Author Archives: Roy

Gangster Squad – Ruben Fleischer (2013)

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1949, war hero O’Mara returns to his home town LA which he finds being slowly taken over by mafia leader Mickey Cohen (a great Sean Penn). He joins the police force where he violently goes against the corruption of his town. This results in amusing over-the-top fist fights.

Then O’Mara is asked to put together a team to try to work Cohen out of the city. He finds a colourful team of (ex-)cops who go after Cohen’s money in brutal shootings and interrogations.

The film has a good 1940’ies atmosphere, but contemporary violence and humour. With a typical story with good looking tough guys and beautiful ladies, Fleischer works to a predictable end, but does this with a pretty amusing film.

Réalité – Quentin Dupieux (2014)

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Dupieux again made a pretty absurd film in which he put a lot that does not fit. Reactions to situations that are ‘off’, the situations themselves are odd, weird dialogues and then a totally strange (yet interesting) interweaving of story lines.

The atmosphere is a bit like that of “Wrong” (2012). Suppressed absurd humour. There are some completely weird scenes, but when the film seems to get some sort of idea rather than being just “a collection of absurd scenes” as I described “Wrong”, it raises a little above that previous film.

Not great, but somewhat amusing.

The Equalizer – Antoine Fuqua (2014)

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Well, this time I picked a non-Netflix original with a fair rating on IMDb (7.2) and still it is a weak film. Of course action is not my genre (and yet I feel like watching action for weeks…), but still.

Denzel Washington in the role of a tough guy. Is that unexpected?

Robert McCall (Washington) is the good guy who helps everybody. He works a hardware store where he helps colleagues, he helps people living in his neighborhood and in a cafe where that he visits often, he gets friendly with a Russian prostitute.

When Teri gets trouble with her pimp, McCall decides to help out. In doing so he gets trouble with the Russian maffia. Fortunately he proves to be a killing machine so in a John Wick-like revenge thriller he works himself to the top.

Nothing too interesting.

Tau – Federico D’Alessandro (2018)

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Again a Netflix original which is alright, but not really good.

After being kidnapped Julia finds herself in a cell which proves to be part of a high-tech house in which she is kept for testing. The Tau from the title is the AI system that runs the house for its master and simultaneously the system that needs to be improved by investigating the human brain.

In the beginning the film suggests becoming one of these torture horrors, but fortunately this is not the case. The director has some amusing findings, but also less so, regarding the high-tech house. Tau communicates with its master Alex, but only when Julia manages to communicate with it, a mildly interesting situation occurs in which Tau is a rather child-like AI system that likes music and poetry. Of course Julia is going to try to use that to get out of her situation.

Like I said, the film is alright, but not really good. The stages look good, the story is alright. I am going to have to find a way to find actually good films on Netflix…

The Favourite – Yorgos Lanthimos (2018)

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After some very weird films, the Greek director Lanthimos made a very British and fairly normal film.

A sickly Queen Anne is assisted by a ruthless Lady Marlborough who handles affairs in her own way and who has a peculiar way of influencing the Queen.

Then a fallen lady arrived at the court. Lady Sarah tries to restore her nobility and while she is at it, become the Queens favourite in Marlborough’s stead. A bitter feud raises between the two women.

Indeed, Lanthimos made a costume drama in which the only strange elements are the camera-work. There is an over-use of the fish-eye lens and some strange camera movements.

The film makes a nice watch, but it reminds more of a film like “Marie Antoinette” than of the two other Lanthimoses that I have seen so far. Of course a director can play with styles.

Son Of A Gun – Julius Avery (2014)

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JR is sent to prison for six months where he lands between two gangs. Taken into protection by Brendan Lynch (Ewan McGregor as the tough guy) this naturally requires compensation. When JR is released, he is taken into Lynch’s gang and his first job is helping Lynch to escape.

After this JR is dragged from one job to the next, never feeling quite at his place and trying to find a way out of this world of heavy crime.

“Son Of A Gun” is an alright film with a very good McGregor.

Mute – Duncan Jones (2018)

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I actually wanted to watch some sort of fast action film, but instead I got a drama with some thriller and action elements playing in the future.

The setting seems to be Berlin from before the wall, but then in the future. Barman Leo falls in love with a colleague, but then she disappears. Trying to find out what happened to her, Leo lands in the world of organised crime.

“Mute” has got some great stages and weird scenes reminding of the films of Terry Gilliam and the like. Then there is some not-too-strong Hollywood action and ‘mystery’ and a very weak story.

IMDB.com currently has the film at 5.4 which does not do justice some to good findings and great scenes, but overall I must say that once again this Netflix film is alright, but not really good.

Buster’s Mal Heart – Sarah Adina Smith (2016)

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Buster (Rami Malek) works night shifts at a hotel to provide for his wife and daughter. He does not plan on doing that for the rest of his life, so they live as cheaply as possible to save money to finally be free.

One night Buster meets a drifter with wild conspiracy theories and he starts to believe in them. This and his lack of sleep starts to cause a growing paranoia.

We see Buster in two phases of his life, as the trying-to-do-good father and as a derailed drifter. The film slowly explains how that came about.

An alright film.

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.