King of the Belgians by Peter Brosens, Jessica
King of the
Belgians is a very entertaining comedy.
only that, but it deals with themes that are relevant for politics, mass media,
the Balkans and Turkey.
Not to mention Belgium itself
is that his Majesty, Nicolas III, Le Roi des Belges is visiting Turkey at the
beginning of this very good film.
Turkey is a
problem for the European Union- in fact, not just one, but a few:
It has a ruler with tyrannical
tendencies and Erdogan is already trampling on human rights and sending
thousands behind bars
On the other hand, The European
Union needs Turkey to try and stop the flow of refugees coming from Syria, Iraq
and other places
As the king
is waiting for this new era sultan that is not named in the motion picture, the
host is late and that is already somewhat funny.
A crew was
selected by the queen of Belgium to make a documentary about her consort, who
But there is
dramatic news from home:
Wallonia has announced its
wants to go home and he is working on a speech, for most of the rest of the
film, addressing the terrible situation.
however disagree with his plans.
man in charge with the security on the Turkish side is adamant and has other
ideas regarding the program of the guest.
to the infamous Icelandic volcano that has perturbed European and international
flights years ago, we have new developments.
activity” is preventing airplanes from taking off, so the royal guest has to
stay in Turkey, under the “protection” of these “hosts”.
knows that he has to be in his country, evading this exaggerated hospitality
and he uses a disguise:
He will escape Turkey with his
entourage, all dressed as…Bulgarian folk singers!
And the costumes and the result are
do quite a bit of singing and dancing in Bulgaria, as they stop in some
villages and picturesque locations.
As the king
is driving, they end up in a ditch because he is so moral and kind that he has
avoided a turtle and sent his team off the road.
They end up
in a village where the mayor uses no shoes, unless he is travelling to Sofia-
quite a character.
He has the
black belt in karate, has the fourth stage of Shotokan, he is also a diving
instructor –or so he claims.
squad catches up with the “fugitives” that they want to force to return to
Istanbul and so there is a fight.
It is an
exaggeration for diplomacy would not allow such an outrageous occurrence, but
it serves well the purpose of satirizing aspects of present day politics, from
the fragmentation of Belgium and others to the dictatorial turn taken by
have interesting, intellectual conversations, people around the king are
invited to express the negative and positive stereotypes regarding the Walloons
and the Flemish communities, with creativity, warm hearts being mentioned.
crosses the border into Serbia, where they meet with a former Miss Serbia,
demoted and moved at the customs because she was born in Montenegro and that
republic chose independence after all the other former parts of the late
sail with a cheap boat and hope to reach the coast of Italy, the king’s
entourage arrives in…Albania.
there listen to the affirmation that this tall man is…none other than the king
of the Belgians and…send the whole lot to jail.
an era of fake news and in a free world led by a clown obsessed with himself
and willing to take only favorable, laudatory reports about his “superior,
magnificent person, the Honest king has a different take:
When the palace decides to censor
all the documentary covering this extraordinary but compromising trip across
the Balkans, the royal person decides otherwise and tells the film maker:
You use it whichever way you like…you
are free to use everything!
What a noble, aristocratic
Bed and Board aka Domicile Conjugal
start, there is a couple
- He is waiting for the wife to come
have to get somewhere
she takes too long, he throws the fur and bag down the stairs
the hero and his wife do the same
- You see, they really love each other now!!-
is the reaction of the wife that was always late at the start
Was involved with flowers, just like
the hero of Bed and Board
protagonist of Domicile Conjugal is using color for flowers to obtain a perfect
Antoine and Christine Doinel smoke a lot and near the baby, but these were the
days when so many did that.
ends up working for what looks like a multinational, with an American boss that
has an absurd conversation:
We have a problem with
It is in July that I like the trees
The hero is responding with pre-
him the job of maneuvering some small ships, in a small pond near the
headquarters of the company.
One day, he
meets a group of Japanese who are interested in the project and discuss it near
the small lake.
one young woman that needs to use the facilities in the building and for some
odd reason they send the protagonist.
establish a connection and they see each other again, confirming somehow the
period of about two years in general, men and women are more interested in
someone new than in their partner.
Japanese woman is really different.
They have a
meal at the apartment shared with another woman, who is supposed to have some
problem in the family.
certainly looks like she is gone just to allow the two to get intimate with each
other- there is a sign on the door:
Do not disturb- in Japanese
There is a
strange, dark message from the Asian woman:
You are the one I would commit
have this affair for a while, the lover sends some flowers and within them
there are love messages.
first place, the hero throws them near the house, but a boy brings them to the apartment
where they are given to Madame.
As they wither, the flowers send the
messages down to the table
cheating husband comes home, he finds the wife dressed in Japanese attire and
crying on the floor.
found out about the affair.
and he takes down the mattress from the bed to another room, where he has to
sleep away from the wife.
But after a
while, the hero is bored by the Japanese woman and starts calling his wife from
the places where he is with the lover.
frequently he does that, establishing a new bond with the wife, that the
Japanese leaves the restaurant with a message:
Lady Bird by Greta Gerwig
has been nominated for four Golden Globes, the 2018 ceremony, which is to take
place in eleven days:
Best Motion Picture- musical or
Best Screenplay – Greta Gerwig
Best Performance by an Actress in a Leading
Role- Saoirse Ronan
Best Performance by an Actress in a Supporting
Role in a Motion Picture – Laurie Metcalf
is an exceptional film maker, screenwriter, and actress.
appreciated her performances in:
Mistress America – for which she has
been one of the two screenplay writers and one of the leading actresses
feels a bit too strange at times, at least for this viewer.
heroine is a teenager that is trying to find her way, to explore her sexuality
and the process can be tedious and outré.
were passages when I for one could not connect with the main character.
Her name is
actually Christine McPherson.
chooses to call herself Lady Bird- hence the title of the motion picture.
portrays the mother, Marion McPherson and she is nominated for a Golden Globe for
She used to
be Sheldon’s mother in The Big Bang Theory.
have been present in recent, magnificent, acclaimed productions:
Lucas Hedges in Manchester by the
Timothee Chalamet in Call Me by Your
is also nominated for a Golden Globe, but not for Lady Bird, for the leading
role in the homosexual love story.
Bird, Chalamet plays a character, Kyle Scheible that is interested in Lady Bird
and has a relationship with her.
In fact, he
is her first sexual partner.
he had been a virgin too.
Bird finds out about the fact that Kyle had not been at his first intimate
experience, she is upset…
I thought I was your first…
You will have so many sex
experiences that are lame
How many partners did you have?
not quotes, but I hope they come close to what has been said
relationship with the family is strange, especially with the mother…the father
was more supportive …
I mean you like me with this…
was an approximation of a dialogue that took place as Lady Bird was trying on
some dresses for her prom.
Christine 'Lady Bird' McPherson: I
hate California, I want to go to the east coast. I want to go where culture is
like, New York, or Connecticut or New Hampshire.
The film is
interesting, but less effective than Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri
or Loveless, also nominated for the Golden Globes 2018…
Call Me By Your Name, screenplay by James
Ivory, based on novel by Andre Aciman
Call Me by
Your Name is an very good film, nominated for three Golden Globes and has won
31 awards and has 85 nominations so far:
It is nominated in the category of
Best Motion Picture Drama- Golden Globes
Timothee Chalamet is nominated for
Best Performance by an Actor in a Motion Picture- Drama
Armie Hammer is nominated for Best
Performance by an Actor in a Supporting Role in a Motion Picture- Drama
is formidable, in the Northern part of Italy, with orchards in the background
and splendid squares and buildings.
the charm of the narrative, Characters in the story are intriguing,
sophisticated, charming and also complex.
The hero is
only seventeen, but Elio Perlman is transcribing and playing classical music,
reading good books, which alas is not want ordinary teenagers do these days.
Missis Perlman are otherworldly parents, who understand, support, encourage and
love their child.
easily from Italian to French, then to English and at times, the mother is
reading from German…
is an appreciated professor who is involved in archeological excavations and
has a different research assistant every year.
the assistant is an American, Oliver, who is charming, good looking, educated
and very much liked by everyone.
He is so
good at Greco- Roman culture that he even disputes his professor on the issue
of the origin of some words.
with, Elio is teasing this guest, who can appear somewhat superior, perhaps
even arrogant with his:
Later…this is his formula for
early part of the narrative, Elio is experiencing and getting very attracted
and it seems involved with Marzia.
The two of
them explore their bodies, with the innocence of virgins and the passion of
young men and women.
love and they see each other very often, using the attic of the house and other
places for intimate relations.
wondered about the sexuality of the hero, who appeared to be heterosexual, then
homosexual and finally…
Is he a homosexual, maybe bisexual?
I guess he is also trying to find
Oliver becomes more interested or just more present and starts communicating
with Elio, the latter loses interest in Marzia.
young men start kissing, touching, caressing each other and I must admit that
this is not my favorite part.
is something of a turn off, probably also on account of the scene wherein a
peach is used for masturbation and more…
learn from the speech given by Mr. Perlman who becomes the most interesting
character of this film.
have seen gay lovers in films, from Brokeback Mountain to The Talented Mr.
Ripley and although different, the protagonists of Call Me by Your Name are not
really from another world, in my view.
parents are learning to accept the sexual orientation of their children and are
less obtuse these days, this personage goes way beyond that.
is not only tolerant of the homosexual relationship his son had with his
assistant, but laudatory.
man talks about the fact that Oliver is an outstanding human being and this
experience is to be cherished and treasured.
it has ended and it involves pain and suffering, the father is very determined that
the son is blessed to have had this unique opportunity.
I thought this is a tremendous
speech and the man is
Million Dollar Baby, Clint Eastwood, Hilary
Swank, Morgan Freeman
has won four Academy Awards and two Golden Globes at the ceremonies of 2005,
Best Performance by an Actress in a
Leading Role- Oscar and Golden globe
Best Director- both Academy Award
and Golden Globe
Best Motion Picture- AA
Best Performance by an Actor in a
Supporting Role- AA
involved in the production of the movie is formidable.
story is haunting and thought provoking.
is a waitress, coming from a poor background, a family with some serious issues
that become clear in the film.
is in a hospital, the “family” is only visiting because they are concerned
about the money, not the health of the woman who has given them so much and
when she did, they were again concerned that the government might take social
wants to become a good boxer.
purpose, she is trying hard to convince boxing coach Frankie Dunn to take her
as a student of…boxing
Boxing could be seen as a strange
Especially when the boxer is a woman
And she is already past thirty to
But, she is determined, has
Maggie likes boxing, has strength
and is passionate about it
Frankie Dunn aka Clint Eastwood is not interested, even if he could be nudged
by his assistant.
be Morgan Freeman as Eddie Scrap-Iron Dupris, a former champion who made it to
the top, or very near it.
Maggie Fitzgerald becomes a role
She works as hard as possible-
indeed, even harder than it is commonly endurable, with long hours at the gym
says that he feels pity for the girl and finally starts trying to improve her
Do not contradict me, always listen
Move first with this leg, hit and
then move again
Always protect yourself
Yes, boss!...words to that effect
calling the coach boss, but a strong relationship develops between the two
partners, who may in the end be in love with each other.
is just paternal and filial love respectively, I am not sure.
trainer wanted to keep as much of a distance as possible to begin with, by
having someone else as manager.
that the results were not wonderful, Frankie Dunn becomes more and more
involved with his boxer.
better and better, but the fights are vicious, she takes blows at the head, the
bleeding is terrible.
does have a few excellent punches and manages to throw down opponents with
is fantastic and she earns enough money to buy a house, which she gives to her
mother and relatives.
woman is evil and not just ungrateful, but critical of this gift and
admonishing her daughter for her occupation:
Why did you buy the house??!
I wanted you to have it
You know, when they find out, they
will cut the social benefits!!
You know what, sell it if you don’t
want it and take the money!!
Maggie has a shot at the World Championship Title, but she meets in the final a
boxer with no ethics and no respect for any rules.
is so vicious and the referee and officials so useless that even though she is
inferior to Maggie, she manages to hit her in instances when the game is
stopped, whenever it is not permitted and against the rules.
during a moment when Maggie is not careful, knowing though that the fight is
interrupted, that killer manages, yet again, to throw an illegal punch and sent
Maggie into a chair, with an injury that paralyzes the heroine.
It now becomes a story about
Is it worth living in a bed for the
rest of her life?
The Color of Money based on novel by Walter
Tevis, directed by Martin Scorsese, with Paul Newman, Tom Cruise, Mary
talent, money and values
has won the Academy Award for Best Actor in a Leading Role for his performance
in this excellent motion picture
He was not
only a mesmerizing actor, but a wonderful man, as we learn from a classic about
the movie industry:
Adventures in the Screen Trade by
William Goldman, winner of two Oscars for his scripts: Butch
Cassidy and the Sundance Kid and All the President’s Men
is Eddie Nelson, a role he has played before, in the movie called The Hustler,
and for which he was also nominated for an Academy Award.
Color of Money, Eddie Nelson is retired, he is not so young any more, but still
interested in the pool game.
discovers Vincent Lauria, a talented young man portrayed by the very good Tom
Cruise, who is full of energy and zest.
Nelson has a proposition for Vincent:
You come with your girlfriend and
play for money on the road
She is bored and will leave you if
you stay around here…
I don’t think so… words to that
Mary Elizabeth Mastrantonio sees things pretty much the way Fast Eddie has
suggested and helps him along the way.
really good at playing pool, but not so keen on following the advice of his
older partner, who becomes frustrated:
“You gotta have two things to win.
You gotta have brains and you gotta have balls. Now, you got too much of one
and not enough of the other.”
acting like a prima donna and he is interested in putting a show, getting the
attention and validation of the others.
Branden, the ultimate expert on self –esteem would say that he lacks confidence
and this is why he is so exuberant.
other hand, Vincent might have the right values, at least for some time, while
he is interested in winning.
His role is
to play the fool, pretend not to know much about the game and then win the
trust of the opponent to win his money:
The Hustler that his partner used to
be some decades ago
Vincent takes the Balabushka- a trophy for great players- and challenges a very
reaction of the audience can be one of annoyance and frustration with this
rebel who is upsetting Eddie.
But it could be a case of finding
When one does something he or she is
very good at, likes a lot and has meaning, the money become less important
Just like for Vincent in his early
his partner and student play has created a spark within Fast Eddie Elson, who
wants to play again.
does, against a man played by Forest Whitaker, who talks about being the
subject of psychological experiments…
But he is a Hustler playing against…another
causing a lot of pain fore Eddie, who is very upset for falling prey, when he
is in the game of hunting for weak adversaries…
How could I fall for that?
The booze, all the signs were there
and I still did not see it…not an exact quote
he parts ways with Vincent and Carmen, giving them two thousand dollars for the
road to Atlantic City.
where the best of the best, the crème de la crème of this game meet to
establish who the best is.
Eddie and his former partner have to
play against each other for a place in the competition and there are surprises
But the ending is simply fabulous:
I, Tonya screenplay by Steven Rogers
competition, obsession, failure
I, Tonya is
nominated for three Golden Globes, in the 2018 competition.
Robbie is nominated for her portrayal of the ice skater Tonya Harding, Allison
Janey for the supporting role of Harding’s mother, LaVona Golden, and the
motion picture for the category of best musical or comedy…
This is an
excellent comedy, with quite a lot of drama in it.
Most of the
characters are both obnoxious and competitive, if the latter in some sick,
Golden is the one who wants her daughter to become a very good ice skater, in
fact nothing less than a champion will do.
pushing her daughter to extremes and what she does is more than child abuse, it
amounts to torture.
That childhood abuse could and
probably does explain a lot of Tonya’s behavior
early scene, LaVona takes her three or four year old daughter to get ice
skating lessons from an expert.
when talking to this trainer who is not willing to accept a child that is so
young for training:
You know, you cannot smoke on the
Oh…I will smoke quietly then
humor is mostly dark and often involves violence and aggressivity, it is
because the characters are brutal.
beats the daughter, who marries a man that does the same and she in turn throws
things at him…
“LaVona Golden: You call a clean slate,
for Christ's sake?
Skater Mom: Do not swear in front of
LaVona Golden: I didn't swear, you
In another scene,
the violent mother does not limit herself to cursing and kicking, she even
throws a …knife!
knife is stuck in the hand of the ice skater!!
It is an
extraordinary achievement to be able to compete at the highest level of ice
skating under these circumstances.
And not just that, but Tonya Harding
was the first American woman to do a triple axel
So her story is a complicated one
On the one hand, there were so many
mistakes, failures and even criminal acts
On the other, this is also about
resilience, grit, overcoming immense obstacles
She has had
a very bad relationship with referees and people around her, because she was
ill tempered and quick to explode.
also be the fact that judges were biased and quite often not fair to the
competitor who was good on the ice, if often evil off it.
Sometimes one has to separate the
artist, the performer, athlete from his private life
But if we think Weinstein, Spacey,
Bill Cosby and so many others, then the conclusion is that what happens in
private does matter…
Harding had to pay for the image she projected and which was not favorable and
affected her athletic achievements.
a nadir is reached when her bodyguard and ex-husband plot against one of her
If the husband
seems to have been interested in psychological pressure only, the bodyguard
took this further.
skater, Nancy Kerrigan is viciously attacked by a man hired by the bodyguard,
with perhaps the knowledge of the husband.
horrible act, resulting in a knee injury, lead to an investigation and then
prosecution of those involved.
Harding was sentenced and then moved to a different career, that
of…professional fighter in the boxing ring…
This is a
fabulous motion picture that portrays the life of a champion that worked and
accomplished so much, only to blow it all away with vileness and viciousness…
They Drive by Night with Humphrey Bogart
of Humphrey Bogart in this film made me expect a lot from it…
Lower your expectations is one rule
If not a failure,
this is no Casablanca.
only has a supporting role.
is great as Cassie, but I did not appreciate Ida Lupino that much.
plays Paul, brother of Joe Fabrini, the real hero of this film.
Drive by Night, as truckers.
They have a
hard life, having to sleep only little, trying to get their load in time to be
sold in the market.
and owner of the operation is abusing his position and does not pay the money
he owes these two drivers.
they have to pay money they owed for the truck and the lender is trying to
confiscate their truck.
At one of
the stops along the trucking routes, they meet the extremely beautiful Cassie
and a love affair starts.
expecting Bogart to be the knight in shining armor.
But it is
his brother Joe that becomes deeply involved with the attractive waitress, who
moves with him.
At the same
time, Lana Carlsen is very interested in this ladies ‘man, who rejects her, because
she is married to his friend.
owns a trucking business and loves his wife, for whom he is not sophisticated
and interesting enough.
man tries to start his own business and buys a load of lemons to sell for a
better price and use the money to get going.
first couple of stages.
Paul make a tremendous profit of more than 100% on the lemons and they pay what
they owe for the truck.
the way back they have an accident.
result, Paul loses his right arm.
his wife welcomes the injury, because she says that now that he cannot drive
anymore, he will be at home.
They Drive By Night means that they
are also away from home for a long time
she cannot get close to Joe, who refuses to call her anything but Mrs. Carlsen
and keeps the distance, Lana has a diabolic plan
As Joe is
now important in the business owned by the late husband, the widow proposes
that they become partners.
makes the proposal sound very reasonable by explaining that she knows nothing
about the trucks.
Besides, Ed would have wanted it
works well, up to the moment when Lana Carlsen finds out about the love between
Joe and Cassie.
tells him that she had actually killed her husband and she has no intention of
letting Joe go after such an act.
as she is not winning any ground with this confession, she goes to the police
to tell them that Joe has forced her to kill her husband.
Well, it is
interesting, if not the end of Casablanca…
The Man on the Train with Jean Rochefort and
This is a
terrific film about calling.
Jean Rochefort plays Monsieur Manesquier.
Hallyday, the regretted, recently departed singer is Milan.
Manesquier is a teacher in a small town.
He has been
a criminal, robbing banks and running from the law all his life, carrying with
him three pistols.
Manesquier invites the stranger to stay over at his house, when the small hotel
in the village has no vacancies.
is the talkative one, while Milan is reserved, probably a side effect of his
profession which must involve discretion…
Absolute discretion if possible
criminal meets with a couple of colleagues, one of them explaining the plan of
hitting the local bank…
You can choke on a piece of cake
outspoken than Milan, the third man is so quiet that he becomes funny, with his
habit of pronouncing a sentence per day.
Oh, he only talks at 10 a.m.
bond develops between Monsieur Manesquier and his guest, with both looking at
the other’s occupation.
manner of the infamous Taxi Driver Travis, the host talks to himself in the
mirror, using different lines:
There is a new sheriff in town
I am the only one with the guns…
Bam, bam…or words to that effect
obvious that the two men wish they had the life of the other, one longing for
tranquility and the other for action.
Missing one’s calling or at the very
Getting tired and bored with the
activity or lack of action respectively
wondering about the tranquility, the peace and equanimity offered by the life
of a teacher in a small town.
At the same
time, the professor is attracted by the three guns he found in the room of the
As a favor,
he wants to try and fire them and they get to an isolated, ruined house where
he can shoot at empty cans.
trying on the slippers, which he receives as a gift from his host, who wants to
take part in the robbery.
teacher is out, one of his private students comes at the house where he is
received by the would-be professor, Milan:
I take the place of your teacher
What did you have to study?
She waits for her lover
What if Eugenie Grandet had a phone?
Think about that
invites the audience to think of the two characters and their different lives-
one taking the place of the other, a switch suggested by the poster of the film