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



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

11.27 - 01.13 , 2001

(Dutch movies are discussed in Dutch)


Charlie's Angels

Seen 01.13.01.: Dir.: McG. Starring: Bill Murray, Cameron Diaz, Drew Barrymore and Lucy Liu. Action, action, action: it is a concept for a good digestion. Undoubtedly there was a lot of fun in making and seeing this superfast story of three lady Bonds in a comedy of heroism. The girlpower of the Spice Girls is nothing compared to this. These ladies are really unbelievable, and who wouldn't want them with their captivating smiles and super slim figures? The serious underlying consideration is the ridicule of all masculine power. What's the use of it anymore? Doesn't matriarchy herald the end of the culture of this epoch? Men forsaking and woman dominating? That must end in natural chaos! Or would natural order be the goal? We men have a problem with our honor and duty and even the cinema isn't safe anymore against our false pretensions. On itself I think that's good to expose. We already had Schwartzeneggers Last Action Hero and now we have this: the Ladies are of the world and know the world much better than the men. Nevertheless did Arnold and James and the other male heroes continue with their shows and dreams and will also do so after this movie. But it will never be the same anymore... I won't forget these three. Never. Of course this movie is in fact all for fun, girls are there for the fun and not really to be taken serious of course. One shouldn't think in this but enjoy. So the music is fast, the jokes fast and the shots unbelievable. Its art, its the new movies. The story itself is to the expectations: some software for voicerecognition must be retrieved and the crooks who stole it must be defeated. But that is not the point thus. One may enjoy the cartoon-like style of action and adventure. Doing impossible things and dreaming of the all-powerful has now its female version. Maybe that will wake us men up to our duty. And what would it be? I do not expect a Charlie's Angels part two. We men must somehow prevent it. But then real (or should we rejoice that now also the woman are dreaming of the all-powerful?). One such a fun meal of cinematic power and gender-role criticism really satisfied my appetite completely. I've got the message.(website)



Seen 01.13.01.: Dir.: M. Night Shyamalan Starring: Bruce Willis, Samuel J. Jackson. Taking off from the previous movie of this director, the sixth sense, one has the wrong expectations. In fact the director plays with ones idea that the material world could be the world of ones afterlife. That is what we get if we do not believe in reincarnation. Thus is his world one big sad and dark madness show of spiritual insecurity. This time the suggested eternal life of our hero, as if he is unbreakable, is not to be mistaken for the real thing. Would he be in hell because of wanting to be unfaithful to his wife? He is almost shot by his own son who thinks his father is unbreakable. One is confounded. The cause of this delusion is the mysterious collector of comic books who pretends to be his friend suggesting him having special powers. This he thinks because our hero, who is a simple security guard in a stadium, has survived as the only one a disastrous train accident. More accidents had happened but none of them gave the alter-ego of our comicbook character who has to sit in a wheelchair being born with bones as glass: he broke them a fifty times or more. This peculiar genetic twist of fate gave him the odd philosophy that for each person there must be a counterpart (wasn't it Plato who also suggested this for lovers?). As he would be breakable as mr. Glass, there also has to be an unbreakable one. To the end of the movie one is held in fascination of the suggestion of the beyond, the paranormal and diverted from the real danger of the twisted mind of the one manipulating. Of course does the sick one end up in the asylum, but who would that be? Who is the disbeliever in this world? Is it the realistic skeptic, trying to stay sober or the disturbed lunatic with his superstition and paranormal delusions? Go and see the sober conclusion. (website)


   Autumn in New York

Seen 01.05.01.: Starring: Richard Gere, Winona Ryder. How about a love affair between an aged bachelor of 48 and a young girl of 22 years old? He is a well-to-do restaurant owner and she fabricates fashion hats. He falls for her innocent and open hearted attraction, She is a mature child and he was never a father. Freud could think about this too, but that point is not stressed. When he tells her that he can't promise more than what it was at the moment, does she tell him that she's about to die with an inoperable tumor in the chest. She dies of it in the movie leaving everything and everyone behind. I thought it masterly done to make a difficult and predictable story like this interesting, not too melodramatic and properly balanced. He has to pay for his old habits and she has to conquer her despair with his conversion to the true of love. That point is made. Gere is one of the stars who's personality is more important than the story and it must be concluded that the combination with Winona Ryder is a successful one. She is a real woman and a real child in one and a pleasure to see. Gere is always smiling within contemplating his consistency. It is the worldly life combined with this inner vision that makes him such an attractive actor. Go and contemplate with him. You won't fall asleep.(website)



  The Sixth Day

Seen 01.05.01.: Starring: Arnold Schwartzenegger, Robert Duvall. Director Roger Spottiswood. The movies of Arnold are consequent in their setup: they consistently picture the near future with all the high tech one can think of: self-directing cars, holographic commercials and cloned people this time. The story is about the latter subject. A decade ago it still seemed Science Fiction, but this time one really wonders what of what has been shown cannot be done. Well, sure is that cloning people within 24 hours is pretty impossible, but it is done here. This creates a completely different society where people, especially criminals, are more and more careless about losing their lives. They can be cloned back with in a day. Arnold shoots some guy his leg off and the crook starts complaining about the new boots that are ruined. The jokes are sometimes a bit corny about cigars and sex, and some James Bond Style remarks that seem pretty anachronistic to the modern setting. In the future some type of humor should also be renewed. Apart from the sometimes a little forced humor is the movie good old fashioned Schwartzenegger entertainment. The scenes, decors, and technology are all amazing and the story is sometimes even complicated when we have to figure out which Schwartzenegger is the cloned one. Enfin, the two start cooperating and defeat that way the crooks and the mad scientist . The story is action-hero type 1 series so and so about a pilot who accidentally gets cloned because an anti-clone-activist thinks he can kill clones but shoots the wrong ones. The company covers up and wants to eliminate our hero because cloning humans is illegal while the clone (yes or no?) was home first. The rest can be guessed and goes as expected. Good buy for what one expects to see.(website)


  The Family Man

Seen 12.29.00.: Starring: Nicolas Cage. A single living business man who has everything his heart desires ends up in a parallel universe making up for a missed chance. Accidentally he is a good man and is rewarded for it. He suddenly finds himself in the life that he has missed for 13 years with the great love he exchanged for his business career. Entertaining the movie sets the contrast on the difference between a life of love and modesty and a life of success and money. Of course love wins. of course walking the dog and making and raising babies is better. Of course is love better than money. In the end after his trip through the alternative universe he has to return and take that final chance to prevent the love he was dreaming about to leave on the same airplane to Europe he had taken years before. This time it works: he has the vigor to convince that lovely woman. End of the movie. Everyone who missed a chance in his life for real love should see this movie: it is never to late and always good to remember what the Bible already said: what is it worth to win the world but lose ones soul? (website)



 The Luzhin Defence

Seen 12.29.00.: Dir: Marleen Gorris, starring JohnTurturro, Emily Watson. The defence of a genius chessplayer is the subject of this story. At a worldchampion chess contest does Alexander Luzhin meet a young attractive woman. Completely estranged from the world he only lived for chess and now he falls in love. Meanwhile he tries to win the contest. An ex-patron of him who gave up on him because he was too defensive and thus would never win tries to block his victory by conspiring against him. This is too much for the childlike innocent chess-player living in his own chess-world vulnerable now being in love. God has left him and he breaks down. Just before marrying the woman he commits suicide. A drama. After his death she finds his worked out defense by which he posthumously wins the game. His life was complete: he had developed the perfect defense in chess and was thus master of the game. Chess is bad for your health he had remembered from his youth. His life was bad for his life, his mission was to end the madness of chess, ergo his end. With the opposition and the pressure, the stress of the love-affair and everything the man seemed to have lost control. But the movie shows his christian victory; he loses himself in the woman, loses control over his nerves, goes psychotic with the conspiracy, but he has won. Never will chess conquer the world: the Luzhin defense is immortal now. (website).



 The World of Sophie (Sofies verden)

Seen 12.19.00.: Dir: Erik Gustavson, starring: Silje Storstein. Norwegian (subtitled) Film to the bestseller by Jostein Gaarder. Sophie is a young dreamy girl with a strong feeling for philosophy. In her magical reality she meets a talking dog that turns out to be her spiritual guide Alberto Knox that leads her into the forest towards a gateway of philosophy. This gateway brings her in contact with the world of Greek philosophy, Shakespeare, the philosopher Berkeley, the phenomenon of the Revolution and more of European history and intelligence. Meanwhile there is a parallel universe where her alter-ego Hilde lives who has a father who is an officer serving for the UN in Serbia during the war. He is the creator of her dreamy life as he is writing the book while it is played out by Sophie and her guide. Apart from being a highly interesting visit through the ages of philosophy it is also an interesting view on how the arts relate to modern politics: the writer saves the honor of the intellect and thus puts the war of ignorance to an end. Sophie is happy with her story and the world is happy in the parallel reality. End good all good. Sophie is has become immortal and is beautiful, the movie is beautiful and the intellect is beautiful. A masterpiece from Norway in the best ability of Europe and its intellectual life. (website)



  Meet The Parents

Seen 12.19.00.: Dir: Jay Roach: Starring: Robert de Niro, Ben stiller. A male nurse is in love with the daughter of a slightly paranoid ex-cia-agent. The parents have to be seen and our hero joins with the family for initiation. Literally everything goes wrong and thus the slapstick is complete. The whole movie is a constant comedy-sketch without losing coherence. The jokes are great and de Niro is the perfect man for the father-role. Go and see how the guest ruins and knocks out his own marriage proposal, the ashes of grandma on the mantelpiece, a beautiful eye of the sister to be wed, the pet, a marriage entourage, the septic tank , the so called circle of trust of daddy, his spy-cover and more of the completely impossible of mishap. Nevertheless we may expect a happy ending. First laugh and then be happy. It is a form of logic concealing how difficult it really is to get properly married these modern days. Don't think to much about that though, that's not what this movie is for. Have fun. (website)


  Small Time Crooks

Seen 12.19.00.: Dir: Woody Allen: Starring: Woody Allen, Tracy Ulman, Hugh Grant: Rob a bank and end up rich selling cookies. However one arrives at ones destination: it is not the money of course that is the goal. The little people playing big time, big bucks because they desire so, stay the same in this comedy. To begin from the start: a middle aged guy goes out with his friends to rob a bank, buys a pizzeria and starts digging in the cellar while his wife sells cookies in the storefront because that's all she can. Being very clumsy they never get to the bank next door, but end up in another store. Meanwhile the cookies are a great success. They get very rich and enter the art scene of New York. She wants to do something good for the community and starts collecting/protecting the arts. They have no idea what they are doing being distaste personified and contact an expert who sneaks into the marriage of the two small time crooks. Of course for the money. End of the story: the small time crooks lose everything because of corrupt bookkeepers and the art-expert runs as fast away as the money itself. The marriage is restored upon the poverty regained. Also he failed in robbing an expensive necklace from the rich and famous because he can't tell the difference between the real stuff and the fake to replace it with. Woody Allen is never tired of being the critic ridiculing everything hypocrite and obscure from the modern time neurotic society. This time the hypocrisy of the art- and moneyscene is his target. It's all as fake as it is rich. The civilized person turns out to be the greatest crook and the smalltime crook in the end returns to his original love falling back to it like with gravity to the earth. Happy the poor and clumsy, because they will never win anything but the heart. It is no deep philosophy and Woody is no real rough guy; trying to act like one saying ' I rip your head of' and such really doesn't do the job and half way the movie he gives that up. No big deal. With Allen reality is inevitable; that's the purpose of the neurosis: doubt until the illusion drops... So be it, he did his job and spent the money himself too returning to where he started in his quest for serving intelligence. He proves that losing ones money is the way of the heartful intelligent. Would the other wealth become clear with Allen also? Keep him in check! (website)


  The Limey (filmclub)

Seen 12.13.00.: Dir: Steven Soderberg: Starring: Terence Stamp and Peter Fonda. An ex-convict released from prison returns to society finding it further degraded than it was before. In the sixties he was part of the l.a.-scene having many friends that were no real friends. He simply robbed a bank and went to prison, while others like a smart music-producer made millions with illegal productions and a sophisticated intelligent security defense for covering up his million-dollar cheats. The movie is an artistic and cinematographic masterpiece. It has a complicated daring cut of flashbacks very realistically showing the ways of thought of the characters. It takes full attention, but gives a perfect profile of the situation. The characters are all set in a kind of worn-out and degraded sixties-atmosphere showing how the good days of drugs and feasting all ended in crime and murder. All the criminals are really smart and really as human and real as one can be in the situation. The story itself though it nothing special: the daughter of the ex-con was murdered by the music-producer and he is out for revenge. This movie proves that behind each stupid story there is a universe of human reality that factually makes it true. Without doubt this movie is an example for all the others in the out-for revenge category (website).


  O Brother where art thou!

Seen 12.13.00.: Dir: The Coen Brothers (Joel en Ethan). Starring: George Clooney, John Turturro, John Goodman. The story dedicated to Homers Odyssey is really an odd-i-see of three escaped prisoners in search of the value and liberation of their own freedom. Freedom in itself is worth little if ones wife is still in illusion and evil ruling all around. Thus our heroes very hilariously overcome all kinds of hindrances in a series of most entertaining separate scenes through which the brothers travel in the south of America in the early thirties. They become blue-grass-heroes without knowing it. They attend a meeting of the Klu Klux Clan and they are cheated by a one-eyed crook of a Bible-preacher. One of them seems to turn into a frog and another returns to prison from which he has to be liberated again. And always is the Dapper Dan pomade running out of stock and is the coiffure ruined despite of the hairnets. Damned! They are saved by the flood (why not the flood) and ultimately are stars on the stage of victory winning the hand of the queen. It was a sheer delight to see such a serious business as a life's odyssey roll on as one big comedytrain fascinating at each turn of the story. A true delight filmed in burnt out ochre colors one mustn't miss! (website)


  Mariken (Dutch)

Gezien 13.12.00.: Regie: André van Duren. Met: Laurien v.d. Broek, Hans Dagelet, Kim van Kooten en Willeke van Ammelrooy. Dit is het klassieke nederlandse verhaal over de omzwervingen in de middeleeuwen van het weesmeisje Mariken van Nimwegen. Het is het verdienstelijk bioscoop-debuut van deze regisseur naar het boek van Peter van Gestel en is meteen een waardevolle klassieker in de nederlandse filmgeschiedenis. Al onze klassieke verhalen zouden zo'n mooie verfilming moeten krijgen. Mariken is een prachtig meisje met korenblauwe ogen die als vondeling op de hei wordt aangetroffen door kluizenaar Archibald. Deze voedt haar in het 'Woud der Wanen' op met een alternatieve bijbel genaamd 'De mensheid een Klucht'. Als de geit wordt opgegeten door een hongerige jager gaat Mariken op zoek naar een nieuwe en beleeft ze zo het avontuur van dit verhaal. Ze komt in de stad bij een theatergezelschap terecht na eerst door de plaatselijke heks de z.g. Zwarte Weeuw, die overal de duivel in ziet, gevangen gezet te zijn. In de stad wordt Mariken bijna geadopteerd door de kinderloze zure gravin die haar als opvolgster wil opvoeden. Maar de liefde voor haar vrienden van het toneelgezelschap wint het van haar liefde voor de gestrenge adel en stijve kultuur der welvaart. Uiteindelijk bevrijden haar vrienden haar als ook het andere kind, de rattenjongen die lang daarvoor steeds door de zwarte Weeuw gevangen werd gehouden. Dan volgt er een min of meer verrassende ontknoping. Het is een prachtig verhaal over middeleeuws bijgeloof en de middeleeuwse kultuur. Alles is schitterend in scène gezet en het oeroude hollandse gevoel krijgt een zeer verfrissende nieuwe kijk. De oorspronkelijke middeleeuwer die we waren was een heel wat speelser en vrijer (maar ook viezer, gevaarlijker en eigengereider) mens dan de gereformeerde zelfgenoegzame confectiemens van na de reformatie. Dit laatste aspekt wordt vertegenwoordigd door de Zwarte Weeuw die de grote verliezer en de, over God een door de builenpest verbitterde, persoonlijkheid is. Alle overige personages laten mooi het half-duivel-half-god begrip zien waarmee samen met 'De Mensheid een Klucht' Mariken opgroeide. Veel moderne films kunnen leren van deze oorspronkelike menselijkheid van een warmer begrip dan de gepolariseerde schizoidie van de moderne kilte en haar karikaturale goed-kwaad tegenstellingen die de geschiedenis ook nog wel eens zal loochenstraffen. Meer van dit en de Hollander redt zijn ziel en kennis van God met zijn eigen verhalen! (website)




 Vatel (filmclub)

Seen 12.10.00.: Dir: Roland Joffe. Starring: Gérard Depardieu. This beautifully filmed true story about the master of ceremony of a Prince de Condé in the year 1671 is a feast to the eyes and a contribution to european filmhistory. It shows how at the original court of Louis the xiv France in its best times one was delving in all kinds of cultural extravaganza. The viewer is almost put to a test with it witnessing a couple of days out of the life of the master of the feast who is forced in the position of God. Almost to the point of nausea the beauty of the art of cooking and the theater is displayed without much betraying about how the story turns out half way the movie. First there is just the feasting which baffles in its utter materialism and infatuation. The only reference to God is the sunclock that would link the nobles to the reality of God;s nature. But that is not enough this story proves. Going at the cost of not only the lives of animals but also at the cost of the lives of the members of the staff, the commons and the honor of the woman, the master Vatel becomes the victim of the game of honor and cultural perfection: he cannot keep the idea of perfection up when, because of a storm, the fish is not in time arriving at the kitchens. The whole illusion of perfection comes down. He, playing as a god, which can even refuse the requests of King Lois xiv falls victim of the power of illusion. First he is tempted by a favorite of the king, the courtesan Anne de Montausier (Uma Thurman). Then seeing himself failing in the defense of the woman who is abused by the corruption of silence, he finds that he cannot defend the honor of his master who has to win the favor of the king with the feast. Vatel commits suicide and throws the whole setup in disgrace. After his demise the fish somewhat late still arrives and the feast is simply continued as there is no respect for suicidal people punished by the power of illusion. Still the movie is a beautiful accusation against the unenlightened nobles of Europe that lost their rule because of their lack of purity and envious-with-God offensive strategies of control. It indeed could all have been this beautiful if they only had known that the God of their sunclock is the Lord of Yoga and that the progress to that respect should be a loyalty to the nonviolent, pure sharing of the natural truth the way the vedic scriptures command it. What a pity to lose all our cultural hopes and power of Vatel-like theatrical and culinary sacrifices on this historic suicide of an illusioned control over the ceremonies of our cultured divinity. Vatel is also the best part Depardieu ever played in a movie. (reviews)




 Music of the Heart (cineclub)

Seen: 12.04.00. Dir.: Wes Craven, starring Meryl Streep, Gloria Estefan. A real-life story about a divorced woman, a violin teacher, who begins violinclasses for Harlem-schoolkids in New York. Films about american heroes make the american cinema for what it is. Especially when the stories truly happened they bring emotion and compassion. America shows it is important that individuals take initiative, the state is built of self-reliant individuals. Poor people have to fight their own way for their own upliftment. And thus one has to take initiative to make the society a bit better for all. The movie doesn't really criticize the society as it is. It it a plea for human compassion and cultural involvement important for all people everywhere. The american backdrop behind this story is coincidental. A subsidized person in Europe just as well has to struggle for minority kids to pull themselves up in society this way or whatever dream of emancipation to realize. It is always a pleasure to see people catch love for the real drive of our western culture: never give it up to associate for the subliminal. It is our way of selfrealization and proof of God. Only with the human lead will one attain. Everyone. Also the mature Meryl Streep is at her best in this movie. (website)





Seen: 11.27.00. Dir.: John Singleton, starring Samuel L. Jackson. Sometimes one thinks the actors do not really act at all. They just play themselves and that's the real frightening of this side of the cinema. I really don't want to meet the guys in this movie I can tell you. Not even Shaft himself running around without a badge, as usual in conflict with the system, to have his own way of crime-fighting. Sometimes I wonder what the ideals of the present cinema are. Or should I worry about the fact that one has the recurring dream, or nightmare of policecontrol in an never ending shoot-out and carchase. Of course, the picture is professionally made good entertainment and Shaft is another interesting detective and so on. But really what does it add to movie-history? That the real bad guy is a white man and and the hero a black man? Is that the progress? I don't think so. Another accusation of criminal materialism? Why? Aren't we in fact stuck in this interest collectively? Just to keep the audience awake one has to invent more and more corrupt schemes and people for this kind of movies. We do not really get rid of the problem (and what is it) this way. America, and the rest of likewise mankind, wake up from your police-dreams! Now be a real hero and work for real progress, real ideals and real success. This orgy of the predator human being is a worn-out theme only fit for digestive purposes. Maybe Walt Disney's Dinosaur is right: maybe all the bad of this violence is predominantly the meateaters thing. Can't we stop? (website)




Seen: 11.27.00. Dir.: Guy Ritchie, starring Brad Pitt. Of this director we saw a movie earlier called Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels which he pretty much repeated this time, be it that his budget permitted him a more flashing presentation. Sometimes the movie flashed beyond comprehension very fast associating up and down the story with all different characters and scenes. Still the puzzle can be assembled in the course of the movie which has in effect the same charm as his former one had. Again a bunch of rightout gangsters are confronted with their own madness of revenge and coercion, powerplay and illegal activities. One group of gangsters tries to steal from the other and all wrestle along about a diamond as big as an egg. At some point all their mishap coincides (pleasing the righteous audience immensely) and ends in a hilarious shoot-out with only some 'decent types' surviving, although... One sees the same ingredients as used before, it is the same formula. One is acting out a man-only society which knows nothing better than to destroy itself in a violent game of power. The show of characters is saved by the role played by Brad Pitt, operating as an Irish Gypsy who's knuckles are hard as steel, whose words are incomprehensible and whose revenge is even more terrible than that of the sitting gangsters. There is a lot of good wit and entertainment and surely if one liked the first movie this one will also entertain. For newcomers though it might seem a bit chaotic and a bit too onesided in its perverse masculinity. It is made as boys-fun for boys. What if they would compete for woman in stead of the feeble and cold of stolen riches for itself? The latter is, I think, more to the common understanding of crime.(website)




Seen: 11.27.00. A Walt Disney Production. Starring: the computer. From the BBC-series we know the magnificent realistic of the reconstruction of more or less authentic Dino's in their more or less original habitat. This Animation of Disney is of the same quality, with the same computeranimated dino's in a like wise natural landscape. This time we see the Disney-dino, talking and all, inviting us to identify with the beasts and search for our own cultural themes in their lives. They are now also cute and endearing dino's with an altogether human heart, being in love and attached to kith and kin, leadership and loyalty. The star of the movie is a Inguanadon baby growing up with some type of monkeys who raise them on their island playing with them all their lives. How the egg got there is shown in the the opening scene with the breathtaking fly-overs  one expected. Then the story takes off: a meteor storm destroys the old habitat and a herd of veggie-saurusses travels to the breeding grounds of which they are uncertain whether they can reach them at all. They travel trough the desert craving for water headed by the macho type competing with our hero who fell in love with his daughter. Meanwhile the bad carnosaurs - raptors and t-rex-types - follow them awaiting the weaker of them. Without too much disclosing of the story it must be said that it catches ones heart. These humanized animals live a real life and have all kinds of emotions and adventures thus making a story with familiar human themes. Interesting is to see how all the bad guys are meateaters and the good, though surely heavy and also tough macho-guys are the veggies. In the earliest days thus we still knew what good and bad was. Thank You Walt Disney, this is the progress of the preaching by cinema. Congratulated! (website)





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