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The Wave

Not your usual school special
I found out today that this existed. I have not read the book/novel this is based on, but I did watch the German movie that was made over a decade ago. Which makes it I guess a remake in some peoples eyes? Can you say that, if both movies are based on the same book? Also this is only half as long as the other version ... something I was curious about - and I think I know the answer to that at least.

It fills up a school hour. I reckon school hours are the same in America too - 45 minutes long. At least they are in Germany - and that's how that would be fitting in one class/hour. Which apparently was something some schools did as a friend of mine confirmed.

This still feels a bit rushed overall, has the right beats of course, but also has aged quite a bit. I reckon if you have seen that as a young pupil/person, you may have some romantic notion and rememberance of it. It's not bad - not trying to make that argument as you can also see from my rating. I just think that the German version/movie in this case is way better, because it takes its time to delve into the characters of the students more ... yes the emotions are clear here too - but they seem forced in a couple of instances ... or at least not as nuanced and smooth as they could be.

Das perfekte Geheimnis

No secret is safe
One of the apparently 22 remakes of the original Italian movie that sparked them. And what a great movie that was. But as it seems not one that can not be remade and in certain instances even improved. There are some fine tweaks made to the plot and the characters that work quite nicely - for those who have seen the original but also for the new ones - to enhance everyones viewing experience.

Of course there are also things that worked way better in the original - especially when it comes to the dialog of key scenes. But that's nitpicking - because overall this is very well done. And if you haven't seen the other one, you are probably wondering what I am going on about. Secrets are a delicate thing - big secrets especially. This does not end the way the original ended. For better or worse ... again a few things have been handled better and one thing is ... painfuly to watch - pun intended. And not giving out any good moral or otherwise advice to the viewers either ... that aside, the acting is fine, the story is more than fine and this is therefor one of the better German movies that were produced that year.

Shatranj-e baad

Style over substance
This movie looks good - I mean it really looks good. Cinematography combined with set design and the editing that was done. Costumes and gadgets work hand in hand together - the story plays sort of a second fiddle to it. It has some horror influences to it - nothing that will shock you too much of course.

More than rock solid, especially if you really are into appearances. Acting is good and for the time it was made and where it was made, the movie tries to push some boundaries story wise for sure ... the pacing is something you will either be on board with or not. Because watching trivial washing or other activities that are not really suspensful - but look good and do something for the characters, is something you have to dig - suspend your disbelief and just go with the slow flow.

Perfetti sconosciuti

Secrets - small and big
I recently watched one of the numerous "remakes" (reimaginations?) this has spawned. Was one of the newer ones as well - from Egypt I think. And while that wasn't bad, I am glad I watched the original - finally. Kept hearing how good it is supposed to be. And now I can confirm it. Actually watched this and the German one after that ... just to get that out of my system too.

This really is or at least as easy as a movie can be. More or less one location, a few characters and a lot of talking. But ... how do you keep that interesting? How do you keep any viewers glued to the screen? Well there has to be an interest of course - but if that is there, the movie and the actors have to further improve on that.

And it does - you kind of can expect, that the "perfect" dinner will be anything but that. But how it will evolve (or devolve?), is something that you have to witness for yourself. You also have to suspend your disbelief - and you can start guessing, who has a secret or rather what secret that person has. The biggest one seems to obvious in hindsight ... and yet it is the one that almost derails everying ... friendship-wise. Sometimes it is better not to know ... emotionally and just from the standpoint from what it does to your head ... but is it better to not know in the end? And is that one of my (in)famous puns?

Ein Nasser Hund

Wag the (wet) dog
Religion - it should unite people. Yet if you believe in something different it divides people - makes them hate rather than love. And it starts wars and many other things that I am certain no religion actually approves of (not some fringe translation, but the actual scripts and that it should be love that conquers all).

But men (and yes mostly in the male sense) are weak - now the movie here has it with someone who has a jewish background but hides it, because otherwise he wouldn't be able to fit in. Just because Christianity is not involved in this, does not mean that you should start blaming religions here. The movie is way more complex than that.

On the other hand, it is less complex than it could be. I think the story (real life as it alleges in the end credits), could have made a great TV show. Where it could have explored family dynamics and the friendships and other relationships (teacher, students and so much more). As it is, it is still a powerful statement - and the "bromance" and romance in the center of the movie work smoothly. Well they have rough edges - but that is what you can consider a smooth depiction of what is or was real.

The movie will not offer easy answers - it will make you overthink certain moral issues. You may not entirely understand our main character - but he plays it as good as possible. Even when themes of jealousy and anger come up, which can be annoying, they feel real ... because they are real. These are boys (and girl(s)) - they have not reached any sort of maturity. Not that all adults ever reach that point - but that's a topic for another discussion. So yes they will act accordingly ... and in a fashion that may not be how you would (re)act. Still since they are true to their character ... it's all that matters ... well that and an ending that, that I'm not sure how you will take or rather digest ... but it's not an easy movie. We knew that from the very first second (well maybe the second second)

Toys of Terror

Terror indeed it is
Though most will argue that it is not just the toys that are doing the ... horrible work. The movie tries - and I understand that that in itself is something that some people would consider a low blow. A criticism or whatever else you want to call it.

Make of it what you will - what is important, is that the effects are ok (all things considering, budget especially). But that does not take away many of the failings in the story but also how it builds its tension. Not to mention all the cliches that are being used. This almost makes you appreciate something like Puppet Master a lot more ... if you didn't already that is.

Another Reality

Hard Knock (alien) life
As one of the ... I don't want to call them characters. They are real life people, so as one of the "stars" of this documentary says: he would like to talk about other things (he mentions a cure and him being the one who came up with it), but alas that is not what the documentary is about. And that is unforunately not what he can share with the rest of the world. From Germany - they send a few messages out in the world, that could also have been from the US.

What he and the others can share, are their life experience. Even that will not give you answers or solutions - but it hopefully make you understand. The situation people are being put in, the mindset that creates for them and others. One of the anecdotes is that Scarface was considered a hero in the neighbourhood one of them grew up in (maybe it is true for some or all of the others too). That alone is saying quite a lot.

There is also a really cringe-worthy "confrontation", where three of our 5 leads talk to a German. After they themselves have reflected a bit - on their situation, on their appearance and so forth. So they ask this older German individual how he perceives them. It starts off rather ok - and they handle the situation more than decent. But the oozing prejudices that are rooted deep within this older individual can not be disguised in the end.

This has a lot of Hip Hop music and I was a bit surprised when they were talking about crime, doing drugs and other stuff. To a degree where I thought, this may be not entirely a documentary but actors portraying situations - at least at first. But the people we do see here, got away from the system. At least momentarily - not sure if they are still "free". And I don't just mean out of jail. It is the demons one has summoned once that are quite likely to haunt them for the rest of their lives.

Still there is a lot of positivity and while I may be inclined to understand them on a better scale than maybe some others (being born in Germany, yet being from Greece), understanding their culture ... their mindset ... I hope that even if you don't get everything or maybe don't even like the looks and thoughts that are given out, you appreciate not just the effort that was made (by someone who clearly seems to care about those he filmed), but that every individual you see is not a cliche ... no matter thehow they look or appear!


Big Fish
Do you have a soft spot when it comes to B-movies? Do you find yourself liking movies that do not have the best effects, yet show off a lot of heart? Have some actors you may recognize from other work they did? This is just a fun little movie - don't take it too seriously, just go along for the ride. There is nothing fishy about it ... wait a second - do I sense a pun here? Yes I do - and I wasn't even fishing for it.

The movie does know what it is, the actors know what movie they are in. There is blood, bad CGI and a lot of fun to be had. It may not reach the heights of an Anaconda - but it still is something you can watch and be entertained by. You just have to suspend your disbelief and sit back and relax ... the title should give you a clue of what you are about watch.


Ok that may be a bit too much - if you literally take this as me calling the child actor a prodigy. If you compare it to the "original" movie with Drew Barrymore, there is an argument to be made though. Of course I was also referencing the band Prodigy who had a hit song called Firestarter ... sometimes my thinking process is even too much for myself. Hope that cleared my summary line up a bit ... there is of course a bit more pun to be had with it. Here I go again.

But let's go further into why I think this "upgrade" is better than the movie you may or may not have seen. I read the source novel by Stephen King - but I do not remember it by heart. There are other novels he wrote I am more familiar with and I cherish and admire more. That is me - you may have different feelings, I am just telling you were I am coming from rating and reviewing this.

There are some tweaks that this made - based on the other movie. I already talked about the way better fit in the title role (the little girl is really good and considering the tall task does a great job overall, some minor bumps along the road are easily forgiven). But it is also the focusing on the bad guys - and a way better third act than the original movie had. It is tighter and to the point here. It may still have some issues with logic and you may disagree with some of the moral choices ... but that is something you have throughout the movie - and the novel! Remember the thing with the money and the taxi driver? From the book and the first movie - well that has been slightly changed here, but still can be subject to criticism ... morally speaking that is.

And then there is the synth score John Carpenter is responsible for. It says so in the beginning titles, but you may miss that - it gets quite obvious in the climax and final third of the movie though. If you haven't picked up on it way before that. Cinematography is really good and considering the thin plot the movie had to work with, this really did the most of it. I understand if you are not a fan - but you can't deny this being an easy upgrade when it comes to the previous incarnation(s)

Firestarter 2: Rekindled

More than one
If you have seen this movie (or 2 parter), you may recognize a pun in my summary line. I like to do things that way. If not, you will understand once you've watched it. Or get the joke behind it - you don't have to though. It works either way.

But enough about me, this is about the follow up to the ... 80s movie that starred Drew Barrymore. This supposedly is a sequel, but is retelling certain things from that movie. So while this is a sequel it still has portions from the source (novel). I personally think this is slightly better than the original - less cringe ... a lot less cringe (if that makes sense).

Also the main character here is way hotter ... had to do that pun. She knows it - and still can't stop inserting herself in those impossible situations where she gets others hot and bothered ... but leaves them bothered ... better for them, even if they are not fully aware of it.

That aside, this continues the trend to having really good actors in it. Dennis Hopper, Malcolm McDowell ... can't argue with those choices. But don't expect this to be a great (tv) movie ... it is a nice story and works even if you haven't seen the first movie. Actually maybe it is better to read the novel and then watch this - skip the "original" movie. If you want to listen to me that is.


Annoying as hell
When I first thought of that (because it was my honest feeling towards the movie or rather the little girl in the movie), I was not thinking of the pun. But immediately I was like: I am cherishing and embracing that pun - fully! To say the least.

Now we all know that Drew Barrymore was in ET and after a bit of a rough childhood (or rather problematic, with a few issues and alleged drug abuse if I got that right), she grew up to become quite succesful. And she did not have to burn any bridges or anything else to achieve that.

Had to do another pun - just to forget about that really unpleasant and awful or as I already said annoying performance she is giving here. Yes her character has to go through a lot of stuff, emotional and otherwise. Still - I would argue that it is not just the script (or source material for that matter, being based on a Stephen King novel) - but a better (read more nuanced) performance would have helped the movie immensely.

I know that some may have seen this a long time ago - and maybe some have forgotten all the flaws this has. Like a really predictable (even for those unaware of the novel) plot and twists that can not be called that. Yes you have some very fine actors in this - though as mentioned that does not always guarantee good performances as well.

Still while I could spot some similarities to the book - I cannot tell you if or rather how much it left out. It has been a while since I read it. But I still believe the book was way better than the movie. The third act is cringe-worthy in many respects ... and not in a good sense. If there was one to begin with. Either stick with the book or watch the better remake that came out this year - feel free to disagree. But it's not just the music that got better in the new one - also the kid actor and some very well thought of changes. More on that on that movies page.

Titanic 666

Ghost, line and S(t)inker
I have to admit, reading the cast list, I was a bit surprised to see certain people involved in this. Be it AnnaLynne or Gatt or some of the others. But not just because of the pandemic, people do need work. And when a streaming plattform offers you money - I guess you are going to accept it, if you have nothing better to do.

The beginning sets the tone - we see the Titanic of the past. And I think you know about the incident and the big iceberg (yes size matters ... I think - let's not get into a climate change discussion). The movie is quite out there and I guess tries to compete with what Asylum has done before it ... but as crazy as those movies are, they do seem to have better CGI ... barely better CGI maybe ... or maybe it just feels like it. Whatever the case, there are quite a few things that do not work here.

I guess certain other aspects (some of the characters you will love to hate) do work. And the actors in front of the camera really do their best ... especially considering what they have to pretend to be in ... or on. Or whatever else.

Fahrenheit 451

To be or to ... be (less)
Let's make one thing clear here ... the movie lives off the energy that Michael Shannon brings to this. Yes the idea is fine and there is a message and for those who care there is also Michael B. Jordan (great actor in his own right, though I would argue not something you could tell from this movie - or let's put it this way: he has had better performances).

They say a movie is only as good as the bad guy - the question is: what if the "bad guy" overshines everyone and everything else? A question for you to answer - visually this looks really good, but I can't stop feeling there was more to this. Repressed feelings, a society under the thumb and under control ... burnings of books and other stuff. There is quite the social commentary here and some analogies that you can't deny (no matter how much you don't want to see them or still hold on to "your" political party) or deflect them. Actually the latter will be something you will do and blame "the others" for doing.

But all that aside, truth is way stranger than fiction. It is just way more comfortable to watch this unfold on your screen rather than actually follow what some politicians try to do - even against the will of the majority of the people in reality ... So if you need escapism, this can work, but if you think you'll find any new truths for yourself ... I doubt that will work out.


Weak or strong(?)
There are things that viewers can relate to. Or at least empathize with - than there are other things that we may not understand completely. Like not standing up for either yourself or your significant other. On the other hand, it does seem like there is some toxicity to the relationship to say the least. And if the female provokes you to fight for her ... well she has her reasons and the blame is not only to be found on one side - so this is rather complex actually.

Having said that, this kicks off the whole feeling weak thing - and the whole over compensating. And getting advice that may not be the best. Pumping up the wrong way ... not evere relationship is meant to last. Some get stronger because of friction and fights ... what is going to happen here? Certainly something that may annoy you ... but also maybe please you ... but surely irritate you too.

Really well played - but also quite the uncomfortable viewing experience to say the least. This is not for everyone - drama and darkness combined - with a bit of sunshine.

La familia perfecta

The other kind of perfect
Which some may call ... not perfect actually. Having said that, there is a lot of comedy and a lot of actors I have seen in other stuff. So this spanish movie really got a few things going for itself. It has some high points when it comes to dialog and it has an almost ridiculous family dinner scene towards the end - but it all is told and edited in a neat and good way.

The movie, like the relationships of those involved, is anything but perfect. But that is not a bad thing and not something to be too mad about. This is decent family entertainment with a few high points and a lot of drama. Almost as much as there is comedy actually - sometimes the mixture of both is not the best it could be ...


Last hurrah
Well if you want to call it that. Maybe I should have gone with "the sisters with the traveling beach" - but then again I don't think the movie needs a pun or a (misguided) reference to the travelling pants sage - which I am probably the least qualified person to make anyway.

Long introduction and not actually saying much - well that is sort of a great description of what you can expect from this movie. A movie that was apparently shot on 16mm (something that is either very important to you or you are just going to find the "video quality" to be of a lesser quality) ... and a movie that some might want to compare to earlier works of Lanthimos. If you are one of those, I hope you don't have fallen over yourself in praise of the other director and categorizing this as a bad movie.

Whatever you may think of the slow plot and really snail pace this has, the dialogs that seem to lead nowhere and without aim ... it is a day at the beach. Not any day and we can feel there is something dark and sinister those girls try to repress ... not sure if will be entirely clear in the end for most ... and no it has nothing to do with tourism, although I acknowledge and applaud that small commentary the movie makes.

Other than what I already have mentioned, the four women are really good. Something I for once did not feel with the earlier work of Lanthimos - it seemed he was happy with non actors. This on the other hand has some strong contenders. So even if you are not into the movie itself, you can't deny how good the acting is. Even more so, considering it feels like there was no actual dialog script - or they made most of it up. Which may be true or not - have not checked, but it feels improvised for sure. Not trying to diss the director - he may have given them a safe space to create on their own. Of course some may feel that this can be a reason why this feels aimless sometimes.

Still looking forward to what the director and the cast is coming up in the future. They deserve to make more stuff and we deserve to get to see more of their stuff.

The Photograph

Life moments
You could make a deal about this having an all black cast - or you could also just see this for what it is too: a really good drama/movie. The performances are really good - the central duo/relationship evolves exactly how it should and the chemistry is sizzling.

I don't know if this is based on a true story (especially considering all the photographs shown during the end credits), but I do know that we all have certain things in our past or people, we wish we had spend more time together. We wish we could talk to - or understand, even in hindsight.

Build on that is a love relationship with two broken people - apparently. Two individuals who do not seem to be able to actually hold on to love. They even say it the first time they meet. And it seems to be the beginning of one of the strongst bondings you may have seen captured on film. Which comes down to the script and the acting. And the director, let's not forget about that either.

There are a lot of departments that make a movie work - and they seem to go hand in hand here. Still this is not everyones cup of tea. Romantic movies, even if based on a solid backstory/drama and strong characters may not be for you. And that's ok - just don't watch it under false pretenses and be dissapointed later on.

The Crossing

Halfway through
Maybe not even halfway to be honest. I have no idea what the plans where - where the story would lead. If the show would not have been canceled. If they allowed the makers to go on and continue their quest and their vision.

That being said, there is still some closure you can find here, after just one season. Still this has so many questions open, that I couldn't rate it higher. As good as it is and it might have gone on to get an 8 or 9 I reckon ... depending on how it would have evolved. It does have the actors to pull it through, to elevate it. It also has the story beats and surprises to keep you guessing what will happen next.

Quite a few shockers - even if the rest seems to tame down a bit. But there is still enough to wonder, there are still enough surprises left and the relationships this builds up ... have I mentioned that I am a bit frustrated they canceled the show? Of course this isn't the first show to face that fate - being good (quality wise) sometimes is not enough ... it's about numbers and money and what not.

So this show, that can be seen as an allegory to either America or any other country that had people inhabit the land and have an issue with newcomers (forgetting they were newcomers once too) ... would deserve a sequel of some kind. Even if it is only in comic form.

Curse of the Witching Tree

Quality time ... not
The video quality will be a good indictator - you'll be able to tell that this is not a big budget movie. And maybe something you do not want to watch anyway. That will be up to you. Predictable and a few other flaws - quite a few to be honest. This still might be something for the hardcore horror fan out there.

Not easy to watch and/or follow this tries to make the best of a story that easy to follow if you were to put it nicely. Some shock effects work, there is a bit of nudity and the ending is not half as bad as I expected it to be. Still you can use your time better and do something more productive with it - I'm certain about that.

Blue Mountain State

BMS 4 life
I have to admit, I didn't even know this existed - then I saw this on my streaming provider and ... well actually I saw the movie first. Literally - I saw it on there and I watched that first and then I realized there is more where that came from. Actually the movie made me think that the show would be all about Chad - which is not entirely true.

The actor playing him though is making quite the rounds - being the star of his own show now - Reacher. And while this is quite ridiculous and over the top, the character he plays is ... well not the brightest, let's put it that way. But to play him the way he is supposed to be played. You need someone who can actually pull it off. Someone like Chad, could not play anything else. He could only do Chad - but this guy right here, he is good. He is really good.

Having said that, I am still quite surprised by the rating this has received. It is a comedy, one that is quite sexual (though nothing explicit is shown, even during certain acts, people are clothed and/or covered) and one that is about football. American football that is - which might be one of the reasons this is so popular. I reckon that quite a few people either recognize themselves in this or wish they could (re)live the things happening here. Maybe not all of them ... but surely the good parts.

While the bar is low and the humor is really ... well not high class, the show somehow works. And even though it is more about the good looking cast and their relationships (as feable and short lived as many of them are), the show does end on a high football note of sorts. Which is almost surprising considering that seemed to be just an excuse to have certain characters being thrown in. Not too many nerds though and quite literally no ugly people! Especially when it comes to the female side of things ... still even there you have some strong roles and characters amongst the shallow ones (of course the latter are represented in a larger quantity - don't laugh I didn't even think about this being a pun. And if you don't know why I said that, bless you, you innocent creature).

39 episodes and a movie later (which i have rated and reviewed elsewhere), I think it is safe to say, this did leave a mark ... for better or worse. Because political correctness is out the window - do not even dream of wokeness in this one.


Amish Paradise
No not the Weird Al one - actually none if you think about the rules and restrictions. Now before you get defensive or offensive about those things: remember every religion has a lot of rules and regulations - if you were to follow all of them ... well let's say life would be quite different than what you may experience right now. On the other hand there are states/countries who either already have religion dictate everyday life or are about to impose laws who will do just that.

But let's not go down that road - this is overall a light comedy and you should not make too much of those things. It is about a naive young Amish boy, who is also innocent and easy to manipulate some might say. The road he is taking may not be full of surprises but it is an entertaining one - and one where the viewer and the audience overall can have fun watching the journey of those involved.

Again do not expect too much from this - it is a decent comedy, nothing more but also nothing less.

Senior Year

A-woke treatment
I am currently watching the show Blue Mountain State - I did see the movie a while ago and I kind of knew what to expect from the show. Why do I mention this? Because that show (and the movie) are quite the opposite of what this movie right here is promiting ... this tries to be as inclusive as possible while being as funny as possible at the same time.

Let's say that I would say it works - even if you may be annoyed by one thing or the other. Rebel Wilson may not be everyones cup of tea, but she is funny. At least that's what I would argue - you may disagree. If you do, I am nnot sure the movie is something you want to watch though.

It still has a message (outside of the inclusiveness thing) - and it is to make the most of your time and be who you are! If you can - follow your dreams and all that ...

Geisterkomödie - Eine unwahrscheinliche Komödie

The ghosts that I called
Well technically it is not the main character himself who calls the ghost(s), but that's a technicality right? And some things should better stay in the past - like past girlfriends/wives and whatever happened to them and whatever they did.

But this black and white comedy is quite interesting - and talky to say the least. Neat effects if you consider from when this is. Comdedy works too - give it a chance if you are in to weird comedies.

Loin du périph

French Cops
Or is it funny cops? Well I guess there is a mixture, because while this is ridiculous in one sense, it has quite a few intense action scenes on the other hand. Not to mention quite the explicit violence and at least one really awful looking death (and I don't mean the CGI).

That all being said, the movie is predictable and if you don't get down with the comedy and the humor - you might have an issue watching this. The "fine" line between humor and action, may not be for everyone. The movie is decent - but you'll get the vibe it has from the first scene. When the police is unable to figure out which door to use ... you'll either think this is funny or you better switch the movie off.


Germans vs Russians
Remember the movies from the 60s and 70s, mostly Italian, who had actors from all over the world. And they were talking in their native language but got dubbed. The Russians seem to have an even worse thing going on. They let people talk in their language and then talk (dub/translate) in Russian ... in this case it is the Germans. You can hear the beginning in German and then it is Russian. It is bad and really annoying to watch this in its "original" form.

That being said, if you can overlook that "flaw" or whatever you want to call it, the war setting and the tension this is building really works. It is good vs. Bad - something that - well currently I am quite certain Russians are not in the same position (2022). But let's leave this out - especially because the movie here has nothing to do with recent events - literally. Of course Russians will paint themselves as good guys - not sure how much historicaly accuracy is in this - was distracted by the "dubbing". But the action scenes are good, so if you can dig that, the movie is not going to dissapoint.

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