47 ReviewsOrdered By: Date
Decent lightweight entertainment
24 June 2014
Bad girl Maddie is just about to wed hunky Italian Raf, and goody-two-shoes sister Taylor flies in, just to discover Raf, incidentally, is her holiday fling from three years ago and, even more incidentally, the love of her life. This is the ridiculous premise of this feel-good musical film which is also a blatant Mamma Mia rip off. The wedding, the songs, the locations, it is impossible not to see the link between the two movies.

Flawed as Mamma Mia was, at least it could rely on heavyweight actors like Meryl Streep, Colin Firth and Pierce Brosnan. The cast of this movie is nowhere near as good , and what the movie lacks in the embarrassingly simple plot, it fails to make up with chemistry and charm.

This paper-thin feel-good movie no doubt hopes to cash in on its many similarities with worldwide hit movie Mamma Mia, and both movies basically works as advertisements for holidays in Italy, showcasing breathtakingly beautiful settings.

All in all, the movie is not without its little charms and the 80s soundtrack surely appeals to many, so for an evening of feel-good fun this might just work for you, just don't expect any form of depth, thoughtfulness, cultural weight or lasting memories. I'm pretty sure you will have forgotten all about this movie in a couple of months.
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Harmless charmer
25 July 2013
A positive, charming and cute everyday girl struggles to make it professionally as well as in her personal life. She has a thing for a silent, awkward guy but can't resist letting her charming Lothario bad boy ex-boyfriend come back to have some whenever he chooses to. Sounds like Bridget Jones? Well, the Swedish romantic comedy Små Citroner gula follows the same pattern.

Små Citroner Gula follows the adventures of Agnes. She is pretty much your average girl, who has a streak of bad luck and loses her job and boyfriend on the same day. Cheered up by her loving mother, she is loaned some money to make her partner in a restaurant about to open. The movie follows her business venture and her private life, and they are more often than not mixed up, especially when she finds out that one of the city's most prominent restaurant reviewers is a goofy but cute guy that just happens to live downstairs from Agnes.

Raker Wärmländer is a good choice to play Agnes in my opinion, she is charming and looks good but not too good for the part. I was impressed with Sverrir Gudnason as well, he has a way of playing insecure, awkward guys and still he has pretty boy good looks, so the two leads make a good couple. They are helped by a strong supporting cast too, including Josephine Bornebusch, Dan Ekborg and Tomas von Brömssen.

As for the plot, it is standard rom-com fare, and you'll have it all figured out before you get through half the movie. Pretty entertaining popcorn stuff though.
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Dull story terribly acted
25 July 2013
Michelle Pfeiffer looks absolutely gorgeous in one of her first movie features, and her being in it is probably what is best known about it, since the box cover of the movie has her face all over it even though she plays a supporting character.

The main character of the film is Harry Lewis (Elliott Gould), a failed architect who is haunted by his own past, so decides to take his kids and wife Sue (Susannah York) on a road trip to the Bronx so that he can re-visit his youth.

The story about the road trip is mixed with scenes from Harry's past, in 1940s New York, where he dreams big and meets and courts Sue.

The problem with having these stories running parallel is that even though the flashbacks are of a rom-commy nature, since we already know that Sue is Harry's wife in the present, there is not really too much excitement. The actors playing in the flashbacks are horrendously bad, including Pfeiffer and her ridiculous British accent, and while the actors in the present day are good, they don't get a lot of time on screen.

On top of that, processions are slow and the film is a real sleeper, so I would recommend people to stay away from it if you're not obsessed with Pfeiffers early movie work.
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Best Friends (1982)
Few laughs
25 July 2013
Richard and Paula write movies together. In fact they also live together, are best friends and have a sexual relationship. Richard is clearly in love with Paula and makes his feeling known, to which she replies that she doesn't love him. Bizarrely enough, they get married and spend the majority of the movie on a road trip visiting both set of parents which takes its toll on the fledgling marriage.

Though Burt Reynolds and Goldie Hawn have chemistry and make a pretty cute couple, I can't get over the fact that I don't buy the premise, Paula makes it clear she doesn't love Richard and even though she agrees to the marriage, their whole relationship feels shaky throughout. Another problem is that for a comedy, laughs are extremely rare, and only the wedding scene made me smile.

A couple of years later, When Harry met Sally was made, and Best Friends is inferior to it on every level. The acting, the chemistry and dialogue are far better, so making that comparison, Best Friends falls rather flat on its nose. That's not to say it is a bad movie, just an average movie in a commonly made genre, and I guess that's why it is almost forgotten today.
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Call Girl (2012)
Powerful people can silence everyone, even filmmakers today.
19 July 2013
This movie is a fictitious account of the infamous "Geijeraffären" from the mid 70's where powerful men of the upper Swedish hierarchies, even ministers, bought sexual favors from young call girls, provided for them by a notorious brothel madam.

The movie has a strong theme, about how men in powerful positions feel they are entitled to almost everything, even buying sex from underage girls. The men of the upper classes' abuse of power and money is shown very clearly, and they don't shy away from threats or even murder to cover up what they have done. The real focus though is on the unfortunate girls from society's lower classes, who are abused by these men without a second thought, and this makes for horrendous viewing that really makes you feel uncomfortable.

Unfortunately, the film's theme has somewhat been overshadowed by a controversy between the filmmakers and the Palme family. The hot topic is whether the prime minister in film is a portrayal of former Swedish prime minister Olof Palme or whether it is merely a fictional character. After initially defending their work, the director Michael Marcimain cowardly and spinelessly decided to cut his film, removing a key scene in a hotel room. Unfortunately, this leaves a HUGE plot hole, and the ending of the movie doesn't really make sense the same way without it.

Since I watched the censored blu-ray version I had to do some research afterward to piece together the importance of the missing scene with the rest of the movie.

The movie is a beautifully shot period piece and a top class conspiracy thriller reminding me of Robert Redford's best efforts back in the 70s like Three Days of the Condor or All the President's Men. However, it's tragic how the filmmakers failed do defend their excellent work and decided to cut their own movie after pressure from the Palme family. This act of cowardice is a source of frustration for everyone who is forced to watched the censored version and unfortunately this takes away some of the attention from the powerful theme of the film and what the filmmakers really wanted to say.
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Lacklustre first movie
19 July 2013
Kicking off a new Swedish crime series based on Maria Lang's crime novels," Mördaren Ljuger inte ensam" was released in cinemas this spring. The main character Puck, played by Tuva Novotny, is invited to celebrate midsummer on a remote island. While initially reluctant, upon hearing that good-looking charmer Einar (Linus Wahlgren) will be present she agrees. The party guests all seem to be emotionally involved with one another and before long a killer starts to pick them off one by one.

Personally I couldn't believe another Swedish "killer on a remote island" would be released so soon after last year's Maria Wern thriller "Inte ens det förflutna". Both movies are about people traveling to remote islands to celebrate an occasion, but their boats break down and therefore there is no escape from the killer picking them off one by one. Even more strangely, actor Fanny Risberg stars in both movies, so I really wonder about the small world of Swedish cinema and its obvious lack of creativity and new ideas.

On the brighter side, the movie looks really good, the 50s settings look realistic and the camera-work and directing are of some quality. The actors are experienced well-known names who know how to do a good job, and I really liked watching relative unknown Ida Engvoll outshining many more experienced actors with her impressive performance as Lil. On the other hand, I found Tuva Novotny's Puck rather bland as a character, she doesn't really say or do much and therefore is more of an observer than a lead character, unfortunately.

The plot keeps you guessing most of the way through the movie, and I found myself thinking I had solved the mystery quite a few times before (of course) being proved wrong. I was quite disappointed at the anticlimactic ending though, which of course solves the mystery, but without any excitement or action. Overall, a decent first film of the series, but not on par with the likes of Wallander or Johan Falk just yet.
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Odd and demanding, but certainly rewarding
8 July 2013
This is indeed a very odd movie, and the kind of movie you'll rarely come across in cinemas nowadays. The basic plot is that two men, Wallace Shawn and Andre Gregory, sit down to have a nice meal and discuss some of the issues that are most important in their lives. Topics include the nature of the theatre, the complexities of acting, and life in general. The two men discuss art on a philosophical level, but also the meanings of life itself, drawing from their personal experiences.

It asks a lot from you as a viewer, it demands your total attention and you can't really multitask while watching because then you'll quickly be thrown off track. Keeping your attention on the movie has its rewards because the quality of the dialogue is overall very high.

Personally though I found the movie a bit uneven. The parts I found most interesting are those where they discuss their lives and their general reflections on it, and when they have differing opinions. The first part of the movie was a bit dull as it is completely dominated by Gregory talking about experimental theatre in a way that borders on rambling, and I was happy to see Wallace get a bit more attention later on. Certainly not a movie for a Friday with popcorn, but if you are interested in the nature of art itself and the theatre in particular you will find this movie rewarding.
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Valkyrie (2008)
Bryan Singer surprises by making a war movie with few Hollywood clichés.
8 July 2013
The July plot of 1944 is the focus of Bryan Singer's attempt at a US-made war movie about the desperate attempt to assassinate Adolf Hitler in the face of German defeat in World War II.

The main character and the mastermind behind the plot, Colonel von Stauffenberg, is played by Tom Cruise, in a bit of a surprising casting choice. Though Cruise is no stranger to historical films (The Last Samurai for example) the part of von Stauffenberg is a very complex man. After all, his true motives are clouded in mystery.

So does Cruise pull it off? Not really. The performance is decent, but if you compare with other performances in similar movies like Adrien Brody's pianist, or Liam Neeson and Ralph Fiennes in Schindler's List. I suspect that the filmmakers know Cruise's limitations as well, since they have hired a stellar supporting cast including Kenneth Branagh, Tom Wilkinson, Bill Nighy and Terence Stamp.

Nevertheless, this is a surprisingly solid effort, and one of the better American war movies made in the 2000s. Since Americans are not really involved, the viewer is spared the usual patriotism and flag-waving so common in American war movies, instead the film focuses all-in on von Stauffenberg and his plot. I think the movie looks good, has a good pace and keeps you interested all the way even if you history buffs already know how it will end.
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Criminal Minds: Bloodline (2009)
Season 4, Episode 13
An X-files revival
4 July 2013
As a distortion of a Romani family tradition, parents take their 10 year-old sons and break into homes, killing the parents and kidnapping their daughters. This forms the basis of this curious CM episode.

Mark Bruner's script makes me think of the first seasons of the X-files. It has all the mystery, the sense of something dangerous and foreign in your own country, and the general feeling of unease that I got from watching the X-files. It it also different from the usual CM episodes by having the "the danger is still out there"-ending that the X-files so often had.

However, I was a bit surprised at the very negative portrayal of Romanii people and gypsies in general, the show strongly confirms stereotypes of gypsies as traveling thieves with tinfoil in their bags to thwart theft alarms during their stealing sprees. I don't think Romani people are all too happy about the way they are portrayed here, and I doubt the show would have gotten away with it if another more vocal minority was portrayed in such unfavorable light.

Overall though, I liked the episode because it strayed from the usually all-to-obvious plot structure of most CM episodes.
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Jaws in Africa
4 July 2013
The story of how two man-eating lions delayed the construction of a railway bridge in Tsavo, Kenya in 1898, is one that fascinates me. The film is loosely based on the biographical account of Lt Col John Henry Patterson, played by Val Kilmer in the movie. Though the original story is decently written and very exciting to read, it is also clearly a work of its time, and some of the more racist undertones of the original short story has wisely been omitted from the film.

Halfway through the story something very strange happens. Being at least reasonably true to Patterson's account until then, the movie transforms into a carbon copy of Jaws! Suddenly throwing aside Patterson's story and all ties to reality, fictitious character Remington is introduced, horribly portrayed by Michael Douglas. This legendary huntsman is clearly the equivalent of Jaws's Quint, but unfortunately Douglas OTT-acting doesn't even come close to matching Robert Shaw's performance.

Despite the movie's obvious ambition to be a Jaws set in Africa (even down to the POV shots of the lions stalking their prey), I think lots of things work well. The ambition to emulate Jaws is at least partly successful, and the movie has some great suspenseful scenes. The extensive use of real lions Caesar and Bongo and very little animatronics means that the predator scenes look great, and I think the film benefits from being made in the mid-nineties with basically no CGI. The scenery (South Africa substituting for Kenya) looks stunning and the film is wonderfully shot, and together with the realistic animal this makes the movie look really good. The acting, apart from Douglas, is also solid with Kilmer being backed up by a strong supporting cast of Tom Wilkinson, Bernard Hill and Emily Mortimer to name a few.

Overall, I have a soft spot for "monster" movies and even though this has many flaws I think it is really entertaining and well worth watching!
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Passion (2012)
Flawed, but not the disaster many people say
1 July 2013
As usual when someone makes a very good European movie, an English-language remake is not too far away. In this case it is French psychological thriller Crime d'Amour that is remade as Passion with Brian de Palma in the director's chair.

Labelled as an erotic thriller, I have no problem understanding why the two leading ladies chose to star in this movie. Rachel McAdams is obviously looking to get away from her rom-com past just like Anne Hathaway did when she signed up for "Havoc" in 2005. Noomi Rapace's career in English-speaking movies has not been stellar, especially after the disappointment of last year's Prometheus, and as she is no stranger to nudity on cinema, her being cast in this movie is not surprising at all.

So, does this movie boost their careers? Sadly, I don't think so. While Brian de Palma has made some fantastic movies in the past like Scarface and the Untouchables, and though his movies have given his actors Oscars in the past, in truth his heyday was a good 25 years ago. While he has retained his very slick and attractive visual style, the script here is too weak and the dialog is sometimes ridiculous and so bad that nobody will win any awards here, regardless of acting talent.

In addition to this, the whole premise of the story is daft and ridiculous, does anyone really believe the advertising agency will promote to New York whoever came up with the idea of promoting jeans through an "ass-cam"-ad? It feels not only old-fashioned but also remarkably sexist for a 2012 movie.
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Pet Sematary (1989)
Better than average Stephen King adaptation
1 July 2013
Pet Sematary is a late-eighties adaptation of Stephen King's horror novel, and King himself wrote the screenplay for the film. The film follows the Creed family, recently moved from Chicago to a small town called Ludlow, Maine. The main plot concerns an ancient Micmac Indian burial ground close by, which has the power to make the dead living again, albeit as horrible zombies.

In my opinion, Stephen King movies usually works very well as mini-series because the characters are more fleshed out and their inner lives are explored more thoroughly. There's no time for this here though, so the characters feels a bit hollow and we don't get to know them all that well.

Relative unknown Dale Midkiff and Denise Crosby lead the pretty anonymous cast, the best acting performance of the movie is Fred Gwynne as old-timer Jud Crandall.

Overall, this plays pretty much like a standard horror flick, more or less, with average acting but with a better-than-average script and it builds tension well. Top marks to the makeup department though, for making the zombies look pretty good.
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Bronson (2008)
All about Hardy's performance
1 July 2013
Danish filmmaker Nicolas Widning Refn's films usually centers around violence of some sort, and this movie is no different. The film is a loose biography of "the most violent prisoner in Britain", Michael Peterson aka Charles Bronson.

This is without a doubt Tom Hardy's true star-making performance. He delivers a completely convincing and charismatic performance as the enigmatic Charles Bronson. He manages to portray his immense physical presence, his violent nature but also his more charismatic traits and his weird sense of humor. He doesn't shy away from Bronson's more bizarre behavior either.

The film is beautifully shot and portrays life outside the prison walls in 70s and 80s Britain in the same drab colors as life within prison walls. This is a huge contrast to the fairy tale-like and colorful scenes of Bronson on stage in theater makeup in short scenes inter-cut with scenes from Bronson's life. There is also a wonderfully bizarre scene of prisoners having some sort of disco to Pet Shop Boys' "It's a Sin".

Overall, the movie explores the many sides of a man with a natural predisposition for violence, and how society deals with such an individual. The best thing about it is undeniably Hardy's superb performance as the title character. On the other hand, there's really not too much else to watch, there are hardly any supporting characters and no subplots, so it's a 7 for me.
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Wallander: Försvunnen (2013)
Season 3, Episode 2
Straightforward and suspenseful
24 June 2013
I can totally see the approach the screenwriter Niklas Rockström has taken here. Use details from one of the most notorious recent crime cases in Sweden, the abduction of a 10-year old girl in 2008, and combine it with details from one of the most prominent and famous European crime cases from the last decade (which one would be a spoiler but I'm sure you'll get it when you see the movie).

The mix he comes up with is pretty suspenseful. Looking back at the plot, is has some monumental holes and some details are just too unbelievable to be realistic. The lack of plausibility doesn't strike you when you're watching though, as the pace is pretty high.

Another problem is that the film doesn't dare to show some aspects of child abduction in the movie. The film contains some rather dark and disturbing scenes but cowardly shies away from the obvious sexual dimension, probably in order to set up the totally unrealistic ending of the movie.

If the script is a bit so-so, the acting and directing is pretty solid. Krister Henriksson does a good job as does the regular supporting cast. Guest stars include Gustaf Hammarsten, a familiar face to Swedish cinema-goers, and Liv Mjönes, who has worked with Henriksson before in "Kyss Mig".

Overall this is a pretty decent Wallander movie, by no means one of the best but the pretty decent acting and fast pace keeps it interesting throughout.
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Nowhere as bad as many people suggest
24 June 2013
Jack the Giant Slayer is Warner's latest attempt to flirt with PG13-audiences interested in fantasy movies. Given the relative success of the TV series Once Upon a Time, I can certainly see why Warner chose to cook up a movie mix of Jack the Giant Killer and Jack and the Beanstalk.

Bryan Singer directs and the cast is almost all-British, Stanley Tucci being the exception. Nicholas Hoult and Eleanor Tomlinson look a bit inexperienced and I can't say that the chemistry between them is sparkling, but they get good help by experienced charismatic actors Ewan McGregor and Stanley Tucci.

Though the human characters are stereotypical and basically lack any sense of humor, the giants are the real stars of the show. The digital effects are impressive, and the giants look surprisingly good on screen. Though they are the villains of the movie they are rather charming and more interesting to watch than the in all honesty pretty dull humans.

The main problem in this movie is that it is a bit too violent for kids. Some scenes are pretty nasty indeed. However, the film is too childish to attract older teenagers, who will be put off by the film's fairy tale theme. Being a rather childish adult however, this movie suits me jut fine, and I had a really good time watching it. By no means a classic and arguably one of Bryan Singer's weaker efforts, but still good fun.
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Less horror than expected
19 June 2013
When I was a kid I used to play a game called The Incredible machine. Basically, you had to build what is called a Rube Goldberg machine, a device which carries out a simple task in an over-elaborate way. This is the way this movie works, the characters meet their ends in bizarre, creative and elaborate ways.

The plot pretty much follows the first part of the series. Criminal Minds-regular AJ Cook plays Kimberly Corman, who gets a premonition and saves a couple of people from certain death in the form of a huge highway pile-up. Of course it was their destiny to die and death will not be fooled.

Clear Rivers is kept from the first film, clearly for exposition purposes. She informs the main characters of basically what happened in the first movie, the death list and all. Her character is one of the more interesting in the movie. As is Tony Todd's undertaker character, and it is a waste that his part is so small.

I enjoyed the first movie because I felt the premise felt fresh, and though it had flaws it was pretty enjoyable. This movie is basically just more of the same. The horror elements are all but gone, the emphasis is instead placed on the impressive crash scene at the beginning and the elaborate deaths, which makes this more of a gore-action-comedy than a horror movie. The acting is also pretty bad, AJ Cook is decent enough but many other performances are way over-the-top.
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Jagten (2012)
Why men are reluctant to work with small children
7 June 2013
In a small Danish town, a recently divorced teacher is struggling to get his life together again. Having lost his teaching job, he works at the local kindergarten, where he is very popular with the kids. However, a slight misunderstanding leads to a horrible chain of events.

Just like in his most famous film Festen, Danish filmmaker Thomas Vinterberg returns to the topic of child molestation. However, unlike Festen, this movie deals with the horrible consequences for a decent man being accused of child abuse.

The film is hard and cold, never shying away from showing the horrendous journey that lies ahead for the blameless main character Lucas. The film deals with the power of an innocent lie, and how easily people consider a lie, especially coming from a small child, as a fact.

Mads Mikkelsen carries the film on his own, more or less. He is in almost every scene, and his acting performance is nothing short of brilliant. He portrays Lucas with such warmth and sympathy, and it is really heartbreaking to see how he is treated by the local community, even his old hunting buddies who are supposed to be his friends, once the lie is out in the open. I know the film is labeled as a psychological drama, but in my opinion it is also nothing short of a tremendously well made psychological horror movie. One of the best films I've seen so far this year.
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Stakeout (1987)
A forgotten 80s gem
15 May 2013
For a film which reached number 1 at the US box office and earned enough movie for the studio to green-light a sequel, Stakeout has strangely enough become a forgotten 80s gem.

The story is simple, officers Lecce (Richard Dreyfuss) and and Reimers (Emilio Estevez) are assigned to a stakeout of the house of waitress Maguire (Madeleine Stowe), hoping that her fugitive ex-boyfriend (Aidan Quinn) will return to her house. Things soon take a bizarre twist, as Lecce, posing as a telephone repairman, and Maguire start to fall in love.

Although the film offers no originality and is riddled with clichés, it is very entertaining. Although it runs for nearly two hours, it thankfully doesn't feel that long and the story keeps you interested all the way. Richard Dreyfus and Emilio Estevez are quality comedians, somewhat surprisingly in my opinion. Their jokes and banter make the comedy part of this film work well.

The thriller elements are good too, Aidan Quinn does a good job making his character look like a real bad-ass, and the film's action sequences are really solid pre-cgi-stuff. I was especially impressed by the car chase, which looks really good.

Overall, this is pure solid 80s entertainment and I think this film deserves to be remembered and watched. I think it is equally good as many other 80s action classics like "48 hours" for example. Recommended!
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Standing Up (II) (2013)
Surprisingly sweet and good-natured for a DJ Caruso movie.
20 April 2013
Based on Brock Cole's "The Goats", Standing up is the story of two geeky kids, a girl and a boy, who are the victims of a mean holiday camp prank. Stripped naked and left marooned on an island, the boy and girl are left to their own devices and decide to leave the camp and embark on an adventure on their own.

I like that the main characters are geeks and outsiders, and they are ably played by Chandler Canderbury and Annalise Basso. They are experienced TV actors despite their young age, and the chemistry between them is good. I certainly could identify with the awkward feeling of being a lonely young outsider searching for yourself and for companionship.

I like the general theme of the film, that you can learn from all your experiences, good and bad, and discover yourself as a result. I think this is a good message, especially for young adults. However, the world view is a bit too optimistic, the kids never really are in real danger despite their dangerous decision to live on their own for a few days, and the lack of any real antagonist means the film lacks an exciting edge.

Nevertheless, it is a good-natured film without nudity or swearing, and works well as family entertainment. Personally, when it comes to coming-of-age movies, I prefer Stand By Me.
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End of Watch (2012)
Good mix of found footage and traditional cop movie
19 April 2013
Gritty, realistic cop movies set in Los Angeles has become something of a trademark of David Ayers, and I've watched (and liked) some of his previous films, like Training Day and Harsh Times. This time is no different, as the plot centers around two LAPD cops.

However, the approach in this movie feels fresh, as this is a mix of a realistic cop movie and a found footage movie. This makes the film feel more documentary than usual, almost like an episode of "Cops". This works well, and as a viewer I am quickly immersed into the action.

Casting too well-known names in this kind of movie can easily ruin the documentary feeling, but I don't feel that's the case here. Acting performances are strong and believable throughout, main leads Pena and Gyllenhaal have great chemistry, and rising star Anna Kendrick adds another impressive performance to her CV.

The movie also really gets to me, and I think it scares me in some ways. Earlier movies about south central LA, for example Boyz n the hood, usually centers around minor-level drug dealers and their brutal ways of dealing with one another, but in this movie the Mexican cartels use an almost extreme level of violence and that unsettles me a bit.

Overall, a great cop movie with a really good cast and storyline, watch it!
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19 April 2013
With only 21 days left to the end of the world and humanity's last hope of survival gone, Dodge Petersen (Steve Carell) is left by his wife and is deeply depressed. In a early bizarre twist from a pretty weak movie script, it turns out that his neighbor Penny (Keira Knightley) sits on three years of Dodge's mail that has been delivered to her by mistake. Obviously she has "forgotten" to hand the mail over.

Dodge and Penny, fleeing the riots of the city, find themselves on a road trip. The focus of the trip keeps changing and what could be an interesting journey through a pre-apocalyptic America turns out to be surprisingly tiresome, slow-paced and outright boring.

The film is labeled as a drama-comedy, but I don't think the comedic parts work at all. As a drama film, it could have worked well but writer/director Lorene Scafaria's script simply isn't good enough, the downfall of humanity is shown in a way I don't buy, although lawlessness and rioting occur, much of America seems to go on their business as usual, mowing lawns in suburbia.

Another problem is the uneven acting performances. I think Keira Knightley is really good in this movie and delivers a strong and believable performance as Penny. Steve Carell, however, is clearly out of his depth here and although he clearly has comedy timing, he is simply too limited as an actor to pull this off. I like his acting in movies that suit him better, like Get Smart, but here his limits are ruthlessly exposed.

Though this movie is by no means a disaster, I've seen a lot better movies dealing with impending doom in much more gripping ways than this, so you won't miss much here.
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Silly Swedish 80s nostalgia
18 April 2013
Gröna gubbar från Y.R. certainly is not a good movie, it doesn't even come close. The plot is irritatingly bad, with small green men crash-landing their spacecraft in an amusement park while, incredibly, the character don't question their existence but plays along like nothing strange happened.

Some of the actors are screen veterans and they perform well enough, but in some of the leading parts the actors have not been seen on screen before or since this movie, and you can tell by the terrible acting. There is shameless product placement as well, as a newly formed rock band performs for no apparent reason. The humor also stinks, it is horribly dated even for the 80s and feels like bad 40s or 50s comedies.

What I liked about this movie is its harmlessness, it is apparent that the movie has no great ambitions, and it doesn't take itself too seriously. I also like the 80s nostalgia, the hair, the music, the way people used to talk, and so on, and as a nostalgic document from my childhood, I really like it. But really, if you're not into 80s nostalgia, stay away from this.
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Oh the wonderful nostalgia
18 April 2013
Usually when it comes to animated movies, I reserve my highest praise for Pixar movies. They have constantly raised the bar for animated movies for the last decade or so, and the competition has had a tough time getting close with their efforts. That is why I'm so pleased to see such a good challenger for honors, from in-house competitors Walt Disney Animation Studios.

The plot works well, focusing on video game bad boy Ralph, who is tired of being the villain and wants to bask himself in the glory of heroes by winning a medal. But what makes this a winner in my eyes is that it manages to capture both the young and the old. The story itself is good enough, but what makes me fall for it is all the connections to the old video games I used to love. Growing up in the 80s and early 90s, I just love seeing the characters I used to know from back in the days, including Pac-man and Q-bert, not to mention Bowser or Dr Robotnik.

I really had a good time watching this, and it gives Brave a run for its money being my favorite animated movie of 2012.
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Something different
18 April 2013
This documentary about sushi master chef Jiro Ono fascinates in many ways. It portrays Jiro's love for food, nicely accompanied by many lovely shots of food that makes your mouth water, but it also says a lot about Japanese society.

The film lacks a plot in the traditional sense, instead focusing on the characters. Jiro, going strong at 85, constantly seeks to improve his sushi and even dreams about it. He also strongly feels that repetition is the mother of knowledge, and his chefs (including his sons) can only master the art of sushi by constantly making it, one chef says he spent 10 years cooking omelets before getting master Jiro's approval.

The film is beautifully shot and it is a pleasure getting to know the characters behind Jiro's price-winning sushi restaurant, especially the legendary Jiro himself. Strongly recommended!
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Blue Thunder (1983)
The best helicopter action movie I've seen
7 April 2013
A few years before Top Gun set new standards for fighter plane action movies, John Badham directed Blue Thunder, an action movie about a combat helicopter of the same name.

Roy Scheider plays Frank Murphy, yet another cop, who is selected to pilot the revolutionary helicopter Blue Thunder. BT is a top-modern combat helicopter with some incredibly advanced spying equipment allowing the pilots to listen through walls, use infrared scanners among other things. This equipment quickly backfires on the crew, accidentally listening in on a meeting of a subversive group inside the FBI places Murphy and his co-pilot Lymangood (Daniel Stern) in danger.

Sure enough, Murphy is framed, and subsequently chased, and an interesting helicopter hunt begins. The strength of this movie is its brilliant action sequences, the helicopter scenes are very impressive in a time before modern cgi could help filmmakers out, and this gives the film a great look of authenticity, and though some scale models are clearly used, many of the most impressive scenes are genuine stunt work.

It is a shame that this film has become somewhat forgotten today, as it is easily on par with some of the more well-known action films of the 80s. The casting of Roy Scheider means that what the film's hero may be lacking in pure muscle size, it clearly has a lot of character instead. I was pleasantly surprised by this movie and it certainly delivers impressive action entertainment.
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