vrijdag 29 december 2017

Top 20: Favorite Movies of 2017

Like last year, I decided to make a top 20 of my favorite movies. And 2017 did bring us some gems. It’s based on Dutch release dates, so you might see some movies on this list that are originally from 2016, but came out in 2017 in The Netherlands. And if you miss some movies, it’s possible that it won’t be released here until 2018. It was very tough to create this list and I had to leave of some really good ones. But here are the 20 best films of 2017, according to me.

20. Dunkirk
If you’d had enough of WWII movies, you haven’t seen “Dunkirk” yet, because it’s not the spectacle you expect it to be. It’s a war movie created with substance and subtlety. It’s not your typical Hollywood film, especially when it comes to this theme. It stands out in its genre.

19. Beauty and the Beast
As a kid I wasn’t into princesses and the Disney princess movies were always my least favorites. Until I saw “Beauty and the Beast”. The lead character Belle was an ambitious, well-read, worldly woman and I loved her. So I was super excited to see this animation come to life this year. Emma Watson did an amazing job as Belle. Some new songs were added, which would normally bother me. It didn’t. We don’t need an exact copy, because we already have that movie. Visually though it’s like watching the animation actually coming to life.

18. Mother!
Director Darren Aronofsky is known for his controversialism, disturbing themes and a way to make you feel uncomfortable. So you can say, Aronofsky is not a director for everyone. I have always loved his work, although I always feel depressed after watching them. “Mother!” is definitely the most abstract of his films, it’s disturbing and it left me wondering what I just watched, right after I finished it.

17. Spider-Man: Homecoming
This is the best Spider-Man movie we got since “Spider-Man 2” in 2004. Tom Holland is a breath of fresh air as Peter Parker/ Spider-Man. Not only because he actually is the age of the character (unlike both Tobey Maguire and Andrew Garfield), but also because of his enthusiasm. It’s a bit contagious and it’s the strength and heart of the film.

16. Miss Sloane
A bit of a surprising choice to put this on my list, because it’s a political film. They can easily become dull, because of the many long and complicated dialogues about politics. But “Miss Sloane” intrigued me from the start and kept my attention the entire runtime. And that’s also thank to Jessica Chastain’s amazing performance. She carries this film. I believe that “Miss Sloane” is an underrated film.

15. Wonder Woman
Talking about strong women. “Wonder Woman” is the movie DC needed. Since Marvel has been one step ahead for quite some time, DC needed a feature film that could hold up. And they got that with “Wonder Woman”. Off course Gal Gadot, who portrays the stunning superhero, she is the best choice for the role and can easily carry this film. The type of origin story I like.

14. Manchester By the Sea
It’s a film with real people, they don’t feel like characters. The film hits you, grabs you, right in the heart. It’s a sad story, quite depressing actually. Only soulless people will not feel anything while watching “Manchester By the Sea”.

13. The Beguiled
It’s been a while since Sofia Coppola did something memorable. I was so happy that “The Beguiled” was released this year. Coppola managed to make the corset wearing damsels in distress, not so helpless and very independent. “The Beguiled” has one of the strongest female casts I’ve seen in a while, with Colin Farrell bringing us a great performance as well.

12. Star Wars: The Last Jedi
Off course Star Wars is in this list, what did you think! As a movie nerd, the trailer alone made my nerd heart skip a beat (or two). A new director, a new adventure. I was actually kind of nervous to see this, what if it were bad? Thank goodness is was really good. Mark Hamill returns as Luke Skywalker, in his best form I might say. I was glad to see Oscar Isaac’s character of Poe Dameron getting more screen time, because he is a likeable and interesting character. I don’t think that it’s better than “Star Wars: The Force Awakens”, but it definitely did really well.

11. Thor: Ragnarok
The Thor series was probably the weakest one of the MCU. Chris Hemsworth has owned his role, but he was stronger in the Avenger films than in his standalone movies. Untill “Thor: Ragnarok”. Director Taika Waititi added more color to the film, literally and figuratively. Unexpected humor and the addition of Hulk are among the elements that made this film this good.

10. It
Yes, I hate clowns. They freak me out, which is not weird at all. “It” is proof of that. Unlike most horror movie remakes, “It” needed one. And it was actually good, which is a very rare thing when it comes to remakes. I’m glad this film focusses on the childhood part of the book, because that’s the most interesting. And it’s also very rare to have such a strong young cast.

9. War for the Planet of the Apes
“War for the Planet of the Apes” is the perfect conclusion to one of the most solid trilogies Hollywood gave us. It’s really hard to pick a best or weakest in this series. Andy Serkis shines again as ape Caesar, I think he should get an Oscar for that.

8. Logan
“Logan” is the best Wolverine movie, but I think it’s also the best X-Men film. And the most violent one by the way! Hugh Jackman is better than ever. He is totally broken, roughened. Fantastic film!

7. Call Me By Your Name
Simple story, not told in the way you would expect. A movie that made me sit through the end credits with tears in my eyes. It’s so much more than just a movie about love. Timothée Chalamet is a force of nature. More people should see this film, because I think not a lot did.

6. The Killing of a Sacred Deer
This is without a doubt the most disturbing movie I’ve seen this year. When I have to tell people what this film is about, I really don’t know what to tell them. Because the plot looks simple, but so much more happens. This film gave me the chills.

5. Get Out
This is without a doubt the most surprising film of the year. It’s best to watch this movie without any information, because then you will have the full experience. Who would think that comedian Jordan Peele could directed such a fantastic horror movie?

4. A Cure For Wellness
I always love it when Hollywood makes a different choice. “A Cure For Wellness” is odd, makes bold choices and is risky. It’s definitely not for everyone, you will either love it or hate it, but you got to give it credit for being different.

3. Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2
I’m a sucker for the first one, so I was first in line for “Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2”. It’s probably not one of the best films of the year, but it was one of the most entertaining movies. And I loved everything about, just like I did with the first installment. And Baby Groot is just too adorable.

2. Baby Driver
I think we can say that Edgar Wright is a brilliant director. I love all his movies. And “Baby Driver” is no exception. The camera work, the soundtrack, the performances, cinematography, visuals. Everything works. It was actually my number one movie for a long movie, until I saw the actual number one.

1. The Disaster Artist
I think most people have seen “The Room”, which can easily be called one of the worst movies ever made. Everyone was wondering how and why this movie was made. And we got the answer in “The Disaster Artist”. I could easily become a spoof or a mockery of the film and its creator Tommy Wiseau. But it’s not. This film has so much heart. Credits to James Franco, who is the movies director and star.

Honorable Mentions: The Zookeeper’s Wife, Okja, To the Bone, Hidden Figures, The Hitman’s Bodyguard, Going in Style, Lady MacBeth, The Founder, A Monster Calls, Split, Lion, Alien: Covenant

100 Movie Challenge 2017 - # 137: The Disaster Artist

Director: James Franco
Genre: Drama/ Comedy
Runtime: 104 minutes
Year: 2017
Starring: James Franco, Dave Franco, Alison Brie, Seth Rogen, Megan Millally, Ari Graynor, Jacki Weaver, Josh Hutcherson, Zac Efron

Description: When Greg Sestero (Dave Franco), an aspiring film actor, meets the weird and mysterious Tommy Wiseau (James Franco) in an acting class, they form a unique friendship and travel to Hollywood to make their dreams come true.

Review: “The Room”, from mysterious film maker and actor Tommy Wiseau, is knows is probably the worst movie ever made. It appears that it cost him about six million dollars, but the movie only made 1800 dollars in the first weekend.
“The Room” was known for its bad dialogues, even worse acting and strange story. But it has grown to be an absolute cult classic. But who was Wiseau? How did he get the money to finance this film? And where was he really from, claiming he was from New Orleans but he has a strange Easter European accent.
We don’t know the answer to those questions, but James Franco isn’t trying to answer them. He did speak to Wiseau on a daily basis, because Franco doesn’t only direct. He also portrays Wiseau. And with that he gives away one of the best performances of his career. Wiseau is quite the character and it’s really easy to fall into a cartoonish character that you are impersonating. When you look at Franco as Wiseau, you don’t see the actor Franco. You see Wiseau.
Greg, played by James Franco’s real life brother Dave Franco, is ambitious and wants to be an actor. During an acting class, he meets Wiseau. He looks up to him, because Wiseau gives his all without caring about what others think. Wiseau isn’t talented, but the two decide to move to Los Angeles and pursue an acting career. When they get no after no, they decided to make their own movie. Wiseau writes the script for “The Room”.
Most part of the film is spend on the filming of “The Room”. It’s clear that Wiseau is an unpredictable man. And people around him don’t really know what to think of him. Greg is the only one that still believes in him.
Franco didn’t turn Wiseau into a caricature, but actually gave his character a lot of heart. As for the whole movie, it has so much heart.
James Franco is so talented and he made an absolute fantastic film with “The Disaster Artist”. His directing is so good, but he excels as the actor here. For me the best movie of 2017.

Rating: 5/ 5

donderdag 28 december 2017

100 Movie Challenge 2017 - # 136: All Eyez On Me

Director: Benny Boom
Genre: Drama
Runtime: 139 minutes
Year: 2017
Starring: Demetrius Shipp Jr., Danai Gurira, Kat Graham, Lauren Cohan

Description: Tells the true and untold story of prolific rapper, actor, poet and activist Tupac Shakur.

Review: Tupac Shakur contradicted himself in a lot of ways. According to his lyrics he was a pure revolutionary, but also a gangster who did everything for money. And he was a misogyn and someone who cared about the fate of women. But he managed to combine all these contradictions, in his music and personality. The makers of “All Eyez On Me” wanted all of this too, but didn’t manage. It’s a fast biopic filled with important moments in Tupac’s life. But it never hits the core.
That two and a half hours isn’t enough to tell his story, proofs how dramatic his short life was. Tupac was only 25 when he died. And it mostly focusses on his career from 1991 to 1996. “All Eyez On Me” makes the mistake most makers of biopics make: after a good build up, the movie loses itself by showing a series of highlights in a very fast pace. Basically because there isn’t enough time. It would have been better if this film focused on a small part of Tupac’s life, instead of his entire life.
Director Benny Boom didn’t manage to execute it well. He wanted to show Tupac as the revolutionary that he was, but he also wants to make a more Shakespearian drama, with quotes from Hamlet. But we mostly see a man who hasn’t been done justice his whole life, by his family, friends, enemies and the law.
Demetrius Shipp Jr. looks exactly like Tupac Shakur and this is probably the main reason why he was cast in this role. It’s obvious he studies Tupac and he manages to imitate. But there is a lack of depth and you’re constantly looking at an actor playing Tupac, instead of actually seeing Tupac Shakur.
This all makes “Alle Eyez On Me” a rushed biopic and not the film Tupac Shakur deserved.

Rating: 2,5/ 5

100 Movie Challenge 2017 - # 135: The Lost City of Z

Director: James Gray
Genre: Adventure/ Action/ Drama
Runtime: 140 minutes
Year: 2016
Starring: Charlie Hunnam, Robert Pattinson, Sienna Miller, Tom Holland

Description: A true-life drama, centering on British explorer Col. Percival Fawcett (Charlie Hunnam), who disappeared while searching for a mysterious city in the Amazon in the 1920s.

Review: It’s never without danger, but this expedition can clear his name, which was brought to him by his alcoholic father. Colonel Percy Fawcett is send to the heart of the Amazone, t show the Bolivians and Brazilians where the borders are. He isn’t there to explore, but when Percy arrives that’s exactly what he’s going to do. And there starts his search for a mysterious city.
During this expedition, which starts in 1906, Percy discovers unique archeological proof of an ancient civilization. Although his fellow British men see themselves superior of any other folk, Percy is determined to find the lost city of Z.
Director James Gray based “The Lost City of Z” on the book by journalist David Grann, who did research about one of the most well know English explorers. It’s an interesting story, with a lot of potential.
The film excels when we tag along with Percy on his magical quest. And Charlie Hunnam manages to portray a very charismatic Percy Fawcett. And Robert Pattinson is an interesting side kick.
The moments that he isn’t in the Amazone, are not as interesting and tend to drag a bit. Sienna Miller is an excellent actress, but she really doesn’t have a lot to do, as Percy’s wife. This makes the emotional moments a little bland as well.
“The Lost City of Z” is an overlooked film, I never hear anyone about this movie.

Rating: 3,5/ 5

zondag 24 december 2017

100 Movie Challenge 2017 - # 134: Miss Sloane

Director: John Madden
Genre: Drama
Runtime: 132 minutes
Year: 2016
Starring: Jessica Chastain, Alison Pil, Mark Strong, Michael Stuhlbarg, John Lithgow

Description: In the high-stakes world of political power-brokers, Elizabeth Sloane (Jessica Chastain) is the most sought after and formidable lobbyist in D.C. But when taking on the most powerful opponent of her career, she finds winning may come at too high a price.

Review: Who doesn’t know what the work of a lobbyist contains, doesn’t have to feel threatened by “Miss Sloane”. During the opening, Elizabeth Sloane breaks the fourth wall and tells us what lobbying is all about: Lobbying is forsight, anticipate what the opponent is going to do and come with a counter action. The winner is also one step ahead.
It’s a good intro to the hectic political world we are about to enter. Director John Madden managed to create a realistic picture of this abstract world.
The film is fictional. The stakes for this lobbying is a controversial bill named Heaton-Harris, that stand for stricter rules for weapon possession. That’s where Elizabeth Sloane comes in. She is the kind of woman with a strong opinion, extremely confident and relentless when needed. After a meeting with the ‘big guys’ of a powerful lobby company, Sloane turns her back on them. With a small team and under her supervision, Sloane starts the battle, where morals are forgotten.
Why she is so ambitious about this, stays unknown the entire film. No rough childhood and she wasn’t victimized by a firearm herself. Normally the lack of a drive like that can be a negative, but for “Miss Sloane” that’s absolutely not the issue. It is in fact just that absence that makes Elizabeth Sloane so unpredictable.
She isn’t all ice queen though. Her nightly visits from a male escort, where he manages to see an emotional side. And after a defeat, rage escapes her.
It’s a combination of a smart script and a fantastic performance by Jessica Chastain that makes this political thriller different from others in the genre. Chastain carries this movie.
Movies with themes like this can easily become dull and over explanatory, but not “Miss Sloane”. It’s interesting, captivating and there is a tension that doesn’t let you go. This film really surprised me and I believe not enough people appreciate it.

Rating: 4,5/ 5

100 Movie Challenge 2017 - # 133: Dunkirk

Director: Christopher Nolan
Genre: Drama/ Action
Runtime: 105 minutes
Year: 2017
Starring: Kenneth Branagh, Cillian Murphy, Mark Rylance, Tom Hardy, Barry Keoghan, James D’Arcy, Harry Styles

Description: Allied soldiers from Belgium, the British Empire and France are surrounded by the German Army, and evacuated during a fierce battle in World War II.

Review: You would think that we have enough WWII movies in Hollywood. But still movies based on this war are released. And every once in a while you wonder why this wasn’t made earlier. “Dunkirk” is one of those films. Aside from a British film from 1958 and a very impressive shot in the film “Atonement”, the battle for Dunkirk has been overlooked.
The fact that there were no Americans involved might be a reason, because the evens around Dunkirk happened about 18 months before the US got involved.
“Dunkirk” seems like a war epos, which is perfect for a director like Christopher Nolan. But this film is very different from the rest of his films. He never took on a true story and often works with existential themes. But Nolan is obviously very versatile and proofs that he can easily create a war movie with substance and subtlety. You can see it in the first 30 minutes, very timid and hardly any dialogue.
“Dunkirk” opens when the British army has withdrawn to the Dunkirk and is enclosed by the Germans. To draw the situations, newsflashes and flashbacks are left out. That the story starts here is surprising, because most Hollywood movies take their time to introduce. It starts right were the action is. And this is a fresh take on the theme.
For a war movie, Nolan kept it to a minimal and was very modest. The film isn’t over sentimental or dramatic. No extra fuzz. A story from a large scale, told by focusing on the smaller human moments.

Rating: 4/ 5

zaterdag 23 december 2017

100 Movie Challenge 2017 - # 132: Call Me By Your Name

Director: Luca Guadagnino
Genre: Drama
Runtime: 132 minutes
Year: 2017
Starring: Armie hammer, Michael Stuhlbarg, Amira Casar, Timothée Chalamet, Esther Garrel, Peter Spears, Elena Bucci, Victoire Du Bois, Antonio Rimoldi, Andre Anciman, Marco Sgrosso, Vanda Capriolo

Description: In Northern Italy in 1983, seventeen year-old Elio begins a relationship with visiting Oliver, his father's research assistant, with whom he bonds over his emerging sexuality, their Jewish heritage, and the beguiling Italian landscape.

Review: “Call Me By Your Name” is the kind of movie that will make you sit through the credits with tears in your eyes. It’s not a sad movie, it’s a movie about love. And that a beautiful thing like love, can also make your hurt.
Timothée Chalamet is a force of nature. His character Elio will make you live life to the fullest and will make you want to fall in love too. Hopefully we will see more of him in the future.
Armie Hammer is so good in “Call Me By Your Name”. Oliver is endearing and caring, but also sexy and human. He cares for Elio and his love for him is so sincere.
That monologue that Michael Stuhlbarg gave towards the end of the film, really touched my heart in all the right spots. So raw and honest.
I’m really glad I got to see it. I hope more people will, because it’s a fantastic film. One of the best of 2017.

Rating: 5/ 5

100 Movie Challenge 2017 - # 131: Star Wars: The Last Jedi

Director: Rian Johnson
Genre: Action/ Adventure/ Fantasy/ Science Fiction
Runtime: 152 minutes
Year: 2017
Starring: Daisy Ridley, Adam Driver, Mark Hamill, Carrie Fisher, Domhnall Gleeson, Andy Serkis, John Boyega, Oscar Isaac, Gwendoline Christie, Benicio Del Toro, Laura Dern, Lupita Nyong’o, Warwick Davis, Peter Mayhew, Kelly Marie Tran

Description: Rey (Daisy Ridley) develops her newly discovered abilities with the guidance of Luke Skywalker (Mark Hamill), who is unsettled by the strength of her powers. Meanwhile, the Resistance prepares to do battle with the First Order.

Review: As a fan of the Star Wars franchise, I am relieved. It’s a good one! “Star Wars: The Force Awakens” was already a great start of a new Star Wars series and I was extremely excited for “Star Wars: The Last Jedi”. Director Rian Johnson took over from J.J. Abramds and manages to impress with a good mix of action, character moments, humor and drama.
“Star Wars: The Force Awakens” showed that the franchise still had the magic, we saw old heroes and new ones stole our hearts. Rian Johnson had a difficult task. He clearly respects and loves the Star Wars universe, but is also not scared to make it his own, especially with the humor he adds to it. The meeting between Rey and Luke Skywalker is great, but really nothing like you’d expect.
The film doesn’t focus on the training that Rey is undergoing, but more the inner struggle and insecurities of Rey. Daisy Ridley really does a great job. She is looking for her identity and in this she has a connection with Kylo Ren, who is also dealing with some struggles. How much are they alike and which character trade will eventually dominate?
I loved the fact that Poe Damercon, played by Oscar Isaac, had a bigger role in this film. He’s a character a liked from the start, also thanks to his sidekick BB-8, but his character was a little underused in the previous film. We got to know him better and he had a more important role too.
The return of Mark Hamill to the franchise probably made every nerd heart beat a little faster. And I have to say he was the best Luke Skywalker ever. I loved him in “Star Wars: The Last Jedi”. Also in combination with Daisy Ridley.
The addition of the Porgs was exactly right. I expected them to be as annoying as Jar Jar Binks in “Star Wars: The Phantom Menace”, but they were in it just enough to make them loveable and not annoying.
The storyline of Finn and Rose is probably my only negative of the film. It took the pace out of the film a little bit and wasn’t as interesting. And off course the last performance of Carrie Fisher. It’s a bit heart breaking, but I loved seeing her one last time as Leia.
“Star Wars: The Last Jedi” was really good. I enjoyed it very much and wasn’t disappointed one bit. It’s not better than “Star Wars: The Force Awakens”, but certainly an excellent sequel. I would say they are equal.

Rating: 4,5/ 5

maandag 18 december 2017

100 Movie Challenge 2017 - # 130: The Killing of a Sacred Deer

Director: Yorgos Lanthimos
Genre: Drama/ Thriller/ Mystery
Runtime: 121 minutes
Year: 2017
Starring: Colin Farrell, Nicole Kidman, Barry Keoghan, Alicia Silverstone, Bill Camp

Description: Steven (Colin Farrell), a charismatic surgeon, is forced to make an unthinkable sacrifice after his life starts to fall apart, when the behavior of a teenage boy (Barry Keoghan) he has taken under his wing turns sinister.

Review: Yorgos Lanthimos has an interesting mind. Just look at “The Lobster”. “The Killing of a Sacred Deer” is not any different. It’s a complete mystery what the film really means, but it gives you enough material to think about.
The film also marks the second collaboration between Lanthimos and actor Colin Farrell, who seems right in his place in this absurd world. Farrell plays Steve, a successful heart surgeon with an apparent perfect life: he has a good job where he gets praised for, a huge house, a beautiful and successful wife and two talented kids. Outside work, Steven often talks to teenager Martin. What the connection between the two is, stays a secret for a while, but you know something’s going on. The two meet each other in a café, are very polite to one another and exchange gifts.
When Martin is invited to Steven’s home, the rest of the family really like to have him around. But not for long. Things are going terribly wrong with the family and it feels like somehow Martin’s presence causes this all. From that moment on, the movie becomes darker, more psychological and it leans towards horror. The absurd tone of Lanthmos’ style is still present, but “The Killing of a Sacred Deer” has a lot more scary elements then his previous films. Mostly because of Barry Keoghan’s performance. He manages to portray Martin very well. He is always polite, but there is also a constant threat that is hard to put your finger on.
Not only the cast is doing really well, also Lanthimos as a director. His camera work, the dialogues, the shots, every detail. He knows how to make the audience feel uncomfortable.
I think it’s safe to say, that Yorgos Lanthimos is not a director for the mainstream audience. But once you get used to his style a but, you can clearly see that “The Killing of a Sacred Deer” is one of the best movies of 2017.

Rating: 5/ 5

donderdag 14 december 2017

100 Movie Challenge 2017 - # 129: Deepwater Horizon

Director: Peter Berg
Genre: Action/ Drama/ Thriller
Runtime: 107 minutes
Year: 2016
Starring: Mark Wahlberg, Kurt Russell, Gina Rodriguez, John Malkovich, Dylan O’Brien, Kate Hudson

Description: A dramatization of the disaster back in April 2010, when the offshore drilling rig called the Deepwater Horizon created a giant explosion, which created the worst oil spill in American history.

Review: In April of 2010, the biggest oil spill in American history took place in the Gulf of Mexico. Because of a massive leak, oil seeped into the water for almost three months. This oil disaster also had some explosions and heavy fires. This is perfect material for Hollywood. And normally these kind of stories turn into sappy films about heroic people who are praised. That’s at least what I was expecting. But “Deepwater Horizon” is a lot better than I expected it to be and it’s not a sentimental disaster film at all.
Director Peter Berg used the book “Deepwater Horizon’s Final Hours” as his inspiration. It’s basic facts and not a bunch of heroic characters and sentiment. The characters in this film are based on actual people that survived this disaster. And Berg doesn’t try to make anything look better or more beautiful than it is. The central character is technician Mike Williams, who leaves a wife and daughter at home and travel to the platform for three weeks. Williams is accompanied by Andrea Fleytas, a tough young lady working in a men’s world. On board of the Deepwater Horizon, that functions as an explorer to find new oil sources, the team leader is determined to get everything check on safety. The big shots don’t think this is necessary and feel like everything is safe enough, they need to drill. Off course, things go wrong.
Hectic and chaos, not very surprising in a disaster movie. Berg didn’t take the time to be all technical about the cause of the disaster, thank goodness. And the connection between Wahlberg’s character and his wife at home is not turning into a tear jerking and is kept to a minimal. It’s just enough to know that something is terribly wrong and that Williams is a family man.
Berg excels in great shots of impressive explosions and the immense sea of fire. The film keeps you on the edge of your seat. It’s a surprising film, because I expected just another over-sentimental disaster film. I was wrong, and I love that actually! “Deepwater Horizon” is a surprisingly great film.

Rating: 4,5/ 5

maandag 11 december 2017

100 Movie Challenge 2017 - # 128: The Purge: Election Year

Director: James DeMonaco
Genre: Thriller/ Horror/ Action
Runtime: 109 minutes
Year: 2016
Starring: Elizabeth Mitchell, Frank Grillo, Mykelti Williamson

Description: Former Police Sergeant Barnes (Frank Grillo) becomes head of security for Senator Charlie Roan (Elizabeth Mitchell), a Presidential candidate targeted for death on Purge night due to her vow to eliminate the Purge.

Review: After a two year break, the Purge returns. It’s a yearly event, where any crime can be committed without any consequences. This time it has a political touch. The elite and corrupt government wants to stop all the people who are against the Purge. Starting with Senator Charlie Roan, running for president and wanting to end the Purge.
“The Purge” and “The Purge: Anarchy” were original and had a low budget, but did pretty well. They weren’t masterpieces and felt like B-movies because of the cheap dialogues and jump scares. Director James DeMonaco managed to improve some points in this sequel.
The movie takes its time to introduce some of the characters. Like Joe, the owner of a small local store. Laney, the pacifist. Charlie Roan, the idealistic presidential candidate. And Leo Barnes, her personal bodyguard. The characters cross each other’s paths, no unnecessary plot twist or cheap dialogues (okay, maybe some).
“The Purge: Election Year” looks better then the other two, but there is still room to scare more. The film has two tones: it sometimes feels satirical, but it also provides social comments. Those tones don’t work together well, they clash.
“The Purge: Election Year” is very watchable.

Rating: 3/ 5

100 Movie Challenge 2017 - # 127: A Monster Calls

Director: J.A. Bayona
Genre: Drama/ Fantasy
Runtime: 108 minutes
Year: 2016
Starring: Lewis MacDougall, Sigourney Weaver, Liam Neeson, Felicity Jones, Toby Kebbell

Description: A boy (Lewis MacDougall) seeks the help of a tree monster to cope with his single mother's (Felicity Jones) terminal illness.

Review: Your own fantasy to escape reality and all the misery in your life. To make life more bearable, kids are even more capable then adults to let their free spirit speak. Many films and books have these themes and it often happens in a very subtle way. Look at modern fairytales “Alice in Wonderland” and “The Wizard of Oz”. it’s often the adults that disturb the dream. In “A Monster Calls” there is something different happening. A bullied boy tries to cope with his mother’s illness and thanks to her, he can escape reality for a while.
Almost every night it happens: the 13 year old Conor O’Malley wakes up in sweat, after having that some scary nightmare. In this dream he sees the church across his house collapse and his mother disappears in the hole that appears. Conor can’t save his mom. In real life, his mother is battling an aggressive form of cancer.
In school Conor’s life isn’t any better, because he is the center of attention for the bullies. The only thing that keeps him going is his art, he makes the most amazing drawings. One night, at seven minutes past twelve, Conor sees the tree across his house come to life and turn into a nameless monster. He shall tell Connor three stories, but the fourth story has to be Connor’s. It’s an adaptation of the children’s book by Patrick ness. Director J.A. Bayona doesn’t sugarcoat things, just because it targets a younger audience. Conor’s life is pretty miserable at the moment. It’s not only a very sick mother and the bullying. Conor also has to deal with a grandmother he can’t get along with and a father that is hardly every around and started a new family in the US. That tree coming to life is just as scary as the harsh reality Conor has to deal with very day.
Because of this, “A Monster Calls” is a drama, with fantasy elements. The visuals are subtle and sober, but it looks stunning. The young lead, playing Conor, has a tough task. He basically has to carry this film. And he did a pretty good job. The fact that Conor feels alone in this battle is well portrayed.
“A Monster Calls’ shows how strong the power of imagination can be and how it can help you in the most awful situations. It’s a beautiful film.

Rating: 4/ 5

zondag 10 december 2017

100 Movie Challenge 2017 - # 126: Why Him?

Director: John Hamburg
Genre: Comedy
Runtime: 111 minutes
Year: 2016
Starring: Bryan Cranston, James Franco, Zoey Deutch, Megan Mullally, Keegan-Michael Key, Cedric the Entertainer

Description: A holiday gathering threatens to go off the rails when Ned Fleming (Bryan Cranston) realizes that his daughter's (Zoey Deutch) Silicon Valley millionaire boyfriend (Jame Franco) is about to pop the question.

Review: Ned and Barb are being invited to spend the holidays with their daughter Stephanie. Once they arrive, they meet her new boyfriend Laird, who isn’t exactly the ideal son in law.
“Why Him?” is a pretty funny comedy, directed by John Hamburg. A father meeting his daughter’s new boyfriend isn’t a new concept, but the cast makes it better then you would expect. I think James Franco is very funny, but his personal assistant (played by Keegan-Michael Key) steals the show in his scenes.
“Why Him?” doesn’t work all the time. Bryan Cranston doesn’t really shine and some of the jokes are a bit distasteful. It’s a comedy that will entertain you while having a lazy day on the couch. Funny yet missing the mark sometimes.

Rating: 3/ 5

donderdag 30 november 2017

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

I saw a lot of newer film and with that some really great ones too. Here are my favorites for my challenge for the month of November.

1. Lion
A heartfelt and touching story about a young boy getting lost from home. Years later it still haunts him and he starts a search for his biological family. Dev Patel and Nicole Kidman are rock solid in “Lion” and I think this is one of the best films of the year.

4. Mother!
I love Darren Aronofsky’s movie, even if he always makes me feel miserable. If I have to describe “Mother!”, I really can’t. You have to experience it yourself. What I do know, it’s that it’s pretty disturbing, fucked up actually. Not for everyone, but I really loved it.

3. Spider-Man: Homecoming
Skeptical at first, another Spider-Man movie. Did we really need that? It appears to be yes! Tom Holland is a breath of fresh air, the Peter Parker that we needed. I love his enthusiasm.

2. The Beguiled
Let’s hear it for the girls! Sofia Coppola directs and she got her signature all over this movie. She is back! And all the actresses are amazing. A very strong story, well performed by all the actors. Also Colin Farrell holds up great between all those fabulous women.

1. Thor: Ragnarok
The first two movies are not the best un the MCU, but still enjoyable. Director Taika Waititi turned it all around and gave us “Thor: Ragnarok”, one of the best movies in the MCU! More colorful, in every way of the word. What a great spectacle and so unexpectedly funny!

They Almost Made the Top 5: Little Evil, Toni Erdmann, Murder On the Orient Express, Lady MacBeth, The Founder

100 Movie Challenge 2017 - # 125: Mother!

Director: Darren Aronofsky
Genre: Drama/ Horror/ Thriller
Runtime: 121 minutes
Year: 2017
Starring: Jennifer Lawrence, Javier Bardem, Ed Harris, Michelle Pfeiffer, Brian Gleeson, Domhnall Gleeson, Kristen Wiig

Description: A couple's relationship is tested when uninvited guests arrive at their home, disrupting their tranquil existence.

Review: “Mother!” starts pretty conventional: a couple lives a calm and peaceful life in a beautiful house. Their life changes when they provide shelter for two stranger. The husband (the characters don’t have names) feels okay about it, it’s his idea. But the wife feels uncomfortable and thinks it’s strange to simply invite strangers into their house. She does everything to make their house a home, when she sees intruders destroy it. But he loves the adoration he gets from them.
Director Darren Aronofsky builds up to ultimate chaos, with two trumps: leading lady Jennifer Lawrence and the house it’s set in. Aside from some shots of the house from afar, the camera stays indoors and is only a few feet away from Lawrence. Wandering through the halls, rooms and stairs her character’s feeling of being lost and helpless grows.
Aronofsky always gets the best from his actors and Jennifer Lawrence is no exception. It’s one of her strongest roles. The fact that she is the only character that responds to the situation the way we all probably should, you get the impression that there is more going on than we eventually led to believe. This is definitely not a movie for everyone, especially when we go towards the climax of the film. It’s pretty fucked up actually. But you have enough to talk about after seeing “Mother!”.
“Mother!” is original, unconventional, a bit disturbing and very well done.

Rating: 4,5/ 5

100 Movie Challenge 2017 - # 124: The Founder

Director: John Lee Hancock
Genre: Drama
Runtime: 110 minutes
Year: 2016
Starring: Michael Keaton, Nick Offerman, John Carroll Lynch, Linda Cardellini, B.J. Novak, Laura Dern, Patrick Wilson

Description: The story of Ray Kroc (Michael Keaton), a salesman who turned two brothers' (Nick Offerman, John Carroll Lynch) innovative fast food eatery, McDonald's, into the biggest restaurant business in the world, with a combination of ambition, persistence, and ruthlessness.

Review: For over sixty years we’ve been enjoying McDonald’s food now. In that time, the franchise has grown to be THE fast food restaurant. Everywhere in the world the food tasts the same. McDonald’s was a pioneer in developing techniques and strategies to deliver the costumer a burger, fries and milkshake within 30 seconds. This all started in the late ‘40s.
We meet Ray Kroc (played phenomenally by Michael Keaton) who is trying to sell his revolutionary milkshake machine to restaurants, but doesn’t seem to succeed. Even though Kroc is a smooth talker, no one seems to buy it. It comes as a surprise when the owner of a burger restaurant in California wants to buy several from him. Out of curiousity , Kroc visits the restaurant and meets brothers Dick and Mac McDonald. They have developed a method to produce hamburgers fast and they taste amazing. Kroc manages to convince the brothers to work with him, to open more McDonald’s restaurants in America. But the brothers want to call the shots.
John Lee Hancock created a very strong origins story. When you think, from the title alone, that Ray Kroc is the founder of McDonald’s, you’re wrong. At first, the deal is friendly and Kroc listens to the brothers. But eventually Kroc walks away with the success, the money AND the name McDonald’s. A name the actual McDonald brothers weren’t allowed to use anymore. Kroc smelled money and success and became greedy and ruthless.
Michael Keaton really got his comeback since he starred in “Birdman”. Again he shows us what a fabulous actor he is. He steals the show in “The Founder”, he makes it a good movie. At first you sympathize with Kroc, you wish him fortune. But eventually you feel some aversion towards him.
The film might not be very surprising plot wise, but the way to success is told very well. But especially Keaton’s performance is a reason to watch “The Founder”.

Rating: 4/ 5

dinsdag 28 november 2017

100 Movie Challenge 2017 - # 123: Lady MacBeth

Director: William Oldroyd
Genre: Drama
Runtime: 89 minutes
Year: 2017
Starring: Florence Pugh, Christopher Fairbank, Cosmo Jarvis, Bill Fellows
Description: In 19th-century rural England, a young bride (Florence Pugh) who has been sold into marriage discovers an unstoppable desire within herself as she enters into an affair with a worker on her estate.

Review: Movies set in the country in the 19th century always picture us the same situation: Women are lesser beings who have to listen to their (often older) husbands. The women wear tight corsets, drink tea and stay indoors with their prayer book. “Lady MacBeth” is nothing like that.
“Lady MacBeth” is based on a novel by Nikolaj Leskov, from 1865. Even though it’s set n the 19th century, the story feels quite contemporary. And that’s because of the female lead, Katherine. She is a relentless and uncompromising woman. She doesn’t just take her husbands orders and even comes close to being a femme fatale. Women’s emancipation, but without any subtlety.
From the opening scene we see that the marriage between Alexander and Katherine is a loveless agreement. Behind the white veil, Katherine’s helpless face is seen. His father bought her and he feels nothing for her. Alexander can’t even have sex with her. Instead she has to undress herself, face the wall so that he can pleasure himself.
These awkward moments make for the passionate affaire Katherine starts with stable boy Sebastian, a young man with no etiquettes or manners. As soon as Alexander leaves the house, Katherine discovers her freedom and she can finally enjoy the outdoors. But the real freedom is in her sexuality.
The acting in this film is outstanding. Especially Florence Pugh as Katherine. It’s so well done how she managed to take the audience with her in her transition from innocent victim to inhumane culprit. But you somehow never stop sympathizing with her. And Katherine doesn’t have to share her thoughts, her face says enough.
Director William Oldroyd does a really good job. He hardly uses any music, no unnecessary information, no tricks, just the true essence of the story is shown.
“Lady MacBeth” is a welcome breath of fresh air when it comes to costume dramas.

Rating: 4/ 5

100 Movie Challenge 2017 - # 122: Spider-Man: Homecoming

Director: Jon Watts
Genre: Action/ Comedy/ Adventure/ Science Fiction
Runtime: 133 minutes
Year: 2017
Starring: Tom Holland, Michael Keaton, Robert Downey Jr., Marisa Tomei, Jon Favreau, Donald Glover, Tony Revolori, Jennifer Connelly, Angourie Rice, Logan Marshall-Green, Martin Starr, Gwyneth Paltrow

Description: Peter Parker (Tom Holland) balances his life as an ordinary high school student in Queens with his superhero alter-ego Spider-Man, and finds himself on the trail of a new menace prowling the skies of New York City.

Review: Spider-Man has always been one of the most popular superheroes. Iron Man got more popular because of the movies and Robert Downey Jr. The two work together in “Spider-Man: Homecoming”.
Spider-Man has had his ups and downs. “Spider-Man 3” couldn’t keep up with the two previous movies. The reboot films did okay, but weren’t as amazing as the title let us believe. Sony and Marvel had to come up with something new to give the popular webslinger the movie he deserves. The result: Spider-Man is part of the shared universe of Marvel. In “Spider-Man: Homecoming” there are many moments were they show us that. Teen Peter Parker is constantly reminded of his adult colleagues. It’s all sounds like a big marketing trick, but it’s all relevant. Peter struggles with the inner conflict of being the little fish in a small pond.
Tom Holland’s Spider-Man was shortly seen in “Captain America: Civil War”. And that guest appearance is the starting point for “Spider-Man: Homecoming”. In a world where superheroes are common, Peter Parker thinks it’s an honor to work with the team of Avengers. But after an experience like that, it’s hard for Peter to pick up his old life. Especially when Tony Starks tells him that he might receive a call, but Peter never does. Spider-Man is in the Marvel universe, but he is not yet an Avenger.
This is the sixth Spider-Man film in fifteen years, so it isn’t good enough to let the superhero just do his tricks and fight a random villain. Marvel is clever enough and uses a lot of variation. The origin story, of how Peter Parker became Spider-Man, is left behind. And it’s not Spidey just swinging from huge buildings, he goes further than that.
What keeps it all together? Tom Holland! Where predecessors Tobey Maguire and Andrew Garfield were about 10 years to old for the role, the young British actor is perfect to play Peter Parker. His enthusiasm is a breath of fresh air. And his great comedic timing make you almost forget that he is also very capable of performing in more dramatic scenes. Even opposite of veterans like Robert Downey Jr. and Michael Keaton.
Peter Parker still has to prove himself as an Avenger, but this version of Spider-Man promises a very bright future.

Rating: 4,5/ 5

maandag 27 november 2017

100 Movie Challenge 2017 - # 121: Murder On the Orient Express

Director: Kenneth Branagh
Genre: Crime/ Drama
Runtime: 114 minutes
Year: 2017
Starring: Kenneth Branagh, Judi Dench, Johnny Depp, Michelle Pfeiffer, Daisy Ridley, Penélope Cruz, Willem Dafoe, Josh Gad, Olivia Colman, Derek Jacobi

Description: When a murder occurs on the train he's travelling on, celebrated detective Hercule Poirot (Kenneth Branagh) is recruited to solve the case.

Review: This is maybe the 6th book to movie adaptation for “Murder On the Orient Express”, I think, The book was released in 1934 and is probably her most known book. And because Agatha Christie’s novel is such a masterpiece when it comes to murder mysteries, many want to turn it into film. It’s a perfect whodunit. In 1974 Albert Finney played the role of Hercule Poirot in Sidney Lumet’s version of the story. Now, 2017, Kenneth Branagh directs and also decided to portray the infamous detective.
Kenneth Branagh has a dramatic style when it comes to acting. It’s perfect for Shakespeare films. And I have to say, his performance as Hercule Poirot is really good.
We know the story. Detective Hercule Poirot is on the Orient Express, enjoying a holiday, when one of the passengers is murdered. One of the twelve passengers is the killer. Time for Poirot to solve the case, while the train is unable to move on due to a snow storm.
Lots of details, trying to find the killer. It’s close to the original, but some things go a bit too fast because they have to stay within the duration of 2 hours. There is also not enough time to develop all the twelve suspected characters. Some we get to know better than others.
Branagh really managed to get a fantastic cast together. Judi Dench, Michelle Pfeifer, Johnny Depp, Willem Dafoe, Penélope Cruz and Daisy Ridley. And they are all solid, but no one really shines. Branagh’s interpretation of Poirot is good, the movie is not great. But very enjoyable and it looks stunning.

Rating: 3/ 5

zondag 26 november 2017

100 Movie Challenge 2017 - # 120: Office Christmas Party

Director: Josh Gordon, Will Speck
Genre: Comedy
Runtime: 105 minutes
Year: 2016
Starring: Jason Bateman, Olivia Munn, T.J. Miller, Kate McKinnon, Jennifer Aniston, Jillian Bell, Courtney B. Vance, Rob Corddry, Vanessa Bayer

Description: When his uptight CEO sister (Jennifer Aniston) threatens to shut down his branch, the branch manager (T.J. Miller) throws an epic Christmas party in order to land a big client and save the day, but the party gets way out of hand...

Review: Who doesn’t enjoy the Christmas festivities at work? The party they have planned in “Office Christmas Party” is a little wilder than you might want.
We’ve seen it before, party movies like this. Everything revolves around this party and it’s up to the makers to create as many political incorrect situations as possible. But in this movie, that epic Christmas movie is not as epic as you might expect. People copying their privates on a Xerox machine, swinging from Christmas lights, lots of co-workers making out, some booze and drugs. It’s all been done before.
Because of the many subplots, it’s hard to create a solid unity. It’s silly Christmas movie entertainment. Funny at times, mostly thanks to Aniston and McKinnon. But it’s not a very memorable movie.

Rating: 2,5/ 5

woensdag 15 november 2017

100 Movie Challenge 2017 - # 119: Tulip Fever

Director: Justin Chadwick
Genre: Drama/ Romance
Runtime: 105 minutes
Year: 2017
Starring: Alicia Vikander, Christoph Waltz, Dane DeHaan, Holiday Grainger, Tom Hollander, Jack O’Connell, Judi Dench, Zach Galifianakis, Matthew Morrison, Kevin McKidd, Cara Delevingne

Description: An artist (Dane DeHaan) falls for a young married woman (Alicia Vikander) while he's commissioned to paint her portrait during the Tulip mania of 17th century Amsterdam.

Review: In the Golden Age, tulip fever drove everyone crazy in The Netherlands. Anyone with enough florins joined the trade. In shady bars the most exotic tulips were auctioned, sometimes even before seeing them. In “Tulip Fever” this sets the background of he story of a forbidden romance between a married woman and an artist. Together they scheme a plan to flee the life they are living now.
Cornelis Sandvoort marries the much younger Sophia. He want a beautiful portrait of them and he hires painter Jan van Loos. A decision he will later regret. Because Jan falls madly in love with Sophia and they start a passionate affair.
Cornelis is a old man, who someone you can never sympathize with. He is a cold man who only married Sophia for one reason: to get a son. His personal losses from a previous marriage make him not any more human. It’s not that strange that Sophia seeks the love of another man. But she doesn’t seem this unhappy with Cornelis either. The motives of the characters are so shallow and bland. Sad, because director Justin Chadwick managed to get so many fantastic actors.
Somehow Sophia feels the love for Jan right after the first portrait session and immediately wants to flee from her husband. The chemistry between Alicia Vikander and Dane DeHaan never really convinces. And they hardly pay any attention to Sophia’s conscience, only in the last couple of minutes of the film.
The film rushes, the ‘master plan’ feels a bit improbable and sometimes comes off as ridiculous. “Tulip Fever” lacks of subtlety and the characters are somewhat soulless.
I was so excited for this film, but man did this disappoint me! I hate when that happens.

Rating: 2/ 5

100 Movie Challenge 2017 - # 118: The Beguiled

Director: Sofia Coppola
Genre: Drama/ Thriller
Runtime: 94 minutes
Year: 2016
Starring: Colin Farrell, Nicole Kidman, Kirsten Dunst, Elle Fanning, Oona Laurence, Angourie Rice

Description: The unexpected arrival of a wounded Union soldier (Colin Farrell) at a girls school in Virginia during the American Civil War leads to jealousy and betrayal.

Review: They are no longer helpless and innocent, the women in corsets. Several costume dramas proved that this year. And “The Beguiled” by Sofia Coppola is also one of them, a dramatic thriller with heaps of estrogen.
“The Beguiled” is based on the novel by Thomas Cullinan. In 1971 it was adapted to a movie for the first time, with Clint Eastwood starring as the wounded soldier. Sofia Coppola follows the story of the original film, but it didn’t become a boring repetition of it. Coppola managed to add themes like abalienation and group dynamic to it they way only she can. It’s clear this film was written from a female perspective.
It’s great to see how Coppola managed to let lust and envy be defining for the atmosphere. Especially the scene where the women try to trump each other over apple pie, trying to impress the male guest. The camera work is static and music is minimal, this is typical Sofia Coppola. I always loved her timid way of directing.
Nicole Kidman is very strong as Miss Martha, but Kirsten Dunst and Elle Fanning are also solid. Colin Farrell, the only male performer in “The Beguiled” is also the right choice. He can easily be a charming gentleman and a foulmouthed brute. “The Beguiled” is a really good film, a good film to show off the talents of the women in Hollywood.

Rating: 4,5/ 5

zondag 12 november 2017

100 Movie Challenge 2017 - # 117: Lion

Director: Garth Davis
Genre: Drama
Runtime: 118 minutes
Year: 2016
Starring: Dev Patel, Rooney Mara, Nicole Kidman, David Wenham

Description: A five-year-old Indian boy gets lost on the streets of Calcutta, thousands of kilometers from home. He survives many challenges before being adopted by a couple in Australia. 25 years later, he (Dev Patel) sets out to find his lost family.

Review: Image you’re a five year old kid and you get lost from home in India. A country with over a billion citizens and 400 languages. It happened to Saroo, who accidentally got onto the wrong train and ended up on the other side of the country. When he ends up in an orphanage, he is adopted by an Australian couple. Years later, Saroo is determined to find his lost family.
“Lion” is split up in two parts. In the first part, we meet five year old Saroo. Together with his older brother Guddu he steals stones from a train, so they can sell them to provide for their mother and sister. When Saroo is seperated from his family, we see that India isn’t the perfect place for kids on the street. The kids are simply ignored or scared away. And sometimes prey for people with wrong intentions.
In the second part of the film, we jump 20 years in tie and see adult Saroo, adopted by loving parents and leading a happy and fortunate life. Where the first half was about physical survival, the second part is more about the psychological effects of this all. Even though Saroo had a good life in Australia, but memories from his short time in India keep coming back. This leads him to an obsessive search for his biological family.
“Lion” could have easily become a melodramatic, based-on-a-true-story, Oscar material. But director Garth Davis made this movie with lots of integrity and nuance. Of course there is enough emotion involved and you probably will use some tissues here and there, but it’s not overly sentimental. The cast is really strong, especially leading man Dev Patel and his adoption mother played by Nicole Kidman.

Rating: 4/ 5

vrijdag 10 november 2017

100 Movie Challenge 2017 - # 116: Thor: Ragnarok

Director: Taika Waititi
Genre: Action/ Science Fiction/ Adventure
Runtime: 130 minutes
Year: 2017
Starring: Chris Hemsworth, Tom Hiddleston, Cate Blanchett, Idris Elba, Jeff Goldblum, Mark Ruffalo, Anthony Hopkins, Benedict Cumberbatch, Tessa Thomspon, Karl Urban, Ray Stevenson, Clancy Brown

Description: Imprisoned, the almighty Thor (Chris Hemsworth) finds himself in a lethal gladiatorial contest against the Hulk (Mark Ruffalo), his former ally. Thor must fight for survival and race against time to prevent the all-powerful Hela (Cate Blanchett) from destroying his home and the Asgardian civilization.

Review: Innovation and variation is becoming harder within the superhero genre. In the past 10 years, Marvel has brought us 17 movies. Because the characters keep meeting each other in each other’s movies, there is a chance the films lose their identity and become disposable. But Marvel has realized this and are heading into a different direction.
“Thor”Ragnarok” is a bit of a gamble. It’s a complete different route for the God of thunder, because it’s an unprecedented humoristic trip through the cosmos. And it’s a very welcome surprise, because continuing on the same way as “Thor: The Dark World” is simply not an option. Because that would mean that naïve Thor would fall for Loki’s shams all over again, when at the end of the first Avengers film, this relationship has been settled more the less.
All elements that are a threat to the levity of the film, have been removes and are just side issues. For instance, love interest Jane Foster isn’t in it and I’m not missing her.
“Thor: Ragnarok” left all seriousness aside, which makes it a good comedy with action in it. And that's all thanks to New Zealander Taika Waititi, who also directed “Hunt For the Winlderpeople”. And I love this director’s humor. He also voices one of the funnier characters in the movie.
Most memorable is the scene where Thor sees Hulk in the arena and adding the green hero to this film is a great addition. It’s fun to see a different side from him.
The biggest plus is that the world of Thor has become more colorful, in every way of the word. “Thor: Ragnarok” is the best in the trilogy and one of the best in the Marvel Cinemativ Universe. What an awesome movie!

Rating: 4,5/ 5

maandag 6 november 2017

100 Movie Challenge 2017 - # 115: Toni Erdmann

Director: Maren Ade
Genre: Drama/ Comedy
Runtime: 162 minutes
Year: 2016
Starring: Peter Simonischek, Sandra Hüller, Michael Wittenborn, Thomas Loibl, Trystan Pütter, Hadewych Minis, Lucy Russell, Ingrid Bisu, Vlad Ivanoc, Victoria Cocias, Radu Banzuru, Anna Maria Bergold, Ingrid Burkhard, Manuela Ciucur, Cezara Dafinescu, Julischka Eichel, Klafa Höfels

Description: A practical joking father (Peter SImonischek) tries to reconnect with his hard working daughter (Sandra Hüller) by creating an outrageous alter ego and posing as her CEO's life coach.

Review: Inspired by her own father, a joker, director Maren Ade created a very personal project. He was the one that thought her not to take life too seriously. And this message is clear in “Toni Erdmann”.
The title figure, based on Ades father, is a created character. His actual name is Winfried. He didn’t really make it in life, but loves it anyway, with his absurd sense of humor. Winfried is very different from his daughter Ines, who is a hard working business woman. They don’t have a lot in common. And that becomes painfully clear for Winfried, when he visits Ines in Boekarest, where she works. Ines hardly has any time for her dad, he just gets in her way. Winfried sees how Ines grew to be a woman without humor and who is relentless on the work floor. He has to do something, but only Toni Erdmann can help.
Erdmann is simply Winfried with fake teeth and a black wig. Off course Ines knows this, but she allows this character to enter her high society business life. And Erdmann manages to win over the big shots, with his crazy charisma and bizarre anecdotes.
Toni Erdmann/ Winfried is one of the most magical characters I have seen in a while. That’s all thanks to Peter Simonischek, who portrays him masterfully. And Sandra Hüller, who plays daughter Ines, can easily keep up with him.
“Toni Erdmann” is about two completely different people, both broken in their own way, whose relationship has to be rebuild. The creation of Toni Erdmann has to make this happen.
The film has a good balance between drama and comedy and it’s one of the most original and surprising films I have seen this year.

Rating: 4,5/ 5

donderdag 2 november 2017

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

A pretty mediocre month for movies. Did some rewatches, but also watched some crappy ones. Thank goodness for a few good film. Here are my favorites, that I watched for my challenge for the month of October.

5. Need For Speed
I thought it was going to be a sad repetition of the “Fast & Furious” movies. Well, no. It was more enjoyable then I expected it to be. And Aaron Paul….

4. Ghost in the Shell
This movie is mostly great because of its visuals and because of Scarlett Johansson. I don’t think it’s a very memorable movie, but I’m definitely happy about watching it.

3. Starter For 10
I like these stories. Nothing special, just a boy next door kind of story. And I really enjoyed it.

2. Going in Style
This film could easily be super cheesy. But it’s a really good comedy. Zach Braff did a good job directing, but if it weren’t for Morgan Freeman, Michael Caine and Alan Arkin, it would just be like any other comedy. So much fun!

1. Boyz n the Hood
What a good film. I love the nineties vibe, strong story and solid performances. Never saw it complete, I’m glad I did now.

They Almost Made the Top 5: Little Evil