Miles Ahead

Movies, Documentary, Drama

Miles Ahead

No Comments 13 February 2019

A couple of months ago, I watched the documentary on Jimi Hendrix Hear my Train Coming. Starting in his teenage years, Jimi was only interested in two things: his guitar and women with music clearly in first place. The film draws much on live performances where the genius of Hendrix becomes very clear. At the end of the film, we learn that the estate of Jimi Hendrix “commissioned” the documentary. Only then did it become clear that we are watching a sanitized version of Hendrix’s life. The man died from a drug overdose. But in an effort make Jimi appear as likable and charming as possible and increase for his estate sales from his music his death is portrayed more as an accident of someone how dabbled a bit in drugs. Miles Ahead takes a very different approach.

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Big Little Lies

Movies, Drama

Big Little Lies

No Comments 27 January 2019

The hype is well-deserved. Big Little Lies is a fantastic TV mini series. I highly recommended the series to a friend and she made the mistake of watching the last episode first. This was very unfortunate because rarely has a series done so well in gradually building up the tension and suspense, only to reach a dizzying climax in the final episode.

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My Fat Greek Wedding 2

Movies, Comedy

My Fat Greek Wedding 2

No Comments 6 January 2019

I laughed tears on during the original My Fat Greek Wedding. The sequel is not nearly as funny. From the beginning, you wonder whose wedding it will be this time. First it seems, grandpa might get his way and the 17-year-old granddaughter is getting married a tiny bit early. But then the film wonders in different directions. It becomes more a meditation on family life, getting older and the difficulty of keeping romance in marriage. Perhaps Mia Vardalos (director and lead) on purpose made this film not as funny as the first one.

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The Shape of Water

Movies, Drama, Phantasy

The Shape of Water

No Comments 29 December 2018

This is a fairy tale like no other I have seen before. It feels like a Beauty and the Beast inspired Sci-Fi film set during the Cold War USA of the early 1960s. There is real beauty in the love story between a mute woman and a male creature that comes across as a mixture between a mermaid and robot. He also cannot talk but clearly has intelligence and feelings. The film at times becomes rather annoying when the portrayal of the US government and its personnel becomes a caricature rather than a realistic portrayal what the USA military was like during the conflict with the Soviet Union.

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Vor der Morgenröte (Before the Red Sun rises again)

Movies, Documentary

Vor der Morgenröte (Before the Red Sun rises again)

No Comments 14 December 2018

Stefan Zweig is one of my favorite German writers. I already reviewed on these pages the film Secret Burning based on his novel and his Chess novel. Both are fantastic. This film is about the life of Zweig. I knew how Zweig’s life ended but I had no idea of his years in Exile. Zweig was a Jew and he—unlike so many others who ended up in concentration camps—had the good sense to leave Austria and Germany shortly after the Nazis took power. The film covers his exile years. Its method is to pick out 5 episodes in a ten year period. Vor der Morgenröteis as poetic as Zweig’s work and it is a major accomplishment. The performance of Josef Hader as Zweig is stunning.

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Gurrumul

Movies, Documentary

Gurrumul

No Comments 10 July 2018

You may have never heard of Gurrumul. I certainly had not when I was asked to see this biopic. After the first 10 to 15 minutes, you realize that you are for a very special story that is deeply moving. It is a remarkable piece of work and I put up there on the level of Searching for Sugar Man, which is my all-time favorite documentary of a musician. The Gurrumul story is so different from Sugar Man that it feels in no way repetitive. But what they have in common individuals whose music and poetic vision is so strong that they find against to odds a large audience.

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Foxtrot

Movies, Drama

Foxtrot

No Comments 10 June 2018

The first third of this Israeli film is almost too hard to bear. A father and mother are visited by the military representatives who bring the sad news that their son has been killed in the line of duty. The next 40 minutes we are shown the horrific emotions that a father would go through at this moment. I was saying to myself, “I am not sure if I want to watch this for another hour or so.” But then the film takes an unexpected turn and we get a break.

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