I Don’t Feel At Home In This World Anymore – Macon Blair (2017)

Ruth is a nurse in a nursing home. In her boring life she becomes more and more annoyed by the selfishness of our time.

One day Ruth comes home and finds a burglar in her house. The police go about their routine, but do not really seem to want to try to help Ruth finding her belongings back. With a neighbour, Ruth starts her own investigation.

Ruth and Tony first encounter petty crime, but as their investigations continue, they move up in the chain. A bit of a “Fargo” type story unfolds. Anything that can go wrong…

“I Don’t Feel” is an amusing drama / comedy with some very black jokes.

Noah – Darren Aronofsky (2014)

Aronofsky seems to want to try something different with every film. This time he took a stab at Hollywood spectacle and I must say, this is by and far his weakest film.

Aronofsky make a somewhat odd variation on the famous Bible story about Noah and the Flood. He starts with explaining why there are good and bad peoples. The bad ones seem to refer to our contemporary mentality and are led by Tubal Cain. Noah -of course- is one of the good guys and he has a dream that warns him of an upcoming calamity.

There is a strange element of stone giants who used to be angels and the apparent pretty drastic plans of God with human kind.

Of course Noah builds his arc. This takes about the first third of the film. When the water comes the adventure moves to the vast oceans.

There is the obligatory Hollywood drama and yawn-inspiring morality and sentimentality.

Indeed, if “Noah” had had another director I would probably have never watched it. If Aronofsky wanted to prove that he can make Hollywood drama, he succeeded. In line with his previous films, this really is a wrong turn though.

Lucky – John Carroll Lynch (2017)

In spite of the last name, there seems to be no familial relationship to David Lynch and the director. You may know him as an actor though. That said, J.C. Lynch obviously dove into the world of David Lynch for his debut, picking long term Lynch actor Harry Dean Stanton for the leading part and David himself as an actor too!

Stanton is one of the actors who passed shortly after the finishing of the third season of Twin Peaks, age 91. In that last year he also managed to play Lucky.

Lucky is an old man living in a remote, Southern American desert village. He is a sight in his little town, walking around with his cowboy hat. In the film we see Lucky talking about life, his fear of dying, but mostly, we see a charming old man going through his daily routine.

“Lucky” is a slow, minimalist, slightly melancholic and beautiful drama.

Rest in peace, Harry.

Stonehearst Asylum – Brad Anderson (2014)

Based on a text by Poe and starring Ben Kingsley, Michael Caine and David Thewlis. That has got to be something, right?

“Stonehearst Asylum” is amusing, but not great. The asylum from the title is remote home for the insane in Victorian times. Edward Newgate travels to the asylum to complete his education. The asylum proves to have some oddly modern methods of treating their patients.

Of course things are not as they seem. Newgate slowly starts to unravel the mysteries of the place which is not received with applaus by the people in charge.

The film has romance, humor and thriller elements and -as we saw- a stack of big actors. All this cannot raise the film above the level ‘average’ though.

Not bad, not great.

Advantageous – Jennifer Phang (2015)

Gwen works for a plastic surgery company. She is the face of the company that is in development. Not only are they working on new techniques, but also on reaching a younger audience and Gwen is getting older. She is side-tracked and ready to be sacked.

Life is not easy and Gwen has problems getting by financially. The risk of becoming unemployed is especially burdensome because she wants her high IQ daughter to get a flying start in life.

Initially Gwen starts looking for other jobs, but when that fails, she volunteers to be one of the first test subjects of a radical new treatment.

“Advantageous” is a melancholic and intimate drama that plays in the (near) future.

The House With A Clock In Its Walls – Eli Roth (2018)

This film with an odd name starts a bit like a surrealist children’s film such as Big Fish. Lewis’ parents died in a car crash and Lewis is sent to his strange uncle Jonathan. Jonathan lives in some sort of Adams Family house and proves to be a “warlock” and so the story gets a Harry Potter turn.

So we have a quirky film with silly humor, strange situations and odd characters. These odd characters are played by no less actors as Cate Blanchett and Kyle MacLachlan.

The result is a bit ‘kiddy’, but a pretty amusing comedy. If you like films of Terry Gilliam, Michael Gondry or Tim Burton, this could be a title to put on your list somewhere.

The Professor And The Madman – Farhad Safinia (2019)

Oxford University has a long time wish to make a dictionary of the English language, but the project keeps stranding. At last they hire the outsider James Murray played by Mel Gibson.

Murray has no university degree. He is a self-taught expert in a stunning amount of languages. After some doubt, he can start is the project. He has some unconventional ideas. Instead of reading everything available in the English language to distill words, definitions and thus the development of the meaning of the word, he wants to use the general public to mail cards with words, meaning and sources so they can catalogue and cross-check them.

One of the volunteers is William Minor (Sean Penn), convicted for shooting a man, a mad, but otherwise brilliant man, with a lot of time on his hands.

The story may sound a bit dull, but actually the film is a very well done drama with an interesting story and good acting.

Bottom Of The World – Richard Sears (2017)

We drop in the middle of a roadtrip. The young couple Alex and Scarlett are driving through vast landscapes heading for LA. They stop at some little town to spend the night and from then on things get weird.

Scarlett becomes obsessed with a TV-preacher and later suffers ache which grows the further they get from the town. Then she disappears and Alex sets out to find her.

The film vaguely reminds of “Lost Highway“. It may be not that dark and weird, but story-wise there are similarities. That is about what you need to know. The atmosphere of “Bottom” is mostly drama, with some thriller elements and Alex going mad.

Judging the 5.3 IMdB rating, not everybody likes the film. It may not be a masterpiece, but I found it quite alright.

Lilyhammer (series)

Some time ago I was looking for a somewhat lighter series to watch and I ran into “Lilyhammer” on Netflix.

The main character is played by Steven van Zandt whom “Sopranos” watchers (which I am not) will know. He plays the Brooklyn mafioso Frank Tagliano who testifies against his former associates and moves to Lillehammer, Norway and takes the name Johnny Hendrickson, because he was impressed by the winter Olympics held in that place. Another main actor in the series is Trond Fausa who we have met before in “The Bothersome Man“.

Johnny is used to getting his way and he has got several ways of persuasion. Norway is a whole different game though, but Johnny manages to blend his old nature with his new.

The series are made by mostly Norwegians and is largely spoken in Norwegian too. It makes fun of the Norwegian way of life with its extremely social system, men in healthcare, immigration policies, etc. Then there is the blunt approach of Johnny who is a heartily man to the people he likes, but you do not want him as your enemy.

Johnny opens a club which allows the creators to put in quite some music in the series. Besides his club, Johnny puts his fingers in about every pudding that comes by. These situation make fairly thin (and usually short) story-lines which are only to make a couple of jokes in a few episodes.

The series are amusing. Van Zandt is a funny guy and the enlarged differences between American and Norwegian ways of handling things is amusing too.

Not a high-flyer, but if you are looking for something light. Three seasons was quite on the edge for me though.

Wheelman – Jeremy Rush (2017)

A get-away-car-driver-for-hire is hired for a job within his parole period. He does not like names, so he says: “just call me wheelman”. While waiting outside the bank that gets robbed by his temporary associates, he gets a call, apparently from the man who hired him. A crazy story unfolds.

Wheelman is first told to get rid of his associates and exchange the money. That does not feel right, so Wheelman takes off. He starts receiving calls from different people while his contact proves hard to reach. Not knowing which of the two callers is his biggest threat, Wheelman tries to avoid danger and figure out a plan while driving.

Almost the entire film plays inside the car. Wheelman has to take care of family business (his recently divorced wife and 13 year old daughter), two blackmailers and his contact in order to get out of the situation alive.

“Wheelman” is an alright action film.