Archive for the ‘2002’ Category

Wie Die Karnickel – **

Posted: October 7, 2016 in 2002, Comedy, Germany, LGBT themed, XX

Why would anyone want to watch a German sex comedy? Well, because a German sex comedy – unlike Hollywood sex comedies – actually joke about sex.

Is this a great movie? Of course it’s not award winningly great. But in accordance with the statement in the previous post: this was funny from start to finish, so yes it’s great if you have low expectations.

What is it about? Well, based on a comic by the guy who wrote nineties smash hit Der Bewegte Man (Maybe…, Maybe not) and deals with a contrabass player in an music ensemble who gets dumped by his girlfriend after she discovers that he watches porn movies at home. His gay neighbor (and old time school buddy) tries to make him think about relationships and sex like most gay men do. What follows is a series of lame, but embarrassingly funny scenes. The kind that will make you laugh knowing that nobody else is watching you having a good time. It’s really bad, but that’s perfectly okay. Some scenes are really hilarious.

Only available in German

Time goes fast. Cidade De Deus is 13 years old! But since the story is set in the late sixties and early seventies, the movie itself doesn’t age at all. #21 on imdb’s list of best movies ever and #38 on the recent BBC list of best movies of the 21st century: that’s way too low. It’s not a perfect film, but it’s still very entertaining and all the elements that make cinema great join together in a great blend. The acting by – at the time – amateurs is remarkable, the visual flair is astonishing, the editing is excellent, the soundtrack helps where it has to and even though it’s a violent gangster drama, there’s also room for romance and humor and social critique, shown in a most natural way.

The storyteller is Buscapé (named ‘rocket’ in the English subtitles), a young kid from the ghetto who is asked by a newspaper agency to take pictures of the gang violence in the favelas. How he got that assignment and how the gang violence rose to its peak is told in flashbacks, a technique which normally takes away the speed of a movie, but is well done here. The different fragments flow into each other very naturally.

Too bad director Fernando Meirelles never established his talent as the new Tarantino or Scorcese in later work. He did get nominated though for an Oscar (losing to Peter Jackson) for this masterpiece.

This is the kind of movie you can watch every five or ten years and enjoy every single time. And that’s what classics are all about.

In anticipation of The Force Awakens, the seventh episode in the Star Wars sage, and after re-watching the original trilogy about a year ago, it felt necessary to re-watch episodes I, II and III again.

The Phantom Menace remains rubbish. Even the third time around. It doesn’t even get half a star. It’s terrible. It doesn’t make sense. The acting is abominable (even though I start to appreciate Liam Neeson’s contribution), the special effects are unspectacular, it’s made for toddlers and there’s an overabundance of new characters and vehicles. RUBBISH.

Attack Of The Clones (xx) is much better. There’s more action. There’s less child’s talk. The acting is actually quite good. Apart from Samuel L Jackson who looks really out of place. But it has Christopher Lee! And Temuera Morrison!

But, Revenge Of The Sith (***) needs another re-watch. Soon. It’s great. It’s dark and gloomy. It has excellent fights. The acting is superb. This Hayden Christensen deserves more credit! Plus, in times of radicalization of young muslims you can compare the seduction to join the dark side with the attraction of to jihadist movements. How come no-one ever made this comparison before?

Amen – **(*)

Posted: December 7, 2014 in 2002, Drama, France, Germany, Historical, Holocaust, War, XX1/2

First the bad thing: this is a French/German production taking place in Germany and the Vatican, but everyone speaks English! Why do producers still believe that subtitles will harm the commercial success of a movie! (it will, for sure, but still)

Then the good news: it’s an important story that needs to be told. The inventor of the Zyklon B gas, Kurt Gerstein, is horrified when he learns what the Nazis do with his invention in the concentration camps. He pleads with the evangelical and catholic church to openly condemn these practices, but finds no response. One Jesuit priest has connections in the vatican and tries his best to get the pope to act firmly on the matter.

And finally the result: Amen tells the story like it should be told in school. It’s pretty neutral in explaining why certain instances did or did not do certain acts. The actual atrocities are not shown but suggested, making the movie accessible for a large audience. The criticism towards the cowardness of the evangelical and catholic churches is gentle, not harming their cause too much. So all you’re left behind with is a solid history lesson which could have been made for any tv channel.

For once they could have added more drama to the story. And spent more detail on character development. Ultrich Tukur and Mattieu Kassovitz are doing an okay job, but seem so remote in their performance. The same with all the others in the cast apart from Urlich Mühe, who steals the show as the successful bad guy. They all say their lines, they have their emotional expressions at the right time, but something is missing. They could have stressed the inner conflict more. After all, this story is all about the failure of certain instances to intervene in one of the most horrible events in recent history and everyone just acts like they don’t feel responsible.

This said, history is repeating itself at the very moment. Maybe schools should show this movie to their classes. Maybe in the end it’s good that it’s made in English so it reaches a larger audience.


Western Australia, 1930s. Three half-blood aboriginal girls are taken from their village and sent to a christian camp some 1000 miles more south. Much against everyone’s advice, the oldest one decides to escape and take along her younger niece and sister. And she’s smart, because she erases her traces, so that the aboriginal tracker cannot find them. However intelligent she may be, the journey back home is long and full of dangers…

As usual, the inexperienced child actors are doing an excellent job. It’s surprising to learn that none of them continued with acting. They make the escape and journey feel very real and manage to attract the viewer directly to their adventure. That’s a merit from the director as well of course, who makes this more than just a television movie about a true event from an evil past. In fact, everyone in the cast does an excellent job. There are a lot of important scenes where the images, looks and gestures are louder than the words. Kenneth Branagh, who was the only established actor at the time of its release, also does a good job in portraying the governor, who really believes he takes away the lighter skinned aboriginals for their better good. He’s not necessary a devil as the children call him. He’s a man of principles and strong beliefs.

For those who’ve never heard about the ‘stolen generation’, they are a generation of light-skinned aboriginals who were taken from their families and raised by white people in order to make them integrate more in society. For decades Australians didn’t really know how to deal with this horrific past, but now it’s covered in almost every museum you visit and movies like these helped make people realize how terrible this was.

It’s an important and solid movie that focuses on the persistence of the girls to get back to where they belong. This alone makes this worth the watch. It’s very straightforward and somewhat predictable, but adding more drama and twists would have done the truth injustice. Especially since two of the girls were still alive when this movie came out (and are shown before the end credits roll).

Ying Xiong (Hero) – *1/2

Posted: February 27, 2014 in 2002, Action, China, Historical, War, X1/2

Tony Chio Wai Leung impressed me so much in Lust/Caution that I want to see all of his work! He also stars in Hero, Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon-like epic Chinese costume action movie, which I once started to watch but failed to finish. Time to put in that forgotten dvd and persevere…

Sure, it’s epic. The cinematography is awesome. The scenes with masses of extras building up an army or guarding the king’s palace are impressive. And Tony Leung is brilliant in all the scenes he’s in. But as a whole, this is not a memorable movie. The fight scenes are choreographed like dance recitals and don’t impress. ‘Hovering in the air before finally striking’ looks very dated anno 2014. Jet Li has no facial expression at all and looks/talks/acts nothing like a hero. And there’s no captivating story.

A royal ruler accepts the invitation of a man who claims to have killed his most dangerous enemies. After each heroic account, the man is allowed to come closer to the king. At one point however, the king gets paranoid and gives his take on the accounts. These different interpretations are a great tool to see multiple fight scenes between the same people, but it’s not good storytelling.

Disappointed, but glad to have persevered this second time around.

Eight Legged Freaks – 1/2

Posted: April 10, 2012 in 1/2, 2002, Comedy, Horror, USA

I counted the amount of dvd’s I have in my collection that I haven’t watched yet. 38! Can you imagine. I’m trying to at least watch a bit of them before I put them in a box to give them away. Some movies are really bad, even though they look promising. Like Romulus, My Father with Franka Potente and Eric Bana. Others are really bad, but are actually pretty fun to watch. Just because the makers didn’t take their movie all too serious. Like Eight Legged Freaks, a horror comedy made ten years ago.

It’s bad. But as an homage to the bad science fiction monster films from the fifties, it’s good. Just because it’s as bad as those movies back then. The special effects are stupid. There isn’t really any suspense or horror. Nor is there any humor. Which kind of sucks for a horror comedy. But the acting isn’t all that bad. Hey, Scarlett Johansson is in this movie. So that was a nice surprise. I need to see more action comedy things, because all these dramas make me depressive.