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)

4 April - 15 May 2001

(Dutch movies are discussed in Dutch)


The Gift

Seen: 15 may 2001 Dir: Find it out Yourself (a Flash-game) with. Keanu Reeves, Cate Blanchett en Hilary Swank. This story about a nice looking and sympathetic clairvoyant lady finding out about a murder in her little town is exactly as one can foresee it oneself. There is the falsely accused gross type, there is the hidden criminal with a nice face that pretended to be a friend. There is the moron that turns out to be a kind of hero. There is the schizoid of modern man, the skeptic policeman, and so on. It is all cliché out of the how-to-write-a-script kitchen all to good known by now while the production actually misses the point. We get package but no real content. Money wants to produce money, but how about the brain? Why again telling the same type of story? It is like a painting on a poster: looks good as it is, but it is not the real thing anymore. Is it so because it didn't happen really? Is Hollywood envious with reality? Will reality win making better stories? What the hell are we up to gentlemen? We are having an industry that knows all tricks of the trade, it all looks fine, but we have landed in a ideological vacuum. Of course good wins over evil, of course that is what we want to see, but why lie about it? why invent evil yourself? isn't there enough of it out there? Are we so fond of our acting games and imagination? They are all nice actors, integer people, perfect crews, nice scripts etc., etc., But where is the philosophy? What is our history? And what our future? What are we after, do we have bad memories, do we only want our own movies? Let us not have too much of that professional commerce uncritically any longer. Nobility obliges they say in Europe. And Paramount has to learn that if it really wants to be classic. But It seems to be a gift...(website)



Men of Honor

Seen: 7- may-2001 Dir: George Tillman jr. with. Robert de Niro, Cuba Gooding jr. Carl Brashear's life as a navy diver is what this movie describes. The true story is part of the struggle for a desegregated America in the postwar period. Stories about the emancipation of men in general are always inspiring to follow. It is almost unimaginable how far in this case the white man went against the human stream in discriminating the blacks to be second rank people. Carl is one of those hero's who never gave up and always stayed loyal to the ideals of service in general, without developing hatred. He transformed all his hatred into the determination to overcome all obstacles. And you hardly believe your eyes witnessing them in this story. As a young man his father urges him not to become a slave of another man as he was, but fight for his success. 'Do not return home' he tells him, and so he didn't. His only attachment was a self-built radio from his father which was even destroyed (but later restored) by his crude navy-trainer, perfectly portrayed by de Niro, who almost killed him. Breaking all the resistance by sheer determination he is finally enlisted as an official diver being successful while his old trainer was degraded for being such an offensive heartless piece of iron. When all seemed to have worked out the struggle is not over: in an accident he loses half of his leg which is first only incapacitated. Cutting it of for a prothesis he may try again as an amputee, but loses the support of his wife with the destructive of his determination. His honor goes before everything, even his marriage. His tenacity brings him to court to prove his case that he is still a capable diver despite of his handicap. Then his repentant old trainer turns out to be his only help and support and together they succeed. His old iron mentality brings with his own indomitable spirit the victory. He is reenlisted and makes it even to the status of master diver, his ambition. Winning he also wins his wife back. This is what the cinema is for: the stories of honor that must bring the victory of the righteous. Cinema also writes history. (website)



Brotherhood of the Wolf (Le Pacte des Loups)

Seen: 7- may-2001 Dir: Christophe Gans (Cry Freeman). With Vincent Cassel, Emilie Dequenne (Rosetta) Monica Bellucci. In France before the Revolution the corruption of nobility inspired to a folk tale about a beast, a kind of wolf, that would devour all the innocence of the common man: in the woods it would attack and slay woman and children. This movie is about this myth that is evidence of the spirit of decay and modern falldown. The monster has iron teeth (like the cogwheels of the eighteenth century clock losing grip with nature) and a kind of armor preparing us for a computer-generated performance of a really horrid creature with a primeval beastly growl. It is mastered by an unknown man. The story is about two hero's trying to capture the beast and unmask the dark personality behind it. Halfway they even are tempted to fake success pleasing the King. The setup inspires for a plethora of cinematographic art and stunts and digital mastery unseen in European films as yet. The high romance of painting is combined with classical horror scenes and landscapes full of mist and dark woods. The costumes are breathtaking and the show is further completed by the martial arts stunt work of the all-powerful imported hero of an american indian representing the spirit of America and the New World. Not even the eastern movie could have its own with this proof of ability. France rules the performance this movie states. Peculiar enough is the all-powerful indian hero from America defeated by the monster as if the european cinema wants to devour all the trickery of Hollywood. It is ultimately the specialty of France to steal the show and so they prove in this beauty of the cinema that nearly hurts the eye. The story itself is practically overshadowed by the violence of cinematographic excellence in each picture and scene. It is like the way the French have been building their palaces and castles. They still look beautiful, but where has the King gone to? It is a fortress setting a standard of achievement in the cinema not easily outdone. After all the imaging of the story was over from the mist of my mind I could reconstruct the overshadowed drive behind the story: the hero against corruption wins and that corruption is the beast of false authority and even the pretense of the invulnerability of the East and the American. For the lovers of style: a masterpiece one must see. (website)



Lost Souls

Seen: 30 April 2001 . Directed by Janusz Kaminsky. with: Winona Ryder, Ben Chaplin, John Hurt. This movie is another attempt to formulate the problems of Christianity finding its limits. The basic thesis is: if there is a Lord of Goodness, Jezus, then there must also be a counter Lord of evil, taking possession of souls. After two thousand years according the prophecy would the Antichrist take it over, being himself born from incest according this movie. In this case we see a beautiful and strong Winona Ryder struggling with the truth of an Antichrist becoming. Her name is Maya. Maya means illusion in Sanskrit and indeed is she pestered by demonic illusions. A serial killer is exorcised by a team of priests. The exorcism fails and Maya may study his strange number-codes revealing the name of the Antichrist becoming: an author studying evil in an academic way. At his 33 birthday his mission as the Lord of evil would begin. And our heroin has to stop him all by herself as the priesthood gets possessed itself and cannot help her further. Psychiatry also proves to be incapable of controlling the well adapted evil of the Antichrist. His symbol is xes, sex spelled backwards, sex reversed, meaning the number of the beast in Greek: 666 [also known as the false control over time, see Daniel]. Although well cast, a good director and nice photography does the movie halfway run into the cheap of a horror-movie missing the real point of discussion with this subject. In the end Maya simply kills the new antichrist and the story is over. But having seen the other movies in this genre one does not buy this. The discussion needs further elaboration, We cannot simply expect to see Christianity biting its own tail of cultural one-sidedness and then win over evil with a simple gunshot. So this movie fails in uncovering the real of this christian problem in a multicultural world in which our beast nr. 666 is nothing but a badly integrated Christianity afraid of its own narrow mind and futureless morality of failure to recognize the proper of individual selfrealization. We simply have too much tolerance and too little understanding for the deathdrive and effects of our normal egopsychology and have no clue of what liberation with the Lord really means. Constantly portraying it as fear and failure of a desperate priesthood, justice and medicine losing control is no answer but just the posing of the problem sending the audience home simply being disturbed. Indeed is another religious authority needed for this navel-staring christian darkness. The point of the Order of God of the individual is really missed struggling with good and evil Lords that call for one other. In a good movie we would win over Maya, not see Maya win with violence! When will the christian exorcist really discover who or what the devil is controlling him with his estrangement from the full of nature and culture that marks the societies of the world today? We are now awaiting an exorcist comedy to ridicule these perfide failures appealing to a cheap taste with this serious subject. We are in Maya says the Sanskrit and how to get out of that delusion of control? Lets first drive out our own devils of control and then film an enlightening answer instead of killing an imaged opponent growing stronger with each failure. It is dangerous, this kind of broadcasting the threat of uncontrol and its false solution of violence! It is a fear called prepsychotic in psychiatry and is factually controlled and ended by other religions like Buddhism, Hinduism and Sufism. Now Hollywood needs a Maya expert defeating the christian psychology in stead of priests and psychiatrists desperate about it [the police we didn't see in this movie!] (Website)



Dungeons and Dragons

Seen: 30 April 2001 . Directed by : Courtney Solomon. Thora Birch, Jeremy Irons. Dream away in another world with elf's, dragons, ogres, trolls and a double moon in the sky. Also humans live there cultured and struggling for power. The world is mystical and the people have control over strange unknown sciences and are capable of incredible feats. Dragons heavy as dinosaurs fly through the sky like warships in service of both the Crimson Lord of evil and the good and Golden Empress who wants equal rights and prosperity for all her subjects. Lord Profion and his servant the skilled master of war Damodar try to procure a key to control the dragons and thus to enforce their own rule over the empire. The empress is defended in an adventure by two sympathetic thieves who get involved in the action of the war between good and evil. The hero and his magical maiden fall in love of course and the story is thus complete. The world of magic, the science of the planet, is controlled by good and bad magicians /scientists who all belong to that same empire. It is a debate over the authority of the empress and the authority of her co-ruling prime minister the elder Profion. In the beautiful setting of the Prague opera house rebuilt as a parliament for the science fiction atmosphere of another world of nobles and gentlemen, takes the confrontation place that proves the republican offensive Profian, the profit prophet, the warmonger and the nobles the servants of goodness that depend on the goodwill of the simple people. It is a nice classical adventure in the style of the best screenmagic imaginable. The film took ten years to make and was inspired by the original popular role-playing game. The director is a dungeon master himself and this first born of his is an impressive masterpiece outshining many others in the genre. The effects and scenes are breathtaking, offering the best the actual industry can and the cast is impeccable: all the characters perfectly fit for their roles are there: the foolish sympathetic, the wild, the charming, the heroic youngster, the innocent, the supermen of war. It is all in perfect style and highly original and of great craftsmanship up to the smallest detail. The other magical world has paintings and buildings standing in their own right and form a delight for each seeker in this genre. It is an absolute must see for all adventure-lovers. Do not miss this unexpected surprise in the cinema but have a good karma going there! Evil will be defeated! (website)



The Mexican

Seen 24 April 2001. Dir. Gore Verbinski. with: Brad Pitt, Julia Roberts, James Gandolfini, A criminal comedy about a man who by organized crime is forced to go to Mexico to get a legendary gun called the Mexican. This gun turns out to be bad luck to the owner and thus all kinds of things happen to our hero who is drawn from one situation in to the other losing his car, his passport, his associate, etc. Meanwhile is his girlfriend, with whom he just broke up, held hostage by a hired hitman with the mission to force him handing over the gun. But the man turns out to be also homosexual which inspires the girl for all kinds of unorthodox behavior making the story vibrant and surprising. It is all together a successful comedy worth seeing that brings together these two big characters on the screen. The myth of the Mexican can be understood as the difficulty of Mexico to keep its culture against all corruption and downfall of modern time. The Americans can't really steal their honor and the criminals also have to fail with it. Ultimately it turns out to be the materialization of justice firing unexpectedly correctly at the right time. And that's the real joke. Go and see. (website)



Seen 24 April 2001. Dir. Lukas Moodysson. With: Elisabeth Lisa Lindgren, Rolf Michael Nyquist. scandinavian comedy about the experiments in communal living from the seventies. A battered housewife is taken into the commune of her brother who is a devout alternative type living with a selection of other alternative people: a fundamentalist couple against the materialism in e.g. childrens books and television, a lost marxist, a frustrated homosexual, a nymphomaniac girl and a woman's -lib lesbian. Eating meat is forbidden in the commune and doing the dishes is bourgeois. Everyone tends to sleep with everyone in a liberal sexual lifestyle and nobody goes to work. Only the children behave normally, be it in a downmood about all the crazy adults, going to school and playing wargames (also forbidden). The new member and her children bring a great change to the commune. For the children a t.v. is brought in. The fundamentalist couple promptly leaves the commune. The adolescent daughter of new woman falls in love with the fat-boy from next door who has the same spectacles as she has and thus also that family is drawn into the commune. The lesbian makes it with the newcomer and the frustrated homosexual makes it with her previous friend. The Nymphomaniac tries to seduce the little fat boy and is thrown out of the commune in a sudden aggressive mood of the normally always gentle and meek leader of the commune. The marxist also leaves to join the Baader-Mainhof terrorists in Germany after first preaching to the police in the village following his being betrayed by the nymphomaniac girl. It is a constant hilarious theater of communal living where nobody really seems to care about anything but freedom and love. Of course there is no real discipline whatsoever, but a vague type of meditation whimsically done, and factually the whole commune is supposed to drop apart as one would expect from the postmodern experience. But that doesn't happen. Except for the cast out nymphomaniac everybody is happy with the life and freedom and the movie ends that way incorporating even the converted ex-husband who formally beated his wife out of the house. The director want us to believe in the experiment of alternative communal living. The way he pictures the narrow minded bourgeois sphere of the neighbors watching from behind the curtains with binoculars and secretly masturbating in the cellar, he has to choose for the commune. What would be the alternative then? Postmodern yuppies freely associating downtown spending their money? That was later. Maybe he will also make a comedy about this experiment of being social. Just go and see meanwhile this fine comment on the seventies culture. (all movie)


Holy Smoke (1999)

Seen 24 April 2001 (on Video). Dir. Jane Campion. With: Harvey Keitel and Kate Winslet. An australian family finds out that the daughter of the family, Ruth has disappeared in an Indian ashram. With the pretense that her father is dying she is brought back to be deprogrammed by an exit- counselor called P.J. Walters. This confrontation ends up in a total chaos wherein the programmer falls for her (and her sisters) sexual attraction. He turns into a dog dressed up in woman's clothes almost dying in the australian desert (beautifully filmed) for a the total humiliation by Ruth who defeats his male pride and cultural chauvinism. She herself returns to India, not to the ashram, but to do welfare work with her mother. The operation thus succeeded although it devastated the people involved. Mr. Walters returns to his family back in the States being forgiven by his wife, still in love with the woman he once tried to deprogram, but who turned out to have deprogrammed him. At the one side this story tries to accuse us for our cultural arrogance saying that our socalled freedom of selfrealization isn't anything but another addiction to a destructive lifestyle. At the other hand it either maintains the sectarian alternative of a spiritually protected lifestyle in destruction of the ego. So what is the solution if ego nor non-ego work out properly? This movie doesn't answer but shows our postmodern confusion about this dilemma of everyone thinking in terms of social dependence, be it spiritual or materialistic/christian. When we are all crazy of modern time, how to find back the old order and civil decency of having a normal soul to a normal God? Somehow we need indian reform, somehow we need to find our own way. That we know for sure. (all Movie)


De Noorderlingen (Filmclub)

Gezien: 14-04-01 . regie: Van Warmerdam ('92 Gouden kalf voor deze rolprent). met Kas Wouters en een piepjonge Theo van Gogh in een bijrol (al net zo gek). Een absurdistische tragikomedie waarin de kleinburgerlijke samenleving wordt voorgesteld die ons Nederland is volgens de verteller. Het is een meesterwerk van onmogelijke zaken als een bos met naaldbomen die niet meer dan een meter van elkaar afstaan met een belachelijk meertje in het midden. Direkt ernaast ligt een nieuwbouwwijk midden in een zandwoestijn die slechts bestaat uit een straatje met enkel kleinburgers die de hele dag op elkaar letten, Er is een geile slager, een onnozele schoolmeester die een neger in een kooi laat zien die is meegebracht door een stelletje verdwaalde missionarissen. De vrouw van de slager gaat in hongerstaking omdat haar man haar tot seks wil dwingen en krijgt dan de hele buurt voor haar doorzonwoning huiskamerraam op de knieën om te bidden met haar vermeende heiligheid. Een doorgedraaide dwangmatige boswachter vermoord de enige vrije dame, een soort van bosnimf, die de zoon van de slager probeert te ontmaagden. De ontsnapte neger steekt hem dan weer de ogen uit en duikt onder in het huis van de postbode die iedereen begluurt en zelfs de brieven openmaakt voor hij ze bezorgd. Kortom het is één groot gekkenhuis waarin de hele gereformeerde, of de katholieke, christelijke gemeente te kakken wordt gezet als een stelletje totaal van het leven en de liefde vervreemde dwangmatige idioten die geen van allen de goedheid, creativiteit en vrijheid van de mens kunnen zien. Je zou kunnen zeggen dat Van Warmerdam erin geslaagd is de hel van de christelijke sleur en onwetendheid uit te beelden die enkel moraliseren kan door zich tegelijkertijd te blameren. Voor de psycholoog van de nieuwe tijd is het nu wel duidelijk wat de verdringing van de natuurlijke dynamiek van de oorspronkelijk natuurminnende Europeaan nu voorstelt. We zijn niet een aparte kultuur: we zijn een smeltkroes van kulturen die nooit meer zo hun eigen aard mogen verdringen denkend dat het christelijk pandoer, dat een saaie sleur is op zichzelf, de geestelijk gezonde mens zou voorstellen. Van Warmerdam, bedankt voor de probleem stelling, nu nog een beeldprent van de oplossing, dan ben je afgestudeerd van de filosofie-academie! Het is immers makkelijk te kankeren, maar moeilijk te prediken tegen het prediken.



Thirteen Days

Seen: 04-14-01 Dir: Roger Donaldson. With Kevin Costner, Bruce Greenwood. The story is about the Cuba-missile crisis, in 1962. We were at the brink of a nuclear war, but hardly realized that as a public. In the cinema it turns out to be a very tense real life threat to America and the free West being confronted with the Russians led by Chroetsjov pointing nuclear warheads at the cities of America. One becomes acutely aware of the real life of politics. The kind of diplomatic tightrope walking one has to perform, the enormous risks of making the smallest error that might lead to a human catastrohpy. The peace is found in a diplomatic exchange of goodwill of retracting the missiles from both sides; Russia from Cuba and America from Turkey. In de end only one pilot who is shot down turns out to be the victim of the diplomatic game of power. How difficult it is not to rage against like dogs and to keep ones mind, faith and goodness all the way. One wonders why humanity is so difficult with itself risking the lives of thousands of millions just for the sake of this or that ideology of material control. Of course it is exciting to see the real of the political fights, but for the same it could have ended just the wrong way. If Kennedy would have been a hawk and had been a little too quick in listening to the military who are always willing to engage according their rules, we would have lived or be dead in a nuclear hell these days. 'Thank God' is the honest conclusion of this story which is alarming nevertheless. How to be safe altogether on a planet takes more than a border and a lawful state. It calls for an international agreement about the nature and conduct of man: what his obligations are and liberty is. There is no collective commitment to a kind of vow that would ascertain us of an illusionfree common rule of manhood. We still do not clearly know how to define our human nature across cultures and religions. The control over the planet seems to be an uncertain affair as long as the accord about our human nature is under political materialistic debate. Witnessing this debacle of human trust that can easily happen again, the urgency is clear to me. Thanks for the story thus. Everybody should see it and be sure of the fact how thin our veil of peace is and how important it is to agree about the definition of what our nature is. Are we essentially competitive and in conflict or are we essentially aligned and in accord about it? Only when answered properly we will know what to serve altogether. (website)


Dr T. And the Woman

Seen: 04-06-01 Dir.: Robert Altman, with Richard Gere, Helen Hunt, Farah Fawcett, Shelley Long. Robert Altman portrayed a typical american dream running into chaos. It is about a gynecologist who's wife goes crazy, who's marrying daughter turns out to be a lesbian, and who's assistant turns out to be in love with him. The american dream is with Altman overly feminine. There are rarely men seen in this movie. Its all and all woman. That is how America dreams of a successful life full of barbie-woman and pastel colors and malls full of beauties. The only woman with a normal, read: not so beautiful, appearance is the maid looking after the kids (three girls). Almost ad nauseam we have to hear about all the little heart business of the infatuated about wealth and money. It wouldn't be Altman if this story wouldn't run into madness. So finally after nothing really works with dr. T anymore he tries to break out with his mistress, who then turns him down because he was just a nice lay and nothing more. So he drives away in a storm that blows of the roof of his car. Out of town he runs into a hurricane and is transported through the air to a mexican village in the middle of nowhere where he is expected to deliver a baby. The work continues, but his woman, woman, woman life is over. Conclusion: the barbie dream of american success deserves a good windhose to end in the middle of nowhere. Here is Altman: not dramatic, but rightout funny. Gere is perfect with his buddhagrin, Shelly Long as crazy as ever, Farrah the best loony in the world and Helen Hunt really a cold calculating bitch. My compliments. Not only a good story but also the truth of Hollywood. (website)


Finding Forrester

Seen: 04-06-01 Dir.: Gus van Sant (Good Will Hunting). With: Sean Connery, Rob Brown. The writer writes a book. He is successful, but also has realized how dangerous such a thing his. Not being eaten further by the public, the writer withdraws and keeps up with the spirit of his first success. Nobody knows him anymore, but the book is as mysteriously popular as Catcher in the Rye. He lives withdrawn in an old worn-out building in the Bronx watching blacks play basketball from behind his curtains. The boys feel the burning eyes of the strange man in the building and challenge one another to go and take a look. Thus the story begins of a young talented basketball player who turns out to be a literary genius. He finds coaching with Mr. Forrester and even draws him out of his solitude into the world again. The King of the book has found a successor. He saves his honor, he passes the scepter and leaves in the end for Ireland where he dies with cancer just after writing a last book to be introduced by the black young men. Last scene: the book lies in the apartment 'looking outside the window' and the boy continues with his ballgame. He plays ball and keeps doing so. Story finished. Lesson learnt? Whether you write a book or not, keep playing that ball, stay in the game, the famous bookcase problem is a reality. This movie is the proof thereof and a worthy farewell to the world of publishers and false authorities in cultural narcism and the false authority of literary infatuation before the worst token of human possessiveness: the possession of books. The horror of having the knowledge, but not sharing it. These days we may know this, because for the first time in history we may now share everything over the Internet as the altar of the New Digital Belief and the Cinema as the New Reformed Church of the Continuing Story and be freed from our ivory towers of culture with a new world brain, an empty bookcase and an ego that runs on the local ballgame only. So be it. God be praised. See the book, the movie or its story digital over the net or in the cinema with others, and conclude: reading continues, possessiveness and isolation in its falsehood of a selfbuilt prison of books has to die (The impractical public library also). Storytelling stays the main religion of mankind, sharing one freshly updated copy of your book with the whole word . Just go see the book in the cinema and be convinced. (website)


The Sixth Sense

Dir: M. Night Shyamalan, with Bruce Willis and Haley Joel Osment . This movie could also have been called 'Lost in Time'. the story is about a man ending up in a train accident. Waking up in hospital he discovers that things do not quite match in his world. Being a psychiatrist, turns a child-client of his out to see ghosts and he has to find out what everything means. Step by step the spectator is led into the conclusion that our hero has ended up in his own afterlife and just as the other people around him has to learn to deal with it. Being the first of its kind this story is a mile stone in the understanding of our possible afterlife or limbo between birth or final ascend to the heavens. Though reincarnation shouldn't be believed, as is cannot be the goal of liberation, it still might exist - whether in a continuing afterlife like this or being born again into a new body. A classic must see that not only impressed me but the whole generation. (all-movie)






 previous reviews | index                  

other movielinks and searchengines |             
add a link |             



backgroundgraphic: Argotique