Change Your Image
Upload An Image
Crop And Save
Gone Fishing (2017)
Story-wise fairly disappointing, even for this runtime
"Gone Fishing" is a 2017 animated short film, so really really fresh and new. It is a little add-on from the DVD/BluRay of Disney's Oscar-nominated Moana. The two central characters return (voiced again by Cravalho and Johnson) and it is basically about the grown-up's plans to go fishing. Of course, these are entirely unsuccessful which is very much expected after Moana's sweet interaction with a fish early on. It was clear that one would not end up in a pan. Sadly, I must say as fast as this film may be in terms of actions and puns, it is rarely successful from a comedic perspective. That's why my overall verdict here is also a negative one and honestly Moana's bitchy way about what her name is did not help things either. This review is coming from somebody who has not yet seen the original film this follows, but I am pretty sure that there were not too many jokes in here that I have missed because of not having seen Moana. Anyway, even for this runtime, I felt that the film had very little, almost nothing to offer and even gets repetitive at the ending almost. Disappointing, especially given the fact that 8according tom IMDb) there were four people working on this one. Seriously? Watch something else instead unless you really love Moana.
Die Männer der Emden (2012)
Cannot sparkle my interest in the days of World War I
"Die Männer der Emden" or "13.000 Kilometer - Die Männer der Emden" or "Odyssey of Heroes" is a German movie from 2012, so this one has its 5th anniversary this year. It is the final work of late writer and director Berengar Pfahl. Actually, this is really two movies in one. Or not. This film exists in two versions. One would be a duology of 90 minutes each and the other would be a film that lasts for almost 2.5 hours, so a bit cut obviously compared to the other one. The cast includes quite a few actors that are well-known here in Germany. For me the favorites would be Blomberg and Kekilli as I like both of them a lot. Not so big on Duken though and admittedly Sodann and Glatzeder did not sparkle my interest either. As for Felicitas Woll, she is incredibly easy on the eye, but I am not yet entirely convinced when it comes to her range.
Anyway, this film takes place during the days of World War I and shows us what happens to the crew of a ship when it is sunk and they have to fight to make it back to their homes. So it is a story of survival, but also of political arguments when their initial intention to reach their Asian destination was destroyed by current political events back then. These were still the better parts. The ship parts are also solid I guess and a touch of Master & Commander at times. Sadly, the second half is a bit of a decline and that is despite Kekilli's inclusion. The desert scenes did honestly almost nothing for me and I was really disappointed by how little screen time Sibel has in here. After all she is first-credited and she is non-existent for over half of the movie. So yeah, if you care about that era and this big war, then maybe this is a decent watch for you. I myself find basically everything about World War I less interesting than everything about World War II and this film (especially because of the second half) could not change it at all. Even Blomberg was not on the level of which I usually like him. Still, once again, he reminded me a lot of Christoph Waltz in terms of his approach and mannerisms. All in this film has simply not enough to offer for 2.5 / 3 hours. I give it a thumbs-down.
Positively surprised here
"David" is a West German German-language movie from 1979, so this one will soon have its 40th anniversary already. The director here is Peter Lilienthal and he is also one of the several writers who worked on this project. The outcome was a movie that runs for slightly over 2 hours and received a pretty solid deal of awards recognition, namely at the German Film Awards, but also at the Berlin Film Festival. You can check out who and what were awarded for yourself. The reason why this film is not more popular today is probably that the cast does not really include any big names, even if German film buffs will certainly recognize Horwitz, Zischler and Mattes. Another reason may be that the film is from the exact same year that the Oscar-winning "Die Blechtrommel" came out and both take place during the days of Nazi Germany, even if the approach and subject is entirely different I guess. My opinion about this film here is that it did not really look German. I have seen many other films about these dark years in Germany (there are really more than enough) and I personally found it looked more Polish or Czech perhaps. But maybe this is also because it is a film from the 1970s. We should not forget that.
Overall, the film is a war drama and even if it did not touch me as much as I hoped it would, it was still a decent informative watch. The argument that it does not bring anything new to the subject really is not valid in my opinion because we need to keep in mind that all the stuff you have seen is probably from way later, way after 1979. The performances were solid, the story was interesting too and some of the characters were pretty memorable even. For a film that crosses the 120-minute mark, it was delightful how it had almo0st no lengths at all and this time looking at the quantity of writers it was no case of too many cook spoiling the broth. Okay, admittedly I also would not say it is one of the defining films of the genre or one of the very best Nazi Germany films I have seen, but it is a good watch without a doubt and in my opinion it is even better than the highly overrated "Die Blechtrommel". I recommend "David". Thumbs-up for everybody working on this project. This is certainly a criminally underseen film.
Sweetness reigns supreme
"Lila" is a 2014 short film and the most recent credit by writer and director Carlos Lascano from Argentina. However, there is no spoken language in here, so you won't need subtitles. All you here from start to finish with this one is the music and it fits nicely in terms of tone and atmosphere in the film. This is the story of the young woman mentioned in the title (Played by Alma García), who manages to change people's lives somehow with her drawing. She brings happiness to them, but also longing or just fun or somewhat entertaining moments at least. It is as much fun for the audience to watch as it is for Lila. The film is probably 90% live action and 10% animation, so I find it a bit surprising that (according to IMDb) its only awards recognition came from an awards body that focuses on animated (short) films. Oh well, better there than nowhere I guess. I was well-entertained here from start to finish. If there is any criticism, then perhaps that the part about Lila's own life at the very end was not on par with everything before that and it's also a bit of a drastic change because suddenly it is all about the animation there. Anyway, it is nothing bad or anything either and it certainly does not hurt the film as a whole. I must say that the movie definitely reminded me a bit of Amélie meets Almodovar at times. As a whole, the approach and the creative simplicity of it all are working nicely. I recommend the watch. A very chill film too I must say and it lets me hope that Lascano will make more films in the future. The talent here is certainly visible.
Fährmann Maria (1936)
Strong lead performance makes up for slightly flawed script
"Fährmann Maria" or "Ferryman Maria" or "Death and the Maiden" is a German movie from 1936, so this one already had its 80th anniversary last year. It was written and directed by Frank Wisbar and is one of his most known early career efforts as he went on to become one of (West) Germany's most successful filmmakers after the 2nd World War too. So you already have the reference to Nazi Germany, but this relatively short film (77 minutes without credits the version I watched) is not a propaganda film by any means and also does not include any NS ideology I would say. There mere talk about Heimat is not enough to create this connection. It is a black-and-white sound film of course, but at times you could see that it was still the relatively early days of silent film as there were long sequences without people talking. And it is not in color either, which was pretty much a given for that time as those German films that were in color were mostly the Söderbaum propaganda films shortly afterward. The lead actress is Sybille Schmitz and her male co-lead is Aribert Mog and sadly both faced tragic fates afterward in her careers and lives. However, I personally found Peter Voß' turn as death personified much more interesting than Mog I must say. In any case, Schmitz is the heart and soul of the film and with her stunning looks and talent (reminds me a bit of Kristen Stewart physically) it is certainly not a surprise that she was (and still is today) the most known cast member, especially when it comes to early German sound films. Her decline even inspired Rainer Werner Fassbinder for one of his most famous works decades later. But back to this film here. I will say that I was a bit generous with my ***/***** rating here because the story has some weaknesses to be honest. Like I said, the male central character was fairly bland and are we really supposed to believe death will just sink down in the swamp and be defeated? I don't know. The ending I am still undecided on. I am generally not a fan of happy ending that feel completely unrealistic and this is certainly one of them, for reasons I explained the previous sentence too. However, compared to today, there were many many more films back then with unhappy endings for central characters, so this is almost a bit of a change to what you could expect, even with the dark background and plot involving Voß' character. So yeah, eventually the nice soundtrack and Schmitz' strong turn let me come to the conclusion that the positive in here is still more significant than the negative. I recommend this movie. Go see it if you can.
Too preconstructed for my taste
"Tom Papa: Live in New York City" is a 41-minute comedy show from 2011, so this short film (if you may want to call it that) had its 5th anniversary last year. You see the actor mentioned in the title on a stage in New York, apparently in front of a huge crowd where he tells us his take on social media, pregnancy and gender issues. I must say here and there is a mildly funny moment, but as a whole I did not enjoy the watch as much as I hoped I would. It is all subjective though I believe. This is the kind of comedy that has been learned by heart by Papa before and presented then down to the tiniest hand/mouth movement and I feel that it is all exactly the same. There is also no spontaneous interaction with the audience or so. It is okay if he is not too good at the latter as what he does apparently entertains many many people judging from the constant audience laughter reactions. Another entirely subjective reason why I did not really like it is because I like my stage comedy performances a bit suave and not as rushed as Papa's approach seems to be. So yeah, for me this was not a good watch, but I can see if some people may see it entirely different. Still gotta give it a thumbs-down.
Pretty solid insight into Fassbinder's professional life
"I Don't Just Want You to Love Me" is a German 95-minute movie from 1993, so this film will have its 25th anniversary next year. It is the most known effort by writer and director Hans Günther Pflaum and this has of course mostly to do with the subject of German filmmaker Rainer Werner Fassbinder that this documentary is about. RWF died an untimely death before the age of 40 and this film was made about a decade after his death and it includes interviews with many of Fassbinder's collaborators during his career that may have been short-lived, but was very prolific nonetheless. I am a little bit surprised though how most people we hear in here worked with Fassbinder behind the camera and I wish we could have heard a bit more about the actors. The actors' opinion could have been interesting too as he had a not too tiny, but not too big either circle of actors in his movies that he cast again and again. Anyway, there are still interviews with some performers, so it is not all bad I guess. I just would have loved to hear Brigitte Mira for example. For the most part, the film is chronological as it begins with Fassbinder's early short film efforts before moving on to his feature films that are still very well known today.
I think we find out some interesting little facts about his films, especially when it comes to the production and Fassbinder's vision. There is a part about the screen being split into 2 or even 2 parts from "Fontane Effi Briest" that I found one of the most interesting parts. So it is definitely a decent summary of Fassbinder's most known works, really only the German-language films though almost, even if it is debatable if Lili Marleen is German or English. The one thing I was missing here was the personal side and Fassbinder sure led a tumultuous life. For example, there is no mention of El Hedi ben Salem. I can understand, however, that it was the filmmaker's approach and idea to keep this film strictly business about Fassbinder's career. It is just a personal opinion of what I would have liked more, especially because Fassbinder's personal life in terms of his ideas about sexuality and politics was so closely connected to his cinematic works. Nonetheless, overall it was a good watch I think and this comes from somebody who really loves 2 or 3 Fassbinder films, but finds a large part of his work also relatively forgettable. This means that you do not need to be a fan to appreciate Pflaum's work we have here. There is no denying that Fassbinder was an icon at least on the same level as Herzog, Wenders or Schlöndorff back then. I somehow also feel that this documentary can make for a good start if you are planning on seeing Fassbinder and haven't watched (almost) any of his films yet, as some kind of introduction to who he was and what he did before taking a deeper look into his many many works. Go see it.
Die Antigone des Sophokles nach der Hölderlinschen Übertragung für die Bühne bearbeitet von Brecht 1948 (Suhrkamp Verlag) (1992)
It is not working at all, which is more mostly the concept, but also the execution
Here we have Antigone and I will just call it like that because the incredibly long title this film has here on IMDb would give me a ton of words that IMDb spell check could not recognize and I could never send the review. Good thing you say, but I disagree! Anyway, the movie runs for slightly over 1.5 hours and was released back in 1992, which means it has its 25th anniversary now. It was made by married couple Danièle Huillet and Jean-Marie Straub back then and it is somewhat symbolic for their usual work. This Brecht-based movie looks like a theater play. There is a stage, there are actors, none of them famous or well-known, and several of them have hardly appeared in any other films, but probably in many other stage productions. I personally must say I am not familiar with the Antigone story and Material by Brecht, so I went into this film expecting nothing. Actually I did not expect too much as I did not like the other stuff by the filmmaking duo I have made so far and eventually this one here sadly turned out underwhelming too. Maybe it is a good watch if you love Brecht or the play or if you go to the stage theater on a regular basis because this is where the film would have been working, but not on the screen and that is a common problem I have with Huillet and Straub. The performances seem overly theatrical (in a negative way) and over-the -top from start to finish. It is an entirely subjective approach from me, but for me it was not working at all and it made me lose interest in the story pretty quickly. The sceneries were fairly nice, but this is also the only somewhat decent aspect from this "movie". I personally have to give a thumbs down here. Not recommended and from what I have seen I just cannot see H&S on par with the best other German-speaking filmmakers of the second half of the 20th century. Watch something else.
Amateurish and entertaining at the exact same time
"Zombie '90: Extreme Pestilence" is (despite the English title) a German movie from 1991, so this one already had its 25th anniversary last year. The writer and director is Andreas Schnaas and he was in his early 20s still when he made this movie. Many more should follow, in all kinds of positions. And having seen some of his stuff, I must say that there are many garbage films in there. And honestly, there is also one reason really only why I do not give this film 1 star out of 5, but 2 stars out of 5 and this is because I watched the 2009 version named "Zombie 09" for which they kept the video the same, but renewed the audio and added new commentaries and quotes that we can hear now in very clear voices that made obvious they weren't from the early 1990s. It is a pretty short movie in the version I saw, barely made it to the 70-minute mark. It is of course much more about the effects and splatter than about anything story-related or performances, but still the character of Dr. Bern was somewhat memorable with the Brad Pitt and Julia Roberts references. I wonder if these were also part of the film back then as they were already known weren't they? Anyway, I guess this new rework of the movie if you want to call it like that is somewhat of a success as it makes a pretty bad film almost watchable. That's why I also think that everybody who wants to see this short film should go for the remastered version. But overall, it is of course still a thumbs-down. Don't watch.
The first sequel is already one too many
This is "The Hunger Games: Catching Fire" the biggest box office success from the year 2013 (five years old next year) and the second of four films from the Hunger Games franchise. Even if it did not get in at the Oscars for anybody, it managed a pretty decent deal of awards attention, including a Golden Globe nomination for the British band Coldplay. The director is Francis Lawrence, a prolific and successful music video director, and he returned for films 3 and 4 as well. The script is by Oscar-winning writers from "Little Miss Sunshine" and "Slumdog Millionaire". But for these names, the screenplay is quite a disappointment. I must say I have not read the books here or seen Battle Royale that many compare it to, but as a creative achievement the movie comes incredibly short. While running for incredibly long as this film almost makes it to the 2.5-hour mark. And in the center of it all is young American actress Jennifer Lawrence, who reprises her role as Katniss Everdeen. I must say I enjoyed the first film a lot, but I still felt that her casting was a gigantic error that kept the franchise from becoming something special. Then again, I do not like Lawrence in anything really I have seen her in and this certainly also includes her Oscar-winning performance. Incredibly overrated actress and the world finally starts beginning to see. She is a poor man's Renée Zellweger at best and Zellweger herself is pretty limited too.
Back to this film here, the good thing is that Lawrence does not show one face expression as usual, but maybe 2 or 3 which is still not very much for a 2.5 hour film. But as bad as she may be, the script is even worse. Subtlety is a complete stranger to the writers here and the argument that the world the characters live in lacks subtlety altogether is not a valid explanation. It is fun though how the film tries to be as shocking as possible with one demonstrator being shot in the head early on, but the curtail closes right before we see it, so they can still get these 13-year-olds into theaters. Besides that, there is not much to the characters in here. Talented actors like Harrelson, Tucci, PSH (rip) and Edgerton are pretty much wasted because they would take away too much attention from miss Lawrence. One third into the film, the writers apparently realized that they had no more material/ideas to elaborate convincingly on the aftermath of the first film anymore, so what do they do? That's right! lets just have another Hunger Games edition right now. Who cares if this turns into a repetitive uncreative version of the first film then. And that's what it does. Apart from the fact that the rest of the film looked a lot like an episode of Survival Island with some (not so) special Sci-Fi effects added to it. It's basically nothing here but showing us how courageous, headstrong, yet vulnerable Lawrence's character it while the actress does not have 10% of the talent to make it look credible.
Finally, the last shot with Lawrence looking straight into the camera makes obvious that there will be a third film because the ending is on a cliffhanger and Lawrence and Lawrence would return for another installment. This is really disappointing, but what can you expect and can you really blame them if millions of people head to cinemas despite the abysmal quality at times in this film. There is nothing refreshing or new in here and attention to detail or even love for movies and cinema is something I did not see in here at all. The occasionally entertaining moments of the supporting cast (especially the once again unrecognizable Tucci) just cannot make up for all the lengths and everything that is wrong with this film. I very much recommend you not to watch it.