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Drama

Personal Shopper (2016)

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A personal shopper in Paris refuses to leave the city until she makes contact with her twin brother who previously died there. Her life becomes more complicated when a mysterious person contacts her via text message.

Genre : Mystery/Drama
Country : France/Germany/Belgium

Cast :
Kristen Stewart : Maureen
Sigrid Bouaziz : Lara
Nora von Waldstätten : Kyra

Director :
Olivier Assayas

My opinion on “Personal Shopper”

“For me, Lewis was someone deeply intuitive of others.
He understood things that went unspoken.
Maybe because he knew he was going to die.”

Are you suffering from a sleep disorder lately so you always get up with giant bags under your eyes? Or are you hyperkinetic due to an overdose of cola during a night of “binge watching”? No problem. Simply start the movie “Personal shopper” and these problems have been solved without any doubt. If there would be a Oscar category called “Most boring film of the year“, this film would have won it easily. In short: The whole movie you’ll see Maureen (Kristen Stewart) do some shopping for a high-society model named Kyra (Nora von Waldstätten), driving around in Paris on her moped, meditate while smoking lots of cigarettes and sending a whole series of messages on her iPhone. And she’s also waiting for a sign of life (how ambiguous) of her recently deceased brother Lewis. Apart from some ectoplasm and flickering light phenomena, there’s nothing ghostly to see. A sleep-inducing performance. And even the few scenes in which Stewart walks around half-naked and even masturbates, won’t help. Her cup size is of the same caliber as this film. Meagre.

Personal Shopper

Did she use a different facial expression now? Uh … nope ….

Maybe I’m a bit biased, because I’m immensily annoyed by the person Kristen Stewart. On the other hand. You need a film character who doesn’t feel good about herself and who’s constantly in a melancholic mood, she’s surely the right candidate. If there’s an actress you can admire a whole movie without showing one sincere smile and a face that seems to be dipped in starch, then she’s definitely the one. I still remember this quote : “Kristen Stewart is like my refrigerator, no matter what I put in it (milk, soda, eggs, vegetables, meat), it’s always a refrigerator. And so is she“. I really can’t understand why she’s being praised by everybody. And every time I read about her, superlatives like “authenticity” and “subtle” are being used. Well, you can also say that about the Scarlett Johanssons, Saoirse Ronans, Dakota Fanningsen and even the Jennifer Lawrences in Hollywood. The only difference is that these actresses show some variation in their facial expressions.

Personal Shopper

An arthouse movie about the art of fashion.

Personal Shopper” is once again an arthouse creation. And the artificial world of fashion fits extremely well with it. Both the film and the world of fashion have the same irritating effect on me. They create an artificial product that is reasonably pretentious and targets the group of the happy few. The arthouse film lovers are those happy few who are able to see the abstract meaning and the symbolisme behind such an intellectual film. In the fashion world, the happy few are those who can afford an exclusive sewn together piece of confection. And after a certain time they’ll loudly proclaim that this expensive piece of cloth is out of fashion. By the way. Who can explain to me the usefulness of such a wire-shaped corset that Maureen wears at a certain moment? The connoisseurs will most likely scream bloody murder and call me a retard who doesn’t understand fashion. I hope for myself that that it’ll remain like that.

Personal Shopper

What’s the hidden message?

Which subject this film tries to tackle, is not so easy to interpret. On the one hand there’s the spiritual issue and the connection of the living with wandering souls. On the other hand there is the subject of materialistic thinking and the impersonal world in which we live. The primordial conversation between Maureen and the unknown (the bouncing dots and plopping sounds really started to get on my nerves after a while) is also a reference to the contemporary impersonal conversations among individuals. So how to interprete this movie? I guess you could explain it in many ways. Best you fill in the gaps yourself after watching this movie. Keep in mind that Maureen waits for the unknown person in a hotel room and shortly thereafter you’ll see doors open automatically without seeing anybody. That puts the whole in a completely different perspective. Or not? If not, then I think that the very last bang is a clear statement. But you had need endurance to sit out this long ride and witness this slightly intense moment. Ending with Maureen looking straight at the camera. Emotionless. Trust me. Me and Kirsten Stewart. That’ll never work out.

My rating 3/10
Links : IMDB

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Crime

The Untouchables – A Retrospective Look

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I watched this in honour of Sean Connery who sadly passed away the day before. It must be 10 years since I have watched this, and I had forgotten how brilliant it actually was.

What is often overlooked with ‘The Untouchables’ is just how emotional it is in parts, from Ness (Kevin Costner) meeting the mother of a girl blown up by a cafe bomb to the touching climax between Ness and Stone (Andy Garcia). It is a film that is genuinely upsetting to see the end, you would be quite happy to spend more time with these people.

It is also undoubtedly a film about friendship and that is where the late great Sean Connery stands out from the cast. As supposedly past it beat cop Malone, he strikes as a man of lonely isolation, just trying to get through every shift alive. He is at first suspicious of Ness but soon warms to what Ness is trying to achieve and there the bond between the two starts. Malone’s relationship with Stone gets off to a less auspicious start but by the end of the film, the relationship produces one final emotional wallop that we all deeply feel. Throw in accountant Oscar Wallace, played for the comic relief by Charles Martin Smith and we have four disparate men bonding over their end goal, to catch and see justice brought again crime lord Al Capone, (played with menace by Robert DeNiro).

There is so much to admire here, some of the setpieces are simply astonishing, the stakeout and subsequent battle on the Canadian border are sensationally choreographed, and a homage to the Odessa Steps sequence from Battleship Potemkin is nerve shreddingly executed. The violence is brutal and shocking at times and as stated previously the deaths are graphic and in one particular case deeply moving.

Kevin Costner was a star on the rise at this point, with big hits like ‘Field of Dreams,’ ‘Dances With Wolves,’  ‘JFK’ and ‘Robin Hood’ to come, he is excellent as the clean-cut family man Ness. A young Andy Garcia is impressive as the sharpshooting Stone, but this is Connery’s film. It’s an exceptional performance filled with guile, wisdom and what is apparent from the get-go, anger. He would win an Academy Award for this film and few could argue against it.

Its an incredibly neat and tidy film, it never outstays its welcome or gets too bogged down in courtroom showdowns. It’s gritty and powerful and a reminder of just how good an actor and phenomenal screen presence Connery was. It doesn’t get much better than this.

This review is dedicated to the memory of Sir Sean Connery 25/8/1930 – 31/10/2020 – A true screen icon

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Comedy

On the Rocks (2020)

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You know what’s great about her?
She doesn’t talk. She just listens.
That sounds perfect for you.

 

Life is full of unexpected turns. As an 18-year-old, I rented the adult cartoon “Tarzoon: Shame of the Jungle” just for fun. Probably because of the titillating vamp on the cover, lying naked on a huge platter and carried by figures that looked like penises. No one could suspect that a voice actor in this cartoon would become one of my most popular actors. If there’s one comedian who manages to make me chuckle without any problem, it’s Bill Murray. Like in “Stripes” and “Ghostbusters”. Or the incomparable film “Groundhog Day”. However small his role may be in a feature film, he always manages to create an unforgettable scene, such as in “Zombieland” for example. Put Murray in a horror, and his typical way of acting makes it a completely different experience. Just watch “The dead don’t die” and you’ll know what I mean. In short, a versatile actor who takes a film to a higher level with his contribution.

 

 

Lost in Translation.

This year I came to the conclusion that I had never seen the movie “Lost in translation”. A film directed by Sofia Coppola (daughter of) with Bill Murray and the very young Scarlett Johansson in the leading roles. Even though there was something slightly comical lurking beneath the surface of this film, the subject matter was far from comical. A film about two individuals who are right in the middle of an identity crisis. A film about love and loneliness. Loneliness not only because of the life situation they both find themselves in, but also because of the fact that they are in a country where they don’t understand the language, culture, and general way of life. Two lost souls who discover, sense, and encourage each other. I admit, I was moved after seeing this masterful film. Finally, after a long time a film that rocked my socks off. A thought-provoking film that’ll resonate for a pretty long time. Yes, some movies do that to me.

 

 

A wild search for the truth.

And then 17 years after the release of this magisterial film, we get a renewed collaboration between Sofia Coppola and Bill Murray. “On the Rocks” is not as magical as “Lost in Translation“. But somewhere deeply hidden it does have points of contact with the latter. Here, too, Laura (Rashida Jones) is in the middle of a crisis. Both in terms of her marriage and her writing career. The suspicion that her husband Dean (Marlon Wayans) just pretends to have lots of work since starting his own company, just to cover up an affair, grows stronger. And writing a new book isn’t easy either. The day she tells her father Felix (Bill Murray), a charismatic wealthy art dealer with an untameable flirtation habit, about her suspicions, he throws himself wholeheartedly into the case with full dedication. Before Laura realizes it, she is embroiled in a wild search for the truth.

 

 

Murray nails it.

On the rocks” isn’t such a depressing and melancholic story as “Lost in translation“. There’s more humor in it. How another mother at school tells Laura every morning about her love life. The interesting facts about human behavior and the evolution of relationships between men and women Felix tells about every time unexpectedly. The wild chase in a “not so suspicious-looking” red, noisy convertible through the streets of New York. Perhaps it’s rather light, uncomplicated humor. Still, it’s subtle at the same time. The chemistry between Laura and her father feels unforced and authentic. And this won’t come as a surprise: Bill Murray nailed it once more. He demands full attention every time he comes into the picture. His characteristic acting and the way in which he can charm random people with his smooth talk is simply superb. And it’s not just the female population that falls for his smooth-talking. The way he manages to turn a police officer’s mood from being reprimanding to being helpful is just sublime.

 

One more time.

“On the rocks” is about marital troubles, a complicated father-daughter relationship, and also about how people get lost in the turbulent and chaotic society in which they live. It’s not another masterpiece of Coppola, but surely it’s another successful cooperation between Coppola and Murray. I quietly hope that they will work together again in the future.

My rating 7/10
Links: IMDB

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Drama

The Craft: Legacy | Official Trailer – Sony Pictures

An eclectic foursome of aspiring teenage witches get more than they bargained for as they lean into their newfound powers.

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Genre:

Drama, Fantasy, Horror

Release Date:

October 27, 2020

Director:

Zoe Lister-Jones

Cast:

Michelle Monaghan, Cailee Spaeny, David Duchovny, Gideon Aldon, Lovie Simone, Hannah Gordon, Nicholas Galitzine

Plot Summary:

An eclectic foursome of aspiring teenage witches get more than they bargained for as they lean into their newfound powers.

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