Classic: Trainspotting – ***

Posted: October 2, 2017 in 1996, Action, Dramedy, UK, XXX

Just back from a visit to Edinburgh. Decided to watch some movies from Scotland. Starting with a classic.

Damn. This movie dates from 1996. Back then, it was a riot! A movie with a killer soundtrack, the first chart topping techno club filler (‘Born Slippy’ by Underworld), the mainstream debut of Ewan McGregor (who’s been EXCELLENT ever since), great surrealist scenes with the main character sinking into a dirty toilet for instance, with Robert Carlyle being incredibly violent, with heroin and shit and hiv and sex and alcohol just splashing around on the main screen. Yeah. Back then, this was THE movie to see.

And, hey, it’s still a pretty cool movie anno 2017.

Favorite line this time around:

Tommy: Doesn’t it make you proud to be Scottish?

Mark “Rent-boy” Renton: It’s SHITE being Scottish! We’re the lowest of the low. The scum of the fucking Earth! The most wretched, miserable, servile, pathetic trash that was ever shat into civilization. Some hate the English. I don’t. They’re just wankers. We, on the other hand, are COLONIZED by wankers. Can’t even find a decent culture to be colonized BY. We’re ruled by effete arseholes. It’s a SHITE state of affairs to be in, Tommy, and ALL the fresh air in the world won’t make any fucking difference!

 

http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0117951

 

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Okuribito (Departures) – *

Posted: September 14, 2017 in 2008, Drama, Japan, X

Hm. This won the Oscar for Best Foreign Language movie over Entre Les Murs, the best movie of this century. Un.Be.Lie.Va.Ble! It’s so incredibly boring, I assume none of the voters actually watched it and just read the synopsis and watched the trailer.

Yes, it’s beautifully filmed. And yes, the main actor performs well. But the story just isn’t all that much. A cello player quits his job and moves to his home town, where he finds a job as a caretaker for the deceased. Hence, the title ‘departures’. It’s a job that nobody wants and that is frowned upon. But when done right, the loved ones of the deceased are grateful for the care. Thanks to the job he comes to turns with the departures in his life.

Poetic? Maybe. Boring? Yes.

http://www.imdb.com/title/tt1069238

Long Distance Flight movie #1 – Discovery of the return flight movie marathon!

Watching To Each His Own only makes sense after visiting Japan and wondering why commuters look very robotic in the morning, but seem jolly after work. It does give you an insight of how strenuous life must be in this fascinating country full of contrasts. The movie is based on a bestselling novel that tackled the Japanese society and its damaging ambition of always wanting to perform perfectly and hiding true feelings of happiness at work. Japan has one of the highest suicide rates in the world. And their office stress is notorious all. However, during visits of Tokyo or Kyoto, one can only see how much laughter is heard at the end of the day and how friendly everyone is. It’s true, the view in the evening is very conflicting with the look in the morning when the entire commuter train is staring at their smartphones and emotionless office clerks march over crossroads like a computerised army of similar looking ants. But it can’t be that bad as in this movie, can it?

As an outsider it’s difficult to judge the authenticity of the depiction of office life in this intriguing drama. Life in the working place of protagonist Attachi is hell. In a western movie the scenes would work as a parody. The exaggerated reactions of the tyrannical boss are quite funny. Until this movies turns out to be a drama and not a comedy at all. Attachi is so fed up with his life that he wants to commit suicide, but he is saved by a young man who claims to have gone to the same elementary school together. Attachi can’t remember the guy and thinks it’s fishy. Is this a gay stalker? (Yes, there are two unnecessarily homophobic scenes in this movie) Is it a scam? Yet, each encounter makes him more confident and happier and makes him re-think life.

It’s a good movie. It’s intriguing because it’s set in a society that is different from elsewhere in the world. This obedience and constant apologetic behaviour feels awkward after a while. But the end is quite remarkable. When we get to learn who this mysterious stranger is.

Oh and the makers added scenes of Vanuatu (the happiest nation in the world), which gives this movie an extra *.

http://www.imdb.com/title/tt5922578

SMS Für Dich – **(*)

Posted: September 13, 2017 in 2016, Drama, Germany, Romance, romcom, XX1/2

Long Distance Flight movie #2

In this romantic tale from Germany, a children’s book illustrator struggles with life after her fiancée was killed in a car accident. Several months go by and she can’t find inspiration for new material. A good friend convinces her to come back to Berlin and another acquaintance suggests she should start communicating with her deceased boyfriend in order to cope with the loss. She starts using her old cell phone again (she had kept in a removal box) and decides to send a message to the number of her dead friend. There is no reply and she continues communicating this way.

In the mean time, a sports journalist receives a new cell phone number at work and starts receiving these weird messages from a girl who confesses all of her thoughts and feelings. He gets so intrigued that he decides to look for her. When they meet its love at first sight. The only problem is: he has not told her that he receives her messages…

It’s a classic movie. With no surprises. It’s been done before, just updated to the messaging times we live in. There is humour and there is an old-fashioned love interest. If this movie was made in the nineties with Tom hanks and Meg Ryan or in the fifties with Doris Day and Rock Hudson, they would have been global box office successes. But this one comes from Germany and got a limited release. Too bad. Great acting. Good story. Recommended.

http://www.imdb.com/title/tt5193460

Long Distance Flight movie #3

Not sure if the humour of What A Wonderful Family is typical for Japan, but it’s quite universal. This movie is a sequel, but is easily enjoyed without seeing the first episode.

After a visit of Japan, where you constantly see friends or couples or groups of people laugh out loud during conversations, you wonder what they are laughing about. Apparently – according to an article on the subject – words of play and sadism are quite popular; sarcasm and irony not so much. And just plain slapstick. There is a little of everything in this comedy. It’s quite funny, recognisable even.

The comedy focuses on a family of Mr Shuzo, who is in his seventies and lives with his culturally independent wife; his ambitious, money making oldest son; his obedient daughter in law and his two teenage grandsons under the same roof. It’s not easy. Three generations is too much. His oldest, career daughter has married a cheap, but cheerful coward. And his youngest, sensitive son is dating an equally caring nurse. All of them interfere with his behaviour. All of them want him to turn in his driver license. But he loves his independence and wants to proof he is still very vital. He even courts the woman who runs the bar he goes to with his drinking buddies.

There are a lot of funny moments, even though a lot of them involve the toilet or intergender issues. Things change a little more to the dramatic when he meets an old school buddy who ends up dying two thirds into the movie, but then the humour picks up again and becomes quite morbid.

It’s a gentle comedy for he large crowds, appealing to the seniors and anyone who loves or works with an age group over 70.

It’s not all humour though, like that one scene where someone explains why some broken relationships can be fixed and others can’t.  A comparison is made with threads. If they are gradually woven, they can be put together once they loosen up by age. If they were put together in a mess, they need to be cut to entangle and can’t be mend.

http://www.imdb.com/title/tt5934564

追憶 Tsuioku (Reminiscence) – *(*)

Posted: September 13, 2017 in 2017, Drama, Japan, X1/2

Long Distance Flight movie #4

A law officer is confronted with his past when he meets an old childhood friend at a diner. The encounter troubles him, because it reminds him of the time he grew up in an orphanage and was an accomplice to a brutal murder by the woman who took care of him. Things become even more confusing when the friend is found dead, murdered.

The synopsis sounds like it’s a good mystery thriller, but it’s not. The investigation isn’t the major focus of the movie (in fact, the murder case is solved in a one minute scene during a phone call – what a disappointment). It’s the emotional baggage of the main character that explains a lot of his evasive behaviour. So, yeah, more of a boring psychological drama really. But with some good acting. And great cinematography.

http://www.imdb.com/title/tt5570680

 

Baywatch – *(*)

Posted: September 13, 2017 in 2017, Comedy, USA, X1/2

Long Distance Flight Movie #5

Haha. This is fun! Not having seen any episode of the 90s cult series with David Hasselhoff and Pamela Anderson, this is a great no brainer crime comedy. The best thing is that the movie doesn’t take itself seriously at all (hey, the stars of the movie have a silly cameos and get away with it well). Dwayne Johnson proves again why he is such a likeable guy. This time he is the disciplined safeguard hero of the beach, reluctantly allowing an arrogant former Olympic swimming champion in his team, played by a buffed Zack Efron. They hate each other guts but became best buddies at the end (no spoiler). It’s so silly, it’s quite entertaining.

http://www.imdb.com/title/tt1469304