Archive for the ‘2017’ Category

The Hitman’s Bodyguard – **

Posted: November 24, 2019 in 2017, Action, Comedy, USA, XX

“You haven’t seen Hollywood’s chase scene in Amsterdam yet?”

Several Dutch friends, acquaintances and colleagues have recommended me this scene, but no. I hadn’t. Until now.

The famous scene takes place about an hour into the movie though and only lasts 6 minutes or so. It’s a fun scene, nothing all that special, but just cool to see it take place in a city that you know really well. It’s like the Paris car chase in Lucy. That was also fun to watch.

The entire movie is actually not all that bad. It’s an action comedy with an unlikely duo. One is a hitman, who’s imprisoned in the UK and needs to testify against a Belarus tyrant in The Hague. The other is a special bodyguard who needs to protect him against possible assassination attempts. The hitman is Samuel – motherfucking – L. Jackson and the bodyguard is Ryan Reynolds. Their chemistry is good. The action scenes are well choreographed. It’s fast paced, brains on hold, pulp entertainment with a massive body count and Selma Hayek in the funniest scene.

www.imdb.com/title/tt195956

 

Four kids get detention and have to spend it in a basement room, where they find a video game. They decide to play it, but get sucked into the game. The only way to get out of the game is by finishing all the levels together. They are not playing the game as themselves, but as their avatars, who look very different from their normal selves.

It’s a classic adventure movie for kids. Sure, the special effects are very 2010ish, but this could have been made in the eighties as well. Nothing really bad happens to the characters and they succeed in the challenge at the end. It even has a positive message: Four kids, two nerds and two popular teenagers, have to overcome their differences and work together as a team! Hooray!

When you’re looking for brainless entertaining fun this is quite good. The action is great. The humor is good. The acting is okay.

www.imdb.com/title/tt2283362

 

Weird.

A director from the French-speaking part of Belgium made a movie about the life of Jewish businessmen in Germany, just after the end of the second world war.

The international title is Bye Bye Germany, which isn’t really a good translation of the original title. It should have been Once Upon A Time In Germany. The English title however explains a bit more about what the movie is all about though.

After having been rescued from the camps, the remaining Jews in Germany wanted to leave to the USA or (then) Palestine as soon as possible. Some of them decided to stay in Germany and do a little business to make money before emigrating. One of them was David Bermann, who – together with a group of aspiring emigrants – starts selling linen to the Germans. Any trick in the book was worth the try and they did succeed in making good money fast.

However, the memories of the atrocities of the war are still very fresh and not everyone can put the past behind them as easy as some others. Bermann himself on the other hand seems to only look at the future. Until an American investigator invites him to explain why his name is in a lot of Nazi documents. Was Bermann a traitor? Was he a collaborator? Or is he just a con, lying and cheating in order to survive?

The premise sounds intriguing, but the movie is a bit of a bore. There’s not a good balance between the storyline of the Jewish people trying to survive after the war and the storyline of the investigation. It starts of great though, with a lot of details on how these Jewish door-to-door salesmen managed to sell their goods. But then the focus shifts to the interrogation. The director decided to let Bermann explain what happened to him, accompanied with flashback scenes. Probably because he wants the audience to also doubt if the stories are true or not. But somehow that doesn’t really work that well.

Interesting, but not memorable. It wasn’t a success in Germany. Neither will it be in the rest of the world. It does look good though.

www.imdb.com/title/tt5609734/

When it comes to documentaries that expose almost extinct cultures, this one needs a recommendation.

Sure, it’s a bit voyeuristic and sure, it’s all planned and maybe even scripted, but this episode of a French tv series that explores the ‘unknown world’ is fascinating. It has a very positive vibe, the mutual interest of the members of the tribe and the French visitors is genuine and it’s shot really well. We never get to see the camera and sound man. Nor do we know how big the crew is. But they do a great job. The use of drones is extraordinary. The aerial views are fascinating. But the close-ups as well. The tribes people are very photogenic and not camera-shy at all. We don’t get to see the translator either, so it really feels like the conversations happened in a very easy and simple way.

Not even halfway through this documentary you have lots of empathy for the main characters. There’s the documentary maker who is the reserved, observant, relaxing leader. There’s the uncomfortable celebrity who is confused and scared, but very respectful and curious about this different culture. He’s a comedian, famous in France, unknown elsewhere. Apparently his experience was much harder than what we get to see. But it’s easy to imagine his discomfort. We have two members of the tribe who steal the show. A short guy who is very clever and interested, intrigued in learning about our culture. And a tall guy who looks like an androgen diva, but is extremely confident.

By the end of the documentary, you get as emotional as these four people who need to say goodbye. It’s easy to condemn these documentaries. But this really feels like it’s done with respect. A hundred years from now all these culture will be gone. So they need to be documented. Even if it means they get introduced to our culture. They aren’t naive and stupid. This is probably not the only tv team they’ve encountered. Maybe they over-exaggerate showing their traditional ways of life. Maybe it’s real. That doesn’t matter.

When you visit Swaziland, the guys and girls who come and perform a ‘traditional’ show all arrive on their motorbikes with jeans and change into native clothes. That’s how it is in 2018. But this is a really good episode and it makes you want to watch all the other episodes of the show.

And the soundtrack is great with songs by Belgian artists like Balthazar, Oscar And The Wolf and Girls In Hawaii. A bit bizarre to hear them in this exotic landscape, but still cool.

IT’s online on youtube. Check it out if you understand French.

Django – (*)

Posted: December 19, 2018 in 1/2, 2017, Drama, France, Holocaust, Musical

Crap movie #1

There aren’t many movies dealing about the deportation of Roma & Sinti during the Second World War, so somehow, someone thought it would be great to use the story of the most famous Sinti musician, jazz guitar legend Django Reinhardt, as a tool to make an audience aware of this horrendous fact.

Okay, it’s understandable. Django Reinhardt is probably the only known Sinti in the world. But still, the story shown in this movie is not correct. He lived in France during the war and was quite successful, even when Paris was occupied by the nazis. In fact, there were some nazi officers who liked his music (when gypsy music and jazz were banned by the nazis).  He tried to escape, yes, but never managed to leave the country. So, this story is fictional! Oops. Spoiler. In this movie, Django leaves Paris, with the help of a weird character that is not only one of his lovers, but also works for the resistance and prostitutes herself to the nazis. He ends up near the Lake of Geneva and waits for a possible escape, while a nearby gypsy camp is under the threat of being deported.

This movie doesn’t work. The musical scenes are too long and not captivating at all. We don’t really get to learn anything about this jazz legend. All the side characters don’t really matter at all. The nazis are portrayed in a very stereotypical way. The editing is bad. There’s no drama, no tension, no emotion. It’s bland.

Here you have a jazz artist who is successful in a town that is occupied by people who hate his kind and the music he plays. Yet, he remains successful and is left alone. Now that’s a story worth telling. Not his fictional escape to Switzerland.

Another ‘famous’ Sinti is Marianne Rosenberg, a singer who’s only popular in Germany. Her father survived the death camps, so maybe that story would have more fascinating and a better source to make a Schindler’s List for the Romani people.

www.imdb.com/title/tt6247936

The Crown Season 1 & 2 – ***

Posted: November 30, 2018 in 2016, 2017, Drama, Historical, UK, USA, XXX

The story of a princess unexpectedly becoming the queen of the most famous monarchy in the world is fascinating. In twenty episodes, you get to learn a lot about this remarkable woman in the most remarkable way. This is a great drama series. The story is captivating. The visual details are brilliant. The acting is incredible. The casting is phenomenal. If this series would not have been based on true events, it would have been a flawless show. But they are based on true events and more than often, the creators of the show step away from what really happened. It’s sad because most of the time the facts are correct.

This is of course, the story of Queen Elisabeth II, who’s been ruling (well…) over England for more than 70 years. The Queen is such an iconic person, known by all generations all over the world. But she’s also one of the most mysterious. This series shows a different kind of royal. It shows a monarch who is human, with all the flaws and strengths that a good fictional character should have. Thumbs up for the writers of course, who can only create the character based on news reels and information from insiders. Most of what we see is all assumption. But it’s a believable assumption. And big thumbs up for Claire Foy, who is so good in this performance, that she is the queen.

It’s the kind of show that makes you go online and learn more about the royals and the events taking place in the UK and the world during the fifties and early sixties. This project should be sponsored by google and wikipedia ! unfortunately, thanks to research on your own, you realize that the show still is a fictional drama based on true events. It doesn’t make it less of a drama. It just makes it less real.

https://www.imdb.com/title/tt4786824/

An improvement to Season 6, but still too much talking. Blablabla. The story stopped making sense a long time ago. It never did really. But now it’s just the details in the story that don’t make sense at all. For six seasons long, the territory behind the wall seems very far away, yet in this season a raven can get a message across the continent in no time and the response to is delivered even faster! Really?

There are fewer main characters killed this season. There aren’t that many left, to be fair. But still…. However, finally, the one that should have been killed in season 1 already, gets his throat sliced. Hooray!

It’s an okay season. It only has seven episodes. The battle scenes are awesome. Lord of the Rings awesome. There’s some sexiness. Some humor. Some excitement. Even some scary moments. It’s just okay though. One more season and then we’re done with it.