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Watchmen (2009)
Who will watch the Watchmen? Not me! That's for sure!
4 March 2009
I was excited about this movie as I thought it would be another great superhero comic book movie like Spider-man, The Dark Knight, Iron Man, Fantastic Four or the X-men-trilogy. How wrong I was! This movie is the total opposite. Here's why: 1) There is only one true superhero and he is super-boring as he has zero emotions and looks more like a sexual version of the Oscar statuette. The other characters aren't superheroes and thus they are futile as characters - they never seem to matter in the storyline. Also: the only interesting character is a guy called the comedian but then he is annoying in everything he says or does.

2) The action is only impressive in the first scene; everything else is flat and dull.

3) The storyline is wáy too complex. The story switches back and forth too many times and we get too much information of which none of it seems to matter. There is also too much political crap rather than some good superhero-action. The voice-over is interesting to begin with but after a couple of minutes, it feels like some kind of failed, wanna-be Max Payne-video game voice-over. And what's with the music? At times songs play during scenes in this movie that have no substance whatsoever; like the restaurant scene that has "99 Luftballons" by Nena playing all of a sudden.

4) The so-called cool darkness in this movie wánts to be like "300" or "Sin city", but it's just plain boring.

In short: IF this movie will please any fans at all, they will most likely almost be all fanboys of the comic-book. This movie will NOT become a mainstream-success; I can guarantee you that! The characters are boring (even the superhero guy is plain stupid), the storyline is ridiculously complex with nonsense and seems to head for absolutely no point whatsoever.

2009 WILL have a great comic-book movie ("Wolverine") but it will not be this one ...

Watchmen? Simple. DON'T watch!! :D
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The Descent (2005)
More than just decent ...
1 November 2007
I had never seen a movie by English director Neil Marshall, but this is certainly a guy to keep your eyes on. I don't know if this movie is going to be his one hit wonder or the beginning of a great career, but the thriller-horror movie "The descent" isn't just decent ... it's bloody fantastic! The story evolves around a bunch of women who regularly come together to organize a truly overwhelming adventure. Only this time they might have exaggerated in doing so since they find themselves trapped in a cave as a result. To make matters worse: they find out that a strange breed of predators have made a home here.

The greatest achievement of this movie is that you genuinely care about its characters. Without that: this would have been another slice-and-dice slasher film. But "The descent" is much more than that. This excellent thriller does not just feature six beautiful women. The acting of these ladies is also very inspiring. Each character is different from the next and this makes the story even more interesting. The cinematography is absolutely gorgeous. Some camera-shots create such a disturbing and claustrophobic mood that it almost feels as though you were actually there with them (wishful thinking; I suppose). The different set-pieces are also amazing and make you forget that you are watching a movie. Once the six wannabe-Tomb Raiders descend into the mysterious cave, the tension is very delicately built up. How these crawling cave creatures look like is spoon-fed to us so as to not spoil the big ultra-terrifying moment when we meet them face-to-face for the first time ever. After that: it becomes an action-packed horror movie which is both fun and frightening to watch, but it never descends in quality.

In short: "The descent" is a masterful thriller-horror movie which excels on all levels. It is pretty much flawless and should not be missed by any and all who love a good scare! Thriller-wise: this is as good as it gets!
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The Kingdom (2007)
The kingdumb
1 November 2007
Warning: Spoilers
When I came out of the theatre, I honestly didn't know what to think of this film. I was never impressed by any of its action sequences nor was I ever touched by any of its drama. Personally, I think there are two reasons as to why I didn't really like this film. First of all: "The kingdom" doesn't really seem to know what it wants to be. It continuously switches from being a very realistic drama in an almost documentary manner to a cheap and typical popcorn Hollywood-movie where the Americans always seem to come out on top. I think director Peter Berg, who did in fact make the superb black comedy "Very bad things", should have stayed away from trying out such a rare and risky combination. Secondly: it could also be that I have grown sick and tired of watching American movies that evolve around El-Quaida. I know that this is a way for America to get over the horrible atrocities of 9/11, (the same thing happened when America had lost the Vietnam-war which then resulted in dozens of Vietnam-movies) but enough is enough! Frankly: I've had it with this topic.

This doesn't mean that "The kingdom" is a bad movie - it's just nowhere near as powerful and captivating as "The siege" featuring a wonderful Denzel Washington and a brilliant cult-classic which also evolves around terrorism and in a much more truthful way. However: the cast is good; especially the acting by Chris Cooper is refreshing. The actor Ashraf Barhom also does a very fine job as Colonel Al Ghazi. The white-spread panic is quite realistic. The uncomfortable tone in the Middle East that each person could get shot if they don't wear a bullet-proof vest will keep you attached but seems a little overdone somehow. It's when the action hits the silver screen that this movie degrades to a mediocre blockbuster. The action itself is not bad, but somehow failed to get my attention. I was watching the movie but I didn't feel a single thing. The four American government agents aren't very interesting characters; in my humble opinion. I thought the Saudi-Arabian people in this movie were definitely more convincing. The few yet very apparent flaws eventually result in an average movie; nothing more!

And then there's the so-called knock-out ending! Yeah, right! The ending wasn't bad, but in my humble opinion it was pretty generic. The Americans save the day against overwhelming odds of surprisingly incompetent terrorists who cannot land a single hit until the very end. Of course, one of "the good guys" has to die to give the whole thing a 'deeper' and more 'dramatic' meaning, so they choose to sacrifice the Saudi colonel ... the easiest choice in order to not bother the audience too much by killing one of the FBI-agents. Like the movie: the ending is feeble and middling at best!

In short: "The kingdom" is an okay-movie but lacks the intensity that a real war drama has. It also seems way too polished and thus cannot shed the fact that it is a Hollywood-blockbuster telling a story about terrorism. If this was the first of its kind, I'd probably be a little more enthusiastic. I think this movie is simply too dumb to be treated with any real respect!
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Halloween (2007)
The biggest fiasco in movie history!
31 October 2007
Planning to do a remake can be a tricky thing. Sometimes they result in masterpieces such as the 1991-classic "Cape fear"; sometimes they become the most awful nonsense ever made such as the 1998-garbage "Psycho". The truth is: it's not that hard to decide whether a remake is a good decision or a big mistake. There is only one simple rule and that's this. Don't meddle with classics! A remake should only be made if the original film is flawed or totally forgotten.

The original 1978-version "Halloween" is neither. It's a perfect thriller-horror movie featuring great acting performances by everyone involved along with the brilliant cinematography of creator John Carpenter. This is one movie that will never die out! I believe it is one out of four extremely important thriller-horror movies that have genuinely revolutionized their genre. The other three are: "Psycho" (1960), "A nightmare on Elm Street" and "Scream".

I have never used these very words before, but I cannot think of one single positive thing to say about the 2007-version of "Halloween". Director Rob Zombie really did everything wrong when making this movie. This remake has more holes than Swiss cheese, and lacks common sense and feeling as it races blindly ahead.

First: it spends way too much time trying to humanize the evil character Michael Myers by showing us an utterly boring background of depressing childhood. Michael Myers did not become an evil person because his upbringing was a very tough time for him. He did not become an extremely dangerous and seemingly unstoppable monster because his mother was in love with a foul-mouthed loser and his sister teased him from time to time. That whole section of Michael Myers the troubled kid was simply pathetic. They spoon-fed us too much information. His lack of motive would have kept this movie mysterious and chilling.

Secondly: because the director wasted half the movie showing us a Michael Myers as a murderous child, he irreversibly started to rush things as soon as we got to lay our eyes on the adult, white-masked version. Because of this huge mistake, Rob Zombie doesn't find the time to properly set the frightening mood imperative to a thriller such as this which evolves around the scariest time of the year namely Halloween. Why Michael Myers never really stalks his victims nor rarely watches them from a distance in this remake, is beyond me. He almost immediately attacks them and that is not how Michael Myers operates; which is why this film falls flat on its face and fails to be genuinely scary.

The mask itself was authentic but for some stupid reason they decided to make him much taller. Michael Myers is not a giant per se, he's just an evil and entirely emotionless human being and as such: the personification of fear! Moreover: the actor does a terrible job as well. In this movie, Michael moved too swiftly when in fact he never seems to change his pace when pursuing someone. This altogether adds to the already creepy atmosphere. And why did the adult-version of Michael Myers look like an over-sized Kurt Cobain when not wearing any sort of mask? This, and so much more, is why this movie is not a superb thriller like the original one, but an exceptionally dumb and boring slasher film.

To make matters worse: the scenes in this remake that match the ones of the original come across as a painful déjà-vu but the scenes that are entirely different are just plain stupid. All characters are one-dimensional and I honestly couldn't care less what would happen to them. I couldn't even bring myself into finishing this movie. After an hour and a half, I walked out of the theatre because I got so worked up with the extremely low quality of this irritatingly-unscary remake.

The acting is not bad but it's a joke when compared to the original cast. Malcolm McDowell isn't really that awful, but the character Dr. Samuel Loomis will always carry the face of the brilliant actor Donald Pleasence; to me. Just like Laurie Strode will always be connected with Jamie Lee Curtis and certainly not Scout Taylor-Compton. Take a look-out for actress Leslie Easterbrook. Her role is a minor one, but you might still recognize her from the "Police Academy"-movies where she played the tough and sexy female cop Captain Callahan. Brad Dourif plays the part of the local sheriff.

In short: One can only take a wild guess as to why they wanted to make a remake of John Carpenter's "Halloween". I, for one, think this movie has failed miserably on all levels. This is truly one of the all-time worst thrillers ever made! This "Halloween" has become the epitome of boredom.
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Earth (2007)
Second wake-up call to save our planet!
31 October 2007
Just like Al Gore shook us up with his painfully honest and cleverly presented documentary-movie "An inconvenient truth", directors Alastair Fothergill and Mark Linfield also remind us that it's about time to improve our way of life in order to save our beautiful planet. "Planet earth" is also a wake-up call that the global warming of our planet has disastrous consequences for all living creatures around the world. Al Gore showed us the bleak future of planet Earth by presenting hard facts backed up by documented examples through long yet always interesting monologues. The creators of this documentary choose a different yet equally powerful way to accomplish this. They do not present us with a future representation of what might occur to our planet if we don't radically change things around, but they rather show us the genuine beauty of planet Earth in all of its amazing glory. We see places that we knew that existed but never thought they could be so beautiful. In this movie, we see a wide array of the most extraordinary places such as forsaken deserts, giant forests full of fauna and flora and icy-landscapes as far as the eye could see. And in all of those immensely different environments, we see the most beautiful animals trying to survive.

This is exactly the kind of movie that had to be made, in combination with the one from Al Gore, in order to make us realize that our planet is too precious to meddle with. The voice-over by Patrick Stewart is always relaxing and thus very well done although at first it sounded as though I was watching an X-men movie instead! The cinematography is probably the most remarkable thing of this documentary. At times: what you see is so unreal that you tend to forget that a man with a camera actually had to film all of that delightful footage.

In short: This is definitely a must-see for everyone since it concerns every single person on this beautiful planet Earth! The truth is: I never thought our planet was so astonishingly beautiful!
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Nightmare versus Hockey-mask!
31 October 2007
Around the same time that they brought together the two greatest alien creatures to fight one another in the great action movie "Alien vs. predator", they also did the same thing with the two greatest horror icons in this film. Fact is that the first one is definitely better than the latter one in almost every aspect. Still: "Freddy vs. Jason" is an enjoyable popcorn-movie with respect to both characters. I would have rather preferred a movie called "Freddy vs. Michael" because I firmly believe Jason Vorhees is nothing short of a stupid, pointless and shameful copy of the Halloween-killer. Jason Vorhees took so many characteristics from Michael Myers without adding anything remotely new. They both have white masks, are unable to speak, move slowly whilst swinging a terribly sharp stabbing weapon and have a knack for good-looking and defenceless youngsters. So many obvious similarities yet one huge difference. Michael Myers is the coolest killer ever created whilst Jason Vorhees is simply utterly boring. Like Superman, this Friday the 13th-mass murderer is seemingly indestructible. How boring is that?

"Freddy vs. Jason" contains little or no story, but that's OK. The main focus lies on the originality of each killing and the viciousness and bloody manner in which each teenager potentially becomes a victim. Even so: they had to come up with a way to resurrect these slaughterers and it's done beautifully. The story is that Freddy Krueger brings Jason Vorhees back to life and sends him to Elm Street. There the hockey-masked killer will do what he does best and this leads to a terrifying mayhem amongst the people of that town. The authorities immediately think of Freddy Krueger as the perpetrator of these atrocities and from that moment forth teenagers of the neighborhood remember his name and they get awful and deadly nightmares again as a direct result of their fear for him. Thus Freddy's plan worked to come back to his children.

Even though the very ending of this movie is a bit silly; it is the only real flaw this movie has. The rest of the movie is a lot of fun to watch and even a little scary from time to time. Both killers get the same amount of screen time and their duel near the end of the movie is quite entertaining. Robert Englund has played the part of Freddy Krueger numerous of times and naturally he does an outstanding job! Ken Kirzinger was chosen to play the part of Jason Vorhees, because he was so tall and thus looked more menacing than Kane Hodder (the actor who's been playing Jason in many movies before). These two performances are easily the most important ones in this movie. The rest of the cast is good enough, but hardly anything more than that.

In short: "Freddy vs. Jason" is a good movie where the clash between two iconic horror creatures becomes the main event. The murders are quite elaborate and original. And there's also a good mix of dark humor and entertaining thrills.
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Arguably the greatest horror sequel ever made ...
30 October 2007
More often than not, making a sequel to a successful horror film ends up in tragedy. The word sequel got a bad name for itself by the huge amount of stupid and overly pointless horror films that were made to cash in on the success of the first film. But every now and then: a sequel is made that does in fact give the impression of being an original and enjoyable movie rather than a blunt and tiresome duplicate. For the "Halloween"-series, the best sequels are "Halloween II" and "H20". For the "Friday the 13th"-series, there is probably only one descent sequel and that's the first one namely "Friday the 13th part 2". And of all "Freddy Krueger"-films, the best sequel is without a doubt this film over here: "A nightmare on Elm Street 3".

Seeing as how the second Freddy Krueger-film was a pretty bad movie, the third one had to be a good one again in order to keep this otherwise unique series from dying off. To do that, inventor and director of the first film Wes Craven wrote a captivating story and also served as an executive producer on this movie. Whether its his influence and array of fresh ideas or the thrilling camera-work by director Chuck Russell (most famous for making movies like "The mask" and "Eraser"), the third Freddy Krueger-movie isn't just a good sequel ... it's also a great horror movie!

The story forgets about the second film since it added nothing new or interesting. And that's why it picks up right where we left off in the first film. Freddy's main opponent and sole survivor Nancy Thompson returns to help out a couple of troubled youngsters at a psychiatric institution who are all having the same horrible nightmares as she once did. Nancy has become a psychiatrist specializing in dream therapy and this knowledge combined with her background will certainly do a lot of good to these teens, but of course other doctors are reluctant and want to stick to their more traditional approaches. One doctor in particular will eventually start thinking outside the box and follow through.

Even though this movie is good, it is however slightly different from the first one. Freddy Krueger has started uttering funny one-liners in this movie which, unfortunately so, makes him a little more of a clown than a demon. Not to worry though, because the man with the hat and the claws is still quite terrifying. The murders are also much more inventive and elaborate than ever before. The special effects have improved and the manner in which they want to destroy Freddy for all eternity is by far the most plausible one. The big twist at the end of the movie is sad but satisfying.

Virtually all characters in this movie are very entertaining to watch mainly because you get to know all of them pretty well. What's also very good is the acting. Heather Langenkamp and John Saxon both return from the first movie and pick up their characters again. Both have already gotten used to playing these and it shows. Heather looks really beautiful in this movie. The friendly doctor is played by Craig Wasson. He is not really a well-known actor, but his performance in this movie is really good. Then there's also Laurence Fishburne who is certainly most famous for playing Morpheus in the "Matrix"-movies. He plays the part of Max the janitor; a character who is bound by the rules of the hospital but definitely cares about the patients. Patricia Arquette plays the role of Kristen Parker; the most gifted of all plagued teenagers. Her acting is good. And naturally: Robert Englund steals the show as Freddy Krueger! His performance is once again spot-on!

In short: "A nightmare on Elm Street 3" is easily the best of all Freddy Krueger-sequels! Everything feels absolutely right about this movie! There are many colorful characters to be had as well as brutal yet fun-to-watch death sequences and most of all: there is a story which guides all of this to its spectacular ending! For all I know, this great movie may very well be even better than the first one!
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Are you ready for Freddy?
29 October 2007
Director Wes Craven became instantly world-famous through his immensely successful "Scream"-trilogy, but his finest and most original film was made more than 10 years beforehand. Not only the movie was groundbreaking but its main character also became one of the all-time greatest horror icons. "A nightmare on Elm Street" isn't your typical slasher film; it's far more impressive and intelligent. The story is about a demon that kills teenagers in their sleep. The cinematography is so brilliantly done that the lines between the dream world and reality often get blurred. Near the end of the movie, it becomes a real puzzle to figure out whether what you see is a genuine event or part of a dream sequence.

The bad guy in this movie is one of the most powerful demons from hell. His clothing however might suggest otherwise. He wears a stupid, brown hat and a red-and-black striped sweater. The most unique trademark of this horribly-burnt child molester is his glove with razor-sharp finger-knives. He will use them to slaughter his innocent victims who find themselves trapped in a mysterious world from which they cannot possibly seem to escape. In this world, the monster is all powerful like a god and he will set the rules in opposition whenever he feels like.

This movie is certainly the darkest and most terrifying of them all. The first time we see Freddy Krueger in the flesh is truly one of the most spine-chilling moments in horror history! This creepy-looking creature is beautifully played by actor Robert Englund who's an American leading actor of Swedish descent and very famous for appearing in dozens of horror films. His greatest achievement will however always be his chilling portrayal of Freddy Krueger. The main part is played by actress Heather Langenkamp who stars as Nancy Thompson; the girl who decides to fight back rather than become another victim. Her performance is quite good as is John Saxon who plays her father. This is also the debut of Johnny Depp. Needless to say: Wes Craven is the most important person for he came up with the idea and directed the movie as well.

In short: "A nightmare on Elm Street" is not only a horror classic, but also one of the finest horror movies ever made! It's an intelligent and very original yet gory thriller! If you ever wish to try out a horror movie - this is a great one to begin with! As for Freddy Krueger, he is - in my humble opinion - the single most original horror icon ever thought of!
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It's not easy being green ...
27 October 2007
The first movie ever produced by Dreamworks, was the great action movie "The peacemaker" with George Clooney and Nicole Kidman. The first animation pictures by Dreamworks were "The prince of Egypt" and "The road to El Dorado". The truth however is that it was the 2001-blockbuster "Shrek" that put Dreamworks on the map. It was a fabulous animation picture and one of the funniest ever made. The sequel had less jokes than the first one, but it turned out to be the ultimate feel-good movie and thus it was a fantastic movie altogether. Many wondered how far they could go with this franchise. As it turned out, there will be a fourth Shrek-movie in the near future and there's even a spin-off planned for one of its characters namely the Spanish Zorro-cat Puss in Boots. Needless to say: this franchise is doing extremely well. Even so: the third Shrek-film is by far the weakest one yet and this let-down is a bit unexpected.

"Shrek the Third" is by no means a bad movie. It's in fact the opposite. It's a good movie. The special effects of this film are absolutely stunning! They are better than those of the previous Shrek-movies. Now each and every character has its own unique clothing and they all have a very different kind of haircut too. There's more use of color and a much wider variety of facial expressions of each character. The amount of people in a single frame has also increased exponentially. The frequent use of daylight (or any other kind of light such as torches) and darkness are far more impressive and they also open up a whole new world for creating realistic shadows. New world are introduced as well and they all appear vastly superior. And we even get to see real magic by Merlin; the greatest wizard of all who can shoot light beams from his hands.

So visually, the Shrek-movies have only improved. Then what's with that slight feel of disappointment if everything seems so beautiful? Well, the problem is that they obviously were more focused on the looks than on the contents of this animation film. "Shrek the Third" is always quite amusing to watch and never any boring, but there simply aren't too many funny jokes to be had. Whilst the first film was literally crammed with hilarious moments, the third one will probably produce a few smiles on your face and an occasional laugh ... but that's about it! The overuse of long-winded monologues and conversations are the main reason as to why the third Shrek-film is no match for its previous installments. Then again: the newborn triplets of Shrek are without a doubt the cutest thing ever created in the history of animation. They look like real babies and all three of them are exceptionally adorable. Pity that we only saw so little of them in this movie. But I have a strong feeling that they will play an important part in the next one for sure.

The cast of "Shrek the Third" is only growing with each new chapter. By now: Mike Myers is playing on automatic pilot and the same could be said for Cameron Diaz and Eddy Murphy. They are all still quite funny but they add nothing new really. Antonio Banderas should also be categorized as such, but somehow I found his character a lot more amusing than the ones above. The same goes for Rupert Everett who stars again as Prince Charming. This character is also a joy to watch. A lot less funny but still okay are two new characters. The wizard Merlin makes a short yet rather comical appearance and is wonderfully voiced by British actor Eric Idle who's probably best known as a member of Monty Python. American singer/songwriter Justin Timberlake does the voice of Artie - the soon-to-be king of Far far away. This character is neither interesting nor funny, and that's a real pity.

Many fairy tale creatures return such as Pinocchio, the three pigs and of course the Gingerbread man. New ones are added such as Cinderella, Snow White and Sleeping beauty. The constant quarrel between the ladies does provide a couple of good jokes. But unfortunately: not all jokes work out well. And this is not how things used to be in the world of Shrek. Perhaps the fourth movie will find a perfect balance again between awesome computer graphics and an endless diversity of funny jokes.

In short: "Shrek the Third" is not only the third in number, but also in quality. It's a good animation movie but the cracks are clearly beginning to show. If the next movie isn't hilarious like Shrek 1 or refreshing like Shrek 2, they ought to pull the plug.
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Stardust (2007)
Too much dust on this star ...
26 October 2007
I love science-fantasy movies more than virtually anything else! Aliens, terminators, gremlins, wizards, hobbits or Jedi ... I love to travel to other worlds full of weird and wonderful creatures. So naturally: as soon as I found out that "Stardust" was also going to be a fantasy film, my expectations ran very high. I ended up being somewhat disappointed because of two reasons. First of all: I expected too much. I thought this would be another dazzling film that would spawn many sequels such as "Star Wars" or "Harry Potter". Secondly and most importantly: this movie is a soft-hearted fairytale for children. There are no dark creatures or massive battles to be found. There is hardly even any magic at all; with the exception of three ugly witches doing what they do best. Thus the movie was not what I had anticipated.

The make-up department of this movie surely had their work cut out for them for they had to turn Michelle Pfeiffer into an ugly witch. They did a great job seeing as how one of the most gorgeous women ever in Hollywood indeed looked unattractive in this film. Fortunately: we get to see a lot more of the original Michelle Pfeiffer than the transformed ugly one. Ever since her come-back, this is the second time in a row that the beautiful blonde plays an evil character (the first one was in the hilarious musical "Hairspray") and she clearly enjoys this change in her career. Another famous actor who stars in this fantasy film is Robert De Niro. He plays the part of Captain Shakespeare and both his character as well as his performance are quite something else and funny at the same time. There is also Claire Danes whom you may recognize from "Romeo & Juliet" and "Terminator 3: Rise of the machines". She plays the part of Yvaine - the fallen star who becomes the centre of everything that will occur in this movie.

The storyline however is the cause for my discontent. It is so lifeless. It doesn't contain much more than a young man named Tristan searching for a fallen star and bringing it back as a present to the woman he loves. The entire movie shows us Tristan and Yvaine walking from the fantasy world to the human world. During their journey they encounter many mildly interesting characters. An extremely beautiful witch, a brave yet corrupt warrior who turns out to be one of 7 sons of the king and the only one who's still alive and a flying vessel full of pirates who desperately need to catch as much lightning as possible. The duel at the end of the movie is by far the most captivating moment; I believe. The rest of the movie is mediocre at best.

Nevertheless: I found the sons of the king to be very entertaining. Virtually all of them had died and thus were mostly ghosts throughout this film. That's why they served as an audience delivering clever one-liners and always having a front row seat with everything that transpired in this movie. Unfortunately: such delights are few and far between and whilst this movie is probably entertaining enough, it is almost never really funny.

In short: A perfect movie for children or anyone who likes cute and cheerful fantasy films that hold no darkness whatsoever. I, on the other hand, prefer more mature fantasy films that feature awe-inspiring battles as well as numerous ingenious creatures! The everlasting beauty of Michelle Pfeiffer is always a joy to watch and makes up for this!
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Planet Terror (2007)
How to terrorize the planet with only one movie ...
25 October 2007
"Grindhouse" is the latest project by director buddies Quentin Tarantino and Robert Rodriguez. It exists out of two movies that were put together by a couple of fake movie trailers in between. I have already written a comment on the first part of this project; namely the Quentin Tarantino movie "Death proof". The second part is the movie by Robert Rodriguez and is called "Planet terror". The reason why I decided to do both movies apart is because that's exactly how they were shown here in Belgium. Two very different movies that seemingly had nothing in common. I suppose when the DVD will come out, these two movies will become one again as they were originally meant to be. I - for one - am not interested because I kind of disliked the latter one.

But this is not the first time that Tarantino and Rodriguez worked together. The first time that they did, was when Quentin Tarantino played a small yet hilarious part in the 1995 action-movie "Desperado" directed by Rodriguez featuring a great Antonio Banderas in the lead. Then they each created a segment in the cult-classic "Four rooms"; a movie about a bellboy who has four entirely different experiences in an equal amount of hotel rooms. Two of those experiences were directed by each of these men. Then they both created another cult-classic namely "From dusk till dawn" and only quite recently they both gave life to Frank Miller's "Sin City" by turning it into a viciously interesting film-noir action-thriller.

Of all the things that these two talented directors have done together, "From dusk till dawn" is the one that matches "Grindhouse" the best. It too exists out of two parts. The first part of "From dusk till dawn" is pure crime with a fantastic George Clooney and Quentin Tarantino himself as his psycho brother; perhaps his finest acting to date. Halfway the movie it abruptly switches to an action-packed horror-movie which is still a lot of fun to watch but ends up weakening the film. "From dusk till dawn" is still a good movie, but it could've been so much more. Of course: one part cannot live without the other. And that's the difference with project "Grindhouse". The two movies that were put together can easily be separated from each other. Bottomline is: I only care for the Tarantino-movie "Death proof", so to me there is no such thing as project "Grindhouse" because its latter part is weak and stupid.

But let's talk about the second part of project "Grindhouse". Robert Rodriguez loves zombies as much as Tarantino loves crime. And that's why the Texas director decided to do what he loves the most. He wanted to make a low-budget horror-movie about zombies. I'm not sure what the real intentions were of Robert Rodriguez whilst he was shooting this movie, but "Planet terror" ended up being the most ridiculous movie ever made! It is a horror-movie that features ten times the amount of blood any "Hellraiser"-movie contains. It is a stupid, chaotic and painfully ludicrous joyride of uninteresting characters killing hundreds of fake-looking zombies in the most preposterous way. It is the dumbest popcorn-movie of all times and it contains so much disgusting gore and splattering blood that it actually starts to become amusing. For all of its nonsense though, it never felt like a really bad movie. "Planet terror" knows that it is a brainless motion picture and everyone involved treat it as such and that's why this movie isn't a total disaster.

Then again: I could not get myself to laugh at the bloodfest. There is no story whatsoever to support the horror, so every now and then you are looking at zombies disemboweling dying people without knowing how to feel. Should I laugh now or should I feel sorry? At least "From dusk till dawn" had something interesting to tell. Not that I will alter my opinion on this movie, but I did like the voluptuous women though. The movie starts off with a very erotic stripper at a club and we get many other sexy babes throughout this movie. Although I can appreciate such divine beauty, I fail to see what it has to do with the plot. But then again: there is no plot. There is no story. There are only a bunch of people in panic armed to the teeth ready to be the next meal of any ugly-looking zombie. The only real uplifting moment for me (from a movie point-of-view) was the come-back of gifted actor Michael Biehn. Film-freaks such as myself will undoubtedly recognize the name or the face, because back in the '80s Canadian director James Cameron made a star out of Michael Biehn by allowing him to play in no less than three of his masterpieces: "The terminator", "Aliens" and "The abyss". Michael Biehn is definitely the only decent actor in this film. The rest of the cast is not necessarily bad, but at a certain moment you just stop caring about their characters and their mediocre acting.

In short: "Planet terror" isn't a bad movie; it's just made for a very limited audience - especially hardcore horror-fans. Those who find blood and gore funny should check this one out! Everyone else ought to stay away as far as possible. I'm somewhere in the middle; I guess. I never laughed or smiled at it, but I was also never really bored. Maybe the women in this movie kept me wide awake. My final verdict is that "Planet terror" is weak movie like so many other dim-witted zombie-movies.
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The Invasion (I) (2007)
I never knew that lack of emotion could be so fearful!
25 October 2007
It was quite a surprise to find out that the latest movie featuring Nicole Kidman was a bit of a horror movie. Upon reading the title, I had expected it to be a drama or perhaps a comedy but certainly not a movie about zombie-like humans stalking the remainder of humanity. True: Nicole Kidman is one of the most versatile actresses having done all kinds of different genres such as action ("Batman forever"), comedy ("Bewitched"), musical ("Moulin rouge!"), thriller ("The others") and of course drama ("The hours"). Now she can add a new genre to her great film career even though "The invasion" is only horror on paper, because there is hardly any blood or gore to be found (which I think is a good thing). It is much more a psychological thriller that will drive up the tension slowly as well as provide a good fright every now and then.

Another actor who isn't shy of jumping genres is Daniel Craig. He became famous in the movie "Tomb Raider" and continued from there as a mob figure in "Road to perdition" to eventually become the new James Bond. I guess what I'm trying to say is that I was amazed that a thriller-horror remake would contain two A-list actors. The horror-genre is usually something established actors would like to avoid as much as possible. It is more often than not the ultimate way for any talented young actor to gain quick stardom. Jamie Lee Curtis became famous through "Halloween", Kevin Bacon did the same through "Friday the 13th" and Johnny Depp got a name for himself by playing one of the victims in "A nightmare on Elm Street". Even Jack Nicholson played in a few forgotten horror pictures before becoming an icon.

For whatever reason Nicole Kidman and Daniel Craig chose to be a part of this project, it isn't a bad call. "The invasion" is a good movie and one of the finest thriller-horror remakes ever made. The story is about an alien epidemic sweeping the world and turning people into emotionless replica's. The original film and its finest remake (the one featuring Donald Sutherland and Jeff Goldblum of 1978) are a bit more horror-driven than this one. Those familiar with more than one version will notice the few changes this film has made. Apart from the slightly disappointing ending (which I believe is the only real flaw this movie has), everything falls pretty much into place. They also seem to rush things a little too hard near the end, but that might be the obvious choice of the director to put a little action into the plot. Pity however that these very scenes appear overly hectic for they clearly diminish the stressful fear that this otherwise very decent thriller earlier had.

The cast is very good. Nicole Kidman proves once more that she truly is a multi-talented woman. Daniel Craig provides a couple of lighter moments in this film. His character seems somewhat similar to some of his past characters, but he still manages to grab your attention. There is also a kid named Jackson Bond (the new 007 perhaps?) and he does fairly good given the fact that this is his first movie ever. He's done some television work before all of this. Veronica Cartwright should ring a bell amongst movie fanatics for she appeared in numerous of interesting thrillers. Some of those are "The birds" (yes, the Hitchcock-one of 1963), the 1978-"Invasion of the body snatchers", "Alien" and The witches of Eastwick" featuring a brilliant Jack Nicholson, a heavenly Michelle Pfeiffer and plastic-face singer/actress Cher.

In short: "The invasion" is a good thriller mainly because, as a remake telling the same story all over again, it still manages to be quite refreshing supported by a beautiful cast. Shame about the ending though: but those who have never watched anything like this before, shouldn't take this as a minor thing. It's only when you compare it to the endings of the previous Body-Snatcher films that you realize that the older films have a far more gruesome finale … and one that sticks to mind!
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Cube (1997)
Canadian Cube of terror
23 October 2007
This low-budget Canadian science-fiction movie is truly one of the most original thrillers I have ever seen. It deals with a couple of people each with their own specific talent imprisoned in a world of deadly rooms. The many boobytraps hidden in each cube are enough to alarm even the bravest person and they soon begin to lose their patience as well as their hope in getting their lives back.

The entire movie is basically one huge mission to make it out of the huge cube alive. The fact that each room has a devious trap in store and the wide diversity of the many characters make up for a very enjoyable movie. Every now and then: you are presented with unusual camera shots which adds to the already creepy atmosphere. The movie begins for example with a close-up shot of someone's eye. Near the end: you do happen to have the feeling that you've seen everything and any presentation of a new room actually feels more like a stretch than an interesting plot development. Fortunately: they don't drag the movie on for too long and the ending has an okay twist.

Being a low-budget movie in Canada, one might expect that "Cube" doesn't have a single famous actor. Not to worry, because all acting is quite good. There are at least two performances that are worth mentioning here. Maurice Dean Wint plays the part of Quentin the cop and he's quite good. The best acting however is by Andrew Miller who plays the role of Kazan the autistic man. Andrew Miller is no Dustin Hoffman so don't expect a Rainman-performance, but his acting is easily the best thing alongside the eerie atmosphere and originality of this beautiful thriller.

In short: If you want proof that good movies don't always come from millions of dollars - check this one out! It's as good as any low-budget movie could ever be!
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One of the greatest European fantasy films ever made!
22 October 2007
For a long time, I thought that this film was based onto a book by Stephen King. It had the same peculiar atmosphere where fantasy and reality comes together. However: this Spanish movie has nothing to do with the famous American horror author.

"El laberinto del fauno" tells the story of a little girl named Ofelia captured in a harsh reality of the post-civil war in Spain and how she dreams up a sinister yet captivating fantasy world in order to escape the cold reality. Neither her pregnant and sick mother nor her stepfather who's a sadistic army officer will tolerate this kind of behaviour and they both feel the little girl has grown too old for reading children's books and believing in magic.

The big question is of course: is this dream world of hers real or not? Some things suggest that it's definitely real whilst other moments confirm that it most certainly is not. The beauty is that the answer to this question is never given and as such: anyone watching this Spanish movie gets the unusual freedom to decide themselves whether or not the little girl's fantasy is true. It's a rare thing in movie business and also a lot of fun trying to figure out the truth yourself.

I loved both worlds and their mutual diversity and that's why I firmly believe this fantasy world to be just as much a reality. There are some things that the little girl couldn't possibly have known herself. For example: at a given moment, the pale-looking and very sick mother is suddenly recovering and nobody - not even the local doctor - could come up with a plausible explanation for this miracle. Truth of the matter is that this mysterious healing is caused by a simple root of a specific tree in the forest that one of the fantasy creatures gave to the little girl. This part unmistakably proves that there is another world out there. Besides: the film would be no where near as interesting if the fantasy world of hers would turn out to be a fake one.

The only flaw in this movie that I can think of, is the lack of tension. There wasn't a single terrifying moment to be found in this soft fantasy-thriller. The closest we ever came to being scared was the introduction of the sickly and skinny humanoid alien. This creature was amazingly original and very cool. It had a face with no eyes. Instead, it had eye sockets in its hands in which it had to place its eyes in order to be able to see. But even so: it wasn't very scary and this movie could've easily used a couple of horrific scenes. The beating of an innocent young man by Captain Vidal, a brutal and unforgiving idealist, actually provides the biggest shock of all! The only other strange creature is the Faun. Even though this one looks pretty gloomy as well, it is in fact a warm-hearted companion who only wants the best for Ofelia. It somehow kept me reminding of the man-made plague Randall Flagg in Stephen Kings classic tale "The stand". Both creatures do look alike more or less. There are also a few elves in this story and a disgusting toad which the little girl will encounter during her trial for proving that she is in fact a genuine princess. These are but a few of the wonderful special effects that are being used.

Since this is a Spanish film, I honest-to-God don't know too many of its actors. But all of the acting is quite good. Especially Sergi López as the ruthless Captain and Ivana Baquero as the little girl Ofelia really shine in their performances. Director Guillermo del Toro is the most famous of all involved. He isn't a stranger in making movies about weird and wonderful creatures. Both "Blade II" and "Hellboy" were directed by him.

In short: This is certainly one of the very best Spanish films I have ever seen! The reality of war in this movie is cold and brutal and its opposing fantasy world is warm yet mysteriously menacing. Too bad this film feels like a children's movie from time to time when they could've created a full-blown dark thriller.
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Death Proof (2007)
Made for men ...
21 October 2007
Some of the greatest directors of all time started back in the '70s. Steven Spielberg, Martin Scorsese, Francis Ford Coppola, George Lucas, Ridley Scott and Brian De Palma all became kings of the camera because of their instant-classic masterpieces. The '80s wasn't quite so amazing for new directors, but you still had a couple of great ones though. James Cameron is without a doubt the single most talented and important innovator of the '80s. Every single movie this Canadian director made became a classic. The same could be said about Quentin Tarantino. Everything this man comes into contact with, turns into gold. Another thing that these two have in common is their love for a strong woman in the lead. I guess some directors have a very good understanding what it is that their audience wants and as such they are in a perfect position to deliver the goods and make classic after classic.

Because Quentin Tarantino started his career like few had done before him. He created no less than 3 instant-classic masterpieces before slowing down. "Reservoir dogs", "Pulp fiction" and even "Jackie Brown" are as good as any crime movie can get. Both volumes of "Kill Bill" were very good, but simply not of the same superb quality. With his latest movie, he - yet again - lowers the bar one nudge even though he is more than capable of keeping up that same highest quality that his first three films had. Luckily: he seems to be aware of this, because at times he deliberately numbs down this movie to a lesser quality. "Death proof" contains a few premeditated errors in both audio and video. The movie is a throwback homage to '70s films and to be appreciated, it has to be seen in that context. Quentin Tarantino's fifth film does indeed have many similarities with Steven Spielberg's first film "Duel". The latter one is about a meek, middle-aged businessman driving cross-country on a work-related mission and the psychopathic truck driver who spends an entire day chasing him with the intent to kill.

"Death proof" however tells a slightly different story of Stuntman Mike, a stuntman with a sick taste for using his car to terrorize women. Just like the Spielberg-movie "Duel", there isn't much of a story in "Death proof". Spielberg mainly focused on the actual chase between the two men whilst Tarantino splits his movie in half and shows us two different groups of women who have nothing in common with each other ... besides that they both become the victims of a scarred stuntman ruthlessly driving his death-proof car to execute his murderous plans.

The first part of the movie focuses mostly on the women and thus contains a lot of nonsense dialogs. Ironically enough: all this talking is never any boring. Then again: Quentin Tarantino has always had a knack for making even the longest and most mundane dialogs interesting. What also helps is that this movie is packed with voluptuous women and the film doesn't shy away from wanting to show this in a very confronting manner. That's why an extensive lapdance is included in the first part. The most awesome moment is without a doubt the car crash which is shown multiple times from each woman's point-of-view. In between both parts, we get a small and relaxing little hospital scene.

The second part starts in a similar way and shows us a new group of beautiful women who talk about pretty much everything from fashion magazines to personal relationships. As before: they are targeted by Stuntman Mike, but this time things do not go down the same road. Part two concentrates less on the women and more on the action. This part has a pretty exciting chase where eventually the tables are turned. The end of "Death proof" is both abrupt and absurd but somehow we could have expected such a thing from Quentin Tarantino. It's a rare thing that a director gets that kind of freedom to do whatever he wants.

The acting in "Death proof" is good but not great. Kurt Russell clearly enjoys the part of Stuntman Mike and I have to admit that this performance is one of his best. The women do fine but it's hard to be objective when so much beauty is thrown in your face. I suppose the best acting performance by any of the women is either Vanessa Ferlito (whom you may recognize as Claudia in "24: Season 3") or Sydney Poitier as Jungle Julia. She doesn't only have the same name as Oscar winning actor Sidney Poitier but she is also related. They are daughter and father. Quentin Tarantino also makes a cameo as a bartender.

In short: "Death proof" is a good movie but only for those who thoroughly love the works by Quentin Tarantino. This film is an obvious homage to '70s movies and as such it's been modified to look like that. Even so: I can't help thinking that Quentin Tarantino can do a lot better. One thing's for sure though: he is an extremely versatile director as he taps into a lot of different film genres.
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Fight Club (1999)
Many people will disagree with my comment on this film. But I will fight for my right ...
21 October 2007
Just like that other Brad Pitt-movie "12 monkeys", "Fight club" is so weird that it becomes hard to fully enjoy it. Both movies are considered classics, yet I fail to see why. A few years back, I thought these were truly awful but in time I learned to appreciate them a little more. Still: I simply cannot shed that feeling of disappointment and therefore, to this date, I don't consider either one of them to be as brilliant as some other classics such as for example: "Pulp fiction" or "Memento"

And it all started so well. The story is about a man who suffers from insomnia and desperately tries to escape his boring existence. He meets a charismatic soap salesman and starts organizing the ultimate form of excitement with him; which they call Fight Clubs. These are hidden places where normal young men fistfight each other to get rid of whatever aggravation they possess. The liberating effect of these brutal fights actually brings these men closer together and is the beginning of a very strong yet dangerous companionship.

The huge plot twist of this dark and controversial movie is as unexpected as the one of "The usual suspects", but that doesn't mean that it is just as good. Basically: this change is so bizarre and far-fetched that it almost entirely destroys the movie for me. I simply couldn't bring myself into believing that a thing like that could actually happen. Also: looking back at everything that had transpired before, I sincerely felt that it just didn't make any sense anymore. Furthermore: I hate movies that create a beautiful truth and then tear it all apart instead of letting you enjoy it a little more. I like surprises when watching a movie, but I don't like being left empty-handed at the end of a movie. I find such dishonest endings to be a huge letdown almost every single time.

The acting of the two leading men is good, but I have seen a lot better by both. Edward Norton's finest performances will most likely always be in the two-faced court drama "Primal fear" and the classic, shocking "American history X". I also like him much better in some of his other movies such as "25th hour" and "The score". Maybe his character in this film wasn't interesting enough but something about his acting didn't quite get the fullest of my attention. On the other hand: there's Brad Pitt who's acting seemed better, but even he did far more compelling stuff in "se7en" and "12 monkeys". The best acting performance in this movie however came from Helena Bonham Carter. I had never seen anything quite like this from her and she was really good. There's also Meat Loaf in the unusual role of Bob.

In short: If it weren't for the obscure darkness near the end, I would probably like this movie a lot better. It certainly is a unique movie and that seemingly makes up for an interesting experience, but the weirdness of it all gets in the way at some point. I personally lost touch with this film because some things don't seem to add up here. Nevertheless: I will always recommend this movie for those who are open-minded and eager for something new.
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I hope this series will become extinct sooner than later!
19 October 2007
I have never cared much about zombie-movies, because virtually every single one of them is utterly boring and as such a total waste of money. These mindless pictures always feature a world of undead creatures, one even uglier than the next, feasting on human flesh and leaving a small army of one-dimensional characters to fight for their lives and the survival of the human race. Mostly: these pitiful movies don't have a happy end and they never contain anything more than a lot of shooting and even more people dying in the most horrifying way. But every now and then: there is a zombie-movie worth watching. Usually director George A. Romero knows how to make a pretty good zombie-movie, but then again: he did in fact invent this subgenre. My favorite zombie-movie to date remains the 2004-remake "Dawn of the dead". This film does indeed have great actors in a pretty plausible plot.

Whilst the first "Resident evil" was a pretty good movie and the second one weak but not terrible, this third instalment manages to ruin it all. It is not good at all! The acting is feeble and its characters are as dull as the stupid script in which they appear. Even the main character Alice became astonishingly dreary and ends up looking like a cheap version of Tomb Raider cyberbabe Lara Croft (whom is far more interesting; by the way).

The only spectacular scene is a shameful copy of the classic Hitchcock-film "The Birds" and even though they use a lot more birds here, there is still a serious lack of intensity that the 1963-thriller continuously possessed. The big monster at the end is fake and ridiculous-looking and thus nowhere near as frightening as the ones of the first and second movie. It confirms the fact that nearly everything about this horror-movie is one complete failure.

In short: Making movies out of videogames is always a bit of a risk, unless you know exactly what you're doing. The people behind this movie never had a clue and that results in an inevitably brainless picture.
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Rush Hour 3 (2007)
Changement de décor (a different setting)!
17 October 2007
When Chris Tucker at the end of the second movie in one of the added bloopers says that one of the characters, which had just been thrown out of a window, wouldn't make it into "Rush hour 3" - this joke was both unexpected and very funny. Because at that time, nobody was already thinking of a second sequel. This should account for the duration of 6 long years between the second and third movie.

Because every now and then, there are small hints that this funny series is running on empty. As mentioned above: it took a long time to greenlight this movie and come up with enough material to make it worth the while. Chris Tucker has grown fatter but fortunately for everyone involved he is still hysterical. This third movie still has many jokes to tell but not all of them work out as well as they should. On the other hand: there is Jackie Chan who is still incredibly agile and lightning fast doing the craziest moves imaginable. He actually manages to hide himself entirely into a flag on a pole from the bad guys in this movie. Sometimes it feels as though there are long pauses in between two action sequences, but once the action kicks off - it is always very entertaining to watch!

In order to keep this movie from becoming a drag, they altered the setting once more. This time the duo find themselves in Paris, investigating one of the biggest crime syndicates in the world. This once again leads to fairly new and pleasant situations; each one funnier than the next. One of those new ideas is to mould a French taxi driver into the story and this particular character has its moments ... even though, at times, he seems more like a blunt copy of the main character in the 1998-French action movie "Taxi". Still: he is never really any boring and that's a good thing.

Thus, Chris Tucker and Jackie Chan do what they do best and we love them for that! As always: the cast is very colorful. Japanese actor Hiroyuki Sanada plays the part of Kenji. Swedish actor Max von Sydow, best known for his role as the priest in the classic horror movie "The exorcist", stars as Varden Reynard. There's also a Japanese actress by the name of Youki Kudoh playing the mysterious figure of the Dragon Lady. Of course: there's a French woman involved as well. Noémie Lenoir plays the role of Genevieve. A famous Chinese actress named Jingchu Zhang does the role of Soo Yung; the little girl featured in the first film too. And compelling actor Tzi Ma returns as ambassador Han. On a more comical side note: be sure to watch out for Polish director Roman Polanski (famous for such classics as "Chinatown" and "The pianist") who takes place in front of the camera rather than behind it. He stars as French detective Revi. Truth be told: I hadn't even recognized him until after the movie.

In short: "Rush hour 3" is a very entertaining movie but I think the series should end here. There is obviously no more room for another instalment without hitting rock bottom.
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Rush Hour 2 (2001)
What a great rush of action and comedy this movie turns out to be!
17 October 2007
Just like before, Jackie Chan and Chris Tucker join forces in a sequel that might be even better than the first one. This movie needn't bother with introductions of the main characters anymore and thus starts off immediately. That's why there is more action to be had and far more spectacular moves by the fastest hands in Hollywood. There is also more humor and the jokes only got better from the last time. Virtually every single time Chris Tucker opens his mouth he says something that'll crack you up. Clearly, they both enjoy playing their characters and seem to come off more natural than last time.

The reason why this movie still feels pretty fresh, despite being a sequel and basically doing the same routine all over again, is because the environment has changed for the greater part. Whilst the first movie occurred in Los Angeles, the second one focuses mainly on Hong Kong. Both on a comical and action level, this important change provides new perspectives. And these new perspectives are of course used to the fullest of their extent which is why this movie is so very funny.

The cast of "Rush hour 2" has a few interesting foreign women. Chinese actress Ziyi Zhang recently became famous for her beautiful performance in the film "Crouching tiger, hidden dragon" and repeats a similar role over here. Roselyn Sanchez is from Puerto Rico and plays a mysterious figure in this movie seemingly switching back and forth between both sides. Last but not least there's also John Lone who plays the part of Ricky Tan. Just like before: the cast is a colorful one which undoubtedly delivers. On a more comical side note: be sure to check out American comedian Jeremy Piven who plays the small yet hilarious role of a Versace salesman.

In short: This is a same-old, same-old movie doing nothing really new and repeating the same formula all over again. But, amazingly enough, it still becomes one of the funniest comedy sequels ever made!
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Rush Hour (1998)
The funniest martial arts movie ever made!
16 October 2007
After the death of martial arts legend Bruce Lee, the search was on for an actor who could inspire audiences to the same degree. Every young martial artist was given a chance. Jackie Chan came on top of everyone else and was destined to become the next big thing. Early on: he decided to do things different than his former stunt coordinator Bruce Lee so he would be able to move out of his shadow. This very reason supported by Jackie's undying love for slap-stick and such actors as Charlie Chaplin and Buster Keaton, lead to the fact that his movies would always contain as much humor as possible. Fortunately: the fact that his English is as bad as that of Arnold Schwarzenegger isn't a disturbing factor at all.

Buddy cop movies have always been about two (or more) entirely different characters being forced to work together in a situation that neither one ever wanted. This was the case with classic action-comedies "48 hrs", "Beverly Hills cop" and "Lethal weapon" and this particular style is also used in this action-packed comedy.

But even though "Rush hour" shares many similarities with the above-mentioned classic '80s movies, there is however one important difference. "Rush hour" is just as much a comedy as it is a martial arts movie. And that's why this film feels so fresh. Because Jackie Chan plays a character in this movie which looks as if they mixed Charlie Chaplin and Bruce Lee into one and the same person. This character is very agile yet in a clumsy and comical way.

As usual Jackie Chan does all of his stunts himself. Thus far he remains, to me, the greatest of all martial arts actors ... I have yet to see many films by Bruce Lee and maybe in time I will change my opinion. But right now I like Jackie Chan and his ultra-fast moves a lot more than anything else in the world of martial arts business. He has done so many extraordinary things that tangle the mind. His actions are a gorgeous combination of beautiful fighting choreography and entertaining slap-stick. This mixture is both innovate as well as very successful all around the world. Simply put: this extremely talented actor is a joy to watch fight. He can and will use every single item in this movie as a weapon to defend himself from several thugs attacking him simultaneously. Also: be sure that you don't miss out on the hilarious bloopers after this film has ended!

Of course: "Rush hour" isn't just only about an exceptionally athletic man doing what he does best. He is only half the movie. The other half is filled up by the biggest mouth in the movie business namely actor Chris Tucker. This African-American comedian is often mixed up with Chris Rock and this shouldn't come as a surprise at all, because both these talented actors are considered the 'Eddy Murphy for the new generation.' Basically: they do what Eddy Murphy did back in the '80s. Even though I think Chris Rock is the better actor, Chris Tucker is quite good in this movie and delivers ... although neither one of them will ever be as great as Eddy Murphy.

In "Rush hour", Chris Tucker plays the total opposite of Jackie Chan which means: all talk but hardly any walk! Tucker talks and Chan fights! That's how easily this movie and its main characters have been split up. But it doesn't stay this way forever and that is one of the smartest moves of "Rush hour". The lines between the one who fights and the one who talks start to blur as the movie develops. This is not only unexpected but also raises the bar on a humoristic level. It's a welcome change from the average buddy cop movie.

Furthermore, there is British actor Tom Wilkinson who was one of the few main actors to keep his clothes on in the funny, British comedy "The full monty". He also later starred as the brilliant doctor in "Eternal sunshine of the spotless mind" and a notorious crime boss in "Batman begins". Two other very familiar Asian faces make an appearance. Tzi Ma plays consul Han in this movie and will return for the upcoming "Rush hour 3" as ambassador Han. He played a volcano scientist in the ever spectacular disaster movie "Dante's speak" and also plays a minor yet vital role in "24: Seasons 5 and 6". The other actor is Ken Leung. He is most famous for his role in "X-Men: The last stand" where he played a mutant who was able to sprout spikes from his body (which obviously makes it very hard for anyone to give him a hug without getting hurt.)

In short: A simple yet intelligent comedy which is slightly different yet becomes a very original buddy cop movie due to the martial arts by Jackie Chan. Altogether: this makes up for a very entertaining movie!
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The perfect end to the perfect trilogy ...
15 October 2007
16 years after the last of two brilliant godfather-films, director Francis Ford Coppola returns to complete his thus far unfinished mafia saga. Despite rumours that the final godfather-film is a blemish on an otherwise magnificent tale of organized crime, it is in fact one of the most beautiful films ever made and a story that's just as riveting as any of its predecessors. It once again deals with familiar themes such as corruption, misuse of power, love, respect, remorse and of course the most inevitable of all … death! The endless amount of critique and insults that this film received must have something to do with the many years dividing part II and part III. In those many years the face of American cinema has changed radically. Back in the '70s method-actors like Jack Nicholson, Al Pacino and Robert De Niro were the true kings of the movie industry, but after a couple of years special effects started playing a bigger role in cinema and fantasy figures such as Indiana Jones, Darth Vader, aliens, terminators, gremlins and horror icon Freddy Krueger all became immensely popular and just as important.

Amazing is that "The godfather part III" didn't change one bit amidst this massive update of modern cinema. Surely: it takes place a few dozen years later, but it seems as though time has stood still. Even so: there are some significant changes to be had. The biggest change of all is how Michael Corleone has transformed from a strong and confident leader to a weak and aging Don desperately trying to deal with his tragic past. At the same time he wants to legitimize his crime family's interests and remove himself from the violent underworld. Method-actor Al Pacino does exceptionally well at acting out emotions with his voice in this final instalment. The last time I watched this film, I actually cried on two different occasions. That's how powerful and genuine his acting really is. The first moment that got to me was the confession of Al Pacino to a priest. Having never shown repent for any of his sins, he suddenly realizes the vast magnitude of his wrong-doings and ultimately breaks down in tears. Even more compelling is the ending of the godfather-trilogy.

But Al Pacino isn't the only great actor in this film. Andy Garcia plays his role of a lifetime as Vincent Mancini – the ferocious son of Michael's oldest brother Sonny and unfortunately for anyone involved he shares his father's hot temper. Especially small-time enforcer Joey Zasa seems to enrage him beyond all reason. This character is played by actor Joe Mantegna and he does a very good job. Mantegna would still get the chance to play an actual mob boss but only as the voice of Fat Tony in the highly successful television series "The Simpsons."

The one person who was attacked the most for her performance was Sofia Coppola; daughter of director Francis Ford. She evidently plays the part of the daughter of Michael Corleone. I have to agree that Sofia is much better behind the camera than in front of it, but to say that her acting was terrible is an overstatement. Diane Keaton and Talia Shire are still around playing their eminent characters, but not everybody returns for this third film. Robert Duvall got a little too greedy on his part and that's why his character consigliere Tom Hagen does not return. This is a real pity, but the film has found a very clever way to work around it … so this change is more than satisfactory; I think. Bridget Fonda is also present as a reporter but her role is of no real consequence. Suffice to say, "The godfather: part III" has a fabulous cast.

In short: Sequels simply don't get any better than this! This masterpiece is just as grand as part I and part II ... everything falls into place - from its wonderful actors to the delightful cinematography - "The godfather part III" truly is ... the perfect end to the perfect trilogy!!
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My favorite black comedy ever!
14 October 2007
Normally I don't like black comedies. These sorts of movies are comedies for sure, but they add a serious amount of drama and gruesomeness making us wonder if it's OK to laugh with what has been shown. "Very bad things" is such a comedy but unlike usual I actually love this film for its brilliant mixture of sweet comedy and dramatic horror.

The movie has an impressive cast and all actors do a more than fine job. It all starts with Cameron Diaz who only wants to get her perfect wedding, but since this movie is about a bachelor party gone horribly wrong she doesn't get to play the main part. Nevertheless: we still get to see pretty much of her and she does an outstanding job as the nervous and obsessive soon-to-be-wife. The only other woman playing an important part is actress Jeanne Tripplehorn who is emotionally steadier, but then again: she's not very much involved.

The lead roles are all for the men. This dark comedy tends to focus mostly on the incidents during the party and how each of these men tries to deal with its aftermath. They each wanna pick up their lives again afterwards, but not all of them find it so easy to do. It all involves five men actually.

The centerpiece of this story is of course the one who's about to get married soon. This character, named Kyle Fisher, is played by actor Jon Favreau who's probably most recognizable for playing an astronaut in the disaster movie "Deep impact". Even though he gets dragged into this mess, emotionally he tries to stay away from it as far as possible. He doesn't panic nor relax. Basically he can't believe that this is actually happening. He is your average sweet guy who couldn't cheat on his wife despite the sexy prostitute invited at his own bachelor party.

Secondly, there is Kyle's best friend who's a mechanic and doesn't talk an awful lot. He's somewhat weird but in a harmless way. Actor Leland Orser is one of those unknowns who has been in a couple of famous films though. He plays a similar role of a crazed man in "Se7en" and "Alien resurrection".

Then there are also two brothers coming along. The first one is played by Jeremy Piven who's virtually been playing nothing but smaller parts in pretty famous movies (such as "Heat", "Rush hour 2" and "Black hawk down") but the most famous of the two brothers is without a doubt actor Daniel Stern (whom we know as one of two clumsy burglars in the first two "Home alone"-movies.) These brothers seemingly can't stand each other because they are so very different. Jeremy Piven is the one who initiates the tragedy in this movie and Daniel Stern is the one who's constantly in panic worried that the police will find out about their atrocities. The acting performance of the latter one is in fact one of the very best things.

Last but certainly not least is the guy who makes sure that the story keeps going forward. He's is the leader of this outfit and makes all the hard decisions even though after a while he seems likely to cross the line indefinitely. The actor playing this ever self-confident character is Christian Slater and of all the men in this movie, he is easily the most popular one. Slater was the pupil of Sean Connery in "The name of the rose" back in 1986, played at the side of Kevin Costner in the 1991-romantic adventure film "Robin Hood: Prince of thieves" and even got himself the main part in the marvelous cult-classic "True romance" which was written by Quentin Tarantino himself. His acting is not only top-notch and the best thing in this movie, but it's also quite possibly his finest performance ever!

In short: A very funny yet at times pretty disturbing dark comedy with a colorful cast to say the least.
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The Lookout (2007)
Take a lookout for this small yet decent picture!
13 October 2007
The thing that truly bothered me is that approximately two weeks after I had seen this film, I had already forgotten about it for the most part even though I did remember enjoying it. I suppose too many movies such as these are made by the giant Hollywood-machine. I can't think of another reason as to why this movie would start to fade away from my mind. It was quite good but I guess in the end there are too many American heist-movies.

The movie is all about a character named Chris Pratt played by Joseph Gordon-Levitt. In the movie, he has a terrible car accident after which he tries to get his life back together. The only well-known actor is Jeff Daniels and this is someone who's actually played a great variety of different roles. He's done both action movies ("Speed"), comedies ("Dumb & dumber") as well as serious social dramas ("Terms of Endearment"). In this film he plays a blind man who actually sees things much more positively than Chris; with whom he shares an apartment. There's also Matthew Goode who recently starred in one of Woody Allen's finest films ever namely "Match point". He plays a bit of a mysterious role. It's hard to see his true motives.

In short: a small yet decent picture in a genre that has already spawned dozens and dozens of American movies ... which should account for the fact that "The lookout" doesn't get an awful lot of attention.
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I'm glad it's the last one ...
13 October 2007
Ever since "Braveheart" in 1995 and "Gladiator" in the year 2000, Hollywood has noticed that making similar movies is a secure bet. However: this is not always the case. Sometimes they are very spectacular to watch and become very fine movies indeed. Such examples are "King Arthur", "Troy" and "The Lord of the rings". But every now and then, they screw up and the movies that were supposed to be impressive blockbusters become nothing more than the most expensive fiasco of that year. Two such letdowns are "Alexander" and Kingdom of heaven".

I'm sure that "The last legion" wanted to be amongst the finest of its kind, but it ends up being the total opposite. It's an expensive waste of talent. The movie is monotonous and the so-called deadly duels seem like sparring compared to the ones in "Gladiator". The only sort of interest is Bollywood-actress Aishwarya Rai who plays the part of Mira. Besides the fact that she is truly beautiful, she is also the only one whose fighting seems genuine. Colin Firth should stick to romantic comedies or social dramas because he doesn't seem to know how to handle a sword. His acting is OK though; it's just that his fighting isn't any good. Ben Kingsley has already impressed us in classic films such as "Gandhi" and "Schindler's list" but here he plays a character who seems to be the brother of Gandalf. And then there's also John Hannah; another great British actor who's been given nothing to work with and thus ends up falling short like pretty much everybody else in this doomed picture.

In short: If this is the today's standard for future battle movies, then I truly hope this is ... the last legion.
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Spider-Man 3 (2007)
A different Spider-Man ...
13 October 2007
Whatever the differences are between the Spider-man movies and the comic-books, it's futile to talk about it because I have never read a single comic-book. I have heard that not all changes are good ones, but I didn't notice any of those because in my case: ignorance is a bless. Unfortunately: all of this is a moot point given the fact that one doesn't need to read the comic-books in order to grasp the flaws this film holds.

Nothing is really bad though, but some stuff just doesn't work out nicely. The big battle near the end is a little too hectic for its own good. Also near the end: we get two emotional scenes but neither one of those really do the job since they lack the intensity. The moral speeches by May Parker, who serves more as a mother than an aunt for Peter, become repetitive and we see too little of actor J.K. Simmons who is ever-excellent in playing the chief of the New York City newspaper The Daily Bugle.

But there is some good stuff too. The only way for this film to be even more spectacular than the previous one was to add an extra enemy which is why Spider-Man now faces more than one enemy at the same time. And the new villains are indeed quite fascinating. There is Sandman who is exactly what the name tells you: he's a man of sand! And there is also Venom which is some sort of a sticky black substance that is actually alive. And when it comes into contact with a human being, it brings out the worst in them! Also: a new version of the Goblin comes into play, but this character is tied between the love for his friends Peter and Mary Jane and getting the proper revenge for his father's murder.

The special effects are spectacular and this is of course a must! The birth of the Sandman is arguably the single most breathtaking scene of all three Spider-man movies. It reminded me a little of the 1999-adventure movie "The mummy" where the evil creature Imhotep also does a very nice trick with sand. The shapeless creature Venom is undoubtedly the strangest but also the most vicious of all superhero villains ever depicted in a Spider-man movie (or any other comic-book adaptation; for that matter). It produces a few laughs when we get to lay our eyes on the new Peter Parker but brings out just as many semi-thrills when - near the end - the real Venom makes an appearance. The many battles are also entertaining to watch albeit some of those are a bit overdone perhaps. In the first two films J.K. Simmons provided the most laughs and while he is still amusing, I thought that the funniest moment this time came from Bruce Campbell playing a French waiter.

In short: "Spider-Man 3" is not as good as its predecessors due to a few flaws that could have been prevented, but still entertains and that's the main thing! It's a typical good popcorn movie that focuses more on SFX and action than on any of its characters and their storyline.
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