Archive for the ‘XX1/2’ Category

Dark is a German netflix original. It’s riding on the hyped wave of Stranger Things. It has some similarities. Events take place in a small town, surrounded by a forest, close to a well-secured nuclear energy plant. Kids get missing, locals all seem to know each other and a large part of the story takes you back to the eighties. But that’s about it. The atmosphere of the series feels more like Twin Peaks. It’s darker, more mysterious, more dramatic, more philosophical and messier.

The story takes place in 2019, 1986 and 1953. This is important information, because that’s not really clear in the first two episodes, which take place in the present and feel messy. As of episode 3 you feel this series may be worth the watch. Several characters that are introduced in that episode are younger versions of the characters that you already familiarized with. It’s intriguing. A kid gets missing in 2019 and somehow ends up in 1986. But this is no Back To The Future. There is zero humor. Zero romance. Just a lot of dark negativity.

The kid who gets missing in 2019 starts a new life in 1986. So, by 2019 the kid has lived a lie for 33 years! This is pretty unsettling. But intriguing. A lot of questions arise. But only few get answered. The series keeps on introducing subplots and new characters, but never focuses on the main question: how on earth did a guy live for so long next to a younger version of himself? It’s not a plot spoiler. It’s a key element to attract viewers to the show.

By the end of the series pseudo-philosophical and neo-scientific theories are uttered and explained concerning time and space. That’s all intriguing, but it doesn’t really help you explain the plot. The writers must have had fun preparing the script. The preparation desk with all the written-out biographies of each character must be tremendous. All these characters are all intertwined. Some are even related to each other. It’s fun.

BUT… the story doesn’t make sense. Yes, it’s about time travel and yes, it’s (science) fiction. But in the end, it should still feel logical. Which is far from the case here.

But the atmosphere is excellent. The long shots are great. The sun never shines. It rains a lot and it’s always ‘dark’. The soundtrack is creepy. The acting is fine. The concept is brilliant. Time travel isn’t a new theme in cinema. But this time they focus more on the thought: if you could change the past, would you? and what would it mean for the present and the future?

For you to binge-watch and get disturbing nightmares…

https://www.imdb.com/title/tt5753856

 

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30 years of New Beat. Especially in Belgium, this is a bit of a celebration. From 1985 to 1995 the country (well, Flanders and Brussels) were at the centre of the global music scene because they released successful vinyl tracks that sounded like nothing else before and became such a hype that pop music took over and killed it. However, this ‘new beat’ became a foundation of anything else that was produced in the club scene afterwards.

It’s a fun documentary if you’re interested in the topic. It actually starts with a short (but correct) introduction of Belgium, a fabricated buffer state in between England, the Netherlands, Germany and France. It talks about the yearly fairs, the barrel organs, the invention of bakelite by Belgo-American Leo Baekeland that was used to make vinyl, the opening of dance clubs along the highways, the import of international sounds by the port of Antwerp, the dj’s from the seventies, the popularity of disco and the counter-reaction of punk. And hup we are  in the eighties, where Belgian dj’s and producers start playing aggressive, dark dance music with an edge. They spin the records at a different speed and add all kinds of sounds to the music. It’s music made by producers and not by musicians! It’s Kraftwerk and Jean Michel Jarre, but with a rebel attitude. And that’s how we got to NEW BEAT.

It’s a good documentary, but the ‘sound of Belgium’ just focuses on new beat really. It doesn’t say anything about the indie rock scene or the mishmash of cultures we put together in the music is made in Belgium. There are influences from France, England, the US and Africa…. the entire world. That mix is what makes the sound of Belgium. So, this documentary has a wrong title. It’s also a bit patriotic/nationalistic. But that suits the scene well. Maybe the new beat was the only thing that united the Flemish and the French-Speaking Belgians! You hear both languages throughout the documentary. However, there’s no mention of other influencers from other countries. They even forget to mention that Baekeland was really an American from Belgian descent. Dance music really didn’t originate in Belgium either. The UK and Germany were as influential. And let’s not forget Chicago and New YOrk! And there’s an unnecessary diss to Depeche Mode by Sven Van Hees.

So, fun to watch, but pretty superficial. Give it a shot though.

http://www.imdb.com/title/tt2966298

The whole movie is available on this site:

https://boilerroom.tv/recording/sound-belgium

The Oscar for Best Motion Picture is a fantasy fairytale set in the cold war era about the love between a mute cleaning lady and an amphibious ‘asset’ that is kept from the outside world in a government facility.

It’s a unique movie experience. It’s not all that original as it’s a homage to the monster movies from the late fifties and early sixties, but it’s shot with the utmost care for details. It has a bit of an Amelie Poulain feel to it. Everything just looks really good and there’s off beat humor and weird charm.

If people get offended by the age gap between the two main male characters in Call Me By Your Name, then maybe they also won’t like the romance between a woman and an animal. It’s awkward as well to imagine a human having sex with a human like amphibious water animal. But hey, it’s a fantasy movie. It’s fictional!

This is an entertaining movie. Never boring. Great to look at. And with a good soundtrack. But again, the story just isn’t all that original or intriguing.

http://www.imdb.com/title/tt5580390

This stand up comedy show really surprised me. Gad Elmaleh has never been able to make me smile in French, but this English show made me laugh out loud a lot. Just because it’s so recognizable what he is referring to. This is exactly the same stuff I tell guests from the states who visit France. So, no, he’s not original. If you’ve been traveling with me and then you see this show, you’d think he stole my jokes. But hey, he’s performing on stage and has a netflix show. So there you go! Way to go.

http://www.imdb.com/title/tt8110630

Ha! This is good. If you like Ricky Gervais that is. It’s not excellent. It’s not really a stand up comedy show. It’s more of a listen to Ricky Gervais give his opinion about the world we live in – show. There are too many serious moments. It’s also too much focussing on getting back at twitter trolls who have annoyed him in the past couple of years. Get over it, Ricky! And why isn’t there any joke about the yearly cruel dog festival in China? That part is too preachy man. Great of you to make it your cause, but you’re a comedian. Find at least one joke that works in the serious context. That said, there are enough good remarks throughout the show.

http://www.imdb.com/title/tt7830574

No theatrical release in Europe for Annihilation. It’s still playing in the US though. But with little success. So in comes Netflix, who’s distributing it all over the world via their streaming service. Great!

This is an entertaining science fiction adventure drama about a biologist who joins a team of women on a mission to discover what exactly is hidden in the Shimmer, a weird extraterrestrial phenomena covering a natural park and spreading fast. The biologist is determined to find out what damaged her husband, who joined a previous mission and is now put in quarantine.

Nathalie Portman is excellent as the biologist. She’s a great asset to this production. But you really want to watch the movie for the atmosphere it evokes. The directing is great. The build up as well. The haunting soundtrack helps as well. It’s more accessible than you’d think. The horror and suspense aren’t scary, but present nevertheless. The story makes more sense than the one in Arrival. It’s all (science) fiction, but at least the dialogue and actions feel real. It’s good to see five women go on an adventure (strangely enough quite unique) and it’s great to see a movie where the editing doesn’t make you naucious.

It’s not an instant cult classic, but it could become one. For now it’s just good entertainment.

http://www.imdb.com/title/tt2798920/

Not all is funny, but some bits are hilarious. Chelsea Peretti just talks and talks. There’s not really a concept or so. It’s like she’s on a high and says all the funny things that ever made people laugh around her. Which is fine. Because there are a lot of things that are funny. She has a quirky way of telling stories and she’s goofy.

http://www.imdb.com/title/tt3804556

saw it on netflix, but it’s on youtube as well: