Karl Aksel

IMDb member since November 2001
    Lifetime Total
    10+
    IMDb Member
    20 years

Reviews

Barbarians
(2020)

Just couldn't get into it
I was drawn to this series by the fact that the Romans speak Latin - and classical Latin, at that. But that's the only good thing about it, and kind of cancelled out by the fact that the Germans speak German, and not Proto Germanic (we do know enough about it for a viable reconstruction for TV purposes). Might as well have the Romans speak Italian, if they wanted a linguistic barrier between the peoples. As it is, it's just half-done, so I can't even give it an A for effort.

So, nit-pick out of the way, how about the story? Frankly, I found it all rather boring, and did not care about any of the characters at all. I got the impression that I was supposed to sympathise with the Germans, but I couldn't care less about the ones in this show.

It was also bizarre how they tried to shoe-horn in a modern independent female persona in the same woman who was going to be sold off to a man she couldn't stand. As if a culture that treated women like property would also raise women to be independent. This show tries to have one leg in historical values and the other in modern ones, in a way that makes it obvious why they don't mix.

In the end, I found myself impatient to be done with the German scenes so I could listen to Latin again, and that simply isn't enough to qualify this as an even half-decent series. Your mileage may vary, but if you are excited about how the Romans actually speak Latin, perhaps you have an artificially raised estimation of how good this show is. If you add sugar to broccoli, I'm sure you can make it taste better, but at the end of the day it's still broccoli.

Sick Note
(2017)

Maybe it's a love it or hate it thing
Judging by the reviews, it certainly seems that way. Some people think it's poorly written, some think it's poorly acted, some just don't find it funny at all.

Personally, I loved both seasons, and found both the writing and the acting to be excellent. I loved the humour, as did many others, which goes to show how subjective humour is.

The plot is very fast paced, and I was curious to see how they could manage to keep it going. Even though the episodes are shy of 25 minutes each, they are still densely packed with rapidly evolving plotlines. They aren't difficult to keep track of, but I see how the pace might be felt as hectic. It never felt forced, though.

The characters are mostly caricatures, and the unfolding of events are implausible to say the least, but that is precisely part of the humour. Some have complained about the bad taste of the humour, and they're not wrong - but that's part of the appeal. If you don't like bad taste humour, this might not be for you. But if you do like bad taste humour, perhaps some cringe humour here and there, then this could be your thing.

The Alienist
(2018)

Costume drama, not a period drama
I started watching this on Netflix because I thought it looked interesting, and I like 19th century settings. But it soon transpired that this was merely a 21st century drama in 19th century clothing. The 21st century liberal attitudes of the protagonist as well as the prominent women were effective barriers against any attempt at immersion.

Just once I would like to see a period drama where the protagonists have period values. By all means, let them be progressives, let them be feminists... but let them be so relative to the era they are supposed to live in, not 21st century.

Now, I note that many of the 9 or 10 star reviews claim that the nay-sayers are book-snobs or the like, but I haven't read the books. And The Alienist still rubs me the wrong way.

Battlestar Galactica: You Can't Go Home Again
(2004)
Episode 5, Season 1

Fortunately, you can skip this one
This is possibly the only clunker episode of the entire series, at least as far as I'm concerned. It's a good thing there is no story advancement in this episode, which means you can skip this one with no ill effects. Because there are a few glaring issues:

1. Plot wise, I find it inconceivable that a seasoned commander like Adama - who is no stranger to personal loss - should risk the entire human race for one pilot. This isn't even a tough decision. It's a painful one, but remarkably easy all the same: Leave, and leave immediately. The sheer stupidity of Adama and his son in this episode is not backed up by their personalities anywhere else in the series. Someone in the reviews here actually complained that President Roslin had the nerve to presume to tell Adama what to do, but she should have pressed him harder. She was 100% right, and Adama 100% wrong - and everybody knew it.

2. It has already been established, to the characters as well as the audience, that when cylons are killed, their consciousness is downloaded into a duplicate model. At least the characters know this is true for the human models, but we later learn this is true for the raiders as well. This means that it wouldn't take the cylons days to figure out what had happened to the scouting party - they'd know pretty much right away. Everything the raiders knew before they were destroyed, the rest of the cylons know. So they'd have no time to look for Starbuck in the first place. This constitutes a plot hole, and would normally be my biggest grievance. But there are a couple other things which beggars belief.

3. Why would cylon raiders, which operate mainly in the vacuum of space, have any biological parts at all? Why wouldn't they be all machine? The human models have a biological part because they need to pass for human. That's the only reason. The raiders have no such need, so why make them extra vulnerable to the effects of damage in space by making them part biological?

4. Even if we ignore the preposterous notion that Starbuck should be able to crawl into the thing and use the flight functions despite not having her brain hooked up to those controls (like the cylon's brain), that still leaves the question how she was able to navigate. The raider has no windows, only optics, which were hooked up to the raider's brain - not a monitor for human convenience. Yet she treats the slit as though it was a window. Even if we accept that (and there's no reason we should), that gives her only an extremely limited view straight ahead. She would not have been able to bob and weave from Apollo's attacks when he was behind her, because she couldn't possibly have seen him. Nor did she have any DRADIS in there. So even if she were able to get the thrusters going (she wouldn't), she would not have been able to see where to go.

5. Oh, and that hole in the front of the cylon, which killed its brain? It looked like she stuffed it with her flight suit. That may have worked to keep the wind out, but how good is that seal supposed to be when she takes the raider into space? She also didn't have a seatbelt, but that didn't seem to matter, either.

So I'm actually glad there's no story advancement in this episode. That means I can skip it, and pretend that Kara was successfully recovered by a rescue team.

W. Kamau Bell: Private School Negro
(2018)

Not really funny
I wasn't bored, hence the three stars. But the actual funny moments were very few and far between.

Hannah Gadsby: Nanette
(2018)

Narcissism personified
Hannah Gadsby clearly doesn't care about the audience, or what they came to see. This was not a comedy routine, this was Hannah Gadsby feeling sorry for herself and using the audience as her own personal therapist, venting all her anger and frustration and not even attempting to put a comedic flare to it. The only thing that was funny was when she added, towards the end, that while she did have the right to feel anger, she didn't have the right to spread anger. Funny, because that's what she spent her entire time doing.

I don't deny that Gadsby has a story to tell, a powerful story, and the right to tell it, but the first rule in show business is to give the audience what they want. The performer is there for the audience, not the other way around. The awkward silences and nervous laughs do indeed suggest that the audience had gone in expecting something different. Even if she manages to convince some women in the audience that this was good stuff, because she's a woman and "you tell it, sister", it is still profoundly disrespectful and incredibly selfish. Just as if you went to a restaurant and ordered veal but got lasagne instead - for no other reason than that's what the chef felt like making. I don't care if you love lasagne, it's still not what you ordered, and you would probably be a little miffed to learn that you were given the wrong dish on purpose because the chef is a narcissistic ****.

Thale
(2012)

Underdeveloped movie
Or rather, undeveloped. While I was watching this movie, I had a feeling of 5-7 stars, but when it ended - having introduced several plot-lines but neglecting to even explore any of them - it plummeted to a 3.

Spoilers below:

The two main characters had the most developed backgrounds - but even theirs was threadbare. Thale was presumably the same species - somehow - as the other creatures of the forest, which she was either afraid of or wanted to join. There was this armed group working for "Nina", but so little information was revealed about them that they might as well not have revealed that name.

The above would have been OK if this were a pilot for a series, in which case plot-lines could be resolved in time, but for a stand- alone movie it just speaks of a writer who couldn't decide what this movie was supposed to be. So even though I was entertained while I watched it, the whole experience was rather anticlimactic and so 3/10 is all I can give.

The X Files: Død Kalm
(1995)
Episode 19, Season 2

Interesting yet atrocious
Before I talk about the atrocious bits, however, I will try to review the episode without a Norwegian perspective. The plot itself is pretty much average as X-files plots go, which is to say perfectly OK. It didn't really draw me in, but neither did it bore me. The acting was pretty standard, though David Duchovny gave a pretty good performance. Like many X-files episodes, however, this one suffers from the fact that 40 minutes really isn't enough time to properly develop the plot or the characters.

OK, now for the bad news. I'm Norwegian, but I think even non-Norwegians with any knowledge of the language would hear the thick accents here. Thank goodness for the subtitles, because much of the time I could not make out what they were saying. I did, however, pick up certain *Danish* words (like "bliver" instead of "blir", meaning "becomes"). Now, written Norwegian is almost identical to written Danish, but when spoken the two languages are very different. I don't think we'd hear that difference from the actors used, though, so it might well be that the language coach used an English/Danish book for reference. Or a really, really old Norwegian one, seeing as Riksmål (essentially Danish) hasn't been our primary written language for at least 90 years. A telling phrase is Olafson's "gå (ad) helvede til" ("go to hell"), a Danish construction which is absolutely not used in Norwegian (the Norwegian phrase would be "dra til helvete").

I don't think picking up a random Norwegian schmoe from the streets to help them out would have been that difficult, nor that expensive.

Now, language aside, there are some other embarrassing elements, which probably only a Norwegian would care about. First of all, Trondheim is hardly a common surname. I was surprised to find that there ARE actually some who have this surname. Nine, to be exact (for the alternative spelling, "Trondhjem", the statistics reveal a grand total of 17).

Second, I have yet to see a Norwegian flag in a Norwegian pub/tavern. Made me think that this must be a place where far-right extremists hang out. Flag use is pretty reserved in Norway compared to our American counterparts.

Third, "pirate whaler", indeed. I'm half surprised they didn't include a burly Norwegian killing baby seals with his teeth. The same Norwegian schmoe from before could have told them that the only form of "pirate whaling" going on is if someone was to exceed their quota of minkes, but this hasn't happened in decades.

Fourth, maybe they DID use a really, really old book as reference. Because the patrons of the Norwegian tavern made me think of the way certain places might have been half a century back.

I don't know, maybe I'm overly anal about these things because I'm Norwegian. That's why I am only deducting one star for that. For those who ARE Norwegian, however, this episode has an unusually high face-palm factor. Best seen with friends over a pizza and something good to drink.

Cobra Force
(1988)

Quite possibly the worst movie I've ever seen
In fact, it's so bad, it's good. Well, it has it's own entertainment value, anyway. This movie is a catastrophe, and a spectacular one at that. The acting, the fx, the camera, the sound... anything you can think of, really. In that respect, it's a true gem, a keeper. If you come across it, don't miss the chance to see it!

I was a bit undecided whether I should give Cobra Force a 1 or a 10, but since this film is only unintentionally funny, I'm compelled to give it a 1. But hey, I'd see it again!

Best viewed with friends.

A Knight's Tale
(2001)

In hell, they run this movie every day
Clearly, you need to be in your wee teens to enjoy this movie.

Ok, it's not the music or the historical accuracy I care about in this movie, and indeed, it claims no accuracy in either field. But that's rather the point, and an interesting idea, but sadly this is as original as it gets.

Every character fits neatly into the classic Hollywood stereotypes; the unorthodox, handsome, honest, jovial, happy-go-lucky hero (and his companions) on the one side (Heath Ledger), and the conservative, thoroughly evil, treacherous, conniving antagonist (Rufus Sewell), who is ever plotting the hero's downfall, on the other. It's the classic cliché - the good guy is all good, and fights honourably; the bad guy is all bad, and fights dirty.

And of course there has to be a woman between them, who naturally favours the good guy. This childish lovestory is completely uncalled for, and the moment our wannabe hero eyes Jocelyn (Shannon Sossamon), the rest of the movie becomes too predictable to bear. At this point, I started chewing on my ticket, as I sat there in the cinema(it seemed like the thing to do, under the circumstances).

The clichés just kept mounting, and it took every ounce of my willpower to stay the duration of this movie. There wasn't a single element of surprise in the entire film, and this doomed the film from the very beginning. It's the American dream, isn't it (AKA your run-of-the-mill fairytale)? Here's the peasant hero, who becomes a knight and gets the princess. Of course, since his being a knight is a lie, this will have to be revealed (and of course it's the evil adversary who busts him), but wait! Here's Prince Edward to the rescue, because the hero was nice to him earlier. The peasant becomes a bona fide knight, and can finish the movie.

This movie COULD have been made good, if only the clichés had been avoided. The worst clichés are:

I The love plot (it's identical with those in your average bed time story)

II The stereotypes (even worse here than in 'Gladiator')

III The father (can someone give me a good reason why HE should be dragged into this mess?)

But worst of all, the most unforgivable element in the entire film...

(SPOILER ALERT, I guess...) ...is when the hero, badly wounded, heroically jousts against his nemesis WITHOUT ARMOUR. This is the most nauseating, dishonourable and despicable thing I've ever seen. Was this scene supposed to arouse any other emotions than pure hatred?

Sure, there were laughs, several hilarious moments, but not nearly enough to save this turkey.

And I thought the lady blacksmith was far more attractive than that damnable princess anyway (if you have to have a love story, THAT's the way to go).

My rating: 1/10, because that's as low as the scale goes.

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