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Good Germans in one of the worst battles of WW II
This film used to be one of my favorites as a German teenager and re-watching it after 15 years was almost painful to some degree.
The film now appears a reaction to stereotypical characterizations of Germans in US films, where they are all inherently evil. Unfortunately the film goes completely overboard with there being way too many good Germans. To make matters worse, the "bad Germans" are mere caricatures, which seem to have been pulled straight out of Raiders of the Lost Ark.
Such a shame to be so disappointed as I had been really looking forward to seeing this again. Admittedly this is a very juvenile attempt at history and depicting Germans a human rather than evil. As one German reviewer rightly concluded, the film does feel like it is playing down fascism and the Nazism.
Down from 9 out of 10 to 6 out of 10 Definitely will not be buying the DVD after seeing it again.
We Need to Talk About Kevin (2011)
A fantastic film by a great director
We need to talk about Kevin is easily one of the most harrowing films I've ever seen and left me completely empty. Lynne Ramsey succeeds where so many others dealing with a similar subject matter have failed, as she abstains from sensationalism and bloody detail. Instead she focuses in on character and relationship development and breakdown.
Tilda Swinton gives a truly great performance and even though the main thread of the story is clear almost from the start, she and the rest of the terrific cast manage to keep the viewer glued to the screen.
One of the most interesting facets of the film was that it showed how much power children can hold and execute over adults if they are given the opportunity.
We need to talk about Kevin is quality from start to finish and deserves to become a classic. I'm looking forward to seeing many more films by Lynne Ramsay.
Rosa Luxemburg (1986)
A gem that needs to be preserved and should be remembered
Me and my partner were some of the few people fortunate enough to see this film as part of the Bird's Eye Film festival 2011 in London. The film isn't available to purchase on DVD with subtitles, so it is really just German speaking people who have access to it. This is a real shame as Rosa Luxemburg is a cinematic and historical gem.
Rosa Luxemburg is a true hero and a great thinker, who deserves a spotlight in the history of the early 20th century. Unfortunately she is too often forgotten and only the likes of Ernst and Marx are remembered. Here is someone who is really trying to change her fate and the fate of her sisters and brothers. All of this is beautifully brought to life by von Trotta in this film and many of Luxemburgs writings and speeches are used throughout. The performance by Barbara Sukowa as Rosa is amazing and she really merges with the character she portrays. I think this is a beautiful film and I would wish someone would give it a good makeover and preserve it for future generations. This is a film, which should not get lost - rather it should be remembered.
Unlike her male contemporaries, von Trotta's films are often hard to find and virtually unknown to most people - even those who have heard of her contemporaries like Schlöndorff, Fassbinder and Herzog. This is a mystery to me, as I have seen a number of her films and she manages time and time again to make raw, challenging and emotional films about history. At the end of the screening there was also an interview with von Trotta in which one could see her intelligence and passion for film. I am really looking forward to see her next film - a project on the philosopher Hannah Arendt.
Riddles of the Sphinx (1977)
the position of women in patriarchy through the prism of psychoanalysis
This film addresses the position of women in patriarchy through the prism of psychoanalysis. I love the fragmented use of text, dialog, and image, which echoes the fragmentation of unconscious thought and also subverts the usual way of filmmaking and of portraying women as sexualized objects. The film asks questions which were pertinent at the time and which still are pertinent, e.g. what issues should feminists be fighting on. It leaves these questions unanswered, instead of being a didactic film. Other parts of the film show the drudgery and mundanity of women's traditional role, subverting the idea that women might find this role 'naturally' rewarding and fulfilling. The images of the acrobats in one of the final sections are beautiful and trippy. This is an important, philosophical film.
Black Snake Moan (2006)
The most stupid, sexist movie I have seen in a long time
I thought this movie could have been quite good, but actually it failed miserably. What is sold here is Christina Ricci's body as we see her walking around naked (and may I say needlessly so) throughout most of the film. It has no depth, does not go into the childhood abuse enough and does not portray Laz's (Samuel L. Jackson) chaining Rae (Christina Rcci) as brutal as it is. Instead it tries to portray it as slightly 'funny' or as a 'game'.
Also what is this uncontrollable 'sickness' Rae has? If the director would have wanted this to be a 'religously' themed movie, he could have done so much better and not have brought a 15th century concept of 'witch' into the über-sexy environment of the 21st century.
Awful cinema, which nobody should be exposed to, especially not 12-17 year old who will go and see this nonsense. As far as I am concerned, the only decent thing in this film was the music! 3 out of 10
Live Free or Die Hard (2007)
They've done it all now
Giving Die Hard 4.0 a 7 is flattering it. I think it only deserves a 6,5 and I think the current 7,7 average is well too flattering. THe reason for this is that the action sequences try and top everything McCLane ever had to endure in the other Die Hard movies. They do succeed in doing this, but bigger is not always better. Sometimes Willis, Wiseman and Co. just try too hard to include bigger bangs and it makes some of the scenes seem ridiculous.
I think this is a letdown from other Die Hard movies and Willis seems nothing more than a tired hero. He does also seem more human though, which is something I enjoyed. A few scenes were quite touching and I must admit, that in that perspective Die Hard 4.0 made a good impression. Nonetheless I feel the need to be honest and I'll have to say that I feel it is time John McClane should retire. He Deserves it.
6,5 out of 10
Casino Royale (2006)
The name is Blunt, James Blunt: The birth of James Bond
There is a lot that can be said about Daniel Cgraig and I must admit that I've said a couple of negative things about him as well. I think he looks more like a prizefighter than the stylish, sophisticated lady-killer that James Bond is supposed to be. Also he is blonde and what's with the haircut anyway.
Leaving all my prejudices behind, I decided to step into the theater anyway las Sunday with a couple of my best friends. In the end none of us were disappointed, including the two women accompanying us. THe thought that was going through my brain as I left the theater was: finally another good Bond film after 11 years of draught! Now do not get me wrong, I liked Brosnan as Bond, but Tomorrow Never Dies and Die another Day were simply effect laden Bond vehicles that tried to top every other movie by exploding as much stuff as possible. The World is not Enough came close enough to being a good Bond, but a crappy male villain and Denise Richards spoiled it all. What a waste of Sophie Marceau was that! Luckily Bond producers remembered a man named Campbell. Someone who had done Bond before and had used a 'new kid' before. And I must admit, that as Campbell did with Goldeneye, he pulled off Casino Royale. The funny thing is, that almost all of the criticism I mentioned earlier add to making the film great. Since this is not just another Bond film; This is the birth of Bond and that is what makes it great. After seeing this film, you won't take for granted who Bond is, you'll understand him. You'll know why he drinks what he drinks. You'll understand that he is not someone who uses women just for pleasure, but that deep within there lies a secret. Because of these things the film does not feel like a real Bond film and some might see that as a bad thing. But because of this film, the character also get's so much more depth I can only see it as a good thing.
Apart from that there is enough action and sensuality to make the film interesting, so I can recommend it even if you're not a Bondiac. But beware if you've seen other Bond films, because this one is more brutal than the others and much more gritty when it comes to scenes of violence and death! Well done Craig, Campbell & Co.
8 out of 10
Tom yum goong (2005)
A bad excuse to show off some great skills
While I am a true fan of Ong-Bak, I must say that Tony Jaa's newest film let me down a lot. The story is pure bull, the direction is not more than one can expect from a third rate music-video director and the editing is (at times at least) awful. The one and only thing that makes this film bearable, are the great stunts and Tony Jaa's inexplicable martial arts skills. I truly hope that in the future I will see more of him, be it in films with better scripts and with another director. Lightning just does not strike twice in the same place.
Story: 2 out of 10
Martial Arts: 8 out of 10
Overall: 5 out of 10
Good Night, and Good Luck. (2005)
For American's Only
I watched this movie tonight and while I did so, I actually started to wonder whether this film was made for the American market only. For me as a European, not knowing much about the 50's in America and the whole communism thing, a lot about the film was incomprehensible. I felt that the editing was not too great, the story lines were not elaborate enough and all concluding I felt that the whole impact of the McCarthy affair and his 'hunting' of communists in the USA was not depicted 'in depth'. Maybe this film was more about the people working at CBS at the time and their struggles with the politics of the day. But fairly, given Clooney's reputation, I had imagined a more in depth look into the whole and not just a scattered glimpse of a part.
5 out of 10
Mission: Impossible III (2006)
Impossible? I wish....
Well I'd really hoped for an Impossible Mission this time around, but I fear I didn't get it. Msiion Impossible II is just more of the same old 'you win some, you lose some' twine that usually see in action films. Sure the action is good, but with all that talent (Rhames, Hoffman and Fishburne) J.J. Abrans & Co. could have created a much more subtle, an emotionally deeper film. The first thing to irritate was actually the intro. The title music felt much too sharp after what had happened earlier. The film had very good moments as well though. Actually everything that had Rhames, Hoffman or Fishburne in it was great. Hoffman was totally under-used as the bad guy and as far as Tom Cruise was concerned. Anybody could have pulled his 'acting' off I guess. What I am getting at is that M:I III is what M:I II should have been like. A follow-up that tries to focus on a story and not effects-only. Too bad it comes 6 years too late, too bad great talent was under-used and too bad that it is too predictable at times.
7 out of 10