maandag 15 januari 2018

10s Movie Review - Molly's Game

Director: Aaron Sorkin
Genre: Drama
Runtime: 141 minutes
Year: 2017
Starring: Jessica Chastain, Idris Elba, Kevin Costner, Michael Cera, Chris O’Dowd, Bill Camp, Graham Greene, Justin Kirk

Description: The true story of Molly Bloom (Jessica Chastain), an Olympic-class skier who ran the world's most exclusive high-stakes poker game and became an FBI target.

Review: Molly Bloom is a strong woman, but not the school girl role model. As an Olympic skier, she gets into a terrible accident where the doctors tell her she will never ski again. But within a year Molly is back on the slope.
But her Olympic career isn’t for long, when Molly has yet another fall to recover from. She starts working for a shady guy in an equally shady office. Her boss is friends with some big shots and runs secret poker games. Molly starts out as his help and eventually climbs the ladder to become the so-called ‘poker princess’.
Molly Bloom’s biography is pretty outspoken and was released not long after Molly was charged for running illegal games. Aaron Sorkin saw something in it and decided to turn it into film.
Everything we see, really happened, Bloom only changed most names. Sorkin isn’t interested in the names, he’s not here to get out the dirt. He wants to show us Molly Bloom’s story, how she starts out and eventually how she runs exclusive high-stake poker games.
Jessica Chastain is probably my favorite actress of the moment. She plays Bloom fiercely, relentless and sharp. Bloom is smart, she plays it smart and she uses her feminine qualities in a very clever way. And it all works.
Bloom isn’t portrayed as some kind of superhero. Aside from the criminal activities, she is also a woman that can be broken as long as you keep looking for her weaknesses. But she comes back from it even stronger and the fact that people never really get close to Bloom, is just a side effect she accepts.
Chastain is amazing in her role, she makes this movie great. And Sorkin manages to create a biopic, where a feisty woman makes it in a man’s world. Strong film!

Rating: 4 / 5

maandag 8 januari 2018

Five to Watch - Movies with Great James Franco Performances

Since James Franco won a Golden Globe yesterday, for his performance in “The Disaster Artist”, it was time to put him in the spotlight here. I went through a list of his movies and choose, what I think, are his best performances.

127 Hours
It’s still beyond me how he didn’t win an Academy Award for this performance. Franco portray real life rock climber Aron Ralston, who got stuck with his arm between a rock and had to cut off his own arm to survive. It’s an adrenaline rush and a perfect one man show by Franco.

Pineapple Express
Bromance, pod and James Franco: the perfect combination for a Golden Globe nominated performance. James Franco’s hilarious performance as stoner Saul Silver is proof of his versatility as an actor.

The Disaster Artist
Tommy Wiseau is quite the character and when James Franco had to portray him, it could easily go wrong. It could have been a cartoonish impersonation of Wiseau, but Franco became Wiseau. I wasn’t looking at and actor pretending to be Wiseau, I saw Tommy Wiseau. And that’s the proof of a great performance.

Spring Breakers
Probably his weirdest role so far. As Alien he is both badass and ridiculous. James Franco is what made this movie as good as it was.

Milk
No more typecasting for James Franco. As Harvey Milk’s lover and campaign manager Scott Smith, Franco took home an Independent Spirit Award. It was the beginning of a new era in Franco’s career.

Movie Reviews - Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri

Director: Martin McDonagh
Genre: Drama
Runtime: 115 minutes
Year: 2017
Starring: Frances McDormand, Woody Harrelson, Sam Rockwell, Caleb Landry Jones, John Hawkes, Peter Dinklage, Lucas Hedges, Abbie Cornish

Description: A mother (Frances McDormand) personally challenges the local authorities to solve her daughter's murder when they fail to catch the culprit.

Review: “Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri” is a strong film, with an original screenplay and lots of unpredictability. Frances McDormand plays, as a broken and fighting mother, the role of her life.
I’m glad we finally got another monumental film, that is not mainly leaning on pretty pictures to decorate the story and a soundtrack to keep the pace. If this film doesn’t win any awards for best screenplay, leading lady and supporting actor, I don’t know what the hell is wrong with Hollywood.
When it looks like you’re dealing with a simple story, but it turns out to be a realistic drama with dark humor. Director and writer Martin McDonagh, who already brought us two very brilliant films “In Bruges” and “Seven Psychopaths”, shows us how this is done.
We follow mother Mildred Hayes, who lost her daughter who was raped and murdered. Because she believes the local authorities are failing her, she rents three billboards. On those billboards she puts the following messages: ‘Raped while dying’, ‘And still no arrests?’, ‘How come Chief Willoughby?’.
This provocative message becomes the talk of the town. Chief Willoughby, played by Woody Harrelson, is personally attacked. But he also has his own problems, because he is facing terminal cancer. Beside him there is Jason Dixon, portrayed by Sam Rockwell, the racist, alcoholic ‘bad cop’ with a dominant mother.
Frances McDormand plays the best role to date. And she has her fair share of memorable performances. But my favorite was Sam Rockwell. What a performance!
“Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri” will definitely end up on my favorites list at the end of 2018. Fantastic film!

Rating: 5 / 5

zondag 7 januari 2018

10s Movie Review - The Red Turtle

Director: Michael Dudok de Wit
Genre: Fantasy/ Animation
Runtime: 80 minutes
Year: 2016
Starring: Emmanuel Garijo, Tom Hudson, Baptiste Goy, Axel Ddevillers, Barbara Beretta

Description: A man is shipwrecked on a deserted island and encounters a red turtle, which changes his life.

Review: Movies deserve attention. “The Red Turtle” is a dreamy animation, with no dialogue and beautiful images. Surprising, touching, amazement, fear. All emotions that might pass by while watching this film.
We meet a man who is shipwrecked and ends up on an island, with no other people on t. the only contact he has, is with a red turtle. And this changes his life.
The film is beautifully animated, the style is somewhere between Miyazaki and Hergé. And the music is also fantastic. The story offers some nice surprises. But the most amazing thing is, that even without dialogue or spoken word, you know exactly what the leading character is feeling and thinking.
“The Red Turtle” is a beautiful film experience.

Rating: 4,5 / 5

80s Movie Review - The Color Purple

Director: Steven Spielberg
Genre: Drama
Runtime: 147 minutes
Year: 1985
Starring: Whoopi Goldberg, Danny Glover, Oprah Winfrey, Laurence Fishburne

Description: A black Southern woman struggles to find her identity after suffering abuse from her father and others over four decades.

Review: Right after “Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom”, director Steven Spielberg turned into a different direction, by adapting the novel “The Color Purple” to film. It was nominated for eleven Academy Awards, but won none.
We follow the story of Celie, a young black Southern woman. She has to deal with an abusive father. She gives birth to two of his children, whom he then takes away from her. Celie is forced into marrying a much older brute and she is separated from her sister. The one person she loves more than anything.
When you look at the synopsis, the story can easily go into too much sentiment an become overly dramatic. Spielberg manages to dose the drama, making it dramatic but not too sentimental.
It surprising to see Whoopi Goldberg, who was a stand-up comedian before this, in such a strong performance. This is her best role to date. The same goes for Oprah Winfrey, as the broken Sofia. Really strong as well.
It’s not Steven Spielberg’s best movie, but it’s a movie worth mentioning and viewing.

Rating: 4 / 5

vrijdag 5 januari 2018

10s Movie Review - John Wick: Chapter 2

Director: Chad Stahelski
Genre: Action/ Crime/ Thriller
Runtime: 122 minutes
Year: 2017
Starring: Keanu Reeves, Ian McShane, Peter Stormare, Ruby Rose, Laurence Fishburne, John Leguizamo, Peter Serafinowicz, Bridget Moynahan, Common

Description: After returning to the criminal underworld to repay a debt, John Wick (Keanu Reeves) discovers that a large bounty has been put on his life.

Review: It doesn’t happen often and it’s always a big task: sequel that is better than the original. “John Wick” excelled in its simplicity: gangsters angering a hitman, hitman takes revenge and kills them all. And when a sequel is made, they always screw it up by making it more complex. But “John Wick: Chapter 2” is even better! Who would have thought that?
John Wick is an interesting character. The Continental Hotel from part one, was begging for some more insight. And that’s what we get. The Continental Hotel is the dream location for every hitman.
When John Wick thinks he is done with his life as a hitman, an old ‘acquaintance’ of his knocks on his door: Santino D’Antonio. An old pact makes for John Wick to once again set his retirement aside.
The set up is simple, but because D’Antonio is also a member of the Continental Hotel, they have to deal with the rules of the accommodation.
This movie is all about the action and, like in the first one, this element is phenomenal. The gunfire scenes are almost epic, they keep you invested at all times.
All in all, “John Wick: Chapter 2” is better than the first film. What I didn’t expect when I started watching it. Just as I didn’t expect “John Wick” to be any good.

Rating: 4,5 / 5

Five to Watch: Movies About Cooking

I really enjoy watching cooking shows like Masterchef and My Kitchen. Or just watching actual chef’s cook, like Jamie Oliver and Curtis Stone. So what about movies. It’s a theme, but not a common theme. I picked five movies with this theme, that you should most definitely watch.

Chef
The film is about Carl, who is a chef at an upscale restaurant. Because work gets repetitive, he loses his temper. And with that his job. Carl decides to run his own food truck and sell the most delicious food from it. This is without a movie you shouldn’t watch when hungry, it will kill you. It’s such a fun film that gives you a good feeling instantly.

Ratatouille
Remy is a rat with a sophisticated palette. When he comes across the kitchen of a fantastic French restaurant, he teams up with the awkward garage boy Alfredo Linguini. Pixar and Disney are known for its originality and entering the world of French cuisine gave us that too. It’s that it’s on the screen, but I swear I can smell the food when I watch “Ratatouille”.

Chocolat
Single mother Vianne and her daughter movie to rural France and open a chocolaterie across the street of the local church. Their sweet indulgences and Sunday hours cause a moral uproar. For all people that love chocolate. And Johnny Depp. I think it’s an underrated film, it’s so much better if you look at it a bit closer.

Waitress
Jenna is a pregnant waitress practicing the art of pie-making at the diner she works at. She wants to attend the local bake off competition, so she gets enough money to leave her husband. When a new doctor arrives in town, things change. It’s a silly, sweet and loving dramady, with heart and subtle humor.

Julie & Julia
A woman’s attempt to cook every recipe from Julia Child’s Mastering the Art of French Cooking. I love this film. Two storyline: Julie, a cooking enthusiast trying the cook all the recipes in the book. And the story of Julia Child herself, on her way to completing that book. Both Amy Adams and Meryl Streep are fantastic, an underrated film.