Archive for the ‘Thriller’ Category

You – ***

Posted: January 6, 2019 in 2018, Romance, Thriller, USA, XXX

This is one cool, horrific, thrilling and romantic mindfuck ! A book store manager falls for an aspiring writer. They share their love for literature. But they also share a longing  for wanting something that they cannot get. Joe, the manager, is so obsessed with this woman and so certain that she is the one, that he will do whatever it takes to protect her. Including murder. Guinevere, the writer, is so insecure about her talents that she hides it by over-using the social media and hanging out with the wrong kind of friends.

This is one great series. Ten episodes of constant surprises. Ten episodes of watching two people be attracted to each other and not being sure whether you want them to be together or not. They are made for each other. They look like the real deal. But they are hiding so much from each other and from the audience! They are bound to fail. Joe is a bit like Dexter. He looks charming and his motivations for his cruelty are just (he’s in love), yet, he’s a delusional stalker! Guinevere is a bit like Amy Dunne from Gone Girl, gorgeous and innocent, but equally cruel in being dishonest. It’s easy to understand why Joe is obssessed with her. But it’s also easy to understand why he doubts whether she’s really worth all the trouble. And then there are all the intriguing side characters. It’s not just about these two love birds. It’s about everyone around them, including ex lovers, colleagues, friends, family and neighbors.

Yes, some things don’t make sense, but somehow it’s part of the show. This is a well written, well acted, well edited thriller with a great end. More of this!

www.imdb.com/title/tt7335184

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Revenge – **(*)

Posted: September 4, 2018 in 2017, France, Horror, Revenge, XX1/2
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A rich businessman brings his mistress to a desolate hideaway in the desert. He’s there for an annual hunting trip with two of his associates, who arrive a bit too early and get to know the girl as well. There’s a pool party, a lot of alcohol and the next day, the girl gets violated by one of the buddies. Once the businessman finds out, he defends his friends and pushes her off a cliff, where she gets impaled on a pointy tree branch.

However, the girl isn’t dead and she’s out for revenge.

And this is the moment where the real movie experience starts. The girl survives a deadly fall, being impaled, being shot at several times etc… She manages to survive in the desert, fix her wounds, run around with a heavy machine gun, aim a riffle successfully, etc…  Every setback makes her stronger.

Nothing is logical in this movie. But that’s not the point. It’s a visually and auditive stunning neo-cult classic. There’s only four actors (well, five if you count the helicopter pilot) and there are only a few settings. It must have been a low-budget production, but the camerawork is excellent. The action is non stop and entertaining. The gore is abundant. And there’s nakedness! Not by the female protagonist, but by the rich businessman who spends the last 15 minutes of the movie running around in the nude.

That character is played by Kevin Janssens, a Flemish actor who’s a bit of a local celebrity, appearing in the gossip magazines for this affairs with other local celebrities. BUT, he’s actually a fine actor and he chooses his roles cleverly. He could have gone for the commercial mainstream parts, but he does a lot of these weird indie things. And he does it well.

The movie didn’t get a local release though. It didn’t get a wide release at all. But it’s available on iTunes and highly recommended. Unless you can’t stand bloodshed and want a logical story. Then this is not for you. But try it, you may be impressed by the cool cinematography.

www.imdb.com/title/tt6738136

Suburbicon – *

Posted: July 31, 2018 in 2017, Thriller, USA, X

A 99 cent rental on itunes directed by George Clooney (!), written by the Coen brothers (!), starring Matt Damon (!) and Julianne Moore (!) and Oscar Isaac (!) plus that kid that seems to be in every movie nowadays: Noah Jupe. What a team!

Unfortunately the movies falls flat. Already after 10 minutes or so. And it just never becomes exciting. Not even when the violence erupts in the second half.

It’s a classic written script. With original plot twists, when read at home in the couch. But pretty boring on the screen. It’s not that the directing is bad, nor the acting, nor the cinematography. No. There is just zero humor. Which is quite important if you make a dark comedy. Not one single scene makes you laugh. None. Oh, maybe the scene with Matt Damon on a kid’s bicycle.

And then there is the superfluous ‘socially critical’ side story that doesn’t make any sense at all. The events take place in a suburban white village where a black family comes to live, which creates panic amongst the locals. That’s how the movie starts. Interesting. Later in the movie you see people protest and put up fences around the family’s home and you see shop tenants clearly indicate that black customers are not welcome. But that’s about it really. It’s clear. People are panicking because of the arrival of different newcomers, but close their eyes for the trouble in their own society. It’s clear. It’s 100% clear. If that’s ‘socially critical’, it’s lame. It distracts from the real story.

The main drama takes place in the home of one of these new arrivals’ white neighbors. The family of Gardner Lodge (Matt Damon) is visited by two mean burglars who put all of the family members to sleep with chlorophyll. Two of these family members are played by Julianne Moore. She both plays the devoted wife of Gardner and the twin sister, who turns out to be the mistress of Gardner. When the wife dies of an overdose of chlorophyll, it’s clear that this visit of the burglars wasn’t random. This is also 100% clear from the beginning. As it’s witnessed by the young kid in the story.  There is absolutely no suspense either.

This is not a good movie, but if you want to watch it, watch it without looking at the trailer. Because it creates expectations of something thrilling, funny and good (and hardly mentions the racial conflict side story).

www.imdb.com/title/tt0491175/

 

Fleuve Noir (Black Tide) – *

Posted: July 28, 2018 in 2018, France, Thriller, X

In #metoo times, it’s quite interesting to see the main character of a police thriller (an alcoholic inspector) violate the mother of the disappeared child in the case he’s investigating. It’s a weird scene. It’s comical, especially in the aftermath – when they continue talking as if nothing happened. But it’s also shocking. It does have a purpose though. Somehow. The violation isn’t rape, because the woman allows it and even craves for it. Still, she initially says no. So keep your penis in your pants, motherfucker!

The scene does represent the movie though. Many scenes are both ridiculous and intriguing. It’s a tough sit-through. Vincent Cassel is over the top as a Columbus-like inspector in trench coat, looking like he sleeps under a bridge in Paris and talks like he constantly has a piece of a baguette in his mouth (drenched in alcohol). If you’re not a native French speaker, wait for the release with subtitles! Although they should read like ‘grmfflzmr trmflife feeszzee’. Romain Duris plays the literature teacher and upstairs neighbour of the missing boy. It’s so obvious that he’s the prime suspect that it’s not a surprise when it turns out he’s not. No spoiler alert necessary. In fact, the obsession by which the wannabe writer is co-investigating in the case is well acted.

In the end, it’s not really worth recommending. It’s like the director watched several non-classic police thrillers from the late seventies and thought: I can do the same! By 2048 this movie will be a challenge question in movie quizzes. Name the obscure thriller with Vincent Cassel en Romain Duris from 2018 that features two of the shortest sex scenes ever. (the first one is the 1 minute violation, the other is another ridiculous/shocking 1 minute in the forest. No spoiler there.)

www.imdb.com/title/tt6009104

Dark is a German netflix original. It’s riding on the hyped wave of Stranger Things. It has some similarities. Events take place in a small town, surrounded by a forest, close to a well-secured nuclear energy plant. Kids get missing, locals all seem to know each other and a large part of the story takes you back to the eighties. But that’s about it. The atmosphere of the series feels more like Twin Peaks. It’s darker, more mysterious, more dramatic, more philosophical and messier.

The story takes place in 2019, 1986 and 1953. This is important information, because that’s not really clear in the first two episodes, which take place in the present and feel messy. As of episode 3 you feel this series may be worth the watch. Several characters that are introduced in that episode are younger versions of the characters that you already familiarized with. It’s intriguing. A kid gets missing in 2019 and somehow ends up in 1986. But this is no Back To The Future. There is zero humor. Zero romance. Just a lot of dark negativity.

The kid who gets missing in 2019 starts a new life in 1986. So, by 2019 the kid has lived a lie for 33 years! This is pretty unsettling. But intriguing. A lot of questions arise. But only few get answered. The series keeps on introducing subplots and new characters, but never focuses on the main question: how on earth did a guy live for so long next to a younger version of himself? It’s not a plot spoiler. It’s a key element to attract viewers to the show.

By the end of the series pseudo-philosophical and neo-scientific theories are uttered and explained concerning time and space. That’s all intriguing, but it doesn’t really help you explain the plot. The writers must have had fun preparing the script. The preparation desk with all the written-out biographies of each character must be tremendous. All these characters are all intertwined. Some are even related to each other. It’s fun.

BUT… the story doesn’t make sense. Yes, it’s about time travel and yes, it’s (science) fiction. But in the end, it should still feel logical. Which is far from the case here.

But the atmosphere is excellent. The long shots are great. The sun never shines. It rains a lot and it’s always ‘dark’. The soundtrack is creepy. The acting is fine. The concept is brilliant. Time travel isn’t a new theme in cinema. But this time they focus more on the thought: if you could change the past, would you? and what would it mean for the present and the future?

For you to binge-watch and get disturbing nightmares…

https://www.imdb.com/title/tt5753856

 

The Foreigner – (*)

Posted: April 20, 2018 in 1/2, 2017, Action, Revenge, Terrorist

This is a mess. A real mess.

The title is deceiving. This isn’t about a ‘foreigner’, it’s about a series of attacks by a new radical IRA.

Jackie Chan, who plays an Asian restaurant owner who loses his daughter in one of the attacks, is out for revenge. He’s a well-trained soldier and determined to find and eliminate the bombers on his own.

Ok. Good premise.

But then somehow, Jackie Chan disappears in the story and Pierce Brosnan’s character becomes a central figure. He plays a politician, with links to the old IRA and is now not only dealing with a mad ‘Chinaman’ who’s haunting him, but also with his political friends, who are betraying him and with the British PM, who’s accusing him of the attacks.

Then Pierce Brosnan disappears from the screen and they focus on the bombers and their next attacks and the British who try to stop them. Oh and on a hitman who Brosnan’s character hires to kill Jackie’s character.

It’s a mess. A real mess.

And the IRA, really? Why make a movie about fictitious IRA terrorists? We finally kind of forgot they (still) exist. No need to bring paranoia back.

https://www.imdb.com/title/tt1615160

Review after three episodes (six more to go) – *(*)

Part fantasy horror film, part mystery thriller. The first three episodes are confusing. Which is the whole point. The main character has amnesia, but is the key witness in the disappearance of Thomas De Geest. She’s been interred into a psychiatric hospital and gets questioned by both her shrink and a detective. She’s an odd woman. She claims to have amnesia, but the viewer gets to see all kinds of memories in flashback. Why? She’s clearly lying to the shrink and the detective as she remembers snippets of what happened to her in the past and then claims to not know anything. But why?

There are nine episodes. It was a big success on television. It has a lot of renowned actors in the cast. And it is somehow intriguing. Maybe it’s worth watching it until the end. But my god, is it boring. And slow. And the set design is terrible. Several scenes don’t make sense. Give me realism over fantasy anytime. There is no suspense, just weird scary scenes stolen from the vast catalogue of horror movies. Even if you’re not a fantasy film lover, it all feels like it’s been done before a zillion times. A haunted house, a devilish child, electricity blackouts, cape wearing figures, scary dolls, a mysterious man in the forest. Add a cheating husband, a sexually comfortable sixty year old, a foreign looking caretaker/gigolo, weird patients in the psychiatric ward, etc… It’s a mess.

Review after nine episodes – *(*)

So yes, it’s worth watching the series until the end. The final episode does have some surprises in store. But you can’t really talk about a plot twist. The actual plottwist happens at the end of episode 5. It’s not a big surprise for the viewer, but it kind of changes the series from a fantasy thriller to a regular detective drama. The flashbacks are no longer memories of the main character, but rather added for the viewer’s benefit. Which feels like an inconsistency. The acting is ok. But it’s so boring at times. And all these hyped kudos to the director for showing a) depth to the characters and b) beauty in the visuals. Bull. The characters are pretty one-dimensional and the scenes look messy. Also, the way psychiatry is depicted here, is terrible. It’s stereotypical and unoriginal.

Sometimes, a hype is only a hype if you want it to be.

http://www.imdb.com/title/tt5197860/