Archive for the ‘2007’ Category

A divorced couple get together for dinner a few times to discuss the weird behavior of their teenage son. That’s it basically.

There are intriguing scenes of dialogue. Some are repeated from a different camera angle. The technique is quite fascinating. You let two actors improvise and re-do the same scene a few times and then edit everything as if it’s the same scene from a different angle. It’s weird because the dialogue is different, but it’s fascinating.

However, that’s the only good thing about it.

The scenes of the boy acting seclusively weird are tedious. The adult acting is quite impressive, but the story just doesn’t lead to anywhere in particular. It’s all improvisation. Not that there needs to be a concluding end. But a series of intriguing conversations doesn’t make for a good story. Nor a good movie.

http://www.imdb.com/title/tt1100908

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Die Fälscher has been on my dvd shelf and in my travel dvd holder for years (some 50 other movies share the same fate), but for some reason it took me until today to finally watch it. It was worth the wait ! What an excellent movie.

Much has to do with the character of Sally Sorowitsch, a most intriguing Jewish counterfeiter who’s arrested by the Nazis and later placed as head of their own money forging business. His will to survive is enormous and if that includes collaborating with the nazis, than so be it. Soon after he’s been placed in a concentration camp he makes it known what his talents are in order to get a (slightly) better treatment than the others. And it works.

Both Karl Markovics (the actor) and Stefan Ruzowitzky (the director) are to be complimented for depicting a believable anti-hero. In fact, the whole cast and production team should be given kudos. The story is interesting, the characters aren’t one-dimensional, the script is well written, a lot of the background information is told with clever images, both explicit and suggestive…

Yeah, nothing to complain about at all. Apart from the soundtrack maybe and the Monte Carlo scenes in the beginning and at the end, which don’t add anything interesting to the story.

Great watch ! A must.

http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0813547/

It took a bit longer to finish Season 12 after having re-started watching E.R. Some story lines really suck, several new characters are incredibly annoying (Dr Clemente for instance) and it just often feels like the producers have no idea which direction they want to head with this show. There isn’t one single episode that really captivates. And there are plenty that are just less than mediocre.

It’s not all bad though. It’s quite daring to focus an entire episode on Dr Pratt and Dr Carter working at some refuge camp in Darfur. There seems to be more humor than in the previous season, which is a relief. There are still enough moral dilemmas that are brought to the mainstream’s attention. And the cliffhanger finale is quite shocking.

But most of the stories are boring and futile. And a lot of the acting is superficial and stereotypical. Maybe Season 13 is better again.

http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0108757/episodes?season=12

Set in Hong Kong and Shanghai before and during the Second World War, this daunting espionage thriller by Ang Lee doesn’t get you hooked until you witness a very brutal murder scene. The first half hour just introduces the characters and the setting. Japan has occupied China and at the university of unoccupied Hong Kong there’s a growing awareness of resistance. Enter a group of students who first try to raise awareness by acting in a patriotic theatre play and later decide to take their acting skills further by introducing themselves with fake identities to a powerful Chinese collaborator. The plan is easy: one of the girls in the group has to become the collaborator’s mistress and once she’s alone with him they will strike.

Two actors stand out. One is newcomer Tang Wei who plays the seducer and movie superstar Tony Leung Chiu-Wai as the collaborator. Every scene they are in together is mesmerizing and is filled with feelings of Lust and Caution as the title promises. Especially during the daring sex scenes. Movies like these can easily fall subject to stereotyping by focussing on a villain and a good whore. But Ang Lee just makes both very human in their moments together. He did an excellent casting job. Both actors and both characters fascinate until the very end. You’re never quite sure if they enjoy the lust more than the fear of getting caught.

The soundtrack is outstanding, a movie element which often is underrated. It helps create the atmosphere. The cinematography however looks very fake. The recreated Hong Kong and Shanghai from the late thirties and early forties doesn’t come across as realistic. Even though they spend millions on creating the historical set. It looks too much like a movie set.

http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0808357

 

 

Earth – **1/2

Posted: December 23, 2013 in 2007, Documentary, Nature, UK, XX1/2

For those who have no time to watch the entire BBC Earth nature series, there’s also the feature documentary Earth which scored well at the box office all around the world.

It focuses on our fascinating planet and quickly takes you from the north pole to the south pole (and back) showing nature and animal life in all kinds of different environments.

It’s a great movie of course. It’s all filmed in HD and the scenes that were selected are jawdroppingly beautiful and at times funny as well. (the paradise bird mating preparation is a youtube classic)

It ends with a very finger-pointing message: stop destroying our planet and the creatures that live on it. My personal belief is that we’ve already fucked up a long time ago. They should have warned us during the industrial revolution back in the late 19th century. But they didn’t and now it’s too late. So for the time being: let’s enjoy what’s left and let’s enjoy dvd’s like these.

So why only **1/2? Just focus on the word ‘quickly’ in the second phrase. It’s really just a collection of beautifully shot scenes that are somehow edited together as a journey from north to south.

I prefer watching the tv series.

http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0393597

Talk To Me – *

Posted: November 3, 2013 in 2007, biopic, Dramedy, USA, X

Talk To Me is a disappointing biopic about a radio dj and tv talk show host from Washington DC, who’s considered to be the first real shock jock.  He got noticed doing an uplifting, tough and funny radio show in a prison and then was offered a morning slot on a local radio station once he got released. The radio station needed someone who could talk the language of the street in order to keep their listeners. And this man, Petey Greene, became an instant (local) celebrity.

The reason why Talk To Me is disappointing is because the dialogue is so boring and the story feels fake. At no point in this movie did I understand why this guy was so popular. I didn’t think he was funny or provocative at all. If that was his main asset, then why isn’t it more present in his biopic? I understand that they want to stress that he was more than a funny man – and they succeed in showing his more serious side in the wake of the assassination of Martin Luther King -, but it’s a bit weird that this soothing moment is the strongest scene in a movie about an agent provocateur.

Don Cheadle (as the host) and Chiwetel Ejiofor (as his manager) have their moments of excellence, but they often seem to be part of an unfunny Saturday Night Life blaxploitation parody sketch. It all feels very unreal, which is later confirmed as you read more about these two characters and their ‘friendship’. Some key moments – that feel fake – never occurred in reality, which makes the movie even less interesting. 

Sometimes there’s a reason why movies are sold for 1 euro in official dvd outlets.

 

http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0796368

Sunshine – **1/2

Posted: October 30, 2013 in 2007, Science Fiction, UK, USA, XX1/2

My first Blue Ray dvd on a HD tv screen: Sunshine.

Couldn’t have picked a better movie. The sound effects, the image quality, the futuristic atmosphere. Hooray for my new home cinema purchase!

Apart from the last 20 minutes, I really enjoyed this movie. There’s suspense, there’s some realism in all the science fiction, the acting is okay, and the technical features are awesome.

It’s about a mission towards the sun, where some astronauts needs to drop a bomb to save humankind on earth. That’s the premise. Of course, once they actually get past Mercury things don’t go as planned and decisions need to be made. Enter: drama, action, suspense and adventure.

But that end! Boring! Ridiculous!

Maybe better to wear sunglasses while watching the movie.

http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0448134/