Archive for the ‘2019’ Category

Camille – **

Posted: February 22, 2020 in 2019, Drama, France, War, XX

Camille is a young journalist who made it her ambition to be a war photographer. She is not that successful until she arrives in the Central African Republic, where a civil war is about the erupt between Muslims and Christians.

With little experience and strange looks from more established journalists she gets attached to some local students who allow her into their world.

When the violence erupts she has her first pictures published, which helps the French intervene in the country’s mess. The muslim Séléka, who – according to this movie – are raiding villages, murdering and raping christians, are stopped by the international presence. But this leads to christian Anti-Balaka gangs who take revenge at the muslim population. It’s confusing if you don’t know much about the civil war and this movie doesn’t do anything to help you understand it better. 

No. The focus is on this young woman. A girl really. But rather than giving some kind of insight on why she chose this path, we just get to observe her as she kinda takes sides with he Anti-Balaka. Just because she got connected to one of their new leaders, who she met as a student on her initial journey. 

The movie reminds you of Ghosts of Cité Soleil, where we also get to see how young European women feel the need to be part of some ‘exotic’ nation’s internal problems. We never get to learn why Camille prefers life in danger than staying at home with her family and friends. The town of Angers must be really boring for someone to want to risk getting killed almost every moment of the day. The movie ends with her saying she feels happier in the war zone. Maybe that’s true. We don’t know. She got killed. So we can only guess. 

It’s an interesting movie. It’s based on true fact, but fictionalized a bit as a lot needs to be assumed. The acting by the main actress is good. Not so much by the many extras. And as mentioned before, we don’t get to learn that much about Central African Republic at all. 

Tu viens, tu prends et tu parts. You come, you take and you leave.

This one line in the movie is quite powerful, because it is the truth. It’s said to Camille as a comparison to the French colonizers from not that long ago. It’s amazing how the woman can get the trust of these young people who are her age and live in a total different world. They may be as ambitious and as intelligent and also dream of leaving the place to look for happiness and recognition abroad. But they definitely don’t have the same opportunities. 

Somehow this movie could have been much more. 

www.imdb.com/title/tt9678892

 

 

The northern French city of Roubaix has a great art museum in a former Art Deco swimming pool and there’s a shopping outlet on former textile factory grounds. But apart from that, it’s a hellhole. To use Trump vocabulary.

So, it’s a surprise that a movie gets released set in this unappreciated part of France.

Not watching the trailer, not reading the synopsis and just going for the positive movie title will leave you horrified.

This is not a delightful movie. It’s dark. And depressing. And makes you never want to go to Roubaix at all. The city’s tourism office will not have approved.

No.

The great Roschdy Zem is a police officer in this marginalized town and leads a team that has to go out at night dealing with marginalized town acts of crime and despair. The first half of the movie just shows a series of things that can go wrong at night. Cars being set on fire, girls being raped, thefts, burglaries and arson. The second half of the movie focuses on two women being accused of having murdered their old age neighbor.

It’s a weird movie and the second half would have worked better as a stage play. The dialogues are well written and the acting is okay, but as a movie it totally falls flat.

Roschdy Zem cannot save his movie. But he is impressive. As always.

www.imdb.com/title/tt8359840

Almost the entire cast of The Crown changed for season 3. It takes a while before that kicks in. Olivia Coleman is a great actress, sure, but she isn’t Claire Foy, who excelled as Queen Elisabeth in the first series. Only by the final episode, you have to acknowledge that she does do a fine job. But it’s difficult to be charmed by her from the start. That’s because this season, the focus isn’t on her that much.

The acting is still great though. Helen Bonham Carter is quite exquisite as Princess Margaret and both Josh O’Connor and Erin Doherty do a great job as Prince Charles and Princess Anne.

The storytelling remains admirable. How each episode is scripted is very clever. However, the fiction takes over from the facts. And even though it’s great dramatic storytelling, it loses its credibility because a lot of it just isn’t true.

Even more than in the first twenty episodes, you want to google what is true and what is fictionalized. It’s distracting from watching the show. Did that really happen? Is this historically correct? These constant questions often get answered by a ‘no’.

It’ll be interesting to see season 4 which will have Margaret Tatcher and Princes Diana as main characters. This seventies show was okay, but not that fascinating. Apart from two episodes, which are set in Wales. Those are perfect television hours. Well written, well directed, well acted, well researched. More of that please.

www.imdb.com/title/tt4786824

Booksmart – **

Posted: January 30, 2020 in 2019, Comedy, USA, XX

Hahahaha

This is one weird high school comedy…

Two girls who focused on getting good grades in high school realize that they haven’t really lived during their high school year. Especially when it turns out that others in their class will graduate with equally good scores and have done the party/drugs/sex thing.

So they decide to do all they forgot to do in one evening !

It’s a fun movie with two comical actresses and a setting very different from the American high school movies of the eighties. Jocks like nerds. Gay people are not discriminated. The diversity of society is represented without ever referring to it explicitly. The only thing worth bullying someone for is the inability to party.

Times have changed.

Not sure in the Midwest but definitely in LA, which again represents itself at its weirdiest…

The trailer is NOT representative of the movie. The movie is much better than what the trailer promises. 

ww.imdb.com/title/tt1489887

 

 

Mystify – *(*)

Posted: January 30, 2020 in 2019, Australia, Documentary, Musical, X1/2

INXS were one of the coolest rock bands of the eighties until the nineties happened and U2 took over.

Michael Hutchence was more in the news because of his affairs with Kylie Minogue and Helena Christensen than because of his music. Oh. And there was drugs and stuff. And then he had Paula Yates leave Bob Geldof… oh and yes, it ended up with him hanging himself in a hotel bed room.

This documentary wants to show a different aspect of the rock idol gone roque. Lots of people are interviewed, but they all sound so overly positive about the guy. Even Kylie whose heart he broke into a million pieces.

That is just weird.

www.imdb.com/title/tt5938950

Shia Lebeouf used to be a promising actor, then deliberately chose not to go for a successful career in Hollywood, ended up doing shitty movies and ultimately disappeared from the big screen.

In this indie road movie dramedy however he is excellent. His character is a guilt driven, good hearted, but careless drifter who suddenly gets hooked up with a young down syndrome man. They are an odd couple, but somehow form a bond. One is running away from a petty crime, the other has escaped from a facility to chase a dream: become a show wrestler…

It’s a feel good movie with sad elements that never feel like drama and funny moments that never feel like comedy. The chemistry between both main characters is great and even Dakota Johnson is good. 

A nice secret gem. 

www.imdb.com/title/tt4364194

Hustlers – *

Posted: January 21, 2020 in 2019, Crime/Detective, Drama, USA, X

The directing of this juicy crime story is great. The way it all is filmed, set up and edited is promising for future projects… The soundtrack is well chosen and some of the acting is great.

Sounds positive, right?

The story however is boring. It may be based on true events, but it is utterly unappealing.

Some female strippers have come up with a scheme to strip their potential clients of all their money without having to do something degrading. They flirt and then they drug them and charge their credit card. But before it gets to that, the viewers needs to get introduced to the hard world of strippers, where women are victims and are only there to make money and where men are, well, chauvenist pigs.

Yawn. 

And why on earth do Lizzo and Cardi B have irrelevant cameo’s in this movie? 

And still, some nicely shot scenes and a different approach to storytelling makes it bearable. 

www.imdb.com/title/tt5503686