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14 reviews in total 
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De grot (2001)
2 out of 3 people found the following review useful:
Admirable adaptation, although it doesn't to escape the limitations of Tim Krabbe's novel, 28 September 2001

Tim Krabbe is the praised author of 'Het Gouden Ei', a novel that was put on the screen twice ('Spoorloos' and 'The Vanishing'). One of the Dutch writer's more recent works is 'De Grot', a psychological thriller about two totally different men, Egon and Axel, who meet at a youth camp and, surprising enough, become friends for dear life. Egon is a quiet, somewhat dull person, who spends his time studying and writing geography books. Axel, on the other hand, is a charismatic 'party-animal', a heavy drinking criminal whose everyday's concern is to get a woman into his bedroom. From the moment they meet, Axel has a strong influence on Egon, while the latter envies him because he has a good life without really doing anything (such as reading thick books like Egon); ultimately, Egon is even dragged by Egon into illegal practices himself, which leads to a fatal drug transport in a distant Asian country.

After having read the book last year, I was surprised the critics were quite positive about it. In my opinion, the book suffers especially from the complex structure. While Krabbe presents the story as an absorbing portrait of an uncommon relationship between two people, the plot becomes more of a puzzle: the many episodes are not presented chronologically, so that two successive scenes are seldom in the same episode. Because of this, the story feels surprisingly remote: you often need to know a character's background to really care for him or her. Another complaint was the fact that the main characters, Egon and Axel, are a little stereotypical. Egon IS 'the' dull intellectual, while Axel IS his exact opposite. In real life, such one-dimensional people rarely exist; in books and films, they always seem to be there, taking away a lot of credibility.

Despite all this, the film was a pleasant surprise, being much better than the book. The adaptation excels in its beautiful cinematography, humour and acting: Fedja van Huet (Egon) is one of the few Dutch actors who can make you forget he IS acting (which is, in my opinion, the highest an actor can achieve). The drawbacks of the film, however, are the same as the book's: mainly because the characters are one-dimensional, they are so predictable that it becomes annoying. Guess who wrote the script? Indeed, Krabbe himself. It is obvious that this talented director (that's what the movie makes clear anyway) is hampered by a deficient screenplay. Perhaps Koolhoven should just have chosen a better book.


**WARNING: Chick alert!!**, 6 June 2001

When bartender Randy (Matt Dillon) leaves McCool's after a hard night of work, he sees a girl about to get raped in a car and 'delivers' her. The girl, Jewel, who turns out to be enormously attractive, comes along with him to his home, whereupon they make love to each other. A little later Randy finds out that the 'rape' in the car was a trick to rob him. Jewel, however, finally chooses for Randy when she kills her 'partner'. Afterwards the two become a couple, but that doesn't mean that she doesn't do any seducing anymore...

If I am being rational, I have to admit that this is a dumb movie, with an inveracious plot and a lot of coincidences. But 'One night at McCool's' is one of those movies in which these weaknesses can't stop you from enjoying it. In my opinion a comedy is successful when it makes you laugh and keeps you amused from the beginning until the end. That's why I can say that this is a great comedy, because it kept me on the edge of my seat for the full 93 minutes and I sometimes couldn't stop laughing. Plus, 'McCool's' contains one of the sexiest chicks I have ever seen in a movie: Liv Tyler, who plays 'femme fatale' Jewel. Therefore the fact that the entire supporting cast is instantly seduced by her is one of the few parts of the plot that are NOT inveracious. Paul Reiser and John Goodman are incredibly funny as Randy's lawyer and the police investigator who can't get their eyes (and hands) off Jewel, just like me. Don't miss the funny reference to 'Falling Down', which also starred Michael Douglas.


1 out of 1 people found the following review useful:
The Vietnam War from another point of view, 27 May 2001

After having seen a lot of American films about the Vietnam War, I was interested to check out a Vietnamese film about the same subject. This one didn't live up to my expectations though. 'The long journey', which is the translation of the Vietnamese title, is a road-movie about a former Vietcong soldier who wants to bring the remains of one of his fellow soldiers back to his native village. In a train he hands the bag with the remains over to a girl, a friend of his, and when he misses the train afterwards, the quest for the holy bag begins, leading through the ruined land of Vietnam.

The plot sounds promising, but this film suffers especially from its poor script. Despite its beautiful photography, 'The long journey' fails to be absorbing, so that the sad music score is misplaced.


Secrets (1995) (TV)
7 out of 8 people found the following review useful:
A pleasant surprise, 10 May 2001

The story is set about a century ago. The main character is a 13-year-old girl named Anna, an only child. Her family is visited by a young man; when he has left, it becomes clear that one of the servants, Edwina, has become pregnant by him and the drama begins. The servants are fired and the baby is taken away from Edwina by Anna's parents, who turn out not to be able to make children (which gives Anna food for thought) and want to have a sister for their daughter. Subsequently, Edwina collapses because she can't see her baby anymore, but Anna sympathizes with her and takes the baby with her to Edwina's place. And so on.

This, of course, sounds quite 'soapy', and it is. However, this TV-film is better than you would expect from such a plot. Usually I am often annoyed while watching a soap-like film or series, but this film seems to be of a higher level: the cast was not as bad as in an average soap opera (except Shae D'Lyn, who plays her role of Edwina far too sentimental) and the story line was interesting enough to keep watching, though it was not by any means spectacular or great. A pleasant surprise after all.


2 out of 5 people found the following review useful:
'Golf' would have been a more suitable title, 2 May 2001

Matt Damon plays Rannulph Junuh, a golf champion from Savannah, who leaves his gorgeous (isn't she?) girlfriend Adele Invergordon (Charlize Theron) behind to serve his country in World War 1. When he comes back, he is not the same person as he used to be, playing poker instead of golf and drinking heavily. However, when he is invited to take part in a huge golf tournament in Savannah, he finally agrees, accepting the mysterious Bagger Vance (Will Smith) as his 'caddie'. The second hour of the film, we see Junuh compete with two of the biggest golfers in the game for the $10,000 prize.

Calling a film a 'legend' is always pretentious and often out of place, and this dramatic comedy by Robert Redford is no exception. The photography, especially during the golf game, is beautiful and the cast is OK, but the story never really came alive. Some parts of the plots were far too superficial, like the romance between Junuh and Adele and the return of Junuh: when he comes back from the War he is mentally destroyed, but it is never explained why, as if the makers of the film thought that this is already such a horrible cliche that an explanation was unnecessary. Overall, this film never felt like a 'legend'; 'Golf' should have been a better suitable title. But it was entertaining enough to prevent me from rating it lower than 6.


Ochtendzwemmers (2001) (TV)
4 out of 4 people found the following review useful:
Entertaining film, 18 April 2001

This could be one of the best 'telefilms': cheap Dutch films made for TV. 'Ochtendzwemmers' is a dramatic but also comical crime movie about a group of young 'morning swimmers' who are, in the end, accused of being a criminal organization.

The movie starts with Loes, one of the morning swimmers, being interrogated by a police inspector. During that interrogation she tells him (and us) everything she had been through. We learn about another girl who stops swimming in the morning because she was just married (and her husband was 'at his best' in the morning, as she explains), a Surinammer, Ampie Sylvester, who is confronted with racism every day and her relationship with a young baker. Loes' connection to these people finally leads to illegal practices.

'Ochtendzwemmers' is an airy film. Probably that is why the criminal aspect is not so interesting. However, the lack of tension is amply compensated by the disarming love story between Loes and Bing and especially the way this film deals with racism. The owner of the shop Loes works for tries to keep Ampie Sylvester away, saying: 'You are all the same!' Afterwards we notice that the Surinammer is really a friendly guy, what makes that well-known statement very painful. The accusation against such prejudices is, in my opinion, the best part of this enjoyable film.

My vote: 7/10

0 out of 1 people found the following review useful:
Entertaining bad film, 5 January 2001

So here are the new 'Angels', adapted from a 70's series. What I have seen is not by any means old-fashioned though. It's just the typical action movie of the 90's (or should I say 00's?): lots of action, stunts and good-looking girls. Diaz, Barrymore and Liu are really the main reason for this film's success... The trio is a good view for the males and the females may feel the feminism that is present in this chick-flick. The action sequences are a little like John Woo's: stylized and spectacular, and a fight with The Prodigy's 'Smack my bitch up' in the back-ground is of course original.

If you want to see more than Angels and well choreographed action, I wouldn't recommend this to you. The film has a weak plot and I never felt any tension while watching it. Fortunately, the the crew didn't choose to make just a good action flick but made fun of their own film instead. Crispin Glover as the villain is a good example: I recall him as the Michael J. Fox's silly father in 'Back to the Future', and he still comes over a bit stupid. A realistic, well-acting villain just wouldn't have fitted in this film. And Tom Green is also in, though he hasn't got much interesting lines (he IS the Chad, all right).

Overall, not a good movie, but I can't rate it lower than 6 for the fun I had watching it. So, 6/10 it is.

Wonderland (1999)
Best soap ever made, 22 October 2000

I was told at first that this was a typical woman's movie, but I -being male, 17 years old- was still interested to see it. And I loved it. It's a beautiful story about a normal family in London with all their recognizable problems, misfortunes etc.

This movie is so powerful because of its reality: especially the casting and dressing department have done a great job to create characters just like you and me (unlike those Hollywood-babes). For example, one of the main characters, Nadia (Gina McKee), is continuously wearing a casual rucksack and that's a thing we would never get to see in an American movie. The acting itself is very natural.

Little weaknesses: because the main characters are all part of one family, they are much alike and it was a little problematic for me to distinguish the different characters in the first 30 minutes; composer Michael Nyman seems to have understood the intimacy of the movie with his score but his music is a little too emphatic.

Overall, 'Wonderland' is a very gripping movie, it's a little like a soap opera but much, much better - mostly because of the great cast. I highly recommend this movie. 8/10

The Lift (1983)
4 out of 7 people found the following review useful:
Lots of ups and downs, 11 October 2000

A new lift has been installed recently. A few people get stuck in it. A few days later, a blind man falls into the shaft. A guard is beheaded by the same lift. 'What we have here is a killing machine...!'

Director Dick Maas is a big fan of Steven Spielbergs films (same here, but only his earlier movies). 'De Lift', describable as another alternative for the JAWS-formula, makes clear that Dick Maas lacks a lot in comparison to the most successful Hollywood-director.

The movie has a few good scenes which are shocking, but the majority of the movie is surprisingly dull and tedious. As long as the story keeps to the elevator, it's OK. However, there are a lot of scenes about family problems and interminable discussions about elevators. Those do not build up tension, they're just very, very boring and though I am not much of a sadist, I only kept watching because I was anxiously waiting for the next person to be killed by the lift. In a very cruel way of course. One should not watch this movie for the story-line in the first place. The plot doesn't make ANY sense: how would you explain a killer lift? Anyhow, there IS some kind of explanation in the movie, but only kids under 8 years old would believe that nonsense. Under 8, for I watched this movie first when I was 7 years old and I was scared to death. Perhaps I am too old for this movie now..

Better than 'The Good..' Better than any western!, 5 September 2000

Once upon a time there was a bad guy named Henry Fonda... Anything is possible!

From the very beginning of 'Once upon a time...', I realized that Leone was going to show us a lot more than he did in his 'dollar'-trilogy. That very first scene: how long does it last? Ten minutes? Fifteen? And nothing really happened (until Charles Bronson showed up of course)!

But that's Sergio Leone: although he has a very slow style, his movies are so entertaining that you adore them. And why? Because he is a director who is an expert in casting, cinematography, editing, sounds and so on. In contribution of that, he just happens to be a good friend of the greatest western composer, Ennio Morricone of course. And this is his masterpiece, beyond doubt.

'The movie is about a railroad', I once read in a newspaper. Nonsense! This movie is about 'THE' WEST. I mean, Sergio Leone's WEST. That kind of west consist of a lot of different personalities. We have a villain named Frank (played by Henry Fonda, it seems Leone made him go bad), a beautiful woman named Jill McBain whose husband has been killed, a mysterious guy playing a harmonica, looking for revenge and an outlaw, who is wrongly accused of having murdered Jill's husband.

This movie didn't have as much action as I expected. But I don't care. It's made up by the great actors, the brilliant close-ups, Leone's visual greatness and Morricone's music, which is simply unforgettable. This is the best western ever made. Buy the film, and don't forget the soundtrack!

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