Category Archives: drama

11.22.63 – Bridget Carpenter (series 2016)

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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.

The Place Beyond The Pines – Derek Cianfrance (2012)

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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.

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

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“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.

Brimstone – Martin Koolhoven (2016)

In the days the Dutch have just settled America we find a young midwife who has a child-birth go wrong. Everybody seems to think she is a witch and especially the newly arrived pastor (a great Guy Pierce) seems ominous.

Liz and the pastor appear to have a past which is further elaborated in the second part of the film. An unexpected plot-line unfolds which is explained more in the third part. This is wonderfully done.

“Brimstone” shows early American settlers of the extremely religious type and well shows the pressure this religion brought, or at least, how it was used. The story-line of Liz and the pastor makes a gloomy red thread through the film which culminates in a fourth part which wraps up the story.

Taking two-and-a-half hours the Dutch director tells his horrible story in a great, international way, giving both an idea of these days, its religion and telling a story of tension.

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 Seymour Hoffman, John Torturo and Caleb Landry Jones.

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.

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.

Missisippi Burning – Alan Parker (1988)

I am not sure how this film came on my watchlist, but I may have been looking for films with Frances MacDormand. Besides her, we also have Willem Dafoe and Gene Hackman.

Dafoe is a young FBI agent who is sent to Mississippi with his senior partner Hackman to investigate the disappearance of three young activists. They come to a small community in which the Ku Klux Klan reigns supreme and the FBI stirring up the status quo leads to a massive increase of violence against the black half of the population.

Parker shows the hatred of the whites towards the black and the powerlessness of the blacks in a disturbing way. Unbelievable that there are people who think and act in such a way. Of course towards the end all major clan-members are put to trial and convicted, but this was not exactly an easy process.

A very good film about a very black page in American history.

Upstream Color – Shane Carruth (2013)

What a weird film! In the first scenes a woman is abducted, drugged and hypnotised apparently for some experiment. The kidnapper seems to have other strange experiments. Later we find Kris back at her house where it soon becomes unclear if the events actually took place.

After this she runs into a young man. Was he her abductor, was he a victim of the same man or is the whole film built of suppressed memories of either of them?

“Upstream Color” appears to be a collection of scenes that either or not have something to do with each other. The film does not really appear to tell a coherent story. I usually do not mind that, but in this case I have the feeling that there might be a story that I fail to grasp.

The film is slow, meditative and fairly minimalist. It is alright, but the vague impression it made, prevents me from saying that it is good. Perhaps I should just watch it again some day.

The Imitation Game – Morten Tyldum (2014)

The lauded film about Alan Turing who created a machine to crack the continuously changing Enigma code of the Nazis and thus devising the first computer.

British intelligence agencies gathered the best decoders, linguists and mathematicians to crack the Nazi code so they could be a step ahead and win the war. This was quite a task and Turing came up with the idea to not try to crack the code and having to do the same the next day when the code was changed, but to make a machine that figures out the settings that the Nazis changed every day.

The director turned the story of the troubled Turing into a nicely developing film.