Stoker * Chan-wook Park (2013)

What can I say about “Stoker”? The story is one that has been filmed a thousand times. In a remote house lives a family, one of the members dies and unknown family comes to live with them; obviously up to no good. The story of “Stoker” keeps reminding of other films, is quite unimaginable and predictable. The director has made some (for the Westerner) less common films, but apparently wanted to make some easy for a Hollywood production. In a few scenes you might see less common Hollywood elements.
Then to the good news. Mia Wasikowska is the sweet and sexy daughter of the house and manages to set down the mood-changing adolescent well. Then we have the mother of the house: Nicole Kidman. Not her best part, but Kidman can play the both sweet and wrathfull mother. The best thing about “Stoker” is the camera-work. Unusual positions, strange close-ups, bright colours, that sort of stuff.
So, if you are interested in film-technique and not too much in a proper or original story and you can stand the awfull end, this slightly ‘thrillerish’ drama could be for you.

Bad Boy Bubby * Rolf de Heer (1993)

A Dutch director made an Australian film. It was not easy to see “Bad Boy Bubby”, I guess it is not a very famous film. It is not a very easy film either. It starts with Bubby living in some cellar under a factory with his mother. It looks like Bubby has not been out of this cellar since he was born, while he has reached the age of 35. This first part is a bit of a mix between Scandinavian absurdity and an “Eraserhead” bleak atmosphere (but not that industrial). When Bubby gets out of the cellar, he sets out to discover the world. As strange as Bubby is, as strange the world is to him. Still he mostly runs into people who are friendly to him, but not always.
“Bad Boy Bubby” is slow, minimalistic and weird and may therefor not be for everybody. If you like this type of film and you have not yet seen it, “Bad Boy Bubby” maybe an oldie to look out for.

Mr. Jones * Karl Mueller (2013)

And again a weak film from Netflix. I have either to find a way to more easily watch the American Netflix roster or just quit the service. “Mr. Jones” starts as a “Blair Witch Project” clone with two youngters going to a remote house to shoot a nature documentary. When they find out that their neighbour is the mysterious and disturbing artist Mr. Jones the subject of their documentary changes. In the Blair Witch style documentary about themselves (including the whining close up) they start to investigate people who worked with the artist and the premise of the house next door. Of course things go bad and the film finally evolves into something more interesting, a pretty dark and haunting horror. Nothing great though, but the atmosphere gets a lot better towards the end of the film.
Not really recommended…

Blitz * Elliott Lester (2011)

You see Jason Stratham on the cover right? That was the main reason to pick this film. Stratham plays his usual role of mr. touch-guy, this time being a policeman. The Blitz from the title is a serial-cop-killer that Stratham sets out to capture. The story is thin and has a bit too many flaws and the last 10 minutes are awfull. For the rest, you can expect a rough Stratham action with funny dialogues.
Just something for when you do not know what to watch.

Los Abrazos Rotos * Pedro Almodóvar (2009)

Not exactly the mystery thriller that Netflix promised, but there is a very good reason to watch this film if you have not yet seen it: Penelope Cruz who is absolutely stunning. Cruz plays the girlfriend of a rich man, but she also becomes actress so Almodóvar could experiment with her hair (it all looks wonderfull) and style and shift from ‘real life’ to ‘film life’. Naturally Cruz’ man is jealous and that is exactly what the film is about. In the Almodóvar style the film is told in flashbacks and as a history told to someone else. The span of the film covers many years which allowed the director different atmospheres and returning characters. Nothing brilliant, but like most Almodóvars a nice film to watch.

Side Effects * Steven Soderbergh (2013)

Inspite of being a Soderbergh and featuring Jude Law and Catherina Zeta Jones, “Side Effects” is not a very good film. The first part is just alright with a young woman suffering from the side effects of anti depressants she gets from her shrink (Jude Law). Then towards the end some obligatory plot-changes occur which make the film rather silly. Fortunately the acting is good and the atmosphere is not too bad either, but that story

Wanted * Timur Bekmambetov (2008)

So I wanted to watch some mindless action spectacle. Well, I succeeded a bit better than I expected. What is worse, “Wanted” pretends to have some intellectual storyline which is so laughable that it takes down the spectacle.
Some ancient fraternity of weavers consists of people who can see (and act) much faster than normal people and are therefor able to do spectacular things. The “fraternity” became a kiling machine acting in the name of fate. Some dull office boy is hired and trained in a Neo-like way.
The spectacle comes in stop-motion killings, ‘bent shooting’ and foxy Anglina Jolie. The action is so much over-the-top that it becomes dull here and there and the weak story does not really help. Jolie is nice to watch and here and there you can see some funny things, but overall the film is pretty damn weak.

American Splendor * Shari Springer Berman (2003)

Harvey Pekar is a clerk who at an advanced age finds out that he can write comics. He had been collecting them all his life and he cannot draw anything himself, but he writes the comic and has somebody else draw it out. His comics are about his own life, boring and problemetic as he is. The comic becomes successfull and Pekar well-known, but the fame does not come with money and Pekar grows allergic to media. In the film different things start to run through eachother. We see Pekar played by Paul Giamatti, but he is also in the film himself. Actually, as he started to make comics about himself, they were turned into a play and later a book that was reworked to the film that we watch and all this is in Berman’s film. The film parts are often ‘comic like’ with though-clouds and commentary. The film has that comical-dramatic feel that we see more in films of the same time. It is original in its makeup and enjoyable to see.

Only Lovers Left Alive * Jim Jarmusch (2013)

It is quite easy to grind this film, but the latest Jarmusch is great. The grinding part would involve the worn-out vampire theme, the corny glorification of American literatury culture, obvious jokes, the advertisement for Jarmusch’s musical outlet Sqürl, etc., but nothing of that matters when it comes to the film in its entirety. The atmosphere is magnificent. The film is very slow and minimalistic, perfectly romantic and wonderfully surrealistic. The lovers from the title are the aged, but beautiful Eve (Tilda Swinton) and Adam (Tom Hiddleston) who try to live their lives in the 20th century and who after centuries of being together are still deeply in love.
Nothing much to tell about the story, “Only Lovers Left Alive” is a film that you have to undergo with its wonderfull filming and perfectly fitting music (drone/stoner like instrumental rock).

Rome * Bruno Heller, et al (2005/7)

When these series were first broadcasted I heard about the money that was spent on it and how good it was. Later I saw two episodes on some free DVD, but all in all it took about a decade before I finally watched it. There are only two seasons, which is a good thing, because I am not fond of too long running series. The first season is substantially better than the second, but the complete series do indeed well live up to the 9 out of 10 that the series are still rated at IMDb. The first season has more stress on (political) intreagues and religion in the daily lives of Romans; the second season is more soap/drama with focus on the personal relations of a variety of characters. The main characters is the unlikely couple Lucius Vorenus and Titus Pullo who served in the 13th legion in Gaul under Gaius Julius Ceasar. Changing Ceasars and alliances the two remain friends under good and bad circumstances. Other main characters are politicians and the nobility who all try to form situations to their own benefit. The series certainly give a wonderfull insight in the daily lives of Romans of different standings with their interests, doubts, daily routine and a lot of sex.

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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.