Archive for the ‘2014’ Category

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

 

 

 

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East Side Sushi – *

Posted: September 13, 2017 in 2014, Drama, USA, X

Long Distance Flight movie #7

A struggling Mexican-American single mom living with her dad is tired of combining a fruit stall vending job with a cleaning job at a fitness center. She loves cooking and decides to apply for a job working in the kitchen of a fancy sushi place. She gets the job, but can only stay in the kitchen even though she has the talent of helping out the chefs who prepare the food in sight of all the customers. When she doesn’t get promoted at the restaurant, she gets all upset, quits and enters a sushi making competition online.

YAWN

It’s really interesting to see how the sushi is prepared. They film it really well. However, it’s like a promo movie by the sushi restaurant organization who want to attract a different crowd: the latino community.

Not sure why reviewers rave about the ‘performance’ of Diana Elisabeth Torres. She’s terrible. She’s the main character and her forced over-acting ruins the movie. All the others are acting bad as well. It’s a debut movie. It feels like a project made by students who graduate at films school. It’s filmed really well.

But the story, the main character and the acting are so incredibly annoying.

ps: Why do movies so often have to explain scenes that are obvious? There’s a word of play joke about her name, Juana. The Japanese for good afternoon is Kon’nichiwa. So, the joke is that the chef calls her Kon’nichijuana. Great. We get the joke. It’s lame, but ok. It works. So, of course, when the chef gives her a special Sake-box with her name on it, it will say ‘Kon’nichijuana’. You really don’t need to SHOW it.

http://www.imdb.com/title/tt2340650

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 

Cities of Love Part III.

After the disastrous Paris, Je T’Aime (2006) and New York, I Love You (2008) someone thought it was a good idea to also make a similar mash-up of silly love stories in Rio De Janeiro. That someone was probably paid a lot by the Department of Tourism of this cidade maravilhosa. None of the stories are captivating. The acting is terrible. The dialogue is ridiculous at times. It’s a complete waste of time and money for the talented people who participated in the project. Hopefully, they received a lot of money for this, because none of them can honestly claim they actually feel proud of whatever they did. Either acting or directing.

But unlike the other two movies, this one actually is worth watching until the end, because unlike the other two movies, it shows the city in the most beautiful kind of way. There are dozens of shots from above, but hey, that’s what makes the city so beautiful. That gorgeous view over the bay with all the rock formations around it… there’s nothing quite like it. As a commercial, this really works well. You want to visit asap. Just be warned that you won’t really be able to see the same views unless you get on a helicopter…

So as an overlong commercial, it’s okay. As a movie it’s not. There are so many stories you can tell. The city is so inspiring. Yet, we see ten tales that just don’t appeal. Most of them aren’t even in Portuguese and have characters from outside of Brazil. Some have potential though. The story about the one-armed boxer could have been explored better. The one with Harvey Keitel is also not that bad. It just feels like a draft of a story. Like a rehearsal for something else. Others are totally amateur like the one where Vincent Cassel rebuilds his sand sculpture. It’s a nice idea, showing the different kind of people walking on the iconic Copacabana side-walk in accordance with different sounds. But the sounds are terribly annoying! Couldn’t they have brainstormed a bit more to find awesome, recognizable sounds ? And Vanessa Paradis and John Torturro doing a stage play dialogue around a kitchen table: what the hell is this doing in a movie set in Rio?

Yeah, this is NOT a good movie. Just watch the trailer.

😦

 

http://www.imdb.com/title/tt1456606

PK – **

Posted: February 12, 2017 in 2014, Comedy, India, XX
Tags: ,

A good remedy against feeling a bit down is watching a Bollywood production. Sure, just like Hollywood the Indian movie industry is making more bad movies than good ones, but sometimes you have a production that you cannot not like.

PK  was a blockbuster in India a few years ago. It made the headlines in Flanders as well as the first fifteen minutes take place in Bruges. Yes, PK is that Indian movie that inspired Indians to visit Bruges. Ka-Ching! Not that the movie got a wide release here. It was screened a few times  in Antwerp for its Indian community and that’s it.

PK is the name of an alien that lands in the desert of Rajasthan. Minutes after his arrival, his remote amulet (that can get him back to his spaceship) is stolen. So, next to learning about life on earth he also needs to find this amulet back. None of the earthlings can help and they all tell him he should ask God for help. So in his search for the amulet, he’s also searching for God. But who is God and which God in specific should he look for?

The trailer doesn’t promise anything good. The trailer makes the movie look like an incoherent comedy with a Mr Bean-like character and lame jokes. And that’s correct. But only partly. The most interesting thing about the movie is the discussion about God and religion in general. That’s actually really brave and refreshing. Bollywood movies are considered to be naive and conservative and afraid of shocking or pointing out the harsh realities. But that’s not entirely true. The charming thing about them is that they don’t need to shock to make a point.

India has – of course – many more religions to deal with than any average country in Europe or the West in general and seems to be able to do so with (politically incorrect) humor. There’s also that eternal feud with Pakistan, which seems to be mentioned in every single movie they produce. So, it kind of makes sense that this movie was a big hit. But the general idea of the movie can resound to anyone in the world. It’s a bit strange to say this about a Bollywood comedy, but its philosophy is quite intriguing.

At one time the alien concludes that “there are two gods. one who created us and one we created ourselves” It’s lines like that which makes this a different kind of comedy. Even the slapstick scenes are clever. When the alien is so confused about the different rituals for each religion, it leads to comical situations. Like the one where he first learns from a christian that people wear black because they are mourning the death of a husband and he then later walks up to three muslim women in niqab to offer them his condolences, not realizing their husband is just walking behind them…

Anyways. Despite its intriguing theme it’s a typical Indian movie. It’s overlong. It has several dance scenes. A lot goes missing in the translation (in fact the title is funny in Hindi but needs explanation in English). There’s a lot of overacting. But that’s also the charm of the style. It seems that all these movies have such positive vibes. Which again, is a good remedy against feeling a bit down.

The opening scene in Bruges is really just for marketing purposes. It’s the reason why this movie made it to the blog. It’s not that important to the story. Bruges looks lovely though. Just look at the video clip below the trailer!

http://www.imdb.com/title/tt2338151

 

The Good Lie – **

Posted: February 10, 2017 in 2014, Drama, Kenya, USA, War, XX

You can’t really say anything bad about this well intended, good hearted, sugar coated, biblically inspired tale about a family of refugees from Sudan who try to reconnect when they are split up arriving in the United States, apart from the fact that it’s sugar coated and biblically inspired maybe.

It’s not a masterpiece, but who cares? The movie puts refugees and their struggle and journey in a more positive light than what we’re used to hearing about in the news lately. Focussing on one particular group, who are Christians of course… – a story about muslim refugees wouldn’t really get produced that easily-, the movie makes the controversial theme more personal and approachable. Even Trump supporters might care ! Maybe they should start watching.

Yes, the acting is bad. But it’s done by amateurs. Apart from Reese Witherspoon of course, who’s not even in half of the scenes. But her name draws attraction and she pulls it off not making the movie about her character.

It’s not as engaging as you’d hope. It’s not as funny as you’d expect (all the jokes are already in the trailer). But it’s also not as bad as you’d fear. It flopped at the box office and didn’t get released in Europe, but give it a chance!

http://www.imdb.com/title/tt2652092/

 

Halfweg (Halfway) – *(*)

Posted: February 5, 2017 in 2014, Drama, Flanders, Horror, X1/2

An architect who just got divorced, moves into a beautiful art nouveau villa. But the house is haunted. The previous owner still roams around and isn’t too happy with this new person moving in. He can influence the electricity in the house and uses it to make it hell for the new owner.

The synopsis sounds like yet another haunted house movie, but this is different. First of all, it’s Flemish and the movie was made with a low budget. Secondly, the dialogue is uttered like the actors were telling the story on stage and not on the big screen. And finally, there is little suspense and no horror at all. Some humor and some psychological drama, yes. After all, nobody believes the architect when he talks about the other guy living in his house.

The architect is played by Koen DeGraeve who again shows that he’s a great actor. His antagonist is played by Jurgen Delnait who again shows why he isn’t cast all that much. His performance is annoying, which kind of makes the movie annoying at times.

But stick to the end. The humor becomes more absurd.