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Creating Freedom: The Lottery of Birth

Truth and perception
Depending on your own world view and how open you are about hearing stuff that you may not agree with ... or just open up your horizon, this will either affect you or rather inspire you to think about certain aspects of life or it will leave you cold and uninspired to the degree that it might annoy you.

Having said that, I don't agree with everything that is stated here or implied here. But that is the beauty of it, you don't have to. Also this tells you things you maybe are aware of already ... depending on how much soul searching you have done the amount/degree may vary for you. I was hoping for more insights on certain aspects and expected this to hold its viewers on a higher standard on others ... still very well made though and thought provoking if not anything else


Mafia style
This is not the Godfather or Goodfellas or any other classic Mafia movie. So let this be crystal clear from the start and not try to compare it to any of those movies. You would not do yourself a favor and would not really enjoy your time with the movie either.

Having said that, it is tough if you have seen any of those movies not to think about them. There are scenes here that really suffer from a weight, from script flaws and the gravity of character/actors pulling them through (or in this case not). Still this is a fine effort and I don't mean that in a demeaning way. You have to start somewhere so don't hold this against those involved here. The story itself is quite neatly told and will find its audience. The ending feels a bit put upon, trying to satisfy multiple wishes (from producers or expectations from viewers?), but it is what it is

Manbiki kazoku

Extended family
Korean drama movies as well as their thrillers are really good. Well made but also really intriguing stories to boost the whole experience. In this case you have an extended family who as the english title suggests are into shoplifting. And while it was a bit strange to watch their routine when they were introduced, it quickly becomes clear that this is more than just about stealing.

Although there could be a pun in this. Especially considering how they find a new member of their family and how they get that member involved in their activities. Of course there is a lot happening and the relationships between the characters are quite something. This feels as real as possible (have not checked if certain things were based on real life but would make sense) to say the least. Great drama, great story

Berlin Calling

Clubbing and other ... lifestyle choices
I reckon this is not really my scene, my "hood" to put it that way. But whoever wrote this and whoever did this, they seem to know what they are trying to convey. With movies like these, it is easy to fall back onto cliches and make it easy for oneself. But this feels as authentic as it can be. The performances help too, which is not always a given with low budget movies.

Intense scenes may require you to take a moment to really digest them. But it's not just drama, there is comedy and humor in this too. Although strange humor of course. I had heard of this movie from friends before and if you are into the music especially this will elevate the whole thing even further I reckon. And of course it will deplete completely if you don't like the music too


Finish him/her/it
Some things are tough to end - especially nowadays, when relationships break up, many go the "ghosting route". Just pretending the other person does not exist. That is quite hurtful. Not sure if hiring someone to break up with you is that much better to be honest ... it is quite the intriguing concept for a movie.

And while I'm not the biggest fan of the main actor here, overall he does a neat job (he's directing as well). Many cliches and an ending that is cringe worthy, with a lot of suspending your disbelief and something that will not bode well with the LGBTQ community for story purposes ... well let's just say there are quite a few things here, but if you are able to overlook them, you may be entertained overall.

Papa Gold

Life goals
For certain people and depending on how they map out their lives (or not), others may seem weird to say the least. Where are they heading? And is thinking about those other peoplke concern or just gossip? If your own father has that question one may think the answer is obvious. Even so, that does not mean the solution will be too.

Our main character here has fun but seemingly no purpose. Low budget movies (and this was really low budget!) may not be your thing, but if they are, the acting is quite well in this one and the story about a grown man, who is not really a man yet in many aspects, is quite intriguing. Flawed and rough on the edges, the story it tells may be interesting for you

Tu mérites un amour

Treat yourself
What do we deserve? And how do we get exactly that? And shouldn't we account what others may feel? Certain things may not always be as easy as we make them to be. Relationships are hard work or can be for example. Is it worth pursuing them even if we know they are not good to us? No pun intended in this case.

Our main character here seems to really want to stay in a relationship, for better or worse. But then she also has these other feelings ... it may feel strange for some, but irrationality in feelings is not really something uncommon. And therefor the movie has something to tell. Maybe not something you want to hear or watch as a viewer, but it is there. Everyone down for the drama this delivers will not be dissapointed - just suspend your disbelief and accept this for what it is ... there may be a pun here

Bad Company

Twisted Company
The company you keep - or as some say, with friends like these ... then again, who do you consider a friend? Probably not someone you work for, right? Or maybe you do - maybe you even consider them more than a friend. But how can anyone else really tell ... only you know! And maybe even you are on the fence too about your feelings.

This has some powerhouse performances from Fishburne, Barkin, Langella, Beach and so forth. You really get into the heads of the characters as much as possible. Because they may say one thing, but then act completely different. A lot of twists and a lot of guessing what is going to happen next. Really well made and a thriller that you might love to watch! Quite sexual and quite explicit in the few moments of violence that occur!

Bad Company

Drama baby
It's funny that Chris Rock works best here, when he is being dramatic, rather than when he is playing to his comedy roots. Quite a lot of the jokes really bomb sadly (no puns intended). Anthony Hopkins sort of gets away with his "I hate you, you are not good enough" but also "I will risk everything for you" routine ... well routine may be putting it wrongly, but you catch my drift.

The tone of the movie is mixed though and while Schumacher is a really good director, I'm not sure if there was involvement by the producers to make it funnier or if he was ill advised all by himself. Maybe Chris Rock had something to do with it too. There's even a point where he almost deliberately breaks the fourth wall by looking into the camera and making faces ... it can be excused by saying he was looking away from a different character, but the motivation does not matter if you feel weirded out by that scene.

Your perception and your willingness to let certain things go or just flow with them, will play quite a role in what you make of the movie overall. Like the tone and pace of the movie, the music is also a mixed bag. I liked the tracks here, but there might be others feeling differently. Still the action is good enough and as already mentioned Hopkins gives the whole thing some gravitas - some other actors included in this

24: Legacy

Same but different
24 without Jack Bauer: does that even work? Ultimately you are the one who is going to judge that. On the other hand and while this is not a reboot but an expansion of the 24 universe, this may work for a newer generation that is (blissfully?) unaware of the original show (and that weird season a few years prior to this).

You don't have to know or have seen the original show to get into the rhythm of it and really get what this is doing. While that worked up to a certain point in the original 24 show, the concept and its flaws really shine through here. You have to suspend your disbelief. The coincidence of things happening in order is quite ... well neat to put it mildly. But as I said, the original show had that too. But it also had Jack Bauer and it also introduced us into shock reveals. Topping or trying to top it every episode. Something that again worked at first, but was bound to run out of steam eventually.

Back to this, that while it may not have Kiefer Sutherland, it does have a character from the original show (you can easily find this if you search, I will not spoil it though). It was interesting and really good that they did that - for the fans of the original. Apart from that there are also callbacks from season 1, when it comes to certain plot points or "shocking moments".

Enjoyable to a degree but it seems it has lost its drive, the actors involved could not really help that much either. There's only one Jack Bauer if you are realistic

The Good Son

New home, new addition and certainly not alone
Culkin allegedly was forced upon this movie, as I read after watching the movie. This had quite the repercussions (director and other-wise). That aside, this is the movie of Elijah Wood. He really is good (no pun intended), which once again cannot be said about Culkins character. Not sure what you think of his Home Alone movies (he was in the first two), but this really is very obvious ... just not to the adults.

And when I say obvious, you can see where this is heading, so quite predictable. Still the performances overall (even that of Culkin, whatever you may think of his pale delivery) really elevate the whole movie to another level. And that ending ... I have to admit, that took quite the ... well I didn't expect it to go down like that, let me put it that way - pun intended. Evil can lurk anywhere, this certainly isn't made for the easily offended amongst us ...


Easily detectable
My summary line pun aside, this is as cliche as it gets. This could easily have been a 90 Science Fiction film. It really does not have much on the story side to give us. Even the characters fall short. Considering the talent at hand, I reckon quite a few may feel dissapointed when watching this.

Having said all that, anyone who doesn't care about certain things and gives the movie multiple passes, actually may have a good time with it. And I am not going to deny anyone that feeling. Cherish it and don't mind the critics including me nor the multiple flaws this has - story wise and character wise. Predictable and full of holes this really is easy to dismiss. Which also might make it easy to love to a degree. And while I love Jessica Biel, I wonder if that bikini scene was necessary ... well apart from the obvious reasons that have nothing to do with the story

Under Siege 2: Dark Territory

Die Hard on a Train
What the movie is trying to tell us: Never get on anything that Steven Seagal is travelling with ... first it was the Submarine, now it's the train ... good thing he never took the bus, right? All kidding aside this gives people that don't expect much ... exactly what they crave for. Some interesting casting choices may help enjoy this too.

Overall though this is a dud - no pun intended. If that is remotely possible. Steven Seagal again showing no hint of any human emotion - but we know that already. Unfortunately we don't have the bad guy charisma we had in the first movie. Ryback (Seagals character name) just happens to be at the right (wrong?) place at the right (wrong?) time again. Not to mention that he seems to know the landscape so well that he doesn't have an issue chasing the traing at one point ... while Fast & Furious had scenes that were beyong belief, this has not the ridiculous fun factor they or other movies of that kind had ... Suspending your disbelief might just not be enough

Under Siege

Die Hard light
Everyone and their mother did a Die Hard movie at a certain point in time (van Damme did Sudden Death for example). This actually isn't too bad, if you don't mind that fact. And also that Steven Segal has the ability to show emotions as much as a ... I'm not even sure there is anything comparable. There is almost no emotion to speak of. But even worse, there is no acting going on either. At least back then he was able to move his feet, something he is not able to do anymore for quite some while.

His hand work on the other ... hand, always was good. Also having Gary Busey and Tommy Lee Jones elevates the movie quite a bit to say the least. Action is solid and getting to see Erika Eleniak is also a treat (mostly clothed by the way, but since she's more or less playing herself ... hush now! You know what I mean!)! Overall surely one of his better outputs for sure


Love and other ... things
This almost drifts into telenovela quality ... the thing that saves it (if you allow me to put it that way), are the actors. Especially Alec Baldwin is quite the powerhouse this movie one may thing does not deserve. Generally speaking all the actors are really good.

Still the story is predictable to a degree that almost leaves nothing hidden ... what also drags this down are some editing choices. Like towards the end when there is an accident and we see the reactions of peasants (clearly not actors), that is completely missplaced and feels weird if I were to put it mildly ... But again, if you buy into the love story of the whole thing, you may not even care - which again is a testament to the lead actors if anything

Halt! Los!

In sane or not
Having a knack for something, being good doing something is one thing. Being able to achieve something with it (like the main character here tries to do) is another thing. Add to that some ... well let's call them other issues, things get complicated. And it's all a mind thing - well more or less.

I personally loved the guessing game of what is going on and how this was portrayed (real or not). The acting was also more than solid for a low budget feature. If you are into thrillers and into the clubbing scene of sorts, you may like this even more than I'm giving this credit for. Slow burner, but daring to go psycho on you (even if only in a limited way I guess), creating quite the atmosphere.

The Doorman

I did a double feature of sorts the other day. A female action double feature. The other one was Ava with Jessica Chastain. And while that had more of a story (not that much more, but still), this has the better stunt work of the two movies. Ruby Rose really seems and feels at home with the stunts that she does and you actually buy that she is able to kick major ... well you know what.

It also has Jean Reno and Louis Mandylor - so some known names in the thriller or action genre I reckon. Predictable story does hurt the movie and this sort of feels like a Die Doorman Hard ... you know the formula and all that. Still this can be fun and entertaining to watch if you don't expect too much from it


And Edam?
And we're back into the 90s again, sort of. We do have a female lead though. And I don't mind the very predictable structure that much (feel free to disagreee here). What I do mind is the execution of the action and the stunts. They are not bad, but they don't incite excitement either - not as much as they could.

I do love Jessica Chastain, but her action hero ego does not come off as strong - not as strong as it is supposed to be. A shame almost, especially because a fight scene Malkovich has, seems more potent and lethal than most of the other stuff. And that is what an action movie should prioritize, shouldn't it? If you are more forgiving in that aspect, maybe the paper thin story will wring more out of this than for others. Or maybe just the fact that you have really good actors (overqualified some might say) in this ... whatever floats your boat

Daman akeseo guhasoseo

Can't escape (the past)
Certain people have issues to escape what they are doing. And even if they manage to do so, most of the times they will leave something behind they urge to get back (to). It's the thing that one is supposed to evade (see De Niro in Heat, though he didn't really listen to his own advice either). In this case it is not even the strong wish of the main character to get back ... but an unfortunate "incident" that makes it impossible for him to stay away.

And while he is on the verge and on the lookout (or on a mission or however you want to call it), there is a different danger lurking! Actually not so much lurking rather than sprinting and running towards him. And this nemesis of his, who is seemingly unstoppable, makes this movie quite the experience. By the way the action and stunt work on this movie ... just wow! Incredible to say the least! Just for that this is worth watching, if you are into that sort of thing of course

Türkisch für Anfänger

Back to the beginning
Turkish for Beginners - well in this case the movie does try to go back in time. And give us a new story with the same characters overall. I thought I'd catch up with the TV show and watch the movie afterwards (chronologically speaking that made sense). But you'll fast realize that not much makes sense.

While you might consider this a neat trick to give us the same ticks but a different set of circumstances ... it might have also been neat to see where the characters went after the end of the tv show ... which I guess was considered a neat ending - a little bit of a fairy tale if you will, that does not need any further stories. By releasing this 4 years after the initial show ended the characters are now farther removed from the real age of the actors portraying them. Which is nothing new if you've seen any US teen comedy/show/movie in general, where the actors are also much older than the characters they play.

These are all circumstantial of course ... the real issues are the story and jokes. Very cliche and almost the opposite the show achieved. Predictable too and mostly unfunny, this still might sway you since we came to love or at least know those characters for such a long time ... not sure what this will do to first time viewers, even though it's not necessary to have seen the TV show at all

Türkisch für Anfänger

Strong beginning
The first two seasons I'd go at least for an 8/10, when it comes to rating this. The third season though is quite the downfall (or as the term goes, jumps the shark). Whle it still isn't a bad show (and for German standards it's almost phenomenal), it does lack the drive and hillarity of the way this started. Taking cliches and turning them upside down more often than not really works wonders for this. While there are still moments where this may be called misguided and uneven (depiction of certain people or nationalities), this is not meant to be seen as too serious.

Something that is or gets way over the top by season 3, where it loses touch with "reality" many times. One of the German TV shows that was ever produced and shining a much needed light on a much maligned and often underrepresented group of people, this almost does some social work ... and was quite the phenomenon when it first aired ... and still finds new fans I reckon! And why not ... just don't expect much of the last season

Die Wunderübung

Should I stay or should I go
Therapists - are they worth the money you are going to spend on them? Likely not all of them. So what about the one we get to see here? I think you'll figure that out fairly quikly by yourself. So any supposed twists along the way - well let's just say I was not really surprised by how this ended.

That aside, the dialog is really well orchastrated and the actors are quite good. Since this is mainly about talking, that was quite important. I did not know this was an Austrian production, which is always funny when it comes to their relationship (quite literally) to the Germans. But this is a bit of side note, this concentrates on a relationship that may or may not be salvageable ... that is for you or the therapist to decide ... actually it is the movie that gives us an answer to that. Funny and enjoyable

Hell Baby

Welcome - maybe baby
I mean with a title like that it isn't too hard to figure out what this is going to be about. What you may not know from the title is how it will tackle the whole thing. And in this case it does so with comedy. Though that does not mean it holds back on the violence/blood! So you should not be easily offended. Also this has a bit (or a lot I reckon) of nudity in it! Something certain people have issues with (not just prudes, so not judging, just giving you the facts).

The comedy works most of the time, which is a testament to the talent on screen. Especially when it comes to the "annoying neighbor" - Michael Keegan Key. I really like him, but his role is quite unnerving to say the least. So it was imperative to have an actor there who is likeable even if the character is anything but ... he achieved it. The jokes are a bit of a hit and miss with the first gruesome scene being telegraphed from the moon - and so obvious that it almost hurts. But I could mostly forgive these things - and then the ending almost ruined everything. But I won't let that spoil the fun I had up to that point ... or make the ending substract points from my rating either

Holy Spirit

An holy
Or is it unholy? Could it be I was trying out a pun? Well if you watch this, you know that puns are quite the thing that are in. Not sure if they translate well (like the no one can give him water pun ... doesn't sound as funny or does not have a second meaning like it does in the German language.

There is a section of the movie that is full with "ads" - very well thought of. Almost as if the filmmakers or at least some involved here have a past in the ad business. Actually I think that is more than likely. The movie itself may have some flaws (being undecided on the whole how spiritual it wants to be for example), but it is very well made and funny. Weird funny that is - which is not everyones cup of tea.

Shen tan Pu Song Ling

Demon hunting
If you are a fan of Jackie Chan you won't need me to tell you if you should watch this or not. His charme is enough to do the job. And it is obvious still how good he is - not just in his stunt work, but also in his comedic timing and acting. Something I remember not fully appreciating as much many years (decades) ago.

But he's not alone here and his stunt work is not the main attraction ... well it is not supposed to be. I can see how some may feel it is in the end. A lot of wirework and a lot of CGI involved in this. Oh and quite a few masks can be seen in the outtakes/behind the scenes footage at the end of the movie - which is played during the credits and I can only recommend so much! Really worth seeing! Might also sway you to give this an extra point in your rating (not saying if that was the case with me too ...)

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