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This is one of the best Bond movies I have ever seen. The story is superbly put together and has some interesting twists, the action is well done and contains none of the shaky cam which plagued the last film. The actors all do a great job. Some might still be put off by Daniel Craig's rough version of Bond, but I like it and he even has a few good old fashioned one-liners here. I wasn't sure about Javier Bardem as the villain at first. I thought he was a tad too flamboyant but eventually he grew on me, plus he had a very interesting backstory and as you might have guessed already, Judi Dench is fantastic as usual as M and she even has more to do in the story this time arround. This is not a completely formulaic Bond movie. Craig's bond is still more emotional than Connery or Moore ever were and for the first time we get some relatively detailed descriptions of his childhood. And something happens to Bond in the start of the movie that affects him for the rest of the film. But despite all that there are tons of James Bond trademarks like the martini, the introduction and even Q. Some might not like this new very young version of Q but I found him to be funny and very likable. They will never top Desmond Llewelyn's original performance, and instead of making a cheap Llewelyn clone, they make a completely different character which I think is the only right thing to do. This is not only a great Bond movie but just a downright great film.
Dr. No (1962)
Good actors, a few good thrills but overall unimpressive
The first Bond movie ever (unless you count the Casino Royale TV production) and one of the highest rated in the series celebrates it's 50 years anniversary this year and how does it hold up? I will start with the positives. Sean Connery is amazing as the suave yet tough super-agent. The best thing about his performance is how well he pulls off both the ruthless and charming side of 007. No other Bond actor did it that well in my eyes. The others leaned mostly towards one of the two sides for their portrayal but Connery finds a fine middle ground. Joseph Wiseman is also a worthy first cinematic Bond villain as the titular character. He is cool, he is creepy he oozes confidence. Nowadays he seems like a cliché but this is where the cliché started and it's not strange that people try to copy his performance. Ursula Andress is also a fine first leading lady though I'm not as much in love with her as many others. There are some nicely directed and exciting scenes such as the tarantula attack, the infamous "You've had your six" and Bond climbing an obstacle-filled ventilation shaft (despite that scene doesn't make much sense when you think about it). And this is where the negatives start. Most of the action scenes are pretty dated today. The figths don't really look like anyone actually gets hit and the only car chase is really short and plagued by bad back-projection. Even the climax seems rushed as hell. All it takes for Bond to save the day is to turn a steering wheel, fight the villain for 15-20 seconds and get out of there. It seems a little too easy for Bond. The pacing is also really slow by today's standards. It takes almost half an hour before the main bad guy even gets mentioned and way too much time is spent with Bond getting introduced to characters which are not really that important. Dare I say the movie is pretty boring at times. Another thing I find disappointing is the main plot. Dr No is hiding something on his island and what is he doing on this island? He jams American rockets and his next target is a rocket headed for the moon. Big deal huh? They could have spiced it up with Dr No being more insane and evil like in the book (which is superior in my opinion). While there are some bright spots in the film it never really goes as far in excitement nor entertainment as the series will later albeit not that much later.
I have not read the book Red Dragon that it's based on nor seen the remake of that name so I can say that I am fully capable of judging this movie on it's own merits. And I was surprised to see how much I got into this film. One thing that caught me was the main character Will Graham played by William Petersen. Petersen played the part really well and displayed the tortured psychology of the character perfectly so you really didn't feel that Hannibal Lecter's (or Lecktor in this film) words about him were empty. Brian Cox as the legendary cannibal was very different from Anthony Hopkins in Silence Of the Lambs. Where Hopkins was theatrical and let the insanity show, Cox was a lot calmer and down to earth when he analyzed Graham's psyche and that made it seem very realistic. While I do enjoy Hopkins portrayal as well I found Cox's interpretation to be refreshing after having seen Silence... so many times. And the villain Fracis Dollarhyde was scary and unpredictable while easy to sympathize with. I loved that character. I have no idea why this movie bombed at the box office. The creepy atmosphere, the compelling story about a man on the edge of insanity and the strong performances made this a winner.
Easy Rider (1969)
I'm not really sure how to rate this movie. At first I found it strange and a tad boring but slowly I was drawn to the poetic dialogue about freedom and perception of it, the amazing soundtrack and some very fine acting from the lead actors. I can't say it wasn't sweet to see our easy riders on the road with some solid 60's rock n' roll. But near the end the rug was pulled away under my feet in a trippy LSD sequence and a really abrupt ending. I was invested in the characters and their journey even though not a whole lot was happening per see so I guess that makes it a good movie. I think I need a couple re-watches and some time to digest it.
The Fourth Angel (2001)
This is probably as generic as revenge movies get. It starts out OK. Our hero, played by Jeremy Irons, loses most of his family in a plane hijacking and the terrorists get away with it without trial. Irons plays the angry protagonist well and you feel his emotional turmoil. But after he kills the first couple of bad guys it goes downhill. The middle of the movie is really slow and kind of boring. Only the performances of Irons and Forest Whitaker (whose character was not that great on paper) held my interrest. I never really got who the villains were. Some sort of Serbian terrorists with connections to the CIA and that's a big problem in a revenge flick. You're supposed to rut for the hero all the way and that's not easy if you don't really know what he is up against. The few action scenes were nothing special either. They were not really bad but it was fairly standard shootouts. The plot really tried to be smart and intriguing but it just ended up predictable and half assed. This was just a very hollow movie.
A worthy ending
For ten years I have been waiting for this and now it's finally here: The epic conclusion of the Harry Potter franchise and it's worth the wait. Why only 7 stars? I felt that the movie had a little too many plot threads to handle in the end. For instance when Harry goes into the hall with all those dead characters we know and might love and you sit there thinking: "How did that happen?" and you get no explanation. It was a while since I read the book so I didn't remember that much. It also scratched the surface of Dumbledore's past without really diving into it and if you ask me they shouldn't have included it in the movie at all because it didn't have the running time to flesh it out properly. But the positive point definitely outweighed the negatives. The acting was terrific from all parts. If Daniel Radclife starts acting in roles which do not resemble the Harry Potter character and keeps doing it he surely will be remembered as not only Harry Potter but a good actor. Emma Watson and Rupert Grint supported him perfectly. I also love Alan Rickman in anything he does and this is no exception and Ralph Fieness as Voldemort was a pleasure too. The action was really well done, the effects were splendid and you really gave a damn about what was going on even if you read the book and knew what was goiing to happen. The final confrontation between Voldemort and Harry was actually way better than in the book where I really thought Rowling copped out but this was thrilling! The ending bit was also very touching until the last ten seconds where my theater had technical difficulties and the screen went green. If you like Harry Potter you have to see this movie for obvious reasons and I tell you it's a good time some script problems aside.
Mortal Kombat: Annihilation (1997)
So bad I had to sit through it
I caught this movie on TV one day and I couldn't believe what I saw. I don't know what was worst: The acting was horrible. I am a better actor than this and when the dialog is this lame you know you're watching something bad. Even the fight scenes were not any good. Always the same jumping around and kicking not to mention there were way to many of them. It got very monotonous really fast. Let's not forget the laughable special effects which couldn't even stand up to a nineties video game. I have never played the games or seen the original movie but even if I had that wouldn't make a difference. This movie sucks! It was actually so bad it was kind of fun to watch once but keep this garbage away from me for now.
X-Men: First Class (2011)
Entertaining and engaging
The first X-men movie was great. X2 was even better. The Last Stand was a big let down and the Wolverine spin off I haven't bothered to see yet. So this would either be the final nail in the mutant coffin or a much needed revival of strength. It turned out to be the latter. The best part was definitely James McAvoy and Michael Fassbender. I enjoyed every second they had on screen separately but together they were pure gold. They echoed the equal genius of Patrick Stewart and Ian McKellen in the previous films and they didn't try to imitate them but instead made their own interpretations of Professor X and Magneto. Kevin Bacon was also a nice and evil pig of a villain and I had never seen Mystique be this interesting before. Beast and Azazel were cool too. However I didn't really connect to the younger recruits like Havok and Banshee then again I didn't connect with Cyclops or Storm in the previous films. The action was pretty good. The final battle in particular was a feast for my eyes. The thing I feel could have been better was the pacing. It was just a little too fast. I barely had time to get to know the characters. That aside this was an effective popcorn flick with some good action and a well executed story.
Creepy, well made and haunting
Every second of this movie gives me the shivers. Even in the slow moving first half the atmosphere is so ominous and creepy and the acting so excellent that I'm never bored. The movie builds up the tension so masterfully you're on the edge of your seat all the time. I've heard some people say that the effects are dated to which I will answer: No not really. The monster is a man in a suit with some mechanics in the head and while there are a few shots where it's movements seem a little stiff we rarely see it and when we do it's only for a short duration and it actually in many ways looks more real than most CGI creatures of today. The artwork and design is one of the reasons this movie holds up so well to me. The ship looks appropriately old and battered up and the alien itself is pure genius. This movie just keeps thrilling me every time I watch it.
Den demokratiske terroristen (1992)
Decent but the book is better
I'm quite a fan of Jan Guillou's Hamilton books so I couldn't help but compare this movie to it's literary counterpart all the time. First of all Stellan Skarsgård is doing pretty good as Hamilton though he is a little rougher looking and taller than he is described in the books. The movie also captures the mood of the book quite well but it really lacks Guillou's humor and political commentary witch makes the movie seem a little monotone at times. Some characters like Siegfried Mack and Loge Hecht aren't as well defined as in the novel and Mouna the PLO agent isn't even named. Other than that it is true to the book and the little changes they've made like the slightly altered shootout at the terrorist hideout near the end are forgivable as there is a difference in what's exciting in a book and in a movie. This film is definitely watchable but I would take the book over the film any day of the week.