Parasite

3.5 out of 5 stars
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Rocketman

4 out of 5 stars
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The Irishman

4 out of 5 stars
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Star Wars: Episode IX – The Rise of Skywalker

2 out of 5 stars
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Joker

5 out of 5 stars

Feel-Good MOVIE OF THE YEAR!


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Ad Astra

3.5 out of 5 stars

Β«Ad Astra’sΒ» slow pacing and existential themes probably won’t be for everybody. But almost exactly 20 years after Β«Fight ClubΒ», Brad Pitt once again hits me where it really hurts – for completely different reasons:

The focus on life has shifted, as they say. The now middle-aged Rafeman, who – once tempted by Tyler Durden’s nihilism – now understands the suffering of Β«Ad Astra’sΒ» protagonist’s fear of loss, isolation and regret just all too well.

For what it is – namely an ethereal Β«Sci-FiΒ» movie – Β«Ad AstraΒ» succeeds. Surely not as gut-wrenching, spectacular nor intense as Β«Project MayhemΒ» – but as effective and relevant a movie that’s aiming for the stars bound by its own limitations can be: Trying to be the next Β«GravityΒ» (with George Clooney) or Β«InterstellarΒ» (without George Clooney) but ending up feeling more like the slightly disappointing Β«SolarisΒ» (also with George Clooney).

But, as they also say: Β«Per aspera ad astraΒ»*


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Β«That is my father up there!Β»

*) Β«Through hardships to the starsΒ». Just to get that quote in there, too.




Once Upon a Time in… Hollywood

3.5 out of 5 stars

Well Iβ€˜ll be damned if Β«Once upon a Time in… HollywoodΒ» wonβ€˜t be triggering and offending a whole lot of people for a whole lot of reasons.

I doubt Tarantino would still be able to make his special kind of movies in today’s climate if he had been creating more output on a more regular basis.
His 10-picture-limit he put on himself seems to be the sensible choice to stay relevant and marketable as the cult-director he has become with his very first movie Β«Reservoir DogsΒ» in 1992. Good for him!
Still got to love this quirky, slightly odd movie buff and his Β«fan filmsΒ» he managed to weave into cinematic gold.

As for myself, I was just slightly bored during the 160 minutes runtime.

But some outstanding scenes, the classy cinematography, the great art-direction and the wonderful cast make the ticket-price for Β«Once upon a Time in… HollywoodΒ» still a worthwhile investment.

In hindsight, Tarantino might be one very late addition to the Β«New HollywoodΒ» of the 1970ies, along with Scorsese, Nichols or Hopper. He might seem like a dinosaur today, but as far as Hollywood goes, his films sure as hell are more interesting, original and cinematic as let’s say the last couple of Β«Jurassic ParkΒ» movies.

Still wondering though if he’ll really be allowed to helm the next Β«Star TrekΒ» movie in his tenth and (probably) final film and thus incorporate Β«StarfleetΒ» into his own cinematic universe…


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Avengers: Endgame

5 out of 5 stars

I’m happy now.

I won’t even try to understand how confused someone who’s been living under a rock for the past eleven years must feel like watching Β«Avengers: EndgameΒ». But this movie is not for them. This movie was made for fans – it was made for rafemen. It was made for me.

I wasn’t afraid.

I wasn’t worried this time around that the Russo Brothers wouldn’t be able to pull it off. They went all-in with Β«Avengers: Infinity WarΒ» and succeeded spectacularly. With Β«Avengers: EndgameΒ» they still had everything to loose, but the pressure was off, it seems, and they delivered.

I’m not even mad.

I don’t care that as a movie, Β«EndgameΒ» isn’t the masterpiece Β«Infinity WarΒ» was. By itself, it’s probably not even that good a film. At times it lacks in elegance and pacing, even some of the green-screen work seems rushed and unfinished.
What this movie is is an all-star potpourri, the ultimate fan-service delivery-device. And probably one of the greatest things I’ve ever seen on the big screen.
Where Β«Infinity WarΒ» was all about quality and build-up, Β«EndgameΒ» is about quantity. A nostalgic, almost melancholic stroll down memory lane.
Β«EndgameΒ» is nothing short of the ultimate payoff for fans like me, made possible only through the hard work, imagination and most important, the heart and soul of thousands of highly talented people, creating a phenomenon never seen before in the history of cinema: A dream come true lasting for more than a decade.

I cried.

For the last ten or so years I’ve been witnessing something that I’d never thought to be possible as young boy in the eighties, way beyond my bedtime, browsing all of six TV-Channels over and over again looking for something fantastic, something special,… something for me. Just to be let down time and again finding out that neither Β«The Electric HorsemanΒ» nor Β«The Kiss of the Spider-WomanΒ» had anything to do with superheroes or comic books whatsoever…
The Marvel Cinematic Universe has become everything that this now grown up boy could ever wish for, and more: It has shown me that it’s ok to be me: A nerd, a geek, a loner communicating first through drawings, then through websites, even a puny blog. In a cynical world I’ve learned to appreciate the ability to enjoy those ridiculous movies, unbelievable characters and fantastic adventures – the suspension of disbelieve truly has become my own personal superpower, giving me the opportunity to find excitement and happiness through escapism in times my depression wouldn’t allow it in any other way.

Without a doubt, there will be more comic book movies to come, even from Marvel Studios. But for me, with Β«Infinity WarΒ» and Β«EndgameΒ» an era has ended. A most spectacular and emotional cinematic roller coaster ride has come to a stop, giving me closure. And what a truly amazing, satisfying ride it was.

I’m ready now….

It’s time to leave the dark movie theatre and go outside. To meet new friends, say thank you to my family and old pals and let go of even older ideas. To create new things and destroy bad habits. To make peace. To find purpose. To find love.

It’s time…

It’s time for me to take off those 3D glasses and open my eyes for the wonders this world has to offer, to experience whatever marvels this life presents for me to explore, embracing the good, overcoming the bad, growing into the person I am supposed to be.
Not to become a superhero, not even a hero – but a good man.

I am rafeman.

I am Raphael.


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