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July 08 2015

heidigard
wow. Haven’t had the opportunity to watch any movies in recent weeks and I picked this huge thing for starters after my fasting. What a stunning film! Matthew Macauneghy is really a force to recon with (the only thing he has to work on is his mumbling). He really pulled out all the stops – again. The others were great, too, and I have to say that though Michael Caine’s role was small, it was still a good sample of his legendary skills. There’s a reason he has so many fans. I also loved Macenzie Foy. She was marvellous. Her emotions seemed astoundingly real and credible. Good thing she’s grown past “Twilight”. Finally, I was thrilled to see Matt Damon had a small part here, too.
Anyway, the story seemed in large parts to be nonsense and horrifyingly inaccurate pseudo-science, but I was able to suspend my disbelief through most of it and enjoy the unfolding of the plot, not least because the wrapping looked so shiny and obviously put together with great care. Bottom line, this emotional thriller really gnawed at my nerves and made me cry quite a bit in more places than I care to remember.
On top of that, the visuals were astounding. This is really cinema at the height of space movies. I would have LOVED to see this in 3D. I adore how they utilised silence in space and marvel at how they did the zero-G stuff and how accurate a lot of this seemed (visually). They had me go “woah!” more than once. This is also due to the effects which blended into all of it absolutely seamlessly. As I said: top shelf modern quality cinema.
The music was good, too, though not that remarkable. And I never would have suspected it to be Hans Zimmer, so kudos for re-inventing himself.
Really the only thing that could have been tweaked a bit was the plot. It walked the thin line between wild but enjoyable sifi and absurdity a few times. But I really don’t want to complain too much. This took almost three hours but it was never boring. On the contrary: they filled the minutes effortlessly.
So, all in all, great work!
Tags: film review

May 24 2015

heidigard
Essentially a very well-made film, but the writing was severely lacking, (or else the editing made a mess of thing) because this had a number of extremely confusing places where there were jumps in the plot and in time that were almost impossible to grasp. Also – and I shudder to say this – this is one of those movies where the book is better. Not that I’m a fan (I’m actually quite shocked to discover how much I remember form school and surprised at how nerdy I got in my head here…) but come on! They even forwent that epic bit with Moses parting the sea with his staff! And yet they forced in other elements of the plot that seemed to be only there for the heck of it and because they didn’t want to leave anything out so hey! Let’s give this thorn bush a minute to burn in the background of some obscure vision scene with a creepy child stacking cubes just because we can’t have a Moses-film without that… Anyway, I haven’t read the Book in a while but I remember this whole thing differently… wow, and turning Moses into the leader of a genuine terrorist group is NOT a way to gain sympathies. In fact, he does not seem to have any other role than being a splinter cell leader while God does all the work but without taking credit for it, making it seem like random acts of violent mother nature. In the bible, Moses at least was some kind of messenger, an emissary proclaiming the seven plagues (that would have been cool stuff to see) but here, he’s just a weary victim along with all of his people…
On the plus side, they tried to show Moses as a tortured, doubting, human character in a bid for three-dimensionalism, so kudos for that, though he was a picture-perfect copy of Aronofsky’s Noah, which negates the whole thing again in a way.
Anyway, acting-wise this was really good. I love Christian Bale and he did not disappoint. The kid playing God was absolutely fantastic, too! Very serious acting there! Good casting choice!
Visually, this was great, too. Ridley Scott tends to get that part done right. I feel sorry for the horses, though and hope there weren’t any injured animals (or stuntmen for that matter) during the shoot.
Fantastic soundtrack, too.
So, if you don’t know the book it’s probably quite an ok film. Then again, a lot of stuff might not make sense… Also, this is seriously missing the gravitas it deserves and it completely failed to involve me emotionally.
So, despite the length, not a complete waste of time.
Tags: film review

May 23 2015

heidigard
Well, I’m not going to go as far as to say I hated it, but I definitely did not like it. This is a film that looks like a very badly-made music video. To be frank, the only actor I enjoyed here (both the acting and the musical numbers) was – surprisingly – Jamie Foxx. Everybody else was decent, but I simply can’t comprehend why anybody would put Cameron Diaz in any film at all. She’s a horrible, terrible actress! Her over-acting was giving me sore eyes and this experience once again reinforces my own private rule: never watch a film with her in it because it’s guaranteed to be crap.
The singing itself was not cringe-worthy, but obviously not live in a painfully apparent way and the voices of some singers were digitally enhanced to the point it got ridiculous and annoying. Boo.
On the plus side, the directing was truly fantastic here, as well as the editing. This had some hard sequences with all the singing and dancing and stuff but they got through that without any hitches.
All said, this is not one I would watch again.
Tags: film review

May 22 2015

heidigard
well, this was a surprisingly non-generic girl-and-horse story. The plot was mostly unpredictable, except for the broad, general direction, though it had some unrealistic notions in it, but hey! As with all horse-movies it had me at the edge of my seat (it’s a mystery to me why anything with a horse in it gives me the shakes like any well-made noir horror movie). The acting was decent, not Oscar-material but quite bearable. Especially the main characters’ friend was great and she herself seems to be a really good rider, which I appreciate.
The cinematography was good. Beautiful lighting, great sets,… but the editing destroyed a lot of it, giving it a home-made feel at time which you want to avoid with most movies at all costs. What especially irked me was that they had this fantastic song by Kate Havnevik and totally, utterly bypassed the opportunity for some truly glorious editing to the music… makes me itch to do it myself!
Anyway, this – predictably – wants me want to ride again. Oh, and I’m going to watch the sequel, I think.
Tags: film review

May 15 2015

heidigard
I almost fell out of my chair when I saw that this was by the Warchovskis in the credits. Also I was floored that Sean Bean was in this and DIDN’T DIE! In fact, I thought it was him but as he was still alive by the times the credits rolled around I had myself convinced that it just couldn’t be. Anyway, the acting was okay, I guess. Surprisingly, I liked Channing Tatum here and he and Mila had good chemistry, too.
The story itself was a bit flat and unoriginal. I strongly disliked the extended action sequences, which – while visually mature and well-done – bored me to death after a while. A chase is not interesting if you know who’s going to win. Neither is a fight. No need to wallow in the visuals, no matter how impressive the effects may be.
So, visually this was quite good with top-shelve effects and CGI work, but the plot could have used a bit of work and the script a little trimming. On top of that, the writing was rather confusing (see “Matrix”, so nothing new there) so much so that I got subs halfway through the film because I just couldn’t keep up with who wanted what and had which agenda and I wasn’t even sure I heard them right any more.
Anyway, this brought a fantastic score with it, epic and sweeping but so not fitting the film… Pity.
Good thing I was ultimately going for “brainless” instead of “brainy” (other choice for the evening: Interstellar) tonight. Nice for a one-off with average entertainment value, but nothing more.
Tags: film review

May 13 2015

heidigard
I’m actually quite embarrassed to admit I watched this. I mean, normally this is what fanfic's for, right? Anyway, I have to say after some starting difficulties this turned out really rather surprisingly good. The actors took a while to warm up to the roles (that might have been due to the initially quite shaky writing) and to each other. You don’t really buy Ana’s shy wall-flower act at the beginning (because the actress clearly has the self-confidence her character lacks) and the chemistry is pretty much NOT there at the start, but we get there. Especially Christian turned out to be an amazing actor (and not too bad on the eyes. That helped too.) and gave a startlingly good performance of this tortured little man-child looking for love. That was actually rather touching in parts. All in all, the characters turned out well. I was satisfied to see that Ana had some steel in her after all and wasn’t the naïve pushover I pegged her for in the beginning.
The cinematography was all pretty great and tasteful, too. There were a few instances of breaking style, eg. with that slo-mo scene, but all in all this was aesthetically pleasing and I have to commend them for how resourceful they were when filming the nude scenes, cleverly teasing but never actually really showing anything at all. Good camera work there.
So, I’d say a well-made film. I was never bored and it even had some pretty funny moments. It definitely does not deserve the bad rating it got. But what the hell was that ending? The story left me hanging pretty badly. One of the most frustrating endings I’ve ever seen. That was not okay. I suppose I’ll need to deduct points for that again…
Tags: film review

May 09 2015

heidigard
Well, this obviously was a very important film to some people, even though it's "just" an HBO-movie: There are a number of names appearing here or associated with it: Mark Ruffalo, Julia Roberts and Alfred Molina all have big roles in this and Brad Pitt was a producer. That is why I'm surprised at the mediocre quality of this piece. It attempts to be Arthouse, but doesn't quite manage. Yet it's not the tear-jerker it has the potential to be, either. The first third entirely failed to grab and hold my attention and the cast only brought out the strong acting in the second half. The piece was too lengthy, suffering from erratic and indecisive editing. the plot could have used some condensing, too. Ultimately, the story didn't amount to much. The characters' suffering seemed pointless and didn't involve me as much as I would have expected. I'd even go as far as to say that Stephen Fry's two-parter docu "HIV and Me" had a lot more impact on me than this dramatisation.
Wow, now this sounds like I thought this was a bad film. It's not. It's just not as good as you'd expect or as it could be. And what's shocking is that now, 30 years later, we are still no closer to curing HIV...
Tags: film review

May 06 2015

heidigard
I guess I was in the mood for this film, but I don't feel able to say much about it. The acting was so-so. The script was pretty good, though. A lot of suspense for this kind of story. I also found the glimpse into Saudi Arabian every day life quite interesting (but also extremely saddening. The middle ages are not yet over, it would seem.)
Anyway, good film, though not exactly entertaining.
Tags: film review
heidigard
Apart from the serious logic flaws this had, it wasn’t such a bad film. It had really good actors (and some eye candy too! I mean, Theo James? Wow. I want one like that!) and was actually quite gripping if a bit lengthy in places. But I would not have watched it if I had known that it would be some dystopic future flick with society issues, much like Panem. I strongly dislike these kinds of film because I get enough of unfair social systems in reality. Apart from that I expected some element of fantasy here, not this pseudo-science bullshit. Also, I would have forgone this if I had known there’s be a love story as a major plot in this film. Predictably, it threw me right into a dark pit of tearful, sobbing depression. Ugh.
But on to the worst logic flaws: One, why are there only young people in the Dauntless faction? Do they die young there? Two, what an utterly stupid idea to create a 6th faction in the form of the “Factionless” - a socially neglected, unhappy, frustrated, yet numerous faction - through throwing people out of other factions for as little as being last of the class? They are factoring in the loss of throwing out a quarter of their initiates every term because the arbitrary red line is clearly not flexible, so if every faction throws out one quarter of their people every term, the factionless effectively outnumber each other faction there by 4:1 (!!!!!) at the end of the testing period, making them the largest faction by miles! Wouldn’t if be a far smarter move to not throw people out but try to reintegrate them into society? Unhappy outcasts as the political majority make a very bad basis for a peaceful society.
Anyway, the score was great. The soundtrack too. Lots of Ellie Goulding. Even some Snow Patrol. What could be better?
As teenage flicks go, this certainly didn’t look too shabby but for reasons listed above I wouldn’t watch it again.
Edit: I just remembered why Theo James looks so familiar: a friend of mine is married to his doppelgänger!
Tags: film review
heidigard
This started out fairly boring with wooden acting and strange characters (albeit nice visuals) and I soon started wondering how I'd get through 90 minutes of this. But boy did I misjudge! After about 20 minutes this little boat of a story began picking up momentum like woah! It had everything you need for a great adventure movie: the actors, after warming up, were on fire: gritty, hands-on performances by all! The film had moments of a profoundly awe-inspiring nature (e.g. the whale-shark) that made you feel the vastness of it all and the seconds half was more or less constant edge-of-your-seat tension. The character writing was excellent, giving the story yet another facet of friction.
Visually, this was also marvellous! I truly commend their VFX-artists! Most of the fishes must have been computer-generated, but they looked absolutely, flawlessly real. Again: Awe-insping. Everything was underlined by a beautiful soundtrack. It's been a while since a film got me this involved. Who could have guessed after that rocky start? Go watch!
Tags: film review

April 17 2015

heidigard
 Odd example for a mystery thriller. Also, I didn’t quite get the ending. But I see why they wanted Laurence Fishburn in this: It’s kind of like the Matrix… sort of… I think. Anyway, fantastic actors. Really. Kudos to all of them! Strong, consistent performances enhancing well-written characters and truly bringing them to life.
Also, visually this was stunningly well-done. The visual effects blended in absolutely seamlessly and the camera work and particularly lighting were exceptional! Really great to look at, all of it.
However, despite the suspense (another bit that was excellently done) and the action, this felt strangely long. Maybe because it just posed too many questions without answers?
Anyway, I might watch this again just to look at the marvellous job the actors are doing here along with the pleasing visuals. Also, I might get this movie the second time around (was the same with the Matrix).
Tags: film review

April 12 2015

heidigard
Saw this yesterday with a friend. Cute film. What was eerie was that the theatre was pretty full (mostly children and their parents) and we were the only ones laughing ourselves silly. What's wrong with kids these days that they don't find this kind of thing funny?? The only scene they laughed at was something questionable which wasn't really funny at all.
Anyway, this was done with so much love! The animation was flawless and I thought they captured the British countryside and especially London far better than any photographs or life-action movie, somehow. I wonder how they did that...
Also, the story was pretty original and unforseeable. This was never boring in any way. I think I'll buy the DVD for my mum. She'll love it!
Tags: film review

March 28 2015

heidigard
This was a very strange Icelandic film. Two words: Beautiful cinematography. The nature footage was just breath-taking. And I never knew how truly magnificent Iceland horses are. Their bearing is quite regal. And they seemed well-trained, too. I thought they looked like incredibly intelligent beasts to act with. The actors themselves were great! Everything looked very natural. I can only presume that the script only loosely described what would happen because there are a lot of things in here that could not have been scripted (e.g. this guy falling into the ocean with his horse).
Also, the Icelandic people have a very, very odd sense of humour. It’s a bit like British humour, but 500 years back.
What annoyed me was that it was impossible to get decent subtitles for this so I had to watch it with only occasional (and very random) translations. Thankfully, this didn’t have all that much dialogue and the pictures spoke well for themselves.
So, incredibly beautiful to watch. Little entertainment value for people who aren’t interested in horses or Icelandic scenery, though.
Tags: film review
heidigard
I just KNEW this wouldn’t work. Like the Minions, these characters lose all their charm once you drag them from the sidelines into the spotlight. They are a marvellous addition for any movie, but on their own the shine wears off within minutes. To be honest, I did not expect anything much from this, but I did think a project with Benedict Cumberbatch would be worth watching. I was wrong. The script was stupid. The character designs were extremely lazy and flat. The whole project looked like it was made without love or passion. Just milking the cash cow. It was missing any and all of the little visual details that normally make a good animated movie, like little scenes or funny nods and hints in the background, tiny things that catch your eye and make you laugh… this was missing everything that makes movies like How to Train Your Dragon or Wall-E work and I actually feel reluctant to name those two as examples for how it’s done right because they are so far removed from THIS.
Anyway, don’t waste your time on this.
Tags: film review

March 26 2015

heidigard
woah, what nonsense. I wonder why they keep dishonouring the original by producing cheap rip-offs. I only watched this because somebody said it was actually decent, but though it's probably better than Dragonheart 2, it's nowhere near a good film. The plot was both disappointingly predictable and surprisingly original, but the story was poorly executed in extremely bad writing. It looked like a play half of the time and like it was the first work of a newby author. Everything seemed so disjointed and it just grated on my nerves that they tried to re-create the original constellation of characters through these pale, soulless copies
It's not the actors' fault. They were decent enough, but not mind-blowing. Just kids mucking about in the woods.
The visuals were meh with substandard animations and abysmal make-up.
All in all, absolutely forgettable.
Tags: film review

March 24 2015

heidigard
I watched this with my friends in Munich last weekend. It's definitely not a movie I would have gone to see of my own accord, being so full of violence and a completely silly story. This was the kind of dumb movie that I could have seen myself walking out of. Sure, it had entertainment value of sorts, but of a pedestrian, vicious kind that does not appeal to me at all. The actors were good, though. I love Colin Firth (though I can't see for the life of me why he keeps making such bad choices in his rolls in recent years). Samuel L. Jackson was funny to see with his natural lisp. Mark Strong was absolutely lovely as Merlin. I adored him in that role, gentle and human for once (up to a point). Such a change from the villains he normally portrays. Anyway, what I found most impressive was the transformation from street kid to gentleman. The cloths do really make a person. And the bearing, too. I found that actually quite inspirational.
Anyway, the script was beyond stupid. Visually, they did well with exceptional camera work. The fight choreographies looked amazing and the editing was great. I was impressed by Colin Firth's fitness and agility, as well as the kid's. But the make-up-department fucked up on a number of things. Though I congratulate them on their daring when they let Colin keep that little spot on his chin, any thirteen-year-old girl could have done better with that zit on Eggsy's neck in the end.
I really loved both the score and the soundtrack, though.
So, not a film I'd recommend for people like me, though I can (sadly) see that there are certainly people who'll like this. I grant them that Colin had a certain coolness that was hard to resist, but the violence and questionable humour were just too much.
Tags: film review

March 10 2015

heidigard
Well, this wasn’t as bad as I expected. I’m not sure how they managed a PG-13 rating, though. This IS pretty gruesome. Anyway, this looked kind of like a GOT/Hobbit-crossover with Charles Dance and the kid who played Rickon Stark (and probably others) as well as Luke Evans. Seemed to me like they picked the seconds or thirds in line, paygrade-wise so they could spend more on visual effects. Should have invested a little more money in the script instead: The story wasn’t bad per se, but there were just too many stupid, brainless mistakes. Dracula kept making the wrong decisions and the end sort of voided most of what he did, anyway. Still, the story didn’t turn out as frustrating as with a lot of other dumb films I’ve seen and – surprisingly - it even made for some pretty thrilling stretches.
So, back to the effects: Visually, this was quite good. Well within the standard range of Hobbit and Co. I grant them that the effects and CGI-work looked really cool. Costumes, too. But they should have chosen their shots and lenses a bit better. There were some instances where the visual distortion due to the lens was certainly not intentional. Otherwise, the camera work was ok. Editing too. I congratulate them on keeping this as long (or as short) as this needed to be and not a minute longer. Lighting and make-up could have been better, though.
What I loved was the score. It was perfectly obvious from the start that it was by Ramin Djawadi, who is a genius IMO. His style is very distinct. I’m definitely going to listen to it a few times.
So, at 90 minutes the perfect runtime for one-time evening entertainment if you aren’t looking for anything too brainy. (I’d definitely take this over Godzilla anytime.) Curiously, I’m actually kind of looking forward to the sequel they implied…
Tags: film review

March 09 2015

heidigard
This is half-way between a documentary and a historic drama. Benedict Cumberbatch as Van Gogh gives it the gravitas and depth of Hamlet. His fellow actors, especially Jamie Parker, do their part to complete the picture, re-enacting Van Gogh’s life story using purely dialogue from his letters. This makes for a strangely intense, compelling biopic and the “narrator” doesn’t even stand out that much among it all.
Great work with the sets (lots of original locations) and period-typical costumes, too! And the soundtrack! Just marvellous, so moving and epic.
All in all, a nice bit of educational tv.
Tags: film review
Reposted bysherlock sherlock

February 21 2015

heidigard
This was an extremely odd, disturbing film and I can’t really say I liked it. I was expecting a thriller, but the story only pulled itself together after an hour, and 10 minutes later they had already spent all their shot, so it left the second half to descend into some weird psycho-drama intimate theatre thingy character play. I mean, Ben Affleck’s character was just such a huge moron throughout the film! It was more or less impossible to like him during the first half, and just as we got to the turning point… Well, I don’t want to spoil this for you. Let’s just say: he should have run when he had the chance. It was misplaced chivalry to stay at first and later it was just damn stupidity. I kept talking to the screen telling him to get out while he still could.
Anyway, the acting was ok, though I have to say the girls were by far the best. Rosamund Pike delivered a bone-chilling performance, Carrie Coon was great and even the girl at the motel or whatever that was, was brilliant.
The script was too long. It needs a trim. The whole film could have been cut down by about 20 minutes at the least. Visually, this was very well-made. Great lighting. Decent make-up. Good effects. Really solid. But it lacked everything a thriller needs. In fact, I was so bored in parts that I started playing 2048, something I generally do not do while watching a film.
So: Don’t expect too much here, but settle in for some great acting to get you over the strange and puzzling story.
Tags: film review

February 17 2015

heidigard
this was adorable (even though I expected more of a comedy)! The story was unique, though not exactly unpredictable as a whole. However, they had surprising plot details. This was clearly made with a lot of love by a huge number of people, among them Simon Pegg, Nick Frost, Ben Kingsley, Isaac Hempstead Wright and others.
Visually, stop-motion remains a valid way of making a film. The little details they put in can compete with any animated movie, no problem. (I also loved how they put in that little post-credits nod towards the animators. That’s probably my favourite scene!) This kind of work deserves some recognition.
So: good film for people of all ages, shapes and sizes!
Tags: film review
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