Archive for April, 2018

Dark is a German netflix original. It’s riding on the hyped wave of Stranger Things. It has some similarities. Events take place in a small town, surrounded by a forest, close to a well-secured nuclear energy plant. Kids get missing, locals all seem to know each other and a large part of the story takes you back to the eighties. But that’s about it. The atmosphere of the series feels more like Twin Peaks. It’s darker, more mysterious, more dramatic, more philosophical and messier.

The story takes place in 2019, 1986 and 1953. This is important information, because that’s not really clear in the first two episodes, which take place in the present and feel messy. As of episode 3 you feel this series may be worth the watch. Several characters that are introduced in that episode are younger versions of the characters that you already familiarized with. It’s intriguing. A kid gets missing in 2019 and somehow ends up in 1986. But this is no Back To The Future. There is zero humor. Zero romance. Just a lot of dark negativity.

The kid who gets missing in 2019 starts a new life in 1986. So, by 2019 the kid has lived a lie for 33 years! This is pretty unsettling. But intriguing. A lot of questions arise. But only few get answered. The series keeps on introducing subplots and new characters, but never focuses on the main question: how on earth did a guy live for so long next to a younger version of himself? It’s not a plot spoiler. It’s a key element to attract viewers to the show.

By the end of the series pseudo-philosophical and neo-scientific theories are uttered and explained concerning time and space. That’s all intriguing, but it doesn’t really help you explain the plot. The writers must have had fun preparing the script. The preparation desk with all the written-out biographies of each character must be tremendous. All these characters are all intertwined. Some are even related to each other. It’s fun.

BUT… the story doesn’t make sense. Yes, it’s about time travel and yes, it’s (science) fiction. But in the end, it should still feel logical. Which is far from the case here.

But the atmosphere is excellent. The long shots are great. The sun never shines. It rains a lot and it’s always ‘dark’. The soundtrack is creepy. The acting is fine. The concept is brilliant. Time travel isn’t a new theme in cinema. But this time they focus more on the thought: if you could change the past, would you? and what would it mean for the present and the future?

For you to binge-watch and get disturbing nightmares…

https://www.imdb.com/title/tt5753856

 

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The follow-up season to the great Master Of None is just as good. This is a great comedy show that includes diversity, gives social commentary, is never too offensive and never too pc. Every episode also has a different feel. Which was super in the first series, but which isn’t as perfect in the second series. The quality of the episodes aren’t consistent. There are a few excellent episodes though. The one with the different dates, the one with all these characters ending up in the cinema and the thanksgiving one. That’s perfect television. Especially the silent skit with the mute/deaf couple. Hilarious. Others are just okay. The love interest becomes a drag. Unfortunately, unrequited love is part of life too. Aziz Ansari plays such a super relatable normal guy that it’s refreshing. The side characters aren’t always on point. And some are just plain terrible at acting normal. But in the case of Aziz’s dad, I’d say: give him his own show!

https://www.imdb.com/title/tt4635276

Hurricane Bianca – *

Posted: April 25, 2018 in 2016, Comedy, LGBT themed, USA, X

Bianca del Rio is a riot. The Joan Rivers of drag queens. An insult comedian who makes Ricky Gervais sound lame. Roy Hanlock, who gives life to Bianca, is a riot too. So, why is this movie not as funny as it should be?

Because it feels restrained. It’s not offensive at all. A movie with Bianca del Rio should be extremely offensive, not just fun.

Here’s the synopsis: a queer math teacher accepts an assignment in conservative Texas. He loses his job as soon as his sexuality is revealed, but he doesn’t return to New York. No, he decides to apply for the job as his alter ego, Bianca del Rio, a woman that nobody will mess around with.

Some scenes are funny. After all it’s a light-hearted lgbt comedy. The idea of a teacher throwing shade at the bullying students is excellent. But the story isn’t original and almost all the performances are done by amateurs. It’s so over the top though. It’s so camp that it’s almost good. Almost. It’s just not offensive enough. And if you do use stereotypes, go full force, make sure it’s brutal.

For someone who complains about the political correctness in this world, this is a very pc  comedy. Disappointed. Hopefully the sequel is edgier.

https://www.imdb.com/title/tt4007248/

 

The Foreigner – (*)

Posted: April 20, 2018 in 1/2, 2017, Action, Revenge, Terrorist

This is a mess. A real mess.

The title is deceiving. This isn’t about a ‘foreigner’, it’s about a series of attacks by a new radical IRA.

Jackie Chan, who plays an Asian restaurant owner who loses his daughter in one of the attacks, is out for revenge. He’s a well-trained soldier and determined to find and eliminate the bombers on his own.

Ok. Good premise.

But then somehow, Jackie Chan disappears in the story and Pierce Brosnan’s character becomes a central figure. He plays a politician, with links to the old IRA and is now not only dealing with a mad ‘Chinaman’ who’s haunting him, but also with his political friends, who are betraying him and with the British PM, who’s accusing him of the attacks.

Then Pierce Brosnan disappears from the screen and they focus on the bombers and their next attacks and the British who try to stop them. Oh and on a hitman who Brosnan’s character hires to kill Jackie’s character.

It’s a mess. A real mess.

And the IRA, really? Why make a movie about fictitious IRA terrorists? We finally kind of forgot they (still) exist. No need to bring paranoia back.

https://www.imdb.com/title/tt1615160

So, ‘retired’ director Soderbergh made his comeback with yet another heist story. Coen brothers style. It wasn’t a hit. It got rave reviews, sure, but it flopped at the box office and didn’t win awards. It starts of good, as a quirky comedy, a gentle satire. But then it becomes an action thriller without suspense. The humor dies after a while, which is sad. The unique characters just become way too serious at one point. The over the top performances aren’t really helping either. The lead actors (Adam Driver and Channing Tatum) are surprisingly good. The supporting actors (a.o. Katie Holmes and Daniel Craig) are embarrassingly bad. Somehow this movie doesn’t work. But hey, give it a shot. Maybe you just have to be in the mood for a daft story.

https://www.imdb.com/title/tt5439796