Author Archives: Roy

Darkest Hour – Joe Wright (2017)

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On the outbreak of WWII the British prime minister Chamberlain is replaced by Winston Churchill, without much enthusiasm of his own party. Especially when Churchill’s rhetoric is about fighting rather than trying to make peace, ways to get rid off him are soon thought of.

Starting optimistically it soon becomes clear that Churchill has to admit that he cannot overpower Germany and when 300.000 of his troops get trapped at the French border, an unpopular way of evacuating them is started (this evacuation is what the film Dunkirk is about).

Some of his ministers want to make peace with (meaning: surrender to) the Germans, but as the people seem to prefer fighting over flying, Churchill pushes his old tactics again.

The film makes a nice history lesson showing a hard politician who was also but a man.

American Horror Story Roanoke (series) – Brad Falchuk & Ryan Murphy (season 6 2016/7)

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Reading back my reviews of previous seasons I see that I am seldom overly enthousiastic about “American Horror Story”, yet my memories usually seem more positive.

My first thought about “Roanoke” is that it is the least interesting season so far. Looking back I remember the first season as alright, of the third, fourth and fifth I have good memories.

In “Roanoke” the series live up most to the term “horror” in the title. The series sets off as a bit of a “Blair Witch” type horror with pressing atmosphere and the suggestion that what happens is real. The story is told in interviews and images and the result is pretty much horror. Then the creators start to use different styles of horror going from found footage, jumpscare to torture and a bit of zombie-like horror. Way too horror for my liking. Only here and there the black humor of the previous series found its way into the story.

And then we get a variation to the story and another one and another one until it all becomes pretty dreary.

The story is simple. A mixed couple flees the city and buy a massive house in the middle of nowhere. Of course there are (un)dead people who do not want them there. In the variations the creators show how (social) media exploits such events which is one of the few positive points about “Roanoke”.

As I said before, the different seasons have nothing incommon with the rest except for the actors. If your preference does not lay in typical horror, I would advice to skip season 6.

Bohemian Rhapsody – Bryan Singer (2018)

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I like music films and it helps if the music is good. Queen made some great songs (and a lot that I do not care for) so “Bohemian Rhapsody” naturally landed on my watchlist.

The film is mostly about Freddy Mercury. We see his youth, how he became the singer of the band, started to push his wild ideas and how the band’s star quickly rose. There are a few things here that I did not know about the band too.

The film starts with, and builds up to, the Live Aid concert of 20 minutes. In between there rapidly are big tours, big selling albums and of course the personal problems of Mercury who gets married, starts to explore other sexuality (the film seems to suggest that he was somewhat lured into homosexuality) and when his name is the biggest, becomes the wild party man who picks up the upcoming disease with the little name.

We see the band in the studio and on stage, so there is enough music in the film. Yep, a good watch.

Crying Freeman – Christope Gans (1995)

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I thought that I bought some hip action film as a ‘spare film’, but only when I put it on, I noticed that it was directed by Gans who made some more descent films.

The freeman from the title is a killer for the Chinese maffia. When a woman sees him working, she is supposed to be killed too, but the freeman has second thoughts.

Then we jump forward to a feud between Japanese and Chinese maffia and the freeman’s mythical reputation. The film being based on a comic gives it a somewhat ‘poetical vibe’.

What really adds to the atmosphere are the slow, stretched scenes with 1990’ies synth music, very moody. The scenes are often dark. There are some weaker scenes, but overall I found “Crying Freeman” unexpectedly moody with here and there a violent shootout.

Mysterious Skin – Gregg Araki (2004)

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We follow two boys, Neil and Brian. From the start the stories are shown through each other making it hard to say what is about whom. Neil discovers on a young age that he fancies men and his baseball coach makes sure he does. He grows up finding out that he can make money by having sex. That can only go in one direction, can it?

Brian’s story is less straight forward. The nerdy Brian picks up the idea that he has been taken by aliens and when he sees a documentary about a woman who has been abducted, he contacts her in hope to find more information about his experiences.

Of course the two stories have something in common. It is no big surprise how, but it is worked out nicely and details from earlier in the film, start to make sense later.

“Mysterious Skin” is a descent drama about adolescents.

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”.