I have not really followed the Indiana Jones franchise. Of course I saw the 1980’ies films when I was younger, but there also appear to be 2021, 2018 films and in 2008 even one by Spielberg and with Harrison Ford. I was not all that interested in the latest, but cinema airco and 4D made me pick “The Dial Of Destiny”.
Initially the film appears to have the famous “spear of destiny” story in which Nazi’s try to get their hands on the spear of Longinus, but the object of interest soon appears to be a dial created by Archimedes. In a typical story the bad guys have bad plans for the world and the hero tries to prevent it. Along the lines there is a puzzle to solve that we would nowadays perhaps call a ‘Dan Brown type story’, but of course these puzzles were also elements of the early Indiana Jones films.
There are no big surprises and the story has a few references to earlier films. Not boring, but not really a must-see.
Amelia Wren is an adventurer in the 1860’ies who flies the skies in a gas balloon. She lost her husband on one of her trips though, so her inclination to fly has dropped. James Glaisher is a young man who cannot convince the Royal Society that by studying the sky, he might be able to predict the weather. Hence, he gets no funding to go up. Needless to say, the two team up.
Amelia just wants to go up higher than the 7 kilometer that the French reached. James wants to make as many observations as possible to collect data.
The film is quite an adventure indeed. The two pass a storm, go well past the French record and their basket below the balloon is full of adventures. Climbing on top of the balloon at -15ºC and at 10 kilometers above the ground; going up too fast; going down too fast; it all is well enough to fill a 100 minute movie that is both entertaining, nice to watch and educational as well.
The new supposed-to-be-hype of Amazon is quite unimpressive. The 6.9 on IMdB.com is perhaps not a low rating, but it is hardly a new Games of Thrones.
Speaking of GoT, these new series are supposed to be a prequel to the famous Tolkien stories, but it seems that an attempt was made to create a political war epic in the style of GoT. In my opinion, these series do not really come out very strong either as a Tolkien story or a GoT spectacle.
There are a few interlinked stories. We have the facial expressiveless elf Galadriel who has spent her long life hunting Sauron and his kin. She lands in the land of man and teams up to continue her struggle.
Another Elf, Elrond, tries to use his friendship with a dwarf to prevent his race from going extinct.
Then we have another kind of little people who are visited by a mysterious giant. And of course there are orks, otherwise there would be no battle scenes.
The characters are fairly flat, the stories not very exiting, there are continuous attempts to stretch scenes to enlarge drama. Like I said, it seems that the creators could not choose between Tolkien and GoT and falls somewhat flat somewhere in the middle.
It is not like the eight episodes are completely boring, but I have big doubts that I am going to watch season 2 should it come.
A couple of weeks ago I visited “Grimmwelt” (Grimm world, a museum dedicated to the brothers Grimm) in Kassel (Germany). There was a movie which was a compilation of fairy tales and I saw a scene with Monica Beluchi that this not look familiar. Then Netflix started to recommend this film. Nifty algorithms!
I do wonder -though- how I missed a Gilliam film. Perhaps I expected it to be too childish?
Just as the museum, the main focus of the film lays on the fairly tales that people remember the Grimm brothers for. But, just as in the museum, you also see some other sides of the brothers. In the museum more seriously so of course.
Not unexpectedly, but the story of the film is not very historical. The famous brothers do indeed collect stories, but they reenact them in order to make money out of them. Then they are led to a haunted forest where things are more real than they expected.
Gilliam wove different fairy tales into the story. Of course there is some humour and romance, but the film is not was weird as Gilliam can get.
We follow a few people with ‘special abilities’ who work at an Italian circus. Then the Nazis take over the country and things do not go entirely as planned. A bunch of them gets separated from the leader of their circus and decide to go and find another local circus looking for a new occupation.
We have a hairy man, a young man who can direct insects, a magnetic man and an electric girl. During their walks through occupied Rome they encounter German razzias, but mostly have quirky adventures and encounters. “Freaks Out” reminds a bit of the work of Jean Pierre Jeunet.
The film is amusing, but do not take too much notice of the historical elements in the story. As the film continues, the focus starts to go to one character in particular who has much bigger ‘super powers’ than the rest.
A nice one when you feel like something light-footed (but not too much) odd.
I had some expectations for this film. I did wonder how a tale that can be told in about five minutes would fill a two hour film. Well, the latter doubt proved to be more true that the former hope…
The story of Sir Gawain and the green knight is a famous one. The film is based on that story obviously. At the court of an unnamed king during Christmas eve celebrations a green knight enters the room and challenges those present to cut off his head. In exchange, the person who does so, will meet the knight a year later at the green chapel. In the film, the green knight is identified with the Green Man.
In his only act of chivalry, Gawain accepts the challenge, but in the film he apparently thinks he has to fight the green knight. In any case, the green knight picks up his head, reminds Gawain of his promise and leaves. These first scenes have quite some annoying additions to the story which apparently are added to give a bit of a spooky atmosphere.
Not really out of free will, Gawain sets out for the green chapel a year later. So that would be two hours of adventures, right? Not really. The film is minimalist and slow, but (in my opinion) not in the good way. It is pretty boring. The story remains fairly true to the actual story until the end.
Gawain ends up in a castle of a lord who likes to hunt. There the story seriously starts to divert from the Gawain story and towards the end, Lowery appears to have missed entirely the clue of the actual story. He uses most original aspects (such as the green ribbon), but fails to let Gawain come out of the bargain as a hero with a minor scratch. What a weak ending!
As I said, the film is slow and fairly boring, the acting is fairly flat and especially the weak end makes me have to conclude that his is a pretty weak film.
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.
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.
Aronofsky seems to want to try something different with every film. This time he took a stab at Hollywood spectacle and I must say, this is by and far his weakest film.
Aronofsky make a somewhat odd variation on the famous Bible story about Noah and the Flood. He starts with explaining why there are good and bad peoples. The bad ones seem to refer to our contemporary mentality and are led by Tubal Cain. Noah -of course- is one of the good guys and he has a dream that warns him of an upcoming calamity.
There is a strange element of stone giants who used to be angels and the apparent pretty drastic plans of God with human kind.
Of course Noah builds his arc. This takes about the first third of the film. When the water comes the adventure moves to the vast oceans.
There is the obligatory Hollywood drama and yawn-inspiring morality and sentimentality.
Indeed, if “Noah” had had another director I would probably have never watched it. If Aronofsky wanted to prove that he can make Hollywood drama, he succeeded. In line with his previous films, this really is a wrong turn though.
There is not often a production this size in the Netherlands and this film is about the national ‘heathen hero, so it was hard to miss when the film came out. Still I had to wait before the DVD price dropped before I watched it.
Even though the 160 minute length, a lot of story is crammed into the first 15 minutes. In Frisia harvest has been bad for four years so the people demand human sacrifice to “Freyja”. Of course it is the girl that Redbad, the son of the king, is in love with, whom is chosen by lot. When she is to be burned, the Christian Franks raid Dorestad and in his effort to rescue his girl, Redbad causes his father to be killed.
Again lots have to be drawn and Redbad is found guilty by “Wodan” and is offered to the God of the sea. Instead of dying, he washes up on the shores of Denmark where he stays with a local tribe, marries and becomes a father.
When he hears that his own people have given in to the Franks and that his sister has an arranged marriage with the son of the Frankish king, Redbad decides to go back and help his people.
Then follows a adventure film with large fights between the freedom loving Frisians and the brutal Franks. Also Wilibrord and his young pupil Boniface are shown Christianizing.
The Frisians speak strangely contemporary Dutch. Of some actors you can even hear from what city they are. The two English missionaries speak Dutch too. The Franks and Danes speak English. A bit weird, but I can understand the director had to make choices.
The camera work looks good. The big fights look good too. The acting is not too bad, but mostly scenes that are supposed to be dramatic are not too strong, especially not when a dramatic interlude in a fighting scene is filmed.
It is a long wait until the scene which Redbad is most famous for. About to be baptized he asks if he will meet his ancestors in heaven and when the answer is ‘no’ he declines. Yet his Danish wife has been Christian (and fiercely fighting Christians too) for a long time. A bit of an odd variation to history too. Both the Christians and the heathens are shown to be brutal too.
The film is rather long but I did not really find it too long. Like I said, it looks quite well, but is certainly no big Hollywood production. Just a film to watch some time if you are curious about Dutch film making and (not too correct) history.