Archive for the ‘2014’ Category

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.

The Imitation Game – **

Posted: December 25, 2016 in 2014, biopic, Drama, Historical, LGBT themed, UK, USA, WW2, XX

In the French drama Bodybuilder, the world of bodybuilding is just a setting. The real story deals about an estranged father who gets to know his delinquent son after years of separation. The kid needs to go into hiding when a criminal gang chases him for the money he owes. The only place he can go to is the gym that his dad runs in some far away town. So, just like him, the audience starts learning more about the obsession of a bodybuilder training for a big competition and the rest of the crime element becomes obsolete.

There are all kinds of things that are off in this movie. First, there’s non-acting of Yolin François Gauvin, who plays the bodybuilder. A bodybuilder himself, he just plays a bodybuilder. One without emotions. One without charm. One without charisma. It’s very doubtful that director Roschdy Zem wanted him to act that way. This movie is made in France and not in Hollywood, where studios would pay famous actors to train hard enough to look like real bodybuilders. So Roschdy Zem was limited in choosing a main lead. Which makes you wonder why he even started with this project. If the main lead sucks, the movie sucks.

Second, the movie somehow feels like a comical Dardenne’s drama. It’s quite brave to add humor to a sad story in a depressing setting, but it doesn’t always work. You know it’s not a parody, yet at times it feels like it is. You know it wasn’t the intention of Zem to laugh at this underground scene of absurd body sculpting, but it feels at times like he’s making a total fool of his subjects.

But most of all, the story just isn’t exciting. Kid makes debts, runs away, hides with his dad, mocks his dad, acts like a total retard, tries to pay off his debts by getting involved in even more criminal acts and then somehow changes for the better. While his dad just doesn’t give a fuck. B.O.R.I.N.G.

Maybe with a better acting, better dramatic balance and a more gripping story this could have been a good movie. Now it’s just mediocre.

http://www.imdb.com/title/tt3446852

 

 

Theeb – ***

Posted: October 7, 2016 in 2014, Adventure, Coming Of Age, Drama, Jordan, Road Trip, UK, XXX

It’s not really difficult to define what makes a movie great. When you watch a story on screen that entertains/fascinates/thrills you from start to finish, then it’s a great movie. Period.

Such is the case with this gem from Jordan.

A young bedouin follows his older brother, who is assigned to escort an English army officer through the dessert. At one point he finds him self alone in the vast emptiness…

This is a very entertaining road movie/adventure film/historical piece/coming of age story with a fascinating cinematography and several suspenseful thrills. It makes you want to watch Lawrence Of Arabia again or look up flight tickets to Aqaba to go tracking in the Wadi Rum.

A must. And if you have kids who can deal with death, an excellent movie for children as well.

http://www.imdb.com/title/tt3170902/