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Sista kontraktet (1998)
Wet dream of the left...
Major Spoilers. Let me start out by saying that the convoluted plot of this film plays out like the wet dream of the Swedish left. They cannot buy the boring history that the prime minister was killed by a drunkard by mistake. Instead we have this. The Swedish prime minister is killed by a an assassin. The assassin has previously killed anti-apartheid activists. Behind the killing lies Swedish nazi and an unknown people high in the government hierarchy, wanting him killed because he works against nuclear weapons. In the end the assassin gets his just desserts.
The movie is full of left-wing tropes. A bartender expresses his dislike for the prime minister...so he must be a right wing extremist. Who else could possibly dislike prime minister Palme? (FYI: Palme was a very confrontative and acidic person and roughly half the people in the country disliked him). The right wing are skinhead Nazis led by mysterious men in suits.
What did I miss? Probably a lot, there are huge plot holes. The protagonist, the young police, always seems to magically find himself near the assassin when something happens and can photo meetings and payoffs. The police magically get tips and have recordings. All this is hidden in a massive cover-up even before the murder. In a similar manner, the assassins hired help repeatedly finds himself in a sauna with the prime minister. In short the makers of this film put together a movie from their wet dream plot, made up with what they thought to be interesting scenes, without properly connecting the dots. Add the tropes of Swedish filmmaking with emotion being showed by swearing like a madman and what you have is simply not a very good film, but not bad enough to be a turkey.
PS. I hope I used "trope" in the correct manner.
Once Upon a Time (2011)
After seeing the first season I was intrigued. This looked interesting, weaving the characters from old tales together to form a modern tale. Seemed to have a good range of characters and let them build slowly. It seemed to lay the foundation for a great continuation.
But the series lost the storytelling, yet continued with episodes. Nothing happened in season 2, except the introduction of yet more characters. Now mid 3rd season, this series is truly going nowhere, I missed an episode and did not even notice it until much later. Nothing happens, except that new characters are introduced and old ones simply disappear. Nothing is concluded. All in all, this way more like a snail-pace soap than a fantasy series. Please put it out of it's misery and terminate it already!
Boring action movie with dazzling special effects.
This movie has several dazzling special effects. But other than that, what is there to say. Well, mainly....YAWN. Many comedy movies are just sketches strung together with the barest of threads to hold the plot together. Inception does the same thing for action movies, the action sequences are held together with a plot that pretends to be complicated, but in reality is wafer thin and yet full of holes that you could put Incepton's entire budget for special effects into each one of them. Inceptions virtual world does not impress because it is a work of beauty without any connection with dreams at all. Take away the special effects and you are left with substandard, uninspired acting and a boring movie.
Barbe bleue (2009)
A beautiful picture ruined by wooden acting.
The tale of blue beard told with beautiful visuals. But sadly the story and the film is marred by two unforgivable things. Mainly, the acting is so wooden you think the actors might catch fire from the open fires. It is impossible to discern any emotion at all from the actors. And secondly, the story is drawn out by being read by two young girls in a more contemporary setting, it does not add much but extra time to an already too long film. I watched the film anyway, hoping for a new twist, for some emotion from the actors, for some clue as to the relationship between Bluebeard and his new wife, but ultimately I was only disappointed. This is not a film for watching, this is a film for lying down and avoiding.
I also noted a jarring anachronism, everything in the story has the look of a medieval setting, but in this setting there are 17th century musketeers. Guess the filmmakers took any prop they could get their hands on.
The Real Da Vinci Code (2005)
The hunt for the grail.
Tony Robinson is mostly known for his comedy work in stuff like "Black Adder". This work was the first time I ever saw him in a serious piece, and a documentary at that. It was a very positive surprise. Tony (and his invisible researches) takes a look at the roots behind the myths in the bestseller book "Da vinci code". He hunts for the holy grail and examines some of the places in the book and also looks for the basis of some holy grail myth. Robinson manages to cover a lot of ground. This is a high class documentary, boring historians are given space, but it never gets boring because somehow the boring parts are edited out. This documentary is almost as fast-paced as the book. Well worth watching, I have seen it three times, twice before and once after reading the book. My only complaint is that they did not dig deep enough in some places.
Lightweight like a high school paper.
This documentary is like a high school paper, written without preparation. "What are some of the archetypal character or events of Lord of the rings and give some simple examples of similar characters or events in history?" 4 hours, at least 5 pages, no aids. I think my problem with this film boils down to that the creators have taken the path of least resistance and no examples are given taking Tolkiens background into consideration. Examples of people given are Benjamin Franklin (not a bad choice, but a very American choice), Lewis and Clark (also a very American choice), Edmund Hillary and sherpa Tarkey (which happened after Tolkien wrote the books. Faramir's charge is compared to Picket's charge. But the charge only takes place in the movie and does not appear in the books. In short, whoever made this documentary seems not only not to have read the books, but seems to lack basic knowledge about Tolkien. The execution of the documentary is well done, but it's basis lacks thought. There are no insights into the mind nor world of Tolkien. So the grade for this documentary can only be an F with the added comment "Did you even read the books, it seems you only watched the movie." The other documentary (Fellowship of the ring) is much better. This one is for "lying down and avoiding" (A monthy python quote).
So bad it is almost good.
"The new adventures of Robin Hood" can be described as a light-hearted, silly piece of recorded live role-playing. The actors(?) probably had a lot of fun playing out their own fantasies, but the result is lacking. The plots consists mainly of Robin Hood and his merry men (Marion, Tuck, Little John) helping people in need, resulting in fights against the antagonists of the relevant episode. As in similar series (Sinbad, Hercules etc), there is no blood. In fact the whole series is completely bloodless and soulless. Instead silliness rules. Robin Hood is flippant (for comic relief), Marion is haughty (for comic relief), Little John is stupid (for comic relief) and Friar Tuck is a fat fart (for comic relief). Topping off this silliness is a lack of credible plots and a long line of historical inaccuracies. For instance Vikings (ca 800-1000) and Mongols (Asia and Eastern Europe ca 1200-1400) appear in what should be an late 12th century England setting. A series like this should make you very, very upset that someone wasted even low-budget money. But you can also revel in all the silliness and play "Silly Bingo" and try to finds as many historical inaccuracies or ridiculous fight scene events as possible, say: Two Mongols (beep, inaccurate), slash at Robin Hood with their swords. Robin Hood blocks both swords with his bow (beep, ridiculous), which is made out of glass-fiber (beep, inaccurate). He then hits both Mongols over their metal helmets with his bow, and they go down (beep, impossible). And so on...
Troll 2 (1990)
Feels like a college project.
The whole feel of this is that of a college project. Some youths going together to do a scary movie for fun. Almost a parody on scary movies. And had it stayed in that college to be viewed at frat parties, it would have been a great movie, and the creators could have been proud. But this should not have been released to the general public. The script is non-descript, but the acting is completely without feeling. It is like the actors are reading their lines from the script, without taking into consideration what is happening around them. The only exception is Deborah Reed, whose acting is borderline comical and I think the borderline comical part of this film is the only entertaining part of it. Any good parts? Well the photography. So do not waster your time on this. Or watch it for the turkey value.
Marred by melodrama.
A very good film, good acting, very well executed. If you should make a war movie today, this is the way to go with character building and fighting scenes, not computer effects. My compliments to just about everyone involved.
Just one thing, it's this melodrama that present throughout the movie. It's general Hood losing his leg, it's Chamberlain losing his aide, it's Armistead whining about his union friends, it's the overacting when pointing out that the Maine regiment is the end of the line (I lost count at them saying they were the end of the line after 10 times), etc etc. Now many filmmakers seem to think that melodrama makes the viewers symphatize with the characters. But too much melodrama just makes me mad and hate the characters and wish they would pass on peacefully and most importantly quietly. And this film has enough melodrama for quite a few movies.
Two other funny things are the bands that seem to be playing everywhere, and that people seem to stand around in photogenic poses.
Van Helsing (2004)
This film is some mad cross between james bond, dracula, frankenstein, alien, tarzan and whatever. It's like the worst of Hollywood tackiness. Steal yourself blind taking plot elements from other films, but use them in the worst possible way. And then I have not mentioned the worst. There is simple too much special effects and action in this film, it never ever slows down. You need acting and character in a film. But special effects and action is no substitute for good acting, which we sadly see nothing off in this film. Mostly because the film doesn't pause enough to let there be acting. But also because every time someone says something, not only does that person have the most outrageous accent, but their speaking is so constructed that you wonder what kid wrote the script.
Sometimes the film slows down, and you think, maybe there will be some good acting, maybe some plot, maybe this isn't a completely bad film. But no, the film soon races off, leaving unfinished plot elements and the audience behind. I wasn't the only one sighing in the theater. And there were instances of people giggling at the film, as opposed to giggling with the film.
Now with a lot of work, this film could have been an amusing homage to horror films....or it could have been an amusing turkey. I wish they had cut, say 20 minutes of wire-swinging to do just that and changed the overall tone from...from..ludicrous to comedy. It wouldn't have made the film good, but it would have made it average, and possibly entertaining.
There can only be one grade for this boring mess: a 1 (out of 5 or 10 either one).