Archive for September, 2014

Dabba (The Lunchbox) – **

Posted: September 29, 2014 in 2013, Drama, India, Romance, XX

A young Indian woman prepares a lunchbox for her husband and puts a lot of effort into it, hoping that her cooking will rekindle their love. It’s soon clear that the lunchbox gets delivered to another man: a grumpy accountant, who’s reluctantly in charge of training the guy that will replace him once he retires. However, the lunchbox becomes the highlight of his day and when the woman puts a little letter in it to check if it really gets delivered wrongly, he replies and they start a letter correspondence.

The idea is great. For a book. The fact that they write letters to each other, doesn’t really translate well on the screen. The back and forward reading of the letters is filmed with added visual drama, but it doesn’t help. The preparation of the lunchbox on the other hand is filmed like cooking shows should be made. Eat before you watch this movie or you’ll be really hungry for the entire two hours. Irrfan Khan transformation from being an unpleasant prick to a gentle smiler is predictable, but well done. Too bad there’s almost no humor, unless you find the annoying assistant’s dumb behavior funny.

And in case you are worried: no, there are no Bollywood dance routines.

Equalizer – 1/2

Posted: September 28, 2014 in 1/2, 2014, Action, Horror, USA

Denzel Washington is ready to appear in The Expendables 4. 

Please, someone, tell me, why does violence have to be shown so explicitly? Whatever happened to suggestion? Or humor? Honestly, why does an action movie need scenes that fit better in the Saw horror series? Do we really need to see an uppercut with a corkscrew going through a chin and turning into someone’s mouth? Really? Do moviemakers assume that viewers have no imagination at all? Just show the corkscrew and the chin and the audience will get it.

You only wonder what Quentin Tarantino could have done with this vigilante story.

Larger Than Life – ***1/2

Posted: September 25, 2014 in 2011, Comedy, Flanders, Stand Up, XXX1/2

Larger Than Life is stand up comedian Alex Agnew’s best of – show. And it’s hilarious. It’s so much more Alex Agnew than his last performance The Legend Ends. The guy excels at imitating sounds and creating funny absurd characters, which works great in a large event hall. It’s remarkable how his best moments aren’t politically incorrect. They are centered around sex, faeces, sex, penises, vomit, music and sex. Sure, his comments on religious fundamentalists are clever as well. But in the end, you’ll laugh the most when he imitates a mosquito or parodies a Hitler speech for more tits and asses!

you’ll only get it if you understand Dutch (and German as spoken by the Dutch-speakers): All Women Should Have Big Tits! No Sillicone Tits that remain upright when the women are on their back. And for the our fellow gay friends: Big Dicks!

The Legend Ends – ***

Posted: September 25, 2014 in 2013, Comedy, Flanders, Stand Up, XXX

When a stand up comedian fills the biggest event hall of the country, expectations are high. Especially when the comedian is a bit of an anti-establishment rebel who disses everything that is mainstream. The irony.

Alex Agnew is very popular with the festival crowd. He makes rock ‘n roll comedy and is a master in imitating sounds and expressions. He’s politically incorrect and is at his best when he exaggerates and gives an absurd twist to very common events or opinions. His humor asks for a big stage and it surprisingly works well. He manages to be interactive with a + 15K crowd and improvises at times. It takes some time to start laughing, but once it gets going it’s a lot fun.

The show has English subtitles, but isn’t really intended for an international audience. Flemish humor can be really absurd and ironic and is much more vulgar and hard than that of neighboring cultures. In fact, the French-speaking part of Belgium doesn’t get our humor and considers it racist. Just because they don’t get the irony. Part of the show deals about how political correctness has changed our natural-born sense of laughing with each others differences and that’s exactly where the show has its flaws too. Alex Agnew has to explain the jokes, put them in a context, reassure people that it’s humor and you feel that he’s frustrated about it. Maybe that’s why he’s taking a break from comedy.

Not every joke or social comment is right on, but if you’re a fan of Little Britain give it a chance.






The Drop – **

Posted: September 24, 2014 in 2014, Crime/Detective, Drama, Heist, USA, XX1/2

It’s not easy to  create a captivating and atmospheric crime drama with a lousy story, but director Michael Roskam and lead actor Tom Hardy pull it off with The Drop. There’s nothing thrilling or exciting about the story, but the movie keeps you entertained for 100 minutes thanks to those two. Sure, the writers should be given some credit for creating a character like Bob Saginowski, but still. It’s Tom Hardy who embodies him like it’s his debut role and it’s Michael Roskam who gives him a fabulous stage to shine.

It’s a crime drama though, which has its fans and foes. Like romantic comedies. If you’re a fan, you’ll like this one. If you just have seen too many of them, you won’t.

The Drop focuses on the bartender of a bar, which is owned by gangsters and occasionally used by them to drop dirty money in empty beer barrels. A hold up in the beginning of the movie makes you realize that the story will lead up to a hold up of the same bar on the night it features as the drop bar. Great premise. But the hold up story is only second fiddle to the less appealing tale of a seemingly quiet and reserved bartender working in a gangster world who finds affection when he discovers a pit bull dog in a garbage bin and encounters its crazy former owner and the owner’s troubled ex girl friend. Yawn.

The commercially inefficient original title was Animal Rescue, but they could have just called it Bob Saginowski. The best way to enjoy it is to watch it as a character study. Forget the whole drop. It’s just a setting.

Met Alle Respect – *

Posted: September 23, 2014 in 2012, Netherlands, Stand Up, X

45 year old Dutch stand up comedian Theo Maassen has a midlife crisis and is frustrated about his life as a settled father in the changed Dutch political climate. And he nags nags nags nags nags nags nags nags nags… without ever being funny. Okay, it’s not completely without humor, but it’s more of a drag really. Stand up comedians should bring you laughter. It really doesn’t work when they try to be serious about a topic and then make it less serious by adding a quick joke around it. No no no. Plus, when are stand up comedians going to stop dissing the easy targets? The royal family, the inhabitants of the christian musical enclave Volendam, the voters of the Islamophobic party, the mother of his daughter, his parents-in-law… really? Disappointing.

In The Mood For Love is a very atmospheric romantic drama about two neighbors who seek each others’ company once they realize that their partners are having an affair. That’s basically it. The story isn’t all that important, it’s the setting, the colors, the costume design, the acting and the musical score  that create a certain uniqueness. Tony Leung is great – as always. He even won the best actor prize at the Cannes film festival for his part. But Maggie Cheung is even more impressive. She is the personification of grace and beauty. She wears a different dress in every scene and you don’t have to be a fashionista to look forward to the next scene and see what’s she’s wearing now. The directing by Kar Wai Wong is weird – as usual. But it works. The camera focuses on a few locations only and the clever thing is that you never see the adulterous partners. In fact, it’s a bit set up as a thriller. You can interpret the movie however you want. Most will see the relationship between Leung’s and Cheung’s characters as pure platonic. There is only one hint of physical interaction when their hands touch gently. But it’s really not 100% clear that they don’t have a sexual affair as well. You just don’t see it. The ending is a bit abrupt and jumps from Hong Kong to Cambodia for no particular reason. But it’s a great movie about (unrequited) love…