Archive for the ‘Coming Of Age’ Category

Lady Bird – **

Posted: March 18, 2018 in 2017, Coming Of Age, USA, XX

This isn’t really a particularly well made movie. It’s a coming of age story without real surprises. With good acting, sure. But without a real story or message. It’s not directed that remarkably well either. Not sure what all the fuzz is about. There’s really nothing special about this story. The only reason to finish it, is to watch Saoirse Ronan be great as usual. Her performance is quite a joy to look at. Her character however is a confused 17-year-old. She’s attending a catholic school in Sacramento, but dreams of college on the East Coast. She ditches her best friend to chill with the popular girl in school. She wants to get a math degree, but sucks at math. She’s great at performing arts, but refuses to join the Easter play. Sigh. Maybe, if you’re a 17-year-old confused girl or the mother of a 17 year old confused girl, you may find this all relatable or appealing. If you’re not, this pretty much just is a waste of time. Luckily, it’s over before you know it.

http://www.imdb.com/title/tt4925292

 

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Elio Perlman is a cosmopolitan kid who resides with his parents in their fancy summer-house somewhere in the north of Italy. Most of the time he’s just bored. He excels in the arts. Plays the piano, the guitar, reads a lot of books and is a bit of loner. His father does some archeological research in the area and has invited an American man to come help him. The man is dashing. He has the whole village under his charm. From the teenage girls to the poker playing seniors. However, this is Elio’s story and Elio falls in love with him.

The directing is fine. The shots are great to look at. The soundtrack really works well. Combining piano compositions with silly 80s italo-disco. The acting by newcomer Timothée Chalamat is remarkable. So different from the shy and uncomfortable appearances on talk shows. The movie makes you want to book a trip to Italy and it makes you want to retreat to go write a book or something and to fall in love with the first attractive stranger that comes around.

BUT. It’s a silly story. Boy falls for man. Man first keeps a distance. Boy starts exploring his sexuality with his best female friend. Man then lures boy into his bed. Boy dumps girlfriend. Man and boy have a holiday fling. The end. Two and a half hours long! Yawn. Yes, it’s a bit awkward to watch a blossoming relationship between an adolescent boy and a man. But watching Lolita is also awkward. But hey, it’s all consensual. The kid is a cool kid to empathize with. The man however is boring as hell. Why on earth is this kid interested in this man? That’s the big failure of this movie. The object of love and lust has the charisma of an abricot. Or no. The abricot has more charisma. Watch the movie to find out why.

Disappointed. The story is boring. The audio-visuals are beautiful.

http://www.imdb.com/title/tt5726616 

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

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

This looked like it would be a fun movie to watch. The trailer promises quirky humor and some action and adventure for both kids and adults. And there is some quirky humor and some action and some adventure. But this is for kids really. Not for adults.

The soundtrack is annoying as hell. The kid is annoying as hell. Sam Neill is annoying as hell. Almost all the side characters are annoying as hell. The CGI is annoying as hell.

So, yeah, disappointing. Not sure how this can win so many awards.

http://www.imdb.com/title/tt4698684

 

 

This may well be the best movie of the year (so far).

Two classmates, who can’t stand each other, find themselves attracted to each other due to circumstances. They are both outcasts and loners and need to live with each other’s presence more than they want to. One is a spoiled kid whose military father is always gone and who’s general practitioner mother has an overly caring heart. The other is an adopted kid who lives with his farmer parents up in the mountains and travels every day about 3 hours to get to school and back. When during the harsh winter months, the mother of the farmer’s boy is hospitalized, the doctor invites him to stay at her place so he doesn’t have to make the journey to school and can focus on his studies. This creates even more tension between the two young adults.

The homo-eroticism is very present since the very first scenes, but it’s never really expressed. This creates a very peculiar atmosphere, which fascinates and thrills. In fact, as a viewer you assume the boys just like each other and are too afraid to admit it. But then the story continues and deals with all kinds of coming of age issues. The absence of a father, the insecurity of being loved by your adoptive parents, the desire to dream big, …

The setting of the story is brilliant and an important key to the movie’s dramatic success. The views of the French Pyrenees (in all kinds of weather conditions) take you away and suck you into this remarkable and unique story. If this would have taken place in Paris it would have been unbelievable and even boring. But somehow in the remote villages and valleys of this beautiful territory, this odd story just makes total sense.

Very impressed. By the acting as well. If Corentin Fila does not win the César for most promising actor than there’s something really wrong with the award show.

http://www.imdb.com/title/tt4331970

Theeb – ***

Posted: October 7, 2016 in 2014, Adventure, Coming Of Age, Drama, Jordan, Road Trip, UK, XXX

It’s not really difficult to define what makes a movie great. When you watch a story on screen that entertains/fascinates/thrills you from start to finish, then it’s a great movie. Period.

Such is the case with this gem from Jordan.

A young bedouin follows his older brother, who is assigned to escort an English army officer through the dessert. At one point he finds him self alone in the vast emptiness…

This is a very entertaining road movie/adventure film/historical piece/coming of age story with a fascinating cinematography and several suspenseful thrills. It makes you want to watch Lawrence Of Arabia again or look up flight tickets to Aqaba to go tracking in the Wadi Rum.

A must. And if you have kids who can deal with death, an excellent movie for children as well.

http://www.imdb.com/title/tt3170902/