Looper – Rian Johnson (2012)

In this time-travel film a “looper” is a hired killer for criminals of the future who send back the people they want executed. Not too surprisingly one of those sent back has the plan to prevent being caught by killing the person responsible for his apprehension.

The film is alright. The story is not too original with all the time-travel films that have been released and there are no big surprises except for the obligatory one at the end.

Not a bad film, but it need not to be very high up your watch-list.

I, Robot – Alex Proyas (2004)

In 2035 mankind is supported by robots on many fields, from household to the design and development of products. Robots become more and more advanced and the driving force behind this development created three laws that, when they are lived up to, prevent robots from getting the upper hand over humans.

Then the professor dies and a troubled officer of the homicide department (played by Will Smith) sets out to investigate.

“I, Robot” is a hardly surprising, but decently made, film in which some main questions and dangers of robotisation and artificial intelligence are mentioned. Of course this mostly leads to an American moralistic action film, but that is hardly surprising too.

Atomic Blonde – David Leitch (2017)

I expected a more over-the-top comic type of action film, but “Atomic Blonde” is more of a ‘normal’ action film. A hip one though, perhaps reminding a bit of the recent “Baby Driver“.

The film is set in 1989 Berlin, the year that the wall fell. Lorraine Broughton (a very pretty Charlize Theron) is sent to recover a killed agent, but in fact what her assignment is, is the recovery of a list of all spies that has been stolen. Lorraine is a very womanly agent, but also a fighting machine, so the film contains a lot of that. The story keeps toying with the who-is-loyal-to-whom theme.

Playing in the 1980’ies the film uses music from that time. It also has nice filming and colours.

Perhaps not an instant classic, but an enjoyable Hollywood action movie.

Barry Lyndon – Stanley Kubrick (1975)

This lengthy film has been on my wishlist for quite some time. For some reason ‘my usual film dealer’ does not have it.

Barry Lyndon is a young Irishman who lives in the 18th century upper class. He does not appear to be too fit for that upper class so, so he is forced to leave. Joining the army and travelling to the continent to fight Napoleon and his troops, Barry soon starts to find ways to get away from his duties tumbling into different adventures. When he finally works himself back into the upper class, Barry does not really prove himself to be a gentleman.

Compared to “A Clockwork Orange” (1971) “Barry Lyndon” is a very normal film, a costume drama. Kubrick appears to like to try different types of film. “Barry Lyndon” is not boring, but not a must-see either.

John Wick – Chad Stahelski (2014)

Keanu Reaves is John Wick, a man who looses his wife and shortly after some punks steal his car and kill his dog. What the punks do not know, is that Wick is the best killer around. What Wick does not know, is that one of the punks is the son of an influential high ranking criminal. Wick goes after the son, killing everybody who gets in his way.

Violence for the sake of violence with little story. There are some amusing findings in that little story though, such as a save hotel for criminals and rules of conduct in feuds.

The music is great and Wick’s anger comes across well. For the rest “John Wick” is but a violent action film.

Bridge Of Spies – Steven Spielberg (2015)

A fairly typical American spy film. During the Cold War a Russian spy is caught and to give the idea of a fair trial, a random lawyer (Tom Hanks) is appointed. The lawyer takes his job seriously. A bit too seriously according to some.

After defending the Russian spy, the lawyer is also involved in the trading of the spy against an American spy that was caught by the Russians. A very political game unfolds in Western Germany.

Perhaps “Bridge Of Spies” is not a too typical American spy film. The lawyer’s patriotism is not quite the same as that of his fellow Americans. In fact, he manages to point to the flaws in his supposed role accurately.

The film is is descent, but perhaps a bit too typical.

Bai Ri Yan Huo – Yi’nan Diao (2014)

“Black Coal” is a slow-paced and fairly typical Eastern crime film. We start in 1999 when different parts of a body are found in different coal factories. The crime is not solved. Then we jump a couple of years ahead meeting the people of 1999 in different settings. Apparently the murders have continued and so does the investigation.

With the typical blunt Eastern humour, clumsy characters and strange dialogues, the police works towards the killer. The film is amusing, but -as I said- fairly typical.

Wind River – Taylor Sheridan (2017)

“Fargo” without the humour makes a pretty heavy watch. Not that there is nothing to laugh in “Wind River”, but this film is mostly a gloomy thriller with quite some drama.

Both “Fargo” and “Wind River” are based on true events and play in the icy lands of North America.

A native American girl is found frozen on a hill. The local police calls in the FBI and a somewhat green FBI agent arrives unprepared for the harsh climate and for the local people.

The story unfolds slowly which is well done. The film also features some great music that goes well with the long shots of snowy mountains. The director manages to show the hard life in an extremely cold climate.

A good film indeed.

Murder On The Orient Express – Kenneth Brannagh (2017)

The famous detective of Agatha Christie from 1934 has been made into a probably more famous film in 1974 and not Kenneth Brannagh has a new take on it. I do not know the book and have probably seen the original film at some point, but do not remember much of it.

I think it was the cast that caught my attention. It includes Penélope Cruz, Johnny Depp, Michelle Pfeiffer, Judy Dench and Willem Daffoe. The director plays the main character Hercule Poirot himself.

The film looks very 1980’ies. I suppose Brannagh wanted to stay close to the 1974 film. This makes that the film has a very low speed, a lot of dialogue and monologue and the atmosphere of an old detective. Besides the somewhat ‘hip’ opening scene, Brannagh’s version looks more like a remake than a contemporary film of the book. You can guess that compared to nowadays crime film (including remakes of classics) the film is somewhat dull. My guess is that this was exactly Brannagh’s intention.

The film is alright, but I do not know if really brings anything new after the 1974 film. Perhaps actors we still know, but …

Miss Peregrine’s Home For Peculiar Children – Tim Burton (2016)

Burton’s latest already has a wonderful title. It is a fairly typical Burton. A surrealistic film with children as main characters and they are of course very weird characters, ehm I mean: “peculiar”.

Jake’s grandfather tells him weird stories of “peculiar” children living in Wales, but also about monsters. When he sets out to find his grandfather’s “home for peculiar children” he falls into a strange world of repeating time in which “miss Peregrine” (a beautiful Eva Green) leads the home. There is an invisible boy, a girl that floats away if she does not wear her leaden shoes, a girl whose touch makes fire, etc. You get it, Burton leads you into his strangest fantasy. There are also bad guys, lead by Barron, played by Samuel L. Jackson.

As expected this is another colorful film about a colorful world with subtle humor and great filmographic findings. Perhaps a bit too teen, but a good and entertaining film.