Archive for November, 2018

The Crown Season 1 & 2 – ***

Posted: November 30, 2018 in 2016, 2017, Drama, Historical, UK, USA, XXX

The story of a princess unexpectedly becoming the queen of the most famous monarchy in the world is fascinating. In twenty episodes, you get to learn a lot about this remarkable woman in the most remarkable way. This is a great drama series. The story is captivating. The visual details are brilliant. The acting is incredible. The casting is phenomenal. If this series would not have been based on true events, it would have been a flawless show. But they are based on true events and more than often, the creators of the show step away from what really happened. It’s sad because most of the time the facts are correct.

This is of course, the story of Queen Elisabeth II, who’s been ruling (well…) over England for more than 70 years. The Queen is such an iconic person, known by all generations all over the world. But she’s also one of the most mysterious. This series shows a different kind of royal. It shows a monarch who is human, with all the flaws and strengths that a good fictional character should have. Thumbs up for the writers of course, who can only create the character based on news reels and information from insiders. Most of what we see is all assumption. But it’s a believable assumption. And big thumbs up for Claire Foy, who is so good in this performance, that she is the queen.

It’s the kind of show that makes you go online and learn more about the royals and the events taking place in the UK and the world during the fifties and early sixties. This project should be sponsored by google and wikipedia ! unfortunately, thanks to research on your own, you realize that the show still is a fictional drama based on true events. It doesn’t make it less of a drama. It just makes it less real.

https://www.imdb.com/title/tt4786824/

The concept of this French Netflix original is great. A chauvinist macho guy wakes up in a world where the men have a subordinate position and everything is run by the women.  Moreover, the women act like men and the men act like women. It’s a fun concept and there are laughs throughout the movie, but it’s a gimmick that never really becomes a story. Some scenes are really cool though, but they would work better in a weekly sketch show. The men need to wear shorts. The women wear suits. The men get the coffee and do the ironing and get emotional when watching tv. The women fall asleep after sex, mostly just after a few minutes of riding someone’s penis and not caring at all about servicing their partner. It’s really fun. Like how they sexualize the male body in tv programs. Hilarious!

But there’s no story!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Sure, the man falls for a successful writer who wants to use him as the character of her new book. She ends up falling for him as well. BORING! They made better romcoms in the fifties with the classic men/women contrasts shown by Rock Hudson and Doris Day.

But it’s fun nevertheless. Just not particularly well acted.

 

www.imdb.com/title/tt6857988

 

 

Beautiful Boy – **

Posted: November 22, 2018 in 2018, Disease of the week, Drama, USA, XX

The beautiful boy in the title is Nic Sheff, a young adult with a bright future ahead, but with an addiction to Crystal Meth. His caring father is clearly disappointed when he finds out that his son is dependent on a hard drug, but tries to help him as much as he can. To no avail. Crystal Meth addicts are immune to rehabilitation, so it seems.

It’s an okay movie, but nothing all that memorable. It kind of feels like a made for tv disease of the week movie from the nineties. (Amazon made it) Sure, the acting is great (that Timothée Chalamet is again really convincing), but the direction isn’t all that special and apart from the father/son relationship through hard times, there isn’t really a ‘story’. It’s a very American movie. Not sure why they wanted a European director.

www.imdb.com/title/tt1226837

Ready Player One – *(*)

Posted: November 21, 2018 in 2018, Action, Animation, USA, X1/2

Steven Spielberg may be 70 or so, but he still knows how to make movies that appeal to a younger moviegoing audience. Respect. The idea of this movie isn’t bad and the execution isn’t either. But most of the story is set in a second life like alternative reality and that’s a big turn-off if you’re not part of the target audience. If you grew up playing video games (or if you are still a gamer), this may be a lot of fun. If you didn’t, it’s chaos.

The future looks horrible. It’s 2045 and people live in skyscrapers made out of trailers and cars and other unstable stuff. Life sucks and the only way to escape it is to enter the ‘Oasis’, a virtual reality place where everyone can be who they want to be. The creator of this second world has passed away and left a few keys in his creation that need to be found. Whoever owns the keys will get control over this alternate society. So far, so good. Wade is a teenager who is obsessed about this quest and is – like many others – determined to find the keys. By clever thinking, he finds the first one, but then the troubles start. Suddenly he starts having enemies and his life in both realities is in danger. So far, still good.

But then the real action and adventure starts and it is filled with references to pop culture. The references to other games are legio and are very confusing. The references to recent movie classics are fun, but not too subtle. The references to music are a joke.

It’s not a bad movie, it’s just… well… not for me.

www.imdb.com/title/tt1677720/

Bohemian Rhapsody – **

Posted: November 14, 2018 in 2018, biopic, Dramedy, LGBT themed, Musical, USA, XX

This is a pretty entertaining movie for anyone who knows the songs of Queen, but never really bothered learning more about them or their lead singer Freddy Mercury.

Being a teenager in the eighties, this band had zero appeal to me. The songs were anthems for the masses and the front singer just looked ugly as f***. Those teeth! Yet, a few decades later and the songs still stand and have become rock and pop classics. So, they must have done something right.

It’s clear why this movie attracts large crowds. It’s filled with the songs that people want to hear. In fact, the last 15 minutes or so are a re-enactment of their Live Aid concert in 1985, considered by most as the best performance of that night. It’s a daring choice, but it works. It’s a great performance. As a vinyl collector I have NO singles or albums of this incredibly important band, but next time I see The Works or A Kind Of Magic on the flea market for 5 euro, I’ll take them home.

So, music wise, this is a great movie. Visually it’s quite attractive as well. The acting is silly. 80s Mercury is performed extremely well by Rami Malek. But that’s about it. The story however is so obviously edited for the masses. Just like their music. It doesn’t shy away from Mercury’s flamboyant lifestyle, but it just lets the audience assume things and doesn’t confront them with it. And that’s okay. There’s no need for explicit scenes.

It’s very clear that the band members are the good guys and his personal assistant is the bad guy. That is SO obvious. It’s very clear that the band members and the former wife of Freddy somehow supervised this movie. But that’s okay. Sure, the movie does the all American thing where being gay is okay as long as you have a monogamous relationship, but hey, at least they mention that he’s gay. At least his wife mentions that he’s gay.

It’s very enjoyable.

www.imdb.com/title/tt1727824

First Man – **

Posted: November 13, 2018 in 2018, biopic, Drama, Historical, USA, XX

Ryan Gosling is a great actor to look at. But he has become Ryan Gosling in whatever role he plays. So here, it’s Ryan Gosling doing Neil Armstrong. It isn’t Neil Armstrong. Which isn’t bad. It’s just not particularly great. Claire Foy however IS Mrs Armstrong. She steals the show. But that’s because Mrs Armstrong had a stronger and more fascinating personality than her husband, who is a quiet and reserved man. A boring nerd really.

If only they would have decided to tell the entire story from Buzz Aldrin’s perspective! Maybe it can be a sequel: Second Man. That guy’s story is so much more fascinating and his personality is so much more outspoken. It would have given the movie the energy that it needed.

That said. It’s a nice tale about a man being chosen to become the first man to walk the moon. It’s quite technical and detailed at times. It’s slow. But it works.

www.imdb.com/title/tt1213641

 

Kursk – *(*)

Posted: November 13, 2018 in 2018, Belgium, Disaster, Drama, Luxemburg, X1/2

Kursk is an ambitious movie about a Russian submarine disaster that happened not that long ago. It focuses on the crew that survived the initial blast and got stuck at the bottom of the sea waiting to be rescued. It also shows the despair and frustration of the family members waiting for news about their loved ones. And it’s a big critique to the malfunctioning Russian marine. So far so good.

However, this is a Belgian movie (!) with an international (European) cast who all speak English with an accent. They don’t even try a Russian accent. No, they speak English with a French, Swiss, German, Danish, Swedish, Flemish, Dutch accent. Oh, there are some British actors too, but they play  British navy staff so that’s ok. It’s initially very difficult to accept. Especially during the (overlong) character introduction. Here you have a bunch of Russian marines and their wives at a wedding in a remote Russian village and they all sound like exchange students speaking English as a common language.

But then the story moves forward as the submarine experiences a first explosion, which happens faster than expected once the ship sails out. Several crew members manage to survive the blast and are locked up in a small compartment trying to figure out how to get enough oxygen. Outside, the Russian navy is trying to figure out how they are going to rescue the survivors with their malfunctioning equipment. Further outside is the British navy offering help, to no avail.

The appreciation of the storytelling depends on your knowledge of the outcome of the events. The appreciation of the actual movie experience depends on what your expectations are of a disaster movie made with a budget of 20 million euro.

It’s not such a bad movie really. It’s not going to get a wide release though.

www.imdb.com/title/tt4951982