Archive for the ‘USA’ Category

Local Hero – *(*)

Posted: November 29, 2017 in 1983, Drama, Dramedy, UK, USA, X1/2

Maybe some movies do not stand the test of time. Like this ‘classic’ from the early eighties, suggested as a preparation for future work assignments in Scotland. Sure, it’s interesting to see how a small village in the Highlands get excited when the representative of a Texas oil company comes to see if he can buy the land for future development. But it’s quite a bore really. Peter Riegert is quite good as the American who looks at the Scottish villagers with awe and confusion. He carries the movie. But can’t save it. Maybe it’s a great movie if you saw it when it was released and you watch it again with nostalgia. But for a first viewing in 2017 it pretty much sucks.

http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0085859/ 

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Trevor Noah is a bit of an overconfident arrogant dick. But he gets away with it, because he’s also really good. This documentary follows the stand up comedian during the months leading up to his first one man show. It’s a fascinating documentary. It shows a lot of Trevor Noah, who’s being interviewed one on one and who’s being filmed as he prepares for gigs, visits the places where he grew up and goes on stage for the first time in LA. They also let other people speak. Some of his family and friends, but also some of the older generation of comedians in South Africa who absolutely hate his guts.

Worth the watch.

http://www.imdb.com/title/tt1671547/ 

We Bought A Zoo – **

Posted: November 15, 2017 in 2011, Drama, Dramedy, USA, XX

A young widower leaves his adventurous journalist life for what it is and buys a zoo to start all over again with his two young children. The youngest kid loves it (she’s 6 or so), the oldest one hates it (he’s 13 or so).  If he hadn’t bought the zoo, all animals would have been displaced and the animal keepers would have had to look for another job. He’s in for the biggest adventure in his life…

The story seems a bit far-fetched. A good excuse to make a movie with big stars and a lot of animals. But it’s apparently based on a true story.

It all feels a bit silly though. The script isn’t strong. It’s a kids’ movie. The kind you can watch at 2 pm in the afternoon. After a (more exciting) BBC nature documentary. Scarlet Johansson is in it, but her role could have easily been played by someone else. Nothing special. Matt Damon is okay in the lead role. He seems to really be having fun. He has some good scenes. Especially the “I Need Help” conversation with his son. But then the movie is over and you’re shrugging.

The use of great indie college rock tracks on the soundtrack is of course the director’s idea But it just doens’t work here.

Check the dvd extra on training animals.

http://www.imdb.com/title/tt1389137 

 

Now this is a fun and entertaining superhero movie! It’s not set in the future nor in an American metropolis for a change, which is great. This Gal Gadot is quite the performer. She looks good ánd she can kick ass. Not sure if there’s much acting, but hey, The action scenes are impressive. It’s directed really well… Bring on the sequel! Finally a box office hit that is worthy of being a box office hit.

The movie introduces Wonder Woman, a demi-goddess raised by the Amazones, who considers it her destiny to destroy Ares, the God of War. When she hears from an American pilot who entered their world (via a weird time warp wall) that The Great War is going on, she decides to leave her protected, women-only resort and face the real world of humans. As she’s never a) hung out with men before and b) has never visited the world where humans live, she’s in for a real treat! The humor is good. The set designs are great. And there are several surprises, one of which is Said Taghmaoui in a very small supporting role.

Another surprise is the Flemish dialogue from locals. The scene and soundbite do not make any sense, but it’s just fun to hear. It’s just bizarre. According to the plot, an evil German officer is stationed in Belgium and Wonder Woman needs to get to him. So, according to the script and the dialogue, they go to ‘Belgium’. But later in the movie, they talk about a village called ‘Veld’. They show an actual map where the village is mentioned on. However, it’s a map of Northern France. So NOT Belgium, but French-Flanders (the part from Flanders that Louis XIV claimed for France). I checked on google maps. There’s no ‘village’ called Veld (which means field) in between Hazebrouck, Moerbeke en Oud-Berkijn (as seen on the map in the movie). The only village there is De Walle. There is a village called Veld in Belgium, but it’s close to Torhout and Brugge. Anyways. Whatever. Then somehow the locals talk Flemish and French. The café where they dance advertises in Flemish (Bier & Tabak), but the photographer speaks with a French accent. The one scene where Wonder Woman kills a sniper by blowing up a church tower, is followed with locals saying What happened? Did you see what she did? in Flemish. BUT, it’s said with an Antwerp accent, and that’s a total different dialect. Regardless if it’s Hazebrouck or Brugge, the locals would speak West-Flemish. Anyways. It’s the linguistic nerd writing right now. How do these scenes come about at the production table? It’s all filmed in the UK anyways. Nothing is filmed in France or Belgium.

dav

http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0451279

 

Battle Of The Sexes – **

Posted: November 11, 2017 in 2017, Dramedy, Romance, Sportsdrama, USA, XX

Back in 1973 Billy Jean King beat Bobby Riggs at a demonstration game in tennis. Maybe you shrug your shoulders and think: big deal. But it was at the time. Billy Jean King was the best female tennis player in the world and Bobby Riggs was a has-been Wimbledon champion who only played demonstration games to finance his gambling addiction.

A lot of things were at stake. Billy Jean King had started her own tennis circuit out of anger because the tennis association only paid her 1/8 of what the male tennis players were getting. A previous (less advertised) game had been a disaster for women rights activists (because the female player lost). The event drew 90 million viewers around the world (most of them probably in the US). It was a big deal. Up until now it’s still quite relevant. Women still don’t get equal pay in a lot of profession and sports. There are still quite a lot of chauvinist pigs around. People still believe the game was a fraud and Riggs lost on purpose…

But all this information isn’t necessary to go see the movie. It’s not that serious. It’s very light-hearted. It’s fun. Emma Stone is good as Billy Jean King. Steve Carell is excellent as Bobby Riggs. There’s a golden globe coming up for this guy! It’s a very easy to like movie.

http://www.imdb.com/title/tt4622512

 

Hitch – *(*)

Posted: November 10, 2017 in 2005, romcom, USA, X1/2

Hm.

This is a very light romantic comedy. One that you keep watching, while you’re busy doing something else. Not that bad to switch channels. Not that good to stay focused all movie long.

There’s no chemistry between the lead actors. Weird. Cos, on paper, it looked like a great match. Maybe it’s the awkward dialogues. Who knows.

http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0386588

 

Roots (2016) – ***(*)

Posted: November 7, 2017 in 2016, Drama, Historical, Slavery, USA, XXX1/2

Back in 1977 a television series was ground breaking (and successful) telling the story of the descendants of a captured young African warrior who was shipped from The Gambia to the United States and sold as a slave. His name was Kunta Kinte and his struggle and legacy is still known and popular in American pop culture. Just think of the hit single of Kendrick Lamar (‘King Kunta’). But the 1977 show looks a bit old fashioned for young kids and so a remake was produced, shown last year to critical acclaim.

It’s a powerful story, stretching over several generation. From 1750 before the American Revolution to the end of the Civil War in 1865. It’s not just the story of Kunta Kinta, but also of his daughter Kizzy, his grandson Chicken George and grand-grandson Tom.

Compared to the original series (seen four years ago), this remake is much shorter. It has more action. The acting is better. The setting is more professional. It’s visually a much better series. It’s what you can expect from a big budget tv series these days. Even though the story is based on a fictitious character, the events are depicted in a neutral, historically correct way. (Alt-Right Neo Nazis may disagree of course). Compared to the first series, the ‘white characters’ are better developed. There’s even a good white character this time. Hooray!

This is and excellent series for those who aren’t too familiar with the early history of the African American community. An absolute must. But it’s also worth watching for those who have seen the original show. The acting is truly much better. That Malachi Kirby is phenomenal as Kunta Kinta. But Regé-Jean Page as Chicken George is also quite exceptional. Jonathan Rhys Meyers kills it in all of his scenes. He’s a delight. Even though he’s the mean white slave owner.

The creators had to cut a lot of stories to fit in just four episodes. That’s a bit sad. Because there is much more to tell. The decision to skip several decades from time to time was necessary and it works. But you want to learn so much more.

http://www.imdb.com/title/tt3315386