Archive for December, 2018

When it comes to documentaries that expose almost extinct cultures, this one needs a recommendation.

Sure, it’s a bit voyeuristic and sure, it’s all planned and maybe even scripted, but this episode of a French tv series that explores the ‘unknown world’ is fascinating. It has a very positive vibe, the mutual interest of the members of the tribe and the French visitors is genuine and it’s shot really well. We never get to see the camera and sound man. Nor do we know how big the crew is. But they do a great job. The use of drones is extraordinary. The aerial views are fascinating. But the close-ups as well. The tribes people are very photogenic and not camera-shy at all. We don’t get to see the translator either, so it really feels like the conversations happened in a very easy and simple way.

Not even halfway through this documentary you have lots of empathy for the main characters. There’s the documentary maker who is the reserved, observant, relaxing leader. There’s the uncomfortable celebrity who is confused and scared, but very respectful and curious about this different culture. He’s a comedian, famous in France, unknown elsewhere. Apparently his experience was much harder than what we get to see. But it’s easy to imagine his discomfort. We have two members of the tribe who steal the show. A short guy who is very clever and interested, intrigued in learning about our culture. And a tall guy who looks like an androgen diva, but is extremely confident.

By the end of the documentary, you get as emotional as these four people who need to say goodbye. It’s easy to condemn these documentaries. But this really feels like it’s done with respect. A hundred years from now all these culture will be gone. So they need to be documented. Even if it means they get introduced to our culture. They aren’t naive and stupid. This is probably not the only tv team they’ve encountered. Maybe they over-exaggerate showing their traditional ways of life. Maybe it’s real. That doesn’t matter.

When you visit Swaziland, the guys and girls who come and perform a ‘traditional’ show all arrive on their motorbikes with jeans and change into native clothes. That’s how it is in 2018. But this is a really good episode and it makes you want to watch all the other episodes of the show.

And the soundtrack is great with songs by Belgian artists like Balthazar, Oscar And The Wolf and Girls In Hawaii. A bit bizarre to hear them in this exotic landscape, but still cool.

IT’s online on youtube. Check it out if you understand French.

Advertisements

This is one weird series of single episodes about ventures into the world of the not so distant future with its scary technological changes. Some episodes are excellent, others are crap. Some episode makes you feel uncomfortable and lead to debates with friends. Others are so far-fetched that it’s difficult to get into the story.

As it goes: here’s the list ranked from best to worst. And the new episode is at the bottom.

A nerdy game developer that started up a successful company with his former best friend, is now being bullied at the office. However, at home he dives into his own creation of a Star Trek like game in which virtual reality versions of his colleagues are now under his command. USS Callister *** (S4/1) is a riot.

In Hang The DJ *** (S4/4) couples are matched by a system. People are forced to go on dates that are chosen for them. Two first time daters kinda like each other but the system only gives them 24 hours on the first date. Can they beat the system? Really clever episode. 

Arkangel *** (S4/2) is directed by Jodie Foster. A mother is so obsessed about losing her child that she has an implant put into her that is linked to some kind of tablet on which she can check the location of where her kid is and also see what she is experiencing. Once the child becomes a teenager, she lets go of the control system until she re-discovers the app several years later when she’s worried about her daughter’s behavior.

Nosedive *** (S3/1) makes for uncomfortable viewing, because you see a beginning trend around you all the time. People seem to only do thing for the amount of likes they get on Instagram or the amount of followers they have on twitter. But what if that amount dictates your life and what if you get discriminated when the amount goes down? How far will you go to get more likes? Scary shit.

 A rather reserved girl meets an extrovert woman in a club at the beach resort town San Junipero. Maybe this can be her first romantic and sexual experience? Unfortunately at the strike of midnight, life stops and can only be taken back a week later. Most of the episode takes place in 1987 and has the coolest music and outfits you can think of. But then the twist happens and it’s over. San Junipero **(*) (S3/4) starts of great, but finishes soft.

The Entire History Of You **(*) (S1/3) is the strongest episode of season 1. But it’s a BBC series, so season 1 only has three episodes. It’s a scary episode that makes you feel very uncomfortable. The idea of having a chip implant that records everything you see and do as some advanced camera diary is terrible! frightening! Well done episode.

A series of people die after they have been bullied on social media with the hashtag #deathto. A team of investigators quickly find out how they got killed. They were attacked by artificial bees, mini-drones. But who’s behind it all? Hated In The Nation **(*) (S3/6) is a great episode with a good twist near the end.

A neuro-scientist has opened a museum along a desolate highway focussing on his breakthrough achievements. A young girl stops to visit and learns about three particular cases, of which something is at display. They are bizarre and scary. There’s a lot of talk in this episode, but there’s room for some humor as well.  Black Museum **(*) (S4/6) is worth the watch.

Soldiers get an implant that makes them see the enemy as cockroaches. A new recruit discovers that his implant is a lie. It’s a scary theory. It makes you think about how we see others. Directed by a Flemish movie maker and quite a thrill, but not as unique as other episodes. Men Against Fire: ** (S3/5)

A young woman has a terrible time mourning over the death of her boyfriend. Until someone mentions a certain application that can recreate the deceased person digitally based on whatever the person has posted online. Be Right Back ** isn’t one of the best episodes, but captivates until the end.

In The National Anthem ** (S1/1) a prime minister is forced to have sex with a pig in front of a tv audience in order to save the life of a kidnapped royal. It’s freaky. You constantly wonder how far you would go? It’s explained why the prime minister actually considers doing it, but still, it’s a non dilemma. Weird first episode.

In Playtest ** (S3/2) a careless world traveller likes the idea of playing a new kind of videogame where you emerge into a phantasy world by yet another kind of implant. It’s classic horror. It’s scary and feels really weird. It’s too far-fetched to be uncomfortable though.

A successful woman is confronted with her past when her ex boyfriend is ready to reveal a secret. This has to be stopped and murder is an option. At the same time an investigator for an insurance company uses a special technique to record the last memories of a witness. Both will meet. And when they do it gets scary. But before they meet, it’s kind of boring. Crocodile ** (S4/3) isn’t so exciting.

In Shut Up And Dance *(*) (S3/3) an anonymous source has hacked the computer of a teenager. They filmed him jerking off. Then threaten to expose the video if he doesn’t do what they tell him to do. Along the way he encounters others that have been filmed by that network. It’s well acted and has some surprises, but ends really predictable.

A comedian doing the voice of an obnoxious cartoon in a late night tv show, starts questioning the point of it all when his producers want him to start a show on his own. Or better run for elections. It’s a good idea, but The Waldo Moment *(*) (S2/3) is too short to make a real impact.

The White Christmas * (special) is a mindfuck. It’s a series of stories that all lead to a predictable end. The whole episodes feels like a collage of previous black mirror stories. People can see through other people’s eyes, ‘cookies’ (copies) are taken out of people and placed in an alternate world, etc.. yawn.

A woman wakes up with amnesia and needs to escape certain hunters while everyone is just taking pictures of the whole event. White Bear * focuses on public shaming and the obsession of people to record everything. It’s short. Luckily.

15 Million Merits * (S1/2) is a bore. It’s very futuristic and depressing. It’s frightening to see that this could be a future we are heading to. It’s a world filled with reality tv shows and it’s disgusting.

In Metalhead (no stars) (S4/5) a woman is being hunted by some robot dog that guarded items that were stolen. It’s a mess. It’s boring.

A game developer creates a game based on a book with alternate stories. However, while creating the game, he feels like someone else is controlling his actions. In the new Bandersnatch (no stars) (special) the viewer needs to select how the story will evolve. It’s a unique concept, but it’s annoying. Watching tv with a remote control and having to do all the work? No thanks. They make you go back and revise your choice anyways. So much for being in control.

www.imdb.com/title/tt2085059/

 

On tv because there’s a sequel in the theatre: that other Julie Andrews blockbuster from the sixties.

It’s amazing how much you remember from a movie that you loved as a kid, but haven’t seen in about 35 years or so. And it’s even more amazing how you can still smile with your favorite moments (the I Love To Laugh scene, Michael’s constant stare of amazement, the penguins, …) and how you want to fast forward those scenes that are boring and annoying (all the moments in the bank… )

Re-watching it in 2018 as adult is a challenge. There is just too much music. And the songs are repetitive and terrible. Then there’s Dick Van Dyke, known to be the American actor speaking with the worst British accent ever. As a child, Bert comes across as this fun guy Mary Poppins hangs around with. As an adult, he is annoying as hell. Sure, he tries to ‘honor’ Gene Kelly’s comedic dancing and singing skills. But he fails in every scene. That accent is excruciating.

It’s one of those Disney Classics that didn’t stand the test of time. Not keen on seeing the sequel now.

www.imdb.com/title/tt0058331

 

Best Of Spielberg

Posted: December 24, 2018 in Uncategorized
Tags:

Realizing I’ve seen all of his movies (but not really remembering anything of Close Encounters and Always), here’s a update list of Spielberg’s movies from best to worst.

Jaws ****

Indiana Jones And The Temple Of Doom ****

E.T. ****

Munich ****

Schindler’s List ****

Indiana Jones And The Raiders Of The Lost Ark ****

Saving Private Ryan ***(*)

Minority Report ***(*)

Indiana Jones And The Last Crusade ***(*)

Amistad ***

Duel **(*)

The War Horse **(*)

The Color Purple **(*)

Bridge Of Spies **(*)

Sugarland Express **(*)

War Of The Worlds **(*)

The Adventures Of Tintin **

Jurassic Park **

Jurassic Park: The Lost World **

Catch Me If You Can **

The Post **

Lincoln **

Ready Player One *(*)

The Terminal *(*)

Empire Of The Sun *

Hook *

Indiana Jones And The Crystal Skull *

Artificial Intelligence *

BFG (*)

1941 (*)

 

The Terminal – *(*)

Posted: December 23, 2018 in 2004, Dramedy, USA, X1/2

Spielberg isn’t really all that good with comedies or romantic moments. So, watching his romantic comedy The Terminal felt like a terrible idea. It’s one of the few Spielberg movies I haven’t seen and it’s on Netflix and it’s a lazy Sunday, so hey, what the heck…

This isn’t half as bad as expected. At least not the first hour or so. The set up is a bit ridiculous, but it’s well explained. A man from a fictitious Eastern european country gets stranded at the JFK airport because during his flight a coup took place in his home country and upon arrival in the US, his passport and visum are no longer valid. There isn’t really a solution at hand and the head of the Homeland Security Department can’t arrest him or deport him, so he’s stuck in the international terminal.

So far so good. Then his waiting starts. And his creativity takes a flight. He’s determined to wait for a green light to visit New York. Or better a green stamp. And he starts to build up relationships in the terminal. Not everyone is happy with his presence. Especially the head of security wants to get rid of him. Until at one point he needs his ‘nemesis’. And that’s when the story becomes really unbelievable.

The first hour is kind of fun. Spielberg creates a magical world in a real setting. It works fine. But then somehow it all becomes a mess. There is zero romance in this movie and the comedy is restricted. So, it’s not really a romantic comedy at all.

www.imdb.com/title/tt0362227/

 

Bad Moms – (*)

Posted: December 23, 2018 in 1/2, 2016, Comedy, USA

Crap movie #4

This was on tv. It has the fine Mila Kunis as a young mom who just has too much on her plate. She manages the household, she manages the business that she’s working at, she manages her children’s school work. She does it all. Until her boss tells her to take on more work, until she discovers her lazy ass husband cheats on her (online) and until the school board requests her to be present for a meeting about trivial things. No! It’s over. She no longer wants to be a perfect mom. She decides to be a bad mom. She stops making breakfast for her kids, she kicks her husband out of the house, she takes time off from work…

The trailer kind of promises a Seth Rogen/James Franco- like modern comedy (including a lot of swear words, jokes about anal sex, jokes about shitting and barfing, use of drugs, references to the multicultural society we live in and some lesbian/gay kissing…) But somehow this movie also wants to give a message. Which feels weird. The balance between a story that critiques the high expectations of moms and an over the top comedy doesn’t work. The jokes fall flat. The message gets lost.

After 90 minutes of wasting your time, you’re stuck with one question: since when is being circumcised the standard and is foreskin bad?

www.imdb.com/title/tt4651520

Jaws 3(-D)

Posted: December 23, 2018 in 1983, Horror, USA

Crap movie #3

Someone said The Meg wasn’t that bad.

After having re-watched Jaws 3-D without the 3D effects, it’s true. The Meg isn’t that bad. In fact, compared to the third Jaws-movie, the Meg is a masterpiece.

This movie is so bad, that you would rate it negatively. It’s so bad, that it’s not even good anymore. Other movies are so bad that they become cult and funny. This one is so bad that all the bad movies  you see from now on are good compared to his nonsense.

It’s on Netflix, but the 3D effects don’t work. Do. Not. Attempt. To. Watch. It!

It’s basically about a great white shark entering a man-made Sea World like lagoon. It takes forever before the first attack happens. And none of the following attacks make any sense. This is a huge embarrassment for Hollywood.

www.imdb.com/title/tt0085750