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Das Wunder von Bern

Hopes betrayed
Although I had some very high hopes for this movie, I was utterly disappointed. Maybe I had expected a nice sports-flick like the hilarious "Fußball ist unser Leben", I definitely did not expect such a shallow review of every single German post-war cliché. Count them, they are all there: the shell-shocked husband returning from a decade of Soviet labour camps, the wife who has grown independent in the meantime by having to run the family business plus the family itself, the son turned communist due to disgust for the crimes of his father's generation (and I would have liked to see that person put up communist party posters in a pub in the early 50ies, even in the Ruhr area... tar and feathers, anyone?). Add to that the entire "Wonder" of Bern myth (a fabrication of later decades) and the net result is a not too entertaining fairy-tale. If you want to see a good "sports" movie, watch "Fussball ist unser Leben" or, if soccer is not up your alley, "Major League". If you want to get a closer look at post-war Germany, there are also better movies around.


Kind of disappointed
While certainly the movie had quite a lot of promise, I have to say that I was a tad bit disappointed by the plot. The entire movie just seems to consist of cobbled-together pieces from the book "Enemy at the Gates" by William Craig. While the later picture of that title concentrated on just one episode of the book, this movie tries to cram it ALL in. Basically every scene is taken from the book and as I had read it prior to watching the film, I was quite disappointed. There certainly was enough tragedy in this, one of the bloodiest battles of WW2, without having to try to make the protagonists live through EVERY single publicised part of it. To me, it was simply overkill. Perhaps if I had not known the book beforehand (I have a copy of the original, not the reedition for the Jude Law flic and read it before seeing either film), I would have appreciated the movie more. Concentrating on one facet of the struggle (as the later "Enemy at the Gates" did) might have made me feel more for the characters instead of thinking "hey, I know this from somewhere" all the time as I actually did with this one, unfortunately. To me, "Die Bruecke" and "Das Boot" still rank supreme, as far as German efforts to portray the Second World War are concerned. Those movies actually made me feel for the characters and wish that a situation such as they were in would never occur again.


An alien in Berlin, as Sting might sing
"Maihime" is more or less the slightly "cleaned up" autobiography of the rather self-conscious but none the less famous Japanese writer Mori Ogai during his stay in Berlin around the turn the 19th to 20th century. While studying medicine with the best of German professors at the request of Emperor Meiji, he falls in love with a German ballet dancer. While the ending of the movie is bad enough (not from a cinematographic point of view), reality seems to have been even worse and the movie follows the autobiographer's trend in making him seem a victim of circumstance rather more than might perhaps have been appropriate. Nevertheless, it gives an interesting insight to a foreigner's life in Imperial Berlin (and back then it probably did not get any more foreign than being Japanese). Just beware that this movie was actually made in the then still existent German Democratic Republic and is therefore not free of some rather surprising (considering the original writings) references to class struggle as well as a slight anti-war tint, which probably never crossed Mori Ogai's mind either. Interesting to watch for all those interested in Second Reich Germany or Japanese Literature. Perhaps (but not necessarily) a tad boring for everybody else.

Star Wars: Episode II - Attack of the Clones

Enjoyable B-Movie
While Episode I left me in a complete rage, mostly due to the appearance of a rather long-eared and EXTREMELY obnoxious character, whose name I shall never utter again, I actually quite enjoyed this movie. Even though probably not for the reasons intended by it's makers. Maybe it also helped that I watched this one under influence of a few beers at a University theater, surrounded by hundreds of others who would laugh and cheer with me at the often ridiculous story and perhaps not top-notch acting. Be sure that the setting in which you are watching this movie is right (friends, beer), and you may well be rewarded with quite a few laughs. Just don't watch it alone or expect that you will see anything in a league with the original movies and you will be quite happy. Of course, this is just my humble opinion and if you are under 12 years of age, you will probably really like it anyway, until you grow and accumulate more experience (which is when you might probably wish that something really nasty would have happened to George Lucas before he could commit the Ewoks crime. Not that I would ever do that).


If you should watch this one, be sure to prepare some food in advance (the more and the tastier the better). This movie is bound to make you hungry. So many delicacies, such a short lifespan to taste them all! Please watch this magnificent travel through the intricate depths of Japanese cuisine. Apart from all the mouthwatering food, there is a good plot and some very nice acting thrown in for the sake of it (harrharr, what a play of words!). One of my all-time favourites and the movie that even got my mother deeply involved with noodle-soup. I am quite sure it will be the same in your household (yes, even if you are living on your own). Bon appetit!

Rat Race

I certainly enjoyed the original movie, but this "remake" just lacked everything. The plot is not the best, most characters are a very bad joke and the acting is far from splendid. The only time I could really laugh (probably because I am a history student and on top of that from Germany and therefore knew what was meant) was in the scene with the "Barbie" museum. I was watching this in a movie theater in Scotland and apart from me, nobody seemed to get the joke... I wonder how it was in America (or anywhere else for that matter). Apart from that, the classic is still way ahead of this. So, why even try to make a new version of a classic when you can't even get close to it?

The Fast and the Furious

Oh dear
Um, right. What can I say about this one? Well, it certainly made Vin Diesel stand out as an actor (if only because everybody else was utterly worthless). I did not even bother to watch it to the (certainly highly dramatic) finale because I got bored s###less. Not much else to say, but whoever participated in that movie (in whatever position - from director to the last extra - except of course for Vin, who shines out in this like a shaft of gold when all around is dark) should under no circumstances quit their day jobs. Laughable plot, incredibly bad acting... well, maybe, just maybe it has got all the right stuff for a c-movie classic. By the way, I am in no way a Vin Diesel fan, it is just the even worse acting of everybody else that makes him shine that much in this piece of "movie".

Star Wars: Episode I - The Phantom Menace

Worst Movie ever
There is a theory around stating that it is not violent movies which make viewers aggressive but bad ones. After watching this piece of s**t at the cinema, even PAYING for it, I can tell you this theory has some merit. At least I definitely wanted to skin some cute furry little animals alive after watching this masterpiece. And this is the only movie so far that has done this to me, at least to this extent. I just hope the b******s who gave us the Ewoks and Jar-Jar Binks will go and take a running jump. Sorry if I got carried away, but this is what that movie will do to you. If I had seen any chance of succeeding, I would have filed a lawsuit to get my money back (and maybe something on top for all the pain and anguish it caused me watching it). What a far cry from the first two Star Wars flicks.

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