Film reviews often tell you what would be commercially attractive or to the common expectations. Therefore these descriptions of non-cliché latest movies you might want to see but did not decide about yet.



The latest films.
(Dutch movies are discussed in Dutch)

20-Oct.2001 - 12 Febr.2002


Behind Enemy Lines

Seen: 12 Feb. 2002 Dir.: John Moore. With Owen Wilson and Gene Hackman. This is the true story about a navy-navigator called Chris Burnett who with his F18 pilot on the eve of Christmas was shot down above Bosnia. They were on a reconnaissance flight. Discovering illegal actions he and his copilot were shot out of the sky. His colleage was shot right away by rebel serbian forces who after that chased Burnett down to an enclave nearby where he would be picked up. Because of political and tactical reasons that does not happen directly. He is the real hero in this story constantly outsmarting his enemy to an incredible degree: he hides under corpses in the massgrave he accidentally stumbles upon in his escape, he changes clothes with a soldier within a minute so that to the enemy he can pretend to have been killed to get away, and he unfailingly finds the photo-equipment's harddrive to take it back as evidence for the warcrimes of the Serbs, he jumps through a mined area unharmed while his suitors are killed in it and he manages with the best of guerilla techniques to kill a marksmen especially sent out for killing him. At last when finally the helicopters come to get him he doesn't get a single bullet capturing the disc away in front of a whole army of firing serbian soldiers and tanks. Undoubtedly the real story must have been much more boring and credible. The presentation in an all-american perfect Godmode at the one hand makes the true story difficult to believe, which could be considered a pity, seeing all others around in complete failure and crime at the other hand. In the beginning of the movie Burnett is pictured as being in conflict with his Admiral for not having a real war because of which he wants to resign. That admiral though had to break the rules to get him out and was transferred to an office-job in Washington. At least, one may conclude after the hours of pure wartime excitement, has one American fought a real war out there the way any soldier might dream it. Because of this hero we can now arrest and convict a heavy warcriminal. That's a good thing of course to remember. Its a good film for the american patriot and for Hollywood, but for an European it is a bit of a schocking Flash Gordon replay exploit of the macho-hell we recently have had here. Also one-sided picturing the role of the NATO as a heartless political institute that wanted to sacrifice the pilot, doesn't make one happy. Thus this movie might be ranked more under the heading of a godmode patriot propaganda movie against the 'bad guys' than under the true-story movies of historical events; and that would be a missed chance. (website)


Spy Game

Seen: 12 febr 2002 Dir.: Tony Scott. With: Robert Redford and Brad Pitt. Nathan Muir and Tom Bishop are Vietnam veterans . From the experience then was the younger Tom recruited for the CIA by the already engaged Nathan. The movie starts with the incarceration in a prison in China of Tom after failing in rescuing a woman captured there. Within 24 hours he will be executed, but the service does not take the necessary action because of all kinds of political hindrances. They want to sacrifice Tom. Nathan as his old mentor in the service cannot let him die there and decides to falsify the CIA authority in sending out a rescue team to get him and the girl out. Throughout the movie we see Redford arranging his plan behind the back of the other agents with which he is in discussion for the late evening and the early morning following. Retiring Nathan has his last day at the service and while arguing with his colleagues on the problem we come to know of their past experiences in Beirut and Berlin in flashbacks. The mission succeeds and Tom is freed. Nathan cheating the CIA as well as Nathan baffling the Chinese is the final outcome and that makes him the hero of the story stepping back for no one in the name of loyalty and justice. All is filmed in the obscure light of the CIA offices full of suspicious people with all-intelligent looks, the damp of a hellish Chinese prison and the dramatic decor of a destroyed Beirut full of desperate people. Not directly a happy experience of the post-cold war new light in a new world, but still a realistic picture appreciable as a good prelude to it.(website).


Life as a House

Dir. Irwin Winkler  with Kevin Kline, Kristin Scott Thomas, Hayden Christensen, Jena Malone, Mary Steenburgen. A middle-aged architect has cancer. He is divorced already and also loses his not-to-good job where he's gluing together models for the firm. Computers replace him. He lives in a garden shed behind his former living, where still his wife resides with another man. He has no ambition left and freaks out the last day at his office. He also has a troubled past where there was a traffic-accident which caused a girl to end up in a wheel chair. His neighbors do not respect him for being such a vagrant unshaven looser in their neighborhood. Altogether he suffers a heavy depression and decides to make finally his amends in life. His neglected son he draws close. The guy is a punky freak tripping on drugs all day occasionally prostituting himself for the money. He decides to build himself a house together with the ill-motivated son right on the place where the decrepit place is where he lives. The man next-door calls the officials to block the project as he himself and everything he does is unwanted. But things turn out good and even comical. The perverted son knows of the services the nasty neighbor wanted from him, so that problem is no more. Next is there the daughter of another neighboring housewife who is just as interested in sexual adventures as her daughter is. So father and son are spiced up. While the friend of his son sleeps with that housewife he manages to unfreeze his son out of his narcoleptic stupor and win his heart. But as he hears of his fathers fate, he is angry: first won and then immediately abandoned again. Anyhow after a lot of all too human scenes and laughs, our man goes to the hospital just to see all the people united in building his life as a house. The house is given to the victim of the accident he once caused and his son enjoys his new found freedom. Even his former wife fell in love with him again abandoning her friend. If we have to die, lets do it good is the morality upheld. Never leave this world guilty as you are, but always try to make the best of it. That is the purpose, the solution and medicine against all darkness. Straight moral, constructive, positive, optimistic, comical and nicely acted a meaningful experience. (website)


Italian for beginners/ Italiensk For Begyndere

Seen: 22 dec. 2001; a danish Dogma-95 Film Dir: Lone Scherfig, Met: Anders W. Berthelsen, Peter Gantzler, Sara Indrio Jensen, Ann Eleonora Jørgensen, Lars Kaalund, Karen-Lise Mynster, Elsebeth Steentoft, Anette Støvelbæk. The Dogma recipe for making movies is that of sobriety: one produces a non-frills bare celluloid or video-product with no camera tricks or advanced editing. The story is straight filmed out of hand suggesting an as close to nature look as possible. (We already saw the hilarious dogma film Festen about the family exploits of a failing wedding anniversary). This movie is hailed for its proving the reality of happy endings for desperate people. It received the 2000 Berlin Film Festival Best Picture (nom)  and 2001 European Film Academy - award. It is a comedy of people living close to one another in and around a football stadium/ service center where there is also a church, a restaurant and hair dresser salon. The story centers on six people in a desperate situation, one is in fact a wild hairdresser woman with a father-complex in need of the other that is a wild immigrant from Italy working in the restaurant. The next couple to be is the new vicar replacing the former one gone mad, who finds love with a girl working in the bakery. The next is the impotent manager of the restaurant who finds love with the italian female colleague that also works in the restaurant. The Italians living in the restaurant do not know to behave and are fired by the manager. The danish of the six follow a course in Italian and with the other Italians falling in love they all join in the course. The hairdressers mother is a lost vagrant woman that dies painfully out of sheer misery, helped a bit with it by her daughter shamefully giving her an overdose. The father of the bakery girl also a fallen grumpy cankerer with never a good word also dies at the same time. The inexperienced vicar mixes the two funerals and so it turns out that the two girls are each others sisters. The fired italian takes over the italian course from the former leader who died at the spot of a heartattack. All together they make a trip to Venice where they definitely declare their love to share their lives. Three happy ending in a dark modern mudwrestling struggle for light in desperate civil lives of loneliness and meaninglessness. Love brings it all to a good end. No minute the end good all good theme is irritating, it is even unexpected as the realism of the dogma recipe paints no beautiful picture. Of course is attachment not the real solution but still the marriage is a sacrament of God isn't it? It are ordinary people with ordinary problems and lives, and that, impotent, freaky or too devout, we must understand, is never hopeless. Aren't we all entitled to love and an happy end. so...? (website)


Vanilla Sky

Seen: 22 dec. 2001 Dir.: Cameron Crowe: with Tom Cruise , Penélope Cruz, Kurt Russell. Ever wondered what it is to live in the vanilla skies of a cryogenic dream? The movie is about the reality of being caught in the deluxe dream of being frozen in the body for later rebirth in the same but then repaired body. We are offered a discussion-subject: should we keep the attachment to the body and reincarnate to its specifics or should we detach from that ego, die and try another rebirth with diapers and all that trouble of going to school again? In this story, a remake of a recent less attractive version called Abre los ojos by Alejandro Amenábar, 1997, we see Tom Cruise play David Ames, a son of successful deceased publisher running a popular magazine. The guy is a playboy, a partyanimal and promiscuous devil carrying the nickname Citizen Dildo. He betrays his sexual mate, a blond hot girl, for a new flame of the spanish type. Out of jealousy the former friend commits suicide driving of a bridge with him sitting in the car. She dies , but he survives with a badly damaged face and arm. He limps through town like the looser of the century and his former girl and friends can't cope with the problem. He even wears a mask to cover his lamed and scarred face and thus is his former ego now a farce of really hiding behind his ego. Desperately he commits suicide after having signed a contract for a freeze-the-lux, for the advance of surgery might give him his original face back. In the movie we see him ending up in a nightmare: filmed in scenes cut through one another he cannot distinguish anymore between dream and reality. It reminds one of the movie Memento. When his face is suddenly repaired by an advance in science, he thinks to have his life back, but making love to his rewon spanish sweetheart, she suddenly turns into the blond that drove him into hell. He freaks out, kills her and ends up in a psychiatric ward talking to the shrink from behind his mask. He can't get out of it: then he has a complex of denying his recovery, then the problem is not fixed at all, then he has murdered and then he hasn't. In the end technical support of the cryo-company helps him out proving to him that he lives his fantasy, his selfcreated world of guilt, fear and shame and that in order to get out he only has to overcome his last greatest fear, the fear of hights. As he jumps from the skyscraper to get out of the vanilla skies of his nightmare the movie ends. 'Open your eyes' she whispers, welcome the real of life we have to return to. The help of the technical support is of course a sciencefiction band-aid on the real wound of possibly ending up in such a situation. The real problem is the resentment against being born again in the material world with another unknown father that has no publishing company and an easy life of luxury to offer. The cryogenic nightmare reminds one of what The Others proved us about being in limbo. What would you do if you had the choice: Game over by nature or revert by technology? In either case, reincarnation is beyond doubt for the ones attached! (website)


The Others

Seen: 13 jan. 2002 Dir.: Alejandro Amenabar, with Nicole Kidman. This movie is no ordinary horror-story. It is a serious consideration of our afterlife. Since the Sixth Sense we are alert of the theme of reincarnation in the cinema. In this case the matter of being in limbo is discussed. Before being liberated we first have to work out our karmic consequences. Our bad deeds give us a psychological conflict: we cannot see ourselves as bad, but see the bad instead in the world around us. Thus we can die without realizing that we died ending up in a nightmarish position called limbo that continues until the repressed material is back into the consciousness. In this story this is illustrated by the story of a young woman called Grace who during the second world war awaits the homecoming of her husband. She lives isolated at an estate in the countryside. The story begins with her having trouble giving a life to her two young children who suffer from a mysterious light-allergy. All curtains must be drawn and in de dark rooms she moves them around very compulsory neurotic keeping doors locked for safety for their studies and meals. The bell rings and she finds at the frontdoor three servants awaiting to help her out. She is suspicious, they arrived before the add could be posted that said that she needed them . They explain that they formerly worked in the mansion and know the place perfectly. She though is new and is having trouble with ghosts spooking around in the house. She hears sounds, she hears the piano playing with no one in the room to play it, she is completely baffled, goes frantic with her kids and tries to solve the problem. She doesn't understand. The house is always in the mist and outside running for help from her freaky servants that she tries to send away not trusting them, she suddenly finds her husband coming back home to her. They return to the house again, but the next morning after having made love he is gone to the war again. Also have all curtains disappeared and she panics. Her children are unprotected. The servants return to her to demonstrate that she can't continue alone. They have a mission of gradually explaining her what's wrong with her life. She discovers a photo-album of the former inhabitants and also finds a picture of her servants: they are dead. In the garden there are also graves with notably her own name on it. She can't deny any longer. The ghosts in the house turn out to be real people who in a seance try to contact her as the evil spirit herself in the house. The roles are reversed: they tell her that she murdered her children in her desperate loneliness and that she is in limbo denying her sins. End of the story she learns to accept the facts and finds liberation. The afterlife does not directly lead to reincarnation, but certainly things must be worked out if one does not find oneself directly in heaven, A very realistic story confirmed by many paranormal evidences that warns us to take a possible afterlife seriously. Always die the right way with a clear conscience! Death is no solution for what you did to others. (website)



Seen: 13 jan. 2001 Dir.: Peter Chelsom with John Cusack, Kate Beckinsale. Serendipity means: the faculty of making fortunate discoveries of things you were not looking for. Jonathan and Sara are two attractive young adults who are to explore the nature of serendipity in this story: can they find one another back after ten years with only two clues left behind? They test destiny with the thesis that soulmates made for one another cannot miss one another by serendipity. The thesis was first formulated by Plato and is now popularized in this movie: for everyone there is an ideal soulmate, a true one. The only problem is finding that soulmate. Thus do the two, he american and she english, test this by first writing their addresses in a book and on a dollar bill, sending them out into the world to return by fate, and then going into a lift to see if they end up on the same floor. The last doesn't happen and they lose one another. Having forgotten his shawl he finds her back though in the store where they both wanted to buy the same gloves . That is how they met. They spend a gorgeous romantic evening together skating in winter and then break up to test their fate. Ten years later they both are about to marry to nice partners, but both are still thinking of their first encounter hoping that it still works out in serendipity. So they find clues and even retrieve the book and the dollar bill. But their marriages seem to be inevitable. Of course we have a happy end defeating all disbelieve in love and thus the story ends like a modern fairytale. No drama, only charm. Serendipity is a fact of life: life is full of clues leading to the true One. But who is that? Would that ideal partner really be another person or just someone else sharing in the same quest? Are we bound by our external appearances or the drive for the soul of love and mystical union? The love is in the finding, not in the getting is shown. The marriage partner easily won is not as attractive as another person of the same ideals and serendipity proving fate right and habitual love wrong. Whether for the body or the soul the mystery is the essence. Love is more than an accidental meeting or as one says in this movie: 'Chaos personified'. (website)

Lord of the Rings

Seen: 20 dec. 2001 Dir.: Peter Jackson. Met Elijah Wood, Viggo Mortensen, Ian McKellen, Lyv Tyler, Sean Bean, Christopher Lee. 'There is a ring to rule them all and in darkness bind them' this is the theme of this fantasy-production to the famous book of the father of all fantasy-literature: Tolkien. In the first part of this trilogy we learn to know the Hobbits, the small people of Middle Earth who live happily together. The old hobbit Bilbo Baggins keeps a secret: a mysterious ring once forged in the fires of Mount Doom by the evil Lord Sauron. That evil Lord was in the past defeated in battle with the humans and the Elfs and the ring with which he ruled the people was taken by the humans who lost it. A creature called Gollem captured it and kept it for a long time calling it its precious,but the ring was to escape to its destiny and found by Bilbo. It could make him invisible and that gave him the special status among his people. Getting older though he has to step back into the heaven of the Elves for his old age and with great difficulty and on the advice of Gandalf, the big human wizzard who protects them, he manages to leave the ring behind. Gandalf gives it to the virginal Frodo, a bright young man with a loyal heart of goodness. But realizing its power does he, admonished by Gandalf, take the decision to destroy the ring by returning it into the fire where it was forged. That is the only way of preventing the resurrected Lord Sauron to recapture the ring and tyrannize Middle Earth again. Together with a fellowship of dwarfs, humans, elves and hobbits he undertakes the dangerous journeys. He is haunted by fallen human kings that like spirit ghosts without a face are chasing him seated on black horses. And there are more obstacles reaching Mordor, the evil empire. The association of the leading wizzards broke up corrupted by the power of Sauron so that the leading wizzard Sauruman now fights against Gandalf and the fellowship of the ring. In the dark crevices of the subterranean works off the dwarfs they meet with a monstrous Troll and a host of other terrible creatures who almost kill Frodo and take away Gandalf from them. They reach the elf queen Galadriel who helps them on their way to the evil empire. The fellowship gradually breaks up with all the trials of the journey, with the ring ever tempting all who have a weakness for power. End of part one is only Frodo left with one Hobbit : Samwise Gamgee, to enter Mordor. The story meets all demands of what one imagined reading the book. The story is after an introduction told in a straight line of chronological order and reminds one of the computergames in which one has to kill all the monsters one meets. But the worlds created of the Elves and Hobbits, the atmosphere of evil and the conflict of the wizzards, counterbalance this straightness appropriately and magnificently so that one finds oneself amidst all the diversity of a completely different world with beautiful and also horrible creatures and breathtaking landscapes. The New Sealand lands work wonder well as an alternative earth we do not recognize from our american or european framework. It is in all respects a true adventure for people of all ages to meditate on the significance of being bound and tempted by a golden inscribed ring in fellowships that break down struggling with all the demons of evil. The fantasy world projects all evil to the demoniac opponent that is after power only. Only the humans of the fellowship have difficulty resisting the temptation, they are kept as a minority of gods being mixed to both the qualities. First a classic in literature and now one to become in the cinema. (website)



Gezien: 13 dec. 2001 Dir.:  Vincent Bal met: Carice van Houten en Theo Maassen. Heerlijke kinderfilm naar een verhaal van Annie M.G. Schmit. Minoes is een vreemd meisje: ze klimt hoog in de boom als een hond tegen haar blaft en ze kan zich niet beheersen als ze vis ruikt. Ze kan ook met katten praten in de buurt en ze weet zelf niet waarom ze er ook niet als een kat uitziet. Op een dag likte ze aan een vat dat van een vrachtwagen was gevallen en toen was ze opeens een mens geworden, met mensengeur en al, bah. Haar andere poezen-collega's vinden het maar raar dat ze er als een mens uitziet en op het dak rondhangt. Ze ontmoet per toeval de verlegen journalist Tibbe die dreigt te worden ontslagen als hij nog een keer met een onbenullig stukje zonder nieuwswaarde durft aan te komen. Hij is wanhopig en treft Minoes aan in een boom. Hij helpt haar eruit en zo raken ze bevriend. Minoes trekt bij hem in als zijn assistente van de katten-nieuwsdienst, want ze hoort van alle katten in de buurt alle nieuwtjes. Eerst botert het nog niet zo met Tibbe, maar dat wordt allengs beter als hij succes krijgt met de poezenpraatjes. Hij moet wel even wennen aan haar poezenmanieren als hij b.v. een krab over zijn neus krijgt De z.g. weldoener van het dorp, de schatrijke direkteur van de deodorant-fabriek Deo, blijkt volgens Minoes helemaal niet zo'n aardige man te zijn. Hij rijdt de haringkar omver en zo. Bovendien schopt hij katten in de afvalbak , als voorzitter van de dierenbescherming nog wel, en ook gooit hij een nest jonge katjes van de Jakkepoes weg. Jakkepoes is een knorrig dametje die al weinig vertrouwen in de mens heeft en apart leeft in een oude caravan. Als de deo-man dan die caravan ook nog op wil ruimen en de burgemeester probeert om te kopen met een zwembad, is de maat vol en gaat Tibbe met Minoes en de poezen in de aanval om hem aan de kaak te stellen. Ze lokken hem in de val en filmen hem met zijn wandaden. Als het hele dorp op Tibbes hand is, eerst hadden ze hem namelijk ontslagen en bijna z'n huis uitgezet omdat hij maar wat zou roddelen, gaan ze op onderzoek uit en ontdekken ze de beschadigde auto waarmee meneer Deo de haringkar omver had gereden. Nou mooi dat meneer Deo zelf in zijn eigen kuil mag donderen dus! Minoes kan weer terug poes worden als ze een goudvinkje oppeuzelt, maar dat lukt niet. Minoes wil ook best mens blijven en trouwt, eind goed al goed, met Tibbe. Het is allemaal erg komisch en vermakelijk de dorpse toestanden en de pratende poezen met de stemmen van Wim T. Schippers en Paul Haenen. Theo Maassen is zonder meer een ideale Tibbe die de goedheid zelve is. Carice van Houten's Minoes is een schatje van een katje. Burny Bos die ook al Abeltje verfilmde en voor het script tekende heeft er weer een mooie Anne M.G.-film bij gemaakt. Filmisch is het ook allemaal prima in orde. Gewoon een pracht van een nederlanse film. (IMB-info)



Le Fabuleux Destin d'Amelie Poulain

(Amelie From Montmarte)
Seen: 5 dec. 2001 Dir.:  Jean-Pierre Jeunet, with: Audrey Tautou en Mathieu Kassovitz. A magical romantic comedy of a young woman who living in her own world of fantasies tries to make it with an equally lone artist that works in a video-store nearby. That man has a peculiar hobby: he collects torn photo's from under a photo-boot, glues them together and keeps them in an album. Amelie is a kind of saint in the neighborhood where she pulls of all kind of pranks and surprises other people with unexpected plots of action. She prepares the house of a shopkeeper who is an unfriendly racist so that the man wakes up in the middle of the night, puts the wrong cream on his toothbrush and goes out for his work and more of that. She makes her father believe that his garden goblin that he against the will of the deceased mother has placed on her grave (in the garden!) is traveling the world all over sending him postcards from Moscow and New York. She also makes video's for the glass man, an old artist with brittle bones that has dedicated his life to copy one painting of Renoir. Very charmingly she slowly gets into the life of the young man playing all kinds of games with him to meet him. It almost seemed to go wrong when he is directed to a colleague of her working in the same café where she also couples a customer to the woman selling the cigarettes telling them both that they would fancy one other. All this results in a highly sophisticated artistically filmed comedy that charms in its warm humanity and mystery and magic. Amelie's world is alive: her things, like her lampshade and her t.v., come to life speaking to her and she recognizes death in person in a mechanic that time and again tears his own photo's checking the photo-boot for its maintenance. With an happy end this movie leaves one nothing to wish. It is the best French movie I've seen since Vatel. (all-movie-info)


Seen: 5 dec. 2001 Dir.:  Barry Levinson, with: Bruce Willis en Billy Bob Thornton. The sleep-over bandits so it seems are doomed to end up dead, so makes the movie one believe. They, spontaneously escaping from prison in a cement-truck, form a peculiar duo. He is the macho criminal and his friend is the neurotic intellectual with imagined diseases that meticulously plans the perfect crime. They thus have a perfect plan to rob banks: they one night before sleep over at the bank directors home address forcing him into giving them the bank the next day. It works all according plan perfectly, until a disappointed housewife, a grand lady joined them, She with them freaks out on her civil life. In fact is the classical theme of sympathy with the antisocial motive portrayed: society is bad with all those square hypocrites and deserves, stealing by law and government, nothing else but to be stolen itself. The originality of the story lies in the plot of finally escaping from the civil hell of stealing and fleeing, to celebrate the riches in Mexico. They both fall in love with the irresistible lady who almost defeats them in their will to survive and keep together. The neurotic and the macho make a nice couple of friends and together with another crime-artist, a stuntman, they finally complete their masterpiece of bank robbery escaping from an impossible situation of being trapped by the police. Don't read the next if you want to be surprised, but they shoot one other so it seems and the ambulance that takes them away is driven by the stuntman who crashes with it so that everybody thinks they're dead. Well only in the very end one finds out about this scheme and as such is the movie a successful cheating story, even cheating the onlooker in thinking that they are doomed to die. For its genre a seven on a scale of ten 'I'd say. Good entertainment, although... the escapist motive is of a lesser appeal to me than the success story of a real victory over the civil square. But those stories that really would give a better world are very rare. (website)



Seen: 28 nov. 2001 Dir.:  Michael Apted to a book by Robert Harris, with: Kate Winslet, Dougray Scott. The story is about a real-life event that was decisive to the outcome of the second worldwar: the cracking of the german communications codes with a machine called the enigma. There is a whole intelligence plot with a beautiful spy, and a romance between Tom Jericho, the genius mathematician and Hester Wallace who is also in the Enigma project. Because of an attack of the Germans they manage to get sufficient information to crack their code, but it goes not without troubles. Papers are needed that unveil a drama in Poland where the Russians executed thousands of civilians. That could not be uncovered, so that information got stolen by Claire the beautiful spy who did it with all men of the project and has become a subject of repression and shame. She has fled, or was she murdered, and trying to find her our genius, who just returned from mental hospital because of a nervous breakdown, is followed by the secret service who discovers that the papers were hidden under the floor of the little cottage where Claire shared rooms with Hester. Hester helps Philip fleeing from the tentacles of the service and crack the code. Victory of love and intelligence. Thus the movie is a classic as well as a reminder of an important historic event. In real-life is the victory to the intelligent, compassionate and sensitive. That is how should we should know it. (all-movie-info)

Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone

Seen: 28 nov. 2001 Dir.: Chris Columbus with: Daniel Radcliffe, Rupert Grint, Emma Watson (II), John Cleese, John Hurt. Harry is an orphan destined to become a great magician. The movie begins with scenes from his youth: a very nasty stepfather forbids him as good as everything and keeps him in the broomcloset under the staircase. His fat stepbrother thinks to be the better of him, but mysteriously all works in favor of Harry. When a letter is torn do owls deliver tons of other similar letters just to make sure he gets the message that he is elected for the Hogwarth school of Wizardry. There he goes and gets his education. He is famous from the beginning, marked by a scar on his forehead because of being attacked and having survived an attack by the evil magician Voldemort. His parents, that were killed by the evil one, were also in the business, so he is a natural talent and does pretty well at the peculiar school situated in a parallel universe where other laws of nature are ruling. One flies there on broomsticks playing a special magical ballgame called Quidditch. The scenes of that game are of an other worldly beauty. It is science fiction all right but with a classical touch. It is the great charm of the Harry Potter-universe where one can walk through walls, fly through the air and cast spells with magic wands that really work. Harry with his friends discovers that hidden in the school and guarded by a monster of a three headed dog called fluffy [falls asleep on music] there is the philosophers stone of immortality. [what philosophy would that be?]. To get that stone, before the evil Voldemort seizes it is his mission. He has to take it up with an enormous troll, big green and very stupid and a life size game of chess where he has to sacrifice one of his friends to finally snatch the stone away before the evil Voldemort gets it. Meanwhile he has to follow classes in magic where there is the regular passing by of old spirits playing games with them. Everything works in favor of Harry. He gets a cloak that makes him invisible. Thus he can get access unseen. He finds a mirror that shows one one's personal future. Harry's world offers a paradise of fantasy where all things of matter can be controlled by training the spirit properly. Thus classically evil has to be defeated. It is all beautifully filmed answering all expectations on locations in England with English actors as the author J. K. Rowling managed to demand. Who has not had the children's dream of magical control finally defeating the dominance and evil of the material world? Although we shouldn't ask the Lord for miracles, in this movie we love to forget about that. That's Harry Potter. (website)


 Legally Blonde

Seen: 13 nov 2001. Dir:  Robert Luketic with: Reese Witherspoon, Matthew Davis (II). Elle Woods is a pinky cosmo-girl, a Superbarbie the Luxe that looses a friend who goes to Harvard. She is not the senator type of wife he is looking for, so he dumps her. She though is determined to win him back taking up the challenge. She and her little pet-dog apply for Harvard law school to take it up with the so-called intelligent and cultured. She keeps the dum blonde image though seeking solace with her cuticles in the beauty parlor. That is her fraternity. Of course she makes it finally, handing out scented pink résumé's and typing on an orange Apple laptop. Intelligence is a matter of motivation she proves. The movie is a jolly interpretation of the emancipation theme: class is not what decides, all that matters is devotion. Thus this is a o.k. movie, a light comedy making no offenses or heavy intellectual appeal. Emancipation itself though, not being about woman, another class of society or being blonde specifically is in need of more movies telling stories different ways to make us fully aware of the importance of the true of emancipation. The movie even running into musical and dance entertains, but escapes the real discussion that emancipation should serve not as much being black or white, man or woman, but to be a loyal to the true science of selfrealization. This legally blonde makes it too much in the style of a 'pride in jealousy'- type of emancipation that is after another outcome than a higher cause. For fun o.k., but for a discussion not enough. (website)

 A One and a Two (Yi Yi) - filmclub

Seen: 13 nov 2001.  Dir: Edward Yang, with: Wu Nien-Jen, Elaine Jin, Kelly Lee, Jonathan Chang, Chen Xisheng, Ke Suyun, Issey Ogata. This taiwanese movie tells the story of a family in crisis in the middle of the nineties businesslife in Taiwan. Mother has an affair with the english teacher, father has a secret love from his youth he cannot return to, grandma is on her deathbed and needs to be spoken to until she dies, and an uncle does a suicide attempt. The girl of the family has a friend. She is totally upset when she discovers the affair of her mother with her own teacher. Her boyfriend cannot cope with the scandal, abandons his girlfriend and kills the teacher. End scenes at the funeral of grandma. The story begins at a family wedding of the uncle setting the tone of the movie: there is no straight storyline told. From each person his own perspective everything is shown as if one is a spirit in the sky. One is not allowed to identify with anyone. At first this confuses one as an onlooker/peeping Tom, asking oneself 'of what concern to me would be the lives of these people?' One even floats outside the buildings seeing what happens inside as if one would be a bird or God in the sky, impartial and unconcerned. A clue to the mystery of identification is offered by the little boy of the family. He is always harassed in school by the other kids and asks his father difficult philosophical things he can't answer really. Father complains that the boy doesn't use the little camera he gave him. The boy gives in and starts his art. First he shoots all mosquito's in the apartment building 'otherwise no one would believe they are there'. That 'abstract art' is not very well understood. The second series is of the backside of all kinds of people. The boy says he wants to show people things they cannot see themselves as e.g. their backside. That is his calling, his service. So too the movie shows us the vision of the unidentified pure witness, one never attains oneself identified as one is with ones own body. This makes the movie a typical product of the eastern philosophy and a revelation to our understanding in the western style of identifying with characters. Now we learn to understand without identification, as identification could be the problem itself. Thus gives this story a refreshing look at storytelling in the cinema. Certainly an important contribution to its culture. (all movie info)


 A Knight's Tale

Seen: 13 nov 2001. Regie: Brian Helgeland. Met: Heath Ledger, Laura Fraser, Paul Bettany, Mark Addyand others. In a poor outskirts of Old London is a thatcher's son born who wants to become a knight. His father gives him away with an experienced lance fighter to find a better fate. The young man becomes the helper of a prizefighting knight touring around for the rewards handed out at tournaments. It has become his living. When someday his master dies, he together with his two friends take it over from him. But they miss the necessary papers proving they are nobles, since the game of the lances is not for the common man. After a first scam, they meet Saucer, the famous writer, on the road, naked, robbed of all his possessions in a game of gambling, which is his addiction. They win him for them and thus he gets his, be it false papers, proving him, William Thatcher to be a fictitious Ulrich from Gelderland. With the excellent talents of his herald Chaucer, he wins the favor of the people and the ladies, although he still falls short a little in the manners of nobility. But quickly he picks up the trade learning to dance and fight as it should. He becomes the celebrated hero winning all tournaments as well as the Lady in favor. But of course there is an envious rival determined to wreck him. That one follows him one day as he is visiting his fathers house and thus is his fraud uncovered. But the King, also under cover to participate at the tournaments, recognizes the bravery of the Knight-to-be and knights him with the excuse that he would be a forgotten branch of royal blood. The story end when he defeats his rival finally in the deciding tournament that brings him the lady he is in love with. A classical story with beautiful decors, fights with splintering lances, good wit an humor and romance. Not too deep in the philosophy it is also attractive for the young to identify with as the film is accompanied by modern rocksongs of e.g. Queen and Bowie. At the onset of the film and halfway there is even an anachronistic performance of Queens, 'we will rock you' and a Bowie-song presented as a Gelderland type of dance ending in a modern free style swing. The anachronisms though are not disturbing the rest of the story that is very loyal in its costumes and further cultural reference. Good entertainment worth seeing. (website)

 The Score

Seen: 5 Nov 2001. Dir.: Frank Oz. With: Robert de Niro, Edward Norton, Marlon Brando, Angela Bassett, The score is about the confrontation between two generations of bankrobbers. The elder are careful and as conscientious as doing a straight job. The younger one thinks in terms of hit and run and take what you can get. He who wants the bottom of the can gets the lid on his nose is for him the lesson to be learnt. We see how the young bankrobber, a bit of a controlfreak with all his talent manages to win the confidence of a museum in Montreal that has a very precious royal scepter smuggled from France in its cellar. A treasure hidden is a trigger for crime that has the mission to keep all wealth in circulation. So he acts as a retard cleaning the floors meanwhile figuring out how to get to the treasure. Together with an old crimelord who does all the planning he conspires with an old professional safecracker to get in. That old man wants to have his last job before retiring with the woman of his choice. At first the little retard, as they call him, annoys the old guys intruding on their privacy and planning on his own. They want to teach him a lesson, but that doesn't really work as planned. The young one is mean enough to be an equal he thinks and he thinks as well to outsmart the older colleague and boss by running of with the scepter at the end of the line. The winner takes it all. But of course there is the lesson to be learned, otherwise, why watch the story? Thus we see a nice bankjob story with all the classical ingredients unfolding. The characters are perfectly suited and because of the fine casting of this movie it is a satisfying experience. (website)

 The Discovery of Heaven

Seen: 5 Nov 2001. Dir: Jeroen Krabbé with: Stephen Fry (Onno), Greg Wise (Max) , Flora Montgomery (Ada) , Neil Newbon, (Quinten) and Jeroen Krabbé, Filmed to an international bestseller of the dutch language professor Harry Mulish. Now and then one sees a movie that is a real masterpiece of narration. The theme dominating is how to deal with the evil of mankind. How can a writer express his belief in the living word of God meanwhile transforming it and fixing it into a book? Even a movie is merely a picture book or an illustration to the essence of the word, as the writer himself said to this movie, a fixation too. The very fixation of the word [and image of God by the way] is in fact the problem. How do we discover heaven as cultured people aching for meaning and freedom without the pains of bondage? Thus the story begins in heaven where Gabriel decides that to meet with the divine demands the very fixation of the holy word in the form of the stone tablets of the ten commandments needs to be taken back to heaven: the word back to heaven to rediscover heaven. Thus heaven sends an envoy, an angel in the form of the son called Quinten, born out of the love of two men called Onno, a linguist, and Max, an astronomer, who as friends both are in love with an attractive young cellist called Ada. Throughout the movie the story is monitored by Gabriel and the angels there arguing about the proceedings of the retrieval of the tablets. The boy is born in a highly cultured association ideally suited for reawakening the memory of the divine mission. His three parents, Onno plays for the real father, are all caught in time: Onno in a never ending quest to decipher an etruscian disc that seems to state that all our lives are in the claws of the big Bird of prey that is God. Max is researching on the center of the galaxy to look behind the time of history in search for the one reality or the ones beyond. Ada is caught in another capsule of time, her body that is in coma after an accident not unlike the tablets caught in their secret place. For Quinten it is to find out in visions and intuition who his real father is and what to do with his mysterious life. The story beautifully enfolds on locations in Holland, Cuba and Rome describing how in the sixties the characters are caught in the sexual revolution and the socialist politics, slowly wrestling themselves out of it with damage. Not only does Ada fall away, also the other girl friend of Onno, who did his laundry, is killed in a tragic accident with a car thief. Quinten grows up in a small Castle very protected and as an eccentric from the beginning. He carries around with him an engraving, gifted by Onno, of the Sancto Sanctorium in Rome where, as Heaven whispers to him, the tablets are kept. He even as a boy learns to pick locks not knowing how much he would later need it to retrieve the tablets that nobody knows are hidden there. On the death of his girlfriend retires Onno from the living world of decay back to Rome where he is merely the shadow of his former self instead of being the political leader and responsible father his influential family wanted him to be. Max educating Quinten lives and cohabitates in the little castle with the mother of Ada, but finally discovering the conspiration of heaven behind the celestial sky in Westerbork in a fit of mad ecstasy, he is punished with a meteorite that wipes away his type of discovering the truth. No God the impersonal way tells creator Mulish us [not taking too much time to tell this story]. Quinten afterwards intuitively manages to find his supposed real father hiding in Rome and together with him he brings back the tablets to Jerusalem where he smashes them on the rock from where Mohammed arose to heaven and from where the tablets themself so it seems descended to earth. He then leaves for heaven in a cloud of words likewise, but arriving there he swears to come back to save his father and the world from the darkness they are in, living without the commandments, although now being delivered from the fixation of the holiest word. The whole movie is ravishing to experience: its intellectual depth, its humor, its speed, vitality, the quality of acting, its historic value, its photography and what not. Although it would only be a picture book compared to the book itself, it is still a masterpiece in all respects. He who is alienated from the living word himself might not fully understand what it is all about, but knowing how next to impossible it is for a writer to organize the liberation from his own science of fixation in a mixture of science, culture, fiction, religion and historical fact, deserves nevertheless this best of the best of all dutch productions for the cinema, nothing but praise. A new classic of the cinema is born. (website)

 Suna No Onna / Woman in the Dunes (1964- classic)

Seen: 22 Oct. 2001. Dir: Hiroshi Teshigahara. with: Eiji Okada and Kyoko Kishida Japan 1964 Prix de Cannes. The story, a classic japanese existential fable, to a book by Kobo Abe, Japan, is about a professor in biology who tries to find a rare insect to make his name. He wanders around in a beach area with enormous dunes. There lives a community of people constantly fighting the onslaught of the sand. Young men and people with talent move to the big city, so the community has found another way to keep, gather and motivate its people. The professor, like they also did with others, is caught by them in a deep pit in the sand at the bottom of which lives a woman, an attractive widow, in a little wooden cottage. She keeps herself alive by clearing the sand and stringing beads. The man cannot escape and goes crazy in the pit. The woman manages to appease him a bit. First he ties her with rags, but later on they develop a sexual relation as he finally concedes. Nevertheless he manages to escape once with a piece of rope made by himself in secret. But running away for the men chasing him, he runs into quicksand. He returns to the woman and lives there for many years with his woman in the dunes. One day she develops an extra-uterine pregnancy and has to be taken away to the hospital. The men forget to take away the rope ladder. The professor though is no longer willing to escape from there. He has found a meaning in his life which might be more important than becoming famous with a rare insect: he found a way to win water through a capillary effect in the sand. Thus he can solve the waterproblem of the sandpeople and be a real-time hero there. End of the story. The movie is in black and white and very soberly, surrealistically set with deep character picturing. One identifies with the man and his despair of being caught in the pit of material life and discovers thus the difference between the essence of soul and the illusion of the ego, between the imagination of a dreamed success and the reality of solving a problem with and for the people one has to live with. A deserved Cannes-winner. Indeed a classic. (All Movie Guide)



 Fargo (1996 - filmclub)

Seen: 20 Oct. 2001 Dir: The Coen Brothers, With Steve Buscemi and William H. Macy. A car dealer Called Jerry Lundegaard makes a terrible mistake in setting up the kidnapping of his own wife to solve his financial problems. His father-in-law does not want to finance his plans to solve it righteously. Thus he hires two terrible and dumb crooks who promise to do the job for him without much trouble, but they run into a terrible mess. First they kill a policeman who finds fault with them as their car still has the dealer plates on from Mr Lundegaard. Then a passing car with two witnesses is chased. The car crashes and the two people inside are also killed. Then next the father-in-law is killed when he tries to get the crooks the money that is demanded against what was agreed upon. Next the kidnapped wife is murdered because she kept on wining and after that the one crook kills the other because he didn't make a deal to his liking with him. When that dumbo is busy shredding the two corpses in a woodshredder, the police finds him and shoots him in the leg as he tries to run. Some time later Mr Lundegaard is caught hiding in a motel on the run for the disaster he created. The story is an unbelievable demonstration of the fact that a little of evil intent can create a complete hell with numerous victims. Of interest is the policewoman investigating the case. She is a sober countryside woman with a very cool attitude. She's never of balance and simply does her job nicely, whatever the drama. Meanwhile she is pregnant and that also worries her just as an old acquaintance who seems to be really crazy about her. Buscemi plays the weird little other crook who's leg sticks out of the shredder at the end of the movie. The greatest merit of the story is that it all really happened;who would think up such a ridicule of crime. As a fantasy it certainly would have passed as a comedy, but being real one doesn't really laugh at the Lord His divine Jokes with the modern civil society of the ignorant. (website).


 America's Sweetheart's

Seen: 20 Oct. 2001 Dir: Steve Roth, Produced, written and played by Billy Crystal. With: Julia Roberts and Catherine Zeta-Jones, John Cusak and Christopher Walken. Billy Crystal plays the publicist Lee Phillips of a movie company who, to save his job, has to bring two separated famous actors named Gwen and Eddy together. They are about to separate but for the promotion of their latest movie the show of a good marriage has to be kept going. Julia Roberts plays the sister Kiki of Gwen with whom Eddy falls in love instead of returning to his former wife as is pretended. The role of the director of the their newest movie is played by Christopher Walken. Billy Crystal managed to combine a romance and comedy in a for him typical successful way. The jokes not too corny and the romance not too pink are well in balance and there are a lot of good laughs. No deep philosophy here be it that the eccentric director makes a ridicule of having filmed the life of the actors instead of the script itself. So a bit of Hollywood self-criticism there is. Also the whole press-show is ridiculed of course, which is always interesting to see, But none of that too serious either. Of these three elements, the romance, the comedy and the critical view on the life of making movies and the star-image one sees a mature comedy, a nice feather-weight romance and a little bit of light in self-criticism (website).






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