15 Reviews
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Black Swan (2010)
31 January 2011
I can already see that most reviewers won't agree, but: this movie is overrated in my opinion.

I will just briefly say: the actors are really good, so is the camera and artwork and yes, the characters do represent some interesting psychologic constellations.

But overall nothing about it seems brilliant (except perhaps for camera and artwork, which create a very tense atmosphere): the characters portrayed, a girl who cannot realize an own sexual identity and has to pay for preventing her mothers career by being born; a mother who has given up on life since she failed to become a ballerina and now makes her daughter suffer for her loss while at the same time, lives through her and forces the daughter to live her mother's lost dream. All of this has been portrayed before and much better. There is no "beyond" this in the movie, the rest is exploration of the scenario with endless "thrills for entertainment". Neither does the lucid nightmare portray ballet, nor the music, nor the characters in a credible way. One can accept the hallucinative horror episodes as some surrealistic form of storytelling, but the very bold symbolism they incorporate makes it just less credible and nowhere deeper.

Afterall the movie works somewhat similar as any teeny slasher: shocks for entertainment.
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Blade Runner (1982)
All those moments will be lost in time, like tears in the rain.
7 June 2008
Warning: Spoilers
Blade Runner is one of the really great movies of the past century. It has for good reasons remained one of the most cited examples for critics.

Most of all, Blade Runner is the visually most captivating Sci-Fi movie of all times. Its' dark, haunting vision of an apocalyptic post industrial world can even today easily compete with special effect loaded CGI movies. The rich, sinister pictures wrapped in lurid neon light create an atmosphere which pulls you deeper and deeper into the melancholic, monstrous world of Blade Runner. The music, the pictures and the deeply symbolic story create an unmatched, intense atmosphere, that has inspired countless other movies and generations of directors.

The rich story touches not only some of the deepest of human emotions, fears and hopes alike, but raises plenty of philosophical questions concerning the strive for an identity and moral integrity - and the sense in any life that is delivered to death.

Roy Batty's quest for survival throws his counterpart, Rick Deckard back to a haunting uncertainty in every single of the concepts of his life: He has to face the insane amorality of his life in an amoral world, has to question the fundamentals of his identity as a human being and finally faces the tragedy of death by gaining a deep insight into Roy Betty's world just at the moment of its' demise. In the last moments of his existence, Roy takes a deep look at his shining but all to brief lifetime and finally comes to see: "All those moments will be lost in time, like tears in the rain." The way how Deckard lives through this fundamental, existentialistic crisis could easily be compared to Beckett's "Godot" or Camus' "Sisyphus". And just like these characters, the story refuses to give an answer or non-ambiguous solution. It leaves you with questions to think about for a lifetime.

A haunting and dark, but highly rewarding journey into a fictional world, with all too real references, that is not easily swallowed or digested. But if you should try to do so, you will be working on tightening the fundamentals of your life - or just enjoy a unique trip through the corners of your mind.

Bon voyage!
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Solaris (2002)
There are no answers, only choices!
1 June 2008
Solaris is one of the few highly underrated movies at IMDb. Many have argued the message would be simplistic and the acting below average. I have to disagree with both: The ideas leave deep impressions and the acting is some of the best to be seen.

Solaris develops an almost meditative, slow narrative force, which does not deliver anything ready-made. And that is not at last because of the very subtle, but never the less brilliant performances given. Like this, Solaris chooses a highly unique approach to deliver such a complex message - and it works. The slow narration will take you deeper and deeper into the emotional world of its characters to confront you with essential questions. It is all about the strive for an identity as self conscious being and about the sense behind any effort in life:

"It's the puppet's dream... being human."

Creating and developing your self, by choosing images of possible pasts and futures to pursue. By confronting its characters with emotional situations and choices that would never be possible in any lifetime, the movie reduces its' considerations towards one question: "What are we here for?"

"There are no answers, only choices!"

If you can not see the richness of this answer all at once, you might want to think about Sartre's "Being and Nothingness" or Camus' "The Myth of Sisyphus" or how Camus could claim that "I do not believe in god and I am not an atheist!". But even if you have never heard of any of that, you can easily relate Solaris' images to your own life and being.

Unique and rich. Enjoy.
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Indiana Jones is back!
26 May 2008
First I would like to address the people writing negative comments about this movie: You are all just missing the point! Which is, that this movie is not a single step worse then any of the prequels. It delivers all you expect from an India Jones movie. There is just one difference between this and the old movies: this one came out 2008. That's it. If you just have grown up or your expectations towards a modern action movie have changed you might not enjoy this. But as you can see, many others do.

Now about the movie for itself: It has of course minor flaws - like all the Indy movies did. The ending is a bit uninspired and could have been more captivating. (But then again, compare it to the plot of the second movie - which was much worse in my opinion) The characters could have used more "personality" - the only thing that really bothered me when watching the movie. Now the rest for me is just good as it is. Lots of great laughs, subtle and less subtle humor, great locations, the old way of storytelling and filming and most important of all:

Indiana Jones! How long have we been waiting...
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Free Rainer (2007)
It is all about the message
1 December 2007
Hans Weingartner's third movie is a harsh but highly legitimate comment on today's television program.

Unlike in "Die Fetten Jahre sind vorbei" you could find many things to criticize here - while the comparison to that last movie can hardly be avoided. Much of "Free Rainer" has obviously been inspired by the same concepts, which could make you question how much inspiration there was behind this movie at all. You will find many points that leave a rather ambivalent impression concerning realism - the ending has to be called "fantasy like". At few points does the movie really convince with its' optimistic idea of how the characters and the whole scenario develops.

So what makes "Free Rainer" worth watching? Simple as often: It's the message behind all of this - which can only be understood as a comment on today's world of television. And as for this comment: There has since long not been said anything more important in a movie! Weingartner's portrait of a sick and sickening life standard drawn by the TV world is very close to reality. The rather negative way in which the TV executives appear might even be called too optimistic - while in the movie they seem just to be immoral and very well knowing what they do, reality might look somewhat worse: Most of the people in charge are probably acting in accordance to their very own moral principles.

One critic wrote "Weingartner's movie is a crude comment on an even cruder television". Very right!
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Fight Club (1999)
One of the best movies ever made
8 October 2007
Long ago I saw Fight Club for the first time. Back then it was so precisely showing all that I felt about modern society, and a lot more, it just seemed like a divine revelation. I can hardly say how much and what it gave to me, but the closest word to describe it would be "hope".

Usually as time goes by, your point of few changes, you get into other roles in life and tend to distance yourself from turbulent times in the past. But looking back today, I have to realize, that although many things have changed, Fight Club is still what it was:

Not only can I still identify with its extreme criticism, not only is it still a uniquely deep and perfectly done movie, it still stands all alone, more alone then ever perhaps, with all it has said. Brad Pitt playing Tyler Durden has remained one of the best performances ever given - just like Edward Norton as anonymous main character of the movie. Norton portraying the "normal", sick life standard of modern societies, contrasting himself to and finding himself in Tyler Durden, the anarchistic mythical creature living in and from the idea of the portrayed life standard itself. (think of the plot at this point)

The movie's portrayal of our lifes is at least a strong call for realism towards our roles in a capitalistic world, which - in the terms of globalization for example - has never seemed more unheard. And this is exactly what makes Fight Club's devastating, anarchistic point of few so highly legitimate. In the end everything is subject of interpretation, as this subversive masterpiece has put every piece of even itself into a context highly ambivalent - consciously avoiding any constructive criticism.

Many have associated this movie with a Generation of people identifying with it. Looking back many years later, this is still true - with one addition: It is clearly going to be more then one generation.
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Ying xiong (2002)
Beyond images and words
30 September 2007
"Hero" was one of the movies I liked from the first minute watching it. Although it has some ideas and characterizations I would generally dislike it has left some deep impressions - in some sense it gives you insight into something hardly reachable by images and words:

Looking at the portrayal of the characters, one could find them superficial and hardly realistic. Most of them are exceedingly over glorified - as the English title already says, they are partly portrayed only as "Hero's", with almost no further dimensions. The story and the events lack any realism at all - one is obviously watching a fairy tale.

And at this point you have to accept all those clichés as the means of any fairy tale - and remember that they serve telling an allegory. Otherwise you will miss the quintessence: This movie gives insight into something beyond images and words, a state of mind you probably can only experience. The state in which everything goes with ease and your actions seem to be guided by an inner flow. And this is what you could probably try to call it today, the state of "flow".

The unspeakably beautiful images serve this and every other aspect of the movie, making it not at last one of the most marvelous fairy tales ever told.

As far as for political dimensions, I for my part haven't noticed them when watching the movie - but of course if you apply the fairy tale's ending on todays china and its people - which I do not find entirely convincing - you will get a horrible message.
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Beautiful journey
30 September 2007
Empire of the sun is the second most underrated movie I have ever seen - right after Oliver Stone's "The Doors". Furthermore it is perhaps the best movie Steven Spielberg has done. Just like with "The Doors", you have to keep wondering why it has been accepted so poorly.

In the end whether you like this movie or not, goes back to the question of how you think about its perspective on the events of WW2 in the "Empire of the sun". Some people might not even have consciously noticed that the emotional perspective of the movie is purely guided by a child's few but felt just uncomfortable about its lack of realism - and those who did consciously notice, might have neglected it merely for the fact itself.

As defense those who did like the movie have pointed out the deep symbolism, others have for good reason referred to its uniquely beautiful imagery. But there is something far more valuable about this movie: It is just the perspective mentioned above. What you may notice as beauty inside this movie, what others may have felt irritated about, is just its emotional point of few, which seems "out of this world" in the true sense of the word. In a child's mind everything you see gets a meaning different of what we are used to and often shines bright for seemingly no reason. Like this the time in an internment camp can seem like a joyful adventure, while life's disappointments can easily break your world. Like this the borders between the sides might blur as well as between right or wrong. And like this you will finally see, and have to see, the absurdity of the witnessed events, of the war itself.

Like this and only like this, the movie develops a slow and highly surreal maelstrom of narration, which together with breath taking images might seem almost meditative. A seldom experience of a movie!
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Bad Taste (1987)
Indescribably bad
11 September 2007
I usually do not write comments about movies I didn't like, but here I just have to make an exception.

"Bad Taste" does have a name as an exceptional movie and I did have some expectations watching it.

Exceptional it is, but only for it's unspeakably bad quality. I just can not figure out how anyone can like this movie. Stylistically, there is a thin red line between "bad but still good in a special context" and "just plain bad in any context". The style of "Bad Taste", the whole "how" and "who" and "why" is so far on the "just plain bad" side, as anything can be. I could start explaining the complete lack of characters in the movie, of any meaningful behavior from the "persons" - since this is not the kind of "over acting" which seems just insane for purpose, it is just completely free of any meaning like "sane" or "insane". I could go on talking about the complete lack of story, the horrible camera work and lack of humor: let's just hope the people making this movie did not seriously think any of this was funny.

Instead I will just stop here and tell you not to waste your time watching this movie. I already regret the time it took me to write about it..
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Impressions on counter culture in China
5 June 2007
Watching Beijing Bubbles throws up the question, what it is that makes the exploration of an issue interesting - or worth to follow. In the end for Beijing Bubbles clearly applies the answer that most artists would perhaps give: It depends on what you can connect to your own life and being.

So what can I see about Punk in China: counter culture in a totalitarian state is something completely different than it is in democracy. Like this it throws an interesting picture on how and why such movements develop in general. It is not by accident that they are linked to big urban areas and not only for the reason that here you simply have many people. Counter culture in a NIC means you perform next to masses of people who live below the poverty rate. Does that give such a movement a less harsh and more social character? And last but not least counter culture in a country which probably never really had anything like that before: Imagine western Pop/Rock culture if there would have been no 70's, no Grunge, no Punk or all of that only in shadows. That is perhaps why there seems to shine through some (from post 70's view perhaps naive) optimism in Beijing's punk rock scene.

Don't expect further comments on this in the movie, but if you want to get some impressions like this to think about, then go and watch it.
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Sunshine (2007)
Will there ever be a logical science fiction movie again?
17 May 2007
Warning: Spoilers
I was really looking forward to see this movie - as it had some interesting points - as always I was fearing to see another mindless Hollywood cliché. Actually I cannot remember having seen a completely logical (and complex) sci-fi movie since Kubrick's "Odyssey 2001".

And what should I say: complete lack of logical explanations. It's not even so much that the given explanations didn't make sense, it's that mostly they were not given at all, in situations where they sure would have been necessary (for not to make the movie look completely dumb).

I was really frustrated by many of these points - in short:


1.) General lack of story telling: How do we get from one situation to another, what happened in between?

2.) What causes the fire in the O2 garden? Why are there no fire extinguishers? Why is there only one garden on such an important mission? (It's the most fundamental rule to have several separated systems if they are sensitive and crucial, and nothing is as sensitive as a miniature ecosystem!)

3.) The extinction of the fire in the 02 garden: Why is it necessary to turn the Icarus back to the sun, sacrificing the crew members outside, if the extinction is done by flooding the rooms with O2 (causing everything to burn down)? Why do the crew members have to finish the repairs at that time? (The Icarus was flying with the broken shield before without problems, why can't they turn it back with the shield being only partly repaired and finish it later?)

4.) How does the insane guy get from Icarus I to Icarus II? Lets assume he had a suite, still how can he enter? (Somone would have to open a lock)

5.) Why do the crew members left back on Icarus I (in the end only the one guy) have to die without the Icarus II protecting it from the sun? The Icarus I had survived for 7 years without the Icarus II - The intact ecosystem in the O2 garden and the insane guy show that humans could survive there without problems. So why did the guy left back suicide by exposing himself to the deadly sunlight in the observation room?

6.) How can the Icarus II actually reach the drop point for the bomb, if there is not enough O2 therefore? Even with most of the crew members getting killed by psycho-guy, there is a logical mistake: Either the showdown took place shortly before arriving at the drop point, but then there would not have been enough O2 - or it takes place long before (like suggested) but then they can not be already at the drop point during the showdown which seems to be the case though...

All in all sunshine is not a really bad movie - fascinating pictures and ideas, good acting, good art direction and much more. It just makes all the mistakes you have seen in all the sci-fi movies in all the years before...
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The Doors (1991)
No one is getting out of here alive!
8 March 2007
What an incredible piece of art! The Doors is without doubt the most underrated movie I have seen so far. Given that it is dealing with a character of which almost everybody already has a picture of his own, this might not be a surprise. It is a surprise though, how poorly the movie's message seems to have been accepted.

What Oliver Stone has done here, is not an accurate portrayal of Jim Morrison or the Doors. Instead he has created something far more valuable: An extremely deep insight into the work of the Doors, but mostly Jim Morrison. You have to understand this movie as a fusion of Jim Morrison and his art, as a portrayal of his life from the perspective of the artist.

This does not mean the movie is portraying something imaginary, which never existed like this. Jim Morrison WAS like this, just he was not like this for most of the time or for most of the people around him. So you could ask, why making a movie from a perspective, why portraying a side, that for most does only cover a small piece of reality? The answer is simple: Because this piece is the one that persisted, the one that will persist. And that is not by accident, it is because this is the most fascinating and deepest picture Jim Morrison has left for others to explore.

The idea of having only a short moment to live, the idea of putting all your passion and all your anger into this moment - at the same time being desperately in search for a way to forget, to bear this fate. The life on the edge of death, in a world of beauty and pain - the desperate attempt to squeeze out every feeling just possible from your given moments, before everything is over. Giving away everything, in the light of the insight that you won't be able to hold tight anything - being delivered to death:

"You have seen This entertainment through and through. You've seen your birth, your life and death; You might recall all of the rest..."

If you now go into criticizing and analyzing this attitude, for good reasons for sure, stop for a moment and imagine:

I am the lizard king - I can do anything!
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Van Gogh (1991)
A disappointing movie with no connection to its title!
19 January 2007
I was looking forward to see this movie, being in love with Van Gogh's paintings. I have traveled most of the places Van Gogh lived and painted at and was excited to see them in the directors interpretation. In short: I was really disappointed!

To be fair: This might be an average movie with some nice acting and a realistic story.

But how does this have to do with Van Gogh as an artist or his art?

Van Gogh's highly emotional, passionate few of the whole world he lived in, his subtle way to express this, the search for the beauty inside things, the flow inside all of his paintings - you will find nothing like this considered in the movie. Not even the scenes and settings he painted play any role at all, one or two of them appear by pure random it seems, just for storytelling. A character who suicides after having said "I don't want to be considered an unhappy man", a painter who is searching his whole life for a way to show a reality behind the surface, who lays the foundings for generations to come without living to see it - what a terrific movie this could have made.

Instead you watch something that comes along like a well done TV production. This movie would be nowhere bad at all - if it was not claiming to be about "Van Gogh". Like this, it just simply doesn't deserve the title! Instead of watching this movie, you can read the text at Wikipedia about "Van Gogh", it will give you more insight.
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Lost Children (2005)
Shocking documentation about the war victims in Uganda
8 April 2006
As said in the other comment, it is rather difficult to rate a movie like this as a piece of art, but it has nevertheless a role as a witness of the crimes described.

As such it is extremely important, especially in a case like this, when it is about a civil war most of us don't know about and which is probably one of the most horrifying. (By a group of experts it has been named the second worst "forgotten humanitarian emergency" in the world, right after the conflict in Congo) The war between government troops and the "Lord Resistance Army" is now ongoing for more then 19 years. While the "Lord Resistance Army" has never stated any clear political aims, they are terrorizing the population mainly (but by far not only) of the so called "Acholiland" (named by the Acholi people) for two decades now. Their methods include the mutilation and slaughtering of the people but also the kidnapping of children who are then forced to kill as soldiers for them. Since the outbreak of the conflict in 1987 there have been killed more then 12,000 people directly by troops of the "Lord Resistance Army", not to forget about the thousands of people mutilated, raped or just made homeless refuges. Nearly two million civilians have been forced to leave their homes.

The movie mainly concentrates on the role of children in this conflict, who get kidnapped by the "Lord Resistance Army". They are made "child soldiers" and are forced to kill and mutilate other civilians, often children or even family members. Some of them can finally flee from the conflict and are in a lucky case then taken up in a Caritas lead home for kidnapped children. The movie follows mainly 3 of these child's, showing how they try to reintegrate in their society and forget about the war. Most of them will probably never succeed in both, not at least because the country is still dominated by the conflict. Their families are often afraid of them, telling stories about child soldiers having returned and then killed family members. They are either accepted at home, nor in the public, where they are equally feared and afraid themselves, since there is always the threat that the "Lord Resistance Army" could come back and kidnap them again or just kill them and their families.

Since there are no interests or causalities of western countries involved in this conflict, there is little or no media coverage. If you want to get an impression about the things happening in Uganda since the outbreak of the war two decades ago, you should watch this movie.
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An incredible masterpiece
5 March 2006
If you haven't watched this masterpiece yet, you missed one of the deepest experiences that a movie could provide. This movie is about war, about politics, about the beauty and the horror, about the human nature in itself. Many have written extensively about it, so I will rather comment on one certain issue:

The Redux version:

Whilst there exist almost only negative comments about it, I think it is even better then the original. The Redux version has been released many years after the original and contains 49 minutes of new footage (taken from the original materials). Coppola explained, he felt the necessity of making this version. Mainly for the fact, that the original version was cut in an atmosphere of extreme pressure and desperation (read about the making if you don't know why). They cut the huge amounts of material to some simple format, leaving out scene after scene in the desperate attempt to make sense of something that could not make one certain sense. The Redux version was meant to give the original some of the hectically cut out footage back.

The new scenes contain nothing that would change the story or meaning of the old movie, instead they either continue the story parts in more details or open up completely new scenes. There is the continuation of the famous Playmate scene for example, showing the perversion and insanity that briefly shines through in the original when the soldiers are heading for the playmate stage. The logical continuation takes place when Captain Willard and company meet the playmates stranded further up the river, being delivered to their goodwill.

Then there are some small additions, like a really intense close up of Marlon Brando, whose acting in this movie is legendary! You will hardly find anything to criticize about these small additions, you could perhaps argue about the changes in background music, but this is mainly a question of individual taste, since the spirit of the music did hardly change. Its still a psychedelic mix of synthesizer sounds and music by the doors.

Now other things, like the rather infamous scene on the French plantation, leave more room for debates. This scene, which was completely left out from the original, opens up a new story part, taking place on a French plantation. In my opinion, this scene added much to the movie's atmosphere, fitting perfectly into its beautiful psychedelic style. Also it was making even clearer that this movie is not simply about war: "There are two of you, don't you see ? One that kills and one that loves." This is exactly general Kurtz's dilemma: being caught in a world of insane double morality, looking for a way to find a "true" way of acting, Kurtz finally decides to break out by choosing his role as murder, by abandoning the role of jurisdiction in his (a)moral world. At the same time this sentence points to an even deeper conflict inside human nature or the world itsself: The existence of unimaginable horror and beauty next to each other. The desperate situation everyone faces who gets to see both.

Overall, the new scenes do not contain anything that would really change the old movie (whilst there was hardly anything removed from it), whilst in my opinion they add much to it. The movie is longer, it has an even more epic character and becomes an even more breath taking psychedelic trip trough the dark corners of human nature and morality. If you really hate the Redux version, ask yourself why exactly. I think it is pure perfection, as long as you don't judge it simply for the fact that it is a changed version of one of the best movies ever made. Enjoy.
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