Werner De Smedt

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The Memory of a Killer Review


Good
Belgian director Erik Van Looy must be a big fan of U.S. thrillers, because he just made one. His cast may be pretty much unknown in America, but that's for the good. As for upbeat pacing, an attractive production and an original concept, it should play well to all audiences who enjoy a police vs. hitman escapade peppered with suspenseful action.

Since it doesn't have star power to solidify the bottom line, it may remain a sleeper, soon to hit the bins. But, make no mistake, this is exemplary crime stuff, complex anti-hero and all.

Continue reading: The Memory of a Killer Review

Everybody's Famous! Review


Weak
Social satires are tricky vehicles because you need the correct edge to convey its message. In director-writer Deruddere's well-intentioned but misguided satire Everybody's Famous!, there's a routine angle about the Everyman trying to buck the conventions of an otherwise lackluster existence. The problem is that Deruddere (Love Is a Dog From Hell) tries to tackle too many frantic points in a hokey comedy that's so perfunctory and meandering. This Belgian product scored an Academy Award nomination in last year's Best Foreign Film category. With that being said, someone must have mistaken this unfocused farce for that of a frothy, insightful comedy. Stagey and recklessly excitable for its own good, Everybody's Famous! reaches for routine laughs in an all-too-familiar venue of ordinary folks trying to do too many things in the name of well-meaning desperation.

The story features a flustered father named Jean Vereecken (Josse De Pauw) who has a crazy vision of grandeur when he contemplates the notion of turning his talent-challenged, plump daughter Marva (Eva van der Gucht) into a glorified, moneymaking pop star. The poor gal is so earnest in her attempt to please her weary middle-aged father that she subjects herself to constant humiliation. This includes entering karaoke contests in which laryngitis-inflicted patients have a better chance at winning than the put-upon diva wannabe. But despite the obvious void in Marva's singing ability, Jean still stubbornly pens songs for his little gal to vocalize, with uneven results.

Continue reading: Everybody's Famous! Review

The Memory Of A Killer Review


Grim

Slick, overly stylish and conspicuously short on logic at critical moments, the only thing that prevents the assassin thriller "The Memory of a Killer" from seeming 100-percent Hollywood is the characters speaking in subtitled Dutch.

The movie is cat-and-mouser about an hired gun who finds a conscience when he realizes his latest target is a little girl -- not unlike Jennifer Garner in the crummy comic-book bomb "Elektra," except that the brilliant Jan Decleir ("Character") isn't a 30-year-old hottie back from the dead in skin-tight leather. He's an old man whose bout with Alzheimer's disease is turning his mind cloudy and dangerously unstable.

Putting himself at risk by bucking his assignment, the killer tries to steer a hunky cop (Koen De Bouw), who is hot on his trail, toward a climactic showdown with a much bigger fish: a wealthy baron whose child-molester son wanted the girl dead.

Continue reading: The Memory Of A Killer Review

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