Archive for the ‘Drama’ Category

The Pass – (*)

Posted: December 14, 2017 in 1/2, 2016, Drama, LGBT themed, UK

If it was the idea of the director to make a total fool of gay footballers in the closet who cover up their sexuality by pretending to be more macho than they actually are, then he succeeded well.. This movie is making a fool of gay people. It’s making a fool of celebrity football players. It’s making a fool of people in the closet. It’s making a fool of anyone who has secret desires, but covers up for ‘the better’.

The main character is such a c*nt. He’s utterly unpleasant from the first moment you see him until the very last. There’s nothing likable about him. He’s played by Russell Tovey, the douche from Looking, not necessarily a good ‘actor’. His over the top pseudo macho behavior is annoying as hell. Especially his Ricky Gervais-like laugh. Then there’s the love interest, buffed actor Arinze Kané, who just looks buffed really.

The movie is based on a play. That explains the very limited settings. Basically all scenes take place in a hotel room or one bedroom apartment. And the dialogue takes forever. Maybe this works on stage. But it does NOT work as a cinematic experience.

What a disappointment.

Look at Wound instead. Another movie about gay men in the closet in a very macho environment. That one feels realistic. This one just feels like a joke.

http://www.imdb.com/title/tt5160154

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Loving Vincent – **

Posted: November 29, 2017 in 2017, Animation, Drama, XX

It’s surprising how long it took before a painted movie was made. Ever since I was a kid, I wondered why nobody ever made a movie about a painter in the style of the painter concerned. An impressionist movie about Monet! An baroque movie about Rubens. There have been a few attempts in the past, mostly live action settings, but this is the first painted movie. Several teams of painters painted each frame, edited together with a stop motion technique. It’s quite fascinating…. For the first 15 minutes at least. Then you get used to it and you focus on the story, which sadly isn’t so intriguing. Unless you’ve never learned about the death of Vincent Van Gogh.

After learning about the death of Vincent Van Gogh, the son of an Arles postman is commisoned to take a sealed letter to Vincent’s brother Theo in Paris. Upon arrival he learns that Theo has passed away and so his journey continues to Auvers-sur-Oise, where Vincent apparently shot himself. The man gets more intriguied in the happenings during the final days of Vincent’s life, so he starts asking around for more details.

That detective element doesn’t quite work. There are just too many dialogues/interrogations with several characters, during which the extraordinary painted animation isn’t used to its full potential. Sad really. But you want to see it for the drawings. Which are marvelous at times. Even when you’re not a Van Gogh fan. It’s still quite a feat. And well done.

http://www.imdb.com/title/tt3262342

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.

http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0085859/ 

The South African entry for the Academy Awards of 2018 is quite a controversial movie in its home country. If focuses on the ritual tradition of the Xhosa to send their young men up to the mountains where they stay for a few weeks to be ‘initiated’ into manhood. This also means they get circumcised and need to heal. It’s a practice which still occurs these days, even though a lot of modern families send their sons to a hospital for a safe medical ‘cut’. It’s a cultural tradition and a personal affair. So, yes, this movie takes away the secrecy and brings the story to a larger (international) audience. Apart from that, the movie also focuses on three men with homosexual desires. Another controversial topic in South Africa, where being gay is legal, but doesn’t get the support from the majority of the population.

For Europeans, this is a fascinating movie. But it is voyeuristic. It’s not a movie made by and for the Xhosa people. It’s a movie made by a white director for an international crowd. Luckily, this thought only comes to mind afterwards. During the movie, you are soaked up in the story, mesmerized by the acting and in awe of the beautiful setting. The interaction between the three main actors and their characters is the best feat of the movie. The end result is quite respectful for the tradition. And the homo-erotism is very present, but not as sensational as in other movies.

Calling it the African Moonlight doesn’t do the movie justice. It’s actually sad that the latter movie won the Oscar last year, because now voters may not give this one a fair change because it’s again about black homosexuals. If the movie had been released a few years ago, it would have made a great chance of winning the Academy Award for best foreign picture.

http://www.imdb.com/title/tt6333070

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.

http://www.imdb.com/title/tt1389137 

 

Ae Fond Kiss – **

Posted: November 14, 2017 in 2014, Romance, Social Drama, UK, XX

For a movie made in 2004, this Ken Loach film still functions well in 2017. Nothing has changed in 13 years. A sad conclusion. The premise still intrigues these days. Can a catholic, female music teacher and a muslim accountant find happiness as a couple in modern-day Western society? Yes? No? Maybe?

Ae Fond Kiss feels like it was made by a debutant graduating from an unknown film academy. Which is not a bad thing, apart from the fact that it’s made by an experienced and award-winning director. The script is so predictable. Of course the catholic school environment will be depicted as being as old-fashioned as the Pakistani tradition of arranged marriages. The social commentary is too gentle. If you want to confront viewers with racism, don’t do it by just mentioning it. Go for the uncomfortable feeling! Some scenes don’t make sense. Like the moment where the guy discovers a tattoo on the body of his new girlfriend, which he has been licking and kissing all night long a few days before. Duh! The acting of most of the cast is non-professional. Which is fine. Eva Birthisle is quite remarkable as the teacher. Atta Yaqub looks lost as the Pakistani accountant. But playing the character as a bit of a shy loser, makes him more sympathetic. The rest probably didn’t even get paid for being extras with lines.  It has a terrible end. Totally opposite of what any rational person would conclude. But the whole experience is worth the watch. A Scottish movie to recommend!

http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0380366

 

 

 

Battle Of The Sexes – **

Posted: November 11, 2017 in 2017, Dramedy, Romance, Sportsdrama, USA, XX

Back in 1973 Billy Jean King beat Bobby Riggs at a demonstration game in tennis. Maybe you shrug your shoulders and think: big deal. But it was at the time. Billy Jean King was the best female tennis player in the world and Bobby Riggs was a has-been Wimbledon champion who only played demonstration games to finance his gambling addiction.

A lot of things were at stake. Billy Jean King had started her own tennis circuit out of anger because the tennis association only paid her 1/8 of what the male tennis players were getting. A previous (less advertised) game had been a disaster for women rights activists (because the female player lost). The event drew 90 million viewers around the world (most of them probably in the US). It was a big deal. Up until now it’s still quite relevant. Women still don’t get equal pay in a lot of profession and sports. There are still quite a lot of chauvinist pigs around. People still believe the game was a fraud and Riggs lost on purpose…

But all this information isn’t necessary to go see the movie. It’s not that serious. It’s very light-hearted. It’s fun. Emma Stone is good as Billy Jean King. Steve Carell is excellent as Bobby Riggs. There’s a golden globe coming up for this guy! It’s a very easy to like movie.

http://www.imdb.com/title/tt4622512