Posts Tagged ‘2006’

The Good German – Minute Movie Review

Mittwoch, Oktober 20th, 2010


In post-war Berlin to cover the Potsdam conference, American journalist George Clooney is sent on his own heroic journey when his driver is killed and old girlfriend Cate Blanchett re-emerges. Steven Sonderbergh made this film as a thriller that was meant to be an homage to film noir, down to black and white photography and the aspect ratio, but ultimately fails on both counts. Sure, the film is twisty enough for a noir classic, but it lacks the subtle charm of those films, and the story is just not all that interesting by modern standards. It’s an extremely ambitious film with many aspects to recommend it, but ultimately it fails to entertain the viewer.

Random Observations:

The Good German at the IMDb

Cate Blanchett plays a German and as such her German should be flawless, which it almost, but not quite, is. George Clooney’s German, on the other hand, is about as good as you would expect from an American living in Germany.

The film might have been a bit better without the war setting and titular good German. Then again, maybe not.

I was really impressed with how alive the film felt, even though it was completely filmed on Hollywood backlots – just like in the olden days.

A Guide to Recognizing Your Saints – Minute Movie Review

Freitag, Oktober 15th, 2010


Throughout this partly autobiographical film, writer-director-lead character Dito Montiel tries very hard to push the boundaries of cinema – with often disastrous results. Through the story of how he abandoned everyone at his Brooklyn home when going to Los Angeles and how he returned when his father was very sick, he tries to present a message that is completely lost in the over-ambitious, often pretentious drivel the film largely resorts to. There is a good story somewhere and a few scenes hint at what could have been possibly in that story about growing up in hard times, but the film is much too clever for its own good to ever reach the heights it aspires too.

Random Observations:

A Guide to Recognizing Your Saints at the IMDb

The film is based on the book Montiel wrote about his life, where apparently the title makes some kind of sense. Here, it is just more pretentious drivel.

The cast is headlined by the solid Robert Downey Jr. and includes a for once middling Shia LaBeouf. Considering that he is normally the worst actor of his generation, that is quite an accomplishment.

Considering that Montiel first made his name (and a lot of money) through music, it probably would have been a good idea to explore that theme somewhat more than in a few throwaway lines.

Crank – Minute Movie Review

Montag, September 27th, 2010


Most action movies are, almost by definition, silly and over the top. Compared to this one, however, they are downright sensible. Ejected with a drug that will kill him as soon as his heart slows down, Jason Statham goes on a rampage throughout L.A. in order to keep the adrenaline flowing, his heart pumping and kill all the bad guys – or at least those that pissed him off. The film is designed to be a ninety-minute-thrill-ride, but is actually fairly boring at times, which, combined with the fact that it is not silly enough to be seen as a farce, makes it an almost utter failure. But then again, at least there are some decent action set pieces.

Random Observations:

Crank at the IMDb

The German theatrical release was heavily cut in order to secure a FSK 16 rating. There is nothing unusual about that, but the way it was done here exaggerates the violence more than eliminating it.

I’m pretty sure the film was supposed to be somewhat stylized, but it was done so inconsistently that it was more annoying than anything else. Especially the odd video game references throughout the film.

This is the 650th post published on this site. Somehow, I feel like celebrations are in order. Especially since everything here is about to change.

The Black Dahlia – Minute Movie Review

Montag, August 16th, 2010


After being moved to a higher office in the Police Department because their charity fight brokered everyone a pay increase, rivals Aaron Eckhart and Josh Hartnett team up. They are having a good time of it until a girl is murdered and Eckhart’s desire to find the killer and once more claim the spotlight starts to create trouble. But this is only half of the overly convoluted, stupid, erroneous and downright insulting thing this film calls it’s storyline. Director Brian De Palma set out to make a modern day film noir and his recreation of 1940s Los Angeles is certainly very beautiful, with great production design and cinematography, but in all that glory he forgot to create a compelling and coherent story or to hire actors that can act or at least direct them decently. The film is overly ambitious and fails spectacularly, which is still better than all the middling fare out there, but not enough to make it worth spending any time with.

Random Observations:

The Black Dahlia at the IMDb

The film is based on James Ellroy’s novel, which in turn is based on a true story. Which in this case means: the murder actually happened, but it was never solved and none of the people apart from the victim in the novel ever existed, and even the real Elizabeth Short aka The Black Dahlia bore little resemblance to the book or film version. So basically they just used a true murder as a hook to get people interested in the crappy story. (For full disclosure, I should add that I have never read the novel, but if the story is anything like in the film, it’s bound to be bad.)

Whatever happened to Josh Hartnett? There was a time when he seemed like the next big thing, but now he seems all but forgotten. Could it be that this film exposed his limited acting ability?

The only actor in this film who is any good is Aaron Eckhart. Everyone else, even otherwise talented people like Fiona Shaw, Hilary Swank or  Scarlett Johansson turn in absolutely lacklustre performances that are distracting from the film more than anything else. On the other hand, maybe that was intentional.

Snow Cake – Minute Movie Review

Mittwoch, Juni 30th, 2010


Recently released from prison after killing a man, an Englishman drives across Canada and picks up a young hitch-hiker. When the car is hit by a truck and the girl dies, he feels both guilty and lost and thus decides to visit her mother, who turns out to be autistic. Help- and directionless, he decides to stay for a few days, getting to know the mother and falling for her neighbour. The film is a slow drama told with humour and a human touch. There is no happy ending here, but a lot of chances for all characters to grow. Lead Alan Rickman perfectly underplays the depression, guilt and aimlessness of the lead, while Sigourney Weaver makes the autistic woman come to life.

Random Observations:

Snow Cake at the IMDb

Sigourney Weaver is no Dustin Hoffman (who played an autistic man in the incredible Rain Man), but she truly shows her acting chops her, delivering a realistic and engaging performance.

The film was written by Angela Pell, who based many of the mother’s idiosyncrasies on the behaviour of her autistic son. Weaver also spend time with an autistic woman to learn about their behaviour.

One of the best scenes of the film comes at the wake after the funeral, where Rickman convinced Weaver to have people come to her house, only for her to despair at the situation and start to dance. Her mother then stops a social worker from interfering, thus bluntly spelling out the message of the film.

La science des rêves – Minute Movie Review

Mittwoch, April 14th, 2010


The Science of Sleep tells the story of a young man who mostly lives in his dreams, substituting them for a reality he can’t deal with. It magically blends the boundaries between reality, fiction and dreams, creating a visually arresting yet ultimately empty experience that leaves everything open to interpretation. It’s redeemed somewhat by a good cast and some amusing scenes, but it’s deep insights are ultimately superficial.

Random Observations:

La science des rêves at the IMDb

Director Michel Gondry is mostly known for making the also vastly overrated Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind. His best film by far, however, is the endearing little comedy Be Kind Rewind. It’s also his most atypical work.

The thing I enjoyed most about the film were the dream worlds created, especially the paper tube city and the television studio. They had a nice surreal touch.

Feel free to discuss the meaning of the ending in the comments. Personally, I dislike the happy ending apologists, but sadly finding little evidence to the contrary.

Volver – Minute Movie Review

Donnerstag, März 18th, 2010


Penélope Cruz has a lot do deal with. Her aunt is sick. She has to work several jobs just to support herself and her family. And then, to top it all off, her daughter kills her husband. So she decides to just take over the restaurant she is supposed to show to interested buyers, makes food for a film crew, buries her husband, does some other stuff and everything turns out great, despite her mother coming back from the dead. Filmmaker Pedro Almodóvar is known as a visual storyteller and the visuals here, especially the vibrant colours, are certainly impressive. But the story never manages to find the balance between hyper-realism and wayward fantasy, cramming to many plotlines into an overwrought structure that suffers from supporting serious themes like child abuse with a comedic touch that is not funny, but just misplaced.

Random Observations:

Volver at the IMDb

Penélope Cruz was nominated for an Oscar for Best Actress for her portrayal of the main character here, probably because the character is so entirely unlikeable. I had trouble evaluating her performance, though, since the character was not only annoying, but also extremely inconsistent, veering between over-emotional and cold-blooded.

First Pedro Almodóvar film I have seen. I have always regretted not being familiar with his film, but after this entirely mediocre film, I’m not so sure anymore.

Rocky Balboa – Minute Movie Review

Donnerstag, Februar 25th, 2010


Sixteen years after his last outing, Rocky returns once more to wrap up the “saga”. This time around, it’s all about the three-quarter-life crisis and the need of every famous athlete for a comeback, one more chance to prove himself. So even though he’s pushing sixty, Rocky trains harder than ever for a match-up against the reigning heavy-weight champion. Along the way he reconnects with his somewhat estranged son and mourns the loss of his wife, while being an all-around nice guy. Wishful thinking probably describes this film best. It’s solidly made, with a plot that, while unrealistic, at least foregoes the silliness of the previous instalments in the franchise. This is the second best Rocky film after the original, but still not a very good movie.

Random Observations:

Rocky Balboa at the IMDb

The film tries so hard to show what a great guy Rocky is that it becomes almost painful.

Sixth and final Rocky film made. I am glad that I have now seen them all and can turn once more to quality entertainment instead. I hear the new Adam Sandler film is awesome!

Adventskalender 22

Dienstag, Dezember 22nd, 2009

Click the link to open the twenty-second door. Klick auf den Link, um das zweiundzwanzigste Türchen zu öffnen.

(weiterlesen …)

The Fountain – Minute Movie Review

Sonntag, Oktober 25th, 2009


A cancer researcher fights to find a cure before his wife dies. A conquistador in the 16th century travels to Mayan lands to find a way to save Spain and his queen. And a bald man in a bubble tries to live forever. All three men are played by Hugh Jackman in this touching romantic science-fiction drama about eternal life, about sacrifice and about learning to live with death. The three stories are connected and as you slowly uncover how, you can’t help but be drawn into the world of the film. Strangely beautiful, the film is a visual and storytelling adventure that pushes the boundaries of science-fiction to the point where it might not even be that anymore. An extremely unusual film that is certainly not for everyone, but if you can get lost in it, you will appreciate it.

Random Observations:

The Fountain at the IMDb

Vaguest “review” ever? Quite possible. I guess you just have to watch the film to find out what is going on.

Due to budget restrictions, the special effects were mostly shot by photographing biological and chemical processes through a microscope. Or something like that. They are very odd, but also very nice.

The film has hands down one of the best scores ever composed. The music is the perfect companion to the pictures. And also very beautiful.