Archive for the ‘2012’ Category

After having watched Free Solo, the Oscar-winning documentary about a free climber who goes up El Capitan in less than four hours without ropes, made me rewatch this episode from a popular Flemish tv program, in which the adventurous presenter takes on the challenge to climb El Capitan without previous climbing experience.

Unfortunately there are no English subtitles, so not everyone can watch it. There’s some conversations in French and English as well, but the main language is Flemish (the Dutch spoken in Belgium).

The tv series has varied challenges ranging from very physical (entering a national body building competition) to very silly (creating a chart topping sing along song). Not all episodes are good and in the end, it’s entertaining television, with a lot of things being fixed.

But this is the most fascinating episode. Even when things are fixed (that we don’t get to see), it’s still very impressive.

Somehow, the guy from Free Solo isn’t really relatable. Tom Waes on the other hand  is the total opposite. The drive he has to just succeed in everything is amazing. But he is also super honest about his fears and his frustrations. He swears all the time, sighs constantly, doubts a lot… He has a good sense of humor too. You want him to succeed. You want him to climb El Capitan. No matter in how many days.

The cool thing is that you actually learn something about climbing as well. And not just about techniques, but also about how people sleep, eat and … shit when they’re climbing up a rock wall. Tom also has a sports cam on his head so the views are spectacular.

The team of professional climbers who escort/guide/make it easy for him, is also great.

Somehow this impressed me more than Free Solo. 

www.imdb.com/title/tt6038326

30 years of New Beat. Especially in Belgium, this is a bit of a celebration. From 1985 to 1995 the country (well, Flanders and Brussels) were at the centre of the global music scene because they released successful vinyl tracks that sounded like nothing else before and became such a hype that pop music took over and killed it. However, this ‘new beat’ became a foundation of anything else that was produced in the club scene afterwards.

It’s a fun documentary if you’re interested in the topic. It actually starts with a short (but correct) introduction of Belgium, a fabricated buffer state in between England, the Netherlands, Germany and France. It talks about the yearly fairs, the barrel organs, the invention of bakelite by Belgo-American Leo Baekeland that was used to make vinyl, the opening of dance clubs along the highways, the import of international sounds by the port of Antwerp, the dj’s from the seventies, the popularity of disco and the counter-reaction of punk. And hup we are  in the eighties, where Belgian dj’s and producers start playing aggressive, dark dance music with an edge. They spin the records at a different speed and add all kinds of sounds to the music. It’s music made by producers and not by musicians! It’s Kraftwerk and Jean Michel Jarre, but with a rebel attitude. And that’s how we got to NEW BEAT.

It’s a good documentary, but the ‘sound of Belgium’ just focuses on new beat really. It doesn’t say anything about the indie rock scene or the mishmash of cultures we put together in the music is made in Belgium. There are influences from France, England, the US and Africa…. the entire world. That mix is what makes the sound of Belgium. So, this documentary has a wrong title. It’s also a bit patriotic/nationalistic. But that suits the scene well. Maybe the new beat was the only thing that united the Flemish and the French-Speaking Belgians! You hear both languages throughout the documentary. However, there’s no mention of other influencers from other countries. They even forget to mention that Baekeland was really an American from Belgian descent. Dance music really didn’t originate in Belgium either. The UK and Germany were as influential. And let’s not forget Chicago and New YOrk! And there’s an unnecessary diss to Depeche Mode by Sven Van Hees.

So, fun to watch, but pretty superficial. Give it a shot though.

http://www.imdb.com/title/tt2966298

The whole movie is available on this site:

https://boilerroom.tv/recording/sound-belgium

Even though the movie has a lot of flaws, especially in its storytelling, you do keep watching until the end. The acting is great. And the direction is good. But it’s the road trip itself that fascinates the most. You hardly ever see movies that take place in rural Brazil. It’s always Rio or Sao Paulo. Or Recife. Or Salvador. But this time around, most scenes are shot outside of the cities.

The story focuses on the search of a father (an excellent Wagner Moura) for his son, who left the house after an argument with both parents and is missing. He apparently bought a horse and took it up north. Along the way, the father – a wealthy doctor – is confronted with himself, the feelings for his family members and the state in which other – less privileged – Brazilians live.

http://www.imdb.com/title/tt2125425

Generally, Hollywood blockbuster comedies aren’t really funny. Or only partly funny. Luckily, from time to time, there are exceptions. Like The Hangover for instance. And also 21 and 22 Jump Street. Binge watch both of them and you’re in for almost 4 hours of pure fun and entertainment. Both movies are consistently funny. They are extremely silly and outrageously absurd, but very refreshing as well. There’s also subtle humor and plenty of cultural and social references/critiques. They often reverse the expectations. Which is great. The fact that within the script they joke about rebooting a tv series from the eighties (in the first one) and making a more expensive sequel (in the second one) is proof of how cleverly the script was written. Jonah Hill and Channing Tatum are really good at this kind of action comedy. And Ice Cube is just being Ice Cube to the fullest. There are quite a lot of surprises. And several quotes and one-liners are instant classics. You do need to have seen the first one, to understand the jokes of the second one. So that’s why it’s better to watch both of them in one rush. Yep. Very surprising.

http://www.imdb.com/title/tt1232829

http://www.imdb.com/title/tt2294449 

The Expendables 2 – (*)

Posted: July 28, 2017 in 2012, Action, USA

Decided to put on this sequel while cleaning a few boxes of old print material at home. It’s not the most convenient background media. It’s loud. There are a lot of explosions. People get killed by the hundreds. There’s hardly any dialogue or soundtrack material. Just gunshots and blasts and a lot of engine rolling (of cars and planes).

But from time to time you want to look up to see what it’s all about. It’s about some Russian plutonium mine and many people want to know its location. One of them is the Bruce Willis character, who orders Stallone’s gang to go get the location (from a laptop in a lost suitcase). Unfortunately someone else is one step ahead and manages to steal the suitcase, killing an ‘expendable’ in the process. And so it becomes a revenge tale.

The only surprisingly cool thing about this movie is the presence of Jean Claude Vandamme as the villain. He’s actually the best actor of the whole action hero bunch in this sequel. Which says a lot.

http://www.imdb.com/title/tt1764651

Reality – (*)

Posted: January 20, 2017 in 1/2, 2012, Comedy, Italy

Pffff.
What a drag…

A local fish seller, who’s always ready to steal the show at family events, auditions for a part in the reality tv show Big Brother. He’s really convinced he will get selected and his close friends and family support him as well. But as the start of the new season gets closer and closer, he still hasn’t been contacted by the production team. Something must be wrong…

Maybe it’s funny if you know Italian society a bit better. Or if you are used to their comedies. If you’re not than this is just plain boring.

Lesson learnt for anyone holding job interviews or auditions: just sent a letter that you are not interested.

Lesson learnt for anyone starting o watch Italian comedies: pick another one to begin with.

http://www.imdb.com/title/tt1846487

 

People watching: Recife.

That’s it really. And it’s great. Just watch the trailer. It’s how a trailer should be: intriguing and not telling anything at all.

Brazil is an fascinating country. Its diversity and contrasts are a wealth of inspiration for any kind of story-teller. This movie focuses on the life of a few upper middle class residents in a fancy residential high-rise area of the northeastern metropolis. A private security team comes to offer their services to protect the street block at night. This looks fishy, but it’s Brazil and you cannot be safe enough. Things kind of build up to a bigger finale, but that story isn’t all that important. It’s more the collection of beautifully shot scenes and the both direct and indirect stabs at Brazilian society that keep you watching until the end.

Brazil is a great country and you can have everything you want. But it comes with a price. And we’re not just talking money. You can have all the wealth you want (with the right kind of parents and skin color or luck), but you will never get rid of the paranoia. There’s insecurity everywhere. Out on the streets. Around familiar places. And even inside your head.

http://www.imdb.com/title/tt2190367