Archive for October, 2018

The Commuter

Posted: October 23, 2018 in 2018, Action, Hijack, USA

You can’t really blame anyone for making this crap. Apparently there are people out there who want to watch this bullshit. You have to give credit to studios for producing these things, ‘cos they make money out of it. This is probably how it went at the producers’ desk: “Hey, people dig Liam Neeson in the everyday hero part going to extremes to protect his family. Let’s put him on a train this time. Don’t spend money on the script and get a cheap director who doesn’t look at details and only needs a few days to shoot. Oh and release it in Europe, Russia and some other international markets and maybe we’ll get some money out of it at the US box office as well.” “Deal”.

This is terrible. Back in the late eighties this movie would have gone straight to vhs. It’s the kind of movie you expect on a long bus ride in central america, dubbed in Spanish. Everything in this movie in unoriginal and a total mess. This story has been told so many times before. Or at least it feels like it’s been told so many times before. Everything is done by the handbook. First ten minutes: introduce the character. Explain to the audience why he will do what he’s going to do. EXPLAIN his past, his financial problems. SHOW his family and the bond he has with them. Also introduce a few vague characters that will end up being the bad guys at the end. Then: introduce the characters that will ‘matter’ in the rest of the movie. SHOW each and one of them a la Murder On The Orient Express. Then add the random stranger who gives him a task that is so ridiculous that nobody, even with a past in the police force or in financial need, will even try to attempt. Then let him execute the job and fill up an hour with random encounters on the train. Add a few fights. Try to deceive the audience with focussing on people that have nothing to do with the story at all, but look ‘suspicious’. Add a murder, done so terribly well that nobody notices on a busy commuter train. Oh, make sure the train derails as well. And come with a surprise in the end that’s already obvious from the very first minutes of the movie.

NO, motherfuckers, NO.

Now, this all could have been okay, if the details had been correct. But no. There is no consistency. The main character finds 25.000 dollars, puts it in his shoulder bag and then LEAVES the bag on a seat to go make a phone call. Then does all kinds of things without the shoulder bag and then suddenly wears it again. IT DOES NOT MAKE SENSE.

What a waste of time.

www.imdb.com/title/tt1590193

An improvement to Season 6, but still too much talking. Blablabla. The story stopped making sense a long time ago. It never did really. But now it’s just the details in the story that don’t make sense at all. For six seasons long, the territory behind the wall seems very far away, yet in this season a raven can get a message across the continent in no time and the response to is delivered even faster! Really?

There are fewer main characters killed this season. There aren’t that many left, to be fair. But still…. However, finally, the one that should have been killed in season 1 already, gets his throat sliced. Hooray!

It’s an okay season. It only has seven episodes. The battle scenes are awesome. Lord of the Rings awesome. There’s some sexiness. Some humor. Some excitement. Even some scary moments. It’s just okay though. One more season and then we’re done with it.

Niet Schieten – ***

Posted: October 21, 2018 in 2018, Belgium, Drama, Flanders, XXX

On November 9th, 1985 several people got shot at a local supermarket in the Flemish town of Aalst. It was the last of a series of attacks that were allegedly done by a gang called ‘De Bende van Nijvel’ (in Dutch) or ‘Les Tueurs de Brabant’ (in French). After all, this happened in Belgium, the bilingual mess it is.

Thirty-something years later, they still haven’t figured out who this gang is and the victims of the attacks still haven’t received any financial help whatsoever. It’s a disgrace.

A young boy survived the attack. He saw how his parents and sister were killed. He saw one of the attackers, but was never questioned by any authority. He himself was shot and learned how to live with a disability. He was raised by his grand-parents who lived across the supermarket and also had some important information that could have been investigated more thoroughly.

That kid, became a man who wrote a book about his struggle and the frustration about the failure of the justice system. That book has now been made into a movie. It’s a good one. It’s well-directed and very well acted. The main character isn’t the boy (played by three different actors at three different periods in their life), but is the grandfather, played by one of our best actors: Jan Decleir. He’s phenomenal. The movie is quite captivating and doesn’t shy away from showing the actual killing. It’s never sensational though and it’s brought with a lot of respect to the victims. Some emotions are told by images rather than dialogue, which works great.

By the end of the movie though, the frustration felt by the characters also transfers to the audience. This is a story without an end. A crime without a punishment. A killing without a murderer’s name. This isn’t Hercule Poirot solving a crime. This is a family learning to accept that they will never know who took the lives of their beloved ones. There is no happy end here.

Watch it. And feel upset and angry. That’s exactly the goal of this movie.

www.imdb.com/title/tt7534314

Cargo – *

Posted: October 14, 2018 in 2017, Drama, Flanders, X

The trailer is promising. Really promising. The setting (fishermen at sea and in the harbour) looks like a visual treat. The drama looks gripping (brothers arguing about the future of the fisherman’s ship). The thrills look exciting (there’s even a fire!). The soundtrack is very accompanying.

However,

this movie is one rotten fish.

It’s a visually interesting movie. But scenes are cut short. Less dialogue! More longshots! The dialogue is terrible. Maybe West-Flemish isn’t the most poetic of all languages (it’s mine) and maybe the sons of a fisherman aren’t all that educated, but still…that’s no excuse to have people bark out ridiculous lines. Better not have them speak at all. The best scenes are mute. The touching of the hands between father and son, the mesmerizing glare into the north sea… There are only a few characters, but half of them are annoying and all them kill every scene once they start talking.

If you make a movie in West-Flemish, you’ll always come across the same actors. Sebastien Dewaele and Sam Louwyck show a different side to their acting and make it kinda work. The latter may stop playing unsympathetic characters though. The former is the best thing in this movie. But somehow they don’t get the chance to fully explore their characters. They are both sons of a dying fisherman. They clearly don’t like each other. One has been in prison and has a drug addiction. The other has been working as a fisherman all his life and had no idea that the family business had been in debt for years. This clash could have been documented much better.

But the storytellers decided to add a third brother, a closeted gay character, who goes to a Berlin-like gay dungeon club (In Oostende??? Please, they don’t even have a club like that in Antwerp or Brussels) to have anonymous sex. He also has an affair with a transmigrant waiting to get across the Channel to England. Wim Willaert does such a terrible job depicting this character. He acts just like he acts in Eigen Kweek, with the same whining voice, the same gestures, the same sensibility. It’s annoying. There’s no need for this character. I get it, it’s a way to introduce the transmigrant story, but still. They could have found a different way.

This movie had so much potential, but the script and the dialogue ruin it all. But at least they got enough funding! Make a movie about a declining historical regional profession –> funding. Make a movie about a hot topic –> funding. Add an lgbt character –> movie festival selection. Add a French actor –> international funding.

Disappointing

www.imdb.com/title/tt5492502

The Happy Prince – **

Posted: October 12, 2018 in 2018, biopic, Drama, LGBT themed, UK, XX

Oscar Wilde was quite a fascinating man. A popular playwright sentenced to prison because of his homosexual behavior. He was married with two children, but the lust for young men and one man in particular landed him in jail for two years. It was Victorian England and homosexuality was the worst of all sins. Once released he went into exile across to France and lived the last years of his life in poverty and illness. He reconnected with the lover that made him go to prison. He constantly dismissed the advice of his agent. He had no money, yet spent it all on drugs (coke, absinthe) and prostitutes.

Yes, this is what you get to see in this biopic. Misery with capital M.

Yet, it’s a well-directed movie. The late 19th Century atmosphere is well reproduced. The production design is awesome. Costume details as well. Attention to detail is great. And the performance of Rupert Everett as Oscar Wilde is quite exceptional. It’s clear that he’s know a lot of man he portrays. In fact, he’s the director of the movie. It’s worth mentioning that he doesn’t show Wilde as a hero at all. This is a flawed man, with a complex character. The complexity isn’t explained, but shown. Too bad you don’t really get to see what his talent was. It helps if you’ve read a book or play by Wilde before watching this movie. Otherwise it’s just a movie about a sad old queer. There are a lot of references to his life and work and period of living, so it also helps if you have some background when watching this drama.

Still. Worth watching.

www.imdb.com/title/tt2404639

Lovelace – *

Posted: October 10, 2018 in 2013, Drama, USA

(sigh)

The star of the infamous porn movie Deep Throat didn’t have such a nice experience making the movie. Surprise!

Girl meets aggressive, addicted pimp, falls in love, runs away from home, marries the douch, learns how to give him a blow job, gets beaten by him, is forced to do porn and recounts her story.

There you go. No need to watch the movie really.

Sharon Stone is pretty impressive though. As the mother, to be clear.

The original porn movie is available online, but sucks. Literally and figuratively. It may be a ‘cult’ classic, but it’s hard to watch the entire thing. The porn actors sure were ugly back in the early seventies.

www.imdb.com/title/tt1426329

The Post – **

Posted: October 10, 2018 in 2017, Drama, Political, USA, XX

After the death of her husband, Mrs Graham (Meryl Streep) is in charge of the Washington Post, a local newspaper with an editor-in-chief (Tom Hanks) that thinks he can rival the New York Times. The newspaper is about to go public, but just as that’s about to happen, the staff receives information about a major cover-up in the white house. Several presidents have lied to the American people about the progress that the US troops made in Vietnam. Should they publish the story and risk it all?

Steven Spielberg decided to make a movie about these true events at a moment when freedom of press is again being questioned. The references to the current situation are a bit too obvious. The acting isn’t particularly great. And the story isn’t particularly gripping (you know the end before you start watching). But it’s well-directed.

www.imdb.com/title/tt6294822