Posts Tagged ‘2004’

Så som i himmelen – Minute Movie Review

Montag, Oktober 18th, 2010


The Swedish Film As in Heaven follows extremely successful conductor/musician Michael Nygvist after he has a near fatal heart attack and returns to the village of his youth to recuperate. Once there, the film uses every cliché of the usual underdog sports team drama, except that it’s about a choir and slightly more realistic than those films. But even the realism doesn’t change the fact that this is essentially the Swedish version of a Disney movie, what with the sappy uplifting and everything. If you go in for church choir movies, this is probably the best you can find. If you don’t, there are many better Swedish films to explore your love for Scandinavian cinema.

Random Observations:

Så som i himmelen at the IMDb

I really have nothing more to say here.

The Aviator – Minute Movie Review

Mittwoch, Juni 23rd, 2010


In 1927, after his parents’ death, a young Howard Hughes (greatest actor of his generation Leonard DiCaprio) came to Hollywood and used his inherited business to make the most expensive film at the time, while also developing an interest in aviation. Over the next two decades, he rose to prominence in both fields before a fall from grace (and a plane crash) caused his neurosis to overcome his eager drive and he developed the most famous case of OCD in history. The biopic by Martin Scorsese is well-made and solidly acted, with some inspired ideas (I especially like the use of colour reflecting the film stock of the time), but it plays havoc with the true chronology of events and omits the last three decades of Hughes’ life completely. Sure, they were decidedly less interesting, but taking the most interesting items from them and inserting them randomly into earlier events does not serve the story.

Random Observations:

The Aviator at the IMDb

I really liked the scenes at the Coconut Grove, which made “old” Hollywood truly come alive.

It’s very odd to see modern day actors and actresses portray the greats of that time. Cate Blanchett does a surprisingly convincing Katharine Hepburn, but Kate Beckinsale’s Ava Gardner and especially Jude Law’s Errol Flynn are a disappointment.

For a man who loved aviation, aka flying, more than anything, the film spends relatively little time exploring that theme.

Also, the importance of Noah Dietrich (John C. Reilly) to the success of Hughes’ companies is vastly underplayed in the film.

Harold & Kumar Go to White Castle – Minute Movie Review

Samstag, April 10th, 2010


Stoners John Cho and Kal Penn have a craving for White Castle burgers, so they decide to go there. Naturally, their trip turns into an odyssey with numerous funny incidents. Unlike most drug-inspired comedies, this one largely forfeits the infantile humour for clever commentary on society, especially on racial issues, combined with a lot of simple jokes that nevertheless connect. The film is carried on the easy rapport between Cho and Penn that makes you want to just go along for the ride.

Random Observations:

Harold & Kumar Go to White Castle at the IMDb

Everybody’s favourite entertainer Neil Patrick Harris has a bit part, playing Neil Patrick Harris. To borrow a catchphrase, it’s legendary.

Kal Penn went on to a recurring role on House M.D., where he basically played a slightly more mature Kumar, before quitting that show to work for President Obama. He recently quit that job to make the second sequel to this film.

When I watched the trailer for this film, I was exposed to the German dubbing, by third-rate comedians Oliver Pocher and Rick Kavanian. Kavanian’s fake Indian accent for Kumar might be the most horribly atrocious accent crime ever committed.

Freeze Frame – Minute Movie Review

Donnerstag, Oktober 29th, 2009


A man, (falsely?) accused of murder, has created his own surveillance network to ensure that his every movement is captured on film, so that the police can’t entrap him again. But ten years later, the whole thing begins to unravel when some of the tapes go missing. A dark thriller with an unusual premise, the film is hampered significantly by the hammy acting, some unbelievable plot developments and the ending, which is simply to neat to fit the tone of the film. It’s an interesting and unusual film, but doesn’t hold a candle to Memento, with which it is often compared.

Random Observations:

Freeze Frame at the IMDb

The main character as played by Lee Evans too often goes from psychotic to calm naivety to be believable.

The film might have worked significantly better without some of the unnecessary plot twists in the last act.

One issue that bothered me throughout the film: The guy doesn’t work, yet has an elaborate and certainly expensive surveillance system. How does he pay for it?

Ett hål i mitt hjärta – Minute Movie Review

Sonntag, September 6th, 2009


Set almost entirely in a small apartment, “A Hole in My Heart” tells the story of four people. Rickard is a middle aged loser who has never coped with the death of his wife. Together with best friend misogynist Geko he spends most his days playing video games and talking nonsense. But they also make amateur porno films with twenty-one year-old Tess, who has dreamed of just that since age 12 and is no stranger to cosmetic surgery. All that happens while Rickard’s song Eric stays in his room, even closing the blinds against the sun-light and listening to noise that defies the conventions of music like harmony and melody. But despite his shut-in status, out of the four people he is actually the most open to the outside world. The film has some brilliant scenes, mostly when blurring the lines between dreams, fantasies and reality, but much of it is simply disturbing and relies on shocking images more than a shocking story. There is potential for greatness, but most if it is squandered.

Random Observations:

Ett hål i mitt hjärta at the IMDb

The reason I watched the film – which is about as far removed from my usual taste as is possible – was the director, Lukas Moodysson. I was hoping that he had made another better than brilliant film after Fucking Åmål (simply put one of the best love stories of all time), but sadly, this is not it. It’s not bad, but also not great.

If you want to watch this film – and there really isn’t any reason why you should particularly want to – be warned that it has some pretty disturbing images. So disturbing, in fact, that the Swedish posters had to say so.

The few other people’s faces as well as all brand names and images are blurred out. It’s an interesting idea, but mostly it is distracting.

Team America: World Police – Minute Movie Review

Sonntag, August 9th, 2009


In general, there aren’t nearly enough puppet movies (you know, those on strings) and just for probably creating the most amazing puppets and puppet-movie sets ever, this film is worth watching. Since it was made by the creators of “South Park”, the rest is a mixture between biting satire and infantile dick jokes, which, as usual are hit and miss. The film has a few truly funny scenes, but for each laugh there are three cringe-worthy moments when jokes are overplayed or simply stupid. It’s still worth watching, but it’s not as brilliant as some critics and fans made it out to be.

Random Observations:

Team America: World Police at the IMDb

The sets are truly glorious. There are some nice making-ofs on the DVD and it is amazing to see how much work, love and detail went into creating them. Too bad most of them are blown up in the course of the movie.

You want to know about the plot? Oh, right, yeah, sorry. Team America fights terrorists, Kim Jong Il and bleeding heart liberal celebrities to safe the world.

There are also songs in the film, so I guess you could call it a musical.

In case you were wondering: No, I do not like South Park either. It’s stupid and controversial for controversy’s sake.

The Notebook – Minute Movie Review

Samstag, Juni 27th, 2009


In 1940, a debutante and a young man working in a lumbermill fall in love. Seperated by her parents and the war, their love seems doomed. Meanwhile, in the present day, a man reads their story to a woman with Alzheimer’s. The film, based on the bestselling novel by Nicholas Sparks, is a straight-up love story without any real drama since the outcome is known. It has some touching scenes, is beautifully shot and well-acted, but ultimately there is not enough tension to keep the viewer interested.

Random Observations:

The Notebook at the IMDb

I wanted to see the film because I really like the two leads, Ryan Gosling and Rachel McAdams, both of which have done some great work. And they are fine here, but the plot just isn’t enough.

It’s amazing how the production manages to make the two leads look younger in the early scenes. Especially Rachel McAdams doesn’t look a day over seventeen.

I might be suffering from Joss-Whedon-Syndrome and only enjoy stories of doomed love.

The film takes place in South Carolina. I was always under the impression, that segregation was still pretty strong at that time, but in the film almost the opposite is depicted. Of course, most films and books dealing with “the South” tend to romanticize it and gloss over those nasty little details…

There is no way that Rachel McAdams will look like Gena Rowlands when she is old. And the same is true for Ryan Gosling and James Garner.

Minute Movie Review – Collateral

Montag, Juni 15th, 2009


In Los Angeles, a cab driver with plans for his own company is hired by a man for an entire night – and discovers that his fare is a contract killer when a dead body drops on his cab. What follows is a stylish mixture of thriller, drama and psychological study, that is sadly undercut completely by a predictable, run-of-the-mill ending. I’m not sure whether the ending completely ruins the otherwise great movie, but it certainly leaves a bad aftertaste and lessens the enjoyment you get from the film until then. But it’s stark aesthetic and superb acting by both leads, especially Tom Cruise in an extremely unusual villianous role, makes it worth watching in either case.

Random Observations:

Collateral at

Mark Ruffalo has a supporting role in this and it is incredible to how different he looks from his usual self – and other roles. I always know that I know the actor when I see him, but I also always need to look up his name to tie his performances together.

One of the first films to be shot largely digitally, making full use of the advantages DV has over film in night scenes, since it needs less lighting.

The style and some scenes are very similar to Michael Mann’s earlier film Heat – which is actually much better and an absolute masterpiece.

Minute Movie Review – Napoleon Dynamite

Sonntag, April 26th, 2009


Napoleon Dynamite is a very unusual teenager who does very unusual things and has very unusual skills. During the film, he endures his uncle’s stupidity, helps his best and only friend run for class president, attends a school dance and does some other things. The plot is not really that important, with the film being more of a quirky character study type thing. There are some funny scenes, but mostly the film just tries to hard to be different to be enjoyable.

Random Observations:

Napoleon Dynamite at

One of very few movies where subsequent viewings made me change my opinion. I initially liked the film well enough, but it just doesn’t hold up very well to repeat viewings. Of course, I might have been influenced by the critic stating that it is “for people who don’t understand Wes Anderson movies”, who put it much more succinctly than I ever could.

I had forgotten that Tina Majorino was in this film. One of the more pleasant surprises while rewatching it.

After the movie was such a huge commerical success, the cast and crew went back to shoot an epilogue that is included after the credits on home video releases. It’s the wedding of Kip and Lafawnduh, with Napoleon arriving late on a horse.

Minute Movie Review – Anchorman

Sonntag, April 12th, 2009


“Anchorman: The Legend of Ron Burgundy” is a comedy about a 1970s San Diego news team that must deal with changing times when a female anchor joins them. From the Judd Apatow production power house, Anchorman is typical of that comedic style by combining clever insights, slight parody and celebrity cameos (Ben Stiller, Tim Robbins) with plain silliness. But while that combination often works quite well, the mixture just isn’t right in this film, which drags even though it is just 90 minutes long and which features more annoying than funny scenes.

Random Observations:

Anchorman at

The worst thing about the film is that what feels like 20% of the running time is dedicated to Will Ferrell pretend crying about various things. It’s annoying for the first ten seconds and only gets more annoying as it drags on.

I feel sort of conflicted about the film because there were some elements I really enjoyed, while I didn’t enjoy the film in its entirety. Maybe it would have been a better idea to just look for the funniest scenes on YouTube.