Author Archives: Roy

Zero Dark Thirty – Kathryn Bigelow (2012)

This film shows the years long hunt for Osama Bin Laden. It opens with 911 calls from the Twin Towers and then quickly moves a few years ahead showing scenes of unpleasant interrogation techniques of the Americans.

We mostly follow the determined Maya, a young woman convinced that she is going to find Bin Laden. We all know eventually this succeeds, but “Zero Dark Thirty” shows to what lengths especially the CIA had to go for that. We see secret prisons, extreme interrogations, Afghan and Pakistan life and terrorists doing their thing.

The film is quite intense and especially the last scenes are quite tense. Not a pleasant watch, but an apparently good take on a famous part of recent history.

Argo – Ben Affleck (2012)

When the Iranian people get rid off a despot American puppet president, the country is going in an opposite direction. Where the last president steered the country in a Western direction, Ayatollah Khomeini brings extremely conservative Islam to the country. When the previous president gets asylum in the USA, the mood gets fiercely anti-American with massive demonstrations.

During one such demonstration the American embassy is sacked. Almost 60 people are taken hostage for months. Six people manage to escape and hide in the city. The film shows the elaborate plan to get the six out of the country, the other 60 are hardly spoken about.

“Argo” is a dense thriller that shows the extreme circumstances in the new Iran well. Naturally a cat-and-mouse game unfolds which can only lead to an American patriotic outcome, but the film makes a watch-worthy two hours.

God’s Pocket – John Slattery (2014)

God’s Pocket is a small town with not too highly educated inhabitants and a bit of maffia like social structures. When the son from someone the outside dies and a newspaper journalist starts to stir in the pot, tensions occur.

“God’s Pocket” is a descent drama with some familiar faces such as Philip Syemour Hoffman, John Torturro and Caleb Landry Jones.

The Guest – Adam Wingard (2014)

Did I want to see this film so badly that I put him on my watch-list in spite the fact that I could only get a French DVD? The French subtitles could not even be turned off!

“The Guest” is pretty boring. A family gets a visit from a young man who says he was with their deceased son in the army. Talking well, “David” manages to stay with the family for a while. From the first second it is clear what is going to happen and indeed, “David” goes from being a friendly get, a being a menace to the family.

The only positive about the film is a slightly ‘1980’ies vibe’ which even includes music by DAF.

Suburbicon – Georges Clooney (2017)

This film is only rated 5.6 on IMDb which I find a bit low. I may not be Clooney’s best, but “Suburbicon” is an enjoyable film.

The title refers to a newly found and perfect American community where people from all over the States come to live to flee their previous surroundings. In this quiet town two things happen. One man (played by Matt Damon) gets a “Fargo”-like plan to raise money, which of course goes very wrong. The second event is a colored family coming to live in Suburbicon.

Clooney wrote the story together with the Coen brothers. This shows in the story and Clooney again uses the Coen-style filming and 1950’ies setting that he used in previous films.

The result is, like I said, an entertaining film. Not as good as Clooney’s debut, but certainly not his least interesting film either.

Kingdom Hospital (series) – Stephen King (2004)

For a long time I have known about this Stephen King version of Lars von Trier’s wonderful series “Riget” (a.k.a. “Kingdom”). In doubt if a remake would add anything to the original series, for a long time the idea of watching “Kingdom Hospital” remained slumbering in the back of my head. A while ago I ran into the box so cheaply that I decided that it was time to watch it after all.

“Kingdom Hospital” can be best regarded a series with references to “Riget” instead of being a remake. From the first episode it is clear that Stephen King does not follow Von Trier’s story. He added elements and left things out. Some characters return, but usually the names have been changed. Sigrid Drusse became Sally Druse; Jørgen Krogshøj, Dr. Hook; Stig Helmer, Dr. Stegman; Mona Jensen, Mona Klingerman. This immediately says something about the story-lines that found their way into King’s story. The weirdest things have been left out though!

Again the hospital is built on a place where a catastrophe took place in swampy conditions. The dead of these days still haunt the hospital, in King’s version causing earthquakes. Druse finds the little girl Mary and tries to help her in her typical spiritualistic way and her annoying personality, forcing her son to help her. King turned the story more in a fight between good and evil which brings a larger role to some elements, but also introduces new characters. Most notably “Antubis”, a boy trying to run amok and an artist patient who is chosen to save the hospital. Other notable elements are left out, such as Lillebror (the baby) and Age Krüger (perhaps he has been exchanged for the boy). Other things have been changed, such as the secret society of doctors, the sleep research facility and . Other amusing elements have been added, such as King’s own part as Johnny B. Goode.

You may get the point, “Kingdom Hospital” should be approached with no expectations of what is to come. It is an entirely new story with elements and characters known to people who know “Riget”. I think the series are more amusing when you indeed know “Riget”, especially because a few things make more sense. There is no need to know “Riget” to enjoy “Kingdom Hospital” though. The series make a slightly weird horror soap (more horror than “Riget” I might add) which has been worked more into a coherent story than “Riget”. What is too bad is that the “finale” is pretty weak and the end pretty horrible… That may be a reference to “Riget”s sudden end?

All in all amusing series which are probably even more amusing when you know the series made by Lars von Trier who produced Stephen King’s version.

Elvis & Nixon – Liza Johnson (2016)

Elvis Presley gets the idea that he could do something for his country when he can work against society-undermining groups such as criminal organisations, drug dealers, communists and the like. In order to do that he wants to work as an undercover federal agent. He tries to set up a meeting with Nixon to arrange that.

The film indeed is about that very meeting, but much more about what lead to it. We see Elvis as a person with sometimes quirky ways of thinking, but oftentimes as an intelligent person. He tries to use his fame to get what he wants, but he is quite patient in his efforts. On the other side, two young people from the presidential staff try to arrange the meeting, but Nixon initially does not want to hear about it.

This results in an amusing film in which Michael Shannon plays Elvis and Kevin Spacey Nixon. Both do not look too much like the persons they play, but they perform their roles wonderfully.

Bone Tomahawk – S. Craig Zahler (2015)

A fairly raw Western in which a group of brutal Indians kidnap people from a small town. A party lead by the sheriff played by Kurt Russell sets out to find the inhabitants.

The largest part of the film is the ride towards the area where the Indians can be found. When the party starts to close in, the Indians (of course) defend their territory.

The film has a good atmosphere and the story unfolds perhaps not surprisingly, but well.

Green Room – Jeremy Saulnier (2015)

A punk group has a concert gone wrong, almost nobody showed up. The organiser sets up another concert, so the band drives to the other location. This appears to be a remote location with a different audience, more skinheads. The band brilliantly opens with the Dead Kennedy’s song against a certain kind of punks. The audience likes the rest of the set better.

After the show one of the members sees something that he had better not, so the band is directed back to the dressing room waiting for the police. The people of the venue have other ideas with the band than they hoped though.

“Green Room” has an alright story, but overall is a not too strong thriller that tries to lean towards horror.

Liberty Stands Still – Kari Skogland (2002)

Wesley Snipes is a sniper whose daughter was shot dead by a schoolmate. He decides to make a stand by taking an influential young woman from the arms industry hostage and making a media spectacle of that.

The film opens with fast montage and good music, but when “Joe”‘s plan starts to unfold, slows down and becomes a “stand still” film with the woman chained to a place and Joe performing his scheme from another. Most of the film takes place in two places in the city.

The atmosphere of the film is fairly good, the message crystal clear: the rights of the Americans have gone too far where they concern the right to bear arms.