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|142 reviews in total|
Just saw this episode on DVD and was blown away. I'm a lifelong fan of
"Derrick" living in Norway, and I enjoy even the most boring and
lifeless episodes of the show, but "Toter Goldfisch" is one of the most
incredible pieces of TV drama I have ever seen! Herbert Reinecker who
wrote every single episode of the show (281 episodes!) really outdid
himself with this one. No spoilers but it starts with the suicide of a
wealthy woman who was exploited by a swindler and fortune hunter, but
since it technically wasn't "murder", Derrick and Klein can't
investigate. What follows is the story of the young con artist, his
partner in crime (who is also his lover), their next victim - a woman
25 years his senior - and finally: MURDER. I won't get into details,
but the story creeps under your skin with an ensemble of believable and
tragic characters, which eventually leads to an incredibly emotional
and gut-wrenching finale. There are no winners in this realistically
sad story, not even Stephan Derrick and Harry Klein, there can be only
Out of the 281 Derrick-episodes made between 1974 and 1998, I would rank this in the all time top 10. It's one of the most well-written pieces of human drama and crime stories I have EVER seen on the small screen.
And here I thought Herbert Reinecker could only write stories about drug addicts and strippers. Boy was I wrong!
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
Don't get me wrong. I love British horror movies, I'm a huge fan of
Donald Pleasance and Christopher Lee (although the latter has nothing
but a glorified cameo), but I don't feel this one lived up to its
It starts off very promising, with a great title sequence, the first attack happens quickly and the mood is set within the first ten minutes. Then sadly the movie just sort of lingers, with several overlong sequences leading up to a finale that is merely okay. It could easily have been edited down with at least 10 minutes, and although I still found the end product mildly entertaining I can't help but think about the amazing potential it had. Pleasance as a police inspector facing cannibals living in the London underground? That alone sounds like the coolest British film ever made. Well sadly it's not.
A key factor when you want to create an effective horror film is to keep the threat constant, to have it sort of luring in the background in every scene. Well for me the monster(s) didn't seem threatening enough, as a matter of fact it came off more sympathetic than monstrous. So when the villain in a horror movie doesn't frighten you, what are we left with to scare us? The empty underground tunnels? Christopher Lee as an arrogant MI-5 operative? Not likely. It has some good effective gore though, I'll give it that.
There is some fun acting from Pleasance and the supporting cast (like Clive Swift of later "Keeping Up Appearances"-fame), but too many of the characters also seem a bit wasted as most of them have little if any effect on the main plot itself. After all the American student is the guy who actually makes an impact on the plot, the police itself is too busy drinking tea and harassing bartenders.
But I'm guessing the filmmakers were aware of what was missing when they released the film with false advertising and a poster that LIES.
*MILD SPOILERS BELOW, NOT RELATED TO THE ENDING*
The original vintage poster showed a whole group of cannibals, giving off the impression that we're in for some "living dead"-type horror action, where the threat is VERY real and dangerous. Instead we're treated to ONE single cannibal grieving his mate. Where the Heck is the scary HORROR? More than anything else I felt sorry for the poor cannibal, the last of his kind.
The film wins on atmosphere and that wonderful British quirkiness, but that's about it.
It's a bit sad to think of all the great and unique industries of the
past that just went the way of the dinosaurs and became extinct. This
short documentary deals with one of those, the old-fashioned production
of something we now take for granted; ICE! I saw the film here in Oslo
a few weeks ago, and it was a beautifully shot and poignant
presentation of a small pond with a cool (!) history.
Thanks to the film, this story of the past will now live on. Personally I think it's important to know your local history, so I'm hoping this is only the beginning in a long series of documentaries about the weird and fascinating stuff that has happened here in Oslo. The city is over a thousand years old, so there should be plenty to document! Did you hear me - you bureaucrats running the city - more movies like this!
I'll admit it; the fun looking DVD cover fooled me into thinking I
would love this. Well that and the fact that I normally worship
anything with zombies and count George Romero as my God. Add on top of
that the fact that "Last of the Living" was made in New Zealand, the
country that brought us cult-classics "Braindead" and "Black Sheep" and
I was soon hoping this could be one of those rare low budget zombie
flicks with originality, real heart and soul.
Sadly I was mistaken.
Don't get me wrong. As far as low budget zombie romps go this is an OK time filler, but with a few major complaints: the characters are just plain uninteresting. With the exception of nerdy Ash the characters come off as paper-thin and downright boring. The film opens with scenes of 'Morgan' and for a while seem to focus on him as a type of "main" hero, which I couldn't get, since he seemed like a first-rate selfish prick, not to mention a bully to his friend Ash. Then there is the annoying soundtrack, a mix between public domain Apple software sound bytes and tripe rock music probably made by some friends of the director who he is doing his darnedest to promote here. The plot is so weak that not even a pimped up old Ford Cortina helps, although I'm sure the idea of such a car seemed awesome on paper.
However, for some reason the shoddy directing, cinematography and overall production quality seem to greatly improve in the last 20 minutes. The film suddenly goes from slow-moving to fast-paced, even including some charming scene transitions! What happened there? Was it the sudden increase of an extra 40,000 dollars in the budget that the IMDb trivia talks about???
One piece of warning to the people behind "Last of the Living": It's impossible not to notice a tag line on the DVD comparing it to "Shaun of the Dead". Woha, big mistake! By doing so you are automatically setting yourself up for one hell of a beating, and some helpful advice to the filmmakers: you won't gain any fans when you start off by insulting the greatest zombie comedy ever made! Where "Shaun" was laced with originality, first-rate acting, inspired directing and classic comedy moments, "Last of the Living" is dominated by an unoriginal plot (if you can call it a plot), so-so acting, average-at-best directing and only a couple laugh-out-loud moments (which both include fart jokes).
But again, meh... being a sucker for zombie movies in general I'll give it 4 out of 10 stars thanks to the last 20 minutes and at least one credible performance from Ashleigh Southam as 'Ash' (but Bruce Campbell he ain't).
I'm not sure where to start but my anticipations for this film were
sky-high, and boy were my prayers answered! I have difficulty seeing
how the story of Norwegian resistance fighter Max Manus could be told
in any other way. The friendship in the tight-knit group of saboteurs
and resistance fighters in Nazi-occupied Oslo is portrayed with great
warmth, comedy and boyish charm (most of these guys were basically just
kids!), and the original and very special relationship between Max and
his future wife Tikken is both credible and beautiful. Together with
some intense action-scenes this all makes for a great WW2-film that
takes you through every emotion.
Almost refreshingly it's told in a straightforward manner, none of those new fashionable gimmicks where a storyline is suddenly turned on its head just for cheap effect. The fact that this film is very close to reality - according to both Manus' widow Tikken and Gunnar Sønsteby, one of the legendary resistance fighters portrayed in the film - makes this even more fascinating.
An honest sweeping war drama deeply rooted in reality and history, that should interest any fan of WW2-stories, anywhere in the world.
And why watch fictional heroes like gladiator Maximus Decimus Meridius when you can enjoy real life ones like Maximo Guillermo Manus? :)
This is a true gem of a film. A *very* low budget comedy/drama with
real life comedian Roger Kabler portraying a character much like
himself, a somewhat successful stand-up comedian and impersonator who
came close to the big breakthrough but just barely fell short (he was
on Leno, Arsenio etc back in the day). When you're aware of this fact,
Kabler's performance becomes even more poignant and touching, and when
watching his talent unfold in this one-man-show of a movie, it really
seems extremely unfair he hasn't found the same success like so many
lesser talented colleagues.
In all seriousness, Kabler's performance is worthy of an Oscar nomination. The story is gripping all the way, but again mainly thanks to Kabler's hypnotic performance that quickly absorbs the viewer.
The only downsides are John Feldman's direction, which could have been better, the same goes for the editing.
This isn't enough to ruin the experience though, far from it, because again: at the center stands Roger Kabler as Bobby Roos, delivering one of the finest acting performances I have seen in a long time. I can only begin to imagine what a breakthrough he would have gotten if the film had greater production value, which would have helped give this a serious run in theaters.
At times funny, at times sad, it offers some truly great scenes. One of my favorites is the one where his De Niro-worshipping girlfriend wakes up in bed, only to find Bobby right next to her revealing for the first time an impersonation she has never seen before. What follows is laugh-out-loud funny but at the same time gut-wrenching.
Highly recommended if you're a fan of comic impersonators or some of the actors Kabler mimics in this film (especially Robert De Niro, Robin Williams, Richard Dreyfuss and Peter Falk). Also a must if you want to experience something you don't see very often: a low budget film carried by a first-rate acting performance.
I've been a big Bronson-fan for as long as I can remember, and I saw
"St. Ives" on TV some years back and was always left with the
impression that it was sorta dull, all though offering a nice change of
pace for old Charlie. Now out on DVD I still had to order it though, as
I pride myself on having *every* Bronson-film available in my
collection. I am really happy to say that watching it again was a
really wonderful surprise! I'll blame my stupid youth for not
appreciating this movie as much back in my late teens because "St.
Ives" isn't dull. Sure, it doesn't include all the normal action scenes
one has come to expect from a Bronson picture, but it includes just
about everything else lacking in his later action movies: great wit,
humor, style and unexpected plot-twists and turns right up until the
very end! To top it all off it is one of the best scored Bronson-films,
with a wonderful soundtrack by Lalo Schifrin. Oh and just so you know;
despite the low amount of action scenes, the body count DOES get
alarmingly high before the end credits.
It also has a truly excellent cast supporting Bronson. To mention a few: Academy Award winning veteran John Houseman, one of the sexiest stars of the 1970's Jacqueline Bisset, Dana Elcar (Pete Thornton in "MacGyver"), Academy Award winner Maximilian Schell, the lovable Elisha Cook Jr, Michael Lerner, Dick O'Neill (Sharon Gless' memorable dad Charlie in "Cagney & Lacey"), Daniel J. Travanti (the star of "Hill St. Blues") and my favorite supports, the wonderful character actors Harry Guardino and Harris Yulin as police detectives. On top of this you get young versions of Robert Englund and Jeff Goldblum as hoods fighting it out with Charlie!
I also found myself laughing more than I normally do watching Bronson-movies, as "St. Ives" has several funny moments. My favorite one probably being the dinner/confrontation scene with Val Bisoglio.
If you are a *true* Bronson-fan you'll really enjoy old Charlie in this one!
First of all, it would seem impossible to go wrong with this: you have
Sydney Pollack at the helm, the blessings from the United Nations to
actually shoot INSIDE the UN building itself (with several key scenes
taking place in the general assembly room), all shot on location in the
Big Apple, and to top it all off you have the best actress and actor of
their generation in the lead! The result is a solid thriller, well sewn
together, and veteran director Pollack wraps it all up weary neatly,
with no loose ends. Just like he did with other thrillers like the
masterful "Three Days of the Condor" and the entertaining "The Firm."
I'm not saying "The Interpreter" is on level with those two, but it
*is* an entertaining and thrilling two hours (especially a scene
involving a bus is quite tense).
In the end I was really left with just one quibble: as things developed the ending really came as no big surprise. Still, that said: it's a political thriller directed by Sydney Pollack, starring Nicole Kidman and Sean Penn. What more could one really wish for?
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
It's always nice to see old heroes still up to par catching the
bad-guys, and Peter Falk's lovable Columbo-character surely is one of
the biggest heroes from the annals of television history. Here, well
into his 70's, Falk is still in good form donning his trench-coat 32
years (!) after his character made his debut.
This time he is called in to investigate the apparent suicide of a young man who worked as an apprentice for an Academy Award winning film-composer. And so, enter Billy Connolly as the star-composer and murderer (naturally this isn't a spoiler as the whole successful premise of Columbo is showing the killer commit his crime, before rejoicing in the police lieutenant closing in on his unsuspecting adversary). Popular Scottish comedian Connelly is the spitting image of star composer Michael Kamen, with his trademark goatee beard and long hair, so much that I wondered whether he was cast for this part as some sick business in-joke. Still, it works great, and Connelly's gleeful reaction when being caught has to go down in history as one of the funniest ones in Columbo-history.
Sadly Michael Kamen himself never won an Oscar before his untimely death in 2003, but I hope he caught this episode of Columbo, as he probably would get a kick out it.
The Korean film-industry is without a doubt one of the most interesting
and fun to watch in the world today. Titles like the haunting and oddly
fascinating "Salinui chueok" (Memories of Murder) and the
half-cool/half-turkey "Tube" spring to mind. You never really know what
you'll get when you sit down to watch a South Korean film today, but
"Tell Me Something" is an example of a movie that has a lot of things
going for it but in the end leaves you more confused than satisfied.
Now I rarely have a hard time following the plot of a serial-killer movie (of recent ones I found the US thriller "Taking Lives" an insult to my intelligence as I could figure out it's every move a mile away), but "Tell Me Something" demands a lot from it's viewer. I suspect the language barrier is partly to blame, as I got the feeling some clues must have been left out in the subtitles, but the director obviously could have done a better job. I give him an A+ for it's grisly, stylish look but an F for his lack of explaining several loose ends in the plot.
The main problem is that he loads the film with tons of information but doesn't know how to treat it all. The viewer is almost drowned in clues handed out seemingly at random, leaving it an impossible task for us to try and figure out the killer, which is half the fun in movies like these.
It's really ironic how a movie about dismembered victims, it-self is told in such a dismembered fashion.
I give "Tell Me Something" a 6.5 out of 10 for it's gory, stylish execution. A fun, but not too original, soundtrack also adds to the entertainment value.
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