Take Shelter * Jeff Nichols (2011)

This films shows that there need not be an elaborate story with twists and turns to make an interesting film.

Curtis (Michael Shannon) has bad dreams that he comes to believe to be premonitions for a coming super storm. He starts to make preparations to save his family, but the big question is, if he is going mad or if his premonitions could be true. This is worked out well in a tense drama that left out all unnecessary elements and this turned out quite well

Django Unchained * Quentin Tarantino (2012)

It was mostly the three hour length that made me take to long to see this film. Now having seen it, I think it could have been shorter. But “Django Unchained” is an enjoyable feature. The first half hour to an hour is brilliant, with great music, atmosphere and black, violent humour. The last two hours the novelty is off and the film is just good. That is, until the magnificent Samuel L. Jackson joins the film, see poster.

A bounty hunter releases the slave Django in order to hunt more bounty. The two get along well and form a good bounty hunting duo. Django himself has a wish of his own and in executing it, the film rolls into an extraordinarily violent finale.

Tarantino made a real old-fashioned Western with his own typical elements of very bloody violence, black humour and witty dialogues. Within all this, Tarantino also manages to bring attention to the slavery period of (American) history, racism and even brings in the Ku Klux Klan in an amusing scene. Within all the shootouts and “nigger” shouting, the viewer is still forced to consider the history of suppression.

All in all “Django Unchained” is indeed a good film, but not it does not end up very high in my favorite film list.

Edge Of Tomorrow * Doug Liman (2014)

Ain’t that somethin’? Another ‘mind-bending’ scifi spectacle with Tom Cruise that I saw ‘by accident’ and again the film is pretty entertaining. Perhaps I should revise my view on Cruise?

Mankinds fights an alien occupating force for which again that Matrix-like humanoid robot form is used. Tom Cruise ends up in a final battle that can only be lost. Then we are all back to square one.

The story is not as compilated as that of “Interstellar” or “Oblivion”, but the first time ‘that typical thing’ happens it is surprising nonetheless (try to watch the film without knowing). This element is worked out nicely with good placed jokes and a slowly evolving storyline. There is plenty to enjoy for lovers of scifi action. The “minics” look a bit too much like the Matrix “sentinals” but a bit more evil.

Funny, thoughtfull and nicely executed. A nice film to see when you feel like scifi action.

Oblivion * Joseph Kosinski (2013)

I do not think I had heard of this “mind blowing epic” before my girlfriend brought it home. Perhaps this is because Tom Cruise and Morgan Freeman are not actors that make me want to watch a film and the director is a new with only two finished films. The box reminded my girlfriend of “Interstellar” and indeed, the two films are quite alike.

In “Oblivion” we are a century ahead in time and after a war with alien invaders, humankind now lives on one of the moons of Saturn. The earth is only used for its resources, since however men won the war, the earth was mostly destroyed and highly radio active because of the use of nuclear warfare. The only people on earth are people who take care of the maintenance of the machinery. Jack (Tom Cruise) and Julia (Olga Kurylenko) are two of those. Operating from a futuristic house/base high above the clouds, Jack goes to the surface for his maintenance and Julia is his operator. Jack’s occupation is not without hazard. Then when another craft crashes to earth, things slowly start to be different from what Jack was always told and towards the ends an ‘Interstellian circle’ is presented to the viewer.

The story of “Oblivion” is less ‘elaborate’ than that of “Interstellar” and in total “Oblivion” is not as good. I might have rather seen them the other way around. Still, in both films the surrealistic atmosphere that makes me think over some things works and the drama works too. Therefor I suggest that when you saw “Interstellar” and liked it, you might want to watch “Oblivion” as well. Or when you found “Interstellar” is bit too much, “Oblivion” might suit your better.

Nice detail. The film is based on a graphic novel and the author of this novel is director of this film.

The Tourist * Florian Henckel von Donnersmarck (2010)

So how exactly did this film come on my wishlist? Because of Johnny Depp? Perhaps I saw Depp’s name and that of Angelina Jolie? Well, the latter is a reason to watch “The Tourist”; Jolie looks stunning. For the rest this is just an easy Hollywood film.

However “The Tourist” is presented as an action film, the atmosphere reminds me more of a screwball comedy. Not that it is that ‘screwball’, but the characters are pretty caricatural and so is the story.

Light entertainment. Nothing to put very high up on your wishlist.

The Rover * David Michôd (2014)

Eric’s (Guy Pearce) car gets stolen by a bunch of criminals on the run and he starts a pursuit through the desolate landscape of Australia.

“The Rover” is very slow, minimalistic and raw. The characters do not seem to care much about a lot and the viewer does not really get the story about the different people. The atmosphere reminds of the Coen films “Fargo” and “No Country For Old Men“, but then without the humour.

A film for winter nights.

A Viking Saga: The Darkest Day * Chris Crow (2013)

In early fall 2014 my girlfriend and me visted Holy Island, a tiny island just outside the British coast better known for the village on it by the name of Lindisfarne. The monestary of Lindisfarne was the first to be sacked by the Vikings opening their flood of attacks of villages and monestaries of the British and Irish coasts (and later also continental Europe). The remains of the monestary that can still be seen on Holy Island are not those of the monestary that the Vikings raided, since this monestary was built well after the Viking period.

“A Viking Saga” tells the story of the Viking attack and I was curious if anything of Holy Island could be seen in the film. Not really. In this rather sad film, the Vikings attack the monestary to lay their hands on the Lindisfarne Gospel, a beautifull illuminated version the of the Bible, because of its power. Since the monks saw this coming, they sent two of their own to bring the book to Iona. That is all the way to the West coast and then behind the island of Mull. Quite a walk! Still the Vikings go after the two monks and even manage to find them.

“Based on true events”. I am not sure how the story went in reality, but in this film you mostly see people fleeing through the woods, chased by a handfull of barbareous Vikings, occasionly coming to a sword-fight. Then there is this strange scene in which a girl who is called Saxon seems to have Pictish symbols on her arm.

Oh well, nothing you need to watch.

Out Of Furnace * Scott Cooper (2013)

“Out Of Furnace” is a very good film, but not entirely my thing. It has a great cast and a good unfolding story though.

Russell Baze (Christian Bale) tries to be a descent guy in a dull small town. Also he tried to keep his trouble brother Rodney (Casey Affleck) in line, but when Russell ends up in prison over a case of bad luck, Rodney manages to work himself in deep trouble. With the help of small crook John Petty (Willem Dafoe), Rodney ends up in circles he had better kept far away from.

The film is presented as a thriller, but the first three quarters it is mostly a drama. Yet, from the beginning it is clear that the storyline about Harlan DeGroat (a great part of Woody Harrelson) is going to bring the promised tension. And sure it does!

Night Stalker (series 2005/6)

A theme song by Philip Glass and Frank Spotnitz as writer/producer. Frank Spotnitz, wasn’t that…? Right, the X-Files! It is said that originally Mark Snow was asked for the music in the episodes, but things ran differently. The X-Files, obviously! However the series are based on a 1974 series and the original main character appears in the pilot, “Night Stalker” watches like a not too great variation on the X-Files.

Carl Kolchak is a reporter for a local newspaper and he has some wild theories and weird cases that remind too much of X-Files episodes. Kolchak is even partnered with the down-to-earth Perri Reed (the gorgeous Gabrielle Union). Just as in the X-Files the episodes (of which there are ten) stand on their own, but Kolchak’s past forms a red thread through his investigations. The series contain some moody scenes, but overall the storylines are too thin, worn out or unconvincing.

Nothing to place high up on your wish list.

Dead Men Don’t Wear Plaid * Carl Reiner (1982)

A ‘vintage’ film (32 years old) that was a ‘vintage’ film in its time, since it goes another three decades back being a parody on the 1950’ies film noir films.

Steve Martin is great as private detective Rigby Reardon who get hired by the beautiful and mysterious “dame” Juliet Forrest to investigate her father’s death. Of course Reardon runs into a big conspiracy reaching high up in the food-chain. There are no surprises in the story, nor are there meant to be.

The film is full of dry humour, about as dry as the “Police Squad!” series of the same year (however Nielsen was even dryer). Well placed jokes paroding (some pretty weird too), but not making fun of. Of course Rigby is his own voice over.

Everything as expected and certainly a fun watch if you are looking for something light.

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Fantasy bombast

During two airplaneflights I have killed some time watching to fantasy spectacles. First the lauded "Avatar", second the first "Hobbit". I did not expect "Avatar" to be some sort of "Matrix", but the famous blue characters inhabit some sort of 'inbetweenworld' that men can only come using some sort of machine. The film is an 'ecological awareness' film and I hope that all the people who saw the film picked up something of the message.
The "Hobbit" then seems to have been given in by all the people who did not find the "Lord Of The Rings" trilogy spectactular enough. Over-the-top action, tons of special effects and a high speed; yep, LOTR in overdrive. I personally prefer the worked out story of the earlier trilogy.
Anyway, on corny earphones in a noisy plane it is close to impossible to follow dialogues, so I undoubtely missed so much from the films that I decided not to really review then. I do not think I will watch either again on my couch if you are curious about that.

Pandrogeny Manifesto on Youtube

This comment was on such a strange place, that I almost spammed it. When I checked what this was about, I found a film with Genesis P-Orridge. The director apparently uploaded his 2006 short to Youtube for your entertainment. Check it out if you are interested. (more…)

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.