Archive for January, 2017

Drei (3) – *(*)

Posted: January 30, 2017 in 2010, Drama, Germany, LGBT themed, Satire, X1/2

A straight couple who’ll be celebrating their 20th anniversary together and finally plan to get married, both encounter the same man who they feel attracted to. She meets him at some congress, he meets him at the swimming pool. And soon they all have an affair. This is why Facebook has ‘it’s difficult’ as a relationship status.

The humor and the conversations are quite elitist, with references to theatre, art, literature, philosophy and science. It’s a bit too much sometimes. The story itself is very simple and predictable. None of that intellectual blabla makes it more profound.

But there are moments, when it’s entertaining. It has a Toni Erdmann feel, but it is less weird and less confronting. The acting (especially by Austrian tv actress Sophie Rois) makes it worthwhile and the editing trick of having several scenes appear all over the screen is fun.

And let’s go to Berlin again and get into that swimming pool !

http://www.imdb.com/title/tt1517177

Why did this movie flop and get bad reviews? It’s intriguing until the end. It stars two popular actors (Koen Degraeve and Matteo Simoni) who perform really well. It’s a universal concept that doesn’t have any reference to anything Flemish at all. (So, recommendable for anyone abroad). And it makes university town Leuven look like a place you want to visit soon.

It’s a science fiction take on the Groundhog Day principle. Two scientists find a way to send emails to people in the past. They do small  innocent, but successful tests and then decide to no longer use the technology  One scientist is married to a disabled woman though and cannot resist messing with history to make sure she doesn’t end up being as disabled as she is. And that’s when all goes wrong.

http://www.imdb.com/title/tt4085502

Everybody Wants Some – **(*)

Posted: January 25, 2017 in 2016, Comedy, USA, XX1/2

This is such a cool, uplifting nostalgic college comedy!

It basically shows you the members of a college baseball team having fun in the weekend before the academic year starts. Some are freshmen, some have been in college for years.

And they all want some… (sex). But aren’t getting any (on screen).

Maybe that’s why this movie flopped. It doesn’t really have any sex scenes. And it doesn’t have any gross scenes in general. It doesn’t even have a big name celebrity actor in the cast.

But it has a cool soundtrack, it has a great ensemble cast and the references to the early eighties are excellent. Plus, the dialogue is incredibly well written.

Not all actors and not all characters are great. They also all look much older than they should. And it’s about a college in the USA, focusing on students who play baseball. That’s like saying: we do NOT want this movie to be released in Europe at all. Nobody experienced anything similar over here. It’s very american. But cool.

And it’s all about the main character, who’s a very positive, tolerant and confident dude who enjoys going to disco parties, western joints, punk concerts and an avant garde masked ball.

Maybe that’s another reason why the movie flopped. It’s about a nice guy who’s cool by just being normal. Some may find it boring. But it’s fun.

http://www.imdb.com/title/tt2937696

 

Home – **

Posted: January 22, 2017 in 2016, Drama, Flanders, XX

Back from another disturbing movie at the cinema.

The viewing of controversial The Birth Of A Nation ended up being a great topic during a longer car ride today. Especially since watching the movie was followed by looking up more information about its theme and story and reading/listening to interviews of its makers.

Something similar may happen with Home, a movie that just evokes discussions. It’s (very) flawed, but it doesn’t leave you indifferent.

Home  follows the life of some messed up teenagers and their messed up parents who end up being confronted with messed up situations. That’s it really. There’s crime involved and there’s a thrilling element, but it’s just not exciting enough to make you sit at the edge of your seat. There’s a lot of drama, but it’s just not detailed and heart wrenching enough to make you care. It’s a very cold movie. It’s cynical. Nihilistic at times. This movie has absolutely no purpose. It shows characters that are so rotten inside that you cannot empathize with any of them. It really shows the worst of youth.

There are some merits though. The built up is good. The editing is interesting. It’s intriguing until the end, which is what an end should be: open. The soundtrack and filmscore are excellent! But the acting is very poor. It’s really bad. Some may give the unprofessional actors in Home some slack, but the absolute standard for unprofessional acting by older teenagers is Entre Les Murs, the excellent French movie from a few years ago about troubled kids. It doesn’t really help that the adult actors are also bad, apart from some cameo’s maybe.

It just show some dreadful kids who act dreadfully, because everyone else in their environment is dreadful.

Think of a (not so tasty) cocktail with ingredients of Gus Van Sant’s Elephant, with Larry Clark’s Kids and Michael Haneke’s Funny Games and Ulrich Seidl’s Paradies: Hoffnung.

http://www.imdb.com/title/tt4047846/

Hm.

There’s something really disturbing about this movie that is difficult to digest if you have given up on religion as something good. It’s constantly referring to it, in particular the christian faith. The bible and christianity have both been used by slave owners and slave/civil rights resistance leaders as a source for their cause. That’s a known fact. But in this tale,  there’s just too much focus on it.

Sure, it’s the core of the story: a young slave learns to read the bible and then is later used to preach the bible to rebellious slaves so they can obey their masters again. At one point the man is ordered to preach a verse that goes like this: “Slaves, be subject to your masters with all respect, not only to the good and gentle, but also to the unjust. For this is a gracious thing, when, mindful of God, one endures sorrows while suffering unjustly.” (Peter 2:18-19). That’s in the bible! And however you interpret it or put it in a historical context, it’s VILE.

Then of course things go wrong, at which point a fellow slave asks with reason: “Where is God now?”

Birth Of A Nation is the story of this preaching slave who uses his faith and skills to start a slave rebellion after having seen too much unchristian misery. It’s based on true facts. The man did exist and he did transform from an obedient slave to a wrathful revenge rebel. So no critique there. It’s wel directed and well acted by Nate Parker. (and other members in the cast). Yet somehow it’s not as engaging as it should be. And that’s not because there are hardly any ‘good’ white people on screen. It’s just focusing so damn much on religion that you feel like the director wants people to believe faith is something good and will guide you through vengeance.

Revenge can be cool. Ask Quentin Tarantino. But revenge out of faith is just annoying and disturbing. But that’s probably the whole point of the movie.

http://www.imdb.com/title/tt4196450

Reality – (*)

Posted: January 20, 2017 in 1/2, 2012, Comedy, Italy

Pffff.
What a drag…

A local fish seller, who’s always ready to steal the show at family events, auditions for a part in the reality tv show Big Brother. He’s really convinced he will get selected and his close friends and family support him as well. But as the start of the new season gets closer and closer, he still hasn’t been contacted by the production team. Something must be wrong…

Maybe it’s funny if you know Italian society a bit better. Or if you are used to their comedies. If you’re not than this is just plain boring.

Lesson learnt for anyone holding job interviews or auditions: just sent a letter that you are not interested.

Lesson learnt for anyone starting o watch Italian comedies: pick another one to begin with.

http://www.imdb.com/title/tt1846487

 

Classic: Rocky – **

Posted: January 19, 2017 in 1976, Drama, Social Drama, Sportsdrama, USA, XX

Winner of the Academy Award for Best Picture, Rocky remains quite an important and popular movie. The story is well known. A street boxer, who hasn’t really made anything of his life, takes up the challenge to fight Apollo Creed, the reigning world champion. He has no fair chance, but he’ll get plenty of money and it’s all for the good as he’ll be the underdog and that attracts crowds.

Rocky was the first in a series of six movies focussing on the ‘Italian Stallion’, the underdog who ends up being the champ. Back in the eighties Rocky III and Rocky IV were smash hits at the box office, with chart topping soundtracks and every tough kid in school trying to replay the fights between Sylvester Stallone and Mr T (III) or Dolf Lundgren (IV). Back then anyone who was a fan of these action blockbusters had little interest in seeing the first movie, which is more of a social drama. As a kid, I couldn’t understand the fuzz about this boring motion picture of the seventies that has only one fight. As an adult, I can understand the fuzz a bit more. The zero to hero-story always works. Especially back then. Stallone is really good in this movie. The soundtrack was refreshing at the time. The rich and successful guy was black ! The dialogue isn’t PC at all. The fights look real. All great.

But what’s with all the shouting? Everyone shouts. All the time. It’s like watching a modern day Egyptian movie. And what’s with the side characters? Rocky’s future wife Adrian… Rocky’s trainer Micky… Rocky’s supposedly best friend Paulie… Rocky’s maffia employer Gazzo… Every scene they are in is annoying. And there are a lot.

However, after watching last year’s reboot Creed it’s interesting to see this classic again. A lot of references make more sense now.

http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0075148/