Archive for the ‘Netherlands’ Category

Cas – *

Posted: December 12, 2016 in 2016, LGBT themed, Netherlands, Romance, X

A Dutch couple offers a young Flemish student a place to stay. The couple has been having some issues lately, with one of the partners waiting to go on a trip around the world and the other planning the next step in their relationship: a baby. The new flatmate causes even more friction. But he also brings the two closer together and triggers them to talk about what’s really bugging them.

Cas is a tv movie that just happened to be on after the news on BVN (the Dutch/ Flemish international television channel). The beginning intrigues. Somehow it starts off as a possible thriller. But soon it becomes clear that it’s much ado about nothing. The acting of the Dutch couple isn’t all that bad, but there just isn’t a real story. There’s a couple who pretend to be in the perfect relationship until someone shows up who makes them express what they really want in life. And that’s not exactly the same.

It’s only 50 minutes long. It’s over before you really start getting annoyed. It’s the kind of movie you don’t regret having seen, but wouldn’t recommend to anyone.

 

http://www.imdb.com/title/tt5858380/

 

Strike A Pose is a Dutch/Flemish (!!!) documentary about whatever happened to the iconic group of dancers in Madonna’s Blond Ambition tour. There used be seven of them, but one (Gabriel) passed away. His spirit however is very present and an interview with his mother is included as well. It’s a good documentary, with a great build up, with few staged moments and accessible for those who have some background about the story and those who have never seen the underrated Truth Or Dare documentary. Luckily for the makers, they could use all the footage they wanted! Which is a great plus. There’s nothing worse than a documentary talking about certain things that cannot be shown. It’s not remarkably well filmed, but the editing is efficient. And each dancer is worth listening to and looking at. Time hasn’t really kept these fabulous and gorgeous dancers from being eternally young and handsome. Not that Luiz or Oliver care about how fat they’ve become. They still have the moves! In fact, that’s what’s so good about this document: all of them (apart from Carlton maybe) feel very at ease talking to the movie makers and are brutally honest. Jose still living with his mom and having her explain in Spanish how sad she is that he never made a career out of his sudden fame! It feels like something we can see at the local Man Bijt Hond human interest shows. The most intriguing character is Salim (who was born in Belgium). At the end it almost feels like he’s the instigator for this project,  because he has a few important things to share with the world!

Too bad it wasn’t more about vogueing!!! And too bad Madonna didn’t join them. (although she probably had some say in the creation of the final version).

http://www.imdb.com/title/tt5477402

Jandino Asparaat is an Antillean Dutch comedian who has a sketch show on tv that is sometimes funny. Somehow someone thought it was a good idea to make a feature movie out of the many types he plays. Unfortunately, it didn’t work. Maybe, if you know the tv show, there may be some laughs for you. But even if you do, you can count those laughs on both hands. Just not enough for a comedy.

Oh. It’s about a small criminal who rents out luxury villas of Dutch expats to tourists when they are gone from the island of Curacao. One of those expats is a mob criminal though and the tourists who stayed illegally in this villa messed up the place. So the petty criminal needs to start paying for the damages. But since he has no job he has to go to Amsterdam, where he starts working at a KFC-like fastfood store. Which of course won’t bring in money, so he decides to con some more.

http://www.imdb.com/title/tt4247144/

There’s something intriguing about the story of The Surprise. It’s about a suicidal millionaire who decides to use a specialized company to make an end to his miserable life after several attempts have failed. He choses the option of a surprise, meaning death can come anytime and anywhere. During his visit of the company he encounters a younger woman who’s in a similar situation. And soon they start to bond. So much so that he ultimately doesn’t want to die anymore and wants to cancel the arrangement. But that’s impossible according to the sign contract.

The intriguing bit is that you hear certain characters talk about suicide and death in a very casual way. That’s refreshing. It’s also comical at times. In fact, the movie starts as a dark comedy and is filled with great surprises (the set locations for instance or the conversations in Hindi), but the slightly pervers and absurd humor is replaced by action, romance and drama halfway through the movie. So it all becomes less intriguing.

 

If Wes Anderson would have made it or if the Arnacoeur duo Vanessa Paradis/Romain Duris would have starred, this could have been an international success. Now it didn’t even get a release in Belgium, where most of the scenes were filmed. Sad.

http://www.imdb.com/title/tt3409440

Fucking Perfect – **

Posted: March 12, 2016 in 2015, Documentary, Netherlands, XX

There’s something really intriguing about Sergio Herman: Fucking Perfect. It’s a documentary about a popular Michelin-star chef, who’s been in the business for 25 years now and wants to slow down at the peak of his success. It’s filmed really well. Director Willemiek Kluijfhout needs to make a motion picture soon! It doesn’t look like a documentary at all. There are few interviews. The information you get comes either from Sergio talking to a recording camera while he is driving (a bit like Ryan Gossling in Drive), from his wife just talking about her husband while she’s still doing her household (as if you just popped in and have a normal chat with her as a friend), from close ups of food and whatever nature is providing and from handheld camera’s in the kitchen during a service. Great photography and great soundtrack. It’s one big commercial for the new restaurant that he opened in Antwerp: The Jane. After watching this documentary, you just want to make a reservation there as soon as possible. And you also want to head to his other restaurant in Cadzand or eat at his brother’s place in Sluis.

http://www.imdb.com/title/tt3509878

Het Diner (The Dinner) – *

Posted: November 20, 2015 in 2013, Drama, Netherlands, Thriller, X

Two kids (well, one kid and his passive nephew) beat up a homeless person blocking their way at an atm machine. The images are put online, but the aggressors can’t be recognized. There’s a video however that does show their faces and the adopted brother of the nephew threatens to put it online…

Two parents are eating dinner at a fancy restaurant. Paul and Serge are brothers, one a jobless passive aggressive history teacher and the other a ambitious political leader. Together with their wives they try to figure out how to deal with the vile crime of their sons.

The Dinner is a bestselling neo-classic in the Dutch literature. Also translated in other languages. The story takes place in a restaurant and the facts are told in flashback. The chapters are named after the meal courses.

The movie however is incredibly tedious. The story unfolds slowly and has no surprises. The characters are bland. There’s no drama, there’s no humor and there’s no suspense. It’s not an exceptional cinematic experience either, so all you are left with is the acting, which is solid, but not memorable.

Skip the movie and read the book.(maybe)

http://www.imdb.com/title/tt2352230

In a time when Flanders had lost all its importance because of the separation from the rest of the Netherlands, the Dutch went off to trade allover the world and build a strong naval fleet.

Michiel De Ruyter is an important historical character in Dutch history. He kind of united the Dutch when they were at the verge of a civil war between those who supported the Republic of the Seven Provinces and those who supported the royal city holder William III of Holland. The only thing he had to do was defeat the English and later the French as well. At sea! Which he did.

Michiel De Ruyter is for obvious reasons renamed the Admiral. The producers hope the movie will be an international success. But if it failed to score at the Flemish box office, how on earth can it do well abroad?

It’s not a bad move though. And definitely one to watch on a big screen. (it might have gotten an extra * star if I had seen it in a theatre). The battle scenes at sea lack the hollywood drama and effects, but they are efficient nonetheless. The acting is done remarkably well. The historical settings is detailed. It all makes sense.

It’s long and you need to have at least some background about the creation of the Netherlands as we know it now. It’s pretty patriotic though. Which is quite unusual. The Dutch flag covering the screen several times, the ode to the country at the end… It’s all a bit too much.

The English king disses the catholic marshland of the Southern Provinces (what is now the major part of Belgium) and Willem III agrees! But Willem III is kind of the bad guy in this story, even though a controversial biopic on his life would get me more excited than the pretty chronological and tame story of his most successful admiral.

http://www.imdb.com/title/tt2544766/