Goodbye sweet dad

My  sweet dad, you passed away 3 weeks ago. My heart is broken. I’m proud I was your daughter, you were my precious, fragile dad.

Two decades of Parkinson disease had made a strong dad a fragile man in the end.

As I held your hand one last time that night before you left us; as I caressed your face and your hair, I listened to you breathing while sleeping. You looked so serene.

You were my tutor in life. A man of flesh and blood, with your faults too. But with a good strong heart. As you loved that quote at the end of Some like it hot, “nobody’s perfect”.

Your love and passion for the 7th art has been your greatest teaching to me. You taught me who was Max Linder and Meliès: the early days of cinema.  We watched La Belle et la Bête with Jean Moreau as the Beast. We laughed at Louis de Funès, Bourvil and Fernandel. Admired Marlène Dietrich, Greta Garbo and Kathrine Hepburn. You explained La Nouvelle Vague to me. How you enjoyed The Party with Peter Sellers. How I dreaded all the Western movies, but adored Singing in the Rain with you over and over again (cause you taped it on video). How i thought Fred Astaire was way better than Gene Kelly, and you defended Kelly by focussing on his love for emotion through dance rather Astaire’s technical choreography. How you were outraged our current generation has no clue to who is Bob Hope, Errol Flynn, Humphrey Bogart or Bette Davies. You were a fan of Quintin Tarantino, even when others of your generation would be in horror of his work.

I loved how the Halliwell’s Who’s Who in Movies was the bible in our home. How you regretted not being able to go to the cinema anymore. The last movie you saw in a theatre was Amadeus when it came out. You eagerly asked “did you see any good films lately?” when i came over to visit. I think you liked how I regularly go to the cinemateque (the film museum) and rediscovered the golden age and also obscurities of cinema. Even those last days at hospital, with your confused mind, you still asked that question to my boyfriend. You were still in there. You still knew somehow who we were, through our shared passion.

How can I ever forget you now? Every film is a reminder to you. Every new discovery on screen, I cannot share with you no more.

My sweet dad. A lot of tears flow over you, and I bet you think this to be silly, but the tears will stop I know. But missing you won’t.

I’m glad to share a passion with you that keeps your spirit alive.

Be in peace. I love you, always.

Advertisements

Knock knock. Who’s there? Work. Don’t open and it might go away.

Well I never thought it. I have tried avoiding it as much as I could, but it seems to creep up to me as much as I fight it.

A career.

I’m pretty satisfied working behind the scenes, nice and neat admin. Meeting loads of people and knowing all that’s going on without the responsibility. Now I feel being pushed in a role that though appealing is not something I’m actively looking for and frankly kind of scares me.

Give me a 9 to 5, and I’m happy. I can go to movies, to film festivals and keep up with my blog. Have a life besides the work-me. Now, I’m going 1 hour earlier to work, stay later, all in the focus of getting the job done. To be proud of what I deliver and be certain everything is done  before the opening day. Currently it’s just at the crunch moments, near the completion of the project, but I fear it might evolve to this all the time. Maybe it’s just the stress from these past 3 weeks talking. I’ve done a lot of hours since, that it feels like it’s all I’ve ever done. Maybe I’ve lost the ability to put things into perspective. I’ve always had trouble being stress resilient and not having things going according to my schedule.

I’m just uncomfortable being on the foreground. Maybe it’s something to grow into. We’ll see.

Alien³ (1992)

imagesOK, I’m going to beshort on this post. I have seen a whole bunch of Alien movies in the past month, not particularly in the right order: Aliens, Alien, Promethius, Alien³. Still to go are obviously Alien Resurection and Alien vs Predator.

What I just don’t get is when and how dit Ripley get the alien inside her? Poof, suddenly she’s got an alien queen in her chest? How did that happen? Did a scene get cut and does that give the explanation? It must be something I missed, but what?!!! Argh, very frustrating!

Dead Mountaineer’s Hotel (1979)

Another visit at the film museum after a long absence to see this Estonian movie: Dead Mountaineer’s Hotel. You either think it genius or you are totally confused on how you really feel about this movie.

PLOT

Inspector Peter Glebsky is called out to a hotel in the snowy mountains, but when he gets there, the hotel keeper Alex Snewahr doesn’t know who or why he had been called for. Glebsky, unable to go back home through the night in the mountains, decides to stay at the hotel and see if he can findout  who called and what crime might be covered up.

Glebsky soon finds that each hotel guest is weirder than the next one. Of course during the night, a murder is committed… or so Glebsky is lead to believe…

OPINION

Well, the way it is shot, and remember it’s from 1979, is actually very interesting. A lot of “in your face”, or rather, “in the actors face” shooting gives you a feeling not knowing what really is going on. And adds to the eery atmosphere of the story.

And not wanting to spoil it for you, if you do ever get the chance to see this, I was very shocked about the aliens. I’ll leave it at that.

Anton Corbijn Inside Out (2012)

A new documentary film: Anton Corbijn Inside Out by Klaartje Quirijns.

I very much enjoyed it and if you are a fan of his photography and art work, it’s nice to get to know a little more about the man behind the camera. I’m not going to go into it more, because it’s a visual thing. What words could I use to convince you, you just have to see for yourself if the trailer makes you curious… which I hope.

If you haven’t yet, check out his movies Control (2007) (on Ian Curtis of Joy Division) and The American (2010) (starring George Clooney).

And you can check out some of my posts on Anton Corbijn too. 🙂

Dark Shadows (2012)

With much anticipation I went to see Dark Shadows. A Tim Burton movie, with Johnny Depp, Eva Green, Helena Bonham Carter and Michelle Pheiffer. I was curious.

After Charlie and the Chocolate Factory (2005) and Alice in Wonderland (2010), I set off to be amazed… but was I?

PLOT

18th century: the Collins family set off from England to the New World to set up a very successful fishing business. So successful, that the town was named after them, Collinsport. The Collins have a boy, Barnabas, who grows up to be, yes, a successful young man who is very pleasing to women. He fools around with Angelique, the maid, who falls madly in love with him. But he falls for the lovely Josette instead. But pity for him, Angelique is a witch who does not take rejection well. She puts a spell on his lovely Josette which results in her death, and as Barnabas throws himself from the cliff off which his beloved jumped to join her in death, Angelique transforms him into a vampire and gets the town’s folk to bury him in a coffin to spend eternity. The Collins are cursed from that day on…

Until Barnabas is dug up in 1972 …

OPINION

Hmmm… Though I did enjoy it, it did not really live up to my expectations. I had doubts when I went to see Charlie and the Chocolate Factory and Alice in Wonderland, but came out of the theatre pleased and surprised. I did not feel so in this case. I had a Corpse Bride (2005) revival instead (I did not care for it, and even stopped the DVD in the middle, I must admit).

Johnny is again great. His Barnabas Collins is well played and the make-up makes him a bit creepy. His hands especially.

Eva Green, I adored. Her sweet looks (she’s got such big eyes!) make her evil witch portrayal convincing in the way that you can get why the town folk like her. And she does something with her voice… I can’t put my finger on it, but at times it makes my skin crawl. To me she’s a great actress and I hope to see her more and in interesting roles.

Helena Bonham Carter is again the fun character in this movie.

And Michelle Pheiffer was a good choice. I like the roles she’s choosing these past years. I was so surprised to see her in Stardust (2007).

So I don’t know. For me Dark Shadows didn’t deliver. The music was great, but the story… I got something like, “hey Barnabas, if you go around acting like a playboy, it’s bound to bite you in the sitting area.” Angelique might be a witch, but heck, she fell in love. She turned him into a vampire. It’s not like she killed him. So she must still feel for the guy, though heartbroken. She kept thinking she had a chance with him till the very end. She even offered him her heart! Man! She ripped it out of her chest to give it to him. So maybe that’s it. I didn’t entirely feel for Barnabas. In some way, I felt for Angelique and her need for him to love her back.

Mad Dog and Glory (1993)

For months I spent evenings flicking through channels in search of a nice movie, to sit in the couch and just enjoy a film with a good story. Nothing. Reality shows. Poorly written series. Infinite re-runs of sit coms that were funny last century, but have now lost their appeal because of the never-ending loop of airing.

So when does a nice movie play? At fricken midnight! Djeez. I do believe they do this on purpose.

Agony aside: it was a nice surprise to have flicked onto the right channel and at the start of Mad Dog and Glory, which stars Robert de Niro (Mad Dog – Wayne), a very young Uma Thurman (Glory), Bill Murray (Frank) and David Caruso (Mike) who displayed a more dynamic way of acting which is very much lost in his CSI Miami days.

PLOT

We follow Wayne and Mike, cops, as they are called to crime scenes. Wayne is a crime scene photographer, who has the ambition to be an artistic photographer but lacks the courage to follow it through. But also as a cop, he seems to lack much courage because he’s a guy who gets out-of-the-way of confrontation. He won’t easily draw his gun. Clearly shown when he enters a night shop where a stick up is going on. He negotiates with the criminal to take the money and scram, and only when the guy has run away does he take his gun to go after him.

It is at this stick up that Wayne meets Frank, the guy assaulted by the criminal. Frank is a mobster and invites Wayne at his club where he does stand up comedy. Frank fears Wayne is too afraid to undertake anything in his life to make it better or to follow his ambitions. So he sends up Glory, a girl in his debt who works as a bar tender in his club, to spend a week with Wayne and keep him happy….

OPINION

At last a good movie on TV in a long time. Robert de Niro is excellent, not like the parts he’s been playing in recent years. Murray is delightful, as expected. And it’s just a sweet story… a must see, I’m sure!

Predators (2010)

Don’t you also have those days when you wonder why on Earth you pay for television, cause nothing is ever on?

Luckily, we borrowed this weekend : Predators!

Not exactly a chick flick, but those aren’t what they crack up to be either (still wished I hadn’t watched half of Confessions of a shopaholic!!! – why, why did I watch that!). I did see the first one with Schwartzie (you know I mean Predator, right – there’s only one Confessions of a shopaholic  I hope and Schwartzenegger isn’t in it!) but that’s so long ago, I only remember: forest – shooting – ugly alien – ugly alien cloaked – mud. But that’s ok. I tend to forget plot lines with guy-movies. Though I never really stop being entertained.

So, Nimród Antal  directs and stars Adrien Brody (The Pianist), Topher Grace (That 70s Show), Laurence Fishburne (The Matrix) and Danny Trejo (Desperado) … from the actors I know in it.

PLOT

We start off by seeing Brody falling through the sky, seemingly unconscious but waking up from that state while falling. His parachute luckily opens in time before falling in a tropical forest. He’s not alone, because other parachute drop as well and soon after landing our man Brody gets fired at.

It’s clear that all persons in that forest seem to have come into it in the same way: unaware and by falling out of the sky. Each dropped person seems to have a military or ‘hands on’ background, or even a very questionable one. Except for one, who is a doctor (Grace). – I don’t know about you, but I immediately doubt on the ‘innocence’ of this doctor, who seems to be at the wrong place at the wrong time.

Not to spoil it for anyone, but I think it’s pretty clear by the title of the movie, all dropped are to be hunted like game and it’s either work together to survive, or survive each other.

OPINION

I was entertained. I liked Brody and what he did with his voice. Cause honestly, thinking about Adrien Brody you’d wonder if a skinny dude like him would survive an alien hunt, but he convinced me. But over all, there was limited gore, but enough.

What does annoy me, as in every hunted movie, is that there is always some character who cannot keep shut or quiet down, while hunted by horrible killers/aliens. Shut up! Don’t give your position away, you fool! Every time again!

And then one last thing I didn’t feel for is the credit song : Long Tall Sally by Little Richard. I mean, throughout the movie we had good and the right kind of music (I mean right by the look and feel of the movie), and then bam: end with a song that felt so wrong. I don’t care if  it was used in the original Predator film, it felt wrong. Like wearing a nice, sophisticated black dress, and then orange pantyhose and muddy sneakers under it. Just not done.

This must be the place (2011)

Director: Paolo Sorrentino

Cast: Sean Penn, Frances McDormand, Harry Dean Stanton, David Byrne, Eve Hewson, Judd Hirsch

INTRO

How to go about this? It helps to be a child of the 80’s.

Cause if you’ve never heard of The Cure (band), then you’d miss out on the striking resemblance of Sean Penn to Robert Smith.

If you’ve never heard of Siouxie and the Banshees (band), you’d miss out on the *wink* with Cheyenne and the Fellows.

And it helps also to know who David Byrne is, Talking Heads, and that “This must be the place” is a song by Taking Heads, sung by David Byrne and is mostly known under the title “Naive melody“.

But all that aside, this mustn’t stop you from going to see this movie… or at least stick trough it.

PLOT

Cheyenne is a retired pop star, in his fifties, living in Ireland and still looking like in his pop star youthful days, with nothing much to do than try to keep himself busy with ordinary things like going grocery shopping. You can say he’s pretty bored with himself. His beautiful house is clean and modern, and taken care of by his (professional fire-fighting) wife, who even takes care of the dog for him. A game of pelota in the empty swimming pool could be considered a highlight of an otherwise mundane day.

News of his father’s death has him going back to New York for the funeral. A father he hadn’t seen in over 30 years, and of which he now has the diaries filled with notes and sketches of. Cheyenne cannot make heads or tails of the writings, but soon finds out that his father had been on a quest for most of his life. And Cheyenne wants to honour that quest, now his father has died.

MY OPINION

I liked it. I didn’t know what to expect of it, especially because of the trailers. Maybe some people might get bored by the tone of speech used by Penn, but it fits with the character. A naive character, childlike, bored with how things are going… it fits.

There are some scenes that somehow feel like inconsistent, but it’s not that troublesome. McDormand and Penn work well as a couple: she’s in control and stable, he’s a bit subdued and needs a strong person in his everyday life.

The side stories are sweet and may not seem important (well, yeah, side stories), but they do add to how we should look at Cheyenne, as a troubled and sensitive person. He feels responsible for having contributed (though indirectly, and even that is debatable) to a most unfortunate event because of his gloomy songs, his influence. He doesn’t feel like an artist, not like he has done anything of importance. And what he can do for his father, even though maybe too late, is important. It validates him and sets things right.

I let each decide for themselves, but I enjoyed how the movie visually was presented (the style) and the actors that performed true to their character.

I leave you with a trailer:

Melancholia (2011)

What can I say about the new Lars Von Trier: Melancholia.

It stars Kirsten Dunst and Charlotte Gainsbourg as sisters, as well as Kiefer Sutherland (24), Alexander Skarsgård (True Blood) and Stellan Skarsgård (Breaking the Waves) .

There are 3 parts to the movie: the intro, and 2 chapters on the sisters.

Now I could go and tell you everything on this movie and spoil it for you. But I prefer not to. I didn’t read up on anything before seeing it at the cinema. Not even a review. In my experience, that spoils it for me. And I must say, that this is a really good movie, if you let it come to you as it is. As majestically as the intro might be, I can say that the chapters on the sisters are very … earthy. And good acting. Even though it might have been Penélope Cruz who should have starred, Kirsten Dunst really merits her prize at Cannes. She is perfect for the part of Justine.

So I just leave you with the trailer, but do know, as ordinary as this trailer might look, the extraordinary the movie itself is.

So far, I have seen 6 movies by von Trier, each as different as the last one:

Maybe what happened at Cannes this year was a publicity stunt, I don’t know. It would just be a shame to me that someone would go that far. I think it’s all pulled out of context, as things usually are when you quote someone at a party. Melancholia is definitely worth seeing. It would be a pity if it wasn’t seen because of that.

Here is what I already posted on Von Trier: Lars Von Trier movies.

Walk

I know I recently posted on the Foo Fighters, but I can’t help it. I’m devouring the new album like there is no tomorrow. Maybe not a good thing, seeing when you eat mashed potatoes every single day, every single week… well you’ll soon get fed up with mashed potatoes, don’t ya? Still. It’s under my skin so I’ll ride this album out till I can’t have it no more, I suppose.

So there you go, dragging you with me in my obsession. I think it’s called transferring? I’m no psych though I very much enjoyed the one class I took at college. 🙂

It’s the last track of the album, the video I mean. A bit softer than Burning Bridges, Rope or White Limo. But nonetheless, a nice track.

And again! A funny video. As said in their docu-movie: though they take their music seriously, they don’t much with their videos – but I don’t mind. I like a band with humor. It’s so like the movie Falling Down with Michael Douglas! But funny.

Ok, so here it is:

Tintin: first trailer!

Tintin is part of Belgian heritage when it comes to comic books. I’ve read all of them as a kid. (In Dutch we call him Kuifje.) The cartoons on television weren’t bad either.

But I am a bit sceptical on the movie though. Even with names like Spielberg and Jackson… as long as they capture his spirit. That’s what’s important. Very curious about it.

Offscreen 2011: Ikarie XB-1 / Voyage to the end of the universe (1963)

This Czech sci fi pearl is a real gem. The director is Jindrich Polák.

STORY

We follow a crew on board of a space ship, Ikarie (Icarus) in the 22nd century, who just started their 28 months journey from Earth  towards Alpha Centauri to seek out if there is life on one of the planets orbiting that sun.

They have left Earth and their loved ones behind in this uncertain voyage, knowing they’ll be much younger when they will return; the journey of 28 months will have made 15 years pass on Earth (if I explain that correctly). On this voyage, we see how they live their lives on board and adapt to life in space.

On their voyage, they face several troubles. They come about an old space station on which everyone died, unsure what happened. The Ikarie crew find out that it’s a 20th century station and realize too late it has nuclear weapons. The away-mission crew perish when one of the nuclear heads goes off. In response to this unfortunate accident and having lost 2 of his crew, the captain (of the 22nd century crew), criticizes the 20th century for its cruelty and barbaric behaviour (citing Hiroshima, the Holocaust, …). So we learn that the 22nd century has evolved to a more pacifist era, beyond the need for nuclear means. But the 20th century isn’t all bad, is said to the captain, when playing a piano excerpt from a contemporary composer (so sorry, I forgot to remember the name of the composer).

Soon after this loss, the ship succumb to a strange illness where people fall unconscious for no reason. It started when two of the crew who had worked on the hull of the ship succumb, but soon after, we notice the ship is affected by this phenomenon. It is believed due to a radioactive black star which had positioned itself between the ship and the sun. As the ship falls under a sudden sleep, the ship goes forth on its voyage…

OPINION

Not like any sci fi outer space movie I’d expected. Though the very sixties feel, it had its own little world that worked very well. You must admire the production this movie had.

I loved the camera shots. They must have had a great d.o.p., because how the actors were put to frame was nicely done.

The only thing I can say is, if you can get the opportunity to see it (which I can imagine, is not that easy… I think), you should grab it. I was told that they made a dubbed US version, and colored it (yes the movie is black&white, but that’s a good thing, people!!!) with an alternative ending! Why that is done, is beyond me! But anyway, a recommendable movie!

Offscreen 2011: Red, White and Blue

It’s a movie that came out in 2010, directed by Simon Rumley, and on the bill of the Offscreen Film Festival in Brussels.

At Offscreen, Simon Rumley and Bob Portal (director and producer of ‘Red, White & Blue’) introduced the movie before the screening and there was a Q&A afterwards in the bar (I did not attend, but it took place – pictures on Facebook are found 😉 ).

They just left us before the screening with “we hope you will – well, not enjoy, because you cannot enjoy the movie – but will find it interesting”. I can say it was. And a bit squirmishly bloody.

STORY

The movie is set in Austin, Texas. We follow a girl called Erica (Amanda Fuller) who we see going out each night, from bar to bar, sleeping with any guy she meets. At first I thought she was a whore, but she didn’t seem to sleep with them for money, just goes to bed with them. Each night a different guy. Yet to me, it was not like she enjoyed it… maybe… any how.

It’s clear Erica is not ok. She’s distant, a-social and isn’t able to connect with others.  This is clear when Nate (Noah Taylor), who lives in the same building as her, tries to talk to her. She flips him off almost immediately, saying “I don’t do friends” and especially not him. Yet, he keeps trying and even helps her out when he informs her of a vacant job at a  hardware store where he works. After a while they start connecting better and we learn that Nate was a soldier with an “honorable discharge” from Iraq. But still, about Erica we know nothing more than the fact she also sleeps with her co-workers. Until later on, of course.

Nate doesn’t like her behavior, of guy hopping, though he doesn’t seem to want to sleep with her. You get the feeling he’s trying to protect and watch her, over her better judgement.

At the beginning of the movie, when we tag along on the nights on the town with Erica, we see her having a foursome with a guy named Franki (Marc Senter) and his 2 rock band friends. In the middle of the movie, we are suddenly taken away from the focus on Erica and Noah and we get a look at Franki’s life.

He works in a diner and plays in a band who is getting more gigs to play, possibly a tour in prospect. We see him taking care over his  sick mother (cancer) and struggling with his girlfriend who cheated on him. Regularly donating blood for his mother, he gets a call from the hospital saying something is wrong with his blood… and that’s where the story turns ugly.

OPINION

What seemed at first a  slightly straight forward movie and a little – well, not dull, but  – not very eventful, turned into world of pain on-screen. (To me). It’s pure revenge. On different levels, by all 3 main characters. Each with their own motives and pain.

The most intreaging person to watch in this film is Nate (Noah Taylor), who’s accent is weird, character is mysterious and turns out to be a down right maniac! We did learn in the movie that he was offered a job at the CIA (but preferred to work at the hardware store), though we did not know for what job… when you see the second half of the movie, you don’t want to know…

All the time I kept wondering where I knew Nate from. Which movies did I see him in! Thankfully, Google helped me out, as always! Charlie and the Chocolate Factory! Lara Croft! But check out IMDB, cause I know he did more notable work than what I have seen of him. There must be!

I’m still trying to place this movie. It’s a bit odd saying I liked it, once you’ve seen it you’d understand. But from the middle of the movie onwards, I must say it was a good film.

Official site: http://www.redwhitebluemovie.com/

Offscreen 2011

Offscreen Film Festival is back and started this Thursday.

It’s the fourth edition of the festival, and so far I’ve been to the last two. It’s held from 9th till the 27th of February 2011 mainly in Cinema Nova, but also at the Cinematek, Bozar  Cinema Rits in Brussels.

This year’s themes are Outer Space science fiction, Face/Off “face transplantation” films, films by Monte Hellman, Animation Extravaganza and an evening with Phil Mulloy among others. The movies shown are often quirky cult films or art house cinema, so don’t be alarmed if its a bit strange. That’s just it’s charm.

I haven’t been yet, but plan to. I leave you with a little trailer of one of the films showing:

Official site: http://www.offscreen.be/