Roma

2 out of 5 stars


To be honest, I didn’t plan to out myself as a hater (again, after last year’s Academy Awards disaster that was «The Shape Of Water»), but with the Oscars warming up and 10 nominations for this year’s frontrunner, I feel forced to reveal my two cents about «Roma – The Watching of Paint Dry».

Full disclosure: I like color. I like it in paintings, comics, in magazines, on flowers, even on vegetables: I like broccoli or pickles, which are green. Peter Jackson even coloured World War I to make it more fun, for cryin’ out loud!

But I digress…

Netflix’ Oscar vehicle «Roma» is like Alfonso Cuarón’s earlier multiple Oscar-winner «Gravity» but not set in space. And with the difference that I found «Roma – The Emperor’s New Clothes» to be boring and that I didn’t like it. And it doesn’t even come in color. And as I mentioned earlier, I like color.

One could state that «Roma – The CCTV Experience» is like «Children of Men», another masterpiece by Alfonso Cuarón, but not set in the future. What sets it apart from «Children of Men» is that «Roma – Arthouse, Schmarthouse» doesn’t have a story. I like story; it’s high up on my list of priorities: I even live in a 26 story building.

I’d even go so fare to compare «Roma – They Might Be Your Memories, But Why Should I Care?» with Cuarón’s «Harry Potter And The Prisoner Of Azkaban», another great one that is entertaining and fully satisfying; unlike «Roma – Fast Forwarding Through The Second Half». I like to be entertained. And I like what I like.

In conclusion, 
I wished «Roma – I Already Miss The McRaclette» was more like «Y Tu Mamá También»: I’ve never watched it but I heard it’s great.

McRaclette – I’ll see you in another life when we are both fat.

Glass

3.5 out of 5 stars

For a moment there I really thought M. Night Shyamalan was finally back for good in all his former glory. But then «Glass» got a little clumsy and lost me somewhere along the way – just to win me back in the end.

As enjoyable and original the movie might be in general, Shyamalan once again tries a little too hard for my taste, lacking the elegance of his earliest work and for that matter, the charm of «Split», the movie that got me back on board for this one in the first place.

(In case you didn’t know, «Split» and «Unbreakable» are absolutely mandatory to see before «Glass» – it’s a whole thing now).

And though I love me some James McAvoy (I got so lucky to experience his wonderful stage performance as «Macbeth»), I’m sad to say, less «Horde» would have been more this time around.

All in all, revisiting Mr. Glass’ Meta-Comic-Super-Hero-World (almost two decades after «Unbreakable») in the weakest but still solid part of the trilogy, is absolutely worth its admission price.

M. Night really seems to be redeeming himself lately. Let’s be nice and give him just a little bit more time, he’ll get there again…

James McAvoy in Macbeth (Trafalgar Studios London, 2013)

Black Mirror: «Bandersnatch» or why I broke up with Netflix

4.5 out of 5 stars

For a few days I was very hesitant to watch this latest episode of «Black Mirror» where one can choose how the story goes. I don’t want to work for my TV entertainment, I have video-games for that, I reckoned.

But, oh man, did «Black Mirror» prove me wrong! «Bandersnatch» showed once again that «Black Mirror» remains one of the most entertaining, innovative and original series out there, this time turning it all up to 11 and the whole «pick your own adventure» concept on its head.

But «Bandersnatch» did it in such an ingenious and jaw-dropping way that it makes most of the latest Netflix exclusives sorely stay out as the lazy, uninspired, cheap crap that they probably are (IMHO).

So after having finished all available episodes of the great «The Good Place» and «Rick and Morty» (both not Netflix exclusives, mind you) and the admittedly pretty good «The Kominsky Method», the sensible thing to do after being extremely bored out by «Bird Box», «Next Gen», Russel Brand’s latest special, the publicity stunt that was «The Cloverfield Paradox» and, sad to say, even Alex Garland’s «Annihilation», seems to be just leaving Netflix for a while.

(And the cancellation of the Marvel series and the rather disappointing «Star Trek: Discovery» didn’t help either).

That’ll teach them…

Aquaman

1 out of 5 stars

The only good thing I can write about «Aquaman» is that it ends. (Which is true in more than one way; the final 10 minutes of the movie where almost enjoyable).

But since this appalling piece of crab (yes, I just wrote that) presented itself as such an offending incoherent mess, I really don’t feel like making an effort here, either. So let’s just open the floodgates, shall we:

  • Can we let the DC Extended Universe die now, please? At this point it’s just intolerable cruelty.
  • This movie has the pacing and elegance of a very bad «Family Guy» episode.
  • «Uncanny Valley – The Movie»
  • You know you’re in trouble when Patrick Wilson steals the movie. (Not that he’s bad or anything, but you know, he’s Patrick Wilson).
  • On the bright side, «The Shape of Water» is no longer my most hated water-related film of late.
  • Poor Jason Momoa wasn’t given anything to work with whatsoever.
  • You know you’re in trouble when I think Jason Momoa was underused. (Not that he’s bad or anything, but you know, he’s Jason Momoa).
  • This movie feels longer than Willem Dafoe’s dong. And it’s almost as painful to watch as its scene in Lars von Trier’s «Antichrist».
  • Like watching eight awful movies in parallel – while sitting on a trident, and not the comfortable way.
  • You had to cram «Black Manta» into this, did you? BTW, have you even seen «Black Panther»?
  • You know you’re in trouble when Dolph Lundgren’s hair becomes the most fascinating thing in the scene.
  • Sicily, reaally? You don’t say?!
  • Harry Gregson-Williams has a brother?!
  • Directed by James Wan does this garbage end?
  • Amber please stop, it Heards!
  • I’ve seen way better versions of this made by children in the winter. It’s called «Snowman».
  • I’ve seen way better versions of this made by dogs in the winter. It’s called «yellow snow».
  • I’ve seen way better versions of this made by my anus in the winter. It’s called «shit».
  • Aw, just Faqu,man!

Mad Men

4.5 out of 5 stars

Better late than never, I finally got to the end of this beautiful show yesterday and I’m still flabbergasted about just how masterfully the last season was crafted and the series’ top-notch quality overall.

Though «Mad Men» sometimes tended to be on the earnest, almost (almost!) dry and depressing side of things,  I’ve always loved the series thanks to its social relevance, the rich characters and its on-point art direction, cinematography and music.

Where other shows fail, «Mad Men’s» seventh and last season feels fresh, positive and satisfying as hell and, above all, cathartic and extremely enjoyable. For a program that serious and ambitious, that means a lot!

So, for all the fans of inspiring storytelling,  compelling drama, fine humour and perfect characters who have been living under a rock since 2007, check it out and proof me wrong.

Don’t buy them BeatsX earphones!

1 out of 5 stars

They are C R A P !

It’s almost sad to say, but the sound quality of the BeatsX by Dre earphones would be very decent, and imho they are way cooler than the standard AirPods.  And since the brand belongs to Apple they pair nicely with the iPhone and Apple Watch without always having to go through the bluetooth-settings  – AS LONG AS THE DAMN THINGS WORK!!!

But in the last SIX MONTHS I’ve gone through two pairs now until they just broke again. A blinking red LED error code all over again. No firmware update nor a reset would help. When I replaced the first pair the nice man at the Apple store told me this was not an unusual problem.

So, Dre, you might be a Doctor (which I doubt), but your BeatsX earphones suck balls! And Apple, f*ck you, too!

Bohemian Rhapsody

3 out of 5 stars

DUDE! Wasn’t that the kid from «Jurassic Park»?

WHAT!? Are you high?!

What do you think?! Pass me that bong and please stop browsing through these YouTube videos! I’m sick enough as it is…. WAIT! GO BACK! Wasn’t that QUEEN?!

Yeah. Their concert at Wembley Stadium. Won’t get out of my YouTube bubble. Must have watched it a thousand times by now, never gets old.

Cool!

Yeah, pretty dope!

Shame the the video’s kinda blurry. Someone should make a movie out of that.

Wattayamean?

You know,… just reenact the concert and film the whole thing with the original songs, but in HD.

That’s no movie!

I know, would be cool, though…

Yeah,… always wanted to make a movie.

But who would wanna watch this?

Wattayamean?

Who would pay for a ticket to see something they can get for free online?

Just millions of Queen fans, for example?!

You’re stoned! You don’t even know how to make a movie!

We’ll find a guy to direct. Maybe even two.

Still stupid!

I got it!!!

What?

AIDS!

WHAT?! No! Really? How? Why? I’m so sorry!

NO! I mean I have an Idea! Didn’t Mercury die from AIDS?

I guess. Scared me for a moment there, you asshole!

I mean Mercury was a phenomenal artist dying young. We’ll just pretend the movie was a drama. A biopic!

Ok?! But won’t the audience notice it’s just a pretense?

Of course they will. But by the time we finally get to «Don’t stop me now», they’ll be too mesmerized to even care a bit.

DUDE! That might even work! The only audience we’d have to deal with will be Queen fans and if we put all their greatest hits in the pic, they’ll be happy. No one else will care. And the fans wouldn’t want to say anything negative about the film when all it basically is is the music of their beloved band.

Exactly my point! If we don’t dig too deep, we won’t offend anyone and the music will do all the work for us. We won’t even have to care about realistic CGI, we’ll be able to shoot almost everything on stage or in front of a greenscreen! No one will give a shit about shaky crowd simulation when there’s «Bohemian Rhapsody» playing over it.

Dude! We might be really onto something here. And you know what? I just thought of the perfect meta-joke to put in the movie. I know that really good blogger that will be the only one in the theatre getting the joke… We’ll just have to get Mike Myers and disguise him so nobody will recognize him.

Wattareyatalkingabout? You really are stoned! But talking about actors: Who could play Freddie, anyway?

Don’t worry, I know just the guy. Perfect casting, a superb actor. So good even the critics will have to say: «Not really a movie, but he nailed it!»

You mean that guy from «Borat»?

No, stupid! Have you seen «Grimsby»? Terrible, terrible idea! I’m thinking of someone much better that will surely get along nicely with the director…

Ok. If you say so. But don’t forget the music! It’s all about the music…

Whatever. I’m hungry, let’s order some pizza and watch that Wembley Video again…

Marvel’s Daredevil Season 3

4 out of 5 stars

While «Iron Fist» and «Luke Cage» got cancelled some days ago I’d almost forgotten that there still was a very enjoyable Marvel show to premiere that very same week:

«Marvel’s Daredevil» might have been the first attempt of bringing one of the less spectacular superheroes in a smaller scale to Netflix, but with season three the man without fear still remains the best and most solid installation of all the Marvel superhero series on the streaming service by far thanks to struggling and evolving characters and some risk-takingly spectacular cinematic moments of storytelling and montage.

But characters is what «Marvel’s Daredevil» really is all about: The show proves that Superhero stories CAN work on a smaller scale, as an action-infused drama, when done correctly (I’m looking at you «Gotham»).

The core of season three is all about family, legacy and relationships – old and new characters all get their chance to explore different angles of this underlying theme. And it’s a bliss:

Deborah Ann Woll as Karen Page gets her own superb isolated episode which sheds light on her past, Wilson Bethel as Benjamin Poindexter («Bullseye») reminded me that a great character doesn’t have to be likeable and Charlie Cox as «Daredevil» proofs once again how satisfying and cathartic a tragic (super-) hero can be. But the real show-stealer (even more so than Jon Bernthal as «The Punisher» in season two) is, of course, Vincent D’Onofrio as Wilson Fisk.

D’Onofrio’s wonderful, tragic, scary, phenomenal, uncanny performance as the «Kingpin« left me in awe. But even the secondary characters get a chance to shine: Foggy Nelson (Elden Henson), Father Lanthom (Peter McRobbie), Joanne Whalley as Sister Maggie and Jay Ali in the Role of Special Agent Ray Nadeem all get their chance to shine or at least support the impact of the main characters’ arcs.

After having stated my doubts about the quality of Netflix’ latest series in general, the fact that I usually don’t take the time to list the whole cast of an ensemble by name might show that there’s still hope, considering how well this season of «Marvel’s Daredevil» was written, performed and crafted… chapeau! I’ll take some more of that, please.

 

Venom

2.5 out of 5 stars

«Venom» surely isn’t a good movie but I still kinda liked it. It’s not so bad that it’s good but it’s a clumsy, somewhat lovable construction of uninspired storytelling, average visual effects (but pretty production design) and questionable characters saved by only one thing: Tom Hardy in the title roles as Eddie Brock and his alter ego Venom, bromancing the hell out of almost every scene they’re in.

If the rumours are true, a rushed production schedule and a late decision to not make «Venom» rated R might explain this uneven mess of a movie. The end result makes it look as if the creatives decided that if they’re not allowed to do a proper bloody version, let’s make it silly,… like a Buddy Cop movie with a hint of Screwball-Rom-Com sprinkled on top and some superfluous CGI action added for the studio and the uninitiated crowd.

And somehow, that worked for me. Like the «Tom Hardy Show» that was «Bronson» sans a good movie which would only distract and might take the focus off his performance.

I doubt that Sony really knew where they were going with this. But good for them they didn’t try (and fail again) to copy Marvel Studios’ approach and took a different way* – a strange, meandering route without any direction, purpose or destination, but still…

This silly mixed bag helps Tom Hardy’s performance to stand out even more (and somehow makes it even more enjoyable) and presents «Venom» as a strange but funny, rather forgettable, but entertaining stumble of a movie.


*) «Venom’s» mildly amusing second after credit scene – some minutes taken directly from their upcoming animated feature «Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse» – seems to confirm how truly lost they are with their remaining rights to use «Spider-Man», not knowing what the hell to do with them**.

**) At this point,  I’ve given up trying to understand which studio has the right to which characters under which circumstances, but I doubt that cramming all the iterations of all the Spider-Men into one movie is the sensible way to go.