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Much better than the American remake
*Contains spoilers for this movie as well as the American remake The Vanishing*

Ever since I first saw the American remake, The Vanishing, more than ten years ago, I have wanted to watch Spoorloos because I've heard that it's a lot better than the American movie. I've never been able to find it at any rental stores though, but just last week it was released on DVD here in Sweden and naturally I had to see it as soon as possible.

First things first, Spoorloos is indeed a much better movie than The Vanishing. Everything from acting to execution. The fact that the great ending in Spoorloos is changed into some typical "let's kill the psycho"-ending in the American version is absolutely laughable. I sat watching this movie fearing that ending here as well, but luckily it didn't happen.

Spoorloos is a great drama about a sociopathic killer and his victims. I can't say I would ever think of this movie as a thriller because it is not suspenseful in the way I expect thrillers to be suspenseful. Now, that doesn't mean I like this movie less, in fact I probably like it more because it doesn't go the usual thriller route with the premise. Just as with the American remake, it could easily have gone to those extremes. I like it much better this way.

Dead Man's Shoes

Bleak and harrowing
Let me first start off by saying that I really enjoyed watching this movie, if "enjoy" is indeed the correct word when watching a bleak and harrowing film like Dead Man's Shoes. It's not an easy movie to sit through, but in the end you are certainly rewarded.

I firmly believe that you should watch this movie knowing as little about it as possible. Trying to pigeonhole it into a genre is to do this movie great injustice. It is every genre imaginable (except, obviously, scifi/fantasy) merged into a genre of its own.

In the centre of this movie, and probably what makes it so good, is a great, electrifying performance from Paddy Considine. It's all in his voice and in his eyes and you can understand why one of the "thugs" is scared of him from almost the second he sees him. There's obviously something very wrong with Richard.

Not an easy movie to watch then, yet one I recommend to anyone who doesn't mind violent movies.

Bad Santa

Bad Santa is everything I wished it to be when I rented it: funny, funny and funny. In fact, I thought this movie was hilarious. However, what surprised me, and made me like the movie even more, is the fact that it is not only a foul-mouthed comedy, it is also very touching and sweet.

Billy Bob Thornton is brilliant as the foul-mouthed mall Santa who hates the kids that sit on his lap. I even liked Lauren Graham in this movie (I don't particularly like her in Gilmore Girls). Also, the young boy who plays the rather slow Merman kid is also great.

So, Bad Santa is a hilarious movie with some sweet elements and great performances from the cast... Can't give it less than an 8 out of 10.


Great action thriller
Collateral is a great action thriller by Michael Mann. The premise isn't the most original (a normal guy -- played by Jamie Foxx -- gets drawn into a chain of events that he can't get out of), but the execution is exquisite. The movie looks great. Cinematography, editing... everything. It also actually works as a thriller: I found myself sitting at the edge of my seat a couple of times which doesn't happen often anymore. Compare it to another thriller (very different though) that I just saw. It was Taking Lives and it tries so hard to put you at the edge of your seat, but only manages to be boring. It feels like Mann doesn't even try, but he pulls it off anyway.

The acting is great as well. Tom Cruise as a bad guy. Grey hair, grey suit. We haven't seen him in a role like this before, but I think he did a great job. Jamie Foxx was also very good in what is the biggest part in the movie (supporting actor? I think not). Max goes from nervous taxi driver to hero and I think that the transformation is quite believable, thanks to the script of course, but also thanks to Foxx's great performance.

So, Collateral is a great action thriller with fine performances. Highly recommended. (8/10)

A Fond Kiss

Quite wonderful
Ae Fond Kiss is Ken Loach's latest movie. It's a movie with that classic basic premise: a woman and a man from different cultures fall in love. Will their love survive what other people think and do? It's a premise we've seen a million times before. But that doesn't make Ae Fond Kiss a bad movie. No, quite the opposite: I think it's wonderful.

First of all, I think the script is amazing. While Casim's family probably is the biggest obstacle for the young couple to overcome, this is by no means a movie which portrays only the Moslems as the bad guys. Roisin's Catholic society isn't much better. This is one of the reasons why the movie is so engaging.

Another reason why I really liked this film is the fantastic performances by all the actors. Eva Birthistle is certainly the standout, but it would be unfair to name any other actor before the others. In short, it's a great cast.

Ae Fond Kiss is a well-played, sweet and very engaging movie. I liked it a lot. It's even a bit better than Loach's Sweet Sixteen. (8/10)

Resident Evil: Apocalypse

Disjointed and boring
I quite liked the first RE-movie (6/10). I also enjoyed playing Resident Evil 3 upon which this movie seems to be very loosely based. So, while I didn't expect very much (because of the reviews) I still expected to be at least somewhat entertained for 90 minutes. Problem is: I wasn't entertained for 90 minutes. I wasn't entertained at all.

The main problem with the movie is that there are no characters. Sure, there are people in the movie, but we don't get to know them. They're just there, running about, shooting zombies, acting cool. I couldn't care less about what happened to these mannequins. Another problem is the disjointed narrative. It takes way to long to get the main "characters" together, and before they manage to do that the movie is very boring. This is because, as I said, it feels disjointed and episodic. Yet another problem is the acting. Most of these people couldn't act to save their lives.

It's probably unfair to compare it to other recent zombie flicks such as 28 Days Later, Shaun of the Dead and the remake of Dawn of the Dead. All of these movies I like a lot. But they're not only action movies, they are as much dramas or comedies with a bit of horror in the mix. I guess the only movie I can fairly compare RE: Apocalypse to is the first RE movie. The comparison is sure to be unfavourable. As mentioned, I actually liked that movie.

RE: Apocalypse is sadly a disjointed and boring mess. (2/10)


Neither good nor bad
Constantine is the movie version of comic book/graphic novel Hellblazer. I hadn't even heard of Hellblazer until I heard about Constantine. Therefore, I cannot say if Constantine is a good or bad adaptation. What I can say, however, is that it's an okay film in its own right. It's neither good or bad.

What I liked about Constantine was the look of the movie when it comes to cinematography and production design. I also liked that, for a movie I imagined to be action packed, the action scenes weren't that many. There _are_ quite a few action scenes of course, but the movie doesn't seem to be all about the next big action set piece.

Now, what I didn't like was the special effects. They're not bad, but a demon made out of bugs made me think of The Mummy and that is never good. When it comes to demons in movies I believe that less is more. At least if you want the audience to feel suspense. I also had a problem with the slow pace. The movie was about two hours long, but it felt more like 2½ hours.

When you know you're going to watch a Keanu Reeves film you know not to expect great acting. At least not from Mr Reeves himself. However, I must say that Constantine is the type of movie where at least I didn't notice that Keanu Reeves isn't very good. I think the role of Constantine suited him rather well.

So, Constantine is a rather good film. Unfortunately it is also slow-paced, boring at times and too long. (4/10)

AVP: Alien vs. Predator

Better than expected
So, I didn't expect much from this movie. I haven't seen any of the Predator movies, but I have seen all Alien movies (and think that James Cameron's Aliens is probably the best film ever made). It turns out that AvP was better than expected. Which doesn't say a lot, but still.

I quite enjoyed the first hour or so of AvP. It was seldom suspenseful, but quite entertaining anyway. I liked how every single character was killed, one by one. However, once Alexa Woods started interacting with the predator it all got a bit too silly for my taste. In fact, I couldn't shake the image of Alexa and the predator getting hitched in Las Vegas. A rather amusing image, to say the least, but hardly, and hopefully not, what the director/writer had intended.

So, up until the last half hour or so, AvP was quite a good film, but it got too silly in the end. AvP ends up being an okay film. (5/10)

The Bourne Supremacy

Better than The Bourne Identity
I don't know why I rented this movie. I didn't like the first movie, The Bourne Identity, at all (voted 4 out of 10 here at IMDb). So why I would want to pay to watch a sequel to a movie I didn't even like is difficult to explain.

Well, I did rent The Bourne Supremacy and I'm quite happy that I did. This sequel is much better than the first film. While BI was boring most of the time, BS is exciting and engaging. It was also a bit grittier than expected. This time I really want another Bourne-film.

I didn't care for the car chases though. I normally don't find any entertainment value in car chases and this movie is no exception. Too bad then, that it has at least two lengthy car chase scenes (one of them must be close to five minutes long). These scenes were just a waste of time according to me. Also, the movie would have benefited from being about 15 minutes shorter.

I love the last scene in Russia, though. Bourne talks to the daughter of a couple he has murdered and confesses the murder. It's a very touching scene and for the first time in the movie, Bourne actually seems human. That's one of the reasons why I want another Bourne movie. From here, things should get even better...


6 Points

Incoherent and boring
This is one of the most incoherent and boring movies I have ever seen. What is it about? Why was it made? I don't know the answers to these questions. 6 Points is that bad.

So, the plot is a mystery. It's about three childhood friends who are now in their twenties and they all have problems with friendship and love and... well, who knows? What's most annoying is that one of the characters is addicted to sex. That's a big part of the movie and that would be fine if the storyline actually *went* somewhere and if we got an explanation for her behaviour. As it is now, it is just there, it just happens. And this is the main problem with the whole movie. It is just there, it just happens.

It is saved from 1/10 simply because it was sometimes so bad it was actually funny. So, 2/10 for 6 Points.

The Football Factory

Good movie
The Football Factory is movie about football (soccer) fans. Since they seem to be more interested in fighting than in actually watching the games this is certainly no sports film so don't let the title fool you. It's also based upon a novel that I haven't even heard of, but that could perhaps be because I'm in Sweden.

The Football Factory is a very episodic movie. Mostly it works, but sometimes I felt like I wanted to spend more time with main character Tommy Johnson or that they should at least had focused on fewer characters. Sometimes I felt that a scene was working really well, but the story quickly focused on other things. As I said, more often than not the episodic feel works fine, but not all the time.

As in almost all English movies the acting's great. From minor characters to main characters... they feel real. I especially think the voice over sounds very authentic: it's Tommy speaking, not actor Danny Dryer reading.

I think this is a good movie, it's rather violent and upsetting at times, but also funny and entertaining.

Boksuneun naui geot

Dark drama mixed with humour and violence
Sympathy for Mr. Vengeance is the first Chan-wook Park movie I have watched. I'd only heard good things about it and from what I've read about it I knew that I would like it. And I did. Sympathy for Mr. Vengeance is a dark drama mixed with humour and violence. However, it is not as violent as I expected considering its reputation. In fact, the first 90 minutes or so are not violent at all. The pace is rather slow, as is the case with all the South Korean movies I've watched. But this slow pace was not annoying, which I've found it to be in many other South Korean films (not all, though). In fact, when little seemed to happen in the plot and the action, the movie was always interesting because of camera angles, sound and such things. It has a very original feel to it.

The acting is amazing in Sympathy for Mr. Vengeance. Kang-ho Song impressed me the most (he was also great in the brilliant serial killer drama Memories of Murder). Ha-kyon Shin is also great as Ryu, the main character in the movie.

So, I liked this film, but it is by no means a masterpiece. It was a bit too long and perhaps not as engaging as I would have wished. (7/10)

Dodgeball: A True Underdog Story

I've been looking forward to watching this movie for quite a long time. Vince Vaughn and Ben Stiller are almost always great and the trailer was hysterical. As is almost always the case, though, the trailer had already shown the funny scenes so there were hardly any surprises watching the film.

However, you're not supposed to be surprised watching a movie called Dodgeball: A True Underdog Story. You pretty much know what's going to happen when you've read the title. I didn't mind much though, because even though the trailer had shown almost all the funny scenes, those scenes were _really_ funny. Also, Dodgeball is constantly entertaining and never boring. I quite liked it.



Strange, but strangely interesting
The first 15 minutes or so of watching this movie was a boring experience. I didn't know what was going on and I wasn't even sure if I wanted to know what was going on. However, after an half hour or so things started to get clearer. Still no clue really, but at least I felt like there was a plot somewhere.

The last half hour or so was actually pretty good. By then I had a pretty good idea about what was going on and the movie was quite suspenseful, but not in the "thriller" sense of the word. This is very much a drama about mental illness and one man's fight against it.

I have never seen Colin Firth in a role even remotely resembling this one before. I can imagine he liked the change. I think he does a good job because he makes it clear that his character is not an evil man or a "psycho". He is ill in desperate need of help.

I can't say I liked Trauma, but I certainly didn't dislike it either. When it ended I felt that I had watched an interesting movie with many pretentious elements. Hardly an enjoyable experience and it's fragmented quality is certainly not for people who don't watch a lot of films. Interesting movie, but not a very good one.


Jersey Girl

Better than expected
Jersey Girl is of course most famous for the fact that Ben Affleck and Jennifer Lopez are both in it. You probably already know what the movie is about so I won't get in to that other than quickly mention that JL is only in the movie for about 10-15 minutes so it's certainly not a Jennifer Lopez film.

This is the first Kevin Smith movie that I've ever seen (though a friend has tried to get me to watch Clerks for several years know). From what I can understand this is not a typical Smith movie and perhaps, because of that, not the best way to begin going through his oeuvre. That doesn't matter so much though, since I like this movie.

It is by no means a masterpiece or even a very good film, but it is very entertaining, funny, and at times even touching. It's a drama and comedy with a little bit of romance thrown into the mix. Better than most romcoms (if that is the correct genre) actually.

When there is a 7-year-old character in the film I expect vomit inducing cuteness. Raquel Castro is at times too cute and too smart to feel like a real 7-year-old. (I've known quite a few 7-year-olds in my life and none of them have ever behaved as grown up and "smart" as Gertie in this film.) However, this cuteness and "wisdom" is not as bad as in many of similar movies and therefore I could stand it.

I think Liv Tyler is an absolute delight in this film. Wonderful. And it's a great character she gets to play. The first few scenes with Tyler's character Maya and Affleck's Ollie are very funny and even hilarious at times. Ben Affleck is better than expected.

So, a good romcom/drama. (6/10)

The Chronicles of Riddick

Pretty entertaining
I really like the first Riddick movie Pitch Black. I watch it at least once a year. One of the things that I like about it is its simplicity when it comes to plot and the fact that over time you come to care about the murderer Riddick. The perfect unwilling hero with a nice character arc.

So, now we have the sequel. It does not have a simple plot in the same way as Pitch Black. There are Necromongers, mercs, prison planets, elementals(?) and so on and so on. I honestly think that a follow up to Pitch Black should have had another set up/structure. My favourite part in The Chronicles of Riddick is the scenes where Riddick, Kyra and their fellow prisoners run across the surface of Crematoria, staying away from both the cold and the deadly heat of the sunrise. I like it because it is in many ways similar to the pitch black scenes in Pitch Black. The scenes have the same feeling and the same structure, but the Chronicles... scenes are different enough from the Pitch Black scenes to still be interesting.

As I said before, a follow up to Pitch Black should have had another set up/structure. I would certainly have preferred a much more simple plot. Perhaps a movie that *focused* on getting Jack/Kyra away from Crematoria.

However, that is not what The Chronicles of Riddick is. It is a big movie with big ideas. Sometimes it's too pompous for its own good and some lines are absolutely cringe-worthy and silly. But I must say that I was entertained almost all the time, so I can't say I'm very disappointed. I just think a smaller movie could have been so much better.

As for the acting, Judi Dench doesn't have to do very much and I can't say I'm very impressed with what she does do. Not that she's bad. Thandie Newton does a rather good Lady Macbeth-like character. Alexa Davalos is great as Kyra. She really kicked some ass and looked cool while doing it. And Vin Diesel... He is Riddick. I know he's probably not a very good actor, but he was made to play Riddick, I tell you.

So, this one gets a 6 out of 10 for the entertainment value.

Shaun of the Dead

Funny and entertaining
Shaun of the Dead is one of three "zombie" films that I have seen in my life. 28 Days Later and Dawn of the Dead (the remake) are the other two. SotD is probably the film that I like the least out of these three. That doesn't mean that I think SotD is bad, quite the contrary, I think it's rather good. It is funny, entertaining and, at times, gory. What makes me say that it is only "rather good" then? Well, I think the first 30 minutes or so border on boring. There are definitely a few laughs, but nothing more. However, from the moment Shaun and Ed realise something is horribly wrong the movie works on all levels. Some scenes are hilarious (like the one where Ed and Shaun discuss which records to throw at the zombies, *while* the zombies are walking towards them) and some scenes are actually quite touching.

Too bad about the slow beginning, but in the end it turned out to be a very entertaining film. (7/10)

Salinui chueok

Great serial killer drama
I'm one of those people who tend to think that South Korean movies are perhaps a bit too slow-paced for my taste. Memories of Murder isn't a fast-paced film, by any means, but this time the slow pace made this movie about an investigation of serial killings so much better than 95% of its American counterparts.

Essentially, Memories of Murder is a drama first with thriller and comedy elements (yes, in the first hour or so the movie is actually quite funny). Kang-ho Song and Sang-kyung Kim are brilliant as the two cops who have drastically different views on how to solve a crime. The character development is fascinating and believable thanks to a great script.

Highly recommended.

Star Wars: Episode I - The Phantom Menace

Better than expected
I have to say that I wasn't expecting much when I decided to watch this movie. I am no fan of the first Star Wars-movies (although they are by no means bad films) and I'd heard that The Phantom Menace wasn't close to being as good as them. The Phantom Menace is certainly not better than any of the first Star Wars-movies, but it is only marginally worse. I found it to be quite entertaining and I didn't find the loathed Jar Jar Binks as annoying as most people seem to find him. However, the movie was boring at times and the script isn't very exciting. Still, it's not a failure, if you ask me. (5/10

The Hole

Surprisingly good
Although the premise sounded interesting, I still was surprised by how much I liked this film. It's rather suspenseful and well-acted. I was interested to know what had happened to the four teenagers from frame one. When I found out what happened I was rather disturbed since it's so cruel.

An unsettling movie. (6/10)

Blade II

Very entertaining
[Conatins SPOILERS]

I just recently saw Blade (the first movie) for the first time. I'd only heard bad things about it, and so was very excited when I saw it the first time and realised I liked it. Sure, it wasn't a masterpiece, but it was great entertainment. This is also what I feel about the second movie. It's basically the same movie with great action sequences, great make-up, great special effects and a cool Wesley Snipes as the eponymous hero. I liked the idea of Blade working together with vampires, as well. I found the Reapers to be rather... silly, though. The "Alien-esque" mouths felt kind of over the top. But, overall I really enjoyed Blade II. If you liked the first, you'll certainly like this one as well. (6/10)

Panic Room

Even though I didn't have any high expectations, I was still quite disappointed with Panic Room. I mean, it's a film directed by the brilliant David Fincher, the main character is played by Jodie Foster, and the premise sounded very interesting. I had heard some disappointing comments, though, so I didn't expect too much. However, Panic Room was almost never suspenseful and it was even boring at times. Nice camera work by Fincher, a great performance by Forest Whitaker... that's about it. (4/10)

Requiem for a Dream

Great film
I didn't have any high expectations when I rented this film today (you'll understand why if you read my Pi comment). I was certainly wrong when I expected to be bored by this film. Requiem for a Dream is infinitely better than Aronofsky's earlier movie Pi. Requiem for a Dream is probably the most depressing movie I've seen in years, but it is also fascinating, interesting and quite brilliant. The acting is fantastic and the editing is interesting. The score is also brilliant with its mix of old and new sounds. Great movie! (7/10)

The Others

Interesting drama, but predictable
This film is said to be a drama/horror film. It is a drama full stop. There are no chills and thrills in the movie. Don't get me wrong, The Others is a good movie. It's slow, but always interesting. But it is also one of the most predictable films I have seen in the cinema for a long, long time. I had the ending figured out too soon for it to be a really good movie experience.

That said, Nicole Kidman is fantastic in the movie. Amenábar is obviously a good director, but I think the movie suffers from being labelled a "horror" movie when it is obviously a Gothic drama. (6/10)

Ocean's Eleven

Let Soderbergh entertain you
If you want entertainment -- here's where you'll find it! I've never been much of a heist flick fan -- Ocean's Eleven, though, I like. In fact, I like it a lot. The cast is great. Clooney, Pitt, Cheadle, and Damon are all quite brilliant, but so is the rest of the cast as well. Soderbergh seems incapable of making a bad or uninteresting movie. I look forward to his next film! (7/10)

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