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Avengers: Infinity War (2018)
Should stay closer to the Comic Book story telling
A very good attempt. The Marvel movies of today come closer to the strengths of comic books story telling: complex stories told on many narrative strings summing up to big finals. Digital art of today can provide the means to bring actors in real-live superheros feeling. A lot of this movie is to be liked. But the Marvel team should go back - one more time - to study further the story telling of the comic books. All good drawn stories do not go on with action scenes over pages and pages. That would be to boring and page-wasting for the reader. Action itself is done within very few pictures in comic books. One "wham!" and one "peng!". That's it. Nobody is interested in 10 pages of "wham" and "peng!". The needed action scenes are shortened in comic books (the fantasy of the reader jumps in) and the won comic book frames can be filled with in-between stories of love, hate, relation, politics, kisses, needings and longings of human beings universal told with the over-aggregated means of superheros. So please, reduce the time wasted on action scenes. Stay closer with the tellings of comic books. With each step the Marvel and the DC-teams go closer to the art of the telling in comic books, the better the movies have become. In Infinity War the grandios final would have been still more grandios with a reduction of the battle scenes to an absolute minimum. The first comic-movie that will dare to use an absolute minimum of time for battle scenes will come up with fantastic stories, I am sure.
Thor: Ragnarok (2017)
Okay. The inspiration was Ragnarok, the old saga of the dying northern gods. Added are some jokes and a different outcome to get a happy end. As a long time comic reader a very disappointing experience. But I guess, for people who have grown up with Star Wars, the Hobbits and King of Thrones this new Thor movie checks all the boxes. A mixed bag of fantasy, science fiction, jokes and action. And inner struggles are shown in a populist easily accessible way. But for movies like this there are no established comic heroes needed. Make such a script for a pure fantasy movie, so I know, I don't have to go for it. Fantasy is a colorful, conservative told tale without any vision. It does not add anything to its characters that may ring a bell in me or gives anything in meaning to my life. Pure entertainment. But from my comic heroes I am used that they mirror my own struggles in life. The uncertainties, the trying of love, the trying of being a good one, all the lost hopes, and the regaining of hope. The longing for being alone, the longing to be together with others. The best comic super hero tales bring me to tears. Give new insight. Let me struggle further in my own life. But this Thor is just fantasy. Boring entertainment. Action happens, and after that another one. And then it's over.
I have seen Justice League the day before. Justice League went wrong. The script did not work out. But at least they tried. The characters (Batman, Superman) did not overcome their own gravity, could not get disconnected from their history in comics. Justice League failed, because the script was torn apart in its aim to get something right. But still, that is the essence of being human, too. To try and to fail. That bound my feeling for the failing of Justice League. That is something. But Thor did nothing with me. Absolutely nothing.
Justice League (2017)
Too much action
DC-Superheros are more important than Marvel's. With the creation of Superman and the contradiction that a superior being has no advantage whatsoever, because he is more vulnerable regarding friendships and family than a "normal" human, a mirror of humanity has been created that no other superhero delivers. So I always worry with Superman movies. The comics can deliver the side stories of humanity. The movies can not, because the producers always prefer the action and not the needed affection. The cast could deliver easily - some few scenes show it. But the script does not ask for many. But this movie is a must to see anyway. Every movie that shows Gal Gadot as Wonder Woman is a must. She delivers in a magical way - it is unbelievable how fantastic she looks, moves, speaks, inside out, outside in. I wish, a good social competent script for Superman. And a script with the depth of Logan:Wolverine for Wonder Woman.
I had to go and look at that movie by myself...
... after all the hate or love reviews. If you want to go for this picture, I can recommend to read the short review from IMDb-user wasabiteabag from Australia. In his review is a fine summary of all the symbols in the movie and it helps a lot to be aware of symbolism as main carrier of the script. With that in mind it is a must see. I liked very much, how the creation process of "god" went out of control, without holding anything back. The movie grows and grows. Try to be part of the growing during watching.
Battle of the Sexes (2017)
Emma Stone and Steve Carell
really shine. It is a pity that Carell and Stone did not play do a movie with a more distinct script. The plot of the Battle is much too thin to take me away. Feminist fight for equal rights is always a bit obscure, if it is connected to people who are already famous and can do what they want, anyway. Make a feminist movie of e.g. a cleaning woman in the 60's and I am sure Emma Stone could make another Oscar performance.
The Shape of Water (2017)
Seen at the Viennale 2017: it is good, they chose Sally Hawkins for the main cast. Very well done story telling. It is all a bit too aesthetically. And too predictable. And all feelings are told. There was not much room for my own fantasies. Everything was shown. No space in-between left. If you want to go to the movies for an evening for sheer, perfectly done entertainment - go for it!
Sanpo suru shinryakusha (2017)
Slow Motion Sci-Fi
Seen at the Viennale 2017: At the beginning I liked this movie. I like the succinct dialogues that appear to be very often a trademark of Japanese movies. But with ongoing time, I sat in the cinema thinking: come on!, we got it, please show us the next scene. I did not look for the time. But it became a pain. Very often I thought, okay now comes the logical end. But no. Another intermediate dialogue had to be followed. And another one. And another one. At the end I was really exhausted.
Chai dan zhuan jia (2017)
Why did I stay?
Seen at the Viennale 2017: Bad acting, illogical story, no suspension, not even any idea of telling something new. I wanted to rate it with 1 star. Movies without any attempt to give deeper insight into human beings are worthless. On the other hand, I did not leave the cinema. So I give 2.
Thirst Street (2017)
Brilliantly played by Lindsay Burdge
Seen at the Viennale 2017: after "Three Billboards..." the best movie at the Viennale (to me). Lindsay Burdge playing a stalking woman in need of love is absolute believable. Having been stalked by a woman for nearly one year in my own past, I can only congratulate the absolute realistic thoughts given to that girl by the script writers Nathan Silver and C. Mason Wells. Both have been at the cinema after the screening and told us that Ms. Burdge herself gave the final edge to her acting. I am a bit sorry that I did not ask for the microphone during the Q&A. Because Nathan Silver expressed more than once his sadness about the passing of the Viennale director (for the past 20 years) Hans Hurch in the Q&A-session. And somehow I had the feeling, one of the audience should answer this, because we all miss Mr. Hurch, who was always around and isn't anymore. A word from the audience itself might have helped all of us... another missed opportunity, sadly.
The Master (2012)
Wanted to be something like Citizen Kane...
Seen at the Viennale 2017: the story is not right (to me). The master (played brilliantly by Seymour Hoffman, 10 stars for his acting!) is preaching his philosophy of the character-development of human beings. And his theories go far: happenings in past lifes have effect on today's life of a person. But in the story itself it all collapses down to a simple failed love in the current life of Freddie Quell (completely over-acted by Phoenix - no wonder, he did not get an Oscar). Who ever tried a similar treatment for his own psyche, knows that true problems go so much deeper, than a missed love! Anderson was not able to catch the complexity (and possible beauty) of his subject. And it's really a shame - The Master was filmed onto 70 mm. And the festival here in Vienna showed a 70 mm copy on analog projection. Beautiful pictures and easily understandable spoken words. Overall, a missed opportunity, because of a lousy script.
Daphne is not very special
Seen at the Viennale 2017: Seems to be a new trend. To follow female young women with close-up camera through their daily life's. Has something to do with new camera techniques, I assume. Because faces of people can tell stories of their own, somebody can make easily a "character study" instead of a well told story with interesting characters. I appreciate that such movies are a psychological help for up-growing young girls (I hope they find their way to pictures like this). But for an adult they are quite boring. Daphne is the typical woman, more on the conservative side of thinking. A girl of our day. I can watch character studies of them all around me, without going to the movies...
Jeune femme (2017)
Should have used a sweeter cat
Seen at the Viennale 2017: Laetitia Dosch rescued this movie from absolute impassibility. To follow female young women with close-up camera through their daily life is a new trend. I guess, it has something to do with new camera techniques. Because faces of people can tell stories of their own, somebody can make easily a "character study" instead of a well told story with interesting characters. I appreciate that such movies are a psychological help for up-growing young girls (I hope they find their way to pictures like this). But for an adult they are quite boring.
Making Judith! (2017)
Not so explicit actresses
Seen at the Viennale 2017: Lemke is famous for collecting daring actors and actresses around him. In the last years foremost Tini-Kristin Bönig and Henning Gronkowski. It is always a pleasure to dream cinematic day dreams by following such a cast through Lemkes fantasies. Sadly, for this movie, similar powerful players are not part of the cast. Judith Paus (leading actress of Making Judith) is beautiful and striking, but not that type of a over-ambitious slag that would justify the need to make a movie with. Anyway, I will go to every future Lemke-movie again and again. Surprise is always waiting around the corner.
Seen at the Viennale 2017: Sisters don't talk much about their real problems, but they understand each other without talking on a deeper emotional level anyway. Julia Ducournau makes a very intelligent horror movie out of this basic bond between brothers and sisters. Not that much horror, but never-the-less a lot of food for thoughts, and therefore entertaining.
Beach Rats (2017)
Seen at the Viennale 2017: A guy is really really bored. And we have to watch him on screen. He is gay and takes drugs. And he meets older men. So what? I cannot really believe, that boys like him exist. At least he is gay and is looking for sex. I assume that a young boy who is eager for sex has a vital force in himself, driving him to stupid ideas and encounters. But this boy does not have any urge in him. I guess, in reality he would not even search for sex with such low energy in him. I guess, the real gay boys on that beach are much more filled with energy, what cannot be imagined or shown in an art movie by a director without similar inner needs. Real life is not that lifeless.
Les fantômes d'Ismaël (2017)
I liked it
Seen at the Viennale 2017: With actresses like Marion Cotillard and Charlotte Gainsbourg you have a winner anyway. Just to look at them acting is worth the movie. Gainsbourg plays the actual girlfriend and Cotillard the wife coming back to her husband after 20 years away. Director Arnaud Desplechin was present at the screening. Asked about choosing Gainsbourg for girlfriend and Cotillard for the back coming wife, he answered, he could have chosen the actresses the other way round, too. For sure it would have become a different movie. I would like to see also this other version. Sadly, it will never be directed...
Bande à part (1964)
Seen at the Viennale 2017: Reason for screening was a sad tragedy. Hans Hurch, director of the Viennale (Vienna International Film Festival) since 10 years, died this summer. Now for the Viennale 2017 several filmmaker selected movies in praise of Mr. Hurch. Agnes Varda selected Bande a Part for screening. I think, everybody who goes to the movies must see all Godard movies at least once. And for sure the wonderful Anna Karina in Bande a Part.
Difficult to write about
Seen at the Viennale 2017: writing reviews about several movies in the last year, I nearly have to pass on this one. Three Billboards is of such high quality that it is nearly impossible to comment on it. Only highly professional reviewers should dare to write something about such high quality script, directing and cast. Why not ten stars, then? We still have to see, whether this one will become a classic movie for the Top 200. Maybe, it will. For sure it earns such a high rating. Three Billboards touches soul and heart from 10 minutes after the beginning up to the end. Seldom I changed from laughing to sadness in such a high frequency. But the movies greatest strength is: it gives hope. Hope in the possibility that people can change from the worse to the better. People are changing in this movie. People can change in real life. We get remembered that this is possible. For sure, I will never forget the highly emotional moment, when Dixon risks his life by grabbing the burning crime file of Hayes and jumps through the fire wall. This movie deserves every single Oscar it will (hopefully) get.
Jack Reacher: Never Go Back (2016)
I like Cruise. He takes acting so seriously. He is always trying hard to satisfy the cinema audience. The plot itself is not the best. But I liked how it established a plot development in which Jack Reacher got nearly convinced he might have a daughter. And how Cruise played this character who is getting acquainted to the idea of having a child. I was emotionally captured by the closing pictures, when the girl wants to embrace him - her "might have been dad" - but Jack stays confined and clueless before relaxing himself. All the believable emotion is played in a way that only Cruise can do. It is a pity that Cruise still gets underrated for his performances. He deserves that the critics take him seriously. With Jack Reacher Cruise has established a clever character. He might be able to come back to Reacher from time to time without need to stay young forever.
Easily to forget
Starts quite fine. But gets completely unbelievable after half an hour and does not recover anymore. The researchers try to find out how the aliens communicate with them. The kind of talking and writing of the aliens seems to be untranslatable. And I think - from what is shown to the cinema audience - it is impossible to make progress of translation in such a short time. The complexity of the alien talking seems to be so high that human being would need hundreds of years to get a clue how to do it. But the plot has to go on, and so arbitrary action takes place. The movie lost my interest and somehow it ended. I cannot remember anymore how. After two weeks I forgot most of the plot already...
argh! Such a shame!
What a pity! During the last 3 years of going to the cinemas there was not one contemporary movie with the slightest chance to get full 10 stars from me. And now The Passengers nearly ticked all the boxes. And - so sad - failed finally without any need. How could that happen?? Please, Columbia, and please, Mr. Tyldum give us a Directors Cut and fix the minor problems of that movie. 1. find another reason for the couple for not being able to go back to traveling sleep. For sure the space ship traveling service would provide the machinery for woken up technical personnel to go back to sleep, 2. make the final of the movie regarding repair of the atom reactor less dramatic and 3. don't overdo it with all the circumstances to bring Preston back to life. A less dramatic rescue of the spaceship would have done it perfectly. Why I still give 8 stars: wonderful pictures, wonderful acted. But mostly, I myself expect from a SciFi-picture that I am not bothered with an unnecessary love story. But a good movie also provides something new and surprising. The Passengers did this. Because it placed a love story in SciFi a n d it worked out. And so I was surprised. In a very positive way. I got emotionally extremely touched by Lane and Preston. And I could have done without all the final action at all. This movie is a great achievement. And - (I have not seen La La Land yet) - in my humble opinion Lawrence, Pratt and Tyldum should be Oscar candidates. I recommend this movie wholeheartedly. Go and see it. It is a must. Believe the high praise of the top IMDb high praisers regarding this movie.
Viaggio in Italia (1954)
Always a pleasure to see Ingrid Bergman
Luckily they projected an old 35 mm copy to get the right feeling of looking at the past. This is not a very spectacular movie. It seems that the tourism promotion of Naples in 1954 sponsored part of the movie. There is a lot of advertising time for the area around Naples (Pompeij, Capri) in it. But from today's point of view these scenes are quite interesting. You see explanations how they uncovered the remains of Pompeij and wonderful statues of ancient times. Besides that we see a very believable struggle between man and woman in a late stage of their marriage. How first love is translated into a somehow different, but never-the-less, important feeling.
Could have painted a much clearer picture in his documentary
Seen at the Viennale 2016: strange, Thorsten Trimpop leaves too much space for interpretation. During the documentary it was not clear whether a lot of people were still suffering from the fallout of the nuclear accident. We have seen lame horses - really due to the radioactive fallout?, because one farm only was shown. People living in the same area without wearing any precautions (no breathe masks with filter). Several people told about exhausting, but several others without any health problems. After the screening of the documentary Trimpop himself spoke to the auditorium. 170000 people are still not back in the area. 23 Mio. tons of soil are wasted. Children are sick. People have got cancer. Why did Trimpop not show those facts more clearly in his documentary??
They Live (1988)
Seen at the Viennale 2016: Its nearly 30 years old already. And got a lot of patina on it since then. But the basic capitalism criticism that leads the action is not outdated. I liked the main cast Roddy Piper. Could not play really, but did act very charming. Keith David was really good. There is a fight between both of them, in which Piper wants to convince David to put on the sunglasses so he would be able to see how the world really looks like. But David refuses. This fight between two men is gorgeous! First it is a little bit boring. But it goes on for so long, so much time, that it becomes enjoyable to watch, because this fight scene does not stop and goes on and on. Very good entertainment overall. A classic.
Ang babaeng humayo (2016)
too little to impress
Seen at the Viennale 2016: No, this movie is not too long. Don't be afraid of the many minutes. Lav Diaz knows how to entertain the movie buff. Most of the action takes place in the night and is filmed in black and white. I wondered, whether the use of b/w-film for the night scenes in the small village streets was a good idea. To my feeling the nights are darker in color. Anyway, too less story for the long-timed frames. The drama was not catchy enough for me to stay within the story. The long-timed frames provided (to me) too much time. So my mind wandered away from the movie and came back again and wandered away again and so on. This is okay with certain abstract movies, when your mind is set free with ideas and inspiration. Ang Babaeng Humayo did (to me) not provide this inspiration. Only the end is non-real enough to start dreaming. But there the movie ends abruptly. I saw it yesterday. And already today this nearly 4 hours are nearly forgotten. Left me unimpressed. But, praise to Lav Diaz! He wants and he dares. And for sure, I will go and see his next movie.