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25 reviews in total 
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1 out of 1 people found the following review useful:
Maybe the best movie adaption, 15 April 2009

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

This version of "The captain of Köpenick", a play by Carl Zuckmair, is the one that stays the truest to the original play. The plot is simple: A poor cobbler, Wilhelm Voigt, is released from prison. Now he is caught in a vicious circle. He can't register without employment, and he can't find work without a registration. His worsening situation leads to another short imprisonment. During that time in jail he learns how to act like a military officer. At the same time, we follow the story of a captain's uniform, which starts with being tailor-made to being sold to a second-hand peddler. There Voigt sees the uniform, buys it and then walks into the mayor's office of Köpenick to confiscate the treasury and get a passport. In the end he is caught.

The whole movie is excellently played, especially Platte as Vooigt. He surpasses the much lauded Rühmann and Juhnke, who played the same part.

Armageddon (1998)
0 out of 2 people found the following review useful:
Can't understand the critics, 10 February 2009

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

OK, first I admit, I love this movie! That said, i wonder about the strong hate-critics this movie got, even here on IMDb. Some criticise the shallowness. Hey, it never intended to be a drama that teaches us a moral lesson. It even sets it straight, from the beginning, that it touches the meteor-crashes-on-earth subject way more unrealistic than movies like Deep Impact or Meteor, which are surreal too they just pretend to be more realistic.

Some critics said that great actors were wasted in small, insignificant roles. Well, first, no one forced these actors to take the roles. Then some, like Duncan or Wilson, were not at their peak back then. And I must say that even Owen Wilson's role (the most insignificant in my opinion) has its highlights. And some roles (esp. Affleck's and Thornton's) have more depth than in other popcorn movies. I find the general acting level quite strong, considering the type of movie. Of course we have seen deeper performances from Willis, Duncan, Stormare, Buscemi and Thornton, but those were in other genres.

Some say it claims only the NASA and thus the USA could deal with any crisis....well this is an American movie. And the USA are still the biggest movie market. I guess that if this movie would have been made by a Chinese company and filmed in China it would show China as the superior nation. One critic here claimed that the movie showed only blond white American kids rejoicing at the meteor's destruction. As I recall it this is plain wrong. Celebration all over the world is shown.

I find this movie quite entertaining, which is the ultimate goal a movie should aim for. It may have some weak moments, but it is just so cheesy and pushed beyond every reality that it becomes funny, tense and emotional. I especially love the scenes of the Affleck/Tyler relationship which are sweet, romantic but not too cheesy. Foremost the goodbye scene with the rendition of "Leaving on a Jet plane".

So...if you can enjoy an entertaining movie which never pretends to be intellectual and is solidly made, watch Armageddon.

1 out of 4 people found the following review useful:
A great romantic comedy which is underrated, 2 June 2008

The genre of romantic comedies may not be a genre producing depthful insights, dramatic acting or meaningful morals....but it centers about the two most warm and nice emotions, humour and love. There can't be nothing wrong with this. Now many movies of this genre are just what you expect, they are cheesy, diabetes-inducing sweet, shallow movies. Sometimes the Humour outweighs the love so much it becomes intolerable, sometimes the love aspect is so heavy you are forced to vomit. Then many movies make the mistake of mixing love with lust or even replacing them. That does not go for romantic in my opinion. So the moviegoer is left with only a few notable movies, which make your heart glow: There are PRETTY WOMAN, NOTTING HILL, WHEN HARRY MET SALLY, SLEEPLESS IN SEATTLE, YOU GOT MAIL, THERE'S SOMETHING ABOUT MARY and of course WHILE YOU WERE SLEEPING.

Unlike some others in my listing, this movie sets his characters in a real normal life. They are all average people, who could live next your door. That's one point in making this movie memorable. Because if such a sweet love can happen to those guys, it can happen to you as well.

The story may seem to be a bit far fetched (girl saves guy, gets mistaken for his fiancé, family invites her over for Christmas, she falls in love with the brother and so on) but it is not as far fetched as a millionaire falling for a prostitute, a journalist falling for just a boys story and drives through the US to Seattle or a movie star just walking in a normal bookstore...

The humour is great, soft and loving instead of cynical. The only cynical remark (if you fit in my pants, I'll kill myself) is like you are kidding around with your friends. The love is also sweet. It never becomes sexual or lust-laden. Just pure love. Unlike all the aforementioned movies, here another love is playing a role, the love for and of a family. Anyone who, like Bullock's character, has lived without any family for some time knows what I speak of.

The acting is good. Not great, as I said i don't expect that in a romantic comedy, but better than in most other movies of that genre (and many other genres as well).

The last great point for this movie are the characters. The movie makes no point in creating a despicable, mean character. The family Callaghan are so nice and warm, even Peter (who the viewer gets to know only a lot later in the movie) seems to be able to leave his playboy life and settle with Sandra Bullock. Also heartwarming is the role of Joey Fusco. He seems to really love Sandra Bullock in his own way. He tries to protect her and be a real friend, though he is obviously not her type. Even the "real" fiancé of Peter Callaghan, Ashley, does not come evil just shallow and possessive. Her appearance lasts only a few minutes, too.

All in all, if you're looking for a great movie to make you feel good, get this one.

2 out of 3 people found the following review useful:
Almost true to the book, but greeat whatsoever, 14 April 2008

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

First things, I find this one of the best movies about the great story of Alexandre Dumas, and luckily it sticks quite true. Quite, but not totally. I understand minor changes like Porthos not being the shallow, large framed guy described in the book (I always will love Depardieu from Man in the iron mask in this role) or d'Artagnan witnessing the hanging of Mylady de Winter, even the "with a rowboat across the channel" thing, but.....


I think Mylady de Winter would be as interesting and rewarding role to get? Why does she suddenly have to have Superpowers? This is the only real issue I have with this movie.

The rest of the movie is splendid. Except for Porthos, who's actor does a fine job after all, all the cast is close enough to the book as possible. Especially Elbaz plays d'Artagnan with that vibe and risk-loving panache he appears to have in the book. This is one of the few movies which does not alter or skip the musketeers' dealings with Buckingham, in fact it sticks to the novel with the sole exception mentioned above.

As to the ongoing discussion of Beart being too old: a) She looks gorgeous as ever. b) Mylady de Winter is described in the book as a Lady in her late why the fuzz. After all, she married athos at age 20, got hanged after a year, became the Cardinal's (a great Karyo) top spy in the meantime, married Winter's brother, killed him see she was quite busy all the time.

So I can sum up: A great rendition of the musketeers' legend with just a bitter pinch of story liberty.


Robin Hood (1991)
4 out of 5 people found the following review useful:
One of the best Robin Hood movies, 14 April 2008

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

There are some legendary heroes, whose stories you can tell a hundred of times and every time it is different. There are the three Musketeers, King Arthur, Sherlock Holmes and of course Robin Hood.

In the history of movies are so many adaptions of this legend and each is different in what style and atmosphere they set the piece.

There f.e. is the flamboyant, tight wearing Robin of Errol Flynn (and Cary Elwes), who takes his life as an outlaw with jest and humour.

There is the avenging Robin, out for revenge to some slights done to him and/or family and friends like the Costner Robin Hood.

There are some, really trying to help the poor while having some fun and laugh at the cost of the ruling government as in the Disney cartoon version.

There are many differences in the opponents who are battled by Robin, though the Sheriff of Nottingham is the constant one. There are sometimes John Lackland (King John), Guy of Gisbourne (in the legend he is only a mercenary quickly disposed and then impersonated by Robin) and others.

This version looks at it a new way. They show a country divided into an anglo-saxon populace and norman ruling class. Only a few saxon nobles exist. One of this noble families are the Hodes. Though Robert Hode is normally a friend of his norman Baron, Daguerre, a visiting norman nobleman insists on Hode being punished for some slight offense. Pride Hode does not comply and flees. Thus he is being outlawed and his family stripped of title, claims and life. This way his fight begins....

The look of this movie is the darkest and bleakest Robin Hood there ever was. The forest looks not friendly, many scenes play at night, and the merry men get real dirty (unlike the Flynn Hood). The story behind the whole movie may be the most "political" ever, because of that division of being saxon or norman.

The acting is very good, in my opinion it even supersedes the Costner Robin Hood from the same year. Especially the three leads (Bergin, Krabbé and Prochnow) are great. But down to the smallest role you get fine acting.

The swordfights (as another commentator mentioned, real swords not rapiers) are really nice to watch and the finale...well, you better see it for yourself.

All in all, if this movie runs on TV or is available on DVD, get it.

Rocky (1976)
Great founding stone of a series of documentary sequels, 14 April 2008

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

Well, my summary may not be my most inspiring but it is meant wholeheartedly. First, I love "Rocky" and all of his sequels in their own way. I find it a great film and itself and the sequels show the "Hollywood spirit" during the years.

Let us watch Rocky unbiased. The storyline in itself is a bit shallow: A Nobody gets a chance to fight the champ, he does it and wins his girl friend during the movie. The End. As I said shallow.

But what Stallone did with this plot is amazing. He added many twists and turns to create a whole new plot. Instead many other Underdog-Sports-Movies, the underdog here is not a brilliant new talent or fallen-once-famous star but an average, down to earth bum like many of us know their whole life. Rocky is a bit of an idiot (we learn he is dyslexic in Rocky 2), but has strong own personal morals and thoughts. He is a bit of an Outcast, too. We see him with his sole friend Paulie (who seems not to be a real close friend) and the girl he adores, Paulie's sister. Adrian is too shy to even notice that Rocky adores her, which makes her an outcast too.

The next twist Stallone adds is how this Nobody gets the title shot. It is not because the champ notices the talent or has revenge plans....It is mere coincidence of the original opponent having an injury and Creed now has to look for someone to fight on short notice. Since the fight is at the 4th of July he makes the genial decision to create a media hype by giving an unknown a title shot. And he only chooses Rocky because of his ring name "The Italian Stallion" ("Apollo Creed versus the Italian Stallion, sounds like a damn monster movie.")

Then comes the film sequence of the training and all the story in between. Stallone walks here the fine line between a sports movie and a character development movie and he balances it superbly. We get to love this nerdy couple with all their all-to-well-known, ordinary troubles. We even learn to sympathize with the drunkard Paulie. And the training sequences are so great, the song "Gonna fly now" will always be engraved mentally to such training scene montages (as it itself or similar sounding copies are used up until today).

Last in the movie is the fight. Many have commented on its unrealistic appearance. Hey, it is played by two actors, who, though being athletic and even college/pro-athletes, never were boxers. And though they trained with a boxing coach, they lacked the money to do it extensively. So they scripted the fight step by step, blow by blow. And then they rehearsed it. This is quite an accomplishment. And to me, the fight looks as well as some you see in today's actual rings.

A word about the acting. Stallone shows here (like he does now too after leaving his action stardom behind) that he is quite a talented actor. The supporting cast is great, from heavies like Meredith and Young (both doing great scenes here, Oscar-worthy) to then unknowns like Carl Weathers and Thalia Shire.

The production is great too, thinking of the limited budget.I was fascinated by the camera work, which is better than many big-budgeteers at that time. If you love well made and emotional gripping films, who may have a bit of sports thrown into it, you definitely will love "Rocky". As to my statement that the sequels are documentary of how movies in their time were like, read my comments there.

1 out of 1 people found the following review useful:
As fine a court thriller as you'll get, 4 April 2008

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

I have to admit I never read the Grisham novel, the movie is based upon. The other comments say it deviates far of the novel, so I am happy about that fact. As a man who reads a lot I am almost always disappointed by movies made after a novel. In reading the book, you form your own picture in your head and can't fathom why the movie director made changes.

So I am happy to judge this movie unbiased, as a juror should. This fits, because that is what the movie is about, the manipulation of a court jury. The American jury system may be the most fair (because it does not let "one man have the power to hang or not hang anyone he dislikes") but also the one most easily manipulated. How this is done is shown nicely in the movie. One side (the defense) uses surveillance of possible jurors even before jury selection, choosing mostly jurors they may get some kind of leverage on. This ranges from knowledge of an escapade of a female juror to buying the market store another juror works in. The prosecution uses just personal impressions, coupled with some psychological schooling during jury selection. A third party (Cussack) tries all to manipulate his way into the jury by pressing all the right buttons on the judge's patience. The manipulating goes further into the trial, even using illegal blackmailing tactics.But at the end is a twist.

The story may be a bit thin sometimes. Some think that a bit more detail should have been invested into the trial itself, but you forget that this is a film about the jury duty. So it focuses more on the things happening in the jury room, the hotel the jury is sequestered to and the manipulating team of Rankin Fitch. What I have to criticise is, that the court scenes shown are flat and flawed with argumentative holes big enough for a steam train. That should have been reworked to fit more into an otherwise very smart movie.

The acting is great through all the roles be it major or minor ones. I especially like the obvious bonding of Cussacks character and the second Latino juror after Herrera (I don't find his name). But all roles have their shining moments. Overshadowing the acting are Hackman and Cusack in my opinion with Weisz giving them a run for the money in many scenes. Hackman is at the top of his game, but I consider Cussack up to it. He may not be an expressive actor like Hackman, who uses all of his body, voice and mimics to act. Cussack is more a subtle actor which I like about him.

A mostly clever plot, some good editing, great see why I like this movie. It has great suspense and while not reaching the same level as "12 angry men" it is still showing a nice view on the jury system.

Diggstown (1992)
1 out of 1 people found the following review useful:
One of my 3 favourite Con-flicks, 4 April 2008

There are three Con movies I really love. "The Sting", "Paper Moon" and "Midnight Sting (or Diggstown)". I don't bother to compare these three, because each has its own quality. Diggstown's strength lies in the great and obvious chemistry between all the main actors and even the supporting ones. True that Woods steals every scene he is in, but he feels so at home in the skin of Gabriel Caine, that we forgive him just to watch him do his cool one liners and gestures, like opening a bottle of Wild Turkey with his thumb. Oliver Platt gives his performance a full go in all the scenes he is alone. Together with Woods, he steps down a bit. Louis Gosset jr. was never better than in this movie, that is my honest opinion. You really buy his aged but still able boxer, and he trained the choreography well. Dern is juast as a smooth villain we like him to be. Though his role is quite one dimensional, he manages that we feel for him and understand his goals, though we truly loathe him. The story is quite plain but the execution superb. The production design is good. You really believe this to be some backwater city in the equally backwater Olivair County. The only criticism I have to make is the very constructed and thankfully not executed love interest (Heather Graham). Though she looks cute she never got into character. You could cut her role right out of the movie without missing her. Even her only service to the con men, getting the financial info, could easily be done by everyone else.

So all in all, this is a great film to watch, beer in hand and popcorn in a bowl beside you. 8/10 stars

Spy Game (2001)
7 out of 10 people found the following review useful:
Intelligent thriller, worthy of Le Carré, 3 April 2008

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

This is what an intelligent and entertaining Spy movie should look like. And I don't mean the "Super-Spy" genre with its gadgets and sly wit. In contrary. This is a very clever plot using many time and space spanning scenes. In short it revolves around a young CIA agent (Pitt) who tries to rescue his one time asset and then beloved (McCormack) from a Chinese prison. He gets captured and will be executed a few days later. 24 hours before the execution the CIA learns from his capture and, a presidential visit and trade talks ahead, decide to burn the rogue agent. They contact his recruiter and mentor (Redford) to fill them in on the young agent. This he does. Between these flashback scenes the senior agent uses all his wile he gained as a field agent to set his protegé free. The plot twists several times in unexpected ways and the tricks Redford uses in his scheme are simply great. The fine scene from "Clear and present danger", where Ford tries to outsmart his fellow deputy director are but a mere faded memory from this scheming. The directing utilizes modern fast paced cutting and editing, but mostly in scenes where there is action. Unlike many other movies using these methods, here it enhances the film instead ruining it (I regret watching the otherwise great movie "Man under Fire"). Speaking of action, if you expect an action packed spy movie like the fore-mentioned "Clear and present danger", you'll be disappointed. The only shooting involves a bunch of soldiers (first Vietcong, later on US Marines) and is only mere background. Most of the suspense is created verbally and the movie is filled to the brim with adrenaline rising suspense. The acting is very strong, especially Redford and Pitt, which seem to have developed a great chemistry. Having worked together before may have helped. But Redford definitely dominates the movie. His scenes are more than intense and when he unpacks his most dangerous weapon, his smile (in the scene when the nasty superior thinks he has nailed Redford) it is most memorable. I think this is one of his strongest acting. Summary: If you read and like intelligent thrillers from authors like Forbes, Le Carré or Nichols you might already have devoured this gem of a movie and if not, go and get it.

Waterworld (1995)
4 out of 7 people found the following review useful:
Good or bad - I am not sure, 3 April 2008

Hmm, it seem s to me that this is a "Love it or hate it"-movie, which makes it difficult for me, because I am right in the middle. As a movie and RPG-buff I like the idea of a post apocalyptic world. This world especially, because it does not show a desert. dried out land but a flooded world, where only the highest mountains were left as dry, firm land. This idea is transformed superbly into on-screen pictures. The boats, the atoll civilisation, the living as a drifter...even the submerged city are very nice. I even took the liberty of picking the whole idea for some RPG-Sessions. Then you have the acting side. Costner is a lone, quiet hero; Hopper is an ego-maniacal villain, Jeanne Tripplehorn is just gorgeous...nothing new or especially noteworthy here, but solid acting fare with no weakness. So the acting may be average, but not disappointing. The disappointment comes with the story. Though a great concept (search for dryland) it seems to be rushed (due to cutting 30 mins of it, I would assume) and concerning itself only with the action scene between the Mariner and the Smokers at the end. I don't know how much of this was the studios demand, but I would have liked a slower, more detailed development, like Costner showed in "The Postman" or "Open Range" later. The discovery of Dryland is a bit anticlimactic, happening after the big battle against the villain. That could have been placed better.

All in all the movie has great ideas and beginnings, but a weak execution of them. That is why it never created a hype like the PoC or other similar multi-bucks movies.

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