a movie that I had never heard of until it showed up as iTunes rental of the week and in the Golden Globes nominations last week.

This is such a gem! Almost everything is right in this movie. The humor is both subtle and sarcastic. The acting is perfect. Even Matthew McConaughey is good! The script is great. The dialogue is funny. Some quotes are hilarious! The story is absurd, but makes sense. There’s a thriller element as well, which leaves you in suspense until the end. And when the end credits roll, you’ll think: No Fucking Way! That is, if you really don’t read anything about the movie in other reviews. And Don’t Watch The Trailer!

All you need to know is that Bernie is a very caring, pious, friendly, helpful, positive assistant funeral director whose tolerance is tested when he starts taking care of a mean, unpopular, but wealthy old widow. There you go. Just watch. You’ll either stop after a few minutes or you’ll be in for a great treat!

http://www.imdb.com/title/tt1704573/