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The Dark Knight (2008)
"I'm an agent of Chaos."
Well I finally decided to review this film.I've seen it twice in the theatre now and definitely going for a third time.This is just one of those movies you have to see again and again.It's really that good. I personally wasn't a big fan of Batman Begins.I thought it was quite boring actually and only saved by Cillian Murphy's creepy Scarecrow.It was also difficult for me to understand this new Batman interpretation because I grew up with Tim Burtons movies.Especially Batman Returns which still has a very important personal meaning for me.Also I've never really read the Batman comics since I was always more of a movie fan. I would actually say that Dark Knight is better than BR,which used to be my favorite comic book film.This movie is simply in a league of it's own.I've never seen anything like this and I watch a lot of movies.It's also quite difficult to compare Burton and Nolan,because their styles are so different.Both are excellent directors of course.Burton is one of my absolute favorites.
This movie has done something I've never seen in a comic book movie before...It is almost too intellectual and complex for it's own good.There are so many levels and layers of storytelling here that casual viewers will likely get very confused if the don't pay attention. Anyway the story is interesting,emotional,exciting,philosophical,mythical and very current.Which is probably why this movie fascinates so many people right now.There are complex themes in the movie that touch most of us these days.The three main characters Batman,Harvey Dent and The Joker represent different stages of corruption,insanity,honesty and psycopathy.All are played by brilliant actors,as are all the supporting characters.I really can't think of a bad performance by an actor in this movie.
The biggest star of the show is of course Heath Ledger as the Joker.Now he actually really shocked me.He is completely unrecognizable in this role.He is playing the ultimate psycopath and mythical villain.An unforgettable movie villain who is more a symbol of absolute chaos and anarchy than a real person.It is fascinating to watch him and analyze and wonder about his character.We are told nothing about his past and origin,he just simply exists and when he appears you are guaranteed he will cause total mayhem and destruction.Yet he is oddly sympathetic with his grim jokes and crazy appearance. Aaron Eckhart is also very good as Harvey Dent.His story is a true tragedy and the most emotional part of the film.Harvey's transformation is also essential to the themes of the movie.Christian Bale is actually the one of the three kind of left out.He does a good job,but nothing as spectacular as Ledger or as heartbreaking as Eckhart.However he is the main character and the focus is naturally mostly on him. I could probably write a novel about this movie,but I'll just say a few more things so this doesn't get too long.First the music is brilliant and the soundtrack works very well on it's own even without the movie,which is rare.Second the only problem I actually have with the movie(I think i'ts pretty much perfect otherwise)is sometimes the editing is abit funny.Mostly at the beginning because it really gets better as it goes on.Maybe I'll get over that complaint sometime.I'm hoping for a longer cut on the DVD,I think the movie could be longer. But that's pretty much it really.A brilliant intelligent movie,the best comic movie ever,a strange blockbuster and an instant classic with one of the most frightening villains in movie history.Let's hope the Oscar's recognize Heath Ledger's talent with a nomination.He certainly deserves it...
Chun gwong cha sit (1997)
"Imagine me and you...so Happy Together"
Well this is certainly one of my absolute favorite movies ever.When I first saw it about six years ago I loved it,and still do.This movie is just so beautiful and emotional it's incredible.The cinematography is very inventive and different.I love the different uses of black and white footage and the colours in this movie.
Two Chinese gay men travel to Buenos Aires and are planning to visit the Iguazu falls before returning to Hong Kong,but they never seem to get there...together anyway. The city of Buenos Aires seems so big,energetic and full of life but also sometimes very lonely and cold. There are feelings of joy,love,affection,loneliness,jealousy and an overall sadness in the whole thing,it makes me feel sad just thinking about it. This is really a story of two people in a typical love/hate,on/off relationship.And it really doesn't matter if you are gay or straight or whatever.These are themes anyone can relate to.But if you are very prejudiced you may not like it.
The actors are absolutely incredible in their roles as well. Leslie Cheung and Tony Leung make you really feel the affection their characters still have for each other...and of course all the negative feelings too. This is not a plot driven movie at all,but more like a series of snapshots in the life of a couple on the verge of a final breakdown.The end of their relationship is unavoidable but they still cling to their love until it's too late to go back.It's a very emotionally driven movie and the sad but sweet mood created is the most important and memorable thing in the movie for me. The music also seems to fit the film like it was specifically written for it.There is some Frank Zappa and some fantastic Argentinian tango and of course the very fitting ending theme song Happy Together.Now this is how you make a movie about a love coming to an end!Watch and learn Hollywood ; )
Der Untergang (2004)
Der Untergang,or Downfall,is an important film in my opinion.It shows probably for the first time the more human side of Adolf Hitler.The movie let's you see just how far gone Hitler's craziness was at thew end of the war.He didn't seem to really have any idea of the reality of the war in his last months.
The movie's main character is Traudl Junge,a young woman who was Hitler's secretary until his death.She is also seen and heard in real life in the beginning and the end of the movie.Telling that she didn't actually realise what she had got into by becoming Hitler's personal secretary.Junge also saw the most infamous figures of Nazi Germany from very close in her work,and so does the movie.Untergang reveals something of the personalities of these well konwn people,like Joseph Göbbels and his wife Magda who decide to stay by Hitler's side until the bitter end and finally end up murdering their own children because of their loyalty to Hitler.
The movie has a very depressing and sometimes claustrophobic feeling.When the Red Army is getting closer to Berlin in 1945 the people are starting to get more and more desperate and suicidal.There are many insane suicides and murders in the city,the world is falling apart.This whole confusing and crazy atmosphere is captured very well in Der Untergang. The movie balances nicely between the chaotic war on the streets of Berlin and the odd reality in Hitler's bunker. Bruno Ganz has the role of a lifetime as Adolf Hitler.He looks,talks and acts completely convincingly.Ganz's performance is amazing and probably the best thing in the movie.Hitler is shown quite realistically as a bitter old man who has no pity or understanding for even his own people.Bruno Ganz even studied Hitler's speech from a tape secretly recorded on his visit to Finland.And he has mastered Hitler's talking style perfectly.
The movie is quite long,has many characters and sometimes it may be a bit difficult to know who is who.Especially if the real people portrayed in the movie are not familiar.A second viewing may be needed. As far as I can tell the interest in this movie here in Finland is great.The theatre I saw it in was full and the audience had people of all ages.Maybe it is because this year it will be 60 years after the end of the second World War. Der Untergang definitely shows the insanity of the Nazi's ideology,the desperateness of the battle's in Berlin and the fact that the downfall was inevitable. And now 60 years after his death the world is finally ready to see that Hitler was only after all just a weak human being,not some kind of Horror story monster.And that makes him and the whole Third Reich even more terrifying...
Fahrenheit 9/11 (2004)
Well I finally saw this movie earlier this week and I'm not at all disappointed that I did!I thought about seeing it earlier when it first came out here,but never got to it really...now when the election is going on in America I just simply HAD to see it.
I really liked it.Finally someone is saying these things about Bush,which most Europeans know(I hope at least!)and are very concerned about as well,to the Americans themselves.They are the only ones who can put an end to the political careers of all these lying and dishonest people like Bush who are ruling the country at the moment.Because let's face it,as much as the Europeans and other people around the world protest against him and his government the Americans are the ones who do the voting.So I really hope that as many Americans as possible have seen this film and seriously considered the things it has to say. Sure it's obviously propaganda and Michael Moore has hardly even denied that,but still it's all basically TRUE!If only people would realize that...
And also despite handling some very serious matters that affect the lives of not just Americans themselves,but people around the world,it can also be really funny! That's one thing I really like about Moore's documentaries.He doesn't just make them serious and important to watch but gives people the entertainment as well.I actually watched Fahrenheit 9/11 just the day before the last election debate and it was quite amusing when John Kerry mentioned that Bush had said he's not that worried about Osama Bin Laden and Bush replied that :
'Gosh, I don't think I ever said I'm not worried about Osama Bin Laden. That's kinda one of those exaggerations.'
And all the while his quote about not being worried about OBL was in Fahrenheit 9/11!!! OK,either Bush has a serious problem with his memory OR he's just simply lying...I'm betting on the latter option ; )
Anyway this movie/documentary is a must see for anyone at least remotely interested about the state of the world.It has some very important things to say and there are LOT'S of them so I guess I'll better go see it again to catch them all.Maybe it's not as fun to watch as Bowling for Columbine was sometimes but that's not really the most important thing.
The important thing is the message of the film.To quote again the very quotable George W.Bush and of course Michael Moore himself :
George W. Bush :There's an old saying in Tennessee. I know it's in Texas, probably in Tennessee, that says: "Fool me once..."
George W. Bush : "... shame on...".
George W. Bush : "Shame on you..."
George W. Bush : "If fooled, you can't get fooled again."
Michael Moore : For once, we agreed.
Well I definitely agree on that one!!!
Schindler's List (1993)
A modern classic
Schindlers List is one of those movies that you just have to see at least once.It is very powerful and important in it's message and story. Even though I actually slightly prefer The Pianist more now,this movie is still the one which introduces the horrors of the holocaust to most children and teenagers because it is shown in schools,probably around the world.So they would learn what happened and maybe be interested in seeing some documentaries about the subject later.
So like I said in my summary it is a modern classic.And a very important one as well.The movie captures the atmosphere of the time and place excellently and the black and white cinematography only makes it more powerful...and beautiful.
The actors are of course excellent.This is Liam Neeson's most significant role and the one he will forever be remembered by.Another breathtaking performance is,of course the charming but incredibly cruel Amon Goeth,played so well by Ralph Fiennes.He is so good in this role that you just start to think of him as the embodiment of evil in man.A truly chilling performance,the best of the film IMO even though others are very good as well.
So I think I've said the necessary things.Schindlers List : If you haven't seen it already then don't wait anymore!!It is Spielberg's best film by far,so emotional and beautiful. 9 out of 10
The Rules of Attraction (2002)
Not bad at all!
I am a Brett Easton Ellis fan but I have never read The Rues of Attraction.Still I was very interested in seeing this movie because it has some familiar characters in it.
I actually really liked it!It was very interestingly made.Visually different and the actors were quite good.Not really a fan of Dawsons Creek I had some doubts about James Van Der Beek playing Patrick Bateman's brother!!!But surprisingly he was excellent...even creepily reminded me of his older brother sometimes,of course he's not a crazy killer like his brother,but anyway...
The use of split screen,rewinding film and other cinema tricks also make this movie,at first maybe a bit confusing but also very interesting.When you get used to it,it works quite nicely.The movie is also funny as hell!!Even though it really is a satire and basically a critical view on the characters life style it is sometimes just as funny as a normal teen comedy,which some viewers probably thought it was going to be in the first place.But ROA is so much more...
The best scenes(or my favorites anyway)were probably Victor's crazy trip through Europe,which is an exhausting scene to look at.I wonder what an hour long movie made in that style would be like!!And the absolutely hilarious scene with Paul,his mother,Richard(DICK!!!)and Richards mother.Absolutely priceless!!
I would like to mention the music as well.There's a lot of it in the movie and it's all basically good 80's and 90's pop/rock.A good soundtrack always makes a film better,in my view anyway.And ROA certainly has some great songs,makes me want to get the soundtrack!
So The Rules of Attraction is an entertaining and funny movie but still has an important message about the shallowness of it's characters lives...all this to some wonderful cinematography and a unique visual style + great music and good acting.What more could you ask for!! 8 out of 10.
Van Helsing (2004)
Well I certainly got a laugh out of this film...
Now that the DVD is almost out I think I could write something about this film. Hmmm let's see...I went to see it three times in a movie theater.Yes,three times!
Because it was so damn funny!This film is one of those really bad movies that are almost good.I had so much fun...like watching a really good comedy.Except this was meant to be serious,I think?!
Oh but seriously,Van Helsing is a very bad movie.Kate Beckinsale's trannsylvania accent and weird outfit are just one example of the joys this film has to offer,when speaking of unintentionally funny things of course.
Then there are the references,or it might be best to talk about rippoffs actually,because this film has LOTS of them.It was like the utterly genius writer/director Stephen Sommers was trying to shove a part of every known fantasy/horror/sci-fi movie into this one.Making it incredibly confusing but also at the same time totally ridiculous to watch.
I believe if he wanted to make a funny parody/spoof film he succeeded definitely.
BUT if he was actually trying to make an enjoyable action/horror film with COOL effects...?I have to say a big NO!!!!
How can it be that such a charming and talented actor like Hugh Jackman,who is wonderful as Wolverine in the X-Men films by the way,can be reduced to such a boring,wooden performance?!!Well it is quite obvious that mr. Sommers's script had EVERYTHING to do with that. It also probably doesn't help if you must act with someone like Miss Beckinsale!
The only really enjoyable things in this film(besides it's campy,hammy factor)were the performances of Richard Roxburgh and David Wenham.I thought Dracula was quite good here,not really scary but you know...sexy ; ) and I also got the feeling that mr. Roxburgh wasn't exactly playing things completely seriously.Which is good!IMO anyway. Likewise David Wenham offered a completely different performance than his Faramir role in LotR,and it was good to see that he can be very versatile actor.
All in all I think I will have to give this movie 4 out of 10(at most!) But as an unintentionally funny,sucky film it gets about 9!! See it for yourself,if you dare!
In here life is beautiful!
I really wanted to see this movie after I bought the soundtrack for the Broadway revival version of the Cabaret musical this summer. So I bought the DVD and at first I was a little disappointed.Not by the movie really,but by the fact that not all the songs from the Broadway show were in the film.I really love that soundtrack so it mattered to me a lot.
Well by now I have really gotten over it.It doesn't matter anymore because the film works so well without the other songs,I feel it has everything essential from the stage version,which I have never even seen btw,yet anyway.
This is not your typical musical.It is made in a very realistic way,so there is no sudden singing like normally in musicals.Almost all the songs are performed in the Kit Kat club and they add to the seedy atmosphere there.Thinking about it now this was a good choice.It allows you to really focus on the characters and their development...as a realistic drama Cabaret is wonderful.
The actors are very good.I never cared much for Liza Minelli before but in this film she gives the perfect performance.Being very believable as Sally,who goes through so many things but still,in the end,decides to continue like before. "Life is a Cabaret old chum..."
Michael Yorke and Joel Grey are also very good.I have a thing for Alan Cumming from the Broadway version as the MC,he seemed so sleazy it was amazing,but I have to admit that Joel Grey was excellent in the movie.He was all together funny and creepy and I don't wonder why he got the Oscar from this role.
Cabaret deals a lot with the Nazis coming into power in Germany in the early 1930's,even though it looks like a secondary theme in the movie.The closing shot is off a room full of Nazis shown through a mirror.It leaves no questions about the future of Germany.I haven't seen that many films dealing with pre nazi Germany before and I thought this one did it quite well.
So Cabaret is basically not "just" a musical.It has some darker themes about society,as well as showing us what the night life,and life in general,in poor Germany after the first World War just before Hitler came to power was like.And yes it also has wonderful musical scenes,good acting and is definitely worth the time to check out if these things interest you!!
9 out of 10.
"So, life is disappointing? Forget it! In here, life is beautiful. The girls are beautiful. Even the orchestra is beautiful."
The Lord of the Rings (1978)
I normally don't even bother commenting on movies I dislike,but this can be an exception.Because this movie is bad...I mean really BAD!! I made the mistake of buying the Ralph Bakshi LOTR on DVD earlier this year,being very curious and despite several warnings from other Tolkien/LotR fans I still decided I have to see it.A big mistake.
I think I remembered seeing it once as a child,years ago when I knew nothing about Lord of the Rings,but I didn't remember much about it(no wonder why!!It stinks!)and wanted to refresh my memory and see for myself if it really was as bad as people were saying. I wont get into any kind of detailed bashing of this film here,others have already made long and intense analysis of all the things where this film went horribly wrong....but one of the most annoying things is that they didn't even get the names right!! Peter Jackson and his crew and actors went into great detail to make the world of Tolkien as believable and real as possible.That included the language and the names that Tolkien had created. In this movie Celeborn is pronounced Seleborn,Moria is Muria,Saruman is Aruman(sometimes)Grima is Graima and so on,and so on...
So any sensible,and I know now that I wasn't really thinking straight when I wanted to buy this movie,Lord of the Rings/Tolkien fan should AVOID this movie at all costs!It is simply appalling to look at...but if you are a masochist or don't really care much for Tolkien anyway then this film can provide some nice unintentional laughs...especially the way that they did Sam here. All I can say is Thank God for Peter Jackson,Philippa Boyens and Fran Walsh!!
The Village (2004)
Not a horror film!
The Village is one of the most interesting movies I have seen this year.In fact I cant stop thinking about it!That,for me anyway,is usually a sign of a good movie because of all the brainless films that are usually out there.
Now what can I say about The Village that hasn't already been said...this film took many of it's viewers by surprise and some were not very pleasantly surprised.They were obviously,because of the marketing,waiting for some kind of horror thriller.Well that the film certainly is not.
This movie is more intelligent then just a monster story...it does have monsters but not what you would expect.More like The Monster In all of us.And it deals with some basic human emotions and feelings like love,fear,jealousy,happiness and innocence.
At what cost do the people who have power protect others from bad things?And what are you willing to do for the person you love and care for?These are some of the messages in the movie.Very rarely Hollywood films can make a person think so hard about these basic human things.It certainly doesn't happen to me very often.
So because of that I have to say that I really did enjoy watching The Village and will most likely see it again.To enjoy again the intelligent story,the beautiful cinematography and music and of course the incredible performances by all of the main cast.
Especially the wonderful Adrien Brody(his most amazing role since The pianist) Joaquin Phoenix(this time playing a really sympathetic character,one you really end up caring about) and last but definitely not least the young but so talented Bryce Howard who is simply amazing as the lead character of Ivy Walker.She is the true Hero in the film and the one who says the last line in the whole movie.I hope she gets many good roles in the future. I will give The Village 9 out of 10.It is very much worth it...