Archive for March, 2018

Lady Bird – **

Posted: March 18, 2018 in 2017, Coming Of Age, USA, XX

This isn’t really a particularly well made movie. It’s a coming of age story without real surprises. With good acting, sure. But without a real story or message. It’s not directed that remarkably well either. Not sure what all the fuzz is about. There’s really nothing special about this story. The only reason to finish it, is to watch Saoirse Ronan be great as usual. Her performance is quite a joy to look at. Her character however is a confused 17-year-old. She’s attending a catholic school in Sacramento, but dreams of college on the East Coast. She ditches her best friend to chill with the popular girl in school. She wants to get a math degree, but sucks at math. She’s great at performing arts, but refuses to join the Easter play. Sigh. Maybe, if you’re a 17-year-old confused girl or the mother of a 17 year old confused girl, you may find this all relatable or appealing. If you’re not, this pretty much just is a waste of time. Luckily, it’s over before you know it.

http://www.imdb.com/title/tt4925292

 

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30 years of New Beat. Especially in Belgium, this is a bit of a celebration. From 1985 to 1995 the country (well, Flanders and Brussels) were at the centre of the global music scene because they released successful vinyl tracks that sounded like nothing else before and became such a hype that pop music took over and killed it. However, this ‘new beat’ became a foundation of anything else that was produced in the club scene afterwards.

It’s a fun documentary if you’re interested in the topic. It actually starts with a short (but correct) introduction of Belgium, a fabricated buffer state in between England, the Netherlands, Germany and France. It talks about the yearly fairs, the barrel organs, the invention of bakelite by Belgo-American Leo Baekeland that was used to make vinyl, the opening of dance clubs along the highways, the import of international sounds by the port of Antwerp, the dj’s from the seventies, the popularity of disco and the counter-reaction of punk. And hup we are  in the eighties, where Belgian dj’s and producers start playing aggressive, dark dance music with an edge. They spin the records at a different speed and add all kinds of sounds to the music. It’s music made by producers and not by musicians! It’s Kraftwerk and Jean Michel Jarre, but with a rebel attitude. And that’s how we got to NEW BEAT.

It’s a good documentary, but the ‘sound of Belgium’ just focuses on new beat really. It doesn’t say anything about the indie rock scene or the mishmash of cultures we put together in the music is made in Belgium. There are influences from France, England, the US and Africa…. the entire world. That mix is what makes the sound of Belgium. So, this documentary has a wrong title. It’s also a bit patriotic/nationalistic. But that suits the scene well. Maybe the new beat was the only thing that united the Flemish and the French-Speaking Belgians! You hear both languages throughout the documentary. However, there’s no mention of other influencers from other countries. They even forget to mention that Baekeland was really an American from Belgian descent. Dance music really didn’t originate in Belgium either. The UK and Germany were as influential. And let’s not forget Chicago and New YOrk! And there’s an unnecessary diss to Depeche Mode by Sven Van Hees.

So, fun to watch, but pretty superficial. Give it a shot though.

http://www.imdb.com/title/tt2966298

The whole movie is available on this site:

https://boilerroom.tv/recording/sound-belgium

The Oscar for Best Motion Picture is a fantasy fairytale set in the cold war era about the love between a mute cleaning lady and an amphibious ‘asset’ that is kept from the outside world in a government facility.

It’s a unique movie experience. It’s not all that original as it’s a homage to the monster movies from the late fifties and early sixties, but it’s shot with the utmost care for details. It has a bit of an Amelie Poulain feel to it. Everything just looks really good and there’s off beat humor and weird charm.

If people get offended by the age gap between the two main male characters in Call Me By Your Name, then maybe they also won’t like the romance between a woman and an animal. It’s awkward as well to imagine a human having sex with a human like amphibious water animal. But hey, it’s a fantasy movie. It’s fictional!

This is an entertaining movie. Never boring. Great to look at. And with a good soundtrack. But again, the story just isn’t all that original or intriguing.

http://www.imdb.com/title/tt5580390

This stand up comedy show really surprised me. Gad Elmaleh has never been able to make me smile in French, but this English show made me laugh out loud a lot. Just because it’s so recognizable what he is referring to. This is exactly the same stuff I tell guests from the states who visit France. So, no, he’s not original. If you’ve been traveling with me and then you see this show, you’d think he stole my jokes. But hey, he’s performing on stage and has a netflix show. So there you go! Way to go.

http://www.imdb.com/title/tt8110630

Ha! This is good. If you like Ricky Gervais that is. It’s not excellent. It’s not really a stand up comedy show. It’s more of a listen to Ricky Gervais give his opinion about the world we live in – show. There are too many serious moments. It’s also too much focussing on getting back at twitter trolls who have annoyed him in the past couple of years. Get over it, Ricky! And why isn’t there any joke about the yearly cruel dog festival in China? That part is too preachy man. Great of you to make it your cause, but you’re a comedian. Find at least one joke that works in the serious context. That said, there are enough good remarks throughout the show.

http://www.imdb.com/title/tt7830574

Elio Perlman is a cosmopolitan kid who resides with his parents in their fancy summer-house somewhere in the north of Italy. Most of the time he’s just bored. He excels in the arts. Plays the piano, the guitar, reads a lot of books and is a bit of loner. His father does some archeological research in the area and has invited an American man to come help him. The man is dashing. He has the whole village under his charm. From the teenage girls to the poker playing seniors. However, this is Elio’s story and Elio falls in love with him.

The directing is fine. The shots are great to look at. The soundtrack really works well. Combining piano compositions with silly 80s italo-disco. The acting by newcomer Timothée Chalamat is remarkable. So different from the shy and uncomfortable appearances on talk shows. The movie makes you want to book a trip to Italy and it makes you want to retreat to go write a book or something and to fall in love with the first attractive stranger that comes around.

BUT. It’s a silly story. Boy falls for man. Man first keeps a distance. Boy starts exploring his sexuality with his best female friend. Man then lures boy into his bed. Boy dumps girlfriend. Man and boy have a holiday fling. The end. Two and a half hours long! Yawn. Yes, it’s a bit awkward to watch a blossoming relationship between an adolescent boy and a man. But watching Lolita is also awkward. But hey, it’s all consensual. The kid is a cool kid to empathize with. The man however is boring as hell. Why on earth is this kid interested in this man? That’s the big failure of this movie. The object of love and lust has the charisma of an abricot. Or no. The abricot has more charisma. Watch the movie to find out why.

Disappointed. The story is boring. The audio-visuals are beautiful.

http://www.imdb.com/title/tt5726616 

No theatrical release in Europe for Annihilation. It’s still playing in the US though. But with little success. So in comes Netflix, who’s distributing it all over the world via their streaming service. Great!

This is an entertaining science fiction adventure drama about a biologist who joins a team of women on a mission to discover what exactly is hidden in the Shimmer, a weird extraterrestrial phenomena covering a natural park and spreading fast. The biologist is determined to find out what damaged her husband, who joined a previous mission and is now put in quarantine.

Nathalie Portman is excellent as the biologist. She’s a great asset to this production. But you really want to watch the movie for the atmosphere it evokes. The directing is great. The build up as well. The haunting soundtrack helps as well. It’s more accessible than you’d think. The horror and suspense aren’t scary, but present nevertheless. The story makes more sense than the one in Arrival. It’s all (science) fiction, but at least the dialogue and actions feel real. It’s good to see five women go on an adventure (strangely enough quite unique) and it’s great to see a movie where the editing doesn’t make you naucious.

It’s not an instant cult classic, but it could become one. For now it’s just good entertainment.

http://www.imdb.com/title/tt2798920/