Archive for the ‘2015’ Category

Bevergem – ***(*)

Posted: November 22, 2019 in 2015, Comedy, Flanders, XXX1/2

On Netflix. Not sure in all regions. But on Netflix!

Check it out if you can.

A famous stand-up comedian on the run arrives in a small little village. The local chairman of the Social Services is looking for a scapegoat for the fishy business that he is in and offers him a place to stay, above the local thrift store. The comedian accepts and gets to know the weird characters of this community. He even becomes their confidant and adviser.

Flemish humor can be really absurd, ironic and sarcastic. This show has it all. The greatest irony of the movie is that the main character, the foul-mouthed Freddy De Vadder, who made a career out of playing a marginalized lower than low class nitwit, is actually the most sane, sensible and smart character of the show. The local references are plenty, so it’s probably hard for non-Flemish people to get the jokes. The depiction of the characters however is spot-on. They are exaggerated versions of people you may know. If you want to understand West-Flemish culture, you need to watch this. But you may need a manual.

The absolute star of the show is the chairman, the kind of attention seeking amateur politician who thinks he’s a real hot shot, but who really is a dumb alcoholic. His wife doesn’t allow him back in the house, so he sleeps in his garage. She’s excellent as well. Her quotes have become classics. Another great character is the former manager of the thrift store, who quit her job after she won the lottery. But it doesn’t help listing all the characters…. they are all quite unique and pretty much excellently performed by all of the cast.

It’s a great comedy with some surprising visuals and a great soundtrack. Very original, yet very recognizable. It was even funnier the second time around.

www.imdb.com/title/tt3826290

Woman In Gold – **

Posted: August 16, 2019 in 2015, Courtroom, Drama, UK, USA, XX

Gustav Klimt’s Portrait Of Adèle Bloch Bauer was hanging at the Belvedere in Vienna for several decades until a family member of the model claimed it back.

It’s an amazing story. Based on true facts. Adèle Bloch Bauer was a model for one of the most important Austrian painters. Her husband commissioned the portrait and it hung in their house for many years. Until the Nazi’s took over control in Vienna and the paintings were confiscated. The portrait was brought to the Belvedere, which is one of the many art museums in Austria’s capital.

Jump ahead to the late nineties when Austria starts to talk about giving back paintings to those families that the nazis stole it from. Unfortunately for the Austrians, there’s a niece of Adèle Block Bauer living in Los Angeles who wants the painting of her aunt back. She gets the help of a young lawyer, also of Jewish-Austrian descent, and an Austrian journalist who wants to come to terms with the country’s nazi past.

It’s an okay movie. The story intrigues and Helen Mirren is quite charming in the main lead. She created a character that entertains throughout the entire story. Also good are the flashbacks to the time of when the painting was made and the time of the nazi takeover. But unfortunately the focus is on the court case and that’s a tad boring.

Not sure what Austrians think about this movie…

www.imdb.com/title/tt2404425

Umrika – *(*)

Posted: March 24, 2019 in 2015, Drama, India, X1/2

A young Indian country boy sees his big brother leave for America. Later, as a teenager, he becomes the man of the house when his father passes away. His mother still adores the son that left and started a new life in a new country. But he’s not around. With much pride she shares the letters she receives to the other villagers. The letters are very impersonal though and filled with pictures of American life, taken out of a magazine. Something is not right. The young man decides to find his brother, but gets stuck in the next big city where he needs to start working for of a dodgy person. How was his brother ever able to leave ? And is his brother even alive?

Umrika is one of those festival films from India. It’s not a Bollywood blockbuster. It doesn’t have singing and dance sequences. It’s serious stuff. But it doesn’t work. It starts off great and the teenager is played by that guy from Life Of Pi, so the acting is pretty solid. But the story is predictable, boring and not intriguing at all. Not as heart-warming or moving as you’d expect. The director didn’t really do a good job convincing everyone that this is a story worth telling. By the time you learn what happened to the older brother and what effect that will have on the younger one, you may have lost total interest or care. Too bad.

It’s set in the early eighties, so there are some nostalgic references. One particular scene is funny: when a whole Indian crowd watches Indiana Jones and the Temple Of Doom.

www.imdb.com/title/tt2614722/

 

 

 

Premiers Crus – (*)

Posted: August 4, 2018 in 1/2, 2015, Drama, France

A Burgundian winegrower is on the edge of bankruptcy after he lost his appetite for the business once his wife and children left him. A Japanese company is willing to take over the vineyard and so is a rivaling neighbor. But luckily his oldest son, the successful and influential writer of a yearly wine guide, is willing to help his dad out. In fact, he’s willing to take over the business, but on his own terms.

The concept is interesting. The setting is gorgeous. But this movie falls flat. It’s like the region of Burgundy hoped to get a soap opera a la Dallas on tv, following the adventures of a wine growing family, but no network was interested in it. So instead of filming material for 12 episodes or more, they decided to shorten it to a 90 minutes television movie.

It’s terrible.

The amateur editing doesn’t help either. Each scene is abruptly ended. Like each scene is a trailer to a future episode in a (non-existing) series. It’s sad. Because there’s enough material to make it an interesting soap. There’s the family conflict and also some failed/unrequited romances. There’s the competition between winegrowers. It could be a great tool to learn about the winemaking process. Each episode could focus on dramatic events within the family AND explain one aspect of the viticulture.

A missed chance.

www.imdb.com/title/tt4796568

Ha!

recommended by several friends: a quirky British comedy sitcom available on netflix

It’s a British comedy sitcom. Which means there are only six episodes per season. And they only last for about half hour each. This is over before you know it.

The central character is Tracey, a twenty something virgin who’s living with her religious mother and sister in a multiracial area of London. She so desperately wants to have sex that the whole series evolves around this goal. Both get really tiring after a while. Tracey makes you nervous. The way she talks. The way she acts. The way she can’t make up her mind. The way she jumps into adventures with such naivety. And this quest to lose her virginity goes on and on. Yawn.

But the side characters make up a lot. They are even weirder.

The social commentary isn’t really as on point as you’d expect. But sometimes that’s not necessary. It’s just fun to watch a weird girl with her weird friends end up in weird situations, innit?

https://www.imdb.com/title/tt5097050

 

Loev – *

Posted: January 21, 2018 in 2015, Drama, India, LGBT themed, X

Hm.

It’s a bit bizarre to watch a movie where a rape scene is considered an act of love. Especially in these #metoo times… The scene happens in the final act of the movie. The victim clearly says ‘no’ and is clearly not able to physically stop the abuse. Yet, somehow he’s okay with it all and acts like it was nothing. Moreover, throughout the entire movie the abuser is represented as a descent, honest bloke and the victim acts like a whimsical diva, both luring his abuser into romance and pushing him back.

It’s a story about a three gay men in Mumbai. Sahil (a musician) and Alex (an actor) are in a relationship, but clearly have their issues. The other, Jai, is a mutual friend and a successful businessman who’s in town for a couple of days. Sahil has planned a surprise trip for Jai and Alex is fine with them heading off together. However, Jai is open and honest about his feelings for Sahil and it’s clear that Sahil loves Jai as well….

Loev is very slow. Until the actual rape scene, nothing really happens. Sahil and Jai drive for hours and talk about all kinds of things. When they arrive at their destination the everyday conversations and situations continue, but nothing exciting happens. Every time a scene seems to turn into something intriguing, it’s cut short. And the rape scene isn’t even a turning point in the story. So it’s pretty redundant.

The movie gets a lot of positive buzz. Probably because it’s an Indian movie. And the characters aren’t one-dimensional (true). It’s definitely not a commercial Hollywood movie. But if you want to see a really good movie about an ‘exotic’ gay love triangle than watch the excellent Wound. 

http://www.imdb.com/title/tt5050788

Beasts Of No Nation – **(*)

Posted: January 11, 2018 in 2015, Drama, USA, War, XX1/2

A regular family living in a buffer area between two war zones in a (fictional) African country gets ripped apart when troops are on the way to take over control. The mother and youngest children are able to flee to the capital. But the father and his two oldest sons remain to resist. The youngest of the two sons ends up fleeing in the bushes when the troops start ravaging the town and he soon joins rebel forces, who don’t mind training young boys into war machines.

This may be an Idris Elba movie (he produced and stars in it), but it’s little Abraham Attah who’s the main draw. This kid can act! He’s phenomenal! Just watch the movie to see this kid shine in every single scene. From being a fun and careless young kid with a creative mind, to a survivor enduring all kinds of hardships never losing grip of his true self. Sure, kudos’ to the creators of this character, but without a good actor it wouldn’t be as powerful.

It’s also filmed really well. Great settings. Great camera work.

But, the story doesn’t really dig too deep. And the end is sloppy. They should have made a series out of it. They could have spent an entire episode on the family before they got ripped apart. An episode about the situation in this ‘fictional’ land.  And an episode about the formation of this rebel group.  Before they start with the journey of the kid being trained as a child warrior. Using a fictional country and fictional historic events is risky. It’s not really clear who is fighting who. That’s all a bit of a blur (or a collection of abbreviations). So that’s a bit of a disappointment.

Nevertheless: watch it!

http://www.imdb.com/title/tt1365050