Mutant Chronicles * Simon Hunter (2008)

Man man, what a weak film. I think I found this title because Ron Perlman is in it (and John Malkovich). “Mutant Chronicles” is a sci-fi action spectacle with a far too elaborate story.

It starts in the past with Druids or so who guard a secret. Then we jump to 2707 with a war that looks very much like WWII. A few characters are introduced and also the problem they are going to face. Some zombie-producing 10.000 year old machine that was buried beneath the earth until the mentioned war. This part of the film looks a bit like the story of a massive book had to be compressed into a 15 minute introduction. Then the pace drops extremely when we start to follow a group of people setting out to destroy the machine. Ron Perl is brother Samuel who has a book, a “chronicle”, fortelling events and he believes it also tells him how he can make an end to things. The group travels through tunnels and abandonned cities perpertually chased by armies of zombies with swords-for-arms.

The film is unconvincing, not exciting, not really tense and the bloody action looks corny. Besides a few fair jokes and ideas (a steam-engine space ship for one), “Mutant Chronicles” is rather awfull. The balance makes is just quite weak.

Lucy * Luc Besson (2014)

A story similar to “Limitless“, but less glorious. Lucy (Scarlett Johansson) accidentally gets a new experimental drug in her system that enhances the part of her brain that she uses. Professor Norman (Morgan Freeman) has a theory about the abilities of a human being when he can use more than the normal 10% and Lucy appears to be prove of that.

The theory, and hence the film, has soms enormous ‘unlikelynesses’. Why would more brain activity give somebody power over matter? For this reason “Lucy” has too many yeah-right-moments and in the parts when the film tries to come accross intelligently (explainatory) are not always very convincing. And so “Lucy” grows out to be an action film which slowly becomes a bit of one of those hip recent scifi mysteries, but then a few levels down a title such as “Inception“. The acting is not wholly convincing all the time either.

Jacob’s Ladder * Adrian Lyne (1990)

I was not sure if I had seen this classic and after watching it, I am not totally sure whether or not I did before. The film sure is worth the watch.

We follow Jacob, a Vietnam veteran with a post traumatic stress syndrom. Jacob slowly starts to loose his mind and we get flashes from his war-time, current time, but also things that almost seem to be visions, or rather: nightmares. When one of his former buddies dies and Jacob meets his other group members, it appears that he is not alone in his road to hell.

“Jacob’s Ladder” is a well-told and well-built-up film with a proper story. There is also a great Cronenberg-like scene and the tension raises nicely. Indeed, a recommended (re)watch.

Utopia (series) * Dennis Kelly (2013)

I was looking for new series and ran into IMDb’s highest rated series list. Utopia is good for an 8.5. The series seem to be ended (I find running series often vastly overrated) and there are only two seasons (I am no fond of many-season-series). The box promises “[…] a riotous fusion of Twin Peaks, No Country For Old Men and The Killing”. That is bound to be untrue, but I got myself the two season box anyway.

The two seasons tell a continuous story (and has a end that would make a step to a new season very easy), but on the other hand, they tell two stories as well. We start following a few internet geeks who stumble upon a big conspiracy surrounding a “graphic novel”. They meet up and set out to find the book that will answer all their questions. In doing so, Becky, Ian, Wilson and Grant run in something much bigger than they anticipated. Followed by two cold blooded killers and finding the person that everybody seems to be after, “Utopia” develops into a descent thriller series with thick Welsh accents, black humour, extreme and bloody violence. They find their “graphic novel” and loose it again.
Season two starts with some ‘prequel’ scenes, but quickly jumps a bit ahead in time when the issue that seemed to be solved in season one, pops up again, but worse than ever. The characters are shuffled around a bit making season two another nice watch.

I can understand the reference to No Country For Old Men, but I do not know The Killing, but Twin Peaks?? Or “a brain-bender of a show”? That is a bit too much credit in my opinion and both references seem to imply that Utopia is somehow strange or ‘difficult’, but in comparison to modern cinema and especially in comparison to Twin Peaks that is not really the case. I think the series are better compared to some work of Quentin Tarantino or (indeed) the Coen brothers, especially because of the suddent and very violent outbursts, icecold characters and weird dialogues. There is also some funny camera work and (as the box suggests) nice use of colours, probably to give the series a bit of a ‘comic-feeling’.
The series do have a very, very heavy message. The conspiracy is certainly not one of the corny ‘good vs bad’ plots in which you do not have to think whose side you are on. This may perhaps be the best part of the series.

I might not find Utopia brilliant and the 8.5 on IMDb is a bit overrated, but not that much really. I would still give it something just below 8.0 which is really not bad for a contemporary series and higher than I rated Fargo actually, which I also liked.

The Double* Richard Ayoade (2013)

IMDb.comWhat a wonderfully weird film. In a 1970’ies like retro futuristic setting, we follow Simon who has a depressing job in a depressing office environment. In the first scenes the viewer gets bright colours, high contrast and Jean-Pierre Jeunet like weird repetative scenes accompanied by similar music. This sets the tone of the film.

After a while a new colleague arrives at the office. This young man looks exactly like James and soon starts to take over James’ life. He makes James do his tests and his work and on the other hand sets after the girl that James has an eye on. Simon also seems to want to make friends with James and help him with his life however. Or does he?

“The Double” is an enjoyable absurdistic comedy, but not a film made to make you laugh though. Especially towards the end the film becomes more and more dramatic. It is stylistically very interesting and certainly a recommended title if you like this strange, black humour kind of film.

The Exorcist * William Friedkin (1973)

This film is a few years older than myself and I already saw it a few times before; now I did so again. I do not know if there are readers of this website so young that they never heard of this horror classic, but just in case there are, I wrote this little review.

The film is about the young girl Sharon who is a little weird. When her bed starts flying through her bedroom, her mother sets out to find help. Sharon proves to be possessed by the devil himself. First Sharons mother tries the normal medical route where the doctors come up with all kinds of fancy explanations. When nothing helps, we go down to the reference in the title.

I was quite surprised how good the film still looks. Of course, the actors wear clothes we would no longer wear and the way they act is somewhat ‘old fashioned’, but the colours, the way the story is built up, “The Exorcist” still makes a good film. What I was less positively surprised about were “the scenes” in which we see the devil talking through Sharon. I remember those as more impressive. Sure, the make-up still has a young girl looking quite awfull and her swearing can still match many current cursing scenes, but the devil seems less scary than before.

Still, should you have never seen this film, and you like the supernatural thriller kind of the not-too-splatter kind of horror, “The Exorcist” remains one that you must have seen.

Devil * John Erick Dowdle (2010)

From the director of “As Above, So Below” and “Quarantine”. I did not like either film, so why did I pick “Devil”?

“Devil”, like “Quarantine” plays in the small confinement of a single building, this time an skyscraper office. The tension is slowly built up, which is not badly done. Basically this film is an old fashioned horror in a current setting.

The film is not horrible, but certainly not exceptionally good either.

Snowpiercer * Joon-ho Bong (2013)

Another not too convincing “sci-fi”. The story of “Snowpiercer” is so unlikely that I really could not get into the film.

In order to stop global warming, mankind caused a new ice age. The only people alive on the planet live on a continuously riding train and it is within that train that the film plays. The train has a strict class society. The ‘low’ people from the back decide to move up front since they feel suppressed. Some wagons look like the inside of a train, others seem massively big. As the troup continue to move forward some wagons have the strangest content and inhabitents.

For the largest part the story seems well thought-through. There are some details that only get clear lateron and overall the train proves to be a picture of society and explains why things are the way they are. This is actually fairly well done. The overal framework of a single train on a frozen earth that takes a year to fullfill one round is so far fetched and unlikely that I cannot really recommend “Snowpiercer”. It too often seemed as if the director’s ideas for a story did not fit his train and there are way too many improbabilties.

Sound Of My Voice * Zal Batmanglij (2011)

I read some good reviews of this film and the IMDb is 6.7 on. Too high in my opinion. I did not really like this film.

The IMDb listings of “mystery” and “sci-fi” are a bit too promising too. Other than that we are dealing with a person from the future, there is little “mystery” and this fact alone does not make the film “sci-fi”. As a matter of fact, the viewer is not even sure Maggie is from the future. This lady from the future founded a New Age cult into which two youngsters infiltrate in order to make a documentary.

The film is very New Agey with all kinds of strange group gatherings and a semi-spiritual message of Maggie. “The Sound Of My Voice” nowhere gets really interesting.

Lost River * Ryan Gosling (2014)

Ryan “Drive” “Only God Forgives” Gosling’s directing debut is rated only 5.9 on IMDb. It indeed is not a popular-looking film, but I guess that the people who enjoy the two mentioned films, might actually like “Lost River” too. Gosling was apparently inspired by Refn’s approach. “Lost River” is as slow and minimalistic as these two of Refn.

There is not too much of a story to “Lost River”. The film title refers to a small town that is almost abandoned. If I understand it correctly, Lost River was founded when another small town was flooded to create a reservoir-lake. Still its inhabitents get out (because of the economic crisis?) and Lost River has only a handfull inhabitents left.

We mostly follow Billy and her two sons. Billy tries to raise enough money to keep the house and runs into the weirdest job, allowing Gosling to tell a macabre story. The oldest son Bones tries to make money collecting copper, but he runs into a more powerfull opponent.

Just a few characters, no too much dialogue or ‘events’, bright images, low speed. “Lost River” might indeed not be a film for anyone, but I must say that I find it not bad at all.

Search website

Last blog entries

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 [...]

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.


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 [...]


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 [...]

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.