Archive for the ‘X1/2’ Category

Umrika – *(*)

Posted: March 24, 2019 in 2015, Drama, India, X1/2

A young Indian country boy sees his big brother leave for America. Later, as a teenager, he becomes the man of the house when his father passes away. His mother still adores the son that left and started a new life in a new country. But he’s not around. With much pride she shares the letters she receives to the other villagers. The letters are very impersonal though and filled with pictures of American life, taken out of a magazine. Something is not right. The young man decides to find his brother, but gets stuck in the next big city where he needs to start working for of a dodgy person. How was his brother ever able to leave ? And is his brother even alive?

Umrika is one of those festival films from India. It’s not a Bollywood blockbuster. It doesn’t have singing and dance sequences. It’s serious stuff. But it doesn’t work. It starts off great and the teenager is played by that guy from Life Of Pi, so the acting is pretty solid. But the story is predictable, boring and not intriguing at all. Not as heart-warming or moving as you’d expect. The director didn’t really do a good job convincing everyone that this is a story worth telling. By the time you learn what happened to the older brother and what effect that will have on the younger one, you may have lost total interest or care. Too bad.

It’s set in the early eighties, so there are some nostalgic references. One particular scene is funny: when a whole Indian crowd watches Indiana Jones and the Temple Of Doom.

www.imdb.com/title/tt2614722/

 

 

 

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Life Of Crime – *(*)

Posted: March 19, 2019 in 2013, Comedy, Crime/Detective, USA, X1/2

This came on and looked intriguing. Two amateur criminals decide to kidnap the wife of a rich businessman. However, they didn’t prepare the job that well. They had no clue that the rich businessman has an affair with a younger starlet and is filing for a divorce. And they also had no clue that the wife has an affair with her neighbor, who shows up at the moment of the kidnapping.

The first 20 minutes are okay. The movie feels a bit like a Coen-brothers production. It has all the elements of a dark satire. But then somehow things get serious. And the story becomes a mess. The jokes aren’t funny anymore. The end is okay again, but by then, it feels like they had to wrap it up fast. Too bad. It had potential.

www.imdb.com/title/tt1663207

 

Turn Up Charlie – *(*)

Posted: March 15, 2019 in 2019, Dramedy, TV series, UK, X1/2

Idris Elba has an eight episode series on Netflix as of today. It’s a British show and is marketed as a ‘comedy’, but it’s more of a chaotic dramedy. The first episode is kind of cool though. Idris plays a middle-aged amateur dj, who had one big hit in the nineties, but spent all his money on women and booze. He lives with his aunt, lies about his success to his parents and is penniless. An old buddy of his, now a famous actor, is moving back to London with his successful dj-ing wife and their spoiled daughter. Somehow, Idris’ character Charlie accepts the job of being the kid’s nanny. Part because he needs the money and part because he hopes to get back into the music business. Of course, he starts to care about the kid as well.

After a few episodes the relationship between Charlie and the kid becomes second fiddle. Like they ran out of interesting scenes between the two unlikely buddies. In one later episode they are at some alternative dance festival and the series becomes dull. In another episode they are in Ibiza. The simple sitcom feel from the beginning, becomes a show with drugs and sex. That’s where it becomes chaotic. In the final episode the question is more about who is in love with who and the kid just is a distraction.

There should release a soundtrack. On vinyl of course. The music is good. And it’s not without merits. The auntie with her Nigerian accent is funny. And some scenes are well done. But in general this is just not a great show.

www.imdb.com/title/tt830449

Paul Hogan’s famous character in this eighties blockbuster hit is racist, homophobic, sexist, naive and ignorant. But he’s also charming and ‘honest’, so he gets away with his offensive remarks. It’s hard to imagine this movie could still be as popular now as it was back then. The jokes aren’t really funny (anymore). It’s politically incorrect, full of clichés and stereotypes. And the adventurous action feels outdated. However, out of pure nostalgia, this was a fun re-watch. A man from the Australian outback, who’s never been in a city before, arrives in the New York of the eighties. A culture clash awaits. That’s it. A 100 minutes long.

www.imdb.com/title/tt0090555

 

The sequel isn’t any better. Some Columbian gangsters arrive in New York and kidnap Crocodile Dundee’s girlfriend because some evidence against them was sent to her (she’s a reporter). Dundee can rescue her and they leave for the Australian outback. But the gangsters somehow know how to find them there as well. The second part is a jungle chase basically.

More of the same ‘humor’, a lot shooting and some nice shots of the outback. It wasn’t really worth the re-watch. Somehow, these movies were fun to watch as a kid in the eighties, but not as an adult in the 2010s.

www.imdb.com/title/tt0092493

 

Divines – *(*)

Posted: March 1, 2019 in 2016, Dramedy, France, X1/2

Hm.

This violent look at teenage girls in the Parisian ghetto choosing a life of crime over, well, the alternative, is over the top.

It’s not the new La Haine. It’s not the new Bande De Filles. It’s just not as good as reviews say it is. It’s an entertaining, sensational debut. Sure. And okay, the two actresses are a joy to watch and deservedly won the César for best newcomer and best supporting actress. And yes, there are some very good scenes in it (the ferrari dream sequence for instance). But because it’s so over the top, all realism is gone and so is all empathy for the characters and their situations.

But it’s refreshing to see girls kick ass and run the show. You’ve got balls becomes You’ve got clitoris. The drug dealing boss surrounds herself with half naked men. Etc… they could have taken that over the top as well.

www.imdb.com/title/tt4730986

Chacun Pour Tous – **

Posted: February 7, 2019 in 2018, Dramedy, France, Sportsdrama, X1/2

Flight movie #3

Several members of the basketball team that is selected to represent France at the Special Olympics in Sydney quit a few months before the actual games. The coach doesn’t want to lose his license and comes up with a terrible plan. The team is supposed to be existing of players with a mental disability (more specific: with an IQ less than 70), but he recruits several street players who are just in it for the money. All they have to do is pretend to be mentally disable and keep the fraud a secret.

It’s a terrible scam. Not only is it immoral, it’s also not well prepared at all. These new players can’t keep the secret of course and the press starts asking questions when the team performs really well.

The movie is based on true events. It was the Spanish team who only had two disabled people in the group. And they ended up winning the competition. A big scandal of course. Made into an okay and entertaining movie.

The makers really casted the actors well. It’s very easy to sympathize with these frauds. Some do it for the money, some for the fame, some just because they have nothing better to do. Only one is really troubled with the decision and feels guilty along the way. It’s very cliché, but the story focuses also about the team spirit and the fact that disabled and ‘normal’ people can work together just fine if they have the same goal.

www.imdb.com/title/tt8826496

 

 

Le Grand Bain – *(*)

Posted: February 7, 2019 in 2018, France, Social Drama, X1/2

Flight movie #1

Both a hit at the box office and with the critics, this French dramedy disappoints. A bunch of male losers meet weekly for a practice of synchronised swimming. They pretty much suck at what they do, but it gives them some kind of satisfaction. Each one of them has their issues. The principle character, who just joined the team, has been at home with a depression for more than two years. He fits in perfectly and soon motivates the group to participate in an international competition.

It’s quite a tough viewing. There is little comedy. And the characters just aren’t intriguing or pleasant. Nor are the actors. Jean Hughes Anglade delivers a good performance, but others like Guillaume Canet aren’t remarkable at all. It’s also a silly story. It’s pretty unrealistic that they can enter an international competition without being part of a national organisation or so. Suddenly they are Team France and are off to Norway to compete with trained teams from around the world.

Not impressed.

www.imdb.com/title/tt7476116