Archive for the ‘2016’ Category

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.


I’m finally contemplating getting Netflix. BUT it will ruin my life. Binge watching will lead to gaining dozens of extra pounds and sleepless nights. However, there’s stuff on Netflix that you can’t find anywhere else. Stranger Things for instance, which hasn’t been released on dvd (yet) in Europe. A series that everyone raves about and recommends.

Well. A visit to a friend with Netflix solved the problem. It led to a night of binge watching the eight episodes of this science fiction drama, focussing on the mysterious events taking place in a small midwestern town and affecting several high school kids. However, it’s not aimed at kids, but at those adults who were high school kids in the eighties and who grew up with Spielberg produced or directed movies and tv shows.

Sure, the eighties vibe is cool. But it’s just a gimmick which is consistent throughout the series. That alone wouldn’t make it a great series. But the story, acting and atmosphere do. Winona Ryder is back! And she’s really good as the mother of a missing kid, who disappeared without a trace, but somehow communicates via the electricity. His best friends (a bunch of nerdy kids who get bullied in school, but are quite adventurous) decide to go look for him. In the mean time the troubled police officer of the town is leading the investigation as well. And all clues lead to an electricity company nearby, which operates as a secret governmental research center (lead by Matthew Modine!). There are other subplots of course. But you don’t need to know about them. Let yourself emerge in the story. The first six episodes are great. There’s humor. There’s tension. There’s a bit of horror. There’s a bit of drama. The balance is perfect. The last two episodes feel different though. As if the production team ran out of money and the story needed to be told fast within two episodes with as little expenses as possible.

The second season is available on Netflix. So maybe I’ll just have to go subscribe.

The Pass – (*)

Posted: December 14, 2017 in 1/2, 2016, Drama, LGBT themed, UK

If it was the idea of the director to make a total fool of gay footballers in the closet who cover up their sexuality by pretending to be more macho than they actually are, then he succeeded well.. This movie is making a fool of gay people. It’s making a fool of celebrity football players. It’s making a fool of people in the closet. It’s making a fool of anyone who has secret desires, but covers up for ‘the better’.

The main character is such a c*nt. He’s utterly unpleasant from the first moment you see him until the very last. There’s nothing likable about him. He’s played by Russell Tovey, the douche from Looking, not necessarily a good ‘actor’. His over the top pseudo macho behavior is annoying as hell. Especially his Ricky Gervais-like laugh. Then there’s the love interest, buffed actor Arinze Kané, who just looks buffed really.

The movie is based on a play. That explains the very limited settings. Basically all scenes take place in a hotel room or one bedroom apartment. And the dialogue takes forever. Maybe this works on stage. But it does NOT work as a cinematic experience.

What a disappointment.

Look at Wound instead. Another movie about gay men in the closet in a very macho environment. That one feels realistic. This one just feels like a joke.

Mike & Dave Need Wedding Dates – *(*)

Posted: December 13, 2017 in 2016, Comedy, USA, X1/2


Sorry, this may not be a good movie, but at least some scenes are funny. Like hahahaha funny. Not yawn ‘funny’ as in The Big Sick. No, this isn’t ‘intelligent humor’. But neither is the humor in The Big Sick. This movie doesn’t pretend to be taken seriously. Unlike The Big Sick. This is a dumb comedy pic. And it works! Well, at least Adam Devine and Aubrey Plaza are funny. They are typecast maybe. But just any scene they are in makes you smile/laugh. Zac Efron and Anne Kendrick are only in the movie for their ‘star power’, but they pretty much suck at being funny. That Adam and Aubrey though!

This is great fare for a in-flight movie. Better than The Big Sick. But that’s obvious right now.

Don’t look at the trailer. Too many jokes are already in it.




King Of The Belgians – **

Posted: November 10, 2017 in 2016, Belgium, Comedy, Satire, XX

The premise is good. The end result not so much. It’s an interesting mockumentary though that unfortunately looks too much like a movie.

The (fictitious) king of the Belgians, Nicolas, the third, is on a state visit in Istanbul when he learns that Wallonia (the French-speaking south of Belgium) decided to become independent ‘because they had enough’. He can’t return home because – due to a solar storm – all airports have closed. There’s only one way to get back and that’s via road through the Balkan! An idea of the movie maker that was filming a promo for the royal house in Istanbul. He’s also the one who registers and narrates the royal road trip.

There are some great moments, sure. It’s bilingual for instance. French/Dutch. In fact, it’s multilingual, because they speak English as well most of the time. Peter Van den Begin is really good as the king. Some situations and remarks/references are funny. My personal favorite is the encounter with a former Miss Serbia who’s now working as a customs officer ‘because just after she won the title, Montenegro became independent and she lost her title because of her Montenegrin roots’. Ha!

However, the voice-over doesn’t work. It’s annoying. And the social commentary is quite superficial. “Walloons are lazy and spongers. Flemish are arrogant. Walloons are warm-hearted. Flemish are innovative.” That’s about it when it comes to explaining the crisis in Belgium.

Nevertheless. An absurd, surreal tale about the king of an absurd and surreal country.

Roots (2016) – ***(*)

Posted: November 7, 2017 in 2016, Drama, Historical, Slavery, USA, XXX1/2

Back in 1977 a television series was ground breaking (and successful) telling the story of the descendants of a captured young African warrior who was shipped from The Gambia to the United States and sold as a slave. His name was Kunta Kinte and his struggle and legacy is still known and popular in American pop culture. Just think of the hit single of Kendrick Lamar (‘King Kunta’). But the 1977 show looks a bit old fashioned for young kids and so a remake was produced, shown last year to critical acclaim.

It’s a powerful story, stretching over several generation. From 1750 before the American Revolution to the end of the Civil War in 1865. It’s not just the story of Kunta Kinta, but also of his daughter Kizzy, his grandson Chicken George and grand-grandson Tom.

Compared to the original series (seen four years ago), this remake is much shorter. It has more action. The acting is better. The setting is more professional. It’s visually a much better series. It’s what you can expect from a big budget tv series these days. Even though the story is based on a fictitious character, the events are depicted in a neutral, historically correct way. (Alt-Right Neo Nazis may disagree of course). Compared to the first series, the ‘white characters’ are better developed. There’s even a good white character this time. Hooray!

This is and excellent series for those who aren’t too familiar with the early history of the African American community. An absolute must. But it’s also worth watching for those who have seen the original show. The acting is truly much better. That Malachi Kirby is phenomenal as Kunta Kinta. But Regé-Jean Page as Chicken George is also quite exceptional. Jonathan Rhys Meyers kills it in all of his scenes. He’s a delight. Even though he’s the mean white slave owner.

The creators had to cut a lot of stories to fit in just four episodes. That’s a bit sad. Because there is much more to tell. The decision to skip several decades from time to time was necessary and it works. But you want to learn so much more.

Dying Laughing – **(*)

Posted: November 6, 2017 in 2016, Comedy, Documentary, Stand Up, UK, USA, XX1/2

A great, cohesive collection of interview snippets about life as a stand up comedian. That’s all it is. For 99 cents on iTunes.

American/Australian/British stand up comedians talk about their first gig, how they deal with hecklers, bombing so hard they want to re-think their career and much more… It’s quite serious and informative. But it’s comedians who explain things, so it’s quite funny as well. At times.

Too bad you can’t watch the full interviews of each stand up comedian. Some only appear on-screen for just one answer. The editing must have been a terrible job. But the end result is good. It has a flow. A rhythm. A set up. Start of with the fun part, go to the serious part, end with the rewarding part.

Sure, the big names have interesting things to say, but it’s the lesser known ones who really get you intrigued. The ones who make hardly any money and have been going on road trips for years without getting the big break. Time to look up more of their stuff.