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11 reviews in total 
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Hogfather (2006) (TV)
0 out of 1 people found the following review useful:
Don't watch this as an introduction to Discworld... and if you did, remember the books are NOT so slow and way funnier, 23 November 2011

I was very excited to hear this movie existed. I wanted to introduce my partner to Discworld and this seemed an exciting way to do so. Hogfather is a great book, so we decided to watch the movie.

All I can say is... don't do this.

While the movie is nicely executed visually and rather faithfully follows the story of the book, it also has some serious flaws. Visually, it leans (too) heavily on famous examples such as Lord of the Rings and Harry Potter. The music seems composed by Danny Elfman for A Nightmare Before Christmas. Pacing-wise, it clearly suffers from being 3 hours long. From the sluggishly delivered introduction narration to the dialogs to the visual scenes -- everything seems to play in a universe where time is stretched by a factor two. Content-wise, it focuses strongly on the dramatic and substantially downplays the fun in the book. Finally, all actors seem keen on speaking English as incomprehensibly as possible.

All in all, we stopped watching after the first half. And we're the audience that probably would love this movie most. I'm a major fan of the Discworld novels; she's a major fan of aforementioned books-turned-into-movies, loves to read, loves endearing and humorous stories as well as exciting whodunits, and speaks English natively.

We've read that the other two movies (Going Postal mostly, but also The Colour of Magic) are much better. We'll try one of these. But ultimately I think the best way to introduce her to Discworld is by giving her a Discworld book.


Brüno (2009)
216 out of 364 people found the following review useful:
For those asking how the shock effect of 'Borat' could be topped..., 10 July 2009

Brüno is a gay Austrian fashion reporter impersonated by the man that notoriously starred as Borat in... Borat.

(For those that have seen Borat: you probably know what to expect. If you did not like Borat for the painfully explicit content, stay away from Brüno. If you almost died of laughter during a certain hotel scene in Borat, go see Brüno immediately and prepare for almost certain death.)

Obviously, having made Borat, the producers of Brüno had a hard time to repeat the surprise effect. It should therefore not come as a surprise that the movie contains substantially less confrontations between the main character and innocent (famous) bystanders. Still, confrontations with a number of people, among which a few famous ones, seem sincere, and work on multiple levels, as in Borat. Others are clearly scripted, but not less funny for that (watch the ending credits for an example).

In general, compared to Borat, Brüno focuses more on a) effectively shocking it's viewers with the (sexual) misconduct of the main character and b) stunts of this main character in front of a large audience. Essentially, this time the shock effect is moved from the 'random' people that appear in the movie, to the audience looking at the movie.

For many, it will definitely be more shocking than Borat, given the shamelessly explicit content that exploits every possibility for jokes concerning men making out. For others, the never-ending provoked racism of Borat will have a longer-lasting impact.

All I know is that I laughed a lot during this movie. It will once again lead to lots of controversy and imitation at thousands of workplaces around the globe. Maybe it is therefore best if you know what it is about.

But be warned. If you are easily offended, you will be offended. Majorly.

WALL·E (2008)
1 out of 3 people found the following review useful:
Beautiful, poignant and timely, 23 October 2008

Wall-E is a rare treat. The movie is incredibly beautiful, emotionally layered, genuinely touching, funny, and has an important message to tell.

I would rate especially the first half hour of the movie as absolutely brilliant, no reserves on that. With hardly any dialogue, the first 30 minutes are still able to capture you, by stunning animation, careful sound design, and Thomas Newman's score, which varies between eerie and playful.

It's hard to describe why Wall-E is so good without giving spoilers. So I won't. Just see for yourself.

9 out of 11 people found the following review useful:
Absolutely horrible -- another reason to pity Michael Jackson, 9 September 2008

There was a time when Michael Jackson was revered as the King of Pop. Then came a time when he attracted negative publicity as much as lemonade attracts wasps. Finally, it is now the time that we feel truly sorry for this man.

This 'movie' is another reason to. I promised a rabid Michael Jackson fan to watch it with her. You know the type of fan -- someone who tells him- or herself to like everything the object of affection ever did. While watching this movie, which she had seen twice already, I realized how far this fandom goes. Probably far enough to rate this movie above a 1/10, as some people miraculously did.

The movie attempts to be a parody of many other movies and series, most notably Cast Away, Lost and Jurassic Park. Unfortunately, it fails miserably at any level. The acting does not save the absolutely horrible story, the filming has the quality of a too-often played video tape, the special effects were better executed in Be Kind Rewind (for those who do not now this movie: with aluminum foil)... All this would be funny if the movie managed to be, well, funny. Unfortunately, it is not. It hurts to watch this.

And then there is Michael Jacksons appearance in this garbage. He appears on a projection screen to deliver an important message, and manages to come across as mobile as Jabba the Hutt and as serious as a 4-year old. Just when I thought "who is the terrible person that lured this poor man into participating in this movie and yet again making a total fool of himself", I (finally) reached the ending credits and discovered that the movie was actually partially shot at Jackson's Neverland ranch. In other words: He. Likes. It.

This movie, and Jackson's involvement in it, is truly disturbing. Do not watch it even for the "haha, a movie in the IMDb Bottom 100" effect. Or be warned.

Fitna (2008)
15 out of 34 people found the following review useful:
Exactly as bad as expected -- unfortunately, 1 April 2008

The movie Fitna offers exactly what many expected -- also what Wilders publicly announced, actually. This being said, I don't spoil anyone's surprise by saying that it shows (rather 'conveniently' translated) violent verses from the Koran and couples them with truly horrible images, such as the WTC collapsing, hostages being shot, bloody-headed children, et cetera. My 2/10 is not caused because of outrage concerning this content (showing fundamentalist Muslims as violent, et cetera) -- actually, the movie does not show much more than what we already have seen on TV channels (predominantly released in Islamic countries), which by the way makes the world-wide protests even more ironic (they are basically condemning someone for making a rather bad montage of their own filmed material).

Instead, my problem is that (a) for a movie that has created such a fuzz, it is truly rather badly executed -- a day YouTubing and another day putting the pieces together would suffice; (b) I can never listen to Grieg's Peer Gynt again without being reminded of this movie; but most importantly (c) it fails to have any contribution to the debate. Questions still in need of answering, or already answered but ignored by the movie, abound. Could we make the same movie about Christianity? Certainly. Yet Wilders defends Christianity and condemns Islam. He fails to give a good reason -- in general, we should ask ourselves why fundamentalists of other religions or convictions are better than fundamentalist Muslims? Any fundamentalist seeks to annihilate those with different points of view. It just happens to be that 'the West' has managed to really upset the fundamentalist Muslims in recent years. We are their target as much as they are ours. Another question: what will we do about this problem of ever-increasing tension? The movie does not go much further as to express the hope that we will 'wipe out' Islam as we did fascism and communism -- a truly horrible idea really. It is like proposing new crusades or a holocaust, and with that, the movie comes very close to the actual ideas that it wants to attack.

Wilders would have made a 10/10 movie if he had just shown the worldwide fear for outrage concerning the announced release of that same movie. This fear, and the outrage that was indeed displayed, demonstrated the problem perfectly: there are people that demand to have their opinions respected, and that threaten with violence if anyone asks for his different opinions to be respected; and there are people that actually are sensitive to these threats and see no other way than to tolerate intolerance. Showing this in the movie would have created a wonderful self-reference, causing people to be outraged about a movie that in the end turned out just to show them outraged.

But alas, polarization is the buzz word. Literally anyone with a computer and internet can make a movie like Fitna, targeting any religion, conviction or country he or she happens to dislike. I doubt that most of these targets would protest in the way the Muslims are now protesting, though. This makes them a rather easy target. You just press the 'offense' button and you have your desired riots.

Khadak (2006)
11 out of 22 people found the following review useful:
Disturbing, but overly slow and cryptic, 17 August 2007

I have just seen this film, and my opinion of it is mixed.

On the one hand, the film gives a detailed and intimate view of Mongolian life, especially in the first part; moreover, there is a strong political message behind it, which leads to some disturbing and powerful images (nothing too shocking).

On the other hand, everything is filmed in such a tediously slow manner that it becomes either mesmerizing or simply boring. Unfortunately, in my case, the whole audience including myself were not mesmerized. Moreover, toward the ending, the film becomes more and more surreal, which for me personally did not lead to a satisfied feeling at the actual end.

All in all, if you enjoy watching empty lands and silent people for a long time, you may be able to enjoy the positive aspects of this film. If, like me, you like films with at least the outline of a well-defined story and the feeling that you somehow understood what you just saw, this might not be the film for you.

5 out of 16 people found the following review useful:
Brilliant, 9 November 2006

I went to see this film today, returned about an hour ago and am still laughing. This simply is one of the funniest films I have ever seen.

Sacha Baron Cohen manages to stay in his role of Kazakh reporter Borat through an entire, absolutely crazy journey through America. Some of the things filmed most certainly are acted, but many encouters with people are not. There are so many highlights that it is difficult to name anything specific, especially without spoiling anything. Suffice to say that Cohen really had to do incredibly nasty (and hilarious) things in order to make this movie, and manages to make a funny moment from something as simple as entering an elevator.

In addition, while making a total fool of himself, Cohen/Borat also manages to show deeply-rooted problems in Western society, for instance by provoking incredibly anti-Semitic and anti-homosexual comments from quite ordinary people.

Granted, people from Kazakhstan might not like the way their country's lifestyle is depicted. And granted, many people will not like this (rather shocking) kind of humor. But admirers of absurdistic, ink-black and most of all insanely stupid jokes, go see and don't forget to wear a diaper ;)

Ober (2006)
8 out of 20 people found the following review useful:
Surreal but senseless violence, 25 October 2006

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

After all the positive words about this film, we went to see it yesterday. Granted, the film did have some rather funny moments. EeeeeEeeeeEEEE...

But all in all, it did not leave a very good impression. Without spoiling anything of the storyline: some sad 50-year old guy named Edgar has a miserable life and decides to complain with the writer of his life's scenario, who as a consequence decides to make his life even more miserable and surreal.

In this respect, the film's idea is quite (actually quite too) similar to the plot of Adaptation, with the same crazy consequences for the story. However, there are two main differences. First, because we know quite soon that Edgar is a fictive person, we cannot really be 'moved' by whatever harm is inflicted upon him. Second, the mental and physical abuse that is actually inflicted upon him is totally without any sense, purely sadistic and (with a few small exceptions) simply absolutely not funny.

According to the scenario writer: "You simply should suffer". In my opinion, a story that is only about someone suffering for no apparent reason at all is not something you should be waiting for.

Apparently, a great way to sell a bad script is to make it appear as written by someone inside the movie and make all kinds of metaphysical references around it.

*** Spoilers below ***

Really. Why does Edgar need neighbours that play excessively loud music in the direction of his wall? Why does he need to be physically assaulted by some idiots in the restaurant (if such people would really exist, they probably would be lynched)? Why doesn't he ever call the police? People are assaulted and killed and nobody does anything about it? People's character changes with every scene (the Japanese guy, anyone)? Very surreal, obviously, but also completely nonsensial.

Downfall (2004)
691 out of 755 people found the following review useful:
Impressive achievement, realistic and shocking, 24 November 2004

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

This film definitely is a must-see because of the incomparable degree of realism displayed in it. Direction, camera and acting are of an unparalleled level and make you, as the viewer, feel as if you are actually in Berlin, 1945, and in the Führer's bunker. The film does not provide any commentary or judgment, it just shows facts.

The film is criticized because it gives the Nazi's a human face, but this is exactly it's strongest point: the Nazi's were not extraterrestrial monsters, they were as human as you and I. The image of Hitler crying of sorrow because all is lost, is still burned on my retina.

In my opinion, this is a film that should be shown in schools to illustrate the Second World War with. It is probably impossible to provide a more realistic account, without *any* form of judgment.

A major achievement, even for Germany as a whole. It is very brave to create such a realistic film about one's own past.

A worthy, melancholic ending to the best trilogy so far..., 19 December 2003

I can't add much to what other people have been saying; indeed, the LotR trilogy is a masterful achievement. I don't have to say that the cinematography, storytelling, acting and music are brilliant, because by now everybody knows.

What is exceptionally well-done in my opinion is this: in part 1, we focus on the quest of a rather small group. In part 2, everything gets bigger and more epic... But in part 3, even though the battles to be fought are of enormous scale, instead of making everything bigger and more violent, Peter Jackson chose to highlight the characters. From the extremely subtle very first shot (a tiny worm) to the very last (won't spoil), the film treats you with memorable, highly emotional scenes of real PEOPLE. Instead of a bombastic ending you're treated with a much more suitable melancholy.

I never cried when seeing a film, until seeing this one this evening. The parts with "I can carry you" and "You don't bow for anyone"... well, they're almost too beautiful. Without doubt, 10/10.

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