Author Archives: Roy

In The Shadow Of The Moon – Jim Mickle (2019)

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And again a not too good Netflix film.

Two policemen go after a mysterious killer. When the job is done, the killer proves to be able to return again and again. Having put his teeth in the case, investigator Locke thinks to have found a way to stop the killings.

So far the film is an alright thriller with some action. Towards the end the director felt the need to explain the story and put some drama in it, the result of which is pretty annoying.

Not bad, but certainly not very good. You better do not know too much of the story, otherwise the film will be even less interesting.

Bokeh – Geoffrey Orthwein (2017)

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This weak drama is mostly an advertorial for Iceland.

A young couple goes to see Iceland. One morning they wake up and everybody is gone. They start to go around the island tossed between panic and a sense of freedom.

The story and the drama do not really work out well. The directors mostly use the situation to display Iceland’s beauty. Recognisable when you have been there, but when you know the spots where scenes are shot, the story is even more unlikely, since the couple seems to be in Reykjavik and the other end of the island on the same day sometimes.

Nothing much to say about the story. The film is a drama growing heavier as the despair grows, but when you want to see some of Iceland’s highlights, you could consider watching “Bokeh”.

Black Mirror: Bandersnatch – David Slade (2018)

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1984. The gaming business is on the verge of exploding. Stefan Butler is working on turning the interactive adventure book Bandersnatch into a game.

In the book, the reader is presented options which make on which page (s)he continues reading. Thus Butler is making a game with the same options. Typing commands has been done before, he just gives two option to choose from using the joystick.

The film is made the same way. When you go along you have to choose what to eat for breakfast, to drown the computer or smash it, etc. thus giving an alternative turn to the story.

The first time I navigated myself to an end within the hour. The second time I noticed that most other options are just small loops back, but there are so many loops that I started going in circles, so at one point I just turned it off without trying to find out any of the alternative endings (which I somewhat doubt there are (m)any).

Nicely thought off, but it makes a fairly dull film with only here and there an amusing twist/loop.

Glass – M. Night Shyamalan (2019)

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Shyamalan is not exactly one of my favourite directors, but “Glass” has Samuel L. Jackson and Bruce Willis, so I gave it a go. Unfortunately my idea about Shyamalan is supported. “Glass” is quite a terrible film…

The director tried to make a balance between comic and reality. We start with the super-hero and super-villain who both are ‘just above human’. They are apprehended and treated for their condition.

The facility houses three people who think they are super-human comic actors which they cannot be and later of course they appear they can. Some ‘comic logic’ gives the film an annoyingly explanatory feel, so much even that it is actually a drama.

Willis and Jackson do not make the film any more interesting. Acting-wise some praise has to be given to James McAvoy though. His character houses 24 personalities which switch every few seconds.

I am afraid that I can make much more of this film but: boring. I did sit it out, so it was not awful.

Hotel Artemis – Drew Pearce (2018)

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In an apocalyptic near future LA, “Nurse” runs an expensive hotel hospital only for its criminal members. Jody Foster is great as the weird “Nurse” and the first part of the film the film has a bit of that Jeunet-like weirdness.

Naturally a few people that are better not in the same building need to find admission in Hotel Artemis, so things can only go wrong.

Especially the first half of the film is very entertaining. Nice humour, funny dialogues, strange findings. “Nurse” suffers a trauma that is mostly worked out in the second half which makes the second half less funny. The film explains all events in the end.

Amusing.

The Mule – Clint Eastwood (2018)

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Eastwood as director, producer and main actor. That bound to be a film exactly as he wanted. He made some descent films, so why not?

Eastwood plays the old and fragile Earl Stone who always cared more about his fame in breeding flowers and his job than in his family. When that goes awry, Stone needs to find another source of income. Him having been on a road a lot, his new occupation comes to him fairly easy. He starts driving cargo for the drug mafia.

In a slow pace with realistic drama and cold humour, Eastwood tells his story. We see Stone driving the cargo that he need not know what it is and since he is never caught, his cargo grows and grows. One reason that Stone is never caught, is that he remains his own, strange self making him look very unsuspicious, but it works much on the nerves of his employer.

Then we have the other side of the story with the police trying to sabotage the drug trafficking. This ends a bit unsatisfactory (at least ‘story wise’).

The film has no surprises, but like other Eastwood films, “The Mule” makes a nice crime drama.

Extinction – Ben Young (2018)

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Peter lives in a near future and has apocalyptic nightmares. As you can see on the cover and judge from the title, aliens come to make mankind extinct.

The film has a good tension when Peter and his family are hunted by strange creatures. During their attempt to escape, some obligatory drama is presented. Then comes a somewhat unexpected plot twist which is fairly interesting.

What is less interesting, is that the film becomes very explanatory in the second half all which is laid on a bit too thickly in the end making “Extinction” but an alright film.

The Poison Rose – Francesco Cinquemani & George Gallo (2019)

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The creators wanted to make a 1970’ies style film noir set in the 1970’ies. This worked out well for quite a bit.

John Travolta is the old, yet cool, private investigator Carson Philips. While he prefers to remain in L.A., he is sent for a job in his home-town in Texas, a town that he had left two decades before.

Travolta is also the voice-over, there are the typical introduction titles, way of filming, “femmes fatale” and silly, but good humour. Philips works himself into a web controlled by “Doc” (Morgan Freeman) and everybody seems to know Philip’s every move.

Of course the plots shifts a few times and Philips continues his investigations against all odds and prevails at the end.

The first three quarters are quite good, the ending is just fine.

Spectral – Nick Mathieu (2016)

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In a near future with high-tech warfare, American soldiers run into something that they have not seen yet: an invisible and deadly enemy.

Clyne, the creator of these high-tech items, is sent to a war-zone to try to find out what technique the enemy uses.

“Spectral” makes an alright film with a good war atmosphere. The film is good up until we find out what enemy the soldiers face and then becomes a bit of an action horror which is not too convincing. Of course there is a bit of the obligatory drama and American patriotism, so in this regard a Netflix film is exactly like a Hollywood production.

Dark (season 1 and 2) – Baran bo Odar & Jantje Friese (2017/9)

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I do not have much luck with films on Netflix, especially not “Netflix original” films. This “Netflix original” series are excellent though.

In spite of the English title, “Dark” is spoken in German. The first season starts with the mysterious disappearance of a boy. We learn that 33 years before something quite similar happened.

Initially there are some (torture) horror elements which are quite unnecessary and do not really have a function in the story either. I guess it is to raise an atmosphere in which the ‘bad guy’ can be pinpointed so that the viewer can be put on the wrong foot later on. Especially the first season is moody and fairly dark. The mystery that surrounds the village of Winden with its nuclear power plant slowly becomes clear. From then on, and particularly in the second season, this red thread is constantly twisted and turned.

The characters of the series get new faces often, which in some way makes clear what is going on and makes you ponder the underlying idea of the series. Scenes go from surprising to unlikely, but the atmosphere remains very strong. There is a minimalist soundtrack that consists mostly of just low noises and drones. Here and there is a scene with wonderfully surprising use of music.

The second series mostly stretches what we already know and at the end a new angle to the story is given with a massive cliffhanger. Hopefully the series will not be milked out into a seven season series…

Try to not read too much about the series before watching it. It is enough to know that they are dark, slow, minimalist, surreal and pretty good.