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Spider-Man: Homecoming (2017)
Not my Spider-Man
Before I go into the critique, let me first off tip my hat to Tom Holland. He's a charismatic actor and the best thing about the movie. He is what probably will have me watching the next installment as well, despite being disappointed in this one.
And the disappointment comes from all the tech, gizmos and IT that for me was not a part of the Spider-Man i read as a teenager. Granted, that was quite some time ago and smartphones was naught but a dream. Maybe the Spider-Man of today is a tech-whiz and chats with his in-suit-voice-assistant.
But that is not the Spider-Man I know and like. Nor that he has a nerd friend that helps him out, acting both data-center-ground-control as well as last minute action-rescue.
This also applies to Vulture who was basically an Iron Man version, where the suit was the character. It was a bit of a waste having excellent Michael Keaton just being a CGI masked one-man-helicopter.
Hopefully the tech-craze ends with Parker denying the Avengers and maybe not having to have Tony Starks stamp on everything. But he did end up getting the same suit!?
Tom Holland will get me giving the next one another shot, but my hopes are not high.
The Walking Dead (2010)
Decent time kill
First off; I gave up on this series during the second season. So it might completely change tone and direction during the following season, however I doubt it.
The first season contained far too many obvious rip-offs from other movies in the genre. Starting of with small-girl Zombie and later getting trapped in warehouse (Dawn of the Dead), waking up from coma in "deserted" town (28 Days Later).
Also it was hard grasping any thread story-wise, where the series was heading. It was mostly about running into trouble and then escaping it, over and over again. This gets tedious after a while when there is no greater goal or vision they're heading for. The relationship drama between the characters quickly dabs into soap opera territory, and keeps doing such for at least the first two seasons. There are a lot of interesting "what if this really happened"-questions they leave unexplored.
Characters feel slightly stereotypical and at least I had a problem identifying with any of them. Thus it was hard to care about what happened to any of them. This was probably the biggest weakness for me and why I gave up. There was a crisis during the second season for several of the characters, I just found it annoying since I didn't care for any of them.
My final critique are the special effects. Though a lot of efforts have gone into the Zombies (or Walkers as they call them), there are too many CGI-effects that are a too obvious to look away from. Mostly it is blood splatter and such when the Walkers get shot, but also other shots. There is supposed to be a grand finale to season one with a big special effects shot. It is so poorly made though, it pulls you right out of it. It looks like you're playing an old computer game in the early 2000's.
It is now all bad though, it has some bright spots. They don't back down from gore in any way, but they don't wallow in it either. There is gore because that is the world they live in. The acting and casting is quite okay, although the characters they are handed are a bit thin as mentioned. They are charismatic actors for the most. The directing isn't a disaster in any way, although it often leaves you wanting a bit more suspense and build up.
If they could have taken a bit of the mystery and suspense from Lost and some of the character depth from Sopranos, I think it could have been a blast. As it stands now, it is a decent time kill, but nothing more.
Generic beyond words
I first gave it four stars, but had to come to my senses and slap another star there. It is well made, fantastic CGI that, like Avatar, mostly don't take you out of the movie. Also settings and music are very well put together, with overall good acting performances.
But – oh my god is it generic! If you are young or for some other reason haven't devoured a lot of films, this might not be a problem. But if you've plowed through a fair amount of movies, there is no surprise in this one whatsoever.
About fifteen minutes into the movie I have the plot narrowed down, which characters will do what and roughly how it will end. You've got a sensible human man with his sensible wife, and a sensible ape with his sick wife and scarred son. They are teamed up with a trigger-happy ape-hating human on one side and a war-mongering ape on the other. Hmm wonder what will happen? Yes, exactly that will happen and nothing else.
This kind of stuff frustrates me and I hope it is not as obvious to you, cause then you'll probably enjoy this movie. But to most movie buffs, I'm afraid this one is just too generic to carry any surprises and ends up being just taking an old walk in a newly painted environment.
Not as bad as they say
Pros: No PG13 tone down, nice cast Cons: Story partially rushed, Arnold's weak acting, partially weak dialogue, shaky plot Giving this a 6 after writing so many cons might seem weird, but I entered with really low expectations after many others ripping this movie. It is an incomplete piece of work though.
First of the director squabbles between different tones. Sometimes being in your face realistic with (supposedly) gritty dialogue. Sometimes slipping into a more standard Hollywood style.
I like Arnie, but the man is no drama actor. This hampers him in just about every scene. In an otherwise interesting cast, he feels misplaced. It also feels like his status is what keeps the group from gelling.
The plot is shaky indeed and at times feels taped together on the go. Also some of the dialogue just feels out of place, like it trying to make the movie into something it's not.
All in all – if you like Arnie and expect crap, you'll survive this one. If you're looking for a real good crime drama – watch Narc instead.
Cloud Atlas (2012)
Just one sentence
Only for the message.
(I have to submit further lines to this review in order to meet IMDBs criteria. Usually I submit normal lenght reviews, commenting acting, directing and so forth. For this one however, it is important to me that my review is the single sentence above, since this is one of extremely few films that, at least in me, connected to something deeper within me, that told me something, that taught me something. I walked away from this film with a new pair of glasses, old ones shattered. I don't know what these glasses will show me, but I am excited. My deepest gratitude to all who contributed in the making of this film.)
7 Below (2012)
Don't worry about the acting – there is none!
Pros: Val Kilmer and Ving Rhames are always at least slightly interesting to watch, decent photography Cons: Extremely catastrophically horrendous acting, incoherent poor directing, generic dialogue, lots of stupid plot points The first few seconds of the movie are okay, it's like the build up to a generic ghost story. But then the so called acting starts, and it's all downhill. And trust me – it's a steep hill to go down.
I like Val Kilmer and Ving Rhames usually is interesting to watch. But here they are stuck in a swamp of poorest of poor acting, and they get sucked in big time. The other actors range from horrible script readers to awful script readers, so there's not much to feed of.
I don't know how much to blame the story, cause it is slaughtered by the pacing and directing in general. Stuff just happens, they jump to something else, and emotions seems to go a on roller coaster for everyone – one minute everyone is calm, then something happens and everyone is screaming, then back to calm. Not to mention it jumps from day to night from one shot to another.
Only the photography saves it from being a 100% disaster – but it sure reads at least 90% on that scale.
An unexpected pearl
Pros: Partially charismatic cast, fairly passionate, make best use of resources
Cons: Low budget, partially weak acting
Let me first tell you that I am no B-movie buff in any way. I don't grade them especially high. Giving this movie an 8 is not because it is as good as Lord of the Rings in every aspect, but rather because with the Resources handed, this is probably one of the better movies you could make.
What sets it apart is that the actors, for the most part, buy into it and most of the main cast are fairly charismatic. The true subpar acting you'd expect in movies like these are confined to lesser, supporting actors. There is attention to detail and some passion and effort both in from of and behind the camera.
To be fair – this movie probably struck a chord with me personally somehow. It is not a great story, it is not magical directing – but it is a good enough, low-budget matinée and if you're into fantasy and can stand low-budget, this one will probably at least amuse you for the time being.
A surprising pearl in the genre
Pros: Nice cast, tremendous directing, nuanced story, very good acting
Cons: Slightly predictable
From the very first scene you know two things; the directing will be original and somewhat bold, as well as that this will not be your standard crime drama. The characters in this movie feels believable and the acting is superb.
The story isn't extremely original in itself, but with all the layers put on it by actors and director, it becomes more diversified than most other movies in the genre. Also, the director never lets the pace up. You're on a ride from the first scene to the last.
The only downside, slight predictability, is only slight. I of course cannot expand on it without giving spoilers, so I'll leave it at that.
All in all – if you like crime dramas, this is one to put on the list. Even if it turns out not being your cup of tea, you'll at least have enjoyed some really nice craftsmanship.
Not worth half a dollar!
Pros: Nice cast
Cons: Horrible dialogue, incredibly stupid plot line, massively incoherent storytelling
I'm sorry for the grammar, but running out of adjectives to enhance the poorness of this film. It is listed as a crime drama, but should be under Sci-Fi, because anything Star Trek is more probable than most of the stuff in this movie.
I live in Sweden and don't have a clue how the Police Force in the states works, and much less about how the corrupt side of it would look. But I'm willing bet taking poison that it doesn't even remotely look anything like this. Rookies coming in and on the first day being offered to become dirty, through a "one way door". Basically saying become dirty with us or we will kill you!? That's just the beginning of the ludicrousness.
You will not enjoy this movie, no matter how much you love any of the cast. Apart from the story being incredibly stupid, it is told in such an incoherent way that it's hard to understand what is going on. It feels like the actors know this, because most of them just come in and read their lines – some scenes literally sounds more like a read through of the script..
I won't go on ranting, because there is no end to all the horrendousness I could pick on. 50 Cent – I understand you have some sort of liason with (director) Jesse Terrero, but please stop appearing in his horrible movies.
Doesn't tap potential
Pros: Great cast, really nice costumes and settings. Fairly good story.
Cons: Edgeless directing. Poor acting on some parts. Poor stunt fighting. Poor dialogue and some irrational behavior from characters.
Let me first dream what this could have been with the right director; a dark, realistic, gangster drama with both emotions and action, as well as memorable performances.
A reality check gives me a bleak movie. It is not exactly bad, but it never takes off in any way. It starts off with a street fight, so poorly performed you'd think it Star Trek from the 60's. It really makes it feel like you're watching a play, and that feeling sticks.
The cast is great, although some subpar acting exists. Mainly from the duo of Chi McBride and Loretta Devine, who sometimes seems to play a parody of Afro American stereotypical acting. The weak dialogue and unsharp cutting/directing, hampers the rest of the cast though.
What you'll get is a walk through a nice setting, seeing some nice people along the way. But the only thing you'll remember is what it could have been.
The Cave (2005)
No one will like this
Pros: Nice photography. Nice settings. Partly really nice visually. Nice cast.
Cons: Crappy dialogue. Absolutely disastrous action sequences. Extremely poor use of soundtrack. Generally poor directing.
This is director Bruce Hunt's first and probably last budgeted motion picture as a director. He has apparently done second unit on the Matrix franchise and some work on Dark World previously, but probably nothing action oriented if I may guess.
The biggest weakness of this movie is the action sequences. You don't know what the heck is going on in any of them. Extremely fast cuts at close up range wastes just about every moment of action in the movie.
But the directing is overall poor. Even in non-action sequences you sometimes don't know what's going on and why they made some of the choices they did. Just all of the sudden they are doing something, no real explanation why. Also, some of what happens is just purely idiotic and illogical.
The use of soundtrack in this one is a pet peeve of mine. From the starting scene they put on some generic "spooky music" which plays over every single scene. This includes some of the initial sequences where we just see the crew gathering and briefing.
The fact the there is a pretty good cast in, at parts, visually stunning settings, is not even close to enough to save this mess. I'm sure Bruce Hunt is a nice enough guy and has a purpose on this earth like all of us, but from this I doubt strongly that it would be directing movies.
Semi-decent comedy, good lesson
I was expecting Adam Sandler's answer to Bruce Almighty, but with more fart and sex jokes, à la Sandler. It was sort of what I got, but in an unexpected package.
As a comedy the film is only semi-decent. It has good jokes here and there, okay characters and fine enough actors. It's no laugh-fest though. You really see where the moral of the story is taking you, and you hope for as many good jokes as possible along the ride.
But the moral of the story suddenly becomes the story. Suddenly the moral takes over, and the comedy takes the back seat. Suddenly, at least I got emotional. Suddenly I felt a clearer vision of what's important in my life.
Maybe you have to be at the right point in your life to appreciate what the movie actually teaches. To teenagers it might be wasted, and to elderlies it might just be lessons already learned. But all of us in the middle, balancing life and work, love and career – it might just be the wakeup call we need.
If you are in the middle and don't mind Adam Sandler – give this one a chance!
Which is to blame, director or script?
It turns out the director wrote the script, making it easy to Place the blame. The cast isn't bad, the settings are nice enough and the special effects up to par.
But by God, the dialogue is somewhere between idiotic and incomprehensible. It is like someone just wrote sentences on pieces of paper and let the actors pull them out of a hat when a line was called for. It is crossing the border of ridiculous a number of times.
It isn't saved by stunning action either. A lot of "shaky cam" and fast cutting really undermines what seems to be decent action efforts at times. Then some of the swordplay is more like at the level of child splay.
Not giving it lower than four stars shows it had some potential, mainly coming from the set and from the cast. Director Jonathan English better stick to straight up B-movies like Minotaur, and marry someone who can do some decent writing for him.
Transporter 3 (2008)
Don't go the distance with this one
Not that the others were grade A, but this is a really weak installment. This series isn't anything more than Statham in a compilation of cool scenes. The character was somewhat cool with his rules and principles, doing his trade. Here all that is out the window.
They try to replace it with an national environmental theme, a deeper love story and... more conversation!? Add to that, despite Statham's best Jackie Chan efforts, extremely subpar action scenes. They are just a mish mash of glimpses, nothing more.
Top it all off with giving the Movies second biggest part (the girl) to some hairdresser Luc Besson met on the street, allegedly.
The sum of all this is a very boring transport across Europe.
Nostalgia with untapped potential
To let you know where I stand; I'm a fan of the first Predator movie, accepted Predator 2 and discarded the AvP ones.
If you yourself is a fan of the first movie there are a lot of nostalgia in this one for you, ranging from how a shot is done (including choice of music) to direct "quotes". To me that was all okay, some of it felt a little off, but most of it just struck a chord.
The movie in all is okay - not more. At least to me as a Predator fan. If you are new to the franchise I don't know if you'd either find the plot exciting as a lot will be new to you, or if you'll find it confusing since it might assume you already know some things about the premise of the plot.
It has a lot of untapped potential though. Looking at the cast I got really excited. A lot of character actors and as a Shield fan I was especially pleased to see Walton Goggins getting a shot. There was potential for some interesting dialog and scenes here.
But there was no cherry blossom here though. I reckon a somewhat weak script combined with focus being on the somewhat rushed "plot", stole the opportunity away. They just keep moving from place to place at a high pace and I can just remember one time where they sit down and just enact with each other. On top of that the Predators themselves are somewhat peripheral and just appear and disappear so that it pleases the plot.
All this makes for just an okay movie (at least if you're a fan) but leaves me wanting more of the good stuff that could have been.
The Horror Vault 2 (2009)
I must admit, I've only seen the "Dead Chick in the Closet"-segment, although the extended version. It was definitely okay low-budget horror comedy. But furthermore it once again showed the potential of the Branbomm boys.
Their most recent full length feature, "Dead on arrival", was a huge step forward for the crew. With this one they play over many genres and I sense flashes of Pulp Fiction's gruesome-death-turn-into-practical-problem. Also i get some Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas vibes from some of the costumes and shots.
They do lack the final touch, and I think they could've gotten even more out of this - but it's all in their grasp and I'll be curious to see what they deliver next.
Out of Rosenheim (1987)
A real good feel good...
To me this movie started off a little slow but once I got into the story and the characters I was there. The supporting cast delivers mediocre acting at times and I couldn't decide whether the directing was bad enough to be original or just original - but it all just worked.
The starring actors (CCH Pounder and Marianne Sägebrecht) delivers the soul of the movie. The director also has to be given credit by avoiding a lot of cliché moments that at least I expected to come at times. He's leaving a lot unsaid, but says quite enough.
The pace for this one is rather slow compared to todays movies so you gotta have some time to sit down - but if you have just that, I think you'll have a nice stay at the Bagdad Gas and Oil Café!
Let me tell you why you won't like this movie...
If you haven't seen previous alien/predator movies: You won't understand much of why some things happen since the directors take for granted you're a fan. It will just be a mindless gore-fest! If you have seen the previous alien/predator movies but you're not a fan: If you didn't like the previous ones you should probably avoid this one - you will die! If you have seen the previous alien/predator movies and you're a fan: Stay clear of this one cause you will wanna kill the Strause brothers (directors) for raping the Alien/Predator universe and legacy.
If you've had your brain removed and gets off on gore: Be careful that there is no residue left of your brain cause it might then hurt from all the sucking this movie does.
I personally am a fan of the first two alien movies as well as the first predator one, although I have suffered through all the spinoffs and sequels. When watching this one I realized this movie sucked big-time during the opening scene but I was amazed after ten minutes that they had a suck-level of 100%! It wasn't that the scenes were no good they genuinely sucked. They actually sucked so hard I had to hold on to things.
The dialogue must be randomly picked from a hat filled with all the lines from all the teenage slasher movies à la Friday the Thirteenth. There are more plot holes and logic gaps than craters on the moon. But worst of all is how they abuse the Alien and Predator universe and the "natural laws" that has been built up so far. The whole movie is just a mish-mash of semi-coherent scenes. The fact that special effects aren't horrible doesn't outweigh any of the negatives.
To sum it up unless you need gore to survive and this is the only movie left on your deserted island, stay away from this piece of sheit!
The Good Shepherd (2006)
It's oh so slow...
Someone wrote that this is an intelligent story about espionage and I agree - it is intelligent. But it is oh so slow and oh so unabsorbing. It is at it's best an informative film.
I like Matt Damon, but here he comes up short. He's doing somewhat of a second Mr Ripley, but without the emotions. This guy is stone and about as interesting to watch as one. The cast includes a lot of highly regarded names but everyone is more or less a stiff.
Now, maybe this is an accurate portrait of the time, the profession and the people involved but then it is not really a funny portrait to watch. I don't mind slow movies on the contrary I think the MTV generation of movies moves far to fast. This one however is a snail doing laps around a rock.
Well, to sum it up if you're interested in the CIA, the cold war and how being an agent might affect your life, this movie is providing a view. If you want emotions rent Gremlins 2 or something more absorbing.
Död vid ankomst (2008)
A small movie to the world, but a giant leap for Branbomm...
If you compare this movie to your everyday Hollywood action reel, it might be classified as one "not that bad". If you on the other hand look at facts such as a (rumored) $20.000 budget, no professionals whatsoever, very limited equipment, and then also compare it to their previous "big production" Overkill (2004) you'll see that it is a giant leap and a lot of potential.
The story is actually a good one, even compared once again to your everyday Hollywood action. This script could easily be turned in to a profitable movie. It handles a lot of emotions and there are possibilities for character depth as well as action/thriller.
The director handles the story not to perfection, but well. He conveys emotions, leaves some room for dialog and character, while still letting action be the driving force. The story develops nicely all the way, although stumbling slightly in the end. There are skips in time but you still feel comfortable with when and where you are.
One thing that has to be mentioned on the positive side is the soundtrack. Created by Samir El Alaoui who also plays the lead character, it's the pulse of the movie all the way to the end. High class! To sum it up this a really good amateur movie and shows a lot of promise for what the future might hold for the guys and girls behind it!
Saints and Soldiers (2003)
A well told story
Let me start by telling you what you wont get: you won't get non-stop action, no large scale battles á la Private Ryan opening, no Hollywood mega stars and no breath taking special effects shots. If you're looking for that - rent Private Ryan, Hamburger Hill or Thin Red Line.
This is more like a relation drama set in WWII. What you will get is good acting, adequate special effects and beautiful scenery (given you find forests in the winter beautiful). The movie is almost cozy at times.
It's a well told story that is allowed to have it's own tempo. If you'd like an decent, intelligent film and don't mind the story taking it's time - then this is a good one.
The Lost Battalion (2001)
Passionless and unfocused directing
I want to say the acting is bad, but I think it was the directing that made it so. I never thought much of Highlander (same director) but that one could be blamed on the 80s.
This one however, has no excuses. People get shot while exiting trenches with a man in front of him!? Those kind of mistakes, along with an unclear time line, weird battle tactics, sub-par cutting and poor visual effects, makes this one a sub-par film over all.
Then like so many other have commented, all this American bullshit. The German general being practically scared of his captured American private. Be prepared to swallow a lot of it, although in small doses.
To sum it up, a not horrible but still definitely sub-par war movie in all aspects.
Plot less in Seatlle?
I really don't know where to start. The characters weren't that believable at all. The development they have gone through (as you see them in their youth as well) and the development they go through during the movie just doesn't make sense to me.
And the plot, you can smell something similar to a plot here and there, but that is as close as you get. The first 15-20 minutes it works, it feels like an ordinary movie. But then it just breaks down and you wonder what the message is, what the story is, what the heck this movie is supposed to convey.
In summary it's a pointless flick that doesn't strike any chords in me anyway.
I Spy (2002)
Actually quite okay....
I was expecting something really lame when I slipped this DVD in. However it turned out to be quite okay. Eddie Murphy is in really good shape and Owen Wilson delivers.
It is well made from a comedy point of view, but surprisingly also fairly well made in the action aspect (for a comedy that is). It has good pace and doesn't leave you bored for long. I actually found some really big laughs in this, especially from Wilson.
I'm not a big fan of director Betty Thomas, I thought "28 Days" was really flat. I thought she was a weird pick for this one - however, she surprises me with both comedy and action skills that I've never seen before (but in truth I haven't seen much of her rather extensive work for TV). I tip my hat of to the lady who brings this plane in for a sufficiently smooth landing.
If you like action comedies and don't expect anything more then to pass an hour and a half, you should be quite fine with this one.
Jurassic Park III (2001)
An excuse to milk CGI:nasours
I read that this movie contained a lot of left over ideas from the previous ones. That's really what it feels like. The story really is nothing but an excuse for the characters to walk through a string of dinosaur action scenes.
In a few scenes it flirts a little with the imagination teasing imagery-ride you were brought on in the first "instalment". But that is all that's left of the legacy, flirts with what was. This is a monster flick; people get into a situation (whether it be dinosaurs or zombies) and then spend the rest of the movie being chased through action sequences 'til the end. And of course they had to invent an even bigger and badder baddie than the previous T-rex.
The only thing teasing your imagination in this one is whether there's gonna be something remotely original (the answer unfortunately is no). They make the same mistake as so many other movies in the genre, focus is on the "monsters" and on action shots. Characters remain shallow and story oh so thin. This just doesn't make you buy into the emotions along the ride. Another mistake is killing of to many of the side characters in the start of the movie (the mercenaries). They could have added an interesting dimension.
So, this turns out as a rather flat movie. The upsides are that Sam Neill and William H Macy has some charisma (however untapped in this one). Also the amazing score, composed by John Williams for the first one, lifts a couple of the few non-action scenes.