Archive for the ‘Social Drama’ Category

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

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

Classic: Rocky – **

Posted: January 19, 2017 in 1976, Drama, Social Drama, Sportsdrama, USA, XX

Winner of the Academy Award for Best Picture, Rocky remains quite an important and popular movie. The story is well known. A street boxer, who hasn’t really made anything of his life, takes up the challenge to fight Apollo Creed, the reigning world champion. He has no fair chance, but he’ll get plenty of money and it’s all for the good as he’ll be the underdog and that attracts crowds.

Rocky was the first in a series of six movies focussing on the ‘Italian Stallion’, the underdog who ends up being the champ. Back in the eighties Rocky III and Rocky IV were smash hits at the box office, with chart topping soundtracks and every tough kid in school trying to replay the fights between Sylvester Stallone and Mr T (III) or Dolf Lundgren (IV). Back then anyone who was a fan of these action blockbusters had little interest in seeing the first movie, which is more of a social drama. As a kid, I couldn’t understand the fuzz about this boring motion picture of the seventies that has only one fight. As an adult, I can understand the fuzz a bit more. The zero to hero-story always works. Especially back then. Stallone is really good in this movie. The soundtrack was refreshing at the time. The rich and successful guy was black ! The dialogue isn’t PC at all. The fights look real. All great.

But what’s with all the shouting? Everyone shouts. All the time. It’s like watching a modern day Egyptian movie. And what’s with the side characters? Rocky’s future wife Adrian… Rocky’s trainer Micky… Rocky’s supposedly best friend Paulie… Rocky’s maffia employer Gazzo… Every scene they are in is annoying. And there are a lot.

However, after watching last year’s reboot Creed it’s interesting to see this classic again. A lot of references make more sense now.

http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0075148/

La Nostra Vita – *(*)

Posted: January 17, 2017 in 2010, Drama, Italy, Social Drama, X1/2

An Italian construction worker discovers a dead body of an illegal worker at the construction site and doesn’t report out of fear that authorities will close down the place. A few days later he loses his wife during the birth of their third child. From then on his life becomes a mess. Left alone to raise three kids, he starts focussing on work. He’s able to blackmail his boss. He’ll keep the death of the illegal worker a secret in return for more responsibility during the building process of another project. But the job seems too difficult…

Elio Germano is great as the construction worker. He’s a bit of a prick, but he has a lot of  charm as well. His character feels real, even though the situation around him doesn’t.

There’s a lot of misery in this movie. So be warned. There’s hardly any humor and there’s hardly anyone to sympathize with. But some scenes make it worth the watch.

http://www.imdb.com/title/tt1509636

 

So far, every single performance of Keith Stanfield stands out. That’s the case in Atlanta, Selma, Dope, Miles Ahead, Straight Outta Compton, .. They are always just small parts in bigger movies/series, but when the end credits roll you always think about that lean black guy who steals the show by just being truthful and realistic. Maybe that’s just what his career will be like. Somewhere in between an extra and a supporting actor, but if he always delivers, it’s not such a bad career path. There are seven movies coming out in 2017 that have him on the credits! And he’s the lead in one of them (Crown Heights). Plus he’s an interesting poet rapper and he has swag! Best dressed guy at the Golden Globes and stuff. This man is the future!

Short Term 12 is his debut movie. He reprises the same role he played in a short movie five years earlier. He plays a troubled teen who fears the idea of leaving the group home he’s been at for several years as he has to go live on his own once he’s 18. He’s not the main character, but the few scenes he’s in are quite impressive. The rap his character creates and performs is written by the actor himself and is very powerful.

The movie focuses more on Grace, who works at the group home as a buddy to the troubled kids. It soon becomes clear that she as well has survived a troubled past, which comes back when the group home takes in a new girl who’s being abused by her dad.

For the first half of the movie, everything is quite realistic and the performances by the kids and young adults are great and believable. It’s Brie Larsson’s perfect performance of Grace that landed her the award winning part in Room. But by the end the semi-documentary style changes into fiction with one particular baseball bat scene that screams ‘drama’ a bit too loud. And an ending that makes American indie movies just as corny as Hollywood movies.

The best moments are the rap that Keith’s character performs about his abusive mother and the octopus/shark story told by the new kid’s character. A bit more of that and it would have been an even better movie.

The short movie is ok. But it’s not worth its 1.99 dollars on iTunes. The acting isn’t as impressive, but Keith’s in it for a few brief moments and delivers, yes, again.

This entry reads like an ode to Lakeith Lee Stanfield!

http://www.imdb.com/title/tt2370248

 

This is amazing.

This series is outstanding. The acting is incredible. The balance between emotional drama and small humor is so perfect that it just hits the right chords.

Not since The Wire: Season 4 did a tv show get me so hard. Every single episode brought tears. It’s almost flawless. The child actors aren’t really performing as well as the adult counterparts. And the final episode is a little bit too PC. But those are just minor complaints.

The biggest problem for this show is that the bar is raised so incredibly high that more episodes can only disappoint.

No trailer, but a few great scenes.

This is the most powerful scene in recent tv history

 

This brother fight is brilliant:

This is strong too:

 

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