Archive for the ‘Historical’ Category

The Crown Season 1 & 2 – ***

Posted: November 30, 2018 in 2016, 2017, Drama, Historical, UK, USA, XXX

The story of a princess unexpectedly becoming the queen of the most famous monarchy in the world is fascinating. In twenty episodes, you get to learn a lot about this remarkable woman in the most remarkable way. This is a great drama series. The story is captivating. The visual details are brilliant. The acting is incredible. The casting is phenomenal. If this series would not have been based on true events, it would have been a flawless show. But they are based on true events and more than often, the creators of the show step away from what really happened. It’s sad because most of the time the facts are correct.

This is of course, the story of Queen Elisabeth II, who’s been ruling (well…) over England for more than 70 years. The Queen is such an iconic person, known by all generations all over the world. But she’s also one of the most mysterious. This series shows a different kind of royal. It shows a monarch who is human, with all the flaws and strengths that a good fictional character should have. Thumbs up for the writers of course, who can only create the character based on news reels and information from insiders. Most of what we see is all assumption. But it’s a believable assumption. And big thumbs up for Claire Foy, who is so good in this performance, that she is the queen.

It’s the kind of show that makes you go online and learn more about the royals and the events taking place in the UK and the world during the fifties and early sixties. This project should be sponsored by google and wikipedia ! unfortunately, thanks to research on your own, you realize that the show still is a fictional drama based on true events. It doesn’t make it less of a drama. It just makes it less real.

https://www.imdb.com/title/tt4786824/

First Man – **

Posted: November 13, 2018 in 2018, biopic, Drama, Historical, USA, XX

Ryan Gosling is a great actor to look at. But he has become Ryan Gosling in whatever role he plays. So here, it’s Ryan Gosling doing Neil Armstrong. It isn’t Neil Armstrong. Which isn’t bad. It’s just not particularly great. Claire Foy however IS Mrs Armstrong. She steals the show. But that’s because Mrs Armstrong had a stronger and more fascinating personality than her husband, who is a quiet and reserved man. A boring nerd really.

If only they would have decided to tell the entire story from Buzz Aldrin’s perspective! Maybe it can be a sequel: Second Man. That guy’s story is so much more fascinating and his personality is so much more outspoken. It would have given the movie the energy that it needed.

That said. It’s a nice tale about a man being chosen to become the first man to walk the moon. It’s quite technical and detailed at times. It’s slow. But it works.

www.imdb.com/title/tt1213641

 

BlacKkKlansman – **

Posted: September 1, 2018 in 2018, Civil Rights, Drama, Dramedy, Political, USA, XX

The story is interesting. A black cop calls the local KKK branch to ask for membership. He makes one mistake though: he tells his real name, so he can’t actually go and meet the white supremacists. The chief of police gives the okay for him to investigate the organization, but someone else has to pretend to be him. They find the Jewish kid in the corps to do it. And so he infiltrates in the white supremacist group to see if they plan a violent attack.

The execution of the story however isn’t as impressive as you’d expect it to be. Spike Lee is directing, which is a good thing. But instead of focussing on the story, he focusses on making references to the current situation in the United States. It’s so obvious. The references aren’t subtle at all. It’s annoying. It’s like Spike Lee assumes his audience is dumb. The members of the KKK are also depicted as illiterate, mentally unstable retards. Which they might well be. But it makes the movie feel like a comedy at times. Which is annoying as well.

The movie ends with the most obvious reference of it all: footage of the neonazi march in  South Carolina and Trump’s reaction to it. It’s the most dramatic scene in the movie. It’s the most shocking one as well. It’s only 2 minutes, but it make you leave the theatre thinking more about that event than thinking about the 2 hour-long movie you’ve seen leading up to it.

That said. The movie has a cool vibe though. Maybe Danny Glover would have been a good alternative to play the main character, but John David Washington is doing a great job as well. (why has this guy not been in more movies?) Robert John Burke is another of those gems. Even Adam Driver is doing a fine job. Some scenes are really well done, but others are overlong.

Spike Lee knows how to make a good-looking and visually interesting movie. And he knows how to stir up some controversies. But this movie isn’t really telling something we didn’t already know.

www.imdb.com/title/tt7349662

Rob Roy – *(*)

Posted: May 19, 2018 in 1995, Drama, Historical, UK, USA, X1/2

In preparation for a trip to Scotland, Rob Roy was worth the re-watch. Saw it upon its theatrical release and wasn’t really overwhelmed, but I know more about the Jacobites now than in those days and I do remember Tim Roth’s performance as being memorable.

However, 25 years later, this movie still leaves me underwhelmed. It’s historically inaccurate. Sure they refer to the Jacobites briefly, but it’s never really explained what they were. And Tim Roth’s character is over the top. It’s on the border of being ridiculous really.

And then you have the main character: Rob Roy, the Scottish Robin Hood. Apart from the fact that this movie doesn’t tell the real story about this legendary highlander, it also doesn’t really tell the story of an interesting man. There’s zero heroism in this movie. When discussing his future financial plans with his wife, he doesn’t allow her to give him advice. “Give your advice to your children, but don’t you dare tell me what to do.” There’s a lot of macho bullshit talk like that. Then he tells his sons to respect their mother and goes on about respecting women. Make up your mind, bipolar, hypocrite twat!

Why again is this man a hero?

https://www.imdb.com/title/tt0114287/

 

Marshall – **

Posted: March 10, 2018 in 2017, Civil Rights, Courtroom, Drama, USA, XX

Chadwick Boseman may now well be the hottest guy in Hollywood after the stellar success of Black Panther, but his previous movies didn’t really do well at the box office. Nor has he really been in a lot of movies. Regarding his age. Which is sad, because he’s a fine actor. This time around he’s playing yet another icon of black America: Thurgood Marshall, the first black Supreme Court Justice. No biopic this time, but one moment in his life: The State of Connecticut vs Joseph Spell.

In fact, that should have been the title of the movie, because that’s what it is all about. It’s an interesting case where a white socialite claims to have been raped by her black driver, but he claims to be innocent. In comes this Marshall, a prominent and notorious black lawyer, who is sent by the NAACP to make sure colored people get a fair trial. He isn’t really allowed to plead, so they find a Jewish lawyer who has no experience with criminal cases and just represents insurance companies, but who should be willing do to whatever Marshall tells him to do.

It’s an okay movie. It’s a court room drama. It doesn’t really tell much about this Thurgood Marshall. But Chadwick’s performance makes you believe he was an intriguing man. Sterling Brown is great as well as the alleged rapist. But it’s Josh Gad who is doing the best acting as the Jewish lawyer. However, it’s just a court drama. Set in a historic time. Stressing the injustices that were put onto black people and jewish people (it’s set during WW II). It’s the kind of movie you watch, like and then forget.

http://www.imdb.com/title/tt5301662

Sure, it’s a good history lesson and yes, Jessica Chastain is a great actress, but this movie is pretty dull. It shouldn’t be. It’s about a noble and brave couple that helped rescue several Jewish people from the ghetto in Warsaw, during the German occupation. Yet, there’s nothing in the movie that stresses this bravery and nobility. It all feels too much like fiction.

First there’s the decision to film a story in Poland and have the characters speak English. That’s a standard procedure in Hollywood (or other movie industries), but it’s annoying. Especially if the actors speaks English with an accent. Either speak Polish and have it subtitled or speak English. But English with a fake Polish accent, just makes the story less realistic.

Then there’s the development of the side characters. Or better: the lack of. In order to empathize with the victims, it’s important to get to know them. But we never do. They get rescued and hide, but we don’t know anything about them. Some stay a bit longer, others come and go. It’s all very superficial. You should feel like the zookeeper and his wife are doing something special, but the way it’s presented feels like they are just doing what’s right. There’s little tension. And that feels unrealistic too.

And finally, there’s the redundant character of Lutz Heck, a former friend and colleague of the zookeeper and his wife, turning against them and becoming the bad guy in the movie. He’s a zoologist and a scientist with crazy ideas, which is intriguing, but turns out to be a powerful nazi officer in the occupied Warsaw as well. Which is a bit far-fetched.

There are two different stories here. One is about a family who has the means and courage to rescue people and takes the risk of doing so. And the other is about a scientist who uses the zoo’s facilities to breed animals that were believed to be extinct. Mixing both of them feels fictionalized.

The Zookeeper’s Wife is okay movie fare, but the real story is much more exciting.

https://www.imdb.com/title/tt1730768

 

Roots (2016) – ***(*)

Posted: November 7, 2017 in 2016, Drama, Historical, Slavery, USA, XXX1/2

Back in 1977 a television series was ground breaking (and successful) telling the story of the descendants of a captured young African warrior who was shipped from The Gambia to the United States and sold as a slave. His name was Kunta Kinte and his struggle and legacy is still known and popular in American pop culture. Just think of the hit single of Kendrick Lamar (‘King Kunta’). But the 1977 show looks a bit old fashioned for young kids and so a remake was produced, shown last year to critical acclaim.

It’s a powerful story, stretching over several generation. From 1750 before the American Revolution to the end of the Civil War in 1865. It’s not just the story of Kunta Kinta, but also of his daughter Kizzy, his grandson Chicken George and grand-grandson Tom.

Compared to the original series (seen four years ago), this remake is much shorter. It has more action. The acting is better. The setting is more professional. It’s visually a much better series. It’s what you can expect from a big budget tv series these days. Even though the story is based on a fictitious character, the events are depicted in a neutral, historically correct way. (Alt-Right Neo Nazis may disagree of course). Compared to the first series, the ‘white characters’ are better developed. There’s even a good white character this time. Hooray!

This is and excellent series for those who aren’t too familiar with the early history of the African American community. An absolute must. But it’s also worth watching for those who have seen the original show. The acting is truly much better. That Malachi Kirby is phenomenal as Kunta Kinta. But Regé-Jean Page as Chicken George is also quite exceptional. Jonathan Rhys Meyers kills it in all of his scenes. He’s a delight. Even though he’s the mean white slave owner.

The creators had to cut a lot of stories to fit in just four episodes. That’s a bit sad. Because there is much more to tell. The decision to skip several decades from time to time was necessary and it works. But you want to learn so much more.

http://www.imdb.com/title/tt3315386