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It’s Complicated

With Meryl Streep, Alec Baldwin, Steve Martin, Lake Bell, Zoe Kazan, Hunter Parrish, Caitlin Fitzgerald and many others.

After having been divorced for at least a decade, Jane and Jake Adler find themselves on turning points in their lives again. Jane is about to redecorate her kitchen to all of her cooking wishes, Jake is having trouble keeping his younger wife happy, who wants to have another baby and his fertility has apparently gone down the drain over the years.

Then, Jane and Jake’s youngest graduates, making the family reunite in New York. Albeit in different rooms, it appears they are staying at the same hotel. And unexpectedly, Jake is alone. His wife and 5 year old stepson didn’t come along as his stepson fell ill.

This ends up in a heavily, heavily drunken night, with Jane and Jake sleeping together.

To both their hugest shock. To Jake’s delight in the morning, Jane is the one feeling guilty (how typical, eh?). Jane feels like she betrayed her kids, while Jake feels like he did quite the opposite. Then again, they know each other so well, it happens again. The reliving of a shared past, the emotions of having shared kids and a life together, makes them very vulnerable and open to one another.

But then the architect of Jane’s new kitchen, Adam (played by Steve Martin, not sure why: he isn’t bad, but also not witty or funny in this particular part), becomes more boyfriend material. Jane finds herself more and more in moral trouble due to her fling with Jake.

A good old chickflick that shows how men can be confronted with their utterly stupid made decisions earlier. It is, as always, a joy to see Meryl Streep, with a boyishly charming Alec Baldwin and their children who have cast to look not even a bit like either of them. OK, they have all blonde hairs, but other than that? Not much.

Still, if you’re into a hilarious chickflick, this one is for you 🙂

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Posted by on June 29, 2018 in Films, Opinion, Uncategorized

 

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Shaun of the Dead

With Simon Pegg, Nick Frost, Kate Ashfield, Lucy Davis, Dylan Moran, Penelope Wilton and so on.

If you’ve seen the film ‘Paul’ then you know you have to watch this one aswell. The same power duo (Simon Pegg and Nick Frost) in an idiot film.

They are basically Shaun the Loser, who doesn’t dare to tell his ‘friend’ Ed to ef off from his appartment, to make his plans for every single day at the pub instead of with his own girlfriend Liz (Kate Ashfield) and so on.
Shaun doesn’t say anything to anyone. He is the loser at his job aswell, where he’s the eldest (in his late twenties) so nobody takes him seriously there either.
The film starts with Liz being fed up about never being alone with Shaun because of his friend Ed.

When suddenly the city is under attack of zombies, all hell breaks loose. But in such a lovely British way. Simon Pegg and Nick Frost, along with Penelope Wilton, Bill Nighy and some other extras (Martin Freeman, Matt Lucas, the works) make up really well for their nonexistent skills in martial arts, throwing anything with feeling for directions and so on.

At times I just know they copied bits and pieces of The Walking Dead and From Dusk Till Dawn, but oh heck, it’s funny, so who the hell cares?

Don’t watch it if you have a weak stomach, as at times, it does show quite a bit, but to see zombies handled with British politeness etc….it’s a must watch!

 
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Posted by on February 9, 2018 in Films, Opinion, Uncategorized

 

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Bonkers, by Jennifer Saunders

This autobiography of Jennifer Saunders is simply perfect. It is as lighthearted as it is serious, doesn’t bore for one bleedin’ second (I’ve read biographies that couldn’t live up to that one), it’s a delight to read.

Jennifer sets out how herself and Dawn French became aquantainted, befriended and then crawled up the path to fame. As far as I’ve understood, being a daughter of an RAFman greatly helps 🙂 also, not being very good at interviews at universities for other, more serious studies, leads to this. Well, for Jennifer.

What amazes me in the book is how impeccable Ms Saunders is with her timing. She knows, just from the other end of the book -the writing part-, how people will react on her written statements. It is as if Edina Monsoon is personally following you through the reading, is shouting at you with it! You can just hear it. Feel quite intimidated. And still can’t help laughing.

Though Ms Saunders tells you at the very beginning that she’s horrible with chronological orders, of course the editor of the book took care of that. So it does seem like she’s in control after all. She does start every chapter by telling you in what scene you have landed. Very friendly so 🙂

Jennifer makes it sound like she has had a very easy life in a way, but at the end you have to conclude that the woman is so very talented. She gets away with everything, because, well…SHE IS JENNIFER SAUNDERS, HELLO!!

Her words somehow got to me even more as I recognised her feelings towards people she admires or tv show hosts and such. She closes up like an oyster. Can’t speak. Can barely move. Just instantly. Very nice if someone ace just happens to sit next to you and is being nice to you. The shame you feel afterwards when that happens! I mean I’m not famous so it never happens to me personally, but I have some (more or less) famous people in my family, so it does happen at birthday bashes and such, that an oocasional famous human enters the livingroom and I’m like: ‘wow, that’s !!’ and I will just be so insanely stupid. Not able to talk, like a normal person, instead sweat and either say nothing or appear far too enthusiastically and break something.

Anyway, back to the book.

Jennifer Saunders has a lovely, sincere and spontaneous way of writing. She tells a lot, namedrops (as she has been told to do so, she mentions at the very beginning) and quite frankly, makes it even more easily to love her as you already did (or at least I did).

She also mentions her fight with breast cancer, and as the wife of a Radiation Expert, I do feel the need to add a few things here. Not because Ms Saunders doesn’t mention them incorrect, it’s just an FYI, nothing special.
She mentions she was injected with something. I don’t know the actual name, but let me tell you what it does: this radioactive material is made to attach itself to the bad cells, meaning that if they make a special scan/picture of you, lymphes with bad cells in it, will appear on screen. It’s like putting a magic marker in your system to show what parts are needed to treat.
This is not the kind of pic/scan you want to be able to see much of yourself on! It also hardly shows you as a person at all, much more like a Rohrschach butterfly or sorts.

Back to the book again. Which is fantastic, not much of any surprise really. It has two sections of added pictures for more fun, both of the beginning of The Comic Strip, the double acts and so on, as their personal life. It’s so cute to see quite such a soft side of Adrian Edmonson 🙂 (I was first introduced to his Vyvyan-version, quite a different side of him!)

A must read if you’re a fan, also a must read if you are into comedy at all. So much to learn from this clever lady!

 
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Posted by on June 25, 2016 in Books, Opinion, Uncategorized

 

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The Extra Man

This film with Kevin Kline and Paul Dano is a delight for slightly insane minds. I say slightly, because Louis Ives (played wonderfully by Paul Dano) does bring a certain ‘normality’ to the canvas for utter ridiculousness that’s brought to you by Kevin Kline.

Henry Harrison (Kevin Kline) has factually nothing more than a spare bed and, OK, a couple of doors, to spare. Despite this, he rents this out to people he can allow to be that close to him. Henry appears to be a gentleman of sorts, but in the end is nothing more than a complete weirdo. A funny one though. Who goes on a date painting his feet in the color black because you can’t find your socks? Or pees in the street in an overcoat that is so wide that it won’t draw attention? Or has that many hypocritical opinions about sex? Who puts letters in the fridge?
Henry has and he is wonderfully inconstistent with them.

Meanwhile, Louis has his own problems with finding his way in life. Being a kindhearted soul, it’s not that hard for him to get in contact with people, but he does have a problem to define himself. Which brings him on the path of Henry, really.
Whilst living with Henry, Louis does try to get in touch with the parts of him he never had before. Just too bad he is a bit clumsy and, more so, naive. It’s his naivity that usually brings him and Henry closer together and in touch with the rules of the world outside.

It is quite a pleasure to watch, but probably not everyone’s cup of tea.

 
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Posted by on March 22, 2016 in Films, Humour, Opinion, Uncategorized

 

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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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Ally McBeal

De serie was in de jaren negentig zwaar populair. Calista Flockhart die de titelrol vertolkte, kreeg weliswaar wisselende kritieken op haar figuur (wanneer krijgt een vrouw dat niet, overigens? Het is nooit goed: of ze is te dik en te lelijk, of ze is te dun en moest zich schamen. Het is toch nooit goed) maar op zichzelf was de serie een prettige verademing, verhalend over een advocatenkantoor vol idioten.
Want ja, daar kwam het op neer.
Het begon ermee hoe Ally daar op dat kantoor terechtkwam, allicht. Ook al door een rechtszaak en de toevallige ontmoeting op straat met Fisher, die ze nog van college kende. Die bood haar een plekje aan op zijn eigen kantoor. Een aanbod dat ze eerst afsloeg (‘het gaat jouw alleen maar om GELD!”) maar na een juridische aanvaring met een collega die z’n handen niet thuis kon houden, nam ze het dan toch aan. Probleempje: haar ex werkt er ook. Haar inmiddels getrouwde ex. Zijn vrouw ook. En is ze over hem heen? JA HOOR! (niet dus)

De serie moest het aanvankelijk van Ally’s neuroses hebben, gaandeweg werd de clientele steeds debieler en idioter. Rechters met een fetish voor schone tanden, een rechter die een affaire bleek te hebben met een van de kantoorgenoten en zo nog een paar.

Hoewel het een vergaapcircus aan rariteiten was, verloor de serie daarmee op een goed moment ook z’n daadkracht. Het rare werd gewoon. Dus steeds weer nieuwe mensen aantrekken met rare trekjes. De serie begon daarnaast aanvankelijk met een soort gefotoshopte ‘The Mask’karikaturen . Een paar vrouwen die een man verlekkerd nakijken, kregen tongen van een meter die uit openstaande bekken rolden. Op een gegeven moment was daar niets meer van terug te vinden. Heel jammer, want ik denk dat een deel van die zwaar overdreven uitingen nu net hetgene was waar men voor bleef hangen. Het stond ver van de realiteit, dus grappig.

In plaats daarvan maakte de serie de fout door Billy, Ally’s ex dus, niet alleen te laten scheiden, maar daarnaast ook nog een heel seizoen lang te laten doodgaan aan een vervelende kanker.
Toen dat seizoen voorbij was, begon de serie bovendien stiekem opnieuw. Deze keer was het Ally die op straat tegen iemand aan botste. Een jonge, vrouwelijke advocate, die met een gebroken hart om werk verlegen zat. Ondertussen bleek de ex van deze jongedame ook bij Ally op kantoor rond te lopen en werd Ally zelf ineens de psychisch begeleidende kracht voor dit stel.

Waardeloos.

De eerste drie seizoenen zijn, hoewel inhoudelijk niet meer de sterkste -Boston Legal kwam daarna en vele malen idioter, beter en diepgaander- nog best te doen.

 

This series was incredibly popular in the nineties. Calista Flockhart, playing the titlerole was given mixed reviews (when doesn’t a woman get those? Either she’s too thin so it’s unhealthy, or she’s too fat, or not pleasing to the eye in a different way; no way to escape, really!) but in itself the series was exciting, new, about a lawyers’ office filled with idiots.
Because yes, that was pretty much what it was all about.
It all started with the way Ally became part of that office, of course. Walking down the streets, she runs into FIsher, an old college mate, who offers her a job at his new office. Ally rejects the offer, as she knows that all he cares about is money. She wants to help people. Then, she got into legal trouble at the office she actually worked at. A bastard who can’t keep his hands to himself. She doesn’t have a case in the end, so she quits and goes to the office of Fisher. To discover that the ex she left years ago is working there. With his wife. Is she over him? YES, SURE! (SOOOO not!)

This series was, in the beginning, thriving on Ally’s neuroses. After that, her colleagues and their clients just became weirder and weirder, including judges with weird fetishes, such as clean teeth and one that actually slept with one of the office members.

Although it was a weird and wild circus in this show, it did loose its edge after a while because of that. Weird became normal. That’s why you tuned in, no? It no longer surprised, in a way. So they kept carrying in new people with weird quirky things to pep it up. Whilst the series began with The Mask-like photoshopped items (women turning their head, jaws on the floor, a tongue of 3 miles falling out), after a while, this was no longer being used. I do think this is what the show lacked in continuity. That was, in the beginning, what made people tune in, I think. So when that was taken out, it lost its appeal.

Next to that, the show made the mistake to allow Billy to die for a whole season of a dreadful cancer. I didn’t even want to see that season as it was so far gone already. The season after that, the show basically committed suicide by secretly starting over: Ally bumped into a young attorney in the streets. A young woman who was going through a tough break with her boyfriend. Ally hired her for the office, just at the same time one of her associates had hired….the ex of this woman. BOOM! Same situation, different -less known- actors. From there, the series really had nothing to go to. Jon Bon Jovi was probably hired to make up for some of it, but in the end, the show was actually only good for the first three seasons. After that, they should have stopped.

You better watch Boston Legal for fun, idiotic humour and even some deep thoughts on how the law works. Actual matters. 

 
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Posted by on January 6, 2016 in Opinion

 

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Jurassic World, review

With Christ Pratt, Bryce Dallas Howard, Vincent D’Onofrio, Omar Sy and others. I watched this film when I was very bored and it was perfect for that occasion 🙂

Jurassic World tells the story of two boys, Gray and Zach (played by Ty Simpkins and Nick Robinson), who are send away on a vacation to their aunt Claire (Bryce Dallas Howard) in Jurassic World, the legacy of John Hammond. Why this has been arranged, doesn’t really come forward.

Having seen the first Jurassic Parc film, this one doesn’t even come close to have the same thrill. Things go wrong as is meant to happen, but nowhere near as wrong as in the first part. While there’s parts in this film that do recall that very first film, which does give it a nice ‘ah, yes, I remember’ nostalgia-touch, I guess.

It is funny to recognise so many things that would indeed be part of such a themed parc if it would exist. The load of mobile devices to photograph the animals, the alternative ‘dolphin’ show, the petting zoo for the smallest dinosaurs, meant for children to indeed pet the dinosaurs.

Meanwhile, not a lot happens in this film. Mostly thanks to Chris Pratt, who is reanacting The Horse Whisperer with dinosaurs. With his lovely sidekick Barry, played by Omar Sy. Who you remember from Intouchables. Obvious why he was chosen to play this part, which he does very gracingly.

Vincent D’Onofrio is the bad guy, but the baddest about him is actually his beard. Or that would be my interpretation. In the first film it’s obvious who’s the bad guy and why, given that Nedry simply doesn’t care if anyone lives, as long as he has his money. So the scene with the dinosaur there brings a certain amount of satisfaction, whilst in this film, you’re watching the scene, thinking ‘yeah, right’, because it’s not that realistic in ANY situation what is depicted here. Hoskins is more of an experimentalist. Which means his theories are against those of the amusement park, but lets face it: if all this were true, people would indeed want to know if dinosaurs could be used in a battle to defend something. Hoskins is deeply unpleasant, but actually the people behind the amusementpark are not necessarily the good guys when it comes to theories of ‘if you have total control of an animal, what would you do with it?’

The relationship with the parents of the boys is being depicted so weird that you’re wondering why the hell the studio decided to keep that story in at all? It’s not worked out properly. There’s a few hints of it not going too well between the parents, but no such sight between the parents themselves. All you see is the sisters (mother and aunt Clair) not getting along over the phone, where mother says that her eldest can be so mean to the youngest. Of which you also see no proof at all during the entire film.
Bryce Dallas Howard is bitchy, like I expected her to be after seeing The Help. The funniest scene of her is when Chris Pratt tells her she can’t come along with him:
‘Not wearing those shoes!’
*adjusts clothes*
‘What are you doing??’
-Well, I’m ready to go NOW!’
When basically, she has done nothing. Except for unbuttoning the first 2 buttons of her blouse and tie the ends into a knot.

All in all it’s an amusing film to watch in itself, but don’t expect anything major. If children wouldn’t have such a vivid imagination, I’d almost say that children the age of 10 can easily watch this, but given that I myself have recently seen The Walking Dead and was kind of anticipating on anything, that may be a bit much. Nevertheless, I can’t say this film is really that scary. It’s too contained.

 
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Posted by on December 24, 2015 in Films, Opinion

 

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