Archive for September, 2015

Robert Pattinson acts all amateur and emotionless in this period piece (1930s) about a traveling circus that is heading for a disaster. He’s the lead, but isn’t a leader at all. He looks lost. Reese Witherspoon is in it too, but plays second fiddle, and Christopher Waltz is the bad guy – again – and steals the show. Sure there are a few freaks and some exotic animals, but the circus is just a setting for a coming of age love story between a young student and a married woman.

Didn’t see the end, because the plane landed earlier than expected. But the story did intrigue me enough to feel bummed about the abrupt end. I’m not going to rent it for the last ten minutes though. Maybe it’ll catch it again on another flight.

Oh and I do think animals should get nominated for the Oscars as well. The elephant in here ‘acts’ as great as any other dog, horse or chimp. Hey, he/she acts better than Robert Pattinson.

http://www.imdb.com/title/tt1067583

Beasts Of The Southern Wild – *

Posted: September 26, 2015 in 2012, Drama, USA, X

Sometimes it takes a while before you actually watch a movie that’s been so heavily hyped that you don’t really want to watch it.

Such is the case with Beasts Of The Southern Wild. It was only a success at film festivals and not that many people bothered to go watch it (either at the cinema theaters or at home). And right they were.

It’s not worth the watch, unless you want to boast about having it seen at a dull artsy fartsy party where everybody just loved the movie (without probably ever having seen it). Yes, it’s that kind of movie. There’s a great review about it that says it all and leave me not writing anything more about it.

It’s shocking to see that members of the academy would nominate a child actress (Quvenzhané Wallis) over experienced and much more talented senior actresses. Especially, since she’s just a child being a child in front of a camera. Her on screen father Dwight Henry is also a non professional actor, but at least he acts.

And yes, it does look nice and poetic. And the fantasy element is a great asset. But it makes you want to re-watch something like San Andreas and appreciate it even more.

http://www.imdb.com/title/tt2125435

Spy – *

Posted: September 18, 2015 in 2015, Action, Comedy, Parody, Spionage, USA, X

How can Spy make more than 100 million US dollars at the box office?

There are maybe five brief moments in the entire movie that produce a laugh. One of which is a battle scene between two women in a professional kitchen. That alone deserves a star.

It’s terrible as a parody because it tries to hard to be a real spy movie.

It’s terrible as spy movie because it tries to hard to be funny.

http://www.imdb.com/title/tt3079380/

Inside Out – ***

Posted: September 18, 2015 in 2015, Animation, Comedy, USA, XXX

A young and happy 11y old girl moves from Minnesota to San Francisco and has trouble adjusting to the change. The story however is told from the perspective of five of her dominant feelings: joy, sadness, anger, fear and disgust. That’s pretty clever, original and risqué! But it works.

Humans – even the youngest of the species – have a lot more feelings than the five mentioned above. But for cinematic purposes, focussing on these five is excellent. Kudos’ to the scriptwriters who manage to explain difficult matter to a very wide audience. I’m sure children psychologists all over the world will now be using dolls representing the five ‘feeling’ characters of this movie. The movie also explains the working of the brain in an original way. Memories are stored in glass balls, some of which become core memories that create ‘islands’ of important interest and others become obsolete and get disposed off after a while. It really makes a lot of sense.

Of all the senses Joy is the most predominant feeling. She’s voiced by the excellent Amy Poehler and is an incredibly annoying bossy character. She can’t stand Sadness (a purple droopy goth girl) becoming more important. She hates Sadness to the point that she actually bullies her. The other feelings just play second fiddle and that’s exactly how Joy (she could be a candidate for the Republican party) treats them. Luckily, the script writers add enough proof that Joy really isn’t the most important feeling at all.

The movie is very unique and very clever. It also has a lot of humorous references that only adults will understand, a trademark of the Pixar movies. But this time around the company tried too much to please the little children as well by adding all kinds of elements that kill the excellent atmosphere. And they made Joy an unintentionally unenjoyable character.

However. This is a great movie though. And it has the funniest 5 seconds of any animation movie. Ever. (near the end)

http://www.imdb.com/title/tt2096673

Jaws 2 – **(*)

Posted: September 6, 2015 in 1978, Adventure, Horror, USA, XX1/2

Jaws 2 got a lot of crap reviews when it was released and even later on movie fans dissed this sequel a lot, but you know what? It’s really not that bad. It’s camp nostalgia. In fact, apart from the characters using telephones and the lack of a multicultural cast, there’s nothing outdated about it at all. This could have been released this year.

Hadn’t watched this sequel in more than 20 years, but this was the right movie to rematch at the right time.

Go Chief Brody!

http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0077766/

A Brazilian lifeguard fails to save the life of a German biker tourist who went swimming near the treacherous Futuro beach (in Fortaleza). For some inexplicable reason (probably just ‘life’ and ‘cinematic drama’) the lifeguard falls for the surviving travel buddy of the victim. They have sex, then hang out a bit and a few months later they reunite in Berlin. A few years pass and the lifeguard’s abandoned little brother comes for a visit to the German capital.

So. yeah. That’s it really.

It’s slow. It’s boring. It doesn’t give any explanations. It’s a three part tale of a man during three important times of his life: falling in love – emigrating to another country – being confronted with his egoistic departure…

However, a day after watching the movie some scenes still linger. Wagner Moura is a really good actor. He makes the character intriguing, which is quite a feat. There’s this moment where he feels really happy in life and it shows. It’s such a simple scene (getting groceries) but it works. The revelation of this German-Brazilian drama is not the director or the cinematographer and definitely not the scriptwriters, but the young Jesuita Barbosa, who is mesmerizing as the young brother.

When a movie makes you think about how better it could have been if this or that were different, then it basically isn’t such a bad movie.

http://www.imdb.com/title/tt2199543/

——

This Jesuita Barbosa is a young actor to watch out for. Check him out in this simple short movie. Conventional unrequited (gay) love story, but well filmed.

Waste Land – *

Posted: September 3, 2015 in 2014, Belgium, Cop Movie, Crime/Detective, Drama, Flanders, X

The synopsis and trailer looked so promising. A film noir set in multilingual and multicultural Brussels about a troubled detective investigating the murder of a young Congolese man. But the end result is disappointing. In fact, the end result is close to being plain crap.

Luckily there is Jeremy Renier, one of the best Belgian actors around. He carries this movie. A great feat, since the shooting must not have been an easy job. He was a last-minute replacement for Matthias Schoenaerts and his character is supposed to be Flemish. There’s a reference to his character being Flemish early on in the movie which doesn’t make sense at all because Jeremy is excellent as a typical French-speaking Bruxellois who can converse in Flemish when needed. But that’s a minor cringeworthy point. There’s so much more in this movie that doesn’t make sense at all, that it’s really tough to sit through.

First, the director doesn’t seem to know what kind of movie he wants to make. It’s a mix of detective thriller and psychological drama and it fails in both genres. There’s nothing thrilling about it and the drama never captivates. A good director gets you in the mood for a certain genre (Scorcese) or combines it with so much flair that the viewer is hooked from the beginning (Soderbergh). Secondly, there are so many superfluous scenes that add nothing to the story and are plain annoying. Why do we need to see Nathalie Broods nipples? Okay, she’s in a sauna and you’re naked in a sauna. But why are they even in a sauna? What’s the point of that scene? And the recreational drug use? Why is that necessary to show? What does that add to the story? It’s cliché. It’s been done before. Many times. And better. But finally, the most terrible thing about this movie is the script and the story. If it were a book, you would have stopped reading after three chapters.

Luckily there’s Jeremy Renier. As mentioned before. And Geert Paredis who was the art director. Because despite the crappy storyline, you can still enjoy the visuals.

http://www.imdb.com/title/tt2294939/

Jurassic World – **

Posted: September 3, 2015 in 2015, Action, Adventure, USA, XX

Sometimes the brain needs to relax a bit and go with the flow. And that’s why producers make blockbuster fare like Jurassic World. It’s an enjoyable reboot with a lot of references to the original movie from 1993. It’s a bit camp and it does not take itself too seriously. It’s made for global success (with international movie stars from all over the world appearing as extras) and has action and special effects galore. There’s zero suspense though and zero depth. But it has dinosaurs!

http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0369610

Louane Emera was finalist in the French version of The Voice. Her personality and singing talents convinced director Eric Lartigau to cast her for his new dramedy as a young adolescent with a great voice who grows up in a farm with her family, all of whom are mute and deaf. She ended up winning a César for most promising actress, this movie became a local box office hit and it helped boost her album sales.

So, this is the movie with Louane. She is in almost every single scene. She’s so omnipresent that you’ll never forget her. Ever. Even if you want to. She’s really not so talented and convincing as the press wants you to believe. She’s just very natural and she does seem to have a great personality. But she is not acting. She’s just being a character. Maybe she’s just being herself.

The movie is made with a low budget. It feels like attention to details and retakes were a big no-no. Especially the first half looks like it was made in one week. The deaf community in France remains upset about the sloppiness of the use of sign language. If you don’t know French sign language then there’s no issue, but you will probably wonder if that is really how deaf people communicate. The director decided to use known actors as the parents. They seem to be waving around their hands a lot. It adds to the comic relief, but looks awkward.

But somewhere halfway through the movie it starts to be really enjoyable. Sure it’s all predictable and the jokes are often lame, but when the drama sets in it’s quite gripping. The movie contains one of the best movie scenes of the year, when the deaf parents attend a public singing performance of their daughter. And when Louane sings her Michel Sardou cover ‘Je Vole’ at the end, it leaves you pleased to have watched the movie.

The French newspaper Le Figaro explained the success of the movie in a very interesting way. The more multilayered the French society becomes, the more they need to come to terms with all the differences without clinging onto the past too much or without letting it go entirely. The parents in the movie need to accept that their daughter is different (she can hear and speak and sing!) and that she needs to live her own life. But the daughter can’t just break with her past and needs to embrace it (literrally). So moral of the story: live your life but don’t forget who gave it.

if you can read Dutch, read this take on the movie’s success: http://www.nrcreader.nl/artikel/8634/zo-zien-fransen-zichzelf-graag

http://www.imdb.com/title/tt3547740

http://www.imdb.com/title/tt3547740