Once Upon A Time… In Hollywood – Quentin Tarantino (2019)

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Hollywood 1969, a year of heights and lows. Tarantino shows how he would have preferred this year to go.

The main character is Rick Dalton, played by Leonardo DiCaprio. Dalton is a Western actor who has just past the top of his career. The actual hero of the film is Dalton’s stunt double, Cliff Booth, a part in which Brad Pitt gets to be the cool guy.

Dalton recently got new neighbours, the young and upcoming director Roman Polanski and his beautiful wife Sharon Tate. Tate also gets quite a bit of the story.

Then there is this group of hippies who live in a commune a bit outside Hollywood.

We mostly follow Dalton’s career, his films and his uncertainties. This gave Tarantino the opportunity to film Western and war movies to mix in the film. This is usually in the over-the-top Tarantino style and very amusing.

The story contains quite some drama, but also Tarantino-style dialogues and of course humour and violence. There is a range of famous actors in smaller parts too, Al Pacino, Kurt Russell, Mike Madson, just to name a few. He also again takes 160 minutes to tell his story.

Not great, but a fun watch.

Small Town Crime – Eshon Nelms (2017)

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John Hawkes (Sol in Deadwood) is great as Mike Kendall, an alcoholic ex-cop who can’t get his life back together.

After yet another drunken night he finds himself in a field and driving home, he finds a heavily wounded girl alongside the road and drives her to the hospital. When his old colleagues do not support his help in the investigation of this crime, Kendall decides to do the investigation himself.

What initially looks like a crime in a small town, proves to be a big muddle of ‘big town crime’ and Kendall works himself and the people he knows right into it.

In a nicely slow ‘Coen-like pace’ with similar harsh humour, the two directors Nelms tell their not too original story in a not too original style, but the result is an amusing film with the humour and violence typical for this type of film.

I Am Mother – Grant Sputore (2019)

After mankind has made itself extinct, in a facility that was built for that exact purpose, a girl is grown from an embryo. The facility is to repopulate human kind.

The girl is raised by a robot that is too human-like for my logic. “Daughter” is taught morality / philosophy and many practical things. “Mother” tells her the next human will be grown when she has learned how to raise a human well enough.

Of course things turn out to be different from what “Mother” tells “Daughter”, so besides drama there is also room for a little bit of action / tension.

The story is alright and is told well enough. The acting and stages are good too. Overall I would say that the film is alright.

The Bourne Ultimatum – Paul Greengrass (2007)

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The last Bourne has the same director as the previous. Nothing much needs to be said about this one. It picks up exactly where the previous film ended.

Bourne continues his search for who he was and those responsible for the fact that he is not. And these persons are still out to get him dead.

Every time Bourne shows up somewhere he is discovered rapidly which is followed by fast action scenes and lots of chases with damage. Of course he keeps escaping and, being the hero, he finds what he is looking for.

Taboo (series) (season 1) 2017

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In the rough early 1800’s London, the supposed dead James Delaney unexpectedly returns when his father dies. Delaney proves to have an elaborate plan to take over his father’s trafficking business.

From the beginning it is clear that there is ‘something about Delaney’, but it is not really explained what. He spent time in Africa and appears to have taken on some of the dark magic of the Africans.

Besides that Delaney is highly intelligent and appears to have some sort of second sight knowing all that is going on in London. His claims to his father’s inheritance brings problems with the allmighty East India Company and even the King, who go to great lengths to protect their own interests.

Along the line it seems that Delaney (also) has two very personal reasons for his actions: getting back on the EIC and obtaining the birth-land of his mother.

“Taboo” (I am not sure what the title refers to) is a nicely gloomy and gritty series with a story that slowly unfolds.

The end is quite open and indeed, a second season is announced for 2020.

The Dead Don’t Die – Jim Jarmusch (2019)

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Jarmusch goes takes a stab at the zombie genre. This being a Jarmusch you will not be surprised when I say that the film is slow, minimalist and that Sqürl is in the soundtrack.

Jarmusch came up with an original reason for zombiefication, but for the largest part, this is a predictable zombie film. He has some amusing parts for famous actors/people, such as Bill Murray, Iggy Pop, Tom Waits and Tilda Swinton.

Like I said, no surprises, but an amusing film with cold humour. Towards the end Jarmusch starts to weave in morality which is quite overdone.

Venom – Ruben Fleischer (2018)

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“Venom” is a not too strong Marvel film.

Eddie Brock is a formerly hip reporter who gets inhabited by an alien parasite called Venom. Venom speaks and understands English perfectly. While he is initially a hostile host, the two form an unlikely alliance.

“Venom” has too much childish humour, fairly silly action and in spite of descent CGI the film remains a poor Marvel action film.

The Highwaymen – John Lee Hancock (2019)

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Woody Harrelson in a part in which we have seen him before. An old, grumpy police officer who is sent on a job in his old age. More surprising is that Kevin Kostner has the same part. Kostner as the touch guy. He handles it well, bur Harrelson is better in his part.

The two are retired government killers who get asked to get rid off the problem of Bonny and Clyde who drive through the country killing policemen and robbing banks and getting more famous as filmstars doing so.

“The Highwaymen” is a slow crime film. Not original in style, but well executed. Hamer and Gault try to get a step ahead of Bonny and Clyde. Initially they are the laughing stock of the 1000 men force of the FBI with the same assignment and the latest techniques. Of course Hamer and Gault find a way to get the job done.

Pieta – Ki-Duk Kim (2012)

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It has been a while since I saw a Kim. “Pieta” is not really a film for a hot summer night.

Gang-Do is a young and brutal money collector. When he starts being followed by a woman who claims to be his mother, he very slowly starts to grow a consciousness.

“Pieta” is a drama, but as we have seen before with films from this director, it contains some brutal violence (though not as explicit as in other films).

I found the film alright, but not too good.

The Bourne Supremacy – Paul Greengrass (2004)

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The second of the Bourne trilogy takes up pretty much where the first film ended.

Bourne is still trying to find out who he was before his incident and his former employees are still looking to shoot him. But for the second film another problem occurs for Bourne: the Russians who also want him dead.

After hiding for two years, Bourne is discovered and forced to flee. Apparently in these two years he started to remember things and he goes to places where he used to have missions. He is also framed for a killing he did not commit and thus we have a recepe for another action spectacle with car chasings, fist fights and shootouts. The first film is a little more interesting.