Archive for the ‘2018’ Category

The Happy Prince – **(*)

Posted: October 12, 2018 in 2018, biopic, Drama, LGBT themed, UK, XX1/2

Oscar Wilde was quite a fascinating man. A popular playwright sentenced to prison because of his homosexual behavior. He was married with two children, but the lust for young men and one man in particular landed him in jail for two years. It was Victorian England and homosexuality was the worst of all sins. Once released he went into exile across to France and lived the last years of his life in poverty and illness. He reconnected with the lover that made him go to prison. He constantly dismissed the advice of his agent. He had no money, yet spent it all on drugs (coke, absinthe) and prostitutes.

Yes, this is what you get to see in this biopic. Misery with capital M.

Yet, it’s a well-directed movie. The late 19th Century atmosphere is well reproduced. The production design is awesome. Costume details as well. Attention to detail is great. And the performance of Rupert Everett as Oscar Wilde is quite exceptional. It’s clear that he’s know a lot of man he portrays. In fact, he’s the director of the movie. It’s worth mentioning that he doesn’t show Wilde as a hero at all. This is a flawed man, with a complex character. The complexity isn’t explained, but shown. Too bad you don’t really get to see what his talent was. It helps if you’ve read a book or play by Wilde before watching this movie. Otherwise it’s just a movie about a sad old queer. There are a lot of references to his life and work and period of living, so it also helps if you have some background when watching this drama.

Still. Worth watching.

www.imdb.com/title/tt2404639

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There’s no imdb page for this music documentary that got a theatrical release in Flemish cinemas. Which makes sense. Apart from the fans of this band, there isn’t really any other audience out there to recommend it to. It’s available on dvd now and it has English subtitles. But why? Why would anyone, who doesn’t know this band and doesn’t understand West-Flemish, want to watch it? The editing is kind of fun, but not spectacular and quite repetitive. So the only thing you’re left with is the humor. And it’s funny. But again, it’s only funny if you know the band and if you understand the most difficult of all dialects in the Dutch language.

I do. Hey, I know the lyrics of some of their early songs by heart. They are still hilarious, twenty years later. But this mockumentary just doesn’t deliver. The DJ of the band is also the director. His editing feels a bit like visual scratching. It’s fun. But compared to Part Of The Weekend Never Dies (the documentary of Soulwax’ international breakthrough) it all feels so unprofessional. Which isn’t necessarily bad. But to be honest, with the right tools, anybody can make a similar career overview. It’s chronological and there is a lot of focus on the early years, with clips of their first interviews, first performances and so on. It’s a bit nostalgic and it’s a great souvenir for the band members and their fans. But as a documentary is a bit boring.

Reviews rave about the mockumentary style and yes, the funniest parts are the fake interviews with other local artists (who are buddies of the band in real life). The part where Gabriel Rios pretends not to know them and then sees a clip by an Asian pop band who sampled one of their songs (quite bizarre) and he suddenly recognizes the song… it’s only funny if you know the song, if you know Gabriel Rios and if you get the humor. The whole documentary should have been like that.

So, in short: disappointing.

Luckily there’s the video of the live concert they gave earlier this year as an extra and it looks like a great best of gig.

 

BlacKkKlansman – **

Posted: September 1, 2018 in 2018, Civil Rights, Drama, Dramedy, Political, USA, XX

The story is interesting. A black cop calls the local KKK branch to ask for membership. He makes one mistake though: he tells his real name, so he can’t actually go and meet the white supremacists. The chief of police gives the okay for him to investigate the organization, but someone else has to pretend to be him. They find the Jewish kid in the corps to do it. And so he infiltrates in the white supremacist group to see if they plan a violent attack.

The execution of the story however isn’t as impressive as you’d expect it to be. Spike Lee is directing, which is a good thing. But instead of focussing on the story, he focusses on making references to the current situation in the United States. It’s so obvious. The references aren’t subtle at all. It’s annoying. It’s like Spike Lee assumes his audience is dumb. The members of the KKK are also depicted as illiterate, mentally unstable retards. Which they might well be. But it makes the movie feel like a comedy at times. Which is annoying as well.

The movie ends with the most obvious reference of it all: footage of the neonazi march in  South Carolina and Trump’s reaction to it. It’s the most dramatic scene in the movie. It’s the most shocking one as well. It’s only 2 minutes, but it make you leave the theatre thinking more about that event than thinking about the 2 hour-long movie you’ve seen leading up to it.

That said. The movie has a cool vibe though. Maybe Danny Glover would have been a good alternative to play the main character, but John David Washington is doing a great job as well. (why has this guy not been in more movies?) Robert John Burke is another of those gems. Even Adam Driver is doing a fine job. Some scenes are really well done, but others are overlong.

Spike Lee knows how to make a good-looking and visually interesting movie. And he knows how to stir up some controversies. But this movie isn’t really telling something we didn’t already know.

www.imdb.com/title/tt7349662

Samantha! – *(*)

Posted: July 28, 2018 in 2018, Brasil, Comedy, TV series, X1/2

Emanuelle Arujo is excellent in this short netflix sitcom about a former child star who decides it’s time to relive her fame again. She’s extremely ambitious in her attempts to become/remain famous/popular, trying all the strategies that are currently being used.

The series starts when her husband, a famous footballer, is released from prison and decides to come home to her and their two kids. Suddenly there’s rekindled media attention. But the press seems to be more interested in her husband than in her. Wrong!

It’s a good concept. There are some social comments about reality tv, youtube influencers, etc… But the execution isn’t always so good. The children are interesting side characters, but the husband (Douglas Silva) isn’t. He’s really not acting well at all. Which is sad, because he was so good as a kid in Cidade De Deus. Or maybe it’s because all the focus is on Samantha ! (with exclamation mark!) She was a terrible child star (traumatizing everyone that used to work with her) and she doesn’t realize that a new generation thinks of her as passé. Yet, that ambition is so hilarious.

The humor is very Brazilian and not to everyone’s liking. But the idea is very international. Try it. You may like (part of) it.

www.imdb.com/title/tt6626676

Fleuve Noir (Black Tide) – *

Posted: July 28, 2018 in 2018, France, Thriller, X

In #metoo times, it’s quite interesting to see the main character of a police thriller (an alcoholic inspector) violate the mother of the disappeared child in the case he’s investigating. It’s a weird scene. It’s comical, especially in the aftermath – when they continue talking as if nothing happened. But it’s also shocking. It does have a purpose though. Somehow. The violation isn’t rape, because the woman allows it and even craves for it. Still, she initially says no. So keep your penis in your pants, motherfucker!

The scene does represent the movie though. Many scenes are both ridiculous and intriguing. It’s a tough sit-through. Vincent Cassel is over the top as a Columbus-like inspector in trench coat, looking like he sleeps under a bridge in Paris and talks like he constantly has a piece of a baguette in his mouth (drenched in alcohol). If you’re not a native French speaker, wait for the release with subtitles! Although they should read like ‘grmfflzmr trmflife feeszzee’. Romain Duris plays the literature teacher and upstairs neighbour of the missing boy. It’s so obvious that he’s the prime suspect that it’s not a surprise when it turns out he’s not. No spoiler alert necessary. In fact, the obsession by which the wannabe writer is co-investigating in the case is well acted.

In the end, it’s not really worth recommending. It’s like the director watched several non-classic police thrillers from the late seventies and thought: I can do the same! By 2048 this movie will be a challenge question in movie quizzes. Name the obscure thriller with Vincent Cassel en Romain Duris from 2018 that features two of the shortest sex scenes ever. (the first one is the 1 minute violation, the other is another ridiculous/shocking 1 minute in the forest. No spoiler there.)

www.imdb.com/title/tt6009104

Ocean’s 8 – **

Posted: July 18, 2018 in 2018, Crime/Detective, Heist, USA, XX

It’s quite remarkable to make a heist movie with an all-female cast that is quite entertaining without ever being funny, mesmerizing, action-packed or thrilling. Maybe it’s just the speed at which the story unfolds and the clever editing. The soundtrack is good too and it all just looks like pure fun. It’s definitely not the story itself. A bunch of women decide to steal a century old necklace during the Met Gala. Mission impossible, made possible, by making it look easy. It’s also not the great acting. Apart from Anne Hathaway maybe, none of the stars really convince. No, this is a movie, which doesn’t annoy, even entertains at moments, but is so easily forgotten.

https://www.imdb.com/title/tt5164214

A Quiet Place – ***

Posted: July 18, 2018 in 2018, Horror, USA, XXX

Forget about Hereditary, this is a much much better and creepier horror story!

Everything works well in this one. Kudos to John Krasinski, who directed himself and his wife in this exceptional scifi horror neo-cult classic. He must have watched hundreds of horror movies, because he uses a lot of clever tricks that may not be all that original, but work really well. The story is simple: there are some creatures on earth who kill anything that makes a sound. No blablabla about the apocalypse or government plans to fight these monsters. No. Just the story of a family trying to survive by making as little sounds as possible. Background information is given by shots of new paper headlines. Nothing is explained. It’s just very clear what the movie is about. We watch only a few days in their journey, the days where events take a bad turn. The visual storytelling is excellent, which is the work of the director. There is hardly any dialogue, just the use of sign language and some whispering. There are hardly any other characters than the family. It’s short and the end is brilliant. It’s great.

Yet, there are a few flaws. For a movie that focuses on silence, the soundtrack is pretty loud, repetitive, boring and annoying. It’s also not really a movie that you want to watch again. And the monsters just look like Alien-rip offs.

But hey, it was made for less than 20 mio dollars and made more than 330 mio world wide!

https://www.imdb.com/title/tt6644200