Author Archives: Roy

11.22.63 – Bridget Carpenter (series 2016)

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)

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)

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.

David Lynch: The Art Life – Rick Barnes (2016)

Currently there is an exhibition about Lynch’s art in Maastricht, Netherlands. For the occasion a few of his films have been ‘restored’ and shown in a few cinemas throughout the country. This documentary about the man is also shown on the big screen, so we combined the documentary and the exhibition.

“The Art Life” is a combination between interviews (we only see Lynch talking in some corner of his studio behind a 1950’ies microphone), old and recent material (video and photo) and snippets of his artwork. These last have often been manipulated in ‘a Lynchean manner’.

The interviews are both very personal and very distant. Lynch tells about his relationship with his parents and his adolescent years, but he only mentions in passing that he divorced his first wife.
The period dealt with is Lynch’s youth up until “Eraserhead”, so nothing about transcendental meditation or coffee.

Lynch is open about his dark side and how he pursuit his dreams, how he became able to work his art and how he rolled into the film business. All I can is: what a guy.

A little word to close off. “The Art Life” is, like the exhibition, about Lynch the artist. His film making career is only mentioned in passing.

So, young Lynch, old Lynch with his youngest daughter, Lynch in his industrial studio working, Lynch smoking and talking and a lot of his art worked into a beautiful documentary. Like his own work, you will not get ‘all the answers’, but “The Art Life” is certainly a great documentary about a great guy.

In-Lyu-Myeol-Mang-Bo-Go-Seo – Pil-Sung Yim (2012)

“Doomsday Book” are three short films put after the other. It opens with a film which shows the massive meat consumption and the production thereof. The proces leads to a zombie apocalypse.

The second part is more interesting. A Buddhist monastery has a robot for administration, but the robot starts to reach enlightenment. This leads to philosophical questions about mankind and the nature of enlightenment.

In the last part a girl orders a billiards ball, but she uses the wrong webshop, ordering a meteorite that will destroy life on earth.

There are no masterpieces here, but he middle part has an interesting approach to artificial intelligence. The films have some strange humor too.

Amnesiac – Michael Polish (2014)

And yet again I got a film with a different title. “Unconscious” my film is called. It is a not too strong film in which a man finds himself in a strange bedroom after a car crash, taken care of by a beautiful woman who says she is his wife. But is she?

I guess you can guess the rest of the story. A drama goes over in a thriller with a theme that has been shown a couple of times more. An attempt as a surprise is made at the end.

Westworld – Jonathan Nolan & Lisa Joy (series season 1 2016)

I got these series as birthday present. It was also on my wish list, but not too high. The first season is alright, but as with most series that I see, not good enough to make me want to see season 2 or the announced third series some time soon.

Westworld is a virtual Wild West, an amusement park where people can submerge themselves in adventure. They can even go around killing people and go to the brothel, for most visitors the main attractions. Most people in Westworld are androids, robots that are almost exactly human, called “hosts”. When a host gets shot, it is repaired and sent back to the park to pick up their parts in their “loops” (part of a “narrative”) again. When ‘upstairs’ the hosts are usually clothless, an easy way to incorporate nudity into the series for an unclear reason. A host cannot kill a visitor.

In order to make them more and more human, the creators frequently update the hosts, even giving them some sort of consciousness. Then some seem to start to develop consciousness themselves. This leads to lengthy philosophical monologues about what makes humans human and what makes reality real. Of course it is in the development of an own will of the hosts that the series get their story from.

“Westworld” is an alright series that raises a few interesting questions. The events jump back and forth in time and the story is well-written with subtle references and a few surprises. Anthony Hopkins is great as one of the creators of the park. In the first episodes the score is interesting too, as it is often classical versions of pop songs.

All in all, “Westworld” made a nice watch, but like I said, I not nice enough to put the following seasons high(er) up on my to see list.

Mortal Engines – Christian Rivers (2018)

The film has a nicely weird story. On a scorched future earth cities have been made mobile. The travelling city of London drives around the globe to literally eat up smaller cities in order to use their resources. In this film London symbolises the West with its greed and destruction. The face of this is Thaddeus Valentine, well played by Hugo Weaving (Agent Smith in The Matrix).

There are also people who do not live in these mobile cities, but they are hunted by all kinds of rogue towns. One such person is Hester Shaw who  has plans for Valentine. Together with Tom she drops off London and falls into the hands of a rebel group who the two are going to help to prevent London (the West) to break through the wall guarding the East.

The weird cities themselves, but especially the weird machines bring memories of films such “Mad Max“. “Mad Max” is much rawer though. Especially the obligatory romance and jokes of “Mortal Engines” make it a too typical Hollywood film.

The only thing that is somewhat uncommon is that the West is bad and the East actually wins. Oops, I gave away the end.

“Mortal Engines” is an amusing dystopian sci-fi spectacle, but not a terribly good one.

What Happened To Monday – Tommy Wirkola (2017)

I got this film with the title “Seven Sisters”. I do not really understand the need for different titles in the same language.

Anyway, in an overcrowded future there is a one-child policy. One man has a ‘seven-twins’ and names them after the days of the week, so there you have both titles explained.

The man hides his daughters in his massive apartment and thinks of an elaborate plan to give his daughters a wee bit of freedom: they get to get out on the weekday they are named after. Of course this cannot go well for eternity.

The sisters are played by Noomi “The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo” Rapace. Inside their apartment the girls have their own style and personality, outside they are all the same person. Once the authorities find out about them, the film turns into an alright sci-fi action thriller. Too bad that the film ends with rather boring drama and what is even weirder: the governments policies have a logic, but the overcoming of them is presented as a victory.

“What Happened To Monday” is descent thriller with a bad end.