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Various TV/movie opinions - 22.March2009

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I already have a reccomendation list for fantasy movies, but this about stuff I see in the theatre or on TV adn I can't resist writing a few lines about it:

The Cave

I recorded it yesterday and thought it might be an OK "breakfast movie" this morning. It's about a bunch of people that explore a cave, get trapped and attacked by "something hungry". Sounds familiar? About the same time this movie was released there was "The Descent" with a similiar story. The Descent was very good, claustrophobic and scary, The Cave on the other hand was just aweful. Semi talented actors, lose storylines that didn't serve any purpose and not really scary to me. The only thing that was good was the underwater camara and diving scenes, but you can see those on documentaries too.

Recommendation: Don't waste your time, see The Descent for scary cave action.

The Guardian
Welcome to the advertising to join the US Coastguard! What "Top Gun" did for the airforce, this movie does for the coastguard. The actors involved, Kevin Costner & Ashton Kutcher in the lead, did an OK job, both better than you would have expected from them. The story is old and has been done before (like in "A officer & gentleman", "Men of Honour"), but you can forget about it, because it normally works. But the film went downhill after it missed it chance to end about 30min earlier (Kutcher being a diver in Kodiak & Costner re-united with his wife). From that point the director plays the "heroism card" and can not deliver without "schmalz" until the very end.

Recommendation: An OK movie to watch on TV, not retal-worthy. If you are into heroism, see it. If you are repulsed by that topic, avoid.

Lord of War
Nicolas Cage plays an international arms dealer and does a great job. It's a slow film about the evil that lurks inside. "Every 12 human on earth has a firearm...how do we arm the other 11?" The movie leaves no doubts, that the biggest arms dealers are not the "Yuris" in this movie, but states like the USA, Russia, China and many european nations.

Recommendation: Watch it. Good story, good acting. It delivers the right message.

Updated 22-03-2009 at 20:40 by Gorani

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  1. Gorani's Avatar
    Fringe

    An FBI team around a female agent, an out of mental clinic mad scientist and his genius son investigate strange incidents.
    I have see two episodes of Fringe now and i really like it. I am still a big fan of The X-Files, so Anna Torv (who looks a lot like Cate Blanchett) who plays Agent Olivia Dunham can by my new Dana Scully.
    Walter Bishop is a great "crazy scientist" so far and J.J. Abrams has shown me he can make good series in the past (Alias, Lost).

    PS: Now that the first season is done, I have to say I really enjoyed it. Less romantic than Alias and less confusing than Lost. Nice ideas about some (pseudo) science stuff and Walter Bishop was just great throughout the season.
    Updated 11-08-2009 at 08:38 by Gorani
  2. Gorani's Avatar
    Monsters vs. Aliens

    I did not see it in 3D, but I think I would have been annoyed by the effects anyway after a few minutes.
    It is fun to watch, but not groundbreaking - both in animation & storytelling. As an adult you will have fun finding all the B-Movie reference, like Jack Arnold's monster from the Black Lagoon ("Link") and the Independence Day (force field) & Godzilla stuff.

    Recommendation: It will be fun to see with kids at a matinee at a fair price, but I would not spend "extra" for a Friday night evening.
  3. Gorani's Avatar
    Charlie Wilson's War

    A film with a political background, based on the life of Texas congress man Charles Wilson, that started financing the Mudshahidin fighters in Afghanistan to aid them in their battle against the Soviet troops in the 80s. Great performances by Tom Hanks and Philip Seymore Hoffman, although I wished the end would have made clear, that abandoning the support for the Afghans after the Soviets had left cleared the way for the arsenal & mindset western troops have to battle today in their fight against the Taliban & islamic terrorists in the region.

    Recommendation: if you liked movies like "Wag the Dog" or the previously reviewed Lord of War, go see it.

    No Country for old Men

    Some Cohen brother's films are good, some are not so good. This one is belongs to the later category. Javier Bardem is great as the killer, but I actually had no sympathy for Josh Brolin's character & found Tommy Lee Jones' philosophical Sheriff boring. And don't expect a plot to develop to a finish or to make any sense at some points. Some people say that is the message of the film, but it just doesn't leave me with a smiling face.

    Recommendation: Don't zapp away if it is on TV, but think twice before renting it on DVD

    Planet Terror

    If you play Left4Dead, this movie is the one for you. Like "No Country...." the story is minimal, but it doesn't matter, because all you want to see, is people fighting zombies or blowing them to pieces in different ways. It is supposed to be a c-movie and is even degraded in visual quality of the "film reel". Gory, brutal not to be taken seriously.

    Recommendation: A Zombie movie to see, with perhaps "From Dusk till Dawn" as an appetizer.
    Updated 11-08-2009 at 08:42 by Gorani
  4. Gorani's Avatar
    Babylon A.D.

    Vin Diesel plays a mercenary who's job is to bring a girl & her guardian (Michelle Yeoh) from central Russia to NY in a near future sci-fi environment. I saw the 90 minutes and not the longer director's cut version. As a action film, it is o.k. but not too spectacular. I liked the philosophical undertone around story of the girl Aurora, but there was asmost no depth to this part, wich would have contributed a lot (like in Bladerunner)

    Recommendation: If you like Vin Diesel as an actor and sci-fi that doesn't try to blow you away with CGI, rent it on a gray autumn day.

    Harry Potter & the halfblood prince

    Harry & his friends have problems getting their lovelives in line. Flashbacks from Tom Riddle. Dumbledore gets killed in the end.
    That's about all that happend in 2 1/2 hours. It lacks some speed & excitement, but I'm not sure if the book features more of that.

    Recommendation: Backstory is required, see it for completeness, but that's about it.

    Transformers 2

    Autobots & special teams of soldiers (those from part 1) hunt remaining Decepticons, while Sam goes to College and leaves Mickela behind. After a series of events reactivates Megatron & a forgotten evil Prime Decepticon and showdown develops at the pyramids in Egypt.

    Recommendation: If you liked the first one and you leave your brain at the entrance, the film is surprisingly entertaining. If you start to think about the plot, logical development & geography, you will start yelling at the screen. It gets a: "worth seeing"
  5. Gorani's Avatar
    Apokalypto

    Mel Gibson's Mayan adventure has a very simple plot. A village of hunters gets attacked by marauders who capture all but hero's wife & son. Villagers are brought to Mayan city to be sacrificed & get cursed by kid on the way. Eclipse stops sacrifice, hero runs away with marauders pursuing. Hero evades/kills others & rescues wife.
    I saw a TV version, with probably most of the gore & cracked skulls cut out, but I think it did not make the movie worse. I love set design and if you like that & good cinematography too, you will enjoy the costumes & the Mayan city. I'm not sure if you have to go for the "political message" of the movie.

    Recommendation: Not for everyone, I guess you either like it or turn it off after a few minutes.

    Bolt

    Bolt the dog, the main character of a spy-teen-tv-drama, gets in trouble when he is confronted with RL after leaving the TV studios. On his way to rescue his "human" from the "green eyed man", he finds out that he is no genetically altered superdog, but a normal animal. With the help of a ally cat and a hamster (who is his greatest fan) he gets back to Hollywood and is reunited with his human.

    You know there will be a happy end, but the way to the end is funny well done and full of great animation moments.

    Recommendation: Fun for the whole family