Archive for October, 2013

I still don’t understand why this documentary doesn’t get the respect it deserves. It’s a very entertaining pre reality tv concert movie documentary. Sure it’s about Madonna and it’s ALL about Madonna. Even when it’s about somebody else (dancers, make up artists, fans, family, old friends), it still is ALL about Madonna.

But you know what, 22 years after I first saw it, it still rules! The concert moments are brilliant. Madonna was at her peak during the Blond Ambition tour. Her live version of Like A Virgin on that bed is still provocative, daring and plain awesome. The documentary moments also stood the test of time. Sure, Madonna comes across as an arrogant, heartless bitch. But she also comes across as an intelligent, funny, creative, thought-provoking  bitch. Critics say it’s all staged and that Madonna only shows what she wants to show. That may be true. But it’s pretty daring to show yourself as vicious and unsympathetic. 

Madonna is still around. Still making money going on tour, but no longer selling out stadiums or topping the charts. But she’s still there. I was just wondering whatever happened to the others. So i started to google all of them. Apart from the cameos. One of the dancers died, the others still dance somehow. But no longer with Madonna.

So whatever happened to all the other stars of the movie?

Niki Harris is a star herself of course. Here’s a funny interview with her .

Donna Delorey sings new age songs now. Boring. But here’s a clip from back in the days:

Melanie Crow, Madonna’s Assistant, got in some shit trouble when she didn’t pay a storage room rent and all the boxes were sold. Some of the boxes contained Madonna-related stuff.

Christopher Ciccone wrote a nasty book about his sister. Haven’t read it yet, but it’s on the book shelf. But here’s an interview of the guy.

I found this clip about Oliver Crumers, the homophobic solo straight dancer, who looks the most gay of them all.

I found this article about Kevin Stea (who really isn’t all that present in the movie)

Gabriel Trupin died of Aids. He also sued Madonna. One of the reasons was that she exposed his homosexuality. duh!!!!!!!

Luis Camacho, the gay bitch, is still choreographing and even has a website!

Slam – Salim Gauwloos is Flemish! He actually refers to Belgium in the beginning of the movie when he calls the rain in Japan ‘Belgian stress’. He’s still around:

Jose Guitierez ! now he’s Jose Extravaganza. the lord of vogue. still vogueing

Carlton Wilborn gets naked in bed with Madonna at the end. And he has a website too. He’s a coach now.

Sharon Gault, the make up girl who got raped, is still a make up artists.

Madonna’s make up artist Joanne Gaire has a website. She’s not really visual in the movie though.

Back in the early nineties, when I made a top 100 list of my favorite movies of all times, Back To The Future came third after Jaws and The Temple Of Doom. It probably wouldn’t make my top 10 anymore – Amelie, Cidade de Deus, Entre Les Murs, etc… would get the bronze medal now -, but it’s still a classic. I’ve seen this cheesy scifi romcom at least a dozen of times. But the last time must have been 25 years ago. If not longer. It was time for some REAL 80’s nostalgia! And I loved it!

I had forgotten a few key moments in the movies, but I could still quote several lines ahead of time. “Hello, Hello, Anybody Home?” (Biff knocking on McFly’s head) “I am your density!’ (McFly trying to ask Loraine out for a date). Okay, the humor in this movie is more of the slapstick kind and too silly to be sophisticated, but I remembered laughing so hard as a kid with this movie that the memory made me laugh as much now. It still works though. The story is still quite fresh and it’s very remarkable that 1985 doesn’t look all that long ago. Marty goes 30 years back in time and sees an environment that is very different from what he’s used to. But if someone in 2015 would go back in time to 1985, the changes wouldn’t be so big. And it wouldn’t be as funny. I hope there will never be a remake. This is a timeless comedy classic. The special effects may feel a bit outdated, but the story and the acting – though over the top – is sill impressive. I still enjoyed every single minute of it (apart from maybe the overlong build up to the lightning moment at the end). So this favorite passed the test of time.




Sunshine – **1/2

Posted: October 30, 2013 in 2007, Science Fiction, UK, USA, XX1/2

My first Blue Ray dvd on a HD tv screen: Sunshine.

Couldn’t have picked a better movie. The sound effects, the image quality, the futuristic atmosphere. Hooray for my new home cinema purchase!

Apart from the last 20 minutes, I really enjoyed this movie. There’s suspense, there’s some realism in all the science fiction, the acting is okay, and the technical features are awesome.

It’s about a mission towards the sun, where some astronauts needs to drop a bomb to save humankind on earth. That’s the premise. Of course, once they actually get past Mercury things don’t go as planned and decisions need to be made. Enter: drama, action, suspense and adventure.

But that end! Boring! Ridiculous!

Maybe better to wear sunglasses while watching the movie.

Favela Rising – 1/2

Posted: October 30, 2013 in 2005, Brasil, Documentary

Favela Rising is a documentary about a musical movement (AfroReggae) that gives a way out to all those kids and young adults in the Rio favela’s who don’t really want to be part of the drug trafficking.

Sounds interesting, right?

Well, this is such a badly made documentary that you lose all interest in the noble cause of the movement.

The editing is TERRIBLE.  It’s annoying. The movie constantly fades to black in between scenes. You get long shots, you get a collection of still pictures, you get slow motion, you get images in fast forward, … It’s like the director had NO vision at all about how this documentary should LOOK like. He shot a lot of material and then kind of glued it together without any plan whatsoever.

Sure,  it’s low budget,  but still. If you don’t have the money or the talent to make another Cidade de Deus or Tropa De Elite, then just stick to telling the story. Choose a more conventional documentary style and focus on the positiveness of the story. Because what i’ll remember tomorrow is that life in the favelas STILL sucks, regardless of this project. And I don’t think that’s the purpose.


I finally got around to see Homeland, the much appreciated Showtime terrorist thriller drama.

I’ll be brief: I liked it.

I just wished I had seen the show when it came out and not after I already have heard/read/seen snippets of what’s happening in the next seasons. That kind of took away all the suspense.

The writing is good. Great even. But I’m not impressed with the acting. Sorry. I’m watching Danes and that ginger dude Lewis and I’m thinking: replace them with other (good) actors and you’ll have an equally good (if not better) show.

Killin’ Em Softly – **

Posted: October 27, 2013 in 2000, Stand Up, USA, XX

After watching Kevin Hart, I felt like watching Dave Chapelle. He’s way funnier. Sure, he plays the race card all too often, but he’s funny.

Laugh At My Pain – *1/2

Posted: October 27, 2013 in 2011, Stand Up, USA, X

Felt like laughing, watched Laugh At My Paina documentary and stage show recording of Kevin Hart. It’s my introduction to Kevin Hart. Not so sure why he is so successful. He’s funny at times. Like a lot of comedians are funny at times. But I did laugh. Didn’t quite get the bank robbing parody. But the introduction to the comedian’s past life in Philadelphia is okay. And the interview by Larry King of Kevin’s dad before the end credits was ‘interesting’.

This Is The End – *1/2

Posted: October 27, 2013 in 2013, Comedy, Parody, USA, X1/2

There’s something funny about Seth Rogen. I don’t know what it is, but I think he’s funny. The way he says things. And the things he says. It makes me smile. Every single time.

in This Is The End he’s invited with a friend to the house of James Franco. There are all kinds of celebrities, playing a fictitious version of themselves. And then the apocalypse happens and all these celebrities fall in a deep hole, whereas others are beamed up to the sky. Six guys get trapped in Franco’s house and need to survive. So they start acting like adult teenagers.

I’m not sure how fictitious the characters really are or how real. James Franco clearly exaggerates. But I really think Seth Rogen is Seth Rogen all the time. The other four aren’t really celebrities. At least not over here.

The movie is funny, but not constantly funny. The first fifteen minutes are actually quite daft. There’s nothing funny about trivializing taking hard drugs at a party. Michael Cera’s cameo is the complete opposite of funny. Rihanna’s cameo can get her a Raspberry award. But when they all die and the apocalypse sets in, it gets pretty crazy. It doesn’t live up to British parodies like Shaun Of The Dead, but it’s passable. There are too many references to other movies and the actor’s real careers, which you can only get when you have actually seen the movies or know about the actors’ life. I’m thinking of finally watching Pineapple Express now.

Before Midnight – ***

Posted: October 25, 2013 in 2013, Dramedy, Romance, USA, XXX

The third installment in the Julie Delpy/Ethan Hawke trilogy is quite an enjoyable movie. I kind of forgot about Before Sunset, the equally enjoyable sequel to the much beloved Before Sunset, which showed one of the few on-screen romances that I believed in. Two strangers meet on a train, decide to get off and talk… WOW. Then they meet again so many years later and they reunite. And now they are about to break up. Or not.

The nice thing with this trilogy is that you ARE curious about what happened to these characters. It’s like meeting friends again who you haven’t met in a long time and you catch up. That’s the feeling I had watching this movie. I felt like watching friends that I hadn’t seen in a while. I see difficulties in ALL of my friends’ relationships. Even in the ones I think were perfect. So it doesn’t come as a surprise that there are issues between Jesse and Celine.

They are both on a holiday and Jesse just said goodbye to his son (of a previous marriage). He has two daughters with Celine, is a successful writer and should actually be happy to be with the woman he loves. But he feels like he’s missing out on the teenage years of his son who lives far away and expresses these feelings to Celine. Enter: DRAMA. Celine gets all upset and goes on and on and on and on. As a guy, it’s very easy to empathize with Jesse.

As usual, I loved the dialogue and the script. It’s very real and believable. Sure, some of the name dropping is a bit pretentious, but there are many cultural snobbish caviar socialists like that in France (and the rest of the world). The movie is over before you know it and it does leave you wait for the next installment.

Malcolm X – **1/2

Posted: October 14, 2013 in 1992, biopic, Drama, Historical, Political, USA, XX1/2

I started watching Malcolm X in an impulsive mood without checking how LONG it was. 202 minutes! That’s longer than Titanic! For some reason I thought I had seen this biopic upon its release in 1992, when I went to the movies twice or three times a week. (first year in college) But maybe I left the theatre before the movie was over. Just because it was so long. The story was very familiar, but I couldn’t recall any scene apart from the cheerful jazz dancing in the beginning.

I do know about the life of Malcolm X as I visited the Audubon Theatre back in June of this year. That’s the location where the civil right activist was murdered. I surfed the internet for some more information about the guy after that visit. I don’t agree with his points of view, but his reasoning is fascinating. The visit of the theatre in Washington Heights, which has turned into the Malcolm X center, was quite memorable. An acquaintance, who’s a devote believer of Malcolm X’s views, took me there and gave me some – biased – background information. He ended up clashing with the curator of the museum in a heated discussion, which left me baffled. There you had two African-Americans, interpreting the views of Malcolm X in a different way, arguing to the point where the acquaintance just left the place in anger. Right in the room where African-Americans shot another African-American orator who came up for their rights. How can you believe in ONE black nation if you can’t accept other black people having a different opinion! Malcolm X also blamed white society for a lot of issues that the black society was enduring. But it’s 2013 right now, Obama is president and white society is still being blamed for the same issues. Just walk around in Washington Heights. It’s the most depressing part of Manhattan.

But back to the movie. Denzel Washington only delivers after his character’s conversion to the Islam. Sure, he’s great throughout and I guess it is a shame that he got snubbed at the Oscars in favour of Al Pacino. But I was more mesmerized by his performance once he started holding the speeches and being the clever but controversial activist that we know. It’s great of Spike Lee to also spend a lot of time showing Malcolm LIttle in his younger years. He did end up in jail before he became an activist and it’s important to learn that the anti-integration guy was very much integrated before. Kuddos to the director to introduce a cheerful, smiling, crazy, angry, arrogant, wild and dominant Malcolm. But I just saw Denzel Washington be all cheerful, smiling, crazy, angry, arrogant, wild and dominant as if it was a parody. It wasn’t convincing. The rest of the movie was though and the similarities between Denzel and Malcolm are remarkable.

The first part of the movie is very different from the rest. It’s remarkably funnier and flashbacks appear out of nowhere to introduce the background of the main protagonist. It’s all very safe though. Lee had an argument with Tarantino about his Django Unchained. But if Tarantino would have filmed the first half it would have been more entertaining. With more gore and nakedness. I mean, here you have a guy whose father got murdered in a gruesome way and who had a sexually active hustler life. Okay, this movie was made in 1992 for a mainstream audience. But since Spike Lee decided to swap styles between Malcolm’s life before and after his jail sentence, then he shouldn’t have restrained himself. In the end, the rest of the movie is a very solid accurate , informative, well acted and neutral biopic. So the only part that somehow doesn’t reach that same level is the first one. And as mentioned before it feels like a parody now.

Malcolm X is a very intriguing guy. 202 minutes is still not enough to really get to know or understand this remarkable man, but it’s a good introduction. I may just go back to the Audubon Theatre one day and discuss this movie. Taking that acquaintance along.