Archive for the ‘Road Trip’ Category

Captain Fantastic – ***

Posted: November 27, 2016 in 2016, Drama, Family Feud, Road Trip, USA, XXX

Somewhere in a forest in Oregon lives a dad with his six kids. He trains them to survive on their own in nature, killing wild animals, climbing steep rocks and reading very difficult books (sic). Their mom isn’t there, because she’s in the hospital, out there in the ‘real world’.

Then the moment comes when the family learns that their mom has died and will get a typical christian funeral and burial, which is contrary to her buddhist believes. So the whole family goes on a road trip to stop this from happening!

Yes. There are a lot of things in the story that don’t make sense. But it’s a fictional story, so you just need to soak it up and enjoy it like some weird fairytale without a morale. It’s a quirky, strange, bizarre, but lovely tale about a family trying to hold onto something that they know will disappear one day.

Some of the father’s principles are really praiseworthy. But some are just hypocrite. Luckily, the performance of Viggo Mortensen makes you like the character, even at his most unreasonable moments. The road trip makes you want to book a trip to the US yourself. There’s drama, but also humor. A perfect balance.

Too bad the movie takes a different direction just when it becomes really interesting. They finally make it to the real world, but that confrontation is not played out enough. Kind of disappointing if that’s what you’re expecting after having seen the trailer.

Still. Good movie.


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.

Indians can make great feel good movies. They are overlong and overdramatic, but they are able to charm in an old fashioned kind of way.

At the centre of this movie is a 6-year old adventurous girl from Pakistan who gets separated from her mother after a hospital visit in Dehli. Since she is mute, she cannot communicate well in the ’foreign’ land and needs the help of others to return to her homeland.

A sincere, but naive and somewhat dumb Hindu muscleman, takes care of the girl and wants to get her back to her parents. He has the support of his love interest, but not of the latter’s father who is furious when he learns the girl is Muslim and Pakistani.

The first part of the movie isn’t all that special, but once our hero gets into Pakistan illegally, the story and journey become a great modern fairytale. He is considered a spy by the authorities and needs to run from them, but he does get help from the locals and from a news reporter.

Of course the acting is more comical than dramatic and yes there are several musical scenes (it’s Bollywood after all), but in the end it’s a great family movie that shows that love should conquer hatred. Not sure why these movies don’t get a wide release in the west.

Chef – *(*)

Posted: March 1, 2015 in 2014, Dramedy, Road Trip, USA, X1/2

Chef is a light comedy by Jon Favreau, known as the director of the successful Iron Man series. It feels like a low budget indie flic, made by a graduating student from a movie making masterclass. But it has some big names in the cast: Robert Downey Jr and Scarlet Johansson. They only play minor parts, but still. They draw the attention and an audience that normally would never bother watching a movie like this.

The main story is about a chef of a popular restaurant who’s confined to making the same menu over and over again. When a notorious food critic gives him bad press, he feels hurt and decides to leave the restaurant in search of new creativity. He leaves LA for Miami, opens up a food truck and drives across the US in the company of a good friend and his son, with whom he has a troubled relationship.

It’s interesting material for a great movie about father/dad issues, the internal struggle to find the balance between creativity and money making and great shots of food making. However, somehow it fails to deliver. The father/dad issue isn’t all that dramatic; the internal struggle is pretty superficial and the shots of food do not make you hungry at all.

 Chef is the kind of movie that you’ve already forgotten about twenty minutes after having finished it. There isn’t anything remarkable about it at all. It does have its merits though as a document about the importance of social media anno 2014. The dispute with the food critic goes viral and the young kid uses Twitter, Facebook, Youtube and Vine to promote his father’s food truck. Now how will that look when you re-watch it in 2034?

Jon Favreau probably hates movie critics and just gets back at them by making a movie about food critics.That’s okay. And he has a point. Why should a critic slam a product in which a lot of love and effort was put? But then again, if it’s unremarkable it’s unremarkable.

Being in Lesotho makes one watch movies from Lesotho. Not that there are many, but The Forgotten Kingdom is a recent world movie festival favorite.

It has all the ingredients for making blockbuster movie fans shun away: it’s poetic, symbolic, spoken in a foreign language, with long shots of natural beauty. However, it’s also filmed in a very modern way and has enough humor, violence and romance to attract a larger crowd.

It helps if you actually know the area. There are plenty of references to the culture of the Basotho (the inhabitants of Lesotho – a landlocked mountainous country in Southern Africa). But it may work as a nice introduction as well. It’s quite logical that many tourist centres sell the dvd in their gift shop.

The story deals about a semi thug from Johannesburg who learns that his estranged father has passed away. Both moved from Lesotho to the South African metropolis for a better future, but they landed in a township and the father was pretty absent in the boys’ life. The deceased made all the arrangements for his funeral… in his home country, so his son reluctantly goes back to his native land.

What follows is a physical and emotional journey of a young man still in search of a better future. But it also shows a modern side of today’s Lesotho, where educated women still struggle in a family (father) ruled society and where AIDS claims a lot of victims.

It’s really not as depressing as it sounds and it’s the kind of ’world movie’ made like anything from the West. The main character is escorted by a little kid, who can be interpreted as an inner guiding spirit. That’s a very nice touch to a well made movie (with a debatable end).

Drôle De Felix – ***

Posted: September 19, 2014 in 2000, Dramedy, France, LGBT themed, Road Trip, XXX

It’s hard not to like Felix, the main character of this great road trip movie about a thirty-something, unemployed, HIV-positive gay guy of North African descent. Just re-read the previous sentence. The guy has everything that would make you feel depressed or frustrated, but he greets life in the most positive way. His smile, his charm, his quirky characteristics and his carefree lifestyle is adorable. There are dozens of scenes that will make you smile, not because they are that funny, but because they just show how interesting chance encounters can be.

Not all is great though. Early on in his trip he witnesses two guys about to throw a beaten-up Algerian guy in the river Seine. The incident is referred to throughout the rest of the movie, but in all honesty, it doesn’t add anything to the story. On the contrary, it makes this movie not the classic that it could be. In fact, after three views (two of which happened 13 years ago) it’s pretty clear that the ‘main’ story is the weakest part of the movie. It’s the chance encounters that make this movie so great and Sami Bouajila’s performance. He steals the show in every single scene he’s in and his character is so much more real than any stereotypical gay character of any stereotypical gay-related Hollywood movie, independent releases included.

Shit, the whole movie is on youtube

Three (rich) Indian friends go on a road trip in Spain after one of them got engaged. It’s not a true bachelor trip however. Two of them haven’t really been on speaking terms for a while, but this trip may get them back together and each of them have their own demons to deal with. One is a busy stock broker who misses out on happiness as he puts his career first. The other just learned his natural father is an artist living in Spain. And the engaged one has unexpressed doubts about his upcoming marriage.

It’s a shame that this movie did not get a widespread release. It’s a great tale of three friends coming of adult age with the right balance of adventure, humor, drama and dance. After all, it is made in Bollywood. However, the only dance routine is a welcome surprise as it mixes the typical Bollywood dance routines with flamenco! The movie is filled with pleasant surprises. The acting is great. India’s superhero star Hrithik Roshan shows he does have talent (apart from flexing his muscles), Farhan Aktar has that Gene Kelly-charm that just makes him loved by everyone and Abhay Deol makes this perfectly cast trio complete. There are also great parts for independent women! Katrina Kaif plays a diving instructor who knows exactly how to deal with the three boys. Two of the most famous Spanish festivals play an important part: the tomato throwing festival and the bull running event. And the whole movie is one big commercial for Indians to visit Spain: Barcelona, Ronda, Seville, Pamplona, the Costa Brava… It’s a perfect promo movie for the country. The humor is simple, but clever. The story just makes sense. It feels real.

Too bad it’s so long and the Hindi poetry and play of words get lost in translation.

Great surprise!