Archive for the ‘Black & White’ Category

In an attempt to escape the madness of this world, watching Columbian arthouse favorite El Abrazo De La Serpiente looked like the best possible solution. A botanical scientist is following a trail in the Columbian amazone to find a rare and powerful healing plant. He gets the help from an older shaman, who – decades before – escorted a German explorer along the same trail. The movie switches back and forth between the two journeys.

The synopsis is exciting, the trailer look promising, the recommendations and ratings on movie websites are a big draw… but in the end, it kind of disappoints. It starts off great. The first half of the movie is excellent. The jungle looks stunning (even in back & white) and the (non professional) performances of both the younger and the older indigenous healer are fascinating. But then the movie becomes a hotchpotch of all kinds of things that don’t make any sense. Sure it’s poetic and filled with symbolism, but it’s like the story grabs you tight for the first hour and then drops you in a mess, which you have to figure out yourself. That can be fine for some, but not if you’re in a mood to just escape the madness of this world.

Not sure how a Flemish actor like Jan Bijvoet got cast as a German doctor in a Columbian movie, but he’s actually pretty good.

http://www.imdb.com/title/tt4285496

Tarzan Escapes is the third installment in the series with Johnny Weissmuller as the ape man. It’s a big disappointment and proof that sequels already lacked originality back in the thirties. Everything kind of looks and feels the same. It’s more of a remake than a sequel. The repetitiveness starts to annoy quite fast. In fact, this movie contains a scene that was already featured in the first installment. Honestly, in Tarzan the Apeman, Tarzan goes away to kill a wildebeest and gets into a fight with a lion. The exact same scene is shown in this movie as well.

The story focuses on family members of Jane who want to bring her back to England. They get escorted by an evil hunter who wants to captivate the legendary man ape and present him to a European crowd as a circus act. The journey is very similar to the one that the ivory hunters made in the first movie. Whites lead the way, blacks carry their bags and fall off cliffs or get eaten by wild animals, moving images of exotic animals are edited into the story and Maureen Sullivan is both dominant and girly as Jane.

http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0028345

 

DVD 2 from  Warner Brothers’ 90th Anniversary box is The Cameraman, a joyful romantic silent movie with an excellent Buster Keaton as a clumsy photographer who’s trying to impress a charming girl that works at a news office. It’s a series of individual sketches and the whole love story is just a hook, but it works fabulously. There is not one boring moment. There are several excellent scenes. The acting is superb. Buster Keaton doesn’t smile once during the whole movie, but keeps you mesmerized for the entire 75 minutes.There isn’t any current comedian who could pull that off. His slapstick routine is subtle and his clumsiness feels very natural (unlike that of Rowan Atkinson’s similar but unfunny Mr Bean for instance). Marceline Day shines as the love interest and her character is quite modern. I mean, she works, she takes the initiative to go on a date, she risks her job give him a chance …

Just too bad that the piano & organ score is too present. They also function as sound effects, which bring smiles in the beginning, but annoy after a while. However, overall totally enjoyable.

http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0018742

In fact, the whole movie is on youtube:

Bought myself a dvd box for the 90th Anniversary of Warner Brothers. The first of the collection is the movie that changed cinema forever: the first talkie. 

It’s the kind of movie classic that everyone knows about, but hardly anyone has seen. And with reason. It’s a bore. It must have been a huge hit back in 1927 just because of its innovation: there’s a dialogue halfway through the movie! And the guy you look at sings! However, the rest of the movie is still silent.

It’s about a  jewish kid who’s destined to be a cantor in the local synagogue just like his father and 4 generations before him. But he prefers to sing jazz tunes in a bar nearby. He’s expelled from his parental house and ten years later he is the star of a broadway show and is confronted with his parents again.

Sounds like it could be a great movie, but it’s not. The songs aren’t really captivating, the acting doesn’t feel real, the story boards are a real pain and the story is annoying.

But at least I’ve seen it now.

http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0018037