Archive for the ‘2008’ Category

Marley And Me – *

Posted: June 6, 2020 in 2008, romcom, USA, X

Friends got a dog and named it Marley, because of the movie with Owen Wilson and Jennifer Anniston. 

It was on tonight and I started to watch it. Moreover, I even finished it! A romcom with Jennifer Anniston and Owen Wilson and an obnoxious dog!

I get the appeal of the movie for dog owners and lovers. And I guess the dog isn’t really that obnoxious, just very affectionate and active if you want to use euphemisms. So, I kinda understand why  would call your active and affectionate puppy Marley.

A couple meet, get married and get a dog. They’re not really good at controlling their dog’s behavior and just let him be whoever he wants to be. Then they get kids. The couple start arguing. They move. Twice. Then the dog dies. The end.

It’s not really a bad movie. It’s just pretty bland. As soon as the end credits roll you want to watch something else. In fact, the two commercials following the movie also featured a couple and a dog. And pretty much left me with the same feeling.

Just having watched Wien is ‘t Hof Van Commerce, a self-made chronological mockumentary of a locally famous West-Flemish hiphop band, it made me want to re-watch this  (10 year old!) music documentary of another famous Flemish band. From Ghent and an international phenomenon: SOULWAX!

Back in the late 2000s these guys toured the world with a great concept: they gave a live performance of their remixed songs, invited dj’s and bands they liked to come along and then ended the evening as their dj alter ego: TWO MANY DJ’s.

Both Soulwax and Two Many Dj’s toured again this summer. With success. But ten years ago, they were pretty much the coolest band in the world.

Watching this documentary again, brought back memories. It’s a great musical document. The sounds these guys produce are still da bomb! The dvd comes with a cd as well and there’s a live performance as an extra feature. But you really want to see the one hour trip through club culture feature. It’s also available on dailymotion (see below).

The editing is hectic, but doesn’t bore at all. It’s a one hour trip, which is just enough. It’s fast-paced and loud. It’s very divers in its images. Live performances in dark stroboscoped clubs are mixed with images of places around the world. It’s visually as entertaining as sound-wise. It has a few tranquil moments with interviews of people who tour with the band. So, you do get to learn about the band and the two main members (two brothers called Stephen and David Dewaele). And you get to learn about live on the road. A lot is self-glorification, but if you’re the coolest band on the planet, it’s okay. The decadent lifestyle isn’t so shocking really. Especially because most of the performers seem so level-headed. It’s the crowd that goes crazy. And the crowd does go berserk. Which is of course again a feat of the director/editor. Just show a lot of people having a good time and you create the illusion that everyone is having a good time. With or without drugs. With or without booze. With or without clothes.

It’s a fun watch. If you haven’t seen it yet: do!

Hancock – *

Posted: November 6, 2017 in 2008, Action, USA, X

The idea is kind of cool. There’s a superhero in LA, who lives like a bum, is an alcoholic and reluctantly saves lives if someone asks him too. However in his attempts to get the bad guys, he damages a lot of roads and buildings and that costs a lot of money to society.  He’s also far from pleasant to the people he rescues and the passers-by. In short: he needs a PR guy and guess what? He just happens to save the life of a PR- man who wants to give something back in return. Little does the PR-man know that his new girlfriend has the same superhero powers like the guy he’s trying to help.

The good thing about this action movie is that it’s short. 80 minutes or so. That’s still more than an average viewer can take. If you like seeing roads and buildings being destroyed during superhero battles, than this one’s for you! If you don’t, skip it. Even when you’re a Will Smith or Charlize Theron fan. This just isn’t worth the watch.

Okuribito (Departures) – *

Posted: September 14, 2017 in 2008, Drama, Japan, X

Hm. This won the Oscar for Best Foreign Language movie over Entre Les Murs, the best movie of this century. Un.Be.Lie.Va.Ble! It’s so incredibly boring, I assume none of the voters actually watched it and just read the synopsis and watched the trailer.

Yes, it’s beautifully filmed. And yes, the main actor performs well. But the story just isn’t all that much. A cello player quits his job and moves to his home town, where he finds a job as a caretaker for the deceased. Hence, the title ‘departures’. It’s a job that nobody wants and that is frowned upon. But when done right, the loved ones of the deceased are grateful for the care. Thanks to the job he comes to turns with the departures in his life.

Poetic? Maybe. Boring? Yes.

La Fille De Monaco – *

Posted: July 30, 2017 in 2008, Drama, France, Romance, Thriller, X

A lawyer receives protection from a body guard, sent by the son of his client in a murder case. It takes a while, but after a few days there is a connection between both men who like each other’s company.  And just when you think the story will evolve into a gay romantic adventure in Monte Carlo, a young fresh actress appears on screen who steals the heart of everyone. She has her eye set on the lawyer, but dated the bodyguard in the past…

Intriguing plot synopsis.

Poor execution.

Roschdy Zem (the bodyguard) is quite impressive, as always, but he looks lost in the bizarre dialogues and the crazy story that leads to nothing good at all. This was probably set up as a mix between a romantic comedy and crime thriller, but there’s is no romance, no comedy, no crime and no thrilling element….


Step Brothers – *

Posted: January 19, 2016 in 2008, Comedy, Slapstick, 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.

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.


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.

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.

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.

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.