maandag 16 juli 2018

90s Movie Review - Bird on a Wire

Director: John Badham
Genre: Action/ Comedy/ Adventure
Runtime: 105 minutes
Year: 1990
Starring: Mel Gibson, Goldie Hawn, David Carradine, Bill Duke, Stephen Tobolowsky

Description: An old flame (Goldie Hawn) discovers her ex-boyfriend (Mel Gibson) from the past is a relocated FBI informant out to stop the bad guys.

Review: Mel Gibson plays Rick Jarmin, part of a witness protection program. He has been living a nomad life, to stay away from the bad guys he ones testified against. He bumps into Marianne Graves, who he was ones engaged to. Rick staged a plane accident and faked his death, so that Marianne wouldn’t be in danger. But those same crooks are after Rick ones again and Marianne is here to see it all.
The film is enjoyable, at least the first part is. But “Bird on a Wire” gets repetitive and becomes less credible towards the end. Goldie Hawn and Mel Gibson are not the problem, they have chemistry and a very interesting dynamic. Their constant bickering leads to sheer amusement. Let’s be honest, this is the Gibson we loved most.
Fun, yes. High quality, no.

Rating: 2, 5/ 5

10s Movie Review - Trainspotting 2

Director: Danny Boyle
Genre: Drama
Runtime: 117 minutes
Year: 2017
Starring: Ewan McGregor, Robert Carlyle, Ewen Bremner, Jonny Lee Miller, Kelly Macdonald

Description: After 20 years abroad, Mark Renton (Ewam McGregor) returns to Scotland and reunites with his old friends Sick Boy (Jonny Lee Miller), Spud (Ewen Bremner), and Begbie (Robert Carlyle).

Review: A life, a job, a career, a family and luxury. At the beginning of the first “Trainspotting”, lead character Mark Renton didn’t want to think about all this. He was hanging out with his friends, hoping for a heroine kick. ‘Rent Boy’ wanted a clean sleight and got clean. But his friends had a bad influence on him.
Doyles work of art from 1996 pictured the relentless subculture. What made “Trainspotting” so good, were the quick montages, rough edges and a pulsating soundtrack.
Boyle waited so long for a sequel, because he wanted his actor to physically look older. Twenty years later it looks like Mark is finally leading a normal life. He lives in Amsterdam, has a solid job and is even married. He returns to Scotland to settle some issues. He visits Spud, who is still an addict and has a struggling relationship with his ex and son. Simon is leading a life a crime, but has big plans for his pub. And then there is Begbie, who has been in jail for twenty years. He wants his son to follow in his footsteps and is out for revenge on Mark.
“Trainspotting” was a unique film. “Trainspotting 2” is a really good sequel. The evolved dynamic between the characters is the best part of the film. The film isn’t as intense and visually rough as the first. But still has a lot of depth.
Real friendships last a lifetime, that’s one thing that’s sure. Even with the unstable factors present.
History repeats itself, but also manages to adapt and change. “Trainspotting 2” is a solid sequel, totally worth waiting those 20 years for.

Rating: 4/ 5

woensdag 11 juli 2018

Movie Reviews - The Post

Director: Steven Spielberg
Genre: Drama
Runtime: 116 minutes
Year: 2017
Starring: Meryl Streep, Tom Hanks, Sarah Paulson, Bob Odenkirk, Bradley Whitford, Tracy Letts, Bruce Greenwood, Matthew Rhys, Alison Brie, Jesse Plemons, David Cross, Zach Woods, Pat Healy

Description: A cover-up that spanned four U.S. Presidents pushed the country's first female newspaper publisher (Meryl Streep) and a hard-driving editor (Tom Hanks) to join an unprecedented battle between the press and the government.

Review: It’s a sin to spoil the ending of a movie, unless it’s a film based on historic events. Because you already know the outcome (hopefully). In the last shot of “The Post”, there are hints to the Watergate affair. Due to two journalist of the Washington Post, this scandal came to light which eventually lead to Richard Nixon stepping away from his role as president of the US.
The paper already had a name and fame at that time. And how that happened, director Steven Spielberg shows us in “The Post”, where the journalists get their hand on the so-called Pentagon Papers. These classified documents are proof that the Vietnam war was always doomed to fail. And four presidents knew about it.
“The Post” is still relevant and a nod to Trump. But it also feels like a prequel to “All the President’s Men”, which was about the Watergate affair. But in “The Post” this isn’t as much focus on the case as there was in “All the President’s Men”.
We follow Kay Graham, the first female editor and trying to stay alive in a man’s world. And the fight that the Washington Post is constant battling agains the bigger paper, The New York Times.
When we see Hanks’ and Streep’s character together for the first time, we think that Hanks’ Ben Bradlee is superior to Streep’s Kay Graham. But in fact she is his boss. That was the role of a woman in business back then. People believe she is only boss because her husband died. Even during dinner, the women have to leave the table when the men talk business. Spielberg manages to picture this perfectly.
I wished there was a little bit more focus on the actual story they are trying to cover. Then this movie would have been even better. And I believe that if it wasn’t for Tom Hanks and Meryl Streep, “The Post” would have been average.

Rating: 3,5 / 5

zondag 8 juli 2018

90s Review - The Green Mile

Director: Frank Darabont
Genre: Drama
Runtime: 181 minutes
Year: 1999
Starring: Tom Hanks, David Morse, Bonnie Hunt, Michael Clarke Duncan, James Cromwel, Michael Jeter, Graham greene, Doug Hutchison, Sam Rockwell, Barry Pepper, Jeffrey DeMunn, Patricia Clarkson, Harry Dean Stanton

Description: The lives of guards on Death Row are affected by one of their charges: a black man accused of child murder and rape, yet who has a mysterious gift.

Review: Director Frank Darabont is at his best when filming adaptations of Stephen King novels. His directorial debut, “The Shawshank Redemption”, hit every mark. With “The Green Mile” he’s on trusted territory, because it’s also set in a prison. It does introduce a new element: the paranormal. “The Green Mile” is set in a death row cell block, led by Paul Edgecomb, in 1935. They call it the green mile. He runs it with his best friend Brutus Howell, the young Dean Stanton, veteran Harry Terwilliger and newcomer and sadistic Percy Wetmore.
All prison guards, except for Percy, want the prisoners the end their life in the most humane way possible. The silent Native American Arlen Bitterbuck and the joyful Eduard ‘Del’ Delacroix are both waiting for their judgment day. One day, the gigantic John Coffey is brought in. He is sentenced for the rape and murder of two young girls. But he looks more dangerous then he actually is. Coffey is afraid of the dark and has a gentle character. Soon Paul discovers that something special is going on and that John Coffey has a gift.
Like “The Shawshank Redemption”, “The Green Mile” is a film that’s carried by the actors. Tom Hanks is perfect for his role as sympathetic protagonist and through his eyes we see the story. Doug Hutchison is very convincing as the exasperating Percy. Sam Rockwell goes nuts as crazy inmate Wild Bill, David Morse is likeable as the goodhearted Brutus and James Cromwell portrays his role as prison boss very well. But it’s Michael Clarke Duncan that impresses the most. He grabs viewers and it’s really hard not to like him.
“The Green Mile” is a powerful film with a good message, that will leave many people in tears. The characters get all the room to exploit. Darabont puts the focus on the characters and not on the plot.

Rating: 5/ 5

90s Movie Review - The Shawshank Redemption

Director: Frank Darabont
Genre: Drama
Runtime: 142 minutes
Year: 1994
Starring: Tim Robbins, Morgan Freeman, Bob Gunton, Clancy Brown, James Whitmore, William Sadler, Gil Bellows

Description: Two imprisoned men, Andy (Tim Robbins) and Red (Morgan Freeman) bond over a number of years, finding solace and eventual redemption through acts of common decency.

Review: In Shawshank prison, the inmates are doing serious time. Through the eyes of prisoner Red, we follow the story of Andy Dufresne who comes to Shawshank in 1947 for murdering his wife and her lover. Red and Andy become friends. Based on a story by Stephen King, the life in prison is a metaphor to real society. The prisoners settle for a life at Shawshank, they stop dreaming so nothing can get worse than it already is. The big guys get their way no matter what. Off course there is always one guy that doesn’t care, in this case Andy Dufresne. He teaches his fellow inmates to read and makes them feel normal again.
Director Frank Darabont made the short Stephen King story into a fully length movie, with some differences and more detail. He captured it so well, it easily reaches the audience and it’s a film with real people instead of characters.
The acting is sublime. Never over-the-top, very timide yet convincing. The chemistry between Tim Robbins and Morgan Freeman is amazing, you can feel it in every bone in your body. Their friendship is honest and heartfelt. Also Clancy Brown, as the relentless prison guard Hadley, and Bob Gunton, as warden Norton, are very strong in their roles.
This movie really took my breath away when I first saw it, and still after watching it so many times it does that exact same thing. Only a perfect movie can do that. A great story, fantastic acting, beautiful music and off course that great scene (we all know it). For me still the best movie in the books.

Rating: 5/ 5

woensdag 4 juli 2018

90s Movie Review - Deep Rising

Director: Stephen Sommers
Genre: Action/ Horror/ Science Fiction
Runtime: 106 minutes
Year: 1998
Starring: Treat Williams, Famke Janssen, Jason Flemyng, Cliff Curtis, Djimon Hounsou, Anthony Heald, Cliff Curtis

Description: A group of heavily armed hijackers board a luxury ocean liner in the South Pacific Ocean to loot it, only to do battle with a series of large-sized, tentacled, man-eating sea creatures who have taken over the ship first.

Review: “Deep Rising” is one of those film: don’t think, just watch. And then it’s super fun!
A group of hijackers aboard a luxury yacht. When they arrive, almost all the passengers and its crew is gone. Not knowing why, they investigate the ship. But something is luring from the deep. A large man-eating sea creature is after them.
“Deep Rising” is action packed, entertaining and creepy. But it didn’t stand the test of time. The special effects are outdated and the acting is mostly terrible. I saw this film a lot around the time it was released, but rewatching it now makes me realize it’s a pretty bad film. So many clich├ęs, bad dialogue, even worse characters. But I still really enjoy it. I liked the fact that practically all the main characters are criminals or have a criminal history. And it’s super fast paced.
“Deep Rising” is definitely not a good movie, but it’s entertaining as hell!

Rating: 2,5/ 5

maandag 2 juli 2018

Movie Reviews - I, Tonya

Director: Craig Gillespie
Genre: Drama/ Comedy
Runtime: 119 minutes
Year: 2017
Starring: Margot Robbie, Allison Janney, Sebastian Stan, Bobby Cannavale, Mckenna Grace

Description: Competitive ice skater Tonya Harding (Margot Robbie) rises amongst the ranks at the U.S. Figure Skating Championships, but her future in the activity is thrown into doubt when her ex-husband (Sebastian Stan) intervenes.

Review: Driven by her rivalry with Nancy Kerrigan, Tonya Harding stepped onto the ice in Lillehammer in 1994. Her second time at the Olympics, but also her last. Her performance was dominated by a broken lace. She didn’t win a prize, while Kerrigan got a silver medal.
“I, Tonya” is not your everyday biopic. It’s a light satire, filled with irony and based on contradicting interviews. The real truth will probably never be revealed.
Leading lady Margot Robbie, who is fantastic by the way, even breaks the fourth wall a couple of times. Telling us how it really happened.
Nancy Kerrigan was Harding’s biggest rival and the all American girl. The complete opposite. When both girls were amazing figure skaters, Tonya was maybe better. She took more risks. But Harding’s image and background didn’t fit in that world. When Kerrigan was attacked after a training and someone shattered her knee, rumor had it that Harding had something to do with it. It was all over the news and at the time, she and Bill Clinton were the most famous people.
What is true and what isn’t, will always be the question. What we do know, is that Harding had a rough life. Her father left her when she was young and she stayed with her demanding and cold mother. LaVona was the one dragging her on the ice when she was four, constantly pushing her. She was loveless, tough and convinced that Tonya only did well when pushed.
And then there is Tonya’s stormy and violent relationship with Jeff Gillooly. He beat her and treated her bad.
Tonya didn’t blend in with the rest of the girls. She didn’t dance to classical music, but choose ZZ Top and she made her own outfits. But she was also the first American woman to perform a triple Axel, with success. She was good at what she did, but somehow always ruined it for herself. But Tonya kept fighting. When she fell, she got up, no matter how hard it was. And she deserves a certain respect for that.
Like I stated before, Margot Robbie is fantastic in her role. But it’s Allison Janney that steals the show as Tonya’s mother LaVona. Her character is comical and almost cartoonish, but she is also a terrible woman and treats her daughter like trash.
“I, Tonya” manages to combine extreme characters and the real humans they are deep inside. This movie really surprised me with its tone, not at all what I expected. Such a great film!

Rating: 4,5 / 5