Contratiempo – Oriol Paulo (2016)

I always wonder how international titles are decided upon. The title translates to ‘setback’, but the international title is the away-giving “The Invisible Guest”. Set that against the mystery and thriller listings for genre and you pretty much know what is going on, right?

The film is much overrated on IMDb.com in my opinion (8.1). It is but an alright crime thriller. The young and successful businessman Adrián has a beautiful wife, but also a married mistress. On one of their escapades Adrián and Laura have an accident in which a young man dies. They try to cover their tracks.

The film is Adrián talking to his lawyer and the film shows the events. As the versions differ, so does the film. This is not wholly original, but worked out alright. Of course the film is supposed to work towards an unexpected angle and just that does not work out too well end the end of the film is pretty weak.

Not bad, but certainly no 4+ rating on my scale either.

Jack Reacher – Christopher McQuarrie (2012)

One of these Bourne type action thrillers with an elusive superman, this time played by Tom Cruise.

A man shoots five people, seemingly at random. Easily caught and on his way to death penalty, he asks for Jack Reacher, a man who vanished from the face of the earth.

Of course Reacher shows up, investigates and solves the case, but not without a good deal of action.

13-In-a-dozen, but not bad.

Young Offenders – Peter Foott (2016)

Two low-life Irish youth have an idea to became rich (well, one of them does) and leave their shitty lives. And off they go on stolen bicycles for a 100 mile trip followed by a kid they always have problems with.

Indeed, “Young Offenders” is a teen comedy of not too high standard. It does have some amusing jokes and fun situations, so it is good for a laugh here and there.

Liu Lang Di Qiu – Frant Gwo (2019)

“The Wandering Earth” is an Eastern science fiction film in which a big story is built up to tell a fairly small one.

In the future the deteriorating earth is not the only problem, the sun is dying out. A plan is forged to not move humanity, but to move the entire earth to another solar system. Engines are set up on earth for the journey. Because the earth moves away from the sun, temperatures drop and mankind moves to cities below the surface.

Jupiter’s gravitation proves to be a problem and a big disaster has to be prevented. Thus we follow a few people who have to go to the surface and then have to see that all engines get back in line to get the earth back on its course.

The story is told in a very American manner with obligatory boring drama and all. It all is a bit unlikely, but in basis somewhat original. Overall the film is a decently made, but not all that convincing.

Velvet Buzzsaw – Dan Gilroy (2019)

I had no high expectations, but for some reason I wanted to watch this film. I think it is better than the 5.7 rating at IMDb.

We get a peek into the modern art scene in which buyers, sellers, artists and critics work together for maximum profit. A snakepit in which people have to compete and cooperate.

Everybody is always on the hunt for the next hot artist, but things have been low for a while. Then the dark art of an unknown artist is discovered and a bubble starts to be built.

As the art or its artist is even darker than imagined, the film has some thriller and even horror elements. These do not dominate the film.

As said, the film is not all that bad to me. The story is alright and at least something different. The end is quite weak though.

Angel Has Fallen – Ric Roman Waugh (2019)

The film starts with a high-tech assassination attempt on the American president (Morgen Freeman). The only other survivor is main character Mike Banning (Gerald Butler).

A not too surprising story unfolds in which Banning gets framed for the attack and he escapes in order to prove his innocence.

“Angel Has Fallen” is full of high-adrenaline action (sometimes a bit over-the-top) and has a good, dense atmosphere.

Not a high-flyer, but a good action thriller.

Ocean’s Thirteen – Steven Soderbergh (2007)

And here is number three. Story-wise this one is again less interesting. One of the men from the group had a business rip-off which takes its toll on his health. The rest decides to pay back the competitor.

Willy Bank (Al Pacino) works on a massive and extremely luxury hotel with casino in Las Vegas. Ocean and his men are going to prevent that Bank’s latest is again getting a five diamond rating like his other hotels, steal the diamonds that Bank usually gives to his wife to celebrate another 5 diamond rating and they will make him poor by rigging the casino.

Of course there are some impossible hurdles to pass and an incredible method is come up with as a part of their plan. This time a tunnel will be dug to create an earthquake to shut down security.

With the usual humour, twists and turns in the story and pack of big actors, “Ocean’s Thirteen” is again entertaining, but still the least of the three.

Extraction – Sam Hargrave (2020)

The son of a criminal Indian is kidnapped by an even bigger criminal. A group specialised in such situations is hired to get the kid out.

A fairly thin story is used to make much action. Quite over-the-top too. All the shooting is more like a video-game than an action film. The everybody-against-everybody story is somewhat dull. Then there are a couple of drama scenes that take the film down further.

Thirteen in a dozen action…

Ocean’s Twelve – Steven Soderbergh (2004)

I remember when this film was shot, even the news mentioned that George Clooney and Brad Pitt were in Amsterdam for filming. Only a small part of the film plays in Amsterdam though, but indeed, a somewhat touristic part that is.

Story-wise “Twelve” is a lot less interesting than the first film, but the fun the crew had is visible. Silly jokes such as Julia Roberts whose character has to pretend to be Julia Roberts and Bruce Willis in a small part playing himself make the film an amusing watch.

The film starts somewhat weak. The man who was robbed in the first film has found all of Ocean’s eleven and forces them to pay him back. So they have to come up with another big robbery to make up for the money.

Hopefully the last part of the trilogy is not yet another step down…

Elysium – Neill Blomkamp (2013)

Somehow I see a lot of Matt Damon films recently. Here he is with no hair again. This time more his usual genre though: action.

Actually this is more of a dystopian scifi. A century from now earth is an overpopulated mess. Rich people have moved to the space station Elysium which resembles earth in better days.

Damon plays a man with a troubled past. After an accident at work he needs to go to Elysium because there are ‘curing machines’ there. With a group of heavy criminals he forges a plan.

The film has a bit of a “Mad Max” atmosphere which is good. The parts with Jody Foster as ruthless minister at Elysium as less strong. There is some annoying drama too and the last 15 minutes are downright awful. A dreary ‘the people you are supposed to sympathize with’ against those you do not.

Not bad, too bad about the end.