Archive for the ‘2017’ Category

Wonder – ***

Posted: June 25, 2018 in 2017, Children/Family, USA, XXX

There’s absolutely nothing wrong in this positive children’s movie about a kid with a facial deformity who starts school amongst ‘regular’ kids for the first time. Yes, it’s a big sugar coated and yes, it has a happy ending. And yes, the message of ‘acceptance for those who are different’ could have been an alternative title. But it’s nevertheless a very good movie. The acting is good, the story build up is good, there’s a good balance between drama and humor, the references to Star Wars (both negative and positive) are fun and interestingly enough: it’s not just about the kid with the facial deformity. That’s a real relief. It also focuses on the other kids in the story, especially the older sister, who loves her brother to death, but who often feels ignored by her parents.

Great movie. Somehow it flopped in Europe. Weird. It’s a must see for kids (and their parents).

https://www.imdb.com/title/tt2543472

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120 BPM – **

Posted: May 7, 2018 in 2017, Drama, France, LGBT themed, XX

It’s the early 90s. The AIDS epidemic is still widespread amongst homosexuals, prostitutes, immigrants… and nothing is being done. The press ignores the disease. The government isn’t spending any money on prevention. And the pharmaceutical companies aren’t really in a hurry to find a cure.

Nathan decides to join the radical activist group ACT UP and falls for both the president of the organisation and one of the fiercest members of the group. He starts a relationship with the latter, even though the kid is already in a final stage of the disease.

This romantic premise isn’t really the focus of the movie. The activism is much more important. The actions, based on true facts, are well re-enacted and give you a good idea of what the movement did. It’s part of the LGBT history that needs to be told. The movie also shows how even in an organisation with a common cause, opinions can differ a lot. It’s all filmed in a pseudo-realistic way, but never tries to look like a documentary. Which is a good thing. And it’s a French drama, which automatically implies that characters aren’t necessarily there to please the audience and endings aren’t necessarily happy. Which is a good thing as well.

It’s fascinating until one of the main characters’ health deteriorates. The beginning is informative and intriguing. But towards the end it becomes a real drama. And the 120 bpm tempo slows down to a flatline. The last 20 minutes are just dragging on and on and on.

It’s a good movie. But it’s not nearly as good as what reviewers want you to believe. There are a lot of characters and all are introduced in a superficial way. Maybe a miniseries would have been better.

https://www.imdb.com/title/tt6135348

 

So, wait a minute.

This movie is about a victim of the Boston attack who loses both legs, but reluctantly becomes a hero and a symbol for the Boston Strong movement. All movie long we’re supposed to empathize with a guy who doesn’t really like all the attention he is getting. yet the movie is based on a book, written by that same victim.

A book! A movie! Talk show appearances. But it’s about someone who doesn’t like the attention.

Something just doesn’t feel right.

https://www.imdb.com/title/tt3881784

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

 

Dark is a German netflix original. It’s riding on the hyped wave of Stranger Things. It has some similarities. Events take place in a small town, surrounded by a forest, close to a well-secured nuclear energy plant. Kids get missing, locals all seem to know each other and a large part of the story takes you back to the eighties. But that’s about it. The atmosphere of the series feels more like Twin Peaks. It’s darker, more mysterious, more dramatic, more philosophical and messier.

The story takes place in 2019, 1986 and 1953. This is important information, because that’s not really clear in the first two episodes, which take place in the present and feel messy. As of episode 3 you feel this series may be worth the watch. Several characters that are introduced in that episode are younger versions of the characters that you already familiarized with. It’s intriguing. A kid gets missing in 2019 and somehow ends up in 1986. But this is no Back To The Future. There is zero humor. Zero romance. Just a lot of dark negativity.

The kid who gets missing in 2019 starts a new life in 1986. So, by 2019 the kid has lived a lie for 33 years! This is pretty unsettling. But intriguing. A lot of questions arise. But only few get answered. The series keeps on introducing subplots and new characters, but never focuses on the main question: how on earth did a guy live for so long next to a younger version of himself? It’s not a plot spoiler. It’s a key element to attract viewers to the show.

By the end of the series pseudo-philosophical and neo-scientific theories are uttered and explained concerning time and space. That’s all intriguing, but it doesn’t really help you explain the plot. The writers must have had fun preparing the script. The preparation desk with all the written-out biographies of each character must be tremendous. All these characters are all intertwined. Some are even related to each other. It’s fun.

BUT… the story doesn’t make sense. Yes, it’s about time travel and yes, it’s (science) fiction. But in the end, it should still feel logical. Which is far from the case here.

But the atmosphere is excellent. The long shots are great. The sun never shines. It rains a lot and it’s always ‘dark’. The soundtrack is creepy. The acting is fine. The concept is brilliant. Time travel isn’t a new theme in cinema. But this time they focus more on the thought: if you could change the past, would you? and what would it mean for the present and the future?

For you to binge-watch and get disturbing nightmares…

https://www.imdb.com/title/tt5753856

 

The follow-up season to the great Master Of None is just as good. This is a great comedy show that includes diversity, gives social commentary, is never too offensive and never too pc. Every episode also has a different feel. Which was super in the first series, but which isn’t as perfect in the second series. The quality of the episodes aren’t consistent. There are a few excellent episodes though. The one with the different dates, the one with all these characters ending up in the cinema and the thanksgiving one. That’s perfect television. Especially the silent skit with the mute/deaf couple. Hilarious. Others are just okay. The love interest becomes a drag. Unfortunately, unrequited love is part of life too. Aziz Ansari plays such a super relatable normal guy that it’s refreshing. The side characters aren’t always on point. And some are just plain terrible at acting normal. But in the case of Aziz’s dad, I’d say: give him his own show!

https://www.imdb.com/title/tt4635276

The Foreigner – (*)

Posted: April 20, 2018 in 1/2, 2017, Action, Revenge, Terrorist

This is a mess. A real mess.

The title is deceiving. This isn’t about a ‘foreigner’, it’s about a series of attacks by a new radical IRA.

Jackie Chan, who plays an Asian restaurant owner who loses his daughter in one of the attacks, is out for revenge. He’s a well-trained soldier and determined to find and eliminate the bombers on his own.

Ok. Good premise.

But then somehow, Jackie Chan disappears in the story and Pierce Brosnan’s character becomes a central figure. He plays a politician, with links to the old IRA and is now not only dealing with a mad ‘Chinaman’ who’s haunting him, but also with his political friends, who are betraying him and with the British PM, who’s accusing him of the attacks.

Then Pierce Brosnan disappears from the screen and they focus on the bombers and their next attacks and the British who try to stop them. Oh and on a hitman who Brosnan’s character hires to kill Jackie’s character.

It’s a mess. A real mess.

And the IRA, really? Why make a movie about fictitious IRA terrorists? We finally kind of forgot they (still) exist. No need to bring paranoia back.

https://www.imdb.com/title/tt1615160