Archive for the ‘2019’ Category

Watched this a week ago.

Kinda forgot what it was all about.

Ah yes. Marvel Universe. Female heroine. Sassy Brie Larson. Funny Samuel Jackson. Chase scenes. Aliens. A plot twist. A lot of confusion. Earthlings bonding with aliens against a common evil force. Nineties. Cool soundtrack.

www.imdb.com/title/tt4154664

 

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Dumbo (2019) – **

Posted: April 2, 2019 in 2019, Children/Family, Fantasy, USA, XX

Whatever happened with Tim Burton? The last good film he made was Big Fish from 2003.

This isn’t really bad. It’s just not exciting or original or funny.

It’s interesting to see how they adapted the animation story from 1941. In fact, the original movie is told in maybe 30 minutes or so. And it’s clear that the makers changed whatever felt wrong in that version. The references to some of the main characters in the original are subtle. The mother elephant is brought to the circus, already pregnant. There’s a stork flying by, but he’s not ‘bringing the baby’. There’s a mouse dressed as a ringmaster as well, but it’s only briefly on screen. They did a great job making Dumbo look like a clown. The pink elephant parade is well re-interpreted. When the mother is locked up in train carriage, it looks exactly the same as in the Disney classic. But where are the crows? Was Disney afraid for ‘racial’ controversy ?

But once the original story is told there’s more drama and action coming. The original ends with Dumbo realizing he can fly… This movie focuses on whatever happens next. It starts with two children being reunited with their father who returned from the war in Europe (missing an arm). He’s appointed to be in charge of the elephant show, but already has trouble when the new animal gives birth to a ‘freak’. Once the freak becomes the star of the show, the whole circus moves to some kind of amusement park and that’s where more trouble starts.

They managed to make a decent live action movie of a pretty sad children’s story. But it’s not enchanting or charming. No matter how cute Dumbo looks. None of the new (human) characters excite.

www.imdb.com/title/tt3861390

US – **(*)

Posted: March 29, 2019 in 2019, Fantasy, Horror, USA, XX1/2

The horror hype movie of the moment: US. 

Hyped horror movies! They normally turn out to be big disappointments (Hereditary? It?). But you know what? This is actually not a bad movie at all. It’s not scary and it’s slow. But it’s originally weird. A lot doesn’t make sense, but it’s entertaining from start to finish.

The story is simple. Somehow there’s an alternate world of shadows living in abandoned tunnels and empty undergrounds. They’ve been hiding there for decades (or centuries.. who knows), but now they’re ready to come out of their shelters and take over the world. By killing the humans they are identical shadows of.

The focus lies with one family who you can easily relate to. The dorky dad. The bossy mom. The bored teenage daughter. And the imaginative younger son. The director takes his time to introduce them. They are a close family, but each live in their own little world. Once they are confronted with their shadows, who try to break into their summer home and kill them off, the movie gets rolling. And it doesn’t stop.

Plus: there’s a great scary instrumental version of Luniz’s “I Got 5 On It” in one of the scarier scenes. A highlight.

www.imdb.com/title/tt6857112/

 

 

Studio Tarara – ***

Posted: March 26, 2019 in 2019, Drama, Flanders, TV series, XXX

Rare these days (at least for me): watching a tv series unfold every single week. No binge-watching. Just anticipating the next episode. Eight weeks long.

And it was worth the watch. This was good television. With a lot of flaws, but enough positive moments to balance them out.

The set up is simple. Someone fell to his death at a television studio, where a live sketch show was being recorded. It’s unclear until the very last episode who the actual victim is. But in every episode you learn who is still alive, as a second story line follows a detective who’s writing down the taped interviews of all people involved.

The mystery of who the victim is and how the person died, isn’t all that exciting. As a thriller, the show fails.

The series is about the production of a funny sketch show and the troublesome lives of its creators. The drama and characterization are top-notch. But the sketches aren’t funny! At all. So as a comedy, the show fails as well.

But another storyline focuses on sexual harassment at a television studio and throughout the series this is the main theme. It’s also the one that makes the show fascinating. The acting is really good. Even international audiences may like these performances.

It’s still a very Flemish show though. Not sure if people abroad will get the references. There is an international trailer though… The story is set in 1993 though and the soundtrack is incredible. It’s very interesting to hear the big alternative hits of that year as a soundtrack to a story set at the tv studio of the most commercial television network.

www.imdb.com/title/tt9839222

Somewhere in rural Malawi, an intelligent young kid can’t continue with school because his farming parents can’t afford the fee. They have financial troubles because of a failed harvest and the future isn’t looking bright. People are leaving the village and the government isn’t helping at all. The kid is able to sneak into the school library though and finds a book about creating energy by using wind. It takes a while before he can convince his illiterate dad that his ideas can actually help the farming. But he perseveres.

This is a very interesting story. We need more of these. It’s in the same vibe as A United Kingdom. The African continent has so many great stories to be told. It’s time movie makers take some risks. It’s time to watch these as well. It can’t always be fiction like Black Panther. 

Chiwetel Ejiofor is an underrated actor. He has starred in quite a lot of movies and carries them every time. This is his directorial debut and yes, it’s very formulaic and conventional, but it’s also entertaining and educational. It’s well done. He’s acting in it as well and as mentioned before, he delivers. His emotional scenes look the same in every single movie (that man can cry!), but he’s very believable as the illiterate farmer. The main star of the movie is young Maxwell Simba, a debutant from Kenya, who charms you the entire movie long. He’s extremely well cast. This is based on a true story, which is always tricky. But it all feels very authentic. Especially the fact that they learned the local language to communicate in. Hooray for that.

Worth watching.

www.imdb.com/title/tt7533152/

Turn Up Charlie – *(*)

Posted: March 15, 2019 in 2019, Dramedy, TV series, UK, X1/2

Idris Elba has an eight episode series on Netflix as of today. It’s a British show and is marketed as a ‘comedy’, but it’s more of a chaotic dramedy. The first episode is kind of cool though. Idris plays a middle-aged amateur dj, who had one big hit in the nineties, but spent all his money on women and booze. He lives with his aunt, lies about his success to his parents and is penniless. An old buddy of his, now a famous actor, is moving back to London with his successful dj-ing wife and their spoiled daughter. Somehow, Idris’ character Charlie accepts the job of being the kid’s nanny. Part because he needs the money and part because he hopes to get back into the music business. Of course, he starts to care about the kid as well.

After a few episodes the relationship between Charlie and the kid becomes second fiddle. Like they ran out of interesting scenes between the two unlikely buddies. In one later episode they are at some alternative dance festival and the series becomes dull. In another episode they are in Ibiza. The simple sitcom feel from the beginning, becomes a show with drugs and sex. That’s where it becomes chaotic. In the final episode the question is more about who is in love with who and the kid just is a distraction.

There should release a soundtrack. On vinyl of course. The music is good. And it’s not without merits. The auntie with her Nigerian accent is funny. And some scenes are well done. But in general this is just not a great show.

www.imdb.com/title/tt830449

The Umbrella Academy – *

Posted: March 15, 2019 in 2019, Fantasy, USA, X

“Give it some time, it’ll grow on you”, a friend told me about his new favourite Netflix show The Umbrella Academy. 

Good for him, didn’t grow on me though.

Yes, it gets (a bit) better by the end and the final does make you kind of curious what will happen on in the second season, but it’s all way too weird.

Some scientist has raised 7 kids with special powers. All of them born on the same day. Their superpowers aren’t really all that special and one of them doesn’t have any powers at all. So it seems. Of course, she’ll be the one to reckon with. Duh. No spoiler alert. The main story itself is simple. The world is heading for an apocalypse and they are the only ones to stop it. If they work together. And that seems to be a problem. So, we’re confronted with all the issues that these kids have while being adults. In the mean time, there’s time travel as well. And aliens of course. And talking chimps. And two hit men (Mary J Blige is one of them!).

So it’s weird. And if weird is your thing, check it out. It’s well made. Just pretty boring.

https://www.imdb.com/title/tt1312171/