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Peter Pluymers
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A moviefreak and blogger, writing filmreviews on a regular base ...
A moviefreak and blogger, writing filmreviews on a regular base ...

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📽️ My opinion as a movie-freak 📽️

A constantly growing personal film-blog.
Read a bit. Comment. Applaud and congratulate me. Or criticize and laugh at me. Any interaction is welcome. And please subscribe 👍😋

http://www.movie-freak.be
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Beautiful Boy (2018)

Relapse is a part of recovery.

8 Years ago I found myself in a similar hopeless situation. With my back against the wall. Desperately searching for a way out. Knowing that I had to change my way of life drastically. Or else I would be admiring the roots of green grass till eternity real soon. The will to change was there. The courage too. Only I couldn’t do it. And now, after all those years, I’m happy I made the right decision back then. For me, “Beautiful Baby” was a bitter pill to swallow. I didn’t think I would have a hard time watching it. It wasn’t crystal meth or something similar I had problems with. But there were so many similarities with my situation in this impressive film that it seemed like the story was about me. You’ll see an avalanche of feelings in “Beautifull Boy”. Pride, trust, distrust, despair, upheaval, hope, happiness, grief and discouragement. A hopeless battle that demands inhuman efforts from both camps, leading to an unavoidable outcome. Either the person succeeds or those who surround him must passively watch as he drinks, injects, blows or swallows himself to death. Well, the movie shook me up.

The nice thing about this movie was that it didn’t only focus on the addict Nic Sheff (Timothée Chalamet), but also on the people surrounding him (his father David Sheff played by Steve Carell and stepmother Karen by Maura Tierney). As an addict, you don’t have any clue what grief you are causing to relatives during your heydays. Everything revolves around getting what your body yearns for. It’s not like in “Christiane F. – Wir Kinder vom Bahnhof Zoo” and “Animals” where you witness the gradual decline of the addict himself. Both physically and psychologically. It’s not that Nic looks spic and span the whole movie. Towards the end, you can see the terrible consequences of the daily use of methamphetamine. That hazy look and a gray, unkempt appearance. But mainly his changing moods and aggressive behavior towards others are terrible to look at. His begging and making promises are nothing more than an excuse to get some extra cash to buy the drug he needs.

The only thing I could say to my wife afterward was: “I hope we’ll never have to deal with this with one of our two kids. Because this is a real nightmare“. As a parent of two children growing up, the thought this could happen to us scares the hell out of me. No matter how much you try to protect them from the evil outside world and you overload them with love and attention, the moment they give in to the things that seem to make their life rosier, you know that you are going to have an unequal battle. A fight where, against all your parents’ feelings, you might have to throw the towel in the ring at some point and have to confess to yourself that you’ve lost the battle. Losing a child is terrible. But breaking the bond with one of your children, pretending that they no longer exist and hoping that they get out of that period unscathed, is dozens of times worse I think.

“Beautiful Boy” is impressive. And not only because of the theme. The acting of Steve Carell and Timothée Chalamet is also unparalleled. You simply feel the desperation of Steve Carell who tries to help his son and always realizes that this isn’t possible. A father who tackles the problem and like an investigative journalist tries to understand what the notorious drugs do to his son Nic. As a comedian, Steve Carell never convinced me. With this role, however, my respect for the actor has only increased. Timothée Chalamet’s performance is certainly Oscar-worthy. You don’t get the feeling that he’s the acting rising star in the Hollywood firmament. It feels authentic, sincere and unforced. These two protagonists may already prepare their tuxedo for the Academy Awards.

And director Felix van Groeningen (Yes, he’s from Belgium) can also join these gentlemen on the red carpet. Thematically, the film lends itself perfectly to make an exaggerated Hollywood spectacle. But he manages to keep it serene and realistic. Artistic images are processed in an idiosyncratic montage with a lot of back and forth jumping in time. Flashbacks follow each other and the memories of both Nic and Davis flow into each other. I sometimes didn’t know where the story was situated on the timeline. But that’s the only flaw that I can think of in this otherwise impressive film. And all this with a tasteful soundtrack. I never expected to hear “Territorial pissings” from Nirvana in a movie.

Some film viewers will probably just say it’s a family drama about addiction. Maybe they also find it monotonous because of the endless cycle of reviving and relapsing. On me, however, it made an overwhelming impression that unleashed a lot of emotions. I hope that every person who falls into the trap of any drug also can fall back on a loving, supportive family full of understanding and support, so they can escape from it eventually somewhere in their lives.

More reviews : http://movie-freak.be
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Jonathan (2018) | Mening van een Filmfreak
Jonathan (2018) | Mening van een Filmfreak
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Cargo (2017)

We have no idea what it was that bit you.
It had fingers, Andy!
Fuck!

If there’s one genre with so many releases that you get tired of it, it’s certainly the zombie genre. I’m sure this kind of movies is made on a daily basis. Movies in which infected undead stumble around, searching for victims, to have a portion of juicy brains. Most movies aren’t very innovative and all known clichés are being used. But occasionally you come across something completely different where they want to give a new direction to the zombie genre. Just like in “Maggie” it’s about a father who wants to protect his daughter. Only, little Rosie (Finlay and Nova Sjoberg) isn’t aware of any threat.

The story is set in the Australian bushes (the last Australian zombie flick I have seen was “Wyrmwood“. Also highly recommended). Andy (Martin “The Hobbit” Freeman), his wife Kay (Susie Porter) and their baby-daughter Rosie are quietly riding a dilapidated boat across a river. It seems idyllic and has a high “The African Queen” mood. There’s no indication of a post-apocalyptic situation with humanity again being the victim of a viral outbreak. Until they come across the wreck of a boat.

The only thing that bothered me in this film are the stupid, illogical decisions that were made. It’s understandable that this family can’t go on forever without providing themselves with new food and provisions. Trust me. I would also go and check if there wasn’t anything useful to find on board this boat. But knowing that every moment you can be attacked by a hungry zombie, I would certainly not do this unarmed and without informing the other person. I suppose they are of the same intellectual level because Kay makes the same primal mistake. With all the consequences.

The next stupid fragment announces itself when the family is on the run in an abandoned off-road vehicle. In normal circumstances, you as a driver will try to avoid inattentive crossing pedestrians. You’ll probably perform some neck-breaking maneuvers that are a risk to your own life. But when knowing that the mainland is populated by soulless creatures whose only goal is to take a big bite from any uninfected after they have towed them to a local zombie barbecue, you would rather put the pedal to the metal. But no. Not Andy. He’s so good-hearted that he prefers to crash the all-terrain vehicle against an Australian boab instead of hitting such a creature. But as I said before, these are the only drawbacks in this, for the rest, fascinating and especially emotionally poignant zombie story.

The film itself isn’t unnervingly exciting. It shows the self-sacrificing agony Andy undergoes so he can take his daughter to a safe place. Far from the mutated fellowmen and half-wits who do totally crazy things in this chaotic world. Like putting an Aboriginal in a cage after which the target practice can start with zombies, which are lured by fresh meat. Incidentally, it’s the Aboriginals who know how to maintain themselves in this new world. With primitive-looking rituals they succeed in liquidating zombies and plant-based ointment provides protection. It’s also a young Aboriginal girl (Simone Landers) who helps Andy with his trip through the bush and who provides a safe haven.

Frankly, I thought this film was original in many ways. Not only the zombie concept was elaborated in a different way. The transformation is totally different than in a typical zombie movie. Here it’s not only blood and ripped off flesh, but it’s a blubbery, slimy substance that manifests itself during the 48-hour transformation. Also, the phenomenon of zombies with their head in the ground (ostrich-like behavior) was surprising. Was it to shut themselves off from the outside world? Or is it part of the transformation process? No idea. But it was fascinating enough. And finally, the most impressive thing for me personally was the atmosphere that this film radiated. I never thought I would ever watch a zombie movie and get emotionally touched by it. You really have to be a zombie if you don’t want to be moved by this movie. And finally, praise for the admirable acting performance of Martin Freeman. A whole movie he played a leading role and not for a moment I had the feeling he was playing a hobbit. That’s what I call an achievement.

More reviews here: http://movie-freak.be
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Bird Box (2018)

You never, ever take off your blindfold.
If you look, you will die.
Do you understand?

Each year ends with a bang. You’ll have the end-of-year festivities and people party themselves into the new year. But when it’s about movies, this one created an end-of-a-filmyear-bang. Frankly, I didn’t expect too much of it. But maybe my prejudice about Sandra Bullock has something to do with that. I readily admit that I’m not really a fan of this actress. Is it her way of talking? Or her facial expression? No idea. But I have already avoided a lot of films just because of her being in it. But for her acting performance in “Bird Box“, she deserves a standing ovation.

Brilliant how Sandra Bullock plays her character, Malorie. A free-spirited woman who’s on her way to becoming a single mum. All indications point to her being a cynic who prefers not to have too emotional bonds with others. Even the way she talks about her unborn baby shows how aloof she is. Even the two children, with whom she makes the dangerous boat trip, are still called by the names “boy” and “girl” after 5 years. Is it pure selfishness? Or self-preservation? Or fear of commitment? Probably. But as the film progresses, you’ll also notice that she has other character traits that make her more human. She stands her ground, shows understanding, defends others and shows how vulnerable she is herself. So thumbs up for Bullock, even though she looks more and more like Michael Jackson.

But it’s not just the acting of Sandra Bullock why this film entered my list “Best movies of 2018”. The film itself impressed me. It’s that constant feeling of threat, helplessness, and fear that you get while watching this film. Inevitably one will compare “Bird Box” with “A quiet place“. In this film, the survivors had to produce as little noise as possible, because those who have conquered our beloved globe have a pair of sophisticated ears. Every sigh or groan can, therefore, be heard by them over kilometers, with the result that the person who produced the sound can’t do this a second time. In “Bird Box“, looking is already fatal. That’s why a lot is being blinded with newspapers, curtains, and blindfolds. An advantage for the pregnant among the survivors. No problem to be noisy while giving birth.

You can see this film as a fusion of “A quiet place” and “Cell“. Just as there’s chaos in “Cell” after a telephone signal has changed those who were on the phone into murderous psychotics, in “Bird Box” it’s when looking at something unknown that all hell will break loose. In this film, I found that moment more frightening and more breathtaking. When I watched “Cell“, I was slightly disappointed about that moment. Perhaps because I also read Stephen King’s book and King wrote it in such a brilliant and unparalleled way that it was impossible to film it. After the general mass hysteria where a lot of suicides are being committed, we see how a group of random people is entrenched in someone’s home. Soon they are confronted with the known problems. Their food supply is shrinking so they are forced to go outside to resupply. A hazardous undertaking that provides the necessary tension. There’s also the constant threat of falling prey to the unknown danger. Or people who seek help (or something else) knocking at their door.

Most criticism will probably be given to the fact that the phenomenon that causes a global suicide wave can’t be seen at all. Apart from some wind, shadows, and leaves that appear to be floating motionlessly in the air, there’s nothing to see. Is it an alien invasion? A failed scientific experiment? A virus? A social media syndrome? No idea. And weird but true, even that didn’t bother me. It stimulates your curiosity and makes you feel the same way as the victims. A feeling of helplessness and fear of the unknown. During the entire film, it goes back and forth between past and present. Normally I’m not such a flashback-fan because this usually undermines the pace and mood of the movie. With “Bird box” I didn’t have that feeling and the subcutaneous tension remained constant.

It’s clear this film competes for the title “Best film of the year 2018“. Sandra Bullock steals the show and is emphatically present in almost every scene. Also worth mentioning is John Malkovich as the sometimes hard-hearted cynic and pessimist Douglas. Such a person who immediately assumes that his country is in a state of war. So he’s constantly parading around with a gun. There is also Trevante Rhodes which is the absolute opposite of Douglas. A sympathetic fellow who’s helpful and shows compassion. And finally, the two young children who act so natural at certain moments. The moment when a terrible decision had to be made during the trip on the river, was touching and brilliantly acted. It’s kind of obvious. “Bird box” left a crushing impression on me. It wasn’t so exciting that I wanted to cover my eyes. But it was a close call! Indeed, a must see.

More reviews here: http://movie-freak.be
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The house with a clock in its walls (2018)

You can eat cookies till you throw up, for all I care.
You’ll see… things are…quite different here.

Have you seen “Goosebumps” where Jack Black plays the leading role as well? Well, you can expect almost the same thing. A kids-sized horror film. And I had the same feelings about it after a certain amount of time. Namely that it’s all a little bit over the top. Probably it wasn’t the intention to make it too scary. It should all be about magic and mystery. And it sure was the first half. I admit I have a weak spot for such type of movies. “The House with a clock in its walls” reminded me of the wonderful “Harry Potter” movies. Here too it’s about an orphan boy who ends up in a foster family and apparently has magic powers in his DNA. Lewis (Owen Vaccaro) himself looks like Henry from “The book of Henry“. Also an outsider with aviator glasses on. But halfway the movie derailed a bit and felt rather exaggerated, absurd and grotesque.

As I mentioned earlier, the first part is highly entertaining. Lewis is being introduced. He meets uncle Jonathan Barnavelt (Jack Black) and his neighbor Florence Zimmerman (Cate Blanchett). And of course, there’s this huge Victorian-looking house with its ghostly contours. As a spectator, you notice there’s something very unusual going on and certain ordinary things come to life (and in normal circumstances they never do). Something that Lewis only discovers afterward. We then see Lewis attending his new school and how he befriends Tarby (Sunny Suljic), the popular boy who briefly raises Lewis’s popularity. All this is brought with the necessary humor and is highly entertaining for young and old. Even the presence of Jack Black was bearable. I’m not really a big fan of Black’s humor. Usually, it’s bland and ridiculously exaggerated. That is why a similar scene with a lion-shaped-bush with stomach problems is being used three times. Bland, trite and exaggerated toilet humor.

But in general, it was still enjoyable. What amused me the most was the constant bickering between Uncle Barnavelt and Mrs. Zimmerman. That never really got boring. And then suddenly those puking pumpkins (and boy this was bad looking CGI) and a bunch of puppets shows up. Also, you’ll witness the resurrection of the evil Warlock Isaac (Kyle MacLachlan) and his illustrious wife Selena (Renée Elise Goldsberry). And finally, everything revolves around a very well hidden clock somewhere in the house of uncle Barnavelt. Although he’s a talented wizard and Mrs. Zimmerman a famous sorceress, finding this clock seems an impossible task. Even uncle Barnavelt is forced to use other tools to look for it. Like a huge pickaxe, for example, with which he starts to demolish walls in the middle of the night. And the way they handled this clock-problem, in the end, was also an easy solution. Apparently, the scriptwriters were exhausted and a little uninspired.

No, I wasn’t really impressed. Visually it looked sophisticated and extremely well-taken care of, but it never was as magical as “Harry Potter“. Cate Blanchett was perhaps the only highlight in this fantasy film for kids. It was as if she tried to be the new Mary Poppins with her behavior. Maybe this movie is perfect to stimulate the fantasy of 8-year-olds. Though they must endure the hyperactive behavior of Jack Black. Is it because of the awkward way in which horror director Eli Roth tackled this project? Or is it due to Jack Black’s lackluster humor? Or was it the laser beam-shooting umbrella of Cate Blanchett used?

Anyway, my interest disappeared and made way for annoyance and lots of headshaking. The only thing I was hoping for was that the damn clock that posed a threat to our universe was found as quickly as possible. And that the other books written by John Bellairs aren’t used for a motion picture as well. After “A wrinkle in time” and this movie, I’m going to avoid fantasy films for children. Enough is enough.

More reviews here: http://movie-freak.be
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