Venom – Ruben Fleischer (2018)

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“Venom” is a not too strong Marvel film.

Eddie Brock is a formerly hip reporter who gets inhabited by an alien parasite called Venom. Venom speaks and understands English perfectly. While he is initially a hostile host, the two form an unlikely alliance.

“Venom” has too much childish humour, fairly silly action and in spite of descent CGI the film remains a poor Marvel action film.

The Highwaymen – John Lee Hancock (2019)

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Woody Harrelson in a part in which we have seen him before. An old, grumpy police officer who is sent on a job in his old age. More surprising is that Kevin Kostner has the same part. Kostner as the touch guy. He handles it well, bur Harrelson is better in his part.

The two are retired government killers who get asked to get rid off the problem of Bonny and Clyde who drive through the country killing policemen and robbing banks and getting more famous as filmstars doing so.

“The Highwaymen” is a slow crime film. Not original in style, but well executed. Hamer and Gault try to get a step ahead of Bonny and Clyde. Initially they are the laughing stock of the 1000 men force of the FBI with the same assignment and the latest techniques. Of course Hamer and Gault find a way to get the job done.

Pieta – Ki-Duk Kim (2012)

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It has been a while since I saw a Kim. “Pieta” is not really a film for a hot summer night.

Gang-Do is a young and brutal money collector. When he starts being followed by a woman who claims to be his mother, he very slowly starts to grow a consciousness.

“Pieta” is a drama, but as we have seen before with films from this director, it contains some brutal violence (though not as explicit as in other films).

I found the film alright, but not too good.

The Bourne Supremacy – Paul Greengrass (2004)

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The second of the Bourne trilogy takes up pretty much where the first film ended.

Bourne is still trying to find out who he was before his incident and his former employees are still looking to shoot him. But for the second film another problem occurs for Bourne: the Russians who also want him dead.

After hiding for two years, Bourne is discovered and forced to flee. Apparently in these two years he started to remember things and he goes to places where he used to have missions. He is also framed for a killing he did not commit and thus we have a recepe for another action spectacle with car chasings, fist fights and shootouts. The first film is a little more interesting.

Annihilation – Alex Garland (2018)

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The film being categorised “horror” I thought this would be a spectacle, but “Annihilation” is more like “Arrival“. Something weird, unearthly, happens and men are going to investigate.

Somewhere in the USA a “shimmer” occurs which slowly grows larger. This “shimmer” looks like a rainbow waterfall. People who enter to investigate do not come back, until one soldier does. For a new approach it is thought to send a group of female scientists to see if they can find out the cause of the “shimmer” and perhaps even remove it.

The film has a nice, surrealistic atmosphere. The “shimmer” has some strange elements. Naturally some of these are scary, hence the “horror” tag, but these are bit small elements in the film. Similar to “Arrival”, things slowly become clear and the viewer is taken into the investigation and the past lives of the main characters.

Towards the end you get some nice, psychedelic and vague scenes. The end is a bit weak, but overall the film is quite nice.

Gotti – Kevin Connolly (2018)

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As you can see on the cover, John Travolta plays John Gotti. Gotti was an outsider who worked himself into one of New Yorks maffia families. Not entirely satisfied with ‘management’ he sets up a plan to take over when the second in charge passes away.

Travolta plays Gotti in different phases of his life, from relatively young to old and plagued by cancer. Travolta’s face looks… botoxed, but he still manages to convey emotions.

We follow John Gotti from the violent early days when he tried to make a name in the Gambino family. Lengthy parts are about his role as one of the local leaders and then, of course, we move to his moving up in the world and the media attention this brings.

“Gotti” is a descent film about the violent life of New York maffia and the family life that was part of it.

High Life – Claire Denis (2018)

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In this space drama we find a man and a child on a spaceship. In a very slow pace and with a droning soundtrack we learn how this came about.

A group of convicted criminals are put in a ship and sent to a black hole for the sake of science. The trip alone is an experiment, but on the ship further experiments are conducted, not in the last place around fertility.

The film opens nice and surrealistic and the idea in basis is not too bad, but the story contains too many illogical elements and questions to make it very good. Two rather sad erotic scenes do not really help either.

The film certainly is not awful, but neither is it good.

Les Revenants (series) – Fabrice Gobert (2012/5)

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These series have been on my watch-list for a while. Not too high though. They seem to have two international titles. My box says “Rebound” and IMDb has the series listed as “The Returned” which the literal translation of the original French title. There are only two seasons which I find a good thing.

In a remote mountain village a tragedy occurs when a bus with school children drives off a mountain road. This is obviously not the first tragedy. The village lays beyond a dam, a brake caused the village to be flooded.

In the beginning of the series, people that have (long) passed start to return to their own houses, apparently without knowing what happened. Since they missed eight to 35 years, things get clear quickly. Of course returning dead can lead to nothing good, so towards the end of the first season, we move towards darker times.

Then in the second series we have made another of the many jumps in time for a variation of the story. Also there are sub-story-lines that are revisited. Some elements are only mentioned very late and referring back to early in the series, which, looking back, I think I did not get all. This does make the story more interesting and calls for a rewatch at some point.

“Les Revenants” make a descent series with a nicely surrealistic atmosphere and a psychological peek into a community in which something out of the ordinary happens. There is also a lot of drama, especially towards the end.

The Bourne Identity – Doug Liman (2002)

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I bought a box with the three Bourne films. Damon is not really my actor and action not my genre, but they are rated well enough, the box was cheap (and I mixed them up with the Rippley films), so…

Damon is a secret agent who has lost his memory after a mission. While he is trying to find out his identity, his employers set out to kill him as soon as they find out that Bourne is not dead.

As expected, this is an action spectacle with fighting, shooting and car-chases. Amusing at best. The story unfolds nicely, which could be because the film is based on a book by Robert Ludlum.

Not really a high-flyer, but not boring.

Rise Of The Foot Soldier – Julian Gilbey (2007)

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The violent life of Carlton Leach. As a youngster he was active as a football hooligan who liked to kick the shit out of people. Then he gets asked to be a bouncer for a club, a task he violently commits to. When he needs personnel, he gets his old mates. There are more clubs who need cleaning up and then the possibility arises to see to the security of drug deals. Of course then the step to violent crime is but a small one.

The film is full of brutal fighting, going over to torture and when the group gets a problem with the Turkish maffia, things really go out of hand.

The film makes quite a brutal watch. It is unimaginable what violence people are capable of. Of course his ‘work’ seeps into Leach’s private life as well.