Archive for the ‘2016’ Category

Eigen Kweek Seizoen 2 – **

Posted: May 10, 2018 in 2016, Comedy, Flanders, XX

Everything that made the first series so funny, isn’t funny anymore. The absurd situation of a potato farmer growing weed. The bizarre characters acting like total losers all the time. West-Flemish peasants trying to speak English, translating everything very literal. The Filipino girls trying to understand Flemish culture. It just doesn’t work as well as it did in the first season.

There are still some laughs though. And the setting is still gorgeous. The Flanders Fields area is a cinematic gem. This is clearly again boosting tourism. For Flemish viewers that is. Because nobody else, not the Walloons, not the Dutch, not the Ch’ti from Northern France will understand this show. Hey, without subtitles, not even the people from Antwerp or anything east of Brussels will understand.

https://www.imdb.com/title/tt3313722

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Hurricane Bianca – *

Posted: April 25, 2018 in 2016, Comedy, LGBT themed, USA, X

Bianca del Rio is a riot. The Joan Rivers of drag queens. An insult comedian who makes Ricky Gervais sound lame. Roy Hanlock, who gives life to Bianca, is a riot too. So, why is this movie not as funny as it should be?

Because it feels restrained. It’s not offensive at all. A movie with Bianca del Rio should be extremely offensive, not just fun.

Here’s the synopsis: a queer math teacher accepts an assignment in conservative Texas. He loses his job as soon as his sexuality is revealed, but he doesn’t return to New York. No, he decides to apply for the job as his alter ego, Bianca del Rio, a woman that nobody will mess around with.

Some scenes are funny. After all it’s a light-hearted lgbt comedy. The idea of a teacher throwing shade at the bullying students is excellent. But the story isn’t original and almost all the performances are done by amateurs. It’s so over the top though. It’s so camp that it’s almost good. Almost. It’s just not offensive enough. And if you do use stereotypes, go full force, make sure it’s brutal.

For someone who complains about the political correctness in this world, this is a very pc  comedy. Disappointed. Hopefully the sequel is edgier.

https://www.imdb.com/title/tt4007248/

 

Arriving a day early for a meeting, I decided to look at the selection of movies that guests can choose from in the room that I’m staying at. The selection is poor. There are quite a bunch of titles that missed my radar or that just weren’t of interest to me. The best titles are The Lost City of Z,  Captain Fantastic, Hidden Figures and A United Kingdom. And that’s about it.

But, being tired and all, watching a few comedies sounded like a good idea.

First up Why Him? with the totally unfunny James Franco. It’s a terrible movie. Probably the worst I have watched in a long long time. The fact that I’ve finished it is remarkable. Somehow you’d think there would at least be a few funny scenes. But no. Nothing is funny. This humor just doesn’t work (for me). A rich douchebag with tattoos invites over his future parents-in-law. But he can’t stop swearing and cursing and talking about sex in their presence. For 90 minutes long. The fact that it’s presented as some kind of parody to the life of the young rich IT guys who run the Facebooks of the world, is ridiculous. The creators better look up the word ‘parody’. This movie is shit. From start to finish.

Next: Snatched. The second feature movie of comedienne Amy Schumer. It’s not a good movie, but after having seen Why Him? it’s actually quite funny at times. Reviewers complained about the lack of chemistry between Schumer and Goldie Hawn, who plays her mother. But compared to the lack of chemistry between James Franco and Bryan Cranston, this is unjust. Schumer plays a girl who lost her job, got dumped and won’t cancel her no-refund trip to Equador. She convinces her over-caring mother to join her, but once they’re looking for a bit of adventure, the trouble really starts. Snatched really isn’t all that bad. It’s like you’re watching Katleen Turner in Romancing The Stone at times. Two blonde women. One younger, one older. Lost in the jungle and on the run for criminals.

Snatched any time over Why Him?. Schumer any time over Franco. Now, let’s hope they never join forces.

http://www.imdb.com/title/tt4501244/

http://www.imdb.com/title/tt2334871/

David Brent: Life On The Road – **(*)

Posted: February 24, 2018 in 2016, Comedy, UK, XX1/2

Whether you’ll like this comedy or not, pretty much depends on what you think of David Brent, Ricky Gervais’ breakthrough character of The Office. The guy is so annoyingly, embarrassingly unfunny! Works well in a short episode, but for an entire movie?

Several years after having lost his job as general manager in a paper company, he now works as a sales person and is no longer the boss. He covers up being depressed and lonely by trying hard to be someone he is not: cool, funny, successful…. He has a dream though: tour the UK with his old band. But none of the members of his old band are available, so he hires professional musicians to tour with him. The tour sucks of course. There is no audience. The musicians can’t stand being with him. And it all costs a LOT of money.

It’s funny though. It’s VERY predictable, but it’s funny. The songs performed are actually quite good (some are written by Chris Martin) and the lyrics of the song are loud out awkwardly funny. But the actual story isn’t SO special. Just because it’s not surprising at all.

It all depends on your taste of humor of course. But Coming To America had me laugh out loud maybe once. Life On The Road had me laugh out loud some fifty times more.

http://www.imdb.com/title/tt3137630

The Night Of 24 October 2014: a business student isn’t getting a ride from his best friend to get to a party in Manhattan and decides to ‘loan’ the cab of his father. He doesn’t know how to switch off the ‘available sign’ and a girl gets in the car, expecting to get a ride. It’s a pretty girl and although he’s eager to go to the party, he decides to spend the evening with the girl. The unusual date ends up in her apartment with drugs and sex. But when he wakes up a few hours later, he finds her dead in her bed, stabbed 22 times. In panic, he decides to run, taking away evidence of drugs and the blood covered knife….

The pilot of this 8 episode series is an absolute masterpiece of story and character introduction. It’s so fascinating, you cannot but binge watch the rest. The pilot shows you exactly what the prosecutors will use against the suspect. Every single step is shown. In details. The only part that is a mystery is the time between the start of the sex and waking up finding the girl dead. The suspect can’t remember any details of that time frame and the viewers won’t know what happened either.

The other episodes are fascinating as well. The student gets arrested, goes to prison, needs to adapt to life behind bars while awaiting his trial. The prosecutors and detectives think they have a solid case, but still have doubts. The defendant’s lawyers try to do their own research and also have their doubts. The family of the student experiences the backlash to what their son’s actions… And it’s all filmed in a very detailed way, showing parts of an investigation that hardly ever get shown.

There are too many subplots and moments that don’t really help the main story line. Some are added for pure fun. The debate at the coroners for instance. Some are just annoying. The lawyer’s continuing search for remedies against his eczema outbursts for instance. Some don’t feel realistic. The drug smuggling scenes in prison.

But in general, this script is very strong and there are plenty more scenes that make you feel you’re living the nightmare yourself. Whether you empathize with the student, his parents, the detective, the prosecutor, the lawyers or the inmates… There’s a lot of empathy for these characters here and that alone is a great feat. Well written and well acted. Feature length movies can’t beat tv series when it comes to that.

http://www.imdb.com/title/tt2401256/

 

Bacalaureat – **

Posted: January 27, 2018 in 2016, Drama, Rumania, XX

Part of the Filmfan series at the local cultural center: a Rumanian movie about a hard-working father who’s willing to go corrupt in order to get his daughter the grades she needs to get into an English college.

The father is a surgeon. His wife a librarian. Back in the early nineties they decided to build a future in Rumania and help the country get back on tracks after being ruled by Nicolae Ceausescu. Times were hopeful. But two decades later, the country still hasn’t reached the same level as its fellow countries in the European Union. All they want for their daughter is a better life. Preferably in pre-Brexit England!

Several things go wrong though. The daughter is assaulted a day before an important exam and breaks her arm. She’s dating an uneducated nozem, who doesn’t want her to leave. The doctor has an affair with a younger woman, who might be pregnant from him.   And they live in Rumania, where – according to the storyteller’s view –  honesty is a virtue and corruption is a necessary need.

It’s an intriguing movie. The story doesn’t really lead to any specific catharsis.  You’re just observing and at the end you shrug your shoulders. The story could have been set anywhere though. Okay, maybe not in Luxemburg or Switzerland. But still. Even in those affluent countries, honesty is tested on a regular basis and making bad choices is inherent to all human beings.

It’s well-directed, it’s well acted, but in the end it’s just a good movie. Nothing exceptional.

http://www.imdb.com/title/tt4936450/

Paterson – *

Posted: January 15, 2018 in 2016, Drama, USA, X

A score of 90 on Metacritic! What drugs were these reviewers on? What did they get in return for a positive review? Free rides on the New Jersey Transit? Man. What the fuck. Give me 90 minutes on the bus anytime anywhere and it will be more compelling than watching this ‘arthouse’ dramedy. The poetry suck. The main character sucks. The story building sucks. The acting sucks. The directing sucks. There’s NOTHING compelling about this story.

It’s one week in the boring life of a boring bus driver who secretly writes boring poems and lives with a boring wife who does boring things. He goes for a drink every night in the boring neighborhood bar, where he has boring conversations with other boring characters.

15 metacritic reviewers gave it a perfect store!!! I’ll give it *. Because it’s the first Jim Jarmush movie I finished (an achievement on its own). And a few scenes made me smile. Almost to the point that I thought it was funny.

But this could have been such a good movie if only the characters and there actions would be intriguing.

http://www.imdb.com/title/tt5247022