Terminator: Dark Fate

2.5 out of 5 stars

When Arnold and some nice callbacks to the originals save the movie in this highly forgettable retcon-adventure, «Terminator: Dark Fate» proves that pure gender-swapping alone in an otherwise paint-by-the-numbers action flick doesn’t make a women-empowering film, let alone a satisfying cinematic experience.

Badass Linda Hamilton was cool, though!

And I’d like to see more of Mackenzie Davis in a tank top.

Wow, this almost progressive text turned chauvinistic on me so fast I couldn’t even spell out the obvious «TARminator» pun.

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Ad Astra

3.5 out of 5 stars

«Ad Astra’s» slow pacing and existential themes probably won’t be for everybody. But almost exactly 20 years after «Fight Club», 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 «Ad Astra’s» protagonist’s fear of loss, isolation and regret just all too well.

For what it is – namely an ethereal «Sci-Fi» movie – «Ad Astra» succeeds. Surely not as gut-wrenching, spectacular nor intense as «Project Mayhem» – 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 «Gravity» (with George Clooney) or «Interstellar» (without George Clooney) but ending up feeling more like the slightly disappointing «Solaris» (also with George Clooney).

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


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«That is my father up there!»

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




The Devil’s Advocate

5 out of 5 stars

So I guess this will be one of those articles:

I DID plan to review «It Chapter Two» but since it has become so cumbersome to catch a not dubbed movie in all its original glory in Lucerne, this will be – once again, after «Planet Terror» – one of those not-really-a-review-but-just-reminding-everybody-there-was-this-great-picture-apology-for-a-review.

This time around Taylor Hackford’s 1997 «The Devil’s Advocate» will be the proof that the nineties where anything but bland, mediocre or unqualified to make an impact in movie history whatsoever.

I will not be able to write anything specific about this picture, ’cause almost anything would be a spoiler to anybody who has managed to not have heard about this marvelous film. And I guess anybody who HAS seen it will have had their mind made up by now – loving or hating the shit out of it.

I just remember how I reeeeealllly loved it when I first saw it in the theatre because I didn’t know anything about it and loved the surprising experience oh so much (not unlike «From Dusk Till Dawn» just one year earlier).

Aaaand… I just lost interest in writing anything more about «The Devil’s Advocate» just watching Al Pacino in my most favourite movie of his (though many critics claim this movie was the beginning of the end of his career). Goodbye, thanks for reading…

One last thought: I’ve seen this movie time and time again, and even after more than twenty years, it still more than holds up – it’s a most entertaining, thought-provoking movie you really should consider to revisit or give it a chance to view the first time around if you have the chance.

Great – just great!

😈

Note to self: Don’t publish this text! It’s not ready and not any good!

Note to yourself: Too late! Nobody will read it anyway. And the ones who will, they might appreciate the tip!

Note to self: But this article is really bad!

Me: I don’t care! We’ve come this far. I won’t let go all this work go to hell!

I: But I have a reputation to uphold!

Me: No, you don’t! Reputation implies readers, you don’t have those!

I: Fair enough!

Me: You sure?

I: Shouldn’t we at least make some effort to wrap it all up?

Me: Well, we could. But wouldn’t it be much less effort to just let it be as it is and call it intentional, maybe even clever?

I: Yeah, all right, but I won’t proofread it!

Me: No Prolemo! Didn’t matter the last time.

I: Ok. But this is the last time we do this.

Me: sure!

I: Ok. All I want is people to watch «The Devil’s Advocate». Cause it’s really…

Me: Yeah, yeah, I know: One of our favourite movies that we almost forget it existed.

I: Yeah, exactly…

Me: Ok, Press «Publish» then?

I: Ok. But it’s really the last time we do this?

Me: Sure…


Storytelling🐷🐷🐷🐷🐷
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Planet Terror

4 out of 5 stars

How fucking cool is this!? 😁🧟

I just felt like destroying something beautiful tonight,… like my taste. So I came around to be watching something different for once right here and now and treating myself with some good ol’ schlock:

«Planet Terror». (Speaking of schlock, the quality of this text will be rough, to say the least)…

«Pseudo-Schlock» I might add. While I’m not a trash-film aficiando* at all, Robert Rodriquez’ contribution to the 2007 Grindhouse Double-Feature (along with Quentin Tarantino’s «Death Proof») is such a B-E-A-T-I-F-U-L over-the-top hommage to seventies and eighties horror-thrillers that I just cannot resist to help anyone to remember this obscure anecdote in movie-history. It came into existence with all the potential of a true cult-classic – but somehow got lost in the stream of time – at least in my own personal movie-mind-palace.

You were warned, this text won’t be your elaborate think-piece nor your standard might-be-funny-might-be-relevant-but-probably-not-rafenew-world-review, but I can’t believe how cool the vibe of «Planet Terror» is.

More than ten years after it’s release the bliss of watching this (intentional) mess has gotten even more eerie and most important fun with time passed, given its «story», style and overall awful-wonderful goodness. (After just witnessing myself writing «goodness», I definitely won’t proof-read nor edit this article more than the bare minimum, so there you go.)

So, after not making no point whatsoever, let’s wrap up:

  • The reason I’m writing this is the simple fact that I was so surprised how good this movie holds up on DVD on my 4k jumbotron-TV, just because it’s made to look like a worn out – WHOW, QUENTIN JUST ENTERED THE FRAME! WHAT A PLEASANT SURPRISE – I COMPLETELY FORGOT HE USED TO DO THIS MOST AWKWARD CAMEOS😁! …AND… HIS BALLS ARE GONE…
    Where was I?
    Oh. right the movie was made to look like crap quality, so it doesn’t matter I watch it on DVD, probably event gets better that way.
  • Second: The music is really cool: Sounds like an amalgam of Dwayne Eddie on Guitar and John Carpenter’s Snake Plissken Soundtrack.
  • But in the end, this whole article serves the sole purpose to remind anybody who likes to listen that there once was this stupid, wonderful film called «Planet Terror».

    «Planet Terror» – A forgettable movie that deserves to be remembered.

Nope – no proof-reading today, not even after having googled that it’s spelled «proofreading». No, sir, not today…


Storytelling🐷🐷🐷
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*) My way of writing aficionado, told you this text wouldn’t be perfect.




Once Upon a Time in… Hollywood

3.5 out of 5 stars

Well I‘ll be damned if «Once upon a Time in… Hollywood» won‘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 «Reservoir Dogs» in 1992. Good for him!
Still got to love this quirky, slightly odd movie buff and his «fan films» 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 «Once upon a Time in… Hollywood» still a worthwhile investment.

In hindsight, Tarantino might be one very late addition to the «New Hollywood» 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 «Jurassic Park» movies.

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


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Spider-Man: Far From Home

4 out of 5 stars

Who’d have thunk? There is a time after Avengers: Endgame! And it’s a jolly good time!

After all the dust has settled, I must say I’m surprised to see, that even after the ultimative comic-book experience that was Avengers: Endgame, there’s still room for movies of this sort.

Of course, «Spider-Man: Far From Home» plays in a whole different ball-park, even a different league than the superhero-movie that should have ended all superhero-movies (but of course hasn’t).

But that’s a good thing!

Thanos may not have undone 50% of all the life in the universe, but consequently, a reset button has been pushed: It’s as if all the pressure and excitement for «Endgame» has been built up and paid off so handsomely, there’s now room for «smaller» comic book films, not focusing on grandeur, but on storytelling, quality, and most important: fun – well aware that there’s no way to go against the humungous undertaking and experience «Endgame» was.

And I must say, they do an outstanding job at it: «Spider-Man: Far From Home» is one of the best written comic book movies in a while – the way they used a known villain (Jake Gyllenhaal at his best), marketed him as a hero and still got the curve to make the whole story work without seeming dishonest is unparalleled and probably the best thing in an overall very satisfying and entertaining movie that even would have worked without this gimmick.

Even for someone like me, who doesn’t really like the very specific sub-genre of Euro-Trip-Comedies,… it was a bliss to see Spidey, or better Peter Parker, reliving all the stale tropes of the genre put against the background of the aftermath of Tony Stark’s death and the legacy it put upon him, using it as a way to develop his character.

«Spider-Man: Far From Home» is the movie I wouldn’t have had the honesty to ask for after «Endgame».

It’s not the movie a now matured audience wished for, but it’s the movie we deserved after the scarring events in the last two Avengers movies.

Let’s enjoy this refreshing, light-hearted summer-breeze – it will get cold and serious again soon enough with «Joker»…

Well done! Go see it!


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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 «Avengers: Endgame». 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 «Avengers: Infinity War» and succeeded spectacularly. With «Avengers: Endgame» 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, «Endgame» isn’t the masterpiece «Infinity War» 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 «Infinity War» was all about quality and build-up, «Endgame» is about quantity. A nostalgic, almost melancholic stroll down memory lane.
«Endgame» 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 «The Electric Horseman» nor «The Kiss of the Spider-Woman» 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 «Infinity War» and «Endgame» 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.


Storytelling🐷🐷🐷🐷
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Captain Marvel

3.5 out of 5 stars

Though I had been reading comic books before, I’ll never forget my first encounter with «Captain Marvel»:

Well, Mar-Vell was a dude back then, and sadly about to die in the very same issue. No spoiler, there – it was right on the cover: «The Death of Captain Marvel» by Jim Starlin.

I couldn’t believe what treasure I was holding in my hands, witnessing origin, live and DEATH of a superhero! “This must be a mistake!”, I thought to my much younger self: Multiple grave errors must have been made to lead to this: A boy, not even seven years old probably shouldn’t read this: Cancer – killing – a superhero – in a comic book? And then, all those wonderful panels featuring a plethora of dozens, even hundreds of characters, most I’ve never even had seen before! My mind was blown🤯!…

Photo of my original issue of «Der Tod des Captain Marvel» (Jim Starlin, Condor Verlag, 1983)

…blown! With this latest «Captain Marvel» movie – not so much. Don’t get me wrong. It’s fine. More than fine: Brie Larson is perfect in the title role, exploring a different, younger, more grounded aspect of the Super-Heroine I’ve learnt to respect and treasure with Gal Gadot’s «Wonder Woman»*.

Also Samuel L. Jackson seems to enjoy his much bigger part and, as a bonus, two intact eyes and it works like a charm. (Even Jude Law gives me hope in proving that not everything is lost with a receding hairline not unlike my own).

And yes, there’s a cat, and Ben Mendelsohn, and that’s ok, but I’ve honestly seen better work of both of them😺.

Almost everything else in this movie seems to be falling in place quite nicely: The VFX are bombast-top-notch, of course. And music, sound and story are as solid as we’ve come to expect from Kevin Feige and his team.

But nonetheless, the result seems somewhat unfocused in the beginning and then, once the story gains momentum, still remains oddly flat, without much sense of drama or impact – muted, almost compressed in scope – if you will – unsuiting for a movie about one of the most powerful characters in the MCU.

I didn’t want to go here in this text, but I must admit, while I don’t condone the badmouthing on social media and rotten tomatoes even before «Captain Marvel» was released, it’s hard to ignore that in some scenes the movie really seems to halt and announce: «See what we’ve done there? Yeah girl! You go girl, YOU’re our target audience! Women can be strong, too!»

That’s not too bad per se, Marvel and others have done a similar thing for years, calling it «fan service», but I can’t shake the impression that this time around a more focused, better movie might have gotten lost in the process. What makes this worse is the fact that it wouldn’t even have been necessary: With Brie Larson as the perfect strong, female lead, no additional distracting shenanigans would have been needed, no matter what song is playing in the background…

…you’ll know what I mean when you watch the movie, which you should, ’cause while «Captain Marvel» remains on the weaker side of MCU-Movies, it’s still very entertaining and Brie Larson, especially sporting the iconic suit, is worth the admission price alone.


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ASIDE: I can’t help to think of the hilariousity we all got robbed of when DC decided to release their movie as «Shazam!» and NOT «Captain Marvel» (not that this ever was a possibility, but still). I guess the outcome would have been even more disastrous and entertaining than «Batman v Superman»’s multiple million dollar CGI moustache removal they had to do on Henry Cavill who wasn’t allowed to shave for reshoots because he had to wrap «Mission: Impossible – Fallout»!


*) As much as I love Black Widow or Jessica Jones, they’re in a different, minor league, compared to «Captain Marvel» or «Wonder Woman».




Alita: Battle Angel

3.5 out of 5 stars

Now I’m angry.

I didn‘t plan on writing anything about «Alita: Battle Angel» and just make it a quicky this time around. Or should I say «Alita: Battle Angel – Part Fu**ing One»? But nooo, they had to do this their way, didn’t they!?

The unwillingness of telling a complete story in a single film really pisses me off! It’s one thing to make a bunch of sequels after having delivered a successful initial film, fair enough. But until then, I expect a first coherent, finished standalone movie before the right is earned to bull pullshit like this! Not an episode, a movie!

Imagine «From Dusk Till Dawn» ending when the Gecko brothers enter the «Titty Twister». It’s like having «Titanic» cut to credits after Leo’s «I’m the king of the world!» speech. That’s exactly what the ending of «Alita: Battle Angel» feels like. (And don’t give me some pittyful casting-twist-crap, it really doesn’t help your case).

It’s not like «Alita: The Setup» doesn’t overstay its welcome by at least 20 minutes as it is. And I understand that the complete story of the manga it’s based on would probably be too big to handle in a single movie.

But please! This is just annoying as fu*k, leaving me unsatisfied and with an empty feeling, no matter how shiny and spectacular the whole build-up process for a money-making franchise might be.

«Earn this!»

And would you pleeeease get rid of that godawful Real 3D-technology already or at least adjust the projector’s brightness properly so that the expensive CGI gets a chance to shine, for cryin’ out loud!?


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