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Human Nature – Michel Gondry (2001)

  • comedy

Directed by Gondry, written by Charlie Kaufman and starring Patricia Arquette. Would that be reason enough to watch a comedy? I am not entirely sure.

The story is of course pretty absurd and has some elements critical to modern society. Arquette runs around in an Eve’s costume half of the film too. The film is too light for my liking though.

Arquette plays a hairy girl who decides to retreat into nature, but later returns to society. Her husband is the ultimate example of man trying to ‘enlighten’ nature: he tries to teach table manners to mice. When the two run into a wild man, Nathan (the husband) sets out to socialize “Puff” by teaching him how to behave at a classical concert and other things that apparently makes men civilized.

“Human Nature” has some nice, subtle humor (and some of the more absurd kind) and a message, but I cannot see much more in it than very light entertainment.

T2 Trainspotting * Danny Boyle (2017)

20 Years after the original film, the director rattled up the original crew to make a ’20 years after’. Everybody indeed is 20 years older and the story also plays 20 years after the first film. Not much script is wasted as to what happened to the characters in these 20 years though.

Renton moved to Amsterdam with the money he stole from his buddies at the end of the first film. Begbie spent all these years in jail and Spud and Sick Boy just stayed where they always lived. Then Renton returns to Edinburgh. His old buddies are, of course, not happy with him leaving with their money. The betrayal has not worn. Especially’s Begbie’s hatred has only grown with 20 years in jail and he was not an easy person to begin with.

This is used as an umbrella for a film that sometimes reminds of the first film (especially in the beginning), but there is more drama than I remember of 20 years ago. There is some of the gory humor again, but much less drug infused crazyness.

The acting is good, the story less so (a couple of odd mistakes), but overall “T2” is highly entertaining, especially for people who know the first film, since there are many references, flashbacks and inside jokes that will remain unclear to people whose first Trainspotting this is.

No need to see it on the big screen though, but when you like the first film, “T2” will probably not disappoint you.

Alice Through The Looking Glass * James Bobin (2016)

Johnny Depp returns to Alice’s wonderland. This film is an obvious sequel to Tim Burton’s “Alice In Wonderland” from 2010. The actors are largely the same as are the way things look. Story-wise Bobin’s film is a bit of a prequel explaining the youth of the hatter and the reason for the Red Queen’s head-size.

“Alice Through The Looking Glass” is amusing, but never reaches the level of Burton’s film. It has the usual Disney mix of children’s and adult’s humor, adventure and weird characters (such as Sacha -Borat- Cohen as Time).

An amusing watch, but not a must-see.

Dirty Mind * Pieter van Hees (2009)

Van Hees made this film a year after the wonderfull horror/thriller “Linkeroever“. Apparently he wanted to have a try with action comedy, but that did not work out too well.

“Dirty Mind” is spoken in Flemish and contains some amusing ‘Flemish humour’ (expressions, etc.) and the story could have been just fine, but the acting and overall film are pretty unconvincing. We have two brothers Cisse and Diego who do stunts for films, not always very professional, but well enough to make a living. Cisse is the hip stuntman, Diego the nerdy assistent. When Diego has to perform a stunt that goes wrong, he wakes up in the hospital as a brand new man, well-spoken and charismatic. A neurologist and an intern are working on an experiment to fix this type of affection, Diego (then Tony) has second thoughts, since he actually improved.

This story forms the hanger for better and lesser jokes and some thoughts on how far doctors can go to ‘help’ people.

Like I said, the result is not very convincing.

The Zero Theorem * Terry Gilliam (2013)

This wonderfully weird film has been on my watchlist for a while, but my DVD-rental kept sending me other titles. Here it is at last.

Qohen (no mistake about the name) is a black-dresser in an outrageously colourfull retro-future. He has an occupation solving riddles, but since his is socially inapt, he tries to quit his job or at least be allowed to work from his own house. His house is a massive former cloister by the way. Gilliam came up with all kinds of weird computers and strange futuristic ways of advertising. The film has a bit of a Jeunet-atmosphere, but not as dark. To stay with the director, think of “Tideland”.

Qohen seems to be successfull in his attempts when he gets a new job assigned that he can do in his house. At home he is visited by his odd manager, a youngster he met at his job and a foxy lady. The job is as hard as Qohen was predicted, driving him mad.

The title refers to the riddle that Qohen has to solve for “management” and the film makes a very amusing and odd film with good humour and wonderfull findings. Recommended!

Le Tout Nouveau Testament * Jaco van Dormael (2015)

  • comedy

God is a grumpy middle-aged man living in an appartment in Brussel, Belgium, with his wife and daughter. His son J.C. lives some place else. God amuses himself with programming the woes of the world on his computer in his working chamber. His 10-year-old daughter Ea has a growing dislike of the way her father handles his family and the world and decides to take action.

Ea comes up with a plan to diminish the credibility of her father and then sets out to the world to find six more appostles and write “the brand new Testament” from the title. As soon as her father figured out where Ea went to, he follows her.

This Belgian film as an amusing comedy with subtle and sometimes less subtle parodies on the Christian faith, but without becoming insulting. It is a melancholic, dramatic atmosphere as well, especially in portraying the lives of people that do not go entirely as planned.

A nice watch.

The Ladykillers * Ethan & Joel Coen (2004)

Now this is a Coen screwball comedy! Much funnier than “Hail, Ceasar!”. Even Tom Hanks is not a reason to not watch this film. The man is actually pretty funny.

Tom Hanks plays an all-British crook who gathers a few accomplices to rob a local gambling hall. He has an elaborate plan which unfolds in the first part of the film. The Coens took some weird ways to introduce the characters, scenes in which they use some violent, black humour. Then there is a magnificent black community with their gospel music masses and Hanks’ character with its pompous style of talking. Add to this some ‘slightly-off’ elements and you have a nicely weird Coen film.


Hail, Ceasar! * Ethan & Joel Coen (2016)

I do not think I ever saw a Coen on the big screen. When I thought that I again missed one, I noticed that a local cinema plays it. Great! Perhaps even greater, this proved to be a pre-premiere, since the film will only premiere next week.

“Hail, Ceasar!” is of the Coen-screwball-type, not my preferred style of the two brothers. The film plays in a 1920’ies film studio which allows the directors to make all kind of weird scenes which later appear to be just one of the films recorded in the studio. The title of this film refers to one of the films recorded. The Coens made some funny dialogues and situations without much of a story. The kidnapping of the main actors makes a little twist, but it seems that the brothers Coen mostly wanted to say something about the film industry.

“Hail, Ceasar!” is not as funny as I expected, but there is one brilliant scene with Frances MacDormand which is particularly funny when you know that she plays in every Coen film and they literally crammed her in this time in a hilarious part.

Not the best Coen by far, but perhaps something to watch when you feel like watching something light.

The Double* Richard Ayoade (2013)

IMDb.comWhat a wonderfully weird film. In a 1970’ies like retro futuristic setting, we follow Simon who has a depressing job in a depressing office environment. In the first scenes the viewer gets bright colours, high contrast and Jean-Pierre Jeunet like weird repetative scenes accompanied by similar music. This sets the tone of the film.

After a while a new colleague arrives at the office. This young man looks exactly like James and soon starts to take over James’ life. He makes James do his tests and his work and on the other hand sets after the girl that James has an eye on. Simon also seems to want to make friends with James and help him with his life however. Or does he?

“The Double” is an enjoyable absurdistic comedy, but not a film made to make you laugh though. Especially towards the end the film becomes more and more dramatic. It is stylistically very interesting and certainly a recommended title if you like this strange, black humour kind of film.

Inherent Vice * Paul Thomas Anderson (2014)

Like other P.T. Andersons “Inherent Vice” is a lengthy film: 148 minutes. Also Like P.T. Andersons it is a good one. I am no big fan of Joaquin Phoenix, but in “Inherent Vice” he is great as hippie private investigator “Doc” who gets different cases that prove to be connected.

“Inherent Vice” plays in the time of the Manson murders in which there is a hippie community alongside ‘the normal community’. Manson being a hippie, the latter community looks down on the former. Naturally the feelings are mutual.

The film has wonderfull humour, sexy ladies, an atmosphere that reminds of films such as “24 Hour Party People” and a drug-infused crazyness not unlike “Fear And Loathing In Las Vegas“.

Sure an enjoyable, light film, perfect for a hot summer evening.