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75 reviews in total 
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10 out of 39 people found the following review useful:
Great film, but... (read only when you've seen the movie!), 16 December 2015

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

The greatest thing The Force Awakens did for me was that it made me feel like that little kid again. I was transported back to 1977 when I sat with my older sister in a movie theater in Amsterdam and was watching the first Star Wars film. What an amazing experience!

Overall I think JJ Abrams did a great job with The Force Awakens. Being able to please the old fans as well as the potential new ones must have been a difficult task. He cast great actors, used some excellent SFX and made a great mix of new elements and Star Wars nostalgia. The first part of The Force Awakens is great fun. In brilliant way we see how the lives of Poe, Finn and Rey get intertwined and how they're forced into a war between the First Order and the Alliance.

Strangely, the pace of the story gets interrupted a little bit when we meet the old cast. Han Solo is the first one. Although his scenes are magical they also divert us a little from the story. Luckily things fall into place very quickly when they join forces and go meet Maz Kanata, a great CGI character played by Lupita Nyong'o. Solo plays a major role in this Star Wars outing. He gets a lot of screen time and when the movie is finished you know why. Carrie Fisher looks great as General Leia.

The bad things then. Daisy Ridley is not always convincing in her role as Rey. But she's charming as hell and at the moments she really must perform she really delivers. Wel done! The new bad guy, the Supreme Leader Snoke (Andy Serkis) is a different story. He looks like a low budget Voldemort and therefor isn't quite as menacing as Darth Sidious. Why does he look so fake? Kylo Ren: he is introduced as this ruthless killer who is very skilled in The Force. He can even freeze a blaster fire in the air! Wow, he makes Darth Vader look like a pussy. But later on in the story he must fight Finn who - as a non-Jedi - has a lightsaber in his hand for the very first time. Why doesn't Ren demolish this boy? He doesn't even have The Force!

I was impressed by how Han Solo died. His fall into the fog is both epic and impressive. Although you know it will happen it still comes as a shock. But at that point you know that Kylo Ren can't be turned to the Light side: it's too soon for that. Thanks to Han's death we know that Kylo Rey will go berserk in Episode VIII.

Although the scenes between Kylo Ren and Rey are great to watch, it is strange that the girl knows how to use her Force powers so soon. 24 Hours earlier she didn't even know what The Force was. "Yes, the stories are true. All of them!" That development was not convincing at all.

With the prequels we knew how the story would end: Anakin would become Darth Vader and Luke and Leia would be separated. But now with the new trilogy it's a whole different matter. In the next chapter we'll probably witness Rey being trained by Luke Skywalker and Kylo Ren by the Supreme Leader Snoke. But what else? In this new story anything goes. Luke can be killed. Rey can be seduced by the Dark Side. BB-8 can marry R2D2 if he/she wants. And that makes this new trilogy so exciting.

In the end Star Wars The Force Awakens is the story of an extraordinary family and the one of a great spaceship. Because the way the Millennium Falcon is shown in this movie is pure magic!

Looking forward to seeing the next chapter!

8,5 out of 10

Unbroken (2014/I)
1 out of 1 people found the following review useful:
Good material, bad movie, 10 May 2015

A true story is no guarantee for a good movie. That's the lesson we can learn from Angelina Jolie's Unbroken. The movie is based on the biography of Louis Zamperini, an American Olympic track champion who joins WW2 and experiences near death on the ocean and almost gets killed in a Japanese concentration camp. When the war is over, he returns home.

That's the story, frankly. The end credits roll on the screen after he is reunited with his parents and brother on an American airport. No more scenes about being home in the States. Fade out: this is the end.

However, thanks to these end credits we also learn that he later went back to Japan to face and forgive his Japanese camp guards and as an old man sees a dream come true when he carries the torch for the Olympic Games in Japan. Especially the forgiving part is exciting. Why didn't Angelina Jolie show us that? Why didn't she use the Saving Private Ryan structure and tell the story as a flashback, showing Zamperini visiting his Japanese opponents in the present while thinking back of his time during WW2? It would have made the movie much better.

Unbroken is a well made drama. The war scenes with the airplanes in the beginning of the movie are very well done. The flashbacks to his youth as a problem child are also impressive. But once the bad times begin, the movie falls flat. Yes, it's impressive what the real Louis Zamperini had to experience to survive World War 2. But shown from the eyes of director Angelina Jolie it soon becomes pretty boring.

Unbroken is a great monument but a flawed film. With this material Jolie could have done much better.

81 out of 163 people found the following review useful:
Even with high expectations it doesn't even disappoint!, 20 April 2015

Tony Stark wants to invent something that benefits mankind but instead turns out to be the one responsible for the creation of this dangerous self thinking robot, Ultron. The Avengers must assemble once again to fight this menace that wants to kill all the humans on this planet. But Ultron is powerful and the way he is presented makes you wonder how our heroes can defeat him. Just you wait and see...

What I liked best about Age of Ultron was the fact that all our favorite heroes get equal screen time to show of what they can do. Although the action scenes are great (Iron Man in the Hulkbuster versus Hulk!) the thing that really makes this movie work is the interaction between all the people involved. Stark and Banner, Banner and Black Widow, Hawkeye and Black Widow, Thor and Captain America... like in real life you can see with whom each of them get along best. It's also nice to see that Hawkeye gets a lot of screen time. He even gets the most interesting background story of the bunch. Quicksilver and Scarlet Witch make a great addition to the team (sort of) and there are a lot more cameos in the movie (although I don't think anybody spotted Lou Ferrigno!).

The movie runs about two and a half hours and that's pretty long. It could have been a little bit shorter, but overall I didn't mind. With great action scenes (pay attention to the opening action sequence in which he introduces the Avengers in one mighty shot!), nice humor, a lot of cameos and a satisfying finale writer/director Joss Whedon has everything under control and that pays of.

This year (2015) The Avengers Age of Ultron will shatter all box office records and that will be a fitting reward for giving most Marvel fans and 'normal' moviegoers this big treat. Even Pixar slipped (with Cars 2 and Brave) so everybody's waiting for Marvel to produce a real stinker. Although that day may come, The Avengers part 2 is not the movie that will be responsible for that!

8,5 / 10

The Remaining (2014/I)
4 out of 6 people found the following review useful:
Wow, a Christian action movie, 3 April 2015

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

This is a religious action movie that takes the subject of Christianity to the next level. Not that that's a good thing, but once you know that The Remaining is actually Christian propaganda, then you can just sit back, relax and enjoy the ride. Because really, this movie is not bad. Actually I found it highly entertaining.

The Remaining is loosely based on the last chapter of the Bible, The Book of Revelations. It's about the actual Judgement Day when during the Rapture all good people die and go to Heaven and all the bad ones stay on earth. There's been a lot of criticism on that last matter. In the movie it's not important if you're a good person: if you still not believe in God then you're doomed. You must turn into a believer in order to be saved. That message is pretty much smacked in your face in the finale of the movie and that hurts.

Other than that, The Remaining is quite enjoyable. The visual effects are good, the audio effects sounded even great on my Dolby 5.1/DTS audio surround set and the young actors are sympathetic and certainly not hard on the eyes. There's also a lot of nice suspense in there. Sometimes you think that the director could have done more with the subject because whether you believe or not, the Bible is a book with lots of great ideas and themes. The film sometimes reminds you of the Nicolas Cage stinker Left Behind, but this movie at least has a cinematic feel.

I liked The Remaining. It's even better than a movie like The Darkest Hour and it could have been great if they hadn't slapped you in the face with that over the top religious message. Go give it a try! One last thing: the story starts out as a found footage movie but luckily it isn't anything like that :-)

27 out of 53 people found the following review useful:
Kick-Ass meets Men in Black and 60s Avengers, 11 January 2015

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

With movies like X-Men: First Class, Kick-Ass, Stardust and Layer Cake writer/director/producer Matthew Vaughn established himself as one of the most exciting movie makers around. Having turned down the offer to direct X-Men Days of Future Past we were very interested in what he was working on instead. Luckily Kingsman: The Secret Service - again based on a comic - doesn't disappoint. Afterwards we can be glad that he put all his efforts in this incredibly funny but also comic-book violent spy flick. With Bryan Singer again involved as director, the X-Men movie also turned out very fine anyway.

The film is about Kingsman, an unknown but powerful British Secret Service. When one of his spies dies, all six remaining agents are asked to come up with a candidate that can replace him. After a dangerous selection only one will remain. Kingsman Harry Hart (Colin Firth) nominates Gary 'Eggsy' Unwin (played by newcomer Taron Egerton who's also being eyed for the role of Cyclops in X-Men Apocalypse). Eggsy is a small criminal who doesn't know he is the son of a killed Kingsman agent. In the meantime the organization investigates the dubious plans of billionaire and philanthropist Valentine (Samuel L. Jackson), who says he wants to save our planet but doesn't tell the world at what costs he will do that.

Three movies pop in mind when you see Kingsman. First of all: Kick- Ass. It has the same humor, violence and over the top characters. Valentine's bodyguard for instance is a girl with no legs but with killing blades. Her action scenes are quite spectacular. Samuel L. Jackson is a crazy disturbed villain. His madness suits the finale of the movie very well.

Secondly: Men in Black. Young Eggsy must participate in a very nasty selection process in order to be the chosen Kingsman. The missions they must do are very dangerous. In the first one a candidate even dies (or it seems that way).

The third ( and major) title Kingsman resembles is The Avengers. No, I'm not talking about the Marvel one. In the late sixties there was this British TV-series starring the ultimate gentleman John Steed (Patrick Macnee) and the first powergirl ever, Emma Peel (played by the legendary Diana Rigg from On Her Majesty's Secret Service and Game of Thrones fame). These two spies used a lot of (hidden) gadgets to solve crime. But whatever happened, like Colin Firth in Kingsman, John Steed always remained polite and stiff. The Avengers TV-series even got a very bad movie version in 1998 starring Ralph Fiennes, Uma Thurman and Sean Connery.

Kingsman starts of as an entertaining action movie with lots of violence and humor. Entertaining, but not exceptional. Turns out director Vaughn saved the best for last. In the incredible finale the movie really delivers. Absolute highlight is the way the baddies get defeated by the two remaining Kingsman. That scene is so over the top, I think only Matthew Vaughn could have pulled that of.

Yes, Kingsman is great stuff and I can't wait to see it again. Especially actor Colin Firth deserves lots of praise. He not only gives us a very likable and funny performance, but his action scenes are also very convincing and must have cost him months of training. The shots in which he does the fighting are also very long with very few cut aways. We hope he didn't have to do that many takes. Newcomer Taron Egerton as Eggsy is also impressive. He's not only believable as a low life street thug, but as a James Bond-like spy as well. No doubt Kingsman will launch his career.

In one of the first scenes of the movie we see actor Mark Hamill in the role of professor James Arnold. And that's a nice surprise given the fact that it's 2015 now, the year of Star Wars The Force Awakens and his great movie comeback. It at least gives us a hint of how he will look as the elderly Jedi Luke Skywalker.

Kingsman: go see it!

Nice, 25 December 2014

Okay, The Bishop's Wife with Cary Grant and David Niven remains a brilliant Christmas movie. But I must admit that its remake, The Preacher's Wife, isn't bad at all. As a vehicle for the singing talents of Whitney Houston it surely succeeds and I think the gospel setting is a great idea as well. Denzel Washington is charming as angel Dudley, Whitey does a great job as a disappointed wife (and sings wonderfully) and Courtney B. Vance is very convincing as a preacher who has lost hope.

Strangely there were not a lot of things copied from the original black and white movie. It looks like the people behind The Preacher's Wife only took the basic idea of the original movie and then made up its own story. I think the lack of commercial success is due to the fact that movies about angels don't fit in these cynical times anymore. With James Stewart, Frank Sinatra and Cary Grant in a black and white production you could get away with it. But in these modern days? I doubt it.

The Preacher's Wife is no classic, but it's a nice movie when you want to watch a (musical) Christmas film during the holidays.

24 out of 48 people found the following review useful:
The best one of the trilogy!, 7 August 2014

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

Yeah, did I make you curious? Of course! The most IMDb reviews want to make you believe that this is the worst action movie ever. Well, I didn't think so. I even dare to say it's the best Expendables movie until now. Okay, the action scenes weren't that great. Once you see one man shooting or fighting, you have seen them all (although the motorcycle stunt was hilariously spectacular). But this time this Expendables outing has humor and a heart and that makes a big difference.

Three actors make this movie worth seeing: Wesley Snipes, who gives the first part humor, Antonio Banderas, who does that in the second part, and Mel Gibson, who is actually a great villain. Oh, and before I watched this film I had doubts on the presence of Harrison Ford, whom I didn't see as a gung-ho member of Stallone's macho fight club. Well, actually he isn't. Ford - who's really old in this one - plays Stallone's CIA client that gives him the order to kill Gibson. In the finale he can't resist being part of the action, puts on his helicopter uniform and flies to the scene of the crime.

What I very much liked about part III of The Expendables was the logical presence of the actors involved. I remember Chuck Norris suddenly popping up in part 2. That scene seemed pretty forced, only facilitating the idea that the producer had scored another 80s action star. With the exception of Jet Li, who can be seen at the end, all the actors get enough screen time. Even Dolph Lundgren gets his moment.

I can imagine the actors having a lot of fun filming this movie. And let's be frank: subconsciously you wonder which actors you want to see in part 4 yourself. Pierce Brosnan has shown interest. Who follows?


Ghost Ship (2002)
Could have been great, 5 August 2014

This is a nice ghost flick with a great cast. Among the leads are the always watchable Gabriel Byrne, Julianna Margulies and a young Karl Urban. The story is about an experienced salvage team that encounters a still floating abandoned Titanic-like ship and wants to bring it home. What they don't know is that the ship is haunted and one by one the crew members lose their lives.

The story starts in great fashion with a shocking massacre on deck but when the crew finally meet the ghosts (and when they start explaining things) it all goes down. What a pity. I liked the movie sets and actors in this story. Some scenes even reminded me of Kubrick's The Shining - and that's a compliment.

About two minutes from the end you think that you have been watching a okay but not classic ghost story but unfortunately the last surprise spoils the whole film. Don't you hate that when that happens?


1 out of 2 people found the following review useful:
The blew it, 30 March 2014

You gotta hand it to the producers of Grudge Match. They managed to get both Rocky Balboa and Jake La Motta into one movie. Unfortunately they were so glad with this achievement they forgot to take care of the most important thing in a film: a good script.

The story of two old champions who battle it out to determine who's the best is okay at best, but most of the time you get bored by what happens on screen. The film can't choose between drama and comedy and therefor doesn't hit any target. The only reason you keep watching is the cast: DeNiro and Stallone are okay, but it's nice to see the still beautiful Kim Basinger (who turns 61 this year) and the always brilliant Alan Arkin at work. Kevin Hart as wannabe box promoter is pretty irritating though. On the bright side: at the final fight the movie delivers and as a viewer you can live with the end result. But if the leads weren't played by actors who had a famous movie boxing history like Stallone and DeNiro have, this movie would probably have been quite unwatchable.

Oh yeah, there is a sort of after credits scene in Grudge Match and sadly this one is the funniest scene in the whole movie. I guess that says enough...


12 out of 24 people found the following review useful:
The best Marvel movie since Spider-Man 2 and X-Men 2, 23 March 2014

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

If you've been watching the internet the last few weeks you may know that most journalists raved about Captain America : The Winter Soldier. And they were all right: the latest Captain America outing isn't only far better than part 1; I even dare to say that it's in the same league as Spider-Man 2 (2004) and X-Men 2 (2003). The Winter Soldier is spectacular in its action scenes and the chemistry between the hero (Chris Evans) and Black Widow (Scarlett Johansson) is undeniable.

One of the strengths of Captain America part 1 was the atmosphere: I loved the fact that it took place during World War II and therefor had some historical and nostalgic flavor. However, after the events of The Avengers it was clear that the second movie would take place in modern day America. How could the makers maintain the same mood and spirit of The First Avenger?

Well, directors John and Anthony Russo both succeed in that. Without giving away too many spoilers you can say that The Winter Soldier uses a lot of the elements that was presented to us in the first movie. Hydra returns for example - and does that in a very big way. Another important character from part 1 comes back to haunt Steve Rogers. There are actually so many things from the first movie that I would recommend you'd watch that one first before you see this new movie.

The story of The Winter Soldier centers on SHIELD. Steve Rogers and Nick Fury discover that the organization is compromised and must find out who's behind all this. In the meantime Rogers meets the mysterious and powerful Winter Soldier, who not only kills one of his colleagues but also seems to have a familiar face. But who is he? Looks like the only one he can trust is Natasha Romanoff. Luckily he also befriends an ex-soldier called Sam Wilson (The Falcon), who turns out to be a big help.

From the first action scene involving a big ship to the last battle between Captain America and the Winter Soldier this movie will hold you in a tight grip. Some of the fight scenes even reminded me of The Raid – and yes, that's meant as a compliment. Can I give away one small spoiler or two? Two of the best scenes in the movie are Steve Rogers visiting an exhibition of himself (both funny and moving) and his meeting with his old love, Peggy Carter (Hayley Atwell with lots of make-up). These scenes give this great action flick a true heart.

I can't wait to see Captain America: The Winter Soldier again! And oh yeah, this time there isn't just one but two after-credits scenes!


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