Skip to content

24 (series 2) * Robert Cochran & Joel Sunrow * 2002

Another review that required 18 hours of watching. The second series of 24 are again good, but not quite as surprising as the first series. Better this time is that the speed of the events is much higher, but this kind of let to the fact that the logic and fitting-the-concept had to be kept in a little lower degree. This time a nuclear bomb is going to be set off by terrorists in LA and of course Jack Bauer is the one to prevent this. Like I said, the logic and credibility are not always guarenteed and in particular the story of daughter Kim is roundout irritating this time. Still the series are interesting enough to keep the attention for 18 hours. Some unexpected changes and the tenstion is well-done.

Series 3 are already playing in the USA, but it will take some time before I will see them on DVD I guess.

24 (series) * Robert Cochran & Joel Sunrow * 2001

Launced with a lot of publicity, these series. They were supposed to be some of the most thriller and addictive series. I watched the first episode and decided that 24 weeks of having to following one series was a bit too long. But then the thing was released on DVD and stories about people who watched the whole series in one sit start to rise. DVD is of course a lot handier than having to be in front of your TV at set times, so I decided to go for it as well (with a borrowed 6-cd-DVD-box).

The series are said to be filmed in ‘real time’, so one hour is one hour. Therefor you have 24 episodes for one day from 00:00 to 00:00. In fact, one episode is 40 minutes, so the total time is 16 hours. I suppose the other 8 hours are for commercials. Also you get a ‘previously’ before every episode and the same introduction (which you can’t skip by jumping to the next title!).

16 Hours of TV is too much to say much about in detail. The bottom line is that there is a murder attempt on the first black candidate for the American presidency that makes a good chance. A special anti-terrorist division of the government is assigned to protect Palmer, and the main character Jack Bauer (Kiefer Sutherland) is in charge of the operation. It proves that the goal of the terrorists is not just to kill Palmer, but also to ruin Bauer’s family. Of course the series had to be kept interesting for 24 episodes and they sure did their utmost to! Every episode is loaded with info, new clues and turns of the plot. A bit too much the makers tried to make you have to guess who is the bad guy, what is going on etc.

All in all a nice series, but very American and not exactly brilliant.

Right now series 2 (“day 2”) is being shown on different channels and apparently also already on DVD. The future will tell if I will see that one too.

21 Grams * Alejandro González Iñárritu * 2003

The title refers to the weight a person looses at the time of death. What weighs 21 grams? The soul? The last breath? Memories? The burden of life? This question is not answered in the film, but asked all the way back at the end. “21 Grams” is a film about death. It is cut in the vein of “Magnolia”, meaning: short scenes from different stories are shuffled through eachother and shown either or not chronologically. Of course eventually the different lines come together and the story becomes clear.
A woman (Naomi Watts) looses her husband and two little daughters in a caraccident, after which she is followed by Sean Penn. Then there is the story of the man who drove over Watt’s family. The story is very dramatic and the film addresses a few serious questions of life, but the director managed to make a not too heavy film of it. This is done fairly well and the film is a nice watch.

The 13th Warrior * John McTiernan * 1999

This is indeed a very old film and -like myself- you have probably seen it a few times already, but just in case you don’t or you want a litle bit of background information…
The director of the “Die Hard” films has made a film about Vikings. This is interesting in a way, especially now that this whole Germanic history has had my interest for a while. On the other hand, when you know ‘too much’ about the subject, the story of this film has a few definate flaws.
The film is about a Muslim pain-in-the-ass who is send to the Northern parts of Europe to be ambassador. Early in his trip he runs into a group of “Norsemen” who apparently sailed the rivers of the Baltic area scaring the local peoples. This IS possible, because the Vikings came as far as the Black Sea. Somehow the ship of Vikings hear that a small tribe somewhere in Scandinavia needs their help. A weird woman (probably meant to be a wise woman or “Völva”) says that 13 warriors have to go to help the tribe in need and the 13th warrior cannot be a Norseman. So the Arab travels with the Vikings. During the trip the Arab speaks English and the Norsemen Swedish (I think), but by listening “Ahmed Ibn Fahdlan Ibn Al Abbas Ibn Rashid Ibn Hamad” learns Swedish and from then everybody speaks English (to the viewer of course). The small community is terrorised a ghost-like warriors which they call “Wendol”. I don’t know where these “eaters of the dead” are supposed to go back to, but they are fashioned after the famous “Berzerkrs” of the Nothern mythology. The Wendol are black, inhuman (ghostly) and dress in boar skins. Their ‘symbol’/goddess is a head- and limbless statue of a fat woman, much like the Kostienko or Willendorf statues, but without a head. The two statues that I name are some 23000 years old and were found in Russia and Austria and they probably represent mother earth or at least fertility. The Wendol worship their goddess in a cave and with the aid of a priestess. The heads of the people they killed are offered to the goddess. This headhunting is (as far as I know) more something of the far East. You can see, the film is a bit of a mishmash of elements. Better are the Viking honour elements. Ahmed is surprised to hear how his Viking friends think about life/fate (everything is predisposed), death (death in battle a crown to life), honour, comradship and the like. These parts give a nice view on the Viking way of life and make the film worth to watch. It is handy to know what is ‘no-so-Viking’, so here you have a few of my thoughts.

8 Femmes * François Ozon * 2002

I have been told several times to see this film, but it took a long time before I did. Not really my kind of film though, comedy. Furthermore, it is half a musical! Eight women are in one house and the only man is dead. Then you get a whole film in which the women try to find out who of them could have done it. A few nice jokes, funny characters, but overall not too great.

4 Inyong Shiktak * Lee Soo-Youn * 2003

This debut of the Korean director is anounced as a horror. Actually it is more a mysterious drama in the Asian horror style, but then without much (any?) horror elements. The story is hard to recapitulate. There is something about a man who is in the metro with two girls who are later found dead, but the same man runs into a woman who has witnessed a baby being killed and his suppressed past. Actually it isn’t too much of a story, at least, not with a ‘Western logic’. The atmosphere of the film is alright, but overall this is just another Asian ‘horror’.

11:11 * Michael Bafaro * 2004

This was a bad weekend in filmchoice. “11:11” Is a supernatural thriller. Sara can see dead people. When she was seven her parents were killed and ever since her mother has acted as overprotective guardian angel. Mix this with some apocalyptic and prophetic elements and a highschool for paranormal activity and you get a boring film mixing old horror with “Se7en”-like thriller elements and being a bit too much like “I am Dina”.

1000 Rosen * Theu Boermans * 1994

This was the 1994 winner of the Rotterdam Filmfestival and in the “Kalverliefde” box (see “Propero’s Books”). Boermans was born in the Netherlands Antilles and there they speak Dutch. The title isn’t Dutch though, nor is the language spoken in the film. This language is a strange mix between Geman, Dutch and something that sounds Scandinavian. “1000 Rosen” (“1000 Roses”) is regarded a Dutch film though (the Antilles are part of the Dutch kingdom). The story is about a small town which is all about a wire-factory. Then the Americans come in and for a moment there is hope for a growing economy. Instead, the town is bought up and plundered. In a way the film is about the small girl on the cover, but also about a woman Gina who sticks her head above ground level in order to profit from the American investations. The film is just as well about the village as a whole that is burned to the ground by capitalism. A very society-critical film with a weird ‘vegetation symbolism’ which makes “1000 Rosen” surely a filmhouse-film for a selected audience. A sligthly depressive atmosphere but beautiful (too perfect in the eyes of some critics) images, weird characters. A very original film with a somewhat familiar story.

300 * Zack Snyder * 2006

Another graphic novel of Frank Miller put to film, but however this brings too easy comparisons with “Sin City”, don’t let yourself be fooled by that. “300” Is not a visual comic, but a film with actors and indeed most of the scenes come out of a computer, but they do (fortunately) look nothing like “Sin City”. “300” Has risen some discussions. Is it just a spectacular semi-historical action film like “Gladiator”? Is it a glorification of violence? Is it the glorification of the ancient warrior ethos? There are even people seeing political layers, where a Western elite fights an invading power. For some reason Iran has chosen to identify itself with a gayish Xerxes that organises orgies and who in fact ‘represents’ the pre-Islamitic religion of Persia, but apparently, when things can be turned to their use, they will complain. In any case, “300” indeed is a glorification of the ancient warrior ethos in my opinion. The king Leonidas is shown in a boyhood and the violent initiation into the world of the soldier is shown (not completely unlike the ancient reality I might add). The Spartans are shown as the elite warrior troop from Greece and only 300 raise against the millions (a minor exaggeration) of Persians that come to invade Greece. The Persians have all kinds of monsters to reach their goal, but the supreme technique of the Spartans make that they withstand almost any attack. The fighthing scenes are shown in a Matrix-like fashion with irritating fast-slow-fast-slow shifts, but spectacular (and bloody) computer graphics and the Spartan übermenschen are shown in all their glory. Politically incorrect? Perhaps. Most people will watch “300” as a spectacular fighting film, some may look for more behind it or connect the film to current tendencies, it is just what you make of it. I don’t know if the makers had a message and actually I don’t care. “300” Is an alright film that is well put together, but in the end, it is just another action film with an original twist. <15/4/07><3>

The Prestige * Christopher Nolan * 2006

“From the creators of Memento”. I have to admit, I fell for the tagline. “The Prestige” doesn’t have much in common with the masterpiece of six years ago though. “The Prestige” is about two students of an illusionist who become bitter rivals trying to ruin each others careers. When one invents a top trick, the other wants to learn the secret. In the proces the story moves a bit towards the Serbian scientist of electricity, Nikola Tesla (David Bowie). The film is rather standard, it plays in the present and is shown in flash-backs. The story doesn’t really raise questions, but towards the end a puzzle is given when is it solved (!). “The Prestige” has a nice atmosphere of 19th century London though, great stages and good acting (I especially liked Christian Bale as one of the illusionists). Considering all, “The Prestige” is really just another Hollywood production, nothing special.