Archive for the ‘2015’ Category

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

 

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Okay, it’s not a must see action cop movie, but it doesn’t bore at all. And the story is set in Brazil, rather than LA or New York. So that’s a plus. It’s about a woman, who does a career switch by getting out of the tourism sector and into the police department. Before she knows it, she needs to participate in a special assignment. In a small town several miles from Rio De Janeiro, two kids get killed during a shoot out between rivaling gangs. The Rio special police force is sent over there to help find the criminals and bring back peace. However, the longer the elite team is there, the more they realize that those rivaling gangs are not the only criminal town and corruption is everywhere. But once they start investigating into it, they get a lot of opposition. The story isn’t original and it’s all very predictable. The presence of the woman (pretty, confident, a bit high maintenance) is first frowned upon by the macho police force, but of course she gets credit at the end. There are few surprises. You see it coming from miles ahead. But it’s entertaining. The acting is good though. That Cleo Pires is a joy to watch !

http://www.imdb.com/title/tt4058210

 

Master of None Season 1 – ***

Posted: January 2, 2018 in 2015, Comedy, USA, XXX

This was very enjoyable. A bit goofy, but real. It’s so cool to have a main character be normal for a change. With normal behavior. Normal doubts. Normal thoughts. Normal is a difficult word. Because what’s normal right? Make it ‘honest’. It’s an honest character and truthful. The kind of people you actually meet in NYC, rather than the fictionalized characters you see in NY shows. You never meet the girl from She’s Gotta Have It, but you do meet the guy from Master Of None. Yeah. It’s cool to see a ‘struggling’ actor live from doing commercials hang out with his quirky friends and discuss live.

Aziz Ansari is cool as the main character Dev. In fact, if it wasn’t for the name change, you’d think this is a show about Aziz himself. It all feels very autobiographical. Especially since his real parents play his onscreen parents! But it works. Each short episode has some kind of theme. It’s not all well scripted, but some of the ideas are super creative. It’s also a very positive show without being moralizing and being all too politically correct. But the social commenting is great. Worth recommending!

http://www.imdb.com/title/tt4635276/ 

Jonas – *

Posted: December 27, 2017 in 2015, Brasil, Crime/Detective, X

In the days leading up to Carnival, a young adolescent finally feels confident to share his feelings for the daughter of his mother’s boss. They have known each other since they were kids, but the social class differences made them go separate ways as teenagers. She’s a big flirt though and loves the attention. Not only from him, but from everyone around the block where they live, including a drug dealing criminal.

The first 20 minutes or so, we get introduced to these stereotypical characters. The flirtatious girl, who gets everything she wants.  The confident local criminal. His dumb associates, who compensate not having a brain by shouting loud and aggressively when talking. The hard-working mom, who raises two children from different dads. The cheating husband who’s also an alcoholic. The wealthy parents of the girl, who rely on their housemaids to do everything, from cleaning to raising their spoiled brats. Sigh. Yes, it’s Brazil. Yes all these types exist. Yes, it’s boring to see them every single time.

The story get ridiculous when the main character of the story, Jonas, finds out that the girl of his dreams is secretly having an affair with the drug dealer. He confronts them and in a sudden move takes the gun from the drug dealer (because that’s what drug dealers in Brazil do: walk around with a gun) and shoots him. Dead. He drugs the girl (because sleeping pills are easily available), cleans up the mess, gets rid of the body, leaves the scene of the crime and ties up the girl inside the frame of a huge construction looking like whale, which will be a big attraction in the carnival parade. This happens without any witnesses. At all. In Sao Paulo, the busiest and largest metropole of South America.

Okay, fine. It’s a premise. It doesn’t make you stop watching the movie, but it doesn’t feel like it’s going to get any better. However, the acting by Jesuita Barbosa and Laura Nelva is good and somehow you want to know what’s coming next. But the story fails. This young kid holds the girl of his dreams captive. And she kind of likes it. In the mean time of course, the parents are worried and the drug dealing gang starts missing their leader. But their reactions don’t make sense. All of the action from every single character is very implausible.

Next!

http://www.imdb.com/title/tt2711256

The Night Before – *

Posted: December 19, 2017 in 2015, Comedy, USA, X

It’s a comedy featuring Seth Rogen, so there are drugs involved. Surprise! He’s a settled down / soon to be father who wants to hang with his two best friends the night before Xmas. They’ve been doing it for the past ten years and maybe this night is the last night they can do it.

Seth Rogen’s character gets a box of drugs to go party. A bit of weed, some mushrooms, some coke and some xtc. Great! It seems like every comedy coming from Hollywood is promoting drugs like it’s the most normal thing to do. Maybe that’s how movies get financed nowadays. Who will tell.

One of the friends is a softy who wants to win back the love of his life (Joseph Gordon-Levitt) . The other is a nerdy sportsman on steroids (Anthony Mackie). The tree of them are in for a Hangover like adventure.

Yes, some scenes are funny. But it’s all so meaningless and stupid. It’s the kind of movie that cost hardly anything and probably made ten times its investment. Because it’s a christmas movie!

It was a 99 cent rental this week, so they won’t make that much money, but still.

http://www.imdb.com/title/tt3530002

Much needed re-watch in anticipation of The Last Jedi. Because… Kylo Ren, Poe, Finn, Rey, BB8…. aren’t quite as memorable as Han Solo, Luke Skywalker, Princes Leia, R2D2, etc… It’s been two years now. And the overall impression of Episode VII is one of great joy. But what was it about again?

Rey is some orphaned scavenger on a planet somewhere. She stumbles upon a robot called BB8 who has the whereabouts information of Luke Skywalker. This data needs to be delivered to the Rebel base, but that’s easier said than done. In the meantime somewhere else in the galaxy a young Kylo Ren is getting ready to follow the footsteps of his grand-father Darth Vader. Yep. Kylo Ren used to be Ben Solo at one time, the estranged son of Han Solo and Prinses Leia, who has turned to the Dark Side.

Oh. Finn is a stormtrooper traitor, joining the rebel cause. Poe is one of the best rebel fighters. And that’s all you need to know really.

Episode is still very entertaining. This second time around the surprises are gone and you do find yourself realising the story isn’t quite that original. But the action is great, the acting is good, the settings are fun, the special effects are great! Can’t wait for The Last Jedi, out for a few days now.

http://www.imdb.com/title/tt2488496

Demain (Tomorrow) – **

Posted: November 5, 2017 in 2015, Documentary, France, XX

This documentary was a box office hit in France and got no attention in the US. Understandably. It’s a documentary produced by some French people who travel the world looking for alternatives to all kinds of issues that we are experiencing right now and are terrifying for the future. They do visit places like San Francisco and Detroit and even the windmills in Texas are mentioned, but it’s a movie about global issues and when people can choose between The Avengers and a lecturing documentary the choice is easily made.

It’s sad though, because it’s not a bad documentary at all. It’s an easy and soft approach and the lecturing is pretty limited. It’s quite a positive and uplifting documentary. It doesn’t make you feel like the planet is doomed, so it’s easier to appreciate the shown alternatives.

Too bad the directors didn’t stick to just one issue. The start is quite fascinating. Urban agriculture as opposed to mass agriculture. The projects of reducing the use of fuel in our societies are also intriguing. But then it starts off talking about alternatives in politics, democracy, education and that’s just a bit too much. Interesting, sure, but it’s like they tickle the subject and not tackle them.

Worth the watch.

http://www.imdb.com/title/tt4449576