Movie Review – Jackie

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by Pablo Larrain

‘Following the assassination of President John F. Kennedy, First Lady Jacqueline Kennedy fights through grief and trauma to regain her faith, console her children, and define her husband’s historic legacy.’ (IMDb) (by Pablo Larrain, 100 min.)

We all know the phrase: ‘Behind every strong man, there’s a strong woman’. And with the Kennedys this is especially the case and this is the main premise of this film.

It’s the story of what Jackie Kennedy went through the few days/weeks after her husband was shot. It shows us how strong she was and what she all did to make sure her husband and his name would be remembered. Sometimes coming over a bit cold, but never faltering in what she had to do.

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Natalie Portman is amazing as Jackie. Strong on the one hand, determined to never show the people how broken she actually is and then the few moments she’s alone, she lets go and we see how hard Kennedy’s death actually broke her. Natalie Portman carries this role through the ups and downs, never faltering and always true to the character.

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The only thing I could say about this film is the narration and how it was cut. The entire film we jump from one moment to the other. From a few days to a scene from the day itself, to a scene further in the story. In the beginning it was interesting because it was clear enough when the scenes were taking place in the actual storyline, but at the end it became a bit more scrambled and I must say I lost interest at some point because I just didn’t know when what was happening at a certain point.

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Being from Europe, I never grew up with this story in my history, only learning about it in high school and even then we never saw in detail what happened afterwards. I did learn a lot from it, but I would have liked to have some more explanations to be able to put the story more easily back together.

Beautifully shot, this is a must-see for everyone interested in Jackie’s story, but keep in mind it can be a bit jumbled.

6.5/10 stars.

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New Trailer Reviews (#2)

There are plenty of new trailers that dropped the last few days/weeks. So I wanted to sum some of the more memorable ones.

Thor: Ragnarok

Thor is now entirely in space

This looks crazy. When looking at this trailer I got a mix of feelings. First I thought I was looking at the first mashup between Guardians of the Galaxy and Thor. Honestly, I was looking for Starlord, Gamorra or Groot to step out of the shadows at any moment. The colours, the story that takes place entirely in space on his planet and the music just made me think of that other Marvel story. On the other hand it’s way darker than any Thor or other Marvel movie has ever gotten. With Cate Blanchett (Cate Blanchett!!) playing the Baddie here (she’s playing Hela, Goddess of Death), Thor will have some difficulties in this story. The trailer starts with his hammer Mjölnir being broken by her, so I don’t really know what’s going to happen after this.

It doesn’t really tell us what the story will be about. We’re just seeing some fun and darker moments, showing us how the movie will be, look and feel like. Thor will forever hold its special place in my heart (because I first saw it on Erasmus in Rome with some of my new friends) and I’m highly anticipating this third installment. See you on the 2nd November in cinemas!

Atomic Blonde

Charlize Theron is Atomic.

I’m not a huge fan of Charlize Theron. There is something about her that makes me disconnect from her acting. I have no idea what it is or what it could be. And although this movie looks kickass and has a strong female character in it (all things I like in movies), it just doesn’t really speak to me. I’m not really excited to go see it. I’ll probably see it when it’s on TV, just because Sofia Boutella and Bill Skarsgard are in it, but I won’t catch in cinemas.

Detroit

Kathryn Bigelow is at it again

Aargh… Aargh… AAAAAAAAAAH. This looks so good. Now this is a movie I’m excited to see. I’ve been a huge fan of Kathryn Bigelow since The Hurt Locker, devouring every movie she has made and feeling her love for the different subjects in every scene she put out there. She doesn’t shy away from tackling difficult stories, but always with a sense of respect. All her movies have this documentary feel to it, which makes her style so unique.

Here she tells the story of one of the largest citizen uprisings in the US, in Detroit. With John Boyega, Will Poulter, Anthony Mackie, John Krasinki, and even more, this movie is going to be awesome. So much acting talent in one movie and one of the most gripping stories will make this a movie that will have an impact. Especially with everything that is happening in the world right now, it’s time to come out with such stories so we never forget and finally start to learn from everything that has happened in the past.  I will see this one the cinema as well.

American Assassin

Dylan O’Brien goes rogue…

I’m a huge fan of Dylan O’Brien and I feel with this film he’s growing up from Teen Wolf and The Maze Runner, tackling more serious roles and showing all his acting abilities. Next to Michael Keaton and Taylor Kitsch, this trailer is packed with action, suspense and some amazing shots. I didn’t have to opportunity to read the book, but after seeing this trailer, I’m highly anticipating this one and I’ll definitely pick up the book just to see what it’s about. 

I’m not sure I’ll be catching this one in cinemas, just because there are so many movies like this one and I’m afraid to be disappointed. I think this is one of those cases where I have to see the second trailer, before making up my mind.

Kingsman: The Golden Circle

What… The … Kingsman

We don’t get to see much. It all goes by so quickly. But what we get from the flashes seems so crazy and cool. The first Kingsman was a total surprise hit to a lot of people and some, myself included, became instant fans from the first scene on. So when the news came that a second one was in the making, I couldn’t stop being excited. And with this teaser, because it definitely is a teaser, I’m more excited than ever.

And now the full-on trailer.

This trailer has me even more excited. It shows us a little glimpse of the story, but most of all we get awesome shots of the movie and how it will look like. This will be packed with action sequences, funny little moments, darker scenes… They don’t shy away from the genre and the look of the first film and thank god for that. I can’t wait to get more of the darker, grittier, funny and raunchier Kingsman. An action film to my heart, this one is.

The Exception

Hell of a Cast, Hell of a Story

I knew this film was coming, because I once was in the running to help on this set. Some of it was shot in Belgium and that gave me the opportunity to work on it. But unfortunately, due to a conflict in my schedule, I had to drop out of it and since then I have been waiting to see how it would turn out. I must say, this trailer actually looks rather interesting. Lily James takes on a more dramatic, darker role, one we aren’t used from her. Even in Downton Abbey she was more the sparkly-one. I have a weak spot for Jai Courtney. I find him one hell of an actor and I can’t wait to see what he does with this part. He’s going to be able to showcase his more dramatic side, a more softer side and still show he is a kick-ass person. And with Christopher Plummer and Janet McTeer, this movie has an amazing cast. I’m excited to see this, because of its love story, because of its setting, but most importantly because, even though this is a fictionalised story, this is a part of history that I haven’t seen yet on film. Can’t wait and I’ll definitely be catching this one in theatres as well. 

What do you think? Are any of these films on your watchlist? And which ones will you be seeing in cinemas?

Series Review – Marvel’s Iron Fist

Iron_01‘A young man is bestowed with incredible martial arts skills and a mystical force known as the Iron Fist.’ (IMDb) (On Netflix, 13 episodes of ap. 55min.) 

I can’t help but think this reminds me of something I watched before. The first episode alone is a bit the same story as Arrow, the other series I’m talking about. They both start with the same premise: a long lost rich boy comes back from years being far away, finding himself in a whole new world. Both their best friends have taken over their company and need to find a way to restore their world and find their place back in this hard and different world.

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The big shift here, away from Arrow, came when Danny was put into a psychological hospital and from here I’ll stop with the ‘spoilers’. I’ll just say that I didn’t like this one. I do understand the choice Netflix made to put this one out there before The Defenders, but I just couldn’t connect to Danny. I just couldn’t.

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I didn’t understand him. His character was wise at one moment, then so childish the other. He was the Iron First, but his dad is more important to him then the responsibilities that he took upon himself. I couldn’t get behind half of the decisions he made. Even his fighting didn’t feel real to me. The only moments I found him interesting, was when he was channeling the Iron Fist and where the more supernatural effects kicked in.

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There were some characters I did like. Claire was back for a small character arc. After the events in Luke Cage she starts taking lessons to be able to defend herself better and she finds herself taking them in the Dojo of Colleen Wig, the same one where Danny finds himself at the beginning of the story. Colleen Wig, hallelujah, let’s stop here for a moment. She is the kick-ass female character I love. She’s strong, and yet vulnerable. She loves to fight and stands up for herself. She doesn’t let people push her around and even though Danny irritates her (in the beginning), she doesn’t change when she realizes who he is. She stays true to herself.

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The relationship that forms between these two is so predictable though. I must say that my love for Colleen Wig diminished the more the episodes dragged on. At one point (I think it was around episode 3 or 4) I just knew what was going to happen. The more I watched the series and the more everything I thought would happen, came to happen, just made me disconnect more and more from this series. At one point I even let the series play in the background while I was doing my spring cleaning. The moment I sat before my computer to continue watch it and not just listen to it, I just didn’t have the feeling I was missing anything. And that is not the way a ‘gripping’ series should be.

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To tell you the truth, knowing that he’s a part of The Defenders, doesn’t make me excited for this new series. It’s even the opposite. Even though Daredevil, Jessica Jones and Luke Cage are in it, I feel that he’s going to drag it a bit down. So I hope that they will make him grow a little bit and make his character evolve into a more interesting and relatable person (as relatable as a ‘superhero’ can be), because if this doesn’t happen, this will be the first Marvel Series I will give up on.

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5/10 stars. It’s not because I didn’t like it, that it isn’t great TV. The images look great. The music swoops you up in the fight scenes. But I need more to connect to a series and to get through it, I need characters I relate to or look up to. I need to feel with the characters, and this just lacked here for me.  

Star Wars News

New Trailer for Star Wars VIII + the Carrie Fisher Tribute

We’ve got a new trailer and it’s amazing. Watch it right now.

We get to see so much, yet the story isn’t unveiled. There is much to get from this trailer but it’s more in the sounds, then the actual images. We see Rey lifting up rocks, with Luke saying ‘Breath, just breath’. Will he be teaching her, like Yoda taught him? She’s on the island where we left them in Star Wars VII after all. 

It follows with images of the back of Princess Leia, a map of some sort, the broken mask of Kylo Ren, Finn in some sort of box or plane, Poe Dameron and BB8 under attack and some other epic images with the last sentence of Luke finishing it all: ‘It’s time for the Jedi to end.’ What does it all mean? Where is this story going to take us?  

It all looks epic and I can’t wait to go see it in cinemas and to explore this world even more. It will be bittersweet after losing one of its stars. 

The Star Wars celebration also gave us a beautiful Carrie Fisher Tribute.

I’ll be honest with you, I did cry a little bit watching this. It shows just how funny, beautiful and real she was. Carrie Fisher was one of the most talented actresses and writers out there and we lost a beautiful person. She was princess Leia and although all the difficulties she had in her life, she was always real and never ashamed of herself.

She was a perfect role model for all young women out there and a person I look up to a lot. I never had the opportunity to meet her, even though she was in Belgium a few years ago and I will always regret that.

I’ll always keep her strength in mind though when I’m faltering or feeling under the blue and I’ll give her values to my children. I’ll teach everyone around me what she taught me. It’s important we never forget to be strong women in this world, to be ourselves and to be as accepting as she was.

These movies teaches us important lessons while being entertaining as hell. And in this crazy world we need as much strength as we can get. 

May the Force be with you.

Movie Review – Finding Dory

back to our favorite underwater story

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by Andrew Stanton & Angus MacLane

‘The friendly but forgetful blue tang fish begins a search for her long-lost parents, and everyone learns a few things about the real meaning of family along the way.’ (IMDb) (by Andrew Stanton & Angus MacLane, 97 min.)

Finding Nemo was one of my favourites movies back in the day. The story of the young Nemo losing himself in the big ocean and then his father who went on an amazing journey to find him and take him back home. This simple, loveable story, touched millions of people, so it came as no surprise that they were making a sort of sequel, this time from Dory her perspective.

It did take some time, because they wanted to perfect it and give us the story that’s worth going back into the deep blue sea. And I’m actually glad they took their time. Rather than pushing through and just giving us the new movie without really caring what kind of story they were putting out there, they took their time to tell a story worth telling and worth taking out some of our favourite characters.

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Now for my review. It’s a nice story. It’s funny. Dory is as cute as ever. Sometimes I did wonder how one fish can be so damn lucky the entire time. That was my overall feeling. How lucky Dory is the whole movie to find the right people at the right time, finding herself in the aquarium where her parents live and just hopping from one problem into the next, finding one solution and then the next. It all felt a tiny little bit convenient.

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But it’s nicely done though. We find our favorite characters again. Marlin and Nemo are on a journey, together this time, to find Dory and bring her home. Dory is on her own way, where we meet some new characters.

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One of my new favourite pairings are Destiny and Bailey. I actually like their chemistry, the way they interact. You see that they’ve known each other for a long time and that they started to care for each other in the way they occasionally bicker.

Overall I feel it didn’t live entirely up to the original, but it was a nice feel-good movie that made me laugh and a nice sequel as well. 

7/10 stars.

 

Movie News – We have a new Lara Croft

We’re getting a new Lara Croft and I’m so excited! You can find the news right here.

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Alicia Vikander is the new Lara Croft. After several games and a memorable performance by Angelina Jolie, it’s her time to bring this epic character to life. Am I excited? Well, we’re getting a female kick-ass character, a sort of Indiana Jones, fighting her way through whatever this story will give us… Yes I’m excited. I want to know how she’ll portray this character and what she’ll bring to it. I think Alicia Vikander is a little sweeter and less intense than Angelina Jolie (though if you have watched Ex Machina, she can be really intense as well), so this new take on this character will be different and I can’t wait to see it.

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I’m a sucker for a strong female character, because let’s be honest, there aren’t many out there. Although there is a good evolution in current movies, which of them mostly have one or two kick-ass female characters in them, it’s still not enough. We’re getting there with Wonder Woman and Star Wars (I mean Rey in VII & VIII and Jyn Erso in Rogue One). And these are great, but where is Scarlett Johansson in her solo Black Widow movie? Fans have eagerly been waiting for this one, but Marvel keeps on coming out with other movies. 

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These first pictures got me excited and I can’t wait to see what other news will be dropped soon or even the trailer! How exciting will that be! Another kick-ass character for me to cosplay later.

What do you think? Are you excited for this movie?  

Series Review – Marvel’s Luke Cage

Luke_01‘Given superstrength and durability by a sabotaged experiment, a wrongly accused man escapes prison to become a superhero for hire.’ (IMDb) (On Netflix, 13 episodes of ap. 55min.)

I’m actually really surprised with this series. I thought it was going to be a little bit the same thing as with Daredevil or Jessica Jones, darker, grittier, with superpowers and one evil guy. But here it’s more a drama, a story of a man trying to find his place in this world and it’s definitely a gangster story.

While there are still some supernatural elements to this series (I mean Luke Cage is strong, really strong and can’t be killed), the story shifts its focus early on to the story of Harlem and the fight between two strong men trying to save it. On the one hand we have Cottonmouth, played perfectly by Mahershala Ali, where we can see the corrupt side of Harlem, the gangsters, the fighting, blood, weapons, tied together with his cousin Mariah, a corrupt politician, using corrupt money to buy her seat in the council and putting up her projects. On the other hand we have Pop (only there for a few episodes, but one hell of a character) and Luke Cage off course, portrayed by Mike Colter, trying to fight of Cottonmouth and his band, trying to find his place in this world and keep his own past hidden from the people of Harlem.

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While this series does focus more on these two sides, I do feel that the entire show wouldn’t be what it is without the great actors that play the different characters. Mike Colter is Luke Cage. He is huge, but still vulnerable. He’s distant, but still nice and friendly to others. There hasn’t been any other series where actor and character fit so well.

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I especially enjoyed the episode where we see how Luke Cage got his powers. The little peak in his past and what he endured in prison, gave me a better understanding of his current character. I do however still feel we’re missing another piece of the puzzle to truly understand how he got to who he is. Why did he have to go to prison? He was framed apparently, but why and how? And after the revelation of who Diamondback is, I feel like getting to know his childhood as well gave us a better understanding of his character. I would have liked to see his past explained a bit more. They went over it a little too fast in my opinion.

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The only thing that I did miss a bit, was the supernatural side of things. In Daredevil and Jessica Jones and off course in all the other movies, we see supernatural things happening and this all is off course a huge part of the Marvel Universe. So this felt totally different and I’m wondering how they will incorporate this and his story into The Defenders storyline. I would have liked to see the storyline of his powers expanded a little bit and to see other characters with supernatural or otherworldly abilities. 

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Being one of the latest installment of Marvel on Netflix, I do feel it stands out by being more a gangster story and drama, then a real superhero story. After Iron First, that’s already available on Netflix (I’m currently watching this, review to come really soon), The Defenders will be the next series from Marvel to hit our screens all over the world, followed shortly by The Punisher. With a third series for Daredevil, and a second season for Jessica Jones and Luke Cage, Netflix will be full of Marvel for the following years. And I kinda like it.  

7/10 stars