stefanhoeffllin

IMDb member since June 2000
    Lifetime Total
    75+
    IMDb Member
    20 years

Reviews

Sweet November
(2001)

If you´re going to San Francisco...
Possible spoilers

San Francisco. Nelson (Keanu Reeves) is a successful and arrogant PR-manager. One day he meets Sara (Charlize Theron), who prevents animals. She chooses him to be her "Mr. November". In one month she wants to make him a better man.

To my own shame I must admit that I never watched the original movie from 1964, so I can´t comment it. But it´s an unwritten law that remakes are never better. Besides the non-happy ending, it bristles with stereotypes - of course, Sara has got cancer and her best friend is gay - just to mention two of them. Nevertheless I still found it worth watching. Why does everybody scoff about Keanu Reeves and Charlize Theron? It´s THEIR chemistry that carries the movie and gives it the warmth that it needs.

Very "kitschy", but beautiful to watch.

Blow
(2001)

No 2nd "Traffic", but...
"Blow" tells the life of George Jung (Johnny Depp), a successful drug dealer. As I´ve read in many comments, it´s often compared with "Traffic". I must disagree here. "Blow" is a class of its own. While "Traffic" told 4 parallel stories in the style of "Short cuts", the story of "Blow" shows the raise and fall of ONE young man. The plot spans 20 years - from the late 60´s to the end of the 80´s, and during that time the size and the tragedy of his life becomes more and more fascinating. Johnny Depp´s performance took my breath. He´s a sure candidate for the next year´s Academy awards. Not to forget the wonderful supporting cast. Especially Ray Liotta as George´s father - I guess he moved me most, a fabulous effort! Penelope Cruz convinced as the "bitch". And of course Franka Potente. It´s her US-debut- a little, but important role! She played Barbara, a young stewardess and George´s first love, who smuggled the drugs for him. Congratulations, very well done, Franka!!!

A impressing and touching portrait of a failed life.

Overwhelming!

The Bachelor
(1999)

Runaway bachelor
Jimmie (Chris O´Donnell) is a convinced single and lucky with his one night stands. When he meets Anne (Renée Zellweger) his world changes - he falls in love with her. But as he proposes to her, he provokes her so much, that she leaves him. A few days later, Jimmies grandfather (Peter Ustinov) dies. His testament says: Jimmie will heir 100 million - but only if he will find a bride until his 30th birthday. And that´s tomorrow! Time is running!

Sometimes everything can go wrong in a romantic- comedy. "Runaway bride" is a good example. Lousy script, no chemistry! A missed chance. But not here! I have really enjoyed "The bachelor". The film has a "rhythm" and the humor is well timed - especially the final scene, when Chris O´Donnell is chased by the brides, was wonderful! SOMETIMES, the supporting actors steal the show - e.g. Peter Ustinov or Brooke Shields, just to mention two of them. But it would be unfair to argue about that - just because Chris O´Donnell and Renée Zellweger are a really sweet couple! A refreshing and VERY charming comedy!

You've Got Mail
(1998)

Somewhere over the rainbow...
Possible spoilers

Tom Hanks and Meg Ryan - the 3rd round. Their first film "Joe versus the volcano" (1990) was an adventure/love- story with a touch of fantasy - a flop, unfortunately. Just for one reason: it came out in summer 1990, and they didn´t have a chance against "Pretty woman". In 1993 they had a 2nd chance in "Sleepless in Seattle" - a blockbuster which was released in the same month as "Jurassic Park". Possibly the most romantic comedy of the 90´s! The movie had its own charme, just because it was so old-fashioned! And now "You´ve got mail" - also directed by Nora Ephron - which continues the tradition of "Sleepless in Seattle". I guess the expectations were high. And these expectations were not ecxeeded - but satisfied! The happy ending of "Sleepless..." was more magic, because Tom and Meg didn´t meet until the end, while the happy ending of "You´ve got mail" in the park was maybe a bit too calculated - but who cares? Nevertheless it´s a damned cute movie! It´s not better than "Sleepless in Seattle" - which had even more "sugar" - but very close too it!

Sweet, heartwarming fluff.

Head Over Heels
(2001)

Sleepless in New York...
Amanda (Monica Potter) has just moved into her new apartment - a supermodel-community. One night, she notices how Jim (Freddie Prinze jr.), her new boyfriend, kills a young woman in his apartment across the street. She begins to observe him...

Strange, when I go to the movies with low expectations, I´m pleasantly surprised at the end - well, most of the times. "Head over heels" is the best example. In my opinion this film is absolutely underrated, what first spoiled me to watch it. It amazed me that some people found the humor "dirty". I didn´t found it dirty at all - okay, with the exception of the toilet scenes... I would rather call it "black humor" with a little bit of "slapstick". This movie works brilliant, when you regard it as a "thriller-parody" or, of course, as a "romantic-comedy". Speaking of "romantic" - the chemistry between Freddie Prinze jr. and Monica Potter was wonderful! "Head over heels" is even funnier than "Miss Congeniality".

A refreshing comedy and a perfect feelgood-movie!

A Hard Day's Night
(1964)

Simply FABulous!
The story: a day in the life of the Beatles, hunted by screaming girls. Always at their side: Pauls grandfather. Of course, the plot is just an alibi for them to perform their famous songs like "Can´t buy me love" or "She loves you". I have watched the original version with a digitally remastered soundtrack. It was one big pleasure to watch, especially because of its surprisingly funny dialogue - although the translation of the subtitles was strange sometimes. I suppose that it surely had a big influence on video- clip directors. "A hard day´s night" looks old fashioned and modern at the same time, and I guess that´s the cause why not only our parents can relate to this film.

A nostalgic trip!

Down to You
(2000)

When Freddie met Julia...
Love at first sight! "Down to you" tells the story of Al (Freddie Prinze jr.), son of a TV-cook and Imogen (Julia Stiles), an art student. The movie is often compared with "She´s all that" - but that´s wrong! "Down to you" is not a copy of this movie just because there is Freddie Prinze jr. in it. This film is a class of its own. I´d rather call it a teen- variation of romantic screwball comedies like "When Harry met Sally". Some people said the characters were stereotypic like in "Beverly Hills 90 210". I must disagree here! In my eyes it was a nice idea to let Al and Imogen talk to the audience. You see all their ups and downs in their relationship from two perspectives. That´s what gave the characters the depth they needed - and in the ending you seem to know them like old friends. By the way the supporting cast is excellent! - especially Harry Winkler as Al´s father and Selma Blair as Cyrus.

Freddie Prinze jr. and Julia Stiles are such a lovely couple! Believe me, this film works! "Down to you" is a real cute movie!

Out of Sight
(1998)

How Jennifer Lopez tries to GET CLOONEY...
Jack Foley (George Clooney) is a successful bank robber. But this time he fails and gets into jail. When he breaks out, Karen Sisco, a federal marshal (Jennifer Lopez) crosses his way. He just kidnaps her with his pal Buddy (Ving Rhames). In the trunk of the getaway car they get closer to each other. Last but not least she can escape. She has to do her job and has to get him. But they just can´t forget each other...

"Out of sight" is another adaptation of a novel by Elmore Leonard, the author of "Get Shorty". It´s not easy describe to which genre it belongs. "Action", "drama", "comedy" - everybody says something different. In my eyes it´s a romantic thriller with irony and decent action. Clooney and Lopez - wow! I could really feel the sparks between them - especially in the scene in the bar with the falling snow in the background. Sigh...

By the way, it was genius that Scott Frank, the author of the script, decided to tell some parts of the story in flashbacks. It´s the best way to keep the audience paying attention. Speaking of flashbacks - during the whole movie, I had the feeling, that this film was made in the 70´s and was buried out in 1998. It´s the mood, the music, the zooms of the camera that carries you back into another time. That´s amazing!

"Out of sight" is another cult-flick from director Steven Soderbergh. Smart, twisted and romantic!

The Wedding Planner
(2001)

Her best friends wedding...
MAY CONTAIN SPOILERS

Mary Fiore (Jennifer Lopez) is a wedding planner and single. Her own wedding failed. One day Steve Edison, a doctor (Matthew Mc Conaughey) saves her live in an accident. She falls in love with him. Unfortunately, she´s his new client...

"While you were sleeping", "Sleepless in Seattle", "Pretty woman" - examples for well done romantic comedies. But in the latest time there have been lots of bad ones. When I say "bad", I mean films like "Runaway bride" - which had such a wooden and constructed script that even Julia Roberts and Richard Gere couldn´t save it. "The wedding planner" belongs to the good ones. Why? Let me explain the three basic rules of romantic comedies:

No. 1 Those people who read my comments, may have noticed that I often talk about that: the actors should have C-H-E-M-I-S-T-R-Y. A romantic comedy stands and falls with the chemistry. Especially the wonderful scenes in the park proof it! Magic!!!

No. 2 The happy ending is a clear thing (an exception: "Green card"). HOW the two find each other should be exciting, and it should be told in a not too complicated kind - S-T-R-A-I-G-H-T!

No. 3 Sounds banal, but the humor should have T-I-M-I-N-G like in any other comedy, too.

In my opinion "The wedding planner" has all these three things! Matthew and Jennifer are a such a damned cute couple! The both saved my rainy Sunday afternoon. I left the theater walking on clouds! Believe me folks, this film works!!!

One word: sweet!

Romeo + Juliet
(1996)

True romance!
When I write a comment, I first usually tell a short outline of the plot. I don´t think that´s necessary here. Everybody knows the famous Shakespeare novel (I hope so...), and it must have been adapted for the big screen at least a hundred times. Nevertheless Baz Luhrmann´s ("Strictly ballroom") version of "Romeo & Juliet" is a special one. Just imagine Shakespeare would have met Tarantino...

In this modern version, the story is settled in the 90´s. The Montague´s and Capulet´s are two mafia clans that live in emnity. Leonardo di Caprio and Claire Danes are their kids who unallowedly fall in love with each other. I couldn´t imagine a better cast for the most famous couple in the world. Once again, "chemistry" is the magic word. You could think they´re real couple of these days. That´s why - in my eyes - the tragic dimension of the story gets so truthful. By the way, Natalie Portman was first planned for the role of Juliet, but she seemed too young for it. But that´s another story...

Of course, the novel wasn´t adapted in the original length. I suppose the only Shakespeare novel, where this fact is applicable, is Kenneth Brannagh´s version of "Hamlet" (1996). But the dialogues were putted into verses, and that´s just magic! In this way, Luhrmann spans a several centuries. Fascinating, isn´t it? It´s absolutely no popcorn cinema, but an effective try to explain the MTV-generation, who Romeo and Juliet were.

Overwhelming, touching, timeless!

Die Einsamkeit der Krokodile
(2000)

Even crocodiles get the blues...
A little town in the province of Northrhine-westphalia. Elias (Janek Rieke), a young journalist, wants to write a story about the mysterious death of Günther (Thomas Schmauser). He was a highly gifted, intelligent boy - but an outsider. Soon Elias notices that everyone in town is against him - even Günther´s parents. Heike (Julia Jäger) the owner of the little hotel where he Elias lives, Roland a mental handicapped boy, who works on a farm, and Günther´s grandma are the only people he can trust. Was it murder? Was it suicide?

How could Günther´s life fail? Director Jobst Oetzmann decided to tell the story in flashbacks. You see Günther growing up in his parents butcher shop, which was also the center of the story. Everybody in town thought he was crazy, but he wasn´t. It was the outer circumstances that were mad - especially the way his parents treated him. He was a shy rebel with a cause.

It was in 1996 when I watched "Nach fünf im Urwald" - Franka Potente´s debut, where Thomas Schmauser played at her side. It was the first time that I took notice of him. Nice to see him again! He gave an overwhelming performance! It´s long time time ago that a german movie went so deep - maybe with the exception of "Das Experiment", but that was a completely different film. "Die Einsamkeit der Krokodile" is a truly touching tragic-comedy about life in the province.

One absolute giant!

Les rivières pourpres
(2000)

A french "7"!
Somewhere in the mountains close to Grenoble, a cruel disfigured dead body of a university-teacher is found. Commisaire Niemans (Jean Reno) from Paris investigates at the university. In Sarzac, a town 200 km away, Lieutenant Max Kerkerian (Vincent Cassel) investigates the case of a grave desecration. The trace leads him to Niemans. The both team up with each other. Was it possibly a ritual murder?

After bloodless movies like "The bone collector", I thought the genre of serial-killer thrillers is dead. I didn´t think that "Les rivieres pourpres" would tell me anything new, though I heard only good things about it. But Mathieu Kassovitz, the acclaimed director of "La Haine", knew it better. The frightening opening scene with the hypnotizing music carries you right into the happening! The "experienced cop against greenhorn" character- constellation is not new - but effective! Besides the weak ending; the twisted story and the brilliant actors kept me on the edge of my seat! Speaking of the actors - well, usually I hate such comparisons, but I would call Jean Reno a french Robert de Niro. Can something go wrong when you have him in a movie?

France doesn´t need to hide from Hollywood - a dignified revival of its genre!

Can't Hardly Wait
(1998)

Boys & girls...
It´s prom night. There´s Preston (Ethan Embry). There´s Amanda (Jennifer Love Hewitt). She has just left her boyfriend Mike (Peter Facinelli), a show-off. Preston loves Amanda. But she doesn´t even notice him, though they´re in the same grade. It´s night of the nights - and his last chance to confess his love...

Do I have to tell more? This is the stuff the best romantic teen-comedies are made of. "Can´t hardly wait" was never released in German theaters, because it was no big success in the USA. That´s a shame - it deserves more credit than it got! This film works! It keeps the balance between party-flick and a romantic-comedy, which gives the movie a relaxed mood and also a light bittersweet taste. I especially think about the scene, when Amanda finds Prestons letter - sigh... Speaking of "bittersweet": there´s this "Dire straits"-song "Romeo & Juliet" - taken from their "Making movies"-album - that appears close to the end. Every time I listen to that song, it carries me right into the movie. That´s wonderful! Last but not least, I would like to clear up one thing: yes, I like Jennifer Love Hewitt. I can´t deny it. But it´s not just for her looks, as YOU possibly think! Any questions?

A real cute teen-flick!

Heartbreakers
(2001)

Cruel intentions
Max and Page - mother and daughter - (Sigourney Weaver, Jennifer Love Hewitt) are marriage impostors. The tax investigation is on their trace. They´re highly indebted. They decide to plan their last coup...

I´ve seen "Heartbreakers" yesterday night in a preview. I was unpleasantly surprised because there were just a few people in the audience. Maybe all others were watching "The return of the mummy". Despite that fact, I enjoyed this film a lot. I must admit that "Heartbreakers" is surely not the birth of a new genre - remember the Steve Martin/ Michael Caine comedy "Dirty rotten scoundrels"? - but it´s just irresistible! Sigourney Weaver and Jennifer Love Hewitt are drop dead charming, but also perfidious. Especially JLH proofs that she´s not only the cute girl from next door - though a few curses less would have been enough... Unfortunately Gene Hackman and Ray Liotta had much too little appearances - especially Liotta, I´d like to see him frequently in comedies! Not to forget Anne Bancroft! She gives a small, but fine performance as a tax investigator. It´s always a pleasure to see her!

You love caper movies like "Entrapment" or "The Thomas Crown affair"? Then "Heartbreakers" will break your heart!

Charming, fluff - a refreshing comedy!

Almost Famous
(2000)

An adventure in hi-fi!
1973. 15 year old William Morris (Patrick Fugit) wants to become a music-journalist. One day he gets a chance. He gets a phone-call from the "Rolling stone"- magazine. he shall write an article about a newcomer band called "Stillwater". He goes on tour with them. These days will change his life.

"Almost famous" received an "Oscar" for the best screenplay - deserved! In comparison, I found his previous film "Jerry Maguire" (starring Tom Cruise and Cuba Gooding jr.) a little bit harmful. Cameron Crowe putted autobiographic elements in the story - he also started his career as a rock-journalist. I guess everybody can relate to the story and the characters - not only those people who passed through that time - because it´s about the hard way of growing up and finding your own way. And of course, the music...The way it carried the mood of the movie, was so overwhelming, that I´m missing the words...

By the way, I was pleasantly surprised about Kate Hudson - because I have recently seen her in Robert Altmans "Dr. T. and the women", which wasn´t that great. She played Penny Lane, the groupie in an unapproachable and very sweet way. Now I think her mom (Goldie Hawn) can be proud of her!

Cameron Crowe painted an impressing portrait of the 1970´s. No doubt - a cult-movie!

Drowning Mona
(2000)

The usual suspects...
Everybody hated Mona (Bette Midler). Now she´s dead. After a car accident, she drowned in the river. Was it really an accident? Everybody could have a motive. Who was it - and who not? Sheriff Rash (Danny de Vito) investigates.

"Drowning Mona" wasn´t a big box-office hit in the USA. A possible cause why its release in Germany was pushed from date to date. I first feared that it would come out as a video-premiere. More than one year after its release in the USA it finally started in the German theaters. I often read that it is compared with "Ruthless people" - also starring Danny de Vito and Bette Midler. I would rather compare it to the Coen brother´s "Fargo" - in my opinion, a satire about life in the province. Verplanck, USA: a boring, little town of philistine people, where everybody knows each other and talks about each other. I can relate to it, I live in such a town. It´s terrible, most of the time! That´s why this movie kept me laughing all the way through - it was like a therapy for me!

One weak point: sometimes, during the flashbacks, director Nick Gomez loses the storyline out of his hands. Maybe "Drowning Mona" isn´t as cynical as "Fargo", but the fine cast - besides de Vito and Midler; Jamie Lee Curtis and Neve Campbell - can save it from drowning.

A solid black comedy that is good for some big laughs and shortens the waiting time until the next Coen brother´s flick.

28 Days
(2000)

28 days ín the cuckoo´s nest
Gwen (Sandra Bullock) is an alcoholic. She ruins her sisters (Elizabeth Perkins) wedding when she crashes into a house with the wedding limousine. She´s condemned to 28 days in a rehabilitation center. Gwen thinks the patients are crazy and she´s the only one who´s normal. But soon she learns the opposite.

It´s always a walk on a thin line when Hollywood makes a movie for a bigger audience about such a difficult theme. "When a man loves a woman" - starring Meg Ryan - worked better as a tear-jearker. I think the best best movie about the problem of alcoholism is Mike Figgis "Leaving Las Vegas". "28 days" is somewhere between these two movies. But there´s a big difference to "Leaving Las Vegas". Ben - the character Nicolas Cage played - had GIVEN UP the hope to stop drinking. By the way this film had a more pessimistic and disturbing mood, while "28 days" is a tragic-comedy and starts from another point. Gwen´s whole life is a party. Drinking is like a hobby for her. She DOESN`T EVEN REALIZE that she has a problem and it lasts a while until she recognizes it. "Wake up! Be honest to yourself!" - maybe that sounds banal, and maybe it isn´t that easy, but in my opinion this was the message of the movie. Some people criticized that it´s too "soapy". In my eyes, it´s not. I think it COULD be a positive motivation. If a movie can move something in people - if only a little bit - then it´s a big success.

Sandra Bullock is absolutely believable in her role. She can play more than the cute girl from next door. I was pleasantly surprised! The supporting cast is brilliant: Elizabeth Perkins, Steve Buscemi but especially Azura Skye as Gwen´s room-mate Andrea - they gave convincing and far un-cliched performances. Betty Thomas - famous for light comedy stuff as "Dr.Doolittle"- has proofed that she also can direct a dramatic movie. Of course, this is not "Leaving Las Vegas" - but on the other hand, who had expected it? "28 days" has a class of its own. A human film.

Miss Congeniality
(2000)

There´s something about Sandra...
SPOILERS AHEAD

A terrorist threatens to attack the contest for the "Miss United States". Gracie Hart (Sandra Bullock), FBI agent, shall prevent it. She shall join the contest undercover. She´s tough - but she´s not that pretty, has bad manners and walks like a dinosaur. A case for style-teacher Victor Melling (Michael Caine). They have only 48 hours. Will she make it?

Okay, the plot is not that original and was seen in other variations before. In my opinion, the solution was a little cheap: moderator Kathy Morningside (Candice Bergen) who wants revenge for being fired. But it was enchanting to watch how Gracie turns into a beautiful swan. Sweet Sandra has a special ability: she saves the movie with her charme and makes the big screen shining. Really! Speaking of the actors: Michael Caine - honestly, has he ever been bad? He´s QUITE funny!

Altogether, a cute and fluffy comedy!

Das Experiment
(2001)

"Das Experiment" won´t leave you cold!
This film is based upon a true story - an experiment at the Stanford University in the 1970´s: a simulation of a real situation in jail. A group of men is separated in guardians and prisoners.

In times of German puberty comedies as "Mädchen Mädchen" it´s amazing that "Das Experiment" is so successful. It´s dark, with "edges", uneasy to watch. It could happen anywhere and anytime. At first sight a harmful experiment - a psychological test of human behavior. It shows how easy it can escalate. Prisoner Tarek, a reporter (Moritz Bleibtreu) begins to provoke the guardians to write his big story. The guardians loose control of the reality. Violence, no basic laws - soon the situation looks like during the 2nd world war. But we´re in the year 2001. And that was exactly the point that made me afraid.

A big praise to director Oliver Hirschbiegel and all the actors for their believable performances - especially Oliver Stokowski as prisoner Schütte touched me. I can recommend this film to anyone. But be prepared: it is VERY disturbing - and that is not enough to describe it! A truly memorable piece of German cinema.

One Night at McCool's
(2001)

A hot spot!
One night, barkeeper Randy (Matt Dillon) rescues Jewel (Liv Tyler) from her jealous boyfriend Utah (Andrew Dice Clay). He takes Jewel to his home. But Utah comes back and wants Randy to open the safe at Mc Cool´s. Suddenly a shot - Utah´s dead. Then... ...I´ll better stop here to tell the plot. That´s like to explain the story of "Wild things". What I found so interesting, was the fact that the plot (written by Stan Seidel, his first and his last work - he died in July last year...) was told from 3 perspectives - the 3 men that fall for Jewel. Everybody of them sees her from different eyes - like John Goodman as the detective, who tenderly falls in love with her because of being remembered of his dead wife...

No wonder that the guys fall for her! Liv Tyler - she´s a real jewel. She made the big screen shining! She played her role as if she was in a 40´s noir- thriller. Sweet - but in the same time she was the cool vamp who walks over dead body´s and uses the men for her needs. And, of course, Michael Douglas. How could I forget him? Mr. Burmeister, the Bingo-playing killer - he was quite cool!

But in the last 10 minutes there was a little bit too much slapstick for my taste - it weakened the atmosphere. That part began when Paul Reiser (as Randys cousin Carl) putted on his leather dress for Jewel. The "YMCA"-song didn´t fit so much here... ... but altogether, "One night at Mc Cool´s" is a pretty COOL film-noir parody!

The Thomas Crown Affair
(1999)

It thrilled MY mind!
Thomas Crown (Pierce Brosnan) is a famous millionaire and owner of a bank. He´s tired of being rich. One day he steals a famous painting out of the museum. Catherine Banning (Rene Russo), an insurance-agent is trusted with the case. A game between cat and mouse begins...

I must admit that I have never watched the WHOLE original movie, only a few scenes. On the DVD there was an interesting "Making-of" with a comparison between remake and original. The Thomas Crown played by Steve Mc Queen robbed out banks - what would probably look a little old fashioned nowadays. Now Pierce Brosnan steals famous paintings out of museums and goes to the psychiatrist - played by Faye Dunaway in a fabulous guest appearance.

I think that John Mc Tiernan´s movie comes quite close to the mood of the original - thanks to Sting´s great cover-version of Noel Harrisons "Windmills of your mind"! Not to forget Pierce Brosnan and Rene Russo - what a great couple! I kept my breath during the dancing sequence. This is what I call CHEMISTRY! It´s pure MAGIC! In its style "The Thomas Crown affair" reminded me of genre classics like "Out of sight" or "Tequila sunrise" - they belong to my favorites! But it also works as an hommage to the great caper movies as Hitchcocks "To catch a thief".

Surely a dignified remake - smart, sexy and romantic!

The World Is Not Enough
(1999)

A living daylight!
Robert King, an oil millionaire, has been killed. As his daughter Elektra (Sophie Marceau) continues his business, terrorists attack her new pipeline. Once again, it´s 007´s turn to save the world...

Sometimes I can´t decide which one I like better: "Goldeneye" or "The world is not enough"?. I think it´s "Goldeneye", but "The world is not enough", comes very close to it - and makes you forget 007´s mediocre mission in "Tomorrow never dies".

The action is superb and self-ironic. That´s exactly what makes the 007-movies so enjoyable. I especially liked the ski chase - I suppose it was thought as an hommage to "On her majesty´s secret service" starring George Lazenby, the one-time 007. Once again, Pierce Brosnan does an excellent job. As ever he doesn´t takes himself too serious and that´s good. And Robert Carlyle is the best villain in a long time. "Kill me - I´ll die anyway" he said to 007. What a cool phrase! It made me remember the great scene from "Goldfinger", when Sean Connery said to Gerd Fröbe:

"Do you expect me to talk?" - "No Mr. Bond, I expect you to die!" Remember it? That´s pure 007-cult!

I´ve heard that Brosnan will only return once again. One thing is sure: I will miss him. I´m excited who will be the next James Bond - I think Ralph Fiennes would be a great candidate! We´ll see...

But I also felt a little melancholic when I watched it. It was because of "Q"-actor Desmond Llewelyn. He died in a car accident in December 1999, just a few weeks after the movie was released. But I´m sure that John Cleese will continue his work as well. This makes "The world is not enough" to a very special, remarkable 007-movie.

Q is dead, long live Q!

Chocolat
(2000)

"Cocolat" tastes good but long-known...
Somewhere in France, 1959. Vianne and her little daughter come to a little town to open a chocolate-shop. It´s during the lent - a scandal! The mayor is shocked! But the people don´t mind about it. They fall for the lust of chocolate...

"Chocolat" is really a LIGHT comedy - no comparison to Lasse Hallstroems recent work "The cider house rules"! Rachel Portmans music is wonderful as ever and it´s beautiful photographed. But I guess "Chocolat" was a little bit TOO light for an Oscar-winner. There was one thing, that bothered me sometimes, though there were great actors - Juliette Binoche, Judi Dench, Lena Olin, Alfred Molina, even Johnny Depp isn´t that bad as everybody says - but the characters look a little stereotypic: the lusty old widow, the old gentleman with the dog, the sick grandmother... They´re looking as if I´ve seen them in thousand other movies before - sympathetic and lovable, but cliched. But besides this, I really enjoyed the film. I left the theater with a warm smile on my face...

A delightful, beautiful fairy-tale.

JFK
(1991)

J.F.K. - just a few thoughts...
Possible spoilers

I recently watched "Thirteen days", a screen adaptation of the Cuba crisis in 1962. A reason for me to watch "J.F.K." again - which I have seen a several times before.

The 22nd November 1963 was possibly the darkest day in the history of the USA. President John F. Kennedy was killed on his visit in Dallas. Lyndon B. Johnson became the new president on the same day. The Warren Commission was instructed to investigate the case. Their version: it was the act of one single man - Lee Harvey Oswald. Jim Garrison (believable: Kevin Costner), district attorney in New Orleans doesn´t believe that official theory and decides to reopen the case.

Oliver Stones history lesson shows a lot of facts, but it´s hard to treat them completely. I try to mention some important things that moved me. The first thing was the "Magic bullet"-theory. The traces on J.F.K.´s head showed three bullet-holes. The shots must have hit him from different directions. The explanation of the Warren Commission: it must have been ONE and the same bullet that hit him several times. Unbelievable. Did they think people are so stupid to believe this?

Another fact that shocked me was how they falsified the testimonies of the witnesses and destroyed important evidences. I have read about an inquiry from 1967 which said that 60% didn´t believe in the correctness of the Warren-report; 44% believed that it was conspiracy. Reasons that make you doubt the credibility of a democratic government. If John F. Kennedy had survived, there would have been no war in Vietnam. He had to die just because he tried to change something...

Though its running time of 3 hours, "J.F.K." keeps you at the edge of your seat - especially during the courtroom scene. A hypnotizing score by John Williams, a terrific cast. By the way it was genius to cast the real Jim Garrison for the role of Earl Warren! This is probably one of the best films of its genre.

One word: Powerful!

Thirteen Days
(2000)

All the presidents men...
"Thirteen days" describes the Cuba-crisis in October 1962. The world was at the edge of a third world war because the russians stationed their missiles on Cuba. The story is told from the perspective of Kenny O´ Donnell (Kevin Costner), the personal assistant of president John F. Kennedy (Bruce Greenwood).

Costner plays in a reserved way this time. Though his name appears first in the credits, I think that Bruce Greenwood and Steven Culp (as Robert Kennedy) are the stars of the movie. The similiarity of their looks - amazing! I can´t judge about the details whether they are correct or not, but as I´ve heard and read in critics and comments the movie is historic correct.

The changes between black/white and color scenes give the movie the atmosphere of a documentation. But it´s also full of intimate and personal moments - e.g. when O´Donnell is at home with his family or when he is alone in the oval office, talking to J.F.K.

Director Roger Donaldson´s movie ("No way out", also starring Kevin Costner) is a breathtaking and impressive history lesson. You don´t want to read the dry facts in the history books? "Thirteen days" is your movie!

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