Archive for the ‘2 – Rating’ Category

Flodder was never considered to be a good movie, but it is the most successful Dutch movie from the eighties and – like it or not – a classic in Dutch cinema.

So, when the movie is on, you watch it again. It’s as simple as that. And you rate it **, just out of nostalgia to Huub Stapel’s red jacket or Tatjana Simic’s boobs…

Not having seen the movie in 30 years, it leaves you wondering why the jacket and the breasts were so memorable and not the surprising amount of action scenes or the obvious critique to a hypocrite society, in which the rich and the marginalized families clash and mingle. The answer is a simple: any kid watching this comedy in 1986

only did so because of the bad ass attitude of the family Flodder and the many scenes with female nudity.

As an adult you watch the movie differently. The action scenes are well done for an eighties movie from the Low Countries. The critique is on point at times. The bomber jacket is still cool. But the depiction of Simic’s character would never make the cut in a 2020 version and is quite offensive to any woman. She has sex with her half-brother. She enjoys being raped by the neighbor. She doesn’t mind having men queue up to have sex with her (and have her younger brother collect the money). It’s a bit too much. Especially since she has hardly any lines to say.

Apart from that, society hasn’t changed much.

The 11 year old kid of a friend of mine named the movie old fashioned. 

www.imdb.com/title/tt0091060/

 

 

 

Originally planned to be released just before this year’s cancelled Eurovision festival, the Will Ferrell and Rachel McAdams parody gets a new chance on Netflix. It’s a bit of a surprise though. The Eurovision craze only unites Europe for just a few days mid-May and then isn’t really on anyone’s radar for the next 51 weeks. But hey, it’s a weird year, so the summer holidays may start with a weird comedy as well.

The comedy isn’t that weird though. It’s very Eurovision. If it would be a real parody, there would be more sarcasm. Now it’s just a competition making fun of itself. And its fans. And its contestants.

Will Ferrell isn’t all that annoying as an Icelandic artist, whose dream it has been to win the Eurovision songfestival ever since he saw Abba perform Waterloo in 1974. Rachel Adams is his childhood friend who sings in his band and follows his dream because she’s in love with him.

It’s a silly movie. But it somehow works. Especially if you know the contest. There are a lot of references to certain aspects of the show that come back every year. The diss at the UK for never getting any points. The diss at the Russian gay singer who is convinced he is not gay, because he is Russian. The neighboring countries voting for each other. Several ex-performers/winners appear in the movie. The new songs you hear all sound like they could be actual songs from the contest. Even the performances. Honestly, there are a lot of fun references in this movie.

The irony is that Iceland would have won this year’s contest if it would have taken place. So it totally makes sense the story takes place in Iceland. It’s a quirky island with quirky people who are an easy target for a quirky movie.

It’s a very simplistic romantic and musical comedy. Just what we need.

www.imdb.com/title/tt85802

The Darkest Hour – ***

Posted: June 29, 2020 in 2017, biopic, Political, UK, War, WW2, XXX

Gary Oldman is phenomenal as Winston Churchill!

There you go. That’s the main reason to watch this movie. But it’s also cleverly told and takes you back to the start of a troublesome period in the world of which the end wasn’t in sight at all.

A bit like now really.

During a visit of the excellent Churchill War Rooms in London, you remind yourself to watch this Oscar-winning biopic. But then days, weeks and months go by and you forget about it. Then you watch The Crown and he pops up again and you remind yourself again to watch this movies. But again days, weeks and months go by and you forget about it. But then it passes on tv and you have nothing better to do than to just start watching. Before you know it the movie is over and you regret not having watched it while you still had all the knowledge of the museum visit.

It’s a very accessible movie though for a large crowd. It’s not particularly detailed or overly political. It’s clear and well-brought. It resonates with the audience and it’s more than just the depiction of a weirdly fascinating leader that had more opponents than fans, but still managed to lead the UK through the Second World War.

The direction of the movie is also very good. Some scenes work really well. Even when they are fictitious. Like the scene on the metro.

Watch Season 1 of the Crown first. Then Darkest Hour. Then Dunkirk. In that order. Then visit London to visit the war rooms, take the Eurostar to Lille, the regional train to Dunkirk for a visit of the Operation Dynamo museum. And then go for a city trip to Bruges to just relax. 😉

www.imdb.com/title/tt4555426

The Water Diviner – **(*)

Posted: June 27, 2020 in 2014, Australia, Drama, Turkey, War, WW1, XX

A bit of a flop, this directorial debut of Russell Crowe, but worth the watch.

Crowe also plays the main lead: a father who travels from Australia to Gallipoli to find the bodies of his three sons who got missing in action during the disastrous World War 1 battle.

Crowe is a joy to watch. He may not be the most expressive actor out there, but he embodies the character really well. The man loses his children and his wife, has nothing much left to live for, so decides to go on an unprecedented journey into post WW1 Turkey.

It looks like an old skool romantic war drama from the sixties, which is a good thing. The cinematography is great. A bit over-romantic maybe. Istanbul looks gorgeous in the yellow filter. It’s definitely not a dark, grey and grim movie. There is some action, but it’s not a war action movie. The story takes place after the First World War. There is an awkward romantic touch to it that isn’t necessary, but kinda cute.

Also positive is that the Turks speak Turk amongst themselves. That most speak fluent English to converse with Crowe’s character is a bit unlikely, but we’re only talking about five people here, so maybe, just maybe, these Turks were fluent in English back in 1919. It’s great to see a Turkish view on this Gallipoli battle. They lost a lot of lives as well. It’s not only ANZACS that got killed. The fact that a Turkish army leader helps locate the bodies of deceased soldiers sounds plausible. That he becomes some kind of ally/friend with this Australian farmer is less plausible. But it works. Just like Russell Crowe, Yilmaz Erdogan is a joy to watch.

Maybe, on another night, the inaccuracies would have bothered. The main actress isn’t even Turkish! The Greeks are represented as a bunch of mountain war mongers.  But it was a good movie tonight.

www.imdb.com/title/tt3007512

 

Wild – **

Posted: June 26, 2020 in 2015, Drama, Road Trip, USA, XX

It’s not Into The Wild. 

But that’s an unfair comparison.

I’m just not into this Wild 

whahaha

The story just isn’t compelling. A woman decides to walk the Pacific Crest Trail from the border of Mexico to the border of Canada. She has a few reasons to go find herself and we do get to learn about them, through flashbacks, but still. She’s starting this trail totally unprepared and seems to overcome every obstacle on her way. Yeah right.

The movie is based on a biographical book. The journey happened. But this movie makes it seems like it was happy camping. The misadventures are just briefly shown and cause hardly any tension in the story. Somehow you just know it’ll have a happy ending…

The use of flashbacks is irregular and they jump back to different stages of her life before the hike. They are snippets. Memories. Like they may flash through her mind while hiking. That’s realistic. But as a movie it doesn’t really work.

Reese Witherspoon makes the whole movie worth finishing though.

www.imdb.com/title/tt2305051

 

 

Da 5 Bloods – *

Posted: June 15, 2020 in 2020, Adventure, USA, War, X

Spike Lee isn’t going to want to hear this, but Quentin Tarantino would have made a much stronger movie based on this material.

Four African American Vietnam vets return to the Asian country in search of a case of gold they once found on a mission and which they buried next to the remains of their squad leader, who got shot during the mission.

Sounds interesting. A bit of adventure, mixed with drama and four unusual leads.

But then the movie starts and it’s already a mess from the beginning. None of these main characters is interesting. They once formed a squad, then led separate lives and now get back together to go on a treasure hunt. NO! This has to be a group of buddies who stuck with each other through life and now finally, as the icing of the friendship cake, go on this adventure. One of them, the PTSD case of the group, voted Trump and wears a MAGA cap. He’s the most annoying character of the movie and that’s probably Spike Lee’s aim. He’s also the main character. Yawn. The other three are present, but that’s all they are. They don’t provide comic relief. Nor drama. They are almost obsolete.

Then one of the guy’s son appears to join them. A character so uninteresting that he’s only used for one dramatic scene by the end. Along the way they meet all kinds of people, who are superficially introduced as stereotypes. The unemotional former prostitute and her daughter, the stuck up French businessman accepting to cash the gold when it is found, the anti-American members of a European mine detonating organization, the Vietnamese guide who they can or cannot trust, …. None of them are interesting. Somewhere near the end a snake attacks one of the squad members and gets blown to pieces. Somehow that is the dramatic highlight of the movie.

And a lot of things happen. Which is the only reason why this still gets some rating.

The problem is that it all looks like it was made on a low budget and there was no money for second takes or special effects. It’s also filled with obsolete scenes. Like the one where the foursome gets a visit from a kid that is missing a leg and begs for money. Why is that scene in the movie? To show the dismissive reaction of the MAGA dude? We already know the guy is the douchebag, reinforcing it by this scene is unnecessary. Then as the four walk out of the restaurant the kid throws firecrackers at them. It sounds like they are being attacked. Why is that scene in the movie? It’s not funny. It’s not dramatic. It’s obsolete. And so you have almost half of the movie consisting of unnecessary scenes that aren’t funny or dramatic or make sense.

Clear to say this is a very disappointing movie. Especially since it looked like it could have been such a great movie. It could have been a Stand By Me for grown ups in the Vietnamese jungle. It also could have been a Romancing The Stone kind of comical action adventure. It could even have been a Deer Hunter like drama. It could have even been a mix of all that. And still work.

But it doesn’t. It’s a boring movie without drama, without humor and lots of shoot up action scenes that could well have been featured in Rambo, a movie that gets dissed by some of the characters.

Missed chance.

www.imdb.com/title/tt9777644/

Never made it past episode 5 of Breaking Bad. So, it’s remarkable that I finished season one of the prequel series Better Call Saul. Highly recommended by friends and all kinds of ‘best tv series’ articles, this show focuses on Saul Goodman, a scam artist turned lawyer turned runaway.

The season starts with the main character working at a Cinnabon in a shopping mall, visibly scared when he spots someone who may have recognized him. Great start! Why is he scared? Why did he run away? Why is a lawyer working at a fastfood bakery?

You won’t get the answers in the first season. In fact, ten episodes into the story and there are even more unanswered questions. Like why the lawyer is known as Saul Goodman in Breaking Bad, but introduced as James McGill in Better Call Saul. 

The main focus of this first season is an introduction to the crazy world of this intriguing lawyer. We get to learn a bit about his past as a scam artist, his troubled relationship with his brother, his love for a colleague and his constant doubts about doing the right thing. This guy is funny, clever, has a heart of gold, is ambitious… But at the same time relatively clumsy, awkward, lonely and constantly flirting with failure. Luckily, this season also focuses on other characters. We get to learn a bit more about the girlfriend and the brother and Mike Ehrmantraut, a former police officer working as a security agent with a troubled past. He’s as much of a treat as the main lead!

As an introducing season it’s great. It’s slow paced. But that’s a good thing. Sure, the thought of having to wait five more seasons to understand why this person ends up working at a Cinnabon is frustrating. But the characters are intriguing and everything is filmed, written and edited well. You want to watch season 2. It’s binge-worthy. But maybe, the whole crime aspect of the show may ruin it, like it did for Breaking Bad. Do we really want to watch yet another show about drug dealers?

www.imdb.com/title/tt3032476/

Netflix high school comedy dramas. They make them by the dozens. Here’s yet another one. Told from the perspective of an all American teenage girl with Indian roots.

Maitreyi Ramakrishnan is a great lead. You just wish her lines were more sassy and sarcastic. She’s the kind of actress who can play a likable bitch. Now she’s a likable… nerd.

The rest of the cast acts like they’ve never been in front of the camera before. But here again, the characters are annoying and boring and just not intriguing at all, so let’s blame the directing and writing team.

Really. It’s a show about a girl who lost her dad, is stuck with her conservative mother, feels very American, but is forced to connect with her roots, falls for the popular jock, neglects her best (and only) friends and can’t seem to find a balance between trying to popular and being the smartest kid in class.

Yawn.

www.imdb.com/title/tt10062292

Picked up Modern Family again. Last time I saw a season was in 2014 !

Great guilty pleasure ! For every ‘meh’ moment, there are twice as many ‘haha’ moments.

Season 3 (**1/2)  isn’t as good as season 2, but each episode has enough laughs to make you continue watching. The episode in Disneyland is excellent though. with some hilarious scenes like the one where Dylan, dressed as Little John, tries to win back Haley. Classic! What’s really good about this show is that there is consistency. If you watch them in a row, you notice how some things get picked up again later in the show and references are made to what has happened before. This is not always the case in other sitcoms like Friends or Fresh Prince, in which there are a lot of inconsistencies. Phil and Luke’s relationship is great. Haley is pretty funny this season. Cameron and Mitchel are, well, a bickering couple that still have some great punch lines. Sophia is still great.

Season 4 (**1/2) is a tougher cookie. Not all episodes are great. Some get boring. Some characters get so annoying you just want to give up. But there are great guest acting parts that make it interesting. The stereotypical portrayal of a gay couple and a latino trophy wife is just nerve-racking. How many jokes can you make about a Columbian drugs & poverty escaping woman and camp effeminate gay men? It’s just always the same. Yawn.  However, some of the best scenes of the season feature Cameron/Mitchel and Sophia. (the heritage dinner discussion) And Cameron dressed like a character of Cats up on the tree is a classic. Every episode still makes you laugh at least a few times though.

Season 5 (**1/2) starts off really well, with some of the best episodes of the series. New characters get introduced and some reoccur more than before. It’s really strange how the show is pretty conservative. It’s representing a certain suburban upper middle class that isn’t really representative of real modern families out there. And the stereotypes! Even when they travel to Australia, they are able to only show stereotypes. Yet, Cameron is the football coach. Surprise. Not all episodes are good, but it ends with a great one (the wedding).

Just when you think season 6 (**1/2) isn’t all that exciting or funny anymore, there’s the episode where everyone thinks Haley got married in Vegas. Original and excellent. And the second half of the season has more real good episodes. Some characters seem to have lost their appeal though (Sophia!). And none of the new ones are great, apart from Andy maybe. But others are still awesome. Phil on top. The jokes and comments are quite sarcastic for a sitcom. In then years’ time a new generation will call them homophobic, racist and sexist. Like this generation is offended by some jokes in Friends (Friends!!). A friend who doesn’t know the show asked if it was Married With Children. 2.0. No.  It’s not that politically incorrect.

Three episodes into season 7 and I haven’t laughed yet. What’s wrong?

 

Marley And Me – *

Posted: June 6, 2020 in 2008, romcom, USA, X

Friends got a dog and named it Marley, because of the movie with Owen Wilson and Jennifer Anniston. 

It was on tonight and I started to watch it. Moreover, I even finished it! A romcom with Jennifer Anniston and Owen Wilson and an obnoxious dog!

I get the appeal of the movie for dog owners and lovers. And I guess the dog isn’t really that obnoxious, just very affectionate and active if you want to use euphemisms. So, I kinda understand why  would call your active and affectionate puppy Marley.

A couple meet, get married and get a dog. They’re not really good at controlling their dog’s behavior and just let him be whoever he wants to be. Then they get kids. The couple start arguing. They move. Twice. Then the dog dies. The end.

It’s not really a bad movie. It’s just pretty bland. As soon as the end credits roll you want to watch something else. In fact, the two commercials following the movie also featured a couple and a dog. And pretty much left me with the same feeling.

www.imdb.com/title/tt0822832