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The Hangover (2009)
Entertaining but on IMDb Top 250? No.
It took a while for me to build sympathy for the characters. The action starts slow too. I guess they could have shortened the first half hour or so. Some of the fun things we are seeing later aren't explained to satisfaction. How they end up as they are going to is explained deus-ex-machina-style...quite lame, sadly. Some fun stuff, some childish scary-movie-type of jokes.
While this is an entertaining flick I don't understand how it wound up on #130. Better than Snatch, Big Lebowski et al? No way! In my opinion this is one of the better comedies of the last several years but that is about it - especially since the best part of the movie comes with the credits. So much stuff you could have exploited in the movie itself. Oh and you can see a boobie of that chick from Scrubs. That's a big plus!
Lucky Number Slevin (2006)
Well done, this one is a tremendously entertaining jewel!
I seldomly give a 10 because perfection is rare. But I can find no flaw in this film, the flaws (which to me occur most often and get on my nerves the most) being: a) stupid plot / dialogs / motives b) predictability c) plot holes and d) not developing a universe which makes you suspense your disbelief.
On the contrary, this film was intelligent, suspenseful, sometimes funny and which is most important breathtakingly entertaining. The acting was great, the lead actors were excellent, I was most impressed with Hartnett, whom up until this movie I had in the goofy teenage actor starring in simple minded comedies drawer not anymore! He has earned his merits to be considered a great / serious actor in my point of view.
The characters were great too, for example: bodyguards and henchmen share the same characteristics and "modus operandi" in every movie but this film manages to give some fresh air even to accepted and universal standards. Stylistic devices add the icing on the cake: Great angles, comparisons, repetitions and (outstanding!) the overall frame structure which is revealed in the end (I don't want to give away spoilers but you'll know what I mean when you watch it) which enriches the movie with a substantially satisfying moral essence.
All in all: fantastic. You will like this movie if you liked: Pulp Fiction, L.A. Crash, Magnolia etc.
Thanks to all the people who made this film, you did a great job!!!
War, Inc. (2008)
Dumb, silly, totally over the top
There is nothing new gained from this movie. We all know that corporations and greed and money basically rule the world, that USA invaded Iraq for the oil, that (mostly) American companies make big profits in post-war (if you can call it that) Iraq / Afghanistan. We know the clichés and the stereotypes.
So what's left? Well, to be entertained of course. And I was not. The plot is silly and easy to figure out. Some of the "jokes" make you cringe - below "Naked Gun" style dummy humor and not funny. Grossly over the top - not even funny as a pure comedy.
If you want good (political) satire, watch "Man of the Year", "Wag the Dog", "Thank you for smoking".
The Nines (2007)
Very intelligent, philosophical, satisfying
Gave it a nine because I don't give tens. Anyway, at first i was really wondering what this was going to be about, later in the movie I thought it was kinda like the sixth sense or like that movie where we see different personalities of a psychopath fight out who is to be the dominant part of his personality in a motel (can't remember what it was called) - but i was surprised at the conclusion. Really something new.
The film starts slow so don't watch it if you are in the mood for a fast paced thriller/drama whatever. If you have the time and the mood for a thought provoking, philosophical(!), steadily developing movie go watch this one.
Don't watch it if you're dumb (no offense to dumb people). You won't get it and you'll find it boring.
Acting was great by the way! The lead was awesome, I really like the actor now. The ending was a little too "happy" for me. But all in all I still enjoyed it veeery much.
Watch it with your best friends and discuss afterwards with a bottle of wine :)
Der Untergang (2004)
important and burdensome movie
set design, special effects, makeup, costumes etc. are flawless and excellently done, technically this is a formidable movie.
it can be a little difficult to understand and follow the plot - especially in the beginning - if you don't know the entourage in the bunker and all the other characters (speer, schenk, fegelein, weidling, mohnke et al). but contrary to some critics in Germany i don't think this film is long-winded. the more you know about the background the more you discover in each scene.
bruno ganz did an outstanding job portraying Hitler. what a feeling it must be to impersonate this man - and to force yourself to give him the full set of human emotions, to play someone like Hitler as a human being, not as a stereotyped monster. an achievement for which ganz deserves great respect.
alas, he sometimes exaggerates. if you listen to Hitler's "tischgespraeche" you can tell that ganz overdid Hitler's voice, tonality and accent. this was annoying and produced some comical / awkward situations and suppressed laughter in the cinema where i watched the movie.
***mild spoilers in the next paragraph***
many scenes, especially magda goebbels poisoning her kids, Hitler crying or freaking out or the scenes of frantic drinking and feasting were very disturbing and emphasized the mood of the whole film: dire hopelessness on the verge of madness.
although historians and contemporary witnesses praise the exactness of "der untergang" we should not forget that this is a movie, not a documentary. read "der untergang" by fest to learn about the dramatic/storytelling freedoms the filmmakers took. in my opinion though, and taking into account previous picturization, this movie is as close to reality as it gets.
what is the goal of this movie? its intention? this movie can help you visualize and realize the surreal situation in these last days of the war. you probably read or heard about it somewhere already, what occurred in those days, how Hitler managed to keep his generals in control, how the German soldiers kept this madness going. i think this movie helps you get a glimpse of a situation that is beyond comprehension - even for the people who witnessed it.
critics warned or asked whether this movie makes you sympathize with Hitler or the top military and nazi leaders. whether it makes you feel sorry for "the fuehrer" because the movie succeeds in portraying him as a human being. whether the movie tries to play down the atrocities of WWII and the nazi regime. i have at no time felt that this film tries to reduce or shift guilt and responsibility. although you might be touched by Hitler's suffering and feeling of betrayal the movie never let's you forget what Hitler (and the Nazis and the military) planned, perpetrated and thought. pity you might feel, but not for Hitler. and when the lights turn on in the movie theater you'll feel like someone punched you in the stomach - and that's definitely not sympathy.
that they show Hitler as a human being is important, so is this movie. it shows that we have to see behind the curtain. because even the most evil tyrant can behave like a decent man - if it suits him. because evil can appear in the disguise of an alluring, simpler solution. this is a lesson we have to preserve for the future.
Anger Management (2003)
Fairly amusing *spoilers within*
Sandler's character gets bullied around cause he directs his anger inwards instead of expressing it when appropriate. This is also why he gets anger management treatment. First lesson: anger management is not only about choleric but also about people who are unable to let out their anger and thus are in danger of to freaking out some day.
I think overall the humor was nice and sometimes intelligent. Unfortunately it becomes obvious very soon that the therapy is an elaborate ploy to get Sandler to express his emotions. At first I liked how the movie showed Sandler expressing more and more emotions, letting his anger out but what was subtle in the beginning gets predictable and obvious very soon. Also I never thought for a second that "Buddy" is really hitting on Sandler's girlfriend or that he tries to steal Sandler's idea for proposing. Talking about Buddy - Jack Nicholson's performance really held the movie together, I really liked his acting in this movie, some funny stuff here.
The supporting characters were nicely done although John Turturro's character and those other two wackos were bothersome. I liked the cat and John McEnroe's cameo a lot btw...
Oh and don't mind the suspense of disbelief, like how the girlfriend pays for this treatment, but when watching comedies, you should always leave your sense for in-movie-realism outside.
What I liked about this movie was that it doesn't rely on creating humor through embarrassment all the time like many other awkward Sandler-flicks do. I really don't like this type of humor.
Unfortunately the ending is totally overdone and disgustingly corny. It really spoiled the movie for me. All in all I give this movie 5 points out of 10 (because of the bad ending).
If you haven't seen the movie yet and like Sandler/Nicholson/Comedies rent the DVD and grab some popcorn, you'll have an entertaining hour and a half. No more, no less.
You will either love it, or hate it - read why...
There is one big premise that you have to swallow in order to like this show. If you can't cope with it, you won't like it, because it will smack you in the face in every episode.
It is like the James Bond movies, if you don't accept, as a premise, that Bond, James Bond, can do everything, fly, drive, shoot, use *every* piece of machinery on the planet, that he can shoot better than all his adversaries (who all miss, all the time) and gets *all* the babes, if you don't accept this, you have to hate James Bond movies, because they are ridiculous. We talk about suspense of disbelief.
The one thing you have to swallow, without thinking about it, is, that in this particular science fiction universe, the future looks like this:
You have core planets, which are like one would imagine future worlds: Big, beautiful buildings, hight tech gadgets, spaceships and shuttles, modern weapons (some that don't kill by using some kind of sonic boom), flat displays, a modern, digital credit system instead of localised currency, a totally diverse people influenced by every imaginable culture, heavily influenced by the chinese society, the only remaining superpower besides the USA and so forth.
But, and this is a capitalized BUT: There are also the outer rim planets. They don't have a developed infrastructure and such. Settlers are dumped on planets with next to nothing, exploited to recover raw materials, used as cheap labor, trying to survive. Still sounds reasonable, no? The catch is: all these outer rim worlds look like you have been thrown into a cheap spaghetti WESTERN movie.
They trade cows, they use old revolvers, drive horses and dress in western-style garments. You have little, old, dirty small villages with a saloon and stuff. These outer rim planets, out of reach of the civilised Alliance, are a no-mans-land, with superstitious, uneducated fools, where the strong fist rules - if you have the most men and guns behind you, you are the law. The poor grunt is like the cowboy in a typical western movie.
Hard to accept? Partially yes, of course. But there is logic in almost everything: there are future references everywhere! Real food (as opposed to synthesized proteins) is a rare commodity, the RICH guys have laser guns or state of the art display devices.
And - they stay true to this premise throughout the show, which is a rare thing in today's entertainment.
But apart from this (for some) hard to accept premise, this show is the most entertaining, clever, realistic(!), funny, imaginative, creative, thrilling piece of entertainment I had the pleasure of viewing (by downloading it from the internet) in years (don't get me wrong: I downloaded it because I live in Germany and the show was never aired here, and I asked my brother, who lives in the USA, to get me the DVD as a christmas present - and he did)
As for realism: Why do they still use guns to kill people, why not lasers like in Star Trek (which i am avid fan of)? I say: guns kill people, bullets are cheap. Guns get the killing done. (And there are modern (bullet) guns and lasers in the show, they exist, they are simply not widespread and only available to the rich.
No sound in space - a little thing with big impact. Not only is it realistic, but it adds to the atmosphere. Instead of ridiculous sound effects the scenes in space are underlaid with vivid music, only emphasising the vastness and nothingness of space.
The basics of the universe comply with our world. In the outer rim, where modern civilization hasn't gotten a foothold yet, things - which are to us - common, are valuable merchandise! Just imagine the third world... How much worth are medicine, guns, food there? There are (to us) barbaric customs in uncivilised areas of the world and all this is being portrayed in the show.
The Plots are great, not like in Enterprise where you seem to have seen everything somewhere before, these plots are unique, thrilling and exciting. I have seen episodes where I thought "ok, I get it" and then *wham* the story turns into a totally different direction. Surprises at every corner.
The show is so refreshingly politically incorrect, I don't want to give away plot details, but there are situations you know from your movie/series experience and think OMG there we go again (Hostage situations someone?) and then*boom* - the protagonist does EXACTLY what WE would wish to do but which every movie/series is afraid of doing because it is not PC.
The characters are three dimensional and so well laid out. This "family" on board a little spaceship, a confined space(!), with all their motivations, quirks and problems, trying to get along and achieve their goals, are so believable and make for a hell of a ride.
The creators of this show have, in the first 14 episodes, established plots, characters and atmosphere that other science fiction series have only managed to achieve - if ever - in the last seasons of their time on air.
Such a pity that most American viewers couldn't see behind a bold, unique, hilarious - if difficult to accept at first glance - premise... and see the beautiful gem of a show behind it.