zaterdag 17 maart 2018

10s Movie Review - Muppets Most Wanted

Director: James Bobin
Genre: Comedy/ Adventure/ Family/ Musical/ Crime
Runtime: 112 minutes
Year: 2014
Starring: Ricky Gervais, Tina Fey, Ty Burrell, Zack Galifianakis, Tom Hiddleston, Ray Liotta, Danny Trejo, Christoph Waltz, Josh Groban, Céline Dion, Peter Serafinowicz, Usher Raymond, Salma Hayek, Stanley Tucci, Lady Gaga, Chloë Grace Moretz, Hugh Bonneville, Tom Hollander

Description: While on a grand world tour, The Muppets find themselves wrapped into an European jewel-heist caper headed by a Kermit the Frog look-alike and his dastardly sidekick.

Review: In 2010 The Muppets made their comeback with an amazing film that was filled with humor, emotion and great music. Off course there had to be another sequel, hoping for that same success.
In “Muppets Most Wanted” the Muppets go on a world tour, led by Dominic. They don’t know that Dominic actually has some evil plans, he is the right hand of Constantine, the most dangerous frog in the world and Kermit’s doubleganger. During the tour, Dominic makes sure Kermit and Constantine switch places. Constantine will tour with the Muppets and Kermit will be send to the Goelag. This way Constantine and Dominic can plan big heists in each city the visit.
The movie starts with a fun song about sequels, mocking Hollywood and themselves. Sequels are never as good, but bring in the money. This is also the fact for “Muppets Most Wanted”. It’s never the same level as “ The Muppets” from 2011. It’s still a fun movie, with lots of humorous moments and fun cameos. And the songs are fun too.
I likes Ricky Gervais as villain Dominic and I especially loved Ty Burrell as the French Interpol agent. And I have to admit, The Muppets always make me smile. No matter what.

Rating: 3 / 5

10s Movie Review - Passengers

Director: Morten Tyldum
Genre: Drama/ Science Fiction/ Romance/ Fantasy
Runtime: 116 minutes
Year: 2016
Starring: Chris Pratt, Jennifer Lawrence, Michael Sheen, Laurence Fishburne, Andy Garcia

Description: A spacecraft traveling to a distant colony planet and transporting thousands of people has a malfunction in its sleep chambers. As a result, two passengers are awakened 90 years early.

Review: There are always those film projects, that take a long time to make. “Passengers” has been waiting on the shelves, when it was eventually picked up to be directed by Morten Tyldum.

The film starts with an introduction to the Avalon, a spacecraft traveling to a distant colony planet and transporting thousands of people in order to start a new civilization. The people are all in hibernation. As a malfunction, two of the passengers wake up 90 years early.
The first act of the film is the most impressive. It sets an intriguing atmosphere. We meet Jim and Aurora and how they are trying to deal with the fact that they woke up 90 years too early. How they explore the ship. Especially Chris Pratt gets a lot of room to develop his character. And the opening also has amazing special effects. After the first plot twist, it all fades a little bit.
There is supposed to be an emotion spectrum. Themes like loneliness and romance have a lot of potential here. But Jim and especially Aurora are a bit too superficial as characters to make this combination of drama and romance work to the fullest. And although Chris Pratt and Jennifer Lawrence are two of the most beloved actors working today, the two don’t have the on screen chemistry we were all hoping for. Pratt’s character gets a bit more substance, because of his solo scenes at the start of the film. But Lawrence’s character misses that. They perform great, very solid, don’t get me wrong. But I expected them to be better together.
On paper, “Passengers” had everything to become a hit. The fantastic actors, the visuals and an interesting story. It all feels a bit mediocre, pretty predictable and without the chemistry we hoped for. A fun popcorn film, certainly not bad, but it could have been so much more.

Rating: 3 / 5

maandag 12 maart 2018

90s Movie Review - Dolores Claiborne

Director: Taylor Hackford
Genre: Drama/ Crime
Runtime: 132 minutes
Year: 1995
Starring: Kathy Bates, Jennifer Jason Leigh, Christopher Plummer, David Strathairn, Bob Gunton, John C. Reilly

Description: A big-city reporter (Jennifer Jason Leigh) travels to the small town where her mother (Kathy Bates) has been arrested for the murder of an elderly woman that she works for as a maid.

Review: On stage she won prize after prize, but Hollywood found her too fat. But there was help. Master of horror Stephen King offered Kathy Bates the role of a lifetime in “Misery”. An Oscar for that role and several memorable roles later, Bates gives away another great performance in yet another Stephen King adapted film.
Dolores Claiborne worked for a demanding rich lady for years. When this woman, Vera, is found dead at the bottom of the stairs, Dolores is the main suspect. This accusation brings home her estranged daughter Selena, who works as a journalist now. And the past they usually won’t speak off, comes out.
It’s a strong mystery thriller, with a good focus on the bond between Dolores and her daughter Selena. Kathy Bates is again very solid in her performance. She overshadows all the other actors. Jennifer Jason Leigh is also very strong.
“Dolores Claiborne” is one of King’s better adaptations.

Rating: 4 / 5

vrijdag 9 maart 2018

10s Movie Review - Song to Song

Director: Terrence Malick
Genre: Drama/ Romance
Runtime: 129 minutes
Year: 2017
Starring: Ryan Gosling, Michael Fassbender, Rooney Mara, Natalie Portman, Cate Blanchett, Holly Hunter, Bérénice Marlohe, Val Kilmer, Lykke Li

Description: Two intersecting love triangles. Obsession and betrayal set against the music scene in Austin, Texas.

Review: Again a cinematographic meditation by director Terrence Malick, about love and life. He takes the audience on a poetic journey to finding the meaning of life. As always, Malick doesn’t work with a straight forward screenplay and the (amazing group of) actors improvise.
Malicks style is very recognizable. It’s more a chain of images, because there are no real scenes. He creates a series of situations and it’s clearly his intuition that make his montage choices. The randomness of these images make me think of perfume commercials on TV. And that’s really not a compliment here. “Song to Song” kind of feels like a commercial, but then with the length of a film. And I think we could take off an hour, without losing any important moments.
There is no focus, because we see so many characters. And we don’t get to understand them, there is barely any development and their motives are unclear. Hardly any communication between the characters. Whispering voice-overs tell us some philosophical things and a lot of existential questions are asked.
The camera work is a big plus though. No steady images, always moving. The camera is constantly with the characters and switches between warm close-ups and distant shots. And the camera looks for the little things in the surroundings.
I never really understood Terrence Malick and I really don’t get why so many actors want to work with him. He always gets such big names to work with him and all the performances are really good by the way. But “Song to Song” is just a lot of improvising. Maybe that’s it, that the actors can let go of the rules for once. But all that cuddling and stroking, after a half hour I’m done! “Song to Song” is just not for me I guess.

Rating: 2/ 5

donderdag 8 maart 2018

10s Movie Review - Blade Runner 2049

Director: Denis Villeneuve
Genre: Science Fiction/ Thriller
Runtime: 163 minutes
Year: 2017
Starring: Ryan Gosling, Harrison Ford, Sylvia Hoeks, Jared Leto, Robin Wright, Mackenzie Davis, Dave Bautista

Description: A young blade runner's (Ryan Gosling) discovery of a long-buried secret leads him to track down former blade runner Rick Deckard (Harrison Ford), who's been missing for thirty years.

Review: In 1982 director Ridley Scott brought us “Blade Runner”, a film loosely based on “Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?” by Philip K. Dick. After “Alien” he took another big step in the sci-fi genre. The film was, because of the combination of film noir and a philosophical take, not for everyone. Even critics weren’t agreeing at the time.
In 2017, the opinions about the sequel, are extremely positive. Some even call it an instant classic and a masterpiece. “Blade Runner 2049” will still not be everybody’s cup of tea, but I do agree with the positive responses. And I even think it’s better then the film from 1982.
Ridley Scott passed the directorial position over to Denis Villeneuve, a talented director that yet has to make his first mistake (let’s hope not off course). After “Arrival”, from 2016, Villeneuve showed the audience he knows his way around science fiction. But “Blade Runner 2049” is so very different.
Villeneuve asked all the journalists not to talk about the plot to much in their reviews. He wanted all the moviegoers to experience this film to the fullest and give them the same experience as he critics.
“Blade Runner 2049” is a film filled with emotion, beautiful shots, deeper layers and fascinating characters. So I will not share any plot details with you either, you really have to see for yourself. I do think it’s a shame that I didn’t get to see it in theaters at the time. Literally no one around was talking about this film and I simply missed it. And now, I don’t understand why and how.
Villeneuve often manages to make your jaw drop. And that’s also happening here. The images of misty cities filled with big in-your-face billboard commercials, immense garbage piles and abandoned factories. But also the ochre colored field with giant statues of women.
The role of K, was written for Ryan Gosling. He gives his role depth and he proofs again that he chooses his projects wisely. Harrison Ford’s role isn’t as big, but noteworthy, just like in the first film.
Like I stated before, “Blade Runner 2049” is not for everyone, just like the first film. The slow sci-fi by Denis Villeneuve is not to everybody’s taste. The film is hard to grab and its unpredictability could trouble the average moviegoer. All those things are just why I love “Blade Runner 2049”. Besides the gorgeous images and great performances, it’s very pleasant to see a sequel this good and this surprising. Better then “Blade Runner”, mission accomplished!

Rating: 5/ 5

maandag 5 maart 2018

Five to Watch: Unconventional Romance Movies

“The Shape of Water” was the big winner at the Oscars last night. Well-deserved I think, because it’s brilliant. The movie contains some unconventional romance, because lets face it, it’s a human female with a male amphibian man. But when you love him, you love him, right? That made me think of this theme, a list of unconventional romance films. Whether it’s an unconventional couple, story, storytelling, theme. Here are five films I think are not as well-known or deserve more attention. And I think you should definitely give them a shot.

A young woman, recently released from a mental hospital, gets a job as a secretary to a demanding lawyer. Their employer-employee relationship turns sexual, of the sadomasochistic kind. While reading the synopsis, I didn’t expect to love it as much as I did. It’s super strange, but somehow in a good way.

Ruby Sparks
A novelist is struggling with writer’s block and he finds love in a most unusual way: by creating a female character he thinks will love him, then willing her to existence. A great idea, very well executed. And mostly thanks to Paul Dano and Zoe Kazan, who have great chemistry and perform solidly.

Lars and the Real Girl
Lars is the shiest, most awkward guy you’ll ever meet. Social integrations are almost painful for him. He doesn’t even spend time with his own family. Finally, he talks about bringing home a girl he loves, who turns out to be a life-size doll. And no, this isn’t about sex but something deeper and much more sensitive. And the way the people around him each respond, is sometimes surprising and heartwarming.

Moonrise Kingdom
A pair of young lovers flee their New England town, which causes a local search party to find them. Ambitious, but it delivers. Wes Anderson directs and his style is really fascinating, every time. “Moonrise Kingdom” leaves you smiling and dreamy.

Scott Pilgrim Vs. The World
An inside ride with Scott Pilgrim, a guy trying to win a girl’s heart he fell in love with at first sight. The problem: he finds out that he has to battle the girl’s 7 madly possessice ex-boyfriends before he can even think of being with her. Comic book style, Edgar Wright directing.

woensdag 28 februari 2018

Movie Reviews - The Shape of Water

Director: Guillermo del Toro
Genre: Drama/ Fantasy
Runtime: 119 minutes
Year: 2017
Starring: Sally Hawkins, Michael Shannon, Richard Jenkins, Octavia Spencer, Michael Stuhlbarg, Doug Jones, Lauren Lee Smith

Description: At a top secret research facility in the 1960s, a lonely janitor (Sally Hawkins) forms a unique relationship with an amphibious creature that is being held in captivity.

Review: “The Shape of Water” is a fairytale, a version of “Beauty and the Beast” and a reverse version of “The Little Mermaid”. Nothing wrong with that, because there is more to it then just that. Guillermo del Toro’s story of the special band between a vulnerable woman and a amphibious creature has so much depth and substance. And the real question here is, who is the actual monster? The mysterious creature we know nothing about, the scientists, the government?
A central theme here is, when you’re different, you just don’t belong. And that’s why the aquatic creature and cleaner Elisa, who can’t speak, feel so connected. They don’t belong, they are the odd ones out in a crowd. They are different.
But Guillermo del Toro goes much deeper. “The Shape of Water” is set in the early 60s. a period where the Russians were the enemies, people look down on the black community and homosexuality is still not fully accepted. And when these elements pass in the film, it strengthens the bond between Elisa and the creature.
Because society is so hard on them, Elisa and her gay friend Giles have to fight even harder. But there is still room to dream. Like Giles, who buys the most disgusting pie over and over again, just to have a chat with that handsome bartender.
Elisa’s friend and co-worker Zelda is her voice. She is sassy and doesn’t leave anything unspoken. But at home she has a man who doesn’t do a thing and she also suffers under the white doctrine.
“The Shape of Water” is at its best when Elisa seeks contact with the creature. It starts with a look in its eyes, then feeding him a hard boiled egg and followed by light touching and learning him sign language.
Del Toro also pays a homage to the golden years of Hollywood. Giles watches and listens to the stars and composer Alexander Desplat composed a beautiful score.
Doug Jones was the man who had to sit in make-up for hours to become the creature in the water. Del Toro was inspired by “Creature from the Black Lagoon”.
“The Shape of Water” is nominated for thirteen Academy Awards, for me not the typical Oscar movie. Guillermo del Toro’s fantasy drama, a fairytale. This is why I love movies.

Rating: 5 / 5