Archive for the ‘Romance’ Category

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

Cas – *

Posted: December 12, 2016 in 2016, LGBT themed, Netherlands, Romance, X

A Dutch couple offers a young Flemish student a place to stay. The couple has been having some issues lately, with one of the partners waiting to go on a trip around the world and the other planning the next step in their relationship: a baby. The new flatmate causes even more friction. But he also brings the two closer together and triggers them to talk about what’s really bugging them.

Cas is a tv movie that just happened to be on after the news on BVN (the Dutch/ Flemish international television channel). The beginning intrigues. Somehow it starts off as a possible thriller. But soon it becomes clear that it’s much ado about nothing. The acting of the Dutch couple isn’t all that bad, but there just isn’t a real story. There’s a couple who pretend to be in the perfect relationship until someone shows up who makes them express what they really want in life. And that’s not exactly the same.

It’s only 50 minutes long. It’s over before you really start getting annoyed. It’s the kind of movie you don’t regret having seen, but wouldn’t recommend to anyone.

 

http://www.imdb.com/title/tt5858380/

 

Tanna – ***

Posted: August 29, 2016 in 2015, Australia, Drama, Romance, XXX

“Avoid spending 3000 euro to visit Vanuatu and buy yourself a 10 euro cinema ticket!”

It’s great advice from a local movie critic.

Tanna is an island of Vanuatu, an island group in the Pacific Ocean not so far from Fiji. Its people are known as the ‘happiest on earth’, but this movie shows a different aspect. Back in the late eighties there were still some rival tribes killing each other, while on the rest of the island christian villages tried to convert locals and colonizers started to build resorts. The story of Tanna is set in that period.

A young woman, Wawa, is secretly in love with Dain, the grandson of the Yakel Chief. They already plan a future together, but Wawa is promised to a rival tribe in order to remain the peace on the island. Something Dain cannot accept…

The movie is advertised as an exotic romantic drama, but it’s really more of a fictional documentary about the customs of a native tribe that needs to come to terms with a changing world. The cinematography is beautiful. The jungle actually looks like a jungle because it’s filmed on location and not created on a computer. This is a great plus. The acting is done by the local tribe members, who have no experience at all and just act really natural. (Some of the cast have appeared in reality tv shows that bring people from the west to survive in tribal life across the world) But they are a charming bunch of people and their natural beauty and honesty is moving. The big star of the movie is the young Marceline Rofit (who plays Selin, Wawa’s younger sister). Her captivating smile is the kind you find on tourist brochures luring westerners to visit the islands. There’s a little bit of voyeurism though, but it’s not patronizing. There’s some humor as well and it makes you realize that it’s a tough call to adapt to a new world and hold on to the past.

Saving for a plane ticket to Vanuatu though…

http://www.imdb.com/title/tt4239726

Z For Zachariah – **

Posted: March 29, 2016 in 2015, Drama, Romance, Thriller, USA, XX

Three characters, one location, a struggle to survive and doubts about who to trust. Great ingredients for a spooky psychological thriller!

The problem is: it never becomes spooky and it never becomes thrilling.

On the plus side: it doesn’t bore either. You’re just waiting for something to happen and it’s a long wait, but the acting is good and the simple story is well told. There are some interesting dialogues and there’s food for thought.

The end is great though.

http://www.imdb.com/title/tt1598642