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Der Knochenmann

Great performances and Austrian dark humor
The great thing about crime novels is that they can take all the liberty they want to portray the problems of a society without being perceived as heavy handed, too intellectual or unpatriotic, as they can conveniently embed their criticism in the context of the crime story.

Wolf Haas' novels are by no means any exception to this rule. At a constantly high quality he manages to tell his detective stories drawing a bleak portrait of a hypocritical and morally rotten Austrian middle class with the cynical humour typical for that nation.

As with all Wolf Haas film adaptations so far, the acting in this one is first rate. Especially Josef Hader pulls off an even better version of the likable but chronically downtrodden detective Brenner. However, also some side characters such as the Löschenkohl impress with their performance.

As for the film itself, it unfortunately has a few deadbeat moments and some dialogues that move too slowly and are on the fringe of getting boring. Some scenes might also be considered as being more violent than necessary. Certain characters such as the Russian mobsters are too stereotypical to be really enjoyable.

However, the movie also features great dark humour throughout and finishes off with a furious and really enjoyable ending. Overall, I'd highly recommended it if you are into cynical society satire.

Star Trek Into Darkness

What happened to good screen writing ?
I am a long-term Trekkie and went into this movie fairly open-minded and full of expectation, perfectly seeing the need to adapt a franchise to the taste of a modern audience. It didn't disturb me either that the movie was shown in 3D, although I don't really consider it a big plus as the storytelling remains the most important aspect of a movie for me.

I don't take offense of the many action scenes and relatively violent fight sequences that are not very "Star Trek" like, but which are probably needed to appeal to a younger audience.

Unfortunately, it was the storytelling that disappointed me most. The plot was awfully unimaginative by basically just retelling "The Wrath of Khan" with a few plot parameters changed. What's even worse is the dialog that, as other reviewers pointed out, is at times hideously cheesy and other times just doesn't fit into the Star Trek canon ("For the love of God",...).

At one point Spock tells the villain that he needs to be stopped because otherwise he would kill anybody whom he considers "less than superior", a non-expression (superior compared to whom?) that a logically reasoning character like Spock would never use. At other times characters use replaceable standard-phrases that you could find in any B-movie and that are unintentionally funny ("It's good to have a family", "Because you are my friend, Spock.", "Let's go after the bastard")

Overall, it is one of the worst screen writing that I have recently been subjected to.

What makes the weak story even more a pity is that the technical execution of the movie is good. The film seems to have had a really good art direction, with nice and imaginative settings and both stunning and believable visuals throughout the movie. Other technical aspects of the movie, like the editing our the score were top-notch as well.

Hence, with a better, more imaginative story, this could have really been an enjoyable, if not deep, movie. Sadly, as it is, I can not recommend it to any Trekkie.

2 Days in New York

I watched this film in cinema, because I quite enjoyed the first movie, "2 Days in Paris" - it contained some genuinely funny and also charming scenes and was a well-executed rom-com that would in principle please both men and women.

It's unfortunate that I can't say the same about its sequel. To begin with, structurally it mirrors exactly the first film - cultural differences, relationship put under test, climax and separation, relief and happy ending. This lack of innovation alone wouldn't have spoiled the movie, if there had been at least some well-devised humor, a good chemistry between the lead actors or realistic behavior by the characters to start with.

However, the French characters just misbehave to the point of being totally unbelievable and the jokes are overall nothing short of adolescent. In addition to that, the plot recycles too many really old ideas, like the main character selling her soul and then wanting it back or inventing a terminal disease to calm down her neighbors and then trying to cope with their attempts to help her.

The movie had its few funny moments when it was focusing on the relationship between Marion and her sister, Rose or when Marion's and Mingus' children mimic socially highly unacceptable behavior that they observed with their French visitors during an art exhibition. However, for the most part, the jokes are predictable and just not funny. Furthermore, given that the chemistry between Julie Delpy and Adam Goldberg was much better than between Julie Delpy and Chris Rock, I would recommend watching the first movie instead, if you haven't done so yet. On the other hand, if you have, then you already know the sequel as well.


Overengineered movie lacking plot
Till Schweiger is unfortunately one of those German directors who seem to "engineer" their movies in order to cater to a maximum degree to a certain target audience. By that I mean that he takes some simple ingredients that he knows will please the audience and loosely connects them to form a film.

He was clearly trying to sell this flick to women, so he took cute children, romance and jealousy, a main character discovering his responsibility in life (an invariant in films by Schweiger), inhibited erotic scenes and some stupid, below-the-belt kind of jokes and glued them together to an incoherent, predictable and largely non-entertaining collage.

Sometimes, the results of Schweiger's industrial film-making approach can be decent, as can be seen with Barfuss. Here however, the plot is just mundane to the point of being non-existing, the jokes are embarrassing and contrary to the first film, even the children are portrayed in such an unrealistic way that they don't convey any of the desired cuteness anymore.

As other reviewers have pointed out before me, the production company probably only wanted to make a quick buck with this, following up on the success of Keinohrhasen. If you think that you like a film formed from the above-mentioned ingredients than you should probably watch Keinohrhasen instead - it's exactly the same, only with a slightly better plot.

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