Wednesday, June 6, 2012


Shakespeare lives!

This movie is based on a lesser-known play by William Shakespeare. The story tells us about a legendary Roman general, named Caius Martius (played by Ralph Fiennes), at a time where Rome just banished the last king and took the first steps towards the Republic. Though Caius Martius has won many victories for Rome, he is not loved with the common people, mainly because he is openly contemptuous towards the commoners.
When news arrives Rome is in danger because the Volscian army, lead by Aufidius (played by Gerald Butler) is on the move, Caius Martius leaves Rome to quelch the threat nearly single-handedly. After an encounter with his mortal enemy Aufidius in the city of Coriole, he returns victorious. He receives great praise and is granted the name "Coriolanus". His mother convinces him to run for consul. Some tribunes however do not agree with this idea, and rally the commoners against the general.

The tribunes are successful in their intent, and the commoners manage to provoke Coriolanus so much, that he openly insults the people of Rome. For that, he is exiled.
Filled with rage, Coriolanus swore to take revenge...

To me, this movie was awesome in so many ways. The story, the acting, the setting, but most of all, the way Ralph Fiennes (who is also the director) takes an "old" story and puts it in a contemporary background, without losing any of the original storyline or feeling. A risky, but magnificent choice was to keep the original text from the Shakespearian play. Though this might give the movie an archaic feeling to some, to me it was fantastic. I felt like I was in ancient Rome, but at the same time the movie felt so 'real', not only because it took place in a fictious present, but also because it really felt like this 'present' could actually happen. An amazing way to bring back Shakespeare into the hearts and minds of the people.
The acting also was astounding. The way Fiennes takes on the arrogant, wrathful role of Coriolanus in such a convincing manner, gives many a viewer - including me - the chills. Aufidius on the other hand is more forgiving, more reasonable. Gerald Butler made it look like these traits aren't just 'acted', but actually are a part of himself. Amazing.

In short, the way in which this Shakespearian tragedy is brought back to life, gives great homage to one of the most important writers known to man. Definitely worth watching.

Monday, June 4, 2012


As this was one of my top movies to see in 2012 (see here), I was more than excited and curious about what I was going to see when I sat down at the theatre, watching the opening credits of this 'prequel' to the famous Alien movie, directed by Ridley Scott.

And I wasn't held in curiousity for very long. The movie has quite a 'basic' storyline, that tells us about a group of adventurers searching for clues about the origin of our species. That search takes them to a mysterious planet, where they think to find those clues.

But it isn't so much the story as it is the feeling this movie conjures, that make it fantastic. From the start to the end, Ridley Scott succeeds again in implementing a certain degree of mystery in the movie. You can't really tell why, but you are gripped by a kind of anxiety, even though there isn't really happening anything scary. This kind of suspense is really one of the key elements to a good science-fiction/horror movie to me. Even though there are quite some awesome, gruesome and explicit horror scenes in the movie that takes this suspense to a climax, it is the continuous feeling of unsafety and threat that keeps people on the ball. This is something Ridley Scott perfected in "Alien", and implemented again in "Prometheus".

A very nice performance by Michael Fassbender, as a freaky, 'human-like' robot, who managed to add to the mystery that Ridley Scott was going for; and by Charlize Theron, as the leader of the expedition. There are several untold stories behind most of the characters, of which the viewer only gets a glimpse, again adding to the mystery.

In conclusion: a very exciting, thrilling sci-fi horror movie, definitely worth watching if you want to be scared the bejesus out of you. Mind you, it gets quite explicit and horrible from time to time, but that can't really hurt a horror now, can it.

IMDb: Prometheus

Saturday, April 28, 2012

Remember 2010

Barely a year ago, and already unforgettable... Enjoy this compilation of some of the most thrilling, touching and timeless movies of 2010

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

The Hunger Games

Sometimes, books should just stay books...

The Hunger Games was my #3 on the list of must-see movies in 2012 (see here), so yeah, my expectations were quite high for this one.
The movie is based on the bestselling trilogy by Suzanne Collins. I myself have not read the books, but I heard a lot of positive feedback about how awesome they are. So to me, this was an indication that the story of the movie will be quite awesome as well. The story takes us into a future, where the known world is divided into twelve districts, which are ruled by the capitol in an autocratic manner. Because of a rebellion 75 years ago, the districts are (still) being punished in quite a brutal way. Each district has to offer one boy and one girl to play in The Hunger Games, a violent survival game where the players must fight to the death against each other, with only one winner (Battle Royale anyone?). On top of that, the world can follow the players fight, live on television.
Katniss, a girl from district 12, heroicly volunteers for the games, taking the place of her younger sister. Together with her male counterpart, Peeta, they are prepped for the games by several mentors (which takes a looong time). Katniss, with her rough character, soon proves to be the favorite of the public.
The rest of the story is quite predictable and not very surprising: A romance develops between Katniss and Peeta, and eventually they are the last players alive. After they threaten to commit suicide, they are both exclaimed victors.

As I mentioned before, I very much liked the story and the idea behind it, but it's developed very poorly in the movie. Several reasons:
Even though the main storyline is quite obvious and appealing, there are a lot of "side stories" that don't really have a lot to do with the main story, and just aren't thought out enough. They make the movie confusing and sometimes even illogical. On top of that, they tend to take a lot of time, time that ought to be spent on elaborating the main storyline. It feels like the makers tried to fit every little detail of the book into the movie, at the expense of the movie itself.
Besides that, the story seemed to enroll "like it ought to". There weren't many surprises or unexpected turns that would have made it all far more interesting. I honestly thought for a moment a new rebellion was at hand, but that couldn't have been further from the truth. Even the fierce Katniss herself played by the rules. This made the movie somewhat dull.
The acting was another letdown. Jennifer Lawrence didn't suck, but that could just be the contrast effect of everyone else sucking. Peeta, their nemesis, their escort Effie Trinket, their mentor,... the latter worse than the former. The only exception was the television host Caesar Flickerman, played by Stanley Tucci. He convincingly played his role in an eccentric fashion.

To conclude: this is a very nice and appealing story, brought to you in a poor manner. In my opinion, the book ought to have stayed a book.

IMDb: The Hunger Games

Saturday, March 24, 2012

Movie Cars

Check out these famous movie cars! Guess which movies...

Monday, March 19, 2012

John Carter

John Carter is based on the book ‘A Princess of Mars’ by Edgar Rice Burroughs. After seeing the trailer I was eager see the movie. My feeling after the movie was one of disappointment.
The film tells the story of a man, John Carter, who gets transplanted to Mars and there becomes a prisoner of local inhabitants, creatures called Tharks. At the same time a war is ongoing on Mars between the cities of Helium and Zodanga. Zondanga, helped by a special force, is on the winning hand and Helium turns to John Cater to end the war and by doing so not only saving Helium, but the entire planet Mars.
In the first quarter of the movie a lot of fantasy elements are brought into the story with initially no connection. I couldn’t empathize with the movie, I just didn’t believe it. I don’t know to what extent the filmmakers followed the book, but I think they tried to follow a Disney style. Director Andrew Staton already made two animated Disney movies (Finding Nemo and Wall-E) and now tried put some kind of Disney spirit in John Carter, a bad idea in my opinion. Although Disney brought legends in magnificent manner to life in the past, in this movie they try to create too much a fairy tale in my eyes. Because the story didn’t catch me from the beginning, it was difficult to get into the story during the rest of the movie.
The second part of the movie was pretty boring. Although everything became clearer and all the elements were brought together to a whole, not much was happening at this point in the movie and I was losing concentration.
The movie did get my focus by the end. The film ends with a nice big action scene with the necessary special effects which it made it very entertaining to watch. But as a whole, the movie did not deliver and failed to meet my expectations.

With regard to the characters, the filmmakers didn’t do much with them. John Carter changes during the movie but they keep it simple, and the other characters do not evolve at all. Because of this poor elaboration of the characters, there was no chemistry between them, and although the acting performances are nothing out of the ordinary, I don’t blame the actors for this lack of chemistry. The film roles in this movie just aren’t difficult. The actors performed in a decent way, but the movie didn’t give the actors the opportunity for a mind-blowing performance. Not much is to be said about that.
So the movie was a disappointment for me, but if you put your expectations not too high, it might be entertaining to watch.

IMDb: John Carter


Before watching, I had heard of this movie, but not in detail. After reading the short summary on IMDb, I thought I was going to see a semi-horror movie, with a kind of freaky monster-like impostor pretending to be Christine Collins' child, terrorising his mother. This, evidently, seemed a wrong presumption.

First of all, this movie was based on a true story that happened in 1928. That excludes any real monsters and ghosts, as far as I know. Secondly, the director is Clint Eastwood. Not really known for horror movies. The story tells us the tale of a single mother, Christine Collins (played by Angelina Jolie), whose child has gone missing. During that time, the local police force (the LAPD) had quite a bad reputation as a gang of trigger-happy tough guys, who can't solve any real problems (like finding a missing child). A few months after the kidnapping, the LAPD presumably finds the missing child. After confrontation with his mother, she claims the child isn't hers. This takes the movie into a sort of power struggle between the mighty man-controlled police force, often acting above the law, and the 'weak' mother who is portrayed as a crazy woman by the police and the press while she's trying to find her real son. Eventually the mother is proved right, because a 'murderer' is found, who killed several children including her son.

Though the story was quite shocking and succeeded in painting the contemporal situation, I found the two and a half hour long movie quite tedious (something I have with several movies directed by Eastwood). The story progressed slowly in the beginning, and it could have ended about five times before the unnecessary 'cliffhanger' ending.
Apart from that, the story was brought quite plainly, (probably) quite truthfully following the viewpoint of the mother, presenting the LAPD as the absolute bad guys. Hell, they were even worse than the murderer himself. It was clear from the beginning the mother was right, and not crazy at all. Therefore it's hard to follow the decision-making of the police, who did not really believe the woman. From a more objective standpoint, I actually could somewhat relate to their decisions. After all, for the police it was the word of the mother against that of the boy, who claims she really IS his mother. I think the movie would be far deeper and more intense if the viewer wasn't immediately given proof that the mother was right, leaving the moral interpretation of both parties open for debate.

The acting, on the other hand, was very nice to say the least. Personally, I'm not a fan of Jolie involving anything besides her appearance :). But, honor to those who deserve it: she brought her role in a convincing manner, not forgetting the story took place in 1928. I tip my hat to her and congratulate her on her nomination for an oscar for best actress.
John Malkovich also brings a relieving tone to the movie playing a rebellious reverend, and I really liked the acting of Jeffrey Donovan as the above-the-law police captain. They all succeeded in spicing up the movie.

On a last note: I didn't know Clint Eastwood could make music.

To summarize: Compelling story told in a tedious fashion, but spiced with very nice acting performances.

IMDb: Changeling

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Tarantino's Angle

A recurring camera angle used in by Quentin Tarantino. This sort of "eyeline match" is often used to ensure the continuity in the movie. The viewer wants to see what the characters are looking at, and most of the time they are satisfied in the next scene. With Tarantino, however, this does not always happen.  

Monday, March 12, 2012

Safe House

In advance I had high expectations for this movie, two very good actors in what I was hoping to be a very good story. The actors delivered, the story not.

Tobin Frost (Denzel Washington), a former CIA agent but now on the most wanted list for leaking secret information about the CIA, is brought to a secure location (called safe house) for interrogation. The ‘housekeeper’ of the safe house is Matt Weston (Ryan Reynolds). When the safe house is attacked, Matt gets away with Tobin. On the run for the men who attacked the safe house, Matt has to wait 12 hours for back-up from the CIA. In the meantime his task is to keep Tobin alive and under his custody. However, Tobin is master in manipulating and does not plan to stay captive by Matt that easily.

Safe House starts with a blast and got me immediately dragged into the story. From the beginning the movie got my focus, but more importantly, the movie was able to keep my focus by the nice and exciting but also realistic action scenes. Regarding this, the rather unknown director Daniel Espinosa did a good job. Where many directors would be tempted to make action scenes spectacular, he kept them simple and realistic. Spectacular scenes are nice to see but because of their unrealistic nature are able to get people dragged out of the story. Safe House managed to keep them realistic, and exciting at the same time.

The downside of this movie is that the story evolves in a very predictable way. Somehow the movie is made into an ordinary conspiracy film. Throughout the movie it’s obvious who’s behind all of it, so the plot was disappointing. I was hoping to see a surprising ending, but the movie failed to deliver.

The performances of Denzel Washington and Ryan Reynolds are again splendid. The combination of those two in an action movie/thriller really lifts the film up to a higher level. Ryan Reynolds as the inexperienced Matt Weston versus Denzel Washington as the experienced and calm criminal Tobin Frost was magnificent to see. The two start the movie as rivals. While Matt sees Tobin as the ideal opportunity for promotion, Tobin lacks respect for Matt because of his inexperience. This is very well highlighted in the movie when he decides not to kill Matt because he claims to kill only more experienced agents. But throughout the movie the mutual respect grows in a believable way. Denzel Washington and Ryan Reynolds bring their roles and especially their relation to each other to its fullest.

Despite the predictable story, the movie is very entertaining with great acting performances. I would recommend other people to see this movie.

Friday, March 9, 2012

The Grey

This survival/horror movie is quickly summarized: A group of oil workers take a plane, it crashes, seven workers survive the crash, but are hunted by a (seemingly enormous) pack of wolves. Easy enough to follow.

To me, this was a good, but not really a mind-blowing movie. There weren't a lot of enticing scenes that captivated me in their profundity, but maybe that wasn't what the makers were trying to do here. I mean, you can easily say this was a basic survival movie meant to scare the audience, and it did gave me a few thrills now and then. The way those wolves crawled up on the survivors was sometimes very unexpected and made me jump ten feet high. Joe Carnahan really succeeded in taking a relatively 'safe' moment where you don't expect anything to happen (e.g. in the camp of the survivors), and literally throw a wolf in there. That's what made this movie worth watching after all.

The reason I didn't really fall off my chair with awe for this movie is twofold.
First of all, there were a lot of scenes where the storyline was 'deepened' with emotional flashbacks and tales from the past. Many of these scenes seemed to me like they were put in there not for their content, but to create these 'safe' moments, as I said before. The emphasis was more on the scaring instead of the emotional ecstasy. Mind you, not all of these scenes were dull (e.g.: when they leave Diaz behind, or the poem that runs through the whole movie.).
Secondly, the wolves. Now I don't know much about wolves, and I have no doubt they are smart animals, but those wolves were extremely smart. Closing in like an attack squadron, flanking the survivors, almost 'talking' to eachother, or holding a mexican stand-off with the survivors... It all seemed a bit unrealistic.

A few things I want to mention that i did really like:
There was the acting of Liam Neeson. That guy almost exudes a sense of calmth. This calmth is nicely captured by Carnahan on several occasions, like in the beginning, when a guy dies because of the planecrash.
Also, there are a few scenes where the viewer is taken into the dream of Ottway, and then pulled back into reality quite brutally. Approved.

To conclude: a movie that definitely will give you a few thrills, with some nice elements, but nothing more than that.

IMDb: The Grey

Monday, March 5, 2012

Upcoming sequels

A lot of filmmakers or companies have always been sequel-lovers, even if everyone knew the sequel would be a complete failure, or even destroy the first movie for many a viewer. Examples such as Pirates of the Caribbean: on Stranger Tides, nearly all the Disney sequels, the Matrix sequels (for some), the Jurassic Park sequels and the sequel to 2001: A Space Odyssey (2010: the year we make contact) come to mind. Hell, we were even close to a sequel of Gladiator, I kid you not.
Anyway, not all sequels are bad. The first two sequels of Pirates were nice, and so were of course the Lord of the Rings sequels. Therefore, I will let you decide over these upcoming sequels.

1) Despicable Me 2 (2013). Gru and his Yellow worker-bees are back! I myself am excited to see this one. I think Despicable Me is one of the best animation movies ever.
 Despicable Me 2

2) Bad Santa 2 (2013). This one was recently announced. For those who haven't seen the first one, I'd say go for it. It'll warm your heart. Billy Bob Thornton does a really nice job being a dick.
Bad Santa 2

3) G.I. Joe: Retaliation (2012). Many of you have probably already heard of this one. To me, the only way is up for this one. Can't be worse than the first.
G.I. Joe: Retaliation

4) The Muppets 2 (????). The first one isn't cold yet or the second one is announced. Better go see the first one before saying anything.

5) Last but not least: Top Gun 2 (????). Still in development and only recently announced. I hear many of you gasp at the thought (or is it just myself i hear?). Tom Cruise will (probably) return as the defying Lieutenant Pete "Maverick" Mitchell.
Viper: In case some of you are wondering who the best is, they are up here on this plaque.
[turns to Maverick]
Viper: Do you think your name will be on that plaque?
Maverick: Yes, sir.
Viper: That's pretty arrogant, considering the company you're in.
Maverick: Yes, sir.
Viper: I like that in a pilot.
(change "name" and "pilot" with "sequel". That's what I'm thinking)
Top Gun 2

Tell me what you think and give a reaction!

Friday, March 2, 2012

J. Edgar

This movie, shot by Clint Eastwood, tells us about the ins and outs of J. Edgar Hoover – played by Leonardo DiCaprio -, founder of the FBI, and director of the bureau for over 48 years.
The story takes the form of a told story, where mr. Hoover himself dictates his “memoires” to a young FBI agent. The story takes the viewer back to several important events in Hoovers life as director of the FBI, including the founding of the Bureau, the arrests of several gangsters, the fight against the communists and radicals, and (most importantly) the kidnapping and murder of the son of Charles Lindbergh, one of the most powerful men in the U.S. during that time.

J. Edgar Hoover was (and is) a man, both revered and despised by the public. His controversial ways of handling things often bordered on the limits moral correctness. Many a man would think twice before making the end the sole justification of the needs, and he kept many secrets of his own. Eastwood very much succeeds in creating such situations here, where the viewer is almost torn between what is just, and what is needed to create that justice.
On the personal side of the story, where mr. Hoover is 'fighting' his gay tendencies and appearing as a well-adapted person (according to himself, and his mother) during that time, I found that 'struggle' sometimes a bit exaggerated. It came across quite artificial, and not really stroking with his character. The effort to give the character of J. Edgar Hoover a more 'human' face didn't work for me.
Though the several flashbacks in time are brought to the viewer in a very clever fashion, it happens all the time, making the movie sometimes very confusing and hard to follow. This film would have been at least as good, and probably better, if the scenario was 'trimmed' a bit.

About the acting, it surprised me not to see Leonardo DiCaprio nominated for the oscar of best actor, because he does an astonishing job in capturing the ambiguous morality of mr. Hoover. Whether or not one agrees with some of the things happening in the movie, DiCaprio succeeds in bringing those things in such a fashion, it seems logical what mr. Hoover did. To me, that is a sign of a truely amazing acting performance.

To conclude: this was an interesting biographic movie that definitely makes you think, with an amazing acting performance by DiCaprio, but a little too much information at once and sometimes difficult to follow.

IMDb: J. Edgar 

Thursday, March 1, 2012

Django Unchained

Quentin Tarantino is currently filming his latest project 'Django Unchained' starring Leonardo DiCaprio, Sacha Baron Cohen, Samual L Jackson, Jaimie Foxx, Kurt Russell, Christoph Waltz and Joseph Gordon-Levitt.
So many big names in a Tarantino movie. I'm curious. In belgian theaters 26 December 2012.

IMDb: Django Unchained

The Brave

The Brave, the first and only film directed by Johnny Depp, tells the story of an Indian, Raphael (Johnny Depp), who lives in a trailer park with his wife and two children. Recently released from jail he has serious troubles finding a job, and fails to earn an income for his family. Struck by poverty, the tensions within the family become worse. Raphael is always drunk so he’s starting to lose touch with his wife and children. While he’s convinced he has nothing to offer in life and life has nothing to offer him, he is approached by some rednecks led by McCarthy (Marlon Brando). Raphael is offered $50 000 and in return he agrees to be tortured to death by the rednecks. Raphael agrees and afterwards he gets blackmailed: if he does not live up to the agreement, they will go after his family.

When I started watching this movie, I didn’t really know what to expect. The short synopsis gave me the idea the movie would be unconventional and I was wondering if I would actually see a man being tortured to death. But what I saw was a film full of symbolism about a man who can’t cope with how meaningless his life is. The movie creates a man in total despair until he made the agreement with the rednecks. Afterwards it’s nicely done how throughout the movie Raphael evolves from a drunken man to a devoted husband and father. The ironic part of it is that the cause of this evolution is the given that he’s going to die in a couple of days. His life becomes meaningful at the moment his only prospect is death. The evolution of Raphael and the way he copes with his approaching death are very good material for discussion about how to interpret the symbolism in this film. I think that was one of the purposes Johhny Depp was trying to create with this film and he succeeded in it very well.

The symbolism, however, comes with a side effect. Not much is happening in this movie, so the movie can give the feeling to be very tedious. For example, it takes over 10 minutes for the first line of dialogue to be spoken. That’s why it’s important to know what kind of film you’re about to see in advance, otherwise you can be very disappointed as a viewer. Actually the criticism here is that the short synopisis creates a total different idea of the movie.

With regard to the acting performances, the way Johhny Depp performs as Raphael shows what a great actor he is. You feel what he’s feeling just by the look in his eyes. I believed him. Johnny Depp also plays a very demanding role, especially because he’s present in every scene. Another great, yet short, performance is brought to us by Marlon Brando. He’s only present in two scenes but when he gives his idea about death, pain and bravery, his performance is magnificent.

The Brave is very good film if you love movies with symbolism. Although the short synopsis creates a total different idea, you must be aware of what kind of movie you’re about to see. Johhny Depp and Marlon Brando are once more a lust for the eye of a movie-loving audience.

Parking lot

True that.