Ismaninb

IMDb member since November 2006
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Reviews

Van der Valk
(2020)

A lot to desire left
The biggest problem with episode 1.1, Love in Amsterdam, is that it doesn't do justice to politics in Amsterdam. Only two candidates are presented, while the local government body entirely consists of leftists and the city council sees no less than 12 political parties. The biggest party and the mayor belong to Green Left, while the second party, Democrats 1966, are comparable with the British Liberal Democrats. So no, De Klerk would not be the main rival of Paul Oosterhuis. Also especially the Amsterdam electorate is not very interested in the sex lives of its politicians. This all hardly makes the political aspect of the plot credible. The final scene, with Van der Valk and Hassell sailing a tjalk on the IJ, quite a busy channel with several harbours, is simply ridiculous. Dutch police officers would have had such a chat in a local pub - like the one Van der Valk uses as his briefing room. Granted, better than almost all Dutch productions, but that doesn't set the bar high. Like fionacluck already pointed out, there's quite a lot left to desire. At the other hand I was quite entertained, so six stars it will be.

Unstoppable
(2010)

Defines predictability
Title: Unstoppable. First few minutes: a train with dangerous cargo, manned by an unknown. Lead actor: Denzel Washington.

So we have some narrow escapes, some failed attempts to stop the thing and Denzel saving the situation at the end. The only remaining question is how. The rest is just ornament. Watching the first 5 minutes and the last 15 suffices. It's all professionally done, so a 6 it gets.

My Big Fat Greek Wedding
(2002)

Try Nothing like the Holidays instead
The purpose of My Big Fat Greek Wedding is laudable. Paint a loving, funny and moving picture of the Greek-American subculture that people can relate with. Alas it almost completely fails. The characters all are flat and uninteresting. Within five minutes you know how the story develops and how it ends. The cultural clash (when the parents meet) isn't a clash as everybody behaves like idiots. The jokes, with one or two exceptions, aren't funny. The scenes that are meant to move you are emotionally void. If you want to know how this genre should be done try Nothing Like the Holidays, which makes you want to be a Puerto Rican (at least as long as the movies lasts).

October Baby
(2011)

Why every atheist should watch this
.... because it will reinforce your unbelief. It shows everything that's wrong with Christianity:

  • antiscience;
  • an as cheesy as possible appeal to cheap sentiment;
  • paternal dictatorship;
  • the idea that some pastor can provide instant healing of serious psychological problems;
  • a whole string of is/ought fallacies.


So predictably lots of zealots bleat how life-changing (or whatever) this movie is, while it only confirms their religious biases. If you want to see a honest discussion of christianity in modern society watch Mercy Streets instead. Franky is wrong. As a left-wing atheist I think everybody should see this. Everyone who can think for him/herself will be put off.

The Last Godfather
(2010)

People are too PC
Sure The last Godfather is silly and stereotypical. It's also nice and sometimes very funny. Just look at it the same way as you looked at good old slapstick. We don't expect Buster Keaton and Laurel and Hardy to be politically correct, do we? Besides spoofing the mafia genre it also turns Romeo and Juliet into a comedy. Those who complain about the "retarded Asian" stereotype - Younggu is also a very likable character. Moreover he wins, after accidentally inventing new fashion and the Big Mac. There is no need to leave your house to watch this in cinema, but there is no need to avoid it when on television either. It could have done with more jokes and not all of them are great. Still there are enough for some silly enjoyment.

Hate Crime
(2005)

Try to survive the first half hour
Within 5 minutes I thought: bleeh, sentimental crap. Perfectly nice normal gay couple, everybody in the neighborhood behaves normal too, the weather is bright, then an intolerant neighbor - from one of those extreme right Christian churches - moves in and things go wrong. Cry, cry. Well, not exactly. Things become more complicated, there are two nice twists and there is a quite satisfactory revenge. As the movie continues the scenes become more challenging, the characters more realistic and the acting better. Hate Crime is far from perfect - a lot of criticism in other reviews is correct. Still it's worth seeing once. Just make sure you survive the cringing beginning.

Serbian Scars
(2009)

Love it or hate it?
At the time of writing my co-reviewers either give Serbian Scars one star or ten. So is this a love it or hate it case? For me it's a bit more complicated. I loved the first half hour indeed, which contains the dramatic parts. Good acting, good story telling technique. After that the movie gradually fell apart and the last half hour, the so called action segment, left me less than underwhelmed. I will leave it to others to point out all the plot holes. I want to address one point of critique though. Somebody complained about Serbians speaking English. As far as Dreq etc. is concerned he/she is right of course, but as far as Suzana goes the movie gives a bit far fetched, but still credible explanation. As I am in a good mood I'll give six stars, but it could have been 5.

Pretty Ugly People
(2008)

A feel good movie for cynics
If you like your jokes innocent and inoffensive Pretty Ugly People is not for you. If you enjoy the average American TV-comedy, like Cheers, the Cosby Show or Friends, stay away from this as far as you can. If you think relation problems and human condition are to be take seriously and nothing to be mocked, if you think Oprah a source of wisdom and if you want to be comforted by some superficial moral lesson, you will think Pretty Ugly People an insult to political correctness. In the latter case you're right.

Pretty Ugly People doesn't show how people should be like, it shows how people actually are in reality. People tend to marry each other for the wrong reasons. Why else divorce? They can be egocentric and often hurt each other, exactly like the characters in Pretty Ugly People. A large part of the audience can't stomach that and prefers wearing blinkers.

So the point of Pretty Ugly People is not that the spectator should care for one or more characters. Pretty Ugly People holds a mirror and shows human failure. It does it by spoofing the genre of the well-meaning relation movies. The characters in Pretty Ugly People often say and do the wrong things on the wrong moments. Exactly that is what happens in every day life - why else all those quarrels?

Still Pretty Ugly People essentially is a feel good movie. In the end everybody is happy. Sure, two characters die, but one was irrelevant for the story. The other, Richard, was a sour man who still showed remorse before closing his eyes. And his death gave his wife Betty the opportunity to find happiness after all. Even the black congressman found what he was looking for, in a rather unusual way.

Now Pretty Ugly People is far from perfect. It could have had more politically incorrect jokes and drags a bit now and then. But I see it as a most welcome slightly cynical parody of all that moralistic stuff that has been released last couple of years.

Far Cry
(2008)

Trick or treat
When I saw this movie I wasn't aware that is was a based on a Video Game as I don't play that stuff. So I am a little less biased than some others.

After the first five minutes I expected a dumb predictable action flick based on a lot of explosions and tough characters. And the plot is lame and stereotypal.

1) Dr. Krieger is a reincarnation of Mengele. He has created genetically modificated brainless Super Soldiers. 2) He has a sadistic Russian assistant. The Iron Curtain may have raised, but those ex-commies are never to be trusted, are they? 3) Our herion is an ambitious young reporter, who always Knows What the Right Thing Is To Do. 4) Our hero is an alcoholic ex Special Force, who gets involved against his will.

Still after some 20 minutes I was intrigued; I had a few laughs. When Mr. Food Guy was introduced I really began to enjoy myself. Far Cry contains a hilarious escape scene. When the mutants were loose my girlfriend, with whom I watched, as so often asked the crucial question: Who is fighting against who?

Exactly. That scene is total chaos. It is reminiscent of the classical tart throwing scenes of slapstick; in fact it is a modern update. My favourite part is when one of the mutants starts pulling the chain on which Jack is hanging.

In my opinion Far Cry is a comedy, a spoof if you prefer, and not a bad one. Even in its worst scenes, at the beginning, it does not take itself seriously at all. I refer to the waking Jack up scene by shooting a bell with a rifle. The main flaw of Far Cry is that it doesn't have enough silly jokes in the first 20 minutes, busy as it is with getting into the story.

Les aventures de Rabbi Jacob
(1973)

Must see
Like so many other Europeans of my age I split my sides with laughing when I saw Rabbi Jacob the first time 30-35 years ago. So I was very curious how it would hold up today. And I was not disappointed.

Sure, the movie drags a little here and there, especially in the opening scene (Rabbi Jacob leaving New York). Several others though are so fast paced that modern flicks are put to shame. The first example is the ride that end with the car floating in the lake upside down. Also note that the shoots with visual jokes are kept very short, like the patient locked up in the wardrobe. The spectator has hardly started laughing or immediately follows a rude comment. The result is literally breathtaking.

There is more. De Funes' pantomime scenes are as great as I thought them back in the 70's. Perhaps the most hilarious one is when he impersonates a traffic agent.

Some of the dialogues are awesome. Claude Gensac at the airport is an absolute match for the De Funes.

In general I am not that fond of De Funes' movies. The Gendarme ones for instance rely way too much on cheap double meaning jokes. Rabbi Jacob though should be a classic example for any aspiring - and many experienced - comedy director.

One lesson to be learned: comedies greatly benefit from treating controversial subjects. Indeed (French) racism and Arab/jew antithesis are subjects not spoofed enough in my opinion. That makes the comparable Don't mess with the Zohan tolerable, but Rabbi Jacob is way superior. Adam Sandler obviously hadn't studied it.

Tau ming chong
(2007)

Macchiavelli would have approved
Warlords is a fascinating and great, sometimes shocking but not perfect story of the rise and fall of General Peng. The central theme consists of his political ambitions and how they conflict with the required loyalty to his blood brothers. General Peng has to make some nasty choices and they don't turn out well. As far as I know, but I am not an expert, this is Jet Li's finest role: enigmatic, brave, ambiguous, with questionable values. My main objection against Chinese movies of this kind is that they lack character development, but that does not apply to Warlords. Jet Li manages to stir up mixed feelings until the very last scene. If you thought you had seen it all regarding battle scenes Warlords will give you a surprise. Both the ambush and the great battle scene will pop your eyes out. There is no trace of romanticism, the cruelty of warfare is pictured in every detail without becoming gory. There are also a few great special effects, like when General Peng saves the life of one of his blood brothers. The key scene takes place after the Siege of Suzhou. The question arises: what to do with the 4000 prisoners? The dilemma is unsettling and here it becomes clear that things will definitely go wrong, for all three of the blood brothers. Warlords paints a grim picture of the Chinese civil wars in the 19th Century and the dirty politics involved. The result is of epic dimensions and can compete with any American and European movie of the same kind. My only complaint is that the movie is too short. I would have liked some more background information about the four main characters. The character of Lian remains unnecessarily shallow. Some intriguing scenes are not entirely developed. Finally I would like to know what happened afterwards with Zhang, the narrator of the story. But these are minor quibbles. If you like movies of the grandioso kind, don't miss Warlords.

I Saw Mommy Kissing Santa Claus
(2002)

Flawed, but not that bad
This movie does not deserve a 2.4. There were a few nice little jokes, the childish imagination is better reflected than in many other comedies with children involved. Sure there are flaws. The acting of the adults was none too convincing and the story dragged now and then. There were several filler scenes. The main trump of I saw Mommy is not mentioned yet. It's the Sprouse twins. Their acting is awesome. Unlike the typical American adultlike youngsters squirting one wisecrack after another their character really is a child. Justin acts like a child, reacts like child and thinks like a child. His facial expressions are great. So I suspect that many critics here simply prefer children behaving like little adults in movies. I don't.

In the Land of Women
(2007)

When depressions are funny
Let's face it: The Land of Women is no La Dentelliere, no Il y a un long temps, no Preparez vos Mouchoirs and no Una giornata particulara. Still The Land of Women defies my prejudices. So an American relation movie can have black jokes. These jokes probably explains the negative reviews; I had a good laugh. Grandma of course shines but the others have their share too. Now and then I felt that I was watching at a spoof of American soap series. Of course if you think love and relation are subjects not to be mocked this is not for you. But isn't it great how Lucy tells Carter about her fathers love affair mirrors Sarah telling him the same? At the other hand The Land of Women remains very American, with the predictable objections. Everybody has a sterile beauty, even grandma has aged very well. Weather in general is fantastic and it rains at exactly the right moment. And on top of all: an American movie on relations, no matter how black the jokes are now and then, must have a happy ending. So the last 20 minutes become tedious and predictable. Still overall The Land of Women is very enjoyable if you have the right sense of humour.

Geisha vs ninja
(2008)

Highly enjoyable when you don't take the genre seriously
Geisha vs Ninja strongly reminded me of the Italian spaghetti-western. The movie is a fairy tale, so of course it is unrealistic. So are Leone's movies. There are two simple but very human themes: the quest for revenge and the quest for truth. The conflict between those two is not really developed, so no 10/10 from me, but it's there. The leading lady is highly attractive, the cinematography is beautiful, the landscapes are gorgeous and play an essential role. The use of extreme close-ups and flash-backs are also a la Leone. What is missing is sick humour. There is a brilliant joke during the first fighting scene but that is by far not enough. That is another reason to subtract some points. Still G vs N never becomes boring. Excellently choreographed fighting scenes are varied with quieter contemplative scenes. All in all highly enjoyable. Of course G vs N gets slammed for exactly the same reasons Leone was condemned some 45 years ago. Those critics forget indeed that contemporary action movies from the USA (Terminator, The Rock etc. etc.) are not realistic either. So what? At least G vs N does not pretend to be.

Why Did I Get Married?
(2007)

Stereotypes are stereotypes because they are true
When judging Why did I get Married we must keep in mind that it belongs to a very limited genre: the American style relation movie. So we get an alcoholic, a workaholic, obesity and adultery - the usual ingredients. We also get a few preachy scenes with Janet Jackson offering instant solutions for complicated problems. There is the happy ending of course, including some tears of joy. OK, Sheila's ex may be not so happy, but he deserved. Justice must be done in this genre. Tyler Perry lacks the genius of Ingmar Bergman and Claude Goretta - I am thinking of Sommarnattens Leende, Höstsonaten and La Dentellière. Essentially Why did I get Married is a long episode of a soap. All this does not necessarily me that Why did I get Married is bad. Within those limitations it is pretty good. Acting is decent and natural - Jackson being the weakling, hardly any scene is over the top, pace never drags, dialogues are to the point. Perry hardly ever abuses the stereotypes but is interested in a flowing development. The result is genuine and that is a rare value in soapland. I appreciate that. After all I butchered the Groomsmen and The last Kiss for this reason; not this one. In fact Tyler Perry has learned a bit from his great European predecessors. The absolute highlight imo is the scene were Sheila realizes how attractive her sheriff is, with its extreme close ups. As a bonus it has wit and that combination is new for me. One important point is that Why did I get Married is not a black movie. I don't know if that is criticism or a compliment. Say that this fails as a black movie - it's fine with me. Say that Tyler Perry shows that Afro-Americans struggle with the same problems as Dutchies like me and I'll agree as well. Fact is that you can replace all ten main characters by white actors without making any difference. All in all I think Why did I get Married an average movie about average people with average problems. There should be a place under the sun for stuff like this, if well done. And that's the case.

The Broken
(2008)

Fear itself is the most frightening
Some people complain that nothing is explained, nothing is revealed in The Broken. They obviously are not capable of figuring things out for themselves.They are used to stereotypal horror crap, in which excited dialogues are alternated with gory so called actions scenes. The Broken is different. It is stylish and visual, relying on fear in stead of gore. If you are sensitive to that and don't think any movie slow that does have less than five bloody victims per minute you will appreciate it. What's more, the plot is incredibly simple: images breaking through the mirrors, taking over and killing the originals. So switch your brains on, rewatch the key scene in which Kate is killed and everything becomes crystal clear.

Now The Broken is far from perfect. The main problem is that it tries to be three different movies. There are a couple of gory scenes, especially the key scene with Kate in the shower. Predictably they are the least frightening. The Broken is also a movie about amnesia and the fear involved when the main character Gina does not entirely recognize her surroundings anymore. The third important theme is identity, indeed similar to Body Snatchers. In the last scene Gina's identity has been taken over as well; that's why her brother Daniel runs.

In my opinion the Broken should have focused more on the amnesia theme, always keeping the question open: is the fear based on reality or based on fantasy connected with the amnesia? It must be a frigging nightmare indeed when you don't recognize your own house (or parts of it) anymore. The identity theme should have remained latent. The director should have cut even more on the gore, which only provides a few anticlimaxes. If you think Texas Chainsaw Massacre intelligent then The Broken is not for you anyhow.

Now the result is a mixed bag. Besides the gore another weak point is the annoying music. On the good side it knows how to build up tension, how to keep the spectator guessing and especially how to reflect fear. As such The Broken is certainly worth watching and in fact shows what horror really should be.

Direct Contact
(2009)

Dolph the Invincible kills 'em all
Direct Contact has a whole string of plot holes bigger than a vulcano crater. Dolphy boy is send on a mission to rescue a girl, receives 20 grant, pays his creditor 10, is robbed by the same creditor of the other 10 and then purchases enough armory to equip an entire regiment. Subsequently he defeats a whole army on his own. His enemies behave like stupid idiots - they don't want to kill him when having the opportunity and have serious problems with their aim when trying during the chase and siege scenes. All the baddies get killed and the heroin, an otherwise dumb stereotypal hysterical no use for anything girl, in the not so climactic scene kills Bad Uncle. End good all good and more predictable than a fairy tale.

Chrysalis
(2007)

French cinema is back at the front
All connoisseurs and other snobs know that between 1960 and 1980 French cinema was miles ahead of Hollywood. Directors like Melville knew that they could not compete on special effects etcetera because of the smaller budgets. They took the only possible course: do what Hollywood doesn't dare to do. Chrysalis breaks the Hollywood conventions as well and still stands firm in the French tradition. The pale colours remind us of classics like Le Samourai; the Hoffmann character could have been played by Alain Delon in his heydays. Dialogues are minimalistic and therefor highly effective. The two story lines first are independent and gradually merge. Montage between the two is brilliant; every scene makes you longing for the next one. Only halfway the meaning of the opening scene is partly revealed; only near the end you will understand it fully. So some patience and a bigger attention span than average is demanded - and rewarded. The movie has two weak points. First of all there is the plot. Probably I am not fair, but I find it hard to accept the plots of Robocop and Terminator as well. Never will movies like that get more than 8 stars. Second I find the Hoffmann character not that convincing anymore after his "accident". Don't take my criticism too hard. Deviating from the Hollywood norm involves risks so should be praised. Chrysalis is highly entertaining and intriguing, unless you prefer the standard, brainless and predictable stuff. And never I have seen such cold scenery.

Higher Ground
(1988)

It's not clear why others should enjoy it
Normally I leave stuff to this to the fans. I see no implicit reason why I should spoil their fun. But Krorie from Van Buren wrote that "Others should enjoy it as well." And I am one of those others. My preference is Russian opera and hardrock/heavy metal of the early 70's. A great voice is what they have in common: a large range, powerful lungs and cords, a lot of expression. So I do recognize vocal skills. John Denver has stuck in my memory as the vocalist of Calypso, where he shows what he is capable of. Alas he does not in Higher Ground. This is not the place to explain why Calypso rules and others songs not. From my point of view the music in this movie is boring, the fans will have to grant me that. During the music the story comes to an absolute standstill, which means about 15 minutes of boredom. Sometimes I felt watching a documentary without a commentator. John Denvor is not a very good actor either. He heavily relies on his faithful dog expression. Fortunately he was wise enough to surround himself with very capable actors. That has one pro and one con. JD's own deficiencies are not very striking; at the other hand that Scottish policeman puts him in the shadow now and then. But nothing can save the violent scenes; basically Jim's enemies simply do not resist. The story is highly predictable, of Roy Rogers quality, with the usual stereotyped characters. JD plays the Man Who Knows What Is The Right Thing To Do And Does It Without Hesitation, while all the policemen are to dumb, deaf and blind to see who the villain is. Jim's best friend gets into trouble because he makes the wrong decision for the right reasons. The widow and the boy are only there for decoration, to give us some female and childish emotions, in the old-fashioned meaning. They need a Good Man to get them out of trouble. The Native gets his obligatory chance to express his grievances against the white man who has ruined his way of life. Of course the honesty of Jim - with an extra faithful expression on his face - wins him over, of course on the very last moment. Etcetera, etcetera. In the end it comes to this: almost everything serves to prove the spectator the excellent character of Jim/John Denver. Are there positive sides? Sure, excellent cinematography, using the assets of Alaska fully. When JD is not singing the pace of storytelling is nice, even though the predictability makes that the spectator easily can skip ten minutes. I mean, the movie does not drag. As I wrote before, acting is adequate. So the annoyance factor, so typical of several Elvis Presley flicks, is very low. The bottom line is that Higher Ground suffers from all the problems such heroic movies. That is no problem for JD-fans of course, but it means Krorie was wrong.

Mercy Streets
(2000)

The view of an atheist
Being an atheist the reader will understand that I am aversed to cheesy Christian propaganda. Mercy Streets does not cause such dislike, except perhaps for the too obvious name Jeremiah. The reason is integrity, Jeremiah's struggle with his feelings for guilt is genuine. Moreover the atheist view gets a very fair chance - and it's the first time that happens in a Christian movie - when Rome questions Jeremiah's faith. Maybe the director got the idea from the Tuco-Pablo confrontation in The Good, the Bad and the Ugly, another undecided philosophical/theological battle. What's more - bad brother John is in fact not that bad, even TJ and Rome aren't. It's not even clear if John is converted. Moreover I like it that Rome is menacing without using filthy language; that there is no boring sex between the sheets. Not that I have something against swearing and sex, but these are not values in itself, as happens way too often last 10, 15 years. Give me swearing and sex when it is necessary for the movie or leave it out, as it is distracting. The movie has some shortcomings - it drags a little sometimes, a few scenes are not that convincing - but all in all the director succeeded in making a movie entertaining enough to keep my attention and avoiding all traps before reaching his goal. In short Mercy Streets is an integre movie about the moral struggle of a Christian plagued by guilt plus quite a few extra's. Wanting to live in a free world - with christians and members of most other religions - I can't see much wrong with it. The average of five stars is way too low.

The Lazarus Project
(2008)

Swiss cheese
To summarize: good acting, beautiful camera-work, lousy story with holes as big as in swiss cheese. To name a few: Ben gets the capital punishment for a robbery gone wrong, while he even did not wear a weapon. The evil shrink applies a program that violates a few laws but does not protect the computer on which the patient data are stored. We see a female psychiatrist being so unprofessional to make overtures to a patient - fortunately no sex involved. The evil shrink and his staff try to convince Ben that all this has been fantasy and hallucination. Still it takes Ben no effort at all to refind his dog in the nearest asylum. Somehow the movie managed a grip on me strong enough to sit through it to the cheesy end, but the main feeling afterwards is annoyance.

Octopus
(2000)

A grave insult to monster movie fanatics
As I am certainly not a monster movie fanatics I greatly enjoyed Octopus. What to do if the budget is too low for all the necessary special effects? Simple, make deliberately a goofy B-movie. The acting is pretty good and the characters are as stereotypal as they should be, without the exaggeration so typical for Hot Shots etcetera. The dialogues are funny and what's more, all placed at exactly the wrong moments. The plot holes are as big as the crater of a volcano. And, greatest joke of all, the hero does not get the heroin! Actually that very last scene convinced me Octopus is a nice little spoof and quite a subtle one indeed, regarding the negative reviews here. So our afraid-to-shoot Not-So-Special-Agent Roy Turner kills the beast and what does our heroin do? Passionately kissing Captain Jack Shaw. The last shot is of a helpless jealous lover swimming in the sea trying to protest. This is a stroke of genius, really. Believe me, there is much more. The chase scene where security agent Henry runs after our terrorist - mad evil completely over the top - after telling Turner to stay behind him, in slow motion, is also great. Really, they did it by purpose, or at least the director did after having read the script. Look at it as a spoof and you will have fun. Also watch out for octopussy tearing the chopper down! Trust me, after 30 years or so this one is a cult classic among movie addicts with a certain sense of humour.

Ghouls
(2008)

Stupid beyond measure
Ghouls is highly recommended for people with a twisted sense of humour. It is a SciFi-horror flick; it is meant to be either scary or gory. It fails to deliver in every respect, until the smallest detail, from the very beginning. What happens if one silly scene follows another, without any breathe? Hilarity. I could not help laughing, caused by sheer astonishment. No matter what, the acting, the dialogues, the evil creatures goofing around in the sky, the total shots of the Romanian village, the plot, the clumsy cinematography, the villagers closing their doors and windows out of pseudo-fright, the design of those creatures (obviously inspired by the monsters from Donald Duck comics) with their jaws, teeth, long nails and skull-like heads, every single detail is a failure. I am not going to try to describe everything, it would take longer than the movie itself. My three favourites are:

1.Jen is jogging. She catches a ball, throws it back to one of the guys with such a low speed that every toddler would have no problem - but the boy pretends to be hit hard in his stomach.

2.Then she suddenly, unexpectedly almost bumps against her dad. He: Your grandmother has died. She: Oh, I'm sorry.

3.Jen just has met her first ghoul for the first time. What is the logical thing to do? Exactly, descending into a supposed to be creepy tomb and worrying about spiders.

Don't try to make sense of the several scenes or the whole plot. It does not matter. Don't be afraid to visit the toilet or to get yourself a beer. You will catch up immediately when you're back. Even the music helps; it tells you at the spot when the next silly scene begins. For a while I thought the director/scriptwriter intentionally tried to spoof the whole genre, but it seems that it was meant seriously. So much the better, gloating only adds to the fun.

Several movies have got a well deserved one star from me. Ghouls is worse. I decided to gave it two, just because it's stupid beyond measure.

Road House
(1989)

The first scene is pretty cool
This movie should not have lasted more than 10, 15 minutes or so. So let me focus on the first scene. That one is actually pretty cool. Swayze enters a bar, looks around, hardly says a word and shows he can act like Clint Eastwood. And he gets away with it! Of course the whole idea is a rip off, I refer to the three Leone westerns with Eastwood. Still, in that introductory scene, would Eastwood have done it better? There is a small line between non-acting and minimal acting and Swayze does not cross it. The excellent music (Jeff Healey) also help of course.

After this everything goes downhill - just read the other negative reviews. The scene were Swayze tells his team to stay nice is bearable yet, but the rest is plain crap. The all time low is the s*x scene, which is the worst I have ever seen. Dogs have more subtlety. So one point for the first scene, a half for the music and a half for Swayze not screwing it up.

The Brothers
(2001)

A review from a prejudiced guy
Being White and Non-American I am not very interested in black movies. I usually don't care about the characters and their typical problems, which are not mine. So normally I would have turned off the movie and go doing something else. It also helped that the other Surinamese channel showed Trigger Man - real crap.

The Brothers managed to capture me though. Not that I found the themes very interesting. No, the secret is the humour. The Brothers does not take itself very seriously. Pseudo-psychobabble was alternated with very funny scenes. Especially the judge, the ex of the lawyer, gave me several good laughs.

So today I don't feel like criticizing the weak spots - yes, there were several. I just have to admit that I enjoyed myself. Still, like almost all movies about friendship and relations, it's quite forgettable. In its genre it's good.

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