Archive for the ‘UK’ Category

This is a movie for those who love Jane Austin stories, but think they are too white. It’s set in the same period of time, but this time the female heroine is a mulatto heiress.

The illegitimate daughter of a wealthy navy officer (and a slave from the West Indies) is raised by her uncle and aunt, who are already raising another niece. When her father dies she has a good fortune, but that doesn’t mean much, because as a mulatto she can’t really go higher up in society. Until a noble man fancies on marrying her, telling her that ‘unlike others’ he is ready to ignore the traits she received for her mother because ‘it is clear that the traits of her father luckily are more evident’.

In the mean time, the uncle is settling a case about a (slave ship) company that threw their human cargo overboard in order to get money back from their insurance. A young lawyer is trying to convince the uncle that he should speak against the company. Soon the mulatto heiress falls for him.

Yawn.

It’s a period piece. With a different take. But it tells the same story. It sucks being a woman at that time. Let alone a mulatto woman with money.

Somehow, British people love seeing movies and series about class distinction so they can continue using it.

http://www.imdb.com/title/tt2404181

There are quite a lot of things that annoy a bit in this Australian blockbuster. But there are far more elements that make this a great movie experience though.

The best is the performance of the most charming child actor in movie history! Sunny Pawar is the star of the movie even though he’s not really featured in the trailer! He’s the young Indian kid who, for the first half hour steals the show. His character is a petite five year old kid who gets separated from his family after falling asleep in a train that takes him away more than 1500 miles from his village. Months after arriving in the hustle and bustle of Calcutta he ends up in an orphanage and ultimately ends up being adopted by a couple from Tasmania.

Then the second half starts and the young adorable Indian kid has become someone who looks like Dev Patel with long hair. That is because Dev Patel plays the part wearing long hair. That transition is one of the annoying parts. You want to see Farhan Akhtar or so, not the annoying guy from the Best Exotic Marigold Hotel. 

The adopted kid has become a man who, after a suggestion from a new friend, decides to use Google Earth to locate the train station from where he stepped on the train that took him away from his family. A journey, which is only half as interesting as the first part of the movie.

First half: **** Second half: **

But that Sunny Pawar kid! Amazing! To use a one of Trump’s most favorite words. It’s 2017 after all. The career of that child will be huge/tremendous/terrific.

http://www.imdb.com/title/tt3741834

My Scientology Movie – *(*)

Posted: February 20, 2017 in 2015, Documentary, UK, USA, X1/2

Famous (and notorious) documentary maker Louis Theroux  is unable to interview anyone of importance inside the Scientology cult. So he needs to interview SP’s  (‘Suppressive Persons’) to get an inside of how the ‘church’ is run. It’s a term to define the enemies of the church, especially those who had worked for the church for years, know a lot of details about its organization and stepped out.

One of them is Marty Rathbun, who used to hold a very important position within the organization and is now more than welcome to help Theroux depict an ugly image of the sect he used to belong to.

Louis Theroux came up with the idea of making a movie about certain things that happen in the organization. The movie was never really going to be finished, but auditions were done for the key roles (church leader David Miscavige and Tom Cruise a.o.) and rehearsals were held as well. Marty was asked to be present to give advice. And in doing so, giving more details he otherwise wouldn’t express in a plain interview.

It’s a clever and unique way of trying to find out hidden thoughts and opinions. But in the end it looks too much like framing the guy. And that’s where this documentary kind of goes wrong. Theroux is cocky. He’s unreliable. He will use any trick to gain the trust of the person he’s going to interview. He has the cool and the charm to do so. His laid-back, funny attitude makes people open up easy in his presence. His pretended naiveté has done miracles in the past. But this time it’s too premeditated.

It’s an entertaining documentary though. The problem is: who is it for? People who don’t care about scientology aren’t going to watch. People who are scientologist will probably watch it as proof that it’s an evil world full of SP’s out there. And then there are the people who are interested in religious organizations in general and want to learn more about scientology. Well, the later group will be disappointed. You don’t really get to learn anything, let alone more about it.

It’s not an educational documentary. It’s not even all that controversial. It’s a one-sided story about a certain (violent and aggressive) aspect of the church. When you think of Theroux making a document about scientology, you want him to actually spend some time with them and just ask the quirky, played childish questions he always does.

And that’s not the case.

http://www.imdb.com/title/tt5111874/

45 Years – **

Posted: February 5, 2017 in 2015, Drama, UK, XX

Charlotte Rampling deserved her Oscar nomination last year for her role in this lowbudget tale about a couple who are having a relationship crisis in the week leading up to their 45th wedding anniversary. She’s in almost every single scene and as a viewer you learn more from her onscreen behavior and expressions than from the scripted dialogue. It’s thanks to her acting skills that you want to finish this pretty unspectacular and predictable late age story, filled with lines that only people on stage would utter after they’ve taken lots of valium. It’s a British movie, but still. Are we supposed to believe that these characters talk to each other like this after 45 years of marriage? Luckily, there are only few lines. And the focus is more on observation.

Life’s a bitch when you find out that the man you’ve been married to for 45 years has more interest in the girl he lost just before he tied the nod than for the celebration coming up in a few days.

Ok movie. Just pretty pointless really.

http://www.imdb.com/title/tt3544082

 

I am Bolt – **

Posted: January 17, 2017 in 2016, Documentary, Sportsdrama, UK, XX

Usain Bolt is an interesting character. He’s genuinely cool and laid back and as the ‘fastest  human on the planet’ he can afford to be cocky and confident and even arrogant to the point that nobody really minds if he boasts of being ‘a legend’ and ‘the greatest’.

I Am Bolt is a very linear documentary that focuses on the unique win of 9 gold medals in three disciples over three olympics. It’s a well made documentary as it has one main thread (the difficult preparation towards RIO2016) and then uses flashbacks on regular intervals to Beijing2008 and London2012. It fascinates, just because Bolt is fascinating.

However, it’s directed by a team that clearly loves Bolt. It’s a fan made movie. Bolt himself may be the main producer. He self directs  himself. Maybe he was in the editing room. Who knows. Some elements are really good though. In stead of having Bolt state in a self recorded message that he is annoyed by the press conferences, the director just makes a compilation of several questions that reporters ask (leaving out the answer). That’s a very efficient way to make the audience understand the frustration of a celebrity sportman.

For a biopic it’s absolutely necessary that there’s more drama, more friction, more dark shade, more controversy. For a documentary like this it’s not. When you decide to watch I am Bolt, it’s because you like Bolt. And there’s plenty out there who do.

http://www.imdb.com/title/tt4647900

Allied – **(*)

Posted: January 15, 2017 in 2016, Romance, Spionage, UK, USA, WW2, XX1/2

Catching this during its final week at the movie theaters, Allied does deliver. The classic WWII romantic thriller is well directed (by Robert Zemeckis) and stars the almost always fascinating Marion Cotillard as a resistance girl/spy. It stars Brad Pitt as a Canadian pilot/secret agent as well. But even though he’s also a main character in the movie, his fascination for Marion Cotillard makes him look like a supporting actor. It makes sense that the yellow press accuse Cotillard for the break-up of Brangelina.

The movie’s atmosphere reminds you of other great war classics like Casablanca (the location of the first half of the movie) and Lawrence Of Arabia (the opening dessert sequence). Much time (and money) was spent on details. The set design is impeccable. It looks really good. As far as the story goes, it’s intriguing until the end. It really does feel like it’s based on a true story. Even though it’s all fiction and several scenes don’t make sense.

Not sure if all the cursing happened back then the way it happens in the movie. And not sure if lesbian couples could be so open about their relationship back in 1942 (that scene adds nothing to the story either). Not sure how a British pilot can fly across the Channel into enemy territory and fly back home the next day like it’s nothing. Come to think of it.

Now, a day later, several things just don’t make sense. However, when leaving the theatre the feeling was good.

http://www.imdb.com/title/tt3640424

Game Of Thrones Season 6 – **

Posted: January 8, 2017 in 2016, Adventure, Fantasy, UK, USA, XX

Hm.

It’s all getting a tad boring.

The scenes are way too long. The little humor here and there is way too daft. The violence and gore are no longer shocking. In fact, it’s getting annoying more than anything else. Some characters are still walking around with no purpose at all. for now. Others become stronger leads, but can’t captivate. There are more conversations than ever. And they are dull.

But,

Some favorite characters are still around and carry the show. And kick ass. Especially the women. For a sexist show which exploits female nudity, this is one hell of a feminist manifest.