Archive for the ‘XX’ Category

You: Season 2 – **

Posted: January 16, 2020 in 2019, Crime/Detective, TV series, USA, XX

Damn.

This sequel is a drag. The first season was so good. Yet this time around the story doesn’t excite. Joe moves to LA, meets a new woman he falls in love with and starts to stalk. But that’s not the core of the story anymore.

Nothing is really the core of the story. There’s a bit of everything going on. Sure, that’s a good change from the first season where the love/stalk story was too present. But then again, that was also its coolness. Maybe it’s the setting. Los Angeles isn’t New York. And its inhabitants just aren’t quite like the ones of the Big Apple. Most of the new characters in this show are tiresome stereotypes of Angelenos. And that’s the biggest flaw.

Not a season to binge watch.

 

Wunderkinder – *(*)

Posted: December 27, 2019 in 2011, Drama, Germany, WW2, XX

1941. Hanna Reich is growing up in the Ukraine as the daughter of a German beer brewer. She has no friends and loves to play the violin, so with a little help of her wealthy father she gets private lessons from a teacher who also brings the so called wonder kids to her house. These kids are on the verge of a tour around Russia and maybe even America until the war interrupts their dreams.

While Hitler is waging war in the West, Stalin is controlling power in the east. Hannah and her new found friends are growing up in a relatively safe area, until the Nazis decide to expand their territory towards Russia. First, Hannah’s family is a target for the NKVP (the Sovjet gestapo), but once the Nazis take over it’s the family of the wonder kids that become a target. They are, you’ve guessed it, Jewish.

Though the story is fascinating and probably a good read as a young adult historical novel, the movie isn’t all that good. The storytelling is rushed. Moreover, it’s told as a long flashback, allowing the first scene to spoil the end of the story. Why did they decide to do that?

The acting and more precise, the character depiction, leaves much to be desired for as well.You can’t blame directors for depicting Nazis as one dimensional assholes. But you can blame them for depicting any other character as soulless. Especially the kids who are the main characters.

Best scene: the semi nazi sympathizing mother who pulls off her swastika at the end and bleeds. 

http://www.imdb.com/title/tt1710625/

It’s not a great movie. It’s entertaining. A lot of things happen. But it’s not a great episode. The story just isn’t captivating. Lots of things don’t make sense. And by episode three of this new trilogy you should at least have one new character to empathize with. But you don’t. Rey isn’t particularly interesting. Kylo Ren neither. Yet both should be having every single member in the audience grasp for air whenever they meet on screen. But they don’t. Finn has a very small part. Rose doesn’t even have five lines in this one. Poe is annoying. Then there’s all these cameo’s of actors who passed away a while ago or characters who were killed off in previous episodes and return. Yawn.

Oh well. It’s over now.

www.imdb.com/name/nm4511652

Palmeras En La Nieve – **

Posted: December 14, 2019 in 2015, Drama, Romance, Spain, XX

Browsing through the Netflix catalogue, I came across a Spanish movie, which story is set in…  Equatorial Guinea! Hm.

It’s a good movie. A bit long and rushed at the same time. Long, because it’s longer than 2,5 hours, but rushed, because it’s a story that needs more depth, more background, more details.

A young woman wants to learn more about the past of her deceased dad and her uncle’s time in Spain’s former African colony. As she embarks on her adventure, the viewers get to see the secret story in long flashbacks.

It’s very dramatic. DRAMA in capital letters. And a lot of questions arise. All the time. Why this? How that? But it’s interesting and intriguing. Even though there’s a silly far fetched plot twist somewhere half way through. It’s relatively well acted, but just because the story is rushed you feel like it’s all very superficial. This is the kind of story that needs 12 episodes. With a better direction and a better script, this could be a top show. Now it kind of feels like a telenovela at times, which can’t really have been the plan.

The questions already start in the beginning. A young woman, whose dad has passed away, visits her uncle, who has Alzheimers. Fine so far, then the woman finds a diary and gets curious. She gets even more intrigued when she finds half of a torn picture and a letter. She confronts a family friend who also lived in the colony at the time and that’s where the questions arise. Even when the movie is over. Like, why did the niece never confront her dad with the diary and the torn picture? It’s on his desk, it’s not like it’s hidden in a box somewhere. And why does the acquaintance not tell more of her memories to these two women? She ends up playing a real important role, but no, she lets this young woman go figure things out for herself.

Anyways, it’s a good thing though. When the first five minutes of the movie make you get intrigued.

And the actress who plays the main lead in the flashbacks is gorgeous! just saying.

Good, but it could have been so much better.

/www.imdb.com/title/tt3202202

 

The Hitman’s Bodyguard – **

Posted: November 24, 2019 in 2017, Action, Comedy, USA, XX

“You haven’t seen Hollywood’s chase scene in Amsterdam yet?”

Several Dutch friends, acquaintances and colleagues have recommended me this scene, but no. I hadn’t. Until now.

The famous scene takes place about an hour into the movie though and only lasts 6 minutes or so. It’s a fun scene, nothing all that special, but just cool to see it take place in a city that you know really well. It’s like the Paris car chase in Lucy. That was also fun to watch.

The entire movie is actually not all that bad. It’s an action comedy with an unlikely duo. One is a hitman, who’s imprisoned in the UK and needs to testify against a Belarus tyrant in The Hague. The other is a special bodyguard who needs to protect him against possible assassination attempts. The hitman is Samuel – motherfucking – L. Jackson and the bodyguard is Ryan Reynolds. Their chemistry is good. The action scenes are well choreographed. It’s fast paced, brains on hold, pulp entertainment with a massive body count and Selma Hayek in the funniest scene.

www.imdb.com/title/tt195956

 

Casa De Flores : Season 1 – **

Posted: November 14, 2019 in 2018, Comedy, Mexico, Parody, XX

During a birthday party of wealthy florist Ernesto, his mistress Roberta hangs herself in his shop. She’s soon found by Ernesto’s children, his wife and the maid. Chaos erupts. What about the party? Even the press is invited. And they need to shoot a family portrait!

That’s how this show starts. And then it continues. At a fast pace. As a soap. A telenovella. But Pedro Almodovar style. Very colorful and very camp. With lots of different kind of romantic liaisons. Ernesto’s wife Virginia, wasn’t aware of the cheating. But she’s no saint either. They have three children. Paulina is the oldest daughter. She’s a single mom, whose ex-partner had a sex operation and moved to Madrid. Elena is the other daughter, who’s living in New York and about to get married to – the horror!- an African American. Julian is the son. He has a girlfriend ánd a boyfriend, the financial advisor of the family, Diego. Ernesto’s mistress Roberta has two kids. An older son called Claudio, who’s now in charge of the cabaret with drag queens that his mother left behind, and a younger daughter, Micaela. The suicide has a lot of consequences, one of them having Ernesto arrested for fraud and leaving the posh family in financial trouble.

This Mexican parody is very absurd. It is set up like a regular telenovella, but the typical storylines – normally stretched over 300 days – are cramped into 13 short episodes. The romances and relationships are non-conformist. An older female neighbor is falling for a younger male stripper for instance. But that is just a side story. The weirdest moment is when the son of Paulina discovers a porn video of his uncle in a threesome with the financial advisor and some other guy. He’s showing the video to the entire family. Even Ernesto sees the video in prison. Five minutes later, this feels like a very normal thing and life can just go on.

It’s guilty pleasure fun. Try it.

One season my just be enough though. Season 2 is online already, but….

www.imdb.com/title/tt8387348

Come on, vogue
Let your body move to the music (move to the music)
Hey, hey, hey
Come on, vogue
Let your body go with the flow (go with the flow)
You know you can do it

Madonna’s best track is featured during the entire first episode of the second season. It’s a really good episode. If you only have to watch one episode of this entire series, pick that one. You can also watch the entire show of course, but there are not that many episodes nearly as good.

Madonna’s Vogue kind of made the late eighties New York ball culture mainstream. For a few months. Until the hype was over. Few people actually know about this underground culture, which is experiencing a bit of a revival right now. And this show is only going to get more people intrigued.

The show is important. No doubt. It focuses on an underground culture with characters from the black and latino underrepresented lgbtq community. And it tells the story of the struggle that people with HIV or Aids had to go through 30 years ago. That storyline is quite moving. BUT – in capitals – the acting, writing and directing is messy. Especially in season 1, which introduces the characters. Maybe that has to do with the directing. And the budget. It feels like every scene was never rehearsed and shot in one take only. It’s amateur. And annoying. The dialogues feel awkward as well. Season 2 improves on all of this. The acting is much better and especially the monologues of diva Miss Electra are hilarious and well-written. The episode stories however are often too far-fetched (the one where they have to hide a corpse, really?) or a real drag (the aids cabaret in the hospital).

Some characters are really cool though. That Miss Electra steals the show. She’s a vicious queen with a cold heart, but defrosts by the end of season 2. She is by far the most fierce, intriguing and hilarious person in the cast. Dominique Jackson is acting a bit wooden in season 1, but shines in season 2. Get her an award. Equally growing in her role is MJ Rodriguez as Blanca, who keeps the show going. She needs an award to.

There’s a lot going on. And the AIDS-related storylines are really good. But the interaction between the characters doesn’t feel realistic. They are inconsistent. In one episode they hate each other’s guts, in the next they support each other like sisters, in another one they are ready to physically harm each other, in the end they go on a day trip together. It’s weird. I’m sure there is enough drama in real life. So to add extra drama just doesn’t make sense.

Still. Season 3 may be great. and the soundtrack is excellent

www.imdb.com/title/tt7562112