Archive for December, 2006

Goya’s Ghosts – good paintings do not make a good movie.

Friday, December 29th, 2006

This review has to start with a sigh. A sigh, because I find the paintings and sketches of Francisco Goya to be almost overwhelmingly expressive. A sigh too, because both the story and the performance of the actors did not convince me. The story should have been gripping and tear-evoking. However, I did not feel very moved. I cannot really point a finger at a single cause, but somehow this movie did not touch my heart. The paintings that were shown on the big screen did though. Go see it if you are really into Goya’s paintings and if you do not have the opportunity to visit a museum that displays his work.
IMDb entry

The Departed – doubled suspense.

Sunday, December 17th, 2006

Leonardo DiCaprio and Matt Damon: who can tell them apart? In this movie, they enter a very nicely scripted double play. They are enemies, counterparts, and mirror images of each other. Distorted images though. And this is what kept the movie interesting for me. Although I am not too big a fan of Scorsese movies (I always thought he would be written with a c: Scorcese – but he isn’t), I really enjoyed this one. I hope my feeling was caused by the movie and not by chilly temperature in Darmstadt’s Rex cinema… If you are into variations of the Mafia theme or if you are just looking for some – tough – entertainment, then this movie is for you. For me it was good enough to be recommended to people that are not too much into the genre – as a thriller and action movie it was not as good as The Fugitive, but it was at least playing in the same league. Hmm, that is quite the honor. I hope I do not place this movie too high on the scale…

IMDb entry | Trailer

Marie Antoinette – good style does not fill two hours.

Thursday, December 14th, 2006

I really enjoyed the first thirty minutes of Marie Antoinette. Kirsten Dunst is, of course, enchanting and does not need Spiderman kissing her to show how charming she is. I also enjoyed the camera, the intimate perspective on the way the soon-to-be Queen of France experiences her world. And it is a strange world, full of exquisite beauty but also full of protocol and, in particular, far, far away from the world of the bourgeois or – unthinkable – the poor and the workers. In this world, Marie Antoinette has a few friends and many, many things around her: jewelry, tapestries, clothes, more clothes, shoes, shoes, and then some more shoes and an excess of delicacies. Looking at this assembly of beautiful and delicous things through the eyes of La Dauphine and mixing this experience with a well-chosen rock music soundtrack (instead of resorting to classical music appropriate to the era) creates a particular movie that is definitely worthwile watching. If only the story would be more catching! The script did not offer much to stimulate my attention so that I had to resort to watching in aesthetic mode – doing this for two hours was a bit too much, to my regret. Nonetheless, I am looking forward to Sofia Coppola’s next movie. There is some really great potential – I love her intimate and respectful view on people’s lives and the ways in which they see, touch, and feel their world. I also vote for more rock music in medieval settings: A Knight’s Tale is one of my favorite entertainment movies, though cheesy it has a lot of heart. This story did not unfold in a way that really touched me, very much to my regret.
IMDb entry | Trailer

Dissertation is done & defended.

Saturday, December 2nd, 2006

wine and pretzel leftoversI guess the last entries displayed the change in lifestyle that occurred in the last week: I am finally done with the dissertation! This has generated more than a few sighs of relaxation.
The defense (or disputatio) of my dissertation has been tougher than I expected. After talking about my thesis in a thirty minute presentation – in which I did not use any fancy multimedia things at all – I was probed and questioned for one looong hour. The fact that I knew all of the professors on the committee did not make their questions less inquisitive and difficult. Just to point out the degree of concentration that was necessary to work my way through this trial: I had a full glass of water standing next to me, two times during the 90 minutes I thought about taking a sip, but it doing so would have distracted me too much. I did not drink anything from this glass… However, now it is over. And it went very well enough: magna cum laude. Afterwards we had sparkling wine and pretzels; the leftovers are displayed on the photo.
Even though we celebrated the successful finishing of my dissertation it has only been during the last few days that I started to realize that I am actually done. My deeply felt thanks go to all those who supported me during the last three and a half years – both intellectually, personally, and financially: Ihr wißt, wenn Ihr gemeint seid: Dankeschön!

Scoop – The Charming Side of Being.

Saturday, December 2nd, 2006

I feel very much indebted to Woody Allen. He has provided so many entertaining hours. I love to go to one of his movies, knowing beforehand that I will leave the cinema light-hearted and with a smile on my lips. Of course, not all of his movies are like this. Some of his dramas can be heart-breaking. Not Scoop though. Woody Allen and Scarlett Johannson make a great team: both clumsy in their own particular ways, they dabble their way through a murder mystery story. I do not often laugh in cinemas. This movie got me either chuckling or cackling, depending on the degree of entertainment delight caused in yours truly’s heart and belly. I have admit that I am easy prey for Allen’s humor, though. For me it was enough to see the font in the opening credits (it is Windsor for those that are interested in these things) to make a sigh escape my lips and pleasant relaxation to set in. From my (and Olli’s) perspective, he should receive the next lifetime achievement Oscar.
IMDb entry | Trailer