Under The Silver Lake – David Robert Mitchell (2018)

The shallow lives of rich Hollywood kids circles around fast sex and elaborate parties providing the director the opportunity for lots of sex and nudity. Then the main character, Sam, goes to find a neighbor that disappeared and stumbles into a puzzle leading to some sort of mystery which is equally shallow.

The film is pretty awful. If it was the director’s idea to show the shallowness of this type of living, he succeeded. Did he want to make a mystery thriller for adolescents he failed, at least, to me by and long no adolescent anymore.

Better leave this one on the (virtual) shelf.

Fargo (series) (season 3 2017)

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Once again the creators of the series have found an unlikely story in a remote part of the USA.

We meet the brothers Stussy, both played by Ewan McGregor. One is rich (Emmit), the other jalous (Ray). The feud gets kindled when the jalous brother hooks up with a client.

Emmit has another problem. Trying to save his business he took a loan from a shady middle man who now comes to take over his business. These two problems start to strangely mix again making a “Fargo” with weird situations, black humor and violent outbursts.

This time there does not immediately seem be a connection between the stories of the previous ‘Fargos’. It is again an amusing series with a weird, weird true story.

The Vikings – Richard Fleischer (1958)

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I am not sure how this film entered my watch-list. It is an ancient Viking film. The story reminds a bit about the contemporary series. The Vikings go to Britain, bring back an Englishman, find a way to navigate (here “through the fog” and with another device than in the series) and ravage Britain.

As you can expect from such an old film, the acting is not great, the music is classical and the stages and effects are poor to our current ‘standards’. In spite of that the film is still somewhat enjoyable.

The Vikings are much more than nowadays portrayed as drunk barbarians who have some weird practices. Some obligatory romance and drama is added.

Not a film to put high on your list, but amusing to watch some time.

Lords Of Chaos – Thomas Åkerlund (2018)

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Somewhere around 1990 I rolled into extreme metal. Then in 1991 we hear about the debut cd of the Swiss band Samael (“Worship Him”) and me and a friend started to explore the genre called “black metal”, a Satanic kind of metal. Samael was about the first album that peeked out of the underground, but that underground proved to be vast. Especially from Scandinavia came a plethora of extreme bands with a distinctive style (high pitched guitars, high pitched vocals). There was also a scene in the Netherlands and we soon started to meet the few other people who enjoyed this extreme form of music and philosophy. In several ways it was adversary to other metal scenes. Sure, there was headbanging, but as soon somebody started to try to “pogo” / “mosh” (jump around in front of the stage) or “stagedive”, he was usually kicked out. I remember the bassist of Marduk kicking a stagediver off stage. “No Fun, No Core, No Mosh, No Trends” was the scene motto.

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Spun – Jonas Åkerlund (2002)

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Is it a coincidence that a film of the director of the recently released “Lords Of Chaos” popped up on my watchlist? I actually do not remember.

Both “Lords Of Chaos” and “Spun” are about derailed youth. The former film could be closer to the director’s own youth, being a former member of the ‘first wave black metal’ band Bathory.

In “Spun” one of the characters is watching a black metal video in one scene, an amusing reference to the film of almost two decades later. Åkerlund has more amusing future references. A wonderful Mickey Rourke is playing “the cook” and he is constantly watching show wrestling. The cooks girlfriend is played by Brittany Murphey. The two will later join the silver screen again in “Sin City“.

“Spun” is a highly amusing film about drug-abusing youth. As soon as they snort something up, there are some very fast shots and Åkerlund added weird and sometimes psychedelic cartoon elements to his already ‘overdrive’ montage.

“Spun” contains a lot of drugs, sex, bad language, weird scenes, grim humor and is certainly a fun watch and like his latest, the film is based on “truth and lies”.

Shadow Conspiracy – Georges P. Cosmatos (1997)

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A typical, yet descent, spy action thriller for its time.

Bobby Bishop (Charlie Sheen) is a rapidly rising star in American politics. Under the tutelary of Jacob Conrad (Donald Sutherland) he became senator and special adviser of the president.

Then suddenly he becomes the subject of a violent hunt. Chased by a contract killer and later all federal forces, Bishop tries to figure out who is behind it all.

Cobra – George P. Cosmatos (1986)

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I do not really remember how this old Stalone ended up on my wishlist. This has never been my genre. Apparently I added two films of the director to the list, since I received another one (“Shadow Conspiracy” 1999). I do not immediately see the reason. Perhaps I mixed up his name with another one?

In a violent and dystopian society a violent gang kills people to prepare society for the future. Stalone is a cop of a violent division and of course he is sent out to fight the gang. In the proces he hooks up with the only witness alive, played by Brigit Nielsen. Yes, 1980’ies abound! There are more familiar faces, David “Sledgehammer” Rasche and Brian Thompson who plays the eerie shape-shifting hunter in the X-Files.
Incidentally Thompson is also a “hunter” in “Cobra”, the hunter in fact from the sample that Karjalan Sissit uses in “Pig Society”.

Anyway, of course you will get a load of violent action, some amusingly over-the-top. Stalone is the pretty bad boy with a small heart and society is almost as dark as in “Mad Max”.

Not bad, but still not really my genre.

Who Framed Roger Rabbit – Robert Zemeckis (1988)

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December 1988. I just turned 13 as the oldest of four and my mother thought it was a good idea to take the entire family to the movies. I believe it was Sinterklaas night (the Dutch gift-giving holiday early December). There were many more people than expected and the early showing was already fully booked, so we took the late one. “Who Framed Roger Rabbit”, a unique film in which film and animation were combined.

I do not really know if I ever saw the film a second time, but my guess is I did, because I suppose it has been shown on TV numerous times. On film fora the title often pops up when yet another person asks for “neo-noir” films and a while ago my girlfriend mentioned she would like to see the film again. Heck, why not? I remember it being funny.

Well, it is. It is quite amazing that the combination of cartoon and film still works well most of the time. Also there is an amazing amount of references to Disney cartoons, almost as if every possible character had to have a part in the film.

Roger Rabbit is married to sexy cartoon woman and framed for murdering his boss, but the toon-hating private detective Eddie Valiant sets out to help him of course running from one weird cartoon situation into the next.

Still quite funny!

Willard – Glen Morgan (2003)

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The film starts in a promising way. After the amusing (but rather long) opening credits, the first scenes suggest that this will be a weird and gloomy comedy reminding of the films of Jeunet.

Willard from the title is a nerdy man living with his elderly mother and working for an asshole boss who now runs the company that Willard’s father founded. He grows a friendship with the rats in his basement. A white rat he calls “Socrates” who becomes his only friend. A big, grey rat is (Big) Ben.

The concept soon runs off to silly, even childish scenes with rat training and eventually Willard terrorizing his boss with his rats. Then Ben starts to turn against Willard. In big steps the film runs away from what I like and it turns out to be quite awful. The stars below are mostly for the first 10 minutes.

A Field In England – Ben Wheatley (2013)

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This film has probably been on my wishlist since it came out, but was not too easy to find. It was worth the wait though!

In some British war, an unlikely combination of three men drop out of the fighting and try to make their way to an ale-house one of them saw. Two ruffians and a more nerdy type working for a mysterious master. On their way they run into the person the nerd was after, a dark magician (alchemist) who took off with something that belongs to his master. The magician has other plans with the party.

In a particular field, he hopes to find a treasure and he manipulates the three men into finding the spot and digging it up.

The film looks much older than it is, more like a black-and-white 1950’ies film with rough dialogues and weird characters. The film contains highly amusing dialogues with a lot of black humor. As the film continues there are a couple of very vague hallucinatory scenes. There are some other elements which are not clear if they are meant to be real or imagined.

Indeed, a strange, moody and very enjoyable film.