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  • Looker

    Looker

    ★★★

    Looker is an interesting dystopian tech-fiction concept by Michael Crichton. You can clearly recognize elements from his Westworld.

    I loved the 1980s Wave style look and sound of the film, which is often mimicked in Retrowave productions these days. Susan Dey is a feast for the eyes and James Coburn is cool as ever.

    On the negative side, Crichton shouldn't have directed this himself. The pace is too slow, the acting is often unconvincing, and the ending was just plain…

  • The Red Shoes

    The Red Shoes

    Sorry, this didn't work for me. Too dated. I dislike films that feel like a stage-play.

  • Under the Silver Lake

    Under the Silver Lake

    ★★★½

    Under the Silver Lake has a pleasantly surreal, absurdist atmosphere with lots of imaginative elements, sort of a mix between David Lynch and Terry Gilliam, although that's a bit too much credit.

    There were a few aspects that diminished the film's impression on me. First of all, the story lingered on for too long, with too many plot twists. Secondly, I felt unsatisfied by the lack of a conclusion after the main character's exhausting two and a half hour quest. Did everything only take place inside the main character's paranoid mind?

  • Benny's Video

    Benny's Video

    ★★★★

    Benny's Video is the fourth Haneke film I've seen — following Das Weiße Band, Funny Games and Amour — and I'm becoming more and more a fan of his work.

    Benny's Video is clearly a warming-up for Haneke's brilliant Funny Games, featuring the same intriguing, skilled actor: Arno Frisch. I love Haneke's signature detached, matter-of-factly film style, giving cold, harsh events a hint of absurdity, and subtly revealing an underlying layer of dark irony.

    Benny's Video could be called Austrian Psycho, as a wink to American Psycho, but without the American layer of gloss on top of it.

  • Western

    Western

    ★★★½

    Western is a very different kind of film. It's a documentary-style portrait of a group of German workers in Bulgaria, who gradually build up a bond with the local villagers.

    There's no real drama buildup or structured storyline in Western. It's more of an atmospheric mood impression, with a very authentic feel. I liked the atmosphere of rural Bulgaria in the film, which brought back sweet childhood memories of multiple travels through Bulgaria with my parents, on our way to Turkey.

  • Searching

    Searching

    ★★★

    OK, I'm going to resort to a simple pros and cons enumeration for this one...

    Pros:

    • Original concept: telling the story using nothing but digital media, such as live feeds, search engines, social media, chat windows, camera recordings, audio recordings and more.

    • I loved the part where suddenly lots of people claimed to know the missing girl, were publicly accusing the father, or were making inappropriate jokes about the tragedy, once the news went public. It effectively reflected…

  • Dogman

    Dogman

    ★★★

    Dogman is an odd beast of a film. The dreary atmosphere of the Italian slums is very effective, and the main characters are both contrasting and similar to each other. They are both pitiful losers, but in a different way. None of them is better then the other, which is kind of refreshing in the revenge genre, that usually revolves around a stereotypical bad guy and good guy.

    There are some humorous scenes in the first half of the movie,…

  • The Haunting of Hill House

    The Haunting of Hill House

    ★★

    I'm Dutch, so I couldn't get used to Michiel Huisman's Dutch accent. But that was actually the least of my worries while watching The Haunting of Hill House. Nearly everything irritated me. The smart-ass kids with their styled hairdos, the one-dimensional characters, some pretty unconvincing acting, the over the top house, the hackneyed horror clichés, the predictability, everything felt so contrived that I think this is the horror equivalent to Fifty Shades of Grey.

  • The Sinner

    The Sinner

    ★★★½

    A fine piece of entertainment, with an effective suspense build-up and an intriguing character established by Bill Pullman.

  • Dancer in the Dark

    Dancer in the Dark

    It's been many years since I saw Dancer in the Dark, but I clearly remember how the continuous melodrama and Bjørk's over the top drama queen role irritated me. It was the first Lars von Trier film I saw, back when the Dogma film movement was very hyped among film snobs, so after Dancer in the Dark I didn't expect Von Trier to become the director of one of my all-time favorite films: Antichrist. I also quite liked his film Melancholia.

  • Elle

    Elle

    ★★½

    Being a long-time fan of Paul Verhoeven — since the days he was still a relatively unknown director over here in the Netherlands — I had high expectations of Elle.

    Elle contained Verhoeven's signature mix of nihilism, provocation and black humor, but I thought the plot was too far-fetched, the characters implausibly indifferent, and the end was a bit of an anticlimax.

  • The 400 Blows

    The 400 Blows

    ★★★★

    The 400 Blows is a beautiful, amazingly timeless tale about how a boy gradually descends into a life of crime, stimulated by a detached upbringing.

    The film is a semi-autobiography of its legendary director Francois Truffaut, and it was one of Akira Kurosawa's favorite films. I can understand why. Truffaut managed to establish a sense of realism and matter-of-factness that was rare for the time, when a lot of films still felt like melodramatic stage-plays.

    The acting is impressively natural, the black and white cinematography adds to the authenticity, and I loved the poetic ending.