Hidden Figures

127 min.
I think it was pretty clear when there were parts and lines added to make (small-minded) white people feel better, but (or maybe because of that, help?) I enjoyed Hidden Figures a lot. An uplifting movie with unlikely heroines that are smart, funny, well dressed and black.
hidden figures poster

‘Based on true life events’ seems to be a forewarning for sappy, Hallmark-like stories that are described as having heart while not really having or showing it. This story about the black, human computers of NASA could have been much more inspirational, much brighter and louder and beautiful and grating. Now it’s largely a show of how people can learn not to be sexist and racist because they’re confronted with smart black women. This happens in the 1960s, and it ends a bit too much with the unsaid message of how all that is very much in the past. While we know it isn’t, of course.

Didn’t I say this movie was uplifting? It is, kind of. The characters move from okay to better, the bad guys are only the confused guys, there’s pictures and blurbs at the end to show you the real life counterparts. There’s a cute soundtrack and as said before, the heroines are lovely. It could have simply been sharper, more vibrant, more honest.

Until we get that story, Hidden Figures is a cleaned up history lesson worth watching.

Hidden Figures, Levantine Films 2016

John Wick: Chapter 2

122 min.

Can you get any more violent? When you’re talking to John Wick versus John Wick: Chapter 2, the answer is yes. Maybe the question should be: can it be more bloody? Also, yes. When the first five full-on-screen exploding skulls and body parts might make one flinch, there’s so many of them it’s tempting to just go ‘Ah, you again’ after a while.
john-wick-chapter-2

Viewers were promised more of the world building regarding the criminal world (and hotels) through which John moves. The promise was full-filled, although scantily. This time we learn that this world is international, spending one third of the film in Rome (and under it). Again it’s beautiful surroundings, beautiful people and some worrying rules these people live by.

But mostly it’s violence. With weapons, without. On the roof, under ground (and in the underground), anywhere. But don’t worry about the dog this time, Wick does it utterly, completely by himself.

John Wick: Chapter 2, Thunder Road Productions 2017

Moonlight

101 min.

Ik was helemaal weg van deze film, en zou het zeker aan iedereen aanraden, zelfs de mensen die zeggen ‘niet zulke films’ te kijken. Omdat het je confronteert met vragen over mannelijkheid en homoseksualiteit en racistische stereotypes en hoe die elkaar allemaal overlappen. En dat zonder een moment van opgeheven vingertjes.

moonlight-posterMoonlight is coming-of-age, doorsnedes van het leven van een jongen. Eén keer als kind, één keer als tiener, één keer als volwassene. Alleen deze keer is het een zwarte homoseksuele jongen uit een probleemgebied, en leert de kijker misschien wel levenslessen, maar krijgt hoofdpersoon Chiron er alleen de nare conclusies van op zijn bord.

Combineer het nuchtere en de ontnuchtering met een kleur- en muziekgebruik die tegen je huid plakken en begrijp dat het een film is die met je blijft na het verlaten van de bioscoop. Een film van het soort dat rondgaat als een vuurtje in plaats van door marketing door de strot wordt geduurd. Vang het voor ‘ie uitgedoofd is.

Moonlight, A24 2016

Miss Sloane

122 min.

Oh yes, yes please. Miss Sloane bulldozes over the idea of how only men can be cutthroat (in politics). Meet Liz, a lobbyist that eats people and causes for breakfast. While being impeccably dressed.

miss-sloane-posterHer lethal skills are moved to an ‘underdog’ when the head honchos of the gun lobby insult her, making her leave for a smaller bureau. Not completely smooth, because the world of lobbyists is full of egos, including her.
What happens next? As another visitor called it “Oh my God, it was only talking”. Miss Sloane talks. To voters, to politicians, on talk shows. She concocts (outrageous) plans, balancing on an ever thinning rope. It’s a thriller without any blood or guts.
That’s something you have to be interested in, be able to watch without losing focus, because Miss Sloane and her colleagues move fast. Keep up, and you might leave pumping your fist.
Miss Sloane, Canal+ Distribution 2016

13th

100 min.

13th-netflixAren’t there documentaries with happy/happier subjects? Of course there are, but isn’t a documentary supposed to educate? About things that may not be a day-to-day subject for a lot of people? I think 13th is smack right on that with it being about the USA prison system and how black people suffer from it.

This isn’t an emotional appeal, this is layers and layers of facts and numbers and statistics showing how authorities use everything in their power to control the minority population. How there’s no equality in punishment for the same crime, how there’s no fairness and that believing in the system is more than naive, it might be lethal.

It’s the strength of the people featured that prevent you from completely circling down the drain of ‘Is this really society’. People that keep speaking up, that keep fighting, the Davids to the  many-headed Goliath.

Ignorance is not an argument. Know what’s wrong.

13th, Netflix 2016

Vaiana

113 min.

Ook wel bekend als Moana, maar voor redenen (was het nu de Italiaanse pornoster), heet het in Europa Vaiana. Voel je niks van.

disney-vaianaDe film maakt sowieso weinig golven. Natuurlijk, er is (weer) geen love interest en nou nou poe poe, Disney durft het eens aan om een niet-Westers sprookje te gebruiken. Gelukkig is er wel een klier die Dingen Leert, een Zelfstandige Meid Die Anders Is en wat leuke en lieve dierenvrienden voor comic relief. En als je niet te lang naar Vaiana’s gezicht kijkt, hoef je ook niet de overeenkomsten met de hoofdpersonen van Tangled en Frozen te zien. Hoedanook, het is geen Kubo and the Two Strings.

Maar waarom zie je ‘m dan? Omdat het er weer erg mooi uitziet, omdat het tweede kerstdag is (kan ik ook voor zondagmiddagen of andere feestdagen), omdat er kleine stukjes getekende animatie in zitten, waardoor de hoop op een herleving daar van toch weer gevoed wordt. Omdat ach – Disney levert, wij eten het op. Toch?

Wel voor de volgende keer iets meer de best doen op de meezingbaarheid van de liedjes, Disney.

Vaiana, Disney 2016

Rogue One

133 min.

Definitely more fun when you watch it without knowing too much of the Star Wars universe and stories. And don’t act like it’s an international embarrassment if you aren’t rogue-one-posterwell-versed in its material.

Anyway, there’s another female brunette who needs to fight the baddies. She doesn’t want to at first, but Things Change and she realises that the Rebellion needs to succeed. After a dark (literally and figuratively) first half, it’s for the viewer clear as well.

In my mind Star Wars movies have always been different shades of sand colours, so the beautiful shots of the beachy planet definitely left me pleasantly surprised. So did the tempo, never giving you the feeling that there’s filler or that you’re stuck in your chair for another [x amount] of minutes. And yes, it is watchable with nary a clue about its background.

Think Indiana Jones in space, think explosions, narrow escapes and aliens and you have an entertaining two hours at the ready.

Rogue One: A Star Wars Story, Lucasfilm 2016