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  • First Reformed

    First Reformed

    ★★★

    First Reformed surprised me three times.

    When I started viewing it, I was afraid this would be a drama about church-related child abuse. But it wasn't.

    Then the discussion about abortion started, and I expected that to become the main subject. But it didn't.

    And then there was the unexpected ending.

    I think First Reformed could have been a powerful film, but the story development and the potential impact of the moral message gradually fell apart, along with the main…

  • Mandy

    Mandy

    ★★★★

    Any film where Nicolas Cage becomes Nicolas Rage can't fail.

    Mandy is a fascinating phantasmagoria of trippy visual effects and references to 1980s horror films, wrapped in a pleasantly feverish David Lynch atmosphere.

    I particularly loved the intoxicating, brooding atmosphere when the megalomaniacal cult leader introduces himself to his drugged female hostage.

    The scene where Nic Cage goes through several stages of extreme grief and anger within a couple of minutes, while sitting on a toilet, wearing his underpants and…

  • Cargo

    Cargo

    ★★

    Meh. I'm starting to suffer from zombie fatigue.

    What did the makers think?

    "Let's make a movie!"
    "About what?"
    "About zombies!"
    "But there are already a gazillion zombie movies!"
    "OK, then let's make a movie that deals with the Aboriginal Australians versus white Australians theme!"
    "But there are already a gazillion movies about that as well!"
    "Yeah, but nobody combined it yet! And if we keep it low-budget, we can easily sell it to Netflix!"
    "That's brilliant! Let's do it!"

  • November

    November

    ★★★★★

    If you like surrealism and dark fairy-tales, and you haven't seen November yet, watch it before reading my review, because I wouldn't want to influence your expectations.

    When I started watching November all I knew was IMDb's Drama, Fantasy, Horror categorization. Little did I know that I was about to experience two hours of a beauty so mesmerizing that it would almost bring tears to my eyes.

    November is one of those rare cinematic creations that transcends the medium from…

  • Beast

    Beast

    ★★★★

    I really liked Beast. The cinematography was atmospheric and melancholic, the lead actors gave away convincing performances, the plot kept me interested until the end, and although I suspected the plot twist at an early stage, the story and character development kept me doubting until the end.

    Jessie Buckley was great, and Johnny Flynn pleasantly reminded me of Rutger Hauer in his young years, when he was still a starting actor over here in the Netherlands. This is emphasized by Flynn's South African accent, which sounds very similar to Hauer's Dutch accent.

  • Messiah of Evil

    Messiah of Evil

    ★★½

    Messiah of Evil has its strong sides when regarded in a retro context, such as the 1970s environments, wardrobes and interior decorations. But the very obvious low budget and the stoic, amateurish acting didn't work for me, and when my wife started to yawn more and more I decided it was time for us to stop watching the film. 🙂

    Maybe I'll give it another shot some time, but I've already got a huge to-see list, so it won't be in the near future.

  • Day of the Outlaw

    Day of the Outlaw

    ★★★

    Day of the Outlaw is a real classic type of Western, featuring tough men, beautiful women and, sadly, mistreated horses.

    I like no-nonsense plots like this, in a modest setting, with the good guys against the bad guys.

    What's refreshing about Day of the Outlaw is that the feared gunman in the lead role turns out to actually hate gun violence, and doesn't fire a single shot throughout the film.

    In conclusion, Day of the Outlaw is a reasonably entertaining, though dated Western.

  • Tully

    Tully

    ★★★½

    Tully is a fine Ivan Reitman production, and the first film I saw that exposed the dark side of motherhood so uncompromisingly. It was quite refreshing to finally witness a filmmaker show that the so-called 'pink cloud' is actually often a rainy thundercloud that can flood lives.


    I've also got a soft spot for Mark Duplass. No matter what role he plays, I've always got the feeling that he's being himself, fitting in a new scenario. I also loved his documentary about the Bhagwan cult.

  • The Day the Earth Caught Fire

    The Day the Earth Caught Fire

    ★★★½

    The Day the Earth Caught Fire turned out to be a surprisingly prophetic tale about the apocalyptic consequences of mankind ruining the planet. What was still science fiction in 1961 has become a possible near-future scenario.

    In The Day the Earth Caught Fire nuclear bombs are pushing the Earth out of balance, and the effects are very recognizable: a smog-like phenomenon, melting icecaps and heatwaves, resulting in water shortage, draught and fires.

    I liked the dynamism of The Day the…

  • Upgrade

    Upgrade

    ★★★½

    At the start of Upgrade I had my doubts if it was going to be good. But once 'Stem' was introduced, it became quite a fun ride.

    My wife and I had to laugh out loud when Stem took over control of the first fight. Brutally hilarious.

    I'd call Upgrade an entertaining wink to RoboCop, Terminator 2, The Matrix, Blade Runner and... Knight Rider. 😁 The futuristic props and decors were quite cool, and since I saw the Quarry series…

  • Hereditary

    Hereditary

    ★★★½

    I anticipated watching Hereditary for a few months, having seen a lot of high ratings. The risk of eagerly looking forward to a much-praised movie is that your expectations might become too high, so I tried to remain aware of that.

    On the night I saw Hereditary there was a thunderstorm outside, casting lightning flashes into our dark living room. I couldn't have asked for a better atmosphere.

    I liked the tension that's present throughout Hereditary, an effective blend of…

  • Thoroughbreds

    Thoroughbreds

    ★★★½

    I liked Thoroughbreds. The misanthropic black humor, the matter-of-factly narrative, the slightly surreal cinematography, it was all well-balanced, and pleasantly similar to the film style of Yorgos Lanthimos.

    But it's Anya Taylor-Joy's fascinating, serene face that turned every scene featuring her into an eye magnet. If Stanley Kubrick could be resurrected, I'd urge him to remake Lolita with Anya Taylor-Joy in the title role. It would be morally safe, because she was already 21 years old when she starred in…