Archive for the ‘XX’ Category

Okay, it’s not a must see action cop movie, but it doesn’t bore at all. And the story is set in Brazil, rather than LA or New York. So that’s a plus. It’s about a woman, who does a career switch by getting out of the tourism sector and into the police department. Before she knows it, she needs to participate in a special assignment. In a small town several miles from Rio De Janeiro, two kids get killed during a shoot out between rivaling gangs. The Rio special police force is sent over there to help find the criminals and bring back peace. However, the longer the elite team is there, the more they realize that those rivaling gangs are not the only criminal town and corruption is everywhere. But once they start investigating into it, they get a lot of opposition. The story isn’t original and it’s all very predictable. The presence of the woman (pretty, confident, a bit high maintenance) is first frowned upon by the macho police force, but of course she gets credit at the end. There are few surprises. You see it coming from miles ahead. But it’s entertaining. The acting is good though. That Cleo Pires is a joy to watch !

http://www.imdb.com/title/tt4058210

 

Advertisements

She’s Gotta Have It – **

Posted: December 30, 2017 in 1986, Drama, Dramedy, USA, XX

After watching the tv series, you might as well experience the original Spike Lee movie too.  It’s a low-budget black and white movie that still feels unique and fresh. The jazzy soundtrack (by Spike Lee’s dad) is excellent. This debut is creative and has humor. It has some daring sex scenes for its time. That one scene in color is a gem. But the acting is mediocre (Spike Lee himself gives the best performance – which says a lot) and the editing isn’t so good. (the ideas are great, but the execution is poor). The story isn’t all that strong either. It’s very similar to the series of course. An independent woman is having three lovers and seems to think she can get away with it. In the movie, unlike the series, the men meet each other quite early on into the story. There’s no mention of her being an ambitious artist. Nor do you get to know much about her friends, neighbours and family (a great thing about the series). Some scenes have the exact same dialogue though. Which is weird. And the aggression in the movie is much more aggressive than in the series. The outcome is also very much 1986 and totally different from the 2017 version. But that’s why a remake was necessary.

http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0091939

It starts off really good, this crime thriller set in Cairo. The plot is intriguing. The introduction to the story and its characters is told by images rather than by words. The mood is dark. The setting is, well not really exotic, but different and thus exciting. But somewhere halfway through the story it becomes less appealing. There’s repetition. There’s no suspense. The direction is less inspiring. The acting is still good though. And there’s anticipation until the end about how the revolution of 2011 will be presented.

That Fares Fares is doing a fine job as the troubled good cop/bad cop who needs to solve a murder committed in a hotel room. A starlet is killed and there’s a housemaid who’s seen the killer. But instead of looking for the housemaid, the detective has a different trace that leads him to a network of prostitutes who seduce rich men, frame them and then blackmail them…

It’s heralded as a film noir. Which is understandable. The cops are depicted as a bunch of corrupt, cigarette smoking, alcohol drinking, territory claiming gang of scumbags. They’re not roaming the streets of LA, but of Cairo. And the housemaids aren’t poor Mexican immigrants, but poor Sudanese immigrants. They all talk (shout) in Arab instead of English and the events occur during a rising revolution against the corrupt powers that be. It’s not the LA riots for a change. At one point the movie feels like an episode of a Scandinavian detective series. And guess what? The director happens to be from Sweden. Okay, he has Egyptian roots. But still.

The movie has a lot of potential, but the story is weak and unoriginal. Too bad. I’m sure it won’t be shown in Egypt.

http://www.imdb.com/title/tt5540188

Pollock – **

Posted: December 19, 2017 in 2000, Art, biopic, Drama, USA, XX

Every time I see a Pollock at a museum, I pauze. It hasn’t always been like that. But the more I see them, the more I’m intrigued by them. Some of his paintings are just so overwhelming. And it all looks so easy. Put a canvas on the ground. And start splashing paint on it. In apparent random order. Why did nobody come up with that idea before?

So there is a movie about Jackson Pollock. A relatively recent one. From this century. (If that’s the definition of recent). Starring Ed Harris. And directed by Ed Harris. He must be a fan. It’s an okay movie. Also chronologically told. But the acting is good. That Marcia Gay Harden does deserve her Oscar. And Harris performs well. Pollock isn’t a particularly pleasant character. He’s, well, an alcoholic and crazy in the head. The prototype of every talented artist. But you do get to learn a bit more about him. And his life. And the art is very present.

Time to watch Frida, Mr Turner, Surviving Picasso, Basquiat, Modigliani, etc… 

http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0183659

Loving Vincent – **

Posted: November 29, 2017 in 2017, Animation, Drama, XX

It’s surprising how long it took before a painted movie was made. Ever since I was a kid, I wondered why nobody ever made a movie about a painter in the style of the painter concerned. An impressionist movie about Monet! An baroque movie about Rubens. There have been a few attempts in the past, mostly live action settings, but this is the first painted movie. Several teams of painters painted each frame, edited together with a stop motion technique. It’s quite fascinating…. For the first 15 minutes at least. Then you get used to it and you focus on the story, which sadly isn’t so intriguing. Unless you’ve never learned about the death of Vincent Van Gogh.

After learning about the death of Vincent Van Gogh, the son of an Arles postman is commisoned to take a sealed letter to Vincent’s brother Theo in Paris. Upon arrival he learns that Theo has passed away and so his journey continues to Auvers-sur-Oise, where Vincent apparently shot himself. The man gets more intriguied in the happenings during the final days of Vincent’s life, so he starts asking around for more details.

That detective element doesn’t quite work. There are just too many dialogues/interrogations with several characters, during which the extraordinary painted animation isn’t used to its full potential. Sad really. But you want to see it for the drawings. Which are marvelous at times. Even when you’re not a Van Gogh fan. It’s still quite a feat. And well done.

http://www.imdb.com/title/tt3262342

We Bought A Zoo – **

Posted: November 15, 2017 in 2011, Drama, Dramedy, USA, XX

A young widower leaves his adventurous journalist life for what it is and buys a zoo to start all over again with his two young children. The youngest kid loves it (she’s 6 or so), the oldest one hates it (he’s 13 or so).  If he hadn’t bought the zoo, all animals would have been displaced and the animal keepers would have had to look for another job. He’s in for the biggest adventure in his life…

The story seems a bit far-fetched. A good excuse to make a movie with big stars and a lot of animals. But it’s apparently based on a true story.

It all feels a bit silly though. The script isn’t strong. It’s a kids’ movie. The kind you can watch at 2 pm in the afternoon. After a (more exciting) BBC nature documentary. Scarlet Johansson is in it, but her role could have easily been played by someone else. Nothing special. Matt Damon is okay in the lead role. He seems to really be having fun. He has some good scenes. Especially the “I Need Help” conversation with his son. But then the movie is over and you’re shrugging.

The use of great indie college rock tracks on the soundtrack is of course the director’s idea But it just doens’t work here.

Check the dvd extra on training animals.

http://www.imdb.com/title/tt1389137 

 

Ae Fond Kiss – **

Posted: November 14, 2017 in 2014, Romance, Social Drama, UK, XX

For a movie made in 2004, this Ken Loach film still functions well in 2017. Nothing has changed in 13 years. A sad conclusion. The premise still intrigues these days. Can a catholic, female music teacher and a muslim accountant find happiness as a couple in modern-day Western society? Yes? No? Maybe?

Ae Fond Kiss feels like it was made by a debutant graduating from an unknown film academy. Which is not a bad thing, apart from the fact that it’s made by an experienced and award-winning director. The script is so predictable. Of course the catholic school environment will be depicted as being as old-fashioned as the Pakistani tradition of arranged marriages. The social commentary is too gentle. If you want to confront viewers with racism, don’t do it by just mentioning it. Go for the uncomfortable feeling! Some scenes don’t make sense. Like the moment where the guy discovers a tattoo on the body of his new girlfriend, which he has been licking and kissing all night long a few days before. Duh! The acting of most of the cast is non-professional. Which is fine. Eva Birthisle is quite remarkable as the teacher. Atta Yaqub looks lost as the Pakistani accountant. But playing the character as a bit of a shy loser, makes him more sympathetic. The rest probably didn’t even get paid for being extras with lines.  It has a terrible end. Totally opposite of what any rational person would conclude. But the whole experience is worth the watch. A Scottish movie to recommend!

http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0380366