Archive for November, 2016

Sometimes nostalgia takes over.

It’s nice to watch a sitcom 30 years after you watched it for the very first time.  Not that much is outdated. A few technical things and of course the fashion have changed a lot. But the situations and issues that the family encounters are still quite contemporary. And the jokes still work.

The very first episodes are a bit of a drag and so are some of the last episodes in this season. Clearly, 24 episodes is just too much. Some episodes look like they were improvised on the spot. And fail at being funny or interesting. Others are well scripted and well acted.

It’s interesting to notice how the character you identified with the most as a kid (Theo) is still the absolute best character of the show 30 years later!  Of all the child actors,  Malcolm-Jamal Warner is by far the absolute best. On the other hand, a character/actress that never thrilled back then, suddenly becomes an absolute delight to watch. Phylicia Rashad is excellent as Clair Huxtable. And regardless of whatever Bill Cosby did at the time of the shooting, he is a joy to watch as well. It’s unfair to pull this off the air.

http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0086687

Captain Fantastic – ***

Posted: November 27, 2016 in 2016, Drama, Family Feud, Road Trip, USA, XXX

Somewhere in a forest in Oregon lives a dad with his six kids. He trains them to survive on their own in nature, killing wild animals, climbing steep rocks and reading very difficult books (sic). Their mom isn’t there, because she’s in the hospital, out there in the ‘real world’.

Then the moment comes when the family learns that their mom has died and will get a typical christian funeral and burial, which is contrary to her buddhist believes. So the whole family goes on a road trip to stop this from happening!

Yes. There are a lot of things in the story that don’t make sense. But it’s a fictional story, so you just need to soak it up and enjoy it like some weird fairytale without a morale. It’s a quirky, strange, bizarre, but lovely tale about a family trying to hold onto something that they know will disappear one day.

Some of the father’s principles are really praiseworthy. But some are just hypocrite. Luckily, the performance of Viggo Mortensen makes you like the character, even at his most unreasonable moments. The road trip makes you want to book a trip to the US yourself. There’s drama, but also humor. A perfect balance.

Too bad the movie takes a different direction just when it becomes really interesting. They finally make it to the real world, but that confrontation is not played out enough. Kind of disappointing if that’s what you’re expecting after having seen the trailer.

Still. Good movie.

http://www.imdb.com/title/tt3553976

After reading Han Kang’s bizarre, but fascinating Vegetarian, it may be interesting to also watch the movie based on the book. You can watch it on YouTube (see below). The movie isn’t half as good as the book, which also isn’t half as good as what book review sites claim it to be. But still. It’s interesting to see how the director interpreted the story.

Should you not have read the book, don’t bother watching this. It’s the story of a woman who suddenly, after a dream, decides to no longer eat meat. Hence the title, which is slightly wrong because it should be Vegan (as the character also doesn’t eat/drink any derivatives of animals). From that moment on life changes for all the people around her. Her husband files for divorce, her sister takes care of her, the brother in law sees her as a model for his new art project.

The latter is the most fun and intriguing part of the book and it also takes up most of the scenes in the movie. However, whereas the book often describes hard core porn, the movie keeps it very vanilla. Maybe there’s an uncensored version of the movie, but the hard ons and nakedness in the book, didn’t translate onto the big screen. Understandably.

The protagonist isn’t just a vegetarian. She believes she is a tree trapped in a human body. If that sounds weird to you, this movie will make no sense at all.

Wondering how many people will come to this blog entry based on the tag word ‘vegetarian’. 😉

http://www.imdb.com/title/tt1517269

Looked for the trailer on line, but found the entire movie:

De Premier

Posted: November 14, 2016 in Action, Flanders, Thriller
Tags:

This is by far the worst movie of 2016. It doesn’t even deserve (*).

Not only is the storyline utterly basic and ridiculous, it’s also a total waste of acting talents. And the directing is T.E.R.R.I.B.L.E. !

It’s really bad. Surprisingly bad. Because you somehow want to support your local star director for starting all over again after his Hollywood adventure turned out to be a flop. But no. This is just crap.

The worst thing is, that if some low budget distributor of straight to dvd c-movies would have given a 24-year old graduate from some Californian film school the chance to shoot a movie about the prime minister of some small unpopular country like Belgium being forced to kill the president of the United States, he would have done a better job !

The prime minster has two kids, one of which sleeps almost the entire movie. He’s the smartest character in the entire story. And the luckiest one.

This movie is so bad it makes you angry that it even got made and that it even gets publicity. And some good reviews. By people who get paid probably.

Aaaaarggghhhhh

http://www.imdb.com/title/tt5357556

There’s something really charming about the story of Seyolo Zantoko, who decided to become the general practitioner of a rural town in northern France back in the late seventies. Graduated from the university of Lille, he didn’t care about returning to his troublesome home country Zaire and preferred to stay in France. However, being the only black person (and having the only black family) in a very conservative community wasn’t all that easy. Until of course, times change and people become more accepting.

The story is pretty straightforward, predicable and simple. But it’s a great tale.

A few years ago, rapper Kamini Zantoko scored a hit with a silly rap song about growing up as the only black guy in a small rural village. (see below) Someone asked him to write a script about his youth, which he did and with some help of others it has now turned into an entertaining movie with some drama and a lot of humor. It’s an homage to his father, who decided to take the risk (and the opportunity) to integrate in unknown territory for blacks.

It’s a great example of the many French dramedies that mix the multicultural society with la France provonde. Maybe it’s something Hollywood should start focus on. Try and see it with subtitles because the accents are quite difficult to understand (the African accent sounds perfect compared to the rural accent of the other characters).

http://www.imdb.com/title/tt5555502

Chocolat – **(*)

Posted: November 9, 2016 in 2016, Drama, Dramedy, France, Historical, XX1/2

Roschdy Zem’s previous movie Bodybuilder was flawed by a boring and non-intriguing story, bad acting and an uneven balance between drama and comedy. Chocolat is quite the opposite. It’s still flawed though, but at least it’s not mediocre. 

The movie title refers to a black entertainer who became quite a succesful artist in Paris during the Belle Epoque, a decade before the outbreak of World War I, when people like Toulouse Lautrec were creating billboards for all kinds of events and Paris hosted world exhibitions showing cultures from all over the world.

The man really existed. His name was Rafael Padilla and he was a former slave from Cuba who ended up working in a French circus and who eventually made it to the main circus theatre of Paris as a clown. So, it’s a true story, which makes it even more intriguing. The first black entertainer in France!

To play the character, Roschdy Zem chose the most popular black actor of the moment: Omar Sy. It’s a good choice, especially if you think about the similarities between both entertainers. They are both really popular, but nobody really takes them seriously. The big difference however, is that ‘Chocolat’ (the artist name of Rafael Padilla) could never prove  that he had some talent as a dramatic actor and Omar Sy makes it very clear: give him a dramatic part and he’ll be even more popular. Equally as good is James Thierréé as the clown who helped Chocolat become so beloved. He’s a mysterious and sad character with doule standards, who intrigues until the very end.

It’s a straight foward chronologically linear biopic which is loosely based on true events. A lot of what you see is fictional and several twists were added for dramatic purposes. But it works. This is not the kind of period piece where all the historical details have to be accurate. It’s a movie about an entertainer that needs to be entertaining. And succeeeds.

http://www.imdb.com/title/tt4400038

In the French drama Bodybuilder, the world of bodybuilding is just a setting. The real story deals about an estranged father who gets to know his delinquent son after years of separation. The kid needs to go into hiding when a criminal gang chases him for the money he owes. The only place he can go to is the gym that his dad runs in some far away town. So, just like him, the audience starts learning more about the obsession of a bodybuilder training for a big competition and the rest of the crime element becomes obsolete.

There are all kinds of things that are off in this movie. First, there’s non-acting of Yolin François Gauvin, who plays the bodybuilder. A bodybuilder himself, he just plays a bodybuilder. One without emotions. One without charm. One without charisma. It’s very doubtful that director Roschdy Zem wanted him to act that way. This movie is made in France and not in Hollywood, where studios would pay famous actors to train hard enough to look like real bodybuilders. So Roschdy Zem was limited in choosing a main lead. Which makes you wonder why he even started with this project. If the main lead sucks, the movie sucks.

Second, the movie somehow feels like a comical Dardenne’s drama. It’s quite brave to add humor to a sad story in a depressing setting, but it doesn’t always work. You know it’s not a parody, yet at times it feels like it is. You know it wasn’t the intention of Zem to laugh at this underground scene of absurd body sculpting, but it feels at times like he’s making a total fool of his subjects.

But most of all, the story just isn’t exciting. Kid makes debts, runs away, hides with his dad, mocks his dad, acts like a total retard, tries to pay off his debts by getting involved in even more criminal acts and then somehow changes for the better. While his dad just doesn’t give a fuck. B.O.R.I.N.G.

Maybe with a better acting, better dramatic balance and a more gripping story this could have been a good movie. Now it’s just mediocre.

http://www.imdb.com/title/tt3446852