badoli

IMDb member since June 2001
    Lifetime Total
    75+
    Lifetime Trivia
    1+
    IMDb Member
    19 years

Reviews

The Queen's Gambit
(2020)

A girls power fantasy.
I watched it because Netflix kept pushing it in the front line. It's a well made fairy tale set in a modern world: Against all odds a girl coming from bad environment and with hardly any formal training manages to beat chess players with years of practice - The universal girl story, told with chess.

Why Netflix is pushing that onto me is beyond my understanding, a middle aged single man is obviously not the target group for this. Don't get me wrong, it's a well told story and the actors are amazing. My favorite is the stepmother, her arc from frustrated divorcee to smart businesswomen is greatly perfomed by Marielle Heller. And the makeup department had a hard time to "bore down" Anya Taylor-Joy's beauty to make her believeable as the wallflower. Her performance does sell it though. The rest of the cast is equally excellent.

It's also nice the filmmakers treated chess with respect by hiring no other than world champion Garry Kasparov as a consultant. As such the games are great, but due to the fast cuts you need to pause to really comprehend them.

Sadly the story is filled with kitschy stereotypes and comes across quite cringy at times. Every chess player she's facing is an overly condescending scumbag, yet she beats them handily and in the course wins over their hearts turning them into charming love interests. The competition between the players feels greatly overdramatized and a little too crude for my taste. The first episode was comically horrific, almost reminding me to Zack Snyders "Sucker Punch". It's a fairy tale in the style of "Amélie" - not as magical, a little more gritty, but a fairy tale nonetheless.

Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice
(2016)

Horrible.
I really tried to like this movie. But it's just horrible. And i love Zack Snyders work, he is an amazing director when it comes to capture scenes. He is a very visual director and that's what i love about every of his former movie.

But this one is a major fail. Snyder is the perfect director to make a great script into a visually stunning movie. He is great in elevating an existing masterwork. But he is unable to create one.

This movie is a testiment for that. While certain scenes are simply marvellous, the script lacks pretty much everything a good script needs. No depth, no cleverness, no style. The dialogues are forcing a pathos in such a painful way, it's comical. And that's a shame, taken the talent that's on screen. Henry Caville feels like he was chiseled out of marble to play the role of the man of steel. Yet the script gives him painfully ridiculous lines to say, you might just feed Superman kryptonite and end up in the same place.

Next to the dialogue are the ridiculous script decisions. In this movie Batmans has no problem murdering bad boys with the help of firearms. Yet when it comes to face Superman, he trusts his fate to ... a spear?! You can hardly create a more "MacGuffin"-item than that.

The whole script oozes pathos left and right to the point it becomes comical. And when it tries to be comical, it fails. Most scenes feel like out of place in a super hero movie. And any conclusion coming out of this comes across as idiotic.

Please, Mr. Snyder, listen to people.

Fear City: New York vs the Mafia
(2020)

Well craftet documentary!
This 3-episode mini-series is a well crafted and riveting piece. It tells the story on how the golden age of organised crime was ended by the FBI and does a great job so.

I can't really comment on the validity of the various informations given, but people from all parts of the spectrum get to speak their mind. Mob gangsters, prosecution attorneys, FBI-agents all explain their own world view during one of the most prominent times in US criminal history. Several anecdotes about bugging various locations contrast with well with the sheer megalomains of a handful families controling what accounts to large amounts of New York and the United States.

It's a gripping time piece of the 70ies and 80ies and a fitting requiem for the italian mob.

Special Correspondents
(2016)

Missed opportunity.
I haven't seen the french original, but i know what movie this one reminds me of: "Wag the dog". The story is similar: Two low-class radio journalists fake a civil war in Ecuador to save their necks. And while the '97 comedy is an example for a great political satire, this one mostly falls flat even as a comedy.

It does start out promising. The idea is also interesting and executed sorta acceptable for the first half hour. The characters work decently enough and their motivations seem legit, although it's all written very, very much on the nose. No buzzkill, but you pretty much can tell where it all goes within the first ten minutes.

Yet even that was not meant to last. The screenplay drops into cheap shots and dump attempts at social satire. At the 1-hour-mark it becomes unbearably superficial and unintentionally clumsy. And while american culture is already treated poorly, i doubt the writers ever even looked Ecuador up on wikipedia. It's writing at its absolute laziest, relying on weak screwball stereotypes from the 80ies.

The acting isn't amazing either. Ricky Gervais has one and only one character, he again is the pudgy underdog brit with the good-natured heart. By now it feels naive to expect more range from him. Then there is Eric Bana and this is the first comedy i've seen him in, but his deliveries only range from good-ish to weak. The only actors that feel spot on are Kelly Macdonalds as the wallflower love-interest and Kevin Pollak as the radio boss. Both seemed to me like they could have done more if they'd been given a chance. This screenplay didn't.

The last two thirds of this movie are just dragging out the little material it has and it all left me unsatisfied and disappointed. "The office" was a far better remake.

Extraction
(2020)

Good action flick.
What more can you say? The production values are impressive, the action is directed stellar for most of the time and Chris Hemsworth is a great action hero.

The plot itself isn't amazing, but it serves enough reason for all the shooting, kicking and screaming. I'm surprised some people are annoyed by this, as this didn't seem to be a problem with Max Max Fury Road or John Wick - Great movies in their own right. Instead it focuses on what it also does best: The juicy action! Hemsworth is hands-on, he sure took quite some beating while making. His character is written well enough to feel believeable and his acting is on par. Same goes for Randeep Hooda, who is quite explosive as the antagonist.

Most of the creativity and talent by the crew was spent in the first half and it shows. The camera work and the direction is simply amazing, the car chase scene left me puzzeling what was going on (in a good way). Sadly the creativity drops off quite going towards the ending, which is a little disappointing. It all becomes a little too predictable and cheesy.

Nevertheless a highly recommendable no-bullshit action flick.

The Mandalorian
(2019)

This is Star Wars now: Plot holes, unnecessary fan-service and predictable.
The biggest issue of this series is the fact that the protagonist doesn't talk much and you hardly see his face. Often during the series i had no idea what he was feeling or thinking and as such a lot of his actions came out of the blue. This led to a lot of confusing "Oh, ... This is happening now...?"-moments.

But even if you retro-fit his emotions into a lot of scenes, it doesn't make his actions more understandable or believeable. He does bad things and good things, but i have no idea wether he enjoys or dreads them. He kills some without remorse and protects others without apparent reason. After three episodes i still have no idea what the character of the mandalorian is. I'm not even sure it's Pedro Pascal under that helmet.

The whole show is written for spectacle, not for a good narrative. Only from that point of view everything becomes painfully clear and predictable. If you strip away the Star Wars scenario, you're left with a weak gunslinger story. It's even more apparent when you look at the side characters, which feel lifted from a cheap 60ies western series. At times the writing is on the level of an average videogame, which in contrast don't depend on good screenplay.

As such it's up to the scenario to carry the bulk of atmosphere building. This isn't done too sensibly either, several times Star Wars is shoved into your face without consideration for the world. Most of it is recycled from Episode 4 to 6, so oldtimer fans will approve. The amount of really original designs on the other hand is rather low, i guess a lesson learned from the newer movies.

All in all another Star Wars disappointment for me. Which is really sad, as the production values are great! The world looks believeable and amazing. The camera work is decent. But that alone is not Star Wars. This is Disney's Star Wars: A safe but lacking rehash of tried and proven ideas.

Coming to America
(1988)

Beautiful oldschool romantic comedy.
The script is like from another era in its phantastic setting, but it simply works. Especially when it's so well executed by a directing legend like John Landis.

When Eddie Murphy is having fun, he is simply amazing and the role of the naive prince on a mission seems to fit him like a glove. Although it is usually him telling the jokes, this time the comedy derives from the situations, which the contrast of the protagonist versus his environment brings about. As such it requires a real actor and Eddie proves once again he's more than just a loudmouth entertainer.

The rest of the cast is equally great and with a great screenplay it's just a joy to see Landis direct it all with such ease. Which makes this one of the greatest Eddie Murphy movies so far.

Star Wars: Episode IX - The Rise of Skywalker
(2019)

Star Wars is finally dead.
I'm not sure wether it's worse or better than Episode VIII. This movie is just utter chaos. Pretty much every scene is created for spectacle or heavy-handed characterization. The majority are hamfistedly lifted from the first trilogy. Famous EPIV-VI imagery is crowbared in without any sensitivity for the symbolism. "You like Emporer Palpatine, right?" Disney seems to shout in dispair.

Nothing flows naturally, most events seem to come out of nowhere and aren't explained in the slightest. Kylo Ren needs to find a thingy. Why? Don't ask. look at the flashy lightsaber. The crew finds an ancient weapon that leads to some important thing. Why? They were lucky i guess, it's not important, look at the shiny lights. The screenplay is absolutely predicteable, even the big twist in the middle is a horrible rehash.

The relationships between protagonists feel forced and constructed. Rey and Finn try their best to resemble Han and Leia, but it's done very clumsy and artificial. Not Anakin-Padmé-clumsy, but still far from natural. Lightsabers are swiss army knives for Jedis instead of mystical weapons which should be used with caution. The force is super-powerful, unless the screenplay doesn't want it. Rey jumps around like Super Mario in one scene and struggles heavily to climb a rock in the next. And the humorous scenes mostly fall flat beside some minor exceptions.

There are only a few good bits. The lightsaber battles feel a lot less like some ridiculous dance coreography or circus act, but more like a struggle between two opposing characters. And there is a beautiful homage to Carrie Fisher, which actually felt dear, honest and respectful. But most good ideas here are merely touched on and dropped in favour of more spectacle.

What little of Star Wars magic remained has finally left the screen. It's now a disney amusement ride, just over two hours long. This is Disney in full blown panic mode, solely relying on hype and fan service to generate revenue. At times it seems like J.J. just wanted to be done with it. This is the director, whose dream was to make Star Wars movies! I was dragged in by friends claiming a need for closure, but i left 30 minutes before the end. It felt like i could spend my time in better ways.

Unless you don't give a damn about subtlety, consistency, flow, interesting characters and a lot more central moviemaking guidelines, don't watch this.

6 Underground
(2019)

It's Michael Bay. That's all you have to know.
Guns, explosions, car chases, more explosions, people being run over, half-naked girls, action, more car chases, and so on and so on and so on. The usual Bay-suspects. The budget for this movie must have been insane. Seems hardly any expenses were spared to make this flick out-Bond any James Bond movie. The amount of luxury stuff being destroyed is just gratuitous, the technical level is impressive and the action scenes are creative and well crafted. But that's about it.

The only surprise is the amount of cursing. It looks like the only thing Bay was missing while producing for the big studios was the R-rating. It fits the movie, so it doesn't feel over the top. What feels too much is the shaky cam videography. At times it's hard to follow what's going on, but then again, that hardly matters in a Bay-Movie. As long as stuff keeps exploding, the target audience won't mind that hardly any scene flows naturally into the next.

The only saving grace making this mess watchable is Ryan Reynolds, he never takes the movie serious and as such comes across as the only believeable and mature person in this utter chaos. But even he cannot save the idiotic story line. Whenever the action calms down for a moment, Bay pulls out ludicriously cheap emotion-moments, that border on offensive. The pseudo-politic plot about killing a dictator is incredible stupid and painfully ignorant of the present world situation. The dialogues were written by brain-amputees for brain-amputees. At that point, why even care with a screenplay?

But then again, if you know Michael Bay, you know already, if you like it or not.

The Mandalorian
(2019)

This is Star Wars now: Plot holes, unnecessary fan-service and predictable.
The biggest issue of this series is the fact that the protagonist doesn't talk much and you hardly see his face. Often during the series i had no idea what he was feeling or thinking and as such a lot of his actions came out of the blue. This led to a lot of confusing "Oh, ... This is happening now...?"-moments.

But even if you retro-fit his emotions into a lot of scenes, it doesn't make his actions more understandable or believeable. He does bad things and good things, but i have no idea wether he enjoys or dreads them. He kills some without remorse and protects others without apparent reason. After three episodes i still have no idea what the character of the mandalorian is. I'm not even sure it's Pedro Pascal under that helmet.

The whole show is written for spectacle, not for a good narrative. Only from that point of view everything becomes painfully clear and predictable. If you strip away the Star Wars scenario, you're left with a weak gunslinger story. It's even more apparent when you look at the side characters, which feel lifted from a cheap 60ies western series. At times the writing is on the level of an average videogame, which in contrast don't depend on good screenplay.

As such it's up to the scenario to carry the bulk of atmosphere building. This isn't done too sensibly either, several times Star Wars is shoved into your face without consideration for the world. Most of it is recycled from Episode 4 to 6, so oldtimer fans will approve. The amount of really original designs on the other hand is rather low, i guess a lesson learned from the newer movies.

All in all another Star Wars disappointment for me. Which is really sad, as the production values are great! The world looks believeable and amazing. The camera work is decent. But that alone is not Star Wars. This is Disney's Star Wars: A safe but lacking rehash of tried and proven ideas.

Dolemite Is My Name
(2019)

A great feelgood movie for the whole family!
If your family is okay with nudity, cussing and raunchy humor.

Eddie Murphy is great as Rudy Ray Moore, the spirit from his youth is showing several times. Wresley Snipes is a blast. The whole cast does a great job bringing that time alive.

The screenplay is nothing to write home about, but it wraps you like a warm blanket and you're just happy to keep watching. The humor is dirty and raunchy and it's a blast watching all those high-stake actors dwell in their lines! This would have been aweful to watch as PG13, luckily the producers were aware and just ran with an R-rating.

All in all a great movie of a kind that isn't made often nowadays!

Once Upon a Time... in Hollywood
(2019)

Great, if you love cinematography and the 60ies.
This is a time piece and a love letter to Hollywood. And if you gonna see this movie, please keep this in mind. It's film-making in the mind of Sergio Leone: Long stretches of atmosphere-building. Tarantino really lets the camera rest on his motives.

And it works great, as the set design is outstanding. If you like the 60ies, this movie will feel like a time travel. The first scene showing the boulevard through Hollywood was breathtaking. The love for detail shines through everything. It was the moment where i knew i will buy the Blueray the moment it comes out. The atmosphere and the lifestyle is captured brilliantly.

With all this, the story sure takes a step back. I'm okay with that, as what we're presented with is amazing. But then again, if you expected Pulb Fiction 2, you'll be majorily disappointed. This is a movie-lover's movie.

Criminal
(2016)

Same old, same old.
This is just your average other action thriller hitting all the notes of a 90ies production. The story starts with a nice idea, but uses that just for the bare necessity of telling a story. What follows are decently realized scenes, a lack-luster emotional affair and action sequences you've seen in countless other movies before.

The sorta saving grace is the star-cast. Ryan Reynolds as a CIA-agent almost seems bland, Kevin Costner is grumpy as always, Gal Gadot is pretty and Tommy Lee Jones plays Tommy Lee Jones. The only Gary Oldman seems to enjoy his role as the short-tempered, easily annoyed CIA-boss and makes his part look underwritten. Still, watching these old farts is always enjoying.

The worst offender is the end. Hollywood-ending-101 with a big scoop of kitsch, straight out from the 80ies and 90ies. I was expecting writing and production credits from Kostner, as the whole movie felt like a vehicle to jumpstart a career-boost for ol' Kevin. But all in all I was hoping for more.

Avengers: Infinity War
(2018)

Okay for Non-Fans.
If you're a superhero-fan, you don't need a review, you will have seen this anyways. For people without this disposition, Infinity Wars is a harder sell.

Best working are the characters. Even though there is an army of support characters, not one feels really cheap and unnecessary. It's a party and as such it feels a little claustrophobic sometimes, but it's still fun.

The story though is a superhero-quagmire. Especially after about half of the movie logic went fully overboard and the plot happens via incomprehensible superhero actions. Time is irrelevant, distances are extremely liquid and neither the MacGuffin nor the relationships of the different "superhero abilities" is ever satisfyingly explained. As such drama happens predomantly in the faces of the actors. Visual fidelity distracts from all questions starting with "why". It's like you're watching a sport you don't know the rules of - Who is winning? Why was that action helpful? Why is everyone cheering?

If you're new to the Marvel Cinematic Universe, don't start here. The movie strongly presents itself as a chapter of an epic, so you're expected to have a certain idea of the characters to begin with and you won't see real closure unless you plan to visit the next Avenger iteration. And to be honest, i'm not sure this episode warrants the investment, as i had little enthusiasm or emotions for the protagonists and was left observing the spectacle. The humor and the actors save it from becoming another Transformer, but i never felt really engaged.

Shazam!
(2019)

A really fun movie.
I really missed those carefree comedies and nowadays it seems you have to wrap it into a superhero movie to get them done. This one manages to do exactly this. The light-heartedness works perfectly with the hillarious base idea of a superhero getting his powers by a wizard in a cave.

The script and the actors don't spoil the fun either, everbody and everything does a great job in the delivery. Zachary Levi never under- nor overperforms as a 14-year-old boy in a ridiculous super-suit, the comedy is spot on. And all the other actors have equally great comedic talent - It just works.

The movie sure has some technical and budget weaknesses, but that's just nitpicking. I'd even argue the underwhelming settings actually support the down-to-earth feeling of the atmosphere. This is not titans versus gods, this is just a little fun story about a boy and his friends. And as such a perfect anti-thesis to the oversized run-of-the-mill movies hollywood thinks the audience wants. Yes, i'm looking at you, Aquaman.

Love, Death & Robots: Sonnie's Edge
(2019)
Episode 1, Season 1

Great animation. But weak story.
This first episode was stupid. It delivers twist after twist after twist, but each one feels constructed and convoluted. Nothing develops organic, it's all done for cheap shock and surprise. Some gore and some nudity to make it appear adult. But the whole thing feels empty.

That said, the graphics are superb. The artists and animators did a hell of a job, which is probably due to the designs being any artists wet dream: Monsters, boobs, steel and grime.

Sadly the story felt more like an excuse.

Green Room
(2015)

It was okay.
The movie seems to split the opinions, but i cannot really understand why. It was a well done thriller with a nice idea, but lacking a little in the details. Not enough to ruin it, but neither enough to make it hugely rememberable.

The actions of the main characters make sense, i wouldn't expect any clever survival tactics from a low-life punk-band, who isn't beneath siphoning gasoline from parked cars. At the same time it's a little hard to sympathize with them for the same reason. Even worse fares the nazi gang, who is out for their blood, but isn't all too smart about how. The threat-level is all over the place. At the beginning it is hinted that the four punks are massively outnumbered, but all confrontations boil down to a handleable two to three nazis at a time.

The best about this movie is the gritty atmosphere of the nazi/punk-club, which is well executed onto the screen. Also the good acting.makes this rather watchable, none of the characters felt cheap and Patrick Steward can shine as a softspoken, but evil villain.

But in the slightly above average story, the plotholes and the luke-warm ending left me unsatisfied.

World's Greatest Dad
(2009)

It's sure black, but not a comedy.
I don't understand how this can be called a comedy. This is a depressing movie with a depressing begining, a depressing middle and a depressing ending.

This movie is a portrait of a pathetic loser, who fails at his passion, at raising his son and at the only good thing in his life, the relationship to his beautiful teacher collegue. There is no irony, no playfulness, no dark humor, just misery. It's about as funny as watching a car crash. How this is supposed to be funny? I don't know.

As a drama it works pretty well though. If it would have been advertised as that, i might have liked it. The saving grace for me was the great performances, especially the always amazing Robin Williams.

Predators
(2010)

I actually left the cinema.
Where to start? Acting is bad, the script is weak, the execution is embarrassing... I felt offended for the stupidity on the screen. None of the actors are anywhere believeable as the super-elite soldiers they are portraying. The moment Laurence Fishburne appears, the movie takes such an utter nosedive from the already low level, i had enough and left the moviehall. I didn't even see a predator.

With "Aliens" and "Predator" there are two movies before this one which showed brilliantly how to do a "Supersoldiers versus Aliens"-story correctly, so it boggles my mind how such a piece of garbage isn't even taking the slightest inspiration.

Hollywood cashgrab at its worst.

Android Insurrection
(2012)

"I don't get any human signature" .... from this movie.
It was the worst movie i've seen this year. Actually calling it a movie is an understatement, this wouldn't pass as a student film.

The effects are horrible, the maker could have improved massively by just watching any youtube tutorial on 3D and postprocessing. The actors are horrible, unable to even hold a basic conversation in a human fashion. The camera is horrible, capturing willingly minutes of exposition dialog while being unable to show what's happening during action sequences. And the script is horrible as i am still not sure what was actually happening here.

The general plot is very genereric. There is lots and lots of boring exposition dialog as filler. And yet it's so incomprehensive, i i still have no idea how this world functions. Then there are the attempts at drama and conflict, which are all way above what the actors are able to deliver. And the story twists are laughable and predictable.

This movie isn't even bad enough to be hillarous, it's just simply boring. The worst kind.

Lost in Space
(2018)

This is "Lost". Just in Space.
So this is the biggest netflix budget yet? Most of the money obviously ran into expensive practical and computer special effects, because the script is very shallow and predictable. Several plot points seem to have been lifted straight from that notorious island series.

While the first some episodes feature a little creativity, over the length this boils down to a run of the mill intrigue plot with some heart stringy moments and some action sequences. Even those fail to impress, when it's blatantly obvious what's gonna happen, who is going to get injured and what the writers were going for.

At times logic is missing, plot holes show up and some relationships feel underdeveloped, lackluster or just prain weird. Best example is the marriage of the two main Robinsons, which comes across as disfunctional at best, missing any love moments or chemistry beyond the first episode.

I was hoping for more campy space adventure and less dreary fight for survival. Not horrible, but not great either.

Copycat
(1995)

Not aweful, not really good either eighter.
The screenplay is so dull, the actors just can't make it worthwile. Holly Hunter has a far bigger acting spectrum than what this role asks of her. Sigourney Weaver gets some great moments and fails in others for the weak script. But the worst are the antagonists, who are mostly not more than stereotypical creeps. As a post-"Silence of the Lambs"-movie, that's just not acceptable, neither of these dumb villains could hold a candle to the terrifying Hannibal Lecter. While the screenplay obviously took that classic as a reference, it fails to capture the essence of what made it good.

What really makes the movie unbearable though are the campy mid-1990 details. The gay couple is cartoonishly gay. The detectives treat the policemen hillariously like children. And the portrayal of computers aren't handled authentically in any way, shape or form. What would be okay in a screwball comedy is killing the atmosphere in this wannabe-serious police thriller.

Watch it if you're really bored.

This Is the End
(2013)

A bunch of Hollywood actors against the end of the world.
That's pretty much it. Some party boys face Armageddon and fail to deal with it. It's a ludicrous premise, but offers a lot of comical potential.

The movie satires all the classic stereotypes of horror and zombie movies: Fight for resources, splitting into groups, outsiders versus insiders, arguments over leadership, trust issues and so on. But Franco and friends persiflage themselves (or better their public image) and act as total morons throughout. You're not here to like these characters as "good people" and they know it. You're here to watch them stumble through in hilarious fashion and for that the boys present a surprising amount of self irony.

As such the movie is rude, explicit and gory. It's humor that gets better with beer. It's stupid, anarchic, yelling and at times whiny and i love it. If you're able to enjoy idiocy on the level of "Hangover" or "It's always sunny in Philadelphia", you'll enjoy this one.

Mars
(2016)

Good idea, bad execution.
Oh dear, where do i start? While i was really excited for the premise of a mars colony series, this isn't what i was hoping for.

At first the documentary-style segments give it an authentic feel. Yet after a while it really interferes with the pacing of the story. Whenever the situation gets dramatic, there is a cut to Elon Musk or Neil Degrasse Tyson blue-balling us with another scientific explanation. They should have stopped this after the first episode, as it really comes across as filler after that.

What i also couldn't take was the huge character discrepancy between the real life astronaut and his fictional counterparts. While Scott Kelly is a warm and controlled guy, who takes the one-year- separation from his family in a laid-back "it's my job"-attitude, the protagonists of the series seem to get emotional at the slightest mishaps. Add to that the fact they act more like teenagers than professionals with decades of experience.

And finally this seems like the worst space voyage in human history. A blind and hesitant ground control, hardly any reserves, moronic hiring philosophy... If any real mars trip would be happening like this, they would fire the management and drop the whole project.

Security
(2017)

Half decent, but flawed "Die Hard" copy.
This is another action flick along the script of "Die Hard": Dude down on his luck gets in a dangerous situation, where he's forced to be a hero. While the action scenes are very, very unrealistic, they are still well executed. And the cast with highly proved actors like Ben Kingsley and Antonio Banderas make the best of an average script and give their characters the necessary life to make it worthwhile.

All in all nothing you'll remember but okay for a lazy evening.

See all reviews