Archive for the ‘Dramedy’ Category

I, Tonya – **

Posted: March 11, 2018 in 2017, biopic, Dramedy, USA, XX

Sure, it was on the news in Europe back in 1994: skate champion hires someone to injure her main competitor. But it was just a tidbit. Who cared? Apart from the entire American nation maybe. It is one of those bizarre sport incidents that get picked up in pub quizzes or so. Like that time tennis player Monica Seles was stabbed on court. It happened, it was in the news, it was bizarre enough to remember, but that’s basically it.

Now there’s a movie about the incident and it’s all over the news again. With much more details and attention. And less bias. Margot Robbie plays an intriguing Tonya Harding. Allison Janney deservedly won an Oscar for her part as the terrifying mother. And Sebastian Stan is quite a revelation as Tonya’s husband Jeff, who allegedly gave the order for someone to injure Nancy Kerrigan. This threesome acts great!

The movie is good. But it’s a comedy that tries too hard to be a drama. Sometimes, the balance between both work well and you get an amazing dramedy. But this is not the case with this biopic. Some elements are amazing. You have the excellent camerawork during the figure skating routines. Amazing! The storytelling itself is quite entertaining with characters talking directly to the audience at times. There are also some clever visual details. But in the end, it’s more of a parody than an actual biopic.  You constantly think: no way, this is a total exaggeration. Too bad the movie seems quite representative of the life Tonya led, according the former Olympian herself. And however good Margot Robbie is performing, she’s way to old to play Tonya Harding in the years leading up to her peak.

It’s a good movie, but like the notorious incident back then, it will soon be forgotten.


The Florida Project – ***

Posted: January 31, 2018 in 2017, Dramedy, USA, XXX

Movie afternoon with mom.

Her choice: The Florida Project (beating The Post, Wonder, The Greatest Showman, …), because ‘it doesn’t always have to be about rich Americans’ (her words).

We both loved it.

The setting is great. The run down motel and souvenir shop area near Disney World in Orlando.

The filming is great. The colors! The picture like framework!  The camera just following these characters do their thing.

The acting is refreshing. The director just let his cast walk around and say things and then edited the best parts into a movie. It really looks like all scenes were shot in one take.

But the best of all: the story telling. Nothing is being told. Everything is just shown. You have to just interpret. No explanation. Just scenes and they all make sense. The dialogue doesn’t feel scripted. A lot of story elements are suggested with visuals. Excellent!

Yes, my mom didn’t always get it, asking quite often ‘why is he/she doing that?’, but when talking about it afterwards in the car, she did always find the reason why herself. There are quite a lot of references to American pop culture that get lost if you’ve never been to the place before.

This is people watching supreme! And it’s a good lesson for movie makers like the Dardenne Brothers or Ken Loach: it IS possible to add humor and color to a story about the lesser off in our society. In fact, it makes the movie and the understanding for their misery BETTER.



This is one entertaining movie! Great script. Great dialogues. Great acting. Some surprises. Awesome shots. Brilliant balance between drama and humor. Funny social commentary. Intriguing characters. And an excellent end. Any best picture award is well-deserved!

The trailer isn’t that representative of the movie though. It’s not that funny. And it’s not that kind of detective story. It’s just a look at how an angry woman deals with the inability of a police force to find the rapist and murderer of her daughter.

Go see it!

She’s Gotta Have It – **

Posted: December 30, 2017 in 1986, Drama, Dramedy, USA, XX

After watching the tv series, you might as well experience the original Spike Lee movie too.  It’s a low-budget black and white movie that still feels unique and fresh. The jazzy soundtrack (by Spike Lee’s dad) is excellent. This debut is creative and has humor. It has some daring sex scenes for its time. That one scene in color is a gem. But the acting is mediocre (Spike Lee himself gives the best performance – which says a lot) and the editing isn’t so good. (the ideas are great, but the execution is poor). The story isn’t all that strong either. It’s very similar to the series of course. An independent woman is having three lovers and seems to think she can get away with it. In the movie, unlike the series, the men meet each other quite early on into the story. There’s no mention of her being an ambitious artist. Nor do you get to know much about her friends, neighbours and family (a great thing about the series). Some scenes have the exact same dialogue though. Which is weird. And the aggression in the movie is much more aggressive than in the series. The outcome is also very much 1986 and totally different from the 2017 version. But that’s why a remake was necessary.

Nola Darling is a bitch. There you go. She’s terrible. The sort of neo-feminist, who wears sexy dresses and then gets upset when men react to it in a way that she doesn’t like. Bitch, please. Either be sexy and realize that some men can’t deal with independent strong women. Or try not to be sexy. She tries so hard to be that independent strong women who doesn’t give a shit, but she’s constantly bothered with how other people perceive her to be. She wants to be loved and adored, but hates being criticized. Well, sorry, but that’s not how it works. Compared to this character, Madonna is the ultimate feminist.

Nola Darling is entertaining though. She’s an artist living in Brooklyn, in the hip Fort Green area. She has three boyfriends. Just because she can.  One is a married business man, some kind of sugar daddy who ‘sponsors’ her art. The other is a nerdy bike delivery guy who’s not the smartest kid on the block, but who makes her laugh. And the third is a narcissistic photographer who puts her on a pedestal almost as high as his own. They all know that they are not exclusive in her life as she sets rules before she dates men. It’s a luxury life. Living cheap in Brooklyn (the landlord is her godmother who gives her a low rent), adored and loved by many (friends, family, neighbors), and talented on top of all that. The perfect life! Yet, having three boyfriends does take his toll at one point. And that rent still needs to be paid, especially when nobody seems to buy her art. Moreover, one event really freaks her out and messes up her mind. Walking back home, she gets harassed by a man, who doesn’t take no for an answer. He grabs her by the arm and insults her. It’s 2017, so that’s as bad as being raped. She needs to go to the shrink and confronts her boyfriends with macho behavior. In the mean time it inspires her to make anonymous street art that seems to be getting more credit than the pieces she exposes in galleries.

It’s an interesting series. Topic wise. It’s moralizing and political at times. Yawn. But it kind of summarizes what’s been on people’s minds the past couple of years. It’s directed by Spike Lee. So, it’s not strange that there are some ‘controversial’ parts to it. It’s based on his debut movie from back in 1986, but the main story is translated to our modern time. Some of the side stories are really cool. Some aren’t. Most don’t feel real.

The characters are intriguing to watch tough. The acting is good. The soundtrack is incredible. But most of all, the editing is cool. The characters talk directly into the character in certain scenes. There’s a nice selection of still pictures shown in between moving pictures, like you’re browsing through a Humans Of Brooklyn-book. But the coolest editing idea of all is the insertion of the album covers of the music that is played in the previous scene. That’s fucking awesome!

It’s a good series. The first episodes are great. Then it kind of becomes tedious and annoying (when the moralizing begins). But some scenes in the last episodes make it worth watching until the end. The Thanksgiving dance sequence is a classic!

Local Hero – *(*)

Posted: November 29, 2017 in 1983, Drama, Dramedy, UK, USA, X1/2

Maybe some movies do not stand the test of time. Like this ‘classic’ from the early eighties, suggested as a preparation for future work assignments in Scotland. Sure, it’s interesting to see how a small village in the Highlands get excited when the representative of a Texas oil company comes to see if he can buy the land for future development. But it’s quite a bore really. Peter Riegert is quite good as the American who looks at the Scottish villagers with awe and confusion. He carries the movie. But can’t save it. Maybe it’s a great movie if you saw it when it was released and you watch it again with nostalgia. But for a first viewing in 2017 it pretty much sucks. 

We Bought A Zoo – **

Posted: November 15, 2017 in 2011, Drama, Dramedy, USA, XX

A young widower leaves his adventurous journalist life for what it is and buys a zoo to start all over again with his two young children. The youngest kid loves it (she’s 6 or so), the oldest one hates it (he’s 13 or so).  If he hadn’t bought the zoo, all animals would have been displaced and the animal keepers would have had to look for another job. He’s in for the biggest adventure in his life…

The story seems a bit far-fetched. A good excuse to make a movie with big stars and a lot of animals. But it’s apparently based on a true story.

It all feels a bit silly though. The script isn’t strong. It’s a kids’ movie. The kind you can watch at 2 pm in the afternoon. After a (more exciting) BBC nature documentary. Scarlet Johansson is in it, but her role could have easily been played by someone else. Nothing special. Matt Damon is okay in the lead role. He seems to really be having fun. He has some good scenes. Especially the “I Need Help” conversation with his son. But then the movie is over and you’re shrugging.

The use of great indie college rock tracks on the soundtrack is of course the director’s idea But it just doens’t work here.

Check the dvd extra on training animals.