Archive for the ‘Crime/Detective’ Category

Kicks – *

Posted: October 7, 2017 in 2016, Coming Of Age, Drama, Gangster Movie, USA, X

A 15 year old, underprivileged kid saves up for a fancy pair of sport shoes that will get him more respect. However, soon after he’s wearing them, he gets beaten up by a bunch of nozems who steal his newly acquired kicks. But he’s not ready to just give up and goes after the thief.

Sounds like a pretty normal children’s movie if you read the synopsis like that. But it’s not. This one bathes in a world full of gun carrying, cocaine sniffing, whoring and pimping young adolescents who record beating up people and then post it online. You do not want your child to see this behavior. It’s all represented as it’s every day life in the hood. There are some interesting elements though. The references to rap songs’ verses. The magical realist astronaut visit. But that’s about it. Not even Mahershala Ali can save it.

The beauty of cinema is that you get absorbed into a world that isn’t yours. That you get confronted, mesmerized and moved. This doesn’t happen here. Good luck next time, Justin Tipping, debuting director.

http://www.imdb.com/title/tt4254584

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Movie #2 from the Volkskrant ‘best of 2016’ movie box.

This is everything Boi Neon is not. It’s well directed, well written, well scripted, well acted, entertaining, exciting, cool, intriguing, real and most of all: appealing to a large audience.

Based on true events, this crime story takes place in Argentina in the early eighties. An ex military official, used to kidnapping people during the Junta period, decides to kidnap rich folk and ask ransom to make a living for himself and his children. This works well several times, until – of course – he gets busted. The intriguing part is the fact that his family is aware of what their dad is doing and this is played out really well in the movie. The father himself isn’t the main character, it’s his son Alejandro, who’s very troubled trying to lead a normal life (being a known Rugby player, setting up his own surf shop business, starting a relationship, etc..) while being forced to help his father. This is the angle the producers decided to take and it works wonderfully. When you read in newspapers about the passive complicity of family members of criminals, you always wonder how they can just watch/participate and be quiet, and this movie shows you exactly why.

Great movie !

http://www.imdb.com/title/tt4411504

Black celebrity kills his ex-wife and her male (boy?)friend. Then tries to escape. Kind of surrenders. Gets a widely mediatized trial that lasts for several months. And ends up being declared innocent by a jury! All because the defense lawyer team played the race card and was able to make the jury believe that a) the black celebrity was framed by a racist LAPD officer and b) one of the murder objects (a glove) didn’t fit the defendant.

If this story would have been fiction, this crime series would have flunked terribly. However, it’s based on a true story and that fact alone makes this show a must-watch.

Apart from the white bronco chase and the verdict, this whole trial didn’t really create a buzz in Europa back in the mid nineties. We had the war in former Yugoslavia. This O.J. Simpson thing was just too American to be of interest over here.

So, it’s pretty fascinating to watch this show twenty years later and realize that this wás a big deal back then.

This series itself is close to excellent. Because it’s much more than just a whodunnit murder mystery. It’s a semi documentary about the legal system n the US and how it’s often nothing more than a theatrical game between lawyers. It’s also an excellent social commentary piece about racial tensions and how nothing much has changed in the past 20 years. But most of all this is a fascinating representation of multifaceted characters and a great stage of true acting talent.

Sarah Paulson, Sterling K. Brown and Courtney B. Vance are brilliant as the main characters. Even when you have zero recollection of the characters they are portraying, you can just feel that their embodiment is impeccable. The entire cast is doing a great jb, but they are just top notch. You need ten episodes to appreciate the acting by David Schwimmer, Cuba Gooding Jr. and  John Travolta. Especially the last two cannot shine as the others because of their celebrity status. You’ll learn to love them by the end. Schwimmer (as Rob Kardashian) because he perfectly shows the doubt of a loyal friend, Cuba Gooding Jr. (as a smaller, fatter and goofier version of O.J. Simpson) because he makes it look like O.J. really believed that he was innocent and Travolta (as the campy lawyer Shapiro) who just plays such a weird character that it cannot be but a true representation.

Watch this show! You won’t regret it.

http://www.imdb.com/title/tt2788432

 

 

 

In the French drama Bodybuilder, the world of bodybuilding is just a setting. The real story deals about an estranged father who gets to know his delinquent son after years of separation. The kid needs to go into hiding when a criminal gang chases him for the money he owes. The only place he can go to is the gym that his dad runs in some far away town. So, just like him, the audience starts learning more about the obsession of a bodybuilder training for a big competition and the rest of the crime element becomes obsolete.

There are all kinds of things that are off in this movie. First, there’s non-acting of Yolin François Gauvin, who plays the bodybuilder. A bodybuilder himself, he just plays a bodybuilder. One without emotions. One without charm. One without charisma. It’s very doubtful that director Roschdy Zem wanted him to act that way. This movie is made in France and not in Hollywood, where studios would pay famous actors to train hard enough to look like real bodybuilders. So Roschdy Zem was limited in choosing a main lead. Which makes you wonder why he even started with this project. If the main lead sucks, the movie sucks.

Second, the movie somehow feels like a comical Dardenne’s drama. It’s quite brave to add humor to a sad story in a depressing setting, but it doesn’t always work. You know it’s not a parody, yet at times it feels like it is. You know it wasn’t the intention of Zem to laugh at this underground scene of absurd body sculpting, but it feels at times like he’s making a total fool of his subjects.

But most of all, the story just isn’t exciting. Kid makes debts, runs away, hides with his dad, mocks his dad, acts like a total retard, tries to pay off his debts by getting involved in even more criminal acts and then somehow changes for the better. While his dad just doesn’t give a fuck. B.O.R.I.N.G.

Maybe with a better acting, better dramatic balance and a more gripping story this could have been a good movie. Now it’s just mediocre.

http://www.imdb.com/title/tt3446852

 

 

A fox, who lives as rascal because that’s what society wants him to be, and a rabbit, who became the first rabbit police officer in the fictional town of Zootropolis because that’s what she always wanted to be, team up to find out why 14 predators have mysteriously disappeared.

Yep, a detective buddy cop movie Disney style !

But it’s fun. And it’s really a cool movie for adults as well. In fact, it makes you wonder if kids actually get this movie. They will probably laugh with the sloths working in an administrative position, but do they get the Godfather references? Of course it’s a bit weird to create a society where predators suddenly live happily together with what used to be their prey, but hey, that’s what The Lion King was all about as well.

Get your inner child out to watch this movie and have a great time.

http://www.imdb.com/title/tt2948356

Time goes fast. Cidade De Deus is 13 years old! But since the story is set in the late sixties and early seventies, the movie itself doesn’t age at all. #21 on imdb’s list of best movies ever and #38 on the recent BBC list of best movies of the 21st century: that’s way too low. It’s not a perfect film, but it’s still very entertaining and all the elements that make cinema great join together in a great blend. The acting by – at the time – amateurs is remarkable, the visual flair is astonishing, the editing is excellent, the soundtrack helps where it has to and even though it’s a violent gangster drama, there’s also room for romance and humor and social critique, shown in a most natural way.

The storyteller is Buscapé (named ‘rocket’ in the English subtitles), a young kid from the ghetto who is asked by a newspaper agency to take pictures of the gang violence in the favelas. How he got that assignment and how the gang violence rose to its peak is told in flashbacks, a technique which normally takes away the speed of a movie, but is well done here. The different fragments flow into each other very naturally.

Too bad director Fernando Meirelles never established his talent as the new Tarantino or Scorcese in later work. He did get nominated though for an Oscar (losing to Peter Jackson) for this masterpiece.

This is the kind of movie you can watch every five or ten years and enjoy every single time. And that’s what classics are all about.

http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0317248/

“Why would you finish a show that you don’t like?” asked a friend who asked me what I thought of Dancing On The Edge. 

In short: it’s only five episodes and I somehow hoped it would get better once you got to know the characters a bit more.

Alas! It never got better. It’s just overlong and not exciting at all.

The premise sounds good though. It’s the story of a jazz band who tries hard to get their new music across in 1930s London. They get help from a music reporter and are able to perform in a fancy hotel with not so open-minded guests. The series stars the charming and talented Chiwetel Ejiofor as the leader of the band and the setting, costumes and make up look stunning. So far so good.

But the tone changes from a musical period drama to an ordinary crime story. One of the singers gets severely attacked and it’s pretty obvious who did it. The wrong person gets accused and it looks like he’ll be framed for the crime. A lot of characters are introduced that may or may not be complicit of the crime. So there’s a little suspense. But in the end it’s all so predictable and a drag.

Watch it only for Chiwetel!

 

http://www.imdb.com/title/tt2163315