maandag 28 augustus 2017

100 Movie Challenge 2017 - # 95: The 9th Life of Louis Drax

Director: Alexandre Aja
Genre: Thriller/ Drama
Runtime: 108 minutes
Year: 2016
Starring: Jamie Dornan, Sarah Gadon, Aaron Paul, Oliver Platt

Description: A psychologist (Jamie Dornan) who begins working with a young boy who has suffered a near-fatal fall finds himself drawn into a mystery that tests the boundaries of fantasy and reality.

Review: “The 9th Life of Louis Drax” starts as a light and somewhat funny boy’s adventure, but it goes onto a more dark path about bad parenting, trauma and a cry for attention. The fantasy elements in the film feel very misplaced because of this. Louis Drax is a nine year old boy who got into a coma after a fall off a cliff. It sounds like bad luck, but it’s not the first time that Louis had an accident. Ever since his birth, there have been several accidents that other children probably wouldn’t have survived. Doctor Alan Pascal studies him and his grieving mother draws his attention. There is more to Louise and his parents than meet the eye.
It’s a mysterious crime story with paranormal elements. For a film targeted at a younger audience, it would have worked. But it gets darker and the fantasy elements feel a bit ridiculous.
When you’re invested in the characters, a movie can be a bit more bearable. But Louis Drax is a really annoying kid and very unlikeable. Jamie Dornan, who plays the doctor, is not good. I think he has the charisma of a doorknob and he is very unbelievable in this film. Sarah Gadon and Aaron Paul do their best, but can’t save the film either.
“The 9th Life of Louis Drax” is unbalanced, somewhat silly and not very well executed. A movie you should probably pass.

Rating: 1,5/ 5

zondag 27 augustus 2017

Movie Trailer Sunday (304)

Here are this week's trailer.

Tulip Fever
Director: Justin Chadwick
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.
Starring: Alicia Vikander, Dane DeHaan, Christoph Waltz, Holliday Grainger, Tom Hollander, Matthew Morrison, Kevin McKidd, Zach Galifianakis, Cara Delevingne
Trailer: Trailer "Tulip Fever"
Comment: I really can't wait to finally see this, this new trailer really heated things up!

Little Evil
Director: Eli Craig
Description: Gary who has just married Samantha the woman of his dreams, discovers that her six-year-old son may be the Antichrist.
Starring: ADam Scott, Evangeline Lilly, Clancy Brown, Donald Faison, Tyler Labine, Bridget Everett
Trailer: Trailer "Little Evil"
Comment: I'm so glad that I can see this on Netflix soon!

Last Flag Flying
Director: Richard Linklater
Description: Thirty years after they served together in Vietnam, a former Navy Corpsman Larry "Doc" Shepherd re-unites with his old buddies, former Marines Sal Nealon and Reverend Richard Mueller, to bury his son, a young Marine killed in the Iraq War.
Starring: Steve Carell, Bryan Cranston, Laurence Fishburne
Trailer: Trailer "Last Flag Flying"
Comment: Three fantastic actors joined together. Looks good.

Director: Mark Palansky
Description: The widow of a wise professor stumbles upon one of his inventions that's able to record and play a person's memory.
Starring: Peter Dinklage, Anton Yelchin, Henry Ian Cusick
Trailer: Trailer "Rememory"
Comment: Yay, Peter Dinklage!!!

Literally, Right Before Aaron
Director: Ryan Eggold
Description: A young man (Justin Long) attends the wedding of his ex-girlfriend (Cobie Smulders).
Starring: Justin Long, Cobie Smulders, Lea Thompson, Kristen Schaal, John Cho, Ryan Hansen, Luis Guzmân
Trailer: Trailer "Literally, Right Before Aaron"
Comment: I really love Cobie Smulders.

donderdag 24 augustus 2017

100 Movie Challenge 2017 - # 94: A Girl Walks Home Alone at Night

Director: Ana Lily Amirpour
Genre: Horror/ Thriller/ Romance
Runtime: 99 minutes
Year: 2014
Starring: Sheila Vand, Arash Marandi, Marshall Manesh, Mozhan Marnò, Dominic Rains, Rome Shadanloo, Milad Eghbali, Reza Sixo Safai

Description: In the Iranian ghost-town Bad City, a place that reeks of death and loneliness, the townspeople are unaware they are being stalked by a lonesome vampire.

Review: Nowadays vampire movies are sappy fairytale-like love stories, with drooling teenagers and cringeworthy dialogues. “Let the Right One In” gave this an original twist. And with Ana Lilly Amirpour’s “A Girl Walks Home Alone at Night”, it looks like the genre is rising again. Horror, romance, Indie, western, all with a feminist touch.
“A Girl Walks Home Alone at Night” opens with Arash, looking like James Dean, lighting a cigarette. He picks up a cat and walks to twon with him. It looks like the American suburbs, until Arash passes a ditch with human bodies. Bad City sounds as terrible as it is.
At night Bad City turns into a hunting area for a vampire: a youngs woman with posters of American pop idols on her wall, listeing to hip music and wears red lipstick. Her black and white striped shirt disappears under a black chador. In a city where woman are ruled by men, she is the only female power. She seduces the men and then they become her victims.
Director Amirpour has a history as a visual artist, cartoonist and singer of an Indie band. And in her debut film (!) you can definitely feel these influences. Interesting wide shots, a fantastic soundtrack. The icy and artsy atmosphere dominate the film and keep it interesting. There isn’t a lot of dialogue, that makes it even more interesting.
When you see the mix of all the genres, you wouldn’t think it’s a directorial debut. What a great first film for Ana Lily Amirpour.

Rating: 4/ 5

zondag 20 augustus 2017

100 Movie Challenge 2017 - # 93: Morgan

Director: Luke Scott
Genre: Horror/ Science Fiction/ Thriller
Runtime: 88 minutes
Year: 2016
Starring: Kate Mara, Rose Leslie, Toby Jones, Boyd Holbrook, Michelle yeoh, Paul Giamatti, Jennifer Jason Leigh, Anya Taylor-Joy, Brian Cox

Description: A corporate risk-management consultant (Kate Mara) must decide whether or not to terminate an artificially created humanoid being.

Review: People have always been fascinated by creating artificial intelligence. And movies about this theme are popular and sometimes really successful. Morgan is the result of synthetic DNA and nanotechnology. It is a fast developing human looking being, whose intelligence and physique grow exceptionally. But this apparent perfect creation has its defects. After an incident, risk-management consultant Lee Weathers has to evaluate the specimen and whether it should be terminated or not.
It’s been done so many times, this theme. And many directors managed to give it their own twist and make it look fresh. Sadly Luke Scott (son of Ridley Scott) is not one of them. The film never reaches above mediocre and the tension is nowhere to be found. The presence of a fantastic cast doesn’t always guarantee a good movie. It really fascinated me how naïve all those academics are in this film. And the film is very predictable. And the supposed plot twist at the end, didn’t come as a surprise at all.
“Morgan” had a lot of potential, but didn’t execute it very well.

Rating: 2/ 5

Movie Trailer Sunday (302)

Here are this week's trailers.

The Killing of a Sacred Deer
Director: Yorgos Lanthimos
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 he has taken under his wing turns sinister.
Starring: Nicole Kidman, COlin Farrell, Alicia Silverstone, Bill Camp
Trailer: Trailer "The Killing of a Sacred Deer"
Comment: It's supposed to be a very dark film. I love that! Can't wait to see it. It was highly recommended by Alicia Malone.

Molly's Game
Director: Aaron Sorkin
Description: The true story of an Olympic-class skier (Jessica Chastain) who ran the world's most exclusive high-stakes poker game and became an FBI target. Her players included movie stars, business titans and unbeknownst to her, the Russian mob.
Starring: Jessica Chastain, Idris Elba, Chris O'Dowd, Kevin Costner, Graham Greene, Bill Camp, Michael Cera
Trailer: Trailer "Molly's Game"
Comment: I walways love films with a strong female character.

The Death of Stalin
Director: Armando Iannucci
Description: Follows the Soviet dictator's last days and depicts the chaos of the regime after his death.
Starring: Olga Kurylenko, Jason Isaacs, Steve Buscemi, Paddy Considine, Jeffrey Tambor, Michael Palin, Andrea Riseborough, Rupert Friend
Trailer: Trailer "The Death of Stalin"
Comment: This looks hilarious!!! And it's probably going to be overlooked.

The Meyerowitz Stories
Director: Noah Baumbach
Description: An estranged family gathers together in New York for an event celebrating the artistic work of their father.
Starring: Adam Sandler, Ben Stiller, Dustin Hoffmann, Grace van Patten, Emma Thompson, Judd Hirsch, Sigourney Weaver
Trailer: Trailer "The Meyerowitz Stories"
Comment: They are already talking Oscar buzz for Adam Sandler. I love serious Sandler, can't wait for this movie. It's going to be on Netflix.

Human Flow
Director: Ai Weiwei
Description: Human Flow is director and artist, Ai Weiwei's detailed and heartbreaking exploration into the global refugee crisis.
Starring: -
Trailer: Trailer "Human Flow"
Comment: This is a documentary that I think everyone should see. Maybe people will finally understand.

donderdag 10 augustus 2017

100 Movie Challenge 2017 - # 92: War for the Planet of the Apes

Director: Matt Reeves
Genre: Drama/ Action/ Adventure/ Thriller
Runtime: 140 minutes
Year: 2017
Starring: Andy Serkis, Woody Harrelson, Steve Zahn, Toby Kebbell, Judy Greer

Description: After the apes suffer unimaginable losses, Caesar (Andy Serkis) wrestles with his darker instincts and begins his own mythic quest to avenge his kind.

Review: It’s very tempting to close a trilogy with a bombastic and epic action film. More characters, more explosions, bigger everything. Director Matt Reeves managed to stay away from all that and turns “War for the Planet of the Apes” into an intimate war film.
Even the opening of the film, a spectacular confrontation between one of the last human armies and Caesar’s colony, is pretty timid. Minimal dialogue, the camera focusses on lyrics on the soldier’s helmets. It sets the tone for the film.
Some people accuse “War for the Planet of the Apes” of false marketing. They expected the battle of all battles and claim it’t not a real war film. But it is most definite a war film, one that zooms in on the ethics of a war.
And this fits Caesar perfectly, one of the most sympathetic characters created over the past 10 years, thanks to Andy Serkis and his magnificent performance. Where Caesar was idealistic before and wanted to keep peace, but now he is acting out of revenge and realizes he is no better than Koba. “War for the Planet of the Apes” shows us that war is a product of escalation, revenge and emotion.
The only human opponent Caesar gets here is from the Colonel, played by Woody Harrelson. He is Caesar’s complete opposite when it comes to morals. But there isn’t that many conflict between humans and apes. And strangely enough, that’s the charm of the film. It doesn’t try to top “Rise of the Planet of the Apes” or “Dawn of the Planet of the Apes”. It gives us something new and it’s a great end to a strong trilogy.
Rating: 4,5/ 5

zondag 6 augustus 2017

Movie Trailer Sunday (302)

Here are this week's trailers.

Director: Darren Aronofsky
Description: A couple's relationship is tested when uninvited guests arrive at their home, disrupting their tranquil existence.
Starring: Jennifer Lawrence, Javier Bardem, Michelle Pfeifer, Ed Harris, Domhnall Gleeson, Brian Gleeson, Kristen Wiig
Trailer: Trailer "Mother!"
Comment: Just a teaser, but already can't wait to see this.

Call Me By Your Name
Director: Luca Guadagnino
Description: Summer of 1983, Northern Italy. An American-Italian is enamored by an American student who comes to study and live with his family. Together they share an unforgettable summer full of music, food, and romance that will forever change them.
Starring: Armie Hammer, Michael Stuhlbarg, Thimothée Chamalet
Trailer: Trailer "Call Me By Your Name"
Comment: I'm very excited to see this.

6 Days
Director: Toa Fraser
Description: In April 1980, armed gunmen stormed the Iranian Embassy in Princes Gate, London and took all inside hostage. Over the next six days a tense standoff took place, all the while a group of highly trained soldiers from the SAS prepared for a raid the world had never seen the likes of.
Starring: Jamie Bell, Mark Strong, Abbie Cornish
Trailer: Trailer "6 Days"
Comment: An interesting subject for a film

Keep Watching
Director: Sean Carter
Description: A family become imprisoned in their home by intruders, who force them to play a life-and-death game, where the mysterious rules become clear as the night unfolds.
Starring: Bella Thorne, Ioan Gruffudd, Chandler Riggs, Natalie Martinez, Leigh Wannell
Trailer: Trailer "Keep Watching"
Comment: Creepy, but probably bad.

Goodbye Christopher Robin
Director: Simon Curtis
Description: A behind-the-scenes look at the life of author A.A. Milne and the creation of the Winnie the Pooh stories inspired by his son C.R. Milne.
Starring: Domhnall Gleeson, Margot Robbie, Kelly MacDonald
Trailer: Trailer "Goodbye Christopher Robin"
Comment: Love this trailer.

100 Movie Challenge 2017 - # 91: To the Bone

Director: Marti Noxon
Genre: Drama
Runtime: 107 minutes
Year: 2017
Starring: Lily Collins, Keanu Reeves, Lili Taylor, Brooke Smith, Leslie Bibb, Alex Sharp

Description: A young woman (Lily Collins) is dealing with anorexia. She meets an unconventional doctor who challenges her to face her condition and embrace life.

Review: “To the Bone” is about a young woman struggling with an eating disorder: anorexia. Off course many discussions started when Netflix added this original to its collection. Is the film accurate enough about the illness?
“To the Bone” is a powerful and beautiful film, but off course shows only a small aspect of the illness. Because we’re only following the life of Ellen and a hand full of other patients. It’s a very complex illness, so it’s hard to work it into a movie that is less than two hours long. But director Marti Noxon did manage to create a realistic image. What anorexia can do to a person and to the people that surround him or her.
The treatment in the film is a bit unconventional, but that makes the film lighter even though it’s a very heavy theme. I think that the viewers aren’t waiting for an overly dramatic tear jerker when it comes to this theme. I like the tone of the film a lot. Lilly Collins delivers a very strong performance and I love Keanu Reeves in his role as the doctor. I know Reeves has been criticized a lot for his acting. I’m one that has always defended him and in “To the Bone” he gives away a heartfelt, honest and good performance.
“To the Bone” is a really good film, with an interesting theme and strong performances.

Rating: 4/ 5

100 Movie Challenge 2017 - # 90: Sausage Party

Director: Greg Tiernan, Conrad Vernon
Genre: Comedy/ Animation/ Adventure
Runtime: 89 minutes
Year: 2016
Starring: Seth Rogen, Michael Cera, Bill Hader, Kristen Wiig, Jonah Hill, James Franco, Danny McBride, Edward Norton, Craig Robnson, Nick Kroll, Paul Rudd, David Krumholtz, Salma Hayek

Description: A sausage strives to discover the truth about his existence

Review: If you put the creative minds of Seth Rogen, Evan Goldberg and Jonah Hill together, before you know it you get another hilarious concept. And I think there had to be some weed involved when the idea for “Sausage Party” was born. An animation about talking food, that has to run before they get eaten. It sounds super weird and it somehow is, but it’s damn funny.
“Sausage Party” is not the kind of animation you want to watch with your children. It’s adult humor. And it’s a giant wink to Pixar and Disney. The food in the Shopwell supermarket starts their day with a song, every day. If people buy them, they are chosen. But none of them know what happens to them. Sausage Frank and bun Brenda happen to fall out of the cart, right before the registry. And soon they are about to find out what their actual fate is.
“Sausage Party” is child unfriendly. It’s politically incorrect, sexist, stereotypical, has unsubtle sex jokes and many food related word puns. There is a very macabre scene where the food finds out what really happens to them and there is off course that so-called food porn at the end of the film. And the fact that the villain in the film is a vaginal shower, says enough.
Rogen and Goldberg give the finger to anyone that claims animation is only for kids and that there is always supposed to be a message hidden somewhere. So you shouldn’t take “Sausage Party” too seriously. What “Sausage Party” is, is original, fun and crossing the line. And I like it!

Rating: 4/ 5

donderdag 3 augustus 2017

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

I didn’t watch that many new films this month, but I did see some really awesome ones. Here are my favorite films I watched for my challenge, for the month of July.

5. Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales
That’s how few new movies I watched this month, that this film is in the top 5. It’s not a really good film, but entertaining. Same old, same old.

4. Jackie
A truly great performance by Natalie Portman. And interesting to look at Jackie Kennedy’s life as the first lady.

3. The Big Year
In my opinion an under appreciated film. A comedy, without you rolling on the ground of laughter. I like how they kept that low key. And the phenomenon of birding is fascinating. And the cast is great!

2. Victoria
The biggest reason why this film is so good, is because it’s one long take. It’s really hard to do that, for both the director and the actors. It only took them three takes to complete this film.

1. Baby Driver
I was in the company of some friends and I was the only one that LOVED “Baby Driver”. I guess it’s always hard to understand a genius, because that is what Edgar Wright is. Its editing perfection, fantastic soundtrack and a good cast. So far, this is my favorite film of the year.

They Almost Made the Top 5: -

woensdag 2 augustus 2017

100 Movie Challenge 2017 - # 89: The D Train

Director: Andrew Mogel, Jarrad Paul
Genre: Comedy/ Drama
Runtime: 101 minutes
Year: 2015
Starring: Jack Black, James Marsden, Kathryn Hahn, Jeffrey Tambor, Dermot Mulroney, Mike White

Description: The head of a high school reunion committee (Jack Black) travels to Los Angeles to track down the most popular guy from his graduating class (James Marsden) and convince him to go to the reunion.

Review: Jack Black has his ups and downs. Well, “The D Train” is a movie that not a lot of people might have heard of, and it’s better that it stays that way. It’s not one of his best film. I don’t really know what it is, really.
Dan Landsman is the head of the high school reunion committee. He wasn’t very popular back then and he still isn’t. He still wants to be accepted by others. He decides to track down Oliver Lawless, the most popular guy in school when they were young.
The film takes some surprising turns, but they are somewhat hard to believe and understand. And the film also got on my nerves for some reason. There is a reason why this film played a limited time in theaters.
No, “The D Train” is a movie you can better skip.

Rating: 2/ 5