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ralph_2ndedition

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8 reviews in total 
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InSight (2011)
10 out of 21 people found the following review useful:
Ya gotta see the whole thing..., 15 February 2012
1/10

...if you're going to justify judging it later on.

I actually DID see the whole movie, but not by choice - and had I had ANY say in the matter it would have gotten turned off before the 30 minute mark.

The acting was painfully bad, thus brilliantly matching the script! Messy and so illogical it created this brain-void where only apathy and disinterest could live! Normally I wouldn't even bother reviewing a movie THIS bad, but seeing as the only other two reviewers never finished it, I kind of felt that the following needs to be said: I saw the whole thing and, YES, InSight is EXACTLY as bad as everyone says it is - EVEN the ones that never saw more than 20 minutes of it!

184 out of 244 people found the following review useful:
A captivating piece of cinema!, 25 February 2009
8/10

The music lends a threatening aspect to the opening scene, where we in slow close ups – on and off deliberately out of focus – get to follow the opening of a package. Inside the package, post marked in Hong Kong, is a framed plant. The camera starts to move backwards, taking in more of the room and revealing Sven-Bertil Taube as the opener of the package. He holds the frame in his hands, lowers his head and slowly starts to cry.

Niels Arden Oplevs Män som hatar kvinnor is based on the first of Stieg Larssons three bestselling novels, meaning of course that it is basically guaranteed large box office numbers – but the expectations will probably match those numbers. Weather the film manages to live up to these expectations I cannot say – seeing as I am one of the probably only eight people who has not read Stieg Larssons books. But as a piece of cinema, completely removed from its literary origins, it definitely leaves an impression!

The music mentioned above, written by Peter Fuchs, is the first thing to register in the mind as something interesting… Something that make everything feel very serious. The impending-doom-score composed by Howard Shore, for David Finchers Se7en, springs to mind – and this only a few seconds into the film.

The cold, hard, uncomfortable reality – where the movie takes place – is populated by a highly recognizable legion of people straight out of Swedens acting elite… (Gösta Bredenfeldt, Lena Endre, Ewa Fröling, Björn Granath, Peter Haber och Marika Lagerkrantz to mention a few) …and they all seem to have been so thrilled to be a part of this project that they almost as one has taken their characters a step back, allowing the spotlight to be shone on the two main characters, who also get to drive the story forward; the reporter Mikael Blomkvist (Mikael Nyqvist), who is digging through a 40 year old murder case involving a well known corporation family with Nazi connections, and the 24 year old computer hacker EMO Lisbeth Salander (Noomi Rapace) that every day hacks Blomkvists hard drive, captivated by the puzzling evidence (or lack thereof).

Nyqvist gets the job done playing what is basically the lesser of the two parts. You instinctively feel sympathy for him, and sympathizes with him – even in his very first scene, in which his character is convicted of slander, and sentenced to prison.

But when the lights come back on in the theatre, and you gather up your half eaten box of popcorn and your coat, it's not Mikael Nyqvists understated but persistent reporter you will remember most…it's Noomi Rapaces leather-and-stud clad, tattooed, pierced, heavy makeup wearing biker chick, Lisbeth Salander.

Weighted by old wrongdoings as well as new ones, Lisbeth is covered in emotional scars, making her a very interesting character – that easily could have been a silly rehash, a Gunvald Larsson in leather. But Noomi Rapace bases Lisbeth in real emotions rather than clichés and hammy over acting. You can tell that there is a real person behind that steely gazed, unyielding face, something that make those parts of the movie, where we get to come with her through what must be some of Swedish cinemas most horrendous scenes, feel that much more awful. You almost can't help looking away, as she is abused over and over again…

The relationship between Mikael Blomkvist and Lisbeth Salander is the only part where I felt the movie rushed things just a tad. But this is only a mild piece of criticism, as the lack of insight leaves the audience feeling that they, just like the character Mikael Blomkvist, don't know what to make of Lisbeht Salander.

Besides the two leads, I want to single out Peter Haber, who really got to show off his skills! He is obviously good for more than just playing the silly father of Sune or the annoyingly correct police Martin Beck.

I have, like I mentioned earlier, not read the novels by Stieg Larsson, and I have an automatic aversion towards Swedish cinema; which I usually find stiff, with acting taken straight out of the latest grocery store commercials. In other words, Swedish film has its work cut out trying to sell me anything. But, and I am not ashamed to admit this, I'm gonna go ahead and BUY!!!

In the narrow little world that is Swedish cinema there is a lot that one could – or even should – avoid. But this movie is not something to be ignored! So leave the kids at home (this is NOT a very pleasant film) and head for your nearest multiplex to take in of the most thrilling Swedish films in a very long time!

3 out of 6 people found the following review useful:
Put down the slasher franchise and come out with your hands above your head!, 18 February 2009
2/10

I really wanted to be able to sit here and say that Marcus Nispel did it!

I wanted to be able to claim that he'd given this almost 30 year old, tragically stagnating series a much needed adrenaline boost.

That he had gone above and beyond the call of duty to bring new life to Friday the 13:th and Jason Voorhees.

But I can't do that, because this movie – to be completely honest – sucked!

Paramount numbered their Friday-movies all the way up to incredulous looking roman number eight, before they gave up and tossed the series in the garbage bin – where New Line Cinema, "the house that Freddy (Krueger) built", quickly picked it up and kept on going for two more, not very awe inspiring, movies.

So when Paramount, New Line, Michael Bay and Marcus Nispel joins forces to make an, amazingly enough highly anticipated, ELEVENTH attempt, I don't know why one should expect something better, something more or even something new… Because no matter what you expect it's probably to much.

It's like there is a formula for the chain of events in these kinds of movies – a strict pattern by which it should be sewn together – and everyone is just refusing to let go of it!

Part of the story lines in the three first installments in the series have been borrowed, twisted, manipulated and cut together, a bunch of tweenagers in the middle of the woods has been added to the mix and the alcohol, drugs, sex and naked tits has then been poured into the bowl, right up to the very edge. The most likely leaflet-thin script has then been filled with reasons to break the small group apart and send them to separate, dimly lit corners (I've never been able to grasp why a big guy like Jason can't handle four or five of them at once!).

-Do you really want to know the story? Does it really matter? Alright, but it's not worth your precious time… Clay Miller (Jared Padalecki) is in Crystal Lake searching for his sister, who went missing six weeks earlier – we, the audience, saw her getting attacked by Jason. Clay meets a bunch of Johnny Knoxville/Ashton Kutcher/Paris Hilton/Lindsey Lohan-wannabee's gathered in a cabin by the lake to – well, you know it already; booze up, get high and f**k like rabbits all night long… Or something like that. At which point the big guy obviously shows up (initially with a cloth bag over his head – but after a while sporting the famous hockey mask) and starts taking them out, one by one.

The movie, by the numbers, looks like this: 95 – the movies running time in minutes. 13 – the number of tweens in the movie (8 guys, 5 girls). 13 – the number of people Jason kills in the movie. 8 – the number of times Nispel has Jason towering up behind his victims. 4 – the number of people I shared the enormous theatre with. 3 – the number of topless girls in the movie. 3 – the number of times I looked at my watch during the movie. 2 – the surprisingly few number of sex scenes in the movie. 0 – the estimated number of times I will see this movie again.

This might feel like unnecessarily harsh criticism, and when I say that I'm just so tired of watching an endless string of generic kids stare stupidly into the dark and go "Hello, is anyone there?" one might think I'd choose to watch another flick. But I am, believe it or not, a big fan of the Friday the 13:th series, and somewhere I was hoping for a fresh start. I wanted to see an interesting – albeit not amazingly good – slasher movie. In short; I was expecting – maybe out of childish naivety fuelled by burning nostalgia – something more that the same thing over and over again for the (onehundredand)eleventh time.

I'll give Marcus Nispels Friday the 13:th what I consider to be a very generous TWO-star rating, in recognition of Daniel Pearls amazing (as always) cinematography…

-Michael Bay, Marcus Nispel. This is the police! Put down the slasher franchise and come out with your hands above your head!

16 out of 21 people found the following review useful:
Eli Roth, eat you heart out!, 20 July 2006
10/10

This is tremendous movie-making, and it is, without a doubt, THE sh*t! It bases the terror on the simple fact that neither we nor the man sitting in the chair knows (or can see) what is happening around him. Is it a dream? Is it just a big hoax? ...Or is he in fact about to be tortured to death? Eli Roth tried to base the terrors in his foul piece of dogturd, Hostel, in very much the same emotions (spiced with over-the-top gore and naked tits) - and he failed miserably!

Coldo Serra's El tren de la bruja doesn't. I seriously thought my heart was going to give out several times. I was either close to hyperventilation - or not breathing at all.

I saw a subtitled version of this masterpiece at the Umea International Filmfestival (in northern Sweden), and I've gone through hell and back ever since trying to find the subtitled version on DVD, but alas I have had to give up. If you get a chance to see it though, for the love of all that is good - do NOT pass on it. El tren de la bruja is fifteen minutes of sheer, brutal and mindnumbing terror you will not want to have missed.

1 out of 4 people found the following review useful:
Imprint, Takashi Miikes MoH segment (review), 20 July 2006
2/10

According to IMDb Takashi Miike's Master of Horror-segment, Imprint, was banned in the US. So I figured I'd translate the Swedish review I just wrote for it...

It was hard to NOT have any sort of expectations from Ichi The Killer-director Takashi Miike's episode in the Masters of Horror series. And the DVD-cover of Imprint did in deed look very promising.

The story mostly takes place in a remote Japanese bordello, some time during the 19th century, and it tells the tale of a journalist searching for Komomo, the woman he left behind and whom he promised to return for. Tired and dejected he arrives at the bordello, hoping that this will be the end of his very long journey. It turns out that one of the prostitutes, a deformed and quiet girl, know about Komomo, and the desperate man makes her tell him where she is and what has happened to her since he left. The story she tells him is as deplorable as it is hard to swallow...

The first thing that hit me about the episode was how unnatural it seemed that the Japanese cast for the most part spoke fluent American-English. But I will leave it at that, it's not that big a deal. What IS a big deal however is how miserable the rest of it was. Miike's tale moves at such a slow pace that I couldn't help looking at my watch several times during the 63 minutes. The extended torure-scene, that takes place somewhere in the middle of the movie, felt so unmotivated - and pornographically intrusive - that not even THAT scene became interesting. I felt like it was violent just for the sake of violence itself - with no sense of style or purpose. The only scenes that provoked any kind of emotion out of me were the images of bloody fetuses rolling along the bottom of the swiftly flowing water...and, in all honesty, the only emotions they provoked were feelings of disgust.

The journalist seeking the love he left behind is played by Billy Drago, for me most memorable as Frank Nitti - Al Capones whiteclad assassin in Brian De Palmas The Untouchables (1987). I've always found Dragos portrayal of Nitti to be very icy (and I mean that in a good way), and that is probably why I was almost annoyed when I found him to be so terrible (NOT in a good way) in this one. His acting seems to flow between no feelings or empathy whatsoever to displays of some really bad overacting. When his character is supposed to react to the awful things Komomo has been subjected to I was sitting in the sofa, twisting and turning in an attempt to escape the horrible actingjob put forth by Drago. I'm grateful that most of the story is told by Yuoki Kudoh (Memoirs of a geisha, 2005), who plays the deformed prostitute.

The finale is probably supposed to be chocking, maybe even revolting and horrid, but I just found it to be kind of...you know... "blah" (and I looked at my watch again, for the umptieth time, just wishing the crappy episode would end). Maybe the finale caused me to smile just a bit, but that's only because I couldn't help thinking of an episode of Red Dwarf, and the upside-down chins of Craig Charles and Danny John-Jules, with eyes glued on them to make them look like aliens... Lucky you, if you've seen that episode and now decide to see Imprint, I will forever have ruined the visuals of the ending for you.

My first thought, when Imprint finally ended, was that the only thing that made the pain of watching it worth it, was hearing the main title theme by Edward Shearmur (the same music I believe is used in every episode of this series), and that - if anything - is a big friggin warning, don't you think?

One might point to the costume design, by Michiko Kitamura, and say that there, at least, is something NOT lacking in style and refinement...but there are so many other films and TV-shows that is so much better at showing off the Japanese "geisha-fashion". This is nothing but inferior and I am disappointed. Takashi Miike's Masters of Horror-episode is boring, uninspiring and pointless. In other words; It's really, really BAD!

Overkill (2004)
2 out of 2 people found the following review useful:
A glorious absence of sophistication!, 10 July 2006
7/10

That (the headline) is how comedian Jeff Foxworthy defines "redneck", but he might as well be talking about Branbomm Films Overkill.

Have you seen a really bad actionflick lately? You know, the kind where the bad guys can't shoot, where the heroes are dressed in high fashion, where sunglasses are frequent and where the big bad boss is suffering from a case of serious diarrhea of the mouth? I'm pretty sure 28 year old director Henric Brandt has been fed these kinds of films intravenously, and that there somewhere inside of him sits a tiny Michael Bay who longs to break free and direct jetfighters against a beautiful Californian sunset. But hey, what do I know?

Overkill is about a computer-disc containing who-knows-what, it really doesn't matter. What does matter is that it by accident falls into the hands of two trailer-trash lowlifes, Per Värsh and Axel Wadd. They have no idea what to do with it, but soon find themselves the targets of a neverending stream of beige-clad hit men sent out by the president of the corporation B.R.O.T.T. (yes, that's right - it's C.R.I.M.E. in Swedish). The flying bullets and constant death threats doesn't seem to bother Per and Axel, but when the president of B.R.O.T.T. kidnaps Axels sister, Alex, it becomes personal - and the boys go to war!

Director Henric Brandt and photographer Stefan Bommelin are the two halves that is Branbomm Film. They have made a whole bunch of movies together. No-budget movies, the kind where you engage the talents of relatives and friends in something you shoot in your own backyard. The kind of movies that for the most part only amuse the participants and, possibly, their friends. Whether or not Brandt and Bommelin on August 1st, when the shooting of Overkill began, had any thoughts about reaching beyond their own suburb - I don't know. But that is what happened. Four years, four months and fifteen days later, without ever having met any of them, I'm holding the DVD-cover of Overkill in my hand. Bought from one of the biggest DVD-sites in Sweden (Discshop.se).

I'm not going to sit here and tell you that Overkill is a splendid piece of film. Because it isn't. I'm not going to sit here and tell you that it's made with no money at all. Branbomm Films has spent 18.000 Swedish kronor - $2.400 - on it (but then again, that is $2.400 for three years of shooting carcrashes, explosions and manical shootouts...I guess one could consider it as close to no-budget film-making as it is possibly get - and still spend money). I'm not even going to sit here and tell you that Overkill is well-acted, because let's be honest - nepotism is what this kind of movie-making is all about, and everyone and his brother has stepped out to help Branbomm complete their film. Branbomm pays nothing for their talent, and no talent is (usually) what they get...

What I WILL sit here and tell you is that Overkill is fun. Hilarious even! Some of the stiff dialogue is outweighed by conversations that will have you in stitches. Peter Kirs, as professional(?) hit-man Börje, is one of Overkills two biggest assets. Through him the image of Börje becomes that of a man who definitely is a couple of cans short of a six-pack. Marwin Brandt, Henrics little brother, is asset #2. He plays the president of B.R.O.T.T. and does it surprisingly well. It is pretty remarkable to see an amateur-actor be so totally immersed in his character. Eyes, voice, body language - it is all there. He is definitely present in each and every one of his scenes.

The jokes, the bullets, the explosions and the car-crashes are all nicely woven together by Samir El Alaouis funky rockmusic. It feels kind of borrowed, but still stands on it's own.

Branbomm Films Overkill is not great. It's not exciting and it is lightyears away from being a riveting actionmovie... But, like it says on the cover, it is a no-budget tribute to the bad actionflicks of the 80's and 90's. Anyone that has even the tiniest interest in the art of movie-making should see this film. It is a project filled with days, weeks, months and years of hard work, and it is a fascinating look at how far $2.400 will actually take you if you are persistent enough. It's not a diamond in the rough, but it might just be a pretty nice looking piece of rock...in the rough. But any which way you look at it, it provides entertainment and selfdeprecating humour in a brand new (but dirty looking) paper bag. It doesn't try to achieve big-budget Hollywood, but it still delivers more than could be expected.

20 out of 28 people found the following review useful:
Sweet., 20 June 2006
7/10

I've been a fan of Mattew Perrys ever since Friends first aired on TV, and I make it a point to try and see any movie he makes. However, it's sometimes a bit...what's the word...sad (I guess) to see him play "Chandler" over and over again. As much as I like that character, it would be fun to see him play something else. That's that.

As for The Ron Clarke Story, with Perry as Ron Clarke, there are certain Chandler-qualities about Clarke. But more in terms of body-language than anything else - and I guess that would be Perry himself "shining through". For the most part it's a standalone part for Perry, a good long step away from "Chandler Bing". It's a really sweet story about a substitute teacher who goes through hell and back for his students (consisting of worst-case-scenario kids). It's an inspiring story, and you really wish it would always be that "easy" to get kids out of trouble and onto the right path.

Perry is good, he almost always is, and the kids are actually believable. True, sometimes you wish Clarke would just give the snotnose kids a "feel of the back of his hand" - but I guess that would be the easiest (and most faulty) way to go.

The Ron Clarke Story is a feelgood-film, and it does just that. It makes you feel good.

In addition: Any film that makes schoolteaching look like fun deserves a whole heap of credit.

Hostel (2005)
251 out of 402 people found the following review useful:
Somewhat stylish, but very trite and predictable!, 6 March 2006
3/10

The plot, in short: Three backpackers, two Americans and one Icelander, does Europe by train with two major goals: To get high and nail as many women as possible... In Amsterdam they accidentally learn of a hostel in Bratislava, Slovakia where sex-mad women thirst for men in general, and American men i particular. They of course decide to go there and at first it seems the rumors were true. But they soon learn that the hostel is nothing more than a front for a bizarre club, where people can pay a huge fee to get to perform unspeakable acts...

My 2 cents: The director and writer Eli Roths biggest accomplishment before Hostel is Cabin Fever (2002) - weather or not that is something good is a matter of personal judgment. That he got two Evil Dead'ers (Scott Spiegel and FX-genius Gregory Nicotero) interested in his script is not at all surprising. But how he got Quentin Tarantino to executive produce (and thereby act as "posterboy" for his flick) is, to me, a total and utter mystery.

Hostel has potential, I'm not going to take that away from it. The thought that a place exists where rich people pay money to torture and kill other people is interesting. And a story about a kidnapped person who finds himself locked in that very place, waiting for his assassin, should make for a great film! The film is wonderfully lit, specifically in the torture chamber-scenes. And the set-dressing in those scenes are marvelous. It really feels like Roth found these places - and just shot them as the were. But the lighting, set-dressing and potentially-rich story, unfortunately, ends the positive things I have to say about Hostel.

It is frustrating to see a story that could have been so exciting and horrific get so utterly fumbled up! The movie is an hour and a half long, and takes a whopping 50 minutes to get to the place that is supposed to be the scene of terror and creepiness. The nearly hour-long "intro" is spent observing the backpackers while they party, get high and watch naked ladies in Amsterdams Red Light-district. When the story finally starts to focus on whatever is wrong with the Slovakian hostel it points everything out to such an extensive degree that it feels like Roth wants to put a stupid-hat on every member in the audience. I sat, in vain, and waited for him to take the lid off, go "ta-daa!" and show me something intelligent that I had missed. But it never happens and when the lid, towards the end, slowly slides off on its own accord it turns out that the ones you suspected were bad guys were in fact...bad guys. The ones you suspected were dead...were dead. And the entire movie ends the way you suspected it would all along.

Jay Hernandez (Paxton) and Derek Richardson (Josh) doesn't do to shabby in the two leads. But Roth has stayed true to Hollywood formula and chosen picturesque before personality, and the bigger part has unfortunately been given to Hernandez - instead of Richardson who I thought were more likable, and more interesting to watch.

Spanish director Koldo Serra made El tren de la bruja in 2003. A short-film about a man who agrees to partake in an experiment and suddenly finds himself strapped to a chair in a dark room. He hears metal objects being handled and someone pacing back and forth in the room. When the light is turned on it dawns on him that he will probably be tortured to death. Serras short-film is fifteen minutes long. It was filmed in two days and is scary as hell! Hostel is both longer and has, as it first seems, more story to build on. But it still wants to base the horror in exactly the same sort of scenes as Serras short - and fails miserably! Hostel is, probably, made specifically for an American teen-audience, where drugs and naked women represent half of the movies pull. Blood and bodyparts make up the other half. If you watch this and expect anything more sophisticated than some blood and naked breasts you'll be disappointed.