Archive for March, 2013

Three To Tango – **

Posted: March 25, 2013 in 1999, LGBT themed, romcom, USA, XX

I really don’t understand why some people slam this romantic comedy. It’s actually one of the better ones. Sure the storyline is very classic, but the twist is quite original. The obstacle that keeps the romantic couple apart is the sheer fact that the guy needs to pretend to be gay in order to get a job assignment.

Matthew Perry is an architect, who wants to work on a project for a rich city developer (Dylan McDermott), who’s having an affair with a loveable  artist (Neve Campbell). Due to some misunderstandings the city developer assumes the architect is gay and promises him an advantage if he wants to be a spy during an art gallery opening that his mistress will attend. The architect and the artists hit it off great and there’s love in the air, but honesty is a bitch when a career is at stake.

Le Placard is another movie in which a straight character has to pretend to be gay throughout the movie. It works. It leads to a lot of jokes and also some social-critical situations. I liked them! The movie is made in 1999, but feels like it could have been produced recently.It’s surprising how the depiction of the LGBT community has not changed in 14 years. Gay themed comedies are still focussing too much on the stereotypes. But Three To Tango has the right balance. Straight people won’t think it’s too gay and gay people won’t be offended. The humor is very predictable and harmless, but charms. And Matthew Perry is good.

There are much more terrible romantic comedies out there.

For years Ken Follet’s best seller The Pillars Of The Earth has been lying on my book shelf. For years I’ve been telling people how good it is and how they should all go home and read it. Especially when I am in front of the gothic Cathedral of Strasbourg, explaining stuff about medieval architecture. There’s always one tourist that nods and agrees on how intriguing and informative this medieval thriller is. But just like myself, they most likely never read the book.

A few years ago, a television series was produced with German and Canadian money and the help of Tony and Ridley Scott. And suddenly tourists knew what story I was referring to. So, I figured I finally had to watch this medieval soap which is pretty bad overall, but very entertaining as well.

It’s an 8 hour series with dozens of characters and hundreds of twists, which makes it confusing at times and which makes you wish they had made a 48 hour series. There are scenes that only last one minute but could easily fill one episode. If only they would have explored the themes a little bit more in-depth! Sure it’s a televised drama and not a documentary on the history channel, but still. It feels like all the historical and informative stuff is just mentioned briefly and the main focus lies in everything that makes modern-day dramas successful: murder, deceit, treason, infidelity, hatred! Sure, that’s exciting but it’s very superficial as well.

I can no longer recommend this series as a means of learning more about cathedral construction in the Middle Ages. It only focuses on the intrigues that were ample at the courts and the church during the dark Middle Ages.

Yet for some reason I liked looking at this badly acted, terribly edited, poorly directed and historically inaccurate account of an interesting period in history: the anarchy in England during the reign of Henry I. Predominantly because I wished I had been part of it. As an extra, preferably as a knight. I love medieval stuff. So much so that I don’t care if it’s accurate or not.

Maybe I need to read the book after all.

Damn the BBC for making a series of only 6 episodes that ends with a cliffhanger! Now I have to get Season 2 as soon as possible. Why not just release it as ONE package of 12 episodes?


I really enjoyed the first six episodes a lot even though I didn’t always love the acting and some of the plot twists and dialogue are ridiculous. You also get introduced to a LOT of characters who never return! But in the end, I was entertained and I can’t wait for the next episodes! I may just have to buy them online.

So what is it about? Easy: a virus wipes out 90% of the world population and only some survive. Seven of them kind of end up together and need to deal with this new world. They find a house and try to protect it from other groups of survivors, a government in exile and some weird virus control science center that you don’t get to learn anything of until the end of the season.

In the group are some really interesting characters, three of which are the ‘leads’. One is Abbey, who got the virus but got better. She’s confident that her son is still alive and does everything to find him. Another is Greg, a guy who was well prepared to go and survive on his own somewhere and now is stuck with all these others he starts to care for. And there’s the most interesting one of them all: Tom, an ex con who’s pretty violent but shows a good loyal heart as well.

Great tv stuff!

bad quality trailer:

An American journalist living in Paris is looking for a specific angle to write an article about the deportation of thousands of Jews in 1942. And she finds it as close as it gets: in the apartment that her French husband inherited right in the middle of the Jewish Marais area. Before his father moved in, the apartment belonged to a Jewish family that was deported. The journalist gets pretty obsessed about the quest for this girl named Sarah and her fascinating story.

That’s basically all you need to know.

I guess the book was better, but I didn’t read it, so I wouldn’t know. The movie just isn’t all that compelling. It’s clearly a movie based on a famous novel. The kind that is produced to be shown on tv on a rainy Sunday night. The only reason why this got a theatrical release is because of the success of the book and because Kirsten Scott Thomas stars in it. She’s a very good actress and the only one who can play an American living in Paris so well. Because, well, she’s a Brit living in Paris. But apart from her, the acting isn’t all that great. And the even though the story is fascinating, I’d much rather have read it, because it isn’t all that visual.

I’m sure my mom will love it when I give her the dvd tomorrow.

Mandingo – *

Posted: March 3, 2013 in 1975, Drama, Historical, USA, X

It’s clever of the Saturn multimedia store to sell the dvd of Mandingo for 5 euro, while Django Unchained is still scoring at the box office. It’s a fair price for an old movie that probably would never ever sell if it weren’t for the success of Tarantino’s latest masterpiece.

Mandingo was made in the mid seventies before Roots and long before Amistad. It was apparently the first time that a movie showed the atrocities of slavery and didn’t try to glamorize them like other movies did. It was quite a success back then and quite a shocker too. After all, the atrocities are really cruel and all the white men (and women) are mean. Now, some critics praise the movie for having changed the image of slavery in Hollywood, others just call it racist. I just call it a bad movie.

It starts of really bad. The acting, the dialogue, the soundtrack, the editing, the directing of the action scenes… it’s really tough to persevere. Aside of all the technical failures, there’s also the unsettling tone of the story. The main characters treat the slaves as animals. I’m sure that’s what some slave owners did, but i prefer to get a more nuanced look at things. When Tarantino makes it so grotesque that it becomes funny, it’s also unsettling, but at least you understand that he means to be critical. In this movie however, the acts of abuse are shown without any form of cynicism and sarcasm and it almost feels like the director is supportive of it. The main reason for that is the lack of strong black characters. This Ken Norton was a professional boxer at the time of the movie’s release, so he wasn’t an actor and it shows. You can’t root for them, because you can’t really care for them.

The dvd synopsis mentions that this is a movie about mandingo fighting, but there’s really only one scene that shows an actual fight. And yes, it’s very identical to the mandingo fighting scene in Django Unchained. The rest is just a very silly story about the son of a plantation owner who gets married, finds out his wife isn’t a virgin during the wedding night, decides to buy a black bed wench that he starts caring for more than his own wife, also buys a mandingo fighter, who ends up having (involuntary) sex with the masters wife . And in between all that you see some shocking treatments of slaves. There’s this one scene where a doctor tells a small black boy to sleep at the end of his masters bed like some kind of kitten and then tells the master to put his feet on the belly of the kid, because it will cure his arthritis. Now even if that may have occurred, it’s still very silly to show it in a motion picture. And bad.