Change Your Image
Upload An Image
Crop And Save
I can start out by saying I'm not a fan of graphic novels. It's not that I dislike them, I simply don't read them. I have tried a couple of times, but it has never been my thing. When they get transferred to the big screen though, I find them very appealing. Something about the borderland between realism and unrealism attracts me. Not always of course, but surprisingly often.
As you might have gathered from the above, I haven't read the Watchmen graphic novel. But I still find this movie hugely appealing. I love the different characters and I especially love the feel of the movie. I don't mind calling it poetic, and not a little nostalgic. I have to admit I'm not a fan of Zack Snyder otherwise. 300 put me to sleep with it's endless and tedious slow-motion scenes, Man of Steel violated the Superman-legacy completely. This however, is genuinely good.
Of course, a lot of the kudos has to go to the actors. A bunch of them are doing a bang-up job, not least Billy Crudup who has one of the more difficult roles as Dr. Manhattan.
The movie is not perfect, there is a strange amount of gore which doesn't really fit that well with the movie in general. The plot is slightly unfocused and the ending felt slightly like a "Meh". But the movie is vastly enjoyable throughout, and I would rate this as one of my favorite among adaptations of graphic novels. Sin City for instance is more visually appealing and coherent, but this movie has a lot more interesting characters with more depth. I realize though that for fans of the graphic novel, this might be open to another interpretation completely. I also realize that this will not be for everyone. But I urge anyone to give it a try.
Didn't do it for me
I feel like a grumpy old man these days, realizing that very few movies "do it" for me any more. Skyfall is one of the movies that fail to excite me. While it's certainly competent film-making, it doesn't have that wow-factor and in the end failed to grip my attention properly.
The James Bond-franchise has felt a bit tired and outdated for a long time. While I felt that Casino Royale breathed some new life into it, Quantum of Solace was more or less a dud. This movie seems to pick up on the fact that this sort of movie is more or less an anachronism today, and they play a little with that in the story. The truth though is that I'm not sure Bond has a place in today's film. Especially not since much of what made Bond unique is more or less lost, this movie basically plays like a regular action-movie without any of the real characteristics of a Bond-movie. They have even let go of the gadgetry, and while Javier Bardem is certainly a competent actor, I think he makes a somewhat pale villain. While the Bond-franchise is struggling to get up to date, I feel that it's history is weighing it down.
Disregarding the Bond-factor this is, like I said in the beginning, competent film-making. It looks good, action-scenes are not bad (although not spectacular either). Daniel Craig is his stone-faced self, and Judy Dench is given a lot of space which is never a bad thing. Of course, as is almost standard fare today, the movie is far too long. 30 minutes could easily be cut out without diminishing the movie.
I didn't dislike the movie, it just failed to wow me. I think it has a lot to do with expectations, I want that exciting crazy feeling you got from the older Bond-films where villains where almost magically evil, and they built up entire cities inside mountains with little trains running through them. You just don't get that any more. I miss it, and Bond is a lot less compelling without that magic.
Pacific Rim (2013)
Guillermo del Toro knows his stuff
I'm always somewhat like a kid on Christmas eve when it comes to Guillermo del Toros movies. I don't expect the world or an eye-opening life-changing experience, but I do expect to be entertained. He has a combination of visual flair, and understanding of how you build an effective action scene (and in extension action movie) which makes a potent cocktail.
The plot is pure nonsense, and is rushed by mostly through voice-over right from the start. Seemingly just to get it out of the way. "Bla bla, giant monsters attack and we build robots to meet them in a boxing-match." Honestly, most of the plot is not explained much further in the film than in the trailer. Acting ranges between bland and pretty lame, some of the actors are competent performers, but it's not like they are especially challenged in this movie.
So, with that out of the way, let's talk essentials. I'm not a fan of the monsters, they look clumsy and lack elegance. Generally though, this movie is beautiful. del Toro knows how to get the adrenaline flowing with visuals and a suitably high-octane soundtrack. Everyone talks tough, walks tough and acts tough. It doesn't always work, and parts of the story feel tacked-on and just an interruption to the action. But mostly though, the movie delivers when it comes to action and excitement.
I view this as a guilty pleasure. Something that should appeal mostly to 13-year-olds, and not men three times their age. But still, even though I can't say that I feel like seeing it again, it entertained me for most of the duration.
The Lone Ranger (2013)
Why the long film?
I often wonder these days why Hollywood persists in making films that are over two hours long, regardless of the subject or genre. This is a prime example of this problem. An adventure movie needs speed, comedy, action and the drive to keep things interesting despite a usually thin script. This movie is passable as far as adventure movies go, but you could easily trim 45 minutes from it without really removing anything of note.
Acting is OK without being anything special, Johnny Depp is his usual self, lazy and not really interested any more. Armie Hammer is as stiff as the part demands. Tom Wilkinson has the kind of bad-guy role he could excel at in his sleep, Helena Bonham Carter is...well, Helena Bonham Carter. The script is wafer-thin, special-effects and production values are above par. There is not really much left of the original Lone Ranger-stuff, you don't even get the famous theme-music until quite close to the end. But all in all, the movie is fairly enjoyable as long as it lasts, but easily forgotten once it's over.
If they had just trimmed those 45 minutes away, this could have been really enjoyable.
True Detective (2014)
After seeing True Detective back when it was released, and mulling over it a bit, I feel somewhat frustrated. There are elements of this show that I absolutely love, and elements that are incredibly frustrating.
One of the things I appreciate most about movies and TV-shows is when they manage to create an atmosphere that grows thick and really reaches out to you, through the screen. True Detective definitely manages this. From the brilliant southern landscapes, to the music and moods, all the way to the actors. It all comes together beautifully. And for more than half the season, the plot and character development manages to keep up.
Then something happens. When it gets really thick, your questions are answered and the conclusion draws near, it's as if the script-writers suddenly stopped and said "Ok, what now? Where do we go from here?". Where indeed... I will of course not write anything about the conclusion of the show, except to say that it didn't live up to the magnificent beginnings. Still, this show was one of my absolute favorites so far this year. Harrelson was great, McConaughey was glorious and the rest of the cast met expectations. It's just as dirty, sweaty and degenerate as you would hope.
This show, although slightly flawed in the department where HBO usually shines (script and plot), I would say that this show really reinforces HBO:s standing as the premier producer of first-rate TV-shows.
I have now seen the first season and two episodes of the second season, and I'm impressed with this show. Making a TV-series based on Hannibal Lecter feels like a challenge. The character is so closely associated with Anthony Hopkins, and in my opinions, the quality of the franchise has suffered since Silence of the Lambs (in my opinion). I have read a few of the books and I was generally unimpressed. This show on the other hand manages to make something more out of it.
What I like most about this show is how the story progresses with each episode, many times I feel that TV-series are afraid to go places. They tend to stagnate for a few episodes and not really move the general plot forward. In Hannibal there is a distinct wish to develop the characters and the story in each episode, and I'm still interested to see where it takes us.
What I feel less ecstatic about is the level of gore in the show. I don't feel that you would really need this amount of blood and grimy killings, it doesn't add very much to the show and if you are averse to that sort of thing I imagine it could put you off. Also, there is a very dense amount of killing, many episodes feature a large amount of victims. This doesn't feel entirely credible, I don't have the statistics to know the number of serial killers in the US in the last decade. But here they seem to grow on trees.
In general the actors do a fine job. Mikkelsen is a good Lecter, although I wish that he had worked some more on getting rid of his Danish accent. Maybe I'm more bothered by it than most (being from Sweden), but it doesn't entirely fit the character. Otherwise, no complaints.
I would recommend this show to anyone wanting an interesting viewing experience, who is not really looking for casual watching, and who doesn't mind the level of gore or darkness that this show provides. It can be bothersome to watch at times, both visually and psychologically. But then again, that's sort of the point.
The boredom of sequels
It's not news that Hollywood has serious writing problems these days. Most of what comes out is tedious rehashes of things we've seen a million times before. Especially this is true of sequels where the previous movies often seem to be a heavy luggage that drags the movie down, rather than a legacy to build on.
I loved the first Pirates of the Caribbean-movie, I still think it's one of the best adventure movies in a very long time. It's got a near-perfect mix of adventure, action and comedy without ever becoming too silly or too violent. Of course it also had great actors to match. The second movie was slightly less entertaining but still good. The third one I remember seeing at the theater, but I can't for the life of me remember anything from it. Probably that's not a very good sign.
This fourth installment has all the elements that made the first movie great. It has the adventurous music, good actors (Depp, Rush, McShane etc.) and a fairly suitable mix between action and comedy. Still, it does nothing to excite me. I just sat there feeling like I had seen it all before, and nothing really came as a surprise. There is just no creativity here, like everyone is just going through the motions. Quite frankly, half-an-hour in I was beginning to get pretty bored. And of course it didn't help that each and every movie these days has to drag on for almost 2,5 hours even though there is script for about 1,5. Is there some hidden premium when you make long movies? Wouldn't it be cheaper to shoot a movie that's 90 minutes instead of 200? Many of the problems I experience with a lot of movies today could be solved by slashing 20-30 minutes from the running-time and adjusting the script accordingly.
In the end watching this is like watching Pirates of the Caribbean for the fourth time. Nothing new, nothing fresh and I found it incredibly hard to care about anything that happened. If you really like all of previous movies I guess you will like this too, since it's more of the same. But honestly, for the rest of us it's not worth the trouble. It's not as bad as the latest Transformers-movie, but seeing both of them in a short space of time I'm about fed up with Hollywood-sequels for a while. I want to see something fresh, and this corpse has been floating for a while.
A complete waste of time
I know that Michael Bay is the king of crap, and in that regard slamming one of his movies for being a jumbled mess is probably pointless. But still, despite myself I enjoyed the first two Transformers-movies. The first more than the second, but the second was alright all things considered. There has always been a mental cramp when it comes to comic-relief and the scripts have always been paper-thin. But something still appealed to me, I guess I could blame my 1980's childhood with a box full of Transformers-toys.
First of all, I said before that the scripts were paper-thin for the previous Transformers-movies. Considering that, this movie seems written on a napkin and then added to and subtracted from in a system of loose papers. Then someone dropped the pile of papers and all the pages got mixed up and nothing was where it was supposed to be... But Michael Bay seemed to say "screw it, we'll just shoot the movie anyway". If I say that this movie makes no sense, I'm being as kind as I could ever be. Most of the time it's just a confused mess of events piled on top of each other. There is no cohesion at all, there is no plausible connection to the story from the first two movies. I understand that the writers were probably struggling here to find a new approach and create something out of nothing story-wise. But they chose the wrong direction. Completely.
Second point, this movie is almost one hour too long. There are so many places where this movie could have been cut, trimmed and polished. It would even have helped with the story because it's such a mess now that you could remove most of it without it really detracting from your understanding.
Third point, this movie wastes a few pretty good actors. And no, I don't mean Gray's Anatomy, but rather John Malkovich and Frances McDormand. I think that for them this was a fire-and-forget movie. Just go in there, do the scenes, forget about it and smile when you see your bank-draft. Because people are not the main thing here, the special effects are. There is no room for characters, proper dialog or building good drama. It seems like Bay sat in his directors chair and said "Oh, these people have been talking for almost a minute, let's have a robot smash through the wall and break something before people fall asleep".
In the end this really is a complete waste of time. Special effects are, just like in the previous movies, very well done indeed. Product placements are very obvious and hugely embarrassing for all involved, especially for the companies that payed to be shown in such a crap movie. I guess if you are twelve years old and have ADD there might be something here for you, but everyone else should just stay away. This is a brainless blockbuster in every wrong way imaginable.
The Adventures of Tintin (2011)
I have loved the Tintin-albums ever since I was little. I remember going to the library, having a few on loan most of the time. They are great stories and also artistically great. There has been some controversy lately about supposedly racist content in the Tintin-albums, but honestly I don't think most people who read the albums see them that way. And also, you have to consider that these are very old cartoons written in another time. Anyway, it was with a mix of fear and anticipation that I went to see this movie.
I have to say the resulting movie has given me mixed feelings. It's a very divided experience with the first half feeling more like the albums. It's a puzzle mystery, the slapstick comedy of Thomson and Thompson and in general classic Tintin-fare. The second half contains a lot more action and feels like classic Spielberg-fare more than anything. I have nothing against Spielberg, but I'm not so sure that making Tintin into Indiana Jones is my preferred choice. Since I watched the movie in 3D (the only way to watch the movie with original language here) I found a little extra testing with the many fast and pretty roller-coaster-like action scenes.
Considering that the movie is based on more than one album (three if I remember correctly), it can be a bit strange for those of us who know the stories. But in the end I think that the writing was above expectation. Even though the focus on action sequences in the latter half of the movie was a bit overdone, I think that the movie is very watchable. Tintin looks a bit creepy at times with his pale and waxy complexion, but Haddock is very well done and transports the character from the albums superbly. Although I don't remember him as having such a big nose...
In the end I would have preferred a more toned-down movie with more emphasis on mystery and less on action. But I guess they have to sell their video games and appeal to kids with ADD as well. Considering that there will probably be a bunch of sequels I can always hope for a more subdued experience next time. I guess mostly I'm just happy they didn't ruin it.
I give it 7/10.
Bangkok Dangerous (2008)
A lackluster outing
I remember seeing the original Thai version of Bangkok Dangerous at the Stockholm Film Festival when it came out a few years ago. And I really liked it, i think that the Pang brothers have talent. I was actually surprised to see that they had also directed this remake, because this is one of the worst action movies i have seen this year. And that's saying quite a lot...
The whole premise and storyline follow form 1A, there are no surprises and no inventiveness whatsoever. The story arc can be seen a mile away, which might not be a disaster if the whole thing is well executed. Unfortunately it is not. There are so many problems with this movie that I hardly know where to start. Action scenes are poorly shot and executed, the acting is substandard, the characters are all caricatures and there isn't a single moment of true suspense in the whole movie. And then I haven't even mentioned Nicholas Cage yet.
It seems that Nicholas Cage is stuck somewhere in the late 90's when he had his heyday as a solid action star. Con Air, Face/Off and a couple of other movies made him established in the genre. And I actually liked both the movies and him quite a lot. But it seems that he can't let go of that. In this movie it's painfully obvious how much he has aged in the 10-15 years since. Several times I wanted to scream "act your age!" at him when he tried to perform action moves that would have been appropriate for someone twenty years his junior. This wouldn't have been a great movie even with a more suiting actor, but Cage's lackluster performance and haggard look didn't do Bangkok Dangerous any favors.
Mostly this movie felt to me like one of those films where nobody was really trying. Cage came and went, doing his job without enthusiasm. The other actors feel like a collection of local talent far from able to carry this movie, especially not since Cage failed them. I would definitely recommend anyone to skip this movie and watch the original instead. It might not have been a masterpiece but it was definitely a lot better than this mess. This is just another one of those remakes that doesn't make anyone happy.