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Total Recall – Len Wiseman (2012)

A movie with the same title as the 1990 classic of Paul Verhoeven with Arnold Schwarzenegger. Would it be a remake, a sequel? Neither I guess.

Colin Farrell plays Douglas Quaid who lives in a dystopian future world in which only the area around London and a part of Australia are still habitable. Australia has become a ghetto, London the area of rich people. Both areas are connected with “the fall”, an elevator straight through the earth core.

Quaid lives the simple life of a working bee, but when he visits a company where you can buy memories, he turns into a superman-type character, perhaps a spy, perhaps not.

This “Total Recall” has elements of the Verhoeven movie, but basically it is a new movie. An alright sci-fi action.

Money Monster – Jodie Foster (2016)

  • thriller

A couple of Hollywood old-timers joined forces. Foster as director, George Clooney and Julia Roberts in the main parts.

Clooney is great as the ADHD money-TV-show-host Lee Gates who tells his viewers what stocks to buy and what not. The company of one of his recommendations looses an astronomical amount of money and a viewer who lost his money, comes to the studio to get redress.

Gates is taken hostage live on television and Kyle Budwell tries get those responsible for him loosing his money say that they fooled the investors. In doing so Budwell criticizes ‘the system’ and the role that Gates and the big money companies play in this system.

What starts with fear, grows to sympathy and the ‘Stockholm Syndrome’. “Money Monster” is an alright thriller with a contemporary, but not too interesting story.

Daredevil – Mark Johnson (2003)

So not all Marvel characters make it to the league of Marvel Cinematic Universe. Daredevil is one such.

As a boy Matthew Murdock lost both his father and his sight. His blindness gives him new abilities and he trains himself from a shy boy into a fighting machine. He buys himself a fancy suit and sets out both to fight crime and to avenge his father.

“Daredevil” is a typical comic book action with a villain, drama and romance. Nothing out of the ordinary.

The character is used more often. A series has been made about him. He is one of four smaller Marvel characters in the series “The Defenders” and “Daredevil: The First Defender” seems to be a second movie, while “Daredevil: Born Again” has been announced.

Yep, the super hero factory runs at full speed.

Derek – Julien / Rose (2008)

A documentary about artist and filmmaker Derek Jarman (1942-1994), written and narrated by Tilda Swinton and directed by the artist Isaac Julien and Bernard Rose.

You get snippets of old interviews with Jarman and newly recorded scenes in which Swinton thinks back of her time with Jarman and about how the film world developped.

At an early age Jarman discovered that he was attracted to men. Initially he did not think much of it, but others did. Later he rolled into the emerging gay scene and again later also the punk scene (and beyond, there is even a snippet of Genesis P-Orridge), various protest movements and of course the movie underground where he met Kenneth Anger and the like.

During the documentary you get a picture of a director who found himself periphery of the movie world with fairly successful films, but also productions that remained underground.

Avengers: Infinity War – Russo (2018)

  • action

The titles say less and less about whom the Marvel films are about. In “Infinity War” the Avengers are no longer complete (Hawkeye died somewhere) and also here we have Spider Man, the Guardians of the Galaxy, Dr. Strange, Thor, there is even a part set in Wakanda, the bad guy is Thanos again. You get it, the Marvel movies are beginning to be like someone asking the entire cast who feels like playing in another movie and all characters of the actors who say ‘yes’ are written in. Think of a name, an there is another addition to the franchise.

“Infinity War” is another extraterrestrial spectacle. Thanos is after all the infinity stones and he is well on his way. Should he be able to get them all in his specially crafted glove, he would have infinite power and hence: destroy the universe. He is the bad guy after all, is he not?

Thor had some of the stones, but Thanos gets it in the opening scenes of the film. Also Dr. Strange appears to get his powers from one of the stones, so he is sought after as well. Vision, who grew out of the AI of Tony Stark (Iron Man) has one in his head as well. Different troupes who either or not met before get together. The Avengers meet the Guardians of the Galaxy, Iron Man meets Dr. Strange, etc. There are amusing references to earlier films such as Captain America asking about Thor’s new haircut (shorter) and Thor about his new beard or the Black Panther who shouts that Captain America needs a new shield.

Story wise there are not a whole lot of surprises. Thanos has the upper hand all the way to the end, but I will not give a big spoiler when I tell you he does not make it.

Captain America: Civil War – Russo (2016)

  • action

A while ago I found a list of Marvel movies with a suggestion in which order to watch them so that the red thread can be followed. The films refer to each other, but it is not like the movies form some sort of series. Apparently “Civil War” was next in line, so I watched it a few weeks ago. I do not remember if I forgot to review it or simply thought that it was but another Marvel movie, so why review it, but I did not review it as last weekend I almost rented it again. Perhaps I should keep my administration up to date and keep nagging you with Marvel reviews.

So, Captain America is the first of the superheroes. A couple of films have been made with him in the title, as after 75 years on ice, he woke up in the same time as in which The Avengers are active. Hence, Captain America become one of the Avengers. But even when the film is not named “Avengers”, but “Captain America”, all the rest are there nonetheless.

The rescue missions of The Avengers create a lot of collateral damage and politicians want to take down the group. In the end this causes friction between Captain America and Iron Man who become fierce opponents (causing a lot of collateral damage). Also in this film are the Black Widow, Hawkeye, Falcon and even Vision and Winter Soldier.

A typical moralistic Marvel in which -needless to say- the good guys win. Who exactly are the good guys?

The Killer – David Fincher (2023)

  • thriller

Thanks to Filmofiel for notifying me to a descent film on Netflix. A Netflix original even.

We follow a killer for hire on a job. In long monologues the killer tells the viewers about his job, his methodology, his state of mind and the world. His hit goes wrong, though, and he hurries back to his house in South America. There he finds his partner dead. Obviously somebody is after him for the job gone wrong. He decides that is is better to strike first.

Now you may expect a John Wick type explosion of violence, but “The Killer” is actually a very slow, minimalist movie. Nothing we have not seen before, but Fincher worked it out well and the result is a slow and moody action thriller.

The Marvels – Nia DaCosta (2023)

  • action

The speed with which the Marvel franchise is expanded is amazing. Here we have a ‘girlpower’ Marvel.

So far there has been one “Captain Marvel” movie, which I happen to have seen. Captain Marvel is actually Carol Denvers. Captain Marvel has quite some abilities, even on a Marvel scale. She can just take off and fly through the universe without imploding or problems breathing. She seems to have unlimited ‘light energy’ which she uses for fighting. While flying, she can fly through a space ship like a missile. Captain Marvel is more of the comic book type hero with superpowers than many other Marvel characters.

In “The Marvels” we again meet Monica Rambeau who Captain America met when she was a little girl in the previous movie. Introduced is the adolescent Kamala Khan. That part of the story is somewhat like that of “Blue Beetle“. A child of an immigrant family also has superpowers and the protective family makes a few extra jokes. Are these kids introduced to appeal to a younger audience?

“The Marvels” has a ‘new joke. Captain America, Rambeau and Khan prove to switch places once one of them uses their powers. This brings odd scenes in which one is fighting and suddenly another is part of that fight while the other ends up in a teenage bedroom. Once they get a hang of how they can use this anomaly you get some over-the-top fighting scenes reminding of “Ant-Man” who continuously grows and shrinks while fighting.

Of course there is a ‘bad person’ doing ‘bad things’ which need to be stopped. Needless to say that for a while that adversary is stronger than the heroes, but not until the end.

In the previous “Captain Marvel” we got to know “Goose” which looks like a cat, but which is actually a “Flerken”. “Goose” has been written into the story quite a bit here, amusingly so.

“The Marvels” is -like most other Marvel films- amusing. It may actually be the first Marvel film in which actually comic book type scenes are introduced in the beginning. For people who have not yet seen the dozens of other Marvel films, the references to other films are shown in flashbacks. This also seems to be a (somewhat) new element.

Anyway, Marvel action.

Anselm – Das Rauschen der Zeit – Wim Wenders (2023)

  • arthouse

It does not happen too often that we watch a film because my girlfriend wants to see it, but here we have one. It is a documentary about the German painter / sculptor Anselm Kiefer (1945-). The subtitle of the film translates to ‘the rustling of time’.

Kiefer is a modern artist, his work is abstract. As a boy, people noticed his talent, so Kiefer was successful at an early age. Apparently this lead to him buying a large estate in German nature where he produced his work in a large former factory.

Kiefer is a controversial artist who does not shy to refer to the dark pages of Germany’s past. This makes him more beloved abroad than in his own country. Every once in a while Kiefer has a big hit which allows him to buy property elsewhere, usually another former factory area. He ended up in France on a massive estate with multiple buildings and 40 acres of land.

Kiefer’s work is often megalomanous. Gigantic sculpture-type paintings, large halls with bridal dresses, libraries. You see him riding his bike through his estate, working on mobile lifts, etc. Wenders made long, meditative shots of Kiefer’s work which here and there are alternated with interviews. It is not your average documentary. It seems that Wenders tried to capture the atmosphere of Kiefer’s work.

All in all an alright documentary about an artist that appears to be fairly big.

Dick Tracy – Warren Beatty (1990)

  • action

Another animated classic with the director in the main part of Dick Tracy, an detective solving crimes in a comic book world. Beatty’s approach differs from that in “Cool World“. There is not a Disney-like strip world, but there are characters with weird heads and the stages are all colourful.

In a bit of a film noir type story and setting, Tracy is after the local maffia and they are after him. There are some nice names on the role. Al Pacino, William Forsythe, Stig Eldred and of course Madonna as the femme fatale “Breathless Mahony”.

“Dick Tracy” is an amusing movie with a nice twist to the comic book to film genre. A suggested (re)watch.