Archive for the ‘Romance’ Category

Werk Ohne Autor – ***

Posted: November 19, 2019 in 2018, Drama, Germany, Romance, War, XXX

European critics didn’t like it. The artist whose life it’s based on didn’t like it either. But lots of moviegoers did and somehow the members of the Academy as well, because this German biopic was one of last year’s nominees for best foreign language film.

It’s a great movie though. Just assume it’s fiction and forget about the artist’s complaints. And expect a simple, superficial overview of what Germany has gone through the past couple of decades. Nazism, communism, capitalism… it’s all briefly mentioned, which bothers a lot of critics, but is well done for an audience who may not be too familiar with the details of Germany’s history.

It does rise some questions about art & artists and governments & ideologies who have their own interpretation of art. It’s very topical right now in a region like Flanders, where subsidies for art projects will  be lowered by 60%. A politician claimed that modern art has lost its beauty and the new artists are too focused on individual expressions, a statement which caused even more controversy than the financial cut.

The movie starts with a young kid visiting an exhibition of entartete Kunst. It’s quite ironic to think that the Nazis showed degenerate art to the masses to mock and condemn it. It must have been a great exhibition to visit if you were interested in different art. Later in the movie the kid has become an adult and paints socialist realism in the DDR under the rule of communists who hate the egocentric aspect of Western art as well. A few years later the artist arrives in Dusseldorf having fled across the border and is confronted with modern expressions of art, which ignore the craft of painting and focus on installations and performances.

It’s an easy movie to love (and for critics to hate). It’s filmed in a very conventional way, but there’s nothing wrong with old-fashioned drama. Art doesn’t always have to shock. It can also be just beautiful. And this movie is. The love story is refreshingly simple. The only obstacle in the young couple’s romance is the father of the girl, a conservative opportunist and vile doctor with a dark past.

Watch it.

Unless you don’t like mainstream movies appealing to the masses aged 9 to 99.

www.imdb.com/title/tt5311542

Back in 1942, Charlie Chaplin re-edited his favorite movie: The Gold Rush, a silent movie box office hit form 1925 ! He left out the script boards, added a voice over (done by himself) and had a orchestra perform a new score to it.

Having visited Chaplin’s World in Vyvey, which features lots of references to this classic, it’s time to finally watch it.

But… it’s not that special. The orchestra and the voice over make the whole experience more annoying than fun. It would have been better to watch the remastered original version from 1925.

Still, There are a few good scenes in it. Especially the ones with actress Georgia Hale, who – contrary to the men – does not overact at all and is perfect in her role as saloon dancer. Oh, there’s also the short but charming roll dance by Chaplin, two forks and two pieces of bread rolls. (see below)

www.imdb.com/title/tt0015864

 

If Beale Street Could Talk – **

Posted: April 26, 2019 in 2018, Drama, Romance, USA, XX

Hm.

After 21 days of not being able to see a movie on any platform, this seemed like the best choice. If Beale Street Could Talk is an award winning, well-rated, poetic, romantic story by the director of Moonlight. 

It’s a beautifully filmed movie. And it’s well acted.

But that’s about it really. The pace of the movie is slow, which isn’t that bad, but the story is pretty boring. It’s about two people who are in love and ready to start a family. However, the young man is arrested and put behind bars on the accusation of rape. And the young woman needs to start finding ways of proving her boyfriend’s innocence.

Now this premise can lead to all kinds of intriguing, dramatic hurdles. But the actual obstacles are pretty dull. The man is innocent. A racist cop was able to make the rape victim identify him as the violator. He’s behind bars. A lawyer is expensive. The young woman doesn’t have the money. But she still supports and loves the father of her child. Period.

Yawn.

We get introduced to the religiously fanatic mother of the accused. Now that’s a storyline worth exploring. We get introduced to the joyful, but aggressive father of the accused who slaps his wife when she starst cursing the unborn baby. Now that’s intriguing. We get introduced to the sisters of the accused, who seem to shun everything about him. Why? We’d like to know what’s going on in that family. We see the accused get a few anger fits. Is he like his dad? So shouldn’t there be some doubt about his innocence?

No. the guy is innocent. Period.

And his pregnant girlfriend loves and supports him no matter what. Period.

Pretty boring, no? Not memorable at all. #disappointed

The book is probably better.

www.imdb.com/title/tt7125860

 

You – ***

Posted: January 6, 2019 in 2018, Romance, Thriller, USA, XXX

This is one cool, horrific, thrilling and romantic mindfuck ! A book store manager falls for an aspiring writer. They share their love for literature. But they also share a longing  for wanting something that they cannot get. Joe, the manager, is so obsessed with this woman and so certain that she is the one, that he will do whatever it takes to protect her. Including murder. Guinevere, the writer, is so insecure about her talents that she hides it by over-using the social media and hanging out with the wrong kind of friends.

This is one great series. Ten episodes of constant surprises. Ten episodes of watching two people be attracted to each other and not being sure whether you want them to be together or not. They are made for each other. They look like the real deal. But they are hiding so much from each other and from the audience! They are bound to fail. Joe is a bit like Dexter. He looks charming and his motivations for his cruelty are just (he’s in love), yet, he’s a delusional stalker! Guinevere is a bit like Amy Dunne from Gone Girl, gorgeous and innocent, but equally cruel in being dishonest. It’s easy to understand why Joe is obssessed with her. But it’s also easy to understand why he doubts whether she’s really worth all the trouble. And then there are all the intriguing side characters. It’s not just about these two love birds. It’s about everyone around them, including ex lovers, colleagues, friends, family and neighbors.

Yes, some things don’t make sense, but somehow it’s part of the show. This is a well written, well acted, well edited thriller with a great end. More of this!

www.imdb.com/title/tt7335184

Classic: Giant – ***

Posted: September 24, 2018 in 1956, Costume Drama, Drama, Romance, USA, XXX

Time for some Old Hollywood Classic!

The most remarkable thought after watching this 1956 epic, is that some of the issues addressed are still issues in 2018!

Elisabeth Taylor is absolutely stunning as Leslie, the daughter of an east coast horse breeder, who gets married to a Texan, who owns hundreds of thousands of acres of land. But apart from being gorgeous, her character is such a feminist voice! In 1956! When her husband and his men want to debate politics and want her to go drink tea with the other women, she just goes off at them. And there are more scenes like those. This is one hell of a strong female character. Wow. She also addresses the backward way of how the Mexicans are treated on the ranch and in the entire state. It’s really remarkable. When she meets the Texan for the first time, she reads up about the history of the state and then tells him the Texans stole it from the Mexicans. Wow. Bam. Also kudos for the director, who dared to show this segregation between the Texans and those ‘other kind of people’.

What if this movie would have been made in 2018? Would this be a hit? would this even be allowed to be shown in theaters? It would create controversy and Texans would still be offended about the way they are depicted.

It’s a good movie though. The direction is excellent. A lot is shown rather than explained. There are a lot of jumps forward in time, but it somehow works, thanks to the clever editing. George Stevens won the Oscar for best directing even though the movie itself lost big. But he really deserves the win. It makes you want to watch all of his work.

Rock Hudson is great as the macho Texan. James Dean is just okay (what’s the fuzz really?) as a former ranch worker discovering oil in his small piece of land. The feud between these two men on screen also existed off screen. There are hundreds of articles focussing on that rivalry between these two leading men. Which adds to the joy of watching this movie.

The last part of the movie doesn’t quite reach the same level as the first two hours (yes it’s a long movie), but persevere! It’s worth it. It’s all very entertaining. There are even some funny scenes (the thanksgiving scene with the kids, the diner fight at the end).

 

The Oscar for Best Motion Picture is a fantasy fairytale set in the cold war era about the love between a mute cleaning lady and an amphibious ‘asset’ that is kept from the outside world in a government facility.

It’s a unique movie experience. It’s not all that original as it’s a homage to the monster movies from the late fifties and early sixties, but it’s shot with the utmost care for details. It has a bit of an Amelie Poulain feel to it. Everything just looks really good and there’s off beat humor and weird charm.

If people get offended by the age gap between the two main male characters in Call Me By Your Name, then maybe they also won’t like the romance between a woman and an animal. It’s awkward as well to imagine a human having sex with a human like amphibious water animal. But hey, it’s a fantasy movie. It’s fictional!

This is an entertaining movie. Never boring. Great to look at. And with a good soundtrack. But again, the story just isn’t all that original or intriguing.

http://www.imdb.com/title/tt5580390

Movie night with my mom (83). Her choice: The Leisure Seeker, a story about an older couple who, after being married for 50 years, decide to go on a road trip from their home in Massachusetts to the house of Ernest Hemingway in Key West. Both are in no condition to go on such a long trip as mr Spencer has Alzheimer’s and mrs Spencer is diagnosed with a terminal disease. Yet, off they are!

My mom liked the movie and loved the performances of Helen Mirren and Donald Sutherland.

Personally, I thought the acting was not exciting at all. Helen Mirren is good, sure. But she’s always good. Donald Sutherland acted too much like a whimsical, confused ten-year old. That Alzheimer patients are confused, sure. And whimsical as well. Hey, the childlike behavior happens too. But it was just too much. But all the other members of the cast are acting ridiculously. Like the bunch of Trump supporters that were given the task to shout USA and look angry. It’s not even funny. Or the two guys who try to rob the couple along the highway. If that was a casting audition they’d never get another casting call.

But it’s the story that makes this movie a big disappointment. Not the general concept. The idea of a couple who have been married going on a road trip to reflect on their life is good. But to add the diseases to it is just too much. Maybe if mrs Spencer would have driven the mobile home, it would have made sense. But the storytellers preferred to have the Alzheimer patient drive the entire stretch. They depict him as not knowing this and that, yet driving a mobile home works just fine.  I’ve seen Alzheimer patients who didn’t know the name of their husbands, but were still able to play piano flawlessly. So, I get it, driving a vehicle is something you never forget. But that’s bull. It’s totally irresponsible to have a guy like Mr Spencer drive that long stretch. And not credible. That he can still quote dialogue from his favorite books, okay. But that he drives the entire stretch? no.

That said. Some moments are funny. And it’s kind of adventurous what they do. And there are a few surprises (for my mom). In her words: “It’s a movie for old people, young people probably won’t like it”.

http://www.imdb.com/title/tt3741632