Archive for August, 2017

Nina – *(*)

Posted: August 30, 2017 in 2016, biopic, Drama, Musical, USA, X1/2

Nina Simone got herself a biopic. Unauthorized by the family. And so somewhat controversial. Nina Simone doesn’t come accross as a nice person. Maybe she wasn’t nice. And that’s not necessary for a good biopic. But somehow as a contrast, it should be evident that the woman had talent. And that’s not really the case. There’s zero sympathy for this character. And that’s tough. Zoe Zaldana is actually really good as the bitchy, drug addict/alcoholic. But she has too few scenes to show a brighter side to the jazz icon.

Oyelowo is degraded to a supporting role and does not get the platform to perform to his ability. Playing a submissive, rather boring and blank assistant isn’t really a challenge. He does it well. It’s just not really a role you want to see him play.

It’s not a good movie, but it’s not a bad one either. There is much worse out there.

http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0493076/

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This feature movie about the adventures of two faux fashion icons isn’t half as bad as they want you to believe. ‘They’ being the movie critics all around the western hemisphere. If you have no expectations whatsoever, then this is quite a pleasant surprise.

Yes, it’s a bad script. Yes, most jokes are lame. Yes, it feels like the producers had no financial plan whatsoever. Yes, the plentiful cameos are more annoying than surprising. Yes, the movie is so camp that it’s not even camp anymore.

But, you know, it’s much more fun than any episode of the last seasons. And Joanna Lumley is absolutely fabulous.

http://www.imdb.com/title/tt2112096

 

Fences – **

Posted: August 22, 2017 in 2016, Drama, USA, XX

Hm.

 

The poster is deceiving. It’s eye-catching with its stars Denzel Washington and Viola Davis holding each other tight and smiling. But they have NOTHING to smile about!

The trailer gives a better look at what kind of movie you’ll start watching: an overlong, theatrical drama, probably excellent on stage, but not quite as entertaining as a movie. It’s filled with powerful dialogues and boring monologues and a LOT of drama. Denzel Washington’s character is not a nice guy. It’s very difficult to empathize with him. And somehow it’s also difficult to empathize with Viola Davis’s character as well.

As a devout wife to the embittered, cheating, garbage collecting, ex professional baseball hopeful with an alcohol problem and little sympathy for the dreams of his sons, Viola Davis delivers a great performance. But she is a supporting actress and that’s sad. She only has one scene where her character gets something important to say for the viewer to actually start liking her. But that’s pretty late in the movie. (see both the stage and movie scene below) Washington on the other hand is in almost every single scene. Sure, he’s the director of the movie, but it does feel a bit like an ego-trip. He’s acting like he’s on stage. Shouting so everyone can hear it in the back of the theatre. But on the screen that just doesn’t work. The story takes place in a backyard. And none of the neighbors are complaining about this prick being so loud all the time. Even though the photography is okay and some shots are quite cinematic, little is done to evolve the setting into the story.

Oh well. Watch it and be prepared to not like the main character.

http://www.imdb.com/title/tt2671706

 

On stage:

In the movie:

Generally, Hollywood blockbuster comedies aren’t really funny. Or only partly funny. Luckily, from time to time, there are exceptions. Like The Hangover for instance. And also 21 and 22 Jump Street. Binge watch both of them and you’re in for almost 4 hours of pure fun and entertainment. Both movies are consistently funny. They are extremely silly and outrageously absurd, but very refreshing as well. There’s also subtle humor and plenty of cultural and social references/critiques. They often reverse the expectations. Which is great. The fact that within the script they joke about rebooting a tv series from the eighties (in the first one) and making a more expensive sequel (in the second one) is proof of how cleverly the script was written. Jonah Hill and Channing Tatum are really good at this kind of action comedy. And Ice Cube is just being Ice Cube to the fullest. There are quite a lot of surprises. And several quotes and one-liners are instant classics. You do need to have seen the first one, to understand the jokes of the second one. So that’s why it’s better to watch both of them in one rush. Yep. Very surprising.

http://www.imdb.com/title/tt1232829

http://www.imdb.com/title/tt2294449 

The third installment of the recent Planet Of The Apes trilogy kind of disappoints. It’s a very dark movie. Very serious as well. And very slow. There isn’t that much action or adventure. Hey, the second half takes place in a sort of concentration camp. There are some excellent elements that still make it a great movie experience, but somehow the end result is just okay and not great. The new talking ape character brings laughter. Several times. And that’s good. Because the rest of the story is very depressing.

The GCI animation is breath taking. In combination with the acting by Andy Serkis the main character Caesar (the leader of the apes) looks so realistic. It’s quite a feat to create a talking chimpansee, whose emotional expressions look so real that at no time you are realizing how impossible the story is.

For those who don’t know the story: after a virus has almost wiped out human kind, the survivors are at war with a population of apes that are resistent to the virus and have evolved. The virus in the mean time, makes humans become more animalistic. It’s the third installment. If you haven’t seen the previous movies in the trilogy, don’t bother starting with this one.

http://www.imdb.com/title/tt3450958/

Check It – **

Posted: August 18, 2017 in 2016, Documentary, LGBT themed, USA, XX

Check It is an intriguing documentary about the E-street prostitute subculture in DC, consisting of several african american gay men who form a gang and cause mayhem wherever they go. The movie follows three of them in particular, who are given the chance to work as assistants to a fashion event organizer.

Luckily for the documentary makers (and the viewers) those three characters are quite entertaining subjects and are easy to empathize with. It doesn’t feel like the scenes were set up. Their naturally dramatic behavior is fascinating enough. There’s definitely a lot of pretending in front of the camera. After all, they are diva’s. But the reality of their life is probably much harder than shown here.

It’s not a nice story. It’s grim and shocking at times. Sure, it has an uplifting feel to it and an indication of hope. But in the end, as a viewer, you’re being a voyeur to the miserable life of others. The intentions of the documentary makers are not really clear. Sensationalism or raising concern?

The movie can be best described as a combination of Tangerine (the indie comedy about transsexual prostitutes in LA), the VICE documentary about gays living together in the gutters of Kingston Jamaica, a bit of Moonlight (kids being raised by crackhead mothers), Rocky (expressing your anger via boxing), a reality tv show on Fashion TV for aspiring fashion event organizers and a video of Mykki Blanco, the extravagant NY rapper who was performing today not so far away.

Check out Check It. 

The movie poster is brilliant as well.

http://www.imdb.com/title/tt5299014

A nostalgic trip down memory lane: Romancing The Stone. Just felt like watching it again. And it was fun. As much fun as it was when I watched it repeatedly as a kid. This is the kind of movie that made me want to travel and be adventurous! Ha! Still haven’t made it to Columbia though.

For those who haven’t seen it yet: it’s Robert Zemeckis’ first blockbuster starring a then up and coming Kathleen Turner and Michael Douglas. It also has Danny DeVito in a small role. It’s very entertaining. It’s cheesy. A lot of the scenes don’t make sense. But others are still funny and quite clever.  The action and adventure aren’t that outdated at all. Just maybe the approach of how Hollywood showed ‘third world Columbia’ back then.

The eighties were the best.

And the trailer is pretty good, with Danny DeVito introducing the story as a phone call.

http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0088011