Reviews written by registered user
CGA_Soupdragon

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11 reviews in total 
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Seven Up! (1964) (TV)
10 out of 12 people found the following review useful:
Mesmerising, 13 March 2006

49 up was screened here i two episodes. Recent meetings with the participants were interwoven with flashbacks from the earlier interviews at ages 7, 14, 21, 28, 35 and 42. So beautifully put together. No sensationalism. No hopping about. Each interview subject was able to unfurl their lives in a steady pace that kept me enthralled throughout.

It's a breathtaking idea that grew out of an interest in finding out what happened to the original group after another 7 years when the children had become 14. The producers have kept in touch and most of the subjects have been more or less willing to be interviewed in the subsequent years.

This series of interviews, especially seen in the light of the fact that I am nearly as old as the people involved in this project, gave me so much. Seeing people live their lives, suffering set-backs, dealing with life's many stumbling blocks, gaining unexpected insights into themselves and their loved ones makes for a very gripping and fulfilling experience.

Absolutely marvelous. A gem.

14 out of 14 people found the following review useful:
Detailed account of a mad-man's path to hell, 14 December 2005
9/10

In the early 1990's a person shoots immigrant males in the Stockholm area. Some of the witnesses describe a red dot of light. The shooter was using a gun mounted with a laser sight.

The series, in three feature-length parts, recounts the true events leading up to the arrest of one of Sweden's most wanted criminals.

We see the danish actor, David Dencik -- a relatively fresh face in Sweden, portray Ausonius, a person totally devoid of the tools for proper social contact. It's agonizing to see Ausonius feeble attempts at interacting with other people. The moment the other person fails to match Ausonius' own picture of the world, a venomous hate boils up and over. Dencik's portrayal is very finely balanced. Especially as his role is in three parts.

Firstly, Ausonius' time as a student before his shooting spree, along with a troubled time in the army during conscription.

Secondly the period during the actual shootings/bank robberies.

And thirdly, scenes from his exclusive interviews with Gellert Tamas, a journalist on who's book this series is based.

These three parts are threaded, so that a more complete portrait of Ausonius' psyche can be painted. The patching of the scenes is a way of driving home the fact that Ausonius' behaviour has grown out of a troubled background coupled with a twisted view of his surroundings. Rather that showing the events purely chronologically, the filmmakers have opted for a style as if one has a book and needs to turn back to a earlier part to be able to study a point in time more closely.

The other main thread in the series is the painstaking police-work. The actual police hunt is a plodding affair. Because of the fact that Ausonius' crimes (the "indiscriminate" shooting of members of the male public with darker skin colour than Ausonius' own and a long string of bank robberies) were seemingly random, seemingly perpetrated by different people, the police took a very long time to focus on him.

When, in the third programme, the police receive a psychological picture of the culprit, another policeman (working on the murder of Olof Palme) remembers an earlier suspect from that investigation. The results of the profile match Ausonius psychological and active history exactly.

From that moment on, Ausonius' days at large were numbered. Ausonius' meticulously deranged plans finally become his own trap as police, needing more evidence of his activities, are tailing him and are present when he comes running out of a bank after the last of his robberies.

Lasermannen is a superb series. It oozes a creepy, realistic quality. The tired detectives, frustrated by yet more weird shootings and crazy, irrational behaviour to follow-up. Bewildered people that knew Ausonius and had to deal with him in person. Along with the victims themselves, the horribly unfortunate people shot at random and the people caught up in his other criminal behaviour.

Sad, sickening events that helped create a nasty climate in Sweden at that time.

Grim, of course, but it is also a high point in Swedish television production.

Hulk (2003)
230 out of 361 people found the following review useful:
Very impressive!, 22 November 2004

I finally caught up with the film on DVD, after missing its cinema release and just not having the urge to see it until now. It has had some rather bad press, so I wasn't actually expecting very much.

One of the reasons I have waited so long was to let my son, (who is now eight) grow up a bit before seeing it. He was interested in the tie-in products filling the shelves in all the stores on release. A blanket-marketing ploy that is becoming more and more hysterical, I fear.

Another was that I was wary of renting it as the Hulk character has been rather mal-treated in live-action form.

Until Ang Lee's film.

Firstly, this isn't by any stretch of the imagination, a kids' film. Though my younger children watched it, it gave them serious food for thought about what scientists do to animals and people in the name of science. My oldest was enthralled. She appreciated Lee's magnificent use of the film medium.

This is a very dark movie. The origin-story has been manipulated and updated linking the two lead characters (Bana and Connelly) in a sorrowful, fearful event that happened to them both in their childhood. Nice touch.

"Banner's" (Eric Bana's) father (played by Nick Nolte) shuffles back into his life after 30 years incarceration for causing the events that had traumatized the young Banner. Banner later finds that his father had "experimented" on him when they were still a whole family. This creepy device effectively modernizes the story and it's ultimate revelation is a clever way of releasing the pent-up rage that Banner jr has locked within his mind. This rage feeds the Hulk. Banner finally becomes the Hulk after some incredible bravery in the lab.

The film's effects are superb. I am a very happy viewer. This is great cinema. A wonderful adaptation of a tortured, misunderstood human being.

Highly recommended, by me, for true Hulk fans.

Wonderland (1999)
8 out of 8 people found the following review useful:
Scarred people, 11 November 2004

This isn't a cute film. It's no "Notting Hill", that's for sure. How London has been portrayed in this film is no advert for the place. Cold, nervous, loud, lonely. This is London. Warts and all. Shot in an eerie, lonely manner the film deals with individuals, whose lives have criss-crossed (or ultimately will).

I suppose at the hub of the film is a tired train-wreck of a marriage between two upper middle-aged people. The mother, unable to show affection, unable to give anything at all, and a father who keeps the act up, while hurting deep down. He's popular with the neighbors, his wife is aggressive, spiteful and is in denial of what a couch-potato she has become.

They have four children, all "adults". Three girls and a son, of whom they have very sparse contact (the father dotes, and longs for him). It's in the lives and relationships of the three daughters that the film is centered. All of whom have scars from their up-bringing. I presume the mother's problems have been handed over to the girls. One, a young mother, has difficulty showing affection to her son. Another constantly on the look out for someone to love her. It's very, very agonizing. The third daughter is heavily pregnant, and is in a relationship with a guy who has problems of his own.

Gritty. Scary and ultimately warm. (Well a few degrees above 0 Kelvin, anyway).

I found it very interesting. Makes one think.

12 out of 13 people found the following review useful:
Very satisfying ending....., 12 August 2004

Just finished watching #6 which was screened in two parts this week on SVT1. Was on the edge of my seat for both episodes.

Mirren is, as always, a joy to watch.

This riveting story is blessed with a great ending. It felt really good after this one. Quite a lot of thriller/police dramas end without one feeling that justice has been meted out. Here, the main antagonists get their just desserts. And I mean everybody. Especially the woman from the secret service. That look she gives her man at the end is priceless.

Beautifully shot and nicely scored. A great bit of telly to be sure.

Top marks here!

1 out of 2 people found the following review useful:
Bizarre, overrated., 26 January 2004

I understand why I have had no grasp of this movie before seeing it. It's pretty difficult to describe without the film seeming ridiculous. Unfortunately, after finally watching it, I'm of the viewpoint that it is a ridiculous movie.

While I heard the Eraserhead-like eerie soundtrack I was led to thinking of Lynch's early film and wondered if whether "Being John Malkovich" would have been better had it gone the whole way, as that film did.

Instead of going all out, we are ultimately fed a banal story of manipulation and greed, containg some truly unlikeable characters.

There are some interesting aspects of the movie, but they drown in incredulity after a short while.

"Being John Malkovich" really is an odd bagatelle that has far too much status, in my opinion.

Saraband (2003) (TV)
45 out of 50 people found the following review useful:
Bergman's last ever film..., 10 December 2003

When I was a teenager, I watched "Scenes from a Marriage" which was shown on British Television during the early seventies. I became engrossed, as the unrelenting camera stared and recorded the break-up of a doomed relationship. The characters seemed hell-bent on this destruction despite themselves. It was a fascinating, harrowing series and I enjoyed it. I must have done, because I never forgot the impression it gave me. Luckily the BBC kept the original soundtrack, and the show was sent using subtitles. The drama offered in those foreign tongued, angry, desperate conversations was of the highest quality.

Now, over 30 years later, I am in my living room once more watching Johan and Marianne. Only this time I don't need subtitles, as I have since learnt Swedish. :-)

Bergman weaves a tale of vindictive dependence and of a young girl's decision to finally make her own way in life - despite some very powerful forces preventing such a move.

Marianne decides to seek out Johan, meets him and becomes involved in the tug of war over his grand-daughter's future with the girl's father, Johan's depressed son Henrik (wonderfully played by Börje Ahlstedt).

A quiet, intensive film. With an important, pivotal roll for the grand-daughter Karin played by Julia Dufvenius.

Bergman should be proud of this. It's a fine epilogue to a marvelous career in cinema and story-telling.

Bravo!

The Pledge (2001/I)
What an ending!, 16 June 2003

*For anybody interested that's seen the movie*

Nicholson has been in a few great films with low-key endings. Easy Rider, Last Detail, One Flew Over the Cuckoo's nest...

But this one takes the biscuit. We are never sure if he finds out about the crash. My take on this is that he didn't and that's what riled him. His years of alcoholism, along with his sudden retirement (he seems to have been working hard until the end of his career in the force) pushes Jerry Black into a situation he's frightened of going.

I thought his colleagues felt glad getting him that ticket the hell out of there. He seems to have been a bit of a pain at the station. But he stays and gets involved. Deeply involved in his mad plan.

He uses the girl as bait, at the same time knowing that what he is doing is out of order. He knows the girl's mother would be furious. He is positive to the dress in the shop, and he places the swing out front by the gas pumps. Creepy.

At the end I went back to the part where they showed the killer. Just to get a good look at him...

Not a film for parents of young kids, as I am. An unsettling look at a very dark side of the human nature.

/Soup

Titan A.E. (2000)
23 out of 36 people found the following review useful:
Interesting effort., 16 June 2003

Saw this on DVD, missing it completely at the cinema. Which was probably what happened to the audience for the film, as it was difficult to market for any target group. Having seen it, it's apparent that lot of very hard work went into producing it.

I can compare it to a few other sci-fi animated films of recent years...

As ground-breaking as The Last Starfighter was in its day. Though not pure animation, Starfighter showed off what even early CG could do in terms of gimbal-free animation of spaceships and vehicles.

Much, much better than Final Fantasy, as the action is genuinely epic. The story goes places and uses the chosen technology very nicely. Titan is not a boring film.

Very similar to Disney's later production of the Treasure Island book. Disney appeared to have cribbed one or two scenes from Titan A.E. Not nice.

Graphically, it's up there with Iron Giant, using finely animated CG figures mixed with traditional cell animation. The scene where we first see the older Cale Tucker (in space, cutting up junk) is very impressive.

But something bugs me. There was something missing. Iron Giant gave me a sense of wonder, which was achieved by some great character acting, clever pacing and a wonderful story line. At no point was I "taken" by what I saw on-screen while watching Titan A.E.

I think Titan tripped over itself in the drama department more than a few times. Along with the latest Star Wars films, it tumbles along without stopping up and letting the audience know what the characters are feeling. The actors have to have the skills to enable the audience to feel, to immerse. Without that, the action has a risk of becoming incomprehensible.

Pretty, fast-paced, intriguing. But I wish someone would use these toys to produce something great, something big.

Something wonderful.

Hero (2002)
0 out of 1 people found the following review useful:
Pretty, but pretty boring, too., 14 April 2003

I don't mean to be flippant. But I suppose I must say that I wasn't too impressed with this film. I sat in a movie theatre where many of the audience actually laughed at some of the effects used in the film. It was just a bit too much. Shame, but I smiled wryly now and again myself, so they weren't too out of line.

There are many martial arts movies that are better than this, many more love stories. Better revenge films.

Why is this one so hyped? Is it the beautiful photography? I guess. The story isn't much to write home about, unfortunately. When compared to Kurosawa, which I have to do, then this flimsy film loses it's grip very quickly. To paraphrase a line from The Matrix: There is no depth.

Another thing. The picture-format was used as a wallpaper. The background imagery, in simplistic terms, covered the silver screen leaving very little plot going on in reality on-screen.

And with all those arrows fired at the end... You would think more than seven or eight archers had actually aimed for the guy, come on!

/Soup


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