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.

5. 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.

4. 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.

3. 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.

2. 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!

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.

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: 5/ 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

maandag 30 oktober 2017

100 Movie Challenge 2017 - # 114: Ghost in the Shell

Director: Rupert Sanders
Genre: Action/ Crime/ Science Fiction/ Thriller
Runtime: 107 minutes
Year: 2017
Starring: Scarlett Johansson, Pilou Asbæk, Michael Pitt, Juliette Binoche

Description: In the near future, Major (Scarlett Johansson) is the first of her kind: A human saved from a terrible crash, who is cyber-enhanced to be a perfect soldier devoted to stopping the world's most dangerous criminals.

Review: In 1995 director Mamoru Oshii released the anime classic “Ghost in the Shell”. It’s set in a future where body parts can easily be replaced by cybernetic parts. Director Rupert Sanders got the task to turn it into an American live action film.
We meet Major, a young woman who was in a terrible accident. She has been given new life thanks to robotic factory Hanka Robotics. Because she is the first of her kind, Major is used as a super weapon, specialized in tracking and killing hackers and terrorists. When you look at the story, it’s been simplified. Existential problems are a bit watered down, but the question ‘what makes us human’ isn’t completely ignored.
Visually “Ghost in the Shell” looks amazing. It was clearly inspired by “Blade Runner”. And the soundtrack is also really cool. Scarlett Johansson is supposed to carry this film and she is clearly perfect for this role. Johansson is a great action heroin. “Ghost in the Shell” has its flaws, but it’s visually stunning and Scarlett Johansson is really strong.

Rating: 3,5/ 5

maandag 23 oktober 2017

100 Movie Challenge 2017 - # 113: Boyz n the Hood

Director: John Singleton
Genre: Drama Crime
Runtime: 107 minutes
Year: 1991
Starring: Ice Cube, Cuba Gooding Jr., Morris Chestnut, Laurence Fishburne, Angela Bassett, Regina King

Description: Follows the lives of three young males (Ice Cube, Cuba Gooding Jr., Morris Chestnut) living in the Crenshaw ghetto of Los Angeles, dissecting questions of race, relationships, violence and future prospects.

Review: “Boyz n the Hood” is John Singleton’s Hollywood break. He shows us the life in black ghetto’s. Because of this sad situation in the backstreets, African Americans have no prospects whatsoever. Violence and crime is the only way to get money and respect for many young kids.
The film starts with a group of friends that grow up to be young adults. For under privileged kids it isn’t easy to get a good education or even a job.
Young Tre manages to escape the criminal life, due to his idealistic dad. For his friends Doughboy and Ricky it’s a little harder. Doughboy has a gang and has been in and out of jail a couple of times. His brother Ricky is a young father and is trying to get a scholarship for a good college. In “Boyz n the Hood” we see the lives of these three boys.
The acting is pure, war and sincere. Every character is portrayed in a very convincing way. The film has become a heart breaking portrait of the other side of society. Besides the violent scenes in the film, it really tries to tell us something. It has a very strong message.
“Boyz n the Hood” is an impressive film.

Rating: 4,5/ 5

zondag 15 oktober 2017

100 Movie Challenge 2017 - # 112: The Great Wall

Director: Zhang Yimou
Genre: Action/ Fantasy/ Adventure
Runtime: 103 minutes
Year: 2016
Starring: Matt Damon, Pedro Pascal, Willem Dafoe

Description: European mercenaries searching for black powder become embroiled in the defense of the Great Wall of China against a horde of monstrous creatures.
Review: “The Great Wall” is a spectacle that is a complete miss. With the great wall, they mean off course the wall in China. And here a legend is told. Fictional off course. Because the Chinese empire has been at war with a reptile species, that attacks China every 60 years, to get world dominance. Why they are there isn’t important. William Garin and Pero Tovar have been looking for black powder and stumble upon the wall. They are captured and off course it’s that time the reptiles come back.
“The Great Wall” is everything but great. The action is filled with over the top slow motion shots, the monsters are an animated mess and the characters have no depth whatsoever. Special effects are really important for a film like this, but they are really bad. It all looks super fake.
The film also misses a good build-up of the story. As viewers we are thrown into the conflict immediately and have no context. And because the characters are forgettable and we don’t care about them, this is such a disposable film. Why the hell did Matt Damon and Willem Dafoe appear in this film? A waste of talent.

Rating: 1,5/ 5

100 Movie Challenge 2017 - # 111: Going in Style

Director: Zach Braff
Genre: Comedy/ Crime
Runtime: 96 minutes
Year: 2017
Starring: Morgan Freeman, Michael Caine, Alan Arkin, Matt Dillon, Christopher Lloyd, John Ortiz, Ann-Margret, Joey King, Peter Serafinowicz, Kenan Thompson

Description: Desperate to pay the bills and come through for their loved ones, three lifelong pals risk it all by embarking on a daring bid to knock off the very bank that absconded with their money.

Review: Joe has trouble keeping up when his bank tells him he loses his house in 30 days, when he doesn’t pay his mortgage. His friend Willie hardly sees his daughter and granddaughter, who live on the other side of the country and hides a serious kidney problem. And their friend Albert fills his days teaches music class to untalented kids. The three know each other through their work at a factory and are currently enjoying their pension. At least, they are supposed to. Because their former bosses decide to pause their pensions. Joe, Willie and Albert have had it and decide to rob a bank.
“Going in Style” is directed by actor and creator of “Garden State”, Zach Braff. He must have thought to have gold with three actors of this standard. It doesn’t even matter what you let them do. And that’s the power of this film, the comical interaction between the three main characters.
The sentimental part is kept to a minimun. “Going in Style” shows men who can be themselves, love their families. The main characters are all likeable in their own way, I don’t think this movie would have worked as well as it did, if it where three random lesser known actors. It’s Michael Caine, Morgan Freeman and Alan Arkin that make this movie. With that, there are some fun supporting roles, especially Christopher Lloyd is worth mentioning.
The part where the three men are planning their heist is the most fun. Testing their criminal capacities, trying to rob a local supermarket, it’s so hilarious. This comedy really made me laugh out loud, something most comedies nowadays can’t even do. Most people wouldn’t call “Going In Style” a great film, but it’s mostly the sympathy you have for the characters and the interaction between the three gentlemen that win you over. It’s one of the funniest movies I’ve seen in the past years. And that’s thanks to Caine, Freeman and Arkin. Highly enjoyable movie.

Rating: 4/ 5

donderdag 12 oktober 2017

100 Movie Challenge 2017 - # 110: Evita

Director: Alan Parker
Genre: Drama/ Musical
Runtime: 135 minutes
Year: 1996
Starring: Madonna, Antonio Banderas, Jonathan Pryce

Description: The hit musical based on the life of Evita Duarte (Madonna), a B-picture Argentinian actress who eventually became the wife of Argentinian president Juan Perón (Jonathan Pryce), and the most beloved and hated woman in Argentina.

Review: Musicals are sort of my guilty pleasures. I don’t feel guilty for loving “Singin’ in the Rain” and “La La Land”, in my opinion the two best musicals ever made and two of my all-time favorite movies. If I loved “Evita” I would feel guilty, because it’s not a very good musical. And thankfully I don’t love it.
When the film starts, it’s all over the place. Shifting in timelines, from when Evita was young to her death and back. Very confusing and messy. The songs are good, the execution of them not so great. Madonna is just not the right choice for this role, I never believed her. I think the only I liked in this film was Antonio Banderas, who sort of tells the story.
Such an interesting story and the film is based on a very successful and strong stage musical. Just as a movie, it didn’t really work.

Rating: 2/ 5

dinsdag 10 oktober 2017

100 Movie Challenge 2017 - # 109: Starter For 10

Director: Tom Vaughan
Genre: Comedy/ Romance/ Drama
Runtime: 92 minutes
Year: 2006
Starring: James McAvoy, Alice Eve, Rebecca Hall, Dominic Cooper, Benedict Cumberbatch, James Corden, Charles Dance

Description: Set in 1985, working-class student Brian Jackson (McAvoy) navigates his first year at Bristol University.

Review: “Starter For 10” is based on a novel by David Nichols, one of my favorite authors. The film is set in the 80s, but it really looks like it was actually made in that era. Everything breaths 80s.
No special effects, no fancy camera positions, no tricks. This film’s strengths are in the nostalgic atmosphere, talented and strong actors and a well-directed script. Okay, sometimes it’s a bit cheesy and predictable. But it’s such a fun film.
I really love James Mcavoy in this coming-of-age story. As am 80s baby and hopeless romantic, “Starter For 10” is a win!

Rating: 3,5/ 5

100 Movie Challenge 2017 - # 108: Pride and Prejudice and Zombies

Director: Burr Steers
Genre: Action/ Horror/ Romance
Runtime: 108 minutes
Year: 2016
Starring: Lily James, Sam Riley, Lena Heady, Charles Dance, Matt Smith, Bella Heathcote, Suki Waterhouse

Description: Five sisters in 19th century England must cope with the pressures to marry while protecting themselves from a growing population of zombies.

Review: “Pride and Prejudice and Zombies” is exactly what the title wants you to believe it is. Jane Austen’s good old tale “Pride and Prejudice”, but then with added zombies. 19th century women fighting off zombies.
A mash-up film like this can be extraordinary fun because of the contrasts between the two genres. And those moments, where the film mixes the genres and becomes half a parody and half something completely new, is where “Pride and Prejudice and Zombies” is the strongest. Where the film tries to stick with the original romance novel, the film loses its power. Because we already know it and seen it.
For a film of this genre, it focuses too much on the original story, instead of the elements that make this story so special. We simply needed to have more of the zombies. Off course it’s also fun to see the moments from the original Austen novel, but we have other movies for that. It gets fun when the Bennet sister pull out weapons from their dresses and fight the undead.
Overall it’s a strange mix, although very entertaining. When the zombie element of the story had an overhand, “Pride and Prejudice and Zombies” would have been much better. Still not a bad movie, but there was such potential.

Rating: 3/ 5

donderdag 5 oktober 2017

100 Movie Challenge 2017 - # 107: Carrie

Director: Kimberly Peirce
Genre: Drama/ Horror
Runtime: 100 minutes
Year: 2013
Starring: Chloë Grace Moretz, Julianne Moore, Ansel Elgort, Judy Greer, Gabriella Wilde

Description: A shy girl (Chloë Grace Moretz), outcasted by her peers and sheltered by her religious mother (Julianne Moore), unleashes telekinetic terror on her small town after being pushed too far at her senior prom.

Review: Hollywood has taken many of Stephen King’s novels as their inspiration. One of the bigger ones is “Carrie”, directed by Brian De Palma. It’s actually one of the few horror movies that got recognition from the Academy. It’s a pretty big job to top De Palma’s film. In 2013, Kimberly Peirce gave it a try, with this remake.
Peirce is known for “Boys Don’t Cry”. Her version of “Carrie” had to be a different take on King’s story. But Peirce doesn’t really succeed, because it’s nothing new and we’ve seen most of it before.
It follows the original pretty well, but also the horror genre in general. Like many horror remakes, “Carrie” doesn’t really focus on building the tension. There is more room for Carrie to experiment with her powers.
Chloë Grace Moretz, who plays Carrie, does manage to convince us. But Julianne Moore overshadows her, as Carrie’s extremely religious mother.
Sadly enough Kimberly Peirce wasn’t capable of finding new angles to present the film from. Bullying and social media are so topical, she could have turned “Carrie” into a contemporary horror film. Much further than a YouTube video, with no consequences, it doesn’t really go. We didn’t really need this remake.

Rating: 2,5/ 5

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

This was a good month, because I saw a bunch of fantastic films. Here are my five favorites.

5. The Hitman’s Bodyguard
A super funny and harsh action comedy. I loved Samuel L. Jackson and Ryan Reynolds, apart and together. They make a great duo. And that scene with the nuns alone is reason enought to see it again.

4. Hidden Figures
A very inspiring story, about three black women making a change while working at Nasa. Based on a true story, rooting for women!!

3. It
Since I hate clowns, this was a big deal for me. The old "It" movie doesn't scare me anymore, but this is one of the scariest films I've seen. And also one of the best horror movies of the past years.

2. Brimstone
I'm a little proud to be Dutch now, because it was made by a Dutch director and has Dutch roots. It took him about 8 years to finish it and it was worth the wait.

1. Sing Street
I loved, loved, loved "Sing Street". The 80s time period, the 80s music, the characters, the story. It's so good. And I didn't even know about this film. One of the best films of 2016.

They Almost Made the Top 5: Life

dinsdag 3 oktober 2017

100 Movie Challenge 2017 - # 106: Little Evil

Director: Eli Craig
Genre: Comedy/ Horror
Runtime: 95 minutes
Year: 2017
Starring: Adam Scott, Evangeline Lilly, Clancy Brown, Sally Field, Donald Faison

Description: Gary (Adam Scott), who has just married Samantha (Evangeline Lilly), the woman of his dreams, discovers that her six-year-old son may be the Antichrist.

Review: “Little Evil” follows Gary, who just married the woman of his dreams Samantha. She has a son, who Gary never really bonded with. Because he thinks Lucas is the antichrist.
“Little Evil” is a mix of comedy and horror, but it’s more comedy than it is horror. A movie like “This is the End” had the same set up, but is a lot more clever and sharp then this movie. The first half of the film is funny, I really liked that part. But towards the end I didn’t enjoy it as much.
Adam Scott is really fun, I always enjoy watching him in movies. In “Krampus”, which was also a horror and comedy mix, I liked him a bit more.
“Little Evil” is still fun to watch, but don’t expect too much.

Rating: 3/ 5

100 Movie Challenge 2017 - # 105: Need For Speed

Director: Scott Waugh
Genre: Action/ Crime
Runtime: 131 minutes
Year: 2014
Starring: Aaron Paul, Dominic Cooper, Imogen Poots, Rami Malek, Dakota Johnson, Michael Keaton

Description: Fresh from prison, a street racer (Aaron Paul) who was framed by a wealthy business associate (Dominic Cooper) joins a cross country race with revenge in mind. His ex-partner, learning of the plan, places a massive bounty on his head as the race begins.

Review: Movies based on videogames don’t have a good reputation. When it’s a race game where the story barely even matters, the fans are skeptic. But “Need For Speed” has some tricks up its sleeve: a big budget, a talented cast and an ambitious director.
“Need For Speed” is based on the game with the same name, where the first part came out in 1994. The story is about Tobey Marshall, the owner of a garage and a talented street racer. When his garage has financial struggles, his arrogant rival Dino Brewster gets him to join an illegal street race, where the winner gets a large amount of money. The race ends up in disaster, when one of the cars makes a fatal crash. Dino gets out before he gets in trouble, but Tobey gets the blame for it. After two years of prison, he is determined to clear his name and take revenge on Dino.
Action movies like this don’t really need an intelligent plot or a surprising course of events. Beautiful cars and spectacular races and chases are enough. Director Waugh experimented with angles while filming those races: from the first person, from the sky, far away and up close. And he manages to make you feel that speed. And the stunts are real, no green screens. “Need For Speed” is visually very well done.
Aaron Paul does a good job and I really liked his chemistry with Imogen Poots. But the dialogue is so silly and clumsy sometimes. Michael Keaton is one of my favorites, but his role is a bit strange and I don’t know why he is in this film. His character seems unnecessary. And that strip scene by Rami Malek didn’t belong here either.
“Need For Speed” is filled with clichés, but this film does have something. The film never bored me, even though I have no connection with cars whatsoever. Maybe it was Aaron Paul…

Rating: 3/ 5

zondag 1 oktober 2017

100 Movie Challenge 2017 - # 104: Brimstone

Director: Martin Koolhoven
Genre: Thriller/ Drama/ Western
Runtime: 148 minutes
Year: 2016
Starring: Dakota Fanning, Guy Pearce, Carice van Houten, Kit Harington

Description: From the moment the new reverend (Guy Pearce) climbs the pulpit, Liz (Dakota Fanning) knows she and her family are in great danger.

Review: It took him seven years, but director Martin Koolhoven finally got his passion project “Brimstone” done. And I think all that work was worth it, because “Brimstone” is an impressive film. An American genre film, made by the Dutch.
We meet Liz, who has no tongue and can’t speak. When a new reverend arrives in her town, her peaceful life is history. Koolhoven tells the story between Liz and the reverend in four chapters. And this is fascinating.
Is “Brimstone” a typical western? You will definitely find some elements: dessert landscapes, prostitutes in saloons and gun duels. But they have been put to the background. Koolhoven knows his westerns, but he isn’t here to pay an homage to the genre. He gave it his own twist and focused more on the American religion in that time period. Koolhoven went against the grain, something that we need more of in Hollywood.
Dakota Fanning plays Liz and shakes off her teen image with this role. She is really good. Kit Harington, who is always a joy to watch for so many reasons, is the shady outlaw. I really liked seeing him in this role. Carice van Houten is one of our country’s biggest actresses and her role, although small, is really strong. But it is Guy Pearce that leaves the biggest impression. His portrayal of the reverend is terrifying in a way.
I’m not the biggest fan of Dutch cinema, even though I’m Dutch myself. But “Brimstone” is definitely a movie us Dutch people can be proud of. One of the best films from our country.

Rating: 5/ 5

vrijdag 29 september 2017

100 Movie Challenge 2017 - # 103: De Reünie

Director: Menno Meyjes
Genre: Thriller/ Drama
Runtime: 98 minutes
Year: 2015
Starring: Thekla Reuten, Daan Schuurmans, Patrick Stoof, Marie-Mae van Zuilen, Daantje Idelenburg, Myron Wouts, Joep van der Geest, Tobias Kersloot, Eli Rietveld, Lara Leijs, Vivian Verkooy-Puppe, Dirk Marks, Jorik van der Veen

Description: Upon returning to work after an absence Sabine (Thekla Reuten) must deal with new emotional obstacles and matters from her past. Unlocking these doors exposes her to truths she may not be prepared for and the consequences of not letting the past go. Unanswered questions about her friend's disappearance, and a new romance leads Sabine to dark places.

Review: Simone van der Vlugt is one of Netherland’s most successful thriller authors. “De Reünie” was her thriller debut. And I was really excited to see it be turned into a movie, eleven years after its release.
There is a lot of shifting between now and then, in this story. In the present we see how the shy Sabine is coming back to work from a depression. And her boss and co-workers don’t exactly make it easier for her. But the handsome Olaf van Oirschot, one of brother’s high school friends, makes work more bearable. In the past we see young Sabine and her best friend Isabel. She went missing and the crime was never solved. With Olaf back in her life, Sabine keeps thinking about her high school years. And then there is that invitation for a high school reunion.
Nothing against Thekla Reuten and Daan Schuurmans, who portray Sabine and Olaf as adults. But it’s the scenes from the past that leave the biggest impression. Not only because it shows us that time period very well. But also the young actors performing well and how the characters get more depth.
“De Reünie” is in heart a murder mystery, but that elements is a bit lost in the film. That way the climax is a little bit predictable. But overall the adaptation is done very well.

Rating: 3,5/ 5

donderdag 28 september 2017

100 Movie Challenge 2017 - # 102: The Paperboy

Director: Lee Daniels
Genre: Thriller/ Drama
Runtime: 107 minutes
Year: 2012
Starring: Zac Efron, Matthew McConaughey, Kohn Cusack, Nicole Kidman, David Oyelowo, Scott Glenn, Ned Bellamy, Macy Gray

Description: A reporter (Matthew McConaughey) returns to his Florida home-town to investigate a case involving a death row inmate (John Cusack).

Review: In 2009 director Lee Daniels gave us the strong drama “Precious”. And looking at the quality of that film, we know Daniels is an excellent director. That “The Paperboy” looks like a bad B-movie from the 70s is probably an artistic choice. Weird zooming, covering shots, strange flows. Especially the first half of the film looks a bit ugly. And there is a lot of shamelessness as well (that first prison visit was just too weird for me).
Bringing an ode to cinema can work well, just look at Robert Rodriguez and Quentin Tarantino’s “Grindhouse”. But for “The Paperboy” it doesn’t work as well. It’s not just an ode, Daniels adds some social themes to it. And because of that, you don’t know whether you have to go along with the pulp or focus on the deeper layers. The combo doesn’t work.
The atmosphere in the film is good, you feel that hot swampy summer. But Daniels didn’t manage to bring the characters to life. Because of the charged exploitation scenes, the characters stay a bit shallow. Most of them feel fake and you just don’t believe them, even though John Cusack and Matthew McConaughey deliver pretty good performances.
The mix of raw filth and psychological thriller and drama elements is interesting, but they stand in each other’s way. “The Paperboy” is a brave attempt, but not a very good film.

Rating: 2/ 5

woensdag 27 september 2017

100 Movie Challenge 2017 - # 101: Sing Street

Director: John Carney
Genre: Comedy/ Drama/ Romance
Runtime: 106 minutes
Year: 2016
Starring: Ferdia Walsh-Peelo, Kelly Thornton, Maria Doyle Kennedy, Jack Reynor, Aidan Gillen, Ian Kenny, Ben Carolan, Percy Chamburuka, Mark McKenna, Don Wycherley, Des Keogh, Kian Murphy, Dolores Mullally, Lucy Boynton, Marcella Plunkett, Vera Nwabuwe, Conor Hamilton, Karl Rice

Description: A boy growing up in Dublin during the 1980s escapes his strained family life by starting a band to impress the mysterious girl he likes.

Review: “Sing Street” is a film that flew under the radar in 2016. I even missed it. Which is a shame, because it’s definitely one of the best films of that year. I loved “Sing Street”.
Director John Carney previously made “Begin Again”, which is also a favorite of mine. In “Sing Street” we meet Conor. His life is tough. His parents are constantly fighting, because of money problems he is send to a strict boarding school and his role model (his brother) is about to walk away from home. Set in Ireland in the eighties, we get a great coming of age story which starts out really sad.
After meeting Raphina and falling head over heels in love with her, he decides to start a band. And she has to star in their videos. And Conor is really good at it.
The songs in “Sing Street” are fantastic. You feel that the band is influenced by other artists and the songs that follow have a good eighties feel.
The cast, mostly unknown for the big audience, is amazing. It’s really hard to dislike any of the characters. And they all look like they were supposed to be in this film. The film feels authentic and it’s clearly Carney’s love letter to eighties music. It’s beyond me why this movie was so overlooked. So overlooked that even I missed it. It’s a fantastic film.

Rating: 5/ 5

zondag 24 september 2017

Movie Trailer Sunday (307)

Here are this week's trailers.

All I See is You
Director: Marc Forster
Description: A blind woman's(Blake Lively) relationship with her husband (Jason Clarke) changes when she regains her sight and discovers disturbing details about themselves.
Starring: Blake Lively, Jason Clarke, Ahna O'Reilly, Yvonne Strahovski, Danny Huston
Trailer: Trailer "All I See is You"
Comment: A very mysterious trailer.

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: Kenneth Branagh, Michelle Pfeifer, Johnny Depp, Daisy Ridley, Penélope Cruz, Josh Gad, Willem Dafoe, Judi Dench, Olivia Colman, Derek Jacobi
Trailer: Trailer "Murder On the Oriënt Express"
Comment: I love Agatha Christie stories, can't wait to see this new version of her best story.

Isle of Dogs
Director: Wes Anderson
Description: Set in Japan, Isle of Dogs follows a boy's odyssey in search of his dog.
Starring: Scarlett Johansson, Bryan Cranston, Liev Schreiber, Tilda Swinton, Edward Norton, Greta Gerwich, Bill Murray, Frances McDormand, F. Murray Abraham, Jeff Goldblum, Harvey Keitel, Ken Watanabe, Courtney B. Vance
Trailer: Trailer "Isle of Dogs"
Comment: Since "Fantastic Mister Fox" is my favorite Wes Anderson movie, I'm so happy about this!!!!

Peter Rabbit
Director: Will Gluck
Description: Feature adaptation of Beatrix Potter's classic tale of a rebellious rabbit (James Corden) trying to sneak into a farmer's vegetable garden.
Starring: James Corden, Margot Robbie, Domhnall Gleeson, Daisy Ridley, Rose Byrne
Trailer: Trailer "Peter Rabbit"
Comment: Anything with a rabbit makes me go YAY!!!

Cook Off!
Director: Cathryn Michon, Guy Shalem
Description: Amateur "chefs" from around the country compete for a million dollar prize in the ultimate food fight.
Starring: Melissa McCarthy, Diedrich Bader, Ben Falcone, Wendi McLendon-Covey, Stephen Root
Trailer: Trailer "Cook Off!"
Comment: I have a feeling that this is a terrible movie. Judging by the poster (which is awefull) and trailer alone.