Change Your Image
Upload An Image
Crop And Save
ListsAn error has ocurred. Please try again
after 12 empty, alle clicken&checken
Solid idea, sub-par execution
"The Unauthorized Bash Brothers Experience" is a half-hour comedy short film that takes us decades back into the world of professional baseball, which may already not be the perfect approach for a German audience member as the sport is literally non-existent here. However, it not a bad premise, better than what you usually get from The Lonely Island, even if that reference about the duo having made a secret record does feel a bit absurd. So I already mentioned the stars here, but you probably knew that yourself not for director Mike Diva, but for director Akiva Schaffer as he is fairly famous for all his sketch work and music and everything related to SNL. Still, the bigger star is of course the other half from the duo Golden Globe winning actor Andy Samberg who still looks way younger than he actually is. For this one, he got an actress from Brooklyn 99 in here, namely Stephanie Beatriz who I like quite a bit. But she is really only pretty briefly in it and that scene is destroyed as always anyway when Maya Rudolph steps in front of the camera, I found her truly untalented and overrated, no idea why she is having still such a strong career. But now no more attention to her as she is in it not for too long anyway either. So is the music group Haim and not too surprised to see them here as they already did stuff for Funnyordie if I remember correctly. There are more familiar faces as well, fans of New Girl and Parks&Rec get their reason to watch too. But yeah at the center it is all about the two actors I mentioned earlier. I think this must be one of the longest outings from The Lonely Island. I personally wwould say it was neither among their worst nor among their best. They have been really bad at times, here they are just forgettable in terms of both music (as always) and comedy. My suggestion is that unless for whatever reason you are a big Andy Samberg fan, better skip this one. It won't even come close to turning you into a fan. I was glad it was this short, actually it still felt too long. It's a thumbs-down for me and nonetheless I wonder what the two baseballers think about this one if they like it.
Life in Green (2019)
Kinda fun at times, but once is enough
"Life in Green" is a British mockumentary short film from April 2019, so still really new and fresh at approximately 1.5 months. The director is Adam Stocks and he also worked in so many other fields during the production of this movie, everywhere behind the camera, also briefly in front of it and even as a voice over actor at times. I sure would not have expected the latter especially. The only field where he apparently did not contribute was the script. There's two writers here and neither is Stocks. You know where to find the names Also all 3 of them have no filmmaking experience before this little half-hour film and taking that into account, the outcome is not too shabby and I would say it is even a bit underseen. The reason may be that the cast does not include any well-known names. I am honestly not sure if they intend(ed) to pursue this film here as a comedy series even or do have plans if enough people watch and like this pilot episode if I can call it that. I am a bit skeptical though if it will happen and I am also not sure if I would keep watching. It's not that I did not like this film we have here, actually I did, but maybe it relied a bit too much on running gags and even if these worked well, I cannot really see them keeping up this standard for a whole series. I wiuld love to be wrong though. Okay all (British) mockumentaries are somewhat inspired by Ricky Gervais these says in fact and during its best moments, this one here also comes close to Gervais' level. But only then. Here and there it drags a bit, which is of course not good given the brief running time, but it is never too serious and overall I enjoyed the watch. As for the specific contents: We have a camera team follow the members of an ambulance service. It is all pretty messy. When the camera team arrives, one guy is constantly on the toilet and contributes nothing except farting humor that admittedly worked better than expected. When they go to the next guy, he even forgot that they come that day and he had nothing really prepared except drinking out of his Glee fanboy cup. At the station, a new member is introduced and it gets really chaotic. Nothing seems ready or prepared for him, the other colleagues make fun of him. He forgets stuff at home that his girlfriends gets him. His idea of hygiene is not really appropriate for the job either. So everybody is in some way an offender and a victim in this short movie you could say. He deserves some of the backlash, but it does not show us exactly a kind group of people either the way they treat each other. Then again, they are somewhat okay towards everybody except the new guy, so maybe it is okay I don't know. The hygiene reference I made earlier refers to the pretty much only time we see the ambulance team busy at work, surprised me a bit there is so little about that and that most of the film takes place at the members' homes or the station, even if the latter is probably more justifiable. The door moment with the rookie when he goes back to wash his hands was one of the funnier/funniest moments overall. Here and there is a solid approach to awkwardly funny situational comedy when you are glad you are just watching, not part of the story. So overall, it is a decent film and I give it a thumbs-up. Worth seeing for everybody who likes situational comedy as much as I do. Go for it then,
This film will rock your life
"Beoning", probably more known as "Burning", is a South Korean movie from 2018. Chang-dong Lee. The version I watched at the theater, which is the most common I think, ran for approximately 2.5 hours, slightly under, but apparently there is also a television version that runs for 1.5 hours? That does surprise me a bit honestly because it means that the film got cut down to 60% of its original size. I mean of course we always hear that there are basic versions (like for Malick) that are really long and get cut down to a pretty low percentage, but as for this one here I struggle to see the short version can be a success because it works so well as a character study honestly and I would not want to miss anything from it. On the contrary: It did not drag one bit and for all I care it could have gone on for another half hour or maybe even hour. That is how good it was. But back to the basics first of all. The director and one of the writers is Chang-dong Lee, a really experienced Asian filmmaker who has been active in the industry for a long time. Still it is kinda surprising that despite this long activity, he really is not the most prolific filmmaker with the number of movies he made still being single-digits. But if this still results in high-quality movies like the one we got here, I won't mind a bit other than it being a shame I cannot watch more from him. As for the cast, simple is the key here. There are really only 3 people at the center of this movie and everybody beyond that has virtually no screen time at all. And that is maybe the reason why the film works so well. The focus on these three was just really good. Ah-in Yoo is the lead actor and pretty successful in Asia for a while. For Jong-seo Jun, it was the first performance of her career actually and boy what a start to get going, even if admittedly the way her character was written really helped. (I certainly would list her second.) And then there is Steven Yeun, perhaps the main reason why this film was also a huge success outside Asia. People all around the globe know him of course for his role in The Walking Dead and I have seen 3 or 4 seasons of that I believe and honestly I did not make the connection it is him. The reason may be that on his trademark show he plays a rather beta male character next to all these alpha males, who is not even the dominant and path-shaping person in said relationship and in this film here he plays a really wealthy man who does great with woman and knows exactly how to behave to get what he wants. And one things the actor behind said character certainly wanted, but really did not expect to happen, was the gigantic awards recognition he received, some of it by really prestigious bodies. I mean he was dominating the critics circuit last season for the most part, even if just like his lead actor counterpart Ethan Hawke he did not get the Oscar nomination. But who would have thought that he would be the one from Walking Dead to makes waves second to none.
Now as for the movie itself, the premise is as simple as the number of key actors. We have a young man, who meets a girl, a former fellow student and falls for her. She is off to a trip to Africa soon though and when she returns, she brings another (also Korean) man she met there before eventually disappearing without a trace, so it is not clear what happened or at least not 100% certain. I must say this movie the longer it went even felt like a modern film noir to me. It is Lee's marvellous attention to detail here that defines the film really from beginning to end. The sun shining into the room for that brief moment could have felt very pretentious if not handled right, but the way they used it for that sex scene was so tastefully done that I was in awe. The two have never been closer to each other. Another would be how for a really brief moment the potential killer cannot hide how much he is bored by the attractive girls he is with. Or the cat they catch outside in the parking lot. Or the greenhouse metaphor that most likely stands for the girls he kills. He clearly enjoys the power and bragging about his deeds without admitting anything. Or the ending that is as shocking as unexpected really and makes a nice reference to the title as well as the aforementioned greenhouse reference. A good title. But even if everything looks so obvious, we should not rule out other possibilities such as the Asian Gatsby (another excellent reference) being just a show-off who is indeed innocent. Perhaps the cat just listens to voices or needed these seconds to be ready to move towards him and get caught. We never know. Nonetheless explaining the contents of this drawer is a bit difficult. So overall yeah well I think the message is clear, even if the writers enjoyed playing with our minds. Lets look at the inclusion early on that the female protagonist was treated pretty badly by the male protagonist in her earlier years, the talk about her having something done etc. There could be a reason for revenge. And then also the words on how there never was a cat, there never was the well, but even all of this is somewhat corrected for example when the main character's mother says there was a fountain or when the cat reappears. Speaking of the main character's mother, this was also an area where they did really well. They did not try to include any story line about his broken childhood just for the sake of it. The mother was there only to let us know the well existed. Nothing more, nothing less. The father courtroom part is also just mere neutral observation. The main character observes. We observe him. But it was never handled in a way where the director wanted us to care for the father or hope for an acquittal even.
I said a lot about Yeun already, but one more scene where he really rocked my world was when the main characted told him he is in love with the girl and his reaction. By the way his last words are also really interesting when he is confused that the protagonist did not bring the girl. Was he playing more psychological games or is he really clueless to where she ended up eventually. But now I also want to want to say a few words about Jong-seo Jun. She was so good, so mesmerizing and stunning that it was almost impossible for me not to fall in love with her. Also she felt on the one hand as such an inspiring character, but on the other also as a bit tragic and with that I am talking mostly about these two scenes when she starts crying out of nowhere and talks about how she prefers not ever having existed basically over a failed existence. We also find out indirectly there is no contact between her and her parents anymore and she has no friends. Maybe that explains her longing partially also to see other parts of the world and get away from it all for a while. And even if she ends up with the rich guy then, which initially did not seem 100% obvious to me, there are words as we also find out from hear say about who was her true number one and that it caused some kind of jealousy to Yeun's character and that he finally lost his coolness, indifference and absolute control over everything and everybody (including himself) for a moment, which could have been the situation, in which he killed her. Okay I made the cross at spoilers, so you should not be surprised. I also want to say I am not only happy about Yeun's awards recognition, but also about the film's in general. It really is deserving that it was successful at Cannes and that it also managed to get in on the short list of potential Oscar nominees. Shame it did not make the final cut though. It would have been a deserving nominee for sure. I liked Shoplifters for example too and I am kinda glad it got nominated, but this one here is even better. So yeah, I would have liked Burning to get in over the German entry perhaps and I am saying this as a huuuuge Lives of Others fan. This one we have here is an excelltn movie, a definite contender for top5 of 2018 and you should very much check it out. If anybody thinks that the glory days of Asian cinema were over with the demise of Kurosawa and the best and most known Korean films also lying a bit in the past now, then you will perhaps change your mind after seeing this one. or at least understand that if a few more good films from Korea are being released in the coming months, that this country is still producing quality (high one) on a really regularf basis. Burning is a triumph. Do not miss out under any circumstance.
Wie man leben soll (2011)
Some good moments, but overall less would have been more
"Wie man leben soll" or "The Way to live" is a n Austrian/Danish co-production in the German language from 2011. Honestly I can see almost no Danish component here. Anyway, this film is almost 10 years old now, maybe more depending on when you read my review and it was directed by David Schalko and he is also one of the writers here who adapted the novel it is originally based on. It runs for 100 minutes and the lead actor is Axel Ranisch, a prolific filmmaker himself, and maybe you don't know him so well, but that's okay. It is really the supporting players here lik Buck, Hader, Stadlober, Hofstätter and a few others who are among the most known for sure and if you are like myself a lot into German movies, you certainly have come across some of them before already. Anyway, as for the movie if this is not the first mix of drama and comedy from Austria that you intend to check out, then you know at least vaguely what to expect here. But no matter what you expect, you may realize eventually that the film is (also because of the book it is based on) probably a lot more crasser than you expected. Just take the scene in which a young woman dies. It is tragic, but lets be honest there are other equally tragic events like this one taking place on several occasions, but the movie has a really dark comedic tone to deal with that and I would say it is only partially successful. I like dark comedy, but this one here as even for me a bit too much I suppose. Or is it good that it touched me and maybe even offended me because it shows I started caring for the characters? Perhaps not entirely wrong, but in general I would say no. Especially when it comes to the main character because I couldn't care less about him, then again admittedly Ranisch is not lead actor material and as he is in almost every scene from start to finish in these over 1.5 hours, it is not helping the matter at all. The supporting cast, basically all the actors I just mentioned except Stadlobeer (so that's where he went) were a bigger reason for me to watch this one, especially Hader. He is almost always amazing, but here he just has so little screen time it is a bit sad. Same about the others really, you should not watch this movie for the supporting actors. And still somehow they managed to make their story lines feel fairly unrealistci despite how rarely they were seen. The best example of how this film goes way over the top in a really bad way is that scene when the protagonist ens up in bed performing mouth to south action on another male. Tough to put it like that, but I have to get past imdb censors somehow once again. That scene was really a negative highlight because hands down, this is not what the male (or any male for that matter) protagonist would have acted like whatsoever if he has no sexual interest in other men, which obviously he does not looking at how it's only girls in his life for the rest of the movie and also taking into account how wrong this experiment goes. Basically, as a consequence, the film goes fairly wrong at times too. It is not on failure territory overall, but there is also no way I can give a thumbs-up and positive recommendation here. I like Austrian films, especially dramedy (even if this one here is more about the comedy) works more than theone we have here. I suggest you watch something else instead.
Hot Seat (2017)
The nasty way to make friends
"Hot Seat" is an American 12.5-minute live action short film in the English language from 2017. This one was written and directed by Anna Kerrigan and stars a mostly female cast. You could say this film is slightly popular and famous (if you can even say so) because of the debate about emancipation and #metoo etc. that has been going on for quite a while now actually. But then you would most likely be incorrect or lets say partially correct at best. Because this is a rather light take on a fairly serious subject. We have a group of girls who are celebrating the 18th birthday of the one girl who is probably most popular among them. There is also one shy girl at the party and you could say she is the protagonist. At least she is the one who is basically trying all she can to make an impact on the one whose birthday it is, but self-made rivvons as presents are not gonna cut the cake here unfortunately. So she has to come up with something else. This is where the stripper comes into play, the man who is approximately twice the girls' age. No need to further go into detail here, but lets say everybody is in for a wet surprise, including the audience. This is a bit of a critical point in this movie because honestly this is where it also could have takent he 100% drama / sexual abuse path honestly, but it took a very different and lighter path that includes a happy end as well. Can you call it entirely happy though? It is certainly debatable. But it definitely is not unhappy. Should she really keep aiming for the other's girl's attention or did she make a bad choice there, an unwise and childish by making the choices she does? Well, at least they lead to success (no pun intended). This is maybe what you want to discuss here when spaking about the film's moral message. I am sure hardcore feminists will see other issues, but you should not listen to them in my opinion. All in all I think it was a fairly good film, entertaining, solid acting too and pay attention how the girl whose birthday it is is no longer shown as the main antagonist the longer the film goes as she basically has doubts too about the question if it is all just fun still or sexually unpleasant. As a whole, you should check this film out if you are old enough. Don't lie about the age here the way the characters do. Thumbs-up from me as a whole.
Turning Point (2015)
Simple premise, solid execution
"Turning Point" is an American English-langauge short film from 2015 that runs for 14 minutes and is the most recent filmmaking effort by writer and director Joe Penna. He came up with the script together with his longtime collaborator Ryan Morrison. Penna is certainly on the rise right now because of his upcoming film starring the excellent Mads Mikkelsen. And past that, he he another big project coming up that seems to be starring Anna Kendrick. Both of these films deal with isolation it seems, be it in space or in the ice and so does this short we have here. It may be a common subject for Penna. The lead actress here is Jade Harlow and it is basically a one-(wo)man show. The male cast members listed are actors from which you will only hear their voices. This is a story of a scientist/explorer who wakes up in a deserted house in an even more deserted area and we find out she has been contaminated. She is in contact with her colleagues via phone and tells them about the situation, where she is what she has with her etc. There is a food reference that almost feels a bit funny, but it makes sense. Early on I had a bit of a feeling, it may not be the best idea if she tells the men about her location, as they may see her as a threat, but that idea switches into a different direction, more in the sense that she may be using all she can to get them there and perhaps even trap them. There are indicators like her saying she will kill herself, soe she won't pose a threat and then she doesn't eventually. But I think it is not really meant like that that she bears any grudge whatsoever, she just isn't capable of that I suppose. The ending is a bit open too when we see them meet finally, which also emphasizes the isolation plot as the moment her isolation (and also possibly her life) ends is when the closing credits roll in. I think everybody working on this one did a solid job, not just Penna and Harlow, but also those working on the make-up (her constantly deteriorating health, even if she looks still pretty stunning) and the set decoration that also has a great deal of desparation to it and adds such to the movie. It's not my favorite genre, so I liked this more than I thought I would. If you love science fiction, you probably will as well. This scene could also be used nicely as part or premise for a full feature film if Penna ever plans on doing that. He should recast Harlow then though and not a much more famous Hollywood actress I hope. Anyway, he seems ready for the transition from short film to big screen pictures. This one here is not a triumph or best-of-the-year material, but pretty interesting nonetheless. Go check it out!
Sleep will never come that easy, but liking this one does not feel difficult at all
Here we have the music video for the song "Bad Dreams" that premiered about a year ago, sligthly over, and you can read the names of the two protagonists in the title. The male singer is Pete Yorn and that's pretty much all I can say as I have never really come across any other of his works. He is American by the way. And then there is of course Scarlett Johansson, one of the defining actresses of her age group for pretty much all her career, even if she is still waiting for her first Oscar nomination. She is also the main reason why this exists as a title on imdb I suppose and was also seen by many and rated by a few, including me now. The music video director is Sophie Muller from the UK and she is really as prolific as it gets, which is immediately visible if you take a look at her endless body of work when it comes to music videos. Now as for her work here, maybe you did not know already, but Scar-Jo is also singing and that's why she is included in the title, not just acting. I like her as a singer. I thought she was brilliant performing the Oscar-nominated song from Chasing Ice. Here she is merely okay I suppose. It becomes obvious that Yorn is the real professional here and I like his voice. But in terms of the acting, it is exactly the other way around. Johansson is great, Yorn is a bit clumsy, even if he is not doing much more except simulating that he (almost) falls asleep at the wheel. Nonetheless I believe it was a good music video and is worth checking out for everybody who likes one of the two protagonist. For me that would be Johansson, even if I like her a lot more with long hair of course. The plot twist at the ending is good as well, I won't spoil it for you. All in all slightly over 3.5 minutes certainly worth checking out. Unlike many of these songs that have huge charts success despite how much they suck, this one here probably won't be a financial success, but it is quality. I mean it does not even have a wikipedia page, enough said... But there is no hesitation for me in giving it a thumbs-up. The only question is if it is good or great. I'd lean towards the former. Go watch it, don#t just listen to the record or you will miss how much fun these two apparently had during shooting.
Boba Fett Unleashed (2016)
Star wars mediocrity unleashed
"Boba Fett Unleashed" is an American (very) short film from 2016 written and directed by Ramsey Eassa. Of course, this is a little tribute and fan film closely related to Star Wars, but even I as somebody who is far from an expert on the franchise immediately recognizes the name of the character Boba Fett immediately. Also this is one of these many many Lego-animated movies we got here. And again I must say I am generally not too big on them. So you could certainly say that this film had a hard time with me already before I started watching because the premise wasn't exactly mouthwatering from my very personal perspective. So I must say I was not convinced when these under five minutes eventually did not make an impact on me at all. I will not go a lot into detail about the story, but I felt that the bad guys here were more present and got more screen time than the good guys, which is not necessarily a bad thing. Just an observation. Overall, if you really dig both Lego animation and Star Wars, then this is maybe a good watch for you, although it could also be that then you will be more critical and actually dislike it even more. But it's not a failure and deserves to be checked out I guess, even if I found the camera work sub par here. Some production values did not look good at all admittedly, even if you could see Eassa put a lot of effort in here and with him also doing all the voice work, you could almost say it is something like a one-man show. Anyway, like I said he did not win me over and get me curious about his other works. He is actually pretty prolific and I see he really did a lot on Batman. Now lets not drift away too far though. This one here gets a thumbs-down from me. Not recommended.
The Carlton Dance (2012)
Dance! Dance! Dance! dance the Carlton dance!
"The Carlton Dance" is a little live action short film from 2012, so not particularly recent and maybe if you are a fan of the series "Fresh Prince of Bel Air", then you recognize the reference in the title. Honestly I am not, but I read what this is all about and I wonder if those who indeed like the show know what this title stands for. But it doesn't matter that much. Fact is this is one of the really rare filmmaking efforts by writer and director Daniel Spink, who is usually a prolific actor. He also acts in here. Next to him you will find over 30 celebrities performing the dance mentioned in the title. Admittedly, "celebrities" is a relatively vague description here because honestly many of them are far from famous. I would say that I know many celebrities despite not being American, but many of the ones included in here were totally new to me. It says it all perhaps that adult film legend Ron Jeremy is already among the more known we have. David Hasselhoff is in it too, probably because he worked with Spink before that. Chris Evans is perhaps the biggest name from the cast. The rest of the names I won't mention as you can check out the cast list for yourself here on imdb or just wait till the end when the closing credits roll in around the 3:30-minute mark. Yep these credits are very long for a film that runs for 4 minutes 15 seconds approximately. Overall, I don't think this is even a good watch if you love one or two of the cast members we have here. Maybe it is a good watch if you consider the dance mentioned int he title somewhat funny or even epic and enjoyed (it on) the show it stems from. The cast members are pretty much all of them gone after a couple seconds anyway, so not a reason to watch for them. I personally don't think it is a failure and actually when we hear the protagonist utter the words from the title, it is somewhat funny in an awkward fashion. But that alone of course is not enough for a positive recommendation. Not a failure, but I suggest you watch something else instead.
Interesting idea, but really necessary it is not
The title "To All the Boys Sequel Announcement" for this really short 2018 film is pretty accurate basically as here we have the two protagonists of the film "To All the Boys I've Loved Before", especially the female, announce that there will be a second movie coming out at some point in the future. I must admit I have not even seen the first yet, so yeah I cannot say much about the background, but I suppose the two characters here are getting together in this first film and maybe this second one iif about keeping their love fresh and intact, maybe also in the face of new romantic interests I don't know. We will see. Or maybe we won't because I am not sure if this got me curious enough to watch. It is nonetheless a pretty unique and creative idea to announce a sequel this way admittedly. You don't get that too often. I mean you did not have Ron Pearlman announce a second Hellboy film. Or I could say that about any other sequel as well and just exchange Pearlman for the lead actor / writer / director. So yeah, a nice little gift for the fans we have here admittedly, but rating this as a film the way I do of course here on imdb, it is not a positive recommendation obviously. Most of the jokes pre and past phone call are not working particularly well either, so best idea may be to skip this one here. They failed to make it interesting enough I must say for me to get at least a bit curious about the original movie, let alone the upcoming sequel. But maybe I am doing it injustice. I saw the original film here has a fairly good rating, so it is probably inferior compared to this fairly overrated little clip that does not even reach the 90-second mark and felt much longer. But it will probably have around 5 million views in 6 months on Youtube, whcih isn't shabby at all, so I guess if little-see music videos exist here, then this one has its justification too. And honestly with that running time you're not doing anything wrong if you decide to go for it.
Hits the nail on the head before it goes too much off-topic
"Captain Marvel: The Aftermath" is an 18-minute short film from 2019, "short film" I should say as it is really a review posted on Youtube by American ginger reviewer Dave Cullen. As you can see from the title, this is about one of the most recent Marvel movies and I guess the mention of said title in this title here also elevated its popularity a bit here on imdb. Anyway, you could basically structure this one into two very different parts with a little epilogue/conclusion following up. In the first part, Cullen gives us his opinion on Captain Marvel and he references several other reviews that to some extent also reflect what he says and he shares their opinion. A lot of this one is about how feminism is an essential part of Captain Marvel and Cullen was so much hitting the nail on the head with what he says about the film. I will not include any specific quotes in here, but if you have an open mind, you will know exactly what I mean when you hear it. Just one slightly more basic reference this time: It is extremely accurate how he says that people who gave this film negative or not even that, just mediocre reviews were immediately attacked by white knights and hardcore feminists that they hate women, are against emancipation and other nonsense. It takes some courage to make a statement like that, but I am glad Cullen did it. I also like the reference he made about a recent Star Wars spin-off movie. I would even go further than he did and say not only Felicity Jones (who I like otherwise) was very bland there, but also that the film as a whole was not good at all and this is where I slightly disagree with Cullen. Anyway, that is all on the first half. Now a few words on the second half (approximately). Sadly the level of quality is really in for a massive drop there. The reason is not necessarily that the material is weak, but that making the choice to just report an audio discussion may not have been the greatest. It barely even deals with Captain Marvel needs to be said, there is more focus on the three (actually two) discussing how fair it is that only professional reviewers are allowed to post on Rottentomatoes and this way some of the ratings there may differ way too much from what the general public thinks about these films. I don't want to go into detail about my opinion on this subject now, but I honestly would have preferred if Cullen had left this audio footage out completely, even if this "film" then only would have run for 10 minutes. But it would have been more accurate and on point and not going too far away from the topic. So yeah, judging from the first half I would have given this one probably even 4 stars out of 5 (8 out of 10), but what the director did with the second half made me a bit sad, so I have to correct it southward. I still think it is very much worth watching because it is such an accurate observation on how feminish is heading frequently into extremely wrong directions these days. It's not feminism only if you say it is, you also have to deliver. Now that should be all. Also you don't need to have seen Captain Marvel to watch this one, but it certainly helps.
Zwischen den Jahren (2017)
Pretty good thriller about a fairly unlikable protagonist
"Zwischen den Jahren" is a German theatrical movie from 2017, so nrither really new nor old already. The writer and director is Lars Henning and this was his first big screen full feature film. But he has been making (short) films and also a television movie for a long time already, so he sure is experienced and I am not surprised this one here worked out well overall despite some minor weaknesses. It runs for a bit over 1.5 hours including credits and does not drag on any occasions. This has mostly to do with the cast doing a pretty good job here. Even those actors like the stunning Cosima Henman who only have very little screen time are doing a good job. At the center of the film is Peter Kurth though. If you have seen some of his works in recent years, he usually plays kind character that have a dark past, but are struggling with life. This description is also pretty fitting here, at least to some extent. He is not all evil, but I definitely would not call him kind this time. He plays a killer released from prison and we get to watch his new life now, how he gets along (or doesn't get along) with new acquaintances, how he tries to make a living as an employee with an object security company and most of all how the shadows from his past return in the form of Karl Markovics' character. Markovics is as good as always playing the man whose family the protagonist erased about two decades ago and who only has recenge on his mind, even if he does not know exactly what it's gonna look like. It is a psychological thriller at times, but also a character study involving far more than one character only. The film lives through its simple, but well-executed overall premise I would say apart from the strong performances. Sadly, the attention to detail is not always 100% great, which is why I have to deduct two stars from five. There are some strong scenes like the one that has the two men meeting at the restaurant or also the first time Markovics sees him in the subway, but there are also ideas in the script that don't work out too well. One would be basically everything involving the main character getting close to his former gang members again and the crime resulting from it. The film did not need that. It was easily visible nonetheless that the main character still carries a lot of aggresion and violence with him. And that the ghosts of his past (not just Markovics) will keep haunting him.
But also the fact how the other employee gets shot during said armed robbery/burglary shows that everybody ho gets close to the character of Becker will inevitably get hurt, not necessarily by him, but also by him, sometimes even psychologically if we take a look at how he deals with the woman who surprisingly ends up liking him. Moving towards the end, when she almost gets raped by Markovics' character, this was perhaps the moment I liked the less. It did not fit too well. I mean had he tried to kill her because she means something to Becker, this would have made more sense. There's broken windows, a killed dog (yep once again!) and other acts of violence throughout the film that don't always make this a watch that is easy to stomach. But it's not just the loud moments. It is also sad to see how the main character actually finds two people that seem to like him and are ready to make a connection, but he is clearly pushing them away and it is not just Markovics' character that is the reason for that. On the other side, however, sometimes there are moments when he acts totally different and not as indifferent and mean as you see Becker overall, especially when it comes to Striebeck's character. One moment he uses the c-word, but when something bad happens to her, then he is ready no talk to her about everything no holds barred. Or he is also not left cold by what his crime did to Dahlmann, basically destroyed his life, as we see when he has to throw up in the bathroom. All this eventually accumulated into the big showdown between the two antagonists. You could say that Markovics and also Henning did a good job here because yeah Markovics really has so little screen time that it is debatable if he is lead or supporting despite the huge impact he has on the story. Would the film worked without him too? Probably yes with further elaborations in other fields, maybe a bigger (hopefully better) story line about his old friends from the biker gang. But luckily it did not have to. Markovics is always a joy to watch no matter what kind of character he plays. And Kurth has great recognition value too and I would not say it is much of a problem if he is typecast a bit most of the time as he beings the range to come up with some fine nuances. Overall, definitely one of the better German films from 2017, one that stems from a genre that German filmmakers sometimes have a pretty difficult time coming up with quality work. And even if this one here is far from perfect, it manages nicely with a lot of the subtleties. Go watch it. I give it a thumbs-up, but you should not be expecting greatness or anything, the imdb rating is fairly accurate at somewhere between 6 and 7 I guess.
Missing Link (2019)
Perhaps not the film everybody was missing, but still an entertaining watch from beginning to end
"Missing Link" is a new animated movie, a co-production between the United States and Canada and this 2019 release is written and directed by Oscar nominee Chris Butler. It runs for slightly over 1.5 hours and features the voice talents of several established and lauded actors such as Hugh Jackman and Zach Galifianakis for the main characters, but also smaller roles were picked wisely with actors I quite enjoy like Stephen Fry, Timothy Oliphant and Emma Thompson. But you can check the cast list yourself. And while the poster and title suggest otherwise, the central character here is really the one that Hugh jackman lends his voice too. Although I should say Christoph Maria Herbst because I watched the German dub. He and Bastian pastewka have worked together on many projects already and usually you know quality will be in the outcome when they do so. This one is no different. I liked voice acting for sure, even if I cannot say anything specific about the original English-language voice cast. Also while the title makes sense in terms of the character, I was surprised there was really not too much focus on the actual evolutionary component of the protagonist and how he is the missing link between apes and humans. Oh well, there are some references about the general idea of the mission and also why the main antagonist does not want the mission to succeed, but the longer the film goes, the less it is about this subject, probably also because the fpcus moves forward more to the friendship between the duo and not the scientific component. Still, I wondered how it is going to work out if he really becomes the man's partner in the end that curious scientists won't annoy them all the time. I mean this cannot be kept secret can it? Or do they want to play hide and seek all day long?
Now leats start with the beginning: there is a lengthy introductory sequence involving something similar to the Monster from Loch Ness that presents us the human protagonist and also how maybe science should not be his thing, but competitive swimming instead. It was also funny how his assistant is really fed up with everything when he quits. And even if this one is so much in danger of dying, he is not one of the bad guys and survives.Anyway, young audiences can still watch it. They can definitely deal with the deaths of bad guys no question. It is also the attention to detail that makes this movie work. I liked two jokes on the time when it is set early on, such as one referring to an old camera, then pretty new, and secondly the amount of people living on the planet at that point in time. Nice idea, even if I wonder if they really counted. The fact that we know (approximately) how many it was back then, does not mean they did too. But lets not be too picky here. The characters I liked as well. First I would like to say that I am not always too big on how humans are shown in animated films, but here they won me over. The partially abstract proportions feel interesting and funny sort of. Look at these thin legs there. As for the Missing Link I mostly liked the way he looks as well. But what is more memorable is his behavior. He is really strong and big, but very peaceful indeed. The scene when he learns how to punch in that saloon brawl was really funny. He sure is a quick learner though.
Even if the entire idea of them growing into friends was a good one, I felt that the chemistry was not 100% there admittedly to justify this being the key story. A bit disappointing. I am also confused about the idea of the female main character here, a former lover who is also an adventurer. I don't think Ulmen-Fernandes was the problem here, even if I am not a huge fan of her (other than looks-wise), but she just added way too little honestly and maybe the moment they stole the map from her should have been the moment she exits the movie. Was there really a female protagonist needed? Lets not exaggerate with the girlpower component please. And at the end, all of a sudden she was too tough a character for really being a romance interest that gets a happy end? Hmmm I am really not buying it I must say. In general, I was not big on that character from any perspective, also in terms of her looks. I don't know why she was included. I don't think she will get her own movie, but her exit at the end could indicate that there will actually be a sequel and she will not be in it. We will see about that. I think I would watch probably how the story goes on. So with that being said, there is no denying I liked the movie and give it a positive recommendation. Another reason would actually be that I expected a oh so predictable plot development in which the title character would in the end have to decide between his "relatives" and his friend and while I was never sure which side he would have picked (tendency to the latter), I am glad they took a totally different and unexpected route from the moment onwards when he meets the other "Links". Completely aside from that the film has many many moments of slapstick comedy that the young (as well as old) ones will enjoy for sure. Be it one character thrown at an icy wall, another moving to the side of a bench and he is so heavy that the guy at the other end is thrown up in the air or the bad guy helplessly going full retard on the ground affter receiving a (for him) bad message, it is incredibly funny and entertaining at times. A strong mix of animation and comedy that works well far more often than it does not. You should watch "The Missing Link". I give it a thumbs-up and I am curious if it can get in at the Oscars in a year of Frozen and Toy Story sequels. I honestly don#t think so. But that does not mean it isn't a quality movie. A good watch for all ages in my opinion. Certainly worth seeing unless you are completely opposed to animated movies, boo to you then!
I did not get hungry
"Taco Bell: Nacho Fries: Retrieval" is an American short film from 2019 that may already be over when you are finished reading the relatively long title as this one runs for about a minute only. I just watched a 7-minute movie that had 8 writers, but this one here is a 1-minute movie that has five-writers. Not too bad either. Or actually very bad? Because honestly the jokes and puns in here were not any good. It is basically an action movie spoof (Armageddon) where very delicious fries have vanished and the protagonist has to go to space in a government-funded mission to bring them back. Why space? Why fries? It all isn't very clear. But the scenes of the uproar early on with masses panicking on the streets were somewhat funny, so it is not a failure. By the way, they got James Marsden to star in this little comemrcial we got here. So fans of the brand in the title who maybe even like the actor can check this short out. I don't have much of a connection with either, so I give it a thumbs-down overall. And I even like fries in general. But here the dip looks better to me than the fries. Okay I am drifting away from the "film", lets get back to it. Not very much worth seeing and the joke gets old quickly, so I am glad it did not run for longer. Watch something else instead. I really wonder what the budget here was. I believe probably not just a few dollars from how it looked. They should have come up with something of a better quality here then.
Lacks authenticity and really interesting characters, weak writing too
"Endgame" is an American live action short film from 2018 that is mostly in the English language with a little Spanish early on too. The director is Matthew Castellanos and there are a total of 8(!) writers credited here for a film that stays under seven minutes. That has to be a new record. I don't know who did what if they hired special writers for the volleyball sequences, but I doubt it. They are still disappointing anyway. So yeah this is the story of a father who wants to get to a volleyball game in time to see his daughter and of coruse the daughter plays horribly as long as he is not there and then becomes the MVP or something when he shows up. Not realistic at all. Just feel-good forced happy ending material. The key scene is away from the field when a secruity guard won't let the father in thinking he is gang-related and causing trouble or so because of his tattoos, but the real letdown comes from a third character whose one key sentence ("Did you listen to him?) felt so cringeworthy. I also am genuinely curious how they did JGL to appear in this movie as said security guard. Maybe he read Endgame and thought to be appearing in the other "slightly" more famous film with tha title? I have no idea, but I guess this name similarity also propelled this movie in terms of popularity a bit here on imdb. It cannot just be JGL and the guy from "Last Man on Earth", even if I liked seeing him too. For Castellanos it was far from the first directing credit, so the outcome is a bit disappointing, even if he is not part of the writing squad here and they were the ones who messed up the most too. Pay attention to that chubby Kevin Bacon lookalike in the stands. Hehe that is all. I give the film a thumbs-down as a whole. Not recommended. Could have worked as part of a long movie if at all, but as a short film itself it does not. Watch something else instead.
At Eternity's Gate (2018)
A stellar lead performance elevates an otherwise okay character study
"At Eternity's Gate" is a 110-minute movie from 2018 that is the most recent effort by writer and director and painter Julian Schnabel. He got help with the script from the truly experienced Oscar winner Jean-Claude Carrière as well as the (in terms of film writing) rather inexperienced Louise Kugelberg. The English title is fairly non-telling, but the German title and probably also some others include the name of the film's protagonist Vincent van Gogh. You could maybe say that he was always at insanity's gate as well perhaps, but also that death may have been looking just around the corner on several occasions. This is a co-production between no less than 4 European countries as well as the USA and it is mostly in the English language with parts in French. At least I think so. The French parts were subtitles in my showing while the English parts were dubbed and I would say these were more frequent, even with French being listed as first language here. However, there are also long sequences that do not involve talking at all or only include voice over narration, mostly those parts that have van Gogh on his own in the nature. The central character is played by Willem Dafoe. And while I may be a bit biased here because I really like him, it is probably the only acceptable opinion that he was very very good. I think he was the frontrunner early awards season, very early, but then the focus shifted away from him more and more and eventually his Oscar nomination was already a bit of a surprise. I am a big fan of Malek in Bohemian Rhapsody too, but I also totally could have accepted Dafoe winning, even if I like the latter's film considerably less. He is perhaps by now the most overdue actor to get an Oscar and seeing him being nominated twice in a row makes me a bit happy after the long break before that. He scored his first nomination already over 30 years ago. Anyway, this film is not just Dafoe. There are two other actors in here that I like a lot. One would be Oscar Isaac who plays Dafoe's close friend and fellow artist Paul Gauguin. I thought he was good as always too. You never knew if he was just a narcissist or really a good friend, but maybe his letter we see eventually stands for the latter. But the way he talks to van Gogh at times, even if he supports him, also lets me think that he sees himself as something superior, perhaps because he is more emotionally stable, not necessarily because he is a more gifted artist. I am of course mostly referring to the part when he talks about leaving him that really makes a truly negative impact on van Gogh. And then there is Mads Mikkelsen, he is fun as always, but sadly only very short in this movie. It is a one-scene performance towards the end as a priest very critical about the painter's works, but he is an absolute scene stealer and it is amzing to see what he does with the character especially because the camera is really only on his face all the time, even if in an interesting ankle. So yeah I may also be biased with Mikkelsen and Isaac as I like both a lot in other projects, but I think they really added to the fact that the cast here is the movie's biggest strength.
Other experienced European actors like Friend, Amalric, Casar and Arestrup add to that as well. It is without a doubt a very well-acted movie. Unfortunatery, there are also some weaknesses here and there that keep me from giving it a higher rating. I must say I was not too big on the soundtrack unfortunately. Especially towards the end, the funeral scene, it was too loud and dominating for me and in-between there were several moments when it felt similarly. Visually, it was good movie though for the most part, there are some pretty good sets here like again with the funeral when we see him lying there surrounded by his gigantic amount of paintings. And people see them and admire them (not all), but don't really care of the artist and his tragedy. It must have been an interesting moment for Dafoe himself to see that scene. And I also liked what they did with the story. There is decent attention to detail most of the time. I liked how we get to see his poverty and that his art is rejected. The moment when the priest moves the painting he deems vile in a way that nobody can see it was almost genius. Very well done by Mikkelsen again. He gave up on him basically and that's why he lets van Gogh out of the asylum, not because he is healed or anything. But today we know despite all his psychological struggles (and they are undeniable - a cut-off ear is a cut-off ear), he was too big a genius for people to recognize back then. It is very fitting that almost all the time people talk about Vincent, they mention him as Theo's brother with the latter having the more respected job being a merchant and not a painter without any talent who dreams all day long. There is one particular camera shot in here that emphasized that very well when we see the two together lying in bed hugging each other how Theo is, despite being the younger, physically strong and more noticable. Even if he pays for Vincent and is there in his hours of pain, he is far from a great brother with how quickly he has to leave again and to me, even if there were no specific indicators, it felt very much through that he is embarrassed by his brother. If only he knew how we see him today...
Also included is a brief reference about what Gauguin thought about other talented artists from that time was interesting that you may overhear if you don't pay attention for a moment. Speaking of Gauguin, you may also want to check out Vincent Cassel's performance in a movie about Gauguin's retreat to the island from a few years ago. Now back to van Gogh, I am struggling a bit with calling this one here a biopic as it does not start in his youth or so, even if we find out some things indirectly like the man's own clerical past in his youth and family background. This is definitely not a film for everybody. There are specific moments that may not have an impact at all on non-arthouse film-goers, such as the lengthy black screens, sometimes with voice-overs. The film actually starts with one before moving to a beautiful landscape. The final sequence with van Gogh being shot also feels a bit unusual. Certainly no traditional filmmaking here on several occasions and you see Schnabel's own artistic tribute. I guess he made a tribute here, perhaps to one of his heroes. As for the shooting scene at the end, it does feel a bit for the sake of it and it wasn't totally required to end the film with van Gogh's death. There were many other options. But I liked how they did it and the approach they gave it. It is really all about the reference he makes to blame and guilt. Early on kids attack him with stones and he fights back hopelessly before being beaten up by their fathers. When he accidentally gets to close to the girl on the road with nothing but artistic integrity on his mind, once again he painfully has to pay for it. So when he gets hurt the most severely eventually, his spirit seems to be broken already and he won't say the names anymore, but deal with his fate, maybe also knowing that he is gone soon and that it won't change anything anymore. Interesting idea for sure. All in all, this is a good film with some great moments here and there. I recommend watching it, preferrably oon the big screen and I enjoyed it for the most part. Being closer to the 2-hour mark than 1.5-hour mark, it also did not feel too long by any means. It is not on the level where I would call it one of the best films of 2018 (2019 release here), but Dafoe's performance is top-notch and it is nice to see him getting all this recognition. Kinda painfully ironic that the biggest honor refused to him was an SAG nomination by his peers. They should know better. Go see "At Eternity's Gate". You will be well entertained and also learn a lot new if you aren't a van Gogh expert. It's without a doubt a thumbs-up for me here, Dafoe alone is a reason enough to watch this movie and if you like him (and the other cast members) as much as I do, it is close to a must-see.
C'eravamo tanto amati (1974)
They loved each other so much, but I did not love this movie so much unfortunately
"C'eravamo tanto amati" or "We All Loved Each Other So Much" is an Italian movie that is a mix of black-and-white and color from 1974, so this one has its 45th anniversary this year. Black-and-white, despite how old it is, is not too common for the 1970s anymore, but these scenes are flashback moments or well actually a really really long sequence that takes place decades back when b&w films were still common which may explain it. I shall get to that later. Now the director here is Ettore Scole and he is also part of the writing team here and he is pretty famous still today being among the most known from Italy from his era and this film is one reason why. It is far from forgotten if you take a look at the number of votes and if you take a look at the rating and all the awards recognition it received all over Europe. I watched this film on the big screen here as part of a month-long film series about old Italian comedies (that almost always also had a bit of drama to them). But I must say I was a bit disappointed by this one, actually more than just a bit. It was the very last showing from really many movies and supposed to be a bit of a highlight, but I somehow just did not feel it although I am interested in WWII themed movies and the plot description here sounds interesting too. I must say the black-and-white part did almost nothing for me. And as that one was really long like I said early, it was also a problem as it sort of served as an introduction to meeting and getting to know the characters. But i found it very forgettable. The only funny thing I slightly remember honestly was one scene when a character is at an opera or theater or so and watches the stage and after the third act asks if it is over already and then his woman says nope it is ten acts and he clearly is not amused while obviously trying to hide it and act as if he knew. That was fun, but far from enough of course. The color parts later on were better I suppose. There were a few more memorable moments. Gameshow mayhem was interesting, same about the love struggles involving the characters. And again we see many Italian film greats play themselves. That was a thing back then in several Italian movies, I also saw it in another not too long ago, so it was a bit hilarious to see Fellini and how he gets mixed up with another director (un)intentionally. And Mastroianni of course with his sunglasses who is the coolest cat on the planet. And he sure knows. But yeah when the film really in depth elaborates on the trio of protagonists here, it never managed to win me over. I even like Gassmann and Sandrelli quite a bit in other films and they have great recognition value, but not even they managed to do so this time. Still, the film did have some interesting moments like the loop beginning as good as the jumping into the pool scene that got finished at the end of the movie. So creativity is there for sure on more than just a few occasions. But when it comes to further elaboration, the film was far from a success for me I must say. I wanted to like it more, but I did not. It also felt too long for its own good honestly in my opinion and I rarely use "nothing happened" or "not enough happened" as a negative criticism, but here I would because I think that if nothing really happens, then the character elaboration or development should be more satisfying than I felt it was here. i am really baffled by how many people liked this film and how much they did.
What loneliness can make with a person. Or can it really?
"Greta" is an Irish/American co-production from 2018 that is mostly in the English language, but there are minor parts in French and also in Hungarian I think plus one word in German. I need to say that as a German! It runs for slightly under 100 minutes and is the most recent filmmaking effort by Neil Jordan, who writes and directs here a long time after he became an Oscar-winning writer. In general, he has not been at his most prolific in recent years, especially if we only include big screen releases. But with his work here, he sort of managed a nice little comeback. This also has to do with the cast though. Admittedly, with two exceptions, the cast is really not that famous gently-speaking. Maybe you know Maika Monroe, maybe you don't. But you definitely know Chloë Grace Moretz and Isabelle Huppert as these two are certainly among the most famous from their respective age groups. And maybe also among the most stunning. Huppert looks pretty amazing for being 65 which she was when this film was made and Moretz is also as beautiful as it gets for a woman in her early 20s. How time flies by. I remember very well when she was still so tiny. Now she is a stunning young woman. Anyway, back to this movie. If you have seen the trailer or read a few lines about it, then you basically know what it is about already. A young woman finds a handbag in a subway train, takes a look inside, finds ID and takes the bag to its owner. This is when a friendship between the two starts that may also have to do a bit with sympathy as the younger one knows the odler one has no friends and struggles with loneliness after the death of her husband. Despite the best friend of the young protagonist being weirded out by this situation, Moretz' character expects nothing initially until she finds all these handbags and realizes she uses them as bait and there may be something very wrong about this elderly woman and she is not just lonely. Actually, this story line also with Huppert's character acting weird finally is really rushed and some may object to that, but I think it worked out fine. And it also made sense because looking at how disturbed she really turns out eventually, she sure could not have managed to hide it for long. In general I think they did a good job with the script with how they were playing the audience. Like how Moretz works as a waitress and brings things to people, somewhat serves them and still relies on their satisfaction entirely. It is similar when she brings that bag to the lady voluntarily, but the longer the film goes the more she relies on her too to not turn her life into a living hell. Also another bad film for a dog once more, even if that little subplot added almost nothing for me. I know it was meant to show her as somebody who cares for animals and that it was one step to trick Moretz' character into thinking she was harmless, but yeah. Back to waht did work. And with that I would say how they were playing with our minds, like when Greta is at the restaurant after all these calls and the owner says a woman wants to see Frances and I totally expected it was somebody else. But it was her. Or when that detective finds out about what is going on really with Greta. I had a feeling he might take her out, but maybe the character was not significant enough. The one who did eventually was really surprising, you just thought Greta found her next victim, but there was more to that and I was surprised by that plot twist. And also the knocking scene at the end and we find out where it is from, even if admittedly I had a bit of a bad feeling already when very early on Greta mentions the neighbors. There clearly was something fishy. Or how Greta eventually managed to get up, but is clearly too weakened. That felt right, also that she'd focus on Moretz there as she knew she was finished and not some superwoman who could just deal with the poison.
Apart from that, the film also has more than just a few unrealistic moments. And some were really really unrealistic. You will know what I mean when you see these moments. Maybe you will see some completely different than myself, but I will tell you what I mean with that. One thing would be how they really put her into that box at the end. Like seriously? Get out of the damn house will you. Sure you may want to humiliate her, but at that point the need for safety really would have been stronger. Or it was really risky for Greta to get Frances into that car, even if she was suffering. Perhaps she still could have warned the taxi driver. Or obviously Greta has been playing that handbag game for a while already now, so how did nobody ever recognize something going on. And by the way the subways look so full there, wouldn'r people tell her she accidentally left her handbag before she gets out of the train. There's a lot more. Like speaking about the handbag idea again, well really the best friend manages to find the handbag? And there is no talk about other women finding it and getting it to her in the meantime. Sure you could say they did not care, but still it does not feel too authentic. And I suppose Greta mus be richer than we think if she puts all this money in every handbag. Okay this should be all for now, even if it is not all. It is pretty fitting though that the film is named after Huppert's character because she is really the much more memorable. There is not a lot to Moretz' character sadly, she plays the harmless innocent girl here who becomes a stalking victim. She still has her moments, but the character just doesn't offer too much. It's all about being a vehicle for Huppert only. But it's fine I guess. If there is no true depth to Frances, at least you can still enjoy Moretz' looks and that she does as much as she can with the character. As for Huppert, she does shine with the character. Sometimes it is fine line between being good and being slightly over-the-top like with everything related to the music, the playing, the dancing etc. but it is tolerable and certainly does not ruin the movie. And honestly at times, it is simply a whole lot fun to watch her for sure. I read people saying she should be the next Bond villain, also before this film admittedly, but yes she kinda makes a strong case for herself, even if it probably is not too likely. Now away from Bond, even if I love the franchise and back to this movie, I know critics aren't too fond, but despite some of the irregularities I did enjoy the watch overall. The music was good too, the songs they used pretty catchy despite me never having heard any of them. I just wish they could have come up with a better ending and more attention to detail at times. Not a great film and should be nowhere near anybody's top10 lists of the year, but if you see it for what it is, you can have a fun time watching! Go for it if you like one or even better both protagonists as much as I do. By the way also check out the Hilary Duff film that has the same name.
Fun for the most part
Well I don't think I really need to tell you what this is, but who knows. Here we have the (mostly) live action remake of the famous animated movie Aladdin from the early 90s. These remakes are a big thing now, there was Beauty and the Beast already, not too long ago Dumbo and here we have Aladdin that adds to this idea as well before The Lion King is next up. But now for Aladdin: Director and co-writer is Guy Ritchie, who is probably still at least as known for being married to Madonna as he is for his most known filmmaking efforts. And while he may be British, there isn't too much British about this film we got here. It is an American production, but takes place mostly in a fictitious Arab location. The American component is emphasized by Will Smith, who is really the only well-known actor here and honestly without him playing the genie, it would have been much more difficult to promote this film in America. But yeah, he is an A-lister and can carry it on his shoulders. Not necessarily acting- oder performance-wise, but in terms of star potential. The movie runs for 2 hours, slightly over even, and I won't go too much into detail about the story here. You know it if you know the original. It's been so long since I saw that, so I cannot say a whole lot about differences and similarities either. There is animation in here, but not really too much. Of course the genie parts involving Smith and eventually Jafar rely a lot on special effects. Same goes for the animals, like Jasmin's tiger or Abu, Aladdin's little monkey. The latter is in my opinion really the best thing about the entire film honestly. His scenes and inclusions and expressions were so priceless and funny that I almost wished the whole film could be about the monkey. Sadly, he is pretty much gone story-wise in the second half.
As for the human character, Aladdin and his actor Mena Massoud was okay, nothing too good or bad about him that stood out. Naomi Scott was just as stunning as she should have been portraying the gorgeous princess (eventually Sultan) Jasmine. Also, she seemed very emancipated to me, I am not sure if it was like this in the original movie as well or just included to get along with the #metoo age. But it doesn't matter. I still liked her and the character. As for Jafar, tough to say. I can see why they did not want to keep him too scary, even if he kills another character on at least one other occasion, because also kids are supposed to see this family fantasy film, but the looks had very little to do with the sleaziness of the animated Jafar. Same for the Sultan, who added very little really and there I thought the costume and make-up wasn't perfect. Other than that, the visual side was really good here in terms of costumes, make-up, sets and special effects. The songs did not do as much for me sadly, which may be because I watched the German dub admittedly. So I suggest you go for the original language with this one. The Hakim character I liked. And now about Will Smith's character. Well, obviously he did not look physically similar to the animated genie, but I think there is no perfect actor for that part. In general, I am not a huge Smith fan (anymore), but I think he was okay here. Also pay attention to how they include him right at the very beginning here during a time that takes place several years after the movie. Did it work? I think yes, but also obviously it was done so we see who the big star here is (and it's not Massoud, even if that one is also more prolific than you may think) because Smith does not appear for a long time afterwards again. With that opening scene and the idea of him singing the story of Aladdin to his kids, I kinda expected a bit of a frame to the film that it also ends on the ship, but nope. Then again, that was not necessary really. We know who the woman on the ship is with how the story develops and that they are his kids. Haha still could have made for a troll-like success to show us Jasmin is actually the mother of his children there. Anyway, tthat would have been too absurd obviously.
Now that is basically all I have to say about this movie. It is really what one could expect given the subject and the director and the budget I would say. There are some memorable moments like when Apu is willing to take that precious red gem or when he reveals himself that he stole Jasmin's jewels and more moments. Also some underwhelming moments. Like the big show Genie puts on in his presentation did not really wow me that much. I am curious if this film can get in in any of the visual categories at the Oscars, but maybe most people have forgotten about it until then. A real standout film that will blow you away it is not. Back to Apu, with me mentioning him twice again you see how much I enjoyed his character here. What else can I add, let me think. Oh yeah, the parrot and the carpet are included too of course, but neither play a really big role. Or lets say neither is really memorable because I mean the carpet does a lot and is a bit of an unsung hero taking Aladdin back from the pole and also saving Jasmin right away. That was surprising though that she was so confident he'd be there this quickly. Maybe the least realistic moment. Oh yeah one more thing, they somehow had to deal with Aladdin being a thief too and that he is still a kind-hearted person despite his profession as a criminal. They did that fine with how he tells Abu that sometimes stealing is not good or how he gets basically used by the guy he gives his prey to and he only gets very few dates for his effort and he gives these dates to a starving kid and his mom. And to Abu of course. We sure should not see Aladdin as anything resembling a bad guy. I think that shhould be all now. You won't be seeing any surprised with this film in the positive or negative sense. It is a rock-solid watch from beginning to end and I give it a thumbs-up overall. Go check it out unless you really hate the original material, but seriously, why would anybody do so? I think both films are worth seeing!
Beetlejuice 2 (2014)
Beetle's back (somewhat)
"Beetlejuice 2" is of course only in theory an official sequel to tim Burton's original movie as here we have a little Funnyordie parody that is not even the film in its entirety (even at considerably under 3 minutes), but the making of and we also have an interview with the director who is the "brother of Tim Burton because he has weird hair and likes spooky stuff. Oh well, lead actress is Natasha Lyonne from Orange is the New Black and she does alright with what she is goven. Admittedly it isn't much. The moments when the film here slightly shines are those when it makes reference to other works like the Tupac Shakur movie "Juice" (of course!) or when there is a weird cover of the pretty great song "Maniac". I must say without having seen Beetlejuice, I thought this was an okay watch for 2.5 minutes, but by general standards nothing you really must see. Director is SNL's Emmy nominee Ryan Perez and he worked on quite a lot Funnyordie stuff just like his writer here Jake Fogelnest. Overall, I'd give this short film a thumbs-down. A bit of a close call, but all in all it is not good enough for a positive recommendation. Only watch if you love Lyonne and/or FoD. What you think of Burton's Beetlejuice should not be a factor in your decision making I guess.
Auf Augenhöhe (2016)
Way too much by the books, nothing daring in here at all
"Auf Augenhöhe" or "At eye level" is a German 100-minute movie from 2016 that was written and directed by Joachim Dollhopf and Evi Goldbrunner and as these two are a couple, it is not too surprising that this by is not their first filmmaking effort together, but maybe their most known as this movie really received a surprisingly big amount of awards recognition including a German Film Award. "Surprising" because you cans see from the amount of votes here on imdb that the movie really was not seen by too many. This certainly has to do with the fact that the cast includes not one single big name and that is pretty uncommon for German films these days. Even I as a film buff don't know any cast members really, even if I have heard of Bartuschek and also seen Dobra in other projects, but they are certainly no big names. One of the two protagonists is played by Jordan Prentice that you have seen perhaps in other films such as In Bruges where he plays a pretty significant role at the end. No need to go any further into detail. And while I cannot say he impressed me in this film we have here, I still think he was certainly better than Luis Vorbach, the child actor at the center of the movie. He was really painfully bad in some scenes and not memorable whatsoever in only one single scene, so that I think it really would have helped the film if they had cast another actor. But he is not the only problem, probably not even the biggest problem.
I think the key problem here is really the script. It is painful to watch at times how the movie is so much by the books with its plot (twists) and how everything unfolds that there were absolutely no risks taken whatsoever by the filmmakers in terms of the story. The consequence is that it really does feel scripted. I will mention a few examples. This basically includes every conflict there is, such as when the two scream at each other in the man's home. Or the whole rowing team plot when very unrealistically the adult male protagonist starts asking himself why his friends(?) accept him. The megaphone scene was cringeworthy to watch too. And right when you felt the film could not get any worse, they included the letter that says he is not really the boy's father. And right when you thought again, it could not get any worse, they have the boy not send the letter to his real father and instead stay with his false father. This was really the epitome of a highly unrealistic, very unsatisfying and extremely forced happy ending. Sadly you see this very often in (German) films these days and I was not amused at all. If the first half of the film had not been partially solid, then I really would have considered giving an even lower rating here because it goes dramatically south quality-wise the longer it goes. Truly disappointing. Also I felt the story line about the deceased mother was not handled too well. They were trying to make an emotional impact at times, but just came very short. At least when it comes to me. I must say I also struggles with perceiving the two main character as likable as the filmmakers wanted us to. The car driving scene when they change seats and the man plays the poor victim for the police officer honestly did not make him seem very likable. Aside from that, I believe the writers struggles with realistic interactions between all the young characters. This is definitely a very difficult subject and fairly challenging, but I still hoped they would do better looking at the film's strong reception. There I am particularly talking about the final scene when the older teenagers behave nicely all of a sudden towards the main character, which did not feel particularly authentic this very moment and yeah well it just didn't feel in a way they would actually react, but again forced for the happy ending. Add to that that the rowing team of course also wins a medal eventually. Overall, there are definitely far more weaknesses than strengths in this film and they come short with pretty much everything they wanted to achieve here. That's why I give this one a thumbs-down. Premise is there for an okay, maybe even good movie, but the actual outcome is more than just a bummer. Watch something else instead.
All in all okay, but still some really bad moments
Here we got the "The 60th Annual Grammy Awards", the biggest night in music from 2018 if you want to call it that. It ran for over 2.5 hours and that does not even include commercial breaks, so really really long. The director here is Louis J. Horvitz as usual and the show was nominated for 2 Emmys without winning one of the two. Host is late night show host James Corden and this was the second time he hosted. Well, I am not a fan of him honestly, but he was okay this time, clearly helped by some pretty great comedic material. The subway scene with Sting and Shaggy was solid overall and I also liked how he included his parents this time. Two or three okay moments for good host writing include in here. Now as for the winners, I am not really too thrilled. The show began with Rihanna winning, enough said, even if luckily it wasn't for the garbage number she played live on stage later on. I don't care a lot about Bruno Mars, so no real opinion about him being the big winner that night. I find him a bit overrated though, even if most of his competition is not any better. He does remind me a bit, also physically, of this generation's Michael Jackson. Now also success-wise I suppose after his triumphs that night. Jay-Z who had the most nominations was just watching Mars win constantly. And honestly Ed Sheeran winning anything just feels wrong, he is so overrated. Some of the stuff I liked includes the Johnny Cash 20 years ago reference when he won Best Country Album and I guess the 2018 winner wasn't too shabby either from what I heard from him. Sting playing his Englishman is always a success, even if this was the first time when I really realized he has gotten pretty old now too. And Don't Cry for Me Argentina is always a triumph. On a more general note, I was really struggling with many of the previous ceremonies because they felt so much more about the performances than about the awards and I think with the 2018 version, this was not so bad luckily and it felt at least a bit like an awards show a lot of the time. But there were also bad moments in terms of performances that I mentioned already. Another would be the song with the phone number right near the very end. Suicide prevention number? At least it was okay to call it a tribute Cornell (especially him!) and Bennington, but still it felt fairly pretentious and try-hard with all these people in the same shirt on stage. Shame Alessia Cara was not used for a better moment here, very stunning Best New Artist winner, I hope she can have a glorious career and I like her. But she should stop with saying stuff like she doesn't manage acceptance (speeche)s, when she does it so effortlessly really.
U2 was rather disappointing with their outside performance I must say. Same about Lady Gaga. I just can't stand her, so probably a bit biased here. Nice to see Anna Kendrick and Hailee Steinfeld here, even if I must say I definitely prefer the latter to focus more on her movie career. She is such a great actress for her age and honestly not a great singer. Then again the defining young female singers of this era have shown that you don't need to be a great singer to really make an impact, so yeah I don't know. Again I could mention Sheeran, even if he is a male. One more thing I liked is that they really got many older singers on stage here and they sure made an impact a lot of the time. You can check the list for yourself. It was also the night of interesting (lets call them that) duets. This includes not just Johnny Legend and Tony Bennett presenting an award, but also duets by Sting and Shaggy (even if Sting was better alone) plus Miley Cyrus and Elton John. Yep! I am honestly happy to see Miley the way she looks now. She seemed somehow at peace with herself and we will see what she has coming up in the future. I like her a lot. Always have, always will. Back to host Corden, I would like to mention his pretty funny Obama (not!) introduction. That was funny admittedly. But I am glad he wasn't really there because honestly then I probably would have given the event even less stars. It was already really painful to see some of the Trump bashing. The best example was of course late night host Trevor Noah and honestly with all the bad you can say about Corden, I am honestly happy Noah wasn't hosting. Feels pretty bad to see these guys in charge now with the heritage of Carson, Letterman, Leno... O tempora, o mores! Back to Trump, it was still a pain in the butt of the liberal music industry that he was President, so the sequence when we have all kinds of musicians quote parts of a certain libel book about Donald's presidency was not entirely unexpected, but it felt completely wrong and I was disgusted. The absolute negative highlight was when even sore loser Hillary showed up at the end. This was really when i was ttoally close to giving this ceremony just one star out of three and honestly without it, I would have even considered 3, which means 6 out of 10.
Back to the music, I am quite a Sam Smith fan, but I found him also underwhelming that night. Maybe the problem was also the song that is nowhere near on par with his works that had him dominated the Grammys and win an Oscar. I wonder if Lady Gaga still fumes he took it. I still want to emphasize that I always for including as many awards as possible in a show and that needs to be said as there are still many Grammys not handed out during this even despite how long it goes. So yeah, the less music the better in my opinion. No Grammy winner should be put above another. What else can I say about this one. It's been a lot already. Oh yeah nice for me to see that Kraftwerk won a Grammy here as they are from Germany like myself and not undeserving looking at how long they have been making music now. LCD Soundsystem cool winners too. Such a shame none of these weren't getting any screen time. Same for Tony Bennett taking another over half a century after his first Grammy. And the Stones. Carrie Fisher got one posthumous as well, but I will not mention any more winners as you can check these out for yourself and see the list and which of your favorites won. Nick Cave did not win any of his nominations this time. I think that would be all then. To sum it all up, let me emphasize that the less politics the better should be a guideline for future ceremonies, but now the Trump dust has really settled as he is deep into his second half as President already, so maybe they will include that less and less hopefully. Not just at the Grammys, but in general. Aside from that, I believe this was a better Grammys ceremony again compared to some other previous editions and I hope they can keep going like that and improvement is visible and will stay visible. But if you take a look at the rating, you also see that it is still a long way to go as if I say this is better than others, this also means that it is more because others were really bad than because this one was really good. It certainly was not, so I give it a thumbs-down as a whole and don't recommend checking it out. That's all folks!
Nice idea, but rather weak execution
"The Warriors: Last Subway Ride Home" is the title of an American 2-minute short film initiated by the Rolling Stone I believe and this one reunites the actors from the movie The Warrios from 1979 over 35 years later. We see them with each other in character, well outfit-wise at least, and this may be a nice little watch for everybody who likes the movie this refers to. I have not seen saido movie and I must say this short film here did not really get me curious either. The director is Patrick Nicholas Smith and he has as little connection as myself apparently with the original movie (I wasn't even born back then). His involvement here seems to be rather explained by the fact that he worked on other films on films as well. So as you see I am kinda struggling with coming up with anything else about this film. I liked the shots in which they showed the actors/characters back then and immediately afterwards today, or maybe the other way around this was a nice idea. The narrator was a bit annoying to me. Honestly, I think this could have been a nice little feature at a running time of around 20 minutes or so, maybe even an hour, but the way they did it here it really felt rushed and way too fast to create and interest whatsoever sadly. I know there's more footage from this meeting including interviews, but yeah, the film itself are only these two minutes we got here. Overall, not in failure territory, but to me not good enough for a positive recommendation. The problem is not the people or the project itself, but really the concept and concrete execution. Shame, this was certainly a bit of a missed opportunity.
The Vamps: Rest Your Love (2015)
The epitome of style over substance
Here we have the music video for the song "Rest Your Love" by British group The Vamps. This one was released back in 2015, so it means it has its 5th anniversary soon. The director here is Frank Borin, who has worked on music videos by Bon Jovi, Take That, Backstreet Boys and Cypress Hill only to mention a few, a really prolific music video director since the early 00s and I must say that the outcome is incredibly weak taking taht into account. Boring you could say if you want to take up the play on words involving his name. Do we? Anyway, to me this was pointless bubble gum pop music and if this is among the more/most known boygroups have to offer in the 21st century, then it is pretty easy to udnerstand why the boygroup era seems long gone. The video is a party basically, some people having fun with all kinds of stuff. No need to go into detail, nothing really interesting there, not a kids party, not a grown-ups party. Not a reference to the lyrics either. I can basically say "to the title" to because the song does not offer more lyrics really than these three words plus "on me". If people mistake this for a romantic song, then they really have not grasped the concept of romance one bit. I thought this was quite a mess. So the only area that stays is catchiness. It is catchy? Well, it may not be a failure from this perspective as it is from basically every other, but I would not call it a success either. I thought this was incredibly disappointing. Kinda shocking to see it has over 10 million views on Youtube. But the reason for that is probably only to a minor extent the song and band. The real reason, also why this is not entirely forgotten here on imdb just like so many other music videos are (also because it was far from a hit) is probably because Game of Thrones star Maisie Williams is in it, but only very briefly. Blink and she is gone. You see her on the photo here. So yeah GoT fans also don't need to check this one out really. Huge thumbs-down from me, highly not recommended.
The Witcher: First Hunt (2016)
Okay for a fan film, but overall not enough, not even for this running time
"The Witcher: First Hunt" is an American English-language live action short film from 2016. This one runs for slightly over seven minutes and was written and directed by Christopher Nunez. It is a fan movie, but this can only excuse for so much I suppose. If I had to rate it as such compared to other low-budget fan movies, I'd probably give it two stars more, but by general standards it is just a **/*****. I won't say much about the cast, you can check the list for yourself and there are no known actors really included here. However, the film's slight popularity comes of course from the fact that it is connected to The Witcher, which is I believe a very successful video game? I am not too big on video games anymore these days. And honestly, there are really many positive aspects here. Costumes, look fine, sets looks fine, make-up looks fine, special effects look fine. For under $5,000, it is not unimpressive. That much is safe. Another positive aspect is also actually the film's biggest weakness that kept me from giving it a higher rating: the fight sequences. These do looks good admittedly, but the issue here is that there is really nothing else beyond that. The film is with the exception of the first 1.5-2 minutes (that include an unexpcted comic book style introduction) a fight sequence and nothing else. I know it is tough to come up with depth when it comes to the characters and their actions, let alone get emotion and something truly memorable in this short time, but it has been done before and it has been done better many times in the past compared to the outcome here. Quite a shame as I certainly see the potential for more here. Maybe NNunez should have left the writing to somebody more experienced. But nonetheless I believe he can have a good career in the industry in the next years, maybe even decades, if he decides to keep going and hopefully as he is still pretty young I suppose he can also improve on his penning. Overall, I give this short film here a thumbs-down and would only recommend it to the very biggest Witcher fans, even if I must admit I was tempted to give it a positive recommendation before the second half just went too far south in terms of quality. Watch something else instead!