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Dark Shadows (2012)
A good movie, not Burton's best though
I tried to waste no time at all and watched the movie last night - opening night in Germany. I was so excited to see a Tim Burton movie about vampires starring Johnny Depp - all the right ingredients to make a great film. Well - compared to most films out there, this is a masterpiece, as any Tim Burton movie is. But compared to Tim Burton's other movies, this one is only - well, let's say mediocre. Why? Well, Depp is awesome, no doubt about that. In fact, all the actors do a great job (Michelle Pfeiffer looks a bit like Kim Basinger in 8 Mile, doesn't she; and HB Carter is brilliant). But somehow there's is just a little too much stuff in this movie. Vampires, witches, werewolves, ... The usual and much-loved Burton antagonism of dark and shady and colorful and campy disappears behind all the action that is going on. Had I not seen and loved Sweeney Todd, Sleepy Hollow, and - of course - Edward, I would certainly review this one differently, but - as I said - comparing "Dark Shadows" with what I love Burton for, it's only okay. Watch it anyway. Alice Cooper's in it.
Something Borrowed (2011)
Da sieh mal einer an!
Keine großen Stars wie Tom Hanks oder Julia Roberts, ein Drehbuch, wie es so oder so ähnlich bereits in gefühlten 2 Millionen Filmen und Serien vorkam, und trotzdem lohnt sich "Fremd fischen" für jeden, der einen netten Film erwartet und dabei noch ein paar schöne Bilder von New York City sehen möchte. Hin und wieder zünden die Gags sogar überraschend gut, was an den durchweg netten, sympathischen und gut aufgelegten Darstellern liegt. Es ist erfrischend, mal ein paar andere Gesichter zu sehen, als die, die man aus tausend Romantic Comedies bereits kennt. "Fremd fischen" ist genau das Richtige für alle, die keinen revolutionären Liebesfilm erwarten, sondern Altbekanntes in einer neuen Verpackung schätzen. Schön.
Larry Crowne (2011)
Vor zwanzig Jahren war es ausreichend, wenn man zwei große Hollywood-Stars zusammen in einem Film auftreten ließ, um die immer wiederkehrende Handlung der Romcoms zu überspielen und neue Produktionen nach altem Muster zu Kassenhits zu machen. Larry Crowne ist der Beweis dafür, dass das mittlerweile offenbar nicht mehr so reibungslos funktioniert. Dieser Film ist einfach nur langweilig, unnötig, und ganz sicher kein Glanzstück in den Filmografien der beiden Stars Julia Roberts und Tom Hanks. Glücklicherweise können sich beide einen Fehltritt wie diesen erlauben, ohne um ihre Karriere fürchten zu müssen, aber für den Kinofreund steht fest: hat man die Wahl, so sollte man sich für "Fremd fischen" entscheiden und sich die Zeit sparen, die man für Larry Crowne im Kino verschwenden würde.
Ein würdiges Finale
Es ist müßig, darüber zu philosophieren, wie genial dieser Film ist. Die Special Effects sind unglaublich, die Geschichte ohnehin ein Meisterwerk, und nach so vielen Filmen und/oder Bücher endlich und leider das Ende der Harry-Potter-Saga zu erleben, ist an sich schon ein Erlebnis sonder Gleichen. Die Umsätze an den Kinokassen werden genau das bestätigen. Ganz sicher. Was mir allerdings ganz besonders an diesem Film gefiel, war die Art und Weise, wie die Hauptdarsteller ihre Charaktere verkörpert haben. Auch nach so vielen Jahren und Filmen gehen sie immer noch mit dem nötigen Respekt und Ernst an die Arbeit - und das gilt für alle, insbesondere für die drei Hauptdarsteller, aber ebenso für alle Nebendarsteller. Dieser Film ist einer der besten Literaturverfilmungen, die ich je gesehen habe. Toll.
Sherlock Holmes (2009)
Not what you'd expect, but a whole lot of fun anyway
If you are expecting to be thrust into London's past and experience another adaption of British world literature you might be surprised of Guy Ritchie's "Sherlock Holmes" version, indeed. Not a stiff detective with a pipe between his lips wearing an old-fashioned coat - this Sherlock is a super hero. A street fighter. A genius. And handsome. Dr. Watson is not only smart as he appears to be in the novel as well, also he is ironic and funny. What a great couple: R. Downey jr. and Jude Law fighting the evil. It takes a while until you've realized that there is hardly any real supernatural mystery going on but that even the most wonderful deed of an evil "Lord" turns out to be a clever trick. But what's most appealing about this movie is Downey's performance. First, I thought I was watching Johnny Depp in one of his funnier movies like "Pirates" or "Fear & Loathing", then RDjr. reminded me of J.J. Liefers, a well-known German actor. Then, however, I realized that I was watching the original perform. Go and see it if you haven't yet. And get some popcorn before you enter the theater. You'll have a good time.
Even more than one could expect
Tim Burton has always been known for his combining the brutal with the beautiful and the melancholy with the funny. He is one of the very few directors who can make the longing for death a humorous matter, and Burton has been perfecting this ability throughout most of his career. A chief contribution to the particular Burtonesque style was his teaming-up with Johnny Depp for "Edward Scissorhands". Ever since, this dream team of the "rather extraordinary movie" has produced masterpieces like "Sleepy Hollow", "Charlie and the Chocolate Factory", and "Corpse Bride". And now: "Sweeney Todd". I have read much about the danger of producing a musical, using an adapted play, and making actors sing. However, I always knew that Burton would not try to make this film perfect but to deliver a certain mood which can only be described as "Burtonesque", or maybe "DeppandBurtonesque". Surprisingly perfect is the result, though. Although we are talking about an old play which was hardly modified in the process of making the film, it seems like the story, the characters, and the setting were put together in anticipation of someone like Burton to make them the core of an blockbuster (if Burton films can be called this). It's hard to judge whether the "sub-perfect" singing voices of Johnny Depp, Helena Bonham Carter, and Alan Rickman are part of the film design or whether they do originate from lack of vocal abilities. Why should a broken character sing with the voice of a nightingale? By the way: Especially during the songs, but even in general, the appreciation for the best performance is owed to Helena Bonham Carter. What surprised me, though, was the amount of blood and the degree of brutality which is untypical - even for Tim Burton. At some points, it feels like you are sitting in a Tarantino movie or like you are watching a new "SAW" trailer. But considering the completely stylized mood of the movie, a certain equilibrium is created again, so that you are not left with the image of a horror slasher film but with that of a true Tim Burton creation.
I Am Legend (2007)
Film okay, actor breathtaking
Okay, I gotta be fair. I'm not much of a sci-fi fan. And dystopias are not among my favorite sorts of literature or films. Anyway, I needed to see this movie, just because of what I read in the papers about it.
The first half is just breathtaking. New York City, and no one's home. To see all these deserted streets with Christmas decoration rotting in the hot sun and plants growing over the pavement and buildings was enough to make this film a memorable one. The zombies/mutants were silly though. On the one hand they were supposed to be "mindless killing machines driven only by their fear to starve", on the other hand they manage to trap Neville and to set up some kind of a war strategy. The computer animation wasn't very good either. But to be honest: It was enough to tie me to my seat. The best thing about this movie is Will Smith's performance. I knew that he's a good actor. But it's really hard to put this amount of emotional depth into a film about a lonely fighter fighting to survive. I will not forget his grief over the loss of his dog and his attempt to get an answer from a doll in the video store. Or the fear that he puts into his voice when his dog disappears in this dark building.
Even for someone who does not like unrealistic futuristic storytelling this film is a must see. Just because of Will Smith.
Monster House (2006)
Tim Burton meets The 'burbs
Remember this 80s Tom Hanks film "The 'burbs"? What would happen if Tim Burton his version of this neighbourhood story with the help of Hollywood's perfectionists Steven Spielberg and Robert Zemeckis? Well, Monster House would be a likely result. If this film was Stop Motion, everyone would have believed it's another Burton/Selik co-operation. The film is exciting and innovative. The computer techniques are astonishing and you tend to forget that this film is not an old-fashioned animated movie but a new development in film-making. I've always felt that a lot of the recent computer animation films were more a platform for show-offs rather than a determined storytelling business. This is more or less the first time that I really enjoyed such a movie for its story and its looks. Yes, the story is old, and yes, the twists and turns in the story don't bear that many surprises, yet it feels like watching a movie that you have seen a hundred times and still watch every time they show it on TV. Some scenes are quite scary and might be a little too much for really young viewers. However, that makes the movie somehow serious and straight. I liked it very much except for the last 10 minutes or so, when I felt that the story went a little over the top. All in all it's certainly a movie worth watching.
This film is popcorn-cinema at its very best. No other company but Disney is capable of producing such a perfect combination of excitement, fun, romance, and style. Just like the first Pirates of the Caribbean, Dead Man's Chest presents a number of big Hollywood stars who seem to be having the time of their lives. Keira Knightley is beautiful and not only that. She is funny, brave, and decisive for the plot. The crew of the Black Pearl is once again as chaotic as faithful. Orlando Bloom is a hero once again, this time, however, he does not really seem to be that shining light that he was in the first movie. His part is a minor one, and once again, Johnny Depp makes the film both the best non-animation film by Disney and the best pirate-movie ever. Not only a jewel in this summer, but a jewel in cinema history.
Lost in Translation (2003)
I guess that Lost in Translation is probably the best movie ever
This film surprised me, and it obviously surprised quite a number of people. Some liked it, some didn't. I love it. It's this certain tenderness with which every single movement in this movie is choreographed. And at the same time, it's not one of those art-movies which you don't understand unless you have studied Literary Sciences or Arts for at least four years. It's a simple movie about attraction, love (I guess), and life. Bill Murray proves how great he is as an actor. It's odd to see him make fun of himself in a way by playing an actor in his mid-life crisis. Scarlett Johansson is wonderful. Her voice, her smile, and her very special beauty give this film yet another aspect to make it one of the very best (if not the best) movies that I have ever seen. And in addition to that: It contains the most beautiful love scene ever - on the hotel bed just before they fall asleep - his hand.