Archive for the ‘4 – Year Of Production’ Category

Loving Vincent – **

Posted: November 29, 2017 in 2017, Animation, Drama, XX

It’s surprising how long it took before a painted movie was made. Ever since I was a kid, I wondered why nobody ever made a movie about a painter in the style of the painter concerned. An impressionist movie about Monet! An baroque movie about Rubens. There have been a few attempts in the past, mostly live action settings, but this is the first painted movie. Several teams of painters painted each frame, edited together with a stop motion technique. It’s quite fascinating…. For the first 15 minutes at least. Then you get used to it and you focus on the story, which sadly isn’t so intriguing. Unless you’ve never learned about the death of Vincent Van Gogh.

After learning about the death of Vincent Van Gogh, the son of an Arles postman is commisoned to take a sealed letter to Vincent’s brother Theo in Paris. Upon arrival he learns that Theo has passed away and so his journey continues to Auvers-sur-Oise, where Vincent apparently shot himself. The man gets more intriguied in the happenings during the final days of Vincent’s life, so he starts asking around for more details.

That detective element doesn’t quite work. There are just too many dialogues/interrogations with several characters, during which the extraordinary painted animation isn’t used to its full potential. Sad really. But you want to see it for the drawings. Which are marvelous at times. Even when you’re not a Van Gogh fan. It’s still quite a feat. And well done.

http://www.imdb.com/title/tt3262342

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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/ 

The South African entry for the Academy Awards of 2018 is quite a controversial movie in its home country. If focuses on the ritual tradition of the Xhosa to send their young men up to the mountains where they stay for a few weeks to be ‘initiated’ into manhood. This also means they get circumcised and need to heal. It’s a practice which still occurs these days, even though a lot of modern families send their sons to a hospital for a safe medical ‘cut’. It’s a cultural tradition and a personal affair. So, yes, this movie takes away the secrecy and brings the story to a larger (international) audience. Apart from that, the movie also focuses on three men with homosexual desires. Another controversial topic in South Africa, where being gay is legal, but doesn’t get the support from the majority of the population.

For Europeans, this is a fascinating movie. But it is voyeuristic. It’s not a movie made by and for the Xhosa people. It’s a movie made by a white director for an international crowd. Luckily, this thought only comes to mind afterwards. During the movie, you are soaked up in the story, mesmerized by the acting and in awe of the beautiful setting. The interaction between the three main actors and their characters is the best feat of the movie. The end result is quite respectful for the tradition. And the homo-erotism is very present, but not as sensational as in other movies.

Calling it the African Moonlight doesn’t do the movie justice. It’s actually sad that the latter movie won the Oscar last year, because now voters may not give this one a fair change because it’s again about black homosexuals. If the movie had been released a few years ago, it would have made a great chance of winning the Academy Award for best foreign picture.

http://www.imdb.com/title/tt6333070

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 

 

Four great actors stuck in one setting. It’s almost like a theatre play on stage. But it’s not. It’s a movie. And even though the idea is good, the execution kind of bores. Two factory workers break into the house of their boss and take him hostage. They thought they had planned it well. But things start getting all messed up when his (secret) mistress arrives unexpectedly. Who turns out to be the daughter of one of the attackers! Moreover, because of an electricity power outage, other plans can’t be executed and the four are stuck in the house for the entire weekend! So it seems.

It’s over before you know it. So, it’s not that bad. Just proves that a good idea does not necessarily make a good movie. But the acting is good. And some one-liners are fun. If you understand Flemish. The dvd has English subtitles though.

http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0443352 

 

Ae Fond Kiss – **

Posted: November 14, 2017 in 2014, Romance, Social Drama, UK, XX

For a movie made in 2004, this Ken Loach film still functions well in 2017. Nothing has changed in 13 years. A sad conclusion. The premise still intrigues these days. Can a catholic, female music teacher and a muslim accountant find happiness as a couple in modern-day Western society? Yes? No? Maybe?

Ae Fond Kiss feels like it was made by a debutant graduating from an unknown film academy. Which is not a bad thing, apart from the fact that it’s made by an experienced and award-winning director. The script is so predictable. Of course the catholic school environment will be depicted as being as old-fashioned as the Pakistani tradition of arranged marriages. The social commentary is too gentle. If you want to confront viewers with racism, don’t do it by just mentioning it. Go for the uncomfortable feeling! Some scenes don’t make sense. Like the moment where the guy discovers a tattoo on the body of his new girlfriend, which he has been licking and kissing all night long a few days before. Duh! The acting of most of the cast is non-professional. Which is fine. Eva Birthisle is quite remarkable as the teacher. Atta Yaqub looks lost as the Pakistani accountant. But playing the character as a bit of a shy loser, makes him more sympathetic. The rest probably didn’t even get paid for being extras with lines.  It has a terrible end. Totally opposite of what any rational person would conclude. But the whole experience is worth the watch. A Scottish movie to recommend!

http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0380366