Archive for the ‘Drama’ 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

Advertisements

T2 – Trainspotting – *(*)

Posted: October 4, 2017 in 2017, Drama, UK, X1/2

Now this is an unnecessary sequel. It’s an okay movie. But it misses the soul of the first one: it’s originality and humor. There’s nothing of that in this one. It also feels like none of the actors really wanted to do this movie. And there’s this terrible, pointless, reoccurring ‘end of an action scene’ freeze moment. Annoying as hell. The story sucks to be honest. And the chemistry between the characters is gone. Especially since they all feel betrayed anyways. The soundtrack sucks as well. Yeah, maybe this isn’t such an okay movie after all. BUT, Edinburgh is much well presented visually. Sell out!

http://www.imdb.com/title/tt2763304

It all looks a bit surreal at the end, when a group of underprivileged kids from a favela in Sao Paulo perform a classic musical piece perfectly. Especially since months before the concert, none of them could even read scores or hold their instruments the right way. But hey, it’s cinema. And it comes with a good story. Based on true facts apparently. Far from original, true. But it’s set in Brazil and doesn’t quite feel the same as similar Hollywood stories. A talented violin player can’t secure a place in the National Symphonic Orchestra and needs to teach music in a public school to make some money. The school is surrounded by drug dealers and other criminals and even in the band are some kids who do credit card scamming in their after hours. But the teacher somehow manages to inspire the kids and they end up performing well, making him confident enough to audition for the orchestra again. See. All very predictable.

It’s an okay movie. But the acting by some of the kids is very basic. And the story doesn’t dig deep enough. We never get to learn why the teacher, who is so talented, doubts his own capacities so much. We also don’t get to learn more about the kids and their situation. Sure, there’s that one scene where this girl shouts out that playing music helps her escape from everyday problems. But it feels forced. This could have been a good tv series. Now it’s just an okay movie. Lazaro Ramos is great tough. And Kaique De Jesus (that name!) is set for more starring roles!

http://www.imdb.com/title/tt4972904/

Okuribito (Departures) – *

Posted: September 14, 2017 in 2008, Drama, Japan, X

Hm. This won the Oscar for Best Foreign Language movie over Entre Les Murs, the best movie of this century. Un.Be.Lie.Va.Ble! It’s so incredibly boring, I assume none of the voters actually watched it and just read the synopsis and watched the trailer.

Yes, it’s beautifully filmed. And yes, the main actor performs well. But the story just isn’t all that much. A cello player quits his job and moves to his home town, where he finds a job as a caretaker for the deceased. Hence, the title ‘departures’. It’s a job that nobody wants and that is frowned upon. But when done right, the loved ones of the deceased are grateful for the care. Thanks to the job he comes to turns with the departures in his life.

Poetic? Maybe. Boring? Yes.

http://www.imdb.com/title/tt1069238

Long Distance Flight movie #1 – Discovery of the return flight movie marathon!

Watching To Each His Own only makes sense after visiting Japan and wondering why commuters look very robotic in the morning, but seem jolly after work. It does give you an insight of how strenuous life must be in this fascinating country full of contrasts. The movie is based on a bestselling novel that tackled the Japanese society and its damaging ambition of always wanting to perform perfectly and hiding true feelings of happiness at work. Japan has one of the highest suicide rates in the world. And their office stress is notorious all. However, during visits of Tokyo or Kyoto, one can only see how much laughter is heard at the end of the day and how friendly everyone is. It’s true, the view in the evening is very conflicting with the look in the morning when the entire commuter train is staring at their smartphones and emotionless office clerks march over crossroads like a computerised army of similar looking ants. But it can’t be that bad as in this movie, can it?

As an outsider it’s difficult to judge the authenticity of the depiction of office life in this intriguing drama. Life in the working place of protagonist Attachi is hell. In a western movie the scenes would work as a parody. The exaggerated reactions of the tyrannical boss are quite funny. Until this movies turns out to be a drama and not a comedy at all. Attachi is so fed up with his life that he wants to commit suicide, but he is saved by a young man who claims to have gone to the same elementary school together. Attachi can’t remember the guy and thinks it’s fishy. Is this a gay stalker? (Yes, there are two unnecessarily homophobic scenes in this movie) Is it a scam? Yet, each encounter makes him more confident and happier and makes him re-think life.

It’s a good movie. It’s intriguing because it’s set in a society that is different from elsewhere in the world. This obedience and constant apologetic behaviour feels awkward after a while. But the end is quite remarkable. When we get to learn who this mysterious stranger is.

Oh and the makers added scenes of Vanuatu (the happiest nation in the world), which gives this movie an extra *.

http://www.imdb.com/title/tt5922578

SMS Für Dich – **(*)

Posted: September 13, 2017 in 2016, Drama, Germany, Romance, romcom, XX1/2

Long Distance Flight movie #2

In this romantic tale from Germany, a children’s book illustrator struggles with life after her fiancée was killed in a car accident. Several months go by and she can’t find inspiration for new material. A good friend convinces her to come back to Berlin and another acquaintance suggests she should start communicating with her deceased boyfriend in order to cope with the loss. She starts using her old cell phone again (she had kept in a removal box) and decides to send a message to the number of her dead friend. There is no reply and she continues communicating this way.

In the mean time, a sports journalist receives a new cell phone number at work and starts receiving these weird messages from a girl who confesses all of her thoughts and feelings. He gets so intrigued that he decides to look for her. When they meet its love at first sight. The only problem is: he has not told her that he receives her messages…

It’s a classic movie. With no surprises. It’s been done before, just updated to the messaging times we live in. There is humour and there is an old-fashioned love interest. If this movie was made in the nineties with Tom hanks and Meg Ryan or in the fifties with Doris Day and Rock Hudson, they would have been global box office successes. But this one comes from Germany and got a limited release. Too bad. Great acting. Good story. Recommended.

http://www.imdb.com/title/tt5193460

追憶 Tsuioku (Reminiscence) – *(*)

Posted: September 13, 2017 in 2017, Drama, Japan, X1/2

Long Distance Flight movie #4

A law officer is confronted with his past when he meets an old childhood friend at a diner. The encounter troubles him, because it reminds him of the time he grew up in an orphanage and was an accomplice to a brutal murder by the woman who took care of him. Things become even more confusing when the friend is found dead, murdered.

The synopsis sounds like it’s a good mystery thriller, but it’s not. The investigation isn’t the major focus of the movie (in fact, the murder case is solved in a one minute scene during a phone call – what a disappointment). It’s the emotional baggage of the main character that explains a lot of his evasive behaviour. So, yeah, more of a boring psychological drama really. But with some good acting. And great cinematography.

http://www.imdb.com/title/tt5570680