Archive for the ‘XX1/2’ Category

Get Out – **(*)

Posted: May 19, 2017 in 2017, Fantasy, Thriller, USA, XX1/2

A black guy goes on a weekend to meet the parents of his white girlfriend for the very first time. But something doesn’t feel quite right. There’s only a few other blacks around the house and they act all weird. Things go really bad when his girlfriend’s mother suggests to hypnotize him to get rid of his smoking addiction…

This is a movie to go watch when you’re in an interracial relationship ! And if you’re not, go see it anyways. It’s good. A bit predictable, but well done. It’s not really a thriller, nor is it a horror story. It’s more of an social critical experiment and it works. It entertains for it’s entire length. There’s a bit of everything and even the funny moments are spot on. The acting is good. The story is unique. It should get a higher score. But in the end, it’s just a good movie.

http://www.imdb.com/title/tt5052448

Hacksaw Ridge – **(*)

Posted: March 14, 2017 in 2016, Action, Australia, War, WW2, XX1/2

A member of the Seventh-Day Adventist Church (some kind of evangelical group) enlists to help out in World War II, but refuses to carry a gun as he refuses to kill anybody. He enlists as a medic as he wants to save lives, but he needs to go through a training in which shooting a riffle is part of the program. It’s a tough training and he nearly doesn’t make it to the battle fields, but when he does, he’s heralded by his bravery. Because it’s possible to help, save and serve in war times without killing.

This Mel Gibson movie starts off slowly, but is quite powerful in the second half, during the actual taking of Hackswaw Ridge on Okinawa Island near Japan. It’s an interesting story regardless if you think it’s extremely silly or incredibly brave to enlist for war and refuse to  use a weapon . It’s based on a true story. But it’s of course a fictionalized version of it. To learn more about the real Desmond Doss, check this history vs hollywood site. But do it after you’ve experienced the movie.

Some critics call it christian propaganda. Just because the main character acts out of faith, prays and carries a bible with him. But Mel Gibson (a notorious catholic) never glorifies the religion conviction. He just shows a man who is very firm in his principles. Which again can be interpreted as silly or brave. But at least it isn’t negative.

The action is hardcore though. Limbs fly around. Some scenes can be considered horror. So it isn’t for the weak at heart. Nor is it for people who think Andrew Garfield is an overrated actor. In fact, the whole cast are just okay performers. There’s not one performance that sticks. But it’s a good war movie. A tad too long maybe.  But worth watching.

http://www.imdb.com/title/tt2119532

There are only positive reviews of Son Of Saul, winner of Best Foreign Language Movie at the Academy Award Ceremony of 2016. It’s one of those movies that all critics just adored. Probably because none of them want to come across as heartless or anti-Semitic if they didn’t.

But apart from them, no-one else recommended it. It kind of flopped at the box office as well. It wasn’t even a success in the arthouse theaters. Very few people saw it and those who did, didn’t spread the word.

So finally after more than a year the time was right to watch this heavily awarded Holocaust drama!

The best thing about this Hungarian movie is the direction and the editing.What makes this movie really great is the distance from which the camera films the main character. It’s like he’s pulling the viewer along in his story. It’s a very daunting and thrilling experience. You’re so close to this man that you feel like you’re really next to him. Excellent! It also feels like the whole movie was recorded in one single take. Which it wasn’t of course, but that’s the merit of the editor. Another unique cinematographic feat is the depiction of the horror in a blurry and distant way.

The story however isn’t all that engaging. The setting is quite dramatic of course. But the actual story isn’t.

Saul, the protagonist, is part of a Sonderkommando working at a concentration camp near the end of World War II. A jewish prisoner himself, he is forced to help bring incoming prisoners to the gas chambers, remove all the valuables from their clothes, pull out their bodies (called ‘pieces’) and carry them to the ovens, then disinfect the chamber and also bring the ashes of the burnt prisoners to the nearby river. That’s the setting. If you haven’t read/seen/heard anything about this aspect of the concentration camps and you are used to watching movies like La Vita E Bella or The Boy In The Striped Pyjamas, then yes, this can be very unsettling.

The story however is about this same man who spends all movie long trying to save a dead boy from being burnt with the others and give him a typical Jewish burial. For that purpose he needs to find a rabbi. But he also needs to ‘steal’ the body, hide it and find a place to bury. All within 24 hours. He is also given the task to collect certain items for a riot that the Sondercommando he’s part of, is anticipating. Somehow, this just doesn’t make sense. Sure, he wants to do at least one thing right after all this time of forcefully collaborating with the atrocious acts of the nazis. But why add the riot story?

Watch it nevertheless.

http://www.imdb.com/title/tt3808342/

The Red Turtle – **(*)

Posted: February 10, 2017 in 2016, Animation, Belgium, Drama, Japan, XX1/2

Wouldn’t it be cool is this movie won the Oscar for best animation movie? Everyone expected Finding Dory to be a contender, but this artsy, non commercial French/Belgian/Japanese co-production took the place of the animation blockbuster of the year.

Finding Dory it is NOT. It’s a beautiful animated tale of a man who strands on a deserted island, can’t leave because a giant turtle keeps breaking the rafts he builds. Until that turtle comes ashore and he takes his revenge. But the revenge changes his life on the island.

You don’t need to know more. Don’t watch the trailer either.

It looks like a moving European (Franco-Belge) comic book. The drawings are exceptional. The use of color and light and shadows and details is astonishing. The movement itself isn’t as stiff as you’d imagine from a hand-drawn animation movie. It’s actually quite smooth. It’s not annoying at all. But the story isn’t all that much.A lot of things happen to keep the movie going, but it’s not as poetic or deep as you might expect.

It’s looking at incredibly well animated shots of life on a deserted island with sunsets that you’ll never forget. And without the end credits it’s only 75 minutes long.

http://www.imdb.com/title/tt3666024

Based on an autographical book from the seventies, Un Sac De Billes tells the story of the Jewish family Joffo (and in particular the youngest sons Joseph and Maurice) during the Second World War. The family has a popular barber shop in occupied Paris and even has German officers as clients. But when Jewish people need to start wearing a yellow badge, the family decides to flee to unoccupied southern France. Not as one family, but split up. It’s quite a journey, but they make it to Nice, which is in the unoccupied zone and under surveillance of the more moderate Italians soldiers. Until Mussolini is disposed and the nazis come marching in and the family has to flee again.

This classical tearjerker is made for kids. They are the central characters and all focus is on them. It’s adventurous at times and there are some funny scenes too. But it also has some harsh moments that may not be suitable for kids (there is an execution by firing squad f.i.). The movie theatre was filled with adults though, a lot of seniors even. And almost everyone was sobbing. It’s not as good as Au Revoir Les Enfants, but it’s worth the watch. The period setting is praiseworthy and it’s not all that moralizing and pretty factual. The kids’ performances are good. But it’s in the supporting roles dat you see talented actors like Patrick Bruel or Christian Clavier shine.

http://www.imdb.com/title/tt5091612

Good Hair – **(*)

Posted: February 1, 2017 in 2009, Comedy, Documentary, USA, XX1/2

The hair industry for black women (and some men) in the United States is a multi million business. Black women spend thousands of dollars on their hair. All because they assume their natural hair is bad hair.

It’s a weird concept for a documentary. Especially when you’ve never before gave it any thought. Unless of course, you are black and live in the US.

The movie really talks only about this obsession of black people to have good hair and the money they spent on getting good hair. It doesn’t really talk about its social of psychological impact. It just talks about the craziness of the business.

The documentary is hilariously intriguing. It’s a non topic, really. But it’s brought in such a way that you can easily digest all that relatively useless information. It helps that Chris Rock is chosen to be the investigator. He’s excellent. If he’d host a documentary series, you would watch all the episodes. He’s like Louis Theroux. He just lets people talk and only responds by looking puzzled. His remarks are inoffensively sarcastic.

Now get this:

  • some black women spend 20.000 dollars a year on their hair. even those who cannot afford it.
  • there’s a dangerous chemical ingredient called sodium hydroxide that a large majority of black people put in their hair to ‘straighten’ it as if it’s the most normal thing to do, even when it burns their skull
  • some Indians ritually offer their long hair to a temple out of faith and for free. but that hair later is sold an resold for thousands of dollars so women in the US can wear weaves… !
  • some Indian hair collectors just cut it from women in movie theaters while they are being concentrated on the love scene on screen !!! its only a ‘little crime’ as explained in the documentary
  • men who date black women can tell a lot about their hair on the first date. If it’s not natural than it means she won’t go swimming with you, she’ll need a LOT of money to maintain it, she won’t let you touch it during sex, …. one of the funnier scenes is when Chris Rock asks the guys in the barber shop whether sex with white women is better just because they are less concerned about their hair…

Again, the focus of the documentary is on the business. And it’s entertaining. Throughout the movie Chris Rock follows contestants of a silly hair show in Atlanta. It’s okay, but it’s not taken seriously (which it shouldn’t). It would be a much more serious documentary if they would focus more on already mentioned social and psychological issues like black women honestly believing that an afro hairdo will lower their chances on the job market. (very confronting scene which isn’t really examined up closer). Or why some women spend more money on their hair than on healthy food or education for their children…

But a serious documentary wouldn’t be as much fun.

Luckily it’s 2017 and natural hair is back!!!!

http://www.imdb.com/title/tt1213585

Why did this movie flop and get bad reviews? It’s intriguing until the end. It stars two popular actors (Koen Degraeve and Matteo Simoni) who perform really well. It’s a universal concept that doesn’t have any reference to anything Flemish at all. (So, recommendable for anyone abroad). And it makes university town Leuven look like a place you want to visit soon.

It’s a science fiction take on the Groundhog Day principle. Two scientists find a way to send emails to people in the past. They do small  innocent, but successful tests and then decide to no longer use the technology  One scientist is married to a disabled woman though and cannot resist messing with history to make sure she doesn’t end up being as disabled as she is. And that’s when all goes wrong.

http://www.imdb.com/title/tt4085502