Archive for the ‘romcom’ Category

American guests have no idea who Sissi is when they visit Bavaria/Austria for the very first time. Much to the (somewhat acted) shock of local guides, who refer to her quite a lot and then dramatically shout: “You mean: you don’t know Sissiiiiii ?”

The classic Sissy trilogy is not known to American audiences. There’s an abbreviated English dubbed version which is terrible. So never – ever – watch Sissi: Forever My Love. Just watch the original trilogy, in German, with subtitles.

Growing up in Europe, this trilogy is shown almost every year on several tv channels around christmas. Its success is a bit like The Sound Of Music, which was never popular in Austria and Bavaria by the way. Maybe a new generation has never seen the movies, but if you’re over forty, you must have at least seen parts of it.

The first movie: Sissi *** is still a great joy to watch. Camp isn’t the correct term. It’s more cheesy and corny. It’s a idealized portrait of the future Austrian empress from the moment she first meets Franz Joseph to her wedding. It’s a romcom that still works well 7 decades later. There is some efficient slapstick humor, the acting is deliberately over the top, Romy Schneider looks gorgeous and it has all the elements of a fairytale: the bold and adventurous princess, the charming prince (well…) and the evil stepmother. It’s really not a bad movie at all.

In Sissi, die junge Kaiserin **(*), there’s less comedy (although there are attempts) and more drama. Sissi is empress now and has a hard time with the strict life at court. When her first-born is taken away from her, she flees home. Time for Franz Joseph to gain her back. No wedding at the end, no divorce either. But the (very long) crowning of the couple as king and queen of Hungary. Lots of patriotism in this episode. Lots of postcard settings in cities and nature. Lots of Romy looking exactly how everyone wants to remember the empress.

Sissi, Schicksalsjahre einer Kaiserin ** is the third installment and the worst. Even though the first two movies were also not historically correct, they weren’t so historically incorrect as this one. This is pure fiction at times. The comic relief is gone and it just basically shows Sissi abroad. First during her lengthy stay in Hungary, then her trips to Madeira and Corfu (to cure from a lung infection) and then her trip home via Milan and Venice. This must have been like watching the Travel Channel back in the fifties, but anno 2019 it’s not really fascinating. Especially since all these nationalities are introduced in the most stereotypical way possible. No. This is not a good one, but Romy Schneider is absolutely gorgeous in every single scene. So. Watch it while doing something else. Like reading online what really happened to Sissi and Franz Joseph.

 

 

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A Month By The Lake – **

Posted: May 3, 2019 in 1995, Dramedy, romcom, UK, USA, XX

On the long way to Lake Como by train and plane, it looked like the perfect moment to watch the movie all local guides seem to refer to if they run out of stories to tell about George Clooney.

Back in 1995, Vanessa Redgrave starred in a romantic comedy about an older woman retreating in a villa near lake Como. An older man arrives at the retreat and she feels intrigued by him. They go for a drink and then a tennis date, but the chemistry just isn’t there. Until a young woman arrives and messes things up. She’s a big flirt, but the older man falls for her. Enough for the older woman to start flirting with a young man.

Of course, it all ends well. It’s very predictable. It’s a nice movie to watch, when you’re familiar with the region where it’s been filmed. And Vanessa Redgrave is excellent, thanks to the quirky character she can embody. Edward Fox is well selected to play the love interest. But Uma Thurman as the young flirt is terrible though. This movie was released after Pulp Fiction, but it looks like she has no acting experience whatever. Totally miscast.

No let’s see in the next couple of days how easy it is to find romance in this gorgeous district.

https://www.imdb.com/title/tt0113849/

 

Isn’t It Romantic – *

Posted: March 4, 2019 in 2019, romcom, USA, X

Isn’t It Romantic ? NO

It’s a great idea though. A cynical woman who hates romcoms hits her head and wakes up in a world that is filled with romcom clichés. The makers clearly watched a lot of nineties romcoms and trying to guess the references in this comedy is part of the fun. However, the movie makers explain way too many things. If you want to take a piss of romcom clichés, it’s really not necessary to explain the cliché.

Of course the dream she is in leads to a happy ending when she wakes up. But if you want to be original and surprise your audience, this is not the way to go. Luckily, there’s a fun surprise before the end credits roll. Madonna’s Express Yourself covered by the entire cast. Oops. Spoiler !

Next!

www.imdb.com/title/tt2452244

Juliet, Naked – **(*)

Posted: February 7, 2019 in 2018, Romance, romcom, UK, XX

Flight movie #2

At the end of this indie comedy the name Nick Hornsby comes up and it all makes sense. The British author has written several books and screenplays that focus on quirky romance with a musical impact.

Same in this gem, which revolves around a young woman who’s a bit bored with her partner of fifteen years. The guy is obsessed with an indie rock star from the nineties, who he devoted a blog and an entire basement room to. The rock star hasn’t made any music for the past twenty years and seemed to have disappeared from the planet after he walked out of a concert back in the mid nineties. One day a demo cd arrives at the couples’ home address and it turns out to be the first new material of this rock star. This will change the future of all three people drastically.

It’s a fun movie. Ethan Hawke is the rock star and he does a fine job. His character is really goofy and irresponsible. He ends up showing up in the UK, more specific in a charming coastal town of Kent, where the couple lives. The jokes are witty and very British. The drama is light-hearted, but engaging. The music sucks, but that’s the whole point of the story. It’s over before you know it. So give it a shot.

www.imdb.com/title/tt5607096

Crazy Rich Asians – *

Posted: January 21, 2019 in 2018, romcom, X

Flight movie #2

The title says it all. In the first hour of this movie we get to see crazy rich Asians, doing their crazy, rich thing in Singapore. Oh and there’s a normal ‘Asian American’ girl observing it all. Her boyfriend never told her he is one of the richest Asians in the world, so she’s in for a shock.

It’s a typical class difference romcom without much comedy and with dramatic romance.  It’s a movie filled with stereotypes and clichés and bare-chested men! The first caucasian man you get to see is racist. The only gay character is effeminate. Women want to shop. Men have to leave the house for business. It also doesn’t make sense. Everyone seems to know who this Mike Young is, but this smart university professor is dating a guy for over a year and she never bothered asking him about his background? And he just doesn’t tell her about his wealth and expects her to just adapt to his posh world? Fool someone else!

It’s a terrible movie. The dialogue is very poor. The acting is mediocre at best. We hear English spoken with an American, British and Chinese accent. It’s explained, but it still feels weird. They talk about decadence but don’t really show it. The cinematography is simple. There are better amateur made home videos on youtube showing the sights of Singapore.

The first hour is terrible. But the Mahjong scene is great. And the Asian covers of Madonna en Coldplay are fun.

www.imdb.com/title/tt3104988

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

 

 

Overboard – **

Posted: June 2, 2018 in 2018, Comedy, romcom, USA, XX

As far as bilingual (Spanish-English) American comedies go, this one is pretty okay. It’s a remake from a 30 year old movie (which I remember having seen in the movie theaters – yes, I’m getting old) with Goldie Hawn and Kurt Russell. But this time around they swapped the gender roles.

A rich man gets amnesia and a poor woman he used to be mean to, decides to pretend he’s her husband. Of course the rich man starts liking his poor new life, until the truth is revealed.

Yes, it’s a stilly, unrealistic story. Yes, it’s predictable. Yes, the acting isn’t so good. But it’s a great 90 minutes of mindless fun. It’s like Snatched. These comedies get roasted for being all of the above. But you know, sometimes, silly can be fun. And it’s okay to like silly.  And Eugenio Derbez’s performance really isn’t that bad at all. He saves the movie from being a disaster.

https://www.imdb.com/title/tt1563742