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Anna – Luc Besson (2019)

  • action

The Russian Anna has a tough life when she gets recruited (quite forcibly) by the secret service. After a year of training, she is appointed some heavy job after some even heavier tests.

Here we have the basis of a film with a pretty woman in an action film. The trailer shows some over the top action, but not the entire film is like that.

Being a spy film, “Anna” has a story with espionage, counter espionage, intrigue, etc. so it the side Anna works for switches all the time. Anna apparently tries to play out her employers against each other to get out of a life that she does not really want.

The film fairly violent with, as said, some over the top action and descent story.

Enola Holmes – Harry Bradbeer (2020)

  • comedy

I felt like watching something light, but perhaps “Enola Holmes” was a bit too much so…

Sherlock Holmes has an older brother and a much younger sister. The father passed away and the brothers moved out of the house, so mother Holmes raises her daughter as an independent freethinker. One night mother disappears.

The brothers return hone to take care of things and Enola uncovers a trail of hints from her mother. She sets out to find her and travels to London following the leads.

Enola is played by the pretty 16-year-old (as Enola is as well) Milly Bobby Brown. Enola tells the story and constantly talks into the camera commenting on what she is doing and thinking. This is somewhat amusing. Also amusing are the animations that are used here and there.

“Enola Holmes” is a family film. Not my usual kind of film.

Seungriho – Sung-hee Jo (2021)

IMDb.com has “Space Sweepers” as an “action, adventure, drama”, but in my opinion, it is a science-fiction comedy.

Mankind pretty much killed the earth in 2092. A rich man with a powerful company has made artificial planets where only the rich and fortunate can live. Those who stayed behind on earth are workers at the rich men’s home if they are lucky.

Besides pollution on earth, also space is heavily polluted. A group of renegades makes money by catching space trash and selling it to factories who can recycle the material. One such group finds a young girl on their ship. It seems that this girl is not just a girl, but a very strong bomb.

The humour in the film is quite ‘screwball’ here and there down to ‘poo and pee level’, but most of the time bearable. The sci-fi looks quite good and the story is not so bad either.

Not a high-flyer, but an amusing sci-fi comedy.

The Wolf Of Snow Hollow – Jim Cummings (2020)

So is this what a contemporary horror comedy is like? In Fargo-like settings, a remote and snowy village, we follow the whereabouts of the conveniently named family Marshall. John (played by the director) is the sheriff. His predecessor is his father. John has a tough private life with a demanding ex-wife and an adolescent daughter. The comedy of the film is mostly people bickering.

Then a brutal murder takes place in Snow Hollow. Very brutal. Maybe the film is not really horror per se, but the murders certainly add a horror element to the film. The theme is horror as well.

Balancing between screwball and Fargo-like black humour, Cummings tried to make a … horror comedy?

The film is alright.

Color Out of Space – Richard Stanley (2019)

  • horror

I had heard that this is a ‘love it or hate it’ film, but gave it a try nonetheless. Actually it is even more ‘difficult’ than that…

Nicholas Cage plays Nathan. Nathan and his family moved out of the big city into some upstate no-man’s-land. Nathan and his wife Theresa have two adolescent children and a younger one. Lavinia is a witch (Wicca), a somewhat sad storyline as it seems that Stanley did not investigate the subject enough. even though he tries to make it seem that he did. Then we have the nerdy Benny and the youngest Jack.

Some day a meteorite falls into the family’s garden and from then on things get weird. The story is based on a story of H.P. Lovecraft which explains a few things. Initially the garden gets an early spring, but then it seems that there is also something in the water with more negative effects. Slowly, the family members get madder and madder and the aliens / force gets weirder and weirder.

So, there is the (as mentioned) somewhat sad character of Lavinia, a fairly corny first half and the overly typical horror elements. As the film gets weirder, things get mildly interesting though. There are some truly weird findings, the color madness brings psychedelic scenes. Actually many things ‘around the acting’ are the most interesting.

Not really weird enough to be a weird film. Not typical enough to be a standard horror or thriller or scifi. “Color Out Of Space” hangs somewhere in the middle. Also ‘rating wise’.

Possessor – Brandon Cronenberg (2020)

Because of his excellent “Antiviral” (2012) I was pretty excited when I heard about Cronenberg junior’s latest film. It took a while before the release though and when I write this, there still seems to be no European release or even a date. So my copy came from the USA which apparently takes a month in shipping.

“Possessor” and by far not as good as “Antiviral”. It starts as a nice, moody movie, but the story is much less interesting as Cronenberg’s previous film and there is more focus on (horror) gore. Not the “body horror” of his old man and which could also be found in “Antiviral”, but bloody violence.

In some future everybody seems to have a brain implant. Some company uses these implants for contract killings. An agent is ‘transported’ to a victim who will commit the crime and die.

We mostly follow one such agent, Tasya, who has done this work for a while and who appears to have increasing problems with the work. Of course things do not go as planned in the last job and the victim is not entirely taken over.

“Possessor” is not your average film. It is dark, weird, the story is strange. You have to enjoy the weirder kind of film for “Possessor”. I think Cronenberg’s previous is a good compare even though this new film is (of course) much different. Like I said, it is also less good in my opinion. Since we do not often get films of this type, I still recommend “Possessor” if you also like the darker and weirder stuff.

Ad Astra – James Gray (2019)

A not too convincing sci-fi drama with Brad Pitt as almost sole actor.

In near future mankind has a base on the moon which they use to fly to other planets. Problems coming from Neptune appear to be caused by a mission to that area of many years ago. That mission was led by the father of Pitt’s character and star astronaute Pitt is sent there to see if he can fix the problem.

The film is slow and moody, but the story contains a couple of very illogical elements which take down the film a lot. Even the basic storyline is not too strong.

We mostly follow Roy McBride (Pitt). We hear his thoughts / doubts, follow him on his way to the moon, to Mars, to Neptune. Of course there is some tension and some drama.

The film is not boring, but it certainly is not great either.

Mank – David Fincher (2020)

  • drama

The title of this film refers to Herman Mankiewicz, a writer who starts to write for movies in the 1930’ies. Mankiewicz is played by Gary Oldman.

The film brings memories of Georges Clooney’s “Good Night, And Good Luck” (2005). Both are films playing in Hollywood where entertainment and politics are closer than one may imagine.

In the 1930’ies the political divide in Hollywood appears to have been between Communists and anti-Communists. People gather to talk about films, films of the competition, but also about politics.

In spite of his alcoholism, Mank has a keen observing eye. His writing skills make him a respected man in some regards, but in his drinking bouts he also swims against the tides of people close to him. The fact that he has to write a script in record-time just after having been involved in a car-crash complicates his situation. Apparently he decides to mix his script with current events, something that is not received with applaus.

“Mank” is an amusing film with subtle humour, nice characters, a nice 1930’ies setting and even a message of sorts.

The Midnight Sky – George Clooney (2020)

  • drama

Clooney directed another film with himself in the main part. This time he took a stab at the sci-fi genre. Well, “The Midnight Sky” is not a typical sci-fi. Just one of the two stories is.

In 2049 mankind has managed to kill the earth. In the opening scene people evacuate. We do not learn whereto, but later it becomes clear that the air has become so bad that mankind had to flee underground where it will be able to survive for a limited amount of time.

Clooney’s character works at some sort of observatory at the North Pole and since Augustine is a dying man, he decides to remain at his post to see if he can be of some use in his last weeks. It turns out he is not entirely alone though.

Because this disaster did not appear overnight, mankind has been looking for a place to move to in order to survive. A candidate is a moon of Jupiter. A mission has been sent to K23. So besides Augustine, the film follows the small crew of a ship that has been to K23 and is now on its way back to earth.

The film is alright. Story-wise it makes some sense, things look good, the acting is good, it (of course) has both tension and drama.

Tenet – Christopher Nolan (2020)

  • action

Nolan made a 007-type movie with a super agent, a Bond-girl and an arch villain who wants to destroy the world. Of course he had to come up with a ‘mind-blowing’ theme as well.

So we have bad guys who found a way to manipulate time. This seems mostly in order to make the final scenes in which two times are shown simultaneously allowing Nolan to present pretty far-out CGI which in some ways are as awe-inspiring as in “Inception” (2010).

To get to this, Nolan had to come up with a way too complex theory to explain how that last scene can come to be. Throw in another complex story about how the bad guy makes his money and how he means to end the word and you not only have a vague concept, but a downright hard-to-follow film. At times I got a bit of a “Primer” (2004) feeling. Things may just have gotten a wee bit too complex.

For the rest you can expect some over-the-top action with plane crashes to get to a painting, shootouts, fistfights, romance and everything that you expect from a 007. The film makes an amusing circle towards the end that does make that I want to see this film again some time to see if I can make more sense of the complex story.

Good, entertaining, but after a first watch, a bit too much.