Archive for the ‘Uncategorized’ Category

Chocolate City

Posted: February 20, 2017 in Uncategorized

Another 99 cent rental.

Worth 49 cent probably.

A student decides to start stripping at a club to help pay his mother’s bills and treat his girlfriend a bit better. He lies about it (says he works with children), but then of course they find out. That’s it. It doesn’t even create drama.

This is really bad.

You can expect a low budget pulp movie about male strippers to have no descent script. You can expect bad editing. You can expect bad music. You can even expect bad acting. You can expect all these things and still want to watch the movie, because the only reason to do so is the strip acts.

But they suck! A movie about male strippers that has male models act all weird on stage and do nothing more than just pump and grind like amateurs while dozens of non-excited women reluctantly throw dollar bills at them.

They should have thrown 50 cent coins at them to perform better.

Time to watch Showgirls again and appreciate it a bit more.

http://www.imdb.com/title/tt3481000

 

 

 

The remarkable thing about this new police thriller from Belgium is that it starts of really well and then falls totally flat by the end. Sadly, because the trailer looks promising.

A notorious chief of police is retiring to start a political career. But on the eve of his retirement he is tempted to do one last drug bust.  Not in the city of his jurisdiction (Antwerp), but in Charleroi. However, something is wrong. No drug lab is found. No drugs are found. A lot of people get killed and the informant seems to have damaging information about the soon to be politician. This does not look good…

Again, the movie starts of great. The tension and intrigue are built up well. The acting is good (Peter Van Den Begin is excellent in these kind of roles). Some of the scenes are shot in unique ways. The editing is excellent. The story lends well to an interesting collaboration between the movie industries from the north (Flanders) and the south (Wallonia) of the country.

But it’s all a bit predictable, and as the story comes to a climax it totally bombs.

http://www.imdb.com/title/tt5546540

A young girl needs to go live with her dad while her mother goes away on a longer holiday with her new boyfriend. The dad works at a slaughterhouse and has a tough time making ends meet. He lives in an apartment, where pets are not allowed. So when his daughter moves in with her dog tensions rise. At one point the dog is abandoned and left at its own devices in the Hungarian capital. He soon finds some fellow street dogs to hang with and try to survive. But when he’s taken to an asylum during a dog razzia, things change. Because of all the following misfortune, he turns into an evil dog looking for revenge. And his former loving caretaker cannot save him.

This is one depressing animal misery movie. There’s only some action and horror at the end. Once the dog is out for revenge, he’s a killer machine. It would have been much cooler and interesting if this really was a revenge movie in the likes of Planet Of The Apes. Now it’s more about a girl who feels abandoned by her mother and needs to adapt to a new situation (living with her dad). The fact that the dog gets abandoned and needs to adapt to a new situation (living on the street, in the asylum, with a trainer who preps him for dog fights…) doesn’t make the movie any more interesting.

Yes, it’s good to see a movie like this with real dogs and no computer animation. Yes, it’s pretty amazing to see all these dogs run through the almost empty streets of Budapest. Yes, it’s fascinating to see the dog perform really well (they used two). But in the end, there are only a few scenes where it looks fascinating. For the most part, the story just sucks.

http://www.imdb.com/title/tt2844798

Recommended by a vinyl shop owner in Leipzig, who sells dvd’s at 1 euro a piece. And worth every single cent! This is a fun comedy with crazy characters who keep you entertained for the entire 90 minutes.

It’s for young adults though, but anyone can enjoy the little absurd story of a young quirky girl who gets stranded on an island with a stuttering Greek, a macho Turk and the latter’s devote muslim sister. Their adventure starts after a plane crash in the Indian ocean. While the kids are on the island, the crazy mother of the girl and the serious father of the Turkish siblings are awaiting news of their children in a fancy resort somewhere else.

The movie is loosely based on a popular German tv series in which a caucasian teenager records what happens when her divorced mother decides to move in with her new Turkish-born partner and his two kids. This time around though, the characters remain the same, but the setting and storyline have nothing in common with the tv show. That alone is quite remarkable.

Some scenes make no sense at all, but the comedy gets away with it just fine. The acting is funny. The characters are very stereotypical, but that’s exactly what the makers are aiming at. And that main lead, Elyas M’Barek, just blows you away. He’s currently one of Germany’s biggest and most popular stars and this is the part that made him famous. There’s a lot wrong with the movie, but let’s focus on the good: it’s entertaining and a great family movie.

http://www.imdb.com/title/tt1650536

Tanna – ***

Posted: August 29, 2016 in 2015, Australia, Drama, Romance, Uncategorized, XXX

“Avoid spending 3000 euro to visit Vanuatu and buy yourself a 10 euro cinema ticket!”

It’s great advice from a local movie critic.

Tanna is an island of Vanuatu, an island group in the Pacific Ocean not so far from Fiji. Its people are known as the ‘happiest on earth’, but this movie shows a different aspect. Back in the late eighties there were still some rival tribes killing each other, while on the rest of the island christian villages tried to convert locals and colonizers started to build resorts. The story of Tanna is set in that period.

A young woman, Wawa, is secretly in love with Dain, the grandson of the Yakel Chief. They already plan a future together, but Wawa is promised to a rival tribe in order to remain the peace on the island. Something Dain cannot accept…

The movie is advertised as an exotic romantic drama, but it’s really more of a fictional documentary about the customs of a native tribe that needs to come to terms with a changing world. The cinematography is beautiful. The jungle actually looks like a jungle because it’s filmed on location and not created on a computer. This is a great plus. The acting is done by the local tribe members, who have no experience at all and just act really natural. (Some of the cast have appeared in reality tv shows that bring people from the west to survive in tribal life across the world) But they are a charming bunch of people and their natural beauty and honesty is moving. The big star of the movie is the young Marceline Rofit (who plays Selin, Wawa’s younger sister). Her captivating smile is the kind you find on tourist brochures luring westerners to visit the islands. There’s a little bit of voyeurism though, but it’s not patronizing. There’s some humor as well and it makes you realize that it’s a tough call to adapt to a new world and hold on to the past.

Saving for a plane ticket to Vanuatu though…

http://www.imdb.com/title/tt4239726

Time goes fast. Cidade De Deus is 13 years old! But since the story is set in the late sixties and early seventies, the movie itself doesn’t age at all. #21 on imdb’s list of best movies ever and #38 on the recent BBC list of best movies of the 21st century: that’s way too low. It’s not a perfect film, but it’s still very entertaining and all the elements that make cinema great join together in a great blend. The acting by – at the time – amateurs is remarkable, the visual flair is astonishing, the editing is excellent, the soundtrack helps where it has to and even though it’s a violent gangster drama, there’s also room for romance and humor and social critique, shown in a most natural way.

The storyteller is Buscapé (named ‘rocket’ in the English subtitles), a young kid from the ghetto who is asked by a newspaper agency to take pictures of the gang violence in the favelas. How he got that assignment and how the gang violence rose to its peak is told in flashbacks, a technique which normally takes away the speed of a movie, but is well done here. The different fragments flow into each other very naturally.

Too bad director Fernando Meirelles never established his talent as the new Tarantino or Scorcese in later work. He did get nominated though for an Oscar (losing to Peter Jackson) for this masterpiece.

This is the kind of movie you can watch every five or ten years and enjoy every single time. And that’s what classics are all about.

http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0317248/

Toussaint Louverture – **

Posted: August 24, 2016 in Uncategorized

This two part television production focuses on the life (and death) of Toussaint Louverture, who led the Haitian revolution in the beginning of the 19th Century. It’s made with a low budget, but that isn’t necessarily a bad thing. It’s just more of a history lesson than a cinematic experience. There’s a lot of military blablabla and you do need some background about the French Revolution, Napoleon and French colonialism. But it’s a very straightforward biopic told in flashbacks. They don’t make him into a flawless hero, which is great. But they don’t let other characters shine, which is sad.

The movie starts with the imprisonment of the black general (who got his title after defending the French from the Spanish colonizers). A young and ambitious soldier is given the task to gain his trust as the French leaders want their former general to reveal the location of a hidden treasure. In order to get this information, the young man starts writing down everything his prisoner is telling, starting with his life as a slave.

http://www.imdb.com/title/tt2062690