Archive for March, 2016

Z For Zachariah – **

Posted: March 29, 2016 in 2015, Drama, Romance, Thriller, USA, XX

Three characters, one location, a struggle to survive and doubts about who to trust. Great ingredients for a spooky psychological thriller!

The problem is: it never becomes spooky and it never becomes thrilling.

On the plus side: it doesn’t bore either. You’re just waiting for something to happen and it’s a long wait, but the acting is good and the simple story is well told. There are some interesting dialogues and there’s food for thought.

The end is great though.

http://www.imdb.com/title/tt1598642

There’s something intriguing about the story of The Surprise. It’s about a suicidal millionaire who decides to use a specialized company to make an end to his miserable life after several attempts have failed. He choses the option of a surprise, meaning death can come anytime and anywhere. During his visit of the company he encounters a younger woman who’s in a similar situation. And soon they start to bond. So much so that he ultimately doesn’t want to die anymore and wants to cancel the arrangement. But that’s impossible according to the sign contract.

The intriguing bit is that you hear certain characters talk about suicide and death in a very casual way. That’s refreshing. It’s also comical at times. In fact, the movie starts as a dark comedy and is filled with great surprises (the set locations for instance or the conversations in Hindi), but the slightly pervers and absurd humor is replaced by action, romance and drama halfway through the movie. So it all becomes less intriguing.

 

If Wes Anderson would have made it or if the Arnacoeur duo Vanessa Paradis/Romain Duris would have starred, this could have been an international success. Now it didn’t even get a release in Belgium, where most of the scenes were filmed. Sad.

http://www.imdb.com/title/tt3409440

Ant-Man – *(*)

Posted: March 27, 2016 in 2015, Action, Fantasy, USA, X1/2

This crazy world of Marvel Comics is a never-ending pool of inspiration for Hollywood to make fantasy action blockbusters. This time around, the hero is an ex con who is recruited to wear a special uniform that can make him shrink to the size of an ant. He is chosen by the inventor of the suit in order to infiltrate into the science lab of his former pupil who is on the verge of creating his own shrinking suit and sell it for the wrong reasons. Classical superhero good vs bad stuff.

It’s not really a bad movie, but it’s about ants. And you see them in all kind of shapes. Ant-Man can control an army of ants! Again: ants! Strangely enough, Paul Rudd is doing okay as the new hero. If this means he wil stop being unfunny in romantic comedies: hooray! The special Jeffects are kind of cool. And the action (when it happens) as well. It’s a superhero movie for kids. And the cast is very politically correct (although there wasn’t an Asian or gay sidekick). But hey, there are some blacks and latinos. Hooray again for Hollywood diversity. Not.

http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0478970

 

Viva Cuba Libre – **

Posted: March 27, 2016 in 2013, Cuba, Documentary, Musical, USA, XX

What’s the point of making a documentary about a controversial Cuban rap group, if you don’t use subtitles when the artists actually rap?

It’s frustrating, because already from the beginning you start empathizing with the rapping duo. And you wánt to know what they rap about. The government bans them, they can’t sell cd’s and they can’t perform. The police also arrests fans of the band who play listen to their music. So it’s pretty important to know what it is that they actually rap about.

It’s explained though via interviews, but still. The lack of subtitles during the songs totally ruined it. And the fact that the documentary clearly avoids any negative depiction of the main characters. They may well be good hearted ideologists, but I’m sure they aren’t always angels either.

We all know that Cubans don’t believe in their government’s ideology anymore. We all know they can’t express it in fear of retribution. But you may not have heard about this underground band who’s quite popular amongst the youth.

The most interesting scenes are the ones where bold kids rave about their idols, while their cautious friends try to temper their enthusiasm, because you never know… paranoia rules!

 

Sure, it’s a brave documentary (it’s filmed with hidden camera’s and the risk of being arrested) and you do get to see another Cuba, but it’s not really a must see either.

http://www.imdb.com/title/tt2145847

Hm.

In short: it’s messy, implausible and confusing with an annoying soundtrack and uninteresting characters. Far less exciting than the first season. In fact, not exciting at all.

Next!

 

There’s a thin line between drama and comedy in Orange Is The New Black. That’s why it’s so difficult for the show to win big awards. Nobody at the Emmy’s or Golden Globes knows which category to nominate them in. And that’s sad. Because this show deserves awards. Plenty! First of all for the writers and second of all for the entire cast and some actresses in particular. (big shout out to Kate Mulgrew and Samira Wiley who don’t get awarded enough for their contribution!)

This thin line makes this series an absolute must. It’s unsettling at times, because even though it’s incredibly funny, it’s also very confronting . It’s not just a comedy take on prison life. It also shows the drama. The best part of the show are the characters and the performances of those who interpret them. Little by little you get to learn more about them. Every single one of them is intriguing. And just when you think that the producers only focus on the prisoners, you get interested in the guards and police staff as well.

The series is based on a biography of a young woman who ended up in prison for having transported drug money to Europe. She’s pretty and well educated, but also narcissistic and immature. And it’s the combination of both that brings her in trouble and makes her survive. Even though it’s highly fictionalized, it all feels realistic. Just when you think the producers trivialize prison life, they hit you with some reality facts.

But the most interesting part of this show is the fact that each and every character is fascinating to learn about. Every episode gives glimpses of the life of one inmate. No boring explanation. Just a few telling scenes. It’s very well done. It’s great as a viewer to feel intellectually respected. There’s a bit too much romance involved and the characters outside of the prison are boring, but all in all it’s a great show.

Time to bing watch season 2 and 3 now.

By the way: the trailer is very good. Since this site is called trailertherapy and never mentions anything about trailers, this time it’s worth to watch it.

http://www.imdb.com/title/tt2372162

 

Deadpool – **

Posted: March 19, 2016 in 2016, Action, Comedy, Fantasy, USA, XX

The first megablockbuster of the year is a disappointment. It really doesn’t live up to its hype at all. Yes, it’s pretty violent and absurdly funny, but it’s not remotely as extravagant as you hope it would be. It’s an r rated movie for the masses. It’s popcorn fare. It’s so ridiculously simple and over the top that even kids can enjoy it. Regardless of the profanity and the bullets through human skulls.

It’s a fun watch. Some scenes are pretty cool and some oneliners are right on. But the story sucks! And half of the jokes fail to make the audience laugh. At least over here. There are so many references to American culture from the present and the past (Spin Doctors) that just don’t translate well.

Maybe the sequel will be better

http://www.imdb.com/title/tt1431045

Dieumerci – *(*)

Posted: March 17, 2016 in 2016, Comedy, Dramedy, France, X1/2

It’s difficult to get all the jokes without subtitles, but the main storyline is quite clear. An ex convict is released from prison and decides to follow up on his dream to become an actor. He enlists in an expensive acting class and needs to team up with a careless dude almost half his age. The two don’t get along in the beginning, but of course become the best of friends by the end of the story.

The only reason why you’d want to watch this movie is because of the charming performance of main lead (and director) Lucien Jean-Baptiste, who based the story on an episode in his life. However, most of the jokes are pretty lame. The young characters is annoying as hell. And the story itself not all that captivating.

http://www.imdb.com/title/tt5077886/

Spotlight – ***

Posted: March 16, 2016 in 2015, Drama, Social Drama, USA, XXX

It’s up for discussion whether Spotlight deserved the Academy Award for Best Motion Picture or not. It’s a great movie, no doubt about that, but not exceptionally memorable. It’s a bit like The Shawshank Redemption: a well told and acted gripping story that will leave no-one untouched. It’ll be hard to find someone who absolutely hated it. Unless maybe some officials of the Catholic Church.

Spotlight refers to a team of four indept news coverage journalists who delve into specific matters for a Boston newspaper. The new managing director wants them to focus on a legal case in which a priest is accused of pedophilia. Their research soon leads to several other cases of misconduct within the Boston area and much more…

The Catholic Church may disagree, but the movie is very factual and not biased at all. Never do you feel it’s a direct attack to the Catholic faith. It’s more critical about how moral leaders deal with immoral acts and about a whole community who kept silent for all these years. It’s not a shocking movie, nor is it a very emotional one. It’s just a great piece of storytelling and acting. It’s intriguing and well directed. It’s a must. So maybe it does deserve the Oscar.

http://www.imdb.com/title/tt1895587

I needed to re-watch this for professional reasons. I will take American guests to Salzburg on several occasions this year and there’s a whole Sound Of Music day excursion planned as well. The strangest thing is that Austrians don’t seem to know about the existence and success of this movie. Apart from those working in tourism in and around Salzburg of course. But ask anyone in Vienna about this massive blockbuster hit from the sixties and they won’t know what you’re talking about it.

The Sound Of Music is the kind of movie that you’ve seen a dozen of times as a child, because they play it every single year on television during the christmas holidays. Almost all of the songs from the movie have become classics. Even if you haven’t seen the production, you’ll recognize at least a few tracks. But is it really a good movie?

Well…. it’s pure nostalgia. It’s corny. It’s cheesy. It’s fun. In fact, it’s a must. Let’s leave it at that.

http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0059742