Frogfisher

IMDb member since December 2002
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Reviews

Sin City: A Dame to Kill For
(2014)

Good and entertaining... but lacks the novelty of the first.
A Dame to Kill for is by no means a boring or bad film. It succeeds as a satisfying sequel to the far more novel and perhaps stronger Sin City... it is bloody, violent, beautifully made, with cool deep voices, nudity and clearly fitting into the film noir genre. Where it falls short is in the charactersationssliding a bit, the strength of two original stories, the change in actors and the gap between the first and second film. There is also a desperate need for more iconic moments which the Sin City comics and the film has plenty of, but they never really come in A Dame to Kill for.

The characters seems less edgy, less strong charactered and some despite being far more stereotypical carries less of a punch. Especially Marv and Dwight who are the central characters fall a bit short. With Dwight almost feeling detached from the story he is the centre character of. I never thought I would find myself ever thinking that Owen over Brolin. Rourke however seems to have lost some of his edge again, but still causes plenty of mayhem. The new original story lines is probably as good as the rest, but it feels like we never get a very satisfying end out the first one of it especially because it plays as probably the most straightforward story with less of the iconic art work or stunning scenes put in it, it relies on Gordon-Hevitt's abilities more than anything else. The second original story however fairs better mostly due to Alba's dancing and Rourke's brute. If one has not recently seen Sin City and goes to see this it can be a bit hard putting things into place in it's sequel... most people benefit from having seen Sin City recently in order to truly enjoy the film's anachronistic narrative.

It is an awesome film, I will not argue against that, and it does give people more of what they want from Sin City. And there is maybe couple of camels to swallow. But I think in time when seen in union with it's predecessor and sequel(s) it will come out stronger than it might appear now.

I saw the 3D version and surprisingly it actually works well for the film, although I am sure the film would be just as good in 2D alone. It is worth seeing in the cinema, it has the scale/action/importance and beauty to justify that. It will not be remembered for it's visuals as much as Sin City, but it will be recognised for how it fits into the Sin City style.

Frozen
(2013)

Lovable Classic Disney Tale with mediocre elements
I get why it is getting love... not sure why it is getting this much love. The story is nice, the animation is gorgeous, there is the standard comic relief characters (Olaf and Sven are very enjoyable) and there is a message to the whole thing... I hope because it is slightly beyond me what the message is. Face your fears? Love is the answer? Snowmen will melt in the sun? Maybe it was just below me.

Either way it is enjoyable and funny film that is entertaining and has a bit of twist to it. Which is all nice.

But it is an unimportant film with characters who adults at least should find it hard to related to as there is very little explanation or redeeming qualities to them. And the bad things they end up doing is just brushed off in the end. The songs are abysmal, trivial and really below the standard Disney set in the 90s for animated musicals.

For all the things I didn't like about the film I can forgive all except the songs. Had they dropped the songs I could have enjoyed it far more. And it honestly feel like they knew this as the end 20-30 minutes feature no songs whatsoever. Did they just drop them?

But this is me as an adult. Kids will love it for sure. All my points in the first part is still relevant. And kids will respond to this. And they might find the songs more appealing than me. And maybe not care too much about the character flaws.

So do not avoid the film... just don't expect too much for adults to love about it.

Gravity
(2013)

Beautiful, intense and so very simple
I like simple ideas and even more so if the results are as simple in it's execution. But to get a truly well done minimalistic result a lot of work goes in to it. Sometimes even more than on more complex projects.

Gravity is simple. Very simple really. Sure there is a storyline. But there are no twists, no surprising external influences on the course of the story. There is a very limited amount of actors and elements we need to relate to. And there is no protagonist. It is as close as you get to a real life drama.

But in it's simplicity it is also extraordinary beautiful. And here it is clear the effort to make it simple is truly complex and monumental. Cuaron is a man known for long shots, swooping camera movements, toying with effects, point of view and other visuals. And it feels like this is what it all leads to. It is perhaps the most beautiful film I have seen in the cinema. It is crisp and truly awesome images we see. Even when everything is chaos and hopelessness sets in the images are beautiful and scary. The effect are just breathtaking.

My favourite scene involves an astronaut seemingly disappearing into darkness set against the Milky Way as a background. It is such a powerful images and full of so darkness and light and infinite space. It is a scary and yet awesome.

Clooney is great, Ed Harris is comforting and Sandra Bullock is at her best. And that is all there need to be said about the cast. That is all there can be said.

The 3rd act does turn into Hollywood film territory as the fight for survival comes to an end. And the turning point is quite clear to me in retrospect. But even during this Cuaron makes the film beautiful and suspenseful. Even if we know the outcome. Almost at the very end the whole cinema literally gasped.

Cuaron has made a breathtaking film using his usual tricks and his sense of visuals. I think this is the film of the year so far. Nothing has come close to the impact this film has had. For me and clearly for a lot of other people.

And watch it in 3D. It really works.

The Lone Ranger
(2013)

A big entertaining western flick but maybe too big
The Lone Ranger is an iconic character. So iconic that he has inspired other masked heroes. You need something special for a character like that. At least thats was the thought behind this years film.

The story is almost identical to the classic story of The Lone Ranger. 6 Texas Rangers ride in to Byrant's Gap chasing Butch Cavendish. Only one of them survives the younger brother of the captain. Set on capturing his brothers killer he puts on a mask made from his brothers vest and sets out assisted by Tonto, his native American sidekick and Silver his white horse.

Certain aspects have been changed with all characters now being connected through their past in some way as is the custom in modern adaptions. A few bizarre and dark items have been added. But a load of humour has been added as well. The whole thing is intended as a story told to a young fan by a much older Tonto. It is a quick story that still manages to feel a but drawn out towards the end. It is broken up in a quirky way once in a while as the kid Tonto is narrating to interrupts in disbelief. And understandable feeling as the film becomes more and more incredible in its action and certainly some elements concerning Tonto. It is hard to tell how serious we are supposed to take the film with its mix of genuine drama, dark elements, dark humour, slapstick humour and fantasy action. It becomes a bit much.

Armie Hammer is better here than most of his previous work, but with the same demeanour and the same comedic touch. It is a mostly dislikable character those very typical for Hollywood. But Hammer manages to carry being the title character reasonably well with a mix of overacting and charms. Johnny Depp who is supposed to be the side kick pretty much pushes the ranger forward the whole time. And of course manages to steal pretty much every scene. It is a miracle Hammer manages to remain the main character throughout playing up against Depp. Depp is okay in the role channeling only partly his typical quirky characters and managing to find new ground. However why they gave him a fake nose which is only really noticeable in a few scenes is a bit odd. William Fichtner is alright as a dark villain playing it balanced enough not to make him too macabre despite his actions in the film. James Badge Dale has the probably most likable character in the film and he makes him more so. You feel like you want to see more of him. Tom Wilkinson is one of his sort of generic baddies and could he be replaced with any other generic baddie actor. Ruth Wilson is a bit confusing. A times acting like a tough damsel in distress who goes chasing the baddies on the side of train in a big dress for no significant reason... but she never really conveys that she can take care of herself she just acts determined.

The film does know it is a bit of hot pot of things. Tonto keeps saying "nature is out of balance" which allows for a lot of craziness but is only used in a couple of humorous situations and a single "wtf"-moment. The rest plays a long as a typical (maybe even stereotypical) western with a bit of jokes thrown in and Jack Sparrows Indian cousin running along. Until the end when the film realises the action is going to be silly and they change pace, music and location to allow for some truly grand action in the vein of Buster Keaton and co. This confuses one while watching.

The effects are great. They come off very real and match the atmosphere incredibly well. And it is very beautifully made with great shots of the landscape and toned down colours. The action pieces are a mix of CGI and stunt work. It is all seamless woven together and very atmospheric. There is no complaints about the visual side of the film to be found. Unless one counts the visual gags.

The film is a hard sell because of the label Western. It has been like that for years. But Disney probably thought that since Pirates had been a tough sell before their Pirates of the Carribbean franchise they could pull this off if they added enough Depp and effects. Adding Bruckheimer and Verbinski seems like a safe choice as well. And to be honest I can it see work without all of this... and with. It is gamble to throw money after the film to make it work. And you can feel they did. It feels and look expensive. It feels too big.

The film is a grand entertaining western probably the biggest western I have seen that actually feels like a western. But it is confused what it wants to be none the less. It is a well done film with a visually strong and talented director. But it is a bit bland story and character wise and it feel a bit long. Had the director been someone else the film might have come out worse. It is very easy to imagine so.

As my wife said: "I normally wouldn't have paid to see this film". I agree. I like it and it is entertaining. But I could easily have waited until the DVD release. However I do still want to see the sequel!

Pain & Gain
(2013)

Some pain and only little to gain
I have to be honest. With the label "Directed by Michael Bay" I have started to be more cautious getting my hopes up as he remains consistent in a way I do no appreciate. My hopes weren't high for Pain & Gain. The trailer seemed silly and the cast oddly hackled together. And even the trailer had Michael Bay written all over it. Well I wasn't disappointed or surprised going in feeling like that.

The story is almost too silly to be believable. But that is probably why they went the black comedy way with this one. I won't give a detailed summary as the information provided everywhere else is already too detailed already.

Mark Wahlberg is the clear main character and he plays the cocky, arrogant idiot quite well albeit a bit exaggerated for my taste. His accent and Mark-isms lets him down and he feels slightly out of place. Which would be fine if he wasn't supposed to have been playing a Latin guy. Anthony Mackie is an odd choice and he could easily have been replaced with any one else as he never really owns the part. And as others have said he is just not big enough to play the dumb body builder type. The Rock however is just awesome. He is having quite a busy year and managing to steal a lot of scenes in the films I have seen him in so far. Clearly my favourite performance in Pain & Gain. Tony Shaloub is good as the Sun Gym Gangs first victim and has the right demenaour to make you feel sorry for what is basically an uncharming-lucky-asshole-character. Ed Harris is the only sane person in the film and provides the reason of the film. The rest of the cast is like any Michael Bay film either directly annoying or written to be insignificant no matter who plays the character.

The film is a loud, shiny, exaggerated, silly film that despite having a trademark messy chaotic ending does have a bit of heart mainly through Wahlberg, The Rock, Harris and Shaloub. You don't feel with Wahlberg or Harris but you understand their personalities very clearly and can relate to what they are doing. Some scenes are just painfully dumb not just the characters but chaotic nature of the scenes and the repetitive nature of the director. Basically "same scenes, different actors". Sure it is well executed and beautifully done. But it makes it unoriginal and shallow. Especially the constant use of rather macabre scenes with big breasted female corpses.

There is explosions, violence, torture, severed limbs, sepia toned scenes, the underside of a plane taking off, gratious shots of Miami, fast cars (although not the gold Mercedes from the real life story), strippers, annoying characters, frog perspective street shots of characters and a 360 degree shot of the action. All trademarked Michael Bay. So much it almost annoys me.

But the film is also fun. Despite not having any subtlety whatsoever the characters are not as annoying as they could have been under the director. It is quick paced and at no point did I go "how much is left?". The characters are easy to understand and are not forcibly put through a change of character as they develop, making them all the more believable to me. The use of flashbacks, voice overs and toward the end a very awesome title card works really well for the film. It makes it feel like the director hasn't given completely up trying to develop his arsenal of effects.

In the end this feels like a Michael Bay film. No doubt about it. The directing, the effects and some of the subjects are taken directly out of films like Bad Boys 2 and his other flicks. But it is fun and it tells a unbelievable story in a quick action packed pace that suits the target audience for sure. But it never tries to be very smart or show any compassion for the real life people. But then again I don't think any one intended it to. It just wants to entertain. And it just manages to do.

The Hunt for Gollum
(2009)

An entertaining addition to the Tolkien world
I have to say this short film surprised my quite a lot and that being after I heard good things about it. It actually was extremely well done for a free internet film.

The premise is taken from The Lord of The Rings appendices where in Gandalf tells Frodo that Aragorn had been trying to capture Gollum before the Quest of the Ring began.

Basically we see Gandalf ask Aragorn to find Gollum and thereafter how Aragorn track him down and capture him. Not a very intricate story. Which it appears the filmmakers have realised. Because they have in the Spirit of Peter Jackson & Co added some romance to the story in form of Arwen (much like The Two Towers added appendix material to the story)

What one can not help but notice is the similarities with Peter Jackson's The Lord of the Rings. The visual side as well as the narrative and audio side lifting much from Jacksons work. And as the film is a fan made film about a subject only true Ringer fans would find interesting this works very well for the film and helps us just come to term with the universe in which it takes place since we already know it.

The production value is incredible, everything from the action, the cinematography, the make-up to the few glimpses we get of Gollum. And how everything is carried out just makes the film so much stronger.

What is the films only weak point I would have to say is the story. As mentioned there has been added romance to give some meaning to the film and with a story the ultimately doesn't lead to many revelations one can come to think of the films as a "why" thing. But the strength comes in the effort and love for the project that is clear to see in the whole film. And how it with no effort actually just manage to fit right in with the films it so long to be part of.

It is well worth the hour it takes to watch it!

Secondhand Lions
(2003)

Wonderful and heartwarming film
The Plot: The boy, Walther(Osment), is left with his old eccentric and rich uncles(Duval and Caine) while his lying mother (Sedgewick) goes off for Las Vegas with her new boyfriend. On the uncle's farm he starts to learn about their eccentricities and why they left America for 40 years and finally came back. While he gets this story he experience the brothers crazy ideas and how they deal with old age. Walther has to deal with what he believes being stuck between the outrageous stories of the uncles past and his mothers lies.

The review: This movie is a wonderful movie for a Sunday afternoon with the family or girlfriend or anyone. It isn't the greatest work of art or a truly deep movie... but it doesn't really want to. The plot is easily explainable and not very original. But that doesn't matter, because it is the best version of the old men telling fairy tales about a grand adventurous past in far off countries. It does it with a glimpse in the eye and a sense of humour that is both warm, intelligent and suitable for the story, it doesn't become a comedy for the sake of comedy. And it touches softly on a range of themes, and touches the subject of truth heavily. With the central story line being a mothers dishonesty and the son's lack of trust, with the son spending time with two old men who tells outrageous stories from Europe and Africa. The main comedy elements is presented through the two old men's eccentric ideas as fishing with guns, skeet shooting, lion hunting and building and flying a plane.

Osment is solid as he was at that age. For me the real enjoyment was Duval and Caine as the brothers. Their chemistry is right for brothers and they play the old men roles good. Caine with his biting sarcasm and Duval's macho strength. They are great!

I would see this one again... and show it to others... it made me feel good... and I loved the end! What a way to go!

9/10

The Day the Earth Stood Still
(2008)

Lacks heart and some edge!
I just saw The Day Earth Stood Still and must admit I have always been fascinated by the title but never saw the original! I try to keep a open mind and since I haven't seen the original I could enjoy it with a fresh mind.

One of the main problems with the movie seems to be that it tries to be the old movie and tell the story in the same way. The threat of total destruction of earth because of our ways of life and one person can of course change our faith. The problem is that we know the story, it doesn't present anything new, not only is pretty much the same story told before but we have seen various renders of this story before. And the movie doesn't manage to move out of this, instead of trying to twist things we are fed with a predictable story, one I expect most will have guessed just by seeing the trailer.

The story is pretty straight forward. Humanity is to be removed from earth because we are destroying it and the only way to save it is for a earth female to show the "diplomatic" alien that human life is worth saving. This isn't easy and extra action has been added by the fact the military and police keep trying to catch the alien. And in the end things are to be done in the last minute(as always) when the world is about to be destroyed by a storm of nano-termites.

The story is a critique of our life style and how we treat the earth. I never really got anything else from the story if there was a theme. It might be that humans are unique for our ability to love. Which of course will have a significant role in the end.

But the story is told seriously and lacks any warmth and the former mentioned love that is to save us is hardly even treated as a subject, it almost seems like the alien change his mind after a conversion with John Cleeses Scientist character. A role even John Cleese plays serious, but at least less cynical than others characters.

Keanu's Klaatu is as with many of Keanu's role almost superficial and shaved down to what looks cool on screen. Jennifer Connelly isn't the most exciting character, Kathy Bates is hard to put a finger on as a character she just plays smarter than the others. And Robert Knepper gets the only sign of humor I remember when he after a failed attack says: "Any one got any other ideas?".

The whole performance seems to be overshadowed by the "green" message and the very convincing effects. And the fact that even in the end it is more about effects than the actual story.

The movie also lacks intelligence, something challenging, we are told pretty everything by the characters, and the only interesting aspects I find is the idea of a biological space suit that seem to pull the beginning up! But it never dwells on any of the intelligent interesting aspects of the movie, even John Cleese character explains too much! So the problem as I see it is that the movie doesn't want to be anything other than popcorn entertainment... the green message and the "uniqueness" of our ability to love is forgotten in the end when we just want the world to be saved.

I gave it 5 only because the effect were really good and that it is okay decent to watch... but I wouldn't have seen it in the cinema! This is the kind of movie that will be very popular on TV and we will see again and again!

Hollywood Homicide
(2003)

This is actually good... well done
I regret I didn't see the whole film missed some of the start, but wauw I really thought it fun and good.

I somewhat like the modest story a crime movie, that just runs amok in silly incidents, fun subplots and a good cast. I think the film works rather well and even though there are rather a lot of subplots the whole thing stick together pretty well. At no time did I feel confused or felt that the film lacked anything. It didn't try to be to much. A thing I loved was that the film was sort of a series of quit realistic scenarios and incidents that you can see happening out there in the real world. And it still manage to be hilarious. My favourite scene is the interrogation scene... I laughed and laughed and woke my roommate... and kept laughing.

This is a new favourite... gotta see all of it a some point.

The Da Vinci Code
(2006)

Solid and entertaining...
Now I'm one of those people who loves the book mostly for the subject of the mystery.

And therefor I simply had to see this movie.

So should I make the usual comparison with the book or just review the movie?

I always try to make the best of a movie for what it is. And in this case the word "thriller" usually is attached to the movie... but as I see it this movie is more of an adventure movie... with a more realistic background than Raiders of the Lost Ark and Tombraider... but the story is still a treasure hunt.

The character work is not superficial but not that deep either, some efforts have been made to develop our main characters, but nothing big. This is probably an effect of the clearly much discussed storyline. Silas and Bishop Aringarosa is where Dan Brown himself have made most back story to show their common background...unfortunately this doesn't get as much attention as Sophie Neveu and partly Robert Langdon. But all characters are believable... and Ian McKellen is a joy as Leigh Teabing.

I for one misses the story line of Silas and Aringarosa and later Captain Fache... there is a lot of good material in this story... Ron Howard has been able to make Silas a tragic villain for sure but Silas's background and why he suddenly is the loyal servant of a bishop doesn't make it... I would love to have seen more of this... and the line "I'm a ghost" could have been used more as to show this difference between his old violent self and the new "angel" self. And the last turn of betrayal by Aringarosa and Fache turning his back to Aringarosa does nothing to make Aringarosa seem more human and tragic... he becomes more evil. I can understand why Christian would have something against the movie over the book where he is much more human, they make the church seem much more cold and calculating in the movie.

As for story.. it is highly entertaining and well put together. It is actually one of those few movies where we don't end in lose ends. We get a nice closure on most subjects. Akiva Goldsman has been able to write a rather solid script where the important things survives and only useless subjects doesn't make it. we get the story we need, but then again not much more. This is the way a movie work. I feel it is always important to view a book and a movie of the book differently. Some things just needs to be dropped and changed to make it a working movie. And for Da Vinci Code they make it work.

The Length of the film is rather long, but I actually forgot it. The pace of the film is not fast but far from slow... we get a lot of information over a short period but the mood of the film is slow, the "car chase" from the embassy where the music and the fast pictures make huge contrast is a good example and I sat there impressed i stead of one the edge of my seat. It is a slow fast movie, unlike most movies being fast. But with a lot of fast movies a lot happens to fast and we get to much information and at one point one sits and things "when is the movie over anyway?", in Da Vinci I instead was able to just enjoy the movie!

Over all this is a solid movie for what it is, not as a mind changing movie, but a highly entertaining movie with a story line that just seems to make people go nuts. A shame actually, for once some people ought to see a movie with out making it all real!

It get a 9 from me!

Simon
(2004)

Best in show...
...I never saw the show when performed at Østre Gasværk. But know people who have. And they say it is one of the best shows they have ever seen. And those who have seen both the show and the DVD says the show is the better. For those who doesn't know anything about the DVD I can only say that it is just the show filmed in Østre Gasværk, with live audience.

I myself saw it for the first time on DVD, and just seeing it there was a very unique experience.

The show is about controversial travel agent Simon Spies. He lived a life filled with drugs, alcohol, women and strange ideas. We are introduced to him as he and his followers land at Entebbe Airport in Uganda, at the time of the famous hijacking of an Israeli airplane in 1976, in the very same Airport. And here we are introduced to his staff, friends(like just as controversial politician Mogens Glistrup) and his Morgenbollepiger(translated to something like Morning Humpinggirls), and his way of living with his personal "doctor" making sure Simon never had a dull moment.

The strength of the show is, besides the great subject that Simon was, the cast. Performing as Simon, is Anders "Anden" Mathesen, a talented comedian, specializing in character-comedy. His performs is charming, exciting and very lively. Being dressed in a huge fake belly and a just as large beard, Mathesen manages to perform through the make up and use all his talents. He got the right devilish smirk and the same dirty smile that gives just the right impression of Simon. Other cast members include the brothers Søren and Morten Hauch-Fausbøll, playing Mogens Glistrup and Simons "life"-doctor Jan Schmidt, both playing the parts very well, and all people knows Glistrup and they can all see the Søren delivers an incredible performance, even the really Glistrup enjoyed his performance. Morgenbollepigerne are played by women who all had hits in the seventies, playing what in reality was very young girls. Which makes the experience very humorous in more than just the dialogue.

The set is built as a DC-9-plane, with real plane-tires. The whole show takes place in front of the plan and to some extent on one of the wings. And therefor props are used within this context and are brought in by luggage-vehicles and those movable stair-thingies.

The show was very well choreographed. For a few minutes the whole showed is, by the orders of Simon, played in reverse, and therefor acted backwards in the show. The movements as well as the live songs are therefor in reverse, and although being introduced as a funny example of how Simon wanted to control the world, one sits admiring the movements of the actors. As Glistrup and Simon plays table tennis, we also get to see everything in slow motion, and then they make an live-Matrix-scene, where we change point of view to see the game from above. It is very impressive.

The songs are mixture of a few original(I think) and songs from the period in which we are supposed to be. And are used in various ways, both as background music, parts of the dialogue, making time for costume changes and as entertainment, as the former mentioned reverse scene.

For the DVD they have made a few changes, all being in the way they cut the scenes and introduce visual effects that are only the DVD. It is a very well made DVD, exploring the potential of a filmed show's new possibilities when adding visual effects. But still it is far from overdone.

It is all in all a great show and highly entertaining. Recommended for all people!

9/10

Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire
(2005)

Pretty good...
Don't know where to start, cuz if I start the wrong place I'll write a couple of pages, or just end up with a few lines.

Mind the holes when speeding!

The plot is off course very much like in the novel. The differences is the speed with which we are dragged through the story, and one understands if we keep the lenght of the book in mind. There are few important plot holes, but most are nicely filled in and the story goes along as we remember it. The many holes would be a huge minus if Kloves and Newell, hadn't managed to put all the things together without jeopardizing the storyline, and yet move things around. The speed on the other hand is a huge minus. I was left with the feeling that there had to be more.

Going for the throat

A huge plus is the acting, I was very positively surprised with the young actors: Dan, Emma, Rupert and co. They have all evolved into good actors. Dan really pulls every aspect of being Harry Potter off brilliantly and Emma proves those who thought she couldn't be Hermione wrong. Brendan Gleeson is crazy and wonderful as ever, Alan Rickman still deserves more screen time, Miranda Richardson is just awful, which in this case is good. The bad acting are found in places one may not expect to find it. Michael Gambon is, by name, a solid actor, yet he fare from pulls of a Dumbledore one will grow to love. He gives some of his lines good, but seems to forget that the body also tells a story. Who has ever seen Dumbledore go for Harry's Throat, literally. Ralph Fiennes is not bad in this picture he is just wrong. He plays Voldemort more as a pompous jerk than the more nonchalant dark lord I imagine him to be. A role I know Fiennes to be great in.

The good news

Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire is where you begin to se the differences between books and films. Not that you couldn't see it in the prior three movies. But now they have learned the universe to know, and know where to cut something and add something. And still it remains a little bit more loyal to the book than Prisoner of Azkaban. If you like me go to the movies to see a movie based on a novel, Goblet of Fire is just wonderful. It is a story set in this universe and it is given information of the background and through the text and image of who people are. Goblet of Fire gives most of the story in words and action, but still remains loyal to the book, by using small informations in the background and the pictures we are shown. They have like in PoA instead of cutting the film into several short scenes in a row, tried to bind everything together through longer scenes. The visual sides takes from PoA and thus have the same gloomy and dark fell to it. The tones are at points almost grey and death, yet the highly coloured world of Rowling gives it life. We see a huge development in the characters. Harry and Hermione are very deep persons with a lot of feelings that are shown in numerous ways. Those two characters are, along with Ron some times, the most interesting characters, and these two roles are very well filled. The best about this movies is that it really works well. We don't sit with the same feeling as PoA could bring: "but what about...?". It is more complete and enjoyable for those not familiar with the books I imagine. And even more so for us who knows them.

The Bad News

Again we see a very pathetic Ron, unaware of others, and what they feel, and that have been turned into a joke, along with his already humorous lines. Right in the middle of the film there are five minutes of sheer laughs, all centering around Ron. This is a shame, especially since Rupert shows in the more sensitive scenes, and more serious scenes that he can handle it. He says it himself: "just Harry Potters stupid friend" Dumbledore has really become aggressive in his old days, and a bad actor too. I once knew a Dumbledore calm and at ease, he would present himself as calm to the world and still be able to show emotion through actions. But he would never go for Harry Potters throat. He yells and hits, and even goes to become almost depressed at one point. It is what he feels. And you know what? For a guy one and a half century old, he can really move, running and jumping around, reminding one about Yoda. A thing also brought into Voldemort, as great as Voldemort looks, he for me brings images of Darth Mauls into mind, in his way of moving. The ballet-touch is overdone and didn't even fit in to Star Wars in the first place. Why should Voldemort then move like a dancer?

8/10

I see I started the wrong place!!!

Stir of Echoes
(1999)

Very well made suspense...
This is was a very welcome surprise! I had the choice between Star Wars: A New Hope, and Stir of Echoes, and for some unknown reason I picked the latter!

It turned out to be a good decision! I ended up very surprised both by the quality and the fact I was very entertained.

The story is actually you basic "guy have gift to talk to dead people and see the future and his wife doesn't understand and his son has the same gift"-story, pretty much! But the story tend to surprise you and leave you ends that you don't understand until the very end. Some small things that you end up forgetting. This is the main thrill, and Kevin Bacon as well is great, also the young Jack is very entertaining.

The film refers to many well known suspense and horror films, like Encounter of the third kind(the garden digging scene), The Shining(the boy's visions and the guy telling the mother his boy got the eye) and even The Dead Zone(in the way the plot goes).

I liked the film a lot! Maybe I will even watch it again!

Red Dragon
(2002)

Entertaining and exciting...
This is the second best story starring Dr. Hannibal Lecter.

This film is starring some of my top favourite actors and actresses Ralp Fiennes is brilliant as Francis Dollarhyde, he gives the characters so much life, and he plays it so we get to feel for him, he is definitely one of the actors to take over from Peter O'Toole, Ian Holm and company. Edward Norton is probably one of the best actors ever. His enormous talent has been shown so many times by now, not many can disagree. And he got so many facets, and this role like many of his others really is believable, yet not the best. Emily Watson, she so beautiful and so talented, awesome girl, and she too lifts the role to something brilliant. Phillip Seymour-Hoffman I hate him and I love him. There's something wicked about him, and he is definitely a talented actor, yet I hate him, most likely because as usual he gets a creep to come alive and almost so pathetic, you have to feel bad for him.

And then there is Anthony Hopkins, this role still is his best role, Hannibal can be no one other. He's as good as in Silence of Lambs.

The story is well thought-out and well penned-out, at no time did I feel it was too much or too little. One is kept seated all the time, just to see what's next. And to my surprise, in lack of knowledge I guess, I was to conclude that Brett Rattner actually is an enormously accomplished director.

8/10

Madagascar
(2005)

Wonderful...!
A wonderful movie for all ages.

This films really follows in the footsteps of recent animated blockbusters as Finding Nemo,Shrek, Monster Inc., The Incredibles, Ice Age etc. The story works very well, and it is obvious that the team behind is people who knows their media. It stays on the same course all the way through, something that really is the essence of the success of the animated films these last years, something other writers can really learn from. And that's all the comparison I will do, because it really is its own movie.

A wonderful thing about it is the references to other movies like The Planet of the Apes and American Beauty. Very obvious references I might add. This also means that the filmmakers are aware that a growing number of gross comes from adult audiences as well, and you then have to assume that the story is written for them as well.

The style of the movie is like we are use to in normal cartoons, just put into a new media. And it works very well, you're always aware of it, and yet you sit and really is in awe of the texture of for instance Marty(Chris Rock). The technique is definitely as is to be expected.

Hanz Zimmer, who's becoming a very well known man within the animated world, does a moderate good job, the music is there and really gives the effects it needs, but is just background. Directing is good, and all the characters works in their own way on the screen but are best together. There's a huge deal of very well timed jokes and they all somehow seems to work.

The characters are very amu... sorry, highly amusing. Chris Rock is almost best as voice(like in Dr. Doolittle), where Ben Stiller although he comes through still is more enjoyable as live action. But both of them are easily identified. Jada Pinkett is a bit to anonymous, and David Schwimmer is just great, although his character wins in being a good background joke. Now for the minor characters, as often with these films, the minor characters gets a way with so much attention they deserve a little more attention. The three penguins are awesome, and is the ideal kick starters for this movie. They deliver almost nothing but laughs. The king of the wild Julien(Mr. Ali G) is fun, although without his sidekick Maurice(Cedric) he would be nothing. And then there's the two monkeys also very enjoyable. One minor thing is to me that in seems that the Sabletooth tigers from Ice Age seems to have been copy-pasted into this movie for action, a bit sad but nothing that the movie itself doesn't salvage.

I would rank it among the top ten movies of this year, it is very fun and works very well in most ways. 8/10

Drowning Mona
(2000)

Off-comedy...
I must admit, i liked it, for it's strange black humour, it's strange character work, it's strange world and for being a strange comedy. It's not one of those films I sat, make that lied on my back laughing my a.. off, no it was just fun, calm and easy to understand, it's a bit like Copland, well just very off. The story line is actually not slow, it's just the same easy-going film, entertaining and great fun, with a bit if thinking thrown in, very good. I just can't understand how come it isn't that acclaimed, and why Casey Affleck isn't proud of his work, it's one of the better films with him i've seen. Actually, the entire cast is pretty good. A very solid 8 from this movielover.

Kingdom of Heaven
(2005)

Epic action drama flick...
First off remembering the film, consists of shots of battles, Orlando Blooms bearded face(??), battles and some few shots of great landscapes! And somehow many of the shots of battle and landscape scenes was close to something you've seen in "Lord of the Rings", which makes the feel of the movie better in my mind. Some of the battles may even have been taken from "Lotr" and some are better, but some are just the same. What really surprised me is what Ridley Scott pulled out of Orlando Bloom, he actually got him to act pretty well, considering the previous films I've seen with Mr. Bloom. He gives a pretty solid performance. And so does many of the other actors, but no doubt Orlando is the main character in this film, everybody else comes and goes, almost. It's a solid combination of action drama and epic material. And I like it.

Story: The story evolves around the household of Ibelin, a well positioned family in the Kingdom of Jerusalem, near the end of the second crusade. The story takes it's characters from actually persons, with Balian of Ibelin, Sibylla, King Baldwin IV, Saladin(leader of the Arabs), Raynald of Chatillon and Guy of Lusignan, characters who all have lived and had an essential role in the crusades. Bloom is Balian, the most fictionalized of the "real" characters. He's a blacksmith who's lost his son, and after that his wife committed suicide, therefor when Balians father asked Balian to join the crusades, Balian accepted to claim his wife's soul from hell. Balian becomes baron of Ibelin and by what little training he had by his father becomes a great knight and a close ally of the king. Soon he becomes a part of the fight for the crown, in which Raynald and Guy are the bad guys, and while this, Saladin stands ready to reclaim Jerusalem. All this is pretty much true from the history books. And the story is definitely exciting, caught me, but as the story gets more complex we instead focus on the battles. But it all gets through, and the story actually goes where we like it to go, a few loose ends in the end, but nothing we actually need!

The cast is an all star cast, or anyway like we see in many Ridley Scott films, a good number of stars, famous and solid actors. And they perform as one would expect! (my favorite was actually Mr. Edward Norton, he came very strongly through, but still not as Edward Norton). Orlando Bloom was a positive surprise for me, and Brenda Gleeson was absolutely devilish!

**The Spoilers**

As said many battles scenes where similar to those of "LOTR", same shooting style, same angles, very similar settings and scenarios. Not a bad thing, but for instance when Balian is protecting the people outside the city gates of Kerak, the way they ride towards the Arabs army, was shot exactly like Faramir's Siege of Osgilitah, it's the same impossible mission and same speed and angles. Of one can argue that is the way it was done in the time, and Peter Jackson has used those things in his battles, but too many things are too close. But the shots was at points actually better than in "LOTR", so some good things came of it. A funny thing actually came to my mind, Jerusalem's lay-out is close to Minas Tirith's, and Tolkien being religious and loving history, most have known the plan of the divine city and known the quest to make a new one of those, by Romans as well as colonists, there is good argument for the similarities of Jersusalem and Minas Torith.

After seeing the film, i was intrigued by the story, and found Wikipedia.com, and searched for Balian, King Baldwin and company. And i loved that it was all based on characters and battles of history. Although was disappointed to find that Balian and Sibylla was the characters to have had the largest make-over. Balian was of the rich ambitious family, had three brothers, born in the middle-east, although brave, not as large front runner in the stopping the crusades, although he in fact did negotiate the surrender of Jerusalem. And that he actually helped the mad Richard Lionheart on the third crusade. Raynald i was glad to see was very true to history, and love that the scene of his beheading was taken from an Arabian historic source. Great Fun. For me it's a thrill when the make a pretty accurate movie of a story, and this is a good insight to how the second crusade actually ended.

**Spoilers have ended**

I'll give it an eighter for the cast, the battle, the settings, the good historic base, and for the joy of seeing an epic like this again. Although I will reserve the right to change it to a seven, if i see it again, but can't imagine that!

Enjoy the movie!

Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban
(2004)

Wonderful skilled directing and incredible film, but missing plot and story.
I love Harry Potter, and "Prisoner of Azkaban" is my favourite book. The series has taken a large step in a new direction, from the two first Columbus made films. An understandable choice.

What's wonderful about the stories is the way things are introduced as one thing and often turns out to be something else or have a significant role later on. A wonderful thing about the books, and therefor saying "Prisoner of Azkaban" is the best is not saying that much.

But "Azkaban" has some more important elements of seriousness and it is where, for me, the real story starts, where the fight between good and evil really starts. The two prior stories is an introduction to persons, with Harry and Tom Riddle as the most important.

So I had some what high expectations to the film. They where mostly fulfilled, although I found quit a lot of holes.

The news of Cuaron as Director had me some concerned, although it didn't scare me off, far from it. But when I heard of his work with Practical Magic on set, I actually found my self looking forward to the film.

As always the film has the same magic to it as the books, the locations, sets and magic is fantastic, but by now that shouldn't be a problem for them. Rather what is the problem is story and acting. For once the acting is of a quality seldom seen in family films. Cuaron has made a great job with the young actors, and some of the scenes actually out matches the good old thesps. Incredible to see the actors growth that way, how they evolve into the characters. This is something I really appreciate. It makes this much darker installment of the series more realistic and gives a feel of the story, that to some degree lacked in the two prior. The cast is good and solid, really works out fine, although Gambon as Dumbledore is a hard one to swallow after Harris' take on the role. But the rest is great, and most of all believable in their role, even Thewlis works as Lupin, although it is quit another direction from anything else i've seen him in.

Cuaron's feel is in the movie. It is a director movie if anything, the use of cameras and it's movements, symbols and images that is repeated through out the films, long shots rather than fast editing and it work so well, it looks amazing, Prisoner is an example of what you get if a director is taken from the smaller movies where he had artistic liberty to the major films in Hollywood, would love if more films where like that. It is something few still possesses in Hollywood, like David Fincher and others. The long shots with dialog are impressive, and explains quit a large deal of the background of Harry and therefor some plots of the future films. And they again show the work between director and actors.

The story is quit a problem, the important stories are as they are in the books, but being a director with his own ideas, Cuaron has changed some smaller parts to fit his vision and the movie, a shame, cuz somethings have a innocence in the book that the movie hasn't, and somethings are much more significant to the story than the film implies. They are the animagus-plot, Snapes connection to Black and co., some of the "erotic" feelings between the three friends, to soon in my opinion, and the fact that scenes are cut, most likely due to time constrains, fulfilling Trelawney's prophecy.

As a fan I know much of the background and plot, but I figure that people who haven't read the books doesn't get the whole picture, a shame, cuz in Prisoner there lies so many things that explains who Harry's parents is and who his parents friends is. Guess they have to read the books then.

As a series fan i'm sad that many things are missing, as a movie fan i'm impressed with the treatment of the media, which looks so great it blows me away, as a fan of both I'll give it 9, for the effort and the feel of the film, and because I know i'll be watching it again and again and again.

The Phantom of the Opera
(2004)

Gods of all Musicals...
I'm a great fan of Musicals, and found myself love everyone I've ever seen, to my recollection, and a great fan of an expressive use of music in movies in general.

But my list of seen musicals is some what short. Seen very few in the theater, and do wish to see some, even had a chance to actually see "Phantom" in London, but had to decide between Phantom and Soccer, an obvious choice for me and several million soccer fans from both England and the rest of the world.

This is a choice I regret. And I even had a chance later, but just didn't have the money then.

Right now I've made space right between "Singin in the rain" and "Dancer in the Dark" for the DVD when ever it comes.

Coz, I'm in love! The music, the story, the characters, the actors, the sets, everything is incredible. And sitting listening to the soundtrack as I write, only few film soundtracks have had this kind of impact on me. It's up in the same league as "Lord of the Rings" and something from the hand of John Williams or Thomas Newman.

As a newcomer to the world of "Phantom", I was blown away by the story and the musical score. And this is a major part of the film. But also the actors and the directing is a milestone in musicals in films. through out the movie one senses that this is a musical made for the stage, but one believes the movie to be more real. The actors is well chosen, especially considering their voices. Emmy Rossum as Christine, Gerard Butler as The Phantom, Patrick Wilson as Raoul and Miranda Richardson as Madame Giry, very nice. You eat the characters raw, their ages and the reality of them, mostly because there's no Katie Holmes, John Travolta or Antonio Banderas, which would be harder to take. The "unknowns" is perfect(of course Miranda is far from unknown, but she's just one of those actors how is a new character every time we see her). Christine is innocent and young, The Phantom is sexy, tragic and very likable, Rauol is critic, dashing and romantic. Work wonderful for me, they reach out through the screen without choking you. The sets are believable, although the statues are a bit...naked and...guess they must be freezing(a Shumacher-trademark??). The backstage, the caves, the dome, are very baroque and somewhat Gothic in parts, but suits the story well as it is a theater(very baroque in most European countries) and dark caves and cemeteries just has to be Gothic if anything. It is a bit overdone as we are introduced to the cemetery, but again a Schumacher-trademark. The storyline seems strange at times, and I've both read and heard (for example in the soundtrack) things that chronological seems out of place, but won't pretend to be expert in that area. One wonders about a few things and I think i will see more films based on the book and even read it, i think, there must be more story, understandable taken out to fit a stage-production.

The Musical as a Movie: All that have existed as the stage musical, I, as I've said, know very little off. But one thing I do know. Not the last time I've seen this piece of history. Andrew Lloyd Webbers Musical seems to be created to it's fullest in this Movie! The Music, played by a 105-piece orchestra, is enchanting, beautiful, haunting, breathtaking and leaves one as if the actors and musician had been right there on the stage. But with all of the things the movies can bring, effects, beautiful sets, emotion in peoples faces, realistic props and action to the extreme. I wish to see the stage show now, but fear to be disappointed. For me the film caught me and spit me out after having been inside the movies universe for 2 and a half hours, almost crying and almost hoping a sequel would be made(that one i regretted after realizing this is an almost perfect experience as it is).

One thing I do have about this film, is the speculation on what ever this should be a musical just filmed, or it should be more of a movie?

I see it as the first! A shame perhaps, but besides that it really spoke to me!

Go see it! It's a nine for me!

The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King
(2003)

Great, just Great, but a new editor please!
It's an epic tale, made into one of the best adventure movies ever, but definatly not the best. Although I knew much of the story was shortened and many characters was lost, I decided to try watching it with as new eyes as possible. This task showed impossible. When you've read the books you know what there is to come and which scenes have been changed and deleted. Besides that fact the movie turned out pretty well, I think. It got some of the feels to as FOTR and the stunning battles of TTT. But it doesn't out rank FOTR, but is slight better than TTT.



Here follows Spoilers:

The movie starts out pretty well, a scene that explains the story of Smeagol turning into Gollum. A scene that I felt could have been cut for some of greater importance. It's is of course in to show Smeagols first kill and that he is able to kill. It's in for those who have not read the books. Like TTT the film quickly gets into the right pace. It's fast and is, although many scenes missing, almost as good as I feel TTT is untill The Warge Attack. But ROTK is this good all the way trough. Great effects, pretty convincing settings, great acting, incredible music and a touch of love for the story is shown allthrough the movie. BUT, the film is to fast and jumps very much in stories, much more than TTT, and there's too many flashbacks. The flashbacks are the worst of those things. There are no flashbacks like these in the two former, both here we suddenly have ten. The pace is fast and makes the movie too hectic. But it also makes it exciting and, due to the length, easier to watch.

Many scenes have been cut and many things have been changed to make this work. I, as a Ringerfan, misses so many things, but I expect them to be in the EE. Still as a fan, PJ should have cut the films diffently, so ROTK why be slower and many scenes could have been in it. Most of the things cut, is after Cirith Ungol for Frodo and Sam, and after The Battle of Pelennor, for Aragorn and co.

But all in all, with Minas Tirith, Dunharrow, Pelennor, Minas Morgul, Cirtih Ungol, the army of death, Shelob, The Witchking, Ghan-bur-ghan and luckily the fact Aragorn shouldn't fight Sauron or The Mouth, made me very pleased, compared to what I feared.

A 9 I'll give it, just to be on the safe side, should I see it again and love it. Besides EE should be able to draw it up to 9.

Ying xiong
(2002)

Was surprised to find that I liked it.
I've never seen a Asian movie all the way through before. I actually went to see the incredible visual scenes and the fighting. Had no idea that I would like it as much as I did. It's an incredible visual epic story. And it's nothing like anything out of the US. The story line is not as straight forward as many other films, it takes time to tell the real story. It's a typical fight movie with more deepth and strength in the love scenes than many others of it's type.

The Story goes from something like we've seen hundreds of times before. But then it turns out to have alot of twists and turns. Perhaps the story isn't the most original or best written. But what the film lacks in story, it gains in stunning Effects, action, grand visual scenes and the well made distinctive change from storyline to storyline.

I loved it and plan to see it again.

Like other before me Ill go to the comparison between "Crouching..." and "Hero". First of all the comparison isn't that easy, it's two very different stories. "Crouching..." is a more personal and less colorfull story about being true to yourself. "Hero" is a small part of the long history of China, it's more a stunning colorfull film about the choices Heroes make to become Heroes. My Favourite is "Hero", probbaly because I saw that one first. I've always liked colorfull esthetic settings, and the Fights in their minds are mindblowing. "Crouching..." is a slower film it takes more time, and even if some of the fight and emotionel scenes are better made, "Hero" is my Favourite.

Dancer in the Dark
(2000)

Proud to be a dane
Lars Von Trier is one of the great danes, he's one of the reasons I love movies. Dancer in the Dark is a great drama. It is a part of his trilogy of the women who makes sacrifies(The Idiots;Breaking the Waves and Dancer in the Dark). I've seen parts of his earlier work, very dark and also with a common theme for the first three, but not as lovable. But ever since I saw The Kingdom, I've seen his genius.

Dancer in the Dark is one of those films that hasn't got a large audience, it's the same audience as those who loved Breaking and many of the french movies, and that's probably why many dislike the movie so much. Because it's not a straight Hollywood style movie that has a happy ending or keeps a clean sharp picture to symbolize the straightness that Hollywood and most of the world holds so dear.

lars Von Trier never appeals to the large audience, he just hopes that he gets a Golden Palm Award, for him thats enough, that means more and probably should do, because large gatherings of people share their taste and in Cannes it's not the majority like the Golden Globes and Oscar. And this Film is that kind of film, it's a heartbreaking story about a mom who'll sacrfice everything for his son, and as always Von Trier finds the right actors for the parts this is is talent, directing the right actors in his stories.

*SPOILER* I must admit I cried in the end of the film, until the silence, that is the enemy in this movie, was replaced by the incredible voice of Bjørk. And not many movie can stop a person from crying so sudden without telling a joke.

A 9/10 this movie surely takes home from this film lover.

Any Given Sunday
(1999)

Straight up good
I know Oliver Stone is a great director but for me this seems like a strange step from politics into the world of cold finance and sport. None the less, this is one of the best sport movies ever to come out of the US. The big surprise for me in this visual masterpieces, is perhaps the comedian Jamie Foxx, I know him from his show, and heard a few songs, but he surprised with his very convincing acting. I have the feeling this probably is one of a couple of times we'll see him act so convincing but I hope he chooses his other films as well, so we'll see him some more.

The best scenes of the film is during the matches when the camera shakes like hell, something i'm sure is borrowed from a Kubrick movie I think it's "Path of Glory".

8/10

Follow the Stars Home
(2001)

True and somewhat Heartwarming
I just finished seeing this film, and to be honest I just turned in because nothing else was on and it starred Kimberly Williams in a leading role.

I was very surprised how the film got to me, it wasn't artificial Hollywood feelings or the great cinematography as you see it in Sam Mendes and co. great dramatic films. This film just has a lot of great actors, a subtle soundtrack and a great story.

This is definitely one of the best TV-films I've ever seen, that didn't star a mayor Hollywood name or several.

This is the league of In a Class of His Own which I also find quiet good, but this one is a bit better.

The Simpsons
(1989)

The first, the best and the only one
I have looked at some of the other comments and found one thing all have in common, it has at some point been the best show ever. Some then go on saying that it isn't what it was and others say that it still is the best, but hardly anyone claims it was a mistake to broadcast it.

For me it is one of the best shows ever, many shows come and go, "Friends" was a great show but now it is to much, "Seinfield" was great but sadly stopped, "Frasier" has been worse and better, "Ed" is a new aspiring show and "Everybody Loves Raymond" is also fairly new, but "The Simpsons" has been here as long as i remember. The first season was used to adapt the show from a small segment in a show to a hole series, and it surely is marked by this but it became better and is definetly my favourite show now.

The orginality is lesser than the first seasons, but you can't grow tired of hearing Homer Jay Simpsons "Do'h".

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