Archive for the ‘USA’ Category

Marriage Story – **(*)

Posted: December 8, 2019 in 2019, Drama, USA, XX1/2

Sometimes it takes friends to convince or trigger you to watch a particular movie that was not really on your radar. Such is the case for this Netflix Oscar contender about a young couple going through the (legal) proces of a divorce. The movie gets a lot of buzz and rightfully so. But is isn’t the instant classic lots of critics claim it to be. The quality of the scenes is just not consistently excellent. Some are extremely well written and acted. Some are just painfully bad. Adam Driver is surprisingly good. Scarlet Johansson is, as usual, great. And Laura Dern is excellent. They all should get a nomination. This is definitely an actor’s movie.

But in the end it pretty much feels very familiar to Kramer vs Kramer and is not all that original. It’s a good attempt by Hollywood to show some realism though with addressing the insane legal consequences of getting a divorce. But it still feels like a Hollywood movie. This would feel much more real if it was done in French, by a French director with French actors. Or Polish. Or Swedish. Or Korean. Or British even. That’s a biased opinion. True. But somehow this story craves for realism without spending money on a soundtrack or make up artists. Scarlet looks gorgeous in every single scene. They all look so polished. Even the few tears that are shed look calculated.

But hey, check it out. It’s not an all too serious drama. It’s not a tearjerker. Which is good.

www.imdb.com/title/tt7653254

The Irishman – *

Posted: December 8, 2019 in 2019, biopic, Gangster Movie, USA, X

Wow. Glad to not have bought a cinema ticket for this 3,5 hour Scorsese mob tale.

No, it’s not the best movie of the century. Maybe if this is your very first mobster movie you might be impressed. Not if you have seen dozens. It is not really terrible. It’s just too long. And nothing in the direction feels like it’s been done by a master genius. Martin Scorsese disappoints. And so does Robert De Niro. And what’s with the ‘special effects’ making the actors look younger? It’s silly. So are many discussion and many scenes that add nothing to the story.

The acting is not good (apart from Joe Pesci maybe, even though he doesn’t actually do much) and the story isn’t really exciting. None of the characters are sympathetic. And there’s no suspense. The main character works his way up to being some kind of bodyguard for the most notorious union leader of the US, who mysteriously disappears. One google search reveals what happened. Especially if you read about what book this movie is based on.

Maybe. Tonight just wasn’t the right time to watch a mob movie with aging actors.

www.imdb.com/title/tt1302006

 

A Rainy Day In New York – *

Posted: November 30, 2019 in 2019, romcom, USA, X

Random pick at the movie theatre. Woody Allen + Timothy Chalamet + New York… sounds like an interesting combination on paper.

But it doesn’t work. New York isn’t particularly exciting in the rain. Chalamet isn’t particularly impressive this time. And the voice overs and dialogues, written by Woody Allen, aren’t particularly funny this time around.

No. It’s a drag.

But Elle Fanning surprises. And her character saves the movie. An Arizona blonde studying upstate New York visits Manhattan for the first time with her boyfriend to interview a movie director. What’s supposed to be a one hour interview turns into an adventurous afternoon for her, whereas the boyfriend’s plans to impress his girl with a tour of the city get washed out.

www.imdb.com/title/tt7139936

 

The Hitman’s Bodyguard – **

Posted: November 24, 2019 in 2017, Action, Comedy, USA, XX

“You haven’t seen Hollywood’s chase scene in Amsterdam yet?”

Several Dutch friends, acquaintances and colleagues have recommended me this scene, but no. I hadn’t. Until now.

The famous scene takes place about an hour into the movie though and only lasts 6 minutes or so. It’s a fun scene, nothing all that special, but just cool to see it take place in a city that you know really well. It’s like the Paris car chase in Lucy. That was also fun to watch.

The entire movie is actually not all that bad. It’s an action comedy with an unlikely duo. One is a hitman, who’s imprisoned in the UK and needs to testify against a Belarus tyrant in The Hague. The other is a special bodyguard who needs to protect him against possible assassination attempts. The hitman is Samuel – motherfucking – L. Jackson and the bodyguard is Ryan Reynolds. Their chemistry is good. The action scenes are well choreographed. It’s fast paced, brains on hold, pulp entertainment with a massive body count and Selma Hayek in the funniest scene.

www.imdb.com/title/tt195956

 

Spirits In The Forest – **(*)

Posted: November 22, 2019 in 2019, Concert Movie, USA, XX1/2

Six Depeche Mode fans get ready to fly to Berlin to see the final show of the Global Spirit Tour.

That’s it.

If you are a Depeche Mode fan, it’s worth the watch. The concert excerpts are short and few, but well filmed and will make you think back at your own experiences during the gigs. And the six fans each have a story to tell. Some a bit more intriguing than others. Watching a concert movie in a theatre just isn’t the same though. You can’t sing along really. And dancing seems to be tattoo too.

If you’re not a Depeche Mode fan, don’t bother. This concert movie/documentary really focuses on the massive DM fan base around the Western world. It’s about them and for them. Not sure how objective music lovers will look at this devotees tale.

https://www.imdb.com/title/tt11023922/

Come on, vogue
Let your body move to the music (move to the music)
Hey, hey, hey
Come on, vogue
Let your body go with the flow (go with the flow)
You know you can do it

Madonna’s best track is featured during the entire first episode of the second season. It’s a really good episode. If you only have to watch one episode of this entire series, pick that one. You can also watch the entire show of course, but there are not that many episodes nearly as good.

Madonna’s Vogue kind of made the late eighties New York ball culture mainstream. For a few months. Until the hype was over. Few people actually know about this underground culture, which is experiencing a bit of a revival right now. And this show is only going to get more people intrigued.

The show is important. No doubt. It focuses on an underground culture with characters from the black and latino underrepresented lgbtq community. And it tells the story of the struggle that people with HIV or Aids had to go through 30 years ago. That storyline is quite moving. BUT – in capitals – the acting, writing and directing is messy. Especially in season 1, which introduces the characters. Maybe that has to do with the directing. And the budget. It feels like every scene was never rehearsed and shot in one take only. It’s amateur. And annoying. The dialogues feel awkward as well. Season 2 improves on all of this. The acting is much better and especially the monologues of diva Miss Electra are hilarious and well-written. The episode stories however are often too far-fetched (the one where they have to hide a corpse, really?) or a real drag (the aids cabaret in the hospital).

Some characters are really cool though. That Miss Electra steals the show. She’s a vicious queen with a cold heart, but defrosts by the end of season 2. She is by far the most fierce, intriguing and hilarious person in the cast. Dominique Jackson is acting a bit wooden in season 1, but shines in season 2. Get her an award. Equally growing in her role is MJ Rodriguez as Blanca, who keeps the show going. She needs an award to.

There’s a lot going on. And the AIDS-related storylines are really good. But the interaction between the characters doesn’t feel realistic. They are inconsistent. In one episode they hate each other’s guts, in the next they support each other like sisters, in another one they are ready to physically harm each other, in the end they go on a day trip together. It’s weird. I’m sure there is enough drama in real life. So to add extra drama just doesn’t make sense.

Still. Season 3 may be great. and the soundtrack is excellent

www.imdb.com/title/tt7562112

Rocketman – *(*)

Posted: November 9, 2019 in 2019, biopic, Drama, LGBT themed, Musical, USA, X1/2

It’s never a good sign when the producer of a biopic of a certain artist is the artist himself. In this case, Elton John. Sure, he has lead an interesting life, but told from his perspective it’s flawed and biased.

The movie starts with the British piano rock star attending an AA meeting in full extravagant outfit. It ends with a message that he’s been clean for 27 years. In between you get to learn about his rise to fame and the lack of love he received as a child and as an adult. The whole part where he’s addicted to alcohol, drugs and sex is mentioned, but not really visualized that much.

So, all you’re left with is an uninteresting character with mediocre songs who rose to fame, couldn’t figure out the difference between his onstage larger than live persona and lived with self pity until quite late in his career.

Some may like the magical realism at certain points in the movie (like the uplifting experience in LA’s Troubadour or the skyrocketing singer performing Rocketman, the song). It’s a nice gimmick, but nothing more than that. The acting isn’t particularly great, but satisfying. But it’s a bit sad when the only interesting character in the movie is the ‘evil’ manager John Reid, who is also the bad character in Bohemian Rhapsody. Now, give him  a biopic!

www.imdb.com/title/tt2066051