King Arthur: Legend Of The Sword – Guy Ritchie (2017)

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This way-too-Hollywood spectacle is very loosely based on the legends of King Arthur. The creators made a story in which the “mages” are in war with humans resulting in a CGI-explosion in the opening scenes. This makes a thin bridge towards Arthur who is a commoner raised in a brothel.

The bad guy in the story is Vortigern (a very nice part of Jude Law) who tries to dominate the world. There is an alternative take on how the sword got stuck in the stone and of course Arthur is the one to get it out in order to thwart Vortigern’s plans.

Like I said, way-too-Hollywood with obligatory and unsuccessful drama, tons of over-the-top action, made-up elements and a fairly thin story.

The film may not be boring, but it has little to do with the Arthurian legends and all the extra elements did not really make an interesting story either.

Mr. Nice – Bernard Rose (2010)

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When the dull but clever Howard Marks goes to Oxford University he is introduced to different types of drugs. Soon he becomes a reseller and then a spider in an elaborate trafficking business.

As his empire grows, problems arise, but usually Marks overcomes them with his amusing Welch way of handling things. Getting caught up in Irish independence conflicts, Middle Eastern conflicts he ends up trying to penetrate the biggest market in the world: America.

Naivity, humor and practicality bring Marks a long way, but eventually he is stopped in his endeavors and he finds another, legal, way to use his fame.

“Mr. Nice” is an amusing film about the 1970’ies and 1980’ies drug scene.

Revolver – Guy Ritchie (2005)

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Ah yes there was this period in which all kinds of hip crime comedies were made with difficult stories. Of course Guy Ritchie contributed to the genre with films such as “Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels” and “Snatch“.

In “Revolver” Ritchie looked up the extremes of the genre. There are the witty dialogues, a film that is monologued by the main character and a story that gets more and more complex. There is not just the continuing question of ‘who is Keyser Söze‘, but Ritchie added a split personality of a man discussing with himself worked out with pretty much over-the-top montage which gets annoying towards the end.

“Over-the-top” is actually a description goes for the film as a whole. It is not a boring watch, but the director overdid himself trying to make a hip and complex crime story.

The Caveman’s Valentine – Kasi Lemmons (2001)

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Produced by Samuel L. Jackson and having him in the lead part. I guess Jackson really wanted to make this film.

He plays a once promising piano player who lost his mind and went to live in a cave in a park in New York. When he finds the body of a young man, he starts to investigate the murder, both aided and thwarted by his paranoid mind with its vision and inner voices.

Of course Jackson can play a mad man, but he also has to perform some drama which worked out less good. Even though the story is somewhat amusing at times, the obligatory unexpected plot twist towards the end is rather thin.

The Traveller – Michael Oblowitz (2010)

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On a rainy Christmas eve a man walks into a police station saying that he killed six men. After some initial chaos the man is detained and the men present start to try to figure out what is what.

The film has got quite a cast. Val Kilmer, John Cassini, Paul McGillon. Kilmer is quite unrecognizable as the alleged killer. The entire film he tries to look tough, but this only works in a handful of scenes.

The story is not that bad and the film has got some descent tension here and there, making an alright ‘supernatural thriller’ that deserves a bit more credit than the 4.1 on IMDb, but on the other hand, it is far from a masterpiece. I give it a:

The 6th Day – Roger Spottiswoode (2000)

In the near future pets are cloned commercially. When you pet dies, you can get your “repet”. Even though it is forbidden, the company behind “repet” also clones humans and thus one day Adam Gibson (Arnold Schwarzenegger) comes home finding that he already is home.

For a large part of the film Schwarzenegger has to play the family man and he is not a good enough actor for such a part. When the cloning company sets out to kill either the clone or the original, the film evolves towards a genre that Schwarzenegger is more familiar with: action.

“The 6th Day” gives a few things to think about, but it is nothing more than a standard Hollywood action film.

Chappie – Neill Blomkamp (2015)

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The description for “rebel robot” is more interesting than the film. In a crime-filled future Johannesburg the police uses police robots to fight the gangs that try to control the city. One of the creators of these robots uses one of them to experiment with artificial intelligence and hence “Chappie” is ‘born’.

What I thought would be an amusing action film is a bit of a childish film with cheap drama and a bit of action. The film raises a few questions about AI, but it is all too thin for my liking.

11.22.63 – Bridget Carpenter (series 2016)

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The title of these series of course refer to the date of the assassination of JFK. There is only one season of eight episodes which are written by noone less than Stephen King.

Jake, a high school teacher, learns from a friend who owns a diner that there is a door to 1960. When somebody comes back to the present, only two minutes have passed, no matter how long he stayed in the past. Al, the friend, took up the idea to prevent the assassination of John F. Kennedy and collects all the information he can find in the present and in the past and went ‘in’ several times only to come back without succes. So he asks Jake.

Of course when you want to prevent the assassination, you will have to spend a few years in the past. Most of the series are Jake in the 1960’ies try to blend in while trying to find a way to try to find a way to do what he came to do. When he succeeds, the result is not what he thought it would be though.

The series have some alright findings and things to think about, but all over the line it is not much more than a drama about a contemporary man trying to live two decades ago.

You Were Never Really Here – Lynne Ramsay (2017)

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A great, slow, minimalist and gloomy thriller with a magnificent Joaquin Phoenix as psychologically damaged contract killer Joe who looks quite a bit like Thomas Ekelund of Trepaneringsritualen.

Joe is hired to find the daughter of a politician and wanders into the dark world of child prostitution. He is not exactly an easy person himself. Flashbacks suggest that this has something to do with his childhood, especially his relation with his father, but this is not really worked out.

The film has a very nice and weird soundtrack and a very good atmosphere.

The Place Beyond The Pines – Derek Cianfrance (2012)

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This film contains three stories. In the first we follow stunt motorcycle driver “Handsome Luke” (Ryan Gosling) who finds out he has a baby boy. He decides that it is his task to take care of his son and his mother, but he tries to do that his own way.

The second story is about a policeman hero whose corrupt colleagues try to suck him into their way of handling things. He manages to get out of the nasty situation and works himself up in life.

The last story is about the two sons of the previous main characters.

The film goes from a ‘typical Gosling film’ (slow, minimalist) to a more 1990’ies police thriller type film to a more modern film about troubled youth. This is nicely done.