Archive for the ‘XX’ Category

Woman In Gold – **

Posted: August 16, 2019 in 2015, Courtroom, Drama, UK, USA, XX

Gustav Klimt’s Portrait Of Adèle Bloch Bauer was hanging at the Belvedere in Vienna for several decades until a family member of the model claimed it back.

It’s an amazing story. Based on true facts. Adèle Bloch Bauer was a model for one of the most important Austrian painters. Her husband commissioned the portrait and it hung in their house for many years. Until the Nazi’s took over control in Vienna and the paintings were confiscated. The portrait was brought to the Belvedere, which is one of the many art museums in Austria’s capital.

Jump ahead to the late nineties when Austria starts to talk about giving back paintings to those families that the nazis stole it from. Unfortunately for the Austrians, there’s a niece of Adèle Block Bauer living in Los Angeles who wants the painting of her aunt back. She gets the help of a young lawyer, also of Jewish-Austrian descent, and an Austrian journalist who wants to come to terms with the country’s nazi past.

It’s an okay movie. The story intrigues and Helen Mirren is quite charming in the main lead. She created a character that entertains throughout the entire story. Also good are the flashbacks to the time of when the painting was made and the time of the nazi takeover. But unfortunately the focus is on the court case and that’s a tad boring.

Not sure what Austrians think about this movie…

www.imdb.com/title/tt2404425

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Sarajevo – **

Posted: July 28, 2019 in 2014, Austria, biopic, Germany, Terrorist, War, WW1, XX

This whodunnit … or rather who-ordered-it-to-have-it-done starts off really well. It focuses on one of the most important historical moments in recent history: the assassination of Franz Ferdinand in Sarajevo.

The protagonist is Leo Pfeffer, the magistrate in charge of the investigation. The case is quite simple really. Gavrilo Princip shot him after an earlier attempt to kill the archduke by other Serbian terrorists failed. They even arrested the murderer and he confessed. So what’s there to investigate?

Well, according to this movie a lot. Like, who ordered this murder? In history class we learn that a group of Serbian anarchists did it. But did they get the order from the Serbian government? Or … did they get the order from German (business) leaders who just wanted to start a war ?

The movie is good. Well acted. Well directed. Well told. BUT it’s focussing too much on the latter assumption. It’s an interesting thought and it’s true that Europe was eager to go to war (at least the German leaders), but we get the point after a while. There’s also a love story, which most likely is pure fictional and was just added for the drama. It’s well thought of, but it does bother the storytelling a bit. The conversations between the characters also feel like these characters know what the future will look like. Which they didn’t.

Still. Worth the watch. And it’s on youtube

www.imdb.com/title/tt3691446

 

Aladdin – **

Posted: July 24, 2019 in 2019, Children/Family, Fantasy, USA, XX

Visually a blast, this is quite an entertaining movie.

However. This live adaption of the animation classic is very flawed.

First there’s the setting. This is supposed to be an Arab folktale. Yet, it feels like the movie is made in Punjab or so. The market kinda looks middle eastern maybe. But the whole atmosphere is more Bollywood than anything else.

Also, why on earth would a Scandinavian-like prince speak with a German accent and look for an Arab princess to marry back in whatever era this tale is supposed to take place? Sure, it’s a fairytale, but even fairytales should make sense.

Then there’s the acting. It’s not good.

And finally, the music sucks. There are way too many songs and they all sound dull. About from that one hit maybe (A Whole New World).

However, as mentioned before. It’s an entertaining movie that doesn’t bore a bit. It baffles and annoys.

Makes you want to watch the animation movie though.

www.imdb.com/title/tt6139732

1956, East-Berlin. Two students of a class finishing high school are able to sneak into West-Berlin to see a movie. The wall separating both parts of Berlin hasn’t been erected yet and it’s still possible to visit the other part. However, at the movie theatre they learn about a revolt in Budapest agains the Russian occupiers and once back in East-Berlin they inform their fellow classmates about the different reporting about what’s going on in Hungary.

The entire class decides to keep silent for 2 minutes in respect for what’s going on in Hungary. But the silly act isn’t met with much comprehension from their teacher and soon the principal and higher officials are informed. Keeping silent for 2 minutes as a protest is considered a political act and the consequences will be severe.

The story is based on true events, which makes the movie more intriguing than if it were pure fiction. It’s a history lesson and worth watching, but the storytelling isn’t that compelling and the acting or directing isn’t that extraordinary either. It does give you an idea of what life was like in the mid fifties in East Berlin, but it’s all pretty superficial. It’s a warning against propaganda and it does give some insight as to why a lot of people in the DDR were okay with being in the DDR. But it doesn’t really dig deep.

The book was probably better than the movie.

www.imdb.com/title/tt6576556

Recommended by friends, this new LGBTQI+ Netflix series is a bit of a drag really. No pun intended.

A woman returns to San Francisco after having left 20 years ago to pursue a career. She used to live in a community house run by a transgender, whose 90th birthday is the occasion of her return. But not everyone is happy to see her. Most definitely not her ex husband and their adoptive daughter.

Laura Linney and her character save this show from total boredom. Her presence is fresh and funny. The rest of the cast is not impressive at all. And the script sucks. Every episode has a few scenes that are worth the rave reviews, but in general this is not a good drama show.

An intriguing character is Jake, a transgender who is confused about his new identity after the transgression. It’s not a stereotypical characterization and the actor isn’t a professional, which makes it more real. His former lesbian girlfriend is having trouble accepting the new identity as well. Yes, this story line is good.

But most of the time the story and characterization is irritating. Why do daddies in interracial/intergenerational couples always have to be white? Why do we need characters that represent the pseudo artistic influencers we now see on social media? Why does San Francisco look sunny and clean? I mean, have they been to San Francisco? Why is the idea of smoking weed every single moment of the day something attractive to look at on tv? Why do producers think Ellen Page is someone people want to watch ‘act’?  It’s also so annoyingly politically correct. It’s terrible.

In fact, the best confrontational scene is the one where a bunch of old homosexuals get reprimanded a younger gay guy because they use the word ‘tranny’. The discussion that follows is quite a powerful moment on generational conflicts.

It’s not a good show. It’s hard to finish. But episode eight is worth the watch. It’s a flashback episode focussing on the Compton Cafeteria Riot from 1966. Though flawed, it’s worth the watch and the only episode that doesn’t make you push the forward button.

www.imdb.com/title/tt7087260

A Month By The Lake – **

Posted: May 3, 2019 in 1995, Dramedy, romcom, UK, USA, XX

On the long way to Lake Como by train and plane, it looked like the perfect moment to watch the movie all local guides seem to refer to if they run out of stories to tell about George Clooney.

Back in 1995, Vanessa Redgrave starred in a romantic comedy about an older woman retreating in a villa near lake Como. An older man arrives at the retreat and she feels intrigued by him. They go for a drink and then a tennis date, but the chemistry just isn’t there. Until a young woman arrives and messes things up. She’s a big flirt, but the older man falls for her. Enough for the older woman to start flirting with a young man.

Of course, it all ends well. It’s very predictable. It’s a nice movie to watch, when you’re familiar with the region where it’s been filmed. And Vanessa Redgrave is excellent, thanks to the quirky character she can embody. Edward Fox is well selected to play the love interest. But Uma Thurman as the young flirt is terrible though. This movie was released after Pulp Fiction, but it looks like she has no acting experience whatever. Totally miscast.

No let’s see in the next couple of days how easy it is to find romance in this gorgeous district.

https://www.imdb.com/title/tt0113849/

 

Homecoming – **

Posted: April 30, 2019 in 2019, Concert Movie, Musical, USA, XX

Beyoncé gave a brilliant concert at Coachella last year.

She decided to make a documentary about it and have it shown on Netflix.

It’s apparently edited/directed by herself. Which means she’s a terrible editor and director.

The show itself is AMAZING. The way it’s filmed and edited not.

The show is excellent. It’s the kind of performance you want to have been looking at live, as it was happening. The choreography in some parts is incredible. The re-worked songs sound great. The homecoming theme with the brassbands and cheerleading squad make it unique. Beyoncé is shining. She looks proud, strong, happy.

But throughout the documentary you just want the show to just go on. Way too often the flow of the show is stopped by behind the scenes stories. Sure it’s important to learn that she’s the first black american woman to headline the festival. Sure it’s important to learn that it’s quite a feat to put on such a show after having given birth to twins. Sure it’s interesting to see that almost the entire crew is black and given a chance to be part of something special. That’s all important. Yes.

But you know what? It’s all very superficial. A few statements here and there. A few images here and there. A few memories here and there. If you want to make a point, make a full documentary about that. Don’t interrupt a great live show with tidbits that don’t really say anything at all. You’re all sucked up in the concert and then bam, blablabla, then back to the show, then bam, more blablablabla. It’s tiring. It’s a bad concept. Either make an in depth behind the scenes/preparation documentary. Or show the live concert. Don’t mix them up. Or do it like others have done better in the past.

www.imdb.com/title/tt10147546