Archive for the ‘Gangster Movie’ 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.


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 !

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.

This is the most boring and ridiculous tv series I’ve ever finished watching. It took me more than a year to sit through this really bad soap opera. And it is a really bad soap opera. The only reason why people give it some credit is because the story is taking place in a modern setting: that of the music industry, more specific the black music industry.

But it’s really just a bad soap opera. The first two episodes still intrigue. There’s definitely some potential. A former artist turned music mogul is diagnosed with ALS and only has a few more months to live. He has three sons. The oldest is a business school graduate and ready to help his dad bring the company to the stock exchange. The middle one is a talented singer songwriter and the youngest has the star power to become a successful rapper. The all have their flaws though. The oldest is bipolar, the middle one is gay and the third one is spoiled brat.

Enter: Cookie Lyon, the wife of Luscious Lyon (the media mogul). She spent the past 17 years in prison taking the fall for the misdemeanors of her husband, helping him set up a record company. Her arrival changes everything. And her presence is the ONLY reason why you want to watch this tv series. All the rest is bullshit. The problem is that you’re never sure if the show wants to be a parody or the real deal.

No second season for me.


Jandino Asparaat is an Antillean Dutch comedian who has a sketch show on tv that is sometimes funny. Somehow someone thought it was a good idea to make a feature movie out of the many types he plays. Unfortunately, it didn’t work. Maybe, if you know the tv show, there may be some laughs for you. But even if you do, you can count those laughs on both hands. Just not enough for a comedy.

Oh. It’s about a small criminal who rents out luxury villas of Dutch expats to tourists when they are gone from the island of Curacao. One of those expats is a mob criminal though and the tourists who stayed illegally in this villa messed up the place. So the petty criminal needs to start paying for the damages. But since he has no job he has to go to Amsterdam, where he starts working at a KFC-like fastfood store. Which of course won’t bring in money, so he decides to con some more.

Last screening at the local cinema. Missed the premiere several weeks ago. Didn’t hear anyone rave about this movie. Nor did it appear on any best of 2015 movie lists. However, it’s still Tarantino and worth a cinema ticket. That is, if you are not jet lagged and tired.

The Hateful Eight is disappointing. Everything you expect from a good Tarantino is absent: motherfucking funny dialogue, excessive violence, great acting, a cool soundtrack and some awesome cinematographic shots. Nothing!

Maybe, just maybe, if I’d seen it all fresh and awake upon its premiere I might have been more excited. Now it just felt like a compulsory watch. And it bored the hell out of me.

Tarantino’s worst. Well, still need to see Deathproof

Straight Outta Compton tells the story of Easy E, Ice Cube and Dr. Dré. If these names don’t ring a bell and you’ve never heard of the hiphop collective N.W.A., then this may not be for you. The movie focuses on the music, the struggle and the lifestyle of some of the most important hiphop pioneers. The rise of west coast gangsta rap may not be of interest to many. However, the story is intriguing enough to entertain a large audience. The soundtrack is great. And some of the acting is superb (especially of the main characters). This blockbuster biopic wasn’t even scheduled to be released in the Benelux, until it turned out to be a huge box office hit in the States and hiphop fans demanded a theatrical release. Not that it scored well here, but at least it was shown. It’s most definitely worth the watch.

But… there are several things that prevent this from being a really awesome movie. For starters: the interpretation of Paul Giamatti as the manager of N.W.A. . It’s terrible. Second: the depiction of his character, Jerry Heller. It’s very biased. Next: the kid who plays Snoop Dogg. Not good. But ultimately what really bugs is the obviousness of who produced this movie: Easy E’s wife, Ice Cube and Dr Dré. They are just too heroic. McRen and Dj Yella seem like they were never part of the group. And even though above mentioned Jerry Heller and record label owner Suge Knight aren’t the nicest people in the world, it feels like this movie is a big diss to both of them. That said, Dr Dré and Ice Cube have every right to do so.

It’s confronting to see biopics of bands that you grew up with (or were around when you grew up). It dates from a period when the cool rappers came from the East Coast. De La Soul, Public Enemy, LL Cool J. In 2013 they performed with Ice Cube on the Kings of the Mic tour. I went to the show in New York. Ironically enough, Ice Cube gave by far the best performance. I wasn’t a fan at all in the early nineties, but 25 years later this movie brings back memories. The time has come that ‘historical accounts’ – whether fictionalized or not – will refer to my own youth and adolescence. Aaaarghhhh.

Advice: after watching the movie allow yourself a few hours of time to look up videos and wikipedia entries and rolling stone articles to get to know more about the beefs between Dré and Cube, Dré and Suge Knight, Cube and Heller, etc…