vrijdag 23 juni 2017

100 Movie Challenge 2017 - # 80: A Cure For Welness

Director: Gore Verbinski
Genre: Drama/ Thriller
Runtime: 146 minutes
Year: 2016
Starring: Dane DeHaan, Jason Isaacs, Mia Goth, Celia Imrie

Description: An ambitious young executive (Dane DeHaan) is sent to retrieve his company's CEO from an idyllic but mysterious "wellness center" at a remote location in the Swiss Alps, but soon suspects that the spa's treatments are not what they seem.

Review: “A Cure For Wellness” is one of my most anticipated movies for 2017 (Dutch release) and it didn’t disappoint. It’s a visually interesting mystery thriller.
In “A Cure For Wellness”, the ambitious stockbroker Lockhart travels to a spa in Switzerland, to retrieve the CEO of the company he works for. The task to bring Pembroke back isn’t that easy though. Not only does the clinic seem mysterious and suspicious, the treatment by doctor Volmer sounds strange too. When Lockhart gets into an accident, he ends up in the clinic himself and he starts to discover the mystery behind the clinic.
The movie is visually stunning. Lots of great camera work and beautiful images. The story is interesting and captivating. But also scary and disturbing at times.
The film got mixed reviews, but I loved “A Cure For Wellness”. It’s a bit odd, makes bold choices and is risky. It’s definitely not for everyone. Especially not for the weak stomach. But I love how this film dares to be different and takes risks. It works. The movie is original and keeps you in the dark for a long time. This can frustrate you, but I liked that. It isn’t until almost at the end, that you see what is really going on in that clinic.
I seriously don’t understand why people hate this film.

Rating: 5/ 5

donderdag 22 juni 2017

100 Movie Challenge 2017 - # 79: Straw Dogs

Director: Sam Peckinpah
Genre: Drama/ Crime/ Thriller
Runtime: 118 minutes
Year: 1971
Starring: Dustin Hoffman, Susan George, Peter Vaughan, T.P. McKenna, Del Henney, Ken Hutchison, Jim Norton, Donald Webster, Len Jones, Sally Thomsett, Robert Keegan, Peter Arne, Cherina Schaer, Colin Welland, June Brown, Chloe Franks, Michael Mundell, David Warner

Description: A young American (Dustin Hoffman) and his English wife (Susan George) come to rural England and face increasingly vicious local harassment.

Review: The somewhat nerdy David Sumner and his English wife Amy have had it with all the violence in America. They move to Cornwall, the town Amy grew up in. The Sumner don’t really blend it, the people around don’t like them entering their close community. David because he is an American, but also because he is a bit eccentric. And Amy is seen as a lust object. Soon they are the victims of harassment.
“Straw Dogs” was a very controversial film whe it came out in 1972. Reason was off course the rape scene. Nowadays, this scene wouldn’t be as shocking.
The film takes some time to become interesting. Dustin Hoffman manages to lift the acting a bit, but the rest of the cast is a bit bland. I was a bit disappointed by this film, I expected so much more. There doesn’t really happen a lot, to be honest.
“Straw Dogs” offers an interesting story and there are moments that kept me captivated. But overall it’s not the movie I expected to get.

Rating: 3,5/ 5

100 Movie Challenge 2017 - # 78: Wonder Woman

Director: Patty Jenkins
Genre: Action/ Adventure/ Fantasy/ Science Fiction
Runtime: 133 minutes
Year: 2017
Starring: Gal Gadot, Chris Pine, Connie Nielsen, Robin Wright, Danny Huston, David Thewlis, Ewen Bremner, Lucy Davis

Description: Before she was Wonder Woman she was Diana (Gal Gadot), princess of the Amazons, trained warrior. When a pilot (Chris Pine) crashes and tells of conflict in the outside world, she leaves home to fight a war to end all wars, discovering her full powers and true destiny.

Review: DC isn’t doing as well as Marvel at the moment. “Batman V Superman” and “Suicide Squad” both disappointed, and “Man of Steel” got mixed reviews. Well, leave up to the women, because “Wonder Woman” is an amazing film. Director Patty Jenkins didn’t have an easy task, but she did a fantastic job.
The biggest strength of “Wonder Woman” is portraying believable, human heroes in an extravagant world.
Gal Gadot has a lot of room to develop Diana Prince. She grows up as a strong woman, wanting to fight for justice. A bit naïve she goes into the world to end World War I. Gadot is very charismatic, gorgeous and impressive in her role as Diana Prince. Chris Pine is her love interest and the two have amazing chemistry. The dialogues between the two are great and the romantic elements are kept to a minimal. And the humor is subtle.
The film is action packed, but it’s the right amount of action we get. There is only violence when it really matters. There is more room for character development. But whenever there is an action sequence, it impresses. Sometimes you see Zack Snyder’s influence, especially in those slow-motion moments.
Did I like “Wonder Woman”? No. I loved it. I always love watching strong female characters come to life on the big screen, it just happens that this one is also physically strong. And that a film like this is directed by a woman is also something that makes me happy. “Wonder Woman” is what DC needed right now and what I needed.

Rating: 4,5/ 5

100 Movie Challenge 2017 - # 77: Die Blechtrommel

Director: Volker Schlöndorff
Genre: Drama
Runtime: 150 minutes
Year: 1979
Starring: David Bennent, Mario Adorf, Angela Winkler, Daniel Olbrychski, Katharina Thalbach, Berta Drews, Charles Aznavour, Tina Engel, Roland Teubner, Tadeusz Kunikowski, Andréa Ferréol, Heinz Bennent, Ilse Pagé, Werner Rehm, Käte Jaenicke, Helmut Brasch

Description: Danzig in the 1920s/1930s. Oskar Matzerath, son of a local dealer, is a most unusual boy. Equipped with full intellect right from his birth he decides at his third birthday not to grow up as he sees the crazy world around him at the eve of World War II. So he refuses the society and his tin drum symbolizes his protest against the middle-class mentality of his family and neighborhood, which stand for all passive people in Nazi Germany at that time. However, (almost) nobody listens to him, so the catastrophe goes on...

Review: “Die Blechtrommel” is an adaptation of the novel by Günter Grass. The film follows the life of Oskar Matzerath. Born in the late 20s in Danzig and he had an adult intelligence. When Oscar is three and the national socialist decide to take over under the leadership of Hitler, Oscar decides to stop growing and stay a child. This is also the age when he gets his tin drum (blechtrommel in German).
The film is filled with symbolism. The sub theme is de rise of the national socialism in Germany. according to the writer, Oskar is the personification of the infantile German society in the early thirties. His drumming symbolizes the protest against the passive attitude the German citizens had.
The story is bizarre yet humoristic. Just like the characters. The theme might be heavy, but the film isn’t. “Die Blechtrommel” is not a film for everyone.

Rating: 3,5/ 5

maandag 19 juni 2017

100 Movie Challenge 2017 - # 76: Annie Hall

Director: Woody Allen
Genre: Comedy/ Romance
Runtime: 93 minutes
Year: 1977
Starring: Woody Allen, Diane Keaton, Tony Roberts, Carol Kane, Paul Simon, Christopher Walken

Description: Neurotic New York comedian Alvy Singer (Woody Allen) falls in love with the ditzy Annie Hall (Diane Keaton).

Review: At first sight “Annie Hall” is just another romantic comedy. But if you look closely you can see that this film inspired a lot of films.
Woody Allen has a gift for observing and analyzing people and in his big break through film it’s fully exposed. And the day to day relationships aren’t dated in this film, because not a lot has changed through the years. It’s still relevant.
Woody Allen is a master in telling a story in an original way, without thinking out of the box too much.
Alvy Singer is one of the best characters I have seen in a long time. And the reason he spoke to me this much is because it was like watching myself. I’m Alvy Singer’s long lost sister. Neurotic, humoristic, overthinking ever day situations, being annoyed by people who talk to loud, not very comfortable in a car.
“Annie Hall” is an absolute gem, I love this movie and I can honestly say this is one of the best romantic comedies ever made.

Rating: 5/ 5

100 Movie Challenge 2017 - # 75: Mr. Nobody

Director: Jaco van Dormael
Genre: Drama/ Romance/ Fantasy/ Science Fiction
Runtime: 138 minutes
Year: 2009
Starring: Jared Leto, Diane Kruger, Sarah Polley, Rhys Ifans, Juno Temple

Description: A boy stands on a station platform as a train is about to leave. Should he go with his mother or stay with his father? Infinite possibilities arise from this decision. As long as he doesn't choose, anything is possible.

Review: What if you made a different decision? Your life would be different right now. With every choice you make, and alternative is lost. So if you count all the choices you have made in your life, your could have had a thousand different lives. “Mr. Nobody” uses this concept. A 120 year old man looks back at all those lives he could have lived. How different the lives are, they all end in death and all you need is love.
The result is a big mish mash of scenes, which switches constantly in timelines. It’s an intelligent film, with an original and promising concept. But it’s also a big mess and the film takes forever. I can see where the director wanted to go with this, but it’s all over the place.
It’s not the actors, the performances are good. And I do like the idea and the risk that was taken to make this film. But it’s not coherent and it never grabbed me.

Rating: 2,5/ 5

zondag 11 juni 2017

Movie Trailer Sunday (296)

Here are this week's trailers.

American Made
Director: Doug Liman
Description: A pilot (Tom Cruise) lands work for the CIA and as a drug runner in the south during the 1980s.
Starring: Tom Cruise, Caleb Landry Jones, Jesse Plemons, Sarah Wright, Domhnall Gleeson, Jayma Mays
Trailer: Trailer "American Made"
Comment: I still have a weakness for Cruise..

The Book of Henry
Director: Colin Trevorrow
Description: Sometimes things are not always what they seem, especially in the small suburban town where the Carpenter family lives. Single suburban mother Susan Carpenter (Naomi Watts_ works as a waitress at a diner, alongside feisty family friend Sheila (Sarah Silverman). Her younger son Peter (Jacob Tremblay)is a playful 8-year-old. Taking care of everyone and everything in his own unique way is Susan's older son Henry (Jaeden Lieberher), age 11. Protector to his adoring younger brother and tireless supporter of his often self-doubting mother - and, through investments, of the family as a whole - Henry blazes through the days like a comet. Susan discovers that the family next door, which includes Henry's kind classmate Christina, has a dangerous secret - and that Henry has devised a surprising plan to help. As his brainstormed rescue plan for Christina takes shape in thrilling ways, Susan finds herself at the center of it.
Starring: Naomi Watts, Dean Norris, Lee Pace, Sarah Silverman, Jacob Tremblay, Jaeden Lieberher
Trailer: Trailer "The Book of Henry"
Comment: This looks really good. Can't wait to see Naomi Watts in this.

Megan Leavey
Director: Gabriela Cowperthwaite
Description: Based on the true life story of a young Marine corporal whose unique discipline and bond with her military combat dog saved many lives during their deployment in Iraq.
Starring: Kate Mara, Tom Felton, Bradley Whitford, Geralindine James, Common, Edie Falco, Will Patton
Trailer: Trailer "Megan Leavey"
Comment: I Always like dog stories. Tissues someone?

Coco
Director: Lee Unkrich, Adrian molina
Description: Coco follows a 12-year-old boy named Miguel who sets off a chain of events relating to a century-old mystery, leading to an extraordinary family reunion.
Starring: Gael García Bernal, Benjamin Bratt
Trailer: Trailer "Coco"
Comment: Disney Always gets it right, so I'm convident about "Coco".

First Kill
Director: Steven C. Miller
Description: A Wall Street broker (Hayden Christensen) is forced to evade a police chief (Bruce Willis) investigating a bank robbery as he attempts to recover the stolen money in exchange for his son's life.
Starring: Bruce Willis, Hayden Christensen
Trailer: Trailer "First Kill"
Comment: Hey, Hayden Christensen is back. I don't know if that's a good thing though...

donderdag 8 juni 2017

Top 5 Thursday: Kick-Ass Female Characters of the "Star Wars" Franchise

We still have to wait until the end of 2017 for a new “Star Wars” film and everyone is always focusing on the male characters of the films. I decided to list my favorite female characters of the franchise, because they matter just as much.

5. Padmé Amidala
Although the prequels are universally hated by many, there is one bright spot: The mother of Darth Vader’s kids, Padmé Amidala. Be honest, without her we wouldn’t have Luke or Leia.


4. Maz Kanata
She may have had only a minor role in “The Force Awakens”, but with her sharp tongue she left an unforgettable impression. Even on a hero like Han Solo. And she is also something to trust, because she was trusted to keep Luke Skywalker’s light saber safe.


3. Jyn Erso
Jyn isn’t a damsel in distress nor is she a great jedi. She is a rebel with a job to do. And nothing is going to stop her from doing it. Jyn is not afraid to fight dirty, hides her emotions and is willing to make the ultimate sacrifice for the sake of hope alone.


2. Leia Organa
Leia is probably one of cinema’s most iconic characters ever to be created. A princess that fights her own battles.


1. Rey
Every new story needs a hero. And for this trilogy we get ours in the form of Rey. A scavenger from a desert planet. She eventually accepts the force within, while at first against the fate laid out before her.


They Almost Made the Top 5: -

100 Movie Challenge 2017 - # 74: An American Crime

Director: Tommy O’Haver
Genre: Crime/ Drama
Runtime: 98 minutes
Year: 2007
Starring: Catherine Keener, Ellen Page, Ari Graynor, James Franco, Evan Peters, Bradley Whitford

Description: The true story of suburban housewife Gertrude Baniszewski (Catherine Keener), who kept a teenage girl (Ellen Page) locked in the basement of her Indiana home during the 1960s.

Review: The call it the most horrible crime ever committed in Indiana. In 1965, Sylvia Likens’ dead body was found in the house of Getrude Baniszewski. Baniszewski was suffering from a depression and she molested and starved Sylvia. And with that, she also convinced her own kids and other neighborhood kids, to hurt Sylvia as well. During the trial, Baniszewski claimed that she wasn’t responsible for anything that happened to Sylvia. Luckily the jury didn’t buy that and she was sentenced for life.
Director Tommy O’Haver took the transcripts from the court case and used it as an inspiration for this film. Sylvia and her sister Jenny are the daughters of carnival travelers. When they have to take another trip, they decide to leave their kids with Getrude Baniszewski. She is a mother of seven and she could use the money. The oldest daughter, Paula, tells Sylvia a secret. Because Paula is afraid that her mother will find out, she tells a lie. Sylvia has to pay for this and she is beaten and starved and put in the basement.
The movie switches between the court room and the flashbacks of the happenings. Towards the end, we get a ‘surprise twist’, which wasn’t necessary. Because we all know the ending already.
The film is strong because of the performances by Catherine Keener and Ellen Page, but also Ari Graynor and Bradley Whitford. We don’t find out about the why and how of the terrible act. Especially why so many good children decide to also hurt Sylvia. As a viewer we don’t get an answer to that question.
Tommy O’Haver managed to tell Sylvia Likens story pretty well, although the film supports on the performances by two great actresses. The film is not explicit and horrific enough to be a horror film and it misses depth to be an intelligent thriller. But the fact that this is a true story, will give the viewer a slap in the face.

Rating: 3/ 5

maandag 5 juni 2017

100 Movie Challenge 2017 - # 73: Horns

Director: Alexander Aja
Genre: Thriller/ Horror/ Fantasy/ Drama
Runtime: 120 minutes
Year: 2013
Starring: Daniel Radcliffe, Max Minghella, Juno Temple, Kelli Garner, James Remar, Kathleen Quinlan, Heather Graham, David Morse

Description: In the aftermath of his girlfriend's (Juno Temple) mysterious death, a young man (Daniel Radcliffe) awakens to find strange horns sprouting from his temples.

Review: He’s come a long way since Harry Potter. Daniel Radcliffe has done some more controversial stuff after his iconic role. He appeard naked on West End, portrayed a homosexual poet and now this devilish film called “Horns”.
After his girlfriend Merrin is murdered, Iggy’s life turns into a nightmare. He is suspect number one, but there are also two horns growing on his forehead. Not only is it very unpractical, but it brings something else. People decide to share their deepest and darkest secrest with him. This gives some dark humoristic moments. But also secrets from his family he didn’t want to know about. But Iggy’s new ‘gift’ is also the perfect tool to find Merrin’s killer.
The film is very original and offers lots of opportunities to be interesting. And it is. But director Alexander Aja didn’t choose, whether “Horns” is a dark comedy or a drama. There are many examples where both genres worked perfectly together, but for “Horns” it’s an obvious two way street. It’s hard to define it.
“Horns” is still interesting enough to finish and very original. And it’s great to see Radcliffe in a role like this too.

Rating: 3/ 5

100 Movie Challenge 2017 - # 72: Sneekweek

Director: Martijn Heijne
Genre: Thriller/ Horror
Runtime: 110 minutes
Year: 2016
Starring: Carolien Spoor, Jelle de Jong, Jord Knotter, Holly Brood, Yootha Won-Loi-Sing, Sanne Langelaar, Marly van der Velden, Frank Lammers, David Lucieer, Diederik Ebbinge, Ferry Doedens, Kimberly Klaver, Marie-Louise Stheins

Description: Six friends go to party for a week during the "Sneekweek". But they are haunted by a secret from their past. Review: When horny teens end up on a remote location, you know that it will not end well. Especially not when the group carries a dark secret.
A group of students is in the middle of a hazing ritual. One of the boys dies and the group decides to cover it up. Two years later the group is going on a vacation, where they are celebrating Sneekweek, which is the Dutch answer to Spring Break. But their dark secret is about to be revealed when someone is out for revenge.
You know the plot? It’s basically “I Know What You Did Last Summer”, but then in Dutch. Is it as bad as the American film? No, it’s worse! The characters are all terrible, you don’t really care what happens to them. And you even find sympathy with the killer, because they are so awful and the killer has all the reason to be angry with them. Okay, murdering them is a bit harsh, but you know wat I mean.
“Sneekweek” is filled with horny, irrational and dumb teens. There is literally not one sensible teen among them. Maybe Merel a bit, but even she is stupid. For having all those idiots for friends for instance.
It’s obvious the makers of “Sneekweek” got inspiration from “Scream”, “I Know What You Did Last Summer” and Friday the 13th”, but I hope this isn’t a tribute. “Sneekweek” is definitely not a classic.

Rating: 1,5/ 5

100 Movie Challenge 2017 - # 71: Short Cuts

Director: Robert Altman
Genre: Drama
Runtime: 187 minutes
Year: 1993
Starring: Andie MacDowell, Bruce Davison, Jack Lemon, Julianne Moore, Matthew Modine, Fred Ward, Jennifer Jason Leigh, Chris Penn, Tim Robbins, Lili Taylor, Robert Downey Jr., Madeleine Stowe, Lily Tomlin, Frances McDormand, Tom Waits, Lyle Lovett, Lori Singer, Anne Archer

Description: The day-to-day lives of a number of suburban Los Angeles residents.

Review: I always like films with multiple storylines. So I was excited to finally see ‘Short Cuts”, where we follow a bunch of Los Angeles suburban residents.
Suburban life in “Short Cuts” is anything but ordinary and perfect: adultery, suicide, loveless marriages, alcoholism. Long live the nineties.
The storylines are all basically about relationships stuck in their day to day life. The storylines wouldn’t be interesting on their own, together they work a bit better. But still not so much to keep me interested for the entire runtime. Because that for me is the biggest problem. The film is 187 minutes long, way too long for a film like this.
I get why people might like this film, but I’m not a big fan of the film. I found it pretty mediocre, not compelling, it just didn’t interest me. Later movies with themes like this, like “American Beauty” and “Magnolia” are much better.

Rating: 2,5/ 5

zondag 4 juni 2017

Movie Trailer Sunday (295)

Here are this week's trailers.

Paddington 2
Director: Paul King
Description: Paddington, now happily settled with the Brown family and a popular member of the local community, picks up a series of odd jobs to buy the perfect present for his Aunt Lucy's 100th birthday, only for the gift to be stolen.
Starring: Hugh Bonneville, Sally Hawkins, Ben Wishaw, Brendan Gleeson, Jim Broadbent, Hugh Grant, Julie Walters, Imelda Staunton, Ben Miller, Peter Capaldi
Trailer: Trailer "Paddington 2"
Comment: Cutest bear ever!

Victoria and Abdul
Director: Stephen Frears
Description: Queen Victoria strikes up an unlikely friendship with a young Indian clerk named Abdul Karim.
Starring: Judi Dench, Olivia Williams, Eddie Izzard, Michael Gambon, Ali Fazal
Trailer: Trailer "Victoria and Abdul"
Comment: What a great story!

The Mountain Between Us
Director: Hany Abu-Asad
Description: Stranded after a tragic plane crash, two strangers (Idris Elba, Kate Winslet) must forge a connection to survive the extreme elements of a remote snow covered mountain. When they realize help is not coming, they embark on a perilous journey across the wilderness.
Starring: Idris Elba, Kate Winslet, Beau Bridges, Dermot Mulroney
Trailer: Trailer "The Mountain Between Us"
Comment: I love Idris Elba, can't wait to see this.

The Hitman's Bodyguard
Director: Patrick Hughes
Description: The world's top bodyguard (Ryan Reynolds) gets a new client (Samuel L. Jackson), a hit man who must testify at the International Court of Justice. They must put their differences aside and work together to make it to the trial on time.
Starring: Ryan Reynolds, Samuel L. Jackson
Trailer: Trailer "The Hitman's Boduguard"
Comment: I hope it's as hilarious as it looks!

Murder On the Oriënt Express
Director: Kenneth Branagh
Description: A lavish train ride unfolds into a stylish & suspenseful mystery. From the novel by Agatha Christie, Murder on the Orient Express tells of thirteen stranded strangers & one man's race to solve the puzzle before the murderer strikes again.
Starring: Johnny Depp, Michelle Pfeifer, Josh Gad, Daisy Ridley, Willem Dafoe, Kenneth Branagh, Penélope Cruz, Judi Dench, Olivia Colman
Trailer: Trailer "Murder On the Oriënt Express"
Comment: Can't wait to see this. I love Agatha Christie murder mysteries!!!

zaterdag 3 juni 2017

100 Movie Challenge 2017 - # 70: Split

Director: M. Night Shyamalan
Genre: Horror/ Thriller
Runtime: 117 minutes
Year: 2016
Starring: James McAvoy, Anya Taylor-Joy, Haley Lu Richardson, Betty Buckley, Neal Huff, Jessica Sula

Description: Three girls are kidnapped by a man (James McAvoy) with a diagnosed 23 distinct personalities. They must try to escape before the apparent emergence of a frightful new 24th.

Review: The story of “Split” is simple: Kevin suffers from dissociative identity disorder, or split personality. One of these personalities finds darks reason to kidnap three teenage girls.
M. Night Shyamalan will never make a movie that won’t be compared with his biggest success “The Sixth Sense”. He made really good films after that, being “Unbreakable” and “Signs” and I even appreciate “The Village”. And when he gets it right, you can see what a great director Shyamalan really is. With some mishaps, he didn’t give up and now he’s here with “Split”. Is this a film that we can put on his ‘good’ list? Yes!
James McAvoy is a great actor, one of my favorites. And man does he show that here. It’s amazing how he can go from one character and emotion to another in a heartbeat, with a seamless transition. He changes his way of speaking, facial expression, posture. Fascinating!
M. Night Shyamalan always assumes that people will go along for the ride, when he decides to all of a sudden add supernatural elements to the film. And for the first time in a long time, he manages to succeed again. It’s not only to thank the great script, but also his leading actor.
I’m glad M. Night Shyamalan is back with a good film, I’m also glad for him. I think he got a lot of negative response after some of his films, but he doesn’t deserve that. Because I believe he is an amazing storyteller and director. “Split” is a really good film, with that twist right before the credits start rolling. Very clever!

Rating: 4/ 5

vrijdag 2 juni 2017

100 Movie Challenge 2017 - # 69: El Faro de las Orcas

Director: Gerardo Olivaris
Genre: Drama
Runtime: 110 minutes
Year: 2016
Starring: Maribel Verdú, Joaquín Furriel, Joaquín Rapalini
Description: A mother with an autistic child travel from Spain to Argentina looking to help her son to connect with his emotions.

Review: Beto lives in Argentina, alone in a remote house nearby the lighthouse. He lives for the ocean and especially for the orcas that live in it. He swims with them and meets them at the shore. He is closely watched, because he isn’t allowed to do this. He is approached by Lola, who wants Beto’s help. Her son Tristan is autistic and she thinks that contact with the whales will help him.
This movie is on Netflix and I accidentally stumbled upon this gem. Killer whales are my favorite animals, they fascinate me because of their beauty and their incredible intelligence. Although they can be very cruel animals, these whales take my breath away. I understand Beto, I wouldn’t mind living his life.
The story is touching and emotional. The moments with Beto and the whales or Beto and Tristan are the most beautiful. All the in between scenes don’t mesmerize, I wished there were more moments with the orcas.
If you have Netflix, please check “El Faro de las Orcas”, it’s really beautiful.

Rating: 4/ 5

donderdag 1 juni 2017

Top 5 Thursday: Movies I Watched For My Challenge (May 2017)

It wasn’t a very good month for new films. So I had to take some mediocre film for my top 5 as well. Here is my top 5 for the month of May.

5. Loft
Better than the Dutch version, but still not amazing. It’s a solid thriller and it has a somewhat surprising ending.


4. Bright Star
Sometimes it drags, but the theme is interesting and it looks really beautiful.


3. Cold in July
The start of the film is amazing. Promising. It eventually turned into a more average crime film, but still a really good movie.


2. The Zookeeper’s Wife
A touching story, it grabs you. Jessics Chastain is amazing in “The Zookeeper’s Wife”. Really beautifully made with Chastain as the big star carrying the film.


1. Alien: Covenant
A very good sci-fi film, better than “Prometheus” and a great build up to the original franchise.


They Almost Made the Top 5: -

woensdag 31 mei 2017

100 Movie Challenge 2017 - # 68: Happiness

Director: Tod Solondz
Genre: Drama
Runtime: 134 minutes
Year: 1998
Starring: Jane Adams, Dylan Baker, Philip Seymour Hoffman, Jon Lovitz, Jared Harris, Lara Flynn Boyle, Molly Shannon

Description: The lives of several individuals intertwine as they go about their lives in their own unique ways, engaging in acts society as a whole might find disturbing in a desperate search for human connection.

Review: Looking for a film about happy families, happy relationships and happy people. Then “Happiness” is not your movie. It’s a very misleading title. The people in this movie are anything but happy and happiness is not present.
We follow several people. Like Joy Jordan, who claims to be very happy but isn’t everything but that. She is super nice, but is humiliated and broken over and over again. Her sister Trish thinks she has it all, but she doesn’t know that her husband jerks off to teen magazines and likes young boys. And he openly discusses sex with their young son. And then there is Alan, a lonely single man, who calls random women and talks dirty to them.
I guess “Happiness” isn’t for me.

Rating: 2/ 5

zondag 28 mei 2017

Movie Trailer Sunday (294)

Here are this wee'k's trailers.

From the Land of the Moon Director: Nicola Garcia
Description: In 1950s France, Gabrielle (Marion Cotillard) is a passionate, free-spirited woman who is in a loveless marriage and falls for another man when she is sent away to the Alps to treat her kidney stones. Gabrielle yearns to free herself and run away with André.
Starring: Marion Cotillard, Louis Garrel, Alex Brendemühl
Trailer: Trailer "From the Land of the Moon"
Comment: I love Marion Cotillard, she is Always fantastic in these smaller films.

Wonder Director: Stephen Chbosky
Description: Based on the New York Times bestseller, WONDER tells the incredibly inspiring and heartwarming story of August Pullman (Jacob Tremblay), a boy with facial differences who enters fifth grade, attending a mainstream elementary school for the first time.
Starring: Owen Wilson, Julia Roberts, Jacob Tremblay, Mandy Patinkin
Trailer: Trailer "Wonder"
Comment: I hope this isn't a cheesy movie.

Wind River Director: Taylor Sheridan
Description: An FBI agent (Elizabeth Olsen) teams with the town's veteran game tracker (Jeremy Renner) to investigate a murder that occurred on a Native American reservation.
Starring: Jeremy Renner, Elizabeth Olsen, Jon Bernthal, Graham Greene
Trailer: Trailer "Wind River"
Comment: It reminds me of "Thunderheart", but then in the snow.

War Machine Director: David Michôd
Description: An absurdist war story for our times, writer-director David Michôd (Animal Kingdom) recreates a U.S. General's roller-coaster rise and fall as part reality, part savage parody - raising the specter of just where the line between them lies today. His is an exploration of a born leader's ultra-confident march right into the dark heart of folly. At the story's core is Brad Pitt's sly take on a successful, charismatic four-star general who leapt in like a rock star to command NATO forces in Afghanistan, only to be taken down by a journalist's no-holds-barred exposé.
Starring: Brad Pitt, ANthony Michael Hall, Anthony Hayes, Alan Ruck, Will Poulter, Ben Kingsley, Topher Grace, Tilda Swinton, RJ Cyler, Scoot McNairy,
Trailer: Trailer "War Machine"
Comment: I love that this is coming to Netflix. Going to find this very funny, I think!

Spider-Man: Homecoming Director:
Description: Following the events of Captain America: Civil War (2016), Peter Parker attempts to balance his life in high school with his career as the web-slinging superhero Spider-Man.
Starring: Tom Holland, Robert Downey Jr., Marisa Tomei, Chris Evans, Martin Starr, Michael Keaton, Donald Glover, Angourie Rice, Jon Favreau
Trailer: Trailer "Spider-Man: Homecoming"
Comment: Why is Tony Stark's image bigger than Peter Parker's on the movie poster?

woensdag 24 mei 2017

100 Movie Challenge 2017 - # 67: Alien: Covenant

Director: Ridley Scott
Genre: Horror/ Science Fiction/ Thriller
Runtime: 122 minutes
Year: 2017
Starring: Michael Fassbender, Katherine Waterston, Billy Crudup, Danny McBride, James Franco

Description: The crew of a colony ship, bound for a remote planet, discover an uncharted paradise with a threat beyond their imagination, and must attempt a harrowing escape.

Review: After a pause of 20 years and a prequel, it’s finally here: a new Alien film. It’s a sequel to “Prometheus” and a prequel to “Alien”. “Prometheus” got mixed reviews, but director Ridley Scott manages to make up for that with “Alien: Covenant”. The spaceship Covenant is on a colonial mission. They are traveling to another planet to start a new civilization there. They have some hiccups, where several people on board die. When they discover another planet, which is closer by, they decide to check it out. Off course, that’s a bad decision.
The film looks amazing, but that’s not a surprise. The film is scary and bloody, but because most of the film is set outside or in larger areas, it doesn’t give you that claustrophobic feel. Only when they are in the spacecraft. We get Xenomorphs and the so called Facehuggers, but also Neomorphs. This is a smaller albino alien, which are just as dangerous as the other two.
The cast is not always convincing. The one that shine are Katherine Waterston, Danny McBride and Michael Fassbender. The last one even has a double role. The rest of the cast is forgettable and their characters never get any depth.
The twist at the end wasn’t as surprising, but I liked the ending anyway. “Alien: Covenant” is a good film, much better then “Prometheus”.

Rating: 4/ 5

dinsdag 23 mei 2017

100 Movie Challenge 2017 - # 66: Bad Moms

Director: Jon Lucas, Scott Moore
Genre: Comedy
Runtime: 101 minutes
Year: 2016
Starring: Mila Kunis, Kathryn Hahn, Kristen Bell, Christina Applegate, Jada Pinkett Smith, Jay Hernandez, Wanda Sykes

Description: When three overworked and under-appreciated moms are pushed beyond their limits, they ditch their conventional responsibilities for a jolt of long overdue freedom, fun, and comedic self-indulgence.

Review: The life of a young mother isn’t perfect. Besides trying to make a career in a highly underpaid and time consuming job, the kids have to go to school every day, groceries have to be done, cooking, school meetings. And if there is a husband that doesn’t lift a finger, you can understand how a mom can feel under-appreciated. That’s the fact with Amy Mitchell. When she finds out her husband has been having an online affair with a woman, she decides to be a bad mom, because everyone already thinks she is one.
There are many films where we see grown up men behave like irresponsible teens. But lately we’ve been getting some fun films with women behaving badly. Just look at “Bridesmaids” and “Trainwreck”.
Mila Kunis plays Amy, a control freak who always wants to maky everyone around her happy. Kristen Bell is a somewhat submissive stay at home mom and Kathryn Hahn is a single mom, with a love for men and alcohol. Then there is Christina Applegate, head of the PTA, who claims to be the perfect example for all the moms out there. Some characters feel like just characters, because they come off a bit cartoonish. Especially Hahn’s character is too much. And the humor is sometimes really unoriginal and vulgar, jokes that are way too easy and done way too many times.
This is all forgivable, but towards the end the film is so cliché. “Bad Moms” is a fun film for one time, very forgettable.

Rating: 2,5/ 5

zondag 21 mei 2017

100 Movie Challenge 2017 - # 65: Cold in July

Director: Jim Mickle
Genre: Thriller/ Crime
Runtime: 109 minutes
Year: 2014
Starring: Michael C. Hall, Sam Shepard, Don Johnson, Vinessa Shaw

Description: When a protective father (Michael C. Hall) meets a murderous ex-con (Sam Shepard), both need to deviate from the path they are on as they soon find themselves entangled in a downwards spiral of lies and violence while having to confront their own inner psyche.

Review: It’s still a bit strange to see Michael C. Hall, aka Dexter, shake when an intruder enters his house and he sneaks up on him with a gun that he can barely load.
East Texas, 1989. Richard Dane is an ordinary man, who shoots an intruder out of self-defense. But a man called Ben Russell, an ex-con and the victim’s father, is keepin an eye on Richard. Russell is determined to avenge his son’s death, but things take a different turn.
The film seems to have a storyline that is straight forward and predictable. But it’s a lot more surprising and original than I expected it to be.
Richard doesn’t feel like a hero and even feels regret for his actions. He admits to feeling terrible after giving his statement. Richard is a very realistic man, he doesn’t feel like a character. The first half of the film is exciting and thrilling. The second half, the story flips around and it loses its strength a bit. That’s sad, because it could have been so much better.
“Cold in July” is still a good movie, with especially the first half being amazing. But it eventually becomes a more standard crime thriller.

Rating: 3,5/ 5

Movie Trailer Sunday (293)

Here are this week's trailers.

Band Aid
Director: Zoe Lister-Jones
Description: A couple who can't stop fighting embark on a last-ditch effort to save their marriage: turning their fights into songs and starting a band.
Starring: Zoe Lister-Jones, Adam Pally, Colin Hanks, Brooklyn Decker, Fred Armisen, Jamie Chung,
Trailer: Trailer "Band Aid"
Comment: Yay, this seems fun!

The Emoji Movie
Director: Tony Leondis
Description: Gene, a multi-expressional emoji, sets out on a journey to become a normal emoji.
Starring: Anna Faris, T.J. Miller, Patrick Stewart, Sofia Vergara, Jennifer Coolidge, James Corden, Christina Aguilera, Maya Rudolph, Jake T. Austin, Rob Riggle, Steven Wright
Trailer: Trailer "The Emoji Movie"
Comment: Meh emoji... I do like the poop emoji.

Battle of the Sexes
Director: Jonathan Dayton, Valerie Faris
Description: The true story of the 1973 tennis match between World number one Billie Jean King (Emma Stone) and ex-champ and serial hustler Bobby Riggs (Steve Carell).
Starring: Emma Stone, Steve Carell,
Trailer: Trailer "Battle of the Sexes"
Comment: Can't wait, this is Oscar bait!

The Glass Castle
Director: Destin Daniel Cretton
Description: A young girl comes of age (Brie Larsson) in a dysfunctional family of nonconformist nomads with a mother (Naomi Watts) who's an eccentric artist and an alcoholic father (Woody Harrelson) who would stir the children's imagination with hope as a distraction to their poverty.
Starring: Brie Larsson, Woody Harrelson, Naomi Watts, Sarah Snook, Max Greenfield
Trailer: Trailer for "The Glass Castle"
Comment: This looks amazing, and what a cast!

Okja
Director: Bong Joon Ho
Description: Meet Mija, a young girl who risks everything to prevent a powerful, multi-national company from kidnapping her best friend - a massive animal named Okja.
Starring: Tilda Swinton, Jake Gyllenhaal, Paul Dano, Lily Collins
Trailer: Trailer "Okja"
Comment: I will probably need tissues for this.

donderdag 18 mei 2017

Top 5 Thursday: Michael Fassbender Movies

Michael Fassbender is one of the best actors of the moment and also one of my favorites. He has a vibrant charisma, is handsome, convinces in every role and shines on screen. Here are my favorite Michael Fassbender films.

5. Frank
It’s one of the weirdest films I have seen in a while, but weird in a good way. It’s a brilliant film. Not for everyone, but Indie movie lovers will embrace it. Like I did.


4. 12 Years a Slave
Fassbender plays a relentless man, a villain, in “12 Years a Slave”. You know an actor is good, when a normally charming and likeable actor turns into a tiran and makes it believable.


3. Jane Eyre
It’s one of my favorite classic stories and I really love this adaptation of the novel. Fassbender is so good and irresistible in “Jane Eyre”.


2. Inglourious Basterds
It’s an alternative history story, one of my favorites by Tarantino. Fassbender’s role isn’t major, but big enough to be memorable. He has a very important role in the infamous bar scene.


1. Shame
Before I went to see this film, I never thought I would like it. Let alone love it as much as I do now. The film is made so beautifully, the story is more than just a man and his sex addiction. It has many layers and Fassbender is brilliant in “Shame”.


They Almost Made the Top 5: X-Men: First Class, X-Men: Apocalypse, Hunger, The Light Between Oceans, 300