Archive for the ‘movie’ Category

The movie time of the year.

Saturday, February 11th, 2006

Olli is carrying around his new bag, when I’m in a café I tend to look at the other guests more closely, scanning for movie celebrities, the radio program features my favorite cinema guru, Knut Elstermann, more often; short: it’s Berlinale time!
I personally am too phlegmatic to get up early, queue, check out programs and schedule and so forth, so I have to rely and good friends who ask me to accompany them when they have a spare ticket. Luckily, they exist and thanks to Berit I saw my first Berlinale 2006 movie yesterday.
It was Women Liang or You and Me, the opening movie of the adolescent movie feature/ competition 14plus. An excellent movie about a girl who moves to the city to study and rents a small shed-like room from an old woman. Those two, the young women and the old landlady are similar in character: stubborn, haughty, loyal, direct – they are fascinating women, full characters and seeing them clash and care was a great experience. The actresses are very impressive. A slow movie with a very tender and personal camera. Definitely to be recommended.

King Kong – bite me, that was fuzzy.

Tuesday, January 31st, 2006

Yes, many people think the Lord of the Rings parts one to three have been too long. They also think that Peter Jackson’s most recent movie, King Kong, is too long, and they could not refrain from wailing their it’s too long song into my ears, straining my nerves. Preconditioned that way, I only had the courage to watch King Kong on my own, without any company. I must say, the ape and I had a pretty good time. Though I have not really been gripped or moved by Kong’s tragic ending, I have enjoyed the movie tremendously. There were more than a few scenes which were either breathtaking or just plain hilarious. I also enjoyed the acting – Nicole KidmanNaomi Watts is charmingly fragile and agile at the same time; the men are great: goggly Jack Black, the adonis-like Adrien Brody and the germanically blue-eyed Thomas Kretschmann were putting up some nice acts. This movie should be watched on a screen as big as possible.
IMDb entry | Trailer

Sommer vorm Balkon – Charme und Arbeitslosigkeit.

Monday, January 30th, 2006

Der neue Film von Andreas Dresen hatte einen Trailer, der mich nicht gerade vom Hocker gerissen hat. Berlinfilm! hat er gerufen, aber ob das reicht, schien mir nicht so recht klar.
Glücklicherweise hat Sommer vorm Balkon mehr zu bieten gehabt als Berliner Lebensgefühl. Oder vielleicht sollte man es so sagen: er hat verschiedene, schöne und traurige Seiten des Lebensgefühls hier gezeigt und es dabei auch noch vermieden, hippe junge Leute oder die Kreativen als Maßstab für das Leben in Berlin zu präsentieren. Statt dessen haben wir zwei Frauen zu sehen bekommen, die Ihr Leben meistern müssen, denen dies aber nicht leicht fällt, die aber so tapfer sind, wie man es nur sein kann. Die Stimmung des Films zeigt, dass auch die anscheinende Trostlosigkeit des Alltags in oder am Rande der Arbeitslosigkeit noch Menschlichkeit und damit Trost zu bieten hat – wenn diese auch immer wieder erkämpft werden muss. Für mich waren die beiden Frauen nicht unmittelbar sympathisch, im Verlauf des Films sind sie mir aber sehr ans Herz gewachsen. Nicht alle Figuren und Nebenerzählungen sind voll überzeugend, insgesamt aber zeichnet der Film ein wunderschönes, menschliches, tragisches und mich trotzdem persönlich motivierendes Bild vom Leben in der Stadt. Wer sich auf den Alltag von zwei nicht mehr ganz jungen Frauen einlassen mag, sollte sich diesen Film unbedingt anschauen. Ich war bezaubert.

IMDb entry | Trailer

Match Point – Dostoevsky and class mobility.

Sunday, January 15th, 2006

I was a bit anxious when I entered the movie theater. Match Point had been praised by everyone I met or heard, making me fear that it could not live up to the extraordinary expectations raised by all this praise. I was not disappointed. It was a very good movie and it was a movie that was different to other Woody Allen movies that I have seen. However, I did not feel it to be the best Woody Allen since Manhattan or something like that. It was different but not necessarily better that his other movies. I guess that most people find it so much better because it is not a movie that might be perceived as being shallow, being a romantic comedy mixed with a few grains of psychoanalysis and a hearty filling of Manhattan impressions. This movie has a much sterner approach to life. And it has a Dostoevsky-reading anti-hero, Opera, cold-blooded murder and an ambivalent ending. Obviously, this is a movie to be taken serious. Bring in the Oscars.
Ehem. Seems I got into a rant here. Well, you should watch this movie. It is good. It has Dostoevsky in it. Crime and Punishment – the hero feels he commits crimes (I think he does so from the beginning by straightly sneaking his way into High Society) and he seeks punishment that does not come easily. Grand. The women are beautiful. No surprise here. The script is excellent and to the point – perhaps a bit too much to the point: a bit less doodling around the theme of luck and more scenes showing how difficult it would be to make your way into the English establishment as an Irish worker’s child would have been even more to my taste. Excellent acting, however. I am looking forward to Allen’s next movie which will supposedly also play in England.
IMDb entry | Trailer

Keine Lieder über Liebe – Die Doku die nicht war.

Wednesday, December 14th, 2005

Dieser Film hatte Vorschusslorbeeren bekommen; was mich häufig zu einem kritischeren Zuschauer macht, der höhere Erwartungen hat. In diesem Fall haben die Lorbeeren allerdings nicht zur Würzung beigetragen, denn die Filmsuppe war eh dermaßen versalzen, dass ich sie fast nicht ausgelöffelt hätte. Woran lag’s? Für mich war der pseudo-dokumentarische Charakter des Films ausschlaggebend. Ich fand die Schauspielerei aller drei Hauptdarsteller streckenweise gut, aber immer mal wieder auch viel zu dick aufgetragen – die Episode mit der Mutter der beiden männlichen Hauptcharaktere war nahezu unerträglich, so dass auch Leute neben mir im Kinosaal schon Seufzer ausstiessen. Jürgen Vogel ist zwar mit der Zeit immer besser geworden und Heike Makatsch war auch nicht schlechter als die anderen, aber das reicht nicht. Das eigentliche Problem war, dass es sich eben nicht um eine Dokumentation gehandelt hat und die Nähe zu den gezeigten Personen, die einer Dokumentation so großen Wert verleihen kann, sich nicht herstellt – die Hauptdarsteller bleiben Schauspieler, die auch von ihrem Umfeld als solche erkannt und behandelt werden. Das eigentlich spannende Material für diesen Film wären doch die Zuschauer und die Angestellten der Läden gewesen, in denen die Hansen Band gespielt hat. Wie haben die Leute auf die unangekündigte Anwesenheit von Stars wie Jürgen Vogel und Heike Makatsch reagiert? Die eigentlich interessanten echten Menschen verkommen zu Hintergrundfiguren. Für mich haben zwei Stellen in diesem Film funktioniert: zum einen das Gespräch mit dem Barmann und das Gespräch mit dem in Wilhelmshaven wohnenden ehemaligen Segler. Beide waren zwar auch Schauspieler, aber das war mir in den jeweiligen Situationen nicht klar – vielleicht hat es auch besser funktioniert, weil beide Szenen ohne echte Menschen ausgekommen sind. Insgesamt ein für mich leider klar gescheitertes Experiment, obwohl ich mich auf den Film gefreut hatte.
IMDb entry

Serenity & being a Whedonist.

Saturday, December 3rd, 2005

I was looking forward to watch Serenity – the trailers were nice, though not nearly as mouth-watering as the trailers for Spiderman or Lord of the Rings. A nice surprise was seeing Nathan Fillion whom I knew as the most-evil-ever-priest from the last episodes of Buffy’s final season. His and the other actors’ starring was decent enough. I actually liked the cast quite a bit – the crew of the Serenity had a certain everday people charme to it, which I enjoyed. In addition, the movie shows the same dirt and character that made the original Star Wars trilogy so wonderful. Dialogues were, of course, the script being written by Joss Whedon, good and quick-witted. However, the story lacked grandeur to me – with the exception of one moment of sudden shock and loss the movie is a bit too smooth. Nonetheless, it is as good as one of the better episodes of Buffy. Which is good enough for me. If you’re into Buffy (or into adventure/action movies), go see it. If you’re not into Buffy, why should I care what you think about this movie, eh? ;)
IMDb entry | Trailers

I want style, not superpowers.

Thursday, November 24th, 2005

As a tribute to the superbly entertaining The Mask of Zorro (1998), Olli and I went to watch The Legend of Zorro. We were watching it on a monday at 22:45 h – and were the only people in the theater. Actually, the second part of Zorro was not as bad as I would have feared. Neither the political subtext nor the overall story and style were real disappointments. One thing bothered me during the opening sequence: Zorro was doing to many superhero-like feats when he fought the villains for the first time. I think it would have been better to make him a really stylish fighter who also is very dangerous and skillful than to present him as a superhero with style. Well, well. I liked the boy, cast as the son of Catherine Zeta-Jones and Antiono Banderas, and, of course, Banderas and Zeta-Jones are still a dream cast for a Zorro remake. If you’re really into Zorro you might want to consider watching it in the cinema, otherwise you should probably skip this movie or wait for the DVD…
IMDb entry | Trailer

Echte Gespenster.

Sunday, November 20th, 2005

Der neue Film von Christian Petzold lief vor einiger Zeit in den Kinos. Eine bestimmte sehr persönliche Stimmung hat für mich schon den Film Die innere Sicherheit ausgemacht. Auch in Gespenster ist eine junge Frau die Hauptfigur, eine Frau, die eine große Distanz zu ihrer Umwelt hat, die vorsichtig ist sich umschaut und zögernd durch’s Leben geht. Die Art der Regie, die Kamera und die zurückhaltenden Dialoge zusammen mit den sehr guten Schauspielerinnen machen es möglich, sich in die Ängste und Hoffnungen des Mädchens Nina einzufühlen. Gleichzeitig behalten Handlung und Charaktere etwas mystisches. Mir hat es sehr gut gefallen. Ein Film, den ich weiterempfehlen kann.
IMDb entry

Solid magics.

Saturday, November 19th, 2005

The Kulturbrauerei‘s cinema 4 wasn’t exactly stuffed on this Friday night’s showing of Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire. The most recent Harry Potter has has a new director, Mike Newell, and he does a decent job – much better, actually than the two first movies which were directed by Chris Columbus. However, it does not come close to the last one, which was directed by Alfonso Cuarón. That film was magic, strange and had a dreamlike atmosphere encompassing both fear and delight. This one evokes amusement and a small shudder here and there. Solid work, nice effects, good cooking down of the story, but not fantastic or inspired.
IMDb entry | Trailer

Close-up portrait.

Friday, November 18th, 2005

Yesterday, I saw L’enfant (English title: The Child); the portrait of a thief. His relation to his girlfriend, who just gave birth to a boy a few days before the action sets in, is shown in this movie, and it is paralleled to his relation with life in general. It quickly becomes clear that Bruno, the thief, is living the moment, involved in his immediate surroundings, be they people, his partner, the stick that he strokes through the water, everything. Everything only for the moment. Out of an unplanned situation he decides to sell the new born baby, and is confronted by the consequences of this almost immediately afterwards. The movie does a very good job of showing how Bruno deals with this change in his life, how he adepts to a changed situatedness. The consequences he has to face are dire, but – and here the movie stands out – they are neither Hollywoodesque nor totally bleak and depressing. A good movie.
IMDb entry | Trailer

Wasser für den ozean.

Thursday, October 27th, 2005

Ein weiteres Geburtstagsgeschenk trägt den Titel Über das Wasser. Es handelt sich um eine Novelle, geschrieben vom niederländischen Autor Hans Maarten van den Brink. Mich hat ja schon das Cover des Buches sehr angesprochen, zwei ruhig durch leicht bewegtes Wasser gleitende Menschen in einem Ruderboot, die im Wasser eine Spuren hinterlassen. Zwei Wirbel werden zurückgelassen, dort wo die Ruder eingetaucht sind. Sehr schön und sehr gut die feine Vergänglichkeit aufnehmend, die eines der Hauptthemen der Novelle ist. Die Hauptfigur ist ein Junge, der vom Wasser, vom Fluss und vom Rudern fasziniert ist und sich aus introvertierter Perspektive kurz vor Ausbruch des zweiten Weltkriegs zögernd eine neue Welt erschließt. Immer angetan vom Wasser, vom Befahren desselben, von der Kraft seines Ruderpartners. Hier tritt auch der meines Erachtens einzige Mangel hervor: der Ruderpartner des empfindsamen Helden schlägt in die in der Literatur so gerne bediente Kerbe der blonden Hanse – Menschen, denen alles leicht zu fallen scheint, die sich zielstrebig, selbstbewußt und kraftvoll durchs Leben bewegen und die sich immer Gegensatz zur feinfühligen Hauptfigur befinden, für die sie ein Faszinosum sind. Ein Klischee, dessen Ausdruck sich auch schon bei Thomas Mann findet und das mich noch nie überzeugt hat. Davon unbetroffen bleibt die Stimmung des Textes sehr schön, vieles bleibt offen und lässt Raum für eigene Gedanken. Ein hervorragendes Büchlein über Freundschaft, Wasser und das Dahinfließen der Zeit. Eine Lesefreude von kurzer Dauer, aber nachhaltige Eindrücke gebend. Dank an Henning für die treffliche Auswahl!

Not sure about the violence.

Wednesday, September 28th, 2005

About a month ago I saw Sin City – impressive pictures, super soundtrack and excellent actors that blend into the the dark and gritty world of Frank Miller’s Sin City perfectly. It is the best comic adaption that I have seen so far. Comics are one of my favorite media – the story telling possiblities offered by putting pictures into sequences are stunning. (If you haven’t done so until now, you definitely have to read Scott McCloud’s Understanding Comics, which is also translated into German. One of the few must have reads that I would recommend to anyone.)
However, I do have one problem with the comic market which definitely moves into focus when watching Sin City as a movie: the aggressive depiction of violence. From my perspective, the violence in Sin City wasn’t too bad; I found it less disconcerting than the comic sequence in Kill Bill vol. 1 for example. The use of colors other than red for blood, the obvious non-realism of the massive amount of injuries sustained by the protagonists and the whole mystic and dark atmosphere made dealing with the violence easier for me. Nonetheless, I remain skeptical about the whole kill splatter shoot die moan guts-flying-around issue – my non-spilled guts tell me to…
IMDb entry | Trailer

Shouldn’t forget this one.

Sunday, July 24th, 2005

For a while a vague doubt has been nibbling at my mind – I knew there was a movie that I recently watched but that I haven’t told my dear readers about yet. And I knew that it was a movie that I really liked, even though I had my doubts before watching it. A few days ago (I think it was when I saw Inga Busch in Alles of Zucker), I remembered. The title of the movie is Confidences trop intimes (eng: Intimate Strangers). My doubts were related to the fact that it is a french movie that deals with psychotherapy. I wasn’t sure if I would actually want to see and listen to an intellectually sophisticated movie that dealt with the slippery aspects of the psyche, of therapy, and therapists. Fear not! This movie deals with these subjects but it doesn’t require its audience to cultivate an intellectual’s habitus. This is because of a good story. But this is especially because of the two excellent and perfectly cast actors that play the main roles in this movie: Sandrine Bonnaire and Fabrice Luchini. I was astonished, charmed and extraordinarily amused by the way Luchini portrays a tax attorney (in)voluntarily becoming psychotherapist. If you thought the genre of romantic comedy does not exist in French movies, you are mistaken. You should enlighten yourself as soon as possible and spend and enjoyable evening with this movie.
IMDb entry | Trailer

Rakete über Brokdorf.

Monday, July 18th, 2005

Beim sich-einen-Abend-in-Darmstadt-vertreiben hat sich in der vergangenen Woche die Gelegenheit ergeben, einen Film mit denkbar schlechtem Plakat zu schauen: Am Tag als Bobby Ewing starb. Glücklicherweise ist der Film weitaus besser als das Plakat. Schauplatz ist Schleswig-Holstein, ein Dorf in der Nähe von Brokdorf. Ein besserer Schauplatz ist schon mal kaum vorstellbar. Sehr leicht vorstellbar scheint allerdings, dass es sich hier um ein Schauplatz-technisch positiv voreingenommenes Textchen handelt. Darsteller, Story und Bilder sind alle gut. Bei den Bildern hatte ich insbesondere während der ersten Minuten des Films die Befürchtung, dass hier zu sehr eine ja ach so schräge 80er Jahre Requisite präsentiert wird, aber im weiteren Verlauf des Films ist dieser Eindruck nahezu vollständig verschwunden. Besonders gefallen hat mir Rakete, gespielt von Jens Münchow. Überzeugendes Spiel und ein hervorragender Charakter, der einigen Bekannten aus Jugendtagen charmant nahe kommt. Auch bei Rakete hätte die Gefahr bestanden, den Charakter zu sehr als unterhaltsames Kuriosum aufzubauen, aber auch dieser Verlockung wurde widerstanden und Rakete bleibt ein spannender und sympathischer Charakter. Vielleicht am Besten hat mir die schon vorher als spannungsgeladen aufgebaute Duschszene gefallen. Insgesamt ein wirklich gelungener Film, den sich nicht nur Freunde der norddeutschen Tiefebene anschauen sollten. An die Angst vor dem radioaktiven Regen nach Tschernobyl konnte ich mich zum ersten Mal seit langer Zeit wieder lebendig erinnern.
IMDb entry | Trailer

Gritty, not super.

Tuesday, June 21st, 2005

This is how we like our heroes. Batman has all the potential to be one of the grittier characters that one needs: an ambivalent symbol, no real super powers, a history of guilt and mistakes. To my dismay I did not like any of the Batman movies that I saw since the nineties. Except for the new one. Batman Begins is directed by the director of Memento, Christopher Nolan, Batman Begins has a great cast, and it is not nearly as clean and plasticized like the other Batman movies. The story did not really work that well for me in the first quarter of the movie – it seemed like they tried to spin a story that is to grande for a super-hero movie. After a while, the paced accelerated and the story unfolded in some nice twists. One other thing that made this movie not the perfect experience – although it is hard for me to admit this – might be Liam Neeson, whom I usually like very much. However, his presentation of the role of the potential villain was not completely convincing for me. A thing that I liked about this movie was that they did not go for Matrix like martial artish fighting scenes. There are several fighting scenes, but the camera is always really close to the action and the cuts are very short. Keeps the old men safe from harm and adds to the grittiness. I saw it in a dubbed version and I am not sure if they meddled with some of the sound effects, which seemed to be out of sync or at least not exactly matching what could be seen on the screen in a few scenes. Overall, I enjoyed this movie and would recommend watching it in the cinema. It is good enough, especially if you like one of the many stars in the cast, who sometimes act in unusual roles or outfits.
IMDb entry | Trailer

It’s about the voices.

Wednesday, June 15th, 2005

Even though I heard that it only got bad reviews I took my chances and went to see The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy. The only two precautions I took were (a) going there with nice people (Olli, Mia, Manu) and (b) avoid the dubbed version. (b) was pretty obvious, I think. British culture and language plays such a crucial role in Douglas Adams‘ writing that one should avoid translations if it is at all an option. If I remember correctly, The Hitchhiker’s Guide has been the first novel I read in English. Voluntarily.
If I would have known before watching the movie that Alan Rickman does the voice for Marvin, the depressed hyper-intelligent robot, I wouldn’t even have considered being lazy and watching the movie in a dubbed version but in a cinema that is only a three minute walk away. Alan Rickman is great. As readers of this blog with a sound memory sure remember, I totally adore his death scene as the Sheriff of Nottingham in Robin Hood… So, the voice acting in general was great, as was the casting. Douglas Adams’ novel is such a great piece of writing because it often strays away from the main plot, putting in funny little notes and stories. This is almost impossible to do well in a movie, I think. They tried to capture that stylistic element in this movie, and they did not fail. However, they lost quite a bit of the charm on the way. I don’t know if this could have been solved better – I guess not. If you know your way with towels and if you don’t mind movies adapted from novels then I think you will enjoy this movie. If you’re into absurd British humor and haven’t read Douglas Adams yet, you are probably the best possible viewer for this movie and should definitely watch it. If these two statements don’t apply to you I don’t care if you watch it or not…
42! ;)
IMDb entry | Trailer

A warning – don’t waste your time and money on this.

Tuesday, May 31st, 2005

Somehow, I got the impression that people liked the last part of the prequels to the classic Star Wars trilogy, Episode III – Revenge of the Sith, more than episodes one and two. I wonder how this happened. Yesterday evening I watched it with Olli here in the Kulturbrauerei in a dubbed version. It was as terrible as the others were. Cheesy dialogue, non-working puns, uncompelling actors, and – as Olli pointed out – no focus on a real main character. The story dips into this and that, people say that they are troubled, but everything remains wooden and unplausible. Of course, the special effects department is good, but I wasn’t blown away either. The soundtrack has nothing particularly enchanting or interesting in store and the pictures are much too obviously linked to what feeling currently should be induced into the audience. Bah. Nothing at all of the gritty and edgy charm that the original trilogy had in its best moments. Stay away. Don’t throw any more money into George Lucas’ throat. Maybe that keeps him from writing and directing more of this expensive garbage in the future.
IMDb entry

At least it is politically correct.

Sunday, May 15th, 2005

There are Cinemaxxes in Copenhagen too! And they play the kind of movies that you would expect there too. In this case it was the highly advertised Kingdom of Heaven. It is not as worse as I had feared – Kerstin told me in advance that it is not a “now-we-will-show-you-in-a-sandal-flick-how-evil the arabs-always-were” kind of movie, so we decided to take the risk and watch it (no rental of DVDs without a Danish “yellow card” – whatever that may be). I would have expected the acting of Orlando Bloom to be worse, even though I still think they should have been able to cast somebody else for this role. For me it would suffice to cast Bloom for support roles. Other actors were much better. Kerstin really liked Eve Green as Princess Sibylla and I have to admit that she was quite enchanting with all this mascara. I also liked many of the other actors in Ridley Scott‘s otherwise great cast, especially Liam Neeson (it took me ages to realize that I have last seen him as Professor Kinsey). The quality of the pictures and many of the cast make it a movie for the theater, Bloom and the script of the movie make me recommend it for one of those DVD evenings when some sandal-wise entertainment is in order…
IMDb entry | Trailer

Europe in Episodes.

Saturday, May 14th, 2005

Last week, I saw One Day in Europe with Olli. Who dampened my expectations a bit. However, I really wanted to see it since I quite liked the trailer. It was a good decision (and Olli thought so too). Solid movie, every episode had some comic aspects without being silly. What I liked most is that the actors, though comic, all had a somewhat tragic touch to them. Which is probably the result of all of them being involved with some kind of theft or robbery in a foreign and strange city… Sometimes though the film-maker’s philosophy creeps into the dialogues, which doesn’t work too well. If it’s still running in a theater close to you, check it out and spend a nice evening.

IMDb entry

Picking up the threads.

Tuesday, April 26th, 2005

There is a lot of stuff that should have been posted here. I’ve seen several movies – the new Woody Allen Melinda and Melinda, Willenbrock starring the down-to-reality Axel Prahl, and Million Dollar Baby by and with Clint Eastwood. All of these movies are worth a visit. Another thing which is always worth a visit is the beautiful city of Hamburg. I was lucky and had the opportunity to be there last weekend. The weather was absolutely perfect. I visited several friends, strolled along the Elbe, met Kerstin who was able to leave Kopenhagen for the weekend, together went to and enjoyed Anja’s, Anke’s and Heike’s 90th birthday, made a gorgeous two hour revival bicycle tour through the spring-blossoming western vicinity of Buchholz, spent a few hours in a school sports hall watching kids play handball, and did my share of sauna-ing. Perfect weekend, indeed.

Last Saturday, I went to a party in Tini’s and Andi’s house in Kreuzberg (happy birthday Tini!) which had a pretty scary motto: Pimp your Kopf. Inspired by the idea Marc gave me, I took out scissors and cardboard paper to cut myself a Mitra. Mitra? Yup, and thats why I was greeted by a crowd of drunken Erasmus students shouting “Paparazzi!” It took me more than a few minutes before I overcame my confusion about the fact that I did not carry any cameras with me but people still kept on saying “Paparazzi!” to me and enjoyed themselves tremendously. Could they interpret the white hat as a cook’s hat, perhaps the cook of the excellent Italian restaurant here in Prenzlauer Berg that is called Paparazzi? Finally, I figured it out: they were saying “Papa Ratzi!” – and quite correctly they did. After this obstacle to mental relaxation on the part of yours truly was overcome, the same had a very good time…