Monday, December 28, 2009

The invention of lying

There are two big tragedies in life, one is living in a world where everybody lies, and the other, even worse, is living in a world where everybody says the truth.
I guess this is the message of the movie.
In a world where everybody is honest, the one who is not becomes a hero and a quite successful guy.
This couldn’t of course happen in everyday contemporary world, but "For what is Truth?
In matters of religion, it is simply the opinion that has survived.
In matters of science, it is the ultimate sensation. In matters of
art, it is one's last mood."
It is a way of denying reality.
Aren’t dreams much better?

Friday, December 25, 2009

Dorian Gray

One thing must be said and that is today’s movies are so technically good that it is a pleasure to look at them, even if the movie is nothing new or nothing special.
This in my opinion is the case with this.
The picture is so perfect, and so crisp, it is almost like being there.
I nevertheless would never make a movie out of any of Oscar Wilde´s work.
Its work is great for the way it is written, for what he says, not certainly for the story.
The Picture of Dorian Gray was one of my favorite (being Oscar Wilde one of my favorite author).
Not certainly the Movie.

Thursday, September 3, 2009

The end could really surprise you

Many leading movies have surprise endings. And audiences love that. The surprise ending can be tough to get right and sometimes overdone but it can be impossible to keep the secret once it’s out. Here are 10 movies that got it right - their surprises really were just that.

10. The Crying Game

The big surprise in this movie does not happen in the end but half way through. The movie has a stunning end which was talked of as a spoiler for a long time. The film was about an IRA member (Stephen Rea) whose relationship with a woman (Jaye Davidson) takes the most unexpected turn.

9. Brazil

A troubled technocrat, Sam Lowry works in a futuristic society that is inefficient. He dreams of the time when he can spend the days with the woman of his dreams away from overpowering bureaucracy and technology. In the film Lowry meets Jill Layton, the woman of his dreams. Meanwhile, he is charged by the bureaucracy for being involved in some terrorist bombings, and both his and Jill’s lives are endangered.

8. The Sting

When a mob boss kills a mutual friend, two con men try to take revenge by pulling off the big con on the mob boss. The story has several last minute alterations and unexpected twists. The young con man is Johnny Hooker who is taught by Luther. One day they pull one of their con jobs without knowing that the man they conned is the courier for a numbers runner. The boss, Doyle Lonigan, sees it as a personal attack and orders the people involved to be terminated. From here the film proceeds to have a surprising twist in the end.

7. Star Wars Episode V: The Empire Strikes Back

The story of Han Solo, Luke Skywalker, Princess Leia and the others is not over with the destruction of the Death Star - it moves forward in THE EMPIRE STRIKES BACK. Imperial forces have made the Rebels to hide themselves in Hoth, the Ice World. However they cannot escape the wrath of Darth Vader for a long time as he devastates the Rebel base. Luke flees to Dagobah to begin Jedi Knight training with Yoda, while Han Solo, Chewbacca, Princess Leia and C-3PO run the blockade of Imperial Star Destroyers in the Millennium Falcon.

6. Identity

In this film, the first two-thirds of its showtime is spent laying the pieces of a horror movie puzzle which then moves into an ambitious and brilliant psychological murder mystery with maximum plot twists which can confuse even the best mystery movie enthusiast. Identity can also be called a mature and sleek murder mystery and not a cheap horror film.

5. Psycho

This is not a gory film exactly and contains just three big shocks. The rest of the film is devoted to setting suspense, setting scenes and playing with our minds. But those three shocks are enough to leave our heads spinning because of the thrill and excitement – Hitchcock sees to that nicely.

4. Beneath the planet of the Apes

This one is a continuation of the first film of its kind. Another space ship crashes in the forbidden area on the planet. The ship is manned by Brent (James Franciscus) and the captain Maddox (Tod Andrews) both of whom die in the crash. Nova (Linda Harrison), Taylor’s mate shows them the ape city. In the forbidden zone something dangerous is going on and the apes want to invade by being proactive. The intelligent humans mutated by radiation long ago turn to be the enemy.

3. Fight Club

This film based on the novel by Chuck Palahniuk is a contemporary play giving warnings regarding the decay of society. The unnamed protagonist is Edward Norton who starts attending meetings and support groups to keep himself occupied. Though he is not suffering from any problems, he finds solace in the groups. This is destroyed after his meeting with Marla (Helena Bonham Carter). He finds that his life is changed once again, by a chance meeting with Tyler Durden (Brad Pitt), whose no-nonsense style of communication appeals to our narrator. Pitt and Norton make a superb duo, and the film has some comic moments and a surprising end.

2. Usual Suspects

This film opens with a catastrophe in a shipyard and we can see the interrogation of a handicapped and a sad faced survivor Verbal Kint ( Spacey) and things that led to the killings. We will be tantalized with questions such as what really happened in the shipyard, whether Verbal is telling the truth to the investigating lawman or protecting someone and finally who is Keyser Soze throughout the film.

1. The Sixth Sense

Masterfully directed and amazingly well written and acted, “The Sixth Sense” will move, captivate, and scare you. The surprise end of the movie will leave your head spinning.This is one movie which will leave a lasting impression on your mind. Haley Joel Osment starts seeing dead people and his therapist, Bruce Willis, too many times. The true shocker comes with the twist at the end of M. Night Shyamalan’s best film.


Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Disney acquires Marvin

The news broke that beloved comic book (and tentpole movie franchise) company Marvel is being acquired by Disney, meaning Avengers mansion now sits on the same block as the House of Mouse. While the business side of the deal makes sense - Marvel has some great content just aching to be made into movies - as geeks, we can only tremble in fear when considering what could happen to some of our most beloved properties. And so here is our top (bottom?) 10 list of movies events we fear will happen as a result of Disney buying Marvel:

10: Beauty & The Hulk - in this updated version of the animated Disney classic, Selena Gomez plays Dr. Bryce Banner, a talented physicist who learns a life lesson about self-image when her gamma-ray experiment creates unintended results.

9: Mutant High School Musical - It’s a teen-angst musical, set at a high-school full of mutants!

8: Ultimate Jonas Brothers - The boy band’s Monkees-esque antics take on a harder-edge; they all grow beards.

7: Herbie the Love Sentinel - Poor Herbie will be relegated to the junk-yard if he doesn’t kill some mutants, but Emily Osment as a young Emma Frost wins him over to the side of good, and wins the Westchester 500 to boot!

6: The Wizards of Xavier Place - The three Russo kids find out they’re not really wizards, they’re mutants! Time to go to a new school…
5: Snow White and the Brotherhood of Evil Mutants - A lost Snow must take care of a band of cantankerous baddies. With Blob as Grumpy, and Toad as Dopey.

4: The Scarlet Witch - this will be a major movie event, with Miley “Hannah Montanna” Cyrus playing the troubled reality-controlling mutant, along with her annoying speedster-brother, Quicksilver, and special guest appearance by Billy Ray Cyrus as her father, Magneto.

3: Wolverine in Wonderland - Logan takes a tumble down the rabbit’s hole, and hilarity ensues. “I’ll show you ‘off with his head, bub!’”

2: Hayao Miyazaki’s Guardians of the Galaxy - actually, if this happened, we’d SO be there!

1: Muppet Avengers Assemble!


Monday, August 24, 2009

SCI-FI movies you cannot miss

If you are a fan of SCI-fi movies you cannot miss these.

While great sci-fi movies have made their presence and influenced movies of all genres to this day, a lot of science fiction films over the years have gone quite unnoticed, even by today’s standards, with the Internet making it possible to spread word about independent “thinking man’s sci-fi” like Moon, Primer and, to some extent, Sunshine. Here are ten movies that are virtually not present in any “top 10 sci-fi ________ list” (fill in the blank).

Note: we intentionally did not include sequels, remakes nor animated features. And by “forgotten” and “underrated”, we mean amongst the general audience. Not necessarily movie buffs like us and the ones who frequently roam the Internets.

10: Code 46 (2004, IMDB link)
Code 46, the British sci-fi film set in the not too distant future where the population is divided between the wealthy ones staying in the cities, and the not so fortunate ones who have been delegated and separated outside. An insurance fraud investigator, played by Tim Robbins, is visiting Shanghai, where his investigation leads him to meeting a woman and… you’ll have to see the rest for yourself. There’s not much action or drama in the film — it’s rather slow and the pacing and story carefully unfold during the movie. It’s by no means a perfect film, but definitely worth seeing, if only for it’s beautiful photography.

9: Enemy Mine (1985, IMDB link)
In the distant future, mankind is fiercely fighting an alien civilization, and when a pilot from each side of the battling worlds crash land on a planet, they’re forced to work together in order to survive. It’s the sci-fi version of the buddy movie, yet very intelligent and, at times, emotional, offering an excellent comment on society, where “working together usually benefits both parties”. It was Wolfgang Petersen’s first success in North America after “Das Boot”, but sadly, one of his most forgotten ones.

8: Equilibrium (2002, IMDB link)
Christian Bale’s first real action movie, as a law enforcer in a dystopian future where human emotions and art are strictly forbidden in order to eradicate violence and war. So they are told. People are controlled with a daily intake of “equilibrium”. Bale’s character forgets to take the “medication”, and subsequently begins to “feel”, giving him a new perspective on the situation. While the movie wasn’t a commercial nor artistic hit, it offered an original view of a dystopian world, interesting action set pieces, and the introduction of the “gun kata”, a martial arts style which includes gun-fighting.

7: Pitch Black (2000, IMDB link)
Vin Diesel’s broke through as an action star in Pitch Black, playing the anti-hero Riddick amongst a group of survivals who crash landed on a planet where constant sunlight is scorching everything. Originally a prisoner, Riddick now turns out the be their only hope of survival. The movie was a big success at the box office, and critics applauded its originality and visual style. It has since been regarded as a cult classic, and while a sequel, The Chronicles of Riddick, came out in 2004, it was a far cry from the original in almost every aspect but the size of the budget.

6: eXistenZ (1999, IMDB Link)
David Cronenberg’s eXistenZ, while not the greatest title of a movie ever, was a unique take on virtual reality, unfortunately, the movie was overshadowed by another movie which dealt with the same concept; The Matrix. In Cronenberg’s eXistenZ, a game designer who is working on a virtual reality game has to immerse herself into the game in order to stop corruption of the game (or as some would call, “extreme bug hunting”). It’s a must see for fans of The Matrix and Dark City, which brings us to number 5 on our list…

5: Dark City (1998, IMDB Link)
Dark City is one of the most original sci-fi stories of the 1990’s, and to some extent, influenced The Matrix, which was released a year later. Despite receiving great reviews — Roger Ebert called it the best movie of 1998 — it wasn’t a hit at the box office and has since been forgotten by anyone but hard core sci-fi fans. Alex Proyas wrote the film in the early 90’s, but it only managed to get stuck in “production hell”, as they say, and moved from studio to studio until New Line finally put in production. The recent release of the Director’s Cut version, which includes 15 minutes of extra footage, is a must have in any DVD or Blu-ray collection.

4: The City of Lost Children (1995, IMDB Link)
Jean Pierre Jaunet’s and Marc Caro’s bizarre and surreal tale of a scientist who kidnaps children and steals their dreams in order to benefit himself is one of the most visually and artistically striking films of the last few decades. Being a native French movie with no English, it was still a hard sell for North American audience, and it received a limited, yet critically acclaimed release in 1996. Almost every aspect of the film feels original, from the plot, to the characters, to the visual style (which includes a lot or steam punk and retro futurism) — even the camera angles and shot compositions feel like something you’ve never seen before.

3: Gattaca (1997, IMDB link)
Andrew Niccol’s Gattaca was a true “thinking man’s” science fiction movie, dealing with a society where genetics determine one’s class and thereby the possibilities in life. One of the unfortunate ones, Vincent Freeman (played by Ethan Hawke), who has only been given a life expectancy of 30 years, changes place with one of the lucky ones (played by Jude Law), in order to fulfill his wish to travel into outer space. Gattaca is one of the few sci-fi dramas that have ever been made, and offers a provocative, and at times, striking view of the future where genetics play a far bigger role than today.

2: Brazil (1985, IMDB link)
What happens if you mix Monty Python and 1984? You get Brazil, Terry Gilliam’s genius and satirical take on a dystopian society where bureaucracy, endless paperwork and bad jobs in an industrialized megacity are the norm. It’s take on 1984 is obvious, and while in production, the working title was 1984 1/2. Even with a modest budget of less than $10 million, the movie has astonishing production values, however, it remains largely forgotten. In addition to 12 Monkeys, Brazil is one of Gilliam’s most successful — at least artistically speaking — movies, and has since become a cult classic.

1: Stalker (1979, IMDB link)
Russian director Andrei Tarkovsky — one of Russia’s finest — will most likely be remembered by one film in his career; Stalker, and it’s unfortunate that so many are unaware of it today. The movie was originally shot by Tarkovksy over a period of a year, only to be destroyed because it was shot on an experimental film that the Soviet film labs were unfamiliar with. This didn’t discourage him from shooing it again, this time with a new cinematographer, Aleksandr Knyazhinsky, and together they created one of the most visually stunning films of the time. Granted, the movie is not for everyone, it’s consists of lots of long shots, and its poetic style is the exact opposite of today’s action blockbusters like Transformers. But as far as science fiction goes, it’s an absolute masterpiece and it’s no wonder the film is one of the most studied at film schools around the world.

Links and pictures

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

The life of the others

I cannot say it is one of the best movies I recently saw, but I can say it is one of the movies I liked best (recently).
May be because I feel personally involved in it, living in the ex DDR (GDR) Republic.

I like to read History, not the one written in books, the one told by ordinary people, living an ordinary life, happening to be more or less in places where history is made.
And I saw that whatever is the frame, the life is similar.
Good or bad, better, sometimes good and sometimes bad.
It is the ordinary life made by ordinary people.
Good people and bad people.

I liked this movie, because it is a fair mirror of unfair events.
Not just one sided right and one sided wrong.
Mostly both sided feelings, including the ones we mostly despise which are oppression, unjustice and arrogance.
From a diamond nothing grows, from manure flowers do.

Watch the clip

It is in German.
Here is the text:

I've got a new one.

Honecker comes into his office,

opens the window, sees the sun, and says...

What's wrong?

Oh, excuse me... I just...

No, carry on, colleague!

No harm in laughing about
the Party Chairman, is there.

I probably know the joke anyway.

Come on, tell us!

Well... Honecker...

I mean, the Comrade General Secretary
sees the sun and says,

- "Good morning, dear sun!"
- More like, "Good morning, dear sun!"

The sun replies, "Good morning, dear Erich!"

And at noon, Erich goes to
the window and says,

"Good day, dear sun!"

The sun replies, "Good day, dear Erich!"

In the evening, Erich says again,

"Good evening, dear sun!"

and the sun doesn't reply.

"Good evening, dear sun... "

"What's wrong?" he asks.

And the sun replies,

"Screw you, I'm in the West now!"


Rank? Department?



2nd Lieutenant Axel Stigler. Dept. M.

I don't have to tell you

what this means for your career.

Please, Comrade Lieutenant Colonel,
I was just...

You were just deriding the Party!
That's incitement,

and likely just the tip of the iceberg!

I will report this to the Minister's office.

Sunday, April 26, 2009

The secret life of bees

The bees are just the background.
Lily Owens, a 14 year-old girl, is haunted by the memory of her late mother whom she accidentally killed when a child.
But it is more a story as "how we were" of course we being the Americans.
And what they were is not always nice to remember.
But past is something you have to accept and if it is too painful you can always build a wailing wall and put small messages on a piece of paper...
That was not the right or at least a satisfying solution for May.
Lily finds five mothers, Rosaleen a new home, a new name and the right to vote.
T. Ray is a loser from the beginning to the end.
It is the classic example of "when you do not understand your mistakes you are going to repeat them endlessly".
He lost a wife, a daughter and the respect of the others.
Neil is the incarnation of the "American dream", a "negro" who wants to be a lawyer.
We do not know if he will, but we hope...