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Posts Tagged ‘movie’

Public Enemies

a criminal point of view

Even though the movie’s name is Public Enemies it focuses on telling the story of one public enemy: John Dillinger (played by Johnny Depp), a renowned bank robber from the 1930s. For those who like their trivia the years 1931-1935 are sometimes referred to as the age of public enemies, because of a large amount of professional criminals. Dillinger of course robbed banks and shot a lot of police doing so. In the movie he ends up being chased by a squad of FBI police led by Melvin Purvis (Christian Bale).

Looking at the police in this movie it’s no wonder an age of public enemies took place. There are two jail breaks and a lot of bank robberies in the movie and during each one of them the police are so incompetent that the prisoners and robbers seem to escape and rob with ease. This goes for each time the police are close to catching Dillinger’s gang as well. The picture I got was that anyone with a black trenchcoat, a machine gun and a fast car could rob a bank in the 1930s.

For me the biggest flaw of Public Enemies are the action scenes. For a movie with prison escapes, bank robberies and shootouts all of the action should be top-notch. First off there isn’t any suspense to the action. With a cat and mouse chase like this I’d like to feel excited. This is perhaps because the characters don’t get developed, so I didn’t really care what happened to the characters as they weren’t fleshed out at all. There’s also perhaps too many characters: names just keep flying at you throughout the movie and half the time you don’t know which character is being followed. But the bigger problem is the way the action is shot with an overly use of shaky-cam. Most of the time I didn’t know what’s happening with the camera jumping and bouncing then quickly cutting somewhere else. The result was chaos more befitting a war movie. In a gangster piece it felt out of place.

Trench coat, check, machine gun, check

What also brought war movies to mind were the gun sounds, which were way over the top. At one point a rifle being shot made a sound resembling a huge explosion(and no, it didn’t explode into anyones hands). Some might call it realistic in the sense that, well, gunshots are very loud, but when compared to action pieces set in modern day, I felt the loud gunshots were a bit ridiculous, considering any bigger explosion or gun today has more power and thus sound than anything in the 1930s.

The reason I’m concentrating so much on the action is that there wasn’t that much else in the movie to like. The characters are well acted, but none of them made a very big impression. The dialogue might have something to do with that in the sense that there’s not a lot of talking that deepens the characters. John Dillinger has a girlfriend in the movie and their relationship is one of the bigger aspects in the movie, but even that seems very superficial. I might have enjoyed the movie more if I knew all the historical equivalents of the characters, which might have given them more depth and made them more interesting.

I’m surprised that Michael Mann directed Public Enemies. I just loved Collateral and Heat, both of which, as a side note, had a lot of good dialogue and living and breathing characters. It might be that the script for Public Enemies was hard to work with. I can imagine how hard it is to write a script about the life of a historical person. All excuses aside I can’t see very much to like about the movie: The action didn’t work for me, the characters were bland and there was too many of them. If you aren’t the biggest John Dillinger fan out there don’t go see this, or atleast wait for it to come on out DVD, or even TV.

The trailer makes this film look extremely good. Quess there wasn’t enough good stuff to last 2 and half hours.

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Couple of buddies at a sea side resort

One of the money sinks of the film-industry called Harry Potter is nearing its end. Well, the last movie is going to be split in two so still a couple of movies to go after Half-Blood Prince. With all the fan pleasing this movie is actually quite enjoyable.

Something on the plot for the reading impaired: By this time it is common knowledge in the wizarding world that Harry is the chosen one destined to beat Voldemort. The main storyline follows Harry and Dumbledore trying to find out more about how to destroy Voldemort, tied into that is a secret mission given to Draco Malfoy by the Dark Lord himself. Then of course there is some of the day to day happenings from Hogwarts (of which snogging seems to be one of the more popular, mostly for Ron though).

I feel the movie manages to do what it should: retaining a lot of the charm of the books and still giving a story that makes sense in movie proportions. The screenplay has been tailored well, having the most important happenings from the book whilst giving fans of the book some favorite scenes. Its not perfect by any means: At some points I was baffled at some of the transitions: One point in the movie a handful of Death Eaters attack a location clear out of the sky without any explanation as to why the attack is taking place. Another scene involving a necklace had me wondering as well. Most of the time though the movie flowed on very smoothly seeeming to go past very quickly. I can promise you won’t be bored, there’s so many gags and so much action going on.

Still, the movie leans a bit too heavily on the book and pleasing the fans. I think some bolder moves ought to have been taken with the story. Now it seemed like there was some extra baggage that had to be crammed into the movie to please the crowds. Like having some characters who didn’t have anything to do with the main storyline just pop in and say a couple of lines. Neville for example just pops in at one point and is gone in a few seconds. Luna Lovejoy also makes a couple of appearances with some more screentime than Neville. The time reserved for them could’ve been used on Malfoy who is under a lot of pressure from the mission given to him and because of this was one of the more interesting characters. The Half-Blood Prince subplot was also left on the side. He is a constant in the book but the movie simply didn’t have the time to fit him in all that much I quess.

While Harry Potter of course lives in a world of magic there was one point early on where this fact was very much in the face. In the scene Dumbledore cleans up an apartment with his magic skillz looking very smug with, to top it off, Harry admiring him boggle-eyed. Cleaning-spells should be an everyday chore for wizards right? So the whole hubbub over a simple spell got me wondering and instead of admiring the special effect I just felt some of the immersion was gone. Nitpicking aside this was one of the rare scenes were I thought this isn’t what a wizard would be doing. For a quick escape from this muggle existence I can recommend watching this film, yes, even if you’ve read the books.

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Mysterious mountain location

The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus has a trailer you should check out below (thank you Trailer Addict). If you haven’t heard about the movie yet, its directed by Terry Gilliam and has a cast full of very famous actors: Johnny Depp, Jude Law, Colin Farrell and even Tom Waits (as satan), if that’s not enough theres also the last role of Heath Ledger to be excited about. The plot is about Doctor Parnassus who makes a deal with the devil: Parnassus gets immortal life, but all his children to reach the age of 16 belong to the Devil. Let the trailer speak for itself. Looking at the trailer the movie will be extremely weird and also a treat for the eyes. You can find a short snippet of Heath Ledger in the movie here (Youtube, I owe you man) and a recording of the panel for the movie from Comic Con here (thanks Spill.com).

Vodpod videos no longer available.

more about “The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus I…“, posted with vodpod

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The Hangover

Not what I’ve been doing lately have no fear. Just happened to go watch a movie called The Hangover. I don’t watch that many American comedies, but Spill.com liked the movie a lot so I thought I’d give it a try.

The plot revolves around a bachelors party. Four guys: Phil, Stu, Alan and the groom Doug leave for Vegas two days before the wedding. Phil, Stu and Alan wake up in the morning in their suite and find that they don’t remember anything from the night before. To mix things up further they find a tiger and a baby from the room and have managed to misplace Doug. To go further would spoil a lot, since most of the charm in the movie comes from the three guys’ seeing what they’ve done the night before. As a viewer you’re in the same position as the three guys you follow for most of the movie. All the time you’re guessing what exactly happened.

chicken?

The characters are rather cliche. There’s the rather everyman Doug who is a meter of normality on which to mirror the rest of the characters. For most of the movie he isn’t around though. Phil is the cool guy who looks good and knows what to do in almost every situation. Stu is the nerd who’s going to propose to the terrible Melissa, a control freak who pretty much bullies Phil around (Melissa thinks they’re going winetasting instead of Vegas). Last we have the utterly insane Alan who throws the craziest jokes, yes, including miming a baby masturbating. The characters are different enough to make them interesting to follow.

One of the things that surprised me about The Hangover were the high production values. The makers clearly had enough money to spend on the movie. Of course it’s not Transformers Revenge of the Fallen but there’s car crashes and Mike Tyson makes a visit in the movie. I don’t know what the production values usually are for comedies but the movie was visually stunning at times.

Crowbar attack

Most important of course in movies like The Hangover is the humor. Luckily most of the jokes work very well and at no moment did I find myself bored. Perhaps the best thing in The Hangover is the way the story is told sort of in a flashback fashion. You’ve got the timeline of what’s happening after the guys wake up and then the characters get to know what happened through being told to, shown pictures and surveillance tapes or even getting hit by a crowbar. All reminders of the night before.

If you like your humor more sophisticated The Hangover is not for you. But for connoisseurs of crazy comedies this is your piece of cake. Its also maybe more a guy movie with guy jokes, okay, definitely a guy movie. But I walked out of the theatre with a smile on my face after laughing a lot in the theatre so comedy succesful.

Your car officers

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Coraline

Finns, you can check out my review here if you wish.

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Coraline is an animated movie based on a book Neil Gaiman. Coraline is a young girl who moves into a new house with her parents, both writers and extremely busy. Coraline feels that her parents don’t have enough time for her. So when she finds a secret doorway to another dimension in the new house she of course enters. Beyond the portal or doorway she finds her Other-Mother. At first it seems that everything is wonderfull in the other dimension. Coraline gets good food and her other-parents seem to dedicate all their time to Coraline. Soon things go terribly wrong when Other-Mother proves to be quite the monster.

When Coraline first enters to the other dimension the place looks wondrous. Especially the garden is so beautifully done I’ve never seen it’s like in a movie before. This point in the movie was a bit low on the plot and just concentrated on showing how wondrous things were in Other-Mother’s realm. Besides the garden you’re also treated to a mice circus and a theatrical display by Ms. Forcible and Ms. Spink, Coraline’s neighbours. These three locations as well as the house itself were wonderfully corrupted toward the end of the movie. It was amusing to see what had before been beautiful turn into a wile and evil place.

Kylläpä on pelottava nukke

Being a children’s movie Coraline is of course mainly aimed at children, but there’s a lot here for an adult as well. The two actresses as well as Coraline’s parent’s were clearly aimed to bring dialogue and jokes also interesting for the older members of the audience. Of course there’s more simple humour for the children as well.  Apart from Coraline’s parents and Ms Forcible and Ms Spink the characters I found most amusing was the talking cat and the giant living upstairs. Especially the cat had some of the best dialogue in the movie. Coraline’s father reminded me at one point of Neil Gaiman very strongly. In one scene he entertains his bored daughter by telling her to count all the windows and blue things in their new house and takes a storytellers voice which reminded me a lot of Gaiman reading out loud. For a children’s film Coraline contains quite a few horror-like scenes which no doubt earned it the not for children under seven rating. Using the 12-year-olds sitting close to me in the movie theatre as a meter, the movie was rather scary towards the end.

Coraline was the first 3D movie. The effect worked well for the movie in my opinion. The beginning scene where Other-Mother is sewing a doll was very impressive. Most of the time the effect is rather subtle and doesn’t feel like a gimmick. The illusion of depth is used at a couple of points: When Coraline walks through the doorway it snakes further into the horizon. Towards the end it also plays some part. Then of course there’s objects coming at you, in the sewing scene the needle comes at you.

Bobinskyn hiirisirkus

Storywise I liked the message of Coraline. The teaching of the story is that even though your parents don’t always have the time for you they still care about, or at least don’t try to make you love them and then want to replace your eyes with buttons. Coraline’s parents seemed so realistic to me. They were busy and didn’t have the time their daughter would have wanted them to have. Towards the beginning Coraline whines about pretty much everything and expects too much from her parents. Towards the end she grows up quite a lot.

The movie has some differences when compared to the book. The biggest change is that they’ve added a boy named Wybie into the story. He seems to have been added so that Coraline can talk about her thoughts to someone else than her parents. Otherwise the movie follows the book very closely. It’s still a different version of course and has it’s own look. This is only a good thing and I feel the movie does the book justice. To be honest I didn’t like the book that much, except for some of the characters (especially the cat) but  that’s mostly because it is after all, a children’s book. The movie goes highly recommended, especially if you have a young girl to take with. If you haven’t read the book I think the movie will be quite a lot more exciting to see, but having read the book I still liked the movie a lot.

Too old to play with dolls?

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Hold tight

My little brother recommended the Bourne trilogy to me. I’ve now watched the first movie and I can see why little bro liked it. The movie is about a special agent, Jason Bourne, suffering from amnesia. For the entire movie he’s running away from the people he used to work for. If you stop and think about the plot is ridiculous but so very entertaining, which is the key word concerning this movie. The story is a complete no-brainer, an excuse for all the magnificent action sequences and wall-climbing and agent-stuff going on. The hero with amnesia is one of the oldest cliches. Especially in videogames.

Tell me what you know!

What is also worth mentioning about the movie is the music. Its spot on almost every time its used. The only place were the music didn’t work in my opinion was the driving scene with the mini and police. The music was sort of boring there. The way the driving was set-up caught my attention as well. You know when Bourne and Marie, the girl he picked up with him, sit in the car that there’s a driving sequence coming. The feel of the movie is good music besides as well. The excitement is kept up for the entire movie. You’re on your toes all the time, waiting to see what happens next.

Wouldn't want to be in that car

Still, the action sequences are the best part of the movie. Bourne hasn’t forgotten his skills, so he fight with his instinct. The fighting scenes are fast and brutal. Hands and other limbs are broken and one guy even got a pencil in his arm. The gun-fights work well also. The very last fighting scene took a turn to the ridiculous with Jason jumping down between a staircase from a crazy height with a dead enemy below him. During the fall he kills another enemy by shooting him right between the eyes. That went a bit over. Otherwise the action worked well and didn’t go over too much.

Its not all fighting

To say something for Bourne I liked it a lot more than Casino Royale. Bourne isn’t as ridiculous as the earlier Bonds and as a character Jason is a lot more badass than James. Casino Royale of course tried to make Bond a tougher character but even though they were succesfull in that I didn’t enjoy the movie too much. I wish the rest of the trilogy keeps the excitement up. The movie was brought to a nice end in my opinion so I can’t see any other reason for making more parts than money, but they might be entertaining nontheless. Perhaps the best way to describe Jason Bourne is a cross between Mission Impossible and James Bond, just better than either of these. Nothing can beat Die Hard though;)

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