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Sanctuary (2015)
An important movie - but not for everyone
18 September 2015
I only live a few miles away from Freistatt, Germany, and at least regionally the movie got some attention. "Freistatt" deals with a topic that is not often dealt with in movies, chose original locations for filming and lists some very able actors (Max Riemelt, Alexander Held) in its cast.

There is no fluff or filler in this movie, no boredom coming up. But while it is a good "time piece" in the sense that it gives you a good idea what it was like in that particular time and situation, there is no plot that is strong enough to really hold the movie together.

Ultimately, I would only recommend it to those who are curious about or have any connection to those failures of the education system that existed for way too long.
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Blackguards (2014 Video Game)
Below expectations
24 April 2015
I must admit I'm writing this review even though I haven't finished the game. Then again, I'm not planning to because it just didn't get me hooked. Some decent games were based on the Pen&Paper-RPG "The Dark Eye" so far: "Drakensang" as well as its prequel, and "Chains of Satinav".

Blackguards, however, focuses solely on fighting and compromises everything else that has made the other games so charming. No atmosphere, no free will - you're just railroaded from battle to battle.

From a technical point of view I can't believe that this is from 2014. Below standard even for a non-US-game. Not even the lips are moving! Kudos to the witty dialogue writers and the voice actors, who at least give the main characters some personality.
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Stick with the westerns
18 April 2015
First of all: It would take a lot of excitement and quality to justify four hours of runtime. This is simply not given. The scenes drag for no apparent reason. A long intermission between sentences can have a strong impact on occasion, but not if it's in almost every scene. An ugly rape scene has zero consequence - when the involved characters meet again, it is like nothing has happened.

Usually the involvement of Ennio Morricone upgrades a movie immediately, but in this case the soundtrack is badly chosen and badly edited, same thing goes for sound effects.

If you like slow-paced, long movies, there are a few good ones out there (Ben Hur, Lawrence of Arabia). But "Once Upon A Time In America" is just forgettable. After reading a few positive reviews I get the impression that the biggest argument for this movie is that it's pretty to look at. At times it is, which is why it gets two stars from me instead of just one.
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I would want that lawyer
8 April 2015
It's the witness for the prosecution that gives this movie its title, but it's the lawyer for the defense who absolutely steals the show. They drew up a great character, and Charles Laughton brings it across perfectly.

The suspense is kept high from beginning to end. The many twists and secret motivations cost the whole thing a little credibility, which is why I rate it "only" 9/10. On the bottom line, however, that's a small price to pay for a very enjoyable movie.

Being German and just having watched my first Marlene Dietrich movie, I also feel that I must address her: She's a little overacting on several occasions. This is nitpicking, though. The movie is very much recommendable. The ending is Shyamalanyan.
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A Penn & Teller advertisement
3 April 2015
I usually give two or three stars for bad movies, but this is just mindbogglingly awful.

The ridiculous content aside, even from an objective view, the way this material is shot, edited and presented is worse than amateurish.

I'm pretty sure they infringe on some copyrights here, as Penn & Teller probably didn't agree to the use of the Bullshit-theme, which is used a lot. And by that I mean a LOT. It really makes one go back and watch some of those old episode. It's a catchy track, after all.

The sound effects are the only things that are as hilariously funny as the faulty logic these people follow. Not for two hours, though.

Spoilers: Queen Elizabeth II. is planning to kill 6 billion people, Obama is a terrorist and Teller is Penn Jilette's unwilling slave.

Of course, 9/11 is also covered. Only the moon landing is missing. Enjoy.
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Six Feet Under: The Trip (2001)
Season 1, Episode 11
Difficult episode
16 March 2015
'The Trip' tackles infant death - a topic usually only covered in the most obscure horror movies. The writers even managed to jam gay prostitution in the mix somewhere. And yet it works.

The episodes are long enough to allow for slow transitions from one plot line into the next. No character's story is compromised, not even the ones' that have almost no screen time in this episode.

Still only 7/10 for me. Considering the subject-matters at hand, I would have liked to see stronger emotional responses. With a few exceptions (Billy, Nate) the characters seem almost bored, even when in trouble.
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Taxi Driver (1976)
DeNiro is great - Movie not so much
11 March 2015
There is a lot of great acting in this movie. Most of all from Robert DeNiro, who even managed to make a rather unspectacular line in a rather unspectacular scene one of the most quotable in cinema. You talking' to me? I also enjoyed Cybill Shepherd, Harvey Keitel and cute little Jodie Foster.

However, the acting carries almost all of the weight in this film and doesn't eradicate the many dissonances.

For example, the movie builds much on the "filthiness" and amorality of NYC. The state of the city is exaggerated so much, however, that it is difficult to relate to the characters being affected by it. Also, some of the characters' behaviors seem unrealistic for me. In spite of the long build-up, the ending doesn't seem justified, either.

It's not too bad, but wouldn't recommend it. Only worth a watch if you want to catch up on classic movies, like me.
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Six Feet Under: Pilot (2001)
Season 1, Episode 1
A perfect episode
19 February 2015
This would have been an absolutely excellent movie. Sure, the characters are amazing and it's great to see them develop over the following seasons, but the pilot has absolutely everything.

A perfect, warts-and-all, emotional portrayal of a death and how it's affecting the immediate family members, all of whom have something in their life they are trying to hide. In spite of that, the characters are 100% believable, unlike some other series where character problems seem forced or far-fetched and are thus less relatable.

Great script, great acting. 'Six Feet Under' is a good, not a great series as far as I'm concerned. As far as single episodes go, however, this is probably one of the best ever produced.
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