I, Tonya – **

Posted: March 11, 2018 in 2017, biopic, Dramedy, USA, XX

Sure, it was on the news in Europe back in 1994: skate champion hires someone to injure her main competitor. But it was just a tidbit. Who cared? Apart from the entire American nation maybe. It is one of those bizarre sport incidents that get picked up in pub quizzes or so. Like that time tennis player Monica Seles was stabbed on court. It happened, it was in the news, it was bizarre enough to remember, but that’s basically it.

Now there’s a movie about the incident and it’s all over the news again. With much more details and attention. And less bias. Margot Robbie plays an intriguing Tonya Harding. Allison Janney deservedly won an Oscar for her part as the terrifying mother. And Sebastian Stan is quite a revelation as Tonya’s husband Jeff, who allegedly gave the order for someone to injure Nancy Kerrigan. This threesome acts great!

The movie is good. But it’s a comedy that tries too hard to be a drama. Sometimes, the balance between both work well and you get an amazing dramedy. But this is not the case with this biopic. Some elements are amazing. You have the excellent camerawork during the figure skating routines. Amazing! The storytelling itself is quite entertaining with characters talking directly to the audience at times. There are also some clever visual details. But in the end, it’s more of a parody than an actual biopic.  You constantly think: no way, this is a total exaggeration. Too bad the movie seems quite representative of the life Tonya led, according the former Olympian herself. And however good Margot Robbie is performing, she’s way to old to play Tonya Harding in the years leading up to her peak.

It’s a good movie, but like the notorious incident back then, it will soon be forgotten.



Marshall – **

Posted: March 10, 2018 in 2017, Civil Rights, Courtroom, Drama, USA, XX

Chadwick Boseman may now well be the hottest guy in Hollywood after the stellar success of Black Panther, but his previous movies didn’t really do well at the box office. Nor has he really been in a lot of movies. Regarding his age. Which is sad, because he’s a fine actor. This time around he’s playing yet another icon of black America: Thurgood Marshall, the first black Supreme Court Justice. No biopic this time, but one moment in his life: The State of Connecticut vs Joseph Spell.

In fact, that should have been the title of the movie, because that’s what it is all about. It’s an interesting case where a white socialite claims to have been raped by her black driver, but he claims to be innocent. In comes this Marshall, a prominent and notorious black lawyer, who is sent by the NAACP to make sure colored people get a fair trial. He isn’t really allowed to plead, so they find a Jewish lawyer who has no experience with criminal cases and just represents insurance companies, but who should be willing do to whatever Marshall tells him to do.

It’s an okay movie. It’s a court room drama. It doesn’t really tell much about this Thurgood Marshall. But Chadwick’s performance makes you believe he was an intriguing man. Sterling Brown is great as well as the alleged rapist. But it’s Josh Gad who is doing the best acting as the Jewish lawyer. However, it’s just a court drama. Set in a historic time. Stressing the injustices that were put onto black people and jewish people (it’s set during WW II). It’s the kind of movie you watch, like and then forget.




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Sure, it’s a good history lesson and yes, Jessica Chastain is a great actress, but this movie is pretty dull. It shouldn’t be. It’s about a noble and brave couple that helped rescue several Jewish people from the ghetto in Warsaw, during the German occupation. Yet, there’s nothing in the movie that stresses this bravery and nobility. It all feels too much like fiction.

First there’s the decision to film a story in Poland and have the characters speak English. That’s a standard procedure in Hollywood (or other movie industries), but it’s annoying. Especially if the actors speaks English with an accent. Either speak Polish and have it subtitled or speak English. But English with a fake Polish accent, just makes the story less realistic.

Then there’s the development of the side characters. Or better: the lack of. In order to empathize with the victims, it’s important to get to know them. But we never do. They get rescued and hide, but we don’t know anything about them. Some stay a bit longer, others come and go. It’s all very superficial. You should feel like the zookeeper and his wife are doing something special, but the way it’s presented feels like they are just doing what’s right. There’s little tension. And that feels unrealistic too.

And finally, there’s the redundant character of Lutz Heck, a former friend and colleague of the zookeeper and his wife, turning against them and becoming the bad guy in the movie. He’s a zoologist and a scientist with crazy ideas, which is intriguing, but turns out to be a powerful nazi officer in the occupied Warsaw as well. Which is a bit far-fetched.

There are two different stories here. One is about a family who has the means and courage to rescue people and takes the risk of doing so. And the other is about a scientist who uses the zoo’s facilities to breed animals that were believed to be extinct. Mixing both of them feels fictionalized.

The Zookeeper’s Wife is okay movie fare, but the real story is much more exciting.



Arriving a day early for a meeting, I decided to look at the selection of movies that guests can choose from in the room that I’m staying at. The selection is poor. There are quite a bunch of titles that missed my radar or that just weren’t of interest to me. The best titles are The Lost City of Z,  Captain Fantastic, Hidden Figures and A United Kingdom. And that’s about it.

But, being tired and all, watching a few comedies sounded like a good idea.

First up Why Him? with the totally unfunny James Franco. It’s a terrible movie. Probably the worst I have watched in a long long time. The fact that I’ve finished it is remarkable. Somehow you’d think there would at least be a few funny scenes. But no. Nothing is funny. This humor just doesn’t work (for me). A rich douchebag with tattoos invites over his future parents-in-law. But he can’t stop swearing and cursing and talking about sex in their presence. For 90 minutes long. The fact that it’s presented as some kind of parody to the life of the young rich IT guys who run the Facebooks of the world, is ridiculous. The creators better look up the word ‘parody’. This movie is shit. From start to finish.

Next: Snatched. The second feature movie of comedienne Amy Schumer. It’s not a good movie, but after having seen Why Him? it’s actually quite funny at times. Reviewers complained about the lack of chemistry between Schumer and Goldie Hawn, who plays her mother. But compared to the lack of chemistry between James Franco and Bryan Cranston, this is unjust. Schumer plays a girl who lost her job, got dumped and won’t cancel her no-refund trip to Equador. She convinces her over-caring mother to join her, but once they’re looking for a bit of adventure, the trouble really starts. Snatched really isn’t all that bad. It’s like you’re watching Katleen Turner in Romancing The Stone at times. Two blonde women. One younger, one older. Lost in the jungle and on the run for criminals.

Snatched any time over Why Him?. Schumer any time over Franco. Now, let’s hope they never join forces.



Holt and Gina. His character, her one-liners. That’s really the only reason for watching all 23 episodes of Season 2. And to a lesser extent also season 3.

Some episodes are really good. Well written and funny as hell. Others are just okay. Some in season 3 are just bad.

But Holt and Gina. Love them!

The last couple of episodes  of season 3 are okay though as they become a  bigger story spread over several episodes, but it’s clear that the creators are trying too hard to make absurdity be funny.


Not as captivating as Season 1, this follow-up to Top Boy is more violent, more dark, (even) more depressing and less realistic. Sure, it’s probably based on some true stories, but it’s just too much. The acting is still okay, but the characters are not at all appealing. Ashley Walter’s Dushane, the top boy in London’s crime world, can’t charm as much as in the previous episodes. Sure, he’s thinking of getting out and investing in real estate. But to cover up a murder, he continues to intimidate and kil. Unethically. The fact that he starts something sexual/romantic with his lawyer makes it all a bit too far-fetched. Malcolm Kamulete’s Ra-Nell was a total revelation in series one and plays fourth fiddle in this season. Sad, there’s more to tell about this kid. In fact, there are so many characters this time and they are not explored well enough. So, hardly anyone to care about.

Netflix is going to produce season 3. Not sure what that will bring.