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Category Archives: Opinion

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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Science Fiction

The thing with science fiction seems to be: you don’t realise it’s either your cup-of-tea or not, until you read some. So many specific types of persons seem to like it (a.k.a. ‘the nerdy ones’), that if you don’t consider yourself to be one of ‘those’ you’ll be like ‘neh, scifi just ain’t for me’.

Funny thing is: part of it really does appeal to a broader audiences than one might think.
I wrote a scifi story/book myself (or tried to) and to get inspired, I read Douglas Adams’ Hitchhiker’s Guide To The Galaxy. I don’t know about you, but I was reluctant to read scifi before, not to also not watch any films/movies with that subject. I’ve always loved those. So it was quite refreshing to read the book about the film that I quit liked. The book was so far more hilarious, and the story I was about to write, pretty much went like a train after that.
Then, I started to read more. Not like other books I read, but still: I read a few. Most of those books been handed to me by my father, who is totally into scifi, I did discover another side of these stories: the world views, the utopia’s being created, if you will. The writers creating these alternative worlds, did pick situations which can happen to anyone, and implement the ways of correcting unwanted behaviour (for instance) to a degree where one might think: ‘wow, I wish politicians thought like this?!’
It was a thing that came to mind when reading Heinlein, for instance. Who has an example of a teacher asking a student ‘if your dog behaves badly, what do you do?’
The discussion the two have, shows how views can be simple, but are made more difficult by judges, juries and the people in the courtroom wanting either revenge or some kind of compensation for their grieve (in whatever way, really).

Aside that, the adventurous particle of the story hugely appeals to the mind aswell. After all, that’s why most people even bother to read: to get away from reality and to step into another world.
So all and all I’d say; go for it. Pick a book by a proper author; Heilein is a nice one, so are Asimov, Douglas Adams and I’d add Terry Pratchet to this list if he weren’t more of a fantasy writer. At least I don’t recall him creating any utopia’s. But you can correct me if I’m wrong, as I haven’t read every book that he wrote.

Oh and my own book is When Gods Play Hide And Seek by the way, but that’s quite another story.

 
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Posted by on August 13, 2017 in Books, Opinion, Uncategorized

 

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Schrijftips

Als recensent, nieuwslezer, twitteraar en algeheel boekenliefhebster, komen er nogal wat schrijfsels op mijn pad. Daar zitten beter en minder werk tussen. Op twitter kom ik sowieso nogal eens wat schrijftips tegen, dus ik bedacht dat het misschien wel aardig was mijn eigen bijdrage daarvoor eens uiteen te zetten:

-een bekende tip is om veel te lezen, vooral ook boeken van schrijvers/schrijfsters die je persoonlijk erg aanspreken. Analyseer de tekst. Waarom vindt jij ‘m zo tot je spreken. Probeer de stijl uit op je eigen teksten. Je komt misschien tot verrassende twists, die je zelf niet aan zag komen.
-vermijd herhalende woorden in zinnen achter elkaar. Verzin een weg eromheen, een ander woord, of laat er eerst een andere zin tussen komen.
-leg niet met een volgende zin de vorige zin uit. Je lezers zijn niet dom en willen zich dat ook niet voelen. Als je denkt dat het (nog) niet duidelijk is, is je gevormde zin dus ook niet goed.
-(deze is ook best bekend) gebruik voldoende spaties, witregels en alinea’s. Je tekst wordt aanzienlijk leesbaarder als het oog van de lezer af en toe ‘interpreteerrust’ krijgt. Zo las ik laatst een spannend bedoeld verhaal. Eén klont tekst. Wég spanning. Zonde!
-heb je een dialoog tussen je personages wat niet helemaal wil lopen? Ga zelf in gesprek met mensen. Kan ook iets kleins zijn. Ga koffie of boodschappen halen, maak een wandeling door het park of waar ook. Het maakt je hoofd leeg en het hier en daar opvangen van gesprekken inspireert.
-kijk ter inspiratie ook eens een film of serie op Netflix in het genre waarin je schrijft. Het heeft verrassend veel te bieden.
-zorg ervoor dat je eten en drinken in de buurt hebt, zodat je niet steeds weer hoeft op te staan.
-geniet! Schrijven is een mooi vak. Je creëert. Genieten is een belangrijk onderdeel.

 
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Posted by on July 29, 2017 in Books, Opinion, Uncategorized

 

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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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De Man Die Niet Van Robots Hield

Iedereen is blij als er op een dag een zorgrobot komt meehelpen in de instelling. De robot ondersteunt het personeel en verovert al snel de harten van de bewoners. Zelfs de digitale nepaandacht wordt welkom ontvangen.
Dan komen enkele bewoners van de instelling ineens op mysterieuze wijze te overlijden. Een van de bewoners die helemaal niet gecharmeerd is van de robot, gaat op onderzoek uit. En was dat nou wel zo’n goed plan?

Het verhaal leest tamelijk prettig weg in stijl. Het is echter geschreven in eigen beheer, en dat is te merken. Omdat de schrijver nogal vaak woorden uit elkaar haalt die aan elkaar moeten (spatiegebruik) en er niet vaak genoeg een witregel, ‘enter’ of nieuwe alinea wordt gebruikt, leest het ook heel houterig. Het verhaal, wat als thriller moet gelden en dus een zekere spanningsboog moet hebben om dit voor elkaar te krijgen, mist dit daardoor. Er wordt de lezer geen rust gegund om zaken op zich in te laten werken. Zonde, want slecht is het verhaal niet. Het is wel wat rechttoe rechtaan, maar vooral het ontbreken van leesruimte, helpt niet.

Het boek is opgedeeld in drie delen, waarvan de middelste het lastigst leest. De schrijver verlangt in feite dat u als lezer als een robot ‘denkt’ en ‘voelt’, maar in feite weet je dat een robot nog niet de helft van die zaken die omschreven worden, echt zal denken of voelen. Het is meer de stem van een autist (bijvoorbeeld). Iemand die zaken verkeerd uitlegt omdat-ie het anders niet bevatten kan, zoiets. Het moet het waarom uitleggen van de aard van het elektronische wezentje, maar dat komt daardoor toch niet helemaal uit de verf. Daarnaast spreekt de robot u toe in zowel eigen vorm (‘ik’) als in derde persoon over zichzelf, en ook rustig in dezelfde zin. Dat leest een beetje irritant.

Hoe dan ook, het derde deel maakt het tweede deel wat beter. Dit is vooral te danken aan het feit dat de gewone mensen weer aan het woord komen.

Al met al geen slecht boek, maar ik zou de schrijver toch aanraden om met de opmaak van de tekst aan de slag te gaan. Het komt de leesbaarheid ten goede, en daarmee mogelijk ook de aantrekkelijkheid om het te lezen.

 
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Posted by on July 7, 2017 in Books, Opinion, Uncategorized

 

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