Archive for the ‘Germany’ 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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Dream Boat – (*)

Posted: January 27, 2018 in 1/2, 2017, Documentary, Germany, LGBT themed

Every year, the Brussels gay event La Demence organizes a cruise on the Mediterranean for their party clubbers clientele. It’s an international affair with guys form all over the world cruising during a cruise.

This documentary was shot on that cruise, but there is no mention of La Demence at all. Which is a good thing. It’s not really making the viewer want to book a cabin for next year’s journey.

This is a terrible documentary.

It sounds interesting though. A cruise full of muscle queens enjoying a themed party every night. All kinds of question arise: what does the crew think about this gay exclusive cruise? How do these clubbers get their drugs on board? How busy are the dark rooms? How many men actually go off the ship during the day and visit the ports of call? What’s been done to encourage safe sex? Where are all these guests coming from ?

Yet, the director seems to only focus on the last question. He’s following a camp Indian guy, a confused Polish stud, a confident Palestinian guy, a disabled Frenchman, an hiv positive German sucker… some of the most boring gay characters ever to have made it onto a screen. Their stories may be of interest in another kind of documentary, but if you make a documentary on a party cruise, make it a party cruise documentary!

http://www.imdb.com/title/tt6627466

SMS Für Dich – **(*)

Posted: September 13, 2017 in 2016, Drama, Germany, Romance, romcom, XX1/2

Long Distance Flight movie #2

In this romantic tale from Germany, a children’s book illustrator struggles with life after her fiancée was killed in a car accident. Several months go by and she can’t find inspiration for new material. A good friend convinces her to come back to Berlin and another acquaintance suggests she should start communicating with her deceased boyfriend in order to cope with the loss. She starts using her old cell phone again (she had kept in a removal box) and decides to send a message to the number of her dead friend. There is no reply and she continues communicating this way.

In the mean time, a sports journalist receives a new cell phone number at work and starts receiving these weird messages from a girl who confesses all of her thoughts and feelings. He gets so intrigued that he decides to look for her. When they meet its love at first sight. The only problem is: he has not told her that he receives her messages…

It’s a classic movie. With no surprises. It’s been done before, just updated to the messaging times we live in. There is humour and there is an old-fashioned love interest. If this movie was made in the nineties with Tom hanks and Meg Ryan or in the fifties with Doris Day and Rock Hudson, they would have been global box office successes. But this one comes from Germany and got a limited release. Too bad. Great acting. Good story. Recommended.

http://www.imdb.com/title/tt5193460

Kebab Connection – **

Posted: August 13, 2017 in 2004, Comedy, Germany, romcom, XX

You know when a movie is old when a) people don’t use cell or smart phones to communicate with each other and b) people smoke in public rooms. However, Kebab Connection is from 2004. Not that long ago. It just looks like it was made back in the eighties. And that was probably the point.

Finally, after ordering a Döner Kebab (that’s a fact), the time was right to watch this German romcom about a young aspiring movie maker of Turkish descent whose aspiring actress girlfriend turns out to be pregnant. It’s a Romeo & Julia love story set in Hamburg. There’s little drama, but quite a lot of humor. It feels fresh. But it also feels like it was made with a very low budget. There are plenty of references to classic movie scenes. The acting is good. It’s quite entertaining. And at times original. It’s simple, somewhat naive, amateur and very positive. A old fashioned feel good movie. And sometimes, that’s all you need.

http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0177882

Romeos – **

Posted: February 6, 2017 in 2011, Drama, Germany, LGBT themed, XX

No, this is not the movie about the Flemish crooner trio De Romeo’s.

Lukas is a young transgender who moves to Cologne where he reconnects with an old girl friend of his. He’s put in a dorm for women as he physically still is a woman, but he wants to join the boys next door. His girl friend (who’s a lesbian) takes him to some gay parties, where he meets Fabio, who’s in the closet at home, but pretty popular in the clubs. They bond.

Unlike other movies about transgenders, this one deals with a girl becoming a boy. That’s already something refreshing. And unlike the other movies this one isn’t drenched in sorrow and misery and doubt. Yes, life as a transgender isn’t easy, but at least this character is pretty positive about his/her transition. It’s a low-budget movie. There’s nothing special about the directing or so. It’ll probably cause controversy when shown to a bigger crowd (say as a television movie or in classrooms), but it’s not that offensive either.

The acting is solid, even though it’s bizarre that they cast a boy (Rick Okon) to play the transgender. Maximilian Befort (who plays Fabio) looks like a German Marcello Mello Jr. But it’s Liv Lisa Fries who really steals the show. An actress with potential!

http://www.imdb.com/title/tt1830792

Drei (3) – *(*)

Posted: January 30, 2017 in 2010, Drama, Germany, LGBT themed, Satire, X1/2

A straight couple who’ll be celebrating their 20th anniversary together and finally plan to get married, both encounter the same man who they feel attracted to. She meets him at some congress, he meets him at the swimming pool. And soon they all have an affair. This is why Facebook has ‘it’s difficult’ as a relationship status.

The humor and the conversations are quite elitist, with references to theatre, art, literature, philosophy and science. It’s a bit too much sometimes. The story itself is very simple and predictable. None of that intellectual blabla makes it more profound.

But there are moments, when it’s entertaining. It has a Toni Erdmann feel, but it is less weird and less confronting. The acting (especially by Austrian tv actress Sophie Rois) makes it worthwhile and the editing trick of having several scenes appear all over the screen is fun.

And let’s go to Berlin again and get into that swimming pool !

http://www.imdb.com/title/tt1517177

Wie Die Karnickel – **

Posted: October 7, 2016 in 2002, Comedy, Germany, LGBT themed, XX

Why would anyone want to watch a German sex comedy? Well, because a German sex comedy – unlike Hollywood sex comedies – actually joke about sex.

Is this a great movie? Of course it’s not award winningly great. But in accordance with the statement in the previous post: this was funny from start to finish, so yes it’s great if you have low expectations.

What is it about? Well, based on a comic by the guy who wrote nineties smash hit Der Bewegte Man (Maybe…, Maybe not) and deals with a contrabass player in an music ensemble who gets dumped by his girlfriend after she discovers that he watches porn movies at home. His gay neighbor (and old time school buddy) tries to make him think about relationships and sex like most gay men do. What follows is a series of lame, but embarrassingly funny scenes. The kind that will make you laugh knowing that nobody else is watching you having a good time. It’s really bad, but that’s perfectly okay. Some scenes are really hilarious.

Only available in German

http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0289623/