David Lynch: The Art Life – Rick Barnes (2016)

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Currently there is an exhibition about Lynch’s art in Maastricht, Netherlands. For the occasion a few of his films have been ‘restored’ and shown in a few cinemas throughout the country. This documentary about the man is also shown on the big screen, so we combined the documentary and the exhibition.

“The Art Life” is a combination between interviews (we only see Lynch talking in some corner of his studio behind a 1950’ies microphone), old and recent material (video and photo) and snippets of his artwork. These last have often been manipulated in ‘a Lynchean manner’.

The interviews are both very personal and very distant. Lynch tells about his relationship with his parents and his adolescent years, but he only mentions in passing that he divorced his first wife.
The period dealt with is Lynch’s youth up until “Eraserhead”, so nothing about transcendental meditation or coffee.

Lynch is open about his dark side and how he pursuit his dreams, how he became able to work his art and how he rolled into the film business. All I can is: what a guy.

A little word to close off. “The Art Life” is, like the exhibition, about Lynch the artist. His film making career is only mentioned in passing.

So, young Lynch, old Lynch with his youngest daughter, Lynch in his industrial studio working, Lynch smoking and talking and a lot of his art worked into a beautiful documentary. Like his own work, you will not get ‘all the answers’, but “The Art Life” is certainly a great documentary about a great guy.

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.

Amnesiac – Michael Polish (2014)

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And yet again I got a film with a different title. “Unconscious” my film is called. It is a not too strong film in which a man finds himself in a strange bedroom after a car crash, taken care of by a beautiful woman who says she is his wife. But is she?

I guess you can guess the rest of the story. A drama goes over in a thriller with a theme that has been shown a couple of times more. An attempt as a surprise is made at the end.

Westworld – Jonathan Nolan & Lisa Joy (series season 1 2016)

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I got these series as birthday present. It was also on my wish list, but not too high. The first season is alright, but as with most series that I see, not good enough to make me want to see season 2 or the announced third series some time soon.

Westworld is a virtual Wild West, an amusement park where people can submerge themselves in adventure. They can even go around killing people and go to the brothel, for most visitors the main attractions. Most people in Westworld are androids, robots that are almost exactly human, called “hosts”. When a host gets shot, it is repaired and sent back to the park to pick up their parts in their “loops” (part of a “narrative”) again. When ‘upstairs’ the hosts are usually clothless, an easy way to incorporate nudity into the series for an unclear reason. A host cannot kill a visitor.

In order to make them more and more human, the creators frequently update the hosts, even giving them some sort of consciousness. Then some seem to start to develop consciousness themselves. This leads to lengthy philosophical monologues about what makes humans human and what makes reality real. Of course it is in the development of an own will of the hosts that the series get their story from.

“Westworld” is an alright series that raises a few interesting questions. The events jump back and forth in time and the story is well-written with subtle references and a few surprises. Anthony Hopkins is great as one of the creators of the park. In the first episodes the score is interesting too, as it is often classical versions of pop songs.

All in all, “Westworld” made a nice watch, but like I said, I not nice enough to put the following seasons high(er) up on my to see list.

Mortal Engines – Christian Rivers (2018)

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The film has a nicely weird story. On a scorched future earth cities have been made mobile. The travelling city of London drives around the globe to literally eat up smaller cities in order to use their resources. In this film London symbolises the West with its greed and destruction. The face of this is Thaddeus Valentine, well played by Hugo Weaving (Agent Smith in The Matrix).

There are also people who do not live in these mobile cities, but they are hunted by all kinds of rogue towns. One such person is Hester Shaw who  has plans for Valentine. Together with Tom she drops off London and falls into the hands of a rebel group who the two are going to help to prevent London (the West) to break through the wall guarding the East.

The weird cities themselves, but especially the weird machines bring memories of films such “Mad Max“. “Mad Max” is much rawer though. Especially the obligatory romance and jokes of “Mortal Engines” make it a too typical Hollywood film.

The only thing that is somewhat uncommon is that the West is bad and the East actually wins. Oops, I gave away the end.

“Mortal Engines” is an amusing dystopian sci-fi spectacle, but not a terribly good one.

What Happened To Monday – Tommy Wirkola (2017)

I got this film with the title “Seven Sisters”. I do not really understand the need for different titles in the same language.

Anyway, in an overcrowded future there is a one-child policy. One man has a ‘seven-twins’ and names them after the days of the week, so there you have both titles explained.

The man hides his daughters in his massive apartment and thinks of an elaborate plan to give his daughters a wee bit of freedom: they get to get out on the weekday they are named after. Of course this cannot go well for eternity.

The sisters are played by Noomi “The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo” Rapace. Inside their apartment the girls have their own style and personality, outside they are all the same person. Once the authorities find out about them, the film turns into an alright sci-fi action thriller. Too bad that the film ends with rather boring drama and what is even weirder: the governments policies have a logic, but the overcoming of them is presented as a victory.

“What Happened To Monday” is descent thriller with a bad end.

Human Nature – Michel Gondry (2001)

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.

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.

Kvinden I Buret – Mikkel Nørgaard (2013)

Again a Scandinavian crime film in which the international title is completely different from the original. The title translates to ‘woman in a cage’, but the international title is “Department Q: Keeper Of Lost Causes”.

Initially we see two cops get shot. One of them remains in the hospital, while the other is sent to the basement to investigate cold cases. One of these cases leads Karl and his new partner Assad to continue investigating, much against the will of their colleagues.

The storyline that the original title refers to is a bit far-fetched, but the case unfolds nicely making “Kvinden” a descent yet typical Scandinavian crime film. Judging IMDb, the duo that are here Karl and Assad return in other films.