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: 🐷🐷🐷🐷🐷

Us

3 out of 5 stars
  • 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: 🐷🐷🐷🐷

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

Overlord

3.5 out of 5 stars
  • Storytelling: 🐷🐷
  • Characters: 🐷🐷🐷
  • Acting: 🐷🐷🐷
  • Drama, Baby: 🐷
  • Fun: 🐷🐷🐷🐷🐷
  • Humour: 🐷🐷
  • Visuals: 🐷🐷🐷🐷🐷
  • Music and Sound: 🐷🐷🐷
  • Originality: 🐷🐷🐷🐷🐷
  • Entertainment value: 🐷🐷🐷🐷🐷
  • Production value: 🐷🐷🐷🐷
  • Satisfaction: 🐷🐷🐷

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.

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

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».

A Quite Place

4.5 out of 5 stars

Just having learned today what «Giri choko» or «Pflichtschokolade» means, I realized what a lazy bastard I can be, preferring eating chocolate, pizza and McRaclette instead of writing forced movie «reviews» no one will ever read anyway.

Celebrating this new found honesty, I’m hereby introducing a new review-format for all no-time-for-no-bullshit-film-fans out there:

The «Quicky» [measured in metric pigs]:

Here we go, starting with John Krasinski’s brillant «A Quite Place» (Categories may vary):

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

Birdman

4.5 out of 5 stars

Too lazy (and too drnk right now) to write a proper review (and don’t have the time to get into details, I have to get even more drnkn in a minute), but after my «Roma» “Review” I feel that I have to show that I still have some sense of proper movie-appreriationtiaion for some to like SOME artsy-fartsy movies!

I’m just rewatching «Birdman» and wanted to let you know, that it’s great and you absolutely have to watch it! Like now!!!

I problaly shouldnt wirt e this but it’s really graet, where are those really grat movies now? Frget «Rpoma», watch «Birdman»! BIIIIRDMAAAN!!!

Lets get some more Oscars over here, plse, bevore «Roma« gets, tehm!

Dad?! Dad!?

Glass

3.5 out of 5 stars

For a moment there I really thought M. Night Shyamalan was finally back for good in all his former glory. But then «Glass» got a little clumsy and lost me somewhere along the way – just to win me back in the end.

As enjoyable and original the movie might be in general, Shyamalan once again tries a little too hard for my taste, lacking the elegance of his earliest work and for that matter, the charm of «Split», the movie that got me back on board for this one in the first place.

(In case you didn’t know, «Split» and «Unbreakable» are absolutely mandatory to see before «Glass» – it’s a whole thing now).

And though I love me some James McAvoy (I got so lucky to experience his wonderful stage performance as «Macbeth»), I’m sad to say, less «Horde» would have been more this time around.

All in all, revisiting Mr. Glass’ Meta-Comic-Super-Hero-World (almost two decades after «Unbreakable») in the weakest but still solid part of the trilogy, is absolutely worth its admission price.

M. Night really seems to be redeeming himself lately. Let’s be nice and give him just a little bit more time, he’ll get there again…

James McAvoy in Macbeth (Trafalgar Studios London, 2013)