Wednesday, 24 August 2016

Beerfest (2006)

Genre

Comedy

Director

Jay Chandrasekhar

Country

USA

Cast

Paul Soter, Erik Stolhanske, Cloris Leachman, Donald Sutherland, Jay Chandrasekhar, Kevin Heffernan, Blanchard Ryan, Steve Lemme, Jürgen Prochnow, Nat Faxon, Will Forte, Eric Christian Olsen, Ralf Möller, Gunter Schlierkamp, Mo'Nique, MC Gainey, James Roday, Philippe Brenninkmeyer

Storyline

Two brothers travel to Germany for Oktoberfest only to stumble upon a secret, old competition called "Beerfest", some sort of "Fight Club" but with drinking games. 

Opinion

I don't know what it is that made me think, even for a moment, that three could have been something good in this film. To be honest, I don't even know how this ended up on my watchlist. What I do know, however, is that "Beerfest" has to be one of the unfunniest as well as one of the worst films ever made. 

They story - I'm just using the term to make you understand what I'm talking about - is less than paper thin, it's utterly predictable and uneventful, unless you dare considering all that bullshit typical of no-brain American films going on for an hour and fifty minutes plot elements. 

I know what you are going to say, it's a frat comedy, it's not supposed to have a decent plot. Okay, but how about the comedy? Shouldn't it be in the film? Because the writers completely forgot about it. There are no witty line not dumb yet hilarious physical gags, absolutely nothing. 

On the other hand, it is highly offensive do if you are the type of person who loves and find funny national stereotypes, you will love this film. In addition, the film shows that these writers know nothing other than stereotypes. Apparently they don't even know the difference between England and United Kingdom since they used the Union flag for the England drinking team. Or they are just dumb since the Scotland team has the Saltire, their actual flag.

Anyway, you are more likely to find all of that offensive, especially if you are German or English. That being said, "Beerfest" brought the beer, but completely forgot about the fest.

Tuesday, 23 August 2016

Ghost (1990)

Genre

Drama | Fantasy | Romance | Thriller

Director

Jerry Zucker

Country

USA

Cast

Patrick Swayze, Demi Moore, Whoopi Goldberg, Tony Goldwyn, Rick Aviles, Vincent Schiavelli, Gail Boggs, Armelia McQueen, Phil Leeds, Augie Blunt, Stephen Root, Bruce Jarchow

Storyline

After being murdered, Sam Wheat's (Patrick Swayze) spirit stays behind to warn his lover (Demi Moore) of impending danger with the help of a reluctant psychic (Whoopi Goldberg).

Opinion

All I knew about this film was the famous clay scene and that he dies. For some weird reason though I thought she was having a relationship with a dead man, not realizing he was dead. In a few words, something like "The Sixth Sense". So just a paranormal romantic film. I couldn't be more wrong, and I'm glad I was.

"Ghost" indeed is an intriguing, quite beautiful and touching mixture of drama, romance, fantasy and thriller, that will probably please the fans of the previous mentioned genres.

Even though it's quite simple, the story is very interesting and intriguing, and you'll often end up following it at the edge of your seat. What's really interesting about it are the themes the film deals with that are pretty uncommon for thrillers: love, death, and grieving. But mostly important it is a tale of a love so strong that wins over death.

I know it sounds cheesy - it's a romance after all -, however director Jerry Zucker does a great job in bringing a lot of suspense to the film - and what a surprise considering his filmography - and yet delivering those emotions required in a romantic film.

Worth of a mention is Maurice Jarre's musical score, it is so beautiful, especially the enchanting theme song "Ghost".

And at last the acting. Both Patrick Swayze and Demi Moore do a good job and their chemistry is just wonderful. They made this connection just through their eyes, and it's just beautiful to look at them. But stealing the show is Whoopi Goldberg. She brings humour and a lot of fun to the film, and she really does a great job as a fake psychic. Academy Award very well earned.

Monday, 22 August 2016

Planet of the Apes (1968)

Genre

Adventure | Romance | Sci-Fi

Director

Franklin J. Schaffner

Country

USA

Cast

Charlton Heston, Roddy McDowall, Kim Hunter, Maurice Evans, James Whitmore, James Daly, Linda Harrison, Robert Gunner, Lou Wagner, Woodrow Parfrey, Jeff Burton, Buck Kartalian, Norman Burton, Wright King, Paul Lambert

Storyline

An astronaut (Charlton Heston) crash lands on a distant planet ruled by intelligent, talking apes who enslave and oppress humans.

Opinion

In 1968, two films came out that would have eventually changed science-fiction films forever. While "2001: A Space Odyssey" is still the most popular - even though it was a dreadful experience for me -, "Planet of the Apes" is the better one. Of course it is not spectacular because of today's standards, but it deals with some interesting philosophical questions - unlike Kubrick's film that was too tedious to even care about the meaning.

Once again I didn't know the plot, and having only seen the new films - "Rise of the Planet of the Apes" and "Dawn of the Planet of the Apes" - I was expecting something completely different. That being said, I'm so glad it was different. Actually it was the opposite of those other two movies, having apes enslaving and making experiments on humans. And the story is very entertaining, absorbing and fresh.

What I've able to understand and appreciate is the philosophical questions about existence and becoming raised by the film. The film also deals with many important issues such as evolution, human rights, animal rights, racism and also makes an excellent commentary on religion and its conflict with science.

But how about the effects? Are they good? Yes, they are. They are not as impressive as they were in "2001: A Space Odyssey" - it's quite impossible to top the film on that -, but they are surprisingly good. There are no high-budget CGI effects nor impossible/ridiculous stunts, and I think that's what makes the film more appealing.

The costumes, even though you can tell they are fake, were pretty impressive for the time and combined with the effects they give a much more realistic look that allows you to get into the film.

And finally, there's Charlton Heston's performance. He is terrific in the role of the astronaut captured by the apes, giving a portrait that is a balanced blend of boldness and vulnerability.

Sunday, 21 August 2016

Hotel Transylvania 2 (2015)

Genre

Animation | Comedy

Director

Genndy Tartakovsky

Country

USA

Voice Cast

Adam Sandler, Andy Samberg, Selena Gomez, Asher Blinkoff, Kevin James, Steve Buscemi, David Spade, Keegan-Michael Key, Mel Brooks, Fran Drescher, Molly Shannon, Nick Offerman, Megan Mullally, Dana Carvey, Rob Riggle

Storyline

Dracula (Adam Sandler) and his friends try to bring out the monster in his half human, half vampire grandson (Asher Blinkoff) so to keep his daughter (Selena Gomez) from leaving the hotel.

Opinion

After the worldwide success of the first film, of course the filmmakers decided to make a sequel to that, and we all know the reasons. What is quite shocking to me is that yet again a film linked to Adam Sandler is actually good.

"Hotel Transylvania 2" surely doesn't have the originality or freshness of the previous film, but it still is a funny and entertaining movie for both a young and old audience.

Once again the plot is simple, only this time it doesn't seem to move forward. Basically it's just wasting time until it decides to proceed and do something - I guess that's what happens when you let Adam Sandler write the script - but despite that the film doesn't bore and it still is interesting.

While "Hotel Transylvania" dealt with family and being different, this one deals with a more common theme in animation and movies in general, accepting someone for who they are without discriminating.

If I had to find something that quite bothered me, I'd say it was the technology. I shouldn't be complaining about it because without technology I wound never be able to do what I'm doing right now, but at some points it almost feels like the film is trying to promote the use of technology, showing how fun it is. But the truth is that you can miss so many things in life if you're using your smartphone all the time, and I think the movie is sending a wrong message to the kids.

That being said, the film redeems itself with the beautiful animation, the humour - even though at some points it is quite immature. But again, Adam Sandler wrote it - and the hilarious moments, some when just kids would laugh, some when just adults would laugh, and some others when everybody would laugh.

Saturday, 20 August 2016

Whatever Works (2009)

Genre

Comedy | Romance

Director


Country

USA

Cast

Larry David, Evan Rachel Wood, Patricia Clarkson, Henry Cavill, Ed Begley Jr, Conleth Hill, Michael McKean, Christopher Evan Welch, John Gallagher Jr, Jessica Hecht, Carolyn McCormick, Olek Krupa

Storyline

Middle-aged, bitter and grumpy Boris Yellnikoff (Larry David) surprisingly enters a fulfilling relationship with Melodie Saint Ann Celestine (Evan Rachel Wood), a much younger and unsophisticated Southern girl.

Opinion

After filming for four consecutive years in Europe, Woody Allen went back to New York, and kind of brought the 70s back too as "Whatever Works" is a slightly funny film that unfortunately lacks of new, fresh ideas.

The story to this is very simple, it is literally whatever works. and the relationship/romance between the old, brilliant Jewish and the young, stupid girl - the age gap is so huge he could be her grandfather - actually works and it's not embarrassing at all as we don't witness to anything inappropriate, not even a kiss. Even though it is predictable, the story still is quite enjoyable. But the ending is weird. 

The problem with the film is that instead of looking forward, Allen took a step back and looked back to the 1970s, as the story has 1970s material written all over it. The same old religious rants, the same philosophizing, the same main character, Allen himself played by Larry David.

And instead of the charm of his old movies, "Whatever Works" can claim a bunch of stereotypes, from religious people - whether Jews or Christians - to people from the South.

But it's a comedy, so we should focus on something else. Is the film funny? Yes, a little. Only this time around instead of being the dialogue the main source of laughs, it is the weird situations the characters get themselves into.

As for the cast, I believe Larry David is better at improvising that playing someone else and doing that person's lines, in this case Allen's. Still he does a quite good job in the role and plays Allen in a very aggressive manner. Evan Rachel Wood does a good job and the evolution of the character is quite interesting to witness. But stealing the show are Patricia Clarkson and Ed Begley, respectively playing Wood's mother and father.