Archive for the ‘2018’ Category

Minha Vida Em Marte – (*)

Posted: February 19, 2020 in 1/2, 2018, Brasil, Comedy

Brazilian comedies. Sigh.

Fernanda has a midlife crises when she doesn’t feel attracted to her husband anymore. First she tries to get back her sexual apetite, but when she learns that her husband cheats on her, a divorce is waiting to happen and she needs to get back on track with her life.

She is not alone to go through all these stages. No… she has a gay best friend who ‘supports’ her.

And we see her with the gay best friend in almost every single scene, traveling to all sorts of places and talking nonsense all the time. 

It is terrible….

The gay best friend in Brazilian comedies is always extravagant, single and very effeminate. It is annoying….

But the main problem is that nothing happens. It is a series of very superficial and unfunny conversations between two loud Brazilians.

Brazilian comedies. Sigh.

www.imdb.com/title/tt8619812

Simonal – *

Posted: February 10, 2020 in 2018, biopic, Brasil, Musical, X

Halfway in this musical biopic of the notorious Brazilian singer Simonal, you start wondering if it is worth watching until the end.

The acting of the main lead is bad. Annoyingly bad. The storytelling is unoriginal, superficial, boring. The music doesn’t particularly sound great either. And the lip-sincing is done terribly. But the setting is interesting (sixties Brazil), the camerawork is fine and the opening scene (set in 1975) promises an interesting reveal.

Then, it turns out there is an interesting story to tell about this ‘Harry Belafonte of Brazil’. He was accused of having had his accountant be kidnapped and tortured. He somehow also worked as a snitch for the dictatorship.

Now this is a different story. An intriguing one.

But alas… again, this part of the story is told so fast and so superficially, it would only make some kind of sense if you have lived through these events.

Sure, it is made for Brazilian audiences who know more about this singer and who know more about the military dictatorship. For any viewer not familiar with the singer and unaware of his importance/deceit it is quite a lame movie.

So this guy sings about how cheerful Brazilians are during a time of dictatorship and gets scolded at for doing so. Then also falls victim to his own success and any financial predator around him. Gets connected to the military investigators who make him lie on record. All material for a good movie.

Unfortunately this one isn’t.

https://www.imdb.com/title/tt6145054

Yuli – **(*)

Posted: February 9, 2020 in 2018, biopic, Cuba, Drama, Spain, UK, XX1/2

Carlos Acosta was the first black dancer ever to perform as Romeo at the Royal Ballet of London.

This shouldn’t be remarkable, but it unfortunately still is. Of course this success has to do with opportunities and luck and fate, but talent is needed nevertheless.

This movie starts with the now older Acosta directing a ballet performance based on his life story… and as he has his dancers rehearse the sequences he reminisces and the movie goes in flashback mode to some pivotal moments in his life.

It is a tricky approach, to shift from modern ballet scenes to storytelling flashbacks. And it is also interesting to see a biopic in which the actual main character is playing himself. But it works really well.

More than a biopic and a ballet movie, the story focuses on the troubled father-son relationship. And it is very honest. The young Cuban boy has no desire to become a ‘faggot’ dancer, but his father pushes him into the ballet school. A reverse Billy Elliott so to speak. Not only his father, but also his Cuban dance teacher constantly have to motivate or command him to continue dancing. Especially after an accident halts his successful career for a bit, he needs their tough encouragement to continue. It is clear that this movie is an hommage to them.

The acting by the father, the teacher and the young Acosta is excellent. The story touches on several Cuban issues as well without being too detailed. It is well filmed. At least the flashback scenes are.

Worth checking out !!!

www.imdb.com/title/tt7666250

A satire about Jezus returning home after having wandered in the desert for 40 days is making headlines all over the world, because there is a big debate in Brazil wether the movie should be banned or not. A judge in Rio decided it should be banned. The higher court of justice decided against the ban…

Why the fuzz? Jezus comes back from the desert with his boyfriend Orlando…

It’s strange, because that is just a very trivial part of the comedy and the depiction of God is much more offensive (and funnier). Those who petitioned for the ban clearly didn’t see the movie (yet).

The set up is great though. It starts with the three wise men being invited to a surprise welcome home party for Jezus who turns 30 and they have lost their way and didn’t bring presents. Most of the jokes fall flat, but the idea has potential. Then we get to meet Mary and Joseph and God, known to Jezus as Uncle Vittorio. They feel it’s the right moment to tell Jezus the truth about who his dad is and what his purpose in life will be. The jealousy of poor Joseph towards pimp-looking Vittorio is hilarious. Especially the moment when the carpenter gives a self-made pan flute to his son and God tops it with a synthesizer that sounds much cooler. That absurdity is great, but it’s not consistent. Oh, Orlando turns out to be Lucifer. So the lgbt community could see this episode as homophobic as well.

Much better is the satire about Jezus’ last dinner from the same creators. That is really funny. Also not consistent, but it has a lot of absurd ideas that are executed well. The morning after the last supper, the apostles wake up with a huge hangover and can’t find Jezus, so they have to try and figure out Hangover-style, what has happened. You do need to know the biblical story to get the jokes, but some are just really cool. Like the scene with spin the bottle where they ask Petrus which other apostle he would like to have sex with. When he says Thadeus, the others get upset as Thadeus is relatively new to the posse and hasn’t really been important at all. The turn the other cheek slapping round is also fun.

www.imdb.com/title/tt3013322

 

This movie takes its title from a funny book on the curiosities of the Dutch language. The main character is an editor for a superficial women’s magazine who is obsessed with language and would love to write a book about it and constantly makes remarks on certain things people say that don’t really make sense linguistically.

But that’s the only link between the book and the movie.

It’s also a movie about a single woman who seems to be the only one in her family accepting the fact that her dad, a bookstore owner, is suffering from dementia. She has the perfect possible boyfriend sitting in front of her in the editorial office, but he’s just a ‘friend’ and when she gets the change to work with a hot photographer, she goes for that adventure.

It’s a kind of Dutch Bridget Jones with lots of linguistic references and it sucks. And ironically enough, the pronunciation of the language spoken is SO terrible that the title (originally: Language, as we speak, is a bit my thing) should be called Uitspraak Is Helemaal Niet Zo Mijn Ding (Pronunciation is definitely not my thing at all).

To skip. Especially if you don’t understand Dutch. But nice images of Amsterdam though.

www.imdb.com/title/tt6867650/

 

Grâce A Dieu – ***

Posted: December 12, 2019 in 2018, Drama, France, XXX

Francois Ozon is a remarkable director. He is one of the more versatile directors out there and often excels. His latest movie tackles a pedophile (better formulated: pedosexual) case in the diocese of Lyon. The movie is setup really well. Maybe it’s a spoiler to mention it, even though it has nothing to do with the story, but it’s quite fascinating to watch this drama as a three acts, referring to three main characters who are each introduced in a new act. All of them have one thing in common: they were abused by a priest who joined them during scouts camps. When one of them, now a father of five, realizes that the priest is still working with kids, he wants to confront him. This leads to a complaint, which leads to an investigation, which leads to contacting an other victim, which leads to more complaints, which leads to the founding of an victim organization, which leads to… etc…

It’s very well acted (by every single person in the cast) and incredibly well told. The characterization is excellent. You don’t get everything explained, which leads to a weird tension, but makes sense. Quite a remarkable feat. It’s a difficult topic and even though the actual story isn’t spectacular or complicated, it’s really well told with lots of intimate acting and images in an exceptionally non-judgemental way. Maybe, the best movie of 2019.

www.imdb.com/title/tt8095860

Werk Ohne Autor – ***

Posted: November 19, 2019 in 2018, Drama, Germany, Romance, War, XXX

European critics didn’t like it. The artist whose life it’s based on didn’t like it either. But lots of moviegoers did and somehow the members of the Academy as well, because this German biopic was one of last year’s nominees for best foreign language film.

It’s a great movie though. Just assume it’s fiction and forget about the artist’s complaints. And expect a simple, superficial overview of what Germany has gone through the past couple of decades. Nazism, communism, capitalism… it’s all briefly mentioned, which bothers a lot of critics, but is well done for an audience who may not be too familiar with the details of Germany’s history.

It does rise some questions about art & artists and governments & ideologies who have their own interpretation of art. It’s very topical right now in a region like Flanders, where subsidies for art projects will  be lowered by 60%. A politician claimed that modern art has lost its beauty and the new artists are too focused on individual expressions, a statement which caused even more controversy than the financial cut.

The movie starts with a young kid visiting an exhibition of entartete Kunst. It’s quite ironic to think that the Nazis showed degenerate art to the masses to mock and condemn it. It must have been a great exhibition to visit if you were interested in different art. Later in the movie the kid has become an adult and paints socialist realism in the DDR under the rule of communists who hate the egocentric aspect of Western art as well. A few years later the artist arrives in Dusseldorf having fled across the border and is confronted with modern expressions of art, which ignore the craft of painting and focus on installations and performances.

It’s an easy movie to love (and for critics to hate). It’s filmed in a very conventional way, but there’s nothing wrong with old-fashioned drama. Art doesn’t always have to shock. It can also be just beautiful. And this movie is. The love story is refreshingly simple. The only obstacle in the young couple’s romance is the father of the girl, a conservative opportunist and vile doctor with a dark past.

Watch it.

Unless you don’t like mainstream movies appealing to the masses aged 9 to 99.

www.imdb.com/title/tt5311542