Archive for the ‘2018’ Category

Gräns – **(*)

Posted: July 20, 2019 in 2018, Fantasy, Romance, Sweden, XX1/2

Not half as bizarre as critics want you to believe, this romantic drama will keep you intrigued until the very end.

Tina looks different. She’s been told that it’s due to a mistake in the chromosome system. She has some traits that others don’t have though. She can smell emotions and feels much more united with nature. She works at customs and can ‘sniff’ out those passengers with illegal merchandise. Then, one day, she meets a passenger that seems to suffer from the same medical injustice. It turns her world upside down. He claims not to be human.

It’s a movie about a troll woman figuring out who she really is. And it’s a good movie. Sure, there are some scenes that may be disturbing, but they fit the narrative. It’s a bit predictable though. You may not smell it, but you can still anticipate what’s coming. Maybe that’s why in the end it’s a bit disappointing, after having read all the raving reviews.

www.imdb.com/title/tt5501104/?

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This is quite the surprising indie-action thriller !

Mel Gibson and Vince Vaughan are detectives who get suspended after one of them was filmed using an unorthodox technique during a drug bust. They are in financial need – at least Mel Gibson’s character is – and decide to steal money from a criminal. Little do they know that they will get caught up in a horrifying heist.

It’s a very entertaining movie. The acting is solid. Mel Gibson gets rave reviews for this part and with reason. Vince Vaughn and Tory Kittles are excellent too. But the directing is excellent. It’s a slow movie and the scenes are long, but that’s sooo important right now. There’s a whole new generation who will find this incredibly boring, because of its pace and superfluous scenes, but it’s quite nice to see a new movie that shows scenes and not one second fragments. That one scene in the car during the stakeout where Vince Vaughan enjoys eating a sandwich and Mel Gibson then says, after 4 minutes or so, that ‘a single ant could have eaten it faster’… Well that scene is typical for the movie.

There’s also a scene in which a guy tries to swallow an important key to hide it from others. What happens next is predictable, but also done in a very detailed way. It’s pure gore, but clever and detailed and just totally fucked up. But hey, that’s what cinema should be.

Yup. Recommending this. Even though most viewers will find it pretentious.

www.imdb.com/title/tt6491178/ 

This is quite a unique socially critical science fiction comedy! With a great lead. Lakeith Stanfield is the kind of actor who’s been in a lot of movies recently, but hasn’t quite had a major hit as a lead. This wasn’t a hit either. But it got him noticed a bit more.

He’s Cassius Green, a young man ready to start a career in a telemarketing company. When he starts using his white voice, his sales performance goes up and he’s ready to get promoted to be a Power Caller. But that promotion isn’t without consequences. He’s losing his friends and his girlfriend and he’s entering a world he can’t seem to escape.

The first half of the movie is great. It shows a guy who’s questioning his lack of ambition and then suddenly finds the talent that can bring in the big bucks. It comes with a lot of quirky humor. And some visual surprises as well. Then the social critique becomes stronger and it almost becomes too much of a pamflet against capitalism. Luckily, the last part becomes so bizarre that it kills the seriousness. If you wonder what equisapiens are, watch until the end.

It’s not by Michel Gondry. But feels inspired by his movies.

www.imdb.com/title/tt5688932

This movie starts with an older man learning a young boy some tricks to shoplift in a supermarket. On their way home, they find a small and hungry girl and decide to give her some food and some shelter. It’s very clear from the beginning: this isn’t the story of some crazy rich Asians. No, this is a story about how the poor survive in the economic wonder that is called Japan.

The aforementioned home has three more characters: a senior lady who seems to be the owner of the house. A middle aged woman who appears to be the wife/mother of the shoplifting father/son and a younger female who somehow seems to be the granddaughter of the older lady. It’s easy to assume the relationships between these characters, but there’s something off. 

The little girl doesn’t seem to want to return home and moreover, her new family discovers that she’s been abused. They could report it to the police, but they don’t. They could also inform her parents about her whereabouts, but they don’t. They decide to raise her as if she were their own child.

And then things get really weird an bizarre. Soon it turns out that this not an ordinary family and they live an existence full of lies. They steal and scam their way through life. But they seem to have found each other in this tiny apartment, which now six of them share.

A lot of questions arise and when you finally feel like you’re getting things explained, even more questions arise. This is very compelling and intriguing, but it does leave you with a bit of a wtf feeling at the end.

It’s clear to see why this is an award winning festival favorite. It doesn’t bore at all. The character introduction is great. The acting is good. It’s set in a world that is quite uncommon for Western eyes. It has multiple open endings. And it’s filmed in a detailed way. Some scenes are brilliant. The one minute reaction of the ‘mother’ in her interrogation about the reason for the ‘kidnapping’ of a child is pretty amazing. The shot in the end where the kid is on the bus is simple but perfect. The nude/passion scene feels so real, especially when it abruptly ends when the kids come home.

It’s quite a unique experience.

www.imdb.com/title/tt8075192

If Beale Street Could Talk – **

Posted: April 26, 2019 in 2018, Drama, Romance, USA, XX

Hm.

After 21 days of not being able to see a movie on any platform, this seemed like the best choice. If Beale Street Could Talk is an award winning, well-rated, poetic, romantic story by the director of Moonlight. 

It’s a beautifully filmed movie. And it’s well acted.

But that’s about it really. The pace of the movie is slow, which isn’t that bad, but the story is pretty boring. It’s about two people who are in love and ready to start a family. However, the young man is arrested and put behind bars on the accusation of rape. And the young woman needs to start finding ways of proving her boyfriend’s innocence.

Now this premise can lead to all kinds of intriguing, dramatic hurdles. But the actual obstacles are pretty dull. The man is innocent. A racist cop was able to make the rape victim identify him as the violator. He’s behind bars. A lawyer is expensive. The young woman doesn’t have the money. But she still supports and loves the father of her child. Period.

Yawn.

We get introduced to the religiously fanatic mother of the accused. Now that’s a storyline worth exploring. We get introduced to the joyful, but aggressive father of the accused who slaps his wife when she starst cursing the unborn baby. Now that’s intriguing. We get introduced to the sisters of the accused, who seem to shun everything about him. Why? We’d like to know what’s going on in that family. We see the accused get a few anger fits. Is he like his dad? So shouldn’t there be some doubt about his innocence?

No. the guy is innocent. Period.

And his pregnant girlfriend loves and supports him no matter what. Period.

Pretty boring, no? Not memorable at all. #disappointed

The book is probably better.

www.imdb.com/title/tt7125860

 

Free Solo – **(*)

Posted: March 20, 2019 in 2018, Documentary, USA, XX1/2

A few hours ago on National Geographic: the 2019 Oscar-winning documentary Free Solo.  The dazzling account of a climber trying to conquer the El Capitan rock in Yosemite without ropes is still playing in some theaters and there you have it on tv already. Netflix has started a weird trend.

The Oscar buzz and the trailer make you want to see this movie. The reviews are stellar as well. El Capitan is a magnificent rock to look at. Climbing it with ropes is already crazy. So, this challenge looks like something you don’t want to miss.

The actual climb is filmed really well. The makers used drones and camera’s with ultra zoom lenses. Some footage is shot by guys hanging on ropes nearby the ‘easiest’ parts. Even on a small screen, the views looking down into the valley are not for those suffering from fear of heights. It must look even more vertiginous on a big screen, but it works at home too. The editing is top-notch. They must have had hours of footage and made a great action sequence of it all.

However, this is only about 20 minutes of the documentary and it’s at the end. Before that you have an hour of typical American documentary making with a lot of blablabla and (at times meaningless) interviews of people concerned (Alex Honnold himself, his climbing buddies, the film crew, his mom, his girlfriend, other free climbers…). At one point his girlfriend stresses that she still doesn’t understand why he wants to do this: risk his life to pursue an idea/dream/obsession. In fact, almost everyone wonders why he wants to do it. Yet, nobody gives an answer. And definitely not the documentary makers. So why even bother trying to find out?

The most interesting parts are where he prepares the climb and explains where the tricky sections are. If you make a documentary about a free climber, focus on the free climbing not on his personal life. At least not if you can’t give answers as to why someone is so foolish/stubborn/suicidal to attempt such a challenge.

It’s good that they mention how many of his predecessors have died in this extreme ‘sport’. Yet at the end, the ‘hero’ of the story encourages young people to do even more extreme things. Hm. Hero is in between brackets, because there is nothing heroic about climbing a rock without gear. More than often you hear about these extreme sports fanatics who always look for the next thrill and then die while pursuing it.

It makes you wonder if they would have shown the documentary if he had fallen to his death.

A few years ago, a Flemish tv personality, who takes on challenges, climbed El Capitan with some professionals. He was a climber virgin, but prepared well. Now that was an exciting tv program! It’s below the trailer, but has no subtitles. Somehow that was more intriguing. Free Solo is worth the watch, but only the last part is really fascinating.

www.imdb.com/title/tt7775622

 

Skin – ***

Posted: March 7, 2019 in 2018, Drama, Short Movie, USA, XXX

Short movies are not often available to watch. Shouldn’t we have some kind of platform where young directors and film school students can upload their work?

The Oscar winning Skin is available to watch via vrt.nu until the end of March. You just need to log in with your Facebook account.

It’s a controversial win. A white supremacist doesn’t like the fact that a black man is smiling at his son. He calls up his friends and they beat up the black man in front of his wife and kid. A few days later the supremacist is abducted into a van, also in front of his kid, and victim of a clever revenge act.

It’s only 20 minutes long, but it’s a fascinating. It’s an original idea and it’s directed really well. How to interpret the message, is up to you. Don’t watch the trailer below. It kind of gives away the clue.

www.imdb.com/title/tt7332306