Children Of Men * Alfonso Cuarón (2006)

However this film is from 2006, it is the pre-last full-length film of the director of “Gravity”. “Children Of Men” is also a sci-fi, but a wholly different from the space adventures of “Gravity”.

In an initially bleak, but lateron downright apocalyptic future, mankind has become infertile making a cult of the young. This infertility is only one of the problems. There is massive inequality. In the UK the situation is the least bad of the globe and many go their to test their luck. These immigrants are aggressively kept apart from the original inhabitents who enjoy a relatively good life. Activists try to change the system and persuade the former activist (and now bureaucrat) Theo to assist in their cause.

The atmosphere of the film is descent and the story makes easy links to our own time thus making “Children Of Men” a film to think about.

Puppylove * Delphine Lehericey (2013)

IMDb.comWhen this film came out I read that the soundtrack was made by ‘riot grrl’ band Soldout. Curious what film Soldout would lend their name to and what director would have Soldout for the music, the film came on my wishlist. It took two years before the film was made available on DVD. “Puppylove” proves to be a nothing-new coming-of-age film, but not a bad one.

We mostly follow the adolescent Diane who lives with her father and little brother. When Julia comes to live next door, the two get along well. Julia is slighly older and very sexually active, thus speeding up Diane’s adolescence.

The story is nothing that we have never seen and the music is just nice, but like I said, “Puppylove” is an alright film about youth.

Resident Evil * Paul W.S. Anderson (2002)

This film starts as a high tension sci-fi thriller, but inspite of that tension, it is not that good. The too eleborate introduction to the film promises more story than is needed. Halfway the film drops into an unimaginable zombie slasher causing another drop in level.

In some future a big company has a big underground laboratory for secret experiments. Something does wrong, the AI defence system takes over and a small group of soldiers has to enter the city to shut down the main computer. Anderson apparently could not choose a genre and he goes from sci-fi thriller to gory horror to drama to action, coming to an unbalanced, not too well acted and story-wise uninteresting film.

I guess this film is for people who feel like some mindless action.

There Will Be Blood * Paul Thomas Anderson (2007)

With such a title you might not expect a drama. However the film is certainly not bad, this is a P.T. Anderson that I do not really like. “There Will Be Blood” has the emotion of a documentary and in a way, that is just what this film is.

We follow Daniel Plainview, “an oil man”. In the USA somewhere around 1900 people discover that there is oil in the ground and start to find ways to get it out. Plainview is very good at this and is soon one of the wealthiest men of the continent. He seems mostly interested in success though and however he also has a ‘social antenna’ (he builds schools and brings general wellfare to the places where he starts businesses) his major concern is nothing more than being better than the rest.

The film gives a nice view on the early days of the American economic growth, but besides being a good history lesson, the film is not all that enjoyable.

A Scanner Darkly * Richard Linklater (2006)

When I picked this film, I had no idea that “A Scanner Darkly” is of the director of the lauded “Boyhood”. I have not seen that film, but I am sure that “A Scanner Darkly” is a wholly different film. First of all, it is an animation. What I find weird is that sometimes the images are very detailed and look quite like a ‘normal’ film, while at other times the images are very crude. Perhaps this is a compliment to the animators, but the film also looks like it was just filmed and played using an ‘animation filter’.

In the near future 80% of the people are addicted to “Substance D” or other drugs. The police if fighting the drug dealers. Keanu Reeves plays an infiltrant who gets addicted too. With flashbacks to Reeves’ characters past, but mostly during the investigations that his superiors conduct, we are in a world in which ‘Big Brother is watching’. It looks like the people in charge do not really care about the situation of the citizens though. As the investigation continues, it makes a circle that reminds a bit of a certain 1973 classic with a slightly similar story.

An alright film with touches upon some contemporary themes.

Incendies * Dennis Villeneuve (2010)

I do not remember how this film came on my to-see list. It is not really my preferred genre; drama. A pretty heavy drama too, but a painfully good film.

A pair of Canadian twins’ mother dies and on reading her will, their mother asks her children to find their father and brother and give them letters that she wrote. The son, obviously annoyed by his mother’s upbringing, declines, the daughter sets out to the Middle East (Syria I think) to find her mother’s roots and hence her father and her brother. This proves to be quite an ordeal in a land where Christians and Muslims lived in peace until the time of the mother when a dirty and bloody war was fought.

The film shows the story of the mother and how she first became a disgrace to her family and then ended up in prison. The daughter slowly finds the information she is looking for and after her brother came over to join her search, the story makes an awfull circle.

The film shows the Middle Eastern wars and effects of it on a very personal level. The extraordinary harsch lives of people living in the desert. Unfortunately the film is as actual today at it was in the time the mother from this film lived.

The Other Boleyn Girl * Justin Chadwick (2008)

Amazing how many films have been made about this part of British history. In “The Other Boleyn Girl” we follow the Boleyn family and mostly the two daughters who are played by Natalie Portman and Scarlett Johansson (two reasons I picked this film). The Boleyn family want to raise on the ladder and when King Henry (Tudor / VIII, played by Eric Bana, reason number three to watch this film) proves unable to have a son with his wife, the Boleyns set out to try to turn one of the daughters to become the Kings misstress and give him the son that he needs. Anne is ‘suggested’, but the kind fancies the recently married Mary. Anne has her own plans and the sisters that used to be very close are teared apart.

The story is that of the mini series “Henry VIII“, but then from the point of view of the Boleyns. An element not touched upon in the series, for example, is how exactly Henry got to marry Anne.

The film makes a nice costume drama and maybe even a bit of a history lesson.

300: Rise Of An Empire * Noam Murro (2014)

However I find the first 300 film just alright and big battle films are not really my genre, somehow I was curious about ‘part 2′. Unfortunately… The fact that a new director took up this project should have made me thinking.

This time the legion of 300 Spartans are only mentioned here and there. The characters we follow are Themistokles who spectacularly shot the Persian king Darius when he tried to invade Greece; and Artemisia an abused Greek woman who turned over to the Persians and leads their attack in her vengeance together with the gayish Xerxes who wants to evenge his father Darius. The story is told by the annoying voice over of the Spartan queen Gorgo and with massive sea-battles. Like the predecessor the battles are shown with completely over-used stop-motion scenes and gushes of blood flying towards the camera (the film is obviously made to be seen in 3D which I have not). It all looks it comes out of a computer (often very much so), the acting is pretty unconvincing and the dialogues and events often silly.

During the end-titles things become clearer. The story is retold in animation style. The films are based on Frank Miller’s graphic novel “Xerxes” afterall. The way of filming seems more ‘logical’ in that setup, but I guess the film was tried to make -like Sin City- like a graphic novel.

Anyway, the first part was just alright, the second part pretty boring.

Transcendence * Wally Pfister (2014)

And another scifi with an elaborate story. Groups of scientists are working on artificial intelligence. A group of activists sees the dangers of this development and do they best to prevent the scientists from reaching their goals. A rapidly working couple are Will and Evelyn Caster (Johnny Depp and Rebecca Hall) who have created a super computer connected to the internet. Will gets injured during an attack and his wife continues their efforts with a far-reaching method.

“Transcendence” shows the dangers of AI that not only have almost unlimited calculating powers and access to information (due to the internet), but also (self-)awareness. Even when the AI system tries to do good, this does not mean that the results will be good for mankind. Unlikely alliances are forged to fight the AI system.

The film is quite good and at points though-provoking. The story is not as hard to follow as films that Christopher Nolan directed and Wally Pfister cooperated rather than the other way around as this time, so I guess this Johnny Depp may appeal to a larger audience.

The Ice Harvest * Harold Ramis (2005)

The title of this film has not become entirely clear to me, but “The Ice Harvest” is a crime comedy, a bit in the screwballish Coen style. The film starts with a big robbery that laywer Charlie Arglist (John Cusack) and Vic Cavanaugh (Billy Bob Thornton) have commited. The rest of the film mostly follows Charlie. The deal was that both would spend Christmas evening as normal as possible and skip their dull town with the money the day after. Of course things do not go as planned, the two get chased by a hitman and an amusing film unfolds with Christmas receptions, drunkarts, family intrueges, stipclubs and a few bloody encounters and shootouts. The dialogues are quite funny here and there as well.

Not a high-flyer, but not a bad film either.

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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.