Dope

103 min.

Oh, wow, what an amazing, fun, emotional, realistic movie. I was interested because of the soundtrack (nineties hiphop and rap), and was so glad that everything else delivered as well. An original story with people of color that spun clichés and tropes and isn’t afraid to confront the viewer. Go see it.

Forest Whitaker's Significant Productions 2015
Forest Whitaker’s Significant Productions 2015

Malcolm and his friends are geeks obsessed with nineties hiphop. They dress like the artists, make music like them, write essays on them. He’s trying to get out of the criminal suburb he lives, aiming high with Harvard. Of course, life happens. There’s a girl, there’s a drugs dealer. There’s a lot of drugs and a muddy connection to those that could help him get into Harvard. What follows is a whirlwind of action, music, comedy and coming of age with from time to time a bit of fourth wall break throughs. Think about this, think about them, think about the society in which we live and where we are all part of.

That doesn’t mean there is anything preachy about Dope. Those with an open mind will see and understand enough to know things need to change.

DopeForest Whitaker’s Significant Productions 2015

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The Boys From Brazil

Early one evening in September of 1974 a small twin-engine plane, silver and black, sailed down onto a secondary runway at São Paulo’s Congonhas Airport, and slowing, turned aside and taxied to a hanger where a limousine stood waiting.

I’d call this a classic as well, but definitely not Brönte/two centuries old/English reading lists classic. This title is Known, either from the movie, the book or both. Ira Levin turns out to be the author of more well-known stories. This is a book classic (opposed to a literature classic, possibly?).

Alive and hiding in South America, Dr. Mengele isn’t finished with the Third Reich just yet. His plans are caught on tape, but the tape destroyed and the taper killed before it can move into the world. Nazi Hunter Yakov Liebermann takes it upon himself – after initial disbelief – to unravel the Nazi plans.

It’s a quick, exciting read, easily understandable why someone turned it into a movie as well. The reader puzzles along with Liebermann, while the world around them shows World War II fatigue. It’s a race against the clock that may not even be working functionally. Maybe it won’t give you the prestige of War and Peace, but it could very well be more fun.

The Boys from Brazil, Ira Levin, Joseph 1976

Under Heaven

Amid the ten thousand noises and the jade-and-gold and the whirling dust of Xinan, he had often stayed awake all night among friends, drinking spiced wine in the North District with the courtesans.

By now I should add another category of books I put back several times before trying them. This was one of them. It was a bit of a mistake to give it a try. This wasn’t really a novel with a plot, it was like a panorama: a beautiful world created, but that’s it. If you want a story, scrap some characters together and bring them from A to B.

What I think was going on is that main character Shen Tai gets a large gift from the emperor which puts a prize on his head. A trip to the royal city follows, with assassinations and politics. There’s a smaller, more interesting plot line around his sister whom has (falsely) been married off as a princess. It gives a better look of the mythology used in this created world with Asian influences, without going for the Mystic Asian trope.

I know I show plenty of appreciation of world building, but I also need a story line in that world, else I’m looking at a painting. With over 500 pages, I’m sure this isn’t a painting. Maybe next ‘okay let’s try this one’ will be more fulfilling.

Under Heaven, Guy Gavriel Kay, HarperVoyager 2010

Lilting

91 min.

London Film Productions 2014
London Film Productions 2014

Een coming out met een taalbarrière er tussen. Lilting laat zien hoe het weerhouden van informatie van directe familie de dood alleen maar een grotere klap maakt. Want hoe rouw je om je vriend als zijn moeder niet eens van zijn homoseksualiteit af wist en jou niet eens mag?

Ben Whishaw speelt beschadigend, een pruttelende vulkaan die alle bewuste onwetendheid niet aan kan. Hij biedt zijn vriend’s moeder een tolk aan, maar dat verbetert de weg tussen hen niet. Het is een stil verdriet van twee mensen, en de film laat open of ze dat wel kunnen overleven.

Het is een zachte, knappe film die je met het gevoel achter laat alsof een bel is geklapt. Doe je best om het te zien.

Lilting, London Film Productions 2014

The Circle

My God, Mae thought.

You have to come in really big and really original to terrify me with mythological creatures, murderers or aliens. But show me the ordinary human being willingly going off the tracks ..that’s the horror you scare me with. That’s the horror Dave Eggers offers in this novel.

Of course, in the beginning is everything awesome. Young Mae finally gets a job at this amazing, progressive company that is going to make the world a better place through the internet and social media. So they are surprisingly thorough about your online presence, and a bit demanding about sharing everything you do, but it’s only out of interest. Which other big company is interested in its personnel like that?

If you’re a hero long enough, you’ll be around to see yourself turn into a villain. There is goodwill. So much goodwill that it smothers, chokes, stalks and kills. Because what used to be optional, becomes mandatory. Secrets are bad, privacy is bad, continuous sharing is the only way to live. And plenty people agree to living it.

I don’t expect this to be a realistic image of the future, but it is definitely scary enough to avoid your feeds and time lines for a while.

The Circle, Dave Eggers, Hamish Hamilton 2013