Movie Reviews (1301-1350)
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A Hollywood remake of the Norwegian movie that probably would have gone undiscovered by a big audience if it hadn't been remade by Christopher Nolan who added it with a cast full of Academy Award Winners. This version is visually interesting and has an interesting different take to the original story which it follows pretty close, but I don't like many of the new additions to the story which feels like they make a new version for "dummies" who need every bit of detail explained to them. I don't understand the need of "sexing" up the female lead and putting her in danger either. Too much an attempt to please the crowd with this remake I feel and I choose the original anytime I can.
Tries to show a little about the difficulties of being an undercover cop and how easy it is to be tempted by the dark side of sex, drugs and other sinful activities. Good acting and hand-held cameras give the movie a documentary feel, but it never goes too deep into the darkness of the plot and the gruesomeness that happens on the street. The character seem to never really do anything that is not redeemable and it is shameful that the movie only scratches on the surface when it portrays drugs and other illegal activities making the film feel a little half-hearted.
An admirable attempt to try make a family friendly dinosaur movie and mixing it together with "E.T" and "The Lost World". Patrick McGoohan is a perfect fit as a villain who deserve to be eaten at the end. It is a nostalgic movie for anyone who grew up in the 1980s and anyone who can tolerate movies with (at that time) state-of-the-art practical effects. The dinosaur has huge cute potential for small kids BUT the movie is full of violent scary moments: it starts with a knife stabbing and has a lot of machine gun fire, an arrow in the neck of a bad guy and one getting pushed out of a helicopter. The most traumatic scene is though that one dinosaur parent is gunned down and lies with his head barely over the water surface with his tongue out for a long time. The dinosaurs probably need (sadly) a CGI upgrade like George Lucas did with "Star Wars" to be tolerated by young adults today as they will only shake their heads in disbelief over the old practical effects before computers arrived. The biggest problem (for me) though is that the two leads don't mix that good together and that I don't believe a second in their Disney-like personalities.
A colorful and faithful adaptation of the beloved Roald Dahl book. Johnny Depp is memorable as a freak chocolate factory owner, but somehow the kids' destiny isn't effective enough. The musical numbers feel half-hearted and I miss more emotional depth to it as the only thing that left a mark to me was Christopher Lee's cameo as his father which was a nice addition created specific for the film,
Sequel tries to bring something new about Peter Parker's parents and their fate are interesting but it wimpers out into nothing and is essential unnecessary to the entire plot. Jamie Foxx does a wimpy and pathetic take on Electro. Angry emo-boy Dane deHaan take on Harry Osborn makes me miss James Franco even more from the first trilogy and Paul Giamatti makes a joke out of the Rhino. What is memorable though is that they actually tell the Gwen Stacy saga and there is some great lightning sequences and beautiful shots of Spider-man swinging through the city. Felicity Jones is sexy in a thankless role as a secretary and Hans Zimmer deliver another memorable soundtrack. Most of all though this is a wasted movie sequel that forced the producers to reboot it again for a third time and in the process get some help from Marvel.
The usual high quality production that we get from Studio Ghibli. It really feels like a personal project and the main character is driven by the same passion and dreams that the creator of Ghibli have: imagination. There is a love story here that is more powerful and believable than what is put together in tons of live romantic movies. Maybe the ending will feel abrupt but in the end could it end differently? Should it have been more critical and told in detail about how the aircraft's was fitted with weapons by the military and used in war when this production seem more interested in the creation of something new and uplifting before someone else takes it out of the creator's hands.
The Ups: It will (hopefully) make youngsters interested in Greek myth and legends. It is the usual high quality Disney production and animated stuff. James Woods having a ball as villain Hades. Pegasus is really cute, but it also has the most annoying of comic reliefs and an anti-climatic ending. It may alsobe too bleak for the youngest viewers and I felt the songs were mostly average this time.
A modern film noir that looks, sounds and plays out as a perfect movie with it's top-notch script, excellent cast and beautiful imagery that is a big contract to the gruesome twists and shocks that appear throughout the movie. Sadly, it was not possible for two films to win Academy Award for Best Picture as this one ties with "The Godfather, Part II" in perfection.
At the core of the movie is a beautiful premise about an angel falling in love. Meg Ryan was still at the height of her leading romantic movie leading roles which made it hard not to understand why an angel would also fall for her, but the film ends up with a strange message. Is it God's will that love between two beings is best when it is a one-night stand between two people? Nicolas Cage plays the Angel and he comes across as a creep in the start too. Predictable screenplay too.
Horror that setups some memorable set-pieces of blood and destruction of the human body. Lucio Fulci brings again some wonderful atmospheric moments to the movie and Catriona MacColl is an engaging actress with good looks and believable acting. I like the foreboding music. It is the first in Fulci's Death Trilogy which is followed by the already seen classic "The Beyond" and "House by the Cemetery").
Comedy with sentimental value for anyone that was teenager at the end of the eighties like me. Great soundtrack of lesser known rockers. While the dialogue is dated with a lot of use of the word "dude". The effects are humorous in it's own (bad) way and it was quite the shock of seeing Keanu Reeves "acting?" just the same here as he has done the last 25 years makes me think his persona really is Ted.
The Ups: One of the better rip-offs that were made after the success of "Jaws". The idea of actually many hungry killer fishes eating people slowly away is actually even more gruesome than "Jaws" as well if I start to think about it. Love the cheap effects that were meant to "scare" people. Great supporting help from beloved cult actors and actresses, but it is not as funny as it could have been as the movie treats the premise too serious sometimes.
Entertaining spaghetti-war movie that is made only for entertainment value and it shows making it fun for viewers too. It inspired Tarantino to make his war movie too so it is essential viewing for any movie fan. Fred Williamson is übercool and charismatic here and the film has a effective bombastic soundtrack too. Realism may not the strongest thing of this movie and the story seem to have taken most inspiration from a pulp paperback story by Alistair MacLean, (which isn't necessarily a bad thing by the way), but the model train set fools no one.
Intriguing premise taken from historic facts and museum artifacts from the real Viking Museum give this adventure movie a good interesting authentic feel. Likable cast and the first true CGI monster snake in Norwegian film. Don't expect a huge tension in the film as is all deaths and scares are watered-down for this family monster movie. The ending is also a boring cliche seen in numerous films where a monster baby is reunited with it's mother stopping the terror spree. Could easily have been cut down to a shorter running time too. Still for a Norwegian movie this is a major attempt of making a Spielbergian box-office movie.
We get three monsters in this film and Godzilla end up being the hero who fights two of them. Before this there is a lot of destruction and mayhem which is beautifully rendered with good cinematography and effects and the film respects it's roots and origin story nicely. Bryan Cranston appear in a big cameo appearance but he blows everyone out of the movie with his acting skills. Other talents are A underused like Ken Watanabe and the laughable small screen time of Juliette Binoche who deserved better. The plot is also predictable from beginning to end with a boring family separation plot line at it's core even the small subplot about a little girl and her family in Hawaii who had to run away from a tsunami is more effective and interesting than the main family story.
The Ups: Cartoon slapstick humor that has at least one funny gag that I find hilarious in this "kid has to stop thieves from entering the house" film. I found it impossible to like the self-satisfied face of Macaulay Culkin and I hoped that the theives would win and strangle him slowly on screen. Sadly it is a Hollywood movie so that could not happen. Annoying sentimental scenes about a homeless dude also makes this comedy unbearable to watch more than once. I really didn't like it when I saw this one in cinema.
Sequel that is basically a remake but with a bigger playground for the kid to play around in. It reuses everything from the original down to the sad misunderstood homeless person. All the traps are again situated in a house instead of a skyscraper which could have made the film tiny more interesting. Even the joke of the old gangster movie scaring away people is reused. A completely unnecessary sequel in every possible way and it doesn't help that the present president arrives in a glorified cameo about how great his buildings and himself is.
Terry Gilliam deliver another eccentric comedy that combines romance, surrealistic fantasy and drama into one nice cauldron of motion picture history. It is also the most accessible of his films with crowd-pleasing warmth and atmosphere. Robin Williams fit perfectly as a tragic alcoholic. Mercedes Ruehl do the role of her lifetime too.
A believable thriller that feels more realistic every year as new terrorist cells start to grow up in number. This is a film not afraid of showing the dirty side of the spy industry where one create evidence in order to blame innocents so one can get closer to the real bad guys. Mark Strong (even if there is not a drop of Arabic blood in him) gives a noble portrait as the Jordanian head of security who do business differently but just as effectively as the Americans. There is also an authentic Middle East setting and the cinematography is fantastic. I felt that Russell Crowe never convinces that much as CIA boss (with his white hair and glasses) and a possible romantic subplot feels tacked on. Still this one of the better films about the "war on terror" and another solid entry in Ridley Scott's career.
The definitive "Faust" adaptation. The movie is full of iconic imagery, great expressionist scenes and great acting especially from Gösta Ekman as Faust and Emil Jannings as Mephisto himself. Camilla Horn also impresses in the female part. The giant wings of the Angel of Darkness embracing the city is a impressive unforgettable image. F.W. Murnau has a tight grip on both editing, direction and the actors as this is one of the most satisfying silent movies I have seen.
A likable quartet of animated animal characters are stranded on an island after escaping from their safe haven but it is penguins in a small supporting role that steal the best moments. Always from Dreamworks it is nicely animated and easy to digest for a family event evening, but the third act is disappointing.
A natural but forgettable sequel to the original where the animals try to return back to their home. Some unnecessary violent moments - old woman fights the lion? What's that all about in a kiddie movie? Sadly, the main characters are all unfunny as the movie seem more interested in the supporting characters in this entry.
A colorful better sequel (final chapter?) that deliver some great set-pieces and a few new memorable characters especially the tiger Vitaly who has a strong screen presence. There is also a love story appearing which is fun and satisfying and the music should appeal to the kids. It is also packed with action and is fast-paced, but the lion huntress/cop is so evil, wicked and so violent that as a character she becomes so over-the-top and boring that she feels unnecessary for the movie after the first big chase as it would have been more "scary" if the animals were afraid of meeting her again instead of having the character reappearing again and again. Fans should at least like the "full circle" ending.
One of the first films that took the side of the tired housewife. Some great close-up and footage give depth to the movie and really showcases the actors and actresses and it is easy to see that this film's cinematography style would lead to the directing of the more impressive "Passion of Joan of Arc" later. The story is dated but it is an interesting time capsule if interested.
A great film title and idea even if it is implausible as hell with an over-the-top Samuel L. Jackson saving most of the film as the rest of the film is filled with stereotypical characters who we all know will get killed: the annoying snotty upper-class woman with the tiny ugly dog, the complaining businessman, the older air-hostess down on her last flight. Cute children is of course also spared since this is a Hollywood movie and the plane is landed by a guy who have only played flight simulators. The sexiest air hostesses get to fuck the two surviving male characters. Had only the characters been better written and dialogue been more snappy it would have become a fun film but this is all so boringly written. The CGI snakes are also not as scary as the real deal.
The Ups: Two gorgeous dark-eyed ladies (one from Mexico, other from Spain) looks fantastic as cowgirls and are also likeable together, but the script is terrible. It is never funny and it is repetitive showing the two women in exploitative sexy moments. Even worse is that the lead actor lacks charisma and screen presence. The action-sequences are shot badly and there is no help from any in the supporting cast. A huge wasted opportunity.
A rough, bleak and insensitive movie with a resolution not as black or white as I was lead to believe to begin with. It is also extremely explicit and frank in it's sex scenes and emotions. Leading actress makes me watch the film through.
Atmospheric ghost story with a touch of poetry. I like the emotional nerve in the movie as well. The leading actress also sells the role totally. Obvious outcome even if it is emotionally satisfying.
Spin-off project based upon the comics and games that combine two of the most beloved science fiction franchises. Lance Henriksen happily returns to the series in this (kind-of) prequel where he plays Weyland, an ancestor to the creator of the android that we saw in "Aliens". It delivers the expected running in dark corridors and fights between aliens and predator hunters and humans, but lacks a quality story. The film's low budget and one place location also don't help. Only for the most devoted fans who want a kind-of lowbudget slasher version about the two horror monsters.
Worst of both franchises and single handed killed off this team-up saga. What idiot decided that one should combine the monsters with a stupid teenagers? All the human characters behave like brain dead morons and the story makes no sense and there is no way any character would last one second with either the Alien or the Predator. A few good CGI effects I guess, but the sub-title "Requiem" fit perfectly with this chapter and tells exactly where this saga ended up.
Inspired by the true story about the Belski partisans who lived deep into the Ukranian forests. It holds itself pretty close to the source material and is a gripping survival story. I like that the movie dares to show the brothers not only as heroic resistance fighters but also as humans that make bad decisions and have dark sides. Liev Schreiber and Daniel Craig are good in their roles. Only the totally unnecessary action climax with a big tank has no basis with real life and seems more in place with Daniel Craig's having a heroic 007 action hero moment in the film. Still, a solid movie.
The Ups: The movie title makes you think it is a porno movie but this is as close to a bad remake of "Twilight" that you can do. There is maybe one laugh to be found there somewhere, but Jenn Proske act at least better than Kristen Stewart in the serious movie, but seriously this film should have been porno which at least would have given this parody a great "happy ending". There is better parodies on YouTube made by amateurs.
Henry Fonda do a captivating Frank James and also of interest is J. Edward Bromberg's corrupt but excellent detective, George Runyan in this classy western. Gene Tierney have her movie debut, but is sadly not particularly memorable as a woman who want to be more independent. There is also some comedic mistakes that poor Ernest Whitman has to force himself through with his character which is a shame as he is more interesting those moments he get to play a trusted and helpful friend.
Lon Chaney's breakthrough role as Quasimodo, deservedly so as he plays his role with so much emotion and truth that he steals the show from everyone. It is also true to the source novel where rich and powerful men mistreat everyone that is lower on the food chain. Beautiful decorated and a unique atmosphere make this one of the big horror fantasies from the silent era.
One of my favorite fantasy movies and one of the most magical. The movie stole my heart when I saw it the first time and I still find it captivating with great ideas, beautiful images and absurd characters. Marianne Faithful's song at the end is the final drop that makes this one of my favorite French movies in the genre. It also is not afraid of blending darkness with strange humor. I would love to see more from this universe.
The Ups: Exciting story about a friendship between a tired man-for-hire and a young kid. Denzel Washington is highly effective as hired gun, but Hollywood are cowards and don't dare go through with the darker part of the source novel and the ending is much weaker and makes no sense. Tony Scott's glossy and never-boring music video style editing and direction help the film become a entertaining popcorn movie, but the potential with this movie is a lot huger than what they managed to do with it.
Boring teenagers with minimum of personalities discover they have magical powers, especially the main actor is a blank paper who only seem to be here to say stupid stuff. A video-game battle with open ending doesn't help. Renny Harlin was once a competent director. This movie show nothing of that talent.
Adam Sandler discover his life is controlled with a remote control and even as commentary track where James Earl Jones narrates his life (the best segment of the film). Christopher Walken also is memorable at his most eccentric, but sadly this movie fails as it has a limitless potential to be fun but just dwells in mediocre jokes and a story we have seen thousands of times before about a family man who has to fight for his wife and children.
Film noir based upon a James Ellroy novel. It looks beautifully like a film noir should and it is easy to see Brian dePalma has taken much care to make the movie look excellent. Hilary Swank surprises in a femme fatale role, but Josh Hartnett is misplaced as the leading man with his boring voice and lacks acting depth to his role here. Scarlett Johansson also do a mostly forgettable role.
The unique source material by Douglas Adams is the main reason for this better-than-usual science fiction comedy. Martin Freeman feels good in the leading role as the slightly cowardly Arthur Dent who get transported onto a spaceship at the same time Earth explodes. Sam Rockwell play a swashbuckling starship captain with perfect teeth and a love rival for Zooey Deschanel, who looks perfect as that upperclass snobby girl but also has the charm of a beautiful next-door girl. Excellent voice work from Alan Rickman and Stephen Fry help the movie and the film has perfect effects and is filled with easter eggs for fans. The problem is that the film is too short and lacks many details and favorite moments for fans, but I liked it. Hell, even my brother who despises science fiction has said he liked it.
A likable Jane Austen movie with perfectly cast Donald Sutherland as father to five daughters, the excellent Rosamund Pike as the oldest daughter and the melting smile of Keira Knightley's doing her usual "stuff" but actually rather good here. There is also a lot of beautiful landscapes and costumes making this one of the better-looking films based upon the novel. The film will still pale to the different miniseries' richness and expanded running time that give time to explore the story, but this was actually one of the better films in the genre and it is hard not to see that this will be a favorite film for many young women in this decade.
The Ups: It is a movie version based upon the sexiest og coolest British spy show that were ever made during the swinging 1960s and a visual handbook in how to not make a film adaptation of any beloved TV-show. Nothing is remotely close to the original and the American producers hasn't understood what made the series special in the first place: British wit and style which this movie lacks totally. Ralph Fiennes is 100% misplaced for John Steed and do not work as an action hero as he looks more like a angry politician. Uma Thurman looks great in a catsuit but lacks finesse, playfulness and the wit required for the role. The characters also have no chemistry together on the screen. Sean Connery don't understand the production and makes his worst screen role ever. The plot is non-existent and is just action set-pieces recreated after some of the series most bizarre and surreal moments but with little explanation or understanding to why they were so special in the first place. It also didn't help that the film studio edited down the movie half an hour as well which make the story even less coherent.
Horror slasher with two different versions which makes both of them interesting to compare. One is the theatrical cut that is closer to what the director wanted and the other is a different producers' cut that has a more supernatural cult approach, but both versions still have the tasteless incest rape plot where we learn that poor Jamie (a fan favorite) has been repeatedly raped since she was 11 by her undead homicidal uncle who even has made her pregnant. She gives birth manage to escape from a living hell and gets killed in a slow agonizing scene. This is one of the most fucking depressing and sad end for a horror heroine that I can ever think of. Donald Pleasance is here a shadow of his former self as he is clearly sick of cancer and the story. Terrible new characters too and the ending in the theatrical cut makes no sense. A cruel movie that I hated due to the beginning that never made me recover afterwards to the "actual" film.
Atmospheric score by Tangerine Dream is what hits you first before reading the cast list which is full of Academy Award Winners which is unusual to see for a B-movie Stephen King adaptation about a girl with supernatural powers. It is also a film full of great pyro-effects with David Keith and Drew Barrymore selling the film as father-daughter and George C. Scott doing a hateful character as the psychopathic hired gun out to kill them.
The old gang is back and they still have good chemistry together in this sequel, but it is Rick Moranis who steal the show and it is fun to see his path from wimpy lawyer to a possible Ghostbuster, but the threat of this movie is terribly boring as the villain just sits trapped for the entire film and it is no surprise to read the actor's name is Humbug (or something close to it!). Did I say that I HATE that stupid painting idea? Peter MacNicol seem to "channel" Bronson Pinchot's worst day in "Beverly Hills Cop" for some reason and Ernie Hudson still have to do all the scenes and dialogue that the rest of the cast members found embarrassing and terrible. Worst of all is the end battle though that is won by actually singing to the "big bad" without any reason told why that was necessary. A sequel that totally killed any chance for new films.
European animated dragon warrior short movie. It is a kind of film that Hollywood would have milked for 2 hours and this one finish and get through in one tenth of a time. It also has a good twist that while predictable is still satisfying and show that vengeance never is a good thing and that one should never play with something and someone you don't know.
It is hard not to like an idea about a board-game coming to life and forcing you to play the game through in reality. Kirsten Dunst was an excellent child actress in her young days and she is also super cute here with pigtails. Some CGI is dated now and the movie jumps from one set-piece to another courtesy of the fact that every time someone throws the dice something has to happen making the story boring and predictable after a while.
Peter Pan also decided to become adult but he needs to return to Neverland. Spielberg on auto-pilot. Here he takes too long establishing the predictable plot and obvious "father needs to remember his own kids and imagination" storyline, but the sets look marvelous and it has beautiful matte paintings that look like my childhood's Neverland (especially stuff from the animated version). Dustin Hoffman do a solid Captain Hook. Gwyneth Paltrow got more or less discovered for a big audience here in her cameo as a young Wendy Darling. What happened to Amber Scott who is also the best thing about the entire film?
One of the more impressive young 13-year-olds, Sophie Nelisse, captivates me with her performance from beginning to end about a young girl trying to survive WW2. Geoffrey Rush is moving in the role of a foster dad. Top this with gorgeous cinematography, a solid John Williams music score and an emotional narration from Death himself and this is a gripping little film that shows WW2 horrors from a German perspective in a time when no one really knew what happened around them. It is also not as gruesome and explicit as many WW2 productions so that it is possible for young teens to actually watch this movie with the family and get influenced by the story without vomiting by the gruesome details of it all even if this is not a happy movie as characters die right, left and center
One of the tightest court room plays adapted on the screen. Powerful acting triggered by dialogue that is interesting throughout the picture. I also like the fact that since we didn't get to see the actual trail we don't real know if the jurors did hear and see the things they did or if it is all in their heads which is something that I like.
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