Archive for the ‘USA’ Category

Watched this a week ago.

Kinda forgot what it was all about.

Ah yes. Marvel Universe. Female heroine. Sassy Brie Larson. Funny Samuel Jackson. Chase scenes. Aliens. A plot twist. A lot of confusion. Earthlings bonding with aliens against a common evil force. Nineties. Cool soundtrack.

www.imdb.com/title/tt4154664

 

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Dumbo (2019) – **

Posted: April 2, 2019 in 2019, Children/Family, Fantasy, USA, XX

Whatever happened with Tim Burton? The last good film he made was Big Fish from 2003.

This isn’t really bad. It’s just not exciting or original or funny.

It’s interesting to see how they adapted the animation story from 1941. In fact, the original movie is told in maybe 30 minutes or so. And it’s clear that the makers changed whatever felt wrong in that version. The references to some of the main characters in the original are subtle. The mother elephant is brought to the circus, already pregnant. There’s a stork flying by, but he’s not ‘bringing the baby’. There’s a mouse dressed as a ringmaster as well, but it’s only briefly on screen. They did a great job making Dumbo look like a clown. The pink elephant parade is well re-interpreted. When the mother is locked up in train carriage, it looks exactly the same as in the Disney classic. But where are the crows? Was Disney afraid for ‘racial’ controversy ?

But once the original story is told there’s more drama and action coming. The original ends with Dumbo realizing he can fly… This movie focuses on whatever happens next. It starts with two children being reunited with their father who returned from the war in Europe (missing an arm). He’s appointed to be in charge of the elephant show, but already has trouble when the new animal gives birth to a ‘freak’. Once the freak becomes the star of the show, the whole circus moves to some kind of amusement park and that’s where more trouble starts.

They managed to make a decent live action movie of a pretty sad children’s story. But it’s not enchanting or charming. No matter how cute Dumbo looks. None of the new (human) characters excite.

www.imdb.com/title/tt3861390

Dumbo (1941) – **

Posted: April 1, 2019 in 1941, Animation, Children/Family, USA, XX

Watching this with a smart ass kid in 2019 is great!

  • Why are storks bringing the babies ? Are the animal babies orphans?
  • Why are the animals happy going into their cages?
  • How can the mouse speak the same language as the elephant and the ringmaster and the crows?
  • Why are the elephants afraid of the mouse?
  • Elephants don’t drink water with their trunk, they suck it up and then spout it into their mouths
  • Crows don’t wear glasses and don’t smoke cigars!

Hm. Hopefully the live action remake will make a bit more sense. This one hour Disney ‘classic’ is only good for three year olds and younger.

It’s harmless nostalgic charm. It just doesn’t make any sense.

www.imdb.com/title/tt0033563

US – **(*)

Posted: March 29, 2019 in 2019, Fantasy, Horror, USA, XX1/2

The horror hype movie of the moment: US. 

Hyped horror movies! They normally turn out to be big disappointments (Hereditary? It?). But you know what? This is actually not a bad movie at all. It’s not scary and it’s slow. But it’s originally weird. A lot doesn’t make sense, but it’s entertaining from start to finish.

The story is simple. Somehow there’s an alternate world of shadows living in abandoned tunnels and empty undergrounds. They’ve been hiding there for decades (or centuries.. who knows), but now they’re ready to come out of their shelters and take over the world. By killing the humans they are identical shadows of.

The focus lies with one family who you can easily relate to. The dorky dad. The bossy mom. The bored teenage daughter. And the imaginative younger son. The director takes his time to introduce them. They are a close family, but each live in their own little world. Once they are confronted with their shadows, who try to break into their summer home and kill them off, the movie gets rolling. And it doesn’t stop.

Plus: there’s a great scary instrumental version of Luniz’s “I Got 5 On It” in one of the scarier scenes. A highlight.

www.imdb.com/title/tt6857112/

 

 

Free Solo – **(*)

Posted: March 20, 2019 in 2018, Documentary, USA, XX1/2

A few hours ago on National Geographic: the 2019 Oscar-winning documentary Free Solo.  The dazzling account of a climber trying to conquer the El Capitan rock in Yosemite without ropes is still playing in some theaters and there you have it on tv already. Netflix has started a weird trend.

The Oscar buzz and the trailer make you want to see this movie. The reviews are stellar as well. El Capitan is a magnificent rock to look at. Climbing it with ropes is already crazy. So, this challenge looks like something you don’t want to miss.

The actual climb is filmed really well. The makers used drones and camera’s with ultra zoom lenses. Some footage is shot by guys hanging on ropes nearby the ‘easiest’ parts. Even on a small screen, the views looking down into the valley are not for those suffering from fear of heights. It must look even more vertiginous on a big screen, but it works at home too. The editing is top-notch. They must have had hours of footage and made a great action sequence of it all.

However, this is only about 20 minutes of the documentary and it’s at the end. Before that you have an hour of typical American documentary making with a lot of blablabla and (at times meaningless) interviews of people concerned (Alex Honnold himself, his climbing buddies, the film crew, his mom, his girlfriend, other free climbers…). At one point his girlfriend stresses that she still doesn’t understand why he wants to do this: risk his life to pursue an idea/dream/obsession. In fact, almost everyone wonders why he wants to do it. Yet, nobody gives an answer. And definitely not the documentary makers. So why even bother trying to find out?

The most interesting parts are where he prepares the climb and explains where the tricky sections are. If you make a documentary about a free climber, focus on the free climbing not on his personal life. At least not if you can’t give answers as to why someone is so foolish/stubborn/suicidal to attempt such a challenge.

It’s good that they mention how many of his predecessors have died in this extreme ‘sport’. Yet at the end, the ‘hero’ of the story encourages young people to do even more extreme things. Hm. Hero is in between brackets, because there is nothing heroic about climbing a rock without gear. More than often you hear about these extreme sports fanatics who always look for the next thrill and then die while pursuing it.

It makes you wonder if they would have shown the documentary if he had fallen to his death.

A few years ago, a Flemish tv personality, who takes on challenges, climbed El Capitan with some professionals. He was a climber virgin, but prepared well. Now that was an exciting tv program! It’s below the trailer, but has no subtitles. Somehow that was more intriguing. Free Solo is worth the watch, but only the last part is really fascinating.

www.imdb.com/title/tt7775622

 

Life Of Crime – *(*)

Posted: March 19, 2019 in 2013, Comedy, Crime/Detective, USA, X1/2

This came on and looked intriguing. Two amateur criminals decide to kidnap the wife of a rich businessman. However, they didn’t prepare the job that well. They had no clue that the rich businessman has an affair with a younger starlet and is filing for a divorce. And they also had no clue that the wife has an affair with her neighbor, who shows up at the moment of the kidnapping.

The first 20 minutes are okay. The movie feels a bit like a Coen-brothers production. It has all the elements of a dark satire. But then somehow things get serious. And the story becomes a mess. The jokes aren’t funny anymore. The end is okay again, but by then, it feels like they had to wrap it up fast. Too bad. It had potential.

www.imdb.com/title/tt1663207

 

The Umbrella Academy – *

Posted: March 15, 2019 in 2019, Fantasy, USA, X

“Give it some time, it’ll grow on you”, a friend told me about his new favourite Netflix show The Umbrella Academy. 

Good for him, didn’t grow on me though.

Yes, it gets (a bit) better by the end and the final does make you kind of curious what will happen on in the second season, but it’s all way too weird.

Some scientist has raised 7 kids with special powers. All of them born on the same day. Their superpowers aren’t really all that special and one of them doesn’t have any powers at all. So it seems. Of course, she’ll be the one to reckon with. Duh. No spoiler alert. The main story itself is simple. The world is heading for an apocalypse and they are the only ones to stop it. If they work together. And that seems to be a problem. So, we’re confronted with all the issues that these kids have while being adults. In the mean time, there’s time travel as well. And aliens of course. And talking chimps. And two hit men (Mary J Blige is one of them!).

So it’s weird. And if weird is your thing, check it out. It’s well made. Just pretty boring.

https://www.imdb.com/title/tt1312171/