Archive for the ‘2 – Rating’ Category

Marriage Story – **(*)

Posted: December 8, 2019 in 2019, Drama, USA, XX1/2

Sometimes it takes friends to convince or trigger you to watch a particular movie that was not really on your radar. Such is the case for this Netflix Oscar contender about a young couple going through the (legal) proces of a divorce. The movie gets a lot of buzz and rightfully so. But is isn’t the instant classic lots of critics claim it to be. The quality of the scenes is just not consistently excellent. Some are extremely well written and acted. Some are just painfully bad. Adam Driver is surprisingly good. Scarlet Johansson is, as usual, great. And Laura Dern is excellent. They all should get a nomination. This is definitely an actor’s movie.

But in the end it pretty much feels very familiar to Kramer vs Kramer and is not all that original. It’s a good attempt by Hollywood to show some realism though with addressing the insane legal consequences of getting a divorce. But it still feels like a Hollywood movie. This would feel much more real if it was done in French, by a French director with French actors. Or Polish. Or Swedish. Or Korean. Or British even. That’s a biased opinion. True. But somehow this story craves for realism without spending money on a soundtrack or make up artists. Scarlet looks gorgeous in every single scene. They all look so polished. Even the few tears that are shed look calculated.

But hey, check it out. It’s not an all too serious drama. It’s not a tearjerker. Which is good.

www.imdb.com/title/tt7653254

The Irishman – *

Posted: December 8, 2019 in 2019, biopic, Gangster Movie, USA, X

Wow. Glad to not have bought a cinema ticket for this 3,5 hour Scorsese mob tale.

No, it’s not the best movie of the century. Maybe if this is your very first mobster movie you might be impressed. Not if you have seen dozens. It is not really terrible. It’s just too long. And nothing in the direction feels like it’s been done by a master genius. Martin Scorsese disappoints. And so does Robert De Niro. And what’s with the ‘special effects’ making the actors look younger? It’s silly. So are many discussion and many scenes that add nothing to the story.

The acting is not good (apart from Joe Pesci maybe, even though he doesn’t actually do much) and the story isn’t really exciting. None of the characters are sympathetic. And there’s no suspense. The main character works his way up to being some kind of bodyguard for the most notorious union leader of the US, who mysteriously disappears. One google search reveals what happened. Especially if you read about what book this movie is based on.

Maybe. Tonight just wasn’t the right time to watch a mob movie with aging actors.

www.imdb.com/title/tt1302006

 

A Rainy Day In New York – *

Posted: November 30, 2019 in 2019, romcom, USA, X

Random pick at the movie theatre. Woody Allen + Timothy Chalamet + New York… sounds like an interesting combination on paper.

But it doesn’t work. New York isn’t particularly exciting in the rain. Chalamet isn’t particularly impressive this time. And the voice overs and dialogues, written by Woody Allen, aren’t particularly funny this time around.

No. It’s a drag.

But Elle Fanning surprises. And her character saves the movie. An Arizona blonde studying upstate New York visits Manhattan for the first time with her boyfriend to interview a movie director. What’s supposed to be a one hour interview turns into an adventurous afternoon for her, whereas the boyfriend’s plans to impress his girl with a tour of the city get washed out.

www.imdb.com/title/tt7139936

 

The Hitman’s Bodyguard – **

Posted: November 24, 2019 in 2017, Action, Comedy, USA, XX

“You haven’t seen Hollywood’s chase scene in Amsterdam yet?”

Several Dutch friends, acquaintances and colleagues have recommended me this scene, but no. I hadn’t. Until now.

The famous scene takes place about an hour into the movie though and only lasts 6 minutes or so. It’s a fun scene, nothing all that special, but just cool to see it take place in a city that you know really well. It’s like the Paris car chase in Lucy. That was also fun to watch.

The entire movie is actually not all that bad. It’s an action comedy with an unlikely duo. One is a hitman, who’s imprisoned in the UK and needs to testify against a Belarus tyrant in The Hague. The other is a special bodyguard who needs to protect him against possible assassination attempts. The hitman is Samuel – motherfucking – L. Jackson and the bodyguard is Ryan Reynolds. Their chemistry is good. The action scenes are well choreographed. It’s fast paced, brains on hold, pulp entertainment with a massive body count and Selma Hayek in the funniest scene.

www.imdb.com/title/tt195956

 

Bevergem – ***(*)

Posted: November 22, 2019 in 2015, Comedy, Flanders, XXX1/2

On Netflix. Not sure in all regions. But on Netflix!

Check it out if you can.

A famous stand-up comedian on the run arrives in a small little village. The local chairman of the Social Services is looking for a scapegoat for the fishy business that he is in and offers him a place to stay, above the local thrift store. The comedian accepts and gets to know the weird characters of this community. He even becomes their confidant and adviser.

Flemish humor can be really absurd, ironic and sarcastic. This show has it all. The greatest irony of the movie is that the main character, the foul-mouthed Freddy De Vadder, who made a career out of playing a marginalized lower than low class nitwit, is actually the most sane, sensible and smart character of the show. The local references are plenty, so it’s probably hard for non-Flemish people to get the jokes. The depiction of the characters however is spot-on. They are exaggerated versions of people you may know. If you want to understand West-Flemish culture, you need to watch this. But you may need a manual.

The absolute star of the show is the chairman, the kind of attention seeking amateur politician who thinks he’s a real hot shot, but who really is a dumb alcoholic. His wife doesn’t allow him back in the house, so he sleeps in his garage. She’s excellent as well. Her quotes have become classics. Another great character is the former manager of the thrift store, who quit her job after she won the lottery. But it doesn’t help listing all the characters…. they are all quite unique and pretty much excellently performed by all of the cast.

It’s a great comedy with some surprising visuals and a great soundtrack. Very original, yet very recognizable. It was even funnier the second time around.

www.imdb.com/title/tt3826290

Spirits In The Forest – **(*)

Posted: November 22, 2019 in 2019, Concert Movie, USA, XX1/2

Six Depeche Mode fans get ready to fly to Berlin to see the final show of the Global Spirit Tour.

That’s it.

If you are a Depeche Mode fan, it’s worth the watch. The concert excerpts are short and few, but well filmed and will make you think back at your own experiences during the gigs. And the six fans each have a story to tell. Some a bit more intriguing than others. Watching a concert movie in a theatre just isn’t the same though. You can’t sing along really. And dancing seems to be tattoo too.

If you’re not a Depeche Mode fan, don’t bother. This concert movie/documentary really focuses on the massive DM fan base around the Western world. It’s about them and for them. Not sure how objective music lovers will look at this devotees tale.

https://www.imdb.com/title/tt11023922/

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