Archive for the ‘XX1/2’ Category

Beasts Of No Nation – **(*)

Posted: January 11, 2018 in 2015, Drama, USA, War, XX1/2

A regular family living in a buffer area between two war zones in a (fictional) African country gets ripped apart when troops are on the way to take over control. The mother and youngest children are able to flee to the capital. But the father and his two oldest sons remain to resist. The youngest of the two sons ends up fleeing in the bushes when the troops start ravaging the town and he soon joins rebel forces, who don’t mind training young boys into war machines.

This may be an Idris Elba movie (he produced and stars in it), but it’s little Abraham Attah who’s the main draw. This kid can act! He’s phenomenal! Just watch the movie to see this kid shine in every single scene. From being a fun and careless young kid with a creative mind, to a survivor enduring all kinds of hardships never losing grip of his true self. Sure, kudos’ to the creators of this character, but without a good actor it wouldn’t be as powerful.

It’s also filmed really well. Great settings. Great camera work.

But, the story doesn’t really dig too deep. And the end is sloppy. They should have made a series out of it. They could have spent an entire episode on the family before they got ripped apart. An episode about the situation in this ‘fictional’ land.  And an episode about the formation of this rebel group.  Before they start with the journey of the kid being trained as a child warrior. Using a fictional country and fictional historic events is risky. It’s not really clear who is fighting who. That’s all a bit of a blur (or a collection of abbreviations). So that’s a bit of a disappointment.

Nevertheless: watch it!

http://www.imdb.com/title/tt1365050

 

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Any article about the lack of gay soccer players in major competitions mentions Justin Fashanu as ‘the first openly gay soccer player’. His basic story is known to a larger (British) audience as well: rose to fame, came out gay, was shunned by the sport competition he loved, got accused of raping a young adult and killed himself. However, this documentary tells a lot more about this peculiar celebrity. Still not enough, but it’s an intriguing story. Fashanu was abandoned by this father and mother as a kid, grew up with his younger brother John as the only two black kids in a small British town, turned out to be a talented soccer player and became the first 1 mio £ black athlete in the UK. Then he didn’t perform well at his new team and was fired because of his homosexual activities… And then his life became a mess.

It’s a good documentary. Very chronological. Well filmed. With some nice shots of places he used to live in (Toronto, LA), young actors who interpret the young brothers, interviews with family members and friends, use of old footage from interviews (eloquent Justin clearly loved the attention) and also interesting tit bits from the news that matter to the story.

Too bad that when the documentary is over, you still feel like a lot of questions are unanswered. And you can’t find the answers online.

http://www.imdb.com/title/tt6538102

Nola Darling is a bitch. There you go. She’s terrible. The sort of neo-feminist, who wears sexy dresses and then gets upset when men react to it in a way that she doesn’t like. Bitch, please. Either be sexy and realize that some men can’t deal with independent strong women. Or try not to be sexy. She tries so hard to be that independent strong women who doesn’t give a shit, but she’s constantly bothered with how other people perceive her to be. She wants to be loved and adored, but hates being criticized. Well, sorry, but that’s not how it works. Compared to this character, Madonna is the ultimate feminist.

Nola Darling is entertaining though. She’s an artist living in Brooklyn, in the hip Fort Green area. She has three boyfriends. Just because she can.  One is a married business man, some kind of sugar daddy who ‘sponsors’ her art. The other is a nerdy bike delivery guy who’s not the smartest kid on the block, but who makes her laugh. And the third is a narcissistic photographer who puts her on a pedestal almost as high as his own. They all know that they are not exclusive in her life as she sets rules before she dates men. It’s a luxury life. Living cheap in Brooklyn (the landlord is her godmother who gives her a low rent), adored and loved by many (friends, family, neighbors), and talented on top of all that. The perfect life! Yet, having three boyfriends does take his toll at one point. And that rent still needs to be paid, especially when nobody seems to buy her art. Moreover, one event really freaks her out and messes up her mind. Walking back home, she gets harassed by a man, who doesn’t take no for an answer. He grabs her by the arm and insults her. It’s 2017, so that’s as bad as being raped. She needs to go to the shrink and confronts her boyfriends with macho behavior. In the mean time it inspires her to make anonymous street art that seems to be getting more credit than the pieces she exposes in galleries.

It’s an interesting series. Topic wise. It’s moralizing and political at times. Yawn. But it kind of summarizes what’s been on people’s minds the past couple of years. It’s directed by Spike Lee. So, it’s not strange that there are some ‘controversial’ parts to it. It’s based on his debut movie from back in 1986, but the main story is translated to our modern time. Some of the side stories are really cool. Some aren’t. Most don’t feel real.

The characters are intriguing to watch tough. The acting is good. The soundtrack is incredible. But most of all, the editing is cool. The characters talk directly into the character in certain scenes. There’s a nice selection of still pictures shown in between moving pictures, like you’re browsing through a Humans Of Brooklyn-book. But the coolest editing idea of all is the insertion of the album covers of the music that is played in the previous scene. That’s fucking awesome!

It’s a good series. The first episodes are great. Then it kind of becomes tedious and annoying (when the moralizing begins). But some scenes in the last episodes make it worth watching until the end. The Thanksgiving dance sequence is a classic!

http://www.imdb.com/title/tt3713588

Mudbound – **(*)

Posted: December 26, 2017 in 2017, Social Drama, USA, XX1/2

So, Netflix, I’m finally a client!

First movie is the ‘Netflix Original’ Mudbound, nominated for two Golden Globes and maybe up for an Oscar as well. It did get a limited theatrical release in the States, but it was made for television.

It’s good. Just not as great as the buzz makes you believe. Maybe if you’ve followed Mary J Blige’s career, you may be impressed by the fact that she doesn’t look glamorous in this picture. But looking less glamorous doesn’t make you deserve an award. Her role is very small and nothing more than just plain good. If someone from the cast should get a nomination it should be Rob Morgan !

Both play Mr and M Jackson, who work on farmland that isn’t theirs and dream of owning a piece of rural land at one point in their life. They are descendants of slaves and live in poor conditions, but seem to be happy. They have several kids and one of them is fighting nazis in Europe. New tenants, the McAllans, arrive to live on the farm however and the atmosphere changes. They are also quite poor, but they are white and privileged. Mr McAllan (Jason Clarke) just wants to run his farm successfully and Mrs Jackson (Carey Mulligan) tries to support her husband, while raising two daughters. They do have a racist elder living with them. Things definitely change when the war is over and both welcome back a family member. Ronsel Jackson helped liberate Europe and was welcomed with respect and joy in the old continent, but is confronted with racial issues and subordination once back home. Jamie McAllan was an air force pilot dropping bombs, but comes back traumatized and starts drinking. Especially after his dad calls him a coward for not having looked the enemy in the face when killing them. Both Jamie and Ronsel feel out-of-place and easily bond. But this is the South of cotton fields and the KKK, where blacks and whites don’t ‘bond’…

It’s a good movie. The acting is good. The cinematography is great. The setting is interesting. It’s all very intriguing. The bond between the army guys feels real. They share a similar experience. It makes total sense that they bond. It’s not a best buddy bond. It’s not a forced black & white bromance bond. It’s just a natural bond. The relationship between the Jackson and the McAllan households also feels real. There’s some kind of respect between them, but they are also not the best of friends. It would have been more intriguing if they had focussed more on those relationships. Now the story leads to a dramatic moment that is negative, shocking and depressing. Fine. That story needs to be told. But it kind of felt like the story was going to lead to something more positive.

http://www.imdb.com/title/tt2396589

Miranda – **(*)

Posted: December 22, 2017 in 2009, Comedy, TV series, UK, XX1/2

Why are BBC series always so short? Season one has only six episodes. By the time you get to know the characters and start liking them for their particular jokes and one-liners (typical for BBC comedies), it’s over. The introducing pilot isn’t so funny. but by episode six you just don’t want it to stop.

Miranda is one of the most clumsy tv characters ever. She’s quite adorable really. A tall, not so feminine, daft, scary, unhip, awkward woman with an interest in singing eighties songs (a +) and who hasn’t really grown up yet! The way she addresses the audience (you) into her life is great. It works really well. And the fact she often fantasizes and imagines stuff that aren’t really happening but are shown anyway, works well too. Yep. Great comedy.

The side characters are okay too. But they are clearly overshadowed by Miranda Hart excellent comedic performance.

http://www.imdb.com/title/tt1533435

No trailer available. But all episodes are on youtube. Episode 4 is excellent. However, you do need to see the first three episodes to get to know the characters.

 

Damn. The expectations were too high. The anticipation too great. Episode VIII disappoints. Bummer. It’s still a great movie though. Entertaining and funny. A few new creatures and settings that look generally good. But there’s just so much going on (it never bores) that it doesn’t really focus on anything in particular. Apart from the ‘new’ connecting force between Kylo Ren and Rey, which intrigues, but not quite captivates as much as you want. It’s all pretty superficial.

Go see it anyways. It’s fun. And don’t listen to all the negativity.

Great trailer by the way.

http://www.imdb.com/title/tt2527336

 

Now this is a fun and entertaining superhero movie! It’s not set in the future nor in an American metropolis for a change, which is great. This Gal Gadot is quite the performer. She looks good ánd she can kick ass. Not sure if there’s much acting, but hey, The action scenes are impressive. It’s directed really well… Bring on the sequel! Finally a box office hit that is worthy of being a box office hit.

The movie introduces Wonder Woman, a demi-goddess raised by the Amazones, who considers it her destiny to destroy Ares, the God of War. When she hears from an American pilot who entered their world (via a weird time warp wall) that The Great War is going on, she decides to leave her protected, women-only resort and face the real world of humans. As she’s never a) hung out with men before and b) has never visited the world where humans live, she’s in for a real treat! The humor is good. The set designs are great. And there are several surprises, one of which is Said Taghmaoui in a very small supporting role.

Another surprise is the Flemish dialogue from locals. The scene and soundbite do not make any sense, but it’s just fun to hear. It’s just bizarre. According to the plot, an evil German officer is stationed in Belgium and Wonder Woman needs to get to him. So, according to the script and the dialogue, they go to ‘Belgium’. But later in the movie, they talk about a village called ‘Veld’. They show an actual map where the village is mentioned on. However, it’s a map of Northern France. So NOT Belgium, but French-Flanders (the part from Flanders that Louis XIV claimed for France). I checked on google maps. There’s no ‘village’ called Veld (which means field) in between Hazebrouck, Moerbeke en Oud-Berkijn (as seen on the map in the movie). The only village there is De Walle. There is a village called Veld in Belgium, but it’s close to Torhout and Brugge. Anyways. Whatever. Then somehow the locals talk Flemish and French. The café where they dance advertises in Flemish (Bier & Tabak), but the photographer speaks with a French accent. The one scene where Wonder Woman kills a sniper by blowing up a church tower, is followed with locals saying What happened? Did you see what she did? in Flemish. BUT, it’s said with an Antwerp accent, and that’s a total different dialect. Regardless if it’s Hazebrouck or Brugge, the locals would speak West-Flemish. Anyways. It’s the linguistic nerd writing right now. How do these scenes come about at the production table? It’s all filmed in the UK anyways. Nothing is filmed in France or Belgium.

dav

http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0451279