Archive for December, 2014

Wow!

Last movie of the year, but what a great one.

Don’t watch the trailer. Just know that it’s about a drummer who wants to be the best in his field (jazz) and who is psychologically bullied by the conductor of the studio band he plays for.

It’s like Black Swan meets Full Metal Jacket, but much better. It’s a musical drama that feels like a psychological thriller. J.K. Simmons is tipped to win the Oscar for best supporting actor, which is silly because he’s the antagonist and has more screen time than Anthony Hopkins in Silence of the Lambs. True, his chances would be slimmer in the best actor category, but still. The guy isn’t supporting, he’s leading. He’s an incredibly intriguing character who not only plays with the feelings of his students, but also with those of the audience. He’s excellent and so is  Miles Teller, who doesn’t seem to get any nomination at all. What’s wrong with you award giving people? This kid is thé revaluation of the movie. He IS his character. And what about director Damien Gazelle! This really isn’t about the actors only. The visuals, the editing, the dialogue… it’s all brilliant.

Probably the best movie of the year !

http://www.imdb.com/title/tt2582802/

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Favorite Flemish Flicks

Posted: December 30, 2014 in Belgium, Flanders

My favorite Flemish language movies since the 80s

Great: Het Vonnis – Tot Altijd – Groenten Uit Balen – Hasta La Vista – Rundskop – Aanrijding In Moscou – De Zaak Alzheimer – Iedereen Beroemd – Daens

Good: Marina – Offline – Fritz & Freddy – Het Varken Van Madonna –  Adem – Dossier K – De Helaasheid Der Dingen – Loft – Vermist – Ex Drummer – Rosie – Alles Moet Weg – Manneken Pis

Okay: Brabançonne – Image – The Broken Circle Breakdown – Mixed Kebab – Vleugels – Turquaze – Dagen Zonder Lief – De Indringer – Steve & Sky – Any Way The Wind Blows – Pauline & Paulette – Lijmen/Het Been – Team Spirit – Blinker – Karakter – Brylcream Boulevard  She Good Fighter – Antonia – Ad Fundum – Boys – Blueberry Hill – Hector – Crazy Love – Paniekzaaiers – Het Gezin Van Paemel – De Witte Van Zichem 

Bad: Bowling Balls – Brasserie Romantiek – De Behandeling – Schellebelle 1919 – Ben X – Science Fiction – Alias – Springen – 

And my favorite Belgian-French language or bilingual movies since the 80s

Great: Le Gamin Au Velo – Au Dela De Gibraltar – Le Huitieme Jour – La Promesse – C’est Arrivé Pres De Chez Vous

Good: L’Enfant – Wild  Side – Podium – Rosetta – Toto Le Heros

Okay: Brabançonne – Image – Deux Jours, Une Nuit – JCVD – Le Fils – Calvaire – Camping Cosmos – 

Bad: Les Barons – Soeur Sourire – J’ai Voulu Etre Danseur

After comments from both a French and an American friend about not being interested in watching Flemish movies (you know who you are) and realizing that the last couple of movies made in Flanders were disappointing to say the least, it was time to watch Groenten Uit Balen, a minor box office hit a few years ago, which I somehow didn’t see when it was released in theaters.

It’s based on a theatre play that is set in the early seventies and focuses on a worker’s family during a long-lasting strike. The main character is Germaine Debruycker, an energetic and rebellious nineteen year old who works as a cashier in a local supermarket. She dreams of a different life, running off with a rich and famous foreigner and leaving her miserable home behind. But the future doesn’t seem all that bright… A strike in the local factory leaves her father without a wage for several weeks and she’s losing her best friend to an English truck driver who will take her to Liverpool. But the strike also attracts left-wing students from the University who want to support the laborers’ strike and one of them is the boy she had a crush on in high school. Maybe he’s her way out…

It’s a great movie. Some scenes remind you that it’s a filmed theatre piece, but others are very inventive and cinematic enough to shine on a big screen. The acting is superb. The cast is filled with big names (in Flanders), who – apart from Koen De Bouw – deliver a great performance. Stany Crets is excellent as the father. He clearly must have loved his character. Lucas Van den Eynde proves again how versatile he is. As the leader of the strike he’s quite powerful in his subdued way. But foremost, it’s Evelien Bosmans who acts so natural that she steals every scene she’s in. It’s our little Audrey Tatou.

This is a very Flemish movie, which contrary to what my French friend believes is different from a Belgian movie. This movie is filled with so many regional references that not even the French-speaking part of the country (nor the Dutch from The Netherlands) would understand. So let alone the French or the Americans. This movie won’t change their prejudiced view. It’s a poor girl meets rich boy story set in the seventies. BO-RING. So if you don’t know Natalia, you won’t appreciate her funny one minute cameo. If you don’t know Will Tura, you won’t smile with the comments made by the father about his success. If you aren’t familiar with our different accents, you’ll find the Dutch/Flemish spoken bizarre. The La Bamba kissing dance is something I even remember from my high school days.

But the best scene is universal. Should you ever watch it, wait for the Belgian chocolate scene. It may be a Flemish movie, but that couldn’t be more Belgian.

*** and because I’m proud of it another (*)

http://www.imdb.com/title/tt1784458

The Interview – *(*)

Posted: December 29, 2014 in 2014, Action, Comedy, Parody, USA, X1/2

No, it’s not a good movie.

But you know what? It’s not a really bad movie either.

It’s entertaining pulp which gets funnier towards the end, when it becomes a James Bond parody with silly sex, fight and chase scenes.The start is also quite good, with Eminem coming out of the closet, making sure that every viewer (who knows rapper Eminem and his homophobic lyrics) understands that this movie is NOT to be taken seriously. However, for an hour or so nothing really happens. No action, no humor, no drama. Nothing but stupid conversations about buttholes, rectums, asses, … and references to the Lord Of The Rings. Oh and lines like ‘hater gonna hate and ain’t-ers gonna ain’t’.

James Franco’s performance is really bad. He even sucks at overacting. Apart from the moment where he says ‘WHAT?’ after he learns he, as an interviewer, needs to kill the leader of North Korea. That was pretty cool. It lasts two seconds.

Seth Rogen’s performance is pretty much like all his other performances. The guy sticks to playing one character that never bores. Here he’s a producer of a showbiz talk show who wants to be taken seriously and takes on the request to have his presenter interview the worlds most hated leader.

Again, not really worth the watch. But it’s not as bad as they say.

http://www.imdb.com/title/tt2788710

Under The Skin – *

Posted: December 29, 2014 in 2013, Art, Science Fiction, UK, USA, X

Under The Skin is on a lot of best of-lists this year. For Scarlett Johansson sake: WHY?

Sure, she’s mesmerizing and she’s great to watch from beginning to end. Her natural curves are pleasing to the eye and her stare hypnotizes until the very last moment. But she’s the only reason why you would want to start (and finish) watching this artsy fartsy science fiction tale about an alien luring single men into a black void.

If it weren’t for her, the picture would only be shown in a very small room in a renowned but little visited Museum of Modern Art somewhere far far away. The LENTO in Linz or The CAAM in Las Palmas to name just two. A perfect hideaway from the rain outside and if they have comfortable sitting bags a great sleeping place after a late night partying.

Best movie of the year?  Get out of the movie theatre, reviewers all over the world, and go visit a museum for a change. There you might find unique video performances.

Great haunting film score though. Hence the *.

http://www.imdb.com/title/tt1441395

Ten years already!

Christmas 2004 is a date a lot of people will remember.

This is a great documentary made for the UK tv based on interviews of survivors and using a lot of video material from the survivors themselves and others who filmed the horrific events with their cellphone or video cameras.

It’s not easy to make a coherent documentary with amateur footage, but the makers pull it off. You can discuss why some of the images weren’t edited out (the dead bodies, the references to God, … ), but in the end it’s a real captivating document, which a documentary should be all about.

http://www.imdb.com/title/tt1638939/

It’s all on youtube:

 

It’s true what they say. You need to persevere. Sit through season 1 and 2 and you’ll get rewarded with an excellent show.

This season truly is so much better than the previous ones, mostly because as a viewer you finally have an overview of who is who. The acting is solid by almost all of the cast; the gore and sex are less abundant, but more efficient; the costumes are incredible and so are the settings. There’s still a lot of doubt about the importance of certain characters – Stannis Baratheon & Melisandre -, but other previously tedious story lines somehow start to make sense. It’s not a historical account, it’s a fantasy world. However, the show feels so British that you can’t help being annoyed by all the magic and anachronistic discrepancies. It’s still pretty much a caucasian show where anyone colored is either a mean ruler, a soldier or a slave, but some of them are becoming more and more important.

There are still people out there who haven’t heard about Game Of Thrones, even though it’s omnipresent everywhere you go (in Caucasia). Many others don’t bother watching because of all the hype and because of several other factors (too violent, too much nudity, too complicated, too much magic, too white…). Their loss.

Season 4 is out as well and season 5 is on its way. Sometimes it takes some time to catch up.