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Category Archives: Films

Muriel’s Wedding

This lovely and funny film is about Muriel (amusingly played by Toni Colette), a girl from Porpoise Spit, Australia, who really only has one dream: to get married. Hence the title of the film.

There’s a few problems though, the most important one being Muriel doesn’t actually have a boyfriend. It’s not like she doesn’t try, she’s just…not getting there.
Her circle of friends (read: cheerleaders who have always thought of Muriel more like a funny lapdog than an actual person) is no help there: they are more likely to tell her exactly what to wear, what to say and what to do, then to just enjoy the girl she is. Her family is of no help at all either. Consisting of two brothers and two sisters without any other dreams than sitting in front of the telly and watch sports, plus two parents who have no idea about the needs of their children. Their father doesn’t because he’s too absorbed in his dream; to become a politician and run away with the woman he’s having an affair with. His wife, the mother of his children, has a busy life being elsewhere with her thoughts at all times. She does try. She just isn’t all there.
When her father’s business associate offers Muriel a job, something happens that changes Muriel’s life. She meets Rhonda, a former classmate, played by Rachel Griffiths. The both of them meet again, and it turns out they both have been bullied throughout their schoolperiod by the same group of bloody cheerleaders. Who ‘happen’ to be on that very same location. The mad ride goes on from there.

This film is a must see for any ABBA fan because of the soundtrack, but it’s a hilarious piece of work too. Toni Colette is fantastic playing the slightly overweight Muriel (not really though, just that ABBA suit fits her less well) who struggles to say anything interesting to anyone, which isn’t that easy when your only two interests consists of wedding dresses and playing ABBA songs.

 
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Posted by on August 21, 2017 in Films, Opinion, Uncategorized

 

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3096 Days

This film, that shows the kidnapping, captivity and escaping of Natascha Kampusch from Wolfgang Prikopil, is a bit of a weird one.

Based on Natascha’s autobiography, it has very moving moments, especially of the young Natascha (beautifully and intensely play by Amelia Pidgeon) who begs her kidnapper for food, stating that she hasn’t eaten in three days (?!) or him stating repeatedly that she needs to obey him, that her parents don’t love her, that they haven’t paid ransom, when he is just terrible to her: those moments you just want to strangle Prikopil. At the same time, you’re sort of in search for his inner motivation. Why does he do this to her? What does he want from her? Why did he pick her? What does he want with her?
Natascha Kampusch has always stated there was no sex nor rape, but given that she was the victim, I am not entirely sure how to explain that. Has he told her that wasn’t it? She was intelligent to know it was, at the time, I suppose, but why do you keep an innocent child with you for so many years then? Was she just some sort of hamster to him? A pet he could keep in his cellar?

Then again: even though she spent so many years with him, you realise his character is a bit empty because Natascha never really got to know this aspect of him either. After she escaped, he killed himself. He chose the easy way out. The bastard.

Despite the obvious ‘pity’ factor -you DO feel very sorry for the poor girl, being captivated- there’s a lot missing in this film. Such as a narrator, to at least interpret Natascha’s feelings, as she looks at him desperately, or when there’s another timehop, stuff like that. Because there’s one voice that will never be explained, but I can’t for the life of me imagine that Natascha never questioned his motives, never had any inner dialogue? Or at least why it’s not in this film. It would have made the film a bit more interesting, to be fair. There’s no real inner struggle to see.
There’s moments {possible spoiler ALERT} where he beats the crap out of her, and it turns out later, she wrote those down, kept them. But no voice, nor any other explanation to what she did with those notes. Or if they were kept, somehow, in any way? {/possible spoiler ALERT}
She just wants to please her captivator. Obviously. You want to do whatever is necessary from the one who holds the key to every part of your life.

I know that people have been curious about why she was so sorry that Prikopil died, or why on earth she would want to keep the house that she was held hostage in for so long. But if it helds the most important memories of where you once stayed for your formative years, you do understand. It’s just all you have of that time, even if it was mostly shitty. She made it liveable by a survivemode.

Another big failure about this film: it’s in English. That just doesn’t make any sense.

 
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Posted by on August 20, 2017 in Films, Opinion

 

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The Danish Girl

This film, based on a story that was modified so many times that the endresult no longer matches any previous happenings with reality, is therefor an interesting bio that never seems to have happened.

Simple storyline: married couple (Gerda and Einar Wegener) are both painters. They have been trying to conceive a child for a while, but to no success. Einar has been somewhat more successful in being a painter than Gerda has, but both are regarded as good painters nontheless.
One afternoon, a client is running late for a portrait to be made, so Gerda asks Einar if he can please help her, by putting on some stockings and slippers, the one the ballet dancer who is the client, is wearing on the portrait. The sensation of putting on the stockings seems to unveal an old sensation in Einar that he had forgotten.

Gerda is very supportive about Einars’ curiosity towards fabrics she’s wearing. She doesn’t blink an eye when she finds out, while undressing him, Einar has found a way to one of her silken negligé’s for instance. The sex doesn’t change, nor does the love between them.

The first party they attend as two women is a different story. What starts as a joke, develops as an illfelt experience. The way Eddie Redmayne gives a voice, nervous gestures and shy smiles to his character, is exactly how it must have felt, and how you live through that moment. It’s quite remarkable.
After that, Gerda’s feelings towards Einars’ alternative personality Lili, change. She no longer wants Lili around. Though Einar wants to please his wife and meet her needs, he discovers he is no longer able to. The beast has unleashed, so to say.

What follows is still depicted as the story between Gerda and Einar only. Ok, and Ulla, the dancer friend, and the painting and art exhibition societies. But never do you see them around their own family, their judgement or their knowledge of the situation, or even around siblings.
You do see Einar being misunderstood, but not as severely as one might expect for someone who was amongst the pioneers of transgenders.
The portrayal of a man, admiring his own body, searching for what he feels is most comfortable for his spirit and soul, is depicted quite intimate.

Gerda is an incredibly strong woman, it seems, nearly too strong, but shows so well how marriages worked back then: the vows do say ‘in sickness and in health’.

Einar visits several doctors, and the one who helps him in the end, is Sebastian Koch. The procedure is not an easy one, especially at the time.

For who is interested in transgenders, it is certainly an interesting film, given the uneasy feeling it gives you at times, I’m not I’d recommend it to anyone. Then again, it’s the acting that is so very strong here.

 
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Posted by on August 19, 2017 in Films, Opinion

 

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To The Bone

With Lily Collins, Keanu Reeves, Lili Taylor, Brooke Smith and many others.

This film, which is said to be the first one about anorexia nervosa, doesn’t bore one bit. We follow Ellen -beautifully portraited by Lily Collins- who has just walked away from the last clinic she was admitted to for gaining purposes. Ellen actually only finds joy in making others feel uneasy so she doesn’t have to.

You don’t get to see much of the inside struggles she faces though. It’s Dr William Beckham -played by Keanu Reeves, a bit of a weird pick that, to be fair. He doesn’t depict the doctor badly, it’s just not a part I was expecting him to play- who voices most of the struggles she goes through. Dr William Becker and Alex Sharp, one of the first residents in the house/clinic Ellen meets.

Though this film sort of gives an insight into the lives of people with an eating disorder, it seems to show less of their minute to minute struggles. It’s still rather shallow. You see how Ellen’s family is in many ways highly disfunctional, but not how this works for the others. And somehow, that context, especially with such a heavy depiction of the shown illnesses (eating disorders) seems quite important.

To The Bone did remind me -at times- of Girl, Interrupted. Probably because it’s mostly girls in the prime of their life, facing problems they don’t know how to deal with. The atmosphere in To The Bone seems incredibly loose. No very strict rules, just some restrictions, really, and a system that contains earning points with ‘good behaviour’.

Ellen first appears as an incredibly moody teenager, only trusting her sister enough to act normal (pleasant) around, but in the end turns out a very sensitive and adjusting person, who just needed to be shown some basic love. The scene of her mother feeding her is so powerful, you’re honestly not sure if it will break or bond the two.

 

 
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Posted by on July 21, 2017 in Films, Opinion, Uncategorized

 

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Hoe duur was de suiker?

Een film van Nederlandse bodem over de slavernij in Suriname, helaas veel te kort geleden.

Opvallend is dat de slaven in deze film aanzienlijk beter acteerwerk neerzetten dan hun tegenpolen, de witte eikels. Dieptepunt zijn wel de twee dames, gespeeld door Gaite Jansen en Anna Raadsveld, die duidelijk nooit hebben geleerd om op het witte doek te schitteren, alleen maar op het toneel. Hun overdreven uitspraken van ongeveer elk woord, elke letter, hoort daar duidelijk thuis. Er zit geen enkele emotie in Gaite Jansen, Anna Raadsveld doet op den duur haar best, maar veel meer dan matig wordt het eigenlijk niet. De man om wie ze vechten doet zijn uiteindelijke keus eer aan. Hij is niet spannend, hij is gewoon een man.
Benja Bruijning had z’n baard wat beter vast moeten lijmen, had vast niet geholpen voor z’n spel, maar mogelijk had-ie zich dan in elk geval ergens achter kunnen verstoppen.
Kees Boot doet geweldig z’n best, en aangezien hij tegenover Yootha Wong-Loi-Sing staat, lukt dat wat beter, zeker op het eind.

Ik heb het boek nooit gelezen en zoals gewoonlijk heb ik begrepen dat dat wel beter was. Sowieso is er nogal wat weggelaten uit dat boek. Ook dit blijkt de film niet ten goede te komen. Niettemin is het een bijna twee uur durend exemplaar.

De vernederingen die de slaven moeten ondergaan en de terreurgroep die een deel van hen opzet is erg doordringend, maar helaas door Gaite komt het gewoon niet zo krachtig over als dat in films als The Maid, The Color Purple en Twelve Years A Slave wél doet. Ik las dat ze een prestigieuze prijs heeft gekregen voor haar optreden in deze film. Ik vind Thekla Reuten in De Tweeling aanzienlijk beter spelen dan Gaite Jansen in deze.

 
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Posted by on July 2, 2017 in Films, Opinion

 

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Anastasia

This film, that reminds strongly of a Disney-film because of the style of drawing and the style of music, is really anything but a Disney-film. Despite the fact it even has two little helpers, just like Disney usually has.

The story is about Anastasia, who is born and raised in the rich aristocracy of Russia, where, during a party, Rasputin has invited himself, cursing all of the Romanov family. He wants them all to die. The family which Anastasia is part of. This happens shortly after Anastasia was given a small music box by her grandmother.

Because of the curse of Rasputin, the family is forced to flee the scene instantly, as Rasputin wants to kill everyone, setting the house on fire. During the flight, grandmother and Anastasia loose each other. Grandmother is on the train and loses grip on Anastasia’s hand, causing her to fall down.

Years later, it appears that Anja (her name by now) has no recollection of the life she led before her 8th birthday, the moment the party  was. She is, by now, grown up, leaving the orphanage she’s been living in, to start her own life as a cleaning lady. At least, that’s what she’s supposed to do, according to the head mistress. But Anja has a will of her own. The road goes in two opposite directions. Which ones shall she take?

The film was made by Fox film corporation, and this is noticeable. There’s far more elements of it being a drawn musical at times than in Disney films. The drama is heavier, it’s far less suitable for small children with a strong imagination, who might get nightmares from such dark images. Especially Rasputin being depicted as being in a darker world, can be too much for a happy mind. You should watch along, or fast forward. Though it’s very possible that the fact there’s no blood visible, makes it funny for those who aren’t that weak in the stomach, or just care less.
There’s a scene, however, in Paris, where one of the statues (of a horse, with wings) becomes evil by the touch of magic. I wouldn’t call that very suitable for small children either.

Then again, the fact that in Disney films usually a prince or any male type person has to rescue the girl in her bloody expensive dress from any evil beings, is nicely compensated here. The girl does it all by herself, telling the bastard in his face he can go take a hike. Of course, she has help, but she’s the one who stands there with her dress being torn apart, kicking and giving a big mouth. Good stuff.

All in all, I’d say this is a nice film, but I wouldn’t recommend your kid watching it on her/his own that first time. At least hang in there for the music, it’s truly lovely.

 
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Posted by on June 25, 2017 in Films, Opinion

 

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Did You Hear About The Morgans?

This film, starring Hugh Grant, Sarah Jessica Parker, Sam Elliott, Mary Steenburgen, Elisabeth Moss and various others, has a cast that I’d normally expect more from. Not all of them, I’ll admit. And I don’t expect any acting from Sarah Jessica Parker, which is exactly what happens. She’s just a spoilt brat having to move due to unforeseen circumstances, and just like her character from Sex and the City, she’s not actually capable of adjusting to the new situation.
Hugh Grant is the one who knows how to make both their lines work. He’s not that good either, but his way of acting is more like he’s realised he went to the wrong party and now he’s gotta deal with it. Which is a description of him in most of his films really. He can do that and he does the job well.
Sam Elliott is typecasted so obviously that he really barely needs any other dressup. Mary Steenburgen as his sidekick works perfectly.

So, that’s about the actors. Now the story: the Morgans, an estranged couple, find themselves being a witness of a murder on one night, where Mr Morgan has desperately tried to get Mrs Morgan to have dinner with him again. Due to the fact that the murderer has seen the Morgans being a witness of his crime, he tries to kill the Morgans. Since the killer turns out to be a high profile criminal, the Morgans are offered a place in a witness protection program. Mrs Morgan doesn’t want this to be a shared accommodation, but there’s no choice there.

Actually Sarah Jessica Parker’s attitude is the most annoying one in this film. She walks around like she ended up on the wrong set, including the ‘you cheated on me!’ drama. Though at first you sympathise with that, in the end it turns out she’s been no better herself, and you end up hating her even more because she’s such a hypocrit.

I’m sure there’s worse films than this one, it’s just not that far behind.

 
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Posted by on May 10, 2017 in Films, Opinion, Uncategorized

 

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