Wednesday, February 13, 2019

Review: "Berlin, I Love You" proves concept is running out of steam

Berlin, I Love You Review

There is a series of films, all anthologies, that take place in a city. It started in 2007 with "Paris, Je T'aime." It was a star-studded anthology revolving around stories about love. In 2009, we got "New York, I Love You." Which was also a star-studded anthology revolving around stories of love. Today, we get "Berlin, I Love You," which is, you guessed it, a star-studded anthology revolving around stories about love. Of all three movies, the only one I didn't see is the first, "Paris, Je T'aime." Also, telling from the two movies I have seen, I am a little afraid to watch "Paris, Je T'aime."

"New York, I Love You" was a very well marketed movie, really got people on the hook. I missed it in the theater, but when I did catch up with it. I couldn't believe just how boring the whole thing was. Some segments really didn't make any sense, some didn't even seem to have anything to do with love. It was a very weird concept and very weird stories that benefited with a handful of wonderful actors. "Berlin, I Love You," which I can't believe isn't called "Berlin, Ich Liebe Dich" has decided its going to be even more boring, make even less sense and have segments featuring stories that are so far removed from love that I am bewildered they appear in the movie. It seems this series is destined to get progressively worse.

First of all, you couldn't have asked for a more Americanized version of this concept. Its funny that in city in the middle of Germany, there's a bunch of people speaking English everywhere you go. Sure, some people are American, on business. But its just funny that its a movie celebrating the city and the culture and there are so few German actors in it. Where's Christoph Waltz or Till Schweiger? Was Daniel Bruhl unavailable? Or Michael Fassbender or Diane Kruger? Oh, and not throwing in the legendary Jurgen Prochnow was a missed opportunity. Nothing spells American jingoism like a bunch of American actors telling the world what German culture is!

Then there's the segments. There is a wrap around story about a German street entertainer who is annoyed when an Israeli singer comes to his spot and starts playing music for people. Instead of getting angry back, she tries to see if they can help each other, feed off of each other then split the money. They slowly become friends. As you watch this wrap-around story play out, you wonder why the filmmakers didn't just make a whole movie about these two people, its the only two characters that they seemed interested in.

Then we are off with Jim Sturgess, starring in what appears to be a low-rent "Her" remake. Then we meet Kiera Knightley and Helen Mirren as mother and daughter having a rough patch. By far, the weirdest segment is one where a mush-faced Mickey Rourke plays a business man at a bar, and he meets a beautiful yet criminally younger woman. They talk, he flirts, she smiles. Somehow a daughter he has gets brought up, and he was apparently a bad father. He takes her back to his room for sex, but she doesn't want to. He doesn't pressure her, they fall asleep. The man wakes up to find out...giggle...I almost can't type it...the girl was his long, lost daughter!

This being an anthology, there is barely any time for character development. But there are so many stories crammed into this anthology that an emotional depth or weight to any of the characters or their stories is quickly lost. There just isn't enough time to attach any sort of attachment to these people. The stories are so short that you are doing all that development at a gallop and it ends up fumbling in most places.

I hope we can be done with these, or perhaps the team behind these movies start being a little bit more clever and better when it comes to putting them together, they are getting worse and worse.

FINAL GRADE: D

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