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Mira (1971)
7/10
Life and times of a Flemish fishing town
12 September 2019
Warning: Spoilers
Never mind its flaws and mishaps, Mira is a fine example of that what makes movie making so special. It has authenticity, experimental cinematography, over-the-top acting and plain old comedy. It also has intense chases in the forest, dysfunctional family relationships, dark murder scenes and lively bar crowds.

I must admit that the storyline and buildup are rather weak and the ending completely turns the premise upside down. Where oh where can I find the director's cut? :)
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5/10
Schizophrenic experience
22 August 2019
Aside from historical correctness, bias issues and topic choice, let's start with evaluating the movie as though it was purely fictional. The biggest problem is the vast scope of storylines. Too many plots and subplots make this movie quite messy, the more so because these storylines are completely intermixed (which is needed to retain chronology). There's Jefferson's encounters with the French royalty and nobility, the romantic liaison between Jefferson and Maria, the discussions on slavery, the experiences of Sally and James, Jefferson's affair with Sally, Patsy's dealings with Catholicism, Patsy's dealings with her father's affairs, Patsy's dealings with slavery... All merged into a 90-minute feature film. Not that it's hard to follow, it's just very tedious to be warped from one storyline to the second to the third in a matter of minutes.

Kudos however to the casting director. All the actors are very much perfect for their jobs. Even Gwyneth Paltrow, who, as a self-pitied whiner, stays very close to her own self.
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Beerfest (2006)
2/10
Beerfilth
31 July 2019
Beerfest is filled to the rim with jokes. Every scene is formed by a string of jokes. But what kind of jokes are we being served here? At one point in the movie I was asking myself if there would be coming any joke that I would find funny. Well, the 'cowboy and indian' joke was mildly funny. As were the bloopers at the end. That's it. And that's sad.
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9/10
Master of atmosphere
24 June 2019
Wong Kar Wai is a master in creating atmosphere. He does so by keeping the scope of story simple and picking the right actors. But most of all he does this by is the experimental use of light, focus and speed. He uses his 'special effects' in great abundance and often multiple times in one scene, but he does so in such a matter-of-fact kind of way that one hardly notices it, thus adding immensely to the atmosphere. A special scene to watch for is when Lai Yiu-fai is lying at a platform of the Buenos Aires harbour. Through the waveforming of passing ships, it looks as if the platform itself drifts away. A simple trick, but highly effective and a fine example of the director's genius mind.

As concerns the story: the relationship struggles of Ho Po-wing and Lai Yiu-fai are fascinating to watch. Although this struggle is basically all that the story entails and not much spectacular happens, the fast-paced editing, the great acting and the aforementioned camera work ensure a highly entertaining movie experience. A nice twist happens when the focus moves to the voice-over a new character (Chang), whose imaginitive mind is a welcome distraction. Unfortunately, Chang remains a bystander in the rest of the story, although at the end he gets a bit more screentime.
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4/10
Let's all jump in the water
25 May 2019
Typical piece of 'slow tv'. Whether you appreciate this film or not depends on the state you're in when watching it I guess. When you're all set for an entertaining movie experience, you will be utterly dissappointed. But when you're in a tired or intoxicated mood, you will value the stillness and find some parts of it not boring.

The movie is a compilation of dreary, slow-paced dialogue, shots of a deserted Russian countryside and random flashbacks. I'm sure there's supposed to be a deeper meaning to it all, and a political Soviet one as well, but I didn't catch it. I will read about it.
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The Zero Hour (1939)
7/10
Dated but entertaining
22 December 2018
Warning: Spoilers
Decent little drama story about impossible love and circumstantial fate. Although the movie is very short, it is possible to sympathize with the characters, thanks to great acting and clever direction. The ending is very grim. Somehow one can predict this fatality will happen, but because one expects these kind of movies to end in a happily-ever-after kind of way, it still comes as a surpise.
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2/10
Fish and octopuses
20 December 2018
There is only one thing noticeable about this movie. No, it's not the b-movie chic, the exotica, the dramatic musical score, the thin love story, the wild animals or the clumsy fighting scenes. It's not the lousy acting, the fake English-speaking natives, the mysterious pearls or the childish storyline. No, the special scene to look out for is the one in which two of the characters look out from the ship into the sea. Next we just see fish and octopuses going after each other, minutes long, while one of the characters gives a description of what happens there in the depth of the sea (which is clearly visible as an aquarium).

How on earth...
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Testosterone (2003)
7/10
Pure camp
16 December 2018
Odd little b-flic. It starts off very bad Laughably bad. Sound, editing, acting, it all fails dramatically. 'So bad it's good'-style, so no complaints there. However, the movie gets better and better with the introductions of new characters. With the exception of Sofia, none of the characters will generate much sympathy from the viewer. But all of them somehow manage to imprint their role with such sardonic egoism, that the ultra thin script is more than forgiven.

So, if you want to indulge yourself in some strangely cool whodunnit story homoerotic style, look no further. Eat your heart out Eric Romer!
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Lost Souls (2000)
4/10
Let's shoot Satan
11 December 2018
Warning: Spoilers
In order to generate a feeling of fear in the viewer, a movie has to be to a certain extent believable. Too much incredibility in the premise will usually make a movie campy, laughable and/or just plain bad. Take, for instance, zombie movies. Only little kids will believe dead people to be able to rise up from their graves, move around sluggishly, and somehow be able to catch the living in order to eat them alive. Therefore, nobody takes zombie movies seriously. What about supernatural spirit movies? Although scarcely acceptable scientifically, many people tend to have a fascination for the unseen spirit world; it triggers the imagination. Well-made spirit movies can therefore be pretty scary. Alien movies have a similar 'credibility level'.

What about 'Lost Souls' then? Apart from the amateurish camera work, the badly worked out character development and the hasty pace of it all, the premise just doesn't work. It doesn't make you scared or horrified. Speaking for myself that is, but I'm sure I'm speaking for most of you as well (haven't read other comments yet). Who (the hell) believes Satan will manifest itself in an ordinary man on his 33rd birthday somewhere in contemporary USA? Not many and therefore this movie fails to scare. Sure, it's got its moments of shock, like the next-door neighbor hearing the exorcism tape, the toppling down of the Jesus statue and the scene of Maya alone in the public bathroom. But these scenes are shocking because of a clever use of sound, FX and acting skills. Such scenes are far and in-between though...
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4/10
This lion will sleep well tonight
15 October 2018
Don't expect an immersive, well-directed action story. This is a simple, sloppy, dime-a dozen film with cardboard characters and cheap special effects. Halfway through things get a bit more interesting when Michael Douglas appears. Although type-casted, he at least brings some acting skills and personality into the whole endeavour. Political incorrectness is circumvented by opposing the two western heroes with noble savage allegory and immoral lion hunting with depicting the behavior of the lions as atypical, thus immoral themselves. And Val Kilmer? Well, he's there just for his pretty looks I suppose...
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Crooked House (2017)
5/10
Solo tango
26 April 2018
Too many potential murderers, too little time to put them in the spotlight. You just can't justifiably make a feature film based on an intricate detective story like this. The audience doesn't get any chance to fathom all the motives and clues and is left with a bunch of freak characters who all have their reasons, but are each allowed so little screentime that the viewer wouldn't care less who has done it.

Maybe it would have been better to just skip a few of the characters in order to develop the subplots with more breathing time. Or just make a mini series out of it.
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The Party (I) (2017)
3/10
Bunch of whiners
23 April 2018
What is there to like in this movie? I honestly wouldn't know. It is about a group of friends who don't behave as friends. Performed by a star cast, acting as a second rate theatre group. It is all very staged, with timing far too robotic. Cardboard characters feeling sorry for themselves. It's impossible to sympathize for any of these whining posers. Oh, and it is shot in black-and-white, with experimental camera standpoints galore, in order to emphasize the pretentious pseudo-artistic, pseudo-intellectual crap we could so do without. Positive note: it doesn't last long
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Machete (2010)
7/10
A genre of its own
2 March 2018
Machete is a trademark Rodriguez film with all the right ingredients: a tragicomic anti-hero, strong and sexy lady fighters, graphic, proportionless violence, black humor, rebellion and love-to-hate villains. However, the problem with Rodriguez is that he has a knack to overdo things. I mean it's cool to have a famous actor play the bad guy, but here we have evil Robert de Niro, evil Don Johnson, evil Jeff Fahey ánd evil Steven Seagall. And the orgasmic finale is so full of bizarre and cartoonesque brutality that all subtlety and credibility is lost. Of course, Rodriguez doesn't have any intention to be subtle or credible, but he could at least adhere a bit more to the adagium 'less is more' to create a smoother movie experience (which led his buddy Tarantino to absolute stardom).

Still, Machete is much better and for sure a lot more entertaining than 90% of what is produced these days, so we shouldn't be too hard on Rodriguez. And above all we have to accept that we will never again see anything coming close to his all-time masterpiece Sin City...
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8/10
Quickspace
27 February 2018
It starts off rather slowly, but somewhere in the middle it picks up. Nice character-driven drama. Lighthearted, but not without its hefty moments. The most developed and strongest role is Keener's. If you wouldn't know her, you would think of her as some kind of messed-up poor soul. But when you know her no one else could be more normal than her. It's a powerful role, played with brilliance. Sometimes you can almost hear what she is thinking.

But what I like most about this movie is the album cover of Quickspace stuck on a wall. Don't you love those little moments of strictly personal joy?
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9/10
No words can describe this wordless gem
23 February 2018
Well, I didn't have high expectations when I started to watch Le Dernier Combat. Having seen quite a few of Besson's later work, I prepared myself for another evening of light-hearted and well-intended yet bland and cliché-ridden French comedy Besson-style.

Instead, I was treated to a masterpiece. Apart from one misguided stylistic lapse (the drunk hotel scene) and outdated music, this is a true gem. And proof of the fact that you don't need a big budget to deliver. Fast-paced editing, breathtaking cinematography, superb acting and innovative directing... there are just not enough superlatives to describe this film. Watch this before it's too late...
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Laddie (1940)
6/10
Average movie, good acting
12 December 2017
Run-of-the-mill RKO cheapie with simple storyline and unsatisfying finish. The acting is pretty good overall. Joan Carroll is amazing as Little Sister. Miles Mander does a very good job portraying the stubborn and dislikable Mr. Pryor. Best part is the rather intense scene in which Laddie tells Pryor that he wants to marry his daughter. All in all a mildly entertaining average b-movie with over average actors, a too prominent musical score and a nice short duration.
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Day for Night (1973)
5/10
Movie about a movie about...
8 December 2017
Movie about a movie who's director is the director of the movie's movie. Nice to have a look behind the scenes of film making, although much of it looks rather staged, including bad acting and over-acting. Which makes the fictional movie about people making a movie really looks like people making a fictional movie.

In a movie that you don't really like, sometimes there's one scene that almost makes up for the rest of the movie. A scene that you will probably never forget. Like the Japanese guy doing a karaoke act of the Sex Pistols in Lost In Translation, here the WOW scene is the short cat intermezzo. Silence... tension...touched... A moment of true movie magic.
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4/10
Gimme a break
27 October 2017
This movie was a great disappointment. It has a big reputation, but I just can't see why. It's cliché-ridden, unfunny and makes cheap fun of Japanese culture. A typical example of the self-centered view Americans have of the world. I couldn't find anything profound or deep at all in this movie. Just two spoiled Americans feeling sorry for themselves in a strange, 'exotic' country. Give me a break. If I wouldn't have known any better, I would just have considered this one of Woody Allen's lesser movies...
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Convict 13 (1920)
5/10
Keaton reaching puberty
6 January 2016
This early Buster Keaton short is filled with basic, crude, unoriginal slapstick scenes. Though mildly entertaining and not unfunny, it's a far cry from Keaton's future sophisticated ingenuity. If it wasn't for the fact that he was to evolve into the brilliant movie icon that he is, these early films would most certainly not have been restored at all.

Convict 13 is particularly notable for its sheer violence. Gun shooting, hammer slapping, cannonball slinging, body throwing... No whining about the bruises guys!

Best joke: the golf ball eating fish.
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1/10
Cinematic turd
6 January 2016
This must be some badly worked out fantasy of a self-indulgent adolescent mind that doesn't know about the existence of any substantial things in this world. Having a rich daddy with some high level connections, it was fairly easy to make a film about his fantasy. No trouble to find some fame hungry Hollywood whores to help him realise his dream. No trouble at all to find a producer without regard for good taste and always willing to make a quick cheap buck. Thank God for that, because otherwise we would have missed this super smart and funny film about love, friendship, dedication and the true meaning of life. Oh, wait...
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All About Eve (1950)
7/10
Where are the stage performances?
2 January 2016
All About Eve is all about Bette Davis and Anne Baxter. One an outspoken and uninhibited diva with a kind heart. She's always honest, even if it might hurt feelings, not in the least of herself. The other an innocent and naive wallflower that can turn into a skilled devious witch in the blink of an eye.

The male leads are somewhat interchangeable, alike in looks and behaviour. Exception is DeWitt, who is slick, distinguished and amoral and therefore a rather interesting character. The scenes in which he confronts Eve are among the highlights.

Marilyn Monroe has a small part, and, though we all know of her, eh, average acting abilities, she has a radiance about her that has future stardom written all over it.

Oddly enough, for a movie about the theatre, we hardly see any scene in which theatre performances are shown. These scenes might have been left at the cutting table, but more likely it has just been a matter of indolence or incompetence. For a story about two top theatre actresses it must be quite a challenge to deliver these stage abilities on the silver screen, but quite essential too. It's nevertheless an enjoyable movie, where the interesting plot and acting power of the two lead actresses will keep you in your seat.
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4/10
Write a novel
28 December 2015
Again, here we have a movie that tries to be a commercial success by trying to serve everyone by trying to be many or most things. It cannot be classed because it is more than one kind of movie: black comedy, moral tale, emotion-driven drama, fantasy, post noir, court drama… And it fails miserably on all accounts.

The cast is perfectly cast: Kim Cattrall as the vain impresario, Anthony Hopkins as the wise old guy, Jennifer Love Hewitt as the femme fatale, Dan Aykroyd as the imposing yobo and Alec Baldwin as the struggling man of a certain age. Hence, a perfectly TYPE-CASTED cast.

What more to say about 'A Shortcut to Happiness'? Not much. It is boring, self-indulgent and over-ambitious. If you like those kind of movies, do not hesitate and watch it immediately.
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3/10
Warning to enthusiastic cooks
3 August 2015
You've got a serious issue of bad taste if you like this movie. Too many happy coincidences, too many bad jokes and too much bad acting to make you even once forget once that you are watching a piece of fiction.

It is the standard recipe: put in a desperate, self-denying middle-aged wallflower and her nosy but loving sisters, mix it up with the perfect single guy and his not so good best friend, combine a gay couple, a running gag at the local supermarket and some silly old people, add a series of over the top nightmare dates, season it with lots and lots of cliché jokes and top it off with some garden party home videos while running the end credits. Mix well, sit back and relax. Or buy your own DYI rom-com kit at your budget hardware store.

Best line: "I love the internet, you can pay your bills naked."
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Gertrud (1964)
3/10
High brow entertainment at its lowest level
22 September 2014
Married woman has affair with younger man, falls in love, wants to leave husband. Younger man doesn't love married woman, married woman decides to leave husband anyway and live the rest of her life alone. Then there's her former partner who wants her to come back to him, but she doesn't love him anymore.

That's all there is to the story. The movie consists of 10 or so scenes in which above-mentioned persons talk to each other. Without looking at each other. Displays of emotions are kept to a minimum. Conversations are carried out in a detached and deadpan manner and are rife with philosophical platitudes about love and male-female misunderstandings.

Watching this film feels like sitting in the theatre watching a high brow, boring and pretentious stage play. More than ever, this movie made me yearn for mindless, over-the-top action flics.
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8/10
Enjoyable entertainment for all ages
14 September 2014
Nothing can top the first Sin City movie, which is a masterpiece that can never be copied, remade or emulated. Sin City was the ultimate in coolness, cinematography and directing. A Dame To Kill For is a great movie, but in many respects it is not on a par with the first movie: the acting, the dialogs, the editing, the laughs... Some scenes drag on a bit, the use of coloring isn't anything near subtle anymore and the story lines are less powerful. Josh Brolin doesn't have the charisma of a Clive Owen or Bruce Willis. And lacking are the super weird bad guys, like Kevin and the Yellow Bastard. The women are not as bad-ass (although they show some impressive sword skills :) Eva Green a dame to kill for? Well, in Casino Royale maybe. Here, her acting and magnetism is surpassed by her bodily attraction (which is easy considering the fact that she is stark naked for most of her screen time).

But let's stop complaining, there's plenty to rejoice in here. Joseph Gordon-Levitt as Johnny kicks in a fabulous performance. Marv is enjoying himself thoroughly, making the viewer having a field day as well. For the rest, curvaceous dames, kick-ass fighting and noir alleyways abound.The breathtaking photography is greatly enhanced by 3D. Give me more of this!
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