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: 🐷🐷🐷🐷🐷
  • Characters: 🐷🐷🐷🐷🐷
  • Acting: 🐷🐷🐷🐷
  • Drama, Baby: 🐷🐷🐷🐷🐷
  • Fun: 🐷🐷🐷🐷🐷
  • Humour: 🐷
  • Visuals: 🐷🐷🐷
  • Music and Sound: 🐷🐷🐷🐷
  • Originality: 🐷🐷🐷🐷🐷
  • Entertainment value: 🐷🐷🐷🐷🐷
  • Production value: 🐷🐷🐷🐷
  • Satisfaction: 🐷🐷🐷🐷🐷

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…

  • Storytelling: 🐷🐷🐷
  • Characters: 🐷🐷🐷🐷🐷
  • Acting: 🐷🐷🐷🐷🐷
  • Drama, Baby: 🐷🐷🐷
  • Fun: 🐷🐷🐷
  • Humour: 🐷🐷🐷
  • Visuals: 🐷🐷
  • Music and Sound: 🐷🐷🐷
  • Originality: 🐷🐷🐷🐷
  • Entertainment value: 🐷🐷🐷
  • Production value: 🐷🐷🐷🐷
  • Satisfaction: 🐷🐷🐷🐷

Solo: A Star Wars Story

1.5 out of 5 stars

DAMMIT! I’M SUCH A FOOL! I just realized: I WAS THE ONLY ONE AT THE SCREENING  AND DIDN’T MAKE ANY «SOLO» JOKE at the concession stand! That might have been a better starter to a conversation in which I learnt that an almost empty theatre didn’t really matter nowadays (in some aspect) because movies are delivered digitally now and don’t wear with every projection.

Which wouldn’t make much of a difference because «Solo» isn’t any good to begin with.

Even beforehand, I had pretty much made up my mind about Alden Ehrenreich’s Han-thankful job and his more than Han-likely success in taking over Harrison Ford’s iconic role. Ehrenreich surely didn’t help but after seeing «Solo», he cannot be made solely responsible for this disappointment of a movie. I doubt even Mr. Ford (or Harrison, as I like to call him, though he’d rather I wouldn’t) himself could have made this Han-inspired, Han-funny wannabe Star Wars «adventure» work.

It’s too generic even for a franchise as formulaic as the Star Wars universe. I haven’t seen such an empty, self-serving and Han-motivated mess of jumbled together bits and pieces of canon and fan service in a long, long time. (Not unlike this very review you’re reading right now).

There were some nice ideas in there that I might have liked but they were presented in such a Han-connected way I couldn’t have bothered less.

#notMyStarWars

And now a personal message to my co-worker Cello: Don’t go see that movie! I can’t tell you why because of spoilers. Just don’t!

Deadpool 2

3 out of 5 stars

«Deadpool 2» does a wonderful job at being a highly forgettable but loveable delivery device for over-the-top action, gratuitous violence and countless throwaway (meta-) jokes that kept me laughing from beginning to end. Sometimes, that’s enough.

Basic

0.5 out of 5 stars

Was zum Teufel war denn das? Ich gebe zu, im mag (gute) Filme mit militärischem Hintergrund. Allzu leicht lasse ich mich meist von diesem Gefasel über Kameradschaft und Pflichterfüllung einlullen. Nur schade hat dieser Film aber auch gar nichts mit dieser Thematik zu tun. Es sollte ein Film mit überraschenden Wendungen und einem «The Sixth Sense»-Ende werden.

Das ist er auch geworden, nur dass dabei die gesamte Logik und Nachvollziehbarkeit der Geschichte flöten geht. Der Handlungsverlauf, bei dem in verschiedenen Versionen immer wieder die gleiche Geschichte erzählt wird, ändert seine Richtung so oft, dass man als Zuschauer gar nicht mehr mitkommt. Ich finde, den Hauch einer Ahnung zu haben, wo man in der Geschichte gerade steht, ist doch irgendwie ganz nützlich. Das alles ginge ja noch und wäre als grundsätzliche Idee nicht zu verachten. Nur leider macht das ganze Verwirrspiel am Ende gar keinen Sinn innerhalb der Story; Zwar wurde das Ziel erreicht, indem der Zuschauer an der Nase herum geführt worden ist. Doch betrachtet man diese Scharade aus der Perspektive von z.B. Connie Nielsens Charakter, war das einfach nur viel Lärm um nichts.

Nichts gegen die Spannung im Film. Die Story ist spannend erzählt und abwechslungsreich gefilmt, Travolta und Jackson spielen gewohnt lustvoll und scheinen echt Spass an ihrem Job zu haben, was in ihrem Schauspiel auch angenehm rüberkommt. Leider ist man meist so verwirrt, dass man sich gar nicht mehr um die eigentlichen Sprünge zwischen falscher Fährte und Wahrheit kümmert und versucht, die Handlung irgendwie in ihren Grundzügen zu verstehen.

Nachdem ich fast alle Hoffnung verloren hatte, wechselte der Film am Ende übrigens noch einmal in eine ganz andere Richtung. Am Schluss kam mir der Film vor wie eine von Tarantino inszenierte Version von «Mission impossible». Das ganze fand ich irgendwie amüsant: Als hätten die Filmemacher von «Basic» erkannt, was sie da für einen Schrott produziert hatten und sich entschlossen, noch mal 5 Minuten Nonsense anzuhängen. Diese 5 Minuten blieben mir in positiver Erinnerung, weil dort irgendwie die Selbstironie, die im Rest des Films fehlte, nachgeholt wurde. Dieses Ende im Aktionspack mit Travolta’s genussvoll-süffigem Spiel ist vielleicht grade mal das halbe Kinoticket wert. Aber man sollte den Film trotzdem im Kino sehen, denn auf DVD und im TV würde man so was nicht bis zum (schönen) Ende durchstehen.

Eine Theorie zum Abschluss:

Ich vermute, im nächsten Halbjahr werden noch einige solcher abstrusen Filme im Kino erscheinen, die an sich keinen Sinn machen. Es könnte sich dabei um ein Multi-Feature-Projekt handeln. Mehrere solcher Filme bilden zusammen ein Netzwerk von verwirrenden Geschichten, die nur Sinn machen, wenn man sie in Zusammenhang mit den anderen Werken betrachtet. Schliesslich ist es beim zweiten Teil von «Matrix» auch nicht viel anders. Wenn wir gerade davon sprechen, vielleicht IST «Basic» ein Teil von »The Matrix» und…so, jetzt ist es wohl an der Zeit, meine Pillen zu nehmen.

Archives | First published: September 24, 2003

V for Vendetta

5 out of 5 stars

Remember, remember the 5th of November

Wohlan, wohlan. Was war es, wovor ich den willkommenen Websurfer zuvorkommend warnen wollte? Wahrscheinlich war es die zu erwartende Verwirrtheit des Lesers verwurzelt in dem wohl etwas ungewohnt wohlwollenden Fazit, welches ich dem Film «V for Vendetta» vermache. Ich weigere mich nicht, mich gegen den wahrscheinlich zu erwartenden Vorwurf einer ungewöhnlich warmen und den Wachowskis gegenüber wohlgesinnten Wortwahl zu erwehren, trotzdem will ich versuchen, meine vielleicht wankelmütig anmutenden Phrasen, welche in wahrlich wundersamen Widerspruch zu meinen sonst favorisierten Verrissen stehen, zu verteidigen. Vorgreifend will ich jedoch wohlweislich versichern, dass kein Wort dieses «V for Vendetta» feiernden Fazits den Sphären der Unwahrheit entfleucht, sondern dieses Votum tief in den Weiten meines sich vor phantastischen Werken verbeugenden Wesens verwurzelt ist.

Ich verbeuge mich vor der phantastischen visuellen Vereinigung von kritischer Vehemenz und filmischem Schaffen dieses Werkes und verfalle sogleich gewillt in in einen Lobgesang für H. Weaving, der wiederholt im Vorhaben reüssiert, die gesamte Besetzung zum Final dieses filmischen Feuerwerks wie sich selber aussehen zu lassen.
Gleichwohl ein wahrer Schwall von wunderbar wohltönenden Phrasen für Madame Portman, welche andere in Hollywood wandelnden Weiblein wie Warzen auf schwelendem Wundbrand erscheinen lässt.

Man verzeihe mir die willkürliche Wahl, bei diesem Wortschwall des Lobes der Form den Vorzug zu geben und nehme meine Versicherung gewillt entgegen, das nächste filmische Oeuvre wieder in wahrhaftigerer, gewohnt verkommener Weise zu reviewen und bis zu nächsten vergleichbaren Beweihräucherungen dieser Art und Weise eine Weile zuzuwarten.

Archives | First published: March 20, 2006

Dunkirk

3 out of 5 stars

Christopher Nolan is a very cool director. He makes very cool movies. That’s great for fantasy or science fiction but for a war-themed movie like «Dunkirk» his modus operandi is an unusual approach. The movie is gorgeous to look at, but if it wasn’t for Hans Zimmer’s excellent soundtrack, I wouldn’t have felt much watching it.

Depicting war as a force of nature without any real antagonist doesn’t help either. But that’s not really a problem because «Dunkirk» was not made to be a war movie.

The funny thing is that while the movie might lack emotions by identification, it is still better described as a feeling than as a movie. A thing to be experienced, not watched as a traditional hero’s journey motion picture (Terrence Malick comes to mind). And it does a very good  job at it.

All in all, watching «Dunkirk» and «Darkest Hour» back-to-back was a lucky happenstance, making one damn fine double feature movie night with two sides of the same precious coin.

Darkest Hour

3.5 out of 5 stars

What easily could have been a dry, boring history lesson turns out to be a surprisingly light-footed, perfectly paced and beautifully shot drama set around Gary Oldman’s outstanding performance. (And the Oscar for best makeup should be a done deal, too).

The Post

2.5 out of 5 stars

«Hit the big story hard!» Spielberg’s latest surely isn’t one of his greatest achievements but solid enough to get out of the cold weather and a surprisingly relevant experience given today’s state of the media industry and the current political climate at that.

Especially interesting to see his depiction of how news were made before distractions like computers, internet, social media (and iFrames) got so damn important and complicated.

If anything, «The Post» excels as an inspiring reminder that journalism has to be about more than clicks, user engagement and the occasional Raclette-Schieber.

(Shame though I still couldn’t find a theater playing «Three Billboards…». The Oscars are getting awfully close now and I still haven’t found my favourite).

The Shape of Boring

1.5 out of 5 stars

I can’t even… What the fuck…? and why did they…? how did this even…? And what was the fu**ing point?

Just leave me the fu!* alone. FU*K! I could have spent the last two hours so much better,… like going to the dentist,… and let him (or her, no bias there) piss in my mouth.

No – I did not enjoy «The Shape of Water».

Yes – After seeing this pretentious piece of garbage, today the world has lost the last straight man to have ever seen the appeal in musical numbers, even defended it.

No more.

N-o m-o-r-e.