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I love period drama (like film based on the books of Jane Eyre), bio-pics, (like Lawrance of Arabia, Ghandi, Bohemian Rhapsody, Imitation Game, a beautiful mind) and SciFi (Star Wars 2-6, Dune, the Orvil, Humans). It may seem odd but to me these genres are closely related; beautiful/great costumes and settings that allow me to step outside orinary life and reflect.
Art house movies, contempary themes provide yet an other angle (like A simple life, like father like son, Felici di Lazaro). For entertainment I am also a fan of (period) martial art films (like Jip Man, Crouching Tigger Hidden Dragon), and Asian period drama (Farewell my concubine, raise the red lantern).
Last but not least I love heart warming romcom (Bridget Jones, Love is a you need, a good year, the proposal) and the splendid humor of british tv comedy (Yes Minister, Ab Fab, Blackadder, to the manor born).
Love to get new views I didn't see in a film / story at first.
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Lazzaro felice (2018)
Sage Savant - not an idiot but in ignorant transcendence, pure
This film simply resonated with me and gave me a glimpse of a spiritual being (without him knowing it) and the simplicity required.
The first part of the film is very slow, and sometimes it is not clear what story is told. It did not matter to me as the quiet pace transformed the depicted misery into peace and the intertwined relations into simple co-existence.
The behaviour of the Marquesa and the situation after the "twist" of the story should make you want to call out and feel outraged (and at this point, the film could have been a bit shorter) but still the mind-less-ness of Lazzaro is enchanting, mesmerizing ... experience of one-ness.
Game of Thrones: Winterfell (2019)
Happy united in an epic start of GoTh
This could have been a movie, great scenes, loved the music and the ladies costumes are just jewels. This first epside maybe not as fast or multi story lined but this promises a lot. And yes, I love the Daenerys and John Snow story. Who will be standing at the end of GoTh? The Stark sisters? I so hope all of them but I actually don't think so.
Game of Thrones: A Knight of the Seven Kingdoms (2019)
A strong enemy makes good bed fellows
Beautiful episode with depth and yet not tear jerking emotional. Small, full of warmth as they are all might die tomorrow and feelings of being united despite the fact that some of them still don't like each other. Even good war movies, did not struck this intense tone as this episode of GoTh.
Game of Thrones: The Long Night (2019)
The night was dark and full of rubbish
This was one of the worst constructed battle scenes, I have seen. The war strategy was toddler level: have a battle on open territory when there is a thick walled castle that is easier to defend against enormous numbers? Charge head on with cavalry when totally outnumbered? Preparations? It made me wonder what they were doing in Winterfell before the battle. No oil/tar and no dragon glass defense ready on the walls? No soldiers behind the wall of fire ... or just ready on the wall? Are the writers at all familiar with ancient war fair tactics? Instead of enjoying the spectacular visual effects, the battle annoyed me.
Additionally, I missed interesting sub-story lines and plots (and there were several elements that could have been elaborated to exciting twists). These multi story lines are for me the core of GoTh. It felt odd that some of the cast suddenly changed their base characteristics without good reason. However, the weakest link was the music. It was especially at the end badly chosen, did not improve the scene and put me in a wrong atmosphere.
There were only 3 things I liked: Ayla's fighting technique, (girl) lady Mormont and the Dragon fight. After episode 2, I thought this would be brilliant instead it was disappointing, at best.
Mary Magdalene (2018)
"In silence you find god"
This film shows a portrait of Mary of Magdala, an extraordinary and brave woman in a time when men determined women's fate and everything had to be done according to the law given by "God". It takes the 2016 view of Pope Francis that Mary was the apostel of the apostels. She understood Jesus spiritual vision in contrary to some of the apostels who were conflicted.
If you want to see a dramatic or visual old fasion bible film, you will not like it but I found it respectful to the bible and true to core Christianity without "new age" embellishment. I felt a few profound moments due to the beauty of silence and words unpretentiously spoken. I actually wished they skipped dramatised music in a few scenes. These would have been more powerful without it. I loved the costume design with "homespun" fabrics, mending stitches and simple embroidery. It made me again realize that Mary lived in a time when people made their own fabrics and clothes. There is one point I found regrettable. This story gives the impression, they only know each other a few weeks. I would like to believe that it was longer, even though time does not need to determine a spiritual connection. In simplicity you find truth and "in silence you find god".
poetry in motion
peaceful candles on violent faces - rough vision of emotions deep - motion matched the poetry - of wondering thoughts to keep.
a master piece combining theatre - excellent acting and visual art - authenticity in dress and location - even Shakespeare would take heart.
Michael Fassbender made Macbeth, raw yet vulnerable which solved an issue I always had with this character. How can a strong war lord completely losing it? He portrayed Macbeth in a such a way that made me feel, that he truly (twistingly) believed it was also for survival and not just for simple ambition. He solved it for me.
At the same time, I always thought of Lady Macbeth as a conniving, over-ambitious gold-digger. She still was yet at the same time I saw a strong person who helped surviving despite her pain and loss. Marion Cotillard's acting was so pure and emotionally complex, awesome.
A Scottish friend who loves his country's history, was pleasantly surprised regarding the relative authenticity of highlander living and praised the costumes: no tartan, but Roman type with leather/metal battle uniforms which would be likely correct considering that Macbeth lived in the 11th century.
The music was powerful, supporting the Shakespearian lines, subtly giving them more impact. @Sales: subtitles would be useful even for people whose first language is English ... although it would reduce the magnitude of this visual spectacle.
This films was everything I was hoping for when seeing the trailer. It was a piece of art with moving pictures and words. Even if you don't like Shakespeare, it's an amazing film. A very high 9 score !
A Little Chaos (2014)
Passion transforms pain into love
Sabine De Barra is an out of the box thinking landscape gardener who gets the commission for creating the open-air "ballroom" in the gardens of Versailles. Despite the fact that she's a low class working-woman, she finds favour with the king, high ranking courtiers, their ladies due to her open, artless heart ...
It's a loving movie which gives the message that even when a person loses everything, pain can be transformed into love again by living your passion, in this story for flowers and gardening. For me it would have been more powerful if the focus would have remained with the Gardening and the Pain relieve it seemed to have on the characters. That was the inspiring part of the movie.
The film has beautiful shots of Versailles and how people worked in those days with nice costumes that supported the scenes very well. Great cast that was clearly directed by Mr. Rickman ... slowly spoken sentences but it was thank heavens not a Peter Greenaway type film. If you like costume drama with a touch of inspiration and romance, this film should be on your list.
A human story of exploration, love and survival
Chappie starts as an average action movie. Luckily I saw the trailer before going to the cinema and knew it was going to be more than just "chasing". I agree with my fellow reviewers that the metacritics are completely off.
You can watch this movie as an average Sci-Fi action film; it will entertain you. There's plenty of shooting, plots and funny lines. You can also watch this movie with as much depth as you like. It has one of my favourite Star Trek Next Generation and philosophy Theme's: what makes / defines human? You will forget in some parts that Chappie is a robot. I thought it was very touching that the roughest of people still show the sophisticated ability to embrace a weaker being. The movie also made me reflect about office politics and corruption bred by a bad environment. Enough food for thought!
It's great that Sigourney Weaver and Huge Jackman signed up for this movie. That will create a fan base for a movie so worth watching. Despite Mr Jackman's hilarious outfit, I so disliked the character he portraits. Dev Patel was his charming stereotype self. I only hope he will be cast for another type of role soon. Yolandi started stiffly but she transformed during the film that was perfect for her character. Sharlto Copley gave Chappie vulnerable and funny edge. I loved his ears, clever as they made the character so sweet.
The movie has great music, special production design and I love the fact that they use authentic accents and not Americanized it. District 9 was a special Sci-fi movie. Chappie is even better: 9,5 movie - IGNORE the METACRITICS !
Jupiter Ascending (2015)
Visual Splendor with Shallow Characters
This movies carries too much Dune, Star Wars, Cinderella, Constantine ... and even Astrix&Obelix. It could have been a great story. Any focus would have helped. They have: 3 "heirs-sibling"issue, a "parent-child" issue, a true love story and self-overcome struggle. Trying to cover everyone/every bit, they did nothing well. The characters are thin as a piece of paper. Honestly Mila Kunis depicted as this ... nobody believes that.
The Scene production is fantastic despite I see too much other SF it. That makes it good fun but unfortunately the music did everything as it should and hence did not surprise. The Gowns and costumes are beautiful, a plus. One point: Eddie Redmayne is one of my fav bad-dark-side characters from now on. Good fun but don't expect something extraordinary
Kingsman: The Secret Service (2014)
Daring Fun with the potential of becoming Iconic
#Kingsman: The Secret Service is a gentlemen secret spy-society that saves the world from a villain with the help of new recruits ... Don't let this summary fool you, the movie fantastic! It got applause at the end of the preview; for me first time ever in a cinema.
Great lines, never laughed this much: Bond with a wink and fresh edge. Plus super shot "martial art" action that should make the Matrix jealous. The action has its true Shakespearian/GoTh moments and all supported by cool tech-stuff. Great aspect in this movie is the music, an extra comic dimension. When you see the movie you'll know what I mean. Next too all the clever fun and furious action, it touches on petty crime poverty and home violence. Matthew Vaugh captures the grimness yet doesn't loose it's lightness ... and I like the message: "a gentlemen is not born, a gentle(wo)men is someone who chooses to be one."
The young gang, like Sophie Cookson, held up well and Taron Egerton established his position in the gang of giants. Colin Firth's aloofness was crowned with a kick-ass bite, Samuel Jackson brings his role back to old fashion comedy, strongly supported by Mark Strong and Michael Caine. It is a big 9,5 - this movie just nailed it.
The Imitation Game (2014)
Exceptional life and great movie
This movie is about the man (and the team) who found a way to break an unbreakable code machine "Enigma". If I can make a comparison, it would be: "beautiful mind". Both main characters were exceptionally intelligent and both have a mental condition that will not make you like them immediately. However, this summary won't do justice to the injustice of how homosexuals were (and in some countries still are) treated.
Firstly the acting: Mr Cumberbatch gives his Academy Award card. The supporting actors do a great job next to this absolutely fantastic performance. Secondly, in the beginning the dialogs are due to the lack of "social polish", very funny. There was a lot of laughter in the cinema.
The twist is something you have to see for yourself. Truth become a very interesting concept during this journey. I wonder how much it will take from a person that is not aiming to gain power to actually have the power over life and death. Of course nobody knows how WOII would have turned out but one can assume that these people changed the lives of millions. This man changed the lives of even more people due to his pursuit of a thinking machine ... I write on one of his great great grand-children-machines.
Would I want to be Turing? Guess he didn't want to be him either but in the "eyes of history his life was a privilege". Please read don't read it as a statement but as a starting point for contemplation.
It's a 9 rate now, as I only give a 10 when it keeps inspiring me in time. This is a potential 10, ranking next to Ghandi and Lawrence of Arabia. It depends how often I am going to re- see/listen to it one for inspiration ... not because it's positive message but because of it's complexity in human nature.
Thin story, special effects and gorgeous guys
Pompeii an Italian city, full of wealth and busy people. One day a rich daughter returns to her home and she meets a gladiator who is a war casualty of England. When a high ranking officer comes to town, the intrigue starts ... and it's not a spoiler when I write Pompei is destroyed by the Etna volcano. That is history.
From a girly perspective, this film was a pleasure for the eye. Kit Harington as Milo is even more sexy than in Game of Thrones. Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje didn't have to say much. Very nice role for Sasha Roiz after his sensual role in Grimm. Even Kiefer Sutherland gets away with his accent. For this ... yes ladies and gays, do see the film.
Emily Browning as Cassia is convincing enough. It was odd to see Carrie-Ann Moss after the Matrix. She missed strength, either from an intrigue or moral perspective, in this role. Hared Jarris was solid in his acting, a relieve considering the miserable screenplay. Once one has seen the last days of Pompei, series 1984 and 2003, this story line is too thin for words. It could have been copied from Gladiator or Spartacus, the series. The only surprise was the lack of creativity.
If you like doom-special-effect movies, yes go see the movie. For me it could have been less. A volcano eruption is overwhelming enough and shouldn't need semi-comets and ground shaking which took most part of the film. The #CostumeDesign by Wendy Partridge was roman good for the men but lacked for the women, in both dress and jewelry.
Clearly this movie was made for people who like fire, panic and are not interested in any type of depth. Only the end is worth a positive comment but if the men weren't so delightful, this would have been a 5 rating.
Effie Gray (2014)
Sadness overcome by strength
"Effie" is about to get married to the famous author/art critic John Ruskin. The event is full of anticipation. She's in love, content with the realization that marriage is a great achievement (in her world) and naive. As soon as she enters her new home, happiness and feelings of accomplishment disappear.
Though the heroine is mainly sad, it's a different emotion compared to Mme Bovary or Portrait of a Lady. All three women are trapped in an unhappy marriage but Effie isn't a disillusioned house wife or manipulated heiress. She's a young woman who only slowly starts to comprehend her situation. Initially, she tries to figure out why she feels unwelcome. After the people around her keep pointing out that she's inadequate, she starts to believe that she is and starts blaming herself. Due to her inexperience and without a friend for sharing her questions, she's not able to acknowledge that her life is "unnatural" and by the time that she recognizes that something is really wrong, she is too mentally abused but she endures.
Ruskin and his parents made me feel angry. I wish it was because they were bad but they are actually stiflingly loving and blindly unaware of their coldness. I wanted to shake some sense in them. When Effie finally starts a divorce, my romantically polluted film mind wanted to see a glorious moment. It's kept small and shared the complexity of feelings. Yes, she was desperate and brave but I suspect that her real life it wasn't a simple emotion that drove her to this decision. It was well depicted as a necessity. Even though, it doesn't lower my respect for this lady in Victorian British Society who claimed her right as a human being.
Dakota Fanning has an interesting mixture of serenity and intensity. It served her well as Jane (in Twilight Saga) but gave her vulnerability in this role an edge. Greg Wise handsome appearance makes is hard to believe that he's terrible man and causes the right confusion. Greg Sturrage could be less nice and could show more passion but still nice to see him after Vanity Fair. And what can I write about the creme of UK actors; Julie Walters, David Suchet, Emma Thompson, James Fox, Derek Jacobi, Robbie Coltrane, other than superb as usual. I loved to see Claudia Cardinale, powerful in her grace of age. The costumes are good, not as lush as in other productions for this time period but then if you ever seen real dresses from that time, they usually are a not that refined. The scenery highlights contrast; crowded London, narrow home life and wide Scottish Highlands. I especially loved the very beautiful shots of Venice.
One day I will watch it again on blue ray because the scenes deserve high quality images. I hope that I will be as moved and angry as I was in the cinema. Well Done Effie, Well Done Emma Thank you for this emotional experience which gave me a couple of life pointers to think about.
Grace of Monaco (2014)
A History with Grace
During an important moment in Monaco's history, Gracia of Monaco has to decide to either become a real princess or be Grace Kelly the movie star again.
The film is interesting for 1) the costumes - just pure delight ! The Bains de la Mer Ruby Tiara is the real thing, not sure about the necklace but if not, it's a great copy. The white conference dress (top), is a good copy but misses the beautiful skirt embroidery and they could have done a bit more on the hair though. I have a picture of Princess Grace in this outfit on my pinterest board (http://www.pinterest.com/ydnewstyle/tiara-glamour-monaco/).
2) the historic background is interesting. Monaco is such a small country, normally it falls of the charts of history. Heard about the French threat but never thought that was a serious consideration. Believing this movie, it was.
3) even though it must have been a real miserable time for Grace, it still remains a fairy story: a princess, a prince, romance. Her personal drama doesn't diminish that and precisely that's what's wrong with this movie. Where the movie Diana was aiming at only drama, this movie failed to create a connection.
Occasionally there are film shots of Nicole Kidman were she amazingly looks like Grace Kelly. Unfortunately she sounds like Nicole almost all the time. More voice coaching would have improved this movie tremendously. Just wonder why does she keep picking characters that cry a lot? Instead of sympathy, I felt annoyed.
Tim Roth had the ungrateful task to play prince Rainer. Difficult character, sometimes he convinced me but he couldn't make me believe why she fell in love with him ... and that was a good element of the movie.
Overall an enjoyable film, I might going to watch again ... for the costumes and the glamour.
Maleficent was once a beautiful fairy till the day her wings were stolen from her ...
Whilst Sleeping Beauty is a story based on the idea that pure innocence can't be defeated by evil and will be saved by love. Maleficent is based on the believe that love can heal the wounds of innocence lost. This concept is far more intriguing and human than the sugar sweetness of the original fairytale. Losing ones love, ones power and then regaining it, means inner struggle between keeping once ingrained negative emotions and embracing the enlightened path of love.
Never thought about how Maleficent became evil. As a child I assumed the evil witch was just evil. This adaptation made me again realize how much we take for absolute truth without asking questions. An eye opener teaching me a lesson in compassion.
However, it was not only the story that was amazing. Angelina Jolie was powerful yet vulnerable; elegantly evil and gloriously loving. The 15 year old Aurora is sweet and has a lovely smile. Noticed that the 5 year old Aurora is named Pitt-Jolie?
I wasn't impressed though with the king and the young Maleficent but the costumes were beautiful, medieval fantasy, and the settings were fabulous with CGI that wasn't overwhelming. This movie brought a fantasy world alive without too much emphasis.
Just in love with it and can't get enough of looking at the trailer. Hope the Blue Ray is on the market soon !
The Invisible Woman (2013)
Invisible but seen
A psychological period drama about Charles Dickens' affair with 18-year-old Ellen Ternan ("Nelly", a girl of 18) that evolved under stringent society rules, involved both their families and touched more than just "love".
The affair is set as unconventional. However, interestingly, this movie didn't show that in Victorian England it was "acceptable" for men to have a mistress as long as it wasn't public. The thin line between do the right thing and the correct thing, should have been the lead story line. Instead it hovered. It was nice to see Ralph Fiennes cheery for a change but he acted more like cold "Dutchess" than hot "English Patient" temperament. That didn't help. The mother story line did support the issue and was well played by Krisen Scott Thomas. Unfortunately it was too short to mark a difference.
Is admiration, security and feeling flattered either by fame or youth, the same as loving someone? The costume design suited this question. In the beginning light for Nelly and changing into dark black underpinning the loss of innocence and the possible road to deeper understanding. Felicity Jones was passionate but cold. She acted Nelly's worries very well in a manner that I felt a struggle between love or guilt. Liked the story line of his wife; emotionally confusing and therefore worth watching. Don't forget love in that time was not required for a marriage but what does the big number of children tell us? She was the only character I truly felt sorry for.
An solid 8 rate for a movie I might want to see again, for the deserted beach in Kent that I hope to visit and for the few moments that made my romantic soul believe a bit in unconditional love destinies.
Vikings Unique Quality TV that gets better and better
Scandinavia and Britain in the Middle Ages, Ragnar Lothbrok has a vision that goes beyond the village or even his land. With charisma, political and military tactics, he creates opportunities that bring new ways for his but also in a way the British people. History Channel made a TV series that's absolutely worth watching; 1) it's about Vikings (rare) and 2) it gives interesting views on Middle Ages (equally rare). At first I compared it with Game of Thrones. Though a big GofTh fan, that doesn't this series justice.
Season 1 starts a bit slow (so did GofTh) but the topic was rare enough to stick to it. After a few episodes, I loved it. It has historic merits (GofTh doesn't) and the story becomes more exciting, faster and now in the third season, it often has unexpected twists. There are plenty of power struggles: Ragnar at first with Earl Haraldson and later with King Ecbert of Wessex. Bother/son struggles between Ragnar, Rollo and Bjorn. Love power games between Ragnar, Lagertha and Princess Aslaug. Then then there's Siggy, difficult to describe without a spoiler. My fav is the latest development between Athelstan and King Ecbert. If they keep it up, it's beyond "The Name of the Rose" quality.
It's an absolute 9. I can't wait to see this again on Blue Ray. If they continue to make this story from several angles even better than it already is, there's a chance I re-rate a 10.
The Grand Budapest Hotel (2014)
"He retained the illusion with remarkable grace."
A former lobby boy, Zero Moustafaw tells a story to a writer, who tells this tale of a hotel, it's guests and the outstanding concierge Monsieur Gustav H to us. It's about (blind) loyalty, duty beyond the required, greed, stupidity, love for women in any age ... and the power of influence when treating persons with the grace of that person's beauty.
It's (black) comedy at its best. The ridiculous becomes brilliant through cleverly constructed dialog, impeccable executed timing and timbre change. Many camera shots are little art pieces like in Moonrise Kingdom, beautifully constructed with cuts that ad to the timing, visually. The production design takes you from the shabby to over-the-top kitsch to breath taking wooden interiors and mountains. The CGI reminds me of Monty Python, deliberately unrealistic which is part of the humor yet makes it at the same time oddly believable.
Never thought of Ralph Fiennes as a comedic actor. He convinced me here. Tony Revolori as young Zero Saoirse Ronan as Agatha are remarkable. And then there were: F. Murray Abraham, Jude Law, Tilda Swinton, Adrien Brody, Willem Defoe, Jeff Goldblum, Edward Norton, Léa Seydoux, Harvey Keitel, Tom Wilkinson, Bill Murray, Owen Wilson, (I think I saw George Cloony for 2 sec)... Just to be able to get all these heavy weights to sign up for minor roles, demands respect. To get them all set their mark in a few minutes, is awesome.
"He retained the illusion with remarkable grace." is one of the last lines in the movie. It describes both the main character and also the heart of the movie. This is a real 9 - beauty combined with dirt, great cinematography with dry jokes and art with silliness. If you like to be amazed, see something out of the ordinary, are able to go with a flow, you will LOVE this movie.
Period drama entertainment with some very interesting views on history
Writing plays and poetry is the passion of the Edward, 17th Earl of Oxford but he can't share it with the world and is forced to let someone else take the credit. And there is Elizabeth I, strong as ever but in this movie with a very very interesting interpretation.
I always like it when a movie offers an interesting view. Historic events are always seen from "a" point of view and written by winners/powerful. Who says that some of these elements weren't true?
Note for this movie: don't leave your brain at home because there are lots of up and down flash backs. Don't get often confused but at a point I notices that I was trying to match scenes. Due to the plot, I didn't mind that much in the end. "It is not in the stars to hold our destiny but in ourselves" ... who needs stars if there a queen to give destiny a hand.
I like to hear Shakespeare. Fair enough, makes "easier" script writing but better to steal well than create badly. Loved being in a Elizabethan theater, but wasn't so amazed due to previously seeing 'Shakespeare in love'. Still the interacting between public and players, so very different from a film experience in NL. In house scenes were beautifully dressed. The CGI for outdoor palace/tower were well done. Costumes were elegant but not elaborate; liked Vanessa's black dress that she wears at the end.
Rhys Ifans (Earl of Oxford) is brilliant, liked him in Notting Hill and can hardly believe it's the same man. Vanessa Redgrave was a good fragile older queen but not a good harsh one. Joely Richardson as the younger Bess was lovely and flirty enough. Jonson, David Thewlis and Edward Hogg (William & Robert Cecil) were solid, liked the "Henry V" player but not all actors. Not outstanding ... but Xavier Samuel (Southampton) looked delightful.
It's a 8,5 movie due to the time line multi-cut-up but still a 9 because of the interesting twist. Maybe a bit too ambitious but still strong enough movie that I will enjoy watching again.
Slow, a bit surprising but missed chance
"Diana", gives a view of the princess of Wales' last 2 years of her life when she tries to find a way out of her failed marriage and gives her famous TV interview. Diana is lonely, hopes for real love and one day she meets the heart surgeon Hasnat Khan.
Many documentaries and related movies like "the Queen", have shown that "the People's Princess" was a clever person with different sides. This movie is no exception yet there were a few surprising moments, like the Dodi affair. Unfortunately, good causes like the anti land mine campaign felt like loose ends in the overall story. The main fail of this movie was not-showing how she was involved and her influence. They only hint here and there. Missed chance because that would have been an interesting, "new" perspective.
Silence and single-shot filming, can lead to intimacy but made it slow and bored me here. I did't believe some scenes: no servants at her house, no guard while she's in the park, travel without anyone knowing. Nice point: I liked the palace guard dialogs. Naomi Watts occasionally found a Diana look but most of the time she didn't. She failed to make me believe how unhappy and strong the character was. Naveen Andrews lacked passion but was believable with the same integrity as in Bride & Prejudice.
Most of the time I rate 7 or above. The 6 rate is due to lack of depth and connection with the characters. Maybe I expected too much and maybe if I watch it again, I feel more but I doubt that it changes my opinion this time.
La storia vera della signora dalle camelie (1981)
La storia vera della signora delle camelie or the "real" story of La Dame aux Camélias is also based on the novel by Alexandre Dumas fils. The tragic love story of a poor writer who falls in love with a courtesan. Only Marie Duplessis is now called 'Alphonsine' instead of Camille (Greta Garbo film), Violetta (opera) or Marguerite (book/ballet).
The settings are raw in the beginning and beautiful splendor in the end. It's a consistent view of a woman who wants to get a better life. The conversations aren't romantic and some scenes actually show you what a 'courtesan' does for a living. Something the other versions don't.
Isabelle Huppert as Alphonsine looks meek, even subdue and bored but what fascinated me about her acting was the passion that's there ... somewhere. She depicts a person who at first takes this profession as a way to survive and then later on takes delight in the power she has over men and the money she earns with it. Yes, she's ill and it's shown frequently, trying to get a sympathy vote. What remains tragic is the fact that she can't hold on to her life, both profession as -Life-.
It's my favorite film version of La Dame aux Camélias. The 8 rate is due Huppert's performance. The slowness in the movie and my dislike of the actors was the reason for the original 7 rate and the only reason I don't rate it a 9 because I watched it a couple of times.
300: Rise of an Empire (2014)
Awesome graphic-novel art splendor
"Greece" is under attack of Xerxes of Persia (ca. 480 BC). While Leonidas of Sparta is fighting in Battle of Thermopylae ("300"), Themistokles of Athens is preparing a sea battle at Salamis (this movie).
Don't expect deep historic drama, wrong genre. This is graphic-novel art splendor and a strong sequel of 300. I was highly entertained and completely drawn into this world with amazing graphic art scenery and a high Asian Martial Art feel fight scenes. 3D is working during the sea battles but not really required. The introduction of Artemisia, Themistokles and Xerxes becoming the GodKing of Persia were cool but might be a bit confusing as it wasn't always obvious that these were flashbacks in the current story.
Sullivan Stapleton as Themistokles did well, not Gerard Butler though. Lena Headey as Queen Gorgo was again a graceful power lady, GoTh made her even stronger in character. Rodrigo Santoro as Xerxes is again hot, especially as his younger self. Eva Green as Navy Admiral Artemisia was one mean, bad lady, strong like in Kingdom of Heaven and occasionally I was more on her side than on the Greek's ... and her costumes are just ... fantastic!
If I could rate half points, it would rate it 8,5 because 300 was in my opinion stronger, funnier and more dramatic but 9 rates are for films that I will see again ... and I will see this one again, mainly due to Artemisia, she was awesome.
Ps If you don't like bloody scenes, it might be not your type of film
Bio-pic and period drama about the struggle to find your place in life.
Friesland (North Netherlands) beginning 20th century, a man and a woman fall in love. He is Pieter Jelles Troelstra, a poet and a passionate socialist. She is destined to be a provincial middle class house wife. "Nynke" shows the struggle of a talented woman, Sjouke Bokma de Boer aka Nynke van Hichtumis, who tried to find her way from whom she was expected to be, to whom she ought to become: an independent person and author.
The film gives a rare glimpse in the family live of a last century politician and is a love story; from naive, passionate love for each other to loosing common ground in 'greater causes'. He became the co-founder of the socialist party and she was a gifted story teller and the author of a famous children's book "Aafkes tiental". During this period in history, women like Nynke were labeled with Hysteria. In fact, their unsatisfying lives lead to depression. The story gives an insight in the conflicts within her and with her environment that crossed the road to recovery, not so different from contemporary, similar topics.
The Dutch occasionally can make good period drama. This is one of them. Well done costumes, good solid acting, beautiful locations and the excellent charm that the movie is mainly in Nynke's mother-tongue: Fries, and not Dutch.
a Walt Disney delight
I expected a different story but I was delighted to see a cartoon that doesn't depict a simple good and evil concept because the world we live in is not that black and white.
Next to the beautiful imagines, I loved the process Elsa, the ice queen and Anna, her sister went through. Elsa is not an evil queen but someone who tries to protect the ones she loves, unfortunately in a wrong way. Anna's goodness is not based on pure goodness but on inexperience that turns against her. Both characters have to find a way to protect the people around them and find love that's based on mature trust and especially understanding.
Good's real core is truly loving oneself ... and "Evil" is not accepting and transforming your fear!
The Butler (2013)
It's the story of a negroid man who escaped the cotton fields and became a Butler in the white house. Though the story was set around this character, it often felt like a 20th century US history lesson. OK, the concept of a butler in the white house connects the pieces. I would have been more involved if the main character was his oldest son. Although it did show opposite behaviors in this struggle for equality: one fighting and one resigning in the status quo yet slowly growing into acknowledging the injustice.
There's an impressive cast of famous actors with small roles but I guess they all wanted to contribute to the topic. It's hard to imagine that US apartheid was abolished only a bit more than half a century ago. It's almost impossible to imagine, raised in NL, what the black community most have felt when a black man won the presidential campaign. The movie contributes to understanding this ... and the emotion in the scene when Obama was elected made this movie worth watching.