Archive for the ‘UK’ Category

A United Kingdom – **(*)

Posted: August 11, 2017 in Drama, UK, XX1/2, biopic, Historical, 2016
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United Kingdom tells the fascinating story of Seretse Khama and Ruth Williams, who become the first president of Botswana and his wife. The fascinating thing about it is that Seretse was black – of course – and Ruth was white. Quite remarkable at the time. And still quite remarkable right now. Unless you’re from Botswana or have travelled the country or have a keen interest in the history of Southern Africa, chances are very high that you’ve never heard about this remarkable history fact. So, hooray for the producers who made this an entertaining history lesson.

Unfortunately, it’s nothing more than that. It’s well acted, sure. And it’s nicely shot. But it’s a straight forward, uncontroversial, chronologically told succession of events. White girl meet black lawyer student in London. Guy turns out to be the heir to a chiefdom. Girl accepts marriage proposal. Everyone is against it. Her family. His family. The South African government. The British government. And so the trouble starts…

A lot is covered and it’s covered well. The situation is explained in clear and short dialogues. No excessive explanation. But also not that simplified. It’s a well done film. For the masses. Who didn’t go see the movie though. A shame. Stories like this need an audience. But maybe more for a tv night on Fridays.

http://www.imdb.com/title/tt3387266

 

100 Streets – *(*)

Posted: August 10, 2017 in 2016, Drama, UK, X1/2
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Idris Elba is an intriguing celebrity. He’s both arrogant and down-to-earth at the same time. He’s both hot and cool. He’s an eloquent speaker, yet has street credibility. He’s very versatile. He does a bit of everything. He’s a model, a dj, a fighter and predominantly an actor.

Yet, he’s not such a good actor. He’s always Idris Elba. For years they are assuming he will be the next Bond, but he’ll never be Bond. He’ll be Elba, Idris Elba.

There’s a new movie out in theaters that has him in a starring role (Dark Tower). In fact, there seems to be a movie out with him every two months or so. But somehow, he’s not really a movie star. He’s not a Harrison Ford, Tom Cruise, Johnny Depp, Will Smith kind of star.

So, to call this 100 Streets a Idris Elba movie, is weird. In fact, it’s misleading. The real star of this movie is Franz Drameh. His character is much more prominent in the story and his acting skills surpass those of Elba. This should be called a Franz Drameh film and the trailer should be focussing on this story.

The trailer is very much misleading. This is not just a movie about a rugby player who cheats on his wife, then wants her back, takes drugs and goes berserk swinging a gun in public. It’s also a movie about a taxi driver whose hooligan past damages the adoption process he’s in and who causes a terrible accident. It’s also a movie about a rugby wife falling for a photographer after her husband cheated on her. But most of all it’s about a young, drug dealing kid from the block who wants to quit the criminal life and aspires to be a poet. That should be in the trailer! But that’s too much information. And that’s exactly what’s wrong with this movie: there are too many stories. And they only briefly intertwine. Crash it is not.

But coming back to Idris Elba. This movie could have done without all of his scenes. It would have been more intriguing if the focus was just on the taxi driver, the rugby wife and the poetic drug dealer. It kind of feels like that was the original script and the producers just added the scenes with Elba once he got on board. In order to make it an Idris Elba movie.

But hey, he got mentioned 7 times in this review….

http://www.imdb.com/title/tt2990126

Dunkirk – ***

Posted: July 31, 2017 in 2017, UK, USA, War, WW2, XXX

A few weeks ago, upon its premiere, Christopher Nolan’s new masterpiece seemed to only get rave reviews. The must-see movie of the summer! You won’t see anything better in the next couple of months! Great! In the meantime, several articles have been published that focus on Dunkirk’s shortcomings. Historically and dramatically. So, time to see it before the hype is over!

It’s a good movie. It’s action packed and doesn’t bore one tiny bit. It’s loud, which is great for a war movie. The direction is flawless. There’s not much dialogue, but that’s not necessary. The movie succeeds well in telling the story through moving images. Another interesting aspect is the non-chronological order in which the tale is told. It keeps you intrigued until the end. And the musical score by Hans Zimmer is brilliant. So, yes, it’s a must-see movie! Especially at the movie theatre.

But the haters have a point as well. David Cox from the Guardian wrote a great bad review, in which he expresses his disappointment excellently. It’s always tricky to make a historically accurate movie that covers the entire story. In fact, it’s impossible. So, when a director chooses three different stories that intertwine and have you sit on the top of your seat for about two hours, then it’s good. It’s best to not have any expectations at all and just feel blown away. You can read up on the history after watching the movie.

http://www.imdb.com/title/tt5013056/

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