Archive for February, 2017

Southside With You – **

Posted: February 20, 2017 in 2016, Romance, USA, XX

A young intern at a law firm invites his adviser to a meeting about the construction of a community centre in a difficult part of Chicago. He’s a cocky, arrogant, somewhat elitist and smooth charmer. She’s an ambitious, intelligent, standoffish and somewhat frigid feminist. But they bond. She kind of falls for his charms and persistence. He falls for her ability to defy him. The invitation turns into a real date, including a visit to a museum, a walk in the park, attending a meeting, going for some drinks, watching a movie and finishing off with a kiss.

Several years later they’ll end up being the president and first lady of the United States: Barack and Michelle Obama.

Southside With You isn’t half as bad as you would fear. The idea is great: an entire feature movie about ONE date! A bit like Before Sunrise, but then taking place in the course of an afternoon. However, in this case it’s kind of based on true events and focuses on two people who the entire world knows. It’s quite obvious that the movie isn’t really representative of the actual date between the couple. But it’s also obvious that they didn’t want to add to much extra fictional drama either.

So what you are left with is a nice solid series of conversations between two colleagues who want to get to know each other better. The movie wouldn’t have gotten the same amount of attention if the characters were fictional. But if that had been the case, the movie would have been more engaging. Now, it’s pretty bland.

But the audiovisual period setting is great. (Miss You Much by Janet in Barack’s car and Do The Right Thing by Spike Lee at the cinema) And the acting is solid too even though neither of the main characters really look like Barack or Obama.

Rent it now on iTunes for 99 cents.

http://www.imdb.com/title/tt4258698

 

 

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The Loving Story – *(*)

Posted: February 20, 2017 in 2011, Civil Rights, Documentary, USA, X1/2

After watching Loving, you may want to watch the documentary that was the main source of the movie: The Loving Story.

Mr and Mrs Loving were the interracial couple who were sentenced to exile in the state that they lived (Virginia) just because they married ‘a different race’. Their case ended up being brought to the Supreme Court, which allowed interracial couples to be married all over the United States.

The most interesting thing about watching this documentary is the realisation that the casting director of Loving did a tremendous job looking for actor that ressemble the real life characters. The actors must also have watched this documentary over and over again. The HBO special itself isn’t giving that much extra information about the case. It’s pretty much all covered in the movie. You get to see still pictures of the couples, home videos of the family, interviews with the lawyers (at the time of the trial and later on in life). They also add vintage footage of tv interviews from back in the days when people just openly talk about wanting to keep segregation…

That said. It’s 2017 and you have the alt-right KKK-clones claim the same things on tv.

It’s sad that you don’t really get to know much more about the family members. They interview the daughter, but she’s basically telling general stuff about her parents.

So, watch the movie and leave it at that.

http://www.imdb.com/title/tt1759682

Loving – **

Posted: February 20, 2017 in 2016, Civil Rights, Drama, Political, USA, XX

A construction worker gets his girlfriend pregnant and wants to marry her.

There are a few problems though. It’s 1958. He lives in Virginia. He is white. His girlfriend is colored.

Loving is based on the true story of an interracial couple who got married in a place where it was legal (Washington DC), but decided to live in place where it was illegal (Virginia). They got sentenced after spending some time in jail. A judge was ‘mild’ and sent them in exile. They couldn’t set foot as a married couple for 25 years in the state where all their family and friends lived and where they owned some property.

Until the wife was fed up living in the big city and wrote a letter to Bobby Kennedy, who forwarded it to the . After a legal battle and uncertainty for several years, their case made it possible for everyone all over the United States to marry whomever they wanted. Well, heterosexuals that is.

Loving is a historically interesting movie. We just take it for granted that people of mixed heritage can marry, but that wasn’t the case until quite recently really. It’s a well made movie, but it’s not as emotionally gripping as you’d want it to be. A lot has to do with the personalities of the main characters. They are just ordinary people who love each other and just want to be left in peace. They don’t want the police to interfere, nor the court, nor a civil rights movement, nor the press. They just want to be left alone. They are so calm, it’s nerve wrecking. The performances may be based on the real personalities of Mr and Mrs Loving, but a cinematic drama needs characters that are more alive and vocal.

http://www.imdb.com/title/tt4669986

Chocolate City

Posted: February 20, 2017 in 2015, Drama, USA

Another 99 cent rental.

Worth 49 cent probably.

A student decides to start stripping at a club to help pay his mother’s bills and treat his girlfriend a bit better. He lies about it (says he works with children), but then of course they find out. That’s it. It doesn’t even create drama.

This is really bad.

You can expect a low budget pulp movie about male strippers to have no descent script. You can expect bad editing. You can expect bad music. You can even expect bad acting. You can expect all these things and still want to watch the movie, because the only reason to do so is the strip acts.

But they suck! A movie about male strippers that has male models act all weird on stage and do nothing more than just pump and grind like amateurs while dozens of non-excited women reluctantly throw dollar bills at them.

They should have thrown 50 cent coins at them to perform better.

Time to watch Showgirls again and appreciate it a bit more.

http://www.imdb.com/title/tt3481000

 

 

 

This is one absurd movie.

It’s a parody. Or better: it’s supposed to be a parody. But it doesn’t always work.

It’s a mockumentary about a famous celebrity, who left the successful boy band he formed as a child to become an even more successful solo artist. Until his last album flops.

Strangely enough, this parody on celebrities trying to hard to be successful flopped as well.  The makers just tried too hard to be funny. It’s a bit too much. There is no subtlety at all. It’s like the makers wanted to exaggerate so that the audience would understand that it’s a parody.

If you can’t trust your audience to realize that it’s a parody, then you are making a movie for the wrong audience!

Yes, it’s cool to see celebrities taking a diss at their own celebrity status. But why does half of the entertainment world need to be represented in this parody? A few would have sufficed. Now there’s just an overload. NAS and ASAP Rocky and 50 Cent and Usher acting like they were fans of The Style Boyz (the fictitious boy band). Why so many? The joke is only funny once.

Watch it though. It does have some funny scenes. Like the ‘non gay’ equal rights song featuring Pink!  (see below)

http://www.imdb.com/title/tt3960412

 

Bølgen (The Wave) – *(*)

Posted: February 20, 2017 in 2015, Disaster, Drama, Norway, X1/2

The Wave is a Norwegian disaster movie about an earthquake that creates an avalanche in the fjords, which causes a devastating tsunami. Hence the title. A huge wave of water runs through the fjords and destroys all that it’s passing by.

It’s a brief moment though, somewhere in the middle.

Before the wave actually hits anything, you are forced to like the main character, a maladroit geologist who’s been studying the activity of the fjords for several years, but has now accepted a job in the oil industry. Of course on the day that the removal truck emptied his house, there is some alarming data coming in at the research station. Yes, the fjords are awake ! Then the wave happens. And then the geologist, who got separated from his wife and kids,  starts looking for them single handedly.

If this was a production from the Scifi Channel, nobody would care. But the fact that it’s not made in Hollywood kind of makes it exotic, interesting and by definition more credible. Well, NO. This disaster movie may start of exotic (it looks like the Norwegian Board of Tourism financed it to attract more tourists), interesting (this tsunami scenario is real) and credible (the science is explained in a educational way), the actual tsunami scene is pretty unspectacular and the aftermath (the last hour or so) just makes you want to watch Lo Impossible again. A family gets separated and needs to find each other again. Boring!

But hey. It was a 99 cent rental.

http://www.imdb.com/title/tt3616916

 

The remarkable thing about this new police thriller from Belgium is that it starts of really well and then falls totally flat by the end. Sadly, because the trailer looks promising.

A notorious chief of police is retiring to start a political career. But on the eve of his retirement he is tempted to do one last drug bust.  Not in the city of his jurisdiction (Antwerp), but in Charleroi. However, something is wrong. No drug lab is found. No drugs are found. A lot of people get killed and the informant seems to have damaging information about the soon to be politician. This does not look good…

Again, the movie starts of great. The tension and intrigue are built up well. The acting is good (Peter Van Den Begin is excellent in these kind of roles). Some of the scenes are shot in unique ways. The editing is excellent. The story lends well to an interesting collaboration between the movie industries from the north (Flanders) and the south (Wallonia) of the country.

But it’s all a bit predictable, and as the story comes to a climax it totally bombs.

http://www.imdb.com/title/tt5546540