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Solid SciFi with some really good bits and great visuals
21 April 2018
People who give this a 1 or 2 out of 10 must have an axe to grind or some kind of agenda. This is not the greatest SciFi movie ever, it is not even as good as the 5th Element, but it sure is not a 1 or 2 out of 10.

Yes, the acting is dodgy from the leads but that rarely matters since the film builds on visuals and action. The plot is complex and a bit messy but again, not to the point where it ruins the fun. Is Valerian better than Star Wars Episode 7 and 8? You better believe it! Yes, it is a better SciFi than Disney Star Wars, granted that does not say a lot.

You may not love this film, but it is absolutely worth the price of admission and not without its merits. I have no idea what is wrong with those who seem to hate this film, unless you hate SciFi in general this will at least entertain you and probably more.
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A million ways to tell the same two jokes
19 August 2017
Seth McFarlane is the new Adam Sandler.

That's pretty much all that needs to be said. This movie is terrible, the jokes are few, repeated too many times and juvenile. The core idea of the movie is potentially funny but the writing and execution is simply not good enough. A host of known actors can't save this mess either.

There are much better ways to spend your time, even most bad movies are better than this so watch something else.
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Ghostbusters (2016)
Forget about the politics: this is a BAD movie
2 September 2016
Straight to the point. This movie is bad, it fails as a comedy on nearly every level. It's not because the cast is female, it's bad because it's not funny, does not feature any compelling characters and... oh dear, it's supposed to be a comedy and the jokes just. Are. Not. Funny.

There is a long string of positive reviews here but I am certain that these are made for political reasons. They are way, way too positive to be honest. I can believe it that some people might find this movie "ok" or "worth a watch" but it's literally impossible that anyone finds it a "10/10" and "hilarious". That's just not possible.

Whatever your politics, whatever you think of the female cast, whether you are a feminist or not, female or not, young or old, here is the full, uncensored, sad truth: This is a bad movie. See it at your own risk.
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The history of bodybuilding with plenty of detail
17 March 2016
A very interesting documentary for anyone who lifts or has a general interest in bodybuilding. It is stocked with industry insiders, not just the bodybuilders themselves (though there are plenty of those) but also others who has been pulling strings behind the scenes.

I suppose this film get more interesting if you have some clue about the history of the sport and have less to offer someone who is completely new to this topic. Also, if you are looking for an "inspirational" film, then this is not it. Evolution of Bodybuilding concerns itself with exactly what the title says nothing else. The development from the early days, to the golden age and all the way up to the current "freak show" aesthetics. I perceived the film as being unusually even-handed. It does not shy away from controversial topics (like classic/freak aesthetics) but doesn't take sides either.

Finally, there are some real pearls in this film, like hearing the real giants of old like Frank Zane talk about their experiences so many years later.

Recommended to anyone with an interest in bodybuilding, though in particular to those with an intellectual bend.
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Catwoman (2004)
Wear your tin-foil hat for this one...
22 May 2015
Warning: Spoilers
I don't usually buy into conspiracy theories about organized fake reviews on IMDb but in this particular case... I'm just not so sure.

Page after page with glowing reviews proclaiming this to be a ten out of ten movie masterpiece. That is absolutely ridiculous. Note that almost 80000 people have given it an average score of 3.3 at the time of this writing, and personally I think that is high. This is a terrible, terrible movie. I'm sure there are people who might think that this is okay or worth a watch but nobody can honestly give this piece of manure ten out of ten.

So, don't believe the positive reviews, this is a bad film. A very bad film. No, it has nothing to do with Halle berry being black. She is celebrated as a beautiful woman as well as being a good actress when she gets the right part, so if anything people are being nice for her sake. It's not all her fault either. But regardless of where you put the blame - this movie is horrible.
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Day of the Mummy: Really bad and not in a good way.
13 December 2014
Warning: Spoilers
It's rare that I can't sit through a movie but I just could not bring myself to finish watching Day of the Mummy.

The main problem, though not by any means the only one, is William McNamara who plays the main character. I can't recall seeing anything else he has done, though I probably have, so I am unsure if he is always this bad but in this film at least, he is absolutely terrible. I mean high-school play bad. Answering machine message bad. Amateur acting of the worst kind.

This might have been excused if he had looked the part of a kick-ass adventurer, but he doesn't. The dude is neither handsome (I consulted an expert on this one, i.e. my wife) nor the least bit fit. A striking and muscular tough guy might get away with shoddy acting when he is portraying a bad-ass hero but an average bloke who can't act... are you kidding me? I could go on about the shoddy craftsmanship in almost every aspect of this film but I really can't be bothered. The poor acting alone is reason enough to back out of this one.

The fact is that I wanted to like this movie. I had low expectations, I love mummy-flicks and I think that the POV thing was an interesting take on this kind of movie. Unfortunately this film is just bad. Not in a good way, not in a fun way and not in a way you can overlook. It's just plain bad.

The film gets 2 instead of 1 out of 10 because it attempted a somewhat creative take on a classic sub-genre. But it only barely deserves it.
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Metal Evolution (2011–2014)
Required viewing
29 January 2012
Warning: Spoilers
This is an excellent rockumentary with a truly epic scope. It takes on the task of covering the birth and development of Heavy Metal in it's major development stages and it examines its most important genres. Sam Dunn is best known for his documentaries Metal A Headbanger's Journey and Global Metal. This series is a deep dive into the tree of metal evolution that figured in both his previous documentaries.

This is not merely a fan-boy celebration of his favourite music, it is a genuinely well made and even-handed documentary film as well. Apart from interviews with many important, even legendary, people the series also explain the roots and development of this music in detail without losing the rock'n'roll feeling. Fun and educational.

Heavy Metal is a complex and important music style which, at its best, provides a musical and cultural depth that rarely receive any respect in mainstream media. Despite attempts (sometimes successful in the short term) to commercialize it, Heavy Metal have managed to stay genuine.

One can of course debate Dunns choices of bands and interview victims in some cases. For example a notable omission is AC/DC which is only mentioned in passing (true for all Sam Dunns documentaries), this is never explained and might have legal or practical reasons. Never the less, what is here is comprehensive enough and then some.

This is required viewing not only for Metal fans but for anyone with a serious interest in any sort of music. I believe classical musicians or fans who are not familiar with Heavy Metal would find this interesting, for instance. Also, the series is interesting from a cultural/sub-cultural/anthropologic perspective as well. Recommended!
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The Big Year (2011)
Excellent but not a comedy
24 January 2012
Warning: Spoilers
This is a much better movie than many reviews and the rating here would suggest. I believe the main reason for the low average score is that some people expected a typical Jack Black and/or Steve Martin comedy. In fact, I'd go so far as to say the movie is in the wrong category here on IMDb, it should be classified as Drama. So it's not the silly laugh-fest you might be expecting.

What this is, however, is a quiet but very atmospheric movie about friendship, life and priorities. Without getting too deep it asks questions about what's important and what isn't, about where to draw the line between love and obsession, and about choosing a life that makes you happy over one that is expected of you. It's a feel-good movie with some funny moments and a lot of warm-hearted ones.

If you are looking for yet another brain-dead Hollywood slapstick comedy then this isn't it, but it is an excellent movie about three people who share a common interest but little else. It will leave you with a warm fuzzy feeling in your heart.
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Syriana (2005)
Brilliant Study of the Middle East and Corporate Oil
3 December 2011
Warning: Spoilers
This is a brilliant movie in many respects, but it is also unusual enough to almost be unique.

The view of the middle east presented in Syriana is the most true to life I have seen in any American movie ever, and I've lived in the middle east so I have some experience (lived peacefully, I hasten to add, I didn't go there to shoot the locals). The view on the ultra-corrupt oil business is also penetrating to the point of being uncomfortable to watch.

Some here have criticized it for being above the head of the "average movie-goer". I would argue that depends on where that movie-goer lives and what he or she knows. For the crowd who's world-view is shaped entirely by CNN and the like(or worse, FOX news) the world presented in Syriana will no doubt seem alien. That shadow does not fall on the film, though.

It is however true that Syriana demands some attention from its viewer. It is indeed complex (though not complicated) and a general understanding of world politics certainly does help.

Many of the negative reviews here seem to come from people wanting to be spoon-fed the same old Hollywood hero-worship (these are the "it's boring" reviews). If that is you, then you won't like Syriana.

The rest of the negative reviews are mainly politically motivated. Not because Syriana is a preaching political film, it isn't, but because it does not toe the line and stick to the official message. Syriana portraits middle easterners as real people for one thing (this alone makes it a target for accusations of "glorifying terrorism" of course). But it also attempts, and mostly succeeds, in showing the religious/political/cultural complexities of the region. Finally it gives a realistic account of the real reasons for terrorism (as opposed to the standard "they-hate-us-because-they-are-evil" garbage).

As for acting it is very well done all around. George Clooney does an excellent job, as does, unsurprisingly William Hurt but the mid east actors also put on a very convincing performance. Extra points for using local actors and let them speak their own languages, rather than having American-Arabs speak broken English. The tempo of the story is generally slow though the cuts are fast, this only make the moments of violence hit you so much harder.

This film is highly recommended for anyone with an interest in the subject-matter, a brain and a reasonable attention-span.
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Jesus Camp (2006)
Scary testament to the horrors of religion
18 November 2011
Warning: Spoilers
This is a very scary film and it is decidedly unpleasant to watch. It depicts a horrific indoctrination of little children by fundamentalist evangelical Christians in a straight-forward documentary manner.

Seen with northern European eyes this film is a decent into a darkness that most people (who lacks first-hand experience of the USA) probably didn't believe existed.

What makes this film unusual as well as powerful is that there is no real counterpoint, no voice-over, no balanced account. What goes on is seen entirely from the Christians perspective. The only slight counterpoint consist of a more liberal (read more sane) Christian radio host. The actual families portrait can't have anything to complain about, they get to tell their story without any counter-arguments. They get the whole show.

Normally this would have seemed imbalanced (and in a sense it is) but this is exactly what makes the film so effective. No counter-argument is required, these people are just that scary. So instead of arguing the film-makers simply give them all the rope they need to hang themselves.

For this very reason some religious nuts actually like this film. All I can say about that is this: if you watch the treatment of these children without feeling sick to the stomach then you are (and I choose my words very carefully) utterly beyond redemption.

This film is very unpleasant to watch for anyone with a hint of morality in their character. It will probably make you angry, it might make you sick, it might make you cry. But you should watch it anyway because it is that important.
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Life of Brian (1979)
Possibly the best comedy film ever made
18 November 2011
Warning: Spoilers
I suspect I shall simply repeat what others have already said, but here we go.

This is a brilliant comedy and it's required viewing for anyone with the slightest taste for satire. Life of Brian is possibly the best comedy film ever made, certainly in the top three.

The classic Monty Python formula of silliness on top with intelligence underneath were never done better. Beyond that it is also a high quality production, which means it has aged better than some of Monty Python's other creations. For example the famous musical number on the cross is absolutely first class from a musical perspective and the scene where a Roman patrol forces an activist to correct the spelling of his graffiti is one of the best jokes in film history.

On a side-note it is deeply ironic that this silly film is actually closer to the Jesus myth (and what little historical evidence there is for it) than so called serious religious films like "The Passion of the Christ".

For those too young to have seen this already: don't let it's age scare you away, give it a go, it's still a very, very funny flick.
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Stake Land (2010)
Excellent horror/drama/road-movie
18 November 2011
Warning: Spoilers
Stake Land does not fit neatly into any one genre. Rather it can be described as a horror/drama with action elements in the form of a road movie.

It is, however, a very good movie. The pace is brilliant, most of the time it's slow which means the outbursts of horror/action carry all the more punch when they come. There is also gore but it can hardly be called extreme for a horror flick. The acting is good overall and in some cases excellent, especially Kelly McGuinness and Connor Paolo.

The script is very good in my opinion, especially the study in human behavior when society breaks down. In the end it is the humans who come off as the real monsters, rather than the vampires. It should also be said that this is an excellent anti-dote to True Blood, Twilight and all their fellow copycats.

But apart from first-class pacing, good acting, script and beautiful cinematography, the film also contain some social commentary and this lifts it another notch above most in the genre. Without ever preaching, Stake Land goes beyond the normal brain-dead horror films in providing an intelligent social backdrop.

Some complains that the vampires have some traits of zombies and others of vamps. I would call this a bit of originality, no idea why it's supposed to be a good thing that all horror flicks conform to the same standard formula.

Also, the genre-transcending nature of this film can (and apparently have) make some horror-fans disappointed because they expected something else. If you are looking for the regular thoughtless gore-fest with a killing every 2 minutes then this is not the film to see. On the flip side, those who like human dramas but are sensitive to gore and violence won't like it either. You kind of need a taste for both.

I am normally not a huge horror-fan but I loved this film and that may tell you something. Strongly recommended to horror-fans with a taste for drama, or to drama-fans with the stomach for some blood.
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The American (2010)
Excellent and tragic drama
14 November 2011
Warning: Spoilers
Those expecting or hoping for an action flick will be sorely disappointed, but that's because they went to see the wrong film. This is mostly a character portrait of a troubled man, a tragic drama with plenty of believable humanity and even warmth.

In spite of the Hollywood superstar playing the main character, the tempo and style of this film is very much what Americans often refer to as "European" (except those that know something about film and therefore understand the silliness of putting, say, Bergman, Fassbinder and Fellini under the same label). In other words this film is understated, close to the ground and thoughtful. The tempo is low and the emotional content is high. Hollywood used to make films like this but that was long ago and it's exceedingly rare nowadays.

George Clooney does what is possibly his best performance ever as a jaded assassin trying to change his life. His character portrait of this troubled man is very good indeed. Anyone who is under the impression that Clooney just gets by on good looks and charm might want to let this movie change their mind. The guy is an excellent actor, when given the chance.

The rest of the cast (mainly Placido, Reuten and Bonacelli) also perform very well. The script is not remarkable but the excellent direction, photography and acting is what makes the movie.

If you read the negative reviews you will see that most complain about "no talking and no action". With the risk of sounding elitist, the fact is that a certain level of sophistication is required to appreciate this movie. I also saw some complaints about the sex scenes and I disagree strongly. My opinion is that the sex scenes are probably more relevant and motivated in this film than almost any other I have seen. They are there to illustrate the relationship between the characters as it evolves from shallowly physical to desperately emotional.

The biggest problem with this film is that the subject matter probably attracts a lot of people who won't like or understand it (because they expect something different), while repelling many who would actually love it if they saw it.
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Worst remake ever
14 November 2011
Warning: Spoilers
This film is possibly the worst remake ever made.

Luc Besson's Nikita was a brilliant action flick with an outstanding script, first class acting and amazing direction. (as a side-note Nikitas first 10 minutes contain the best "cyberpunk" atmosphere this side of Blade Runner).

In spite of the fact that this remake follows the original almost scene by scene, it still manages to do everything wrong. That almost merits some sort of award.

First of all we never actually see that the heroine is guilty, the cop-killing isn't shown and the door is certainly open to assume she was falsely accused. And this of course misses the entire point of the whole script. In the original Nikita was a true bad-girl, addict, cop-killer at the society's absolute bottom. That is the frigging premise for the whole story! But I guess in Hollywood all heroes have to be snow white and pure, or at least allow that interpretation.

But the rest is just as bad. The direction doesn't even play in the same league as Besson's original. The acting is flat and shallow without the humanity that propels Nikita. Besson's masterpiece becomes something pointless and ordinary. That's a crime.

See the original movie, it is well worth it. Don't see this one.
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Train wreck of a movie
14 November 2011
Warning: Spoilers
I won't spend too much time rehashing what so many others have already written, but I will add my voice. This is truly a failed movie.

The script is horrible and the direction is no where near what one would expect from QT. Occasional glimpses of good acting can't save this train wreck of a movie. The references to classic films are too many, too obvious and utterly pointless. The violence is speculative without being the least bit satirical, it's just violence-porn. Finally there is the unpleasant feeling that the "message" of the movie is actually very close to that of the real life Nazis, even though the roles are reversed.

I'm sorry to say that Tarrantino is way past his peak and if this film is any indication he might want to consider doing something else for a while.

The contradictory positive reviews are puzzling, I can only assume there are lots of QT fan-boys out there who just can't criticize their idol.
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Funny and pointed but never mean
12 November 2011
Warning: Spoilers
I think this comedy is way better than some reviews would suggest. American Dreamz is stocked with excellent actors and while it makes fun of everything from Bush and American Idol to terrorists and today's narcissistic culture in general it does so with love.

Granted, there is a slight overreach and the movie would have benefited from a more narrow scope but it works, it's funny and you come away from it feeling good which is what a comedy is supposed to do. It might sting a bit for ultra-patriotic Americans, but that's got more to do with them than with the movie itself.

**** Spoiler **** Dennis Quaid and Marcia Gay Harden are brilliant as the Bush couple and Willem Dafoe is equally excellent as a Dick Cheney/Donald Rumsfeld-composite character. While it is easy to be mean to George Bush this film choose a different path. We are presented with the what-if scenario of what would have happened if George had one day woke up, begun to read newspapers and think for himself. This is a different and humorous take on a guy that is already a parody of himself.

The American Idol part of the film is also funny and Hugh Grant does a wonderful Simon Cowell. This parody also leans towards gentle fun rather than mean, but they are not pulling their punches and the man we love to hate gets what's coming to him.

This film does not make a big political statement and it never preaches, but there is a subtext of criticism against the western consumer culture in general and American foreign policy in particular. This is more by default than by intent, if you make fun of George Bush and American Idol at the same time, this is the message you get. It feels more like the movie assumes the viewer knows what the message is and it mostly avoids preaching to the choir.

Finally, the level of acting is very good across the board, even for the smaller parts, and with outstanding performances from Quaid, Dafoe, Moore, Harden and Coolidge.

American Dreamz is a great comedy for a slow weekend afternoon and it's well worth watching.
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Red State (2011)
Scary vision for the future of Christian America
13 October 2011
Warning: Spoilers
For the record, I'm not a particular Kevin Smith fan so I can't compare this to his previous work.

That said, this is an unpleasant film to watch at times and it balances precariously between horror and political thriller. I won't reiterate what others have already said, so in short this is a good movie but not a masterpiece. It's also very bloody and violent (possibly a bit unnecessarily so at times).

John Goodman deserves a mentioning since he is very good in this movie, displaying an impressive forceful side of himself.

But it is a well done and deeply chilling vision of a future America. For a European (especially one from the post-religious Scandinavia) this may seem like outrageous fiction but if you have seen Jesus Camp, if you are a bit up to date what the US politics is about then the scenario of Red State seems like a frighteningly possible near-future reality.
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Not Alien, not Predator, not even Alien vs Predator
10 May 2010
Warning: Spoilers
First let me say that I actually liked the first Alien versus Predator. It was a bit of a b-movie but not at all bad. Therefore I had some hopes for AVP Requiem but I was sadly disappointed.

The classic scifi-horror formula that was established by Alien (where the viewer get to know a small group of characters well before they get in trouble with said aliens) was also followed by the first AVP movie. Sadly AVP Requiem throws this out the window and replaces it with a classic splatter-movie formula. In other words, the human characters have no importance, depth or relevance whatsoever. They are simple stereotypes who's only purpose is to be victims for the monsters.

Unfortunately, the Aliens and Predators don't have any depth either. They don't even have much to do with the originals, apart from appearance. Both species are simply "monsters" who happily slaughter the ridiculous clichés that passes for human characters.

The script is absolutely horrible, even for a b-movie. The suspense, creepy atmosphere and action of the original franchises has been completely replaced with cheap surprise-effects and lots of gore with ripped off bodyparts and splatter. The story carries all the complexity of a porn-movie and can be summarized as "spaceship crashes in a remote area, locals get massacred by Aliens and Predators. The End".

Life is too short to waste on a train-wreck of a movie like this one. It's simply horrible and yes, that is true even if you loved the first AVP.
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Do you feel fortuitous, tramp?
7 April 2010
Sherlock Holmes the action hero is here. This is a film made for people who have not had any but the most fleeting contact with Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's classic hero. Unfortunately, everything that makes Doyle's Sherlock interesting (his dedication to cold logic, self-destructive nature and absolute need for puzzles to solve in order to keep his dark side busy) is all but gone, mostly replaced with less disturbing traits. Instead of an intellectual character who defeats his enemies with his mind, the Sherlock in this film is more likely to employ his fists and weapons. Just being smart simply isn't sexy, so Holmes gets to be a Victorian Dirty Harry instead.

If you have only a vague idea of who Sherlock Holmes is then you'll probably love this film. Production value is high, the acting mostly good, the rendering of London wonderful. Anyone who ever read one of Doyle's books, however, should stay well away.

Of course we have Sherlock Holmes 2 to look forward to as well. Where, no doubt, more bad guys will taste Holmes fists of fury. Do you feel fortuitous, tramp?
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