Author Archives: Roy

The Valhalla Murders – Thordur Palsson (series 2019)

A Netflix Scandinavian crime from Iceland. “The Valhalla Murders” is quite a typical Scandinavian crime too.

In a not unseen story, recent killings can be traced back to maltreatment of children in an institute in the past. The small Reykjavik police force, later joined by even smaller force from in other Icelandic towns, set out to catch a killer on the loose. The story unfolds, has a few obligatory plot twists and new suspects and a wee bit of violence.

The series are shot in the snowy season, so Iceland really looks like an icy land. The acting, as the story, is alright.

Not a high-flyer, but a descent and moody Scandinavian crime series.

Watchmen (series) – Damon Lindelof (2019)

A quite original mini series this is. It is based on a graphic novel of the same name which has been turned into a film by Zack Snyder 10 years earlier.

“Watchmen” plays in an ‘alternative’ past and present. The Ku Klux Klan has mutated into the Seventh Kavalry and they are so powerful and dangerous that the police started wearing masks to prevent their identities becoming known and the Kavelry attacking them in their private lives. These masks became action-hero type clothing giving the series the action-comic feel.

Initially we follow a few of these police officers fighting the bad guys, but as the series continue, the focus shifts to a larger story that becomes increasingly strange. There are ‘off-elements’ such as a guy playing with clones, stories of a “Mr. Manhattan” that for a long time remain but stories.

Towards the end the series become pretty vague, yet interesting. The pre-last episodes brings a lot together. Unfortunately the very last episode is too explanatory and sentimental.

“Watchmen” make a very interesting series which brutally displays the racism of the imaginary and real past and present.

Kill the Irishman – Jonathan Hensleigh (2011)

Also known as “Bulletproof Gangster”, this film tells the true story of Danny Greene. In the 1970’ies Greene is an American laborer of Irish descent. Not afraid for anyone he works himself up to being head of the union he works for.

Power getting to his head, Greene and his buddies enrich themselves and go against their peers causing Greene to be dropped. So he tries his luck in criminal activities.

In doing so, Greene encounters the local (Cleveland) maffia of whom is also is not afraid. Perhaps he better should. A feud develops and Greene proves to be a cat with nine lives.

In a format known by now, the film shows original footage through the film which makes a bit of a documentary style film. The film is amusing and has a few big names on the actors list.

I, Tonya – Graig Gillespie (2017)

How big are the odds to watch two films of two different directors with the last name Gillespie in one weekend?

Tonya Harding likes ice skating as a girl. Her mother pushes her towards to becoming a professional ice figure skater. The mother is, let us say, persuasive.

Tonya is an all-American, somewhat lowlife girl. Her foul mouth she has from her mother. Because of this, no matter how good Tonya is, she does not really fit into the glamour world of ice skating. This causes her to not get the praise she deserves.

Then there some other elements in her life that do not really help her carreer.

“I, Tonya” is a documentary-like film with interviews and flashbacks. The remarkable story is told with harsh humor and gives a peak into the world of a perhaps famous, but certainly not a rich young woman trying to keep her head above the water in the world of professional sports.

The Void – Gillespie & Konstanski (2016)

So what did I read about this film that it had been on my wishlist for quite a while?

“The Void” is a pretty boring horror film with a 13 in a dozen story. A group is trapped inside a hospital. Outside some sort of sect is keeping watch. Inside there is a monster. Of course the group is not quite homogeneous either.

There seems to be an attempt for an interesting story, but that did not really work out. The monster is pretty funny though.

Ghost Rider – Mark Steven Johnson (2007)

This is quite a corny Marvel, a fairly amusing one though.

Johnny Blaze is a stunt motorcyclist who sells his soul to the devil so that the latter can cure his father of cancer. The devil plays a trick on Johnny. Also it takes a while before he comes pick up Johnny for his task: he will be a contract killer.

In a very over-the-top way, Johnny turns into a burning motor driving hitman during the night. In the meantime he runs into the love of his youth.

Not without reason Nicholas Cage was hired to play Johnny Blaze. I find some of the other actors less convincing for their parts. Overall the film is mostly cheap entertainment, but somewhat entertaining.

The Killing of a Sacred Deer – Yorgos Lanthimos (2017)

For some reason I had a hard time being able to watch this film. Lanthimos’ earlier weird films such as “Dogtooth” (2009) and “The Lobster” (2015) did relatively well for such films, so I expected this film to get the same attention and thus availability. Perhaps it was overshadowed by the much more ‘normal’ “The Favourite” (2018)?

In a way, “The Killing” lays between “The Favourite” and the other mentioned films. It is not as strange as the earlier films, but not as ‘normal’ as the latter.

Steven Murphy (Collin Farrell) is a successful doctor who lives a perfect life with his wife (the ever beautiful, yet skinny, Nicole Kidman) and two children. His record is not entirely blameless though and he is in contact with Martin, the son of a man who died during an operation.

Both Martin and Steven and his family are tryingly correct, but as the film continues, it becomes obvious that the persuasive Martin holds Steven responsible for the death of his father and is out for revenge.

The film has a ‘slightly off’ atmosphere with some odd scenes, but it is mostly a slow burning psychological thriller.

The Defenders (series) – Petrie & Ramirez (2017)

A while ago I felt like watching a bit of a gritty action series and ran into “Gotham”. As the title suggests, this is a “Batman” series. Well actually the series are from before Bruce Wayne became Batman. The series are alright, but there is a lot of drama, little action, soap and Hollywood moralism (like in the films). I wanted something with more action and started looking for Marvel series. Something amusing, action, superheroes. I found “The Defenders”.

Extra plus: there is but one season (Netflix does have a season two trailer). I had hoped for more over-the-top action with humor and funny villains. That did not entirely work out.

There are four people with “abilities” all working to make the city of New York safer on themselves. Circumstances bring the four together to fight a common enemy.

After a while it started to dawn on me that the four characters are action heroes in their own right. Indeed, each has a series of his/her own. “Daredevil”, “Jessica Jones”, “Luke Cage” and “Iron Fist”.

There is a lot of ‘kong fu fighting’, but it all remains a bit ‘teen’. The story is a bit thin, but there is something to laugh here and there. No superheroes flying from one building tot the next, running up and down walls, but there is the Matrix-like action and the occasional dress-up party.

Not boring, but not what I hoped to find.

Game Of Thrones – Benioff & Weiss (series 2011-2019)

I doubt that there is anybody who does not know the biggest hype of the past millennium. I do not remember exactly when I started watching GOT. When something is popular, it usually drops on my priority list. At some point I probably ran into a not too expensive DVD box of the first season and decided to see what all the fuss is about.

From the beginning I found GOT alright, but not too interesting. After finishing the first season, I doubted I would watch the second, which I obviously did some day and so on.

I do not get the 9.3 rating on IMDb.com. After almost a decade of watching the eight seasons, I think think GOT is alright, but nothing too great.

Anyway, should you have lived under a rock, the known world is divided over seven kingdoms ruled by families. There are friendships, but mostly feuds and a lot of intrigue. GOT shows how politics work where the people in charge are not necessarily the most powerful, while others want to expand their might. The “iron throne” is the desired seat for the ruler of all seven kingdoms.

This leads to a massive amount of plots, subplots, etc. which makes it quite hard to keep up with who is who and what was what. A red line is a thread coming from more Northern that the Northernmost part of the realm, the “winter” that is coming.

A massive soap opera with interesting and less interesting characters around which interesting and less interesting stories are woven, a massive budget which shows of. Indeed, GOT is the contemporary version of Tolkien books.

Like I said, not boring, but not 9.3 on a scale of 10 either.

How It Ends – David M. Rosenthal (2018)

Just when Theo is all across the USA visiting his parents-in-law-to-be, something happens in Seattle where his fiancee remained. Impossible to find contact, Theo and Tom (the father) decide to take the long road trip to Seattle.

“How It Ends” is an apocalyptic film. The disaster has cut of all communication with the area where it took place, so nobody knows what is going on. During the road trip the chaos obviously leeds men to its worst so an thriller adventure unfolds.

The film is alright.