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Monthly Archives: February 2016

Star Wars (review of the first 3 films)

As the new films were battling their place on my twitter TimeLine, I thought it time to really watch the first three films. As I have never really seen them.
What a funny pleasure it is, to look at these classics that so many scifi movies now have their roots in. It’s like watching your granddad taking his first steps on a bike 🙂 Brilliant in its own right. Quite simple and yet effective. Even though not all of the acting was necessarily the best I’ve ever seen.
Especially the acting between Harrison Ford and Carrie Fisher as a coming up couple was actually quite bad. Their romance is hardly convincing. I just don’t buy it, sorry. Princess Leia looks like a far too strong character to be dealt with in that way. This could be just my observation. Although I’ve never seen anyone acting as Han Solo and get away with it. Without a stiff kick up the nuts. He is not a bastard, just quite stupid. In his ways of wooing a girl, that is.
Also, the fact that there’s exactly 2 (two) women in the first few films, which makes the fact that Luke Skywalker immediately knows who his sister is, is not that hard to believe. Wishing that quizzes these days were as hard as that, so it would be a bit more easy to become a millionaire.

But in honesty, it’s a joy to watch.
Of course, it’s Star Wars. So that means you need a battle of some sort, preferably more, otherwise the war isn’t a plural, and for that one needs rules, laws, that are being overcrossed and so on. I’ve seen this in the prequels being handled too. It’s interesting how politics are never in the way of any fun of these films. It’s simply the possible creation of good and bad. I did enjoy that quite.

I also loved how princess Leia’s gowns stay perfectly white, even though she’s stuck in a pile of garbage. I love how Obi Wan Kenobi greatly reminds me of Geoffrey Rush and how Harrison Ford is more and more convinced that Leia is into him.

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Posted by on February 29, 2016 in Films, Opinion

 

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The Fall vs The Bridge (review)

As I’ve recently seen both of these series and they both more or less handle the same theme -police investigates murders with a woman being the one calling the shots- I couldn’t help but comparing them.

The Bridge is Danish/Swedish. It starts with a dead woman that’s found on Oresund Bridge. The one that devides Danmark from Sweden.
The body is found exactly in the middle.
Because of this, both a Danish policewoman (Saga Noren, played by Sofia Helin) and a Swedish policeman (Martin Rhode, played by Kim Bodnia) have to cooperate together to puzzle out who did this.

The Fall is made in the UK, but feels very USA. This is probably because everyone knows Gillian Anderson to be American. She does try to adapt a British accent at times, and by mentioning she’s supposedly from London, this should probably explain that, but….it doesn’t convince.
It’s set in Belfast, which makes the accents fly about. I must admit I do love that a lot.

The Bridge shows how Saga Noren, who runs her department (but isn’t the boss), has her own ways of dealing with things. Odd behaviour, one might say, such as changing her shirt when everybody is still there and simply telling someone to do something for her (‘go and ask Mr Blabla where he was in that night’) and no ‘please’, or  ‘thank you’, follows. She will ask deeply unsensitive or slightly inappropriate questions without the blink of an eye, saying ‘I really have to know’. You see her thinking process. She is not a sexy woman, she is just someone doing her job. She’s good at it.

The Fall shows how Stella Gibson takes charge from the start. She is very, very careful with what she says (but maybe that’s because of the phoney accent) and she’s hot. Or supposed to be that. Stiletto heels, tight skirts, waving blouse, lipstick, etc. On her first night in Ireland, she asks to be introduced to another police officer she sees. She tells him in what hotel she stays, what room number.
That is the kind of woman who is in charge in The Fall.
When this police officer is shot the next day, his visit to her hotelroom becomes briefly of interest to the police, but only because he is a married man and she should not have done that. She is hated for it, even. Because it’s Ireland and he’s married. A woman doing things like that is ‘not done’.

The Bridge shows how a team works well together. They consult, get information through while Martin and Saga are on the road for all kinds of stuff related to the case. You get the feeling Saga and Martin have changed standard roles (Martin is quite sensitive, where Saga is not at all), which gives it an interesting spin. Martin is very feeling, wants to be everyone’s friend. Saga doesn’t have this. Just to solve the case. Her special behaviour is never named, but you get a Sheldon Cooper (Big Bang Theory) vibe anyway.

The Fall shows how a team doesn’t make progress. Maybe it’s just how it’s depicted, but I mostly became frustrating watching this series. Paul Spector is supposed to be a Grief Counselor and you see him at his job, doing basically nothing. You don’t get why people think he’s any good at it. It seems like the only place where he’s truly a Grief Counselor, is in the script.
It’s Stella Gibsons thoughts and the police wanting to handle things ‘neatly’, which means not solving anything, because it could be hurtful to someone in the team.
Also, Ms Gibson is leading the investigation, but obviously doesn’t like to get her hands dirty. She barely does anything herself.

In The Bridge nearly nothing happens without a reason.

In The Fall, there’s a lot of stuff that happens without it being cleared up why that was necessary to show in any way.

In The Bridge the suspects get away, hide, the normal game. It’s believeable.

In The Fall, when an arrest is made, no handcuffs are used, the suspect just comes along like a lamb to the slaughterhouse. It doesn’t make sense in any way.

Both series do have very skilled actors. Sofia Helin is not Sigourney Weaver in Snowcake, but she does give the performance a convincing shot and she is truly amazing doing that. Kim Bodia looks so much like a kicked puppy, you just wanna hold him into your arms half the time. That’s when you don’t wanna slap him because he likes women too much to be believeable as a married man. Dag Malmberg reminds slightly of Bill Nighy, but only in appearances. He is a kind and loving father figure, proper in leading his team.

Gillian Anderson is excellent, just not specifically in this part. I would have expected more depth in a part that she played, to be fair. But the same goes for  Jamie Dornan, who has a lot going for him, but in the end, you still have no clue as to what goes on inside his head. You don’t see any real motive. There’s just the vague talk about it between him and Gibson and the nanny, but no real point.
It’s too bad Niamh McGrady didn’t get more spotlight. As an empathetic police woman, you clearly see her care for her job, the victims and so on. You like her instantly.

 
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Posted by on February 29, 2016 in Films, Opinion, Uncategorized

 

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Hart van Steen (recensie)

Hart van Steen, geschreven door Renate Dorrestein, is het verhaal over de familie Van Bemmel. Plotseling kwam er een vijfde kind bij in het gezin, wat een omslag betekende in het gezin. Het was al even geleden dat er een kind werd geboren.
En dan gaat het ook nog niet goed.

Het verhaal is enorm warrig geschreven. Van de hak op de tak, alinea’s, nieuwe zinnen, hoofdstukken: eigenlijk staat niets op z’n plaats. Briljant.
Op den duur had ik het idee dat ik naar een film zat te kijken, met de figuurtjes zoals ze werden verbeeld. Iemand die echt is en een vraag stelt, op de voorgrond, en ondertussen ziet Ellen, de hoofdpersoon, haar overleden zus in de vensterbank zitten die flauwe opmerkingen naar haar maakt. Waar Ellen op reageert, waarop de persoon die ze daadwerkelijk voor zich heeft, hardop zegt ‘hè?’
Een beetje zoals in de film ‘Girl, Interrupted’, ‘What Women Want’ en zo nog meer films die dit hebben.
Eerder las ik ‘De Gelukkig Huisvrouw’ die eenzelfde soort thema behandeld, maar daarmee is maar één kant belicht. Omdat dat om een eerste kind gaat, is dat ergens ook logisch.

In Hart Van Steen gaat Ellen, zwanger, terug naar haar roots. Ze koopt het huis waar ze in is opgegroeid en neemt fotoalbums door, praat met het dochtertje wat in haar groeit. Zo komt er steeds meer boven van wat er vroeger gebeurd is, en hoe ze dit een plek moet zien te geven in haar nieuwe situatie.

Wel vond ik op den duur het verhaal wat langdradig worden. Juist omdat het als een warboel wegleest wordt je toch wat op de proef gesteld door de zaken die mooi beschreven zijn, maar door elkaar lopen. Je kunt minder genieten van een mooi uitzicht, als je steeds uit moet kijken of er niet wat onverwachts gebeurd. Toch is ook dat de kracht van het verhaal.

 
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Posted by on February 28, 2016 in Books, Opinion

 

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Column (whimword entry)

Mr Frat was with his hands in his hairs. How long could it possibly TAKE for that silly new journalist Ms Bubbles (or was it ‘Babbles’? He quite forgot) to write that new column of hers? He had given her the special spot for the occasion during the weekly meeting, as everybody else was otherwise occupied. Mr Howards was doing the coverage of Wordly Events, Mrs Grimm was giving the Gossip page all its dirt, while Mr Thompson and Mr Jones were trying to get into all games for free to cover the Sports section. Ms Bubbles (or ‘Babbles’), the intern, was quite new at all of this, so he simply had stated:
‘You will cover the column. Easy enough, write something nice about your colleagues, show them what a proper team we all are!’
Easy enough, right?
Mr Frat did think so. He would have expected her to follow her fellow colleagues like a little hipping bird, curious and insightful with asking stupid questions -interns usually did, and learned.
Unlike his expectations, she had been nowhere to be found. Instead, she had asked for a coverage of her travelling expenses. As he knew that Mr Howards was about to go to München for some gathering of meetings there, he had agreed to indeed pay for that.
Then he had spoken to Mr Howards and he had found out that Ms Bubbles (or ‘Babbles’) hadn’t been on his side at all!
It was only three hours before the deadline and whilst all of the office was buzzing with news articles being written, edited, rewritten, computers being tossed aside, internet connections being sworn into the deepest pits of hell -because Mr Smith, the coffeelady, had accidentally trod on the internet cable and had no idea and as a result of this, nobody had even thought of checking the darn thing- and pencils being used as a spoon for quick cups of noodle soups in between, as everyone had forgotten to unload the diswasher and pencils really are second best to that, no?
‘OK OK man, breath in, breath out!’ Mr Frat told himself.
‘Do we have the number of her cell?’ he started to think where he even kept his list of contacts, until his mobile started to buzz. He was a bit distracted by that, until he saw who was ringing him.
‘Ms Bubbles, where the hell are you?!’ he shouted.
‘I’m in Greece, you wanted me to cover a column and for it to say something nice about the team, no?’ she stated.
‘Well, yes, but…’ Mr Frat replied, a bit stunned.
‘Why did you go to Greece for that? You could have done it here!’
‘There are no columns at our office, you silly!’ Ms Bubbles stated.
‘Here, I’ll send you what I made’.
Mr Frats’ phone beeped again. He was quite stunned.
A pic of Ms Bubbles, next to a column, which she had covered in a banner of last year’s team in Christmas jumpers…

 
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Posted by on February 12, 2016 in Uncategorized

 

Gym class

I can’t say I ever truly hated gym. Sure, I was never very good at it, but generally I was OK with it. My class wasn’t the kind that made fun of each other’s bodies. Were they nice? No, but in general, our bodies weren’t the things that we paid attention to. Sometimes a bra, shirt or new shoes would be a topic of conversation, but usually it was the type of deodorant. I didn’t start using that stuff until these gymclasses. Because it was so cool to be able to answer the question: ‘is anyone carrying deodorant?’ with ‘yes!’ It was like having the best sweets in town or something. Everyone would treat you like you were ace, because all the others forgot. It was a short victory, usually, but still: how many victories do you usually have at school? My general score in any department of being ‘cool’ was zero.
Anyhow, that was after gymclass. I do remember one particular class.
One of my teachers, called Mr Sheep (yes, really) had put out the big blue-whale-seized mat as he was about to learn us how to make a salto in the air.
You were supposed to run up to it, jump on a trampoline, do a salto, then drop on the big mat.
As Mr Sheep was aware we could slide off quite easily -because of the running before- he decided to put some small mats around the blue-whale-sized one.
This ended up being a great idea.
For I was part of his gymclass.
I never seem to land where I’m supposed to. I’m not sure whether that’s genetically, technically or just physically. Tell me to go straight forward and I end up going right, left or down.
When it was my turn to try this nice little excersise, I ran, I jumped, I missed out on the salto, I simply slid right through, on enormous speed, making Mr Sheep having to jump behind me (as he was on top of that mat), being able only to get my knee, as all the rest of my body had already fallen off. There I was, in the crack between wall and mat.
‘I’ve got you!’ he yelled, while I could see his face and his arm above me, like he’d just saved me from dropping into the sea or something.
I couldn’t help laughing very, very loud.

 
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Posted by on February 11, 2016 in Uncategorized

 

Moulin Rouge (review)

With Ewan McGregor and Nicole Kidman. To be honest, I’m not a big fan of Ms Kidman. Because it seems to me that the second she starts to play someone passionate, she turns into this hissing cat. I don’t think I’ve ever seen her acting truly tender, loving, caring, somehow. Maybe I have seen the wrong films with her in it, somehow. Or maybe her acting is not the kind that convinces me that she is sincere.

Anyway, this particular one was, despite the subject -man falls heavily in love with prostitute that’s about to die from horrible disease- is far too childish in setup for me. Roxanne (Nicole Kidman) is the ‘head attraction’ of Moulin Rouge, and ofcourse it’s her who Christian  (McGregor) falls in love with. His naive childishness is the other part I don’t particularly like. It’s too grotesk, to clownesk, too cardboard. I like the music, but the play as a film is not that realistic.

The singing voice of Ewan McGregor is one I can appreciate though. It’s boyish, naive, hearfelt, torn and cute at times. The proper mix for the part he is playing. I’ve seen Ms Kidman’s voice being judged as ‘surprisingly good’ but I don’t see that. It’s alright I guess, but for the femme fatale she’s supposed to play, desperately fighting for her life, convincing the world she’s all that: I don’t see that.

Then again, the film is not solely based on these two, there’s more. Those actors suffer from the weird theatrical display. It’s a film that wants to be a Broadway Musical, which is something more films (Anna Karenina, The Great Gatsby) ‘suffer’ from, depending on which point of view. It is simply not the kind of film I deeply appreciate.
So therefore: is it all that bad? No, not at all. Just don’t expect the singing to be all that great, because that’s what singers are for. It is a spectacle, and given that it’s Moulin Rouge: who can blame ‘m, really?

 
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Posted by on February 10, 2016 in Films, Opinion

 

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The Secret Life of Bees (review)

The story of runaway Lily (played by Dakota Fanning) and Rosaleen (played by Jennifer Hudson). Lily grows up with just her dad, as she accidentally shoots her mother when she’s four years of age. This happens while her parents are in a fight and her mother actually wants to defend herself from her violent husband, but instead drops the gun. Lily tries to give it back and this goes wrong.

It is set in Carolina in 1964, which means there’s still a lot of racism and apartheid going on. The scenes where this takes place are very powerful and the acting is class at such moments. Despite the fact that I don’t think Dakota Fanning is a bad actress, she defenitely doesn’t show her best features in this film. Too bad, as it theme surely is dramatic enough to put your full efforts on display.

In search of a safe place to stay, Lily and Rosaleen endup in a honeymaking household family, ran by the sisters Boatwright (Alicia Keys, Queen Latifah and Sophie Okonedo). Their play is what captures your heart fully. Dakota Fanning is, in these moments, really just passing by figure, even though she’s technically the main part.
Paul Bettany, who plays T-Ray, Lily’s dad, doesn’t really get a chance to act, but what he does, doesn’t convince much either.

You should watch it, but as soon as the ramblings of Lily get on, just push FF…

 
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Posted by on February 10, 2016 in Films, Opinion, Uncategorized

 

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