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Mr. Nobody (2009)
Avoid. Avoid. Avoid.
Having just seen Cloud Atlas, I felt I was well prepared to watch Mr Nobody since there would be multiple time-lines to keep track of. But no amount of preparation could prepare anyone for this mess of a movie.
The premise of the movie is that there are three spatial dimensions and one time-dimension. But what if there was more than one time-dimension and it was possible to move between them, just as it is possible to move in our three well-known spatial dimensions? The plot is set and you wait for it to unravel in all its beauty. Then it falls apart. Miserably.
Apparently, Mr Nobody is born with the memory of past, present and future. This ability doesn't prevent him from making one awful choice after another. Each one of the time-lines he pursues leads to misery and woe. There is no happiness in his future no matter what choices he makes. This is finally revealed in the last 15 minutes of the movie (SPOILER ALERT) when his life is likened to a forced move in chess - where the only possible moves are poor moves. Two and a half hours of pain and anguish and THAT'S the lesson??? Why oh why? What does this movie teach us? (Because it isn't meant to entertain us, that's for sure.) That life is hard and sometimes you're just born to live a horrible life? That even if you can predict the future, you can't change it?
I will not call this the worst movie ever, because it is shot beautifully and the acting is great. However, almost two and a half hours is just too much pain to put yourself through. Avoid this movie and save two and a half hours of your life. You'll never know what you missed, but trust me - it won't matter.
Half Nelson (2006)
Character-based movie with very little development
Ryan Goslings character (Dan the history teacher) introduces his class to history by claiming that history is opposites (among other things). And what we get are two opposites that become "friends".
Dan: white, middle-aged, teacher, coach, addicted.
Drey: Black/African-American, young, pupil, basketball player, clean.
Dans premise is that history is created from opposites, whatever the opposite forces may be and regardless of how strong each force is; if the forces are mismatched, the stronger force will prevail quickly and that particular piece of history will be over shortly. In the movie, the history between Dan and Drey unfolds rather slowly, which is great for some, but will leave a lot of people bored. Maybe this is a metaphor for how Dan and Drey are equal in force. Only if one can look beyond the shaky camera work and indulge oneself in the superb acting, will this movie be worthwhile. The plot itself contains emotional peaks and valleys, but they are few and not very engaging. When the movie ends, there is a feeling of - yes, history happened, but it just wasn't that interesting. If you're into character movies like this one, you'll probably like The Master, Snow Angels and The Ice Storm. 5/10
Ishavets Kæmpe (2013)
Documentary and history lesson
This is not an ordinary nature-film or documentary. This threw me off at the start, but with that said, the way the life of this magnificent whale is portrayed is just about perfect. It is estimated that these whales can reach an age of 200-250 years. So the makers of the movie thought it would be interesting to let the movie start at the time of the french revolution with the birth of a whale. We follow the young whale as it nurses from its mother and learns the valuable lesson of swimming under the ice, till the whale becomes "mature" at 25 and man discovers that whales contain many valuable resources. Much of the one-hour movie is spent explaining whaling techniques and this practice is in no way glorified. The computer graphics used to depict whaling is, honestly, not very good. But I have a feeling that this was done somewhat purposely to make it clear that they weren't going to actually kill a whale just to show how it's done. There is, however, footage from other films which show whale-killing. It's important to be aware of this if you are squeamish! The plot in the movie is quite simple: Follow the life of a whale over a span of 200 years. Add the element of man-versus-nature, or maybe nature-versus-man - there is no doubt where the makers have their sympathy. There will probably be arguments that it's difficult to see what's going on underwater, but such are the conditions around the north pole. It's just not going to be a color-fest like the Great Barrier Reef. It is still very much worth watching and you'd have to be very callous not to contemplate the whole issue of natural resources and mans use of them.
Second in Command (2006)
Just plain awful
What this movie lacks in acting, realism and surprises it makes up for in running time - it is comfortably short. The plot is recognizable enough: Rebels try to throw over a president, USA protects him and ends up raising flags and salutes as a tribute to the invulnerability of the American soldier, who is willing to lay down his life for a questionable cause. JCVD runs through the action and general mayhem on autopilot. The rest of the cast follow this lead ... much like lemmings. There are no surprises in this movie; not for lack of trying, though. There are "twists", but they come as no surprise to anyone who has seen more than five movies in his life. Especially not if these are JCVD-movies. Soldiers on both sides drop like lemmings off a cliff, pulling the movie and its rating with it.
Erasing David (2010)
Interesting ... but not in the long run
David wants to find out how much information about him is just hanging around in the world. He leaves his pregnant wife (with her consent, thankfully) and hires two private detectives to hunt him down. We follow David in his escape from the world and the detectives across Europe intermixed with flashbacks from before his vanishing act, where we see how much information every single institution has on him and the rest of his family. In the beginning, one gets a creepy feeling that companies and institutions and the government keep all sorts of records, and that it's just too easily available for "the wrong people" to get their hands on. As the movie nears its middle, it becomes apparent that the detectives are not relying on all this available technology, but on basic, nose-to-the-grindstone, garbage-digging, surveillance detective work. The end is rather unsurprising, but what is mentionable is the gradual paranoia that engulfs David. Even when he is hiding in a ruin in a field miles from nowhere and hundreds of miles from civilization, he thinks they're right around the corner. It gives a good insight into what people on the run must be feeling. All in all a good "documentary", but just not that gripping.
What IS it all about?
Alfie will ask what is it all about. Although he is talking about life in general (I assume, or maybe women), he might as well be talking about the movie. There isn't much of a plot - we follow Alfie through his womanizing life, his ups and downs, his fears and desires. Alfie can get pretty much any woman he wants by being good-looking and charming - and he does. Then problems arise. Problems we've all had I'm sure, but Alfie is just too shallow a character to elicit any real empathy. And although Jude Law plays his character extremely well, I just didn't care in the end. Maybe it was his constant babbling at the camera, maybe it was because the movie ended before we see Alfie actually turn his life around. Who knows - and who cares. "Hitch" was a far better movie about a guy who knows how to get in contact with the opposite sex. 3/10
Just like the rest
When I was in the video-store with my brother trying to find out what movie to rent, we found this one. Neither of had seen it, I had seen 3000 Miles to Graceland but wanted to see it again. I should have gone with my gut feeling .... The movie offers nothing original. The main characters are "bad", they learn their life lesson and change their ways to become better human beings. The evil character doesn´t change and ends up "being punished". The girl (because there is always a girl) is deceived, loses faith but then realizes that the main guy is a good guy who has amended his evil ways. These aren´t spoilers because EVERY teen movie nowadays is like that. This movie doesn´t even have any saving graces like cool one-liners, crazy sidekicks or gratuitous T&A.
What´s the big deal?
I went to see this movie with great expectations, having read all of the fabulous reviews. And I left disappointed. It wasn´t a bad movie as such, it just wasn´t very interesting. Cage plays his parts well (as well as the other actors do) but it really can´t save a plot about two guys you can´t really care about. The plot moves harmlessly along until someone realizes that in order not to lose people completely, guns need to be brought into the picture! Like I said, it´s not a bad movie, but it´s not good either. It will appeal mostly to wannabe playwriters. Much like Lost Highway, it dares the audience to find hidden meanings although it doesn´t contain any. 5/10
Splitting Heirs (1993)
Few laughs ... oh well
The movie isn´t particularly funny or original, but it can be watched. It has a few jokes (my personal favorite is Rick Moranis: "Someone get me out of this moose!"), and some easy-on-the-eyes girls. Was Babara Hershey supposed to be old enough to be Eric Idles mother??????
Am I the only one who likes Rick Moranis, by the way?
Jalla! Jalla! (2000)
Well worth watching
East is East was good, Bend it Like Beckham was predictable, but Jalla Jalla was really good. As in most romantic comedies, the end result will be a happy ending for everyone except the bullies and this movie is no different. But it does allow a closer look into the mindset of the "victims" of arranged marriages. It´s a really good movie. I accept the arguments that there are faults with the movie, but this wasn´t mass-produced in Hollywood, so that´s understandable and a charming factor, really.