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philip_vanderveken

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643 reviews in total 
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2 out of 4 people found the following review useful:
Don't watch it if you want to learn more about The Beatles' lives on the road., 20 September 2005
7/10

Even though I wasn't even born when The Beatles split up, let alone that I witnessed their biggest successes (I was born in 1978), that doesn't mean that I don't know them or their music of course. My mother as well as my father had a lot of records from what might well be the best-known pop/rock band ever and that's how I learned to appreciate their music at a very young age. I also knew that The Beatles had played in a couple of movies, but until now I never had seen one of them. Not really knowing what to expect, I hoped for the best and was willing to be surprised by it.

This movie tries to show us what the 'average' day in the life of the Beatles looks like. Traveling through the country from one TV-studio to the next hotel room, they meet a lot of people, but also take their time to have a lot of fun together, much to the despair of their manager and crew who don't always know where they are at the times that they need them. And to complicate things a little bit more, they also have to take the grandfather of one of the guys with them and all he likes is to play little mind games with every person that he meets...

Even though I didn't know anything about this movie in advance, I hoped that it would be some kind of documentary, showing how they had to deal with all the success and the crazy fans. In a way this movie does show that, but it wasn't exactly the way I hoped it would be. Realism clearly wasn't the first concern and too often you feel that some of the jokes have been staged. They just try to make you believe that this is a documentary, but the natural feeling of the documentary style is sometimes very far away and that's too bad. Does that mean that this entire movie isn't any good? No, certainly not. The music really makes it all worthwhile and it's nice to see some actual concert footage in between the staged performances.

This film will be loved most by the fans of the first hour who want to see their idols once again, but in my opinion this isn't the kind of movie for the people who want to learn more about The Beatles. But even when you don't know much about them and you just love the music, than I wouldn't hesitate to give it a try. I know I didn't and I liked it a lot. I'm sure that many others in my situation will love it too, just don't expect to see reality. I give this movie a rating in between 7/10 and 7.5/10. I loved the music, but wished for a little bit more of realism.

4 out of 6 people found the following review useful:
To my own surprise I must admit that I really liked it., 20 September 2005
7/10

Normally I would never have watched this movie, because I'm not all that much a fan of costume drama's. And since I've seen several of them lately without seeing all that much difference between them all, I didn't think that I would like it all that much. But when I read a review in a popular magazine, saying that even when you aren't a fan of this kind of films, you should give it a try because it's so much better than the average movie in the genre, I must admit that I was quite curious about it. Also the fact that it was from the director Ang Lee made me hope for the best.

When Mr. Dashwood dies, almost all his belongings go to his son from his first marriage, leaving his second wife and three daughters in a difficult situation. They haven't got much money and can't stay on the estate, but are taken in by a kind cousin who gives them a small cottage to live in. Because they aren't wealthy, it isn't very easy for the two oldest daughters, the practical Elinor and the romantic Marianne, to find a suitable partner. Both find a man who seems to be perfect at first, but who aren't all that great after all. But after the rain always comes sunshine and one day the two women find a man to their taste who truly loves them...

If there is one thing that you can't accuse him of, than it must be that Ang Lee always sticks to one certain genre. After having seen "Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon" and the western "Ride with the Devil", this certainly is a completely different experience. And surprisingly enough, I must say that it works. I never thought that a man born in Taiwan would be that good in recreating a world that has never been his. I don't think it must be easy for an Asian person to recreate Victorian England or the USA during the Civil War, but it works and that's all that really matters. Next to the good directing, I also couldn't help noticing the fine acting by all the leading actors. There wasn't one that stood out above the rest, but there wasn't one that didn't fit in either. They all did a very good job and that's something that you don't always find in a movie.

Even though I know that this was the way it all happened during that time period, I must say that I sometimes had a lot of difficulties with the lack of emotions and the fact that they didn't always say what they thought. I sometimes really wanted to say to one of the characters: 'come on, finally tell them what you have got to say, don't stay there quiet all the time, you're working on my nerves with that behavior...', but this was a movie, so I had to stay quiet myself. Still, it really worked on my nerves sometimes and that did spoil my fun from time to time. However, don't get me wrong, this certainly doesn't mean that I didn't like the movie at all.

Overall this is indeed a movie that is a lot better than the average in the genre. The acting is very good, the story is interesting,... and for once it all made me forget about everything that I hate about the genre. When you know that I normally give a movie of this kind a rating of 6/10, than you'll be quite surprised to see that I give this one a rating in between 7/10 and 7.5/10. To my own surprise I must admit that I really liked it.

Zus & zo (2001)
8 out of 9 people found the following review useful:
Perhaps not the best example of Dutch cinema, but still a very good movie, 20 September 2005
7/10

Before watching this movie I didn't know anything about it except for the fact that it was Dutch. Even though their film industry isn't the biggest of all time, I've already seen several good Dutch productions and I know that the standard level of quality is often very high. That's also the reason why I try to watch as many of them as I can. However, when I saw on this website that this movie had actually been nominated for an Oscar, I must admit that I was very surprised. Not because I didn't like it or because it wasn't any good. No, I was surprised because over here no-one has ever payed any attention to it.

"Zus & zo" tells the story of three completely different sisters who don't always get along that well, but who now have to fight for a common goal, called Hotel Paraiso, a hotel on the coast of Portugal that will be theirs unless their brother gets married before a certain age. Normally that shouldn't have been difficult, because the man is gay, but now that he has announced his marriage with a woman, they will have to try to prevent it. To stop their would-be sister-in-law, they are willing to go very far, because nothing or no-one should come between them and their inheritance...

Like so often with Dutch movies, I can't say that I had heard of any of the actors before, except for Halina Reijn. But just like in those other movies, this time too I really liked the performances by all of them. Even though this is a comedy, they never went too far in their performances, but instead made all the characters look very human, with all their little problems, flaws and weird specialties. That's of course not only thanks to the actors, the writer of the script has a lot to do with that too, but still, they did a fine job.

I don't know if Paula van der Oest, the woman who directed and wrote this movie, has ever been in a similar situation, but she sure knows perfectly how to describe the greediness and the double-faced way of acting from people that are about to inherit a lot of money or an important piece of property. She really did a very nice job with it and was able to add some very fine humor to it all. The entire idea behind it makes it all very suitable for a comedy of course, but that doesn't mean that it is automatically good of course. There are many things that could have gone wrong, but Paula van der Oest avoided the traps and made a very good movie out of it.

In the end this may not be the best Dutch movie that I've ever seen, but the humor and the overall quality are very good. I really had a good time with this movie and that's why I give it a 7.5/10.

13 out of 14 people found the following review useful:
A very nice movie with a subject that no Hollywood movie would dare to show, 20 September 2005
8/10

Just like Belgium, the Netherlands don't have a very big and famous movie industry, but from time to time they really are capable of making an excellent movie. That's why I taped this movie when it was shown on Dutch national television. I had never heard of it before, but seeing that Jan Decleir - probably Belgium's finest, still living actor - played a role in it and because I'm very interested in all European movies, I didn't hesitate to give this movie a try.

"De Passievrucht" tells the story of a man who finds out that his son isn't really his son when the doctor tells him that he has been infertile during his entire life. Since his first wife, and the mother of their son, died nine years ago, he can't ask her who did it. But consumed by anger and sadness, he decides to go after the real father himself. As he goes from one possible culprit to another, he forgets that he isn't the only person in the family. His new girlfriend and his 'son' are the victims of his egoistic behavior and when he finally finds out who did this to him, the surprise couldn't be bigger...

Except for Jan Decleir and Halina Reijn, I can't think of any other actor in this movie that I've heard of before. They are all a complete mystery to me and I'm sure that I've never seen them play in another movie, but that certainly doesn't mean that they didn't do it well in this one. I really appreciated the performances of Peter Paul Muller, Carice van Houten,... and I'll certainly try to see another one of their movies if I ever get the chance. The same for the director. He too is a complete stranger to me, but with this movie he proves to have talent. That shows for instance in the excellent use of flashbacks. He never uses them too much, but knows perfectly how to switch between the now and the past.

What I also liked, next to the good acting, was the original idea behind the story: how many men raise a child that isn't really theirs and how do they react when they find out the truth? That's a subject that I've never found in any Hollywood production, but it's one that is much closer to reality than some people want to believe. Not that I'm surprised to find it in a European instead of an American movie. It just doesn't belong to the perfect image of family happiness that Hollywood wants to portray. Over here, the movie makers dare to step out of that perfect world, just like Maarten Treurniet did with this movie, and I really appreciate that a lot.

All in all this is a movie that deserves to be seen by a much larger audience. It may not always be perfect, but overall the story is good, the emotions are realistic and the acting more than just worth a watch. I really liked this movie and that's why I give it at least a 7.5/10

1 out of 1 people found the following review useful:
A very nice story, some excellent acting and wonderful music, what more can you wish for?, 20 September 2005
8/10

I've always known it and seeing it on this website only proves that I'm right about it: A really good movie never gets the attention or the rating that it deserves. That's also the reason why I always try to tape and watch as many unknown movies as I can, just because very often they are so much better than all the famous blockbusters. With this "Next Stop Wonderland" it isn't any different. I hadn't heard of it before, but gave it a try, willing to be surprised by it and that's exactly what happened.

The story on itself isn't all that different from other romantic movies. Erin is a nurse who has been dumped by her long-time boyfriend because he couldn't change her into the 'perfect' human that he tries to be (caring for the unfortunate, fighting against globalization,...). As soon as her mother hears about the break-up - which she finds more than OK, because she couldn't stand the man - she places a personal ad for her daughter in the local newspaper. Many men react, but none of them is what Erin is looking for. In the meantime we also follow the life of Alan, a plumber who works at the local aquarium, but who dreams of becoming a marine biologist. Alan and Erin would be perfect for each other, but is there anyway that they will ever meet? And what will happen when they do?

When you see how many people have seen all those unrealistic, over-the-top romantic comedies and you compare that number to the number of votes for this movie, than you can only be surprised. This movie may well have the same kind of story, but the overall execution of the movie is so much better. The emotions for instance feel a lot more realistic and are never too much. In fact the entire movie has that feeling of realism without ever being corny and that's in my opinion more than just a pleasant surprise.

But what would a romantic comedy be without humor? Indeed, nothing. But once again this isn't like you are used to see in all those other movies. This movie doesn't exactly try to make you laugh by adding some crude jokes to it. No, this movie doesn't even try to make you smile at all, but succeeds more than once and that's exactly what makes this movie so special. Also more than OK was the acting in this movie. Hope Davis was really very lovely and believable and made me forget in an instant about all the Meg Ryan's and other Sandra Bullock's of this world. She reminded me a bit of Julie Delpy in "Before Sunrise" and "Before Sunset" and trust me, that's a big compliment. Also very good and certainly worth mentioning are Philip Seymour Hoffman, Holland Taylor,... But there is one thing that I haven't mentioned yet and which certainly plays an important role in this movie. I'm talking about the music. It was just wonderful and it gave this movie that fine finishing touch which you never find in all those other movies in the genre.

All in all this is a wonderful romantic comedy / drama that deserves a lot better than the actual rating of 6.8/10 after 1,577 votes. Personally I give this movie a rating of at least 7.5/10, maybe even an 8/10 and I'm sure that I'll see it again and again as soon as I can find it on DVD.

1 out of 2 people found the following review useful:
This is a drama with a few jokes, but that doesn't make it a comedy yet, 13 September 2005
7/10

When this movie was shown on television, it was said to be a comedy. Since I'm always in for a good laugh and because I really could use a good laugh that day, I was really looking forward to this movie. Big was my surprise when I saw that this wasn't exactly the kind of comedy I was looking for. I kept watching it nevertheless and I must say that I'm glad that I did, because this movie sure is worth a watch, but it didn't really fulfill the expectations that I had in advance.

When in the early 1970's, a traditional Pakistani father - who lives in England with his English wife and his kids - sees how his offspring more and more starts to behave as British and start to reject their father's rules on dress, food, religion,... he decides that it is time for them to get married to a good Pakistani girl. But their desire for independence and a modern way of live clashes with the traditional believes of their father and it doesn't take long before a lot of things start to go terribly wrong. And when the potential candidates aren't exactly the prettiest of all women, they know for sure that they will have to do anything to prevent getting married...

If you are looking for a light-footed comedy, than this movie is one big disappointment. Sure, there are some funny moments to be found in this movie, but overall I certainly wouldn't call it a comedy. In my opinion this is a drama that shows how the traditional values of immigrants don't always fit in with those of the native inhabitants and that their children often are the victim of that. They no longer seem / want to belong to their own ethnic group, but are still seen as foreigners by the traditional inhabitants. They have to fight against prejudices from both sides and that's not always easy. In my opinion the movie really gives a good idea of what it's like and even though it's all situated in the seventies, all that much hasn't changed in thirty years time.

The acting in this movie is really good. Although I can't immediately say that I know anyone of them, the actors in this movie make it all feel very authentic without overdoing it all. It's all too easy to make stereotypes out of the different characters, but that certainly isn't the case in this movie. Just as unknown as the actors are the director and the writer of this movie. It was Ayub Khan-Din's first and only script and Damien O'Donnell isn't exactly the most famous of British directors either. Still, they both did well and that's all that matters to me.

All in all this is a very good movie as long as you forget that you are watching a comedy. I don't believe that a joke or two make a movie a comedy, but that doesn't mean that it can't be any good. As a drama this movie stands quite firm on its feet and also thanks to the relevance of the story, I must say that I liked what I saw. I give it a 7.5/10.

2 out of 3 people found the following review useful:
It's perhaps not perfect, but it sure offers some good laughs, 13 September 2005
7/10

When I read the title for the first time and saw that this was a comedy, I already knew that I shouldn't expect too much of this movie. Not that I was convinced that the overall quality wouldn't be any good, I just knew that I didn't have to expect the most original story line. But that's OK. When it comes to comedies, I do not always need very intellectual dialogs, a lot of special camera points,... All I want then are some good laughs and that's exactly what this movie gave me.

When a black candidate runs for president, 'The Man' tries to derail his campaign. 'The Man' runs a group of white people who will do anything to protect their own values from other (read black) influences. But now he may have found his match. Anton Jackson is an African-American man who seems harmless, but who works as an undercover agent for a secret all-black Brotherhood. Undercover Brother - that's his real name - will have to infiltrate in the world of the white people in order to prevent The Man's evil plans...

If you have to explain someone where to situate this movie, than I would call it a black version of Austin Powers. A guy who still seems to live in the seventies, who appears to be a secret agent, the costumes,... there are plenty of similarities between the two movies. The main difference this time is that the main character isn't white, but black.

Most of the time the humor in this movie is exactly based on that aspect. The differences between black and white are constantly used as a source of inspiration. Jokes about white people who all like mayonnaise while the black don't, about the fact that the black people have 'soul' and the white don't,... can be found all over the movie. And I must say that a lot of them were really good. OK, not everything in this movie worked that well, but overall the humor was OK. Also OK was the acting. Eddie Griffin was very nice as Undercover Brother / Anton Jackson, Aunjanue Ellis did a good job as Sistah Girl and Denise Richards was very lovely as White She Devil. But those are only a couple of the actors that played a major role in this movie. All other actors did a nice job as well of course.

Overall this movie was OK, although the story was sometimes a bit too shallow to make this movie really work. Still, that wasn't too much a problem, because I still had a good time with all the racially inspired jokes. I give this movie a 6.5/10 for that.

Celebrity (1998)
1 out of 2 people found the following review useful:
It deserves better, 13 September 2005
7/10

Normally Woody Allen movies get a very high rating on this website - even though they aren't always the easiest to watch - and when I saw that this movie only got a 6.2/10, I was a bit reluctant to give it a try. I'm not too familiar with the man's work yet, but what I've seen so far was OK. Now that I've seen it, I'm puzzled about the fact why this movie doesn't score any better, because in my opinion it really wasn't that bad. One thing that worked well for instance was the story.

Lee Simon hasn't got a successful career. He has always been a journalist, but what he really wants is to become a famous writer. He has already published two novels - both were sabred down by the press - and has finished a movie script. After divorcing his wife Robin, he tries to meet as many rich people and celebrities, models,... as he can, but he isn't all that successful in that either. In the meantime his ex-wife meets a very desirable TV-producer and takes her first steps in the world of celebrities, a world which she has always despised...

Even though this is a Woody Allen movie and this story is clearly based on his own life, you'll not see him in it. That's OK with me, but somehow it also felt a bit strange. Why would a man like Allen write such a movie and than not perform in it like he always does? I really don't know, but I'm sure that he had his reasons for it. But don't let that be a reason not to watch this movie. Kenneth Branagh is at least as good in the role. His performance was really good, although I must say that he wasn't the biggest surprise in this movie. Personally I was more surprised by Charlize Theron who played the role of a supermodel and did a great job with that role. Of course all other actors were more than just OK as well, but what else can you expect from people like Melanie Griffith, Winona Ryder...

What I also liked in this movie was the typical humor and the sometimes biting criticism on Allen's own world. Take for instance the part in which he lets one of his characters say: "He's terribly pretentious. He is one of those assholes who film in black and white", while this movie too has been shot in that way. Another great moment is when he makes fun of movie critics, but there are so many good jokes and laughs included in this movie that it is impossible to name them all. I guess that if you can't stand Allen's kind of humor, you better don't even watch this movie, because it's full of it, but when you like it, you shouldn't hesitate to give it a try, because there are some fine examples of it to be found in this movie.

All in all this movie deserves a lot better than the actual rating of 6.2/10. The acting is nice, the story has been well written and is full of excellent jokes and biting criticism. I really liked what I saw and I believe that this movie deserves at least a rating in between 7/10 and 7.5/10.

Deep Blue (2003)
16 out of 16 people found the following review useful:
Don't hesitate, but watch it (preferably on a large TV and with a good surround system), 13 September 2005
10/10

Ever since my childhood I've been fascinated by all life under water. I was only two years old, had severely burned my arm and my parents didn't know how to make me forget about the pain. They decided to buy me a little fish tank with a couple of goldfish in it. And it worked, as I sat on my knees in front of it, I forgot about all the pain. My arm healed, but the passion remained and I've always kept fishes as a pet ever since (I've got two aquariums and a large pond now). I will also never miss any documentary about this wonderful creatures on television, but I hadn't seen this one before. Last Christmas, my mom found it on a double DVD and thought it would be a good present for me. She was right.

Even though the entire documentary is situated in the water, you'll get to see more than just a lot of fishes in all kinds of colors and sizes. You'll also get penguins, polar bears, whales, dolphins,... But there isn't just a diversity in the creatures that are shown. Also the environments change and that's a good thing. The polar sees are completely different from the tropical sees, the Atlantic different from the Pacific and together they make sure that you keep watching it with your full interest. More than once I found myself watching it with my mouth open. All the images were incredibly beautiful, but if this had been situated in one spot, than the 92 minutes would have been too long. Now I just couldn't get enough of it. And that's also where this movie's main weakness if you ask me. I wished that it would keep on going on for another 30 minutes or more. It just ended too soon.

If you are interested in everything that happens in that magnificent world under water, but don't want to learn scuba diving first, than this documentary is definitely a must see. The images are just wonderful, the music that accompanies it all is great,... Just let yourself be overwhelmed by the beauty and the powers of nature. It's an excellent documentary made by the BBC Natural History Unit. I give it a 10/10. (Just one last word of advice: try to watch it on a large screen and with an excellent surround system if you can, it can only add something extra to the experience.)

Carrie (1976)
Very good acting, a very nice story, some interesting camera work... reasons enough to give this movie a try, 13 September 2005
8/10

"Carrie" is a classic horror movie that has always been one of my favorite movies in the genre. It may well be thirty years old, but the tension, the story, the images,... really haven't lost anything of their power. And I'm certainly not the only one who likes this movie. The fact that it has inspired several other movie makers to try to do the same by making a sequel or a remake, shows that they too were convinced of the potential of the movie. The only difference is: they have all failed where De Palma succeeded.

Carrie White is a shy girl who doesn't have any friends and who is completely unaware of what the world has to offer. She has never learned to make social contacts, because she has been living in an isolated world, together with her psychotically religious mother. After an embarrassing incident in the showers, her fellow students start to tease her even more than what they have done before. Her teacher disciplines them severely and that's why they are determined to have revenge. They all hatch a plot against Carrie to embarrass her in front of the whole school during the prom. But one girl feels sorry for Carrie and asks her date not to take her with him to the prom, but to ask Carrie instead, which he does. The entire night seems to go perfectly and especially when she's chosen as the prom queen her life seems better than ever. But when she is asked to go on the stage everything starts to go terribly wrong...

If you look at the story and the special effects and compare them with todays horror movies, than I'm sure that several (young) people will not like it all that much. However, when you keep in mind that this movie was made in 1976, than you'll have to agree with me that this is still stunning. OK, horror movies now try to use more scary moments (you know what's going to happen and still at that exact moment in the movie you get frightened) and that's something which you will not find in this movie, but it's the entire story and the idea behind it that make it all work. But even when the story and the special effects can't convince you all that much, you'll probably like the movie for the acting in it. Sissy Spacek was very convincing as Carrie, Piper Laurie was unbelievable as her mother and all other actors were more than OK as well, especially the young John Travolta could convince me in this movie. What I also liked a lot was the camera work. There aren't that many movies who have made use of split screens as much as has been done in this "Carrie", and those who did weren't always very successful in it, but in this movie it works and it sure adds an extra dimension to the entire experience.

In the end this is a horror movie that hasn't had too much difficulty to stand the test of time if you ask me. If all of today's horror movies will still be good in thirty years time is only to be seen, but this one certainly proves that it deserves to be called a classic in the genre. That's why I give it at least a 7.5/10.


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