Thursday, November 8, 2018

The Night Comes for Us (2018)

OH YES! This is a pure orgasm of a film that made me so euphoric, it reminded me of why I fell in love with movies in the first place.

The story is not that important. There's some stuff about Asian Triad-mafia, hitmen with exceptional skills, and a little girl who everyone wants to kill. It's pretty much just a bunch of shallow excuses to set up one over-the-top fight scene after the other, where barbaric killing machines effectively turn each other into so much minced meat.

As you might have guessed, this is not a film for people with a low tolerance for pain. Every punch is a bone-cracking hammer of raw agony that you almost feel on your own body. Blood gushes onto walls and body parts fly, while knives, machetes and axes chop away huge parts of meat from a never-ending flow of willing victims. 

Of course there's also a sprinkle of eccentric characters with their individual favorite weapons, who drops ├╝ber-cool lines likes:

- You're going to regret that.
- What? That I called you a bitch?
- No. That you're wearing white clothes.

The choreography is a masterwork in itself, and the camera work is the best I've ever seen. The filmmakers don't rely on hyperactive editing to make things more intense, but instead lets the camera follow hand movements, so that we smash into the victim along with the fist.

The whole thing is so brutally awesome, that it makes The Matrix look like your mother's favorite cooking show. And just like The Matrix once raised the bar for the action genre in a way that has been mimicked ever since, we can only hope that The Night Comes for Us will have just as much impact. There's little doubt that this is the best movie of the year, and Hollywood better take notes as THIS is the way action is supposed to be.

There's also a heft dose of pitch black humor, and the carousel of violence had me giggling like a child, clapping my hands with each new mutilation. And when it was finally over, all I wanted to do was to wipe the blood from my eyes, and go again.


Wednesday, September 26, 2018

Kill List (2011)

At first, Kill List appears to be a gritty drama about a kindhearted family man. However, when we discover the protagonist is a professional hitman, the genre takes a turn toward hard crime. And as he kills, the genre twists again and again, tearing away the false sense of security that was established in the beginning.

This playful approach to filmmaking put director Ben Wheatley on the map, and I can promise you that this is not the last time I will write about one of his genre-bending movies.


Monday, September 17, 2018

Men & Chicken (2015)

When asked who is the greatest Danish filmmaker of all time, most people will say Lars von Trier, Nicolas Winding Refn or maybe Susanne Bier.

They would all be wrong.

Because none of those can compete with the greatness that is Anders Thomas Jensen. Although his name is not even half as well know as those above, it only takes a short glimpse at his filmography to realize his superiority. Actually, I found it quite astounding to discover that all the greatest Danish films from the last 20 years, were either written or directed by the same guy:

In China They Eat Dogs, The Green Butchers, Adam's Apples, Flickering Lights, At the World's End... all from the mind of Anders Thomas Jensen. Heck, the first thing the guy wrote was the short film De Nye Lejere, which was later remade into the Oscar winning The New Tenants.

Everything he touches turns to gold, and Men & Chicken is no different. As a perfect mix of drama, comedy and mystery, with a hint of sci-fi, it entertains to no end.

So don't be left out. Jump on the Jensen train!


Sunday, September 16, 2018

Neal Brennan: 3 Mics (2017)

I'm not recommending this stand-up special because it is funny. It is funny, sure, but that's not what makes it interesting.

The show is actually three in one, where comedian Neal Brennan gives three quite different performances, into three different mics. As he jumps from mic to mic, he also changes subjects, and while one mic is dedicated to snappy zingers, he only lingers there for a short while before moving on to another mic where he tells a rather tragic tale about his own dysfunctional father. And if the honesty starts feeling a bit heavy, he quickly changes mics once again to bring in a new brand of humor.

In a world of stand-up comedy, where everyone is all focused on getting the most laughs, this way of mixing in moments where he simply focuses on the human condition in a most naked way, comes across as fresh.

It feels like were watching a guy talking to his therapist, spicing up his tragic episodes with gallows humor. Brennan is certainly not the only one doing this, and "stand-up therapy" might even be a sort offbeat genre in recent comedy, with other examples being Tig Notaro, Carl Barron, Henry Philips, and of course Louie C.K. All of them can be hilarious when they want, but they're also bringing so much more than just lulz.

However, Brennan takes it to a new level in this special, and while certainly not for everyone, it might just have a sort of cathartic effect on those who are just as sad as they are happy.


Saturday, September 15, 2018

A Clockwork Orange (1971)

"Doobidoob, yarbles! Great bolshy yarblockos to you. I'll meet you with chain or nozh or britva anytime, not having you aiming tolchocks at me reasonless."

If that all seemed like nonsense to you, that's only because you've somehow managed to miss out on one of the most celebrated films of all time. This is another one of those that everyone has seen hundreds of times, and it's such a big part of popular culture that not having seen it basically renders you less intelligent.

But for those that are already in the know, it's also quite fun to revisit the dystopian society of Clockwork Orange and view it through the glasses of current times. Like any classical science fiction, the future that director Stanley Kubrick imagined in the 70s, has turned out to be both wrong and right in so many ways.

So why not give it yet another go, and get lost in the colorful future of the past. You might still not understand my first paragraph afterwards, but I can guarantee you that you will enjoy it nonetheless.


Friday, September 14, 2018

Brazil (1985)

If you look up satire in a dictionary, there might just be a picture of this film. The colorful retro-futuristic dystopia in which even the simplest thing is over-complicated by walls of paperwork, is just as relevant today as it was when it was released some 30 years ago.

Drawing heavy inspiration from George Orwell, the film was originally supposed to be called 1984 ½, but the title was changed so as not to be confused with the other adaptation of 1984 which came out the year before.

It's easy to spot where the hellish predicament of 1984 still lingers in the script, however the genius of former Monty Python member Terry Gilliam, is that he also injected his movie with a hefty dose of fun! And as such, this might be the most entertaining nightmare you'll ever experience.


Thursday, September 13, 2018

Jam (2000)

From dark to darker, this one plunges to new depths of pitch black comedy.

It's a sketch show, with loosely connected bits that will have you gasping at their audacity. Rape, murder and mutilation is only the start of it, as the creative wickedness knows no bounds.

And if the subject matter wasn't bad enough, the technical aspects are also intentionally off. The aspect ration, color grading, lip-syncing and editing keeps making "mistakes", which adds to the general fucked uppedness, and had someone call it "An acid trip in a hospital for the criminally insane".

The darkness actually goes so far, that the show was once voted the 26th scariest in film and television history. What other comedy show has ever won awards for being scary?

The whole thing is currently available on Youtube, so hurry on over and check it out before someone is offended enough to take it down.


Wednesday, September 12, 2018

A Man Called Ove (2015)

And while we're on the subject of Swedish comedies about old men, this one is just as good, if not better than The 100 Year-Old Man.

It's a bit darker again, as instead of the jolly reminiscing of an content gentleman in the aforementioned film, this is about a grumpy old fart who's sick and tired of it all. He hates everyone in his cozy home town, and it doesn't get better by the fact that everyone seems to keep interrupting his many suicide attempts.

But if suicide does not sound especially funny to you, then you might be convinced by the fact that Tom Hanks actually thought it was hilarious enough to produce and star in an upcoming remake.

However, if the last time mr. Hanks starred in a remake of a dark classic is anything to go by, my hopes aren't exactly high. So check this one out before the new one comes along, and you'll be able to tell all your friends that: "Dude, the original is sooo much better" ;)