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Not what I desired, but an okay watch at times
"Wunschkind" is a German television film from 2012, so not that long anymore until this one has its tenth anniversary. Maybe it happened already, depending on when you read this review of mine. The director is Stephan Meyer and I will spare you the Twilight pun here. He is in his 70s now and seems to be retired as he has not come up with anything new in half a decade. Well-deserved perhaps as he has been in the industry since the early 1970s already. Sadly his body of work really is not a revelation and seems to be much more quantity than quality overall, especially looking at what he did during the last decade of his professional life in the new millennium. Some really not amazing films included there and that is the most gentle way out there to put it. Anyway, he has also sometimes written his own screenplays, but not most of the time, so it is no surprise that we have a writer on board here and that would be Jacqueline Tillmann. She is considerably younger apparently, started working much later, namely in the 1990s and given the fact that 25 years have passed since then too, she really has not been the most prolific unless there are many projects missing here on imdb that she has been a part of. She is still active and working now in 2020 though. As a producer, however. This has always been her main profession and this 1.5-hour film we got here is one of only two movies (plus a few television episodes) where she was in charge of the screenplay. As for the cast, I would say it is fairly average. Some familiar faces, but not too many. German film buffs have maybe come across Julia Brendler on other occasions and Martin Feifel is maybe the most famous cast member, even if his role is really held back to not interfere too much with the trio of females here. Definitely a female-centered film. Despite the male director. Kirsten Block I gotta say Iam somehow not familiar with at all and with the young Carolyn Genzkow something clicked, but I could not really say where I knew her from. The one thing it definitely is not would be "Tatort" where she hasplayed a recurring character now for a while because I think the "Tatort" series is almost always bad. Also don't mistake her young age in this film here for lack of experience. She has been in a lot already before this movie.
Now a few words on story and plot if I may: This can be summarized really quickly. We have a teenager who finds out that her mother is not her biological mother and as a consequence she goes out to find her real mother, which causes a great deal of stress for all three involved here. But as this is a Degeto movie, there is the usual 100% happy end, which may not make a lot of sense or feel particularly realistic, but hey who cares about authenticity. But the worst was maybe away from the main story, namely the action at the hospital. First thing would be the boy having these really strong allergic reactions to nuts. Once and almost twice. His parents must be happy about the professionals working in said hospital I'm sure. So this was really pseudo drama of the worst kind. But what was even worse was the silent boy who, after a car accident, would not move or talk anymore despite no physical injury really. Or nothing too serious at least. It is already a bit cringeworthy how the daughter constantly goes there to see him and talk about her struggles (why is she not doing that on her father's graveside?), but in the end he all of a sudden opens his eyes and starts talking as if nothing happened and he heard and understood everything she said to him over the course of days, if not weeks. Oh my. There are other weak moments like that. For example, I really struggled with Brendler's character's indecisiveness. First she pushes the daughter away. Hours later she wants to see her. Near the end with the ultimate dose of pseudo drama, she pushes her away again, again realizes it was a mistake and drives with the two others to the area where they expect her to be. And this is of course the parachute area. This inclusion did very little for me I must say. It already felt really random with the first scene, but in the end as some kind of dramatic, almost suicidal, conflict, it was just ridiculously poor. What a disappointment. Felt again like pseudo drama. Also how quickly the parents are there with them and how "daddy" (he is not the real father, I guess this was the way they kept him from getting in the way of this all-female movie, Feifel should not have taken the offer to play in this movie because he is better than that) shows up with a special vehicle to help was a bit on the ridiculous side. What I personally found really funny, even if it probably was not meant this way, was how the young man defended himself against the accusations that he made a huge mistake by constantly saying how he saved her life. There was some great unintentional comedy to that. Probably just me. Oh by the way, the title is not too easy to translate. I don't think there is one word in the English language that does the trick, but it basically refers to a child that is the result of a wanted pregnancy. Which the protagonist here certainly is not. Or was not when it came to her original mother 17 years ago, but she kinda is for her non-biological mother. It is quite a pity they messed up in some departments of the story because there are also moments when I quite like the watch here and that was not only due to Genzkow's (and Brendler's) looks. But partially. No, seriously, the story here was nothing really new or fresh (also not for 2012) and has been done many times before and probably frequently better, but I still liked it somehow. There were some fine moments. One I remember is how the camera after the first joyful parachute sequence jumps back hom to her non-biological mother and we see her prepare food for the kitchen, so really the most boring activity compared to what we just saw right before that. No surprise the daughter is not thrilled to be back. I also think they did an alright job with giving shades to the three women overall and it did not feel too fake or staged. But for everything they did right here, sadly they messed up on the same number of occasions I would say, like the pills reference and how the daughter is worried her mother may be taking those again, but at the same time acting slightly suicidal in the end or just carefree you could say. It's a Degeto movie, so of course they kept it light and at best implied tragic things like the father's death. Or the fact that the biological mother was forced to close her business. Maybe temporarily only. We don't find out the details there, but at least this was not also solved out of nowhere in the end like all the faily drama. Okay that is it then. By the way, "Heavy Cross" is not a terrible song, but once is enough. And also the girl was way too good at snooker if she never played before. That is it then. This is better than most of the other (Degeto) stuff you get to see in the afternoon on German television, but this is only because said other stuff is frequently really terrible and this one here is somewhere between weak and mediocre. I suggest you skip the watch. Thumbs-down.
Drei in fremden Betten (1996)
Pointless, but here and there a bit on the funny side
"Drei in fremden Betten" is a German German-language television film from 1996, so this one will have its 25th anniversary next year already and nonetheless it is still shown on national television here and there in the afternoon schedule. I saw it today, but came acorss it a few weeks or months ago as well. It runs for under 1.5 hours and the director is Austrian Otto Retzer, not only a prolific director and actors, but he worked in almost every area of film production over the years. And he is still directing despite having had his 75th birthday not too long ago. Anyway, good for him that he has been so prolific for decades, but it would be a lie to say something other than that he is way more about quantity than quality and that is already a gentle way to put it. Still it can be said that this film here is nonetheless slightly better than most of the other stuff shown in afternoons on German television, stuff that includes the same genres comedy and romance, but is way worse. And the reason is that this film here does not take itself seriously one bit, while these other films from far more recently act as if tehy are indeed delivering authentic character studies and relatable depth while the opposite is the case. By the way, this film here is also linked to some others, even if it does not say so here on imdb. There was an apparently much shorter film with a similar title before that and they also made another a few years later. For that one they got back the cast with the exception of Helmut Fischer being replaced and Fritz Wepper's younger (and more talented) brother taking over. Plus Uschi Glas. Fischer died fairly recently after this movie we have here unfortunately. It surprised me a bit to see how old he already was in here because I felt he looked younger and the age gap between him and Wepper is especially surprising. Maybe the latter looked older too. One who definitely looks younger is the female lead Heidelinde Weis and that is also easily proven in this movie as we see her character's birthday written on a sheet of paper and she is in this movie almost a decade younger than in real life and I assume this is how they got away with the pregnancy story too near the end. I mean even then she was in her mid 40s already. Anyway, as almost every time when Helmut Fischer is in a movie, the South German component is crucial and this also reflects in the language with the thick accents that sometimes make it a bit difficult to understand what it is they are saying exactly as I am from a completely different region in Germany.
As for the plot, it is nothing special at all and this is also a nice way to put it. Feels a bit bizarre sometimes, on one or two occasions even cringeworthy, but like I said the film's easy-going component is what keeps it from falling apart. They do not want us to believe everything you see in here is real. They are just having a fun time basically. It is definitely similar to these Gottschalk films and that is fitting because the director worked with Gottschalk too during his long career. Anyway, I think this film also got a bit better as it progressed, even if it stayed as absurd as the beginning. We have two brothers who are visited by their rich sister and they find out she has a new guy and of course they are worried that said new guy is only after her money. Well, Fischer's character is worried. Wepper's not so much. Thinks really take a strange turn when our "heroes" learn from a barkeeper that apparently the man they are inquiring about is the gayest man in town. In the sense of "homosexual", not in the sense of "happy". We never really find out why he then wants to marry the woman because he is not treated like a greedy antagonist. Actually he hangs out with the guys and there seems to be a friendly relationship or something. This man was played by Gerd Anthoff. Cannot say I am familiar with him despite his long career too. The only other cast member I am familiar with is Gaby Dohm, but I am not sure who she was in this film. Her character's name is not even listed here on imdb, so probably a really small role. Then again, it is not important becaue she is not a talented actress either. All quantity over quality. Okay, what else can I add? Ah yes, in the second half the action switches from the female protagonist's love life to the two guys' love life, which fits the title somehow because it means "Three in beds that are not their own". Wepper's character starts dating a hotel employee. By the way, the two main characters own the hotel I forgot to say. Anyway, the result of this romantic relationship is really a mess because the woman's absence and her shenanigans turn everything into chaos and Wepper's character does not realize because he is blindly in love. Well, in the end he realizes and the two break up, but the charming young woman starts courting Fischer's character next and after initial skepticisms everything begins anew. She sure knows what she wants. So yeah, there are some mildly funny moments in the second half. Not gonna lie. Maybe it was good that Weis' character was mostly out of the picture there as she was in bed all the time because of her pregnancy. But she was not out of the picture entirely. We still find out about the father and also about how she may be entering into a relationship with her doctor. Nothing too specific yet though. The funniest sequence of the film was maybe a dialogue between the two male protagonists on the table when, after initially trying to convince another guy how sweet women are down there, they indirectly open up about the concept of homosexuality and talk about if they ever did something sexual with another man. Or would. They are clearly not amused by the thought, but at the same time it does not seem the slightest bit of homophobic and, as I said earlier, they are still on friendly terms with the gay fella. So this is a bit of a progressive film even from some perspective, especially for 1996 and for a film that is set in the conservative south of Germany. Not different here than in the United States. Another fun moment was a very brief, but funny snake reference. I liked it when this film took the politically incorrect route. Like I do in general. Okay, I think this is all then. This movie is not a failure, but it is also far aay from being a good movie. I do not recommend checking it out.
But absolutely nobody will be looking for this movie
"Zwei Millionen suchen einen Vater" is a German television film from 2006, so this one has its 15th anniversary next year and maybe it happened already depending on when you read this review of mine. The title literally translated means "two millions are looking for a father", sound extremely clumsy and if you think the film could be as bad as the title, then you are absolutely correct. It's probably even worse. That says it all. But first things first: The director of these 1.5 hours, minimally under, is Thomas Jacob. He has been working since the early 1980s and is retired for a decade now, so this film here was among his final career efforts. Hopefully not among his finest. I have not seen that much from him. But I still feel it is kinda sad if a fairly experienced director in his old years still works on horrible movies like this one here. And his 2000s were basically a travesty. Nothing remotely close to quality there. Cannot really blame him though, he probably wanted to cash in before his retirement and that's what he did. There is far more money to these films than you would think given the outcome and of course they are GEZ-financed, which is an absolute scandal, but let's not get into detail about that now. We move on to the writers. Yep, two. It is not too uncommon that the director is most of the time not the writer for this category of films, but it is not too often the case that there are more than one writer. There is not too much to say about Herbig. We was certainly not the driving force here. He wrote on one other film over a decade earlier and never again after this one, which is probably a good thing. What is not a good thing is that Claudia Matschulla is still writing stories after all these years. But you can't blame her, but should blame those who employ her. In any case, Matschulla started as an actress, but eventually changed positions successfully. Well, in the sense that she gets employed and not in the sense that she comes up with great art or anything. What she wrote is nothing to be proud of at all quality-wise and this especially goes out to people who still have not learnt a thing and believe that "Tatort" episodes are generally worth seeing. No help for those. Okay, we are drifting away now, so let's take a look at the cast: The failure continues there. Gehlen I am vaguely familiar with and maybe saw her in two or three other films, but I cannot go easy on her at all. She was so bad all the time from beginning to end. Literally unwatchable, did not capture the character's essence one bit I must say. Not surprising though. I said I saw her before. Frequently, it is the case with these films that the female lead is worse than everybody else, but here, despite how bad Gehlen is, I am not entirely sure. Markus Knüfken, the male lead and of course the love interest character, really hits rock bottom from beginning to end with his smug grin and maybe two face expressions from start to finish and how he drools over Gehlen's character with style and of course is also a perfect father. Enough about him. I saw him before too, but I did not remember him to be this bad honestly. The rest of the cast includes other experienced actors too, but almost nobody that is easy to recognize. Even for film buffs like myself. Maybe Kelling comes the closest. Or Stegemann. But even for a film from way over a decade ago, the cast is underwhelming to say the least. Not just in terms of performances, but also in terms of the names. They have not been part of other quality proects either.
Now let me give you a few examples in terms of specific scenes, plot inclusions and twists where this film is absolutely terrible. There sure were enough of those. One example I have to mention immediately is the revelation if Knüfken's character is the father. We have the female protagonist's mother call at the practice. Let's be clear her. She is the mother of a woman who is not related to the mother, not related to the father. Not related to the child and yet she thinks she can get the information from the test. And of course she does after initial hesitation from the employee. Via phone to make things even better. Guess what, said employee needs to be fired immediately. Where is the Ärztekammer when you need them. They should have sued right away and kept this from being shown. But hey, the man who made the test is a man (as I just stated) and these films always have an anti-male tendency, so let's not care too much about his rights really. He has to accept it anyway if he wants to be with Gehlen's character that iher mother does stuff like that. By the way, the mother felt unlikable to me from the start. Also when they ask for these people to come and see if the father is among them and she insults one guy after he leaves. On a side note, the money inclusion in the title here also feels so random because they millions were almost never referenced in the film. Only here and there to make a(n in)correct accusation that male (of course) character only cares for the money. By the way, the (not so subtle) inclusions of how the deceased mother had her hair blonde back then were not exactly a revelation either. This was of course intended to imply he is falling for Gehlen's character. The most interesting thing (the only one probably) is maybe that she has two first names. Alright, what else? Oh yes, the general setting for these central characters and the business they are taking care of was also pretty elitist and did not feel too authentic. Gehlen's character is of couese close to perfection. Successful businesswoman, takes care of her deceased best friend's daughter and the only thing missing here is a man. Well, there he is! Anything positive to say about this movie? Yep, that they did not make a sequel I think. But one is certainly one too many here already. Of course, in the end, almost everything is gone and lost again. The court is about to get a recommendation to the bad guys who only care for the money (obviously!) because the girl was too honest and the romance between Gehlen's and Knüfken's characters has also come to a halt. Sigh. But hey, this would not be an ARD (or RBB) afternoon movie if all this got solved quickly within 10-15 minutes and everybody is happy and the bys guys lose. As for the bad guys, there you could also see the usual anti-male sexism. The woman is not really evil. But the man is. And most of all, he does not want any children. How dare he. His conversation with the male protagonist (what a coincidence the two end at the same table) on this subject is also as cringeworthy as it gets with the Alimente quote (okay, that actually still better and funnier than everything else), but in this scene you can also see how the two writers here apparently really brought out the worst in each other and with that I am talking about the pelican parallel. Sigh. Complete absence of talent. This may not be a Degeto or Regina Ziegler production, but it is just as bad. It all feels so fake and unauthentic and unrealistic. Also early on how Knüfken's character is there the exact moment when the two women arrive at the practice. Okay, to close my review, one reference back to the chatty woman from the practice that I mentioned early on. On the phone she says that he is not the father? Really? Really??? But we need the 100% happy ending against every kind of realism. So what do they do? Bring back this character at the end to randomly show up and apologize that there has been a mix-up and the actual result is positive. He is the father. Okay, enough is enough. This was maybe the most ridiculous character in film history honestly and she even needed two scenes and no more than 100 seconds of screen time (probably considerably less) to "achieve" this questionable honor. This film is a disaster. Oh yes one thing I forgot how the little girl runs away for a little while. Kids do that a lot in these kind of films. And it almost never feels authentic. Same applies here. This is a film that never should have been made, never should have been aired and there is no justification at all for it to be shown almost 15 years later. Skip under any circumstance! Unwatchable film.
Help, this movie is coming!
"Hilfe, meine Schwester kommt!" is a German television film from 2008, so this one is already considerably over a decade old and still, for some strange reason, it is shown on German national television. In the afternoon. Well, the reason is simple. It's basically free program for ARD and its smaller stations and let's not go into detail about the amount of money they made during these minimally under 1.5 hours while this film was showing today. The title means by the way "Help, my sister is coming!" as you may have guessed from the title of my review already. The director is Dirk Regel and looking at his body of work in over 20 years from the end of the 1990s until now in 2020, it is almost painful on the eyes. I see no talent there whatsoever, but it is kinda fitting to see when this film got made because this may actually have been the worst time in his career, even worse than all the other years. I mean the first ten years of the ne millennium. So seeing this man here in charge is almost a given to know that this film is not gonna turn out good. And that is the nicest way to put it really. And if you are still not convinced yet, then a look at the writer's name should do the trick. Martin Douven's filmography is just as bad as the director's. "Unter uns" is how he started his career, which could still be gorgiven as a bit of a childhood sin because he still wasn't even 30 there, but the truth is that in almost 25 years since then he has not improved one bit apparently and probably never will. As for the cast, you get some names here that have been in many ARD and/or Degeto films over the years. This also includes the lead actress. Jule Ronstedt's body of work is certainly nothing to be proud of, for which she is also at least partially responsible herself because she is not a versatile performer by any means. But can you really blame her? The ones really to blame are those who piack her to appear in these films. Especially as a lead. And as if she is not bad enough already, she even plays identical twins in this movie. And fails gloriously from beginning to end. But nobody should be really surprised because she normally cannot even pull off one role, so you can very well imagine what happens when she is facing a challenge like the one in here. And the audience members are of course also to blame, at least those who see something in her. Admittedly, everybody else from the cast was not exactly a revelation either needs to be said, but none of them had the material that Ronstedt did and as consequence also nobody had the degree of failure. My fellow German film buffs will definitely recognize one or the other cast member here. Charles Brauer of course from playing on "Tatort" next to Manfred Krug and he is really old now and back then, when this film got made, he was not considerably younger. Really in terms of females, there is nobody truly worth mentioning apart from Ronstedt, but there are truly many male supporting players. Fitz, Knüfken and Landuris are all three (maybe Landuris the least) the epitome of actors who appear in these really trashy television releases and God knows there are hundreds of them. If not thousands. Especially with Knüfken I watched another film today where he has a bigger hole than here and is terribly unwatchable, but let's not drift away from this one now, even if it does not really deserve the attention, but hey I am grateful for every person I can convince to not give this one a watch. Ceci Chuh is a cutie though, but I have to dig really deep here for something worth a positive mention. Still her unusually deep voice (for her age) needed a little while to get used to, especially because she did not have too many lines.
Okay, now a few words on the story and plot and references to scenes and moments that were especially terrible. First of all, the key story is absolutely unrealistic and complete nonsense. With that I am mostly talking about these moments when the two twins decide (without knowing the other decided the same) to switch roles. And of course it works out so well and nobody recognizes anything, which is complete nonsense and never would have gone this way in reality, especially because the two were this different. One all of a sudden with zero practice or experience manages to pull off a decent acting performance. Because she basically played who she really was and everybody else thought she was the other sister. Please don't tell me this is a valid explanation. And the other at the exact same time even managed to deliver a business meeting, presentation or whatever. In any case, also something she has never done before in her life. Audience members must be really simple to fall for this kind of stuff. By the way, there was also a priceless irony of them (with the first example) trying to tell us Ronstedt is an actress' actress. I don't even. Okay, what else? These films frequently have anti-male tendencies to appeal to female audiences. So does thhis one here. The central character is more in charge (or both of them I should say) and desirable than everybody else. One example early on, how this film says it is absolutely okay if women treat their men disrespectfully when we see how she just leaves after turning her (boy)friend on. And in the end, a male suitor has to forget immediately about how she fooled him when they spend a few hours together and has to be perfectly grateful because she wants him to fall in love with her. I mean these were not the most obvious moments and the anti-male tendencies are a bit more subtle here than in other movies, but they are still there and they are still nothing to be proud of. As for the drama, it also felt all fake basically. Just take the heart issues of Brauer's character towwards the end. While the kids are with him of course. And everybody is oh so in danger. Oh well, it is all solved quickly. The kids are safe, he just had some minor cardiac irregularities, but still enough apparently to lose his consciousness. Wonder what medical expertes say about that. By the way, they really messed up Brauer's story altogether, even if he was not featured that prominently in terms of screen time. He also has to crush on his doctor and beg for her to spend time with him, so we're back at the anti-male stuff with that. By the way, the actress who played said doctor was downright horrible with her line delivery. And what happens when they are at his place? That's right she knows that his wife died and she gives us all the details. This was a really good example by the way of how one can include information for the audience in the clumsiest manner possible in a conversation, namely with how the doctor really mentions all the details of the old woman's death. Honestly, it felt almost sadistic to me because it was obvious he still cares a lot for her. To an extent where it would have been appropriate for him to tell her he wants his potential new partner to leave. But hey, she's a female and he needs to be grateful for her to spend time with him at all, so she gets away with it without getting only one negative word. Alright, that really must be enough now. Also one more thing, namely it was kinda funny how the little boy, the protagonist's son, is literally constantly suffering in almost every scene he is on the screen. I mean it as not meannt in a funny way, but really as the opposite that we should feel sorry for him, but the writer's (and everybody else's) attempts to get emotion out of the audience is so uninspired and void of every kind of talent that the actual outcome was the exact opposite. This is one reason why you want to skip this movie for sure. One of many reasons. Don't get me wrong, this is not a film that is so bad it is funny or good again. It is bland from beginning to end and you wannt to stay far, far away from it for sure. Highly not recommended.
Tannbach: Mein Land, dein Land (2015)
Forgettable post-war drama
Review for Season 1 from 2015:
This is a German three-part mini-series from earlier this year. The episodes run between 90 and 105 minutes, the first is the shortest, the third the longest. The director is a bit experienced in terms of television filmmaking, but not too prolific. And he worked on rubbish like "Dr. Stefan Frank" or "Erkan & Stefan" in the past. But he is not the worst component here. There are no less than five writers (who pretentiously call themselves story editors) credited with this project and it looks like a typical example of too many cooks spoiling the broth. The cast is solid, many big names, but most of them were wasted like especially Martina Gedeck. The script rarely lends the actors a possibility to show their talent. Ludwig Trepte was also in here, but he is as bad as usual.
The setting is the final months of National Socialism in Germany, the issues are life during American and Russian occupation and two split German countries with the desire to leave one for the other. A big story line is about several main characters struggling with their relationships as some of them believe in communism and others in capitalism. Yet these almost 300 minutes have nothing worth watching that hasn't been done before and frequently better. What also hurts this is that the characters became more and more uninteresting as this went on and that's why it started to drag. Near the end, I didn't really care what would happen to them and that's frequently a death sentence for a film. Not recommended. (originally posted 5th June 2015)
In der Falle (2015)
Too generic and even manipulative for a positive recommendation
"In der Falle", which means "Trapped", is a German television film from 2015, so this one is over five years old now, actually only for a few days because it also aired in November back then. It runs for the usual 1.5 hours, minimally under, and this is really the standard running time for small screen releases from my country. The writer and director is Nina Grosse, a really experienced filmmaker who is in her early 60s now and she started moviemaking already around the time when I was born, i.e. in the mid80s. Her body of work is tolerable I would say. She does have a few years early in the 21st century when she mostly worked on low-quality projects, but she seems to be over the worst phase now, even if this film here was not exactly a revelation either. But I shall get to that later. Most of the time, she came up with the screenplays for her directorial efforts, so it is no surprise at all that she did here as well. As for the cast, the lead actress is Claudia Michelsen. I gotta say I am not a big fan of her from everything else I have seen her in, but the fact that she appears in here is fine and elevates her slightly in my perception. It may not be a great performance, maybe not even a good one, but she took the risk and did not go for trashy Degeto films this time. Annd there is no denying she looks fairly attractive for her age, which was probably also a vital ingredient to the story overall. Or maybe not because in the end probably nothing her affair said was really meant in an honest way. For some reason, Michelsen is only credited third here on imdb, so this page definitely needs some fixing. As for the supporting cast, you can check out the list yourself, at least those listed here, which is far from complete. Michelle Barthel for example is missing entirely apparently. She plays the protagonist's daughter. I mean okay she does not have a lot of screen time and only one baity scene when she is worried about what could happen when her friends at school or her (potential) boyfriend see her mother's compromising photos, but that is it. Still she should be here. The male actors who play the husband and the affair are included here. There are not really any big names except Michelsen although I am not sure you can call her such. Still, most of the cast members have been pretty prolific and relatively successful over the years. Not in terms of aards maybe, but they do not have to worry about not finding any work and that means for every profession. But for actors especially because so many are struggling.
Now, as you can see form my rating, I would say that this film is neither a failure, not a good watch, fairly weak at times and overall forgettable. The story with the married woman who enters into an affair that almost costs her everything has been done many times, also before (2015) and many times it has also been done better than here. Nothing really new, creative or inspiring to this movie. I especially struggled with th general concept here. I mean they really tried everything to make the affair seem as unlikable as possible with how he probably stages the visit with the kite, how he gets really close to her immediately, how he pretends the car is not working, how he does not mention his wife etc. Many more examples of that. And I did not like him. However, I also did not like the protagonist. It feels as if they want us to forget about her despicable actions altogether and see her as somebody we cheer for nonetheless. And she is definitely not likable in a flawed fashion needs to be said here. This is what they were going for. But it did not apply for me one bit. Let's take a look at what she did. Even cheating once with the other guy on the seaside would have been once too much, but literally she is having an affair for weeks afterwards it seems. And she thinks about running away with him. That much she seems to love her caring family (husband and children). There is no excuse for her actions. So you could slightly say this is a sexist film too like so many other ARD movies are (although I watched this one today on the smaller ARD channel one) because the other guy is really the epitome of evil, but the woman is not. She is just a victim. Which is true of course and there is no excuse for the blackmailing, but he gets his fair punishment for that. Where is her punishment for giving him 1.5 million? Her reward is that her husband basically comes back to her. Seriously? Oh my, okay it's love good for her and also her career seems to be still on a level that she mostly gets unharmed out of this entire misery. On a complete different note, the scene with the guy on the motorbike was maybe a bit too much over-the-top and unrealistic, but it's okay. There are luckily not too many moments where this film is mostly hitting the wrong notes. However, it is also never really on the convincing side and definitely not the crime movie they want it to be. Especially the idea of how she could lose everything in her job should have been handled much better and with much more attention to detail. Instead, it just felt thrown in for the sake of it and yet they want us to always have this on our minds. The talent is not there. Still, to slightly end my review on a positive note, I want to add that I loved the scene with her mother because said mother says it exactly as it is and the way I saw it too. Thumbs-up to her and the actress. Shame she did not have more screen time. Alright, that is all then. This film is still better than most of the other stuff that you see on German television nowadays, especially the romance comedy and drama garbage in the afternoon, but this does not make "In der Falle" a good movie. My suggestion is to skip the watch and go for something else instead.
Die Galoschen des Glücks (2018)
I did not find happiness watching this movie
"Die Galoschen des Glücks" is a German television film from 2018, so still relatively new and fresh and of course this is one of these really many fairytale movies they have come up with in Germany for more than a decade. Like most of the others there, this film runs for minimally under an hour, so it is not a long watch by any means. The title is a bit difficult to translate for me because the word "Galoschen" is one that is really not too common in German anymore which made it even a bit difficult to come up with a translation as I am not 100% sure about the meaning. However, the English terms if not too different, so you could say "The galoshs of happiness". Of course, the film takes place during the days of princesses and maidservants, so it is set centuries back in the past, which again makes sense that they use this term. It's overshoes I see. Anyway, I think this is originally based on a tale by Hans Christian Andersen, one of the most known fairytale writers out there still, maybe second to the Brothers Grimm here in my country, but they of course got the massive advantage that they are German and Andersen is Danish. So he may be even more famous in other countries, even if he probably does not have the sheer quantity of tale to him the way the Brothers Grimm do. This one here I maybe have heard the title, but I could not say one bit what it is about before watching this film. Also a bit of a shame Andersen has no credit here on imdb. Instead, the writers here are Brinx and Kömmerling, both in their 50s now and they have collaborated so many times in the past that you can say it is almost a guarantee that if one of the duo is working on a project, then the other is as well. Also they have been in charge many times of the screenplays for these short fairytale movies. The director is Friederike Jehn, not as prolific as her writers here, but also far from a rookie as she started making (short) films at the beginning of the new millennium. Many times she also came up with the scripts herself, but not so this time. As for the cast, we have only twwo familiar names: Annette Frier and Inka Friedrich that German film buffs are certainly aware of. This is the usual thing here basically to include some known actors for the older characters and pick new faces for the younger central characters. It is only partially true here though. Some of the younger actors have actually been in many projects, but I am not sure this is a good thing. If they just cast people who have been on GZSZ etc., then I totally do not support this approach. At least Josefine Voss is pretty attractive, even if she is not the likable one. How we find out about her real character as the film progresses and if it feels realistic is up to you to decide. As for Frier and Friedrich (their last names kinda start in a similar fashion, four letters, don't have that too often), I inda would have expected reversed roles who plays the more positive and who the pessimistic part, but it works this way too. Certainly the film improves a bit every time they are on screen and I am saying this as somebody who does not like Frier as much as he did 10 or 15 years ago and as somebody who never say much in Friedrich. this basically says it all about how forgettable the rest of the film is.
Frier and Friedrich are always together on the screen (just like the writers) and they have more screen time early on as well when they even sometimes communicate with the protagonist(s). In the second half, they are basically nothing but observers. I think the film did not start too well, then got a bit better, but in the end was back to its forgettable self. Early on, I struggled a bit with how the protagonist as depicted. For example the scene with the fish or how he falls down from the chair or so. It is okay though. I assume these moments were included in the original tale, but I still think they could have found a better way of bringing them to the screen. In general, I struggled a bit with the movie because lead actor Jonas Lauenstein did almost nothing for me. He is the GZSZ guy, so I assume ARD here wanted to cash in a bit with his popularity from the biggest German soap opera. That the latter is on another channel they did not care one bit about. Then again, the entire GEZ concept shows us very well that morals and ARD do not fit together. But we are drifting a bit away now from this one here, so back to the story. The plot is pretty generic for these films. We have a simple young man who wants to be with the rich and influential and he manages with the help of magic to get there, even becomes a couple with the princess he desires so much. All this without reaizing where he really belongs (and with whom) and how morally bankrupt his new peers are. In the end, he finds out though and there is a happy ending of course. Oh yes, another thing that bothered me a bit is that the shoes mentioned in the title could have been featured more prominently if they are part of the title already. I mean they are just shoes okay and I am not sure how much they are featured in Andersen's tale, but the way it was handled here, it is not a good title. Costumes and make-up as well as sets are alright though, as always with these small screen fairytale releases from pretty recently. Maybe the film's biggest strength. There are no true weaknesses in fact, but also nothing that stands out in a way frequently enough for me to give a positive recommendation here. I have seen some of these fairytale films, probably easily more than 50% and this recent one gets a thumbs-down from me. Not recommended. I guess the filmmakers are partially to blame here (probably also to some extent the cast, even if there are characters and roles that worked fine for me and fit in convincingly like one of the two male main antagonists although he had only little screen time, he did great with being obnoxious), but also maybe there is a reason why it took them this long for this story to get picked for a film. Maybe nothing stands out too much here in general and it is not too famous for good reason. cannot say for sure though because, as I think i stated earlier, I have not read this one from Andersen. Maybe one day I will. This film did not get me too curious. You should skip the watch here in any case. Go for some of the other tales instead. Or for something completely different.
Ostfriesisch für Anfänger (2016)
I also think this could have turned out considerably better
"Ostfriesisch für Anfänger" is a German film from 2016, so this one will have its fifth anniversary next year. This was a theatrical release, little difference here compared to all the other German stuff I regularly review. But still, NDR was a prt of the production and this channel is where I watched the movie tonight. At 1.5 hours, it is not a long film at all and the closing credits easily last for five minutes (or more), so even shorter. The director is Gregory Kirchhoff, who was just 23 or 24 when he made this and it is not surprising that he does not have a big body of work yet given his age. What is surprising is that he got picked in the first place given the big name lead actor. But we will get to him a little later. The writers are not exactly really experienced in that department either. Sönke Andresen has written the screenplay for another film in 2013 and that was it. Franziska An der Gassen has not written any screenplays before 2016, but she has been a prolific producer for approximately a decade before her involvement with this film began. Maybe that is the area where she should say because the story here really did not impress me one bit. These two writers certainly did not bring out the best in each other here sadly and I honestly find it a bit questionable that An der Gassen perhaps used a bit her influence here as a producer to hire herself as a writer and maybe get a step in the door in that department in general, especially because it does not feel as if the talent is there. Okay, this film is listed here on imd with the primary language Low German. I am not sure if this is really the language that people spoke the most in terms of quantity, but it is either that or simply German. It is alright though that they go for the former here because this language also plays a major part in the story, so it is kinda appropriate. The lead actor is of course the man you see on the poster: Mr. Dieter (or Didi) Hallervorden. What can I say? I like him. Have known him for a long time and the photo on the poster is accurate because he is one pretty much every German knows and has known for decades. He was 80 when he made this film and is 85 now. Hopefully he will still have a few years. I can't be too harsh on him, even if I did not like the film too much. Also it is really unusual to see him with very long hair because that is something I don't think he has ever had in real life over the course of his 50-year career or so. He is the one and only big name here. Maybe huge German film buffs have come across Trauttmansdorff or Böttcher in other films, but even those are cast members that one can remember when seeing the faces, but the names do not come to mind immediately. I remember Trauttmansdorff right away for a more dramatic movie about domestic violence that she was in a few years ago. Much more serious material than this one here. As for Hamade and Stockhaus, I must say I am not familiar with them at all, even if they are among the key supporting players here.
Now as for the story. There were moments when I thought that two out of ten is more accurate than two out of five honestly, but in the end I shall be generous. I would say that the film is certainly closer to failure territory than it is to being a good movie that deserves a positive recommendation. Unfortunately. Hallervorden's by far best effort from the last decade will always be "Sein letztes Rennen" for me, a very touching movie that has it all. The only parallel I can come up with between these two films is that in here his wife has died too. It is a lot about character transformation, but it does not feel too credible honestly and really more for the sake of it all about a subject that just fits in nicely with political correctness and the political climate. i guess this is what they went for and relied on the most. But this alone obviously does not make it a good film. Not at all. It makes it even more embarrassing in my opinion because it feels to me as if they wanted to hide the absence of creativity in their craft this way by making it more pleasant for general audiences without actually having to deliver talent. So the very basic story can be summarized by saying that we have a guy from East Frisia and he lost his house to the bank and said house is used now for a group of immigrants (not refugees as they emphasize) with solid knowldge in their particular fields. The problem is these people do not speak German and arrive a week earlier than expected (pretty unrealistic honestly this lack of attention). And there are not really any teachers or people to take care of them, so they hire Hallervorden's character to teach them the language. Does that make sense? I mean come on he does not even have any certificates or education in this field I think. And Hallervorden loves his local language so much that he simply teaches Low German to the people from all areas of the world. Not actual German. Of course, this comes out eventually and many people are mad at the protagonist. His students not so much, however. They have started to really like him and his approach and his rough charm as well. But of course the consequence is that the students do not know how to speak proper German and they fail their test and that means they have to leave. Or does it? In a most convenien inclusion, we find out that the rulebook says Low German must be accepted as well. How did nobody know that? Felt really for pseudo dramatic purposes only because at that point they were sitting literally in the bus (or whatever it was) already and were almost gone. When they are allowed to stay, then they visit the protagonist at his wife's graveside and he is really happy that his new friends are still there and all his prejudice is gone and he no longer really wants to be isolated from people. And the icing on the cake is that his new friends then (help him to) buy back the location that means so much to him. That is pretty much it. A bit exaggerated and not really authentic for sure. But it is watchable for the most part and not failure territory. I mean there are moments when we find out about the implied love story between the two officials, but at least they keep love stories away from the group of immigrants. And from Didi's character too. It could have been worse honestly. But it could have been a lot better too. The truth is it is not even in the middle sadly. It felt really bland and boring for the most part. I know this may not be a valid criticism, but it kinds is I feel. I don't need explosions or anything, but I need at least a credible character study when it is such a slow movie. This tries to be one, but it is not. Watch something else instead. By the way, one final note: The word "plattdeutsch" (Low German) is also not really too common here in my language, at least not in German regions where it is not spoken at all. This is easily to see here too because in the title they did not use the word "plattdeutsch", but "ostfriesisch", which is not even a language, but the region where "plattdeutsch" is mostly spoken. This was of course done to make the title more memorable and also easier to understand what it is about. It was of course about getting people into theaters. Besides, I honestly would not have minded subtitles for the Low German parts, but there weren't any. Maybe it is just me, but I found it fairly difficult to understand. You can maybe compare it to Swiss German a bit, not in terms of style honestly, but in terms of how it is a version of German, but if you just know regular German, it can be pretty difficult to catch the meaning of phrases all the time. Enough now, you should skip the watch anyway as I wrote earlier, so please go for something else instead. Even if you really like Hallervorden, it is still on the underwhelming side.
Zwei Bauern und kein Land (2017)
Two writers and no talent
"Zwei Bauern und kein Land", which means "Two farmers, but no farm" is a German television film from 2017, so still a relatively recent project at over 3.5 years of age now. Director is Sibylle Tafel and I cannot say anything positive about her body of work except her fairytale films maybe, but everything else she has done in over 20 years already now is basically trash and unspired Degeto "entertainment". The screenplay is by Jakob Hein and Robert Krause. Not sure, but to me Hein's body of work looks as if he maybe was the author of the book this is based on because he has far more "self" credits in his body of work. The one for this film here is basically his only writing credit in addition to a short film from four years earlier. But Krause is indeed a pretty experienced screenplay writer. But not a particularly good one by any means. This film is the best example. Maybe he should stay with documentaries. The lead actor here is Ernst Stötzner. He is alright maybe or at least he does not make things worse, which is better than nothing. The title is also really misleading because it implies there are two central characters here, maybe equals even, but Stötzner is the one and only lead here and it is not even close. So the poster is misleading too. However, it is not surprising at all that they featured Katharina Thalbach as much as they could because she simply is a big name, really likable and people immediately recognize her with her looks, voice and a lot more. And let's not forget that she was in the Osccar-winning "Die Blechtrommel", even if that happened a long, long time ago. Reality, however, is she does not have a lot screen time in here and is maybe not even the biggest supporting performance in this movie. Aside from these two, there are almost no really familiar faces in here. Even I as a German film buff struggled with making a connection to anybody, let alone remembering their names. Petra Kleinert I may have come across before, but she is also one I cannot say anything about really. Especially not anything positive. Not a gifted actress at all. I mea Thalbach is also overrated without a doubt, but even she has more versatility. It would still be nice to see Thalbach an evil character for once. These days, she almost always plays likable grannies. Actually for a long time already now because she looks older than she is and has for a while. I shall leave it at that pretty much with the cast, just one quick mention that I was surprised that plays the son is not too known. Okay, maybe it's me. He has been on "Bad Banks" not too long ago, but this was of course also after this film got made.
For me the only question basically was if this is a weak or terrible film. Honestly, especially if we look at all the Degeto stuff, there's really many worse films out there, but this does not mean that this film here is good. It is just tolerable in comparison I assume. Annd I don't remember many good moments either. Only one kind of namely when Stötzner's and Thalbach's characters have a little banter insulting each other, but in a friendly way. After all they were a couple now. Also as for Thalbach, her mayor story went completely wrong. She seems so powerless honestly and the scene in which she offers herresignation made things even worse and was definitely not a highlight whatsoever. At least not the way it was meant to be in an emotionally self-sacrificing way. Besides, everything linked to business was not a success. The mention of Fuchs and how he wants he is an antagonist, but in the end just really one who acted as a representative for a powerful big company. Or the idea how the son thought for a while he wanted to be a farmer too and his constant back-and-forth seemed like the mind of an 18-year-old or so. So this is where the film came short in the family/drama department. In the comedy department, things did not look much better. The idea they have on how to file an application as new/young farmers was not particularly entertaining. But it was still better than the really unrealistic scenario that they run exactly into that female police officer the moment they are driving so quickly to meet the deadline. Or that it is again the one cop who is crushing on the son apparently. This was already really horrible in the opening sequence and there I felt pretty safe already that this is not going to be a good film. Things got worse and worse in the process. In the end, of course, as almost always with these movies, they are happy again, police are looking for Fuchs (and him they won't let get away I assume) the drama is gone and there is even a character giving birth. In a corn field. Sigh. Enough is enough really. It is especially disappointing as a father-son story because nothing connected to that felt authentic or realistic. Oooh the DJ inclusion with that 25-hour gig I almost forgot. How the young man falls unconscious there and daddy brings him back. That was painful to watch really. I think there also was a moment when the old man collapsed or was close to collapsing. Really pseudo drama of the worst kind. The more I am writing/thinking about this movie, the more obvious it gets that this is really definitely on the failure side and not just a weak film. What makes me even more sad is to see an actor like Andreas Schmidt, who is so much better than this, have this movie as one of his final credits. he died half a year after the release at a far too young age. May he rest in peace. Maybe it is just me imagining things, but I felt he did not look too healthy in here either. In any case, it is not just this film that he should not be in it, but he played such a nothing character. What a waste. Oh and what was with the random, yet, meaningful, question if her man voted for her back then? Now that came out of nowhere. Is it so tough to elaborate properly on drama and not just randomly throw it in? So pathetic what these channels are doing with billions of GEZ money that they force people to pay here in my country. Disgusting. Disgusting movie too. Highly not recommended.
Annas Erbe (2011)
Luckily they did not make a third film afterwards
"Anna's Erbe" is a German television film from 2011, so this one will have its tenth anniversary next year, in fact very late next year because this aired originally during the Christmas season. The title means "Anna's Secret" and this is a sequel to a movie called "Anna's Secret" from three years earlier. I watched this first film like five years ago or so and I gotta say I remember nothing about it really, which does not surprise me however. Looking at the rating I have it back then, I guess I was probably fairly generous and I am sure I would not give the same today again. Maybe I will rewatch it at some point. We will see. This one here is completely dommed for failure though. Not only because it got ordered/produced by the infamous ARD Degeto whose films almost always suck, but also if you take a look at the bodies of work by director Gärtner and writer Krapoth (the k should be a c), then you know immediately that you got 1.5 pretty abysmal hours ahead of you. This is exactly how it turns out. Pretty unreal to see how the director has basically done (almost) nothing but come up with really bad projects for 30 years now and the writer at least as bad for the last 20 years, so this film here was pretty much from the middle of her career as of now you could say. Really shameful that these two still get picked for new projects. There is no visible talented to them whatsoever and that is really a very gentle way to put it. This lack of vision also extends effortlessly to the cast as Jutta Speidel reprises her role from the first film of course. She is the title character, so it would not have worked without her. She is basically an older version of the likes of Thomalla, Neubauer, Furzwängler and other actress who get picked frequently for lead roles in television films despite the complete absence of talent, simply because people know tham and that is it. I find her unwatchable at times honestly how she goes full ham constantly and is not even able to pull of the most simple scenes. The best example of that we get here early on when she is looking for her glasses annd her husband tells her they are on her head. This was almost the first scene actually. I guess it was supposed to show us in a "funny" way how the protagonist is likably clumsy. Or I don't know. Maybe also how close she and her husband still are. Said husband is played by Dietrich Hollinderbäumer and the fact that he is credited far behind and the second word in the title make it obvious he has to go, so the film is about nobody else than Speidel really anymore, even if they act as if it is. But that is only because they have completely run out of ideas for Speidel's character. Hollinderbäumer is also one from the terrible heute-show gang though, so I can't go easy on him. No surprise he shows up in trashy films like this one. There's others equally bad where he is in the cast list. The art of make-believe. As for the supporting cast, no big names at all. Not even mediocre names. Susanne Schäfer and Anna Hausburg play the protagonist's daughter and granddaughter, which kinda had me thinking that this film included three generations of failure, even if the characters are of course related and not the actresses. But with the exception of Thalbach maybe, this could not be the case in any German movie. Okay, let's not drift away now. One more thing I want to say here still is that I applaud the director of the first film for not returning. Great choice. Which makes it even more despicable for the writer to return and for the director who took over that they were ready and willing for this one. But I elaborated on those earlier already.
Okay, I want (or have to) mention a few moments of the story and plots here to make it obvious what a terrible film this is. First of all: Speidel. She has many, many bad moments. I already mentioned a smaller moment where her absence of talent becomes extremely obvious. Another smaller moment would be how she falls down in the yard becuase somebody els eputs something somewhere where it shouldn't be. But it is also the case in those dramatically important scenes when she gets water or something for her dying husband and also how she has this crying attack near the end when she does all this cycling is very telling. This actress is not even good enough for the smalles supporting performance. So forced and hammy all along. Then again, she was in good company in this film because Schäfer felt almost as bad in their shared sequences and Hausburg also seems on the "right" track for that. A look into her body of work makes this painfully obvious. I generally do not talk this harshly about young(er) actresses, but for her it could not be any more true. The story with her pregnancy is difficult to swallow. Also really charming girl who does not care about birth control apparently and also calls the father of her unborn child a really mean word towards the end. And yet the boy talks about eternal love. Haha of course. Clearly shows here that this is a female centered movie. Imagine him calling her a c*** out of nowhere in the end. But no, it's only okay of the girl makes fun of herself, like her hands on one occasion. Well, good luck to the boy for the next 60 (or more years) of being humiliated. Of course, there is also pseudo drama with an abortion being an option, but Degeto is zero daring, so she will have the child in the end. The way it was depicted with this note and the pseudo drama that she ran away (happens so often in these kind of films that young characters run away) could not have been any more uninspired. Of course, our likable heroine (Speidel) is also the one that the young woman talks to first about her pregnancy. Not to the father. Not to the mother. To her grandmother. Obviously. Grandmother and her daughter also have afalling-out because of that, which is obviously solved in the end in the sense of a pretty bad and for-the-sake-of-it happy ending. ust like so many other times with Degeto. One who Speidel's character, however, is not as charming with is her loyal farm hand Marek (same name as the actor). When he has the very bizarre idea that her daughter might replace him for whatever reason on the farm (the film is set on an apple farm), then Speidel's character gets really mad and treats him with zero respect. I guess this was to show us what a dedicated woman she is. Not much later, Marek is considering moving to a different employer and boy he should have. Speidel's character gets mad again. But of course, in the face of his employer's greatness he eventually stays. No surprise here at all. The other guy is if I remember correctly ther father of the women in the middle age-wise. What a coincidence! And what a small world. Anyway, there are also indicators that this other employer, a successful businessman is also romantically interested in Speidel's character too. Of course she is one who could have all them men with what an amazing woman she is. And what's up with Marek? Well, he also had some pseudo conflict with Schäfer's character and honestly I was just waiting for those two to become a couple as well. Would have perfectly fit this film and there's always a way to make thing worse, no matter how bad they are already. This movie is really cringeworthy to watch. I could mention another dozen scenes where it was so bad it was almost funny in fact, but I will just give you three, namely when the daughter sells an apple bevarage from the farm and mother stands next to her and nods. Or when the boy is about to go see the pregnant girl on the bench and her mother and grandmother stand there and show us (and him) with their eyes that he must go. Women in charge. Cough. Okay, and the third is when the two younger women decide in the car to return and spend the summer with Speidel's character and then at her doorstep ask her if it's okay and she says somethhing like she has no choice. Unwatchable as I said. I really wish they just would have driven on because then this mess of a movie would have been over after 30 minutes max and not after 1.5 hours. Plain terrible. Highly not recommended. The pseudo elite ideas of Danish last names or big music careers make things only worse. The only good thing here is really that it stayed a duology and no third movie followed. But no worries, the key cast members, the trio, have been in enough other projects that were complete trash.
Herzlichen Glückwunsch (2005)
No reason to congratulate this movie for anything
"Herzlichen Glückwunsch" (German term for "Conngratulations") is a German television film from 2005. This means it has its 15th anniversary this year and as it originally aired in summer, it happened already. The writer and director was Berno Kürten and you could say that this film here was basically from the middle of his career. He is still making films nowadays (Traumschiff), but began as a filmmaker for a tour by German pop singer Nena considerably earlier. This film here is evidence though that he may not be the most talented director out there. And it is also pretty fitting that this movie is from the year 2005 because the first decade of the new millennium was probably when he was at his worst, not that he really delivered quality-wise before or after this decade, but still. He made many of these horrible films back then it seemed, most of those for ARD and its smaller stations. Degeto stuff. As weak as it gets. Anyway, not too often that you see the same writer and director for those films, so this is a bit of an exception here, but then again Kürten almost always wrote the screenplays for his directorial efforts too, so not surprising either. The cast here includes many older actors that German film buffs will immediately recognize. Lead actress Landgrebe is maybe the biggest name from the cast although I always thought she was overrated. She may be above-average attractive for her age, but she also has a tendency to play the same character in every movie. Show the same mannerisms. No indicator for versatility. She also kept appearing in more and more of these Degeto films in the last 10-15 years, which definitely does not say anything too positive about her. One actress you see on the poster is Irm Hermann, who died not too long ago and who is always easy to identify and of course this is because she was one of the regulars in Fassbinder's films decades earlier. However, it is also true for her that in the 2000s she appeared in many films where she shouldn't have, but I guess Degeto pays well with all their money from the German people that they force them to pay. As for Hermann (always have to check if one r or two), her role her is truly minimal. She is only featured in the second half and even there she has almost no screen time at all and maybe five sentences where she is at the center of the movie for a brief moment. And sadly, even there her line delivery is far from great. I will not say this much about all the other supporting players. You can check out the list for yourself. However, Kreye, Mendl and Trowe (the latter really old, the two guys slightly younger) and also performers that German film buffs will remember their faces. Maybe their names too, but not always. The two guys are still alive, but Trowe isn't, but this is no surprise either. From her black-and-white photo you can see that she has been in the industry for a long time, actually acted in the 1940s already, so considerably over half a century before this film got made.
As you can see froom my rating, I am really not big on this movie at all. This should surprise nobody though because here we got a collaboration between the two worst production companies for German small screen releases: ARD Deggeto and Regina Ziegler Film. Even when only one of them is only part of films, then it is almost always a guarantee that the movie sucks, but with both there is no denying whatsoever. This one turned out exactly as I expected. Many cringeworthy moments and pseudo drama. Let me see what i still remember. i wish I could forget about this mess as soon as possible. One scene is of course where the bucked with color falls down on Landgrebe's character right into her hair. This wwas supposed to be funny I believe, but it was no such thing. Every time this movie went for comedy, it went horribly wrong. The moments when it is slightly funny is when it is unintentionally funny because it is really so bad and they were serious with it. One example that perfectly fits this description is when Landgrebe's character opens the door and sees her daughter's new boyfriend. A Black guy. And what happens next? She falls unconscious. Yeah, right. So what does this imply? That she is a hardcore racist? Not really because for some strange reason this is not an issue anymore at all and the young couple gets almost zero inclusion and screen time. Very bizarre. But a bit of a pity too because Johanna Klante is fairly attractive and if I say that as somebody who is usually not too much into blondes, then it means something. What else is there to mention? Ah yes, as for the aforementioned young couple, we get the information at the very end that the woman is pregnant. Typical example of a rushed-in plot inclusion for a happy ending as you see them so often. This is also as almost always with Regina Ziegler (is Daniela Ziegler related to her? she is in many RZ productions) a movie mostly for female audiences. So applaud these female audience members especially if they see through this charade and see it for the mess it is overall. The protagonist is female as well and in order for us to not forget how amazing Landgrebe's character is and how she is a successful woman who gets stuff done, we also get a bit of a jealousy story in the second half when a former lover of her shows up. He has a much younger partner now, but still we know that the one he really wanted is Landgrebe's character. Obviously. This story really gets as terrible as it gets during the musical chairs sequence. If you know what I mean. In German we say "Reise nach Jerusalem" / "Journey to Jerusalem". The ways in which the two males there look at each other. Cringe is real. Sigh. Mendl is also in far too many of these trashy movies than he should be. And his character also gets another pseudo drama inclusion at the very end, namely when he collapses, but of course it's nothing really and he is healthy immediately again. Okay, that is pretty much all I have to say about this really bad movie. There could be more, but the key message would not change that this film is almost unwatchable at times and deserves the lowest rating possible overall. Don't give out ones. The first half is basically the preparation for a big birthday party or maybe almost the first two thirds and the final sehment then is the actual party. You can literally see how they tried so hard to make this party seem interesting, dramatic, full of conflicts, but boy did they come short. Everything felt so vain, shallow and uninteresting. This also implies to the political correctness inclusion linked to a homosexual character (or completely aside from that, the moment Landgrebe's character says oh yes he will become a pilot. what he wants himself, is totally irrelevant if this mesmerizing female authority decides). His story linked to acceptance is also as uninspired as it gets. A movie you wanna skip 100%. Highly not recommended.
Ich pfeif' auf schöne Männer (2001)
I can very well do without need this movie
"Ich pfeif' auf schöne Männer" is a German television film from 2001, so this one is really old now already and in March it will have its 20th anniversary. To make it easier to understand how old it is, let me say that gap between now and then when this was made/released is basically as big as the gap between the year 2000 and the 1980. This makes it obvious I suppose. And still it is on national television nowadays. Which is a shame because of the agge, but especially because this is a really, really poor movie from beginning to end. The title makes it obvious already. It is a common saying early on, so "pfeif'" is totally difficult to translate, but you could say that this means somethhing like "I can very well do without beautiful men" in the sense of not having any interest in them. So you see the title and poster as well make it obvious that you are not in for a quality watch here. This is based on a novel by Tina Grube and it is the second book from her that got turned into a movie. The first ("Men are like chocolate" smh) happened two years earlier, still in the old millennium, and actually this film we have here is a sequel to that film from 1999. So it is really safe to say that the book must be as bad as the writer was, even after the first (most likely equally horrible) movie ready and willing to have another book being turned into a film here. This movie runs for under 1.5 hours as they usually do and the director is Helmut Metzger and the fact that his last decade of filmmaking consisted almost exclusively of terrible Katie Fforde explanations is pretty self-explanatory. Also that before that everything he did was equally low quality. The man turned 60 last year and even if he lived for another 60 years, he would probably never manage to come up with a high-quality film. It may sound harsh, but it is the truth. Then again, I frequently say that the script is always more crucial than the direction in determining if a film is good or not, so you can only blame him for so much, but when literally every film in his body of work is a mess, there is no way I can go easy on him. He does not have to accept these projects either. The writer, i.e. the one who adapted the novel, is Dagmar Ungureit. And while she has been a producer many times, still is today, this film we have here is her one and only writing credit according to imdb. Certainly a good thing, especially as most of the stuff she worked on in the production area is also not good at all. Especially everything pretty recently. These SOKO series are truly the epitome of simple and uninspired police action on German television. Completely void of talent. Her fairytale stuff may be a bit better I don't know. But back to this one here: As for the cast, the lead actress is again, as in the previous film, Jennifer Nitsch, who died less than five years after this film a most untimely and most bizarre death sadly. I still cannot call her a good actress because of that because that would be a lie. She's probably much more about looks than about talent and if i say that as somebody who is not really into blondes, then this means quite something. Maybe a bit also about recognition value. But she never manages to truly elevate the really low material here whatsoever. As for the rest of the cast, there are some names that German film buffs wil certainly recognize: Peter Sattmann of course, who I have seen in quite a few films recently, but not liked too much. Stefan Jürgens, who is one I appreciate since "RTL Samstag Nacht", but it is a bit sad he has been in several of these really trashy movies. And Ulrich Matthes' brother is on board too. Can't say anything else about him. Axel Pape also sounds somewhat familiar, so certainly more recognizable males in here than females. One who I totally did not recognize was Robert Giggenbach despite the significance of his role. He is probably the closest to being a co-lead to Nitsch's character.
Alright, now a little talk about why I felt this film sucked. First of all, I indeed do not know if the book is as bad, but what I saw here simply did not see accurate for a movie. The big problem is there are far too many characters and they are trying to give each one of them a story, but the result is an even bigger mess. Nothing feels authentic or realistic. Maybe I only say this because I like Jürgens, but the story between his character and Sattmann's (and a gay story was certainly a bit on the progressive side still back in 2001) was still a bit among the better. Nonetheless, it did not feel realistic with the closure and happy ending there how Sattmann's character kisses Jürgens' in front of everybody looking at how uncomfortable he was when it came to depicting their love just minutes earlier. Felt very for the sake of it. Oh that reminds me, there is also an actor from "Mein Leben & ich" in here, the one who plays the father there, but his role in this movie here is truly minimal. Okay, let's not drift away. The allegedly smart moments also felt very shallow to me. The best example is maybe the scene at the church with the ringing phone at the very beginning and very end and still how different these to evolve. Obviously looking at when they take place in terms of the time and chronology. There we also have a prime example (or two) of how this film gets it all wrong in terms of comedy. I am of course talking about the aforementioned ringing phones and yeah of course in the end it is the one from the priest itself. And of course, he takes the call and does not simply turn it off because not only he is working, but also this is among the most memorable moments in the lives of the two protagonists here. Sigh. But at least our heroes finish the ceremony together. So there is a happy ending. Of course, a really exaggerated happy ending and not particularly realistic again, but at least the positive consequence from all that is that they never made a third movie. The reason is maybe that this one here was not too much of a success or maybe there also is not a third book. In any case, I don't think Nitsch's death was the problem and if she had lived longer, I am pretty convinced that this also would not have turned into a trilogy. But it's not important anyway. As long as there is not a third film. Two are already two too many and I can safely say that withouth even having seen the first. Also thumbs-down for everybody who decided to return for this sequel despite knowing how the first film turned out and this refers to people who were part of the cast as well as those that were part of the crew here. Alright, what else can I say? I mean I really did not like this film and you certainly got it by now. If I did not have a soft spot for Jürgens and he is featured in here a lot really luckily, then I would have hated it even more. I mean the worst is really that they were completely serious with this entire romance story here and everything linked to it. The idea of her being stuck between two men was already nothing particularly new and creative, even back in 2001, but especially not the way it was depicted in here. And don#t even get me started on the wedding proposal at the end. It is always funny how couples after conflicts so many times do not only simply solve their conflict, but they solve it by one (usually the male) proposing to the other (usually the female) and she forgives him for what a fool he was (these films are mostly for female audiences of course) and then everything and everybody is happy again. Of course, marriage was also something pretty different in terms of significance and importance 20 years ago. Up to you to decide if that's a good thing. i think some traditions are not too bad. As long as they are not depicted the way they are in this movie. Highly not recommended. Shameful really what ARD and their smaller stations are doing with our GEZ money. Producing trashy films like this and still putting them on display 20 years later which costs them exactly nothing. And don#t even get me started about the "neutral" news coverage. But I'm drifting away now, so I shall stop. But not by saying once more that this movie is one you really wanna skip at all costs. Fat thumbs-down.
Der Wettbewerb (2011)
If this took part in a competition with several other films, it would certainly not finish among the first
"Der Wettbewerb" is a German-language television film from 2011 and to be really precise, this premiered on my birthday in 2011 and this means that this film will have it's ninth anniversary soon and one more year until the tenth anniversary. As you see from the first sentence, I did not say it is a German movie. But it still is, just a co-production between Austria and Germany we got here. No surprise really because the director is Austrian, the film was shot in Austria and the two male characters at the center of the story are as well. Or played by Austrian actors I should say. I will get to those later. You can maybe even say that this film is more Austrian than German in fact, but why pick one. It's perfectly fine there are two countries of production. First of all, it must be said that this film was on German national television today in the afternoon, which shows that, despite the age, it is still shown nowadays. Not really a good thing. Then again, there are many, many other small screen releases here from my country that are considerably worse and more cringeworthy than these under 1.5 hours we have here. Still there are some weak moments nonetheless. I will talk about those a little later. Also not too common that Austrian co-productions are shown in the afternoon here on German television, but also not something that never happens. It really happens far more frequently than with France, Switzerland, Denmark etc. if we are talking about other neighbor countries because with those it happens never at all. Another slightly unusual thing is that there are no less than three writers credited here. Very uncommon. Most of the time, it is one. Rarely two. And in addition, the director does not belong to this trio of writers. The man in charge behind the camera is Michael Riebl and he started making films approximately when the old millennium ended and turned into a fairly prolific filmmaker afterwards, but mostly focused on series. There are three or four movies as well included in his body of work, but that is it. This is one of them and the way this turned out I cannot exactly say I am sad that he did not direct more films. However, it can be added that he is also a really prolific cinematographer. There he has even more credits than when it came to directing films. I will not go into detail about the three writers. You can check out their names and bodies of work for yourself if you care. What can be said is that neither has really worked on any highly successful projects in the past. The opposite is the case in fact in terms of the quality of what is included in their bodies of work. But I certainly want to talk a bit about the cast. The two lead actors here, those I mentioned earlier, are Harald Krassnitzer and Cornelius Obonya. The former is pretty famous here in Germany. he was the Bergdoktor once, but not really for that, but rather for being on tatort for a long time. I do not care about this show at all, yet I kinda like Krassnitzer. I think with pretty much every other actor playing the part I would have liked the outcome here less quality-wise. He is the main reason why this is a weak film overall and not a terrible one. Here and there he managed to elevate the material quite considerably. As for Obonya, I am not even sure if I can call him a lead. He has considerably less screen time than Krassnitzer and that is a good thing. The name sounds as if he could be Black and have African roots by the way, but as you see from the profile picture, this is of course not the case. Still, it felt weird when at the end they acted as if these two actors/characters were on the same level as the movie was always more about Krassnitzer's character. from beginning to end really. Kinda fitting that Krassnitzer's character's wife also has a lot more screen time and is played by the more famous actress. Still Kramer is one I do not like at all and who, in my opinion, is not a talented actress at all, has almost zero range and versatility and as she has many scenes with Krassnitzer toggether obviously given the proximity between their characters, it becomes a bit painful to watch at times. I wish they could have cast somebody else there. Anyway, two more supporting players I recognized are Rehberg (rip) playing the protagonists' father and Prinz, who really plays a very minor character only. A bit of a waste. Then again, I kinda feel like not too many will recognize him. But he is an alright actor I think. From these mentions, you can also see that this is a much moore male-centered movie and despite three female writers, the women do not get particularly great material.
Nonetheless, this is a film mostly for female audiences as always with these German afternoon films. This is already shown again by the tendencies of anti-male writing. Frequently, it is much more blatantly obvious than in this movie, but the inclusions are there nonetheless. The best example is basically how the men forget to care for their families and treat their women the way they should and in the end, they have to show up and beg for mercy bringing tons of flowers to their partners. Of course, in the sense of solving this pseudo drama that felt totally unauthentic, the woman give in (after the children) and everybody is happy again and the happy ending is there. Also something you always find in these movies. Oh by the way, Krassnitzer and Kramer are also a couple in real life. Now I remember. I did not really feel it in their chemistry here. As for Krassnitzer, even I as a vegetarian, found one inclusion funny that was a bit of a running gam, namely how his character does not want to give up on his beloved Gänseleber (goose liver). But that was the only comedic inclusion I kinda liked here. The rest was a mix of unfunny and sometimes even cringeworthy. This is the story of two brothers basically who could not be any more different, basically live in different world, especially if we are talking about how they deal with the environment. Still they end up going against each other when Krassnitzer's character's daughter motivates him to take part in a competition that is about turning your home into a place as eco-friendly as it gets. And of course, the other brother also takes part there and from that moment on, it is a race between the two because they are really competitive. Further fuel is added by the men's father for whom his sons are never really good enough. But the father-son story is also one that got rushed in for the sake of it. At least that is what it felt like to me. Almost no depth at all. Finally, I would like to say that I liked the background idea of this film here because of course it can also make people from the audience think about how environment-friendly they are living their lives. Still the big change in mind near the end that all of a sudden the brothers did not care anymore for their conflict and the race, but realized how they must be grateful for their partners and families and also how the only thing this is really all about is helping the planet did again feel a bit pseudo important. I mean it is obviously the right idea and approach, but how they lead us there with the screeplay felt rather shoddy and not really believable and that is already a nice way to put it. Disappointing. I think this is even worse because if they are really going for this subject, then a half-baked approach is exactly what this important issue does not need. Okay, that is all then. Like I said, if it wasn't for Krass sometimes putting something on my lips that remotely resembled a smile, then these almost 90 minutes would have gotten a weaker rating from me for sure. It is definitely way closer to failure territory than to being a good movie. Thumbs-down. My suggestion is you skip the watch here.
Waiting for Gerd
"Ökozid" is a new German television film that actually just premiered tonight, so this review is as fresh as it gets. Sadly, this film is not, but I will get to that later. First of all, the basics. The title means "Ecocide" of course and I still must admit that I had to check back if this word exists in English because the German term is one we almost never use here and that I don't think I have heard or read once despite how much climate change has been present in the headlines for years now. Soon decades. The movie runs for 1.5 hours and was directed and co-written by Andreas Veiel and while he is a prolific filmmaker and has been for a while, he almost exclusively has focused on documentaries so far. With one exception, but I guess that movie I liked more because of August Diehl than because of Veiel. And judging from what I saw during these really new 90 minutes, I must say that it may be best for Veiel to return to documentary filmmaking as soon as possible. Yes, it was this bad and uninspired. It may sound harsh, but it is true. However, it is no surprise really that Veiel had some pretty big names available here. I mean ARD prime time, a successful director and a really comfortable subject. That's why Becht, Kunzendorf, Selge and Tukur were on board I suppose. Also for Stromberg fans we got Eitner-Acheampong. She plays Angela Merkel. Yep. However, they made sure to include camera angles many times to make sure she looks like Merkel because obviously when you see the face, then you know it isn't her. But there is one crucial flaw already that comes from a totally different perspective. This film is set in 2035. Which means Merkel is over 80 then. And honestly, she looked younger than she does now in real life. I have no idea why nobody recognized that. Aging make-up anybody? Please. It's not that difficult. The real Merkel is depicted here and there as well through old footage, which once again brings in Veiel's preferred documentary genre I guess. For example once we see her when she is on a boat travelling to the ice together with Sigmar Gabriel to see herself what happened to the polar caps I suppose. Anyway, as for the other cast members. Tukur I found really forgettable, almost wasted here. Kunzendorf did very little for me too, even if her screen time increased in the second half. Becht was okay I suppose, but I am probably biased there because I think she is really attractive. And Selge plays the second central character next to Becht I guess and he was fine too, maybe because he was "only" the presiding judge from beginning to end and we do not really find out too much about his private life, background etc. Or maybe because I just like the actor. The cast list, as it is now here on imdb, is fairly confusing though because first credit goes to Agrawal, who is a really minor supporting performance only. Before the film I thought that after being in a successful German series, this was supposed to be his breakthrough film somehow, but nope. He is barely in it.
Now I will mention a few inclusions in terms of plot and story. One area where the film came really short is the pseudo drama approach that you find with ARD so many times. Two examples. We have a rushed-in bomb threat and there is really a bomb. This is fixed after a minute basically though. Next inclusion is about bullets being fired at Merkel's private mansion. Also gone after a minute. Really embarrassing. No elaboration on who did both things, if they get arrested etc. Instead the film only focuses on the court proceedings. The idea that those had been moved to Berlin from The Hague it was I think because of an ecological catastrophe in the Netherlands was already bizarre enough. Why? To justify that the judge speaks German? No idea, but they should have left it out completely. The court proceedings itself are as bland and boring as it gets too. I really did not care what the decision would be in the end. And Selge did not really manage to elevate the weak material often enough. Besides, you can certainly say that this is a very political movie. But not a quality thriller or anything the way America does it, but this being a political movie from Germany shown during prime shows a really sad state of things. Why? Because it has 100% the intention to get in a possibility into people's minds as a certainty. Not gonna go any deeper into detail about that. You know what I mean. As a consequence of that, the final decision by the court was no surprise either. Namely that they ruled in favor of the suing African countries. So basically this film intends to put pressure (in)directly on Merkel and the government to push forward with measures to keep climate change from getting any worse. Definitely not unexpected. The countries suing here also explain the presence of all these Black people there. Well, most of them. There were also court employees apparently that got the politically correct equality treatment. What else can I add? Ah yes. Merkel again. Is she still chancellor? This film does not go into detail about that. Let's be honest. She said a long time ago she won't run again (they must have knon when they made this film? it does not look like it too three years to make, especially as 90% of the film is set in one location) and she would be over 80 back then, so they could have made clear she is out. But no specific statements there. Then there are these scenes and inclusions to show us the film is set in the future. Be it digital applications, blinking lights on mini earphones etc. But it all felt kinda fake and for the sake of it. Same applies to the chat messages being exchanged. Same applies to Becht's character and her connections with a guy who may be a bit of a revolutionary etc. There is a lot more to say about this film, but I shall leave it at that. You get the general message. Completely aside from the specific contents, I find it sad that German politics films are so horrible compared to international productions. And as rare as you find a new sci-fi film here in my country, I would definitely say that it is better if stuff like this does not get made at all. Highly disappointing outcome. Definitely skip. Oh and I almost forgot about the Gerd mention in my title. This of course refers to Gerhard Schröder, the German chancellor before Angela Merkel and as unspecific as they are with her profession in 2035, as specific they are with Schröder still being alive and in Russia in 2035 at the age of over 90. Well, I doubt he could have saved this movie, but I would have liked to see him. Then again, if he was included and the way they would have handled it, I probably would not be too happy to actually see him then. For they messed up in every other department too. So it was good they forgot about his character and potential presence halfway into the film. The only good thing I can say here. Gotta dig really deep for a positive aspect here. Says it all.
Von Müttern und Töchtern (2007)
I expected the worst and that was what I got
"Von Müttern und Töchtern" is a German television film from 2007, so this one is easily over a decade old now already and, depending on when you read my review, it may already have crossed the 15-year-mark. The title means "Of Mothers and Daughters", so a fairly general title, but not a bad title honestly. It is kind accurate because we have the protagonist in the mother role as well as in the daughter role here. sadly the elaboration of these connetions to your parent and child was really poor. The director is Olaf Kreinsen. He is a fairly experienced filmmaker and already was back in 2007 when he worked on these minimally under 1.5 hours. However, his body of work is also the epitome of quantity over quality really. There are very few inslusions in his filmography that I would even call remotely creative. Then again, he is not the one to blame for that, but those who keep picking him for their films. He turned 60 btw. this year and it seems as if he is still working. The writer is Edda Leesch. With all the bad you can say about Kreinsen's body of work, Leesch's is a completely different area of horrible. Every single inclusion is basically failure territory. Shocking indeed. This as her third film as a writer apparently, so she was not too experienced yet, but the rookie argument is not valid here because I think I have also seen some of her later stuff, more recent works and they were just as bad as these almost 1.5 hours. The most recent is from 2017, so we can only hope that she won't return to writing. The talent is not there. However, she has far more mentions as an actress than as a writer, even if there her most recent credit is even from 2015, so who knows which path she may be heading next. Retirement seems unlikely as she is still a couple years under 60. Not a big surprise that in this film we got here she also shows up as a supporting actress. No great material to her character though and that is probably a good thing because I did not have the impression she could have made it work. The way it actually turned out she is just there and that is it. The one and only lead actress here is Anna Loos and I think she is terrible and very untalented. In everything I have seen her in so far. You can see she really tries so hard, but the range and versatility are simply not there. Liefers (her significant other) may not be a great actor either, but he is not as bad as she is. He is also more about recognition value than about range and also when it comes to recognition value, he is clearly ahead of her. But let's not talk about him any further as he is of course not in this movie. Probably a good thing. Then again, the material is so low most of the time that perhaps he could have elevated it here and there. As for the supporting cast, we got some familiar faces here and there too. Not too many admittedly, but Löw (very similar name to the coach of the German soccer national team, also the first name) was in "Toni Erdmann" not too long ago. And Jannis Niewöhner has even turned into a bit of a star in the last decade, at least one of the most known faces from his group of rising young actors here in Germany. This was a truly early career effort from him. Kinda ironic that he is probably more known now than pretty much everybody else from the cast and that includes Luise Risch, who's pretty cute, but sadly did not manage a big breakthrough like the guy who plays her love interest here. There are more actors like Eitner and Weisgerber who have enjoyed long careers by now and still do not feel too familiar, even to German film buffs like myself. But the one thing (maybe only thing) about the cast you need to know here is that Loos is not worth it as she is basically as weak as Furtwängler and Neubauer und Thomalla, just, in contrast to the other two, a blonde and not nearly as prolific.
Now a few inclusion from the story that made it easy for me to say this is a terrible film. The one absolutely crucial factor is the key plot. I obviously do not mean that all of a sudden the protagonist's mother shows up and from that moment on lives with her daughter as if it was nothing. Or that the female protagonist is about to date her daughter's P.E. teacher. Or any of the other inclusions that all feel a bit random and unrealistic. What I am talking about is that we have a couple apparently close enough and in love enough with each other that they want to share an apartment as soon as possible. What happens next? The woman falls for another man. The guy falls for another woman. Both at the same time. And this other woman is actually the female protagonist's mother that he met without knowing who she is related to. Of course, for nonsense story purposes, the mother does not even know her daughter has a boyfriend, let alone that is is the one she is falling for. I don't even. I mean I could stop here and you would still know right away that this film is utterly stupid from the story perspective. But I won't. Because there is at least one area that needs elaboration. And that is the blatant sexism. It is something you find so many times with Degeto/Filmpool/Theaterkunst (or I should say Theater"kunst"). Abbsolutely shameful. Here they are not even trying to hide it. The woman is seeing another guy and with her it is justified because this other guy may be the right one for her. Of course, the guy constantly has to fight for her, do everything he can to win her over, accept permanent rejection, still keep going and all this while at the same time, she is not single. If a man does that, he would be utter scum. Garbage indeed. And this is how the guy she initially wants to move in with is depicted in this film. How dare he treat hid goddess like that. Absolutely unacceptable. So in the end, when they have broken up, he needs to show up with a big bouquet of roses to apologize to her mother. And she forgives him and the two become a couple too. Which kinda makes sense because the man is much older than Loos' character. I still felt that the gap between the two grown-up women (in terms of their looks) may be too small age-wise, but I see it is 23 years or so, so kinda accurate. Loos just looked older than she was. Or Weisgerber younger. Anyway, what I actually wanted to say is that Loos' character is not the one who has to show up with flowers, who has to apologize etc. The guy can be happy to get somebody like her. On another occasion we hear from her initial partner how beautiful and smart she is. Well, guess what? I disagree. Strongly. With the "beautiful" part at least. Of course, the "smart" part is also not really a revelation with how we see her on the way to her job in the very first scene and how she manages life nicely with her projects, her profession, her daughter etc. And later on of course how she is in charge of strong men at a construction site. But I'm drifting away. In this first scene, we also see the neighbor who wants to have a drink with her. Nothing romantic, he is like twice as old, but still, she is clearly in demand. By men. What an amazing woman! This is by the way the art of make-believe that is also supposed to tell us Loos is a talented actress. I can kinda see why many fell for it. But I applaud everybody who didn't. Anyway, as for the neighbor, his character seemed so pointless in the end. I had a feeling that maybe he could start dating the protagonist's mother, but for that he clearly was not good enough or the mother too exquisite. Sigh. Another blatant example of sexism: On one occasion, we have the mother say something like 90% of men are useless. Charming. If that had been included the other way around, then female rights advocates and white knights would have been up in arms about this film. If anybody had actually seen it. Luckily, not too many have and that is why it sunk basically into oblivion.Still, it is pretty shameful this mess is still shown on national television over a decade after its release. Big thumbs-down for that. And for everything else related to this movie, including the terrible soundtrack and the forced and unrealistic 100% happy ending. Anything positive to say here? Well, I thought it was funny when the protagonist thought that her daughter was kinda responsible for the old lady dating the protagonist's partner. But this was unintentional obviously. There is no good comedic writing to this movie. The best example was the inclusion of the two different first names from the unfaithful male. How did Loos' character not even know her man's second name. I mean they were about to move in together. Unreal stuff. Stay far, far away from this one.
Forgettable mix of crime, mystery and drama
"Brandnächte" is a German television movie from late 2017, so this one is pretty much exactly three years old now. It runs for 1.5 hours approximately and the director is Matti Geschonneck. This got me a bit curious because he has worked on many projects since the early 1990s and while it is not a flawless body of work, he was part of an alright outcome here and there. Definitely above your average German small screen filmmaker he is. He rarely comes up with the screenplays for his films and the one in charge here for this job was Hannah Hollinger. She is definitely not on Geschonneck's level, especially if we look at all she did before 2010, especially in the first ten years of the new millennium. She is also a fairly experienced writer and started approximately at the same time that Geschonneck did. However, it seems what she did in the last ten years is better than most of the stuff before that, but this is really only because the earlier stuff was really this poor. Anyway, she originates from Bavaria and this is a fitting connection to where this film got made and where it is set as well. In South Germany of course. The title, however, is a bit difficult to explain and translate, even if it sounds memorable. Or maybe that is why it does sound memorable. The word does not really exist in German language. It is all about the metaphorical use, so you can maybe say it means "Fire nights" or "Burning nights". The lead actress is Sophie von Kessel and well I cannot say she impressed me too much. Be it here or in general. She reminded me a lot of Uma Thurman though. Just physically obviously. She does not even come close to the American's talent when it comes to acting. She is the only male in here I would say and the biggest supporting player is probably Tobias Moretti. I like him. A lot actually. I still think it's amazing what kind of career he managed since "Kommissar Rex". Same applies to Markovics of course. Anyway, as for Moretti, he has a tendency to play darker, potentially sinister characters in recent years and it works well. Again, pretty amazing transformation since his dog cop show back in the day. But enough about that. Sadly, I must say that Moretti was kinda wasted in this film. He is a much more gifted actor than what he could show us here honestly. Pity. The rest of the cast includes more somewhat famous performers that have been in the industry for quite a while. German film buffs will recognize them no matter if we are talking about Auer, Paryda, Loibl or maybe even David. Certtainly a pretty diverse cast. The latter was born in Denmark. Lead actress von Kessel was (unexpectedly) born in Mexico and two of the guys originate from Austria and Switzerland.
Now a few words on the story and tale and why I think it did not turn into a success. I think the film is not daring enough overall. It uses known and familiar formulas, but sadly in a wway as it has been done 100 times before in the past and most of the time more successful. This applies to the general plot idea of a woman returning back to her hometown and we dig with her into her past where she becomes suspicious that a terrible crime that happened years ago may not have happened the way it was decided back then by a court. There is one key problem already. As she delves deeper into the past, it just feels really difficult to believe that she finds out all this stuff years later and the courts and police did not find out back then. It just does not feel credible. Aside from that, a thing that troubled me more than almost everybody else I suppose is how Moretti's character is so underwhelming and uninteresting, even if he still managges to elevate the mediocre material occasionally. Other than that, the film tries to go for atmospheric take in terms of light effects (or the exact opposite in fact) and weather occurrences. No bright sunshine during these 1.5 hours. I must also say that the film was not too strong from the perspective that includes all the aforementioned supporting characters/actors and their impact. These characters were simply not written too convincingly in terms of dialogues, but most of all the characters' actions. No exceptions really. In the end, it is also too much of a solution for my liking. I would have preferred her to not find out what happened back then and if she even has to, then at least the police should be a part of it too and being somewhat present at least. Also like so many other times in the weaker movies with similar stories, there is some romance story included that was a bit of a dark secret or at least did not turn out too happy overall. Nothing more to say about this one. I could have done without it entirely. So the good news is somehow that this film did not result in any sequels (so far) or even a series because for one film alone already it is simply not good enough. Then again I have doubts that they could have hired Moretti in the long run. von Kessel probably. She is not that big of a star winning German Film Awards. However, it must also be said that this movie is not a failure or anything. From that it is pretty far away. It is also far away from being inspired or particularly creative though. Best choice here is to skip the watch. The moments where it reached the level were I would give out a thumbs-up and positive recommendation were way too scarce overall. Go for something else instead. This is not half as interesting as the title suggests and unfortunately not as quietly convincing as it aspires to be.
The Social Network (2010)
It's a good movie although I must say I never thought it was as great as some perceive it to be
The book-based "The Social Network" is an American two-hour film from 2010, so it has its tenth anniversary this year. As you may have guessed from the title and photo here on imdb, this is of course about Facebook and its rise to power with central figure Mark Zuckerberg. But first things first: The director is of course David Fincher and this movie here is the closest he came to a Best Director win at the Oscars you can say, even if he is more known for other films I suppose. I don't wanna go too much into detail there, but you can check out his body of work if you care. In any case, I remember people saying that he deserved the win a lot more than Tom Hooper back then and many weren't too happy with the "The King's Speech" director getting the crown. Still, this film we have here managed to win no less than three Oscars, one for Aaron Sorkin's screenplay and another for the editing and finally one for Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross from Nine Inch Nails, the latter then not yet offically. Not too common that you got musicians (in the sense of a band) being nominated for a score Oscar. Let alone those being announced as the winners. This duo came close to being nominated two more times for other Fincher films when they got in at the Golden Globes, but not at the Oscars. This film here also won big at the Globes with Fincher for Director and the movie itself for Best Drama, but could not keep the momentum until the Oscars selected their winners. As for Reznor/Ross and their music, I must say that I perceived it the most very early on when the protagonist returns home after a messed-up date. It was very electronic there as he walks through the darkness and streets. Nothing else to add about the music really, but then again people say the best soundtrack is one where you do not recognize it's there, so absolutely no negative criticism here. As for the cast, the characters in this film are almost exclusively young males, so they got in a bunch of new and fresh faces and for almost all of them it was a breakthrough. The best example is of course Jesse Eisenberg in the lead playing Zuckerberg himself. He was nominated for an Oscar and while he never really had any chance to win, he still would have been the least surprising upset given all the actors who lost Best Lead that night. Like the others, he managed a solid career over the course of the last decade and this film is basically how it all started. Andrew Garfield plays maybe the biggest supporting character and the almost only likable character in this film. He even managed a bigger career since then compared to Eisenberg and also scored his Oscar nom a little while later. He came close with this movie here too, but eventually missed out. Justin Timberlake is featured prominently in the second half as the boss of Napster who seeks to strike business deals with and for Zuckerberg. Well, Timberlake will always be more known for his music honestly, but being a key supporting player in a film that almost won Best Picture at the Academy Awards is as good as it gets for him acting-wise. He still was not really good. The sleazy, ruthless, rising young business guy just fit him nicely while never really offering too much depth for Timberlake to deal with. Still, his "cut the "the"" moment could have been so much better and that was a shame. In his first scene he shares the screen by the way with the young Dakota Johnson (still blonde back then) and she made herself a name as well in Hollywood since then. Speaking of the females, one who absolutely needs to be mentioned is Rooney Mara. She had very little screen time here, but left a mark for sure. Not only on the audience, not only on Fincher as she became a vital part of his personal as well as professional life later on, but also on Hollywood as over the last decade she turned into one of the most successful and lauded actresses from her generation. Good for her. And not undeserving. Initially, I was skeptical, but I liked her for sure now and the more I see from her, the more I like her, not only because she is the significant other to one of my favorite actors now and has been for a while. Kinda fitting she is second credit here despite not having too much screenn time, but her early inclusion helped a lot because of the chronological order of the cast list. Another woman who deserves a mention is Rashida Jones, now a prolific writer in Hollywood and also lead actress in Sofia Coppola's new movie. Definitely on the rise she is, even if I am not sure if I agree with her words that Zuckerberg is one who just acts like a douchebag and is not really one. She is present at the now, not in the flashbacks referenced in the now. Also present in the now is an actor who also had a familiar face. i thought it was Alan Alda initially, but I was wrong. And finally, a mention goes out to Armie Hammer, who manages the challenging task of playing identical twins in this movie. Very nicely done. He is the anti-Zuckerberg. Not his vision nor talent, but certainly successful with the girls and very big, very muscular and even with ambitions for the Olympics. His reference about how big and strong he is and how there's two of them is one of the better comedic moments.
Now, I already wrote a lot, also about the story, but I still would like to elaborate on a handful scenes that stayed in the mind for me. First of all, the date at the restaurant, the very first scene with Mara and Eisenberg was really memorable and maybe even better than everything that followed afterwards. At least, it was also what caused almost everything that happens afterwards because the protagonist's frustration set free his brilliant idea. And Mara is also present at the very end again when Zuckerberg is just like all of his site's users one who hopes that a friend request is accepted. I remember this closure very well from the first time I saw the film right after it came out. That's how good it is. Funnily enough I think it was a while the case that he was on everybody's friend list, wasn't it? I am not sure, but that would add further spice about him sending the invitation to Albright himself and in person. In-between, there is also a brief mention that shows us how she is always on his mind, like when he asks Timberlake's character about a former lover and it means nothing to the man, but to him it does. There are generally several inclusions of Facebook elements, such as the pin board or bulletin board whatever it is called (like I said I am not too familiar with Facebook, only use it to upload pics) or how they got rid of the "The" from "The Facebook". I made a reference there earlier. I already made myself clear that I liked Garfield's character and performance a lot here. But not all was perfect about him either. The idea how him being accepted into a prestigious fraternity or something and this potentially being the reason why Zuckerberg cut ties with him in the long run (envy) was not elaborated on too convincingly. Still, his conflict with Timberlake's character worked well and may be the key reason why I liked him this much. The big confrontation (Garfield's character's final scene) was also among the most memorable the film had to offer. Or Saverin's words on how he was the only friend Zuckerberg really had. It's a very fast movie at times, not just in terms of the fast talking, especially in the very first scene, but also for example the kinda sleazy scene with the two girls they went with on a date. Oh yes, Bill Gates also gets a little inclusion here. But come on, it was the early 2000s. Could anybody really not know who he was? Especially if they decide to go to one of his speeches. Still I wonder how accurate this film really is overall and for example if Zuckerberg really saw Gates during some speech or so. Anyway, I am not sure if Zuckerberg liked the way he is depicted here, like really as a bit on the ruthless and bitter side. Did he make that animal abuse call (even if he defended Saverin during the trial)? Did he direct cops to Timberlake's character's house in the end? He is really antisocial there is no denying. Kinda ironic given the title of it all. Okay, I am closing my review now with a few personal words that for me this film was interesting enough because I remember very well how back in the early 2000s when I was somewhere between 15 and 20, Myspace was initially still a big thing and also stuff like studiVZ, but really Facebook took over so quickly and everything else in terms of sharing photos etc. quickly vanished into oblivion and Facebook, even now 15 years later, is still by far the one and only number one out there in this market branch. Nonetheless I still don't think it is a really great film or remotely deserving of all the accolades it received. But a good film I suppose and I also do not dislike Eisenberg's performance as much as I initially did back then I think (probably only because of his unlikable character mostly, which actually speaks for the actor I suppose that he creates so many negative emotions for me). Thumbs-up for the overall outcome. Not a must-see, but a fairly good watch. Having seen it once or twice is enough though. By the way, one quick final addition here: Kevin Spacey is an executive producer on this one and I still like the man and what he may or may not have done in his personal life says nothing about his talent before the camera or also behind it like with this one. Another crucial addition to his impressive body of work!
But what is difficult is making a high-quality movie for these folks, maybe even impossible
"Vater werden ist nicht schwer" is a German television film from 2004, so this one had its 15th anniversary already last year and (sadly) it is still on national television nowadays. It runs for 1.5 hours, minimally under, as they usually do and the director here is René Heisig, a man who has been in filmmaking since the early 1990s already, so a really long time, even back then in 2004. His last credit here on imdb is from 2013 though, so he may be retired now, even if he is not that old. Just turned 60 last week. Lookin at his body of work, I would not say it is terrible, but it is also far from good and includes many projects you definitely want to skip. This is one of them. I will get to that later in terms of reasons. Heisig almost never wrote the screenplays for his films and episodes, so no surprise he didn't here either. The one who did is Dorothee Schön. Not a body of work to be proud of either, especially what she did in the first ten years of the new millennium and this movie we got here is a perfect example of that. However, it seems that in the last decade she managed to step things up a bit and has worked on better stuff. Her very recent contribution to Charité, a fairly successful historic series from my country, is just one project that received a better reception. If it will from me is something that still needs to be evaluated. Her contribution here makes me skeptical. She is about the same age as the director by the way, will turn 60 next year. By the way the title means something along the lines that it is not difficult to become a father as this film is about a guy around the age of 50 who meets his dad for the firstg time. Or at least he thinks he does. The cast includes three familiar faces, all of them male actors. German film buffs will certainly have come across August Zirner here and there and same is probably true for Florian Stetter, who even played in an Oscar-nominated movie just one year after this one. But the one I would like to talk a bit more about is Heinz Baumann. He is retired now as well, but as he is in his 90s already, that is just very deserved, especially because he started acting in the mid-1950s. I remember him mostly from the Adelheid television series starring Evelyn Hamann and I am sure that applies to most others too. But he has pretty good recognition value, also some nice range I think and decent comedic timing. In this film here, he reminded me almost a bit of Bud Spencer. I mean he is obviously not beating anybody up, but the way his character talked to people here and there almost felt as if he was channeling his inner Bud, also what he was saying exactly. Still I think it is a bit sad that with a really long and fine career, he still shoed up in his mid70s for trashy films like this. But it is really just the exception that confirms the rule as we say here in Germany. Otherwise, his body of work is utterly convincing. And even here he elevated the material at times and this already really bad and unrealistic film would have been even worse with somebody else playing the central character. One final quick cast mention too to Anna Schuhmacher. She did not have much to work with, but her looks stay in the mind for me, even if it is probably safe to say that we will never see her in any other film again as this is her only imdb credit and so much time has passed.
Okay, now I want to emphasize some aspects and scenes and inclusions that make it easy for me to say that this is a very low film. I wanted to like it, mostly because of Baumann, but it just wasn't possible. The story does not make enough sense most of the time and it rarely feels authentic, realistic or genuinely creative. It begins right away and I was very surprised how this nun talked to Baumann's character in such a mean manner. I mean I get ithe is a rough, gruff fella, but that was just inappropriate for a person in that position to remind him how unlikable he is, how for years nobody ever came to visit him etc. Not my biggest criticism admittedly. The very biggest is probably the ending. I should mention this later, but for me it was such a crucial flaw story-wise that it was truly decisive for me in determining whether I call this a weak movie or a bad movie and as you can see from my rating I am going with the latter. I am talking about the fact how the family does not care one bit that the man is responsible for them never being able to meet the actual father of Zirner's character, the actual grandfather of Stetter's character although apparently he wanted to meet them finally. Instead, he died on his own because of this little scam by Baumann's character and still at the same time they realize they liked Baumann's character enough to look for him again and get him back into their lives. I mean, even I as somebody who likes Baumann (and I made that clear for sure) cannot accept this as realistic story-telling. Okay, then there is this idea how the characters are suspecting that he may not be the actual father and they are right of course, but there is no real indicator why they think so other than that they are right. Or what bothered me is how Baumann's character is depicted as somebody really anti-social and yet he seems to be getting along pretty well with the characters immediately. I mean you can make the argument that he does not want contact with others and that is why he became who he became, but still it is not good enough of an explanation for me, especially because when they are at the department store or so he says that his "son" should not be going for the loner role he went for. The scene with the old woman / the mother is also cringeworthy. I mean it as supposed to be awkward and was staged obviously, but it was not half as entertaining as it could have been and as they acted it was.There's much more. The entire affair story is a bad joke. Be it how the old man finds out about it so quickly or about how the affair talks to her lover's wife as if she was his shrink. So ridiculous and not in a good way. They really wanted to make sure we see only the wife as worthy for Zirner's character, even if she was not 10% as attractive as the affair. I guess the pseudo meaningful message that looks aren't everything was mostly intended for the not so attractive female audience members. Also cringeworthy how the young man during the class and Baumann's character after he sees her treat the affair as not worthy. I still think this is a movie mostly for female audiences. And I applaud every single one of them that sees through this charade. The males too of course. Equality is key. Okay, I guess this is pretty much enough now. This movie gets a massive thumbs-down from me, also for the forced and very unauthentic happy ending. Quite shameful this is still shown on national television so many years, decades almost, after its original release. Best would have been if this never got made. Your GEZ money at work, folks. Definitely skip.
Altes Land (2020)
Gets better, but never reaches a satisfying level
"Altes Land" is a German television two-part movie, so this one runs for pretty much exactly three hours and it is a totally new releasse because this premiered here in my country on the small screen last night and this night. The writer and director is Sherry Hormann and I always have to check it that is a female or male name, but it is female. Maybe I can remember this time. She had her 60th birthday this year and her gender is actually no surprise because it seems her most known career efforts are cenetered around female characters. Oh well, I know this actually means nothing, but still. It is also the case for this project we have here, even if male characters are obviously not absent. Not even close to. Hormann started making movies in the early 1980s already, so at the age of 20 basically, which makes it obvious that this would always be her career path. And she was born in New York (kinda explains the name), but has basically always worked on German and German-language projects. This one here includes the name of a region in Germany, somewhere near Hamburg and Lower Saxony, so definitely in the north of the country. This specific name makes it also pretty difficult to translate the title, so I'll just leave it at that, although I would not be surprised if this two-part movie will also be shown outside Germany at some point, not really because it is this good or anything, but because it was not eactly a cheap production and sometimes it shows. So by these words, you can still see that the plot and action could not win me over this time. I will get a bit into detail about that later on. But yes, it was certainly a bit on the disappointing side because Hormann's previous movie "Nur eine Frau" (a theatrical release) I really, really liked. Then again, she has several films in her body of work (probably the majority) that did not leave an impact on me from what I remember. But enough about her now. Let's take a look at the cast. the inclusion of Berben, Peschel, Ehrich, Matschenz, Kunzendorf, Kurth and maybe two or three others shows you that this is a bit of prestigious project because most of these actors you can also see frequently on the big screen. And the good news is that nobody of those was really wasted in term of screen time. They all had a great deal. Sadly, they only had the quantity, not the quality as the story and plot never really impressed me.
I don't know if it is a valid criticism to say that nothing interesting really happened or nothing really happened, but this is the case here. I would be fine with that if the film had been a decent character study otherwise, but it is no such thing. It never really feels below the surface. The somewhat good news is that it does get better the longer it runs. The first 1.5 hours were really terrible and uninspired at times especially the editing here and there, but also how it felt so random and amateurish how the film jumped from one scene to the next, from one location to another. The second half is not a revelation either, but at least a step up in quality. I will mention some scenes and moments that bothered me the most from the first half. It already starts pretty weak with the scene in the car where a young mother makes a connection between rabbits, her son and carrots. I know this was meant in an emotional way, but it felt toally cringeworthy to me honestly. Still kinda fitting in the sense of a framework that one of the final scenes also takes place in the car, only that Berben's character is present now too. She is the next problem. I honestly think that, while there is no disagreeing with that she always looks at least five years younger, she is not a good actress from any perspective, one of the most overrated performers Germany has. For decades in fact. She has no range, no veersatility the way I see it. There was one example from the first half, namely when her character is on the floor doing basically nothing except lying there, and this was somewhat supposed to be meaningful? I disagree. It was only included because it was Berben. With (almost) any other actress, it would have been left out. It felt also cringeworthy how in the first half they kinda made her look old and fragile for the sake of transformation and in the second half, she looked much better, much more healthy and this made no sense. It was just too much of a change. That is how I see it at least. The cliffhanger scene with the gunshot at the end of the first half also felt very fake and for the sake of it to get people curious about the second half. This second half is where Peschel got featured more frequently and the visual side in terms of aging makeup was not bad I will admit. I also felt that somehow the characters' looks worked fine overall. Peschel and Ehrich really did look related in here. No denying. Which is a bit surprising because I think Ehrich is a stunner and Peschel not so much. I'd probably like him more if he wasn't in all these Schweig(höf)er movies. But let's not get too far away from this film here. I did say early on that nobody really got wasted, which is maybe not entirely true because I think they could have done a lot more with Matschenz' character. He is featured a lot in the first 90 minutes, but not anymore in the second 90 minutes. This is where Peschel takes over. Besides Kurth. He is in both halves, not with the greatest material, but he is good enough of an actor to elevate the (at best) mediocre material from time to time. So overall, this was supposed to be a bit of a family epic story, also with how it spans over several decades, but the outcome fell very flat quality-wise. The conflicts never really draw you in in a sense where you wonder what is going to happen next. My suggestion is you skip the watch here instead of checking out this highly forgettable three-hour Berben showcase. She is not good and never will be. By the way, this is based on a book by Dörte Hansen, apparently her first literary work that got turned into a movie so far. I have not read this book, but I have a feeling it could be better than this movie overall. The very last scene with Kurth's character dancing felt like a prime example of that. I somehow feel it would have been much more touching and memorable when reading these lines than it got depicted here where it felt as shallow as everything else. Pity. I wonder what Hansen thinks about the outcome and if she likes it. I know I didn't. So it's a thumbs-down from me. Not recommended. The first half even highly not recommended.
Ein Ferienhaus auf Ibiza (2008)
Travel. Don't watch this film or similar ones.
"Ein Ferienhaus auf Ibiza" is a German television film from 2008, so this one is over a decade old now already, probably a lot older even when you read this review as I guess you will not show up here in 2020. At least most readers won't. The title means "A holiday mansion on Ibiza" and this is not part of a series, but there are many similar German films like this. Usually they start with something like "A summer in", "A love in" (utterly creative) or "A holiday mansion in" and then a particular location follows, usually one that is particularly interesting (for German) to sspend the holidays exactly there and in this very case we got here, Mallorca may still be more interesting to tourists than Ibiza, but Mallorca has this party vibe to it and this is obviously not wwhat these films are about. They are about pseudo drama, all kinds of gooey romance and nothing else basically. They are always very easy to identify because people hardly speak the language in these films that is spoken in these countries. It's all in German. Here I think there is one line in Spanish and that is only for one character to impress another that she is fluent in Spanish. Also these films come even painfully short in depicting the country and location in a desirable manner. I mean I have given up on those succeeding with solid stories or interesting plots or at least a minimum of creativity, authenticity and wit, but it would at least be nice if after watching this film for example I would be in the mood for a trip to Spain. Not the case either. No matter which perspective you take it's all failure territory. Now these were some general statements and if you have decided to skip the film now, then you can stop reading here, but if not, then I will go a bit into detail about this particular movie. The director of these almost 1.5 hours is Marco Serafini. He has worked on several international productions, not just Italian stuff as you could guess from his name. Actually, he started with directing already in his early 20s back in the late 1970s, so he is very experienced, also was back in 2008 already. It seems as if early in his career, back in the previous century, he worked on some stuff that was actually not too bad, so I would not say his career is failure altogether. Absolutely not. But the directions he has been taking (no pun intended) in the last 20 years are almost all on the embarrassing side. Pretty disappointing. Nonetheless I want to emphasize that his body of work, even if it includes Pilcher and Lindström adaptations, is still ten times as good quality-wise as the ones by writers Oesterlin and Schellack. These two are really the epitome of unqualified when it comes to writing screenplays and stories. They do not have a single project in their bodies of work that goes beyond mediocre and actually most of what they did do not even get there, but are to be described as abysmal. This may sound harsh, but it is the truth and as these two constantly get picked again for writing stories, they can live with that I'm sure. Back in 2008 when they made this movie, they had been in the industry for approximately a decade. I can't even blame them. I mean they made solid careers despite their utter absence of talent. The ones to blame are the people who pick them for their projects. Also really disgraceful that the German people has to finance nonsense movies like this one here with their forced GEZ fees. As for the cast, some familiar names in here, but most of them are not talented either and some of them have been in really many of these trashy television films. I mean it is particularly telling when Tina Ruland, who really is not a good actress, perhaps gives the best performance of the cast. Her lengthy sequence with Suzan Anbeh was pretty telling. I knew Anbeh was not Glenn Close, but I had no idea she was this bad. I mean she is pretty attractive without a doubt, but acting-wise she was so horrible here, constantly going over the top and hitting all the wrong notes. Shocking stuff. As for the guys, Florian Fitz is the only one that seems familiar to me. He is one of those who really has been in many films like this one here. But he does not even have too much screen time. Basically, he is just the unfaithful man, a stereotype you almost always find in these films that are mostly made for females. And in the end, he realizes of course how great and amazing his partner is and how his affair meant nothing to him. Okay. I applaud every female, every male too, who sees through this charade. As for the older cast members, there's Weis and Weck in here, both still alive today and really old, especially Weck, who has been in the industry for so many decades. I mean he was 9 when WWII started. Sadly, his character here is the epitome of emptiness and all he does feels only linked to his wife and of course we are supposed to see Weis as an elderly woman with class and style and dignity and we all should want to be like her when we are 70. I will say a few words about her character later on (if i don't forget) and why I strongly disagree with this perception. One final mention goes to Maria Ehrich. I like the actress, admittedly also because of her physicality (can't deny), but it was interesting to see her here at a really young age, quite some time before she became the lead in these Rubinrot movies. Still, even back in 2008, she was absolutely no rookie to acting despite how young she was.
Now a few inclusions about the story and why I felt it sucked. It already starts with the first meeting between Ruland's character and that vet at the airport when she thinks initially he is a thief or something. So cringeworthy this scene. How it was written already. Can't blame the actors there except for agreeing to play the parts. When he says something like now she found what she has been looking for and making it not so clear if he is talking about her luggage and himself, it is really cringeworthy. Also when watching this film, you must forget that Ibiza is a big, really populated island. In this movie, there are no other people there than our heroes. So no big surprise that when Ruland's and Ehrich's characters end up with an injured dog, what happens? Yep, the vet is of course the guy Ruland's character met at the airport. By the way, as for Ehrich's character, I also struggled with how she was used to manipulate the people's minds. This of course refers to how she defends the old lady with her bizarre plan, but also with hos she constantly says how amazing the vet is until her ma finally believes it. As for the apologizing of Weis' character, there is no excuse there other than that she is a stupid teenager. Very charming to come up with a story that their father will not give them any money when he dies because they are not getting along with each other. Emotional pressure? Check. Financial pressure? Check. Lying to the kids? Check. Lying to her husband? Check. What a charming old lady, but hey she wants just the best. This is also visible when she snoops around when one of her kids says they do not want any children. Who gives her the right to? Anyway, the inheritance lie also becomes really visible when the old man says something like how there are always arguments between family members, but that it is not a big deal and eventually gets solved anyway. This should have made it obvious to the son that it was never the old man's plan to not give them any money. But of course, the old man also gets his share and we see him argue with Ruland's character, with the son who is in deep financial trouble and also with his wife. Again, the film is really manipulative there depicting the man as the bad guy as always and the woman as the likable character. Gross. And, also as always with these films, it is all solved in the end. Everybody gets along with everybody. All the conflicts are forgotten basically. Ruland's character is happily dating the Spanish fella despite some earlier pseudo conflict that he is maybe seeing other women and he does not want to be in a relationship, whch was all nonsense too of course, but her if he talks to another attractive woman in a bikini or something, this can be the only explanation right? Makes sense. Oh yeah, and they are keeping the dog of course as well. So this film is a massive mess from beginning to end. There are some many moments when this film sucks that I can impossibly fit them all in here before the character limit approaches. It is not just the key plots, but also the small moments like when the three children see each other early on and are surprised because everybody's there, this is the moment Weis' character shows up like a queen. Cringe is real. Or another small moment: When the old man shows up for the first time and says hi, he does not even wonder why there is a dog around. Also nobody asks him about the idea to keep his money from the kids. Which is the key of the story and please don't tell me the reason is they do not want to seem superficial and money-focused. Okay I could go on and on and on, but you get the messages I'm sure. Allso o course the only son's financial issues are solved in the end like everything else. Actually you could say that this movie is mocking people who are in deep financial crises, in existential crises, whose partners are unfaithful etc. because of how the two compeletly talentfree filmmakers show is 100% that they do not understand the gravity of the characters' situations at all. Disgusting movie. Highly not recommended.
Helluva Boss: Pilot (2019)
I would not watch a series
Review originally posted on 21 December 2019, 1 out of 11 found this helpful:
"Helluva Boss" is an American animated short film that has been making massive waves recently because since its upload on Youtube less than a month ago, it managed to score already over 10 million views. Impressive. It is a great year for writer and director Vivienne Medrano in general because she is also the one in charge of Hazbin Hotel, another successful animated short that could get picked up for a series and same is true about this one here. However, I cannot agree with the praise. I must say this did very little for me and it also wasn't particularly funny either. I mean if the tagline is basically that one character is called Blitzo, but the o is silent, so people call him Blitz, then this shows you that they really tried to get in some kind of new comedy style and approach, but it isn't really creative or successful in my opinion. I don't mind the profanity or vulgarity. I mean I love Tarantino, Ricky Gervais and South Park, so this really is not the problem. But I do believe that what they are delivering here beyond this profanity is nothing really worth seeing and that is key. You can be as obscene as you like, but you have to deliver a story to back it up or it really backfires and this is for really obscene films like this one here even worse than for other harmless works. So yes it is true the animation is not for kids here and the film itself isn't for kids either as a consequence of that, but quality-wise it is also not for grown-ups. Unless they want to watch something annoying where they really don't have to think too much. Still I would say that if there is not going to be a series (or even if there is), then all the characters will be completely forgotten five years from now. I just cannot see the appeal, maybe also because the animation style is not really my thing. I don't need Frozen or Studio Ghibli level, but a little more attention to detail could have been nice. And to everybody who is really enthusiastic about this being picked up and turned into a series, let me say that this one here only ran for 10 minutes and a series usually has episodes of 20 minutes, slightly over even, so it would be a big challenge, also because in my opinion it is not working out well for 10 minutes. 2 stars out of 4 (i.e. 4 out of 10) is still really on the generous side here. It has moments where it does not even deserve these, but I guess taking the general idea of a group of assassins operating from hell as well as the tolerable (not good) voice acting, it isn't really a massive failure. Still, I give it a thumbs-down. Not recommended.
Die Heilerin 2 (2008)
As bad as the first, just for other reasons
"Die Heilerin 2", which is a sequel to "The Healer" obviously, is a German/Austrian co-production from 2008, so this film is slightly over a decade old now. It came out four years after the original and just like that one, it runs for minimally under 1.5 hours, the usual running time for small screen releases in my country. I saw the first film last weekend and I felt that one was already one too many and two is definitely two to many I must say after watching this one we have here. Director Barthel and writer Mitterer returned as well as most of the cast members. But first a few words on this duo in charge of the script and work behind the camera. Barthel started directing in the mid90s, so he as already pretty prolific back then. However, his body of work (even to this day in 2019/2020) is the epitome of quantity over quality. You will have to dig really deep to find at least one project there that is mediocre quality and not lower. Tough challenge. Mostly he has been focusing on series, but here and there you will also find a film just like this one here. He almost never wrote the screenplays for his direction himself, so no surprise that somebody else was in charge here too, namely the aforementioned Mitterer. On him, I ould not be as harsh, even if his body of work is also not packed with great quality gently-speaking. But it is there on some rare occasions in contrast to Barthel, especially in his earlier years. That goes way back because he began working on screenplays in the mid/late-1970s already. Long time passed. His most recent work is from 2016, so he may be retired now, especially because he had another five-year break before that. But this Austrian writer is over 70 now, so it would not be surprising. His film here aired in December, so even later in its respective year than the first film from four years earlier. The title character is again palyed by Ruth Drexel that most will probably still know from "Der Bulle von Tölz", but here she is the woman at the center of the story for once. Or is she really? In the first film without a doubt, but in this one here not so much. Her screen time is clearly limited, which definitely had to do with her age and maybe also with her ailing health already. She died only a fe months after the release of this project and (if we ignore one final episode from the aforementioned long-running show), then this is her final career output, almost 60 years after her first film role (according to imdb). It is even debatable if Drexel can still be called a lead in this movie. Actually, you can maybe make a point for the title referring to the child actress in here because apparently she inherited the old woman's powers. This is what we are told. It is not really what we see. By the way, the protagonist is called Seelig, which does feel a bit cringeworthy if you look at the meaning of the worst with just one e here in my native language. It is at least slightly based on a real life character, namely Halfried Siess and the also gets credit here in contrast to the first film strangely enough. But yeah, the first name of the main character is slightly different, the last name very different, so you can say it is really just very, very loosely based on her life.
Now, let me mention a few scenes and inclusions from the story that I struggled with. It all seemed so random and incoherent honestly, like when we have the daughter at the very beginning call her father, insult him and then call her mother and annoy her. This made no sense other than to show the family situation to the audience, to people who watched the first film and also those who didn't. The young actress is Lea Kurka by the way, who launched her career the most memorable way possible by starring in an oscar-winning movie, but this was seven years earlier or so and this movie we have here was sadly among her final film appearances already. She left the industry as the 2010s began and lived a normal (or "normal") life afterwards. One away from the limelight. Good for her hopefully, but also a bit of a pity because I think her weak moments in the two films were really only because of the script and sometimes she even managed to elevate the material given to her. Something that should not be taken for granted from an actress her age. Not to say too much about the other cast members here. With the majority of cast members nothing clicks for me here. Samarovski is one exception, but then again, he is almost not even in this movie, that is how minor his character is. In the first he had more screen time, much more because he plays the old woman's partner. Lauurence Rupp also comes to mind. He was not in the first film, but I believe he is now also enjoying a decent career over a decade later. He went for the plan to stay an actor also in his adult years. In contrast to Kurka. But back to the story: Many rather cringeworthy moments here. The pseudo important talk from the old woman that the young girl should focus on the living. The creepy guy who constantly dishes out film references. The way how Kurka's character was supposed to put on display that she is kinda lost, but also the solution in the end when she starts developing feelings potentially for the young fella who's into her. Also what was up with the one scene where she wore such heavy make-up and costume to go to a birthday. Very bizarre. Aside from that, I also struggle with the general idea behind all this, namely the powers the old woman has and now we are even supposed to believe that she gave them to her granddaughter, even if she does not want her to use them because it may ruin her life. Oh well. And don't even get me started about the idea that the girl's mother all of a sudden has breast cancer. I mean that was really the epitome of how fake drama is created in a movie. And how she is cured all out of nowhere near the end for the purpose of a happy ending is so disrespectful and offensive really to actual cancer patients. Not just to breast cancer patients. To everybody else. They are literally mocking this horrible disease for cheap entertainment and faky happy ending purposes. I am at a loss for words really. This is one reason why I certainly do not hesitate one second to give this film a dedicated thumbs-down. One of many. Highly not recommended and the good news is they never made a third movie. Which makes sense because Drexel as barely alive in this one here. Shame she did not end her career on a higher note quality-wise. Go watch something else instead. But still, to end the review on a somewhat positive note, I would find it nice if I see Kurka acting again in some project in the 2020s. Do it, girl. Go for it!
Wie buchstabiert man Liebe? (2001)
How do you spell Nonsense
"Wie buchstabiert man Liebe?" or "How do you spell Love?" is a German television film from 2001, so this one is really close to its 20th anniversary, actually minimally under a year because it aired for the first time in November too. The film runs for slightly under 90 minutes just like the vast majority of German small screen releases. The director is Christine Hartmann and the screenplay is by Manfred Kosmann. No worries if you have not heard of either yet. You probably never will. The names do not seem familiar to me either. There are some parallels to them. Both still seem to be active now, both have been slightly over 20 years in the industry and both have body of work that may be slightly better than what you usually see for German small screen filmmakers and writers. But that is really just because they are usually really bad and not because the dup we have here would be any good or so. They still have many flawed projects in their admittedly pretty prolific bodies of work. Hartmann worked recently on the very successful Charité series here in Germany deserves also to be mentioned. I have not seen this series, so cannot say if it deserves the praise, but at least it proves that maybe she improved over the years and since she worked on really bad films and projects like this one here. Then again, this one here is so low that it is almost impossible to go further south on the quality scale. As for the cast, only the two leads are in a category of actors that you will identify immediately, if at all. Maybe this only applies to Suzanne von Borsody who is pretty experienced for sure and has also received many accolades. I kinda like her. Not always, but sometimes. However, seeing her in trashy movies like this does not exactly increase my appreciation. Peter Sattmann is the male co-lead, even if he is missing for large parts of the film in the second half, so you can also make an argument for him being the biggest supporting player and SvB the only lead. Saw him in another movie the other day and he was way worse there admittedly. Sellem plays the protagonist's loyal best friend. I don't know. I find the actress pretty unlikable and not talented. Especially as she has all her scenes together with von Borsody, it becomes very obvious there. She also has a tendency to go over the top. The only other name who seemed familiar to me from the supporting cast was Petra Kelling, but her role is truly minimal in terms of screen time. Of course, there are other cast members here, like the ex-husband, who have had really long careers and/or are still acting now, but nothing clicked for me there. A for the two child actors, the girl has long left the industry while the boy is also pursuing an acting career in his adult years. Not a familiar face either, even if he has been in stuff like "Die Welle".
Now let me mention a few scenes and inclusions why I think this film sucked. I don't think you can really blame the actors (except Sellem maybe). They did what they could with the sometimes downright abysmal script. The title is a little funny (or "funny") reference to the protagonist being dyslexic. The problem is this is the thing at the very center of the movie and it takes itself 100% serious about this plot inclusion. Which it has no right to. There is absolutely no credible dramatic tension in here whatsoever. Instead the film loses itself on the usual idea of men drooling over the female protagonist as it happens so often in these Degeto films. The old guy wants her back, but she does not want to because she condiers herself too good for him. The new guy wants her more and more the longer the film goes, but she keeps her distance there too for other reasons. If her inferiority complex makes sense because he is a writer is up to you to decide. I did not buy it. Just like I did not buy their romance from the start. Come on. He crashes into her with his car when she is riding a bike. He treats her really disrespectfully at her waitress job. (And no, this was not romantic banter.) She sevverely hurts her leg when she falls down because of something he did. This was mabye the most embarrassing scene of the entire movie. So fake. These are all grounds for really despising somebody, but hey not in the ARD television universe. There the two must 100% become a couple. Now a few really specific inclusions. Basically each and every single moment when they made a reference about her not being able to read or write properly was cringeworthy, sometimes more, sometimes less. The scene with the fake contract was crucial story-wise, but still on the more harmless side in terms of cringe. But be it the daughter constantly asking how you spell certain words, be it the lawyer making jokes about dyslexia on the phone while he does not know about the protagonist's illness or be it her colleagues constantly reading things out to her - it all feels so forced and fake for the sake of it all and never it feels effortless at all. There is also the scene with the woman behind her when she tries to withdraw some money from her bank account. Very unrealistic. There is always a safety space and this other woman does not care about it one bit, basically reads what is written on the screen. Is that for real? Or another terrible example is the first meeting with the lawyer. I already mentioned the joke on the phone, but if you pay close attention (or you don't even have to because it is so obvious), then you will see how, while he is talking to a potential new client, he just takes a call in the rudest fashion and does not even ask her if he may take it. This is not what reallity looks like. Not one bit. But still in the sense of a happy ending, in the end, she gets along so well with her lawyer and also wants him for the divorce settlement. At least he makes clear that it's nonsense she may lose her kids to her husband because of the dyslexia she is suffering from. Anyway, the latter is at the center of the film, so I would like to say a few words about it. I personally luckily do not suffer from it (obviously with me writing this review) and never have, but the way it is depicted here (so many examples I already mentioned, also when she enrolls for the class for grown-ups and there is a woman who knows her, what a small world!) I felt it downright offensive and almost as if it was mocking those who really suffer from it. This is one reason why I give this movie a massive thumbs-down. Disrespectful truly. The other key reason is that it is simply not good and that is already as gently-speaking as it gets. No vision, no creativity, no authenticity, nothing. It is indeed as bad as the title suggests. Highly not recommended.
Liebe ohne Minze (2011)
Movie without redeemable qualities
"Liebe ohne Minze" is a German television film from 2011, so this one is almost a decade old now. The title means "Love without mint", which may sound a bit strange, but I will get to that later and say why I think this is a terrible title indeed. The alternate title of thise under 1.5-hour film is "Hochzeit mit Hindernissen" ("Wedding with obstacles"), also a bad title, but admittedly not as bad as the one they actually went for. The director is Karsten Wichniarz, who has been active in the industry for decades, but his body of work is the epitome of quantity over quality as he has worked on so many weak, if not terrible, projects over the years. Mostly television shows in fact, so this movie is a bit of an exception. The bad news is he is still active despite being at an age where most people/filmmakers are retired. The writer is Martina Brand. She has not been as active as Wichniarz, but still worked on a decent quantity of films since the early 1990s. Same applies to her. All quantity, zero quality and she does not seem to be active anymore, at least has not come up woth something new in quite a while according to imdb. As for the cast, it is pretty much what you would expect for a disappointing German television romance film from the early 2010s. Plate, Zierl and Sander are actors who have been in many embarrassing television releases. You can say in their favor that their characters were written so poorly that not even the most gifted actors could have made them work. However, nobody forced them to appear in a trashy film like this. The young protagonost is played by Lena Beyerling and this was is her final credit. A bit surprising really because her role is not minor at all, but it seems she focused on a normal life afterwards, even if the headlines she made not too long ago also put her somewhat back in the limelight. Now one truly bizarre thing here is the poster that somebody uploaded on imdb. No idea what's up with that. We see the two protagonists considerably younger than they are in the movie. There is a flashback sequence in here, but that was played by the same actors and they just tried to make them seem younger with girly haircuts etc. But this is not what they took the poster from. Truly strange. It still looks fairly amateurish, the style and everything and the plot summary we have here on imdb with this really broken English fits my perception. definitely no professionals at work here when it comes to this film. Or actually there were. But that does not mean they are talented.
Okay, let me say a few words about plot and story and a few specific scenes here that made it very obvious to me this is a really bad film. First of all, the general premise is a mess. I mean are we really supposed to believe that a teenage girl (she was not 18 or anything) simply manages to run away from home and reach Morocco? I mean if it had been France, Denmark. Maybe Italy even, I could have found slightly realistic, but Morocco? Hard to believe. And this is absolutely not where the lack of authenticity ends. When she is there, she finds her father quickly and that is kinda okay because she was determined to find him. However, when her mother shows up and she was of course Sander's character's ex, then things take a turn for the ridiculous again. Like of course he works with the police force there too and is immediately ready to take on the case. What? It stays nonsense like this for the rest of the movie. I personally had a really hard time with everything linked to Plate's character. I mean she was clearly meant to be seen as likable as a dedicated woman and mother. But to me the was the exact opposite. Just take a look at all she did. She kept her child away from the father, which is strictly against all kinds of morals. The girl needed her dad. The father would have been happy to know he had a daughter. She left from one second to the next back then and the only one to blame really is Sander's character's father. There are always excuses for her. Then she is about to get married, but does not have the decency to stay faithful to her fiancé. But of course it is true love with the new/old guy, so that justifies it and makes it right. Then she still gets to stay friend with her fiancé because she is such an amazing woman. And how does she break up with him? That's right: Over the mint mentioned in the title? Are you kidding me? This is such a random thing. Like okay he does not remember every little detail what she likes and does not like. Does that make him a bad person? After he showed up with all these flowers. And, most of all, after she cheated on him in cold blood. I don't even want to imagine what it would have been the other way around, like if Zierl's character had cheated on her while she was in Morocco. He would have been scum. He would have been an unfaithful pig. Or even worse. This is a prime example of how sexist many of thee films are. When Degeto and Theaterkunst GmbH are involved, it's never a good sign. For quality altogether. Also how they tried to depict Zierl's character negatively with how he is skeptical on the phone if she is sleeping with her ex again (is that justification for her to really do it) or how the young central character does not like him for whatever reason. They wanted us to not like him either. Another bad joke involving other characters is the father-son story we have here like with how he is mad at his dad and says he will always respect him, but that's it. And in the end it is solved by the father simply saying to the son (Sander's character) that he will retire with immediate effect and the son will follow in his footsteps. That was so strange. The epitome of a rushed and highly forced happy ending as you see them so often in these movies. And don't even get me started on the pseudo-dramatic scorpoon story. So fake sadly. Okay, the dog was cute, but that is pretty much the only positive thing for me to say about this movie. It may sound harsh, but it really is this bad. Also given the fact that it plays in Marrakech, it could have been at least visually astounding, but not even that they managed. No matter which perspective you take here, this film is an abomination. No creativity. No talent. No ambition. Massive thumbs-dowwn. Highly not recommended. Better watch Link's "Exit Marrakech" instead. It's better all-around in terms of the romance parts, the father-son story and the tribute to Morocco. Then again, it does not need much to be better than this travesty we got here. Horrible writing all along, also the dialogues.
That One Day (2016)
More about atmosphere than about story, but even there on the unfulfilling side
"That One Day" is an American English-language live action short film from 2016, so this one will soon have its fifth anniversary or maybe it happened already depending on when you read my review. It runs for thirteen minutes, minimally under, and the director is Crystal Moselle. She is also the co-writer at the same time. It's a very female-centered short film for sure. Most of the cast is women as well. And as you not necessarily would have guessed from the picture here on imdb and also from the title, this is a short film about skating. The consequence is that there are not too many dialogues really. A lot of the film is about the protagonists just doing their thing and trying to perform some tricks, especially the new nerdily attractive girl at the center of the story. There is a story yes, mostly about a girl trying to fit in with the other characters who have been skating longer at that particular location. Initially they are skeptical, but eventually they are growing together a bit more. I mean it is pretty stereotypical and not too creative, nothing you haven't seen before, maybe in other context than skating. Then again, it is a film that stays comfortably under a quarter of an hour, so you cannot really expect too much story-wise. And still I have seen better with this duration (a lot better actually) and I kinda expected more. The shortcomings there may also have to do with the fact that apparently most cast members are actual skaters and not actors. I would have been fine with deficits in the story-telling department if it felt really like a stylish movie with a great deal of atmosphere that basically encourages me to be out there with the characters and wathc them do their tricks or even perform my own. However, the movie did not make any emotional impact to me at all. Which partially has to do with me not really having any interest in skating whatsoever, but I also cannot say the film really sparkled it whatsoever. I assume it is a project that is really more for female audiences and I must say I am surprised that males rated this 0.1 higher than females here on imdb. Also it is really telling that for every two females who watched this, five males did. Men just love movies more I assume. Then again, the number of under 100 viewers (that rated it) is really minimal anyway and not representative whatsoever. I still think the rating here on imdb is way too high. Anyway, I see that Moselle was inspired enough by this to make a more known film about skating afterwards and I hope the story writing turned out better there than it did here. Also apparently, this is a semi-commercial for a brand (fashion it seems) called Miu Miu? Okay I would not have guessed that. Probably they mostly wore the brand's clothes in here. Overall, it's a thumbs-down because it did not really win me over from any perspective. Maybe check it out if you are into skating already and enjoy your days at the halfpipe. Otherwise, it won't get you in the groove and you can watch something else instead.