goddangwatir

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Reviews

American History X
(1998)

A heavy film
American History X, directed by Tony Kaye, is the story of an American Neo-Nazi (Edward Norton) who decides to abandon his cause, and now has to stop his younger brother (Edward Furlong) from going down the same path as he did.

As one might have guessed, it is quite a heavy film, and light-hearted movie goers may want to take caution. It is however a movie that everyone should see at least some time in their life, as it teaches a very important message; violence is not the way.

The main highlight of the film is Norton's performance. He is simply excellent as Derek Vinyard, and after seeing him as the compassionate big brother in one scene, and as a totally unhinged and chilling psycho in the next (flashbacks), you really understand what range he has got. His Academy Award nomination was well deserved. Edward Furlong plays Danny Vinyard, the younger brother. Although I have never been quite a fan of his voice, I suppose that is just a nit-pick, and he still delivers a fine performance. I also enjoyed Fairuza Balk as Derek's downright creepy girlfriend Stacey.

I must also praise the cinematography, especially for the flash-back scenes with the use of black and white. It adds a certain atmosphere to them, which intensify the emotional weight of the entire movie. The editing could be criticized, since the slow motion sequences are perhaps a bit too common, but all in all, it is only a minor flaw. The score, composed by Anne Dudley, is excellent and some moments are simply breathtaking (such as the choir parts from the piece 'American History X'). It too plays a great part in delivering the great emotion the film has.

To summarize; American History X is a very powerful film, which definitely left me quite shocked. It features spiffing acting, great visuals and a good soundtrack, but it unfortunately suffers from minor flaws. In my opinion, these flaws can be quite easily glossed over however.

80/100

From Russia with Love
(1963)

Overrated ?
On my recent rewatch of From Russia with Love, I simply couldn't help but think to myself; "this is actually isn't that good". I mean, it is decent, don't get me wrong but I believe that people are overrating it quite extremely. Is it really as good as other contemporary works such as The Good, The Bad and the Ugly, Once Upon a Time in the West or even Lawrence of Arabia ? Definitely not.

What must be praised is the acting. After Dr. No, Sean Connery has gotten more comfortable with the role of James Bond, and delivers a fine performance. Lotte Lenya is perfect as the psychotic ex-KGB officer Rosa Klebb, and it is always a joy to see Robert Shaw (here as the SPECTRE henchman Donald Grant). Daniela Bianchi mostly serves as eye candy though, and therefore she unfortunately does not get many great opportunities to shine. Pedro Amendáriz is the highlight of this film though. His portrayal of the Turkish family- and businessman Ali Kerim Bey is simply so great, and it is a joy to watch the bond (no pun intended) between him and 007 grow.

The major problem with From Russia with Love, like many other of the older Bond entries, is that it feels old. It feels dated. In my opinion, it simply doesn't hold up against newer action-thrillers (in terms of delivering thrills, that is). I understand how one back in the day could have thought of this as the most nerve-racking film ever produced, but today, it simply isn't.

To summarize; From Russia with Love, together with most older Bond flicks, are classics. They are, in all honesty, nothing too special, but they have achieved a certain "mytological status", if you will, over the years. Thus, they have become beloved and consequently overrated by the fans. For me, that just doesn't work. They do feature fine acting, and the James Bond soundtracks always a plus.

60/100

The Ballad of Buster Scruggs
(2018)

Dark and moving, but quite enjoyable
I am usually not such a big fan of Coen movies, but I did enjoy The Ballad of Buster Scruggs. It is not a masterpiece, but it is a fine movie and quite unique as well. It follows six different non-related stories from the Wild West, all with their own interesting characters and atmospheres. Perhaps that is why I found it as enjoyable as I did, due to the screenplay ? Anyhow ...

The acting is very good, and the notable standouts are Tim Blake Nelson, Liam Neeson and my personal favorite performance from this movie; Tom Waits. You simply cannot help but laugh watching Nelson perform his absurd antics. Neeson plays is a man which you shouldn't feel compassion for, but do. It is hard to explain here, one must watch the movie to understand what I am talking about. Tom Waits is simply a pleasure to see out in the wild hunting gold, mumbling and talking to himself (or "Mr. Pocket", to quote him), running into all kinds of different problems.

It has got fantastic camera work and set design, featuring many beautiful expansive shots of the American Frontier, tight crammed horse wagons and rusty old saloons. These contribute to an very interesting atmosphere. To explain further; The Ballad of Buster Scruggs may at first glance seem like a light-hearted comedy, but it is in fact surprisingly dark (and by this I do not mean 'dark humor' as some would believe, I mean that it is actually dark) and even moving, watching each of the characters go through the struggles of the Old West. This I believe is especially true for the chapters 'Meal Ticket' and 'The Girl Who Got Rattled'.

To conclude; The Ballad of Buster Scruggs is no masterpiece, but it is quite well-made and highly enjoyable. It features great acting and is very visually pleasing, and it has a rather different atmosphere compared to many other movies which I have seen, and said atmosphere could only be described as a comedy disguised as a rather dark and moving tale.

70/100

Mean Streets
(1973)

Disappointing
Mean Streets is one of the earlier works of director Martin Scorsese. And, in all honesty, I was quite disappointed by it. Not every movie you direct can reach the qualities of Goodfellas or Shutter Island per se, but this is just ... not very good.

The plot is pretty thin. It all revolves around a selection of small time criminals who owe each other money in Litte Italy, New York. That is about it. I didn't even finish watching it in one sitting, instead it took me three, since it is just so boring. I simply cannot comprehend why it is categorized as a 'thriller' here on IMDb, nor why it has a Metascore of 96 ( ! ).

The acting is quite decent though. It is always fun to see big names such as Robert de Niro and Harvey Keitel in their earlier days, and both of them deliver fine performances alongside the rest of the cast. Mean Streets also has a pretty dandy soundtrack, but it unsurprisingly does not differ too much from other Scorsese crime flicks, so there is that.

To summarize; Mean Streets has got some redeeming qualities, but there are some pretty major flaws as well, which left me rather disappointed. But you cannot always be on the top of your game, can you ?

60/100

The Gentlemen
(2019)

A fun movie, but nothing too special
I was actually a bit disappointed by The Gentlemen, since I was expecting more "ugliness", if you will (maybe a bit more action as well). Perhaps one has been spoiled by Tarantino movies ? What must be said however, is that it is still a fun film.

Matthew McConaughey is good as always. Charlie Hunnam and Colin Farrel brings out quite fine performances as well. Hugh Grant is however the star of The Gentlemen, and he's just so damn slimy and spitting out so many comedically absurd statements that you just can't help but smile when he is let loose.

The choice of music is perfect. A little favorite of mine; David Rawlings - "Cumberland Gap".

At times, I think there is simply too much dialouge, which led to some confusion in following the plot. "Who's side is he on, wait what why did he do that?" my thoughts could be summarized as during those moments. Still, the movie does not lack funny moments, and I think they serve as "redeemers".

To conclude; The Gentlemen is a fun movie with fine acting, but unfortunately it is for me lacking in some departments. If you like crime comedies however, this film is definitely for you.

70/100

To Kill a Mockingbird
(1962)

Pretty uninteresting, but it shines occasionally
I didn't really know what to expect going into this film. I knew that it tackled the issue of racism, but that was about it. What I instead got (mostly) were some children running around doing things. I'm usually not a fan of children in movies, but the performances by Mary Badham, Philip Alford and John Megna are in fact not that bad.

The problem is that after a while, it just becomes a bit boring. And when the film gets to the interesting part, the courtroom scene, it is over in the blink of an eye. I simply can't look it over, and it is in my opinion one of the major flaws of To Kill a Mockingbird

What I must praise however is the atmosphere of the movie, and how it builds up a feeling of unease and tension in what is seemingly a tranquil Southern town. Sometimes, it even delves into horror territory, but masterfully, and not by too much.

Gregory Peck brings out a great performance as lawyer Atticus Finch, but the actor who I actually think stole the show was Brock Peters as Tom Robinson, the accused rapist. He is just so excellent, and you can truly see the pain in his eyes when speaking in court, trying to get everyone to understand that he is innocent.

To conclude, I think To Kill a Mockingbird is for the most part quite an uninteresting movie. It does have its moments, and luckily, those moments are very good.

70/100

Batman Begins
(2005)

Great action flick
Batman Begins is the first part of the well received Batman trilogy, directed by Christopher Nolan. And as usual, Nolan delivers ! For fans of great action, this movie is definitely for you, with many thrilling moments and fight scenes ! It too serves as an good first part of the trilogy, building a splendid world in the form of corrupt Gotham.

Christian Bale is excellent as Bruce Wayne, the main character whose inner desire for justice after watching his parents get shot as a kid makes him adopt his crime-fighting alter-ego, the Batman. Liam Neeson plays the crooked Ducard, with class I may add, whose sinister plans may cause the fall of Gotham. Michael Caine and Gary Oldman both deliver splendid performances as the loyal butler Alfred and Commissioner Gordon respectively, adding a touch of comedy to this otherwise quite dark movie.

Cillian Murphy portrays the wicked Dr. Jonathan Crane excellently too, but I believe he should have had way more screentime. It feels like you see him for a minute, then he disappears for a half hour and suddently comes back, disappearing once again after a minute. This is one small problem I have with Batman Begins. Still, he brings a maleficent performance, one which I think is very underrated.

The soundtrack is simply amazing. The adrenaline pumping main theme comes in at the exactly right moments, which makes for some pretty exciting scenes. Hans Zimmer and James Newton Howard really knew what they were doing !

To conclude, Batman Begins is an excellent action movie, and not one without heart. It contains many great performances, but unfortunately sometimes suffers from some problems with the pacing and the screenplay in my opinion. It is a movie I recommend you to watch though, especially if you enjoy comic book flicks and action thrillers !

75/100 (rounded off to 8 stars)

Dr. No
(1962)

Quite boring
One major problem I have with the first installment in the James Bond franchise, Dr. No, is the fact that it is in many ways too old for me. It is classified as a 'thriller', but the action scenes are quite dated and simply boring. They don't inflict a sense of urgency or excitement, rather a sense of 'when-is-this-going-to-be-over'.

The pacing and the screenplay (excluding the one-liners) aren't that great either. If the face reveal of the villain, Dr. No, had come a bit earlier in the film my rating of it would perhaps be higher. The reason for that being the fact that he is the light of the movie. Joseph Wiseman brings out an menacing performance, which makes one not forget the Chinese-German doctor so soon.

Sean Connery makes for a great Bond, but if one were to compare his performance to other ones, they would in my opinion find that it is only an okay one. Ursula Andress as Honey Ryder just isn't very good, and she is pretty forgettable along with the rest of the performances not mentioned in this review. Anthony Dawson as Prof. Dent deserves an honorable mention as being quite decent though.

I can appreciate the fact that it is a classic and very iconic (the quotes, etc). The James Bond Theme is even one of my favorite pieces of movie music of all time. But other than that, it has very few redeeming qualities, and a heap of ones not so.

5/10

12 Angry Men
(1957)

Not your standard thriller !
12 Angry Men is a very different thriller, it isn't even classified as one here on IMDb. But it is still a thriller nontheless, since it thrills, and boy does it thrill well !

It has no hidden bombs ready to detonate, no climactic shootout, no heroes getting imprisoned in the lair of the villains, but the suspense comes from one simple thing: the dialouge.

12 Angry Men is built on one of the better screenplays I have seen, and that is quite a feat since 90% of the movie takes place in one single room. But that is perhaps what makes it so tense and so great; the fact that you are stuck in one room with twelve very differing jurors divided into two groups, each of them trying to debunk the arguments of the opposing side over one question; is a teen convicted of first-degree murder guilty, or not guilty ? The heated conversations between the twelve delivers constant curveballs and plot twists, some quite shocking.

What I also love about the movie is the fact that it all seems like one take (comparisons can be made with the recent 1917 (2019), but perhaps not to the same extent). The excellent editing and the brilliant acting by all twelve jurors make sure of this.

I have seen people complaining over the lack of music in 12 Angry Men, but in my opinion, the dialouge serves as the music, if that makes any sense. It is a pure delight to listen to.

To conclude, 12 Angry Men is one of the best and most suspenseful movies I have ever seen, but in a very different way. It is a great shame that it is not as widely avaliable as some other highly rated IMDb titles, but perhaps that only adds to its factor of exclusivity.

10/10

Gisaengchung
(2019)

I was wrong ...
In my latest IMDb review, I wrote the following;

"1917 is British director Sam Mendes' latest opus. I also believe that it is the next Best Picture, and that he is worthy of his second Academy Award statuette for directing."

Don't get me wrong, 1917 is a splendid and absorbing war movie. But after watching Parasite, I no longer agree with my earlier statements regarding Oscar statuettes ...

Parasite is perhaps one of the most unique films I have ever seen. One second, it is a hilarious comedy, and in the other, a terrifying horror flick. Suddently, it turns into a romance and then you find yourself watching a jaw-dropping thriller. The greatest thing about it, is that you don't even notice these dynamic changes in genre. The natural flow of the movie is just so beautiful.

I don't even know how Joon-ho was able to craft such a film as Parasite. No single shot is wasted, the intelligent script is baffling and sometimes the characters feel even more alive than real people.

Some complain over the fact that the film is in Korean, and that you end up reading the subtitles more than watching the actual movie. I find that statement to be nonsense. Maybe it is because I am quite used to reading subtitles that I find it to be so (I am from Sweden), but perhaps also because the acting is just so good that you know the feelings of each character just by looking at their facial expressions.

To conclude, I wish for Parasite to win five out of six possible nominations at the Academy Awards tonight;

Best picture: Sin-ae Kwak, Bong Joon Ho

Best Achievement in Directing: Bong Joon Ho

Best Original Screenplay: Bong Joon Ho, Jin Won Han

Best Achievement in Film Editing: Jinmo Yang

Best International Feature Film South Korea

I believe that Once Upon a Time ... in Hollywood had better sets, but in all honesty, what is it compared to Parasite ?

I would not hesitate to put it in my top 10 best movies which I have ever seen. And, it is probably, the greatest movie of the 2010's. Read no further about it, just watch it. You will be delighted.

10/10

1917
(2019)

An absorbing flick
1917 is British director Sam Mendes' latest opus. I also believe that it is the next Best Picture, and that he is worthy of his second Academy Award statuette for directing.

Watching this movie, it is simply an experience. The mind blowing cinematography, the chilling atmospheric music and the bleak sets really transport you to the Western Front, the 6th of April, 1917. You're there, in those trenches.

1917 absorbed me, like few movies had ever done before. I was hooked, and I think I only took my eyes off the screen about three times. I am not even the greatest fan of war movies (the big exception being Apocalypse Now), but 1917 is just so bloody good. If you are however, just drop everything you are doing, get a ticket, and watch this movie. You will love it.

8/10

Birdemic: Shock and Terror
(2010)

What in the name of the Lord ...
Once upon a time, I decided to watch Superman IV: The Quest for Peace. After finishing it, I came to the conclusion that it was the worst movie that I had ever seen. But god damn, was it hilarious. I thought that no single movie could ever top it in absurdity ... until I watched Birdemic: Shock and Terror.

This film baffled me. Like, honestly ... what the actual ... ??!!

I have no words for this miserable excuse of a film. It is, downright, a godforsaken piece of utter CRAP.

Acting ? Made me root for the birds. Script ? Made me root even more for the birds. Cinematography ? I could probably do better. Editing ? A scramble of the order of all scenes and the result would be better. Sound ? The Djibouti national anthem sounds better. Special effects ?

...

Oh ... my ... GOOOOD !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

I am seriously contemplating whether I regret watching this movie or not. This is my 200th rating, and so far, it is the only one star which I have dished out. Because that is exactly what this abomination deserves. Probably less actually when I think about it. Birdemic is, however, bloody hilarious. You want yourself a good laugh ? Watch Birdemic.

The Naked Gun or the Holy Grail would be better alternatives in such a scenario perhaps ...

1/10

Knives Out
(2019)

Terrific mystery movie
Knives Out is the latest movie of Rian Johnson, and boy does he deliver ! A spiffing screenplay combined with an excellent cast and sly editing makes for an edge-of-your-seat mystery thriller which will keep you guessing. Fans of comedy will not be disappointed either, with many subtle yet funny jokes sprinkled all over the movie.

The driving forces behind this captivating whodunnit are none other than Ana de Armas as the likable and compassionate caretaker Martha Cabrera, and Daniel Craig as the slick and bit enigmatic detective Benoit Blanc. The latter I would dare say is maybe even worthy of an Academy Award, even though his manufactured southern accent is at first a bit off-putting. The entertainment value and intriguingness of the movie makes sure that quickly becomes a problem of the past however.

All in all, Knives Out is a excellent murder mystery which delivers many curveballs. I highly recommended it for ordinary moviegoers and I believe it is a true must see for fans of the mystery genre !

8/10

Star Wars: Episode IX - The Rise of Skywalker
(2019)

Quite disappointing, some reedeming qualities
I was never the biggest Star Wars fan, and I didn't really have such a big attachment to them when I was younger (~2007-2013). Let me make that clear. I have actually always found them rather average and overrated to be honest (even the original trilogy, unpopular opinion). What I do realise is that they are some of the most important movies ever made, and that they are basically millions of people's childhoods.

Therefore I find this movie and the sequel trilogy in general to be a huge respectless insult to the Star Wars fanbase. Star Wars was obviously always about telling a tale of good and evil; how the latter could rise in the prequels and how the former could return in the originals. What where the sequels about ? Who knows. The Force Awakens is no fantastic movie, but at least it could have had something going. What followed can be described as a game of chess between Johnson and Abrahms, each of them trying to counter the opponent's moves (plot points) with the Last Jedi and this one, the Rise of Skywalker.

The relation of the sequels to the rest of the movies in the Star Wars saga can be summarised like this; if the original trilogy and the prequels are a human body, the sequel trilogy is an extra mutated limb. It doesn't need to be there, nor should it.

On to the actual movie review.

The Rise of Skywalker is the worst Star Wars movie. The plot is scattered with holes and not very interesting, many new pointless characters, the acting is just bland (props to Driver although) and there is no soul to speak of. But worst of all; the comedy. It feels like something imported from Marvel, but not adjusted well enough to fit Star Wars. The result ? Disgusting. There are a few revelations, but nothing shocking nor anything that you couldn't see coming. I left the theater with the feeling that the movie was simply a checking of boxes on a checklist for the sake of fan service.

What I must give positive critique for are the visuals and the music. They truly did do an great job with the former, and some scenes are down right works of art. The crux is that the majority of large budget Hollywood movies these days look pretty similar to this one, so still nothing special. As for the music, John Williams is always a safe bet.

All in all, the Rise of Skywalker comes off as quite disappointing, with only some reedeming qualities. I do understand that it and the rest of the sequels had large boots to fill, but to quote Master Yoda;

"Do, or do not, there is no try."

5/10 stars

Joker
(2019)

A bit overrated, but still a fine picture
Let me start this review by saying; wow- Phoenix is absolutely phenomenal as the pshycotic Joker. Perhaps he is even on par with Ledger's portrayal. He steals every single scene, and delivers a terrifying performance more than worthy of an Academy Award. How he still has not gotten one is simply baffling to me.

The music by Guðnadóttir fits like a glove, and is a prime example of a hauntingly beautiful soundtrack. Including the sitar is simply a stroke of genius.

One problem I had with this movie was the pacing. Something about it just didn't feel right. I think there might have been too large of a contrast between some scenes, perhaps you will understand what I mean when you watch the movie.

Other than that, I am giving this movie 8/10 stars for the extraordinary Oscar-worthy performance delivered by Phoenix and the stunning soundtrack. Is Joker overhyped ? Yes, it is. But I still find it to be a very good movie and astounding character study.

Do not go into this movie expecting some bad guy vs good guy action scenes or Marvel-humor though, there's none of that. Some scenes are pretty disturbing as well, there's a reason for its R-rating. Faint-hearted moviegoers beware !

Once Upon a Time... in Hollywood
(2019)

Not a masterpiece nor Birdemic, and definitely not for everyone
I just got home from the cinema, and oh boy I have I got alot of thoughts on this movie.

Personally, I think that the acting was on point and the characters believable. DiCaprio, Pitt and the rest of the cast did a great job on this one. Even ten year old Julia Butters pulled off quite the performance, despite her age. The only times when you could see through the acting were during some scenes when they were acting in movies in the movie itself, but I suppose that was kind of the point.

What I find truly mindblowing is how well Tarantino recreated Hollywood, 1969. The sets are simply stunning. Heck, it's almost like it's worth seeing the movie just to see the sets. Big kudos to him and everyone else who worked on them.

There's one problem that I have with this film however; there doesn't really happen... that much. There's a bit of casual talk, some driving around in cars, some filming movies, but other than that, nothing really too interesting. It wasn't like I had plans on leaving the theatre since I had paid for my ticket after all, and some of the scenes were actually pretty funny and entertaining, Bruce Lee fighting Cliff for example.

So, for the first two hours I mostly kind of just sat there, waiting for something to happen. Then, suddently, something did. Classic Tarantino kicked in, along with some castration by dogs and flamethrowers. Never ever did I think death scenes could be that satisfying, but I guess we are talking about members of the Manson family.

So, to sum up this movie; not the best but definitely not Birdemic. If you're into non-stop action and majestic explosions, this film will leave you extremely dissapointed. In my opinion, the climactic ending kind of made up for the first two rather long hours of this movie. The sets were beautiful and the acting was very good, so with all of that in mind I am giving this movie an 8/10.

Interstellar
(2014)

A true masterpiece of the modern era
One thing is clear; Interstellar is definetely one of the greatest movies that I have ever seen. The music, the acting, the visuals... Nolan brilliantly and skillfully mixes it all into a delicious stew of suspense, drama and physics of epic porportions! If I got the chance to completely forget about a movie, I would choose to forget Interstellar. So that I could watch it again for the first time. That is how bloody amazing it is!

If you're a fan of space, suspense and films that make you think a little extra, there's no other movie that I recommend to you more than Interstellar. Even if you're not a fan of said things, you still won't regret watching this true masterpiece of the modern era.

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