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Inexorable – Fabrice du Welz (2021)

Because of the great “Calvaire” (2004) I still associate the name of Du Welz with dark and weird movies. That is certainly not something I can say about “Inexorable”…

The famous writer Marcel and his wife and publisher Jeanne move in to the massive estate of Jeanne’s recently deceased father who was a successful publisher of books. The day they move in, they meet the young woman Gloria.

Gloria proves to be a fan and obviously tries to work herself into the family. Can you guess too how the film will evolve?

With no surprises “Inexorable” unrolls its story with here and there some tension.

Prisoners – Denis Villeneuve (2013)

I am afraid that once more I have to disagree with the majority on a Villeneuve. “Prisoners” currently has an 8.1 rating on I have to say: not by far…

In a small American town two little girls disappear while playing outside when their parents have a mutual Thanksgiving. After some searching the police is called in and soon there is a suspect. Detective Loki is not 100% sure, but his boss even less so, so the suspect is set free.

One of the fathers sets out for his own investigations, but he is a wee bit too fanatical.

Of course there have to be some new suspects every now and then (one practically drops out of the sky and disappears again) all to work towards the grand reveal which is a bit… uninteresting.

The film has an alright atmosphere, a bit of a thriller/drama, but I really cannot say that it is very good.

The Green Knight – David Lowery (2021)

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.

The Harder They Fall – Jeymes Samuel (2021)

  • western

The film begins as a ‘hip’ Western with a flashy opening and contemporary music. Initially it appears to be some sort of ‘black power’ film with black actors in the leading parts. When the film continues, also the bad guys prove to be black, so it is more an almost entirely black cast movie.

In the cliffhanger we see a young boy who watches his family being killed. This boy -of course- is the main character in the film years later. Naturally, he is after the people responsible for his parents’ deaths.

Nat Love (Jonathan Meyers) also became a fairly famous outlaw who made an enemy of an even more famous outlaw Rufus Buck (Idris Elba) who is freed by his gang and out for revenge.

Having a mostly black crew of course already is a statement, there are more such statements in the film. These thematics, but also the approach reminded me of the mini series “Watchmen” a few times. The fiery eyes of Regina King surely added to that.

All in all, “The Harder The Fall” is a nice take on the Western genre with a few uncommon elements, yet fairly traditional to the style.

The Lost Daughter – Maggie Gyllenhaal (2021)

  • drama

In Gyllenhaal’s full length directing debut, we follow Leda, played by Olivia Colman. Colman played in films of Yorgos Lanthimos, so you know it has not to be too straight forward.

Leda is a literary professor who goes on a working holiday by herself. In a tiny beach community, Leda observes the locals and feels for a young woman struggling with mothership. This reminds of her own struggles over two decades earlier and in flash backs we also get that side of the story.

Leda is initially somewhat distant from the villagers, but she grows some sort of bond with some of them. Apparently this is not to everybody’s liking.

“The Lost Daughter” is a slow and minimalist drama without a big story, but more a look at how people are just people who do not always know why they do the things that they do. This makes an alright drama.

Travelers (series) – Brad Wright (3 seasons 2016-2018)

And yet another Netflix series that is just not boring enough to end watching prematurely. By the time I thought to cut if off, I noticed there were only six episodes left, so I sat it out.

“Travelers” is not really bad or boring, but it is not really good either. Story wise it is at least different from all the serial killer thriller series that have been put out for decades. Mankind caused its own demise and in the future a way of sending consciousness back in time has been discovered. “Travelers” are sent back to try to give history a push in a better direction.

In the future, every detail of our current time is known, so also when somebody historically dies. It is at that moment that a “traveler” consciousness takes over the body of the “host”. Travelers working in teams get missions from “the director”, usually to prevent some sort of disaster.

These travelers -of course- fall in the life of a person who used to live, so they have to try to live with a partner, work, etc. of somebody else and at the same time perform the missions as are given.

So we have the drama of partners not recognising their spouses, the events of the life of the ‘host’, partners from the future whose lives are more or less separated in “the twenty first” and then of course action because of the missions. Also future technology employed in the present. The characters develop somewhat, both the ‘host’ character as the ‘future’ character. There is an underlying story that is worked out a bit. There are also less logical elements. How does the prevention of the collaps of a bridge that would have killed some people help the demise of humanity in the future? You get it, there are ‘filler episodes’.

“Travelers” has a couple of beautiful women, amusing characters, an alright story. All in all just not boring enough to end watching.

Rocketman – Dexter Fletcher (2019)

Elton John (1947-) walks into an AA meeting in an angel/devil suit and starts telling is biography. Reginald Kenneth Dwight is portrayed as an insecure, somewhat awkward kid with unsupportive parents. Also he proves to be a musical prodigy being able to play on a piano whatever he hears.

His father was a lover of jazz, but Reginalds musical interests spread out further. As soon as he has had some piano lessons he starts playing in soul groups, but he also picks up a taste for rock’n’roll.

As his artistic star rises, Dwight starts to develop further insecurities because of his sexual orientation, in spite of often being in surroundings that have no problems with homosexuality. The more famous Elton John becomes and the more insecure he becomes, the more flamboyant his appearance becomes and so grows the Elton John as we know him.

The film is a drama with -of course- quite some music. Also there are musical scenes. I am obviously not too familiar with Johns music as I did not know much of the music from the film.

The film is very personal and up close, especially for an artist that is still among the living. Only in the closing titles did I see that Elton John himself produced the film. Apparently he wanted to get his own version of his live out before it is too late. One of the tag lines for the film is “based on a true fantasy”, so it surely must be Johns own version.

The film is an alright watch. It provides a nice peek into the colourful world of especially 1970’ies music business.

Bacurau – Dornelles & Finho (2019)

  • thriller

The beautiful Teresa travels back to her remote Brazilian village of birth Bacurau when her grandmother passed away. Bacurau suffers the progress of the city of São Paulo. A dam was built which cut off all water supply for the village. The inhabitants have to get it elsewhere with tanker trucks, while the dam is heavily guarded.

The death of the grandmother brings a nice peek into the Brazilian rural funerary customs. In general, you can see a closely lit, countryside community.

There are a few weird things though and the film slowly crawls towards being a thriller. That part of the story is a bit far-fetched.

Especially the parts of the Brazilian country life are nice to watch. There is some humour, serious tones and in some ways explain how the inhabitants react to the incoming threat.

Birds of Prey: And the Fantabulous Emancipation of One Harley Quinn – Cathy Yan (2020)

The cover suggests an action comic comedy of sorts and that proved to be true. The film appears to lift on the “Gotham” franchise. Harley Quinn from the title is a weird girl who could do whatever she wanted as long as she was the lady of the Joker. After the two broke up, Quinn finds out she has more enemies than she imagined.

The film is a women-power action with witty dialogues and strange characters. Especially in the beginning, there are a lot of comic-elements which slowly die out as the film continues. The movie itself becomes less interesting as it goes on in general.

The film has some actors who apparently wanted to make something lighter for a change. From the “Gotham” franchise there is one character that I was familiar with: Victor Zsasz, whose character is more interesting in the “Gotham” series.

Should you be interested in the detail. While the series play before the emergence of Batman, this film comes after.

An alright watch for when you are looking for something easy.

Kajillionaire – Miranda July (2020)

Just as the other film of July that I reviewed, I knew “Kajillionaire” is not my genre, yet somehow it ended up on my watchlist. It took quite some time before I felt like watching it (“The Future” was hard to find to watch, this was no problem with “Kajillionaire”).

So we have a quirky comedy about a family that has creative ways of earning money. They scam insurance. Return items to shops. That sort of things. They live in an office which gets ‘bubbled’ twice or three times a day. Because they are behind paying rent, they try to go to their living office unseen.

During a job the family meets the very expressive Jenny who has a great idea of making money. Then the gang consists of four.

The girl on the cover is -obviously- the daughter. She is perhaps even more awkward than her parents. Jenny tries to get some life into the girl.

Weird situations, odd dialogues. Again July made a minimalist film with subtle humour referring to all kinds of small things in actual daily life.

Amusing, but not great.