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Monthly Archives: January 2016

Romantics Anonymous (Review)

Lovely endearing film of Jean-Pierre Améris. This film is a very lighthearted, funny, and quite frankly simply a joy to watch.

Two people who are basically emotionally retarded, happen to cross each others paths.
Angélique Delange has to tell herself about fifty times she can do something before she does it. She hums it, repeats it, like a magical formula, to make sure her inner self knows. Jean-René van den Hughe is her boss, who works at a chocolate factory that’s nearly broke. Still, they need someone to help to sell the chocolate they make.Jean-René has a taperecorder in one of his drawers that tells him he’s a man, a vulcano, that he is strong and can deal with all of the world. He can’t pick up a phone if he doesn’t know who’s phoning him (no mobiles in this film, so oops!). Fantastic.

Reminds of Amélie, but that’s probably also because the actress who plays her mother (Lorella Cravotta) plays in this film aswell. She is Magda here, one of the women who works in the chocolate factory. Where Amélie tells about a girl who doesn’t know how to make proper contact with a man, that element is visible here too, though in different measures. This film also reminds of Amélie because of the ridiculic situations that hop along the merry melody of the main characters. You’d think there’s no way of making some of the stuff up. And yet, there it is.
It also reminds of The Sound Of Music, since the song that Maria sings to herself before entering the Von Trapps’ premises, is sang here too. In French, but still. Even the scene of Maria swinging her suit- and guitarcase around is being repeated here.
The only con I have here, is that although this film reminds of these two films, the soundtrack simply isn’t as strong. You more or less expect the music to touch your very soul. That doesn’t happen.

So, we have two pretty big idiots, Angélique and Jean-René. Now what? Well, Angélique attends meetings of Les émotifs anonymous (hence the title of the film), while Jean-René goes to a psychologist. Who gives him assignments.
As Jean-René has never been with a woman -they scare the crap out of him- he is told to ask a woman out.
At the same time, Angélique, who has been hired within 5 minutes, discovers that she has not, in fact, been given the job of chocolatier, as she wished, but of commercial seller. Angélique dreads contact with people. She faints as soon as she gets too much attention. Not the best quality for a seller.
So, she decides to quit. At the same moment where Jean-René is trying his best to invite someone to have dinner with. As neither of them can read any kind of bodylanguage, it ends up with the two of them having dinner, of course.

The night of the dinner, Angélique enters the restaurant first, with hiccups. Realising that she has no idea what her boss is called. Which is unlucky, as the waiter just asked you who made the reservation at the restaurant?
Whilst she sits down, Jean-René enters the restaurant, fleas off to the restrooms and puts a suitcase on top of the cistern. You go ‘wtf?!’ but after that, he simply walks to the mirror, tells himself some powertalk, then joins his coworker. This is only the weird start of that date.
It doesn’t end well that night. And still, she comes in to work the next day, after Jean-René has told his coworkers she won’t be returning.

I could give you so many examples as to why this film is fantastic. It simply is. Who goes to the loo to change into a new shirt every 5 seconds? Who pretends to be a less successful person, just to be able to be a shyer version of yourself, so you can live in peace? Who tells a man she has plans to marry him, has a dozen of his babies, but just enough to keep the sexlife interesting, after only one kiss?

It is such a joy to watch a film with two quirky beings having no proper example of how things should be, so things are complicated, but not in the emotional way. They don’t get hurt, just heavily confused. A joy to watch.

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Posted by on January 31, 2016 in Films, Opinion

 

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Michael Caine and the Oscars

When a person is trending on twitter, it’s usually because they’re either dead or made a remark so controversial that half the twitter globe is tripping over it.
So when Michael Caine was trending -one of my favorite actors- I got scared. Especially as David Bowie, Alan Rickman and others have proved that 2016 is a shit year to begin with.

But no.

Michael Caine is very much alive, has just starred in a new movie and, as a result of that, gave an interview where he was asked his opinion on several subjects.
One of them being the Oscars and the boycot that popped up this year.
To be fair: I am very bad at picking sides when it comes to such sensitive subjects.
Then again, I’ve seen Whoopi Goldberg once, winning an Oscar (or Golden Globe, either way it was a prestigious price) and to me it was weirdly obvious she was gonna win that. Not just because I watched the particular video on Youtube and the video was simply titled ‘Whoopi Goldberg winning an Oscar’. I mean, that could have been the most important clue, I’ll give you that, but aside that: she was the only black woman being nominated at that moment, and Denzel Washington was supposed to hand it out.
Somehow that struck me.
No, there is nothing wrong with Denzel Washington. I loved him in ‘Remember the Titans’, and ‘The Pelican Brief’, and I was in awe with his performances in ‘The Bone Collector’ and ‘Fallen’.

But.

I do wonder if him and Whoopi didn’t mind -or did they applaude?- that they were, in a way, kept aside from the rest? It did look like that to me, but I could be wrong, ofcourse. It could be it was thought of as the right thing to do, in fact.
I think it shouldn’t matter who hands out the Oscar and to whom, so why should I even point it out, right? Well, because I did happen to notice and it makes me wonder if it was a coincidence or not?

The comments ‘perhaps they just weren’t good enough’ struck me as wrong too, because there are so many films being made, I do think the Academy Awards commission should force themselves to spread more variety in their little price circus. Of course, actors/actresses have to perform extraordinary, but I think lots of performances are overlooked aswell, where others are praised so easily. Almost too easily. I get that certain actors and actresses simply really take an effort to prepare for a role or are simply good at the job they’re doing and should be properly rewarded for that, but still. There’s so many others. Lots of them are fantastic at what they do. All of them.

I know films like The Maid and 12 Years A Slave or Precious weren’t made this year. Still, I think there’s more than moves with heavy drama that should be considered.

I also understand people think: ‘well hellloooo, I had to wait like 30-40 years to finally have a bloody Oscar, it shouldn’t be made so easy now?!’
Of course, this should not be the goal. A price that precious should be earned through hard work, just like always. I do think, however, that somehow the variety could be made more obvious. I mean I can understand the boycot that some choose. With so many films being made, it’s hard to believe none of the films that have been produced this year, no broader variety in nominations appeared. Especially after the controversy in the new Star Wars film. Not that those films have been known for their flawless acting (I saw the original series the other day, WTF, Luke & Leia, you call THAT convincing acting??;), but still.

 
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Posted by on January 24, 2016 in Films, Opinion

 

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Hjordis (review)

Hjordis is another stunningly lovely show on Netflix. I doubt it’s visible in the USA, though I could be wrong about this.
I wrote about Rita earlier, and Hjordis looks like a spinoff of that. A few of the same actors (Lise Baastrup, Ellen Hillingso) and also within the same school.
But either the series is no longer complete, or this spinoff was solely made to bring up the theme of bullying.
You see, the school Hjordis works at, is having a ‘anti-bullying week’ at school. Helle, the headmistress, asks Hjordis to come up with ideas to do something with this theme. It is decided that Hjordis will gather some of the students in school to perform a play. Given that the possibility exists that they get to play for the royal family -who will be visiting the school- everyone is really excited.
Then it appears that Helle, the headmistress, has gotten cold feet. She decides the students of her own school are not nearly good enough to perform for such important people as the royal family. So Helle phones a schooll for gifted children, who can sing, dance and generall perform really well.
The children that Hjordis had gathered are being put aside by these priviliged kids, who are a bit too aware they are awesome and so on.
Hjordis reports the problems of both groups to Helle, but gets no real answer. Helle wants the children to cooperate and mostly, the priviliged kids to do the performances.

When the royal family finally cancels their plans to come and visit, the plans change. This is where it becomes even more interesting. Don’t forget this serie is Danish, where the acceptance of different individuals is, apparently, far more accepted. There’s the girl who is deaf and gets romantically involved, there’s the boy who really wants to dress up as a princess. This brings more problems than you could imagine. Not just for Hjordis, who has to adjust to the idea in about 5 seconds, but also to other teachers, parents and so on.

Meanwhile, the show is brought light and airy. No heavy debates.

It’s a joy to watch. And an eyeopener for those who are so used to classic soaps 🙂

 
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Posted by on January 22, 2016 in Daily life, Opinion, Uncategorized

 

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Drugs

http://abcnews.go.com/US/wireStory/12-year-wisconsin-girls-stab-friend-19-times-23959855

Reading about this, it brings me back to a story that involved the friend of one of my siblings.
I had been on my first holiday for weeks, my parents came to collect me and my mother took me for a swim.
Whilst taking a dip -in a wonderful lake in Austria- I asked my mother:
‘So what’s new?’ and she told me that Paul, a friend of one of my sinlings, had been nearly stabbed to death one night.
‘What?!’ I cried in shock. I nearly drowned because I forgot to peddle my legs in shock.
‘Yes, it’s a bit of a horror-story’, my mother continued in seriousness when I got back up.
It appeared that my sibling wasn’t even around at the time. Paul was lucky in a few ways: he was very close to where my parents lived and he managed to get there all by himself.
At 2AM in the morning, he rang the bell of my parents house. Which wasn’t a normal time for them to be awake at all. Paul was -again- lucky my other sibling happened to be at home and up late. So he opened the door, found a heavily bleeding Paul on the doorstep. He took Paul inside, knowing who he was. They woke up my parents and phoned the hospital (which was very very close to the house. Again thankfully). Paul was rescued that night by many factors that were in his favor.
The boy who did it was kicked out of this circle of friends. He ate mushrooms. The kind that can give you a rush. He didn’t understand the impact of his actions, not even after:
‘Paul is alright now, isn’t he?’ was his response when they told him to fuck off forever.
The boy ony apologised when he was told to do so.
Not every child is the same, ofcourse. But these boys were about 14, 15 years old. The girls who planned to kill their friend are 12. Even though teenagers don’t always show literally what they’re thinking of, it should be made clear that killing another human being should never be a game in any way.
Paul survived to tell the tale. My parents didn’t have to tell us it was dangerous to go to the place where the teens had hung out before. My sibling didn’t need a lecture. Simply never attended that spot again.
But these were sane teenagers, with 1 being the idiot to eat drugs before knowing what that does to your body and mind. Not everybody gets to be that lucky to experiment in a way that doesn’t hurt anybody.

We are very happy Paul is still among us and, to this day, part of my siblings’ circle of friends.

 
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Posted by on January 21, 2016 in Daily life, Opinion

 

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Weekend Away

So my husband and me had a meeting of friends in the UK. Friends we have known for years, through a game online. My husband being even more familiair with them, as he has been playing that game for years before I came into his life.
A weekend to meetup was planned, rooms for a local Premier Inn were booked -we were not the only ones from a bit further away- and activities to do during the day were being brainstormed about.
All very nice.
The weekend started well, with us taking a plane and finally smelling the true British air again (I may have exaggerated a little here, but I happen to love the country, so sue me).
When we arrived at the airport, one of our friends was waiting for us. As we hadn’t found a code for that yet, I kissed the friend on the cheeks three times, as is a Dutch custom. It’s not British, so the friend was slightly overwhelmed, but all was good and we got into the car.
The way with roundabouts was a bit fearsom for me. The friend drove excellent, nothing wrong there. It’s just that my body couldn’t adjust to going against the directions. It’s always weird at first.

Then, we arrived at the hotel.
This was where it got awkward. Funnily awkward, but still awkward.
Not only did I notice it was possible here to ‘pay by the hour’ (which I’m sure is the case in many other hotels, just not so obviously written down a chalkboard), the room had been arranged by our friend. So hubby and me stood behind the friend, who paid the room, gave us the key and told me he’d ‘see you later!’ (as he was supposed to put supper on the table for his kid).
After I had stopped laughing at the possible wrong interpretation of what just had occurred, we decided we might aswell have some ‘action’. We used condoms at the time, as contraceptive pills make me go ballistics for nothing and I didn’t feel like that.
Afterwards I said: ‘I am not going to throw the condom in the bin. Not after Friend paid the bill. It will look even more weird?!’ hubby agreed.
We decided not to do anything with it, except for rolling it into some toiletpaper and put it next to the tea tray.
After that, we went out to have a grab of food.
Hubby and me aren’t the tidy types that get rid of junk immediately. So we watched a film on our laptop afterwards, had a stroll into town -the other friends for the meetup wouldn’t arrive until the next day- and so on. Next day: ‘ah yes, that blasted piece of rubbish! Oh well, first lets have breakfast, then be rid of it’, as we had seen big bins outside to throw it in, but those weren’t on our route to have breakfast. They were at the back of the hotel.
So out we went to have breakfast.
To discover, upon our return, the loo-roll rubbish had disappeared. Including, quite possible, some remarks that weren’t very much in our favour.

THAT.

 
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Posted by on January 20, 2016 in Daily life, Humour

 

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Mamma Mia (review)

With Meryl Streep, Stellan Skarsgard, Julie Walters, Colin Firth, Amanda Seyfried, Pierce Brosnan and several others.

This film hasn’t got much to do with acting. It is a joy to watch for who likes ABBA.
It’s about a girl getting married (Amanda Seyfried), not knowing who her father is and having invited all of the possibilities for that after finding her mother’s diary.
They all come over and have one big, gigantic drunken party, the hen night. On a Greek island. With ABBA music. Not bad. But for who wasn’t invited to the party or not into ABBA music, it’s not for you.
Unless you must really like the sight of Colin Firth, Pierce Brosnan and Stellan Skargard in high heels. Because yes, that happens aswell. Also, Meryl Streep in overalls. Seriously, lovely stereotype of a woman alone raising her own child?! Apparently women who do that never look feminine?
Whereas Stellan Skarsgard simply looks hot in his tights with high heels. How the bloody devil does he do that?! Colin Firth looks less ridiculous than he’d probably wish, too, Pierce Brosnan does a better job…

The unfortunate thing about films like these is that the music gets a bit fucked up. Still, they clearly had a lot of fun while filming, and it’s good to see it’s not just the show of skin that they’re trying to sell. Amanda Seyfried could have worn a bikini at the beach, but they went for a bathing suit and this fits the circumstances far better, to be fair. She seems dressed without actually being dressed.

 
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Posted by on January 18, 2016 in Films, Humour, Opinion, Uncategorized

 

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Snowcake (review)

Alex Hughes (greatly portrayed by the now late Alan Rickman) has the ‘fortune’ of running into a girl named Vivian at a highway restaurant. At first it seems like a coincedence she joins his table, but soon it appears this isn’t so. She is a hitchhiker who needs a ride back to her mother, and Alex Hughes seems like the best option, in her opinion.
Alex isn’t too charmed about this. He tells her immediately he just got out of prison for killing someone. Just to make clear to her that even though he seemed the best option for hitchhiking at first, not everybody is.
Vivian feels sort of uncomfortable immediately, but her spontaneous nature lets her to believe he is OK-people, so to say.

Then the accident happens. The afterlife of the accident covers all, or at least most of this film.

This film has a funny storyline which you wouldn’t find that quickly amongst ‘normal’ functioning people. Highly spontaneous people who don’t believe in bad people perhaps, but that’s about it.
ALan Rickman has the right face to look confused for the many weird interactions he has with Linda (marvellously played by Sigourney Weaver). The two of them are a perfect duet of sanity & insanity, but within the context of the psychological borders that come with those.

While Alex tries to get a grip on the life he was about to pursue when he was released from prison, Linda has to cope with the loss all of her loved ones show for the loss of her daughter. Because of her autism, she is dealing with this in a far different way than anybody else.
Sigourney Weaver has made a proper study of this condition and therefor portrays this really well. In our family, we have someone with this condition and it was very recognisable.
The film is, dramatic as it is, a joy to watch because of the ridicule Linda puts in, with sidekicks Alan Rickman and Carrie-Ann Moss for the usual human interactions people deal with at such a time.
Basically, it’s a small town losing its favourite daughter.
Lovely. Go see!

 
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Posted by on January 14, 2016 in Films, Opinion, Uncategorized

 

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