Reviews written by registered user
alexandermangoldt

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65 reviews in total 
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4 out of 7 people found the following review useful:
gratuitous violence..run of the mill plot...yep, must be a Tarantino, 16 January 2013
6/10

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

Okay, okay, of course, at first, me too, I thought that this was going to be a movie where Schultz and Django set out to find the three brothers that they go huntin' at the beginning, but no, within ten minutes they find them and that's that, so, soon I find out that the real plot is to get Brunhilde back, and to make this movie a flick that the adjective artsy-fartsy is worthy of bestowing upon, Brunhilde is of course an allusion to the great German myth, but let's face it, a gossamer-thin plot like this doesn't deserve to run on for what seems an endless three hours of shootouts, shootouts and more shootouts, and as for for Schultz, it must have been a real cinch for Waltz to play this character because he is more than just reminiscent of the character he played in Inglorieus Basterds, it's more like THE EXACT SAME ROLE, just take away the clothes and you've got Hans Landa, okay, he is less evil and weird, but the sophisticated language had me thinking, Can Waltz do more than just learn elaborate monologues filled with words nobody uses in everyday language by heart and recite them as he wishes, boooring, boring, could we please have the old Tarantino back, where dialogs were actually witty and humorous (Pulp Fiction) and were violence was still gratuitous but at least lent itself well to the characters that were shown, come on, this flick doesn't deserve the praise that it gets, it's more like Tarantino is developing into this one-trick pony and because of pure idolatry you don't want to see that Tarantino has done his contribution to cinema and won't create anything new.

Battleship (2012)
31 out of 59 people found the following review useful:
Comedy of the year, 15 April 2012
4/10

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

I went to see this movie at a late night screening on Saturday with a buddy. Unfortunately, the movie was being shown in a theater with comfortable lounge seats, so we had to pay extra. We both more or less knew what we were in for: A Transformers spin-off with great looking but mediocre actors, plot holes in abundance and the usual cheesy and temporarily corny American patriotism. But we thought: What the heck, if the action is spectacular, we might be able to forget about all that.

Ten minutes into the movie, we realized that we wouldn't. Taylor Kitsch playing Alex Hopper is so over the top the protagonist that has character flaws at the beginning and turns out to be the good, noble soldier at the end, that it hurts. The whole movie smells of NAVY propaganda from the start, with the proud but honestly strange looking veterans, the blatant display of battleships, clean white uniforms and blonde babes that fall for all that.

When the Taylor Kitsch character turns from former felon to highly respected naval officer, we knew we had to do something. In tacit agreement, we changed our perspective and started to think of this movie as a comedy and not an action movie. And, quite frankly, that did the trick for us.

We laughed, chuckled, giggled and kept rolling our eyes for the rest of the film. We laughed at the fact that technologically developed aliens could be annihilated by simply dazzling them with sunlight (if only they had worn better shades, strange that RAY BAN missed out on such a great product placement opportunity). We laughed when we saw Peter MacNicol (as Secretary of Defense) asking stupid questions about the nature of the attack so that the dumb viewers get what 's going on. We chuckled when we learned that the USS Missouri, a museum battleship, is still equipped with all its explosive weaponry. We giggled when the veterans came out of nowhere to go on their last mission (as if they had been living and waiting on the USS Missouri for 50 years) and we had to roll our eyes when Liam Neeson, whom I admired in Schindler's List and found great in Taken, lowered himself by acting out some dreadful scenes in a horribly flaccid film.

We left the movie theater laughing and waited to see if the movie goers who had obviously liked the film went to the cloakroom to pick up not only their jackets but their brains, too.

Bottom line: If you want to enjoy this movie, think of it as a comedy.

3 out of 6 people found the following review useful:
Artistically brilliant, but …., 10 December 2011
7/10

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

From an art-house point of view, this is probably one of the best films of the year. The opening sequence with throngs of people engaged in a tomato battle lends itself well to the associations we generally have when we think of the color red. Red is a color that can be considered a general theme of the movie. Later on in the movie, we see Tilda Swinton scrubbing the red paint from her porch, a quite simple but effective metaphor: There is blood on her hands, because she didn't respond appropriately to her son's weird behavior.

The director also uses food in an artistic way. Throughout the entire movie we see shredded food, sandwiches with red jam turned upside down and lychees devoured by the evil son. All this to give the entire movie a notion of I don't know what, disgust maybe. This artistic take on the topic illustrates the feelings of the mother, her feeling of guilt, her inaptitude to come to terms with the tragedy and her confusion as to what really happened. Like a poem is often a better way of conveying the feelings one has regarding a particular subject matter, this movie describes the feelings of a mother whose son went on a killing spree better than a documentary probably could, but that's about it when we talk about the advantages of an artistic take on the subject matter. If, regarding this movie, we venture to take a reality check, the film has quite a few shortcomings. For example: The son goes on a killing spree at his school, however, not one single scene shows him at school conversing or interacting with class mates or teachers. The film focuses on the family and on the family only, so why does he kill his class mates? The bow and arrow massacre also is hardly credible. If a guy shot students with a bow and arrow instead of using a gun, it's hard to believe that he could manage to kill so many in a gym. After the first arrow, wouldn't the students run towards him, wrestling him down before he could take a second shot? The film also wants to make us believe that Kevin was born evil (the Play-the-ball scene), negating the fact that many of the real school shooters were ordinary children until they were bullied by their class mates so extensively that it gradually changed their personality and perception of life.

And the reactions of the parents: John C. Reilly again plays a doofus character who has no clue whatsoever about what's going on in his family, while at the same time being a successful and well-off man who can afford to buy a great house and many other things. Sorry, but it doesn't wash. Bottom line: If you are into art-house movies this is a great movie, if you want to learn something about school shootings, refrain from watching this.

2 out of 11 people found the following review useful:
Mother, Father....where did you hide the plot?, 13 July 2011

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

As many others have before, I'd like to point out that I actually am a fan of Malick's work. BADLANDS was captivating and THE THIN RED LINE had me on the edge of my seat.

So, naturally I went to see THE TREE OF LIFE. The first ten minutes made me brace myself for a great movie. Beautiful cinematography, the portentous voice from the off, meaningful dialogues and great acting.

But what happened then? I believe this happened: Malick found a chemistry set in the studio and accidentally dropped some of the bottles containing colourful liquids and all of a sudden ordered his cameraman to film the concoction being dispersed on the floor. Then he and the cameraman experimented with more fluids and thought it looked like the milky way or whatever.

Then Malick said: "What a shame that these ink-blot like pictures don't fit the movie. Ah, nevermind, we'll work them in anyway!"

And that's why I had to sit to twenty minutes with pictures of a Rorschach-Test gone awry. And when the dinosaurs showed up, I couldn't help chuckling.

Dear Terrence, let me remind you: You are a director, not the messiah or the next Ron Hubbard. You know how to tell a story, but next time, please make sure you have a story. This was a load of I don't know what.

When Malick finally, after seemingly endless twenty minutes, goes back to the Brad Pitt character and his family, you find yourself not giving a damn about them.

After two hours I left the cinema, wondering what had made me stay till the end. Truth is I still don't know.

2 out of 5 people found the following review useful:
Less is more, 30 May 2011
6/10

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

Just came home from the premiere, for which I managed to get some tickets. To be honest, I felt like I've been sitting through two hours of endless boredom. The story had no surprising twists, the plot was conventional as well as the narrative structure (flashbacks alternating/ overlapping with the events of 1991). The whole cast was overacting, as if the director had been standing behind the camera and in each scene shouting: "More, more, I want this scene to be intense". Hence, every actor overdid it and many scenes seem as if they were intended for a theater play, not a movie. Many of the scenes seemed to me overly theatrical and melodramatic. One example: The young Marga stands in the field, chopping wood, when suddenly her ex-husband Juris appears . In his arms he is holding the baby of his lover, Ieva. Every facial expression of the two actors seems so exaggerated, desperately trying to convey the message: "Oh, it's all so incredibly tragic, we can hardly stand it". And Karoline Herfurths position to the camera is completely unnatural and just for effect.

The plot was predictable, twenty minutes into the film I knew that Marga wasn't Sofia's real mother, but that, in the end, the Sofia character would grow to accept it and reconcile with her oddly behaving mother. The Alzheimer scenes were far too many, one scene and we know, OK, old Marga is losing it, no need to rub it in by showing scenes in which she talks gibberish. If we just look at the craftsmanship of this film, I believe we have found the one positive aspect. Pictures and music were well paced although the music was a little too much at times as well. I guess in the end I'm looking and hoping for a German cinema that is a little more controversial, disturbing. A cinema that is obnoxious, confusing and gut-wrenching. This film isn't any of that.

Winterreise was better.

105 out of 132 people found the following review useful:
What you see is what you get (nothing more), 11 October 2008
7/10

I watched the movie at a teacher's screening in Wuppertal on a Sunday morning. I was quite impressed with the accurate and detailed portrayal of the RAF and the events of the so called 'German fall' (Deutscher Herbst). I myself knew of many of the events beforehand and thanks to documentaries such as Veiel's Black Box BRD and Breloer's Todesspiel I was able to compare. For the two and some hours that the movie lasted I was on the edge of my seat. None of the scenes were boring, everything was well paced (at times maybe a little too fast paced) and I felt like I was being taken back to the important past of my native country. However, at the end I felt a little empty. The documentaries I just mentioned focused on only one story, but these documentaries were better because they gave us an in-depth analysis of the opposing forces (the bourgeoisie, the elite and the socialist rebels).

The portrayal of Meinhof and Baader seems accurate, too, but often I wondered if Baader really was the small-time crook he's made out to be in the movie. Except for Meinhof and Ensslin nobody seems to have some really deep thoughts about what was (is) wrong with our society. Mohnhaupt played by Nadja Uhl isn't explained at all, she's just there all of a sudden and we just go along thinking that she is in it for the same reasons as everybody else (Which are???).That way the movie seemed a little biased, as if trying to tell us that the RAF was mainly criminal and not so much political. Although I believe that a lot of their motives were right, even though they didn't justify any of the actions.

Bruno Ganz as Herold is allowed to play his character in a way that everyone thinks of the German government at the time as a dignified and moderate administration although I don't believe that to be true (after all, Herold said that he can only cure the symptoms of the RAF disease but not the disease itself, yet he didn't do anything to make the German people understand that the RAF is not altogether wrong when it accuses the German people of laziness, cowardice and complacency).

Now, leaving the movie, I figured that there was nothing much left to talk about. The teacher material that we received was pretty useless, because it doesn't offer any interesting topics for discussion. I for one think it would be interesting to discuss the present situation (bureaucracy, war in Iraq, terrorism) with the situation of Germany in the 70's. We are still dealing with many of the problems that caused the insurgency and civil disobedience back then, yet today we don't do anything at all. We are dissatisfied with the Bush administration, we oppose the war in Iraq and Afghanistan, we suffer from a financial crisis mainly caused by the deregulated free market economy (capitalism) and we watch the divide between the rich and the poor getting bigger and bigger.

However, the youth of today doesn't protest. Why not? Maybe because we taught them well that in the end it's everyone for themselves and that it's best to be obedient, docile and commonorgarden if you want at least a little security in your life. One of the stronger scenes was the one where Ensslin accuses Meinhof of jerking off on her socialist theories instead of actually doing something. That's where you can see how Meinhof was influenced by the RAF. Finally she met some people who were willing to take action instead of just talking and philosophizing about a better world. This scene lends itself well to the follow-up scene in which Meinhof helps Baader to escape from prison. The jump from the window sill is a the same time a jump towards extremism.

Well, all in all, I think it's a good film to get people interested in Germany's past but it can only be the beginning of a more subtle analysis of what the RAF stood for and what it was trying to do.

3 out of 8 people found the following review useful:
Yes, once again, Miss Delpy is quite annoying!, 8 March 2008
3/10

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

Well, this movie sucked from the get go. Ever since I saw After sunrise, I can't help myself thinking: Oh, Julie, please, shuddup, will ya! In this movie I thought she was even more annoying than ever before. In each movie she always plays the bilingual card, trying to make herself pass off as so intelligent and witty. But in the end, she's just a lame Woody Allen spin-off, especially in this movie. Everything seemed so tagged on, especially the conversations. They were made to look as if they were improvised, done off the cuff, but really they were just annoying. If those things pass off as witticisms these days I really am starting to think that something's wrong. How on earth does she get the money? Even for the low budget this isn't money well spent, but money down the drain. Julie, stop making films about your life and please, please stop taking yourself oh so seriously!

"Extras" (2005)
5 out of 7 people found the following review useful:
The British are lucky! The y have funny and witty comedians!, 6 January 2008
9/10

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

I've just watched pretty much all of the episodes on youtube, and I have to admit that this is probably one of the funniest and most sarcastic and at the same time wittiest TV shows I've seen in a long, long time. Ricky Gervais is a marvellous actor and just the last episode, the Christmas special, proved to me that he's not just a comedian but a really good actor, too. The scene in which he's on Big Brother for celebrities and just starts his short but astute speech against the contemporary media and their abuse of power just left me flabbergasted and gobsmacked. It felt as if he talked right from his heart and really meant everything he said. And I'd like to congratulate him on the risky decision to make the last episode not as funny as those before but instead giving it a less light-hearted touch. It moved me and I thought it was really deep.

So, you British people out there, consider yourself lucky for having such great comedians and comedies. You have no idea what kind of stupid comedies we're forced to watch here in Germany. Most of it is just a cheap spin-off of what you do. For example, we have a German version of the Office, which isn't bad, but it's still nothing but a spin-off.

Maybe the German language just wasn't meant to be funny.

So, good bye, and if you ever meet one of us: Don't mention the war!

1 out of 2 people found the following review useful:
A critical review, 30 October 2007
8/10

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

I have to admit, this movie moved me to the extent that I burst in tears. However, I always think about things twice, and instead of writing a eulogy that would define the film as flawless and impeccable, I prefer taking the risk of a closer look.

First what's first: The movie has an undeniable impact on the viewer simply because it starts out and continues as a slow-paced movie that doesn't try to blow you away with the actual scenes from 9/11. Thumbs up for this stroke of genius, because, unlike Stone's WORLD TRADE CENTER this film fortunately doesn't focus on the attack itself but on the fallout which, similar to the fallout of a nuclear explosion, is hardly visible but nonetheless dangerous and devastating. The psychological impact, the sheer devastation that 9/11 caused and the havoc it wreaked on the American people is almost palpable in this movie. I think Binder managed an astute observation of the American post 9/11 society and Sandler in my opinion sky rocketed from an average comedy actor to a real talent who delivers a performance worthy of an Oscar.

However: In the film BLOOD DIAMOND, the Di Caprio character says and I quote: "Ah, these Americans. Always want to take about their feelings". Now, I don't want to belittle their sufferíngs, but I sure would like to make a comparison. Ever since 9/11 the entire world is confronted with mementos, memorials and commemorations of 9/11. The Hollywood industry and writers such as Safran Foer more than allude to 9/11 in their works. Now, this huge amount of cultural products, dealing with 9/11, turn the death of 3000 people into the biggest tragedy of this young century. The number of books written on the subject and the number of films directed on this subject, and I say this with all due respect, blow the importance of this atrocious crime somewhat out of proportion.

Fact is: People die every day due to unjust actions and horrible crimes committed by bad or simply lost people. We have a war in Iraq, in Afghanistan, in Birma and lots of other countries. On a daily basis, we forget about the poverty the African people suffer from and we tend do empathize with them to a lesser degree than with the American victims of 9/11 simply because they are black and because their lives don't have much in common with our Western lives. Africa neither has the money nor the potential to commemorate their national tragedies in a way America can. So, what I am saying is this: The reason why we feel more for the 3000 victims of 9/11 and their families is because we are constantly reminded of 9/11. Not a day goes by without a newspaper article, a film or a book that discusses 9/11.

In conclusion: I commiserated with Charlie Fineman, but I wasn't sure whether I had the right to feel for him more than for a Hutu who lost his entire family in the Rwandan civil war.

You catch my thrift?

3 out of 24 people found the following review useful:
Almodovar goes politic!, 30 September 2007
7/10

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

Much of the first scenes of this movie had me thinking about Almodovar. It was slow paced (like most of Almodovar's films) and it started off on a story about a Turkish hooker and her senile, old-aged Turkish lover (Almodovar's films sometimes are about hookers, always about twisted love stories). However, a political and religious note soon came into play, as two Turkish men find out about the Turkish whore, and tell her to repent (the director misleads us with a purpose, wanting us to think, that Yeter - the Turkish whore - will get killed by these men because she is insulting the Muslim faith). But then, to our surprise, Yeter gets accidentally killed by her old lover, who, in the beginning charming and accommodating, soon turns out to be an old fool who thinks of women as objects you can buy at the mall.

Very soon, the impression of watching an Almodovar film faded. Instead the film turned more and more into a Greek tragedy. Unfortunate events are leading to tragic results and we are faced with the death of two female characters, both sympathetic to the viewer.

Now after Lotte died, the screen turns black and we see the title of the film. For a second there I thought the film had come to its end and they'd play the credits. Instead the film went (dragged) on, an we were shown a third part of the film, in which two protagonists of the two different stories are united and try to get over their loss. I thought that this third part was rather weak, and I would have given this film an 8 out of 10 if this hadn't happened.

Now, I'm not sure what the film is about: Political issues are mentioned (enlargement of the European Union, human rights situation in Turkey) but not really tackled. What constitutes the core of this film, is human relations and the inherent tragedy of people who are what they are (I am especially thinking of the scene in which Hanna Schygulla says to the political activist from Turkey: Or maybe you're just a person who likes to fight).

As I know Turkey only from vacation and from the few Turkish people I know, I'd like to know how Akin is received in Turkey. Whether they think of him as a traitor or as a person who belittles the Turkish culture? I think that the way he displays Turkish people is controversial, to say the least.


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