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Mission to Lars (2012)
I think they could have done this better. Much of the documentary seems to rely on our empathy for the main person of the film, which is Tom who has a sort of mental handicap called fragile X, but even for those who aren't fed up with this kind of cheap pandering, they don't even dig deep into his condition. The film can't seem to decide which angle to go for... The fact that they're trying to meet Lars Ulrich of Metallica or how it is for this guy to live with his condition. I don't regret watching it or anything, it's okay for entertainment but could have been much better. Clocks at approx 75 mins.
H:r Landshövding (2008)
You haven't missed out
I was expecting good things here. Björck is an interesting character in political debates and as far as I can remember this received positive reviews when it was released. Turns out it's just 80 minutes of boredom. But expect pretentious people to call it "brilliant" without any actual arguments. A lot of people have been critical about all those entertaining American documentaries of the 21st century, but the opposite is a not a recipe for success. I suppose there are some nice moments with regards to the formal aspect of film as a medium, but the content is barely there. I give it 3/10 which to me is barely above plain bad.
Battle Los Angeles (2011)
Tries a different approach, but becomes a war film
I have to give this a low rating even if it was a lot more consistent than other invasion flicks. Battle: Los Angeles is not bad, and has to be applauded for cutting out most of the sap that usually comes with big action sci-fi films, for having a credible cast and for just trying something new, but sadly it also loses a lot of the good things in this genre. It's almost as if you'd call it false advertising, because you don't really see that much of the invaders. In the end they might just have been a foreign army, because there isn't much of close-up footage of the aliens, and most of the battle just consists of two fronts shooting at each other. That's more realistic and it's nice to see a more balanced presentation of the other side; they never really seem to be unbeatable. If you're big into war action, you might dig it, but if you expect Aliens or Independence Day, don't expect to be amazed.
Unrealistic and dumb, but not quite as bad as they say
For its category, Godzilla is a decent film. But it does has some big problems which cannot be ignored, and those who say that critics should just take it for what it is - entertainment - and not have high standards for that matter, are wrong. Not having expectations of great artistic merit doesn't mean you can treat the story any way you want without some criticism.
The general clichés I think most people will accept, but well, Broderick as some nerdy guy amidst the chaos is afterall a minus, as it's just a bit ridiculous and not funny as they seem to have intended, and his whole romantic story with his old ex hurts the story more than it helps.
But I guess the main problem was the unrealisticness parts. As in such a huge monster just coming out of the water in Manhattan like that without anyone noticing before he's actually there.
Or the scene where the guys in the tunnel don't realize he's there despite the animal moving its eyelid just a few meters away and even making noise and moving.
For me most of all it was the part of the film where the baby godzillas go after the humans. That they would start act like vicious velociraptors five minutes after birth is too ridiculous. You may call this a detail, but it is a key element in the plot. I know these are lizards who don't need the long 'learning curve' like mammals when it comes to hunting for food but Jesus, this was just over the top. They'd have to run out of fish long before they'd start behaving like that, and even then they'd be pretty lame at it at first.
On the plus side though, there are a lot of cool scenes and you get plenty of good shots on Godzilla. And it being a huge blockbuster, I don't know what people expected if the disappointment is as huge as it is. I've seen a lot of films in the category that are worse. But Godzilla has somehow been talked of as one of the absolute worst big action flicks of all time, which I don't really get. It's certainly watchable, but it could have been a LOT better. Those who pretend like it's as good as it gets need to think of Jurassic Park.
Life During Wartime (2009)
Solondz disappoints again
As a big fan of foremost Happiness and Storytelling, I'm very disillusioned about the fact that Todd Solondz may never make great films like those again. This was a disappointment, but not exactly a shock after the gloom of Palindromes.
I'm not sure if this is really supposed to be a sequel to Happiness in the normal sense, but yes, a lot of the characters from that one are back. Sadly Solondz has turned Joy from a half dysfunctional "loser" to a freak, and every scene with her is pretty unbearable. The dad from the first film has also changed a lot, but that makes sense seeing how he's been in prison for years when the film starts.
Palindromes sort of drowned in gloom and repulsion. LDW isn't quite the same but it's still bleak, and often creepy. At times it borders to psychological thriller.
I have to respect Solondz for making a philosophical effort, but if there was a specific point with the story, I didn't quite get it. There's the subject of fear and hysteria in the U.S all over, but other than that, I didn't get that much out of it. All in all it was like a (expectedly) weirdish film with a lot of darkness and absurdity. Happiness and Storytelling were dark but also very funny and balanced with a sort of pleasantness that I just can't see here. It's like a long nightmare.
Before Palindromes Solondz was to me possibly the greatest living director. I REALLY hope he either gets back to his old form or tries out something new that works better.
Dead Man's Shoes (2004)
Hate to say it, but if this wasn't an indie movie, it wouldn't have gotten a current average score of 7.8 at IMDb. That's just ridiculous. For me it lost a lot on the last 1/3 of the film, where it failed to live up to the promise set by the story until that point. It wasn't brilliant until then, but at least it was getting somewhere from what at first seemed like meaningless violence. I'm not gonna give away any spoilers, so I can't be too specific about my criticism of the content but I can say it uses some late 90s-early 00s clichés which are obviously very tiring at this point. Some of them were just a bad idea from the start. Also the music is pretty terrible. It's either just bad or cheap.
Sex and the City (2008)
Just a big failure
It's unbelievable how royally they messed up this one. I wouldn't call myself a fan of the show, but by now I've seen every episode and there are some stuff you could criticize, but overall it was an entertaining show, funny, often witty and characters that were more or less appealing even if they were half caricature.
No one expected a genius film here, but it turned out to be not even mediocre, but just plain bad. The writing is bad. The acting is bad (one wonders why). The stories are ridiculous and unnecessary. There is a lot predictable sap. Character development/writing, bad. The music arrangement is very bad and annoying.
Then there's the consumerism. Which really was there in the series as well, but first of all it was a smaller scale, and there was a twist of humor about it. Here it just makes it obvious why this movie is as terrible as it is... Half of it is just commercial for brands.
The messages are just dishonest and shallow. The film simply lacks substance in this department and tries to pass off stupid ideas as philosophical views on life. The "I love me" bits were just a joke.
In a desperate attempt of explaining this failure, I would say the answer is just money. The whole purpose was probably to get the early teens hooked on all the products and the lifestyle that these products require. For them the sap isn't quite as predictable for obvious reasons. SATC is simply dumbed down here.
The Expendables (2010)
This is just garbage. One of the worst films I've ever seen in my life. It's not even bad-good. The dialog doesn't exist, the lines are lame, the actors are crap, the story is uninteresting. For every action film that I see, I lose more respect for people who are impressed by the same old explosions that made this genre, but even with that, a lot of them are actually watchable and funny or interesting to some extent. And don't buy the "it's about the expectations"-argument for this one. Even if you expect a lousy and mindless Hollywood action flick, you will be disappointed by this. Anything else is self-delusion. A 7.1 average for this at the time of writing this is just sad.
City of Angels (1998)
Predictable even by the weakest of Hollywood standards
The lack of quality in this film is unbelievable. People rarely expect anything from huge Hollywood blockbusters, but in general, the amount of money invested makes for a picture that is acceptable if you can get past the clichés that have to be thrown in there to please everybody. But this one IS a huge cliché from start to finish. As far as Hollywood dramas are concerned, this is the worst film I've ever seen.
I did have a bad feeling from the start. Films with "interesting idea" for a plot are usually extremely poor in everything besides this "idea", which in this case is the whole angel bit thing. Ooh there are angels all around dressed in black jackets. He falls in love with a girl and now wants to be human. But if you're smart enough, you know that this is just a very shallow way of making a film.
Anyway, even with the lack of expectations after this, I was amazed at how extremely boring and predictable it was. No humor whatsoever and even the acting sucks, but I guess there wasn't much to work on with a script like this.
Whoever made this should be ashamed
Gran Torino (2008)
About as good as Hollywood gets
The current average rating of this film is a joke. Top 100 of all time? Wow... I have to say IMDb ratings are usually quite alright. Even if they may be dead wrong in placing films in the top list, they do give a decent indication of whether the film is lousy or good. But when a film like Gran Torino get's 8.4, it just reminds you how the merely good Shawshank Redemption is supposed to be the best film of all time according to the voters.
GT is not a bad film. It's juts mediocre. It's really promising at the start, but once you realize where it's going, with Walt and Tao, the Asian kid, well... It won't disappoint you. It does exactly what you'd expect from a mediocre Hollywood flick and thereby it's very predictable. Clint's acting is not terrible at first, but becomes very clichéd... The storyline itself isn't very believable as it develops. But I suppose it could have been a lot worse.
And by the way, it's pretty funny how every other person of polish descent in Hollywood is a "Kowalski". You'd think there'd be millions of them in present day Poland, but obviously that's not really true.