Archive for June, 2015


Posted: June 25, 2015 in 2014, Action, Fantasy, Historical, USA

Thought of giving this mindless blockbuster a chance after having watched San Andreas with the Rock.

What a terrible waste of time.

Needed 4 days to finish it.

It is so incredibly NON-historical. The acting is incredibly bad. The characters are lame. The effects are unimpressive.

There is nothing good about this historical crapction drama

Sofia Coppola’s biopic on the famous teenage queen of France didn’t leave a big impression on me when it was released back in 2006. But this second view left me baffled. It’s an incredibly well-directed movie. Kirsten Dunst is excellent as the troubled queen. The costume and set designs are impeccable. The contemporary soundtrack is risqué, but incredibly fitting.  (in fact, that was the only thing I liked nine years ago). The overall feel is great.

Having visited Versailles more than 50 times since the release of this movie does change your views on the story. You see all kinds of details that just aren’t historically correct (Marie Antoinette never took that many baths, nor could she have eaten macarons – an invention from the 19th century). There’s also a lack of realism in those scenes where everyone has beautiful teeth and nobody gets bitten by mosquitoes when they lounge along the swampy pool. However, apart from all the mistakes, there are also a lot of very accurate details and it’s refreshing to see a consistent biopic where the director clearly had a view of how the main character had to be depicted. In that sense, you can accept more discrepancies, anachronisms and biased depictions. Was Louis XV as much a loser as Jason Schwartzman’s performance makes you believe? Did Marie Antoinette really have an affair with the Swedish count Fersen? We will never know, but the fact that it’s presented this way doesn’t make you like the characters less.

This is a very young and refreshing movie that may not be historically correct, but will entertain an audience with historical facts that otherwise would never ever bother to watch a period piece. And that’s a merit on its own.

The billboard poster draws your attention. An impressive blatino fisherman sits in a boat and looks you stern in the eyes while floating down a jungle river. The synopsis in the cinema brochure intrigues even more. Two brothers accept a drug smuggling job off the Caribbean coast of Columbia. If that doesn’t make you buy the ticket yet, then watching the trailer will.

And then the journey to unknown territory starts. Have you ever seen black Columbians star in a well produced movie feature? Have you ever learned about the drug smuggling tactics along the coastal borders? Have you ever watched a motor chase on a deserted railroad in the jungle? Then this is for you!

Sure, it’s a debut movie and not all is great. The acting is done by non-professionals which in the case of Jarlin Javier Martinez is amazing, but kind of sucks when others appear on screen. The dialogue (about guns, racism and soccer) gets annoying quite easily. The abrupt end is okay, but abrupt. However, there’s more to admire than to dislike. It’s all inspired by other movie classics from the past, but mixed in an original new setting.

It took me three times to finish this critically acclaimed and popular tv series about the Easy Company, from the preparation for D-day to the end of the Second World War. I never got past the first five episodes in previous attempts (upon its dvd release in 2002 and when I first took a group of tourists to the Normandy Beaches in 2008). It’s a drag, however historically important it may be.

But since I’m at Omaha Beach almost every week this year and since almost half of the men joining me in that excursion think Band Of Brothers is the best thing they have ever seen on tv, I persevered. And sorry folks, but it’s still a drag.

I’d rather read a book or two about the easy company or listen to audio interviews with its officers, but spare me from watching this series again. The acting is so incredibly bad, the dialogue is embarrassingly ridiculous, there is too much focus on battle and action scenes and almost none on character development, there’s almost no-one to sympathize with and it’s very biased… If I was a family member of one of the war heroes, I’d sue the production team for making them look so superficial.

That said, it IS historically important and will definitely be watched for dozens of years to come. There are ten episodes and each one of them focuses on an important event during the liberation of Europe by the allied forces.

However, it’s all so bland. The stories are perfect to make an audience feel uncomfortable and involved. But that’s not what the producers wanted. They tried too hard to find the right balance between glorifying the heroes and showing their flaws. The main character, Major Winters is an incredibly boring character. He comes out of the war almost unscathed and gets promoted all the time, but somehow you can’t relate to the man at all. He remains a mystery. Maybe it has to do with the actor interpreting him: Damian Lewis, the most boring actor in tv land. This was made before Homeland made him a star, but whether he’s Nicholas Brody or Richard Winters, there’s absolutely no emotion visible on his face. However, it’s not just the acting. There’s hardly any time to sympathize with the heroes as they all die within 30 minutes of their introduction. So when someone new is introduced by episode seven you really stop caring, because he’ll be dead by episode eight. And you still haven’t sympathized with the ones who’ve been around since episode one.

Yeah. I’m probably the only person in the world who didn’t like this tv show and who got annoyed so often by the unconvincing acting, but that’s because the expectations are so damn high. You want this series to be top-notch.

Carey Mulligan is quite impressive as the central character of this semi-feminist romantic drama about a woman who inherits a farm and becomes the love interest of three suitors. She steals every scene she’s in and is an imperfect natural beauty.

The soundtrack and the cinematography add a lot to the serene setting and convincing atmosphere. The supporting cast is great and there is a surprisingly high amount of moments that make you laugh, or at least smile. The story is interesting and takes you in a direction you do not want it to go, but still captivates until the very predictable end.

It’s a historical costume drama based on a famous literature classic, a genre that doesn’t draw large audiences and only scores well in the award season, but amongst all the huge blockbusters this is as a welcome alternative. Too bad the Academy will forget about Mulligan by the end of the year.

San Andreas – **

Posted: June 8, 2015 in 2015, Disaster, Drama, USA, X1/2

Ten reasons why I finished this simplistic action movie:
– It’s primarily set in San Francisco
– It stars The Rock, who one day may actually be a convincing actor, but now just impresses by just being The Rock
– Iconic buildings collapse both in LA and SFO
– The digitally depicted destruction is entertaining and amazing
– The suspense is predictable, but suspenseful nevertheless
– Kylie Minogue has a cameo… Surprise !
– It’s quite a feat to lack humor and still conjure laughs at times
– the bad guy is a real estate mongul
– the sound effects are in full digital surround
– it’s 90 minutes of mindless, forgetful entertaining fun

A Little Chaos

Posted: June 7, 2015 in 2015, Costume Drama, Drama, Historical, UK

Ten reasons why I did not finish this okay movie:
– It is about gardening. Yawn.
– Kate Wynslet isn’t as impressive as she used to be and seems totally not interested in playing this part
– Matthias Schoenaerts also doesn’t seem to enjoy his role as Le Nôtre. Maybe it’s because of the long hair he is wearing and the fact that his character pretty much is a loser…
– Alan Rickman is a very lousy Louis XIV. He makes him human, which he wasn’t. He was the Sun King, not the down to earth king…
– the score sounds terrible
– the story is set at Versailles, but everyone speaks posh English… No no no no !
– the dialogue is so theatrical that it may sound good on paper and on stage, but not on the screen
– It is not filmed at Versailles, or at least not entirely… It could be any garden anywhere (in England)
– Kate Wynslet works in the garden and never gets dirty, then takes a bath in a period of time when not even the king dared to wash himself !!!
– There is zero chemistry between the two leads, which kind of sucks for a romantic drama

But then again, I was very tired. So maybe one day – on a plane or so – I’ll see how it ends