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Troy (2004)
way too short
10 May 2004
To be honest: I really wanted to like "Troy", its epic story is really known to everybody, names like Achilles, Paris or Agamemnon are everyday lingo as is the Trojan Horse, now even more than before the internet. It was just a question of time until someone made this into a big movie.

But Mr. Petersen has underestimated the responsibility that goes with it. Troy is not a bad film, it has all the elements, but it is way too short. Everybody has his own agenda, and there are so many heroes of the past meeting in just under 3 hours, that the normal moviegoer just can't take it all in. Since we all know how things end before they do in the film, the makers should keep the audience at bay in awe, but they just can't. It's just like "Apollo 13", which was a fine film but kind of boring if you know the story. Now I don't know the (hi)story of Troy in great detail, but enough to see that the film condenses 10 years of siege into some weeks as well as some other details.

Had this story been told in 3 parts, everybody would have loved it. But this is like squeezing the Second World War into 180 Minutes. History is too big to be squeezed into bite-sized movies, the same goes for all the legends.

Apart from that, don't let me take your motivation! Troy is a mighty big epic, told very well, nevertheless quite gripping. It is like always: The more ignorant the viewer is, the bigger the enjoyment of the film...
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Short, sweet, nice but also a little film school like
31 August 2003
A sweet little film, no question. The message "Help others for a change" becomes quite clear pretty early on.

But what I really liked about it was the story behind it: All of the cast and crew were on the Lord of the Rings Trilogy and cut their spare time short to make this idea of Sean Astin possible. That amazes me, but it also shows that the togetherness of the Lord of the Rings crew was really there big time and is not, like so often, empty sales-babble and evasive interview answers. I am absolutely sure that this film is a small gem for those crew members who were concerned with it and that it conveys very intense emotions and memories from the time the Lord of the Rings was shot. The film is dedicated to the late Brian Bansgrove, who inspired it, as Sean Astin says on the Two Towers DVD, and I think that he can be very proud of being remembered in such a sweet way.

From the technical point of view, criticism can be given in some areas (for example there's nobody to sell the fruit or the whole no-lines-attitude might be interpreted as film school sneer), but who am I to criticise such efforts? The circumstances under which The Long and Short of It was made clearly leave not much space for improvements, and the director's performance in the Lord of the Rings shows his talent. So my point is clear: A precious little side dish, small nut nonetheless delicioius, a must have seen for PJ Fans, a should have seen for many. And its message is one that should be heard more often these days.
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A glimmer of hope for German comedies?
2 March 2002
When I went to a screening of this movie, I asked myself why there's a need to re-shoot a short film that was already well done as a feature-length movie. Well, I was wrong. Not only did director Peter Thorwarth manage to keep up a continuous flow of interesting events, he also blew up the film on its triple length (or even more) without recognizable thinning of the plot. In addition, new events were added that enriched the whole experience.

I'm writing this so exuberant, because this way of working is not common usage in Germany. Usually, feature films lack a certain amount of content, and they could in most cases easily be told in 30 minutes. Peter Thorwarth has shown that he is more than capable in handling more than one strang of plot.

This movie is - in its own way - hilarious to watch. In its own way, because in Germany, many different definitions of humor exist. The Ruhrpott (where this film takes place) is completely different in their understanding of what's funny than for example Bavaria, Berlin, Hamburg or even neighboring nations like Austria, Switzerland or France. This is the reason why there can't be a "German comedy". You'd have to reduce all jokes and events onto a level that is the least common denominator, and that reduces the effort to something most intelligent people won't enjoy. Peter Thorwarth managed the dangerous tightrope walk between "funny for all of us" and "only funny for people from the area" and managed to produce a good, enjoyable movie. It won't be a milestone of European Entertainment, but it is a good finger exercise for future projects. I, for my part, wish good luck to Peter Thorwarth and his promising talent.
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Vicky the Viking (1974– )
A true TV classic
11 October 2001
Wickie on TV was my generations "must see" on weekdays. Not only did the series kidnap us to great adventures, it also showed how to solve problems without the use of force. Being also really funny in places, I only can recommend Wickie to all future generations - it beats today's p.c. kid's series by miles!
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A very important film
8 January 2001
This film is very important and teaches a good lesson. The lesson is not "Don't let computers take over the world!", it is more like "In order to create a peacful world, all people of the planet have to work together against their common enemy!". The enemy here is an almighty computer system, in reality, the enemy is within us. It is our own laziness and our will to take advantage against others that creates difficulties, even wars. Same thinking like in "Independence Day" for example: People stand up together against an almighty threat. In our planet's case, be it politically, environmentally or otherwise, the threat is long present, everybody knows about it, yet noone really sees it. It is our competitional, selfish behaviour.
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Snatch (2000)
BEWARE! - Animal cruelty shown!
31 December 2000
This film contains a scene in which a rabbit is being hunted by dogs. The camera follows its movements and there is a cut shortly before the dogs supposedly get to the hare. Then, in a different shot, we see the rabbit getting away.

Showing animals in jeopardy is not an option to attract viewers nor to shock. The budget for this film has been far to low to create this shot virtually. Also, I think that the rabbit that got away was a different one. Even if it got away, it still was being hunted with a chance of getting killed, so it doesn't really matter what happened after the cut.

In my humble opinion, Mr. Ritchie has overstressed his competences with this. Up to that moment, I enjoyed the film, but from then onward, all of the events were meaningless, boring and not enjoyable at the slightest. Why? Because movie-making is the art of illusion. In this case, I have been shown something that was definitely NOT an illusion, and this event destroyed the band of trust that develops between the viewers and the screen. The director is handed over the viewer's emotions, he then is in charge of leading, forming and influencing them. There are rules to this game, and Mr. Ritchie has broken them. That is not only irresponsible, but also bad filmmaking and needs to be punished.
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Instinct (1999)
An important movie
8 December 2000
This movie is not liked by most people. Here's why: It is uncomfortable for the people who watch it. It shows us how little we really have to say around this planet. And for most people, this is a vision which they don't like. After all, Jon Turteltaub did a wonderful job. The film is definitely not a movie that combines "Gorillas in the mist" with "One flew over the cuckoo's nest", it is an introduction into a different way of thinking. The movie says: "Switch back one or two gears and take a look at the bigger picture." Dr. Powell could also have been a completely different character, for example a woodcutter who is suddenly troubled by his deed of cutting down whole biotopes. Or a hunter. Or even a office clerk. The film is about breaking out of common understanding. Something has to be given up for it, and in this case it's what we call "civilization". What the movie wants to show is that our "civilization" is not a progress to, but a regress from what is good for us and our planet. We are less far civilized than the old civilizations. Writer Daniel Quinn doesn't say "go live on a tree", he says: "think it over and make it better". And I think we still have lots of things to review and improve. Conclusion: Watch this movie not as an ape-story, but as a guidance to a better thinking.
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Conamara (2000)
Boring. Could have been nice, though.
11 September 2000
Well, this is a german film set in Ireland. This means that several flat characters meet and have sex while regretting it. In fact, the irish background is - unfortunately - completely exchangeable and atypical. I know Ireland more than very well and I assure all viewers of this movie that there are better ways to get a real view on Ireland. To get to the plot: The woman, who has found a new life and then is surprisingly found by some incredibly boring ex, has a problem. She is being seduced to throw away all she built up in the last years to start another new life with I.C.Wiener. This classical conflict could have been set in scene much more dramatic, but instead, a boring little movie about some folks was made that is taking all its qualities by those little "typical irish ways" - which aren't there! So, the plan backfired (both in the plot as well as in the production company) and now it's back to the drawing board. In my humble opinion, the (irish, I suppose) director, who seems to have worked a lot in Germany, should get out of the bad influence over here and find his irish roots. I know they're there. The production company BojeBuck should go back to its roots as well and do films that they can manage. Up to now, they did pretty well, actually. So, if you still can, try to enjoy.
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Most impressive
1 December 1999
Hello, moviegoers!

I deeply bow before Luc Besson's latest film, which is, in my humble opinion, a masterpiece.

When I saw it, I couldn't help noticing that the first part (until she gets captured) seems like a medieval Indinana Jones adventure, with bits and pieces of mystery and fun in it. But after Jeanne gets arrested, all her experiences and all we have seen up to then, gets shown in a new light. Luc Besson puts everything into a different perspective. And now the question is left open: Is she a hero, a divine messenger or just schizophrenic? Well, I think that this film is one of many possibilities to look at something that has really happened (in contrary to the Blair Witch Project, which has caused so many troubled minds lately), but the close circumstances are unknown. We will never know the truth. So, stop complaining, you all (or at least you many), and watch the story the way Luc Besson interpreted it. What you think then is your business.
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A future classic!
4 August 1999
First, I was positively surprised by the apparent coolness of the movie. Then, I saw that the motivation of the brothers was quite real and understandable. In my belief it is not allowed to anyone to take what he can't give. You can't destroy what you can't create. So, nobody is allowed to take life, as nobody is able to give life. On the other hand, we can see that fighting evil (which is crime here, but it could be anything else, like environmental sins, racial discrimination or software monopoly) effectively calls for extreme measures, as prison nowadays does not seem to help much. But killing, the way the Saints chose, is not a way to go either. This film, which I loved and enjoyed very much, should not be mistaken as a call for self-justice, it should be taken as what it is: The propaganda of finding the courage for taking steps which are creative, effective, without personal advantage and not thought of yet.
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Notting Hill (1999)
I wish this happened to me!
5 June 1999
Julia Roberts does a great job in her acting, but I am sure that much of her own experiences of life is to be found here. First, I thought that Hugh Grant was miscast, as he is a well-known face and no Joe Sixpack could identify with him, but he does a great job as well and my worries were over.

In years, this is the first romantic comedy I really liked!
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A truly European film.
10 February 1999
There is no danger whatsoever that there will be at least one good film coming from combined European production facilities in the next centuries. Why? Asterix, a mainly french/german/italian co-production shows the problematic of patchwork-filmmaking. First, the kind of humour that is to be found in Europe, differs strongly from each other. For example, british humour is black and really hard to swallow sometimes, whereas a german kind of humour practically does not exist. (In most cases it has to do with naked men in the cabinet who do not know yet that they are homosexual.) There is some good satire, though, but hard to find. French humour seems to be strongly influenced by heavy ridiculousity and loudness. Irish humour for example is very intelligent and subtle and the situation is in most cases finally understood long afterwards. So, we have many kinds of people to satisfy with one film only. In this case, it did not work out too well: The film that made millions of French flock to the theatres in the last weeks, is only a loud and colorful kid's play with a camera. Second: Every keypoint, every joke is to be felt long before it happens. The acting was mis en scène in a very careless kind of way. There is no guideline. Julius Caesar (my namesake) seems to be out of this world (normally a good actor, as most of the others), Obelix has seen better (and fatter) days (and in 50 b.C., they did not have vaccination scars yet) and his german voice is the same as Bruce Willis' - which always leads to hoping for guns. Tullius Destructivus does not convince as intrigeur (he seems to be too stupid) and Miraculix (the druid) only looks like an angry old man. Third: The story is compiled from at least five books and stays far from satisfying the audience at all times. Many parts are brought in just for the joke (Brutus, for example) and do not fit the expectations at all. Fourth: The digital effects of flying Romans, I am sorry to say so, look - due to the lack of detail and resolution when in flight - like they were made with an Atari ST ten years ago, and the more than cheap morphing effects when people drink the potion can be made by any sausage vendor on his PC with some Goo program. Fifth: The permanent wish of most european directors to add some personality to one's opus is a disregard of these comic books (cultural heritage!) which have given many people good times to remember in their childhood: The adding of the druid's great-grandfather as a person into the existing village population is a rape! (He even has mushrooms growing on his head! Ouch!!) And the most stupid part with the special unicorn's milk-game thing is a second rape! Incredible! This part is completely ripped from the world of Asterix and fits together with it like Indiana Jones would fit into Schindler's List. As it seems, nobody of the production crew or the producers themselves have read Asterix when young! Sixth: Many productions in Europe are promoted with tax money. Nobody in charge of deciding seems to care about the quality of the product or about the differences between the submitted script and the result. This is just not fair! (I know of some good scripts myself that did not get promoted...) In Germany especially, the decisions about a script worth shooting or about whether film school applicants are "talented" and have "it" or not, and the cultural worth of a film (not regarding the box-office aspect, of course) simply are so evidently subjective and in favour of people who want to stay in the country (instead of wandering off to Hollywood) to help re-build the ever-shattered german film identity, that there is a pool of many deeply disappointed yet creative and competent people building up, who just don't want to do grip on some german TV soap. And that, too, is a European problem, that can be seen in this example. Well, to come to an end, here again my sum-up of complaints (I can't use HTML due to a lack of knowledge): -The plot is ridicoulous. It has been cut together from some good stories, which would have made very good films each. -The humourous amplitude remains in very small borders. -The actors do everything in their might to save the film (or so it seems), but cannot prevent ridiculousity to spread. There is a bad guideline for them all. -The persons are not chosen perfectly. I am aware that this nearly is impossible for a film that was a comic. -The effects are pretty disappointing. There is only one basic rule: If you want FX, go to Lucas. And gooing is long forbidden! -Another rule: Don't change a winning team! To introduce new persons into Asterix is like creating "Calvin, Hobbes & Peter, the one-legged seagull". -And far not the last complaint, but the last one here: I want my money back!
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Troops (1997)
The master example for good spin-off.
29 December 1998
I heard about Troops a while ago from a friend of mine, who surfs Star Wars related sites very often and very intense. He did not see it, though, as it is just too hard to download. Today, I kind of accidentally stumbled across it, downloaded it (We have some excellent lines here at work...) and watched it. I nearly wet my pants. Troops even looks like taken from Star Wars! Incredible! And it really feels like a report from some reality show from the future. I will recommend Troops now to everyone I know, as it is in my eyes exactly the kind of film that can and should be done with little money and a good idea! My congratulations to everyone on the team: You guys just made history!
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A very powerful movie with a point.
28 December 1998
When this film was screened, I was deeply impressed. The main problematic, and this is the point in which the movie and reality are the same, is not that Nazis were bad, no, the point is the pointlessness of hate. Those young fellows who have nothing more to do with their lives than to work for the next meal and the next rent start projecting their discontent, for which they alone carry the sole responsibility, onto groups that are different from themselves. Seth, for Example (I mean the fat guy) "kills bugs for a living". He managed to destroy his body, he has no interest in developing, he just needs a vent to blow his discontent out into the world. I think this guy represents the average stubborn young fellow, to be found in any city, in any village, worldwide. Somebody who threw his goals in life overboard for his own comfort. Somebody who reduced his expectations in order to reach them more easily. I do not want to say that the younger generation (like me, by the way) is stubborn and uninterested, but a certain current is to be seen everywhere. But I want to point out that the big game of living, in which you lose and win many times a day, should not be taken too seriously. Blind radicalism does not lead anywhere. There are no absolute rules to anything. There is always an exception. The only thing that is final is death. And it is not up to us to determine the time of somebody's death, no matter what wrong he did. Without flexibility and therefore without active thinking and participation, nothing will work on this world. This thesis can be seen as regarding specially racial hatred and extremism as well as generally major points like political or environmental or even philosophical discussions. What we all can learn from American History X is that invading someone's privacy, doing something that is just not right (and I am sure that even the worst criminal can tell right from wrong) shall not be done. Because it is not right. Folks, show some backbone here! Mankind is supposed to be special, isn't it?
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Jack Frost (1998)
Junk. Really.
18 December 1998
A snowman. Wow. Even a mobile one. He can talk and unplug his arms. I am impressed. I am sorry to say, but to see films of that kind go into production, I get very confident about selling a script myself one day. It does not seem to be that hard! Now I can understand why Michael Keaton does not give interviews on this film. (This is a rumour) Everybody who ever saw a real snowflake once will leave the theatre in panic after this. Foam Opera would be more appropriate here. And the other special effects are even worse! Really: Save your money, don't see it! And kids: Better try this at home!
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Well, it's Star Trek...
17 December 1998
What did you expect? I liked the movie because I knew what awaited me. But I was really surprised when Picard started singing in his quarters ('cause of the radiation, I know). What I expected was that Data actually does grow older (sorry, Mr. Spiner!) and that there would be another reason for Mr. Burton to take his visor off. I expected perfect landscapes, perfect clothes, perfect machines. I mean: Doesn't anyone misbehave somehow? Doesn't a tree lose a branch sometimes? Every Trekkie gets excited when someone's late for duty! In Star Trek, machines are not mankind's way to ease live, no, they are so perfect that they live on their own (nothing against Data!) but what I want to state here is that this is getting so weird! If there was a "solve problem"-button, nobody would criticise! I have to out myself as a Star Wars fan. Well, I love Star Trek, too, it is the second third of sci-fi movies, but different. But I am drifting away here... All I wanted to say about Star Trek Insurrection is the following: It is a good movie. I liked it. It's fun. It's action. It's space and not high-school horror *again*, for heaven's sake! It continues the Star Trek history. But: It's different and unexpected setting (the youthening) makes it hard to accept as Star Trek. Some ideas were taken from Star Wars, but that's okay, as we all know it :) And finally: It's far better than any of us could have made it. So, if someone of the team reads this: give my best wishes to Mr. Frakes and the cast: They did a hell of a job!
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A Bug's Life (1998)
Very good!
10 December 1998
First of all: It's not comparable to "Antz"! "A bug's life" is a disney film, whereas "Antz" is a movie that happens to be rendered. Second: In my eyes, the similarity to "Three Amigos" is incredible, even shocking. They should have dropped a word about that. But: Great graphics, great movements (the bird looks so real!), nice dialogue. Entertaining, but too many sidekicks. Not to mention that there are too many (or too less, depending on the viewpoint) main characters. But to get it to the point: Watch it yourselves - it's worth every cent/penny/yen/pfennig/groschen/bearskin...whatever!
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Tears keep rolling, laughter roaring.
8 December 1998
In my personal Top 100, Three Amigos is among the first twenty. When seeing this movie (I am one of those lucky guys who found the LD), I feel very good. The performance of Steve Martin, Chevy Chase (who I love anyway for his wonderful innocent face and behaviour) and Martin Short are wonderful and fit together like nothing else. There are no stupid or constructed sub- or by-plots, only the strange chapter from the night in the desert to the singing bush is skip-able without a loss in the plot itself. Alfonso Arau as El Guapo and Tony Plana as his pretty dumb right hand Jefe fit into the whole story perfectly. They, too, perform just great as the not-that-evil, but pretty bad bad guys. The Germans in the film, depicted as evil on a level that cannot be shown in something less than a war, meet their clichés very well. No capability of speaking English without accent whatsoever, no respect for life, even the will to duel with a personal idol due to lack of tolerance. Even in Germany, film-germans like that can only be laughed about. But that's what makes Hollywood so great. Alfred Hitchcock said that what he needs to show Switzerland is mountains and chocolate. By fulfilling clichés, people are captured. And I let the film capture me. Again, one of the milestones of the golden 80's!
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Talented and well-made!
7 December 1998
This film was shown before a sneak preview last Friday in Munich. First, the audience frowned, due to the film being b&w, neither in german nor english, and being subtitled. Just a little later, 300 guests were bursting into laughter at every new turn the story took. This film definitely has more power than "Wild Things". And I really like the combination of the Bogart-gentleman-ish style with the slight atypically panic aspect that shines through in a very subtle way. Well done, really!
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Death comes faster than you think...(!)
7 December 1998
I really liked this movie although it definitely is too long. But having a whole plot working up to the one point which has to come (the death of Bill Parrish) is a bit boring as the audience can feel the conditioning they go through. For example: In "Die Hard 2" we can see the people in the plane that is going to crash. Why? So that we can feel bad about this and hate the evil guy. Hadn't we seen the people we might even have liked the explosion. This could have been done more subtle. But as I said: I liked the movie!
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Great film, difficult to judge.
2 December 1998
Writing the plot summary for this movie was not easy at all, as I tried to avoid any conflict with other beliefs on this, our, planet. The dramatic storyline and the technical details make this film into a very interesting, entertaining and fascinating adventure. For those who want to learn about the actual persons or events, whose existence - according to individual belief - may be doubted or may be proven, this film gives a solid background information about the Hebrew's flight from Egypt. Detailed information about this kind of (hi)story cannot be given in a movie at all, because a movie always is a interpretation of an event. In this case, this movie even is an interpretation of an interpretation. So those, who are offended in their belief by this film, should think about how they do interpret this themselves. The Prince of Egypt is a beautiful, emotional, dramatic movie (partly too kitschy/corny for me) in exactly the way the Life of Brian is a funny comedy about a guy born at the wrong time in the wrong place.
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Let me tell you something...
16 October 1998
During the editing of this film, Michel Ende, who had written the novel on which the film is based, distanced himself from this realization (see trivia). And he was right. As a kid, I saw this film and liked it very much, as it is beautiful, intense and quite well made. My parents told me again and again to read the book. I used to answer: "Why? I have seen the movie!" Years later, I finally read the book. And I learned that this film is such a completely ridiculous version of a story that is, in its genre, as big and powerful as "The Lord of the Rings" is in pure Fantasy. Of course, a novel can hardly be turned into a good and satisfying film, but in this case there is nothing in common except the names of some persons. Just by the way: The novel is printed in two different colors to show different parts of the story. I only can recommend reading the novel.
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Based on ... a real fairytale.
15 October 1998
The Grimm brothers would leave their graves if they could see what was done to their wonderful and magic story of "Aschenputtel" with this film. The search for the foot fitting the lost shoe, which is a central element in the original, was cruelly reduced to a near-sexual ritual. The persons are set in actual countries, not magic kingdoms, and the whole atmosphere is clearly not fairytale-ish (There is even cement between the bricks!). The introduction of Leonardo da Vinci as the "newcomer", a commoner by birth who - as he is a genius - has the power to change traditions is completely idiotic. Why? Hey, this is a fairytale! There are no real persons by definition! However, kids will love it, if they have not been read the original story. It's the same as in "Die unendliche Geschichte" (1984). Great filming, but a very, very bad adaption from the book. Hence, the actors do a very good job, especially Drew Barrymore, Anjelica Huston, Megan Dodds (who plays as if born and raised to that part) and Melanie Lynskey. Well, watch it, anyway - this is just my opinion.
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I have some things to say here.
11 October 1998
Before I saw the film, I have read the comments. Many of You liked Spielberg's new movie. But some of You, mostly from the U.S., write things like "proud to be an American" or "part of American History" or "every American should see this movie".

First of all, I want to say that this war must have been pure terror. National Socialism was an indescribably evil disgrace to humanity. Many of You have grandparents who fought proudly against the Germans in World War II, but I (as a 25-year old German) and others have Grandparents who were bombed out of their homes at night and could not get a whole night's sleep ever since. My parents were born during the war, their first baby-impressions were gunshots and explosions - for years! Nowadays, in Germany it still is common to find old, still explodable bombs when building a new house.

Second, this is not American history, it is not German history, it is World history - Our history. It is the blackest spot ever to be found in the history of the human race.

Third: I don't mean to be rude, but I think that many people have lost the connection to reality. In the first place, making a war movie has two major aspects: Making money (bad) and Reviving History for educational purposes (respectable). But then, feeling history is completely different. In my very neighbourhood, there was a Concentration Camp, only some 53 years ago. I have been to that beach in France, and let me tell You: Just seeing the sea, the sand, the dunes really scared me rigid. Talking with my grandma (she led a baby nursing home in that time), that's history. Just sitting in a movie theatre, listening to SDDS and watching Tom Hanks cry is a different experience.

What I want to state here is that there is quite a difference between a movie (may it be as realistic as possible) and real history. This really happened! Millions of people were slaughtered in the most cruel ways! By other people! When I go to my University building, I see the holes in the wall which have been there since the war. They have never been repaired in order to give people something to think about. From exactly that building, Sophie Scholl and her friends threw Anit-Nazi papers into the crowd and got executed only a short time later.

I think the film is quite accurate, actually. It is not the most impressive war film I have ever seen (that's "The Bridge" from 1959), but it shows how the war was like. In all aspects. Anyway, how can war films be "good" or "best"? "Saving Private Ryan" is an exceptional educational masterpiece, it should be recommended together with "Schindler's List", but it is only a movie. It cannot replace reality.

So, I recommend this: Watch the movie, everyone! But also think about the real people of any nation that were cruelly murdered in those years, and think about those who lived through it. Even think of those who were with the regime and still walk the earth. Then, book a ticket for Europe, see the Normandie for yourself, see Berlin, see Dresden, see Munich, see the wounds of history. And see that being German is not the same as being a Nazi. After You get home to wherever You come from, I promise, You then will have a different view of reality.
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Pact (2001)
5 September 1998
To be hoping for somebody to kill himself successfully is pretty hard to swallow at first. But after a short time of adjustment, the audience accepts this fact and hopes for the couple to manage this last task. Pact is incredibly funny indeed! There are only a few movies which make me laugh out loud in the theatre. This is one (and the shortest one) of them. If I were in charge of giving away a prize at a short-film-festival, Pact would be my number-1 choice!
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