Archive for the ‘2008’ Category

Step Brothers – *

Posted: January 19, 2016 in 2008, Comedy, Slapstick, Uncategorized, USA, X

Hm. A lesson learned: one goofy movie with fart jokes is more than enough. Especially  when the second has twice as many.

After having laughed quite a lot with White Chicks, it looked like a good thing to watch Step Brothers as well. It may star the overrated Will Ferrell, but it also stars the underrated John C. Reilly. It’s directed by the guy who made the Oscar nominated economy class The Big Short and the synopsis is promising. Two late thirty somethings become step brothers when their respective mother and dad marry. Both still live with their parent and are now forced to live with each other.

It’s interesting to see that this comedy is higher rated on imdb than White Chicks. It’s also interesting to see that this comedy wasn’t nominated for a Razzie award and White Chicks was. It’s unfair to compare both movies, but when you watch them on the same evening, you do. And Step Brothers is definitely the worse comedy. Sure, there are some hilarious scenes, but unfortunately they are few. A lot of them are offensive and even more are gross. When the guys from Little Britain are offensive and gross it conjures up laughs. Here it just evokes disgust.

These two movies came in a 5 title movie pack (for 5 euro). It’ll take a while before the other three will be watched.

http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0838283/

In a discussion about the abundance of Holocaust themed movies, some (older American women) suggested to watch The Boy In The Striped Pyjamas, one of the most touching stories they had ever seen. They had never heard of excellent movies like Die Fälscher (The Counterfeiters) and they believed Schindler’s List was too grim.

Duh.

This one here is terrible cinema. It’s a movie for children (and older American women apparently), but who would want to show this to kids? Schindler’s List was compulsory viewing for teenagers back when it was released in the early nineties. And rightfully so. If someone ever comes up with the idea of making this crappy movie compulsory for kids, they’d shrug their shoulders by the end and have learned nothing. 

In case you do want to watch it (in order to make your own opinion) know that it’s about an 8 year old son of a nazi labor camp commander who is curious about the ‘farm’ he sees in a distance from his window room where everyone seems to wear ‘pyjamas’. He ‘befriends’ a Jewish 8 year old who lives behind the electric wire fence.

The acting is terrible, the characterization is terrible, the story is terrible (well, maybe it works as a book – on which is was based). It’s so simplistic and banal. It trivializes an important horrendous period of time. Just to make it more ‘appealing’ for those who think the reality is too grim.

It’s been a while since a movie rated high on imdb left such a terrible impression.

http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0914798

The Rise and Fall of Versailles, an English documentary about the Bourbon Kings at Versailles, uses footage from a French tv production.

Le Rêve D’un Roi is the first installment and focuses on the life of Louis XIV and his obsession with creating the most beautiful palace and royal gardens in the world.

It’s not really a classical biopic movie, because there’s an informative voice over in between scenes. It’s not a documentary either because the story is entirely re-enacted. It’s very French and often a bit dull, but it does tell you a LOT about life at Versailles during the reign of the Sun King.

In the English documentary version a lot of scenes are left out and replaced by comments of historians. Here the makers just assume that the viewers knows already a lot of details about the life of Louis XIV. More specific: the men and women who were important in his life. If you’ve never heard of Colbert or LeBrun or Madame de Maintenant, then you’re in for a very boring 90 minutes.

http://www.imdb.com/title/tt1167686/

But it’s online. So if you understand French, check it out:

During a hop on hop off tour in Johannesburg, the audio commentary recommends watching Jerusalema as it drives by the Hillbrow district, where empty high-rise buildings were invaded by blacks from the townships after the fall of Apartheid.

It’s a great recommendation. This is a really good movie. It starts with the arrest of Lucky Kunene, a hoodlum who basically is in charge of all the buildings. He gets interviewed by a reporter and the rest of the story is one huge flashback. It takes the viewers back to his youth where he gets into the lucrative business of carjacking once he learns that he is not entitled to receive a tuition for a university career. After a ten-year break of criminality (kind of) he discovers a more clever way of making lots of money. He sets up a building trust and collects all the rent from families living in the aforementioned buildings. With that money he buys property where he can charge rent again. He basically becomes a regular landlord (kind of). However, a Nigerian gang leader isn’t all too happy with Lucky’s empire which pushes him, his drug traffic and his prostitution network away from Johannesburg’ center.

The best thing of the movie is not so much the story, but the main character’s development. He’s a very likable gangster, with a sense of morality. He’s intelligent and ambitious and therefore respected. All he wants is a dream house near the ocean in Durban and crime is just another way of getting it. The two performers who portray him (as a youth and as an adult) are excellent. This really is great acting. But also the sidekicks are doing a great job as well. Only the female characters and actresses disappoint.

Another cool thing is that this movie is made in South Africa and by South Africans. It’s not an American movie set in the fascinating country. It’s home-made stuff. Think about The Wire (atmosphere) meets Cidade de Deus (exoticism) and you get the picture. It’s way better than the award-winning Tsotsi. 

http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0783532

Eden Lake – ***

Posted: December 18, 2014 in 2008, Horror, Thriller, UK, XXX

A couple goes camping near a deserted lake and gets bullied by a group of young kids. Things get really bad when their car gets stolen and they claim it back.

Eden Lake is an incredibly thrilling and action packed horror movie. It doesn’t have any extraordinary special effects and the gore is limited to a few images. But the script keeps on going and surprises with simple, but efficient twists. The acting of Michael Fassbender and Kelly Reilly is superb. As a viewer you believe every single feeling of fear, anger, frustration, despair and rage. The bullies are less enticing. They are soulless, numb and horrifying.

Luckily, this is a British production with an end that makes perfect sense! Great directorial debut! If you have given up on thrillers and horror movies, see this one. It will make you appreciate the genre again.

http://www.imdb.com/title/tt1020530/

A former criminal gets released from prison and tries to stay on the right path. He gets help from his brother, who chose a totally different kind of life and became a cop. It doesn’t take long for the ex con to fall back into his bad habits, damaging his troubled relationship with his family even more.

This is the original movie on which Blood Ties, a crime drama released earlier this year, was based. Time to rent that movie soon, just to see what was kept and what was changed of the story.

This version has so many side stories that don’t lead to anywhere in particular. They are intriguing, but don’t get fully exploited and explained. It turns out this movie was supposed to have been a television series, but they ran out of production money, so they turned it into a 100 minute cinematic release. Too bad. Now it feels like the movie is unfinished.

The acting is solid. The atmosphere grim and imitating movies like The French Connection. The script is not all that bad to be honest. A lot is explained by simple dialogue. But halfway through the movie you are wondering where it all leads to and the disappointment is huge when it ends into confusing nothingness.

Missed chance.

http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0942379

 

Rock On – *

Posted: September 18, 2014 in 2008, Drama, India, Musical, X

Okay, not all modern Bollywood movies are good.

This is pretty bad.

The story itself is very basic: A decade ago, four friends were ready to hit it big as a rock band, but split even before the first album was recorded. Now, all of them lead a different life and by change they get together again. To make it into a 2,5 hour movie the story is told with flashbacks, several side stories and a lot of long sequences of the rock music the band was supposed to be successful with. The flashbacks and side stories work, but the music is horrible.

It’s a low budget movie that scored well, in India. The story is told in a simple, but efficient and truthful way. The acting is amateur, but not annoying. But the editing is terrible. Horrible really. And there is no humor at all. Zero laughs in 2,5 hours, which is too long anyhow.

Just skip this one.

http://www.imdb.com/title/tt1230165