Archive for the ‘USA’ Category

You: Season 2 – **

Posted: January 16, 2020 in 2019, Crime/Detective, TV series, USA, XX

Damn.

This sequel is a drag. The first season was so good. Yet this time around the story doesn’t excite. Joe moves to LA, meets a new woman he falls in love with and starts to stalk. But that’s not the core of the story anymore.

Nothing is really the core of the story. There’s a bit of everything going on. Sure, that’s a good change from the first season where the love/stalk story was too present. But then again, that was also its coolness. Maybe it’s the setting. Los Angeles isn’t New York. And its inhabitants just aren’t quite like the ones of the Big Apple. Most of the new characters in this show are tiresome stereotypes of Angelenos. And that’s the biggest flaw.

Not a season to binge watch.

 

1917 – ***

Posted: January 12, 2020 in 2019, UK, USA, War, WW1, XXX

The first hour of this Word War I epic is perfect cinema. Once the story reaches the town of Écoust-Saint-Mein however, it becomes a rather unrealistic survival adventure. It’s still good, but it kind of ruins the great storytelling of the first part. And the end.. well, it’s an end.

This movie gives the impression that it is made in a single shot. And it works. Amazingly. This means the storytelling is great ánd the direction was planned impeccably.

Two soldiers need to get a message across to stop a planned attack. That’s it. But what happens next is CINEMA at its best.

Just go see it. It deserves to win all the awards its nominated for.

www.imdb.com/title/tt8579674/

Midsommar – (*)

Posted: December 27, 2019 in 1/2, 2019, Fantasy, Horror, USA

Ari Aster keeps getting rave reviews for his movies. Not sure why. Hereditary is the most over-hyped movie of 2018. And this one. Well, it’s better, but still.

Of course, these pictures will never be nominated for a razzie award. They are considered arthouse. And arthouse movies can’t be crap. Only mainstream blockbuster movies can be viciously attacked and ridiculed.

Four American students get invited by a Swedish friend to experience an ancient pagan ritual, held every 90 years, in the north of his home country. The guys study anthropology and one of their girlfriends studies psychology. So far so good. So far, an interesting premise.

However, the movie starts with a focus on the girlfriend, months before the trip. Her sister just committed suicide (and killed her parents in the act) and she’s not getting enough support from her boyfriend (one of the anthropology students). This takes up about 20 minutes and is already boring after ten.

Then the action finally takes places in Sweden (even though it’s filmed in Hungary). The imagery is nice, the costumes as well. It’s an interesting setting. Until the pagan community turns out to be a sekt with strange rituals. And then it’s really downhill from there. Nothing makes sense. There is no horror. There is no tension. There is no humor. There is bad acting. The dialogues are crap. The plot twists aren’t twists at all. The surprise elements are predictable because of the slow scenes leading up to them. It’s terrible.

The whole explanation of the circle of life which ends at 72 is ridiculous if the makers stress that the festival only takes place every 90 years.

Utter crap.

But still (*) for having finished it and because so few movies get that rating.

https://www.imdb.com/title/tt8772262/

This came on tv this afternoon. Decided to watch a bit of it. Ended up finishing it. Hey, it’s been more than 30 years !

What a silly movie. Those special effects are BAD. And the acting isn’t particularly good either. Neither is the story. In fact, this is really quite terrible.

But it’s nostalgic… And Bill Murray is great being Bill Murray.

However, this did not pass the test of time. I used to LOVE this movie.

Ray Parker Jr’s title track is still cool though. (it was the first 7″ inch single I ever bought).

www.imdb.com/title/tt0087332

 

Thirty years ago a female jogger was left for dead after having been molested in Central Park, New York. During the same night a group of young kids had gathered in the park for some wilding, attacking and mugging random passers-by. The investigating police made a link between the two events and arrested dozens of these kids, interrogating them about the rape. Five kids were left to their own devices at the police station and somehow ended up confessing to crimes they didn’t commit. A mediatized trial followed and even though the kids were minor and there was a lack of evidence, all of them were sentenced to years in prison. Four were minors and got five years detention, starting in a juvenile centre. One was sixteen at the time of the events and went straight to the adult prison system.

Most Europeans, and a whole generation of Northern Americans as well, were unaware of this case until this four part series became one of the main releases on Netflix this year and received critical acclaim.

Unfortunately, by end of the year, so many articles have been written about this production, that it becomes very challenging to watch the series without expectations. Yes, it’s a great series and a must-see. But no, it’s not the best series of the decade. You want this to be a mix between The Wire and The People vs O.J. , but it is not. It’s way too short. It is generating more questions than providing answers. It’s a show that will stick with you days after having watched it. So, that’s good. But it does feel like so much more could have been told.

Episode 1 is tough to watch. The characters are introduced and you immediately find yourself in the same mess they get themselves into. Dozens of kids are arrested, yet there are five of them that are detained longer and coerced into admitting to a crime they didn’t commit. These kids were at the wrong place at the wrong time and didn’t get the support they needed. Easy victims for the interrogating police…. The creators of the series clearly want the viewer to feel empathy for the innocent kids and anger towards the judicial system. It works, but it also annoys. This is where the series is flawed. The kids are sweet and innocent and adorable even. The police, judges and prosecutors are heartless monsters. It’s predictable tv making. This is also where an hour episode just isn’t enough.

Episode 2 is better. However as a court room drama it is not detailed enough. This is very intriguing stuff. We get snippets of the story. We learn that each kid had a different lawyer. We learn that each family of these kids deals differently with the accusations. We learn about the discussions amongst the prosecutors. We get to see some witnesses. All very briefly. This may have been the way the accused kids saw the trial (and it’s their story), but as a viewer you want to learn more. What about the jurors? The judge? This part of the story needs an 8 episode series alone.

The second half of the series is excellent though. In the third episode the show focuses on how the four minors get released from detention and have to struggle all over again. It’s a sad episode, but a very necessary one, because it focuses on how getting out of prison isn’t always a gift and how it’s very hard to rehabilitate in society. Episode 4 focusses entirely on the story of the one kid that was sent to adult prison and it is superb television, mainly because of the tour de force of Jharrel Jerome, who deservedly won an Emmy for his performance.

The acting in this series is top-notch. It makes up for the fragmented storytelling. Whoever did the casting deserves another award. A special shout out to Asante Blackk (playing the kid who is left alone at the police station: the moment you realize this will be a tough watch), Caleel Harris (the kid who is forced to lie by his own dad!), Niecy Nash (the troubled mother of the kid who will suffer the most) and Michael Kenneth Williams (the dad who told his kid to lie and has to suffer the consequences) !

www.imdb.com/title/tt7137906/

This is a good introduction to the case and the series:

Knives Out – **(*)

Posted: December 22, 2019 in 2019, Crime/Detective, USA, XX1/2

This is quite an entertaining, well-scripted, well-edited whodunnit with some great acting performances and a few interesting plot twists. The character depiction is very superficial though, which is disappointing, And the suspense never really kicks in.

A rich publisher is found dead in his study. It looks like suicide, at least that is what the police have concluded. But a private detective is hired to exclude foul play. He wants to hear the version of events by everyone who was present the night before the death/murder.

The set up is great, but somehow it doesn’t make sense that a few characters, who were present, are not heard by the police/detective at all.

But, still, it’s really good. Not really predictable, but the end doesn’t come as a surprise either.

www.imdb.com/title/tt8946378

Jumanji: The Next Level – *(*)

Posted: December 22, 2019 in 2019, Adventure, Fantasy, USA, X1/2

Lame action. Lame jokes. Lame acting.

Apart from The Rock and Danny Glover maybe, who kind of make this still worth watching.

This may appeal to very young kids, who will love the action and the slapstick and the weird avatar swaps. But if you’re not a kid, this is a really dull.

www.imdb.com/title/tt7975244