Archive for March, 2015

Bought this South African buddy cop comedy for 25 rand (which is like 2 euro or so) in a small town in the Karoo. According to the lady in the video rental store – they still exist there – this was an absolute topper. She recommended three others, one of which was SO bad that I couldn’t watch more than half an hour (Babalas). This Blitzpatrollie is also really bad, but at least there are some funny moments and it’s so camp that it’s entertaining at times. It’s also interesting to watch this representation of modern-day South Africa, in which inhabitants of all colors and languages seem to co-live quite well. It’s great to see after you’ve experienced traveling through the country as well – that is if you actually talked to the people or read the funny ‘A Racist Guide To The People Of South Africa’. If you think South Africa has 50 percent black people and 50 percent white people who still don’t talk to each other and there’s a killing on the street every five minutes, than you’re fucked.

That said, the intrigue kind of disappears after an hour when you realize that this is just a copy of the Hollywood buddy cop movie. It must have been a very low-budget movie, with takes done only once. However, the special effects are more efficient than in movies like Sharknado even though there must have been less money to create them. For example: the main killer of the movie kills his victims by throwing a brick to their heads. One brick, one throw and they are dead. That’s ridiculous but funny, especially since it gets repeated a few times. But simple can be clever. The first time it happens you see the victim, you see a brick in the air, you hear a sound and they zoom in on the brick with blood. Compared to the detailed death scenes in Game Of Thrones this suggestive scene is as good.

The story isn’t all that special. Two losers at the police force intervene in a domestic violence scene and accidentally discover a drug den. Another police officer who is supposed to bring the drugs to the police station gets killed (yep, by a brick to his head) and the van disappears. More murders happen and you have several people looking for the drugs. It’s silly. It’s basically a series of sketches glued together with easy detachable spit.

There’s a negative review online which is spot on, but way too harsh. Especially since it accuses the producer for making a ‘touristic trinket’ that will entertain Europeans, who will consider it garbage, but enjoy it anyways because of its exotic appeal. The reviewer is ashamed of this movie and fears that viewers will laugh AT South Africa. Thát is silly.

Bad comedies are made all over the world. Humor is a very regional thing. Would I have liked this movie as a South African? Most likely not. Do I like it as a European movie lover? Not really. But the fact that it is not made in the US, the UK, Germany or France does make it more exotic and more intriguing. That’s not a bad thing at all. The movie won’t make anyone visit South Africa more than they already wanted to before. Nor will it make anyone think that this is the best South Africa can do. Europeans make silly movies all the time. They don’t get released abroad, because maybe they are not exotic enough. Americans make even more silly movies and they do get released. Compared to anything from Will Ferrell or Adam Sandler, this really wasn’t all that bad.

While watching season 4 of Game Of Thrones, you start wondering if it’s the favorite show of those jihadist guys leaving Europe for Syria to fight with ISIS. The horror we hear about in our daily news is still nothing compared to what’s going on in this show. The gore is never-ending. Just as you thought you’ve seen enough beheadings or axes splitting skulls, there’s a new scene that just horrifies even more. It’s amazing how this gory and bloody show is so popular and addictive. This is hardcore horror.

It’s an incredibly entertaining show that never bores. Even though the fantasy elements and anachronisms are annoying, you start to accept them as part of the hype. They keep it from being a **** show though. The awesome thing is that you can expect anyone to die and you’re still surprised when someone does. It’s amazing that they still have some characters left for season 5.

  1. Two Swords ****
  2. The Lion and The Rose ****
  3. Breaker of Chains ****
  4. Oathkeeper **(*)
  5. First Of his Name ***
  6. The Laws Of God and Men **(*)
  7. Mockingbird ***
  8. The Mountain And The Viper ***(*)
  9. The Watchers On The Wall ***
  10. The Children ***


Philomena – ***

Posted: March 25, 2015 in 2013, Drama, Social Drama, UK, XXX

A retired nurse gets the help of a journalist in her search for the son she bore when she was 14 years old and who was taken away from her at an early age.

It sounds perfect for a low-budget television movie that only retired nurses watch. However, do not miss this one. The story is captivating from start to finish, the intriguing characters are extremely well acted and the low-key setting is beautifully scored.

Judi Dench is always brilliant, but this unique character allows her to become someone else again. Steve Coogan shows the whole world that he can play a different persona for a change. One that isn’t daft or obnoxious. He’s one of the script writers as well, proving that you can turn a relatively simple story into a suspenseful drama with the right amount of humor.

Yes, some of the scenes don’t make sense because they aren’t explained to the viewer in detail. A lot of why’s are left unanswered. But as a whole it works.

Great movie !

An Ideal Husband – **

Posted: March 23, 2015 in 1999, Comedy, Dramedy, UK, XX

Relatively unknown Jeremy Northam is remarkable as a Government Minister in Oscar Wilde’s England of the belle epoque. Together with his charming and intelligent wife (great performance by Cate Blanchett), he enjoys an undisputable reputation. Until an old acquaintance shows up (an excellent Julianne Moore) who blackmails him into changing his view in a matter that will be discussed in Parliament. She has some damaging information about his past that could ruin him. Enters a surprisingly good Rupert Everett as the minister’s best friend and the acquaintance’s ex fiancé. Maybe he can save the day.

It’s always hard to bring a stage play to the big screen, but with a great cast like this and an excellent cinematographer, costume & set designer you can pull it off. However, the story itself is very light and not memorable. It’s a fun 90 minutes watch. Nothing more, nothing less. But by the time the end credits roll, you’ve already forgotten what you just watched.

Monuments Men – *(*)

Posted: March 23, 2015 in 2014, Drama, Historical, USA, War, X1/2

It’s kind of weird to watch an American movie that starts in Ghent with a dialogue in Flemish spoken phonetically by American extras. The scene is supposed to be set in the St Bavo Cathedral and sees some pastors take apart the Ghent Altarpiece  to save it from theft by the Nazis in the Second World War.

It’s the start of a historical movie about a bunch of art lovers/historians/curators who come to Europe by the end of the Second World War to prevent the Germans (and allied forces) from destroying important art. And to bring back certain pieces that the Nazis stole from the occupied countries. Amongst which the famous Altarpiece and another Flemish art relic: Da Vinci’s Madonna with Child, which was stolen from the Church of Our Lady in Bruges.

Great premise and a stellar cast, but ultimately a total bore. Yes, the story of the Monuments Men needed to be told. But someone should have told director Clooney a few things before filming.

a) Do not tell the story of a bunch of men trying to find all kinds of art in all kinds of places. Just focus on ONE thing.

b) Do not star in your own movie. You are not that good an actor.

c) Do not ask your friends to star in your movies. It looks too much like a bunch of guys acting out a story and having a good time once the camera’s stop rolling.

d) Do not make this movie all about America! (especially if you tend to love the image of the un-american celebrity)

By the end of the movie, the main character gets confronted with the question if saving some pieces of art is worth the death of certain men. It’s a controversial and confronting question to which the answer should be a hesitant yes! However, after watching this poor attempt to raise awareness about the loss of art during times of war (just think about what’s going on in Syria right now), you kind of feel untouched by it all. And that couldn’t have possibly be the intention of Clooney.

That said, tomorrow I’m visiting the Abbey of Cluny in Burgundy. It’s been ransacked through the centuries and only impressive if you use your imagination. Most of its art has been stolen/destroyed/damaged and yet visitors come see it every day. Maybe art isn’t supposed to last forever.

It’s okay, but somehow all very far-fetched.

After the bombing of the CIA building, killing more than 200 people, an alleged war hero turned terrorist (Nicholas Brody) escapes with the help of Carrie Mathison (a bipolar CIA-expert and the central character of this series) to Canada. Of course, Brody is innocent because at the time of the attack he was having sex with Carrie.

Changes are very small that you start watching season 3 without having seen the previous two. It’s pretty logic to continue watching as you do want to know how the story goes on. But this time it isn’t all too captivating. It just starts too negatively. Brody escapes to Venezuela and gets addicted to heroin. Carrie is admitted to a psychiatric institution and happens to be pregnant as well. Dana Brody attempts to kill herself. Saul is a temporary director of the CIA, and seems to give up Brody and Carrie’s innocence to make the CIA look better. And suddenly it’s all about Iran.

It’s fascinating how the acting skills of Claire Danes and Damian Lewis are praised so often. They really suck. In every single scene there is just too much drama. It gets annoying. But ‘newcomer’ Shaun Toub is excellent as Majid Javadi, the number 2 of the country’s Revolutionary Guard. He’s really the only reason why it’s still fun watching this show. He has that ability to make someone evil look charming, like Christopher Waltz has as well.

Unlike the final of season 2, the last episode of season 3 does not make you long to continue watching.

Too bad.

The Trip – *

Posted: March 7, 2015 in 2010, Comedy, Dramedy, UK, X

British comedian Steeve Coogan plays a fictitious version of himself in this comical mockumentary. There isn’t really a plot, apart from the fact that he goes on a culinary review road trip to the northern part of Britain with his colleague Rob Brydon. This leads to an endless series of pointless – often boring – conversations that are only interesting if you know the characters and their humor.

It’s tiring to watch the discussions between these two men. Coogan plays an arrogant, egoist and narcissistic version of himself. Brydon gives impressions of actors like Michael Caine, Sean Connery, Woody Allen, etc… almost 90 percent of the time. Both are incredibly annoying.

Okay, there are some funny moments, it’s very recognizable to a certain extent and the food looks excellent and delicious. It’s probably great to be with them on a real trip. They probably had an excellent time filming this, improvising almost all the scenes. But as a viewer you want more. You want to like the characters, you want to indulge in their chatter, you want to feel part of the adventure. And there’s nothing of that in this movie.

What a waste of time.

Chef – *(*)

Posted: March 1, 2015 in 2014, Dramedy, Road Trip, USA, X1/2

Chef is a light comedy by Jon Favreau, known as the director of the successful Iron Man series. It feels like a low budget indie flic, made by a graduating student from a movie making masterclass. But it has some big names in the cast: Robert Downey Jr and Scarlet Johansson. They only play minor parts, but still. They draw the attention and an audience that normally would never bother watching a movie like this.

The main story is about a chef of a popular restaurant who’s confined to making the same menu over and over again. When a notorious food critic gives him bad press, he feels hurt and decides to leave the restaurant in search of new creativity. He leaves LA for Miami, opens up a food truck and drives across the US in the company of a good friend and his son, with whom he has a troubled relationship.

It’s interesting material for a great movie about father/dad issues, the internal struggle to find the balance between creativity and money making and great shots of food making. However, somehow it fails to deliver. The father/dad issue isn’t all that dramatic; the internal struggle is pretty superficial and the shots of food do not make you hungry at all.

 Chef is the kind of movie that you’ve already forgotten about twenty minutes after having finished it. There isn’t anything remarkable about it at all. It does have its merits though as a document about the importance of social media anno 2014. The dispute with the food critic goes viral and the young kid uses Twitter, Facebook, Youtube and Vine to promote his father’s food truck. Now how will that look when you re-watch it in 2034?

Jon Favreau probably hates movie critics and just gets back at them by making a movie about food critics.That’s okay. And he has a point. Why should a critic slam a product in which a lot of love and effort was put? But then again, if it’s unremarkable it’s unremarkable.