Archive for the ‘X1/2’ Category

The devastating First World War. Four years of chaos and death in Flanders Fields. And at the end there was the Spanish flu.

It’s quite surreal to watch this Flemish series during corona times. But it’s being removed from Netflix by the end of the month and the idea was to finish it before the many professional trips to Ypres next month.

The show is well filmed and there is much eye to detail. The research was done well and the period setting is great. But the over-abundance of storylines is getting annoying halfway into the show. World War I is a fascinating period in history and there are so many facets of the war that were never addressed in major Hollywood movies. But to pack them all into a ten episode series is just not good.

Even though it’s an international production, it is still a Flemish series and the focus is on the story of a Flemish family. This may not appeal to international audiences as they will not understand the many references. We see the family Boesman from Ghent at the outbreak of the war. Doctor Boesman is a gynecologist who wants to become a professor at the university and assumes the war will soon be over. His wife, who is part of the catholic bourgeoisie, is at his side. Their oldest son is ready to go to battle. Their younger son is more opportunist and prefers to stay home and continue his work as as sales person. The daughter is too young to do anything, but she aspires to be a doctor one day, like her dad.

The characters are intriguing and good guides through the thick storybook of little tales about the war. But at one point it’s enough. Everything is mentioned. Briefly and superficially.  The Flemish social pillar system (socialist/catholic/liberal); the subordinate role of women, the Flemish collaboration and resistance, the pop-up brothels for the English officers, the gas attacks, the smuggling, the espionage, the food shortage, the Christmas truces, the war tactics, … and they still add romance to it all as well.

To give you a spoiler example focussing on the daughter. She wants to become a doctor but can’t as a woman, betrays her best friend whose father is German, tries to run errands for the resistance, is attracted to the young German officer who occupies her house, smuggles something across the border to her Grandmother, has an abortion, flees to England, becomes a nurse, meets her brothers in battle, etc… She clearly is the main character of the show, but actress Lize Feryn can’t carry the show. Luckily she is assisted by two actors playing her parents. Wim Opbrouck is great as the collaborating gynecologist and Barbara Sarafian is at her best trying to support her husband’s bad decisions.

Unfortunately it’s not a must-see and even a drag by the end.

www.imdb.com/title/tt2253780

Modo Avião – *(*)

Posted: March 14, 2020 in 2020, Brasil, Comedy, X1/2

Ana is as smartphone addicted influencer who is working for a fashion company that uses her instagram profile to sell their items. The girl is so obsessed about social media that she’s constantly on her phone and causes many accidents with her car. After one of them is almost fatal, her mother arranges her to go stay with her grandpa in rural mountainous inland Brazil. Where there is no wifi.

The synopsis is okay. The start is kinda fun. Mocking the social media and the fashion world. And when the movie takes you to the beautiful Mantigueira Mountains you want to buy a plane ticket to Sao Paulo, rent a car and drive up to Belo Horizonte via the mountain road. The setting is gorgeous. And Sao Paulo looks fabulous as well. Larissa Manoela is doing a fine job as the main lead and it also features Fica Tudo Bem, the most catchy Brazilian indie pop songs of recent years.

But in the end, it’s a silly romcom that has little to no romance, but a fair amount of gentle humor. It’s for teenagers. Or for those who want to watch something that is so far away from the current news stories that it’s a relief.

www.imdb.com/title/tt10731748/

Mystify – *(*)

Posted: January 30, 2020 in 2019, Australia, Documentary, Musical, X1/2

INXS were one of the coolest rock bands of the eighties until the nineties happened and U2 took over.

Michael Hutchence was more in the news because of his affairs with Kylie Minogue and Helena Christensen than because of his music. Oh. And there was drugs and stuff. And then he had Paula Yates leave Bob Geldof… oh and yes, it ended up with him hanging himself in a hotel bed room.

This documentary wants to show a different aspect of the rock idol gone roque. Lots of people are interviewed, but they all sound so overly positive about the guy. Even Kylie whose heart he broke into a million pieces.

That is just weird.

www.imdb.com/title/tt5938950

This came on tv this afternoon. Decided to watch a bit of it. Ended up finishing it. Hey, it’s been more than 30 years !

What a silly movie. Those special effects are BAD. And the acting isn’t particularly good either. Neither is the story. In fact, this is really quite terrible.

But it’s nostalgic… And Bill Murray is great being Bill Murray.

However, this did not pass the test of time. I used to LOVE this movie.

Ray Parker Jr’s title track is still cool though. (it was the first 7″ inch single I ever bought).

www.imdb.com/title/tt0087332

 

Jumanji: The Next Level – *(*)

Posted: December 22, 2019 in 2019, Adventure, Fantasy, USA, X1/2

Lame action. Lame jokes. Lame acting.

Apart from The Rock and Danny Glover maybe, who kind of make this still worth watching.

This may appeal to very young kids, who will love the action and the slapstick and the weird avatar swaps. But if you’re not a kid, this is a really dull.

www.imdb.com/title/tt7975244

Another Swiss movie ! This time on Netflix! And it’s not too bad. Just aimed at a younger audience. The young adult ones.

It’s a coming of age story of an orthodox jewish student, who falls for a classmate. She seems to show a liking to him as well. But, of course, she’s not Jewish.

The nemesis in the story is the student’s mom, who’s extremely conservative and already arranged several meetings with potential Jewish girls to marry.

It’s a romcom. It has some funny moments. And it feels like a Jiddish / Jewish culture for beginners video.

Give it a shot if you want to see a Swiss comedy.

www.imdb.com/title/tt4766630

 

Rocketman – *(*)

Posted: November 9, 2019 in 2019, biopic, Drama, LGBT themed, Musical, USA, X1/2

It’s never a good sign when the producer of a biopic of a certain artist is the artist himself. In this case, Elton John. Sure, he has lead an interesting life, but told from his perspective it’s flawed and biased.

The movie starts with the British piano rock star attending an AA meeting in full extravagant outfit. It ends with a message that he’s been clean for 27 years. In between you get to learn about his rise to fame and the lack of love he received as a child and as an adult. The whole part where he’s addicted to alcohol, drugs and sex is mentioned, but not really visualized that much.

So, all you’re left with is an uninteresting character with mediocre songs who rose to fame, couldn’t figure out the difference between his onstage larger than live persona and lived with self pity until quite late in his career.

Some may like the magical realism at certain points in the movie (like the uplifting experience in LA’s Troubadour or the skyrocketing singer performing Rocketman, the song). It’s a nice gimmick, but nothing more than that. The acting isn’t particularly great, but satisfying. But it’s a bit sad when the only interesting character in the movie is the ‘evil’ manager John Reid, who is also the bad character in Bohemian Rhapsody. Now, give him  a biopic!

www.imdb.com/title/tt2066051