Laurens Geels

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The Shaft Review


Weak
In a perverse way, you might consider The Shaft to be a kooky prequel to The Ring. (Get it?) Both feature possessed/demonic household items (elevator/videotape) and both star Naomi Watts as a reporter.

You might also consider that if you decide to watch a movie with a title like The Shaft, that's exactly what you'll get... the shaft.

Continue reading: The Shaft Review

Do Not Disturb Review


Weak
Holy crap, William Hurt and Jennifer Tilly are married. After arriving in Amsterdam on an animated plane, the couple checks into a fancy hotel and promptly loses their mute daughter, who promptly witnesses a murder and ends up on the run from the killers (including Michael Chiklis, TV's The Commish!).

Between the wholly unbelievable and shoddy police work (there's no sign of a struggle... never mind all the bullet holes!) and Hurt's awful "southern" accent, Do Not Disturb makes it awfully difficult to suspend disbelief. But Do Not Disturb is suspenseful enough to hold your interest, more or less.

Continue reading: Do Not Disturb Review

Character Review


Very Good
A more aptly named film you will not find, Character is nothing more than an intricate yet perplexing character study of a couple of pre-WWII Dutch. We follow some 25 years in the life of the bastard child of a sedate and dour cleaning lady, impregnated one night by her employer. Boss-man tries to Do The Right Thing but his offers of marriage are perpetually refused. As kid rises through the ranks of society, his battle with his father worsens and worsens. Only we never really understand what motivates these two to hate each other so much. Won the Best Foreign Film Oscar in 1998.

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Valentín Review


OK
It's a time-honored trick that's been used by any director looking to get some cheap sympathy: Insert a cute, precocious child. It helped The Brady Bunch slog through its final, awful season, and it also helped a mediocre Polish film, Kolya, get a Best Foreign Film Oscar in 1995. So Valentín should be unlikeable right from the start: It's the story of a cute, precocious eight-year-old boy who is (all together now) coming of age. Though Valentín isn't particularly transcendent, it's much less exploitative than most films in the cute-kid genre. And, occasionally, it even offers some lovely scenes that are downright poetic.

Set in Argentina in 1969, Valentín (Rodrigo Noya) is struggling to understand the circumstances that created his broken home. His mother has disappeared, and his father (Alejandro Agresti) has moved away to concentrate on work and a steady stream of failed relationships. That leaves Valentín with a world circumscribed by his ailing, overbearing grandmother (Carmen Maura) and Rufo (Mex Urtizberea), a pianist who watches after him and encourages his imagination. Valentín wants two things: A mother, and a chance to go to the moon. In his spare isolated moments, he builds model rockets and plans his moon shot; one of the loveliest scenes shows him plodding down the stairs in a home-made spacesuit while a record by what appears to be the Argentinean version of the Bonzo Dog Band plays in the background.

Continue reading: Valentín Review

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Valentín Movie Review

Valentín Movie Review

It's a time-honored trick that's been used by any director looking to get some cheap...

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