The Favourite – Yorgos Lanthimos (2018)

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After some very weird films, the Greek director Lanthimos made a very British and fairly normal film.

A sickly Queen Anne is assisted by a ruthless Lady Marlborough who handles affairs in her own way and who has a peculiar way of influencing the Queen.

Then a fallen lady arrived at the court. Lady Sarah tries to restore her nobility and while she is at it, become the Queens favourite in Marlborough’s stead. A bitter feud raises between the two women.

Indeed, Lanthimos made a costume drama in which the only strange elements are the camera-work. There is an over-use of the fish-eye lens and some strange camera movements.

The film makes a nice watch, but it reminds more of a film like “Marie Antoinette” than of the two other Lanthimoses that I have seen so far. Of course a director can play with styles.

Son Of A Gun – Julius Avery (2014)

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JR is sent to prison for six months where he lands between two gangs. Taken into protection by Brendan Lynch (Ewan McGregor as the tough guy) this naturally requires compensation. When JR is released, he is taken into Lynch’s gang and his first job is helping Lynch to escape.

After this JR is dragged from one job to the next, never feeling quite at his place and trying to find a way out of this world of heavy crime.

“Son Of A Gun” is an alright film with a very good McGregor.

Mute – Duncan Jones (2018)

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I actually wanted to watch some sort of fast action film, but instead I got a drama with some thriller and action elements playing in the future.

The setting seems to be Berlin from before the wall, but then in the future. Barman Leo falls in love with a colleague, but then she disappears. Trying to find out what happened to her, Leo lands in the world of organised crime.

“Mute” has got some great stages and weird scenes reminding of the films of Terry Gilliam and the like. Then there is some not-too-strong Hollywood action and ‘mystery’ and a very weak story.

IMDB.com currently has the film at 5.4 which does not do justice some to good findings and great scenes, but overall I must say that once again this Netflix film is alright, but not really good.

Buster’s Mal Heart – Sarah Adina Smith (2016)

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Buster (Rami Malek) works night shifts at a hotel to provide for his wife and daughter. He does not plan on doing that for the rest of his life, so they live as cheaply as possible to save money to finally be free.

One night Buster meets a drifter with wild conspiracy theories and he starts to believe in them. This and his lack of sleep starts to cause a growing paranoia.

We see Buster in two phases of his life, as the trying-to-do-good father and as a derailed drifter. The film slowly explains how that came about.

An alright film.

Once Upon A Time… In Hollywood – Quentin Tarantino (2019)

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Hollywood 1969, a year of heights and lows. Tarantino shows how he would have preferred this year to go.

The main character is Rick Dalton, played by Leonardo DiCaprio. Dalton is a Western actor who has just past the top of his career. The actual hero of the film is Dalton’s stunt double, Cliff Booth, a part in which Brad Pitt gets to be the cool guy.

Dalton recently got new neighbours, the young and upcoming director Roman Polanski and his beautiful wife Sharon Tate. Tate also gets quite a bit of the story.

Then there is this group of hippies who live in a commune a bit outside Hollywood.

We mostly follow Dalton’s career, his films and his uncertainties. This gave Tarantino the opportunity to film Western and war movies to mix in the film. This is usually in the over-the-top Tarantino style and very amusing.

The story contains quite some drama, but also Tarantino-style dialogues and of course humour and violence. There is a range of famous actors in smaller parts too, Al Pacino, Kurt Russell, Mike Madson, just to name a few. He also again takes 160 minutes to tell his story.

Not great, but a fun watch.

Small Town Crime – Eshon Nelms (2017)

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John Hawkes (Sol in Deadwood) is great as Mike Kendall, an alcoholic ex-cop who can’t get his life back together.

After yet another drunken night he finds himself in a field and driving home, he finds a heavily wounded girl alongside the road and drives her to the hospital. When his old colleagues do not support his help in the investigation of this crime, Kendall decides to do the investigation himself.

What initially looks like a crime in a small town, proves to be a big muddle of ‘big town crime’ and Kendall works himself and the people he knows right into it.

In a nicely slow ‘Coen-like pace’ with similar harsh humour, the two directors Nelms tell their not too original story in a not too original style, but the result is an amusing film with the humour and violence typical for this type of film.

I Am Mother – Grant Sputore (2019)

After mankind has made itself extinct, in a facility that was built for that exact purpose, a girl is grown from an embryo. The facility is to repopulate human kind.

The girl is raised by a robot that is too human-like for my logic. “Daughter” is taught morality / philosophy and many practical things. “Mother” tells her the next human will be grown when she has learned how to raise a human well enough.

Of course things turn out to be different from what “Mother” tells “Daughter”, so besides drama there is also room for a little bit of action / tension.

The story is alright and is told well enough. The acting and stages are good too. Overall I would say that the film is alright.

The Bourne Ultimatum – Paul Greengrass (2007)

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The last Bourne has the same director as the previous. Nothing much needs to be said about this one. It picks up exactly where the previous film ended.

Bourne continues his search for who he was and those responsible for the fact that he is not. And these persons are still out to get him dead.

Every time Bourne shows up somewhere he is discovered rapidly which is followed by fast action scenes and lots of chases with damage. Of course he keeps escaping and, being the hero, he finds what he is looking for.

Taboo (series) (season 1) 2017

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In the rough early 1800’s London, the supposed dead James Delaney unexpectedly returns when his father dies. Delaney proves to have an elaborate plan to take over his father’s trafficking business.

From the beginning it is clear that there is ‘something about Delaney’, but it is not really explained what. He spent time in Africa and appears to have taken on some of the dark magic of the Africans.

Besides that Delaney is highly intelligent and appears to have some sort of second sight knowing all that is going on in London. His claims to his father’s inheritance brings problems with the allmighty East India Company and even the King, who go to great lengths to protect their own interests.

Along the line it seems that Delaney (also) has two very personal reasons for his actions: getting back on the EIC and obtaining the birth-land of his mother.

“Taboo” (I am not sure what the title refers to) is a nicely gloomy and gritty series with a story that slowly unfolds.

The end is quite open and indeed, a second season is announced for 2020.

The Dead Don’t Die – Jim Jarmusch (2019)

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Jarmusch goes takes a stab at the zombie genre. This being a Jarmusch you will not be surprised when I say that the film is slow, minimalist and that Sqürl is in the soundtrack.

Jarmusch came up with an original reason for zombiefication, but for the largest part, this is a predictable zombie film. He has some amusing parts for famous actors/people, such as Bill Murray, Iggy Pop, Tom Waits and Tilda Swinton.

Like I said, no surprises, but an amusing film with cold humour. Towards the end Jarmusch starts to weave in morality which is quite overdone.