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Männer zum Knutschen (2012)
No spark between the leads
This is, ostensibly, a romantic comedy, so it should be a prerequisite that the audience root for the lead couple to end up together. However, one half of the couple is so irritating that, frankly, I would have been happy for the ex-girlfriend to triumph. I get that 'opposites attract' is a well-used conceit, but the key word is 'attract'. I can't think of one reason why Ernie would want to stay with Tobi, who is presented as flighty, emotionally stunted, and childish. I get why Ernie is hesitant to break ties with Uta, who makes no secret of her outrageously bad behavior. His mother has basically cut all ties to him, and it's natural that he would want to keep someone in his life who has history with him, even if he realizes on some level that she doesn't exactly have his best interests at heart. But Tobi (and his friends) don't bring anything substantial to the table, and Ernie has only known them for six months. I just didn't buy it at all, and having Ernie repeat over and over "He's my soul-mate" means nothing if the audience doesn't actually see something in Tobi, as well. I wanted to like it because the actor who plays Ernie is quite engaging, but I also wanted his partner to actually deserve him.
Powerful and affecting... amazing debut
I liked the direction and acting better than the screenplay, although Dito Montiel has written a very moving story. His use of different styles and techniques- most of which came from him just experimenting or not really knowing what "to do"- are at first somewhat jarring, but grow to fit the fractured lives of his characters perfectly. This movie is not for everybody, but should be seen by anyone who is despairing of the state of American Independent movies. And the cast- truly brilliant. Pros like Dianne Weist (she can truly do no wrong, and her character would be so weak in a lesser actor's hands) and Chazz Palminteri are mixed with relative newcomers and complete unknowns that Montiel picked up in casting sessions out in Queens. For me, the whole movie was worth seeing Channing Tatum, however. He is heartbreaking and scary and full of explosive energy. The screen can barely contain him. One of the best movies I've seen in quite awhile.
War of the Worlds (2005)
I resisted seeing this movie in the theatres because i have been so turned off by Tom Cruise the last few years. It was on HBO last night so I figured, "What the hey..." I can't believe how terrible it was on so many levels. First and foremost- the screenplay was inadequate and sloppy. How many pages must have looked something like "EXPLOSION. People scream. Cut to: EXLOSION. People scream. Cut to: LASERS SHOOT. People are vaporized. Cut to: EXPLOSION." The lead character is unlikable as a protagonist and borderline abusive as a father. The obvious parallels to 9/11 are clunky ("Is it terrorists? Is it terrorists?")and, even worse, not fully realized. The film wants to have it both ways- having Ray's son swept up in patriotic fervor to defend his country and yet still deliver him safe and sound at the end. I'm sorry, but too many of our troops have been killed in the last five years to cop out with such a turn of events. Either you sacrifice the son to make a point or you don't broach the topic. The acting was grating and amateurish. Cruise starts off with his typical cocky Maverick ripoff that he's been riding into the ground for close to twenty years and then turns "actor" by welling up with tears and yelling his children's names over and over. Dakota Fanning's lungs are impressive. But there's nothing behind it. How chilling was Haley Joel Osment in "Sixth Sense" when he was so desperate to erase the horrific images he was seeing? To be "normal" again? Dakota just screams over and over and over and over. The pacing was so sluggish, even amid all of the explosions. If I didn't have a clock in my cable box I would have sworn this movie is four and a half hours long, even though it comes in at only 116 minutes. And then the climax is the machines inexplicably start falling apart and the movie's suddenly over, with narration explaining that common germs killed them. WOW. So much for man vanquishing his foes by coming together as one or doing something heroic or clever, or even gosh-darn LUCKY. What was the point of this movie? And it grossed $200 million (half of which went to Tom Cruise?!!!) I just don't get it. I really don't.
The Incredibles (2004)
it would be easy for pixar to rest on its laurels and basically release anything, knowing that people will flock to see the latest movie from the studio that produced "toy story" and "finding nemo", among others. however, they have come up with another clear winner with "the incredibles." the story, art direction, character development, and voices all worked wonderfully together. i laughed, i cried, i spilled my nachos all over my shirt. it was a wonderful evening and i will most likely see this film again in the theaters... cheers! ps- pay close attention whenever edna is on screen because people will be laughing so hard you might miss some of her lines...
not just for hockey fans
ok, I am a huge hockey fan, but I took two friends who have never seen a game in their life, and they enjoyed it almost as much as I did. The acting is all-around superb, and it would be a shame if Kurt Russell is not remembered next year at all of the awards shows. The hockey players were fantastic, and the cinematography is so thrilling that at times I really felt that I was on the ice skating with the guys. It's a great story, uplifting and emotional without being too in-your-face about it. I've seen it twice already and will probably see it at least a couple more while it's in the theaters.
Latter Days (2003)
great performances make the movie
so the script might be a little cliched now and then. it was more than worth it for me to see the performances of wes ramsay, jacqueline bisset, erik palladino, mary kay place, and most of all, steve sandvoss as the conflicted mormon. his honesty and vulnerability were spot on, and kept me interested in the story until the very end. great film debut.