donderdag 31 maart 2016

Top 5 Thursday: Movies I Watched for My Challenge (March 2016)

This month I saw some really good film, some that really surprised me and some I knew I was going to love. Besides “Sharknado” I didn’t really see anything terrible in March. Here are my five favorite films I watched for my challenge this month.

5. Frank
It’s unconventional and weird, yet fun and fantastic. “Frank” is not your everyday movie, but sometimes I like it. Just open up your mind and give it a try.

4. All is Lost
“All is Lost” has almost no dialogue and only one actor in the entire film. How is that interesting, right? Well, Robert Redford and director J.C. Chandor made it happen. It’s a beautiful film, that keeps your attention the entire runtime.

3. 4 Months, 3 Weeks & 2 Days
Such a simple film, but so very powerful. Sometimes a movie from a foreign country you don’t know much about can totally leave you speechless.

2. This is Where I Leave You
I always love film about dysfunctional families. “This is Where I Leave You” is a good dramedy, strong cast and relatable storylines. It really surprised me.

1. Room
I was excited for “Room” and I got exactly what I was hoping for. What an amazing film, with great performances. This film really grabbed me and I loved everything about it.

They Almost Made the Top 5: Lola Rennt, Malcolm X, Furious 7

100 Movie Challenge 2016 - # 39: The Ape

Director: James Franco
Genre: Comedy/ Drama
Runtime: 92 minutes
Year: 2005
Starring: James Franco
Description: A young writer, nearing a mental breakdown caused by his family and boss, moves into an apartment occupied by a walking, talking, foul-mouthed ape in a Hawaiian shirt and Converse High Tops.

Review: As much as I love James Franco as an actor, but also for his artistic creativity, “The Ape” is not really my cup of tea. It’s his directorial debut and you can see Franco is still searching. I get where he is trying to go with this project, but I just didn’t really like it.
James Franco plays Harry, who is on the verge of a mental breakdown. He hates his job and all he wants is to be a writer. In order to write his first book, he flees his family and moves into a an apartment. What he didn’t know is that this apartment comes with a walking and talking ape.
If you think the plot sounds ridiculous, it is. You just feel sorry for Harry, that ape is super annoying. And normally when a character is annoying, that somehow changes along the way.
“The Ape” might be Franco’s directorial debut, but it’s better to forget or even avoid this film.

Rating: 1,5/ 5

maandag 28 maart 2016

100 Movie Challenge 2016 - # 38: All is Lost

Director: J.C. Chandor
Genre: Drama/ Adventure/ Action
Runtime: 106 minutes
Year: 2013
Starring: Robert Redford

Description: After a collision with a shipping container at sea, a resourceful sailor (Robert Redford) finds himself, despite all efforts to the contrary, staring his mortality in the face.

Review: Survival films always do will with the audience. Man against nature, a serious tension is always present because there is a chance the leading characters might not survive.
In “All is Lost” there is only one person, almost no dialogue and a simple plot. The film starts with a nameless man who sees his boat has crashed into a floating container. This has left a
hole in his boat. When his communication equipment is also damaged by the water, the man has to do everything he can to survive. On paper this looks like an everyday survival film, something forgettable. But director J.C. Chandor manages to keep the audience involved and interested. And no special effects or spectacle needed. With that, the leading character is all alone. No sidekick, just him. There is hardly any dialogue. The only times you hear the man is when he is trying to let other people know where he is.
What also helps this movie is the actor. The leading character is portrayed by Robert Redford. Already in his seventies, but this doesn’t hold him back. It’s one of Redford’s best performances. He has to communicate to the audience through his fysique, not through dialogue. Very hard for an actor, but a master like Redford does this flawlessly. We know how he feels in every situation, his face says everything.
“All is Lost” is a very strong survival drama. What sounds like a simple film, is turned into a lot more then just that.

Rating: 4,5/ 5

zondag 27 maart 2016

Movie Trailer Sunday (231)

Here are this week's trailers.

Florence Foster Jenkins
Director: Stephen Frears
Description: The story of Florence Foster Jenkins (Meryl Streep), a New York heiress who dreamed of becoming an opera singer, despite having a terrible singing voice.
Starring: Meryl Streep, Hugh Grant, Rebecca Ferguson, Simon Helberg,
Trailer: Trailer "Florence Foster Jenkins"
Comment: Meryl can do anything!

Sausage Party
Director: Greg Tiernan, Conrad Vernon
Description: An animated movie about one sausage's quest to discover the truth about his existence.
Starring: Seth Rogen, James Franco, Kristen Wiig, Jonah Hill, Paul Rudd, Edward Norton, Selma Hayek, Michael Cera, David Krumholtz, Bill Hader, Danny McBride, Craig Robinson
Trailer: Trailer "Sausage Party"
Comment: This trailer is actually pretty disturbing!

Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children
Director: Tim Burton
Description: When Jacob discovers clues to a mystery that spans different worlds and times, he finds Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children. But the mystery and danger deepen as he gets to know the residents and learns about their special powers.
Starring: Eva Green, Asa Butterfield, Samuel L. Jackson, Allison Janney, Kim Dickens, Judi Dench, Rupert Everett
Trailer:Traier "Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children"
Comment: I'm hoping for a great Tim Burton film!

In the Shallows
Director: Jaume Collet-Serra
Description: When Mia (Blake Lively) is attacked by a great white shark while surfing alone, she is stranded just a short distance from shore. Though she is only 200 yards from her survival, getting there proves the ultimate contest of wills.
Starring: Blake Lively
Trailer: Trailer "The Shallows"
Comment: I'm super excited to see this film!

Bridget Jones's Baby
Director: Sharon Maguire
Description: The continuing adventures of British publishing executive Bridget Jones as she enters her 40s.
Starring: Renee Zellweger, Colin Firth, Patrick Dempsey, Jim Broadbent, Ed Sheeran
Trailer: Trailer "Bridget Jones's Baby"
Comment: I'm not sure if I want another Bridget Jones film, but seeing the trailer makes me a little bit more curious.

donderdag 24 maart 2016

100 Movie Challenge 2016 - # 37: Lola Rennt

Director: Tom Tykwer
Genre: Action/ Thriller/ Comedy/ Adventure/ Fantasy
Runtime: 85 minutes
Year: 1998
Starring: Franka Potente, Moritz Bleibtreu, Herbert Knaup, Armin Rohde, Joachim Krol, Nina Petri, Heino Ferch, Suzanne von Borsody, Lars Rudolph, Ludger Pistor, Sebastian Schipper

Description: After a botched money delivery, Lola has 20 minutes to come up with 100,000 Deutschmarks.

Review: Manni left a plastic bag with 100.000 German Marks on the subway. He had to deliver this money to a dangerous criminal. Manni calls his girlfriend Lola from a phonebooth. Together they have twenty minutes to come up with the money, else Manni will die.
In a fast paced montage the audience is sucked into the race against time, combined with pulsating techno music. From the opening credits it’s clear: “Lola Rennt” is an original movie experience.
The movie has three parts: the story in twenty minutes but three times different. A ‘what if…’ story. We see what happens to the ending with small changes along the way.
The overall story doesn’t have a lot of depth, but because we get to see the same story three times and it overwhelms us, depth isn’t all that important. “Lola Rennt” is energetic and original.

Rating: 4,5/ 5

Top 5 Thursday: Coen Brothers Movies

The Coen Brothers have a very diverse filmography. Sometimes it’s a dark comedy, sometimes a modern western, sometimes absurd satire. They certainly have an impressive resume and I love their work. Here are my five favorite movies directed by the Coen Brothers.

5. Burn After Reading
Most people don’t like it, think it’s just a silly film. “Burn After Reading” has a great cast and I think it’s hilarious. I love Brad Pitt, John Malkovich and George Clooney in this film.

4. O Brother, Where Art Thou?
A variation on “Odyssey”. Also not one of the more popular Coen Brothers movies, but I love this film. The first time I saw George Clooney’s comedic talent. And I love the music in “O Brother, Where Art Thou?”

3. No Country for Old Men
A more serious film, an at first sight it’s very unlike the Coen Brothers. It’s a fascinating film, a great story and strong performances. Javier Bardem portrays villain Anton Chigurh and is one of the most convincing and scary villains in movie history.

2. The Big Lebowski
A stoner comedy, with probably the coolest character in any Coen Brothers movie. The Dude is super awesome. Jeff Bridges, John Goodman and Steve Buscemi rock!

1. Fargo
It’s one of the most acclaimed films and has some of the most memorable characters in it. William H. Macy, Steve Buscemi and Frances McDormand are all great in “Fargo”. This movie is so good, that it even got its own TV show.

They Almost Made the Top 5: Inside Llewyn Davis, True Grit, Barton Fink, A Serious Man

zaterdag 19 maart 2016

TV Review: "Pretty Little Liars" Season 2

Genre: Drama/ Mystery/ Thriller
Year: 2011
Number of episodes: 24
Starring: Lucy Hale, Troian Bellisario, Ashley Benson, Shay Mitchell, Ian Harding, Holly Marie Combs, Chad Lowe, Laura Leighton, Sasha Pieterse, Janel Parrish, Keegan Allen, Torrey DeVitto, Tyler Blackburn, Tammin Sursok, Bryce Johnson , Drew van Acker, Yani Gellman

Description: Four friends band together against an anonymous foe who threatens to reveal their darkest secrets, while unraveling the mystery of the murder of their best friend.

Review: The second season of ABC Family's "Pretty Little Liars" is even more exciting, complex and especially entertaining. Even more then the first season. One of the two big mysteries, Alison's murder and stalker 'A', is solved in this season.
The four friends Aria, Spencer, Hanna and Emily are still stalked by the mysterious 'A', who is Always one step ahead of them. Spencer was spared, byt her brother-in-law Ian wasn't. Ian disappeared and nobody believed Spencer and what she saw really happened to Ian. The four girls are seperated and send to a therapist. But their search for 'A' continues and the girls keep ending up in dangerous situations and they don't know who to trust.
It's really easy to call a show about pretty teenage girls a simple teen drama. Especially because most of time it's exactly that. Aria's relationship with teacher Ezra continues, Hanna is in war with her new stepsister Kate and deals with a on and off relationship with Caleb. But the show is surprising enough and has great twists. The final episode has several references to the Hitchcock movie "Psycho" and it's a very exciting episode. And there is also a special Halloween episode. It's an intriguing whodunit and the storylines are constantly trying to mislead you.
There are shows that drag their storylines endlessly, but "Pretty Little Liars" has a good pace. Season 2 gives us some answers, but also gives us a lot more new questions. The mystery continues. A good mix of mystery, thriller and teen drama.

donderdag 17 maart 2016

Top 5 Thursday: Songs from Disney Movies

Like almost everyone I love Disney and everything associated with Disney. I’m not ashamed of it either. But what I love most is probably the songs and I sing the out loud. Preferably by myself, really loud, when I know my neighbours aren’t home! And of all the great songs Disney has produced over the years, I wanted to make a selection of my favorites. Here are my five favorite Disney songs.

5. That’s How You Know (Enchanted)
This song is ridiculously catchy, a song you can’t get out of your head once you hear it. And it’s so fun. I just want to burst into song myself!

4. Look Through My Eyes (Brother Bear)
“Brother Bear” might not be one of the most popular and most well-known Disney films, but it has always been one of my favorites. And Phil Collins did the music. Collins is probably more known for the music he wrote for Disney’s “Tarzan”, but I prefer this one from “Brother Bear”.

3. Colors of the Wind (Pocahontas)
“Pocahontas” is not one of my favorites, but this song is so beautiful. This is what the films is known for. It shows Pocahontas’ love for nature.

2. Belle (Beauty & the Beast)
Most people will pick “Be Our Guest” or “Beauty and the Beast”, but “Belle has always been my favorite song from "Beauty and the Beast", it gets you in the mood for the rest of the film.

1. Circle of Life (The Lion King)
I remember seeing “The Lion King” for the first time, in the cinema. I was totally speechless when, when that sun came up and “Circle of Life” started. The best Disney song ever, I think we can all agree!

They Almost Made the Top 5: Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious (Mary Poppins), Be Our Guest (Beauty & the Beast), Under the Sea (The Little Mermaid), I Wanna Be Like You (Jungle Book), Bibbidi-Bobbidi-Boo (Cinderella), You’ve Got a Friend in Me (Toy Story), Beauty & the Beast (Beauty & the Beast), Let It Go (Frozen), Once Upon a Dream (Sleeping Beauty), Reflection (Mulan), Man or Muppet (The Muppets), Cruella De Vil (101 Dalmatians), Bare Necessities (Jungle Book), You’ll Be In My Heart (Tarzan), On My Way (Brother Bear)

maandag 14 maart 2016

100 Movie Challenge 2016 - # 36: Furious 7

Director: James Wan
Genre: Action/ Crime/ Thriller
Runtime: 137 minutes
Year: 2015
Starring: Vin Diesel, Paul Walker, Jason Statham, Michelle Rodriguez, Jordana Brewster, Tyrese Gubson, Dwayne Johnson, Tyrese Gibson, Ludacris, Kurt Russell, Elsa Pataky, Luke Evans, Djimon Hounsou

Description: Deckard Shaw (Jason Statham) seeks revenge against Dominic Toretto (Vin Diesel) and his family for his comatose brother.

Review: “The Fast and the Furious” series is without a doubt one of the most outstanding film franchises. What started out as a standard action film about street races, grew out to be a successful series. Already the seventh film and it is worth your time. Deckard Shaw is out for revenge, after Dom Toretto and his team eliminated his brother. He is threatening everyone in Dom’s ‘family’.
“Furious 7” has some dark edges, because of the tragic death of one of the lead actors: Paul Walker. This is the franchise that made him famous. Walker died when the film was only half done, so the makers had to use doubles and CGI. This works, because you don’t notice it while watching the film. The end of the film is not something that fits the film, but is added as a tribute to Paul Walker.
I was never a fan of the earlier film in this series, but I really enjoyed “Furious 7”. It’s a good action film, fast paced, action packed and very entertaining.

Rating: 3,5/ 5

100 Movie Challenge 2016 - # 35: Minions

Director: Kyle Balda, Pierre Coffin
Genre: Animation/ Comedy/ Family
Runtime: 91 minutes
Year: 2015
Starring: Sandra Bullock, Jon Hamm, Michael Keaton, Allison Janney, Steve Coogan, Jennifer Saunders, Geoffrey Rush, Steve Carell, Pierre Coffin

Description: Minions Stuart, Kevin and Bob are recruited by Scarlet Overkill (Sandra Bullock), a super-villain who, alongside her inventor husband Herb (Jon Hamm), hatches a plot to take over the world.

Review: After the successful animation “Despicable Me” it was expected that there was going to be a spin-off/ origin story about the cute little yellow helpers: the minions. And they are capable of carrying their own movie.
In ”Minions” we see that the yellow men have been around for millions of years and they don’t grow older or reproduce. The minions always want to serve the biggest and most evil villain. After a war, they decide to build their own life in a cave. But after many years, they think it’s time to find a new master.
Three of the minions are send out for this mission. The relatively serious Kevin, the stubborn Stuart and the childish Bob. To focus on only three of them it’s easier to follow for kids and because of the three different characters there is a certain group dynamic. The fact that the minions speak an unknown language could be the films handicap, but interesting enough it isn’t. Their tone and body language often say enough for us to understand them. The comedy of the film is of the slapstick kind, for young viewers it’s a hilarious film.
I read several bad reviews for “Minions”, but I think it’s a perfect film for the targeted audience and I enjoyed the animation.

Rating: 3,5/ 5

zondag 13 maart 2016

Movie Trailer Sunday (230)

Here are this weeks trailers.

Middle School: The Worst Years of My Life
Director: Steve Carr
Description: A quiet teenage artist Rafe Katchadorian (Griffin Gluck) has a wild imagination and is sick of middle school and the rules that have been put before him. Rafe and his best friend Leo have come up with a plan; break every rule in the school hand book and as you expect trouble follows.
Starring: Griffin Gluck, Lauren Graham, Rob Riggle
Comment: Looks like a fun movie.

Captain America: Civil War
Director: Anthony Russo, Joe Russo
Description: Political interference in the Avengers' activities causes a rift between former allies Captain America (Chris Evans) and Iron Man (Robert Downey Jr.).
Starring: Chris Evans, RObert Downey Jr., Scarlett Johansson, Elisabeth Olsen, Tom Holland, Sebastian Stan, Marisa Tomei, Anthony Mackie, Don Cheadle, Paul Rudd, Martin Freeman, Emily VanCamp, Chadwick Boseman, Jeremy Renner, Gwyneth Paltrow, Leslie Bibb, Paul Bettany, Daniel Brühl, Frank Grillo, William Hurt
Comment: The final trailer, I'm a bit more excited. And Spidey is in it!!!

A Hologram for the King
Director: Tom Tykwer
Description: A failed American businessman (Tom Hanks) looks to recoup his losses by traveling to Saudi Arabia and selling his idea to a wealthy monarch.
Starring: Tom Hanks, Ben Wishaw, Tom Skerritt
Comment: I'm Always in for some Tom Hanks.

Kubo and the Two Strings
Director: Travis Knight
Description: Kubo lives a quiet, normal life in a small shoreside village until a spirit from the past turns his life upside down by re-igniting an age-old vendetta. This causes all sorts of havoc as gods and monsters chase Kubo who, in order to survive, must locate a magical suit of armor once worn by his late father, a legendary Samurai warrior.
Starring: Charlize Theron, Matthew McConaughey, George Takei, Rooney Mara, Ralph Fiennes, Art Parkinson
Comment: A modern day anime style tale, like it!

Popstar: Never Stop Never Stopping
Director: Akiva Schaffer, Jorma Taccone
Description: When his new album fails to sell records, pop/rap superstar conner4real goes into a major tailspin and watches his celebrity high life begin to collapse. He'll try anything to bounce back, anything except reuniting with his old rap group The Style Boyz.
Starring: Andy Samberg, Sarah Silverman, Imogen Poots, Bill Hader, Joan Cusack, Will Forte, Martin Sheen, Adam Levine, Carrie Underwood, Snoop Dog, Pink
Comment: Meh....

vrijdag 11 maart 2016

100 Movie Challenge 2016 - # 34: Frank

Director: Lenny Abrahamson
Genre: Drama/ Comedy
Runtime: 95 minutes
Year: 2014
Starring: Michael Fassbender, Domhnall Gleeson, Maggie Gyllenhaal, Scoot McNairy, Francois, Civil, Carla Azar, Shane O’Brien, Moira Broker, Paul Butterworth, Phil Kingston, Chris McHalem, Hayley Derryberry, Lauren Poole

Description: Jon (Domhnall Gleeson), a young wanna-be musician, discovers he's bitten off more than he can chew when he joins an eccentric pop band led by the mysterious and enigmatic Frank (Michael Fassbender).

Review: “Frank” is a fictional story loosely based on the alter ego of the cult band and comedy legend Chris Sievey, who transformed into Frank Sidebottom when wearing a giant fake head. In this film Michael Fassbender is the one wearing the head and “Frank” is a hidden gem.
In “Frank” musician Jon accidentally meets an unconventional alternative band. Because of an incident the band is looking for a keyboard player and Jon happens to play it. The lead singer of the band is Frank who, despite of wearing a big fake head hiding his face, is extremely charismatic. When Jon joins them in a remote lodge to record a new album, the situation becomes stranger and stranger.
The movie deals with one important question: what is success and how do you define it? It is different for everyone. Jon’s big dream is to break through as a musician and to reach fame with a big audience. He is looking for appreciation and doesn’t only want compliments from people like Frank. Frank, but mostly the band, doesn’t care about what the crowd thinks. Creativity can’t be taught, you either have talent or you don’t.
Michael Fassbender is great as Frank. With or without the head he gives away a fantastic performance. You feel his enthusiasm and love, but also his powerlessness, panic and pain. Maggie Gyllenhaal, as Clara, also does a good job. She is closest to Frank and hates everything mainstream. Casting Domhnall Gleeson was also a good thing. He doesn’t fit in the group at all. Even though he seems like an average man to us, he is the odd one in the group. He represents how we would probably feel in a group like Frank’s.
Music is off course a big part of “Frank” and the soundtrack is really strong. If you don’t like alternative, experimental and vague music, you might think otherwise. The film has a beautiful and touching ending and you will leave this film satisfied.
“Frank” is a quirky film about self-expression, love for music and friendship. I loved it!

Rating: 4,5/ 5

donderdag 10 maart 2016

TV Review: "Pretty Little Liars" Season 1

Genre: Drama/ Mystery/ Thriller
Year: 2010
Number of episodes: 22
Starring: Lucy Hale, Troian Bellisario, Ashley Benson, Shay Mitchell, Ian Harding, Holly Marie Combs, Chad Lowe, Laura Leighton, Sasha Pieterse, Janel Parrish, Keegan Allen, Torrey DeVitto, Tyler Blackburn, Tammin Sursok, Bryce Johnson

Description: Four friends band together against an anonymous foe who threatens to reveal their darkest secrets, while unraveling the mystery of the murder of their best friend.

Review: I’m a pretty good girl, but everyone likes a little gossip and intrigue now and then. And the people who deny this are liars. Well, “Pretty Little Liars” is the perfect show for teen drama, mystery and lies.
Four friends, who are very different from each other, also have many things in common. One of those things is where this show starts with. The disappearance of their friend Alison. A fun thing about a mysterious show like “Pretty Little Liars” is that I constantly want to reveal the mysteries. But I also don’t, because then it all ends. The show does this well, lots of twists, some predictable some surprising. You really want to find out what happened to Alison.
The story revolves around five friends. Alison DiLaurentis is the one that goes missing in the first episode. A year later, the other four girls are brought together again. Hanna Marin is the friend that wants to be like Alison. When she met Alison, she was a little overweight and very insecure. Because of Alison, Hanna became more self-assured and she also acts more like Alison. Spencer Hastings is the most serious one of the group. She is good with computers, is serious about school and is very intelligent. Spencer’s parents have high expectations of her. Aria Montgomery is keeping a secret for her father, who she caught cheating on her mom. But she also has a secret of her own, when she starts dating her English teacher. Emily Fields (my favorite character this first season) is the caring one in the group, she is a good swimmer and she is also struggling with her sexuality when she meets a new neighbor.
Alison is the pretty girl, that everyone adored. She likes a challenge, but do her friends really know Alison all that well? When the four girls reunite, they start receiving messages from someone called A. Together they try to find out who A is and they also stumble upon many secrets and lies.
The fact that we don’t know who A is and the story keeps revealing new surprising information, makes “Pretty Little Liars” a joy to watch. It’s an exciting show, filled with lies, intrigue and mystery. I can’t wait to start season 2.

Top 5 Thursday: TV Gal Pals

Well, sisters before misters. I have the two best girlfriends in the world, but what about our favorite friends on TV, the best gal pals? Here is my pick, my five favorite TV gal pals.

5. Robin Sherbatsky & Lily Aldrin (“How I Met Your Mother”)
Lily and Robin are both not the mother in the title, but they are still best friends. As fans we have gotten to see their friendship grow. While Lily has been in a long term relationship with Marshall and Robin has had a couple of boyfriends, the two always leaned on each other.
4. Brooke Davis & Peyton Sawyer (“One Tree Hill”)
From the beginning, Brooke and Peyton have been best friends. Brooke is a popular cheerleader and Peyton started out that way too. But there is more to both of them. Both have artistic qualities, Peyton with music and her art and Brooke in fashion. Although very different from each other in how they look at life, both have relied on each other.
3. Jess Day & Cece Parekh (“New Girl”)
Cece and Jess met as children. They always stayed friends, even when they both chose a complete different path in life. Cece and Jess have been through plenty together and they are overprotective over each other. Cece would never let any guy hurt Jess and Jess helps Cece always making her feel great about herself.
2. Meredith Grey & Cristina Yang (“Grey’s Anatomy”)
Meredith and Cristina have been friends since the first episode. They are each other’s ‘person’. This started when Cristina needed to fill out her medical release forms and she put Meredith down as her emergency contact. There are not mushy about their friendship, but they will always be there for each other.
1. Monica Gellar, Rachel Green and Phoebe Buffay (“Friends”)
This is actually a group of six,, but just the girls it’s three. And many people say that three is a bad number in a friendship, but I disagree. I also am part of a group of three and it’s perfect. And Monica, Rachel and Phoebe proof it too. All so different, but understanding towards each other and always there for one another.
They Almost Made the Top 5: Ann Perkins & Leslie Knope (“Parks & Recreation), Penny, Amy & Bernadetta (“The Big Bang Theory”), Aria, Emily, Hanna & Spencer (“Pretty Little Liars”)

100 Movie Challenge 2016 - # 33: Nostalghia

Director: Andrei Tarkovsky
Genre: Drama
Runtime: 125 minutes
Year: 1983
Starring: Oleg Yankovsky, Erland Josephson, Domiziana Giordano

Description: The Russian poet Andrei Gorchakov (Oleg Yankovsky), accompanied by guide and translator Eugenia (Domiziana Giordano), is traveling through Italy researching the life of an 18th-century Russian composer. In an ancient spa town, he meets the lunatic Domenico (Erland Josephson), who years earlier had imprisoned his own family in his house for seven years to save them from the evils of the world. Seeing some deep truth in Domenico's act, Andrei becomes drawn to him. In a series of dreams, the poet's nostalgia for his homeland and his longing for his wife, his ambivalent feelings for Eugenia and Italy, and his sense of kinship with Domenico become intertwined.

Review: “”Nostalghia” is the first Andrei Tarkovsky film I see and this ‘meeting’ was pretty heavy. It’s all pretty vague when this is your first Tarkovsky film. It’s a semi-intellectual and deep film.
There is a certain disconnection between the protagonist and his environment, his questions about life. I found that interesting. The shots in the film are beautiful, misty Italy, rain and the chill atmosphere. The first hour is gripping, but the second hour not so much.
There is a moment in the film where I thought the ending would have been perfect, but Tarkovsky takes us to Rome all of a sudden. Something he shouldn’t have done. The surrealism disappeared. It eventually did have a good ending, but the film is about a half hour too long.
I always want to be open to new things and it often works out well. But “Nostalghia” was a step too far for me at this point. A strong first hour and I can certainly see why people love director Andrei Tarkovsky, I’m just not one of them. Yet.

Rating: 3/ 5

woensdag 9 maart 2016

Movie Battle: Catch Me If You Can Vs. The Departed

This might seem like a random battle, but it has some thought behind it. I looked up Leonardo DiCaprio on Rotten Tomatoes and check which were his two highest rated films. These are the two. I will do this more often, so you can see if I agree with the ranking. But first, let’s fight: “Catch Me If You Can" Vs. "The Departed”

Catch Me If You Can: Leonardo DiCaprio is the lead, as real life conman Frank Abagnale Jr. His father is played by Christopher Walken and Abagnale Jr. is hunted down by frustrated cop Carl Hanraty, portrayed by Tom Hanks. There are also smaller roles for Jennifer Garner, Amy Adams and Martin Sheen.

The Departed: “The Departed” is a film that has an amazing ensemble cast. Matt Damon, Leonardo DiCaprion, Jack Nicholson, Vera Farmiga, Alec Baldwin, Mark Wahlberg, Martin Sheen, Ray Winstone. And they are all fantastic in it.


Catch Me If You Can: It’s a true story and one of those stories that seem unbelievable. It’s such an interesting story that Frank Abagnale Jr. managed to pretend to be a doctor, pilot and lawyer, without any degree, earn money and then get away with it.

The Departed: A story about two cops, one is a mole and one has to find the mole. It’s such a great and interesting story that stays interesting from beginning ‘till end. I only hoped the bad guy would win, that would separate the film from other crime dramas.


Catch Me If You Can: No effects needed. It’s an acting film.

The Departed: The movie did a great job portraying Boston. No real effects needed here either, also an acting film.


Close call, I love both movies. But I will go for “Catch Me If You Can”. More because it’s a more rewatchable film and the ending is better.

dinsdag 8 maart 2016

100 Movie Challenge 2016 - # 32: Sharknado

Director: Anthony C. Ferrante
Genre: Horror
Runtime: 90 minutes
Year: 2013
Starring: Ian Ziering, Tara Reid, John Heard, Cassie Scerbo, Jaason Simmons, Chuck Hittinger, Aubrey Peebles

Description: When a freak hurricane swamps Los Angeles, nature's deadliest killer rules sea, land, and air as thousands of sharks terrorize the waterlogged populace.

Review: When it comes to shark movies, there is only one really good one. The rest is mediocre and mostly very bad. When you see the trailer for “Sharknado”, you know it’s going to be bad. A tornado filled with sharks? But I wanted to see this. And I was surprised…. No, I wasn’t. “Sharknado” is a terrible movie. But it’s one of the best worst movies I’ve ever seen. It’s so bad, it’s hilarious.
The film starts with a deal gone wrong (which isn’t in the movie anymore after this scene, so why is it in here) and sharks attacking a boat. After this, we meet the main characters. And as you can predict, they have no depth, aren’t interesting and are pretty dumb. A big storm floods a city and also brings a lot of dangerous sharks with it. They are everywhere.
There is no rhyme or reason for anything that happens and the complete film is illogical. I can deal with the over-the-top part though. The special effects are very bad. They tried to make the sharks look a bit more real by adding some footage from Shark Week into it, but this is used wrong too. And there are also parts in the movie, that have nothing to do with anything. We don’t care about the family drama!
This is such a bad film, but it is a fun watch. I laughed my ass off!

Rating: 0,5/ 5

zondag 6 maart 2016

Movie Trailer Sunday (229)

Here are this week's trailers.

Louder Than Bombs
Director: Joachim Trier
Description: The fractious family of a father and his two sons confront their different feelings and memories of their deceased wife and mother, a famed war photographer.
Starring: Amy Ryan, Jesse Eisenberg, Gabriel Byrne, David Strathairn, Isabella Huppert
Comment: Not really sure what to expect, but that's makes it interesting.

Finding Dory
Director: Andrew Stanton, Angus MacLane
Description: The friendly-but-forgetful blue tang fish reunites with her loved ones, and everyone learns a few things about the real meaning of family along the way.
Starring: Ellen Degeneres, Albert Brooks, Michael Sheen, Idris Elba, Dominic West, Diane Keaton, Ed O'Neill, Ty Burrell, Eugene Levy
Comment: Can't wait!!!!

Director: Paul Feig
Description: 30 years after Ghostbusters took the world by storm, the beloved franchise makes its long-awaited return. Director Paul Feig brings his fresh take to the supernatural comedy, joined by some of the funniest actors working today.
Starring: Kristen Wiig, Melissa McCarthy, Kate McKinnon, Leslie Jones, Chris Hemsworth, Sigourney Weaver, Bill Murray, Andy Garcia, Elizabeth Perkins, Ernie Hudson, Cecily Strong, Dan Ayrkoyd, Annie Potts
Comment: I was unsure at first, but this trailer made me more excited.

The Adderall Diaries
Director: Pamela Romanowsky
Description: As a writer (James Franco) stymied by past success, writers block, substance abuse, relationship problems and a serious set of father issues, Elliott's cracked-out chronicle of a bizarre murder trial amounts to less than the sum of its parts. Not long into the 2007 trial of programmer Hans Reiser, accused of murdering his wife, the defendant's friend Sean Sturgeon obliquely confessed to several murders (though not the murder of Reiser's wife). Elliott, caught up in the film-ready twist and his tenuous connection to Sturgeon (they share a BDSM social circle), makes a gonzo record of the proceedings. The result is a scattered, self-indulgent romp through the mind of a depressive narcissist obsessed with his insecurities and childhood traumas.
Starring: James Franco, Amber Heard, Ed Harris, Christian Slater, , Cynthia Nixon, Wilmer Valderrama, Timothy Olyphant
Comment: Looks okay.

The Meddler
Director: Lorene Scafaria
Description: An aging widow from New York City (Susan Sarandon) follows her daughter (Rose Byrne) to Los Angeles in hopes of starting a new life after her husband passes away.
Starring: Susan Sarandon, Rose Byrne, J.K. Simmons, Cecily Strong, Jason Ritter, Michael McKean, Casey Wilson, Lucy Punch
Comment: I love this cast!

zaterdag 5 maart 2016

Best & Worst: Bruce Willis

A lot of people don’t consider Bruce Willis a good actor, but I think he has proven many times that he is very good indeed. He is actually one of my favorites, not only in action movies. I enjoy his movies, his performances and he has done some really good movies. Here are my best and worst pick.
His most memorable movie and character! When I think of Bruce Willis and when I have to name one action movie, “Die Hard” is the one. The best he made and my favorite. Probably not the most surprising choice.
Honorable Mentions: “Sin City”, “Die Hard with a Vengeance”, “Moonrise Kingdom”, “The Sixth Sense”, “Unbreakable”, “Pulp Fiction”, “Twelve Monkeys”, “The Fifth Element”, “Looper”
The one that made him famous was “Die Hard, but this fifth instalment was what killed the franchise. This movie is so bad, John McClane doesn’t even get into a fight here. It’s terrible! And the bad guy is tap dancing while eating a carrot. Well….. It sucks.
Dishonorable Mentions: "Hudson Hawk", "Charlie Angels: Full Throttle", "Color of Night", "Mortal Thoughts"

vrijdag 4 maart 2016

100 Movie Challenge 2016 - # 31: This is Where I Leave You

Director: Shawn Levy
Genre: Drama/ Comedy
Runtime: 103 minutes
Year: 2014
Starring: Jason Bateman, Tina Fey, Jane Fonda, Adam Driver, Corey Stoll, Dax Shepard, Connie Britton, Timothy Olyphant, Rose Byrne, Katherine Hahn, Abigail Spencer, Debra Monk

Description: When their father passes away, four grown siblings are forced to return to their childhood home and live under the same roof together for a week, along with their over-sharing mother and an assortment of spouses, exes and might-have-beens.

Review: In “This is Where I Leave You” we follow a family that comes together after the father of the family died. There are a lot of unsolved issues, frictions and relationship problems and this doesn’t make the mourning process any easier.
After Judd finds his wife in bed with his boss, he gets a call from his sister Wendy, that their father passed away. His father wants to be buried within the Jewish tradition and this means they have a ‘sitting Shiva’. Here people will visit them for an entire week, to give them their condolences. Which also means that the family has to be together the entire time.
The family is a party of five: Judd, sister Wendy, oldest brother Paul, youngest brother Philip and mother Hilary. Judd is trying to deal with his upcoming divorce and he also bumps into a woman he used to like. Wendy is married with two children, but her husband is a work-aholic and she is secretly still in love with her first love Horry, who she was in an accident with. Paul and his wife Annie are desperately trying to have a child, but nothing has worked so far. Philip, who just brought home his new girlfriend Tracey who is much older, never really grew up. Mother Hilary has to deal with all her children, while also saying her final goodbyes to her husband.
The movie is a mix of drama and comedy, but the focus is more on the drama. Although that’s very light. There are subtle jokes and especially the dysfunctionality of the family is funny. All the characters are really interesting to get to know.
The cast is really good. Jason Bateman plays a role he has played before, but he is likeable and proofs he can carry a movie. Tina Fey is also strong in a more serious role then we are used to from her. Adam Driver is solid and Jane Fonda is delightful as the mother, who sometimes overshares information that as a kid you wouldn’t be very happy with.
“This is Where I Leave You” is an excellent film about a family with problems. Dysfunctional families somehow always interest me, it reminds me of how great mine is.

Rating: 4,5/ 5

donderdag 3 maart 2016

Top 5 Thursday: Movies I Watched for My Challenge (February 2016)

I have to say, I didn’t see a lot of new movies this month. But I did see some movie that have a chance of ending up on my end year’s list for this challenge or best films of 2016. Here are the five best movies I watched in February for my challenge.

5. Robin Hood
I’ve always been fascinated by the character of Robin Hood and there are so many different versions of this old story. Off course the Kevin Costner version, which holds a special place in my heart. But Disney’s take on the hero is amazing! I loved “Robin Hood”.
4. Deadpool
It was way funnier than I initially thought it would be and Ryan Reynolds is great in “Deadpool”. I love the self-mockery. It’s a nice variety in the superhero movie universe, it separates itself from the other films in the genre.
3. Galaxy Quest
I’m so glad I finally got to see “Galaxy Quest”. It was so funny! And I loved Alan Rickman in this film. Such a different role for him, yet so perfect.
2. The Revenant
Amazing movie. I wanted to see this movie for a long time and it didn’t disappoint. Fantastic cinematography and great acting.
1. Spotlight
This movie amazed me, shocked me, interested me, grabbed me, gave me chills, captivated me. It did all that! And Michael Keaton, Mark Ruffalo and Rachel McAdams are very good in it too.
They Almost Made the Top 5: Grizzly Man, Interstellar, The Age of Adaline

100 Movie Challenge 2016 - # 30: Malcolm X

Director: Spike Lee
Genre: Drama
Runtime: 202 minutes
Year: 1992
Starring: Denzel Washington, Angela Bassett, Albert Hall, Al Freeman Jr., Spike Lee, Delroy Linda, Kate Vernon, Lonette McKee, Tommy Hollis, James McDaniel, Ernest Thomas, Jean-Claude La Marre, Theresa Randle, O.L. Due, Larry McCoy

Description: Biographical epic of the controversial and influential Black Nationalist leader (Denzel Washington), from his early life and career as a small-time gangster, to his ministry as a member of the Nation of Islam.

Review: “Malcolm X” is an impressive film, that tells the story of an extraordinary American. Malcolm X was, like Martin Luther King, a fighter for equal rights for African Americans. The difference was that Martin Luther King did this together with the white people, he didn’t want to use any violence. Malcolm X didn’t deny he would use violence if necessary. It’s clear director Spike Lee was an admirer of Malcolm X.
Spike Lee has made films about the position of the African American in the US before. Best known is “Do the Right Thing” from 1989. In “Malcolm X’’ he shows us again, but this time it’s a biography.
Denzel Washington is very convincing as Malcolm X. He is the star of the film and has no trouble carrying this movie. The length of the movie is a problem though. It’s over 3 hours long and that is way too long for a film with only dialogue and no action.
Today, “Malcolm X” is still relevant and topical. A very strong biopic.

Rating: 4/ 5