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Snabba cash - Livet deluxe (2013)
A solid finish - 7/10
I'm going to do this in English even though I'm Swedish.
So, the third film of the 'Snabba Cash' trilogy. Before I start, I just want to say that I haven't read any of the books, only talked to a few people who have and the way I understood it was that the films don't follow the books in any particular order.
It's pretty clear that the film is not focusing on 'JW', even though he was an important part in it story wise. But as for the film, I think Joel Kinnaman got maybe, 10 minutes of screening time? (Just a wild guess). I had absolutely no problem with this since 'Radovan' & 'Jorge' always interested me very much even in the previous movies. Boy did they step up their game - both character and performance-wise, especially 'Radovan'. Both of them completely steal the show and they do it very good. Swedish actors are very good when it comes to drama. Also worth mentioning, some solid performances by Malin Buska ('Natalie')and Martin Wällström ('Martin') who also had great chemistry.
I loved this film and in a way, I would like to say that it's the best one in the trilogy. But the first one is still hard to beat judging by the main performance(s) and Espinosas touch. It feels as if this movie had more ground to cover and I think Jens Jonsson did a great job at doing that even though I did feel that the film was jumping back and forth too much for its own good. I completely understand why that is since the first and the second movie didn't cover much ground at all if you compare it to this one, and they also did not follow the books which I think made it somewhat harder to tie things together for this one. It was beautifully shot with great compositions, sometimes shot too great for the sake of the film (if that makes sense). The shots were sometimes so beautiful and well put together that it felt like they couldn't go on with the scene without "ruining" it aesthetically, as if they didn't know what shot to put in because they just had a great one. There was a dolly-zoom that came absolutely from nowhere and didn't fit in at all, but it was still a great dolly-zoom. Also why I think the robbery-scene was so fantastic because most of it was all in one entire take. Keep in mind that the only reason that I'm mentioning this is because this was a really beautifully shot film, and I mean it in every sense of the word.
The robbery-scene was probably one of the best things that have ever happened to Swedish cinema in a very long time. The problem I had with this movie was that whenever there was a great action set-piece, it was great and did what it was supposed to do, but, where there could've been great set-pieces - they just edited them out and jumped ahead of the film. One segment that comes to mind is the scene in which Radovans daughter is going to murder one of his close friends (can't remember his name at the moment). And what they did there was that we just see her stabbing him, and then it's all over - we see her and Martin (the police) just freaking out and some flashbacks of what just happened, in other words what could've been another fantastic set-piece. I personally think that if we would've been shown the whole segment from the beginning to the end it would've added that extra suspense, the same exact suspense that we got during the robbery-scene. Fantastic.
A very good and solid finish to the trilogy of 'Snabba Cash' which has become very popular in Sweden. It also makes me proud.
Man of Steel (2013)
The Superman of our era - 7,4/10
I have to admit that I'm writing this as a bit of a fan boy of DC Comics in general (Batman specifically). Now, I don't exactly know how long I've been waiting for this movie to come out, but I do know that it was a very long wait.
Let's begin with the fact that Zack Snyder made this movie, the person who gave us films such as Dawn of the dead, 300, Watchmen, Legend of the guardians, Sucker punch, and now Man of steel. I've always been a big fan of Zack Snyder because of him being a very visual (and visceral) director who literally makes comic books come to life, and I also think that Watchmen is one of the best comic book adaptation movies ever. I always found it very easy to invest emotionally in his movies and it has a lot to do with me being a comic book nerd in general, I don't find it weird at all that people don't but I still think that people trash Zack Snyder because it's fun, and very easy to do it. I don't think that I've ever read a "normal" review on one of his films, so when it comes to film reviews of Zack Snyder movies I hardly read them at all.
My expectations for this movie were very high, and I think they were somewhat met because I didn't have any big problems with the movie that I know a lot of other people had. And I loved the fact that he made this movie into a Sci-fi, because there's nothing in the Superman story itself that isn't Sci-fi, once you start to realize that, it will be a lot easier to swallow this whole movie (and the idea of it) while watching it because it is a very exhausting movie to watch. It was shot beautifully and the look of the film was just beautiful from the beginning to the end - It reminded me of Terrence Malick, especially since it wasn't a movie with a chronological order. You can always expect this from Zack Snyder, if you don't like his movies, you have to at least accept the fact that his movies are absolutely gorgeous to watch.
The cast of Man of steel was very good, and I like the fact that he got dramatic actors to fill up all the drama because that's what all those superhero movies are lacking in general, drama. Just because Superman has a lot of iconic characters it does not mean that all the actors have to give such performances. I've always been a big fan of very good drama and this is a good proof that it works all the time if you do it the right way. It also contributes to making the characters more human, which is clearly the vision they were aiming for. Henry Cavill, of course, was a great choice for our new Superman and I think that he is perfect for it. He's got the look and the physique for it, and the good thing with the physique is that he uses it for those action scenes when he is Superman and you obviously realize how big he is, but when all the drama starts to kick in, you forget the fact that we have a 200-something pound guy who is crying and that we are dealing with a person that was born on another planet but grew up on earth, giving him human emotions. Those were actually the bits which moved me a lot, where I was almost in tears - and also gave me chills.
My "problems" with this movie was that it was so fast-paced, and I understand why because they had a lot of ground to cover. But that still doesn't change the fact that I was extremely exhausted after watching it. I think both Snyder and Nolan has this obsession with Hans Zimmer scores, don't get me wrong, he is great and experiments a lot, but I don't think that you need his score during the whole entire movie even though it was great. There were some bits where I could've lived without some of the music, and again, not because it was bad, but because it felt as a distraction.
The last 30 minutes or so (I think) was just a big and epic fight, and I actually quite liked it. Because if you remember those TV-series (Justice league and so on) that's actually what it looked like, big cities and skyscrapers gets destroyed and so on, so I am not that chocked that Zack Snyder did it. And I think that if you find it chocking or annoying that so much gets destroyed in the end you probably had another thing in mind for the film, not saying it's a bad thing, but I think that if you want to show all Supermans powers and push him to those extreme limits, you have to bring up the scale of the film and that's exactly what Snyder did. But I have to say, if they make a sequel where they don't mention the fact that half of Metropolis got destroyed then I don't think it will be taken seriously and that whole "human" element will somewhat disappear.
A great movie that everyone should watch because it is the Superman of our era.
Only God Forgives (2013)
If you love cinema, you'll love this - 8/10
I do understand why people hate it, that also means that I understand why people love it because I am one of them.
This movie was shot by cinematographer Larry Smith who also worked with Kubrick on 'Eyes wide shut', he made an extraordinary job shooting this picture because it was mesmerizing and beautiful to watch from the beginning to the end. It was also an amazing movie experience, it's one of those movies that you just give yourself over to. If you are a fan of movies and a fan of Nicolas Winding Refn then I think you will absolutely love this.
I read that a lot of people are complaining about this movie being thin on story and whatnot, well, let me put it like this; if Refn wanted a "story" he would give it a "story". He doesn't have anything to prove on that point because he already showed us that he can do it if he wants to, and I think once you let go of that then it will be a lot more easier to enjoy and experience this movie because it is a movie that is based on ideas which is clearly what Nicolas Winding Refn is focusing on rather than having a moving plot or story.
The atmosphere in this movie was really something, it was almost as if you were a part of it thanks to this movie being very slow paced, and that's why I've always been a big fan of slow-paced movies. "Chang", who is "God", was so coldblooded that even I as a viewer felt that it will be impossible for "Julian" to actually try to kill him - and then that last fighting sequence came. All the actors did a very good job and gave convincing performances, meaning that they didn't have to do more than what was already in the film. And I loved the fact that our protagonist got beaten down to a point where we couldn't see his normal face, and I liked the relationship that Julian (Ryan Gosling) and Crystal had (Kristen Thomas) because I could feel that strange mother-to-son love type of relationship even though it was very tense, that probably has to do with good chemistry between the two actors. This movie also had very good soundtracks which added another great layer to it. I guess if David Lynch were to make an extremely violent movie, I think it would look something like this, there were indeed some Lynch-moments in there and some Kubrick shots which I absolutely loved. As much as this movie made me cringe I could not stop enjoying it, it was all in a positive way. I think Refn at one point called this a Thai-western about a man who is fighting against god, and I couldn't stop thinking about that whilst I was watching it because that's exactly what it is.
People can trash this movie all they want, we even had two people walking out of the theater. But the fact that some critics gave it a 100/100 and others gave it below 50/100 should tell you a lot. But at the end of the day, I think if you really want to know what you think of this film, you will have to go and see it for yourself.
Furious 6 (2013)
It is what it is - 5,9/10
Fast & Furious 6, what can I say? I mean, my expectations were really low and boy were they met. I'm not saying the type of low like "This is going to be bad", more like "Hmm, I might give this a shot". The director Justin Lin doesn't try to do anything else other than sticking to the trashy film that it is, and I would give him and the movie credit for that. But more? Nope, I think people are giving it too much credit for that. Sure, there were some "good" trashy action set-pieces in there, some muscle(cars), a tank, big guns, and... Nothing more. Maybe Vin Diesel flying across a very big gap between two bridges to save Letty (Michelle Rodriguez) and landing on a car breaking the laws of physics - why? Because "She is family, and family stick together, you don't turn your back on them even if they do", or something. One thing maybe worth mentioning are the physical performances by everyone in the movie, especially the ladies.
Everything "good" that was in the movie was already in the trailer, so what I ended up doing was just waiting for the scenes to pass by. There was a sequence in it where they had to drive after an airplane, and then they actually brought it down with some hooks and whatnot. That sequence goes on for about 15 minutes, which means that the runway must've been very, very long. And of course after that sequence they get to the end of the runway. A lot of innocent people also died in the scene with the tank (where it just runs over random cars with unimportant people in them).
A lot of people did laugh, and they laughed a lot. The only thing that made me chuckle was probably The Rock himself just him being there. The only time I actually laughed was when the title "Furious 6" (If you have seen the movie you'll know which one I mean) came up because some guy in the back shouted "6 Furious". And I am not joking when I tell you that it was the only time during the movie that I actually laughed.
This movie left me very uninterested and bored because of the plot, story, badly written characters and the dumb dialogues. I couldn't enjoy the big action set-pieces because I was so bored. So in general, this is a boring movie in every kind of way. And the fact that people in the audience gave a it big round of applause after the movie ended just made me wanna stick my head in the sand.
The Great Gatsby (2013)
The typical Hollywood version of the 20's - 6/10
Nope, I have not read the novel, but I hope that is a good thing compared to what I saw. Jay Gatsby, played by Leonardo DiCaprio who I've had some problems with in his past movies; I always thought that the movies he's been in are better than what he brings to the table as an actor. I couldn't see the character he was playing, I always saw DiCaprio doing the same thing but with different clothes and different names, and believe me when I say this, a lot of people patronize me for not liking him as an actor even though I do think that he has given us somewhat good performances (not great and Oscar worthy). But in this case, it was actually the other way around, the movie was actually a lot worse than what he was (not saying that he was bad), or let me put it like this, every actor in this film was much better at acting than the director Baz Luhrmann, at directing.
The reason for that is one reason, and one reason only; F. Scott Fitzgerald. I think it is an actors dream to play one of his well written characters, therefore, all the actors could do their best and get lost in their characters. Whenever I found myself liking the movie it was thanks to the actors and their performances that felt real. There is a scene in it where Buchanan reveals Gatsbys real identity in the hotel room and Gatsby just goes mental at him, not only did it feel as if Buchanan was pushing Gatsby to his limit, but it felt as if Edgerton was pushing DiCaprio to his limit and that's what made this movie work for me, the chemistry between the actors.
If things were a bit more physical and "real", I would've liked this movie somewhat more (I'm very happy that I did not see it in 3D), but if it was his intention not to do so then I guess he got the vision he wanted. I loved all the characters in this movie, but the movie itself was at times very annoying to watch with all its special effects and 2012's music (which by the way didn't fit in at all). The movie also had this typical Hollywood version of the 20's which I absolutely hate, where everything looks fancy, dreamy and colorful and makes people wish they had lived back then, when the reality is that it's all just the other way around. All the special effects changed the whole tone of the movie and made it into a fairytale, and there I was, who actually found the story quite depressing and sort of dark. This, in the end left me a bit annoyed because I know that had the movie been a bit dark as the story itself, it would have left me a lot more troubled - instead, Gatsby became that guy that no one cared about, not even me.
Star Trek: Into Darkness (2013)
'Die Hard' in space - 6,5/10
Ever heard of Die Hard in space? Well, here you have it. As much as there are things to enjoy in this movie, there are more things that aren't half as enjoyable. Now, I am not a fan or a fan boy of Star Trek in general, I haven't been watching the old series and the way I understood it, you don't have to do that in order to watch and enjoy both of J.J. Abrams Star Trek films.
Let's just forget the plot-holes, the loud booms and bangs, (bad)jokes and loud music for a few seconds. Benedict Cumberbatch did a superb job as a villain and Zachary Quinto who is just great as Spock and I felt for both of them as characters (for a little while). I couldn't care less about Kirk, and the way I understand it is that he's supposed to be a very iconic character.
The visuals in this film were actually pretty stunning, the production design was beautiful to look at and you of course got a bit of lens flares in every scene - which I didn't have problem with in the beginning, but if you're known for having a lot of lens flares in your movies (which is very easy to add) then I think you'll have to find a different style. It felt as if Abrams wanted everything to be perfect, and that's where I think he/ or this movie failed. There were moments in it which as I said, was actually pretty good, but those were the moments in which everything felt human/natural and authentic; and we didn't get a lot of those moments.
I couldn't engage in this film personally, not even as a person who loves visually stunning movies. It's as if a robot made this movie because after a while, I did not care about the story, what the characters felt or wanted and especially what 'Khan' wanted and that was a big problem for me who actually looked forward to seeing him. The movie was all up in your face. A pretty empty film with a lot of surface and no spirit that lost my attention after a while.
Iron Man Three (2013)
Everyone is Tony Stark - 6,9/10
Take off the hype, what do you really get? Action? Yes. "Good" acting? Sure. A lot of CGI? Yes. "Cool" new gadgets? Yes. Too much? Yes. Do you want me to stop? Yes, please.
This movie was indeed too much. Now, as a fan of any comic-book adaptation film I didn't find this as entertaining as many other people did (Especially the people in the cinema). Too much cheap jokes, too much CGI-action, too much... everything. There were bombs flying everywhere and I was quite surprised that the cinema itself didn't blow up.
Now, the cheap jokes thing - I know that's a big part of Tony Stark as a character, and I think Robert Downey Jr does that great. The thing is, you can't rely on those things and think that it will work all the time because it does become too much. What we have now is that everyone is Tony Stark, everyone keeps bringing us the cheap jokes, everyone does the exact same thing that worked in the first place when Robert Downey Jr was himself was the only one doing it, though I have to say that I did chuckle a few times. But we even had extras who were bringing us the cheap jokes - and that should tell you a lot about this movie and what it has to offer.
The part where we get to know who the Mandarin really is was actually quite good and relieving in a strange way because I wasn't too sure if Iron Man could handle it as a superhero (which was a problem for me). Ben Kingsleys performance was also great. But what does this tell you really? For me, it told me that not only does everyone act like Tony Stark, but the whole movie is Tony Stark. Once again, a big cheap joke.
There were indeed some plot-holes but I don't think it's anything to take seriously, since the movie itself obviously didn't do it. And I really liked the moments where everything got serious, and I loved Guy Pearces performance and think that he was the heart of the movie. But then again, when he started to shoot fire out of his mouth... As Don Cheadle said - "Really?"
Could have been a step forward - 6,5/10
Before I say anthing, I just want to go on record and say that I haven't read the graphic novel.
I saw the movie 'Oblivion' on IMAX (My first time). I was stunned by the visuals and production design that this movie had, it reminded me how good the Sci-Fi genre is. I've always been a fan of Tom Cruise, and never really understood the hate against him as an actor. In other words, I had no problem with him or any other person in the cast. The main problem with this film was the score/soundtrack, believe it or not.
The soundtracks sucked up all life from the movie and at the same time tried to give it life. Here we have a movie about a post-apocalyptic earth, stunning visual effects, amazing cinematography, great production design and good actors. Now, that in it self is already epic. You don't need a score that sounds like badly composed Hans Zimmer score for 'The dark knight rises' (which it did) to make the picture more epic. And that was the main problem with the movie. If the movie had been more silent - meaning that the only thing you would hear would be the spaceships, guns etc, and less music - the movie would have been more raw and would have given a sign of "no hope" in it. You can't have a post-apocalyptic world with "epic" music that sounds like Hans Zimmer during the entire movie, and I'm not kidding when I say the entire movie. It also sucked out all life from the characters, meaning that when 'Jack' was sad, the music was extra-super-epic-sad, so you couldn't really focus on any of the acting in itself, the music did it for you. As a matter of fact, when the movie started, I wasn't quite sure if it was a trailer or if the movie really started - because of the music.
I didn't have any problem with the length of the movie, there were some amazing things in it which needed time. There was a scene in which 'Jack' floated around in the spaceship near the end which I thought was just amazing. Other than that, it could have been a really great movie.