The Young and Prodigious T.S. Spivet * Jean-Pierre Jeunet (2013)

The latest Jeunet is a sweet film about the brilliant nine-year-old from the title. T.S. lives on the American countryside with his weird mother (Helena Bonham Carter) and his cowboy father. Obsessed by science he makes a brilliant discovery that grants him an award at the Smithsonian. Trying to not be too much of a burdon to his family, T.S. decides to get to Washington by himself, turning the film some into sort of roadmovie. Of course there needs to be a part for Dominique Pinon along the way!
The film is, as we are used to of Jeunet, ‘magic-realistic’, humoristic and slightly absurd. The atmosphere reminds of Tim Burton’s “Big Fish“. I like Jeunet’s darker, early work better, but his latest film is surely another nice watch. Bright colours, great camera work and good humour.

The Believer * Henry Bean (2001)

Daniel Balint (Ryan Goslin) is raised a traditional, Jewish boy. He is highly intellectual and develops radically different ideas from what his teacher tries to convince him of. When older, he becomes a radical anti-Semite. Danny gets tossed between wanting to be a merciless skinhead, an educated fascist and his roots.
Apparently the story is based on a KKK member, but this organisation is not specifically featured in the film (perhaps its origins are). As strange as the story is, as strange the film is, especially towards the end. It looks like it that Balint explains his motivations in one of his more controversial lectures.
Not really a pleasent film to watch, since you are constantly fired at with anti-Semitic reasoning. The fact that it is based on actual events does make it somewhat interesting though. Perhaps this is a film to accompany “American History X“.

Nadja * Michael Almereyda (1994)

Yes, this is another vampire film and no, it is not very good, but there are a few reasons to watch it nonetheless.
First; however it is produced in 1994, it looks like an old videotape that has been copied numerous times; especially in the scenes throug the eyes of the vampires. The shady way of filming is alternated with weird, experimental elements. This is not totally unexpected, because no less than Mary Sweeny (the reason that I found this film) and her ex-husband David Lynch have produced this film. Lynch even has a small part in it!
The known story has been relocated to contemporary New York. We mostly follow Nadja from the title, a young woman living through the night. When her father dies, she sets out to find her brother. The story is not very surprising, but the atmosphere and the ‘dirty’ way of filming makes “Nadja” one of those films that deserve to be seen some time.

Kapringen * Tobias Lindholm (2012)

A Danish ship is hijacked by Somalian pirates and “A Hijacking” shows what happens next both on board and in the offices of the company that owns the ship. The company hires an expert in these situation who advices them to not just pay the money (if the hijackers are made easy they will use the method even more) but to negotiate about the money that has to be exchanged. These negotiations carry on for months which of course has a major effect on the people on board, their families and the company, particularly the negotiators.
On board the situation keeps swinging between hostile and relatively friendly while the hijackers patiently wait for an amount of money to agree upon.
The film looks realistic and I think the situation is brought well to the viewer. It certainly gives an extra dimension to news-items about hijacks because as a news-watching you probably have no idea how this goes.

The Loved Ones * Sean Byrne (2009)

What starts as an alright film about revolting adolescent kids with a lot of metal music soon becomes one of those torture horrors, a genre I do not see the use of.
We follow a couple of kids around prom-day. They are those metal/emo youngsters with big swings in emotion. One of them finds himself at another prom-party than he intended. In some intended “Calvaire” like atmosphere, the director probably aimed at a weird horror, but the film becomes dumber and dumber as it continues. What is more, where some details suggest a though-about story, there are also serious flaws to that very story.
Nope, not my film.

Man Of Steel * Zack Snyder (2013)

So this is a Superman film, right? Quite different from what I expected! “Man Of Steel” is actually a pompous scifi spectacle. It looks like it has to be some sort of prequel to the normal Superman films, but Snyder opens all registries to make use of each and every special effect imaginable. From computer animated weird worlds to Matrix-like fighting scenes. We do not see Superman helping people (well, not often), but fighting his adversary.
The result is a pretty much over-the-top science fiction film that may perhaps not be boring (there is little time for that), but has little to do with how we used to watch Superman. A true Hollywood production of our time.

Das Blaue Licht * Leni Riefenstahl (1932)

In a remote village in the Swiss mountains, the full moon brings a mysterious effect: a nearby mountain glows with a blue light (from the title). The light hypnotises the men of the village and often a young men will sleepwalkingly walk towards the light, later to be found dead. Near the village lives the wild and bewildering shepherd girl Junta (played by Riefenstahl herself). The villagers connect Junta to the light and hence the death of their young men. Therefor she may be a frequent visitor to the village, she is not a welcome one. One young man goes to find Junta, accidentally finds the source of the blue light and raises greed and destruction in the hearts and minds of the villagers.
“Das Blaue Licht” is semi silent. Apparently by 1932 directors found a way to dub voices, but only where needed and other sounds are not yet dubbed, so you mostly only hear background music. Riefenstahl had an photographer’s eye and comes with beautifull images and she used the possibilies of her time well to add to the effect of high and dangerous climbs in the mountains and mysterious light. The film looks well and is nicely moving. A classic.

Die Nibelungen * Fritz Lang (1924)

A long time ago we bought a nice box in Germany with Fritz Lang’s Nibelungen epic. We had not watched it yet because of the length. I had some three hours in my head, but actually, Lang’s Nibelungen film are two films (“Siegfried” and “Kriemhilds Rache”) which are both well over two hours. Quite a sit!
The films are silent with pompous music and text-screens to show what people are saying. There are not very many of these text-screens so it helps a lot when you know the story. There is of course the continental Nibelungenlied that this film is based on, but the same story also makes part of the Eddas that were written down in Iceland. I think I know the Icelandic version better, since the film has some unexpected elements.
You may know that this is a love story in which dragonslayer Siegried falls in love with Kriemhild. When Siegried dies, Kriemhild takes violent revenge.
Like his “Metropolis”, this film of Fritz Lang looks wonderfull. The stages and the costumes are great, but not very medieval. There are all kinds of weird characters. For the time, there is the usual overacting, but Lang surely had an eye for detail and there is some interesting camera work.
In all, two times 2+ hours of a silent film, but a bit too much, but I am happy to have seen this classic.

The Lone Ranger * Gore Verbinski (2013)

If you want some descent, Hollywood enterainment, “The Lone Ranger” is a good option. It looks like this is my first Verbinski/Depp film, but I felt like watching it anyway. Ironically the film mostly thrives on Depp, also in the media, but Depp is not the lone ranger from the title. As you probably heard, Depp plays an American Indian. Almost as a ghost, he helps the lone ranger from the title. Like with “Pirates of the Caribbean” (from which I did see flashes), “The Lone Ranger” is an adventure/action spectacle with a lot of humour, mostly because of the weird Johhny Depp.
I will not say too much about the story, but it plays in the Wild West and involved magnificent views of nature and of course cowboys, Indians and outlaws.
Entertaining and even a little pedantic, since the film shows how ‘progress’ and economic growth has no regard for the rights of indiginous peoples.

The Iceman * Ariel Vromen (2012)

Biography of the ice-cold contract killer Richard Kuklinski who tries to combine his unusual occupation with being a good husband and father. Of course that is not easy in the milieu that he works in, so he frequently has to make up stories for his family and friends. When his occupational environment comes too close to his private life, Kuklinski tries to solve the situation his own way.
“The Iceman” is an alright thriller with good acting and a couple of famous faces. It does not really stand out though, but it is a descent film to watch some time when you have no better alternative.

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Breaking Bad

Now that I think of it, we also watched the first series of the lauded series "Breaking Bad". The series have a nice joke here and there, but also here the first series did not make me want to watch the second. Many people say that the series develops, but frankly, when you want people to watch your series, the first have to be very good, right? I guess I missed that part.

Series

We usually spend one evening a week watching series. Not on TV though, I am terrible with following things on TV, I just want to watch something when I want to watch it. Also I am no fond of all these 7+ season series and consequentally not of still running series. Also I find little of interest actually. (more…)

Enter The Void

It has been a while since I saw "Enter The Void". Taking that the DVD would be released by now, I thought I would get myself a copy and watch it again. Well, the DVD is available, but from the average DVD shop downtown... Fortunately there is the internet.

Four days of Dexter

The circumstances were thus that we watched "Dexter" four nights in a row, it were the first eight episodes of the second series. "Dexter" started in 2006 and is still running (season 6). (more…)

Il Campeggio dei Morti Viventi

Remember "Horizonica" (2007)? The team of "Schat Ik Ga Fietsen" is working on a new full-length "Nederhorror" ("Netherhorror" after the Netherlands) zombie slasher with a plethora of volunteers. Make-up is done by Suzy Terror (who else), Ramon Etman (director of "Horizonica") has his influence because of the cooperation of "Broet. The title is in Italian "Il Campeggio dei Morti Viventi" and on the Facebook page you can find more information. Also 'Googling' the title will bring up Youtube 'trailers' and the like. It looks like there will be some zombies in the film that I know, just as in "Horizonica", hopefully "Il Campeggio..." will be a bit better :-)

Dexter

As a new series we got ourselves "Dexter". These series actually have a 9.3 on IMdB (just as Twin Peaks) and a friend of mine says that it is getter better with every episode, even upto the fifth series. I am no fond of still running series, neither of series with too many seasons, but last week we saw the pilot and first (or second) episode. As in "American Psycho" we get the viewpoint of a serial killer. We hear him thinking, the story is with him as focal point. Dexter is an adopted child and has had urges to kill since his youth. His adoptive father, a policeman, knew all about these urges and taught Dexter to use them 'for good', hense, kill the people the police cannot catch. In his normal life Dexter is a forensic expert with "blood splatter patterns" as his speciality. The police is not his employer, but he works for them. His (step?)sister followed her father's footsteps. Dexters jog inspires his other work.
The first two episodes were amusing, but not brilliant. The series have a grim sense of humour and it is funny that a serial killer is the hero of a popular series. I know that I gave all the information already, but I myself wonder how a series of five seasons with 12 episodes each remain interesting when the pilot already gives everything away. I suppose it does not (and so neither did I) or the writers manage to keep coming up with new ideas. Time will tell.

Patrick McGoohan

As you probably know, we are watching "Danger Man" ("or "Secret Agent"), the series that came before "The Prisoner". Suddenly I wondered what McGoohan would have looked like when he was older. I ran into this page informing us that McGoohan died at the age of 80 on 15 January 2009. The link contains two photos. Also I ran into a very nice interview from 1977 which is mostly about "The Prisoner", also with photo.

Eternal Sunshine Of The Spotless Mind

Yesterday we watched "Eternal Sunshine Of The Spotless Mind" again. What a great film! A story with filmographic jokes as only a Kaufman can come up with, empathizable characters (the shy Jim Carrey who falls in love with the extravagant sweetheart Kate Winslet), a great atmosphere. I see that my review gives everything away, but even watching it again (and thus knowing exactly what will happen) makes this film a great one.