Archive for the ‘Romance’ Category

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

 

 

 

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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

 

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

Cities of Love Part III.

After the disastrous Paris, Je T’Aime (2006) and New York, I Love You (2008) someone thought it was a good idea to also make a similar mash-up of silly love stories in Rio De Janeiro. That someone was probably paid a lot by the Department of Tourism of this cidade maravilhosa. None of the stories are captivating. The acting is terrible. The dialogue is ridiculous at times. It’s a complete waste of time and money for the talented people who participated in the project. Hopefully, they received a lot of money for this, because none of them can honestly claim they actually feel proud of whatever they did. Either acting or directing.

But unlike the other two movies, this one actually is worth watching until the end, because unlike the other two movies, it shows the city in the most beautiful kind of way. There are dozens of shots from above, but hey, that’s what makes the city so beautiful. That gorgeous view over the bay with all the rock formations around it… there’s nothing quite like it. As a commercial, this really works well. You want to visit asap. Just be warned that you won’t really be able to see the same views unless you get on a helicopter…

So as an overlong commercial, it’s okay. As a movie it’s not. There are so many stories you can tell. The city is so inspiring. Yet, we see ten tales that just don’t appeal. Most of them aren’t even in Portuguese and have characters from outside of Brazil. Some have potential though. The story about the one-armed boxer could have been explored better. The one with Harvey Keitel is also not that bad. It just feels like a draft of a story. Like a rehearsal for something else. Others are totally amateur like the one where Vincent Cassel rebuilds his sand sculpture. It’s a nice idea, showing the different kind of people walking on the iconic Copacabana side-walk in accordance with different sounds. But the sounds are terribly annoying! Couldn’t they have brainstormed a bit more to find awesome, recognizable sounds ? And Vanessa Paradis and John Torturro doing a stage play dialogue around a kitchen table: what the hell is this doing in a movie set in Rio?

Yeah, this is NOT a good movie. Just watch the trailer.

😦

 

http://www.imdb.com/title/tt1456606

This is a movie for those who love Jane Austin stories, but think they are too white. It’s set in the same period of time, but this time the female heroine is a mulatto heiress.

The illegitimate daughter of a wealthy navy officer (and a slave from the West Indies) is raised by her uncle and aunt, who are already raising another niece. When her father dies she has a good fortune, but that doesn’t mean much, because as a mulatto she can’t really go higher up in society. Until a noble man fancies on marrying her, telling her that ‘unlike others’ he is ready to ignore the traits she received for her mother because ‘it is clear that the traits of her father luckily are more evident’.

In the mean time, the uncle is settling a case about a (slave ship) company that threw their human cargo overboard in order to get money back from their insurance. A young lawyer is trying to convince the uncle that he should speak against the company. Soon the mulatto heiress falls for him.

Yawn.

It’s a period piece. With a different take. But it tells the same story. It sucks being a woman at that time. Let alone a mulatto woman with money.

Somehow, British people love seeing movies and series about class distinction so they can continue using it.

http://www.imdb.com/title/tt2404181

Southside With You – **

Posted: February 20, 2017 in 2016, Romance, USA, XX

A young intern at a law firm invites his adviser to a meeting about the construction of a community centre in a difficult part of Chicago. He’s a cocky, arrogant, somewhat elitist and smooth charmer. She’s an ambitious, intelligent, standoffish and somewhat frigid feminist. But they bond. She kind of falls for his charms and persistence. He falls for her ability to defy him. The invitation turns into a real date, including a visit to a museum, a walk in the park, attending a meeting, going for some drinks, watching a movie and finishing off with a kiss.

Several years later they’ll end up being the president and first lady of the United States: Barack and Michelle Obama.

Southside With You isn’t half as bad as you would fear. The idea is great: an entire feature movie about ONE date! A bit like Before Sunrise, but then taking place in the course of an afternoon. However, in this case it’s kind of based on true events and focuses on two people who the entire world knows. It’s quite obvious that the movie isn’t really representative of the actual date between the couple. But it’s also obvious that they didn’t want to add to much extra fictional drama either.

So what you are left with is a nice solid series of conversations between two colleagues who want to get to know each other better. The movie wouldn’t have gotten the same amount of attention if the characters were fictional. But if that had been the case, the movie would have been more engaging. Now, it’s pretty bland.

But the audiovisual period setting is great. (Miss You Much by Janet in Barack’s car and Do The Right Thing by Spike Lee at the cinema) And the acting is solid too even though neither of the main characters really look like Barack or Obama.

Rent it now on iTunes for 99 cents.

http://www.imdb.com/title/tt4258698

 

 

Moonlight – ***

Posted: February 4, 2017 in 2016, LGBT themed, Romance, Social Drama, USA, XXX

By the time Moonlight hits European theaters (i.d. now), so much has already been said and written about it that you already kind of know what to expect. And that’s a shame.

It’s a great movie. An excellent movie even. But the story just isn’t as compelling as you’d hope. A black kid is raised by his crack addicted mother in a poor part of Miami. The kid grows up to be a teenager and then later an adult. The same character is played by three different actors who are all unique, but excellent nonetheless. The supporting cast is brilliant as well. That Naomi Harris filmed her scenes in just three days and that should give her a benefit to win an Oscar. Which she probably won’t. But it’s the directing that really deserves all the credits. The way Barry Jenkins tells this story is fascinating. He’s the kind of story teller that doesn’t need much dialogue, but can tell a lot by just shooting a simple everyday scene that tells it all. His choice of music works really well and the camera work is perfect and unique.

The first part is a good introduction, the second part is the most compelling and the third part feels like it’s added on with less inspiration. It’s the kind of movie that you’ll want to watch again (if you liked it the first time around) and then rate it even higher.

http://www.imdb.com/title/tt4975722