Archive for the ‘Germany’ Category

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!

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 !

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

Recommended by a vinyl shop owner in Leipzig, who sells dvd’s at 1 euro a piece. And worth every single cent! This is a fun comedy with crazy characters who keep you entertained for the entire 90 minutes.

It’s for young adults though, but anyone can enjoy the little absurd story of a young quirky girl who gets stranded on an island with a stuttering Greek, a macho Turk and the latter’s devote muslim sister. Their adventure starts after a plane crash in the Indian ocean. While the kids are on the island, the crazy mother of the girl and the serious father of the Turkish siblings are awaiting news of their children in a fancy resort somewhere else.

The movie is loosely based on a popular German tv series in which a caucasian teenager records what happens when her divorced mother decides to move in with her new Turkish-born partner and his two kids. This time around though, the characters remain the same, but the setting and storyline have nothing in common with the tv show. That alone is quite remarkable.

Some scenes make no sense at all, but the comedy gets away with it just fine. The acting is funny. The characters are very stereotypical, but that’s exactly what the makers are aiming at. And that main lead, Elyas M’Barek, just blows you away. He’s currently one of Germany’s biggest and most popular stars and this is the part that made him famous. There’s a lot wrong with the movie, but let’s focus on the good: it’s entertaining and a great family movie.

Juliette Binoche and Kirsten Stewart are a joy to watch in this drama about an actress and her assistance who travel to Sils Maria in order to prepare for a new theatre role that the actress (Binoche) has reluctantly accepted.

There’s not much going on really, but it doesn’t bore. Binoche is almost in every scene. She’s great as a tormented star who has a hard time accepting the fact that she’s getting old. She’s great, because even though she has her issues, she still acts pretty normal in most circumstances. Kirsten Stewart has a huge supporting part and then suddenly disappears. But with reason. No spoilers !

Of course, if all depends on how tolerant you are towards Binoche and Stewart. Especially the latter has quite a few haters roaming the movie loving world. But she’s great at being very natural here. Maybe she isn’t acting.

So you’re in Berlin and the local guide mentions the infamous Berlin Airlift from back in 1948/1949. So what do you do? You buy a 5 euro television movie at the Saturn and watch it!

Three hours long!

1945. After an agreement in Potsdam, Germany gets split up in four zones. The same is done to the city of Berlin. A few years later the French, British and Americans decide to merge their zones and introduce a new currency. The Russians aren’t all too happy with that provocation and block all entrance roads to the western part of Berlin, occupied by – yup – the French, British and Americans.

So…. it’s decided to bring in goods by planes. and that for more than a year.

Now, you can’t just make a movie about planes coming in and out and sometimes crashing as well. No, you need to add DRAMA! And this is done by focusing on one particular woman: Luise Kielberg. She’s a single mom who gets a job at the American airport in Berlin. Her husband hasn’t returned from the war and she slowly falls for her boss, an American general in charge of the air lift. But halfway through the movie her husband returns and so she’s torn between staying loyal to the father of her child or starting life allover again.

Of course history gets explained a bit. There is even use of real footage from back then. But it doesn’t intrigue. It also doesn’t work seeing Truman and Stalin converse in German. All in all, it’s a romantic story set in a historical background made with a small budget (according to Hollywood standards). The lazy special effects and the forgetful eye for details are very Sharknado. So not really worth the respect. But it works. Kinda. And the acting isn’t bad. Especially Bettina Zimmerman is carrying the movie with little effort.

But here’s my suggestion: just read the wikipedia page on the Berlin Blockade instead

Number one at the German box office for a few weeks now: Er Ist Wieder Da, a satirical mockumentary about Adolf Hitler resurfacing in current Berlin.

Based on a popular book and a theatre show, this movie is attracting crowds all over Germany. It’s a controversial experience. Especially if you haven’t read the book or seen the theatre show. In fact, it’s a really disturbing movie if you’re not German.

Aren’t Germans known for their lack of irony and sarcasm? Of course they are not, but a lot of ‘funny’ references to popular (German) culture get lost to non Germans and so does the irony and sarcasm. Sarcasm and Irony are great tools in British comedies, but they just seem weird in German counterparts.

Adolf Hitler suddenly reappears in a small courtyard. Three soccer playing kids discover the man and don’t even recognize him. They even call him a loser. He gets up, looks around the ‘new’ Berlin and realizes he’s visiting ‘the future’, our present times. An amateur tv maker, who just got fired, has footage of the kids meeting Der Führer and decides to look him up. Together they make a little tour of Germany and the movies are posted on the internet. Nobody seems to realize that they are looking and listening to the real HItler. Some think he’s the best impersonator ever and applaud him for that. Others find it repulsive that this imitator gets so much media attention. But the more popular he gets, the more support he gets for his ideas… So maybe it’s time to stop this man a second time around before it’s too late.

The beginning of the movie IS funny. It reminds you of Les Visiteurs, a French comedy where medieval knights arrive in nineties France. When Hitler walks around the Brandenburger tour and tourists from allover the world want to take a selfie with him it does make you giggle. When he has his uniform cleaned at a Turkish laundry where a woman can’t speak German well, the humor works. When he discovers digital television on a flatscreen and zaps through all the silliest of programs it’s socio-critical and hilarious. But then it gets more serious and the humor hardens. When he visits a neo-nazi party and tells them how amateur they are and blames them for not being true nazis, you wonder if these ‘actors’ knew what they were getting themselves into. When more and more characters look like they are not acting at all start supporting this new Hitler, you start wondering if this is set up or not. And by the end of the movie the humor gets totally lost and it feels bitter.

The main problem, just like with Borat for instance, is that it doesn’t work for an entire movie. It would be great for a sketch show, but not for an entire movie. Another problem is that they don’t fully go for the satire and add regular dumb humor too. The whole storyline of the clumsy amateur movie maker who brings this new Hitler to fame just doesn’t make sense at all. That character is unfunny and plain annoying, yet it’s the ‘second lead’.

Anyways. Try it. It’s an experience.