Archive for the ‘2015’ Category

It all looks a bit surreal at the end, when a group of underprivileged kids from a favela in Sao Paulo perform a classic musical piece perfectly. Especially since months before the concert, none of them could even read scores or hold their instruments the right way. But hey, it’s cinema. And it comes with a good story. Based on true facts apparently. Far from original, true. But it’s set in Brazil and doesn’t quite feel the same as similar Hollywood stories. A talented violin player can’t secure a place in the National Symphonic Orchestra and needs to teach music in a public school to make some money. The school is surrounded by drug dealers and other criminals and even in the band are some kids who do credit card scamming in their after hours. But the teacher somehow manages to inspire the kids and they end up performing well, making him confident enough to audition for the orchestra again. See. All very predictable.

It’s an okay movie. But the acting by some of the kids is very basic. And the story doesn’t dig deep enough. We never get to learn why the teacher, who is so talented, doubts his own capacities so much. We also don’t get to learn more about the kids and their situation. Sure, there’s that one scene where this girl shouts out that playing music helps her escape from everyday problems. But it feels forced. This could have been a good tv series. Now it’s just an okay movie. Lazaro Ramos is great tough. And Kaique De Jesus (that name!) is set for more starring roles!


Trainwreck – *

Posted: May 18, 2017 in 2015, Comedy, USA, X



Sorry, Amy. You are not thát funny.

For every good joke there are at least twenty bad ones.

And sure, it’s great to play a woman that does whatever women think men do all the time. But it’s not consistent.

So, yeah.


There are only positive reviews of Son Of Saul, winner of Best Foreign Language Movie at the Academy Award Ceremony of 2016. It’s one of those movies that all critics just adored. Probably because none of them want to come across as heartless or anti-Semitic if they didn’t.

But apart from them, no-one else recommended it. It kind of flopped at the box office as well. It wasn’t even a success in the arthouse theaters. Very few people saw it and those who did, didn’t spread the word.

So finally after more than a year the time was right to watch this heavily awarded Holocaust drama!

The best thing about this Hungarian movie is the direction and the editing.What makes this movie really great is the distance from which the camera films the main character. It’s like he’s pulling the viewer along in his story. It’s a very daunting and thrilling experience. You’re so close to this man that you feel like you’re really next to him. Excellent! It also feels like the whole movie was recorded in one single take. Which it wasn’t of course, but that’s the merit of the editor. Another unique cinematographic feat is the depiction of the horror in a blurry and distant way.

The story however isn’t all that engaging. The setting is quite dramatic of course. But the actual story isn’t.

Saul, the protagonist, is part of a Sonderkommando working at a concentration camp near the end of World War II. A jewish prisoner himself, he is forced to help bring incoming prisoners to the gas chambers, remove all the valuables from their clothes, pull out their bodies (called ‘pieces’) and carry them to the ovens, then disinfect the chamber and also bring the ashes of the burnt prisoners to the nearby river. That’s the setting. If you haven’t read/seen/heard anything about this aspect of the concentration camps and you are used to watching movies like La Vita E Bella or The Boy In The Striped Pyjamas, then yes, this can be very unsettling.

The story however is about this same man who spends all movie long trying to save a dead boy from being burnt with the others and give him a typical Jewish burial. For that purpose he needs to find a rabbi. But he also needs to ‘steal’ the body, hide it and find a place to bury. All within 24 hours. He is also given the task to collect certain items for a riot that the Sondercommando he’s part of, is anticipating. Somehow, this just doesn’t make sense. Sure, he wants to do at least one thing right after all this time of forcefully collaborating with the atrocious acts of the nazis. But why add the riot story?

Watch it nevertheless.

My Scientology Movie – *(*)

Posted: February 20, 2017 in 2015, Documentary, UK, USA, X1/2

Famous (and notorious) documentary maker Louis Theroux  is unable to interview anyone of importance inside the Scientology cult. So he needs to interview SP’s  (‘Suppressive Persons’) to get an inside of how the ‘church’ is run. It’s a term to define the enemies of the church, especially those who had worked for the church for years, know a lot of details about its organization and stepped out.

One of them is Marty Rathbun, who used to hold a very important position within the organization and is now more than welcome to help Theroux depict an ugly image of the sect he used to belong to.

Louis Theroux came up with the idea of making a movie about certain things that happen in the organization. The movie was never really going to be finished, but auditions were done for the key roles (church leader David Miscavige and Tom Cruise a.o.) and rehearsals were held as well. Marty was asked to be present to give advice. And in doing so, giving more details he otherwise wouldn’t express in a plain interview.

It’s a clever and unique way of trying to find out hidden thoughts and opinions. But in the end it looks too much like framing the guy. And that’s where this documentary kind of goes wrong. Theroux is cocky. He’s unreliable. He will use any trick to gain the trust of the person he’s going to interview. He has the cool and the charm to do so. His laid-back, funny attitude makes people open up easy in his presence. His pretended naiveté has done miracles in the past. But this time it’s too premeditated.

It’s an entertaining documentary though. The problem is: who is it for? People who don’t care about scientology aren’t going to watch. People who are scientologist will probably watch it as proof that it’s an evil world full of SP’s out there. And then there are the people who are interested in religious organizations in general and want to learn more about scientology. Well, the later group will be disappointed. You don’t really get to learn anything, let alone more about it.

It’s not an educational documentary. It’s not even all that controversial. It’s a one-sided story about a certain (violent and aggressive) aspect of the church. When you think of Theroux making a document about scientology, you want him to actually spend some time with them and just ask the quirky, played childish questions he always does.

And that’s not the case.

Chocolate City

Posted: February 20, 2017 in 2015, Drama, USA

Another 99 cent rental.

Worth 49 cent probably.

A student decides to start stripping at a club to help pay his mother’s bills and treat his girlfriend a bit better. He lies about it (says he works with children), but then of course they find out. That’s it. It doesn’t even create drama.

This is really bad.

You can expect a low budget pulp movie about male strippers to have no descent script. You can expect bad editing. You can expect bad music. You can even expect bad acting. You can expect all these things and still want to watch the movie, because the only reason to do so is the strip acts.

But they suck! A movie about male strippers that has male models act all weird on stage and do nothing more than just pump and grind like amateurs while dozens of non-excited women reluctantly throw dollar bills at them.

They should have thrown 50 cent coins at them to perform better.

Time to watch Showgirls again and appreciate it a bit more.




Bølgen (The Wave) – *(*)

Posted: February 20, 2017 in 2015, Disaster, Drama, Norway, X1/2

The Wave is a Norwegian disaster movie about an earthquake that creates an avalanche in the fjords, which causes a devastating tsunami. Hence the title. A huge wave of water runs through the fjords and destroys all that it’s passing by.

It’s a brief moment though, somewhere in the middle.

Before the wave actually hits anything, you are forced to like the main character, a maladroit geologist who’s been studying the activity of the fjords for several years, but has now accepted a job in the oil industry. Of course on the day that the removal truck emptied his house, there is some alarming data coming in at the research station. Yes, the fjords are awake ! Then the wave happens. And then the geologist, who got separated from his wife and kids,  starts looking for them single handedly.

If this was a production from the Scifi Channel, nobody would care. But the fact that it’s not made in Hollywood kind of makes it exotic, interesting and by definition more credible. Well, NO. This disaster movie may start of exotic (it looks like the Norwegian Board of Tourism financed it to attract more tourists), interesting (this tsunami scenario is real) and credible (the science is explained in a educational way), the actual tsunami scene is pretty unspectacular and the aftermath (the last hour or so) just makes you want to watch Lo Impossible again. A family gets separated and needs to find each other again. Boring!

But hey. It was a 99 cent rental.


45 Years – **

Posted: February 5, 2017 in 2015, Drama, UK, XX

Charlotte Rampling deserved her Oscar nomination last year for her role in this lowbudget tale about a couple who are having a relationship crisis in the week leading up to their 45th wedding anniversary. She’s in almost every single scene and as a viewer you learn more from her onscreen behavior and expressions than from the scripted dialogue. It’s thanks to her acting skills that you want to finish this pretty unspectacular and predictable late age story, filled with lines that only people on stage would utter after they’ve taken lots of valium. It’s a British movie, but still. Are we supposed to believe that these characters talk to each other like this after 45 years of marriage? Luckily, there are only few lines. And the focus is more on observation.

Life’s a bitch when you find out that the man you’ve been married to for 45 years has more interest in the girl he lost just before he tied the nod than for the celebration coming up in a few days.

Ok movie. Just pretty pointless really.