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.

De Eetclub * Robert Jan Westdijk (2010)

A Dutch film that seems to get (fairly) positive reviews of film critics, but less so of viewers. The latter might be explained by the fact that most actors are known for playing in soap operas so viewers who picked this film for the actors might not be used to see a film they have to think about. Also the director’s earlier films do not suggest anything ‘difficult’. Not that the film is anything like the popular cut-up stories with endlessly changing plots, but indeed, you have to pay some attention to follow the unfolding story.

Karen and Michel move to an expensive neighbourhood. Michel has his own IT-company that apparently allows him to join the leagues of the rich and famous. Karen is soon asked to join the dinner club from the title, a group of women of rich men who frequently come together to cook, talk and gossip. Including the men, the dinner club at first seems a tight group of friends, but soon it becomes clear that the relations are not that friendly.

The story may not be very surprising, but it is well put together and develops nicely. For the most part the acting is good, but some actors (towards the end some more) have that (unfortunately) typical Dutch, stiff way of acting. The film is presented as a thriller, but the first three quarters are more like a soap and towards the end the tension is raised.

“De Eetclub” is not a bad film, but I am afraid that I have to say that it neither is a good one. My countrymates and film seems to remain a not too fortunate combination.

Interstellar * Christopher Nolan (2014)

Just back from seeing “Interstellar”. An impressive film! Perhaps I should better wait a bit before writing the review. On the other hand, why not just when I am still full of it?

At the opening titles I noticed that it took two Nolans two write this story, but the two also worked together on “Memento“, “The Prestige” and two Batman films. What you first hear about the new Nolan is how complex it is. Actually I think it is not more complex than “Inception” and having seen that film a couple of times the story is original, but not hard to follow. “Interstellar” shows an earth of which expiration date has run out and NASA is secretly trying to find a way to save the human kind on another planet. The search involves a worm-hole that seekers are sent through to find an inhabitable planet. The concept of the worm-hole allowed Nolan to play with the concept of time, since the gravity of the worm-hole also affects time. Also time is seen as a dimension and added to this is a fifth dimension.

The first three quarters you will hear a lot of scientific theories about gravity, time, worm-holes, etc. Then in the last quarter the film takes the turn that probably leaves a lot of people clueless. I must say that here the film becomes both brilliantly found, but also rather forced in complexity and not entirely credible. Yet, the story makes a wonderfull circle that may not be completely unexpected, but well done.

There is quite a bit of drama in the film. The cold, scientific facts are balanced heavily by human emotions of the love of a father for his children, the drama of loosing a loved one, lies and the like. There are quite some tear-jerking scenes that actually work.

All in all “Interstellar” is an impressive film and certainly a worthy follow-up for “Inception”. Contrary to “Inception” there is no necessity to see this film on the big screen (however some scenes will look better), but I do recommend to put this title somewhere high up your wish-list when you like space spectacle and especially when you like the work of Christopher Nolan.

Dark Shadows * Tim Burton (2012)

Apparently I have not (had not?) seen each and every Burton/Depp cooperation. Not a bad surprise though.

“Dark Shadows” is a typical Burton/Depp. Depp is a vampire who returns to the world of the living after a few centuries, more particularly his family. This results in the known Adams Family like dark humour with laughs about modernity and old-fashioned language.

Nothing you have never seen before, but if you like Burton/Depp, an amusing film to watch.

eXistenZ * David Cronenberg (2009)

IMDb.comDid I see this film before I started to do reviews? I remember “eXistenZ” as a nice Cronenberg, but not his best. Seeing it again, this conclusion stands. The film is in the ‘old style’, the “body horror” style, of Cronenberg. Gruely looking, semi-living artifacts and a dirty step in technology combined with surgery. The title of the film is a game in which the players Matrix-like plug in to. The players find themselves into a virtual world with an unknown asignment. The game-economy is booming, so the author of eXistenZ is hunted after. Another reason for this is (I suppose) that not everybody likes what Allegra is doing with her games.

The film has a lot of Cronenberg elements, a good atmosphere and a descent story. Indeed, not his best work, but certainly worth the watch if you like his ‘old style’.

l’Écume Des Jours * Michel Gondry (2013)

Adrey Tautou against plays in a lightfooted, absurdistic comedy. ‘The froth of the days’ (international title “Mood Indigo”) is even weirder than the films of Jean-Pierre Jeunet. Well, maybe not weirder than each and every Jeunet, but certainly a lot less black. Another title of Gondry is “Eternal Sunshine Of A Spotless Mind“, also a weird film, but in a very different way.

“l’Écume Des Jours” starts with a series of completely weird scenes, strange findings and plays of script-writing; absurdistic and funny. We follow a wealthy young man, Collin, who has a wonderfull house where he dines with his friend Chick, aided by his cook Nicholas. There is no beginning to tell you the odd serial of events, but you sure have to have a heart for the completely strange. Collin wants to fall in love and finds the excellent candidate Chloé, played by Audrey Tautou. The two have a weird and wonderfull time until Chloé gets a strange decease. Trying to help his friend and his wife, Collin works himself into bankruptcy. The film looses its light touch.

Just like the only other film of Gondry that I saw so far, this is again an original piece of script-writing and a film that dangles between feel-good comedy and drama. A very nice film.

Her * Spike Jonze (2013)

“Her” plays in a near future where technology is just a little futher than today. It is a psychological and romantic drama, but the most notable element is that the woman is an “operating system” (actually she is more an “app” to me). Theodore (Joaquin Phoenix) installs software for his computer, but he can actually talk to it. Besides notificating him about emails, organising them, etc. Theodore has conversations with his rapidly self-improving computer (which is connected to the internet of course). Soon it tells jokes and even develops feelings and emotions, the ability to compose music and Theodore starts to fall in love with the perfect woman.

The drama and romance work upto a certain level, but after a while things start to become increasingly less credible. The odd situation is used well to show some psychological aspects of relationships, but overall I did not find the story really convincing.

Not a bad film though, but not as good (to me) as some people want you to believe.

Zodiac * David Fincher (2007)

A film about the serial killer that called himself Zodiac from David Fincher whom we all known for films such as “Se7en”, “Fight Club” and “The Strange Case Of Benjamin Button”. Ficher took over 2,5 hours to tell the story of the killer of whom it is not with certainty known who he was. The film is based on the book by Robert Graysmith. Actually, the film is about how Graysmith wrote his book.
Graysmith was a cartoonist for one of the newspapers that received information of the media-horny Zodiac killer. Even when the Zodiac became less active, Graysmith continued his investigations.
The first part of the film is a thriller. We see the Zodiac performing his hideous crimes. Lateron the focus shifts more to the investigations and then to Graysmith. Obvious is the despair of not being able to find and catch the killer. The film has a good atmosphere and gives an interesting insight into a gruely story.

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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.