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Saltburn – Emerald Fennell (2023)

The nerd Oliver Quick is a poor student who can go to Oxford on a scholarship. Circumstances make that he befriends the most popular guy at the university, Felix. In spite the odds, Felix really seems to like Oliver and he even invites him to the family castle to spend the summer.

The film begins with an amusing Victorian-pop style. The story soon starts to get too obvious Mr. Ripley elements. Oliver is not as nerdy as he seems to be. The excessive livestyle of Felix’ family is somewhat funny, the but movie is starting to begin to be predictable and the style wears off a bit.

The film is not bad, but not exactly great either.

The End of the F***ing World (series 2018/9)

James is a weird and silent kid. He likes taxidermy and considers killing a human being. At school he meets the extremely disinterested Alyssa and the two outsiders team up. They decide to run away from it all and end up killing a man. That makes them killers on the run.

The series have a bit of a grim, Fargo style, but in spite of black humour, the series are more of a drama. Two awkward adolescents are condemned to each other, but they are both attracted and distant.

In the first season we follow the traveling teens and their chase. In the second second season the duo has been apart for a while, but their paths cross once more. Then there is another type of chase.

Alyssa is both annoyingly, yet amusingly cold. James is an over-nerd who overthinks everything. We hear the thoughts of both and even though their bad decisions are somewhat relatable, the two surely manages to mess up their lives.

Not bad for a teen series.

Suspiria – Luca Guadagnino (2018)

So this 2018 “Suspiria” does have something to do with the 1977 classic of Argento. It is based on, or inspired by it. Watching the 2018 I don’t recognise much of Argento’s film, or anything really.

The young, American dancer Patricia travels to Berlin in the time of the Rote Armee Faktion terror to try to join the prestigious school of Dr. Klemperer (Tilda Swinton). The school has a building in which the dancers live and where they can also perform and receive an audience.

There is a vacancy, as one of the girls disappeared and soon another does as well. It quickly becomes clear that there is something sinister going on. The group of women working for the school appear to form some sort of witches coven.

The film is alright. There are some weird scenes and some contemporary horror, but overall there is mostly a dance school with a dense atmosphere.

Shaft – Tim Story (2019)

There are different movies with the same name. Some are with Samuel L. Jackson. They are not called 1, 2 or 3, so you have to tell them apart by year of launch and director.

In a way the main character in this version is the son of “Shaft”, Samuel L. Jackson. Shaft is a former police officer who became a private detective with a reputation. Junior’s highschool friend is found dead and when he wants to find out what happened, he turns to his estranged father.

Shaft mostly sees a white boy, spoiled by his mother. Also in his son’s request he sees an opportunity to right an old wrong. So the fast talking menace of the New York criminal milieu sets out on a mission.

Some action some humour, somewhat amusing.

Thor: Love and Thunder – Taika Waititi (2022)

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Even compared to the previous Thor films, this one is quite ‘screwball’. Not too bad humour though.

Thor teams up with the Gardians of the Galaxy to fight a new arch enemy (a great Christian Bale btw) and in doing so he finds out that the hammer that his sister destroyed has been reassembled by his ex Jane (Natalie Portman) who is now “mighty Thor”. Thor made himself a new axe for a replacement and tries to prevent ever again falling in love.

In order to fight Gorr, a group of three visit Zeus (an amusing Russell Crowe), but he refused to help out, so another party is created to help prevent Gorr killing all the Gods and all that with the usual action, comedy and drama.

Dzien Matki – Mateusz Rakowicz (2023)

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A Polish attempt at a hip action film.

We follow Nina Nowak who is an ex special agent. Bored with life in a dystopian Polish city, she practices her fighting skills on the scum in the streets. Then some criminal organisation kidnaps her biological son and Nina sets out to free him.

Unsurprisingly, a bit of a John Wick type one-woman-army movie unfolds in which the unconvincing acting and montage make the fighting scenes fairly dull. The story is not too strong either. The only positive part is a strange, colourful and slightly surreal scene somewhere halfway.

Titans (series) – Berlanti / Goldsman / Johns (2018-2023)

A while ago I was looking for another series to watch when I have some time to kill. On Netflix I ran into “Titans”. The series open with a beautiful lady who lost her memory. After a while she meets a group of ‘superheroes’ (the Titans) and there proves to be a Batman connection to the story. The group is led by Dick Grayson, a runaway Robin who is still somewhat in contact with Bruce Wayne.

There are other “Titans”, an emo-type girl, a boy who can change into a tiger, but also you more typical comic book heroes in fancy clothing either with just weapons or some supernatural skill.

In four seasons some heroes come and go. Every so often a new arch-villain has to be found. Needless to say that there is drama. Not all characters are very interesting and the writing is not too great either. It frequently seems as if suddenly somebody thinks there should be a plot twist and one storyline is wrapped up and another started within one episode. The Titans are always out to save the world.

The series are not boring, but they are not great either.

Godzilla x Kong: The New Empire – Adam Wingard (2024)

Two classic movie monsters are dragged into a new story. The film combines the monster-action with a bit of Indiana Jones type adventure.

I have not seen the 2021 “Godzilla vs. Kong”, but I suppose that the scientist we follow (Ilene) was already there in part one and perhaps she even picked up her adoptive child Jia in that film.

Jia is the last of an ancient tribe that was (I guess) wiped out in the previous film. She is somehow connected to Kong. The new film plays in a time in which everybody knows about King Kong and Godzilla and their movements are closely followed, above and below the surface of the earth.

Kong has moved to “hollow earth”, a kingdom below the surface of the earth, but as he is the last of his kind, he is not going to find and kindred species there. Meanwhile, Godzilla appears to have plans to gain power above ground. A group of scientists do their best to keep the two apart, as them fighting would cause great damage for mankind.

Apparently there are other “titans” (‘monsters’) and Godzilla uses them to gain power. Meanwhile the same scientists have to visit the “hollow earth” to find the reason for certain disturbances that may also be a cause for Godzilla roaming the earth. In the “hollow earth” they discover more than one yet unknown civilisation, one of which poses yet another thread.

In a massive spectacle of monsters fighting, only with a break every now and then when we follow the people in their quest through the subterranean rain forests, it is needless to say that it all leads up to a final battle.

Thor: Ragnarok – Taika Waititi (2017)

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Thor’s sister Hela (Cate Blanchett) is the one to wreak havoc this time. Thor and Loki fall off the Bifrost trying to prevent Hela from entering Asgard and they end up on the same planet. This planet is ruled by “Grandmaster” (an amusing Jeff Goldblum) where he has a bit of Videodrome-type fights. There Thor meets an old pal.

The first task is to get off the thrash-planet and then of course to defeat Hela which succeeds in an unexpected way that gives an amusing twist to the actual Ragnarök theme.

There is another known Marvel character in the film: Dr. Strange.

Utopia (series) – Gillian Flynn (2020)

In 2015 i watched both seasons (2013 and 2014) of the British series “Utopia“. On Amazon Prime I ran into a series with the same title. When I started to watch it, the Amazon “Utopia” appeared to be a remake of the British series. Or would both series be based on the same (graphic) novel?

The original series is an interesting watch. Bright colours, interesting camera work, violently weird situations. The Amazon version is a fairly normal kid’s thriller series. Both series appear to have about the same story.

Some nerds know about an elusive comic (“graphic novel” in the British series) called “Utopia” which would not only predict past and future pandemics, but also present their cures. When a copy surfaces, the group sets out (meeting each other for the first time) to get hold of the copy. They are not the only people after the book though.

Followed by a similarly cold killer in both series, the group tries to find the main character of the comic book in which they eventually succeed. Together they try to prevent the world-ending events to come.

The British series use two seasons to tell the story (12 episodes), the American version one (8 episodes). The American version is much more explanatory, especially towards the end. Both have an open end. This may be due to the fact that originally there would have been a third season, but the project was dropped, so the creator (and author) of the original series (Dennis Kelly) simply did not write more. According to Wikipedia first HBO bought the rights, but when their project fell through, the rights went to Amazon. They made an adapted version of the original series.

The original is better in every regard. Not that the Amazon version is bad or boring though.