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Die Kinder meines Bruders (2016)
Okay watch with potential for more due to the occasionally sub-par execution
"Die Kinder meines Bruders", which means "My Brother's Children" is a German television movie from 2016, so this one will have its 5th anniversary next year, and it is safe to say that this is neither a particularly new or old movie at this point now. Maybe things look differently when you read this review some years from now. The script is by Austrian Robert and East German Josephine (von) Thayenthal and my first guess that this is a father-daughter team was wrong apprently as these two are a couple. For the woman, it is her very first writing credit, while Robert is really experienced and has been part of the industry for decades. I must say I am always a bit skeptical if one only gets to be part of a project because of how close they are with somebody else, but here the outcome is okay, at least for a first career effort let's say. Like most other German films, this one here runs for almost 1.5 hours and occasionally it is still shown on television. The man in charge behind the camera here is Ingo Rasper and he had also been directing films for over a decade when he worked on this one here, probably not hist most known effort. The cast does not really include big names, but German film buffs may have come across Rott, (Anna) Thalbach, Knizka, Löbau , Harder and perhaps even some of the others. Some faces are easy to recognize here. Rott even received some awards recognition here, which is not too usual for a film like this and while he wasn't too bad (except early on maybe), this is definitely still a bit much I'd say. He plays a man living a bit of a spontaneous life without duties and obligations while still having the money to buy a little boat if he is in the mood for it. But things change quickly when from one day to the next he hears that his brother died and the consequence is that, at least for a while, he helps out on the man's farm and also takes care a bit of his brother's kids. At the same time, he has to juggle the fact that his girlfriend is pregnant, which he does not know right away (but we do).
There were some aspects in here that I liked and that made it obvious that this is not one of the uncountable truly horrible movies. Just take the pregnancy I just mentioned. They easily could have handled this in a cringeworthy way that would have surprised us just like the male protagonist and included this really out of nowhere. Still I wonder where was birth control with this couple, especially if he really does not want any kids. Sadly, one of the film's weakest moments is also linked to this plot, namely when the woman says she made a decision and he responds something that implies he is 100% sure she will have an abortion. Why would he even think so. I don't know the woman one bit and I would not be so sure. So the two are separated from that moment on, but the filmmakers (or writers) were sadly not courageous enough to pull through with that story line and at the end they meet again and it is implied that they could get together again. At least they left it at that and did not include an embarrassing kissing scene or so. The end when it comes to the two people you see on the poster was nice. The boy needs some schooling if he really wants to keep the farm and run it in the long term and this is what he gets then. In a worse movie, the central character (played by Rott) would have started to run the farm himself, but like he says he is not made for the job and he doesn't see himself there, so it really makes sense that he decides to quit and considers selling it when he did not know about his nephew's plans for the future. Said nephew was played by Max Hegewald. Not the greatest casting choice here honestly. With a better actor, this could have been a better film I'd say. It still offers enough insight into the struggles of farmers really to make enough money for a living. And it is also easy to understand for audiences (including myself) who do not much about the subject because one character summarizes it prety accurately that if they do not get enough money for the milk to even make a very basic living, then it is simply not accurate and things need to change. The strike in the end as alright, not too showy, but felt authentic and I also liked the way in which the cop was written. He appeared here and there and definitely felt authentic and realistic how an actual cop would have handled the situation. Also the romance story was not too bad and that is always a challenge for these films that run in the afternoon here in Germany. Some of them are incredibly kitsch and unrealistic. Not so this one here. The screenplay may not reach any great heights quality-wise (it feels it isn't even trying), but the lows this film certainly has are not as frequent and as low for me to give it a negative recommendation. 3 stars out of 5 overall, decent watch and I must say I was certainly positively surprised here because I expected way worse. Also good that they did not desperately try to get in comedic moments. It simply would not have fit the premise and story overall. Solid achievement.
Plötzlich Türke (2016)
A bit of a strange movie, but certainly not good
"Plötzlich Türke", which means "Suddenly a Turk", is a German television film from 2016, so this one will soon have its 5th anniversary. The director here is Isabel Braak and even if there are 3 riters credited who were in charge of turning the book this is based on into a screenplay, she is not one of these. As Braak was not even 30 when this was made, she is definitely among the next generation of German filmmakers and we will see where her career is heading quality-wise. Now German small screen releases are never super long really, but this one here is especially short because it runs for slightly over 80 minutes only. From the subject you can see already that they are elaborating on a topic that is not uncommon at all when it comes to German movies, namely the impact of foreign culture, especially Turkish culture and there are so so many immigrants from Turkey here, some already stretching over several generations. Still, even if it says so here on imdb, this is obviously not a film in the Turkish language, but this should be clear to everybody who reads the names of the director and writers, the cast and of course the film itself. The central character here is played by Oliver Konietzny and he was not particularly good I must say and that is already pretty gently-speaking. So no surprise thee aren't any big names in the cast here if the protagonist is already not a quality actor and not famous either. I should add that because there are many famous actors (actually actresses especially) who are pretty well-known, but really bad most of the time. The best example is probably Veronica Ferres. Still, they don't need any big name overrated actors to turn this into a weak movie. The lesser known actors here manage very well on their own to do so. Admittedly, the script is not really doing them any favors most of the time. Nina Petri is probably the most known cast member here playing the central character's mother and Sönke Möhring is also alays easy to identify, even if he is barely in this film. Blink and he is gone.
Okay, as for the story, we have a young man ho is leading a nice life, works as a delivery driver, has a happy relationship with his girlfriend and is about to become a dad soon. But then it all goes south. Well, first of all they still find a new bigger apartment, but then it does when the central character finds out he actually has Turkish citizenship and not German just like he always thought. His reaction to that is one weak example of writing and acting. It feels as if he never even had any connection ith Turkey, but the truth is he knows his father lives there, so the idea is not too absurd admittedly. All that follows is linked to his desperate attempts to get back his German citizenship and as wwe find out right at the very start in a bit of a preview is that he even ends up somehow in the Turkish army as a consequence. Okay, well this film is definitely very much on the absurd site on many occasions and never realistic. Although it tries to be sometimes. However, the only thing that really keeps this movie from becoming a total failure is that you could see they weren't taking this film seriously and most of all it is about the comedy. In a failure film, the protagonist would have managed to get away from the police at the airport, but here he didn't. And the father in the second half is also somewhat entertaining I won't deny that and somehow made it work despite how over the top the character is. Best example is when he sings happily that his son called him dad. So I was kinda glad he reappeared near the end again because there wasn't a single moment when I felt Konietzny could carry this film on his own. Luckily, he has supporting actors here and there who help him a bit. You already see during the voice-over narration (for said preview) in the very first minute that he simply isn't good enough and somebody else should have been cast. Another moment I found funny was when the lady at the office calls security and what she says exactly, somethink like "drunk and resilient" or so. The girlfriend found it funny and so did I. Speaking of the girlfriend, I felt she was clearly too old for him, but that's just my opinion I guess. Their relationship also get that almost obligatory pseudo drama near the end when she rushes back to her parents, but you always know they will end up together again. Actually I liked that they did not include a stupid addition how the parents are badmouthing him. This would also have been the case in a Ferres/Neubauer/Thomalla/Furtwängler/Speidel/Sägebrecht movie, just to list all these horribly overrated German actresses void of talent. But still, this film here also had many sequences that were bad or added nothing. The ending with the woman giving birth and the band being back together was definitely too happy and really unrealistic for me. Speaking of the band, this is maybe the best/worst example. We hear the music and honestly are we really supposed to believe thiese guys were good enough for a contract? Their music was utterly horrible honestly. What is even more embarrassing is that looking at the cast apparently these folks are actually a real band? You gotta be kidding me. Their singing was worse than everybody's acting in these 82 minutes and that means quite something. Okay, finally just one specific scene, namely when he gets that fake ID card and there is that badass young woman who coonstantly is about to send her brute to beat the protagonist up. That was also very much for the sake of it, even if it was just make-believe. They did not feel half as badass as they wanted to be and besides, you will not keep any customers with this kind of approach. Okay, this would be all then. There are many clearly inferior movies to this one here (especially from German (after)noon television) and that is why I will still give it 2 stars out of 5), even if I considered giving less. By no means I would say you should check it out. Best is to skip here and I hope that Braak can step things up in the future when she has better screenplays at her disposal. Thumbs down overall and let me add that I have not read the book this is from, so I cannot speak about similarities and differences movie and literary original. The movie, however, also was not good enough to get me curious about the book.
Ninja Ko, the Origami Master (1990)
From there on up
"Ninja Ko, the Origami Master" is an American live action short film from 1990, so this one has its 30th anniversary this year and the only reason why it us not totally forgotten is the fact that it was directed and co-ritten by a certain Rian Johnson, who was 16 years old or so back then. This was the very first filmmaking effort (according to imdb) for the lauded director. I must say I am a bit unsure about him as a filmmaker. i really did not like Looper, but last year's "Knives Out" is an absolute contender for best 2019 movie for me. So it was curious to see what such an established filmmaker made during his early days back then and this can also give young filmmakers hope because to be honest these slightly under 4 minutes were a big mess and I am glad it was this short. You cans ay that it was basically boys having fun with a camera. One of them was posing as ("playing" would not be accurate) as a ninja and he runs into a couple antagonists and takes them out like a pro. Now story-wise it really made no sense, especially towards the end when we have that guy who seems to be in control of the ninja and how he offers the cigarette is still alright, but why then he simply won't shoot him, but lets him get in the car, just made no sense at all. And the ninja here also has a bit of Knight Rider in him as we find out immediately afterwards. One of the actors here (cannot say which because the credits don't tell) is Brendan Koelber and he came up with the "script" together woth Johnson. Unreal to see even two people working on this mess of a story. However, Koelber's career turned out the exact opposite compared to Johnson's as he never worked on another film before or after this again, so you can probably easily see that Johnson was the driving force here. What maybe surprised me the most about this movie (except how bad it is) was the yodeling that came with the closing credits and also the German singing, which especially caught my attention because this is where I am from. Then again, it could have been Austrian too, just Alps music if you want to call it that. Okay, these are definitely enough works for this mess of a film. My definite suggestion is that you skip it. Not even worth seeing for the biggest RJ fans, just for completionists really. Still thumbs-up that it is available online because this is certainly not the case for all early works by renowned filmmakers. Spielberg is a good example I think. And with the title of my review I mean that Johnson took a break of 7 years apparently after this film and his second movie was already improved, even if still obviously very far away from today's level. But that's alright looking at how young he was.
Ottilie von Faber-Castell (2019)
All in all not a satisfying watch by any means
"Ottilie von Faber-Castell" is a German television movie from really not too long ago becaue this one was released in September 2019, so under half a year old now. The writer and director is Claudia Garde, a fairly prolific small screen filmmaker here in Germany, even if most of the time she worked rather on series than on movies. The one thing that is unusual here for a film from my country (especially if we focus on television) is that it runs for a massive three hours, minimally over even, and that is nothing we get too often here. You can see from the title already that they were clearly going for a biopic here about a character that actually existed and has a background linked to stationery, pens etc. Of course, as you can also see from the poster, this film is set way in the past because the protagonist lived in the 19th century already and also in the first half of the 20th century. Also it says "Eine mutige Frau", which means "A courageous woman", which shows you already the direction they were heading here and what they had in mind with the story, namely a movie that focuses on emancipation in a world/society/country that gives women a difficult time. A greateful subject of course that the mainstream media will already praise without even knowing how the film was. Unfortunately I must say it was not good enough and for me such a subject is not enough if they don't give proper elaboration. On the contrary, that makes the filmmakers look even lazier and a subject like this deserves better for sure. I can also not imagine that those related to the title character are too happy with the uninspired outcome here if they have seen the movie. I am sure there must be relatives looking at how many children she had. Anyway, the title character is played by Kristin Suckow and while I would not say that she sucked as her name could imply, she as also far from good enough to carry a 3-hour movie that has her in almost all the scenes. Admittedly the script did not help her really and it wasn't just her fault. As for supporting characters, the likes of Wuttke, Zirner, Weisgerber and a few others are exatly those you would expect in such a movie, Bukowski maybe not so much, and with Jasmin Schwiers in a film, it is almost always safe to say that this is not gonna be a high-quality picture. Luckily, she is not playing lead characters anymore like she did over a decade ago, but the fact that casting directors still pick her makes it obvious that there is no great creative ambition in a movie. Yes she is that bad.
Now as for the story, it all feels really for the sake of it and pseudo important most of the time. The best example is really the scene very early on with Bukowski's character and how he tells her that her clothes are not fitting for the occasion and she tells him not much later that she won't need him anymore to show her around and immediately afterwards her pompous dress ends up in one of these machines and there is a risk to her life, but Bukowski's character stops the machine with his bare hand and as a consequence loses his hand and also loses his promising career (of course he had such career as we found out a little earlier) because back then you could not have a great career as a cripple, especially not in a job that involves working with your hands. How can you direct a hundred workers if they can always say you cannot do the job yourself with your hand. So my guess there was a bit that perhaps this character still stays a love interest and she does not care about the injury because he saved her, but no the character is quickly gone and only appears briefly at the very end again, but no romance story for him, which is already obvious too because he is not one of the credits listed high up there. But teh rest of the film are the usual subjects, exactly those that I expected here and those that have been so many times on other films and handled way better there usually: Romantic relationships with several men. The fact that she has to pick one eventually. Power struggles with different characters in the company. (Of course she only got into power because all the male prospects died.) Relationships beteen mother and children. Now that was probably the shoddiest area of them all. We see her hold her dead baby (yep kids died much more frequently back then) and not much later she is running and joking around with like almost half a dozen kids or so. It's amazing (in a negative sense) how this film runs for so long, yet leaves out so many crucial moments that could have made for solid entertainment at least, while depicting the most pointless stuff constantly. There were so many scenes that could have been left out completely to be honest. In a perfect scenario they would have been replaced with sequences that actually engage the audience, or at least they should have excluded those scenes and kept the film at 2 hours max (90 minutes would have been fine too), but they did the exact opposite. The outcome is a really overlong movie that is as pompous as it is empty. Admittedly, the costumes and sets (and some of the acting) were good enough for me to say this film is just boring, but not a total failure, and without a doubt there are constantly much worse films being shown here on german television, so two stars out of five seems accurate, but it is definitely much closer to one star for me. I was tempted to give it one only when they included this sequence about her getting raped by the drunk fella, certainly not because of how shocking it was, but becaue of how shocking for the sake of cheap entertainment it was. Disgusting choice really. There is nothing like that found in official biographies about Ottilie von Faber-Castell, but the director read something like that during her preparation for this movie. Truly embarrassing and it shows that they never cared about the facts. All they wanted as to entertain the dumb and as they even emphasized the importance of this scene in intervies (the lead actress most of all) is just the negative icing on the cake. The one made out of rotten milk you could say. Not that the entire cake under the icing is something anybody with a taste in quality cake/movies want want to take a bite from. Pretty repulsive how the television stations who made this film force every citizen basically to pay them money (GEZ) and this is what we get back for said money. Close to an abomination. Not recommended, no matter how desperately they try with the children being taken from her secretly at the end with more pseudo drama. Oh well, by then you have fallen asleep most likely anyway. So best decision you can make here is simply just don't even begin atching these 180 minutes. Go for something else instead!
24 Milchkühe und kein Mann (2013)
One of the most stupid films I have seen in quite a while
And I have seen a lot. This should give you an accurate description already what I think about this film. I want to make clear right away that this movie is a gigantic mess and you should absolutely not watch it. Now, first things first: "24 Milchkühe und kein Mann" or "Ellis neuer Mann" or "There's Something about Raymond" is a German television movie from 2013, so you can say that these almost 90 minutes here are not new anymore, but also not as old as some other movies that are shown on German television here and there. The director is Thomas Kronthaler and while his body of work is not exactly something to be proud of either, it is by no means as bad as the boy of work by writer Thomas Kirdorf, not only because his most recent filmmaking efforts include a bunch of "Ein Sommer in..." / "A Summer in..." movies and after that follows a geographic location and these films are complete garbage with unrealistic characters, stupid romance and not even beautiful landscapes. So don't watch those either. Now back to this one here. reading the name Kirdorf, reading the cringeorthy (German) title and reading the name of lead actress Jutta Speidel makes 100% clear that this movie can only result in a mess. You can say that Speidel is basically a slightly older equivalent to the likes of Simone Thomalla and Dr. Furt(/z)wängler and Christine Neubauer (and Veronica Ferres) and a slightly younger equivalent to Marianna Sägebrecht. In other words, she has no talent and you can rest assured that whatever film she has the lead in, it will be really embarrassing. And no matter how hard they try to make her look younger by putting her into clothes that show a great deal of skin or have her join modern sports groups, she still looks her age (which was almost 60 back then) or looks even older. And the approximately 10 years of age difference to her male co-lead her also feel like 15 at least or maybe 20 even because the man looks younger than he actually is unlike Speidel. But it is nothing too uncommon. The actresses I just mentioned (those who suck) frequently have younger love interests in their movies so that we don't forget how attractive they are and what young spirits are inside them. Well, I should not say "we", but the easily entertained wwho just believe everything shown to them. By the way, the male protagonist Christofer von Beau, who plays Raymond, does not even look too Black on the photo here on imdb.
So yeah, there you already have the film's key aspect. This is the story of an elderly woman falling for a younger man, but the fact that he is Black causes some mayhem in her village. Oh well, this is of course a plot that the politically correct politicians and mainstream media will love because it teaches us something about tolerance and equality etc. blah blah. I disagree. Sadly those I just mentioned see the subject and that is enough for them to say this is an important movie with a good message. They totally forget that in order to make a good movie you need a high-quality script, strong performances and good production values in general. And none of that is here. Conclusion: This is not a good movie. This is an abysmal movie. There are just so many individual scenes and moment when we see howw this film sucks. It already starts really messy with the moment we see the dead husband on the tractor. Oh my, I knew from that moment on it would all be downhill and that is pretty telling as for most other movies, this moment would already have been the most negative moment from the entire film quality-wise. But here it gets much much worse. I will give you some examples. Just take the final scene with the doorbell and how they open the door. Good god, luckily this was when the closing credits rolled in. Orf all the pseudo drama at the end. It was of course predicted because these films always have a turn of events near the end when we are supposed think that everything is lost, but then all out of nowhere it becomes a happy ending again. Now the negative moments here include the female protagonist reading a book (nice way to respect your partner's privacy) that belongs to her man ad the very same moment (how realistic) he enters the house and sees it. And she thinks that he just played with her. Because he was dating other women? Oh wow how absurd when you meed through a dating agency. But if you thought that was bad already, wait till you see the scenes with the main antagonist about to commit suicide and our "hero" saves him and even ens up in a fistfight with him because if the antagonist already has to be rescued, then he would not want it to happen from a Black man. Oh my the cringe. I can literally see housewives fall unconscious from all the tension and drama in this scene. The weather played along as well. Okay, so now you know the ending is a mess for several reasons. please don't think that all before that was only remotely good because it as just as bad and it is a bit difficult to remember exactly what happened there becaue I would love to ban this movie from my memory right away. Oh wait, there is more at the end. this bizarre contest that of course our "beloved" couple wins. Quelle surprise. They really went all in there with making things as horrible as possible. Now, an earlier scene involves the introduction to said contest to with the main antagonist inventing rules and of course Speidel's character knows he made it up (hey she is a smart woman of course right!) and the explanation from him then haha. But what was even much worse there was the ay how she paid the money to participate in this contest with her man and how it stuck right into the soil. Holy moly. They really went there.
There are many other bad scenes and moments (also involving the pseudo important soundtrack that really hit rock-bottom several times when they played some music in the background that in terms of style was clearly linked to the male protagonist's African roots, oh boy!) in this film we have here, but i will not mention them all because I would certainly run into the character limit then. Just one more: It was really cringeworthy how she kept mentioning Africa all the time, even at the first date already. This date was a mess anyay the way it was written and of course at the end they made sure that we understand that the guy really wants Speidel's character, but she is playing hard to get and says bye with a handshake and not with the hug he was going for. So boo on the evil guy for going out with other women, but really how could they have been worse than Speidel's character. really inexplicable honestly. So of course she was complaining not much later how he did not call her immediately. By the way what was up with her dating so quickly after the death of her husband. I knew she needed someone to help her with the farm, but still. Surely also a good idea to put hundreds, if not thousands, of bucks into this company instead of using it for the farm. Oh well. Another thing that needs to be mentioned are those cringeworthy quotes that Speidel's character keep giving us. Felt so fake because of how they were written, but also because of the actress' absence of talent. But hey her Italian coffee significant other in real life (were they still a couple then) was also much younger than herself, so of course she can pull off these characters right? Guess again. Finally, I want to say that the film is also visually a disappointment. Honestly, it could have been really nice with the landscapes, animals and mountains there, but none of this was depicted in a convincing way. I can't say I am surprised with how they messed up everywhere else. The only thing they did was shove these cow moments into our faces at the very beginning and that was it. So uninspired. I guess now you know why I thought this film was an abysmal watch that is not even good enough to be shown around noon. It should never be shown again in fact, for the sake of audiences worldwide, especially here in Germany. We don't deserve that. Highly not recommended.
Did not do too much for me
"Balloon" is an American English-language live action short film from 2019, which means it is almost exactly one year old now, and this movie has really achieved a great deal of awards recognition. It runs for 17 minutes almost, one minute of which is credits, and the director and co-writer here is Jeremy Merrifield. It is probably his most known career effort so far. But honestly I believe that the success of this movie, including the high rating here on imdb, comes from it dealing with really conveninent issues from the 21st century. Superpowers are always appreciated by audience (in the sense of superhero films) and bullying is a subject that is discussed heavily in the media all the time. Also referenced by some true superstars who start anti-bullying campaigns etc. However, I personally think that a film on this issue is only effective and worth it if you elaborate creatively in a way that touches the audience and I cannot say it touched me. The subject was there and that's it. The elaboration is truly mediocre. Another thing that is probably appreciated by many viewers here in the sense that it creates outrage is what exactly the main bully says and how he insults gays with that too, even if there are no references about the main character's sexuality. But I guess the easily entertained will also see this as a gay-themed movie (ugh I hate the term), which it certainly is not. As for the superpowers, the execution there is shoddy as well. It's alright we don't find out why he has them all of a sudden and where they are from, but the way they were included did not feel too authentic and yes this film is going for authenticity despite these supernatural events. Just take the scene in which he discovers them. He sure know that he cannot control them. Yet one day later not only does he decide to climb the rope (he did not strike me as a confident fella), but takes his hands off the rope up there, which is really the most stupid and unrealistic moment. If he wants to fly, then he should to it when nobody's watching. And outside maybe. Not when 20 people are standing down there, but yeah right he was so far up that they did not see it. And when he falls down, he recovers immediately despite this massive height, which can only be explaines by his superpowers as well. The fact that he carries so much anger inside that he punches a mirror, but decides against punching the bully, but instead destroys the smartphones did not feel likely to me as well. They made him look likable for the sake of it and shades are really not the film's biggest strength. The only one who has some is the Black kid that (fittingly for his ethnicity) is the only one who is not entirely against our "hero", even if the final argument could make you think so. This is a film that lacks courage for so many reasons and is all about political correctness instead. I mean there are moments that are okay like the scene when we find out what his mother does when she sees the black eye or also when he falls down there and I hoped he would be okay, but these are not as frequent as those scenes that felt mostly fake to me and clearly written. The ending is also pretty weak because of how pseudo important and just one of several moments when the film seems to be more full of itself than it has any right to be given the (lack of) creative achievement. It's a thumbs-down for me, not recommended, and I can also not agree with the others who said that lead actor Jonah Beres gives a strong portrayal here. The opposite is the case. Did he have more than one face expression? Two max I'd say. Watch something else instead, too many weaknesses in this one here.
Am Anfang war die Eifersucht (2001)
A sequel nobody needs (just like nobody needed the first film)
"Am Anfang war die Eifersucht", which means "At the beginning there was jealousy", is a German television movie from 2001, so this one is already almost 20 years old. Well, if we take a look at the year of production shown during the closing credits, it actually has its 20th anniversary this year. It runs for 90 minutes, slightly under like most German small screen releases, and it is a sequel to a movie that has almost the same name and was released back in 1999. Only the ord at the end is different. What is not different, however, is that these two films are basically the same level quality-wise and this level is one that you really really want to stay away from. Admittedly, and this is the only positive thing I can say about this film here is that it is sometimes not as horrible as the original, but still there was never any other plan in my mind while watching this film that I could give it more than one star out of five, which is my lowest rating and means failure territory. It's no surprise it turned out this bad with basically not only the entire cast returning, but also the crew being the same. Director is once again Hartmut Griesmayr and the script is by spouses Amelie Fried and Peter Probst. The first film was based on Fried's novel. This one here is not. It just continues the story for the characters and as far as I know there is also no book that this sequel is based on. So the readers are more lucky than the viewers here that this unbearable mess does not existed in print. I have not read the original book, but like I said the writer is the same as the one in charge of the screenplay, so I am entirely convinced the book is bad too. By the way, I just watched the first film not too long ago for the first time. I usually say that it is pretty shocking if there is more than one writer in charge of the screennplay and the outcome is really so horrible, but here I am not surprised. I am really sure that both Fried and Probst lack the talent for a quality script completely. Still pretty horrible how a man can at least be partially in charge for a film that is so strictly against males in its desperate attempts to get femmales to watch the movie. Disgusting. Women's rights activists would be up in arms if the gender roles were the other way around. It really is an abomination. Be it the happily cheating husband in the first film or the guy who is interested in the female protagonist in this one, it is just embarrassing. By the way, you can also include Korff's character here. He plays a really likable character, but of course he also gets the possibility that he could just be a fraud who is after Queen Mom's (ugh!) money, even if the truth is different in the end with this pseudo dramatic cancer story. And by the way with one character saying that it was all a lie and he cannot give them the money, that makes no sense either because the money would be from the bank and not from him directly. Ridiculous stuff. By the way when the female protagonist's character does not mention she is secretly preparing for an exam to make money for the family, it is alright because it is such a kind-hearted idea, but when Korff's character dooes not say it, then he is stupid and a liar because everybody would have understood. Oh yeah, the husband here also gets his fair share again of course with how he spends all day on a park bench after secretly quitting his job or how he is super jealous when he suspects his wife is having an affair. So the negative references in this film as well as the first are about him both times. Of course both negative aspects about him, while his wife is a true saint. And obviously they did not forget to remember us of his affair from the first film.
Now I mentioned the female protagonist already a couple times and with this I mean Simone Thomalla. If you hear this name, then you will know immediately that this film is one to stay away from. She has been a lead in so so many German films over the year and God knows why. Or Satan more likely. She has not a single ounce of talent in her body when it comes to acting, showing range and versatility. All her popularity is about her looks, which are also really overrated in my opinion. So in short you can say that she is just as untalented as her influencer daughter, but strangely enough she managed a long career. I mean the moment when the film hits rock-bottom comes early on already when we see her fake an orgasm after her man does not ant to have sex with her and honestly this scene alone if a prime example of how this woman does not care one bit for females and being an inspiration or even role model to them. It was incredibly messy. And she has more scenes like that. It sure requires a really special (absence of) skill to make this horrible screenplay look even worse, but she manages masterfully and effortlessly to do so. There are so many examples I could state. Be it the speech at the wedding near the end, all the scenes with her new suitor or everythink linked to the house possibly being sold or her role as a mother (and daughter). By the way, speaking of her suitor, he is of course scum too as he indirectly tries to blackmail our lovable heroine into sleeping with him if she wants the job. And of course he realizes immediately that he made a huge mistake because she is so perfect and talented. Really ironic to see this "actress" portray somebody allegedly talented. I guess people who believe one bit of this movie are completely hopeless and there must be quite a few if this film received high enough ratings for a sequel. Oh and I also would like to mention those scene involving the male child actor. Of course, he was pretty bad too here, but the script definitely did not do him any favors. I laughed so hard at the scene when he poses as a blind man. I am sure the filmmakers meant this seriously, but this was so bad it was funny. Sadly, this was the only moment with such absurdity that made me at least chuckle a bit. The rest was just plain bad. This includes the entire story about the boy and his eyesight. I mean what parents do not realize how their child sees nothing basically. Awesome parents. Oh well, I guess they are forgiven eventually because we find out the boy faked it all along, so they do not move to another home. Oh that makes sense, very good connection there. Then again, obviously Thomalla's character is also a great mother, so she would have recognized it in fact before it had even happened with the boy's eyesight. The scene at the oculist (terrible actor too and so poorly wwritten) is just as cringeworthy as the moment when the boy quotes his grandma later on. But what was even more rock-bottom was when he says he would get lost in the new apartment right at the very start. Honestly, I was already willing to turn this off when I heard the characters singing. At least they did not continue with Thomalla's character's story from the first movie that she is a talented singer, which her voice is nothing special at all. So overall, everybody who worked on this project should really be ashamed. This is such a mess and honestly I am glad to see they did not make a third movie another two years later. Looking at writer Fried's other works as well, which basically all sucked, yet got adapted into movies, you know this one here is a project that you would not ant to atch a single minute from. Second, actually, also because you can see it takes itself completely seriously, has this stupid unrealistic happy ending and the over-the-top soundtrack. Highly not recommended. You can hear your brain cells commit suicide while it's on.
City Slickers in Westworld (2017)
The ending is okay, but everything before that is pretty boring
"City Slickers in Westworld" by "The Director Brothers" (what a stupid credit!) is an American live action short film from 2017 that runs for under 6 minutes, which makes it still considerably longer than your average Funny Or Die production. Yep, this is what it is, so you already know what to expect I assume because they have really made so many short films over the years that there's probably almost nobody out there anymore who hasn't seen one of them. This one here is probably among their more, but not most known. This also has a lot to do with famous actor Billy Crystal on board. I don't mind him honestly, neither as an actor nor as a host, but he can also only be as good as the script lets him be and honestly most of the references and punchlines in here are not particularly good. The general idea here is not too inspired either. I mean you can literally create a mash-up between every show with every other show. Or movie instead of show. And this is what they did here. You can find the names of the projects they were spoofing in the title. I am not familiar with either, even if I want to see at least one of them and be it only for Ed Harris. Noww him being on board here would have been fun. But fun is not what they deliver. It is the usual Funny Or Die approach that is very much about how the film does not take itself seriously, but this is not enough anymore these days. The best example is the "other Hemsworth" reference. That was pretty cringeworthy because it as so true. It is for good reason that Liam is not a part of this project and Chris definitely isn't either. So the first 4.5 to 5 minutes were pretty forgettable. It does get better at the end when we find out about all you can get for 5 bucks and this is also because of how stunning Angela Sarafyan is here. And I thought she would be like 10 years younger than she actually is. Oh well. It was also funny too with how the other guy desperately hopes he can get something similar for his cash too. He's not Billy Crystal though, so not gonna happen. Besides, the voice-over at the end almost ruined it again. Overall, I would not say it is a failure, but also not on a level where I would give it a recommendation. And saying about a 6-minute movie that it does include not enough funny moments, even for this running time, is pretty telling for sure. Or perhaps ot is necessary to be a big fan of one of the two projects mentioned in the title or it is necessary that you just watched at leastg one of them, but this really should not be a criterion for any film that you have seen something else not too long ago, especially if this new film (well "new" as it is from 2017) is nothing creative really, but just using comedy about the creativity from other people. Watch something else instead.
Not a failure, but just too much in too little
"Marvel Rising: Chasing Ghosts" is an American animated short film from 2019, so still relatively new, even if it came out in January and this means it is slightly ove r ayear old now, 13 months basically. Director Gimeno and writer Scott have worked on several of these "Marvel Rising" short films and this one runs for 22 minutes and it is not the only one with such a running time and also not the first one I watched. I mean it was tolerable, but never really particularly good. The characters, even if they look somewhat memorable like the big squirrel girl, are not too easy to appreciate, probably most of the others even less than the one I just mentioned. Ghost-Spider is pretty cool though no denying and maybe I also liked her because I like Spider-Man, well not always, but at least the animated (old) and also Maguire's version in the Raimi films back then, the current live action Spidey as well as the more recent series not so much. But let's not driift away from this one. I think there is one key problem here and that is that they have so many characters that it feels just like quantity over quality, even if you can feel their efforts to give at least each character one sequence/moment to shine, like when the big squirrel girls shows us her super effective kick. Anyway, same is true about the villains. There are also too many, especially if we also count evil creatures, but also two villains for 22 minutes is just too much, at least the way tehy dpicted it here. Honestly the one shoots these energy bolts or something is still pretty cool in terms of super power, maybe visually not so much as she looks like a poor man's Harley Quinn and I wonder if that as intentional, without the "poor man's" obviously. Does Marvel not have enough to offer themselves? I mean this is not even a fan film, but an official prodiction it seems and the inclusions of Dove Cameron (I find her as sexy as her female spider character in here, really hot for an animated character for sure), Tyler Posey, Tara Strong, Chloe Bennet and Dee Bradley Baker are nothing shabby at all. Sadly, despite these the film never gets going too much. This also has to do with the less memorable antagonist, who really offers nothing except that he looks like Loki. Especially the helmet. Seems again they borrowwed from another universe. Oh well. Voice acting was alright overall, the visual side was not too bad either, but those attempts when they went for teenage comedy, which is always a factor because of the protagonists' ages in "Marvel Rising", were nothing to be proud of. And yeah the story could have easily fit in a 100-minute movie with all the different characters, but to me it felt really rushed. In the end, this film gets only seen because of Marvel, not because of quality and even there it hardly felt like Marvel. Mentioning Tony Stark isn't enough, that much is safe, especially as they apparently were only allowed to portray minor characters that are not a crucial part of te Avengers films for example. In short, if you really like Marvel (and animation), then feel free to check out "Marvel Rising", but don't start wiith this one here. I give it a thumbs-down all in all.
Reise ins Ehebett (1966)
Beautiful people, zero talent
"Reise ins Ehebett" or "Journey into the Nuptial Bed" is an East German movie from 1966, so this one is already way over half a century old, which sadly means that the majority of people who worked on this one are deceased already. And no matter if dead or alive, I genuinely hope their other works had better quality than this one here. Or had quality at all, I could also say. This 85-minute film really lacks from almost every perspective. Like I said in the title of my review: The actors here were pretty attractive/handsome and Hollywood did not offer hotter chicks and studs in terms of both men and women (obviously), but range be it in terms of their delivery as actors or singers is missing entirely First things first: The director here is Joachim Hasler and he is also one of the writers. However, even if he was certainly not a rookie by any definition, his most prolific area of expertise when it comes to film was his work as a cinematographer. He had already directed several films before this one here and you can say that his earlier works were of a more seriious and dramatic nature, while his later efforts were much lighter in terms of the plot. This one here really has zero drama. It is a mix between comedy and musical, the latter being a genre that was really popular back then. Now I am generally hesitant to give really old films a really low rating because what people liked back then was considerably different than what they liked today, so maybe often I am just unable to make a connection because I live in a different era. However, this one here feels really shoddy altogether and time cannot explain this mess of a movie. The songs are all pretty bad to be honest, the slightly more romantic song towards the end was admittedly not as much of a failure as everything before that, the duet I mean. Still all these lighter songs, especially the 1 or 2 that is/are played on several occasions, including the main theme, are just really really bad. People say that the GDR's biggest strength was fairytales in terms of movies and I sort of agree. At least this one here is evidence of how comedies and musicals definitely weren't it.
If there is any reason to watch this DEFA movie now in the 2020s, then maybe it is that Nina Hagen''s mother Eva-Maria plays one of the two female characters in the center of the movie. I always thought her daughter was more famous than she should be, also because she is not a good singer, just different, but looking at this one here I think it is safe to say that her mother does/did not exactly possess a lot of talent either. She is as weak as everybody else. Also in terms of acting. It must be said that the screenplay here (how can this really be the result by several writers, they really all must suck) did not exactly do any favors to the cast, but the way how they went all ham and over the top, made the ridiculous story even worse. And that is quite an "achievement" looking at how bad it already is. Sadly, it is not bad in a way where you would say it has guilty pleasure potential. It is just bad. That's all. The poster here on imdb with the anchor shows you already how amateurish this project turned out to be. At least hagen was somewhhat easy on the eye and Prucnal was actually fairly attractive, although I wonder wwhat was going on with her accent. It was the actress' real accent right? Did they not even care? I mean Eva does not sound foreign. Maybe I missed something. Honestly it's possible with how boring I found this film. So this is the story of a sailor, who, just like they say, has a different girl at eacch port. But his employer is not too happy about that and tries to trick him into falling for one special girl, so the short-lived romantic adventures come to an ende. This would be too easy though and another female character intervenes. And when finally the sailor made his choice, the other girl just ends up as a love interest for one of the many other man on board of the ship. Oh well, that was the easy way out for sure and pretty uninspired. I found it difficult to believe though that the sailor was really such a casanova looking at how he falls relatively quickly for the one he wants and I would have expected that as well with at least one of his affairs. Oh well, maybe it is just me. Let me just say say that the banter between the other couple was pretty difficult to take and again Hagen showed there that she is not a good actress. So yeah, it's really easy to come up with all kinds of negative stuff from this film that proves that the talent just wasn't there. Not even for an underwhelming movie. This one is not underwhelming or below-average, it is just plain bad. One of the worst 1960s films I have seen. Now it was not the most glorious decade for German films (West Germany or East Germany), but luckily there are many that are far superior to this one here, not that this would require something. What is maybe the most disappointing aspect is that even with all these seemingly uplifting songs, it all feels staged and for the sake of it and real joy just isn't there, apart from the pretty shoddy editing that makes it even difficult to appreciate how the movie jumps from one song to a scene without music and quickly to the next song. Yeah well, it just isn't working whatsoever. Massive thumbs-down. Also pretty strange how back then it was apparently not too unusual that your employer does not only know what your lovelife looks like, but even tries to steer it into a certain direction. Unthinkable today. Thank God.
El espinazo del diablo (2001)
Criminally underseen, a trademark movie for del Toro
"El espinazo del diablo" or "The Devil's Backbone" is a Spanish/Mexican co-production in the Spanish language from 2001, so this one will have its 20th anniversary next year. These approximately 105 minutes were the third full feature film for director Guillermo del Toro, who has now won multiple Oscars, and is among the trio of Mexican filmmakers who have made great waves in Hollywood and his awards shows in rcenet years. del Toro is also one of several writers here. The cast includes really many names of Hispanic actors, ho have enjoyed tremendous careers after this film or were already big stars back then. The best example is Federico Luppi, who plays the perhaps most likable character in this movie, an already relatively old doctor and sadly he is no longer with us anymore. Bit his career was a tremendous success and this one here is one of his most known works. I cannot be the judge if it is also among his best because I have not seen too much from him, which is definitely my loss. And even if he was good and so was the young Eduardo Noriega, it needs to be said that this is (like so many times for del Toro) not an actors' movie, but despite a really convincing ensemble cast, a film that is much more about the magic of the entire story and sometimes also about how haunting it all is. I have not even seen too much from del Toro (at least not as much as I would like to see), but it is impossible to deny that you can find many elements in this film here that you will also find in his two major hits "Pan's Labyrinth" as well as "The Shape of Water". Speaking of the latter, even if this was not at the center of the film this time, it seems del Toro has a special relationship with the liquid element when it comes to depicting it in the movies. This time, it does not really refer to the weather outside, but most of all to the inside pool (that looks fairly yellow) that plays a really crucial role during several stages of the movie. Or also take the reference about how the two boys leave early on to get the water from the room next door, which also becomes a pretty haunting endeavor because of several obstacles they have to take, or at least one of them does. By the way, I am not surprised to see that some (or at least one) of the child actors here are still enjoying prolific careers in the film industry today almost two decades later. Not all of them of course, but this should be no surprise because it was simply too many young actors for that in here.
Another thing that really reminded me of del Toro (or Pan's Labyrinth more than The Shape of Water) here was the depiction of evil. There is something definitely supernatural going on in here in the sense of a really spooky creature existing, but the longer the film goes, the more obvious it becomes that the real monster here is somebody else, a very human character. And of course, there is the pretty graphic violence on some occasions, be it when one character graphically twists his ankle (you could hear the pain the audience was feeling with them) or when the main antagonist is hurt really badly in the end or also many other occasions. These scenes are also pretty typical for del Toro. He does not hide them by any means and that is perfectly fine. And of course another thing typical for him is the historic/political context of his movies. There is always something like an unseen threat coming from this background that feels present during the entire film really (often nationalism), even if really specific graphic violences are scarce. But when they are there, they are extremely effective, here for example take the scene when these people are lined up and executed. A great deal of violence there too, even if we "only" hear the bullets being fired, but see the doctor tremble every time a new life is lost. This doctor also explains the film's title to us on just one occasion. Blink and it's gone. I must say, even if the explanation made sense there I felt that there was not too much connection between said anomaly and the film itself here that I would say the title was a good choice. But maybe it is just me. I would have felt it could have made more sense had they shown the antagonist possessing such a backbone for example. Anyway, this scene is also closely linked to one of the not too many slightly funny moments. Most of them came from the kids interacting with each other in a certain way and how they (try to) act like grown-ups (like talking about the form of a vagina or simply shushing others), but this "joke" there was more about how men over 60 take anything that helps their libido. And when the boy is gone, he drinks this fluid himself. Which felt extremely bizarre honestly. Bizarreness is another thing you find frequently in del Toro films with his very own approach that is easily recognizable. I mean in a way where you can feel something is very wrong, like with the orphanage here it may sound normal how the young woman (played by the stunning Irene Visedo) dreams of leaving with the young man and live together, but at the same time the young man has sex with the elderly woman. That was a strange moment. Or take the fact that the elderly woman has a metal leg. Or the afoorementioned scene when Luppi's character has his special drink. Or when one boy asks a gigantic explosive device (another political reference, they say it is defused, but you feel it could go off any time) to show him the way to another character.
The latter refers to a little ghost story we also have in this movie. I must say this did not do too much for me like the rest of the film. It is also one reason for me to say the film got better and better the longer it went that the ghost story is pretty much a non-factor in the second half until the very end again. It wasn't bad by any means, but the film would have been at least as good without it although the character in the water towards the end holding down the primary antagonist there (btw. love how his eye seems to get more and more red, this film has such great attention to detail on many occasions) and causing him to drown was an interesting inclusion, but the idea of the gold (as a result of his greed) holding him down there was even better and that it is the exact place that he commited this horrible crime involving the previous boy (if you want to call him like that). There is also a certain mystery about the orphanage as a whole: why the protagonist (well the boy who seemed like the protagonoost early on at least, but in the end it was about everybody) would even end there, why the grown-up character early on (who he saw as a friend/mentor) took him there, why he was caught, why this would be such a big problem that they had to leave etc. You could think initially that the other boys (especially the leader) could end up as villains, but things took a completely different turn and in the end all the boys symbolized the good in this good vs. evil fight. This was really on the level to had me at the edge of my seat at the end when it was the boys vs. Jacinto pretty much. Conchita's final scene in the desert was memorable too. And showed how big of a role pride played there and also how the main antagonist was not capable of really loving somebody, probably a textbook sociopath with what he does to the one who initially seemed to be the person he wanted to spend his life with. Nice idea also how he comes from this orphanage himself and yet he is everybody's downfall in the end. Well, almost everybody's. This film ended with a much higher body count than I expected. I really liked it overall after it took me a little while to really appreciate it initially, but the not too big amount of grown-up characters (4 you will find out a lot about and one you don't really) as well as the fact that it all takes place during the entire film at the same location made it a pretty simple, yet interesting premise. The action certainly delivers. Even if there were minor issues with realism (away from the fantasy aspects) like how all the kids that were with him really turn round or how it was not easy to know if we were in the past (with the deceased boy) or in the now, this is still a tremendous movie. I really like del Toro's Hellboy stuff, so I'd say that perhaps at this point, it is my second favorite film from him, but I really need to watch more and also rewatch some of his works. No hesitation for me in giving this one a thumbs-up and it is a definite contender for being my favorite non-English-language film from 2001. I suggest you absolutely check it out. But even if this film set in the first half of the 20th century (one that del Toro loves to use in his films) is the closest that del Toro will probably get to stuff like The Goonies, this is not a movie to see with your small ones. Too grave for that. Don't miss out under any circumstance though. I am really glad I got to watch this on the big screen last night on the occasion of a special screening of a recurring horror film series. Highly recommended. Oh yeah, another defining filmmaker is part of this too, namely Pedro Almodóvar who worked as a producer here together with his brother Agustín, but still it needs to be noted that this film, as a whole, is nobody's but del Toro's.
I could feel bad for the dog now being dead probably, but I feel worse for it having to be a part of this travesty
"Mein Nachbar, sein Dackel & ich" (they actually intended to make the title even longer by mentioning another character as if it isn't bad enough already the way it is) is a German television film from 2009, so this one is already over a decade old now. The director is highly prolific slamm screen filmmaker Dirk Regel from Germany and the screenplay is by spouses Eva and Horst Kummeth. The latter is still active, but according to imdb Eva has not worked on new screenplays in a decade now, which makes this one here one of her final projects, and honestly this is a good thing if we take a look at the quality here and also how her career-defining works include Inga Lindström adaptations as well as "In aller Freundschaft", so basically stuff you can consider the pond scum of German television and let me tell you it is a very deep pond. The cast includes a handful of fairly experienced actors, but none of them are really big names. The two most known performers are cast for the centrall characters, which is not a big surprise. The first would be Günther Maria Halmer, who played in "Sophie's Choice" and "Gandhi" in the early 1980s, which is definitely something, but allso makes it a bit sad that now he has to appear in garbage movies like this one here. I cannot say too much negative about him really, if anything at all. He is definitely one of the not too many components of this movie that do not suck completely. Here and there he even managed to make the pretty abysmal screenplay look tolerable and these more cringeworthy moments like the screaming scene could have become a lot worse with a less gifted actor in charge there. However, I cannot say the same about female lead actress Ann-Kathrin Kramer. This is no surprise either because her career is basically defined by low-quality films, in which she plays the central character most of the time. She may have decent recognition value, but what she definitely has not are range and versatility. She was so bad honestly and for her it as the other way around, namely that she managed to make the already pretty bad script look even worse because of her overacting and inability to hit any right notes during her performance. One perfect example for this is the scene when the male protagonist and Kramer's character's daughter are playing a weird board game. I mean she had zero material in this scene and it as unreal how she managed to mess up like that there. There are many other examples. Just take the scene when the writers wanted to present her as a self-confident and talented woman when it comes to her profession as a midwife. When we see her intervene as she is not happy with the course and the woman in charge there, it was maybe the worst moment of the film. Kramer goes full ham and there is no excuse for that. Just like there is no excuse for people actually believing what the filmmakers wanted us to believe.
The film really starts on a low note already, namely when we find out about the protagonists' names. Lieblich and Schroff yeah right. I really hope that everybody ees through this charade and actually does not perceive the female protagonist as anything remotely lovely. But even if it was true (and I am sure the simple and easily influenced out there think it is true), then this would have been a ridiculous coincidence honestly that makes it difficult to take this film seriously whatsoever from any perspective. Oh by the way, the daughter is played by Alina Freund, who managed her own career playing the little witch Lilli, but it seems her acting career is almost over now too. Okay more cringeworthy moments include basically the side action as well, namely the romantic relationship between the female protagonist's best friend and the male proptagonist's brother. That was not a part of the film for a really long time, but they just rushed this in near the end for the sake of it and to fill the almost 2 hours I suppose and yep it made this film even worse. Congrats. When I felt that at least they did not take the route of a romantic relationship beteen the two main characters, even there they proved me wrong. I mean who cares about 25 years age difference when it is true love, right? Honestly, even with this difference in age, Halmer's character does not deserve someone like Kramer('s). Oh and let's not forget about the dog plot. You can read it in the title that one character is dog lover, a dachshund lover to be more precise. But apparently not enough of a dog lover to see how his dog is about to give birth to a handful of puppies. So yeah, maybe they thought that people can foegt about all the stupidity this film offers and that it makes no sense if we get in puppies. Some will I'm sure. I cannot do them this favor. Anyway, luckily Kramer's character is around when the birth happens and of course she knows immediately what to do because I mean she is a midwife right? No biggie to do the same for a dog. Okay I think I will leave it at that, even if I probably have not mentioned 10% (probably not even 5%) of the scenes and moments when this film really sucked. Just one more quick example would be how the two main characters constantly run into each other through coincidence, which they wanted us to believe was fate? Ridiculous. It was such a bad watch and it should not even be shown in the morning or afternoon on television. Best for everybody is if nobody ever took it out of the drawer again. I give this one a massive thumbs-down. Big surprise. Highly not recommended.
The beginning is just like the end and everything between that a complete mess here
"Am Anfang war der Seitensprung" or "It Was Infidelity in the Beginning", pretty clumsy titles both, is a German television film from 1999, so this one is already over 20 years old. The director of these almost 1.5 hours is Hartmut Griesmayr. Cannot say too much about him other than that he as in his 50s back then and is now apparently retired as he is in his 70s and has not worked on a film in a pretty long time. The writer here is Amelie Fried and she is not only the writer of the book this is based on, but also of the screenplay. So normally I would say that it is a positive thing if a novel is adapted into a movie and we have the original writer take care of the screenplay too and this does not happen too frequently, in American probably even less often than here in Germany. However, for this one here it shows only one thing. If Fried (together with her boyfriend/husband) was in charge of and apparently happy with the screenplay, then this can only mean that the original novel was also a mess already. I cannot say I am surprised about that at all. This was one of the first works by Fried that got turned into a movie and looking and the titles/quality from the other adaptations, she seems to be a writer where you ant to make sure you keep a great amount of distance to both her movies and films. Now let's be a bit more specific about this one here. The lead actress is played by Simone Thomalla and this is already where the problems start. You can say anything about her daughter really, but admittedly her daughter is not enjoying a career as anything other than an influencer while her mother (Simone) has been cast for lead roles in movies for decades and this is just not acceptable because she has the same amount of talent and versatility like her daughter, namely zero. It is a disgrace that she is in so many movies and not just in them, but plays key characters most of the time. The outcome is a body of work that is absolutely embarassing and potentially unmatched in terms of lack of quality in the history of film, although Christine Neubauer is pretty close I suppose. This film we have here is just one example for Thomalla's lack of talent. And, on a side note, anybody who thinks the Tatort series are good films must expain himself why Thomalla is part of these.
Alright, now this one here. It was a mess from beginning to end and if I say everything that is wrong with this movie, I could write 20 pages and never would manage to stay within the character limit. So I shall just mention a few examples, scenes, moments and sequences when this film hits rock-bottom. First we have the moment when the protagonist finds out that her husband was unfaithful. How he admits it, even if the evidence is very bizarre, namely the precise piece of evidence, is just so bad and for 99% of films, it would be a definite case of worst scene of the film by far. Not so for this one here. There are many other moments. Be it the unrealistic pseudo-dramatic story at the end about the daughter having run away that results in this embarrassing radio talk show escalation (btw. Sissi Perlinger is not an actress, she proves it here once again), be it the fact that the really young male child actor is horrible (I hope he is better now, still having a prolific career in acting) and the female child actress not much better, be it the side story with the man 10 years younger than Thomalla being crazy for her and really wanting her, the lack of quality is omnipresent. The latter is also very typical for a Thomalla movie by the way. She has younger lovers in many films, so maybe at least we don't forget how attractive she is and maybe not see how she cannot act at all. Well, in my opinion, she is not particularly h´good-looking either, even if admittedly her mid-30s face here is not as botched as it is now with all she had done in the last two decades. Of course, she is also always not just desired by younger men, but also very smart, very talented etc. It is very telling that while she plays the exact same character (just with a different name) in every single movie, she still can't play that character well. Take the scenes when she is singing and how she needs to be asked and does not want to initially and then she is so so amazing of course. Nope, she is not. She does not have a good voice, even less range than her versatility when it comes to acting, but of course it is all about make-believe and the writers here want us to believe she can sing. As we are talking about music: Of course the song she hears hen she spends time with these young folks is from a band (probably American) who have a concert the next day or so. How convenient. I guess that must always be the case for foreign bands. They are just waiting for Thomalla's character to be ready to go to their concerts and then they perform immediately.
Okay, briefly away from Thomalla and to the supporting character. The olde rgeneration gets a romance story between Thomalla's character's mother and her suitor as well. This one is equally cringeworthy. It only exists basically to show us that Thomalla's character has good genes and her mother is also a desired woman. This also results in one of the poorest moments of the film, namely when the old man has to come up with a codeword, the name of a former teacher, so the boy will let him in and he does not remember, but oh well, one second later he knows the name immediately. How realistic. The whole mother-daughter struggles are completely ridiculous and as poorly written as it gets. Don't even get me started on the comment about Christmas traditions. The cringe. Okay as for mother-child stories and struggles, there is more. Just take everything involving the two child actors I already mentioned. Poorly written every single second there. The boy I already mentioned is the one who has perhaps the weakest moment and it is fairly telling that this is the weakest moment despite the absence of Thomalla in this scene and this tells you how bad it is. I am speaking about the shooting birds quote. I will not go into detail, just let me say to you that this metaphor / parallel there was perhaps the worst metaphor I have heard in all the films I have seen, whcih have been thousands. It was so bad I had to laugh so hard because you could see what happens when the writers here, most of all Fried (I am sure this quote is also in her book), go for deapth and meaningful moments without having a single ounce of talent in their bodies. The grandma character walked away from the boy right after he explained what he meant and honestly, it felt as if she wwalked away because this was such stupid nonsense really that no kid would ever say. Oh wait, he is just a smart boy right? Okay.Needless to say his lines were horrible and cringeworthy and fake all the time and this was not even the kid's fault, even if his line delivery was honestly no revelation either. As for the marriage struggles between Thomalla's character and her man, well I already mentioned the scene how it all started, but of course the man realizes he really loves Thomalla's character and not the other woman (obviously because Thomalla is a goddess) and has to beg for forgiveness, so this entire story is also rubbish and also against males, which shows they were definitely going for mostly female audiences here. There was another moment so bad that it was funny, namely when the man came to the photo studio to end the affair and there is a shooting going on this very moment and of course who cares the two just start talking with the model standing there randomly and she was simply forgotten. Haha this film was such a mess. Like I said, all I just mentioned wwas not even 50% of the scenes and occasions (probably not even 10%) where this film sucked so hard and really hit rock-bottom. Another would be the discussion about family life and the role of the woman etc. early on with the fitness group. And finally, I already mentioned the idea that the filmmakers here either wanted the audience to hate men or hate men themselves (which is especially despicable as one co-writer is male, but I guess Fried is in total control over him), let me make a reference to how the female protagonists talk about a character who is in charge of looking that Thomalla's character and her colleagues make a good job. There is already some despicavle talking about him being interested in all the female employees going on earlier, but when we actually see the guy and he walks behind the women and what one character then says in order to let the main character know he is coming is just a completely abomination. Everybody who agreed that this should be part of the film, everybody who agreed that this film should be made and everybody who contributed to the horrendous outcome here should be barred from the film industry. I am not joking. Just like the film is not joking and actually takes itself completely seriously with all its ugliness and complete absence of talent, realism and quality. Massive thumbs-down. I only rate out of 5, so 1 out of 5 means 2 out of 10, but if I gave lower ratings, then I would absolutely give this movie a 1. It should never have been made and is (like mayn other Thomalla films) among the very worst German films out there. Stay away for your own happiness! Just one word on the fact that they made a sequel two years later: Death.
Rick and Morty Strike Again! (2017)
"Rick and Morty Strike Again!" is a 7.5-minute live action short film from 2017, so it is neither a really new or old work you can say. The director and one of the writers here is Chris R. Notarile, one of the most famous fan film makers these days you can say for sure, if not the number one. Massive body of work he has and this is also by far not his only elaboration that takes (in the original) animated characters into the world of live action. This one actually came out relatively quickly after another "Rick and Morty" short film by Notarile starring the same actors and that one I watched not too long ago as well for the first time and I really did not like it at all. This one here I liked a lot more, which truly surprised me. The idea already of kidnapping Ronald McDonald here had me in stitches pretty quickly and sure he seemed a bit like a harmless Joker, who was still swearing a lot, and I am sure this was not completely unintentional to perceive the character like that. R&M (or really only Rick) want to get the recipe for a special sauce from him, but Ronald McJoker is resilient until a Harvey Quinn equivalent shows up, equally sadistic and insane. How did Rick and Morty (or again really only Rick) get in touch with her? Anyway, she gets the job done for them as we find out and in the end, in the post-credit sequence, we see the gang enjoy nuggets with this sauce and they (or again really only Rick) realize that it was more about nostalgia that drove them to this sauce then it was the actual taste. Overall a good watch, also thumbs up to the pretty stunning Lindsey Bean for her solid acting and writing in here. She was Notarile's co-writer for this movie. And the actor for Rick reminded me a bit of Henry Winkler. Maybe it's just me. Overall, I give this one a thumbs-up. I have seen many films by Notarile, also some I did not like at all, but this one here is definitely among the better achievements. Go check it out! Even worth seeing and a fun watch if you know basically nothing about R&M.
Only for big fans of the show
"NCIS: Los Angeles - Season 8: The Nellverine" is a fairly long title for this relatively short film we have here and it is basically a mix of making-of and interviews with the cast from NCIS: Los Angeles (as the title already says) about the character of Nell, probably a ne character back in 2017 becausse otherwise such a special on her would be a bit strange. This runs for 5.5 minutes and is a DVD feature I suppose. I don't watch this show, just the original NCIS, which has gotten way worse sadly recently, but still I recognize LL Cool J because I like him and Chris O'Donnel of course as well. There have also been collabs between the two NCIS teams in the past. The original is set in Washington. Is there a third one? I think there was at least at some point. Anyway, let's not drift away any further. I must say I found this short film a little on the shallow site basically having nothing but kick-ass sequences to it for the character of Nell, so we realize how appearances can be deceiving and she is a real-kickass girl in addition to being stunning. The fact how little actually interesting information is included here is proven by the fact that the actress who plays Nell, Renée Felice Smith, talks twice about how she loves/loved dancing and what impact it has on her performance in terms of hos she is able to do what people showed her to do. I cannot express it as eleggantly as she did. But yeah, this was interesting, but interesting for a double inclusion. Come on folks, your fans deserve better, give them actually insightful information. So overall, this one gets a thumbs-down from me and unless you already are a fan of the show or really really dig brunettes, this is not one for you to watch. At least, it won't get you curious to start this long-running series. It's a thumbs-down for me and come on that wordplay in the title you cannot be serious. I would have cringed if I was the actor who had to make that comment. Haha.
Sonic the Hedgehog (2020)
Pretty disappointed by this one here
"Sonic the Hedgehog" is a new American English-language movie from 2020 and this one here runs for 100 minutes approximately. Actually, I may correct myself immediately here because "American" is only partially correct for there worked many Japanese people on it as well as part of the crew, which makes sense because after all this is about a Sega video game character and Japan is also one country of production. So is Canada. Okay, now about the film itself. I must say I was more of a Mario/Nintendo and also Kirby kind of guy in my younger years, so I did not grow up really that much with Sonic, but I definitely remember him and, back in the day, we also played his video game(s) occasionally. Apart from that, hedgehogs are like my favorite animals ever and even if he is more of an alien, he identifies himself as a hedgehog (and what you identify yourself as is all that counts these days we have learned haha who cares about facts related to science and biology). Anyway, let's not get carried away now. Like I wrote in the title of this review, I was pretty underwhelmed here. I thought that this film really seemed much more for young audiences than it should be because I think many people who are around my age now (30 to 40) grew up with the Sonic video games and would really want this to be good and bring back some nice memories. The film only does so very early on when we see this brief gigantic collection of snippets that create the word SEGA with Sonic being one of them, but also another pretty cool video game there. And the ending sequence with the closing credits was nice too because it was so retro. Sadly, everything that was good quality in this film was when they used themes and inclusions from the game(s) (such as the laundromat) and it feels as if there is zero creativity here from the filmmakers itself. This refers to the many writers who are definitely a perfect example of too many cooks spoiling the broth. But it also refers to director Jeff Fowler. And I am genuinely surprised they picked him for this film to be honest. He has made exactly one short film before the Sonic movie and this was 15 years ago and even if he received an Oscar nomination for that, it was still an animated short film and there is nothing animated about this film here except Sonic of course. Maybe an experienced director could have done a better job. Then again, I believe the screenplay was so weak that almost nobody could have made it work.
I already said that I felt this is more of a film for children, but I'd say this is also only partially true because the 6 or 7 kids in my showing did not really seem to enjoy it that much and the number of occasions on which I heard them laugh loudly wasn't higher than the number of fingers on your hands, probably one hand even. This also had a lot to do with the cast here I must say. First of all, James Marsden, who plays the central human character, did absolutely nothing for me. His comedic timing was not good at all and even those running gags like his donut-related nickname felt so try-hard and unfunny that, even when it is mentioned the second time, you had almost forgotten already why he exactly he is called like that. Very fitting that they also used this reference as an inside story near the very end to express how close the two had gotten because of all they went through together, Tom (Marsden) and Sonic I mean. In general, their more dramatic and "emotional" moments like how Sonic is forced to say farewell to a beloved one early on or how the bucket list about saving a life or, especially, making a friend felt forced to get some kind of emotional reaction out of the audience at least. But they did not. It rang very false. They did not get an emotional reaction, they did not get many laughters. They simply should have gone for pointless fun, there is nothing worng with that approach at all. So Marsden was definitely a bad casting decision, but maybe I am biased here because I am not a fan of the actor in general, also in other movies. Now as for Sonic, he is voiced in the original by Ben Schwartz (sadly an Emmy winner, but hey shows everybody can win an Emmy these days right?) from Parks and Recreation and I find him really unplesant to watch and overrated. But luckily I did not have to watch him here, but had I seen the English-language original I would have found him bad too I'm sure. I watched the German original and admittedly the "actor" who voiced the hedgehog there was not good at all either. It was Julien Bam and he is one of Germany's most successful Youtube influencers (i.e. influenzas) I believe. I don't know him. And after hearing him here, I am glad I don't. Shame on the producers (or whoever decided to pick him) for not casting an actual actor or prolific voice actor, but instead going for a social media phenomenon hoping all his subscribers will go to the movies to see him. Despicable approach. Going back to the actors we actually SEE here: Tika Sumpter plays the only female character who has a decent amount of screen time. And she was as bad of a decision as everybody else. Not only does she constantly overact, especially at the end when they stand at the open door and talk to the government official, but also had her character been left out completely, nothing would have changed about this film. I guess they picked her (character) because of her ethnicity because it adds some political correctness and people (we know who) won't complain there is no Black actress in this film. Thank God, Asians, Hispanics, Russians... are not complaining. Admittedly Sumpter's character's sister was slightly funny here and there at least. Or just not as unfunny as everything else.
As for Sonic, I think I read that when they released the first shots a long time ago, fans were so unhappy with his looks that they completely started from zero with the character animation and this was a good decision because Sonic's looks are fine, one of the better aspects for sure. Sadly, they messed up almost everything else though. In general, the film reminded me a bit of this Garfield mix between live action and animation (in terms of the title character). But the Garfield films are much better than this one here, don't trust the critics. Okay, now how can I not mention Jim Carrey here. Great fan. But sadly, even him / his character they messed up here. For most of the film, his scenes were just slapstick solo presentations by Carrey (sometimes with a sidekick) and as good as he may be, not even he could have made them work. Or all of them. And almost every other actor would have done an even worse job I am sure. I wish I could say more positive things about Carrey, but his character was also destroyed with the writing already I think starting right with the reason why he was called upon (the ridiculous baseball sequence, come on don't tell me we should feel sorry for Sonic's loneliness there, the shrink scene before that was alright and enough) and also this scene with all the powerful guys on the table trying to justify the selection of his character over a group of elite soldiers/scientists or so. Aside from him, there are many unrealistically bad moments. Like how Sonic supposedly knows immediately what is going on when he sees the Frisco shirt during his first "meeting" with Tom. It's just a shirt! By the way, this storyline about moving elsewhere and the reference to how people like and need Tom in his hometown also felt really botched and for the sake of it. None of these many writers should ever be in charge of a drama screenplay unless they considerably step up their game. Then the bar scene was a mess from beginning to end really. Yeah he is 40 years old and has some strange genetic disease. Right. And only one character would ask with this joke of a costume. I can't believe they even messed up this slow motion (actually standstill) sequence that at least in the end worked better. And yeah, the fart humor on one occasion showed us that they really only intended this for kids. An insult to all the grown-ups who played the video game. At least the ending was slightly okay. I am glad they did not act as if Sonic is known and loved by everybody now and they don't have to hide him from the government. They did, even if Sumpter ruined this scene like I already said. And in the end, there were many hints that we get a sequel, but I am not sure if the reception here really will be good enough for that. Carrey's character is going to be back eventually to Earth from the mushroom planet and in the Avengers-style post-credit sequence, we also get a brief inclusion of the red fox, Sonic's best buddy, the Diddy to his Donkey Kong you could say, another franchise I am more familiar with than Sonic's. Honestly I wondered throughout the entire film where the fox is. Even if I am a bit curious about him, I am not sure if I want to see a sequel, even if that one will be featured way more prominently in this movie. I hope that if it happens, they really step things up there. How about getting the writers from "Wreck-It Ralph"? Still I feel already bringing back (most of) the cast from this one here will make it almost impossible for a second film to become a quality watch. And please, if you still go for it, stop sucking up to Will Smith (and Keanu Reeves). So yeah, overall this film is about as cool as the name of the one in charge of the soundtrack here: a certain "Junkie XL". Oooookay. It's a thumbs-down overall for me. Not a failure, but definitely a missed opportunity. Watch something else instead.
Meine Schwester und ich (2005)
"Meine Schwester und ich", which means "My sister and me", is a German television film from 2005, so this one has its 15th anniversary this year. It runs for slightly under 90 minutes, which is the typical runtime for small screen releases here in Germany and there are hundreds, probably thousands, of others with the same duration. On some of them the director was also Ilse Hofmann. Taking a look at her body of work, not just this movie here, makes it obvious to me that we should be grateful she is retired for a decade now. Her writer Marlies Ewald has (according to imdb) not worked on any new projects for over a decade even and as her final works included Rosamunde Pilcher adaptations, I think we can be glad she is no longer working too. So seeing who wrote and directed here, it would have been a minor (or big) miracle if this film had turned out mediocre even. No day for miracles. This is as bad as you think it is. The cast included a handful television actors, who have really worked on many projects, but also in this case it is true that quantity does not equal quality and this is especially true for the two female protagonists at the center of this movie. Schubert and Brennicke are both really bad. Thomas Sarbacher is also not exactly a revelation between these two, but at least he does not make the material look even worse, which is really a massive "achievement" because the material is pretty bad per se already. It's really impossible for me to come up with anything positive about this one. It already starts with the ridiculous premise that they wnat us to believe that Brennicke's character is working as a supermodel. At best, if even that, she is above-average attractive for a woman in her mid-30s, and they want us to believe she is Claudia Schiffer at her peak or something. Really cringeworthy. I feel bad for audiences who actually do not see through this charade. Then again, their stupidity is why films like this are even made. For the easily influenced who believe everything preented to them. Katharina Schubert is not lead actress material either. No range or versatility on her, especially when it comes to moments of subtlety. She hits all the wrong notes from beginning to end.
And as so many other times with films like these, the men are depicted as idiots. Be it the father who treats the daughter that does not care for him like a princess or the man who quickly goes to bed with the oh so stunning model sister and who in the end has to beg for forgiveness of course. I am sure these easiily influenced (mostly female) viewers really appreciate stuff like that. I mean the housewives who have zero ambition or those who have become hopeless enough to think that there is any reality in this film here. It does not only suck at the very middle of it all, but also the smaller moments are utterly bad. Just take the father. We hear all this nonsense from this character, also how he criticizes his daughter after she plays the violin so beautifully, but in the end all of a sudden out of nowhere he is against the daughter he always preferred. Strictly against her really. No explanation. He was never in favor of his other daughter's romantic relationship, so don't tell me this is the reason. Or how the man helped him in this cringeworthily rushed-in pseudo-dramatic health struggle sequence. Oh yeah, speaking of the violin part, this was also one of the weakest aspects of the film that really made it impossible to enjoy the music. Schubert like I said has zero talent, so while she cannot even act, they are trying to convince us she is a truly gifted violinist. For some reason, she has not played in ages, no explanation. For another reason, she randomly starts playing again just for herself. No explanation. Then again, it certainly did get a chuckle out of me how she acted surprised/caught in the act when her dad and sister show up and hear her play. This film, in general, was unintentionally funny on a handful occasions, while the filmmakers actually thought they had the right to take this movie completely seriously, which made it even funnier. Anyway, back to the violin references: In the end, there is a big concert that the female protagonist plays a crucial role in and of course despite only having been contacted days ago, she gives a perfect performance and is successful on her own. I already had enough when I saw the faces of the other orchestra members because of how great Schubert's character played in their very first session. Unbearable really. And a little while later, when she struggles with her family life, she plays worse and is called out immediately for it before there is the inevitable forced realistic happy ending.
Oh yeah, then we also have the part in which the model sister has a one-night stant with the male protagonist. After the two had almost no connection before that (and even less chemistry). The best example is how they keep meeting so randomly. The first meeting at the bar was still slightly realistic. The scene when he was carrying stuff to his car was already pretty bad, especially when he tells her what to do, but the scene with the hedgehog was really an insult to every viewer's intelligence, I mean at least to those who aren't vegetable, how he crashes basically into her when she is on a bike and after the first shock the two go and drink some wine together. Good God that as all so bad and staged. I almost felt as if I got physically sick through watching alone. Okay what else let me think. Luckily, the film does not try to be funny on too mayn occasions because when they did, it was a big mess too. The best example is this strange relationship between two of Schubert's character's colleagues and be it the Sophia Loren quote (yep sorry 70yo Loren looks still much better than you at 50) or the quote from the guy and what he says exactly when he lets people know she finally decided to be with him or give him a chance felt cringeworthy because it sounded so macho, which he certainly wasn't, and it is just embarrassing. I think this should be enough now to convince you to stay far far away from this film. And if it doesn't, then it is your own fault. In the first 5 minutes, you will already know I am right when you see and hear this bizarre photoshooting that does not only have Brennicke's character fall to the ground, but also Steffen Groth (who also is in many of these garbage films, so I was glad he did not have too much screen time here, even if he is a negative scene stealer for sure) give us the worst example of a French accent I have seen in a while. The filmmakers probably realized that too, so instead they let him talk French that it feels at last semi-realistic and of course immediately translate into English what he said because he plays such a multilingual interesting character. Oh my. I shall stop now. I hope I can forget about this abomination of a movie as quickly as possible.
Le feu follet (1963)
Very bleak film, comes short in the story department
"Le feu follet" or "The Fire Within" or "A Time to Live and a Time to Die" is a French French-language film from 1963, so this movie that runs for almost 110 minutes will have its 60th anniversary soon. This age does not only mean that here we have a black-and-white film, but also that you won't find too many people who worked on this project either in front of the camera or as part of the crew that are still alive today. Lead actor Maurice Ronet actually died at a relatively young age. But first things first: The director here was Louis Malle, who is considered by many one of the finest filmmaker France ever had and this film is based on the novel by Pierre Drieu La Rochelle, who died less than 20 years before this film was made. I wonder what he would have thought about the adaptation. Oh well, we will never know. This movie here was apparently the first of many (ell, of several seems more accurate) that features this writer's material. It is a very sobering, very bleak movie, but seeing how Volker Schlöndorff was part of the crew here I cannot say I am surprised. His movies are never fun, actually never even include any slightly fun moments like Wenders', Herzog's and Fassbinder's did. Fittingly for this one here, there is a story about a man suffering from depression, a pretty attractive man who gets along well with the ladies and also has the money to live exactly the life he wants to life, but the dark shadows inside him won't go away. Still I must say that I was never really entertained by this movie, although this is maybe the wrong word, let's say on the edge of my seat. It definitely isn't a failure, but it is just slowly dripping forward and nothing of interest really happens. Basically, after an introduction that shows us the main character and his most recent love interest, we see him at a shrink and the shrink tries to make it clear to the protagonist that life is beautiful and worth living and be it only by the words he says before he leaves the room.
The rest of the film until the pretty shocking, even if not entirely unexpected, ending is basically the protagonist strolling around, meeting people who once were his friends, maybe still are. It's never really clear. But their attempts to get him into a better spirit and enjoy their time together are not really successful. If there is distraction, then it is really only temporary. I must say I also did not like this too much. They threw in too many characters here without properly elaborating on them. I mean we do not even really know who the main character is, what he does etc., but for the supporting cast members, things look even more disappointing. I don't feel this film was narrated too well. So I also cannot agree ith the awards recognition it received. I usually like old French black-and-white movies, but this one here did very little for me. Maybe the reason is partially how much of a downer it was, but actually I also like depressing films sometimes or films that have the exact opposite of a happy ending, but yeah I guess the ending here was memorable enough for some that they gave this film a much higher rating than they should have and this explains why the 8 here is left of the comma. I could not agree less honestly. I already said the lead actor died too early, but his death was not a suicide the way it is for the protagonist here. I would also like to say again that there is almost no comedy in here, at best 2 or 3 moments of situational comedy, but it is just desperate grasping for straws honestly, so that the film does not feel 100% depressing. One example that some people in the crowd liked was the guy who admits he was still in jail last week. Oh well, if they find that funny.. Maybe it was more about his face expression or body language or because it was the closest this film is going to take you near joie de vivre. I don't want to go more into detail now. I got the chance to see it on the occasion of a film retrospective on old French movies and I think this one had the highest rating from them all, so I was curious and decided to give it a chance. Not the greatest decision though. The outcome here is not a success and honestly, the protagonist is also never likable enough, so that you wonder what is going to happen to him next or that you are really heartbroken at the end. At least for me, it could hardly have been any further away from making an emotional impact to be honest. A bit of a shame. I must say I have never read the novel this is based on and (luckily) I also never suffered from depression (at least not diagnosed) or suicidal thoughts, so maybe people with a more personal connection to the protagonist (because they know his pain) see the film in a more positive light. Quality-wise I mean. Story-wise it isn't even possible. Anyway, for me it is a thumbs-down overall and I suggest you watch something else instead. Not recommended. The good soundtrack alone could not save the movie in the light of all the mediocrity elsewhere, also in terms of how angst is depicted in here, which many others admittedly found a lot more interesting than I did.
Das bisschen Haushalt (2003)
Just clean the entire house or do whatever you ant, but absolutely do not watch this abomination of a movie
"Das bisschen Haushalt" is a German television film from 2003, so this one is getting close to its 20th anniversary. The title here is a reference to a fairly famous old song by a female singer who sings about how doing all the housework is nothing special, but only according to her husband, who does not really known how much work it is. Not a great title choice because the song is a bit of a classic for a reason and this film is the exact opposite. Still a better choice than the alternate title here "Wer glaubt denn heute noch an Liebe..." that is really as basic as it gets and could be used for a million movies and also better than the international title "Cleaning Up". The writer and director here is Sharon von Wietersheim (unusual for a German small screen release that she is in charge of both jobs) and looking at the (lack of) quality here and also her other films that are also almost all not good (gently-speaking) I am truly surprised she is still working on new projects today. Bad choice to employ her. The cast includes a handful of familiar faces that my fellow German film buffs could very well recognize. One example is lead actress Valerie Niehaus. She starred in many of these low-quality cheesy unrealistic romance movies I believe. She is pretty attractive, I won't deny that, but a good actress she is not, probably not even a mediocre one. Same is true for Tim Bergmann, who plays her love interest here, potential love interest and he is an even worse actor. Gideon Burkhard is slightly better and here and there he can at least lift the film from horrible to weak, but his character is also too poorly written to make a positive impact and apart from that, he is also out of the movie for a long time in the middle. And the last one I want to mention is Peter Sodann. He is just a minor supporting actor here, but that is alright because he may have a likable presence as always, but a good actor he isn't either. This is basically true about everybody else here. Kinda tough to say something negative about Billie Zöckler here in the face of her recent death, but I will: The scenes with her were not good either and I found her voice especially annoying.
However, it must also say that everything about her was so badly written that it was impossible to stomach. It already starts at the unemployment agency and her sorceress costume. Let me say that I am far from a fan of this particular agency due to experienced I've made with them in the past, but the way they are depicted here and with that i mean this one female employee is completely ridiculous and has nothing to do with reality. I wish the agency could have sued the makers of this movie honestly. It is almost defamation I'd say. So this is just one moment where you see that this film has nothing to do with reality. Another example would be the business the two women start that felt so fake and scripted. What was even worse, however, was how Niehaus' character got the idea to do so, namely when she takes care of a friend's household on evening and does a formidable job despite all hell breaking loose there. This sequence also stayed especially in my mind because the actress who palyed the friend was the orst actress with her line delivery that I have seen in quite a while. And I have seen many. Embarrassing stuff. She manages effortlessly to make the already cringeworthy dialogue writing seem even worse and that is almost an impossible achievement. Obviously, there are many many moments of really poor writing, especially when it comes to the dialogue here. I could mention 50 examples, but I will just stay with one. Or three I should say, namely the verbal reactions of Bergmann's character, the old lady and a boy talking about knives (so fake!) when all of them find out that Niehaus' character will go to New York for several months. Reallly difficult to take as a viewer. I was not sure if I should cry or laugh while watching this film. I actually laughed on some occasions here because the writing was so bad that it was unintentionally funny again. And the annoying soundtrack did the rest. It showed that the film clearly took itself seriously as if the writer and director (and maybe the cast too) here genuinely thought they came up with a convincing story and high-quality character study. The opposite is the case. But as much as they messed up the talking, they were just as bad with the actions. The protagonist's change in mind from not leaving to actually leaving felt entirely unrealistic. Not just how Niehaus portrayed it, most of all how it was written. Or let's take the moment when Bergmann's character waits outside for her just in case she decides to stay in Germany. Oh how cute and romantic! And what a self-confident woman Niehaus plays here with dedication and grace, right? Mildred Pierce level! (irony off) The easily entertained love it I'm sure. Then everything linked to the business early on. I already mentioned parts of it. So no matter if you take a look at the core story or the subplots, failure is everywhere in this movie. Highly, highly not recommended. What we have here is a big mess that is even too bad to be shown on german afternoon television just like it is today. Please don't mistake this film for a powerful take on a woman fighting for what she believes in. It's no such thing by any means.
Notarile ruins a fan film
"Rick and Morty Ruin a Fan Film" is an American live action short film from 2017 that runs for slightly over 6 minutes and this includes credits already, so it really is not a long movie. The director and one of several writers is Chris R. Notarile, who is maybe not among America's best fan film directors these days, but probably among the most prolific. I think his own comment about this film to the audience that "we've been had" is somewhat true, even not in the way he meant it. In fact, we've been had because we spent over 6 minutes on this horrible film. I am not even a fan of Rick & Morty, but I still thought it was really lame and too much over the top, and the real fans must hate it even more. I also felt that Rick was maybe the only character who slightly looked like his animated version here. (Maybe they thought that this could make the moment work when he is finaly the one at the center of it all. Of course I am talking about when the character breaks the fourth wall. But nope, it did not work well.) And this includes Johnny Bravo too, who really looked nothing like he does in the cartoons. Shockingly bad that they were actually trying to sell the audience that it is him. The "boyfriend material" line and several other quotes weren't helping either. The one female character in this film seemed at least somewhat realistic and not as garbage as everything else early on, but she turned into a mess quickly too after R&M showed up. The epilogue here is also pretty underwhelming. So don't be fooled by thee title here: Of course, Notarile wanted as many people as possible to watch and like this movie. And he is just joking that it is a ruined film. He definitely saw some quality in it when he decided to release it. Well, I do not and neither do most other people judging from the rating here on imdb that is still way too high. I mean I am not a fan of Notarile or something, but he rarely made a film that is as bad as this one here, but this statement is just meant in a way where I am referring to how bad this one is and not that the others are any good. Just not as high on the garbage scale. Then again, it is pretty self-explanatory how Notarile still has to do fan-made movies after all these years and even with his experience won't get a studio to hire him for a "real" movie. I am not even talking big budget. Also pretty telling how his films are always about established characters from all kinds of other movies and this shows how he does not have a great deal of creativity on his own. Skip this one here. Highly not recommended.
Der Geruch von Erde (2014)
This movie smells like something brown indeed, but it is not soil
"Der Geruch von Erde", which means "The Smell of Soil" is a German television film from 2014, so also over half a decade old now. The director is Marcul Ulbricht, a fairly prolific filmmaker here in Germany, while the script is by Ulbricht, Pflüger and Schulze and this is not the only occasion the latter two worked together. Admittedly, Schulze is far from prolific and it shows here. Actually, that is a good thing. I find it still pretty shocking how three people can work on a screenplay and the outcome is as horrible as here. Now as for the cast, I think it is just sad that Maria Simon has to accept lead roles in films like this. If I remember correctly, she was supposed to have quite a future. As for Baumeister, I am not too surprised. I always thought she was more stunning than talented. Sebastian Bezzel I like his region-based crime comedy movies. A lot actually. But this one here shows that once he really has to deliver on the drama front, he is completely unarmed. Quite a pity. I did not think he would be this bad. Thure Riefenstein I have seen in other films as well. He does not have a lot of range either, so it was good he was barely in this one. The one who is in it even less is Sascha Alexander Gersak. Has he more than one scene? Anyway, there is at least one film from him I really liked and where she showed that he is quite talented with the right role, so it fits in nicely that here he had absolutely nothing to work with in terms of both quantity and quality. So he was wasted and they could have gotten a much worse actor to play the part. The actor who plays the father I didn't know.
This is a pretty generic story with a woman retuning to her hometown when her father becomes sick. It's been done so many times in German films, especially small screen releases. The consequence is of course that she runs into old friends and foes. And an old love. This one is played by Bezzel here and it is really tough to stomach at times. The constant back and forth in the second half ot the film is just painful to watch before of course we get the expected (implied) happy ending with the two becoming a couple despite what happened before that. Well, Simon's character's struggles with how she thinks he is not the one for her (or at least we should think so with this pseudo drama) basically depicted how now to write a convincing romance plot. Indirectly linked to this is Baumeister's character, who just wants her revenge. Rarely have I seen a main antagonist who felt so obsolete really. And adds nothing. She is also linked to the financial struggles you also find in every one of these German television movies shown in the afternoon. Which in the end is of course solved as well. Fittingly with political correctness these days, they also got in their pro climate change message here on at least one occasion. Don't forget these cows fart, will you? Anyway, even as a vegetarian I thought the story with saving the cows from the slaughterhouse was poorly constructed, even if I agree with the general approach there. It was just for the easily entertained you know, those who eat their schnitzel while applauding the people in this film. Made for a really simple audience. Honestly in the film's first half, also because of Baumeister's and Simon's fine looks and because Bezzel was not yet that wooden, I felt I could give this film at least 4 stars out of 10 and say it is weak, but it is not a failure, but the second half turned out so hossibly wrong that it is simply impossible for me to do so. The best example is really when she runs into that police car and police officer near the end and after the big fight (funny how she brought in the emancipation argument there) finds her father lying in the forest with what was another heart attack or so. Drama for the sake of it at its worst and one must really be a fool to perceive her as some kind of heroine after cyrring daddy to the ambulance on her own. Oh well, she would not want this kind of praise, so let's not give it to her. Very bad film eventually, only the first half keeps me from saying this is one of the very worst films of 2014. But one of the worst maybe. Highly not recommended, also as usual because of the over-the-top soundtrack, especially during the more dramatic moments. They shoved everything into our faces here and they did not deliver half of the quality and creativity they should have delivered looking at how this film takes itself really seriously. By the way, takes a special lack of talent to make a really good song like the one we hear at the end feel so insignifcant. I won't mention the titles as (even if they agreed for the song to be used) I am pretty sure they would not be happy with how the song was used. Shallow beyond belief! And finally I would like to mention soemthing in this film I found really worrying because it did not only happen here, but also in many other German small screen films: I am talking about the way males and females are depicted, which seems as if the writer(s) must really despise men. The father is a stubborn, old, anti-female (although there is nothing that indicates this) hillbilly. The lover is a guy who cheated on his girlfriend (i.e. the protagonist), back when she went abroad for a while. And now he has to apologize for everything, show constantly that he is sorry. But the female is a likable woman who gets done stuff herself and doesn't need a man for strenuous farm work for example. No discussion on why she left behind her man and her family out of nowhere for over a decade. I mean it's okay right, she was heartbroken. She could have done everything (including shooting her boyfriend) and it would have been justified. I see a really worrying tendency when it comes to gender writing for German television films. So if any future filmmakers are reading this, I encourage you to stop this trend please.
Okay from the story-telling perspective, but too one-sided for me
"The Current: The Story of George Stinney, Jr" is an American English-language live action short film from 2017 that runs for slightly over 20 minutes and tells us the story of the boy whose name is included in the title. He received a death sentence back in the 1940s (so near the end of World War II) because people thought he killed two young girls that he crossed paths with the very same day they disappeared. At least that is what the film shows us. I think this is so far back in time that I don't want to be the judge here if he did it or not. But in my opinion this is also not what the film is about, but instead it is about a teenage boy receiving a death penalty and that is a highly questionable decision. Even back then it was as we see with the Black guy who tries to get people to revoke this judgment. It was not meant to be though. There is a bit of a framework with the boy on the day of the execution and in-between we find out about the day of the crime, the police "investigating" and the decision of the jury and judge. I must say it bothered me a bit here how literally every single White character is depicted as an antagonist here. I did not like that. It is also not fact-based. What is fact-based is most of all that the boy was indeed executed. They elaborated on the actual execution with the help of a really famous work, namely "An Occurrence at Owl Creek Bridge" and there are other film version of this one here. It was an interesting idea and this was maybe when the film was at its best with the harmony and happiness that eventually proves to be fake when reality bites as harshly as it gets and we see the kid dying. However, it is also telling from a negative perspective, namely that the only time when this film really delivers is when they reach out to another really famous work/movie. So yeah the fact that thhis is partially based on actual events (really very vguely though) makes it a more interesting watch, but it is never the filmmaking achievement they want it to be. by the way, the subject of George Stinney seems to be an interesting one (maybe even en vogue, if you can call it that) because this is not the only film that has been made about this young man in the last 3 years. I wonder if they had also made these films if they boy was White (can I capitalize this like "Black"? I say yes!) and maybe would not have fit in this much with liberal Hollywood's agenda. Still this one got overlooked, which surprised me a bit because I would have though it is really up their alley. Maybe the (lack of) promotion was the problem. For me the problem was the lack of a filmmaker's vision by director Jamison Stalsworth here (kinda ironic how his name is so similar to a character from a recent Spike Lee movie, especially given both films' subjects) and it is enough of a negative dealbreaker, even if I won't deny that I considered giving it 3 stars out of 5 and this a positive recommendation. My final conclusion, however, is not to. It's not a failure by any means, but also not goof enough. I sugges you skip.
Horse Girl (2019)
Mostly mediocre, never majestic
"Horse Girl" is an American English-language live action short film that was released in November 2019, so it is pretty much exactly 3 months old now, which means still new and fresh and may explain why it does not (yet) have 5 votes here on imdb to determmine a ranking. The director is Jack Campise and the script is by Giovanna Zavala. Both weren't filmmaking rookies when they started working on this project, but they are also far from being experienced filmmakers. It seems this one achieved some awards recognition or at least was shown at some festivals. It doesn't say so here on imdb, but before the film began we received this information. Anyway, this is the story of a teenage girl who is really really crazy about horses and loves them dearly. This changes, however, when she has an accident and from that moment on, she despises horses. You can see the consequences of the accident on the photo here. So what does she do? She has a stuffed animal that is a horse and she cuts off the head and in addition to that she also throws away everything else horse-related in her apartment and decides to repaint the wall that has horses depicted on it. But she is still wearing this horse shirt. Luckily for her, there is a kind spirit next to her that will help her understand that hate and anger is never a good solution. He even gets her to return to the stables where the horses are held and she feeds them again, so maybe she will get her appreciation back. The ending was supposed to be sweet and funny with the guy carrying her the way a horse would, so she keeps losing her fear, but to me it was not really effective. Sadly there wasn't a single moment in this movie where I was really on the edge of my seat or curious what is going to happen next. It was probably more because of the script, even if lead actress Kayli Vander Heide did not impress me either. It also seems her character's mom is also played by her real mom judging from the names, but the latter was barely in this film at all. So I personally give it a thumbs-down overall and I must say it dragged more than it should have for barely reaching double-digit territory in terms of the running time. It's never a failure, but I still suggest you skip the watch.
Und dennoch lieben wir (2011)
Feels unrealistic, too much drama, coincidence and tragedy for 1.5 hours
"Und dennoch lieben wir", which means literally translated "And nonetheless do we love", is a German television movie from 2011, so these allmost 90 minutes here will soon have their 10th anniversary. Director Tiefenbacher was already really prolific back then in terms of small screen releases here in Germany, while the duo of writers (Herzfeld and Kluger) have worked on several other occasions as a team and their bodies of work has some good, some not so good. This film probably is part of the latter, even if it is most likely not their worst career effort. Don't worry if you have never heard any of the names from this trio. But if you are at least a little bit into German films, then you should have come across some of the actors. Claudia Michelsen, who plays the one in the center of the story, is pretty well-known here and Waschke is also one that German film buffs will immediately recognize, even if perhaps they don't remember the name. Foroutan is not too famous, but also not entirely unknown. And usually these films have child actors that are not well-known at all. This one here is different. The two who played the boys have also acted next to each other in the "Fünf Freunde" children's book adaptations that started just one year after this film we have here. It's still not really clear if they will pursue a career in acting as grown-ups. One who most likely will though is Lisa Vicari. Her career looks really promising right now, even if in this film here she has almost no material to work with, let alone shine. She is just there, but this is because of how her character was written, not because of the performance.
So much for the cast. With the story I am genuinely struggling here I must say. On many occasions. I already mentioned the key problem for me in the title. I mean how tiny is the coincidence that these two women not only run into each other, but actually become friends. It would have been bigger if it had all been intentionally initiated by Foroutan's character (that's also what the man suggests), but it wasn't. It was 100% coincidence. And as if that isn't enough already, her son is also the son of the male protagonist here. And if that wasn't enough either, all of a sudden one character suffers from a terminal disease out of nowhere. By the way, I don't want to say too much about the female protagonist's struggles early on that we find out during the phone conversation. This was not particularly well written and Michelsen also did not do a good job there with her presentation, especially that cringeworthy comparison what she feels like. Needless to say that, at the other end of the line, the words from the male protagonist are just as poorly written. Maybe the filmmakers here realized that themselves and just forgot about this story. And shoved one drama after the next into our faces, sadly never convincing. Attention to detail is also lacking for the most part. It was especially the dialogue writing that had a pretty negative impact here. The best example is when the biggest supporting character says at the end where she wants to be buried and then Michelsen's character disagrees and the sick woman agrees with her. I am not sure if it was bad acting or bad writing there, but honestly this moment and scene could have been so much more. One moment that was genuinely bad acting was Quirin Oettl's line delivery of the question if his mother is going to die. Oh yeah and don't get me started on the Kuddelmuddel references. The person who invented this word definitely does not deserve it that his creation is treated the way it is in here. I don't know what they were thinking there, lend some lightness to actually really serious moments? It went all kinds of wrong for sure. So did the film as a whole. The struggles I am mentioning are just examples and there are many other sequences, scenes and conversations during which it becomes obvious that this is it a good film at all. Here and there I was thinking about giving it just one star out of five and it is definitely way closer to that than to 3 out of 5 (and a positive recommendation). The good thing is there are no schmaltzy romance kitsch story lines the way you find them in many other German television films that are shown in the afternoon. But other movies being even worse does not mean this is a good watch. It is not and it is especially disappointing that two writers worked on the script here. They should have seen each other's mistakes, but instead they just combined their mistakes it seems. By the way, one of the writers was born in Uruguay. Maybe that is the reason with the sick women coming from Chile? Not important anyway. Skip this one here. It's not worth seeing with how much they went over the top with all the drama and tragedy and it just doesn't feel realistic or authentic. For the easily entertained, who blindly believe everything you serve them. Sadly, there are enough here in Germany, which is why this film even received aards recognition, which is really inexplicable.
Marriage Story (2019)
Strong performances in this overall good movie
The title "Marriage Story" is a bit misleading in my opinion for this 135-minute movie from 2019, because there is a lot more focus on divorce here. But first things first: The writer and director is Noah Baumbach and he has really made many films in the past that weren't seen by too many, but received critical acclaim. So it was certainly only a matter of time until he also gets his big breakthrough in Hollywood and if you have the likes of Scarlett Johansson and Adam Driver on board (yep he is also one of the biggest stars now, not only because of Star Wars), then it is bound to happen unless you really mess up the script. But Baumbach is too reliable for this. He has worked with Greta Gerwig, his significant other, a lot in the past, so it is kinda interesting that his female lead here (Johansson) got no less than two Academy Award nominations this year, one for this film and the other for Gerwig's newest movie. For the latter, her chances were probably better to win, but in the end she lost both, but really two nominations in one year are really a big achievement and I am sure she is happy with that. I know I am because she should have been nominated a long time ago and it seems perhaps that maybe the Academy wanted to make up for omitting her on a regular basis. Adam Driver scored his second Oscar nomination and this is also deserving. He played his part very well and was the reason why sometimes the movie reminded me a bit of Kramer vs. Kramer. You could say it is the 2000s take on a similar subject. Driver did not win the Oscar either, but this was basically only because Phoenix was steamrolling his competition. AD was still considered the only one who could potentially cause an upset for Best Lead Actor. There are many other nominations here, such as Best Motion Picture, but the only win went to Laura Dern for playing a divorce lawyer. Oh well, I cannot say she won me over with her performance here. I mean she was alright, but honestly I feel that the nomination is already too much. This win is as underwhelming as the winner for Supporting Actress last year. Also Dern clearly profited from the fact that she was the only divorce lawyer to Johansson's character (funnily Johansson was maybe the only threat to Dern with her portrayal in Jojo Rabbit), while Driver's character had two and these were played by Alan Alda and Ray Liotta. Two pretty different lawyers. Especially Alda would have been nice to get in.
Okay, I already said that I really liked the two lead performances here. They did not only have nice chemistry, but also the ways they brought these characters to life were really entertaining and insightful to watch. The film starts with something positive really that could also be taken from a happy marriage. We hear the two tell us what they appreciate most in their partner. Sadly, reality bites immediately when we find out they are telling this to somebody who is gonna support them with their divorce, but is still not the negative end because Johansson's character's reaction there takes things to a new low. I mean the atmosphere, not quality-wise obviously. And still, these notes about each other play a big role because they are referenced at the very end again in a really touching manner as Driver's character reads to his son what his ex wrote about him and I can see why these final words bring tears to his eyes. This was maybe the only moment when I was tempted to give this film 4 stars out of 5, but I really must admit that I did not like this one here as much as Frances Ha for example and that one received a 4/5 rating from me. Also telling that Baumbach did not cast Gerwig here, for she is really busy focusing on directing now and making her own movies. Okay, but back to this one here. Unfortunately, there were also moments I did not like too much. I thought the singing part with Driver's character added almost nothing for me very close to the end. Or when Dern's character makes a pretty bizarre speech that even involves Jesus. Please don't tell me this was supposed to encourage females and their emancipation. And a third example, although it was not as weak as the previous two for me, would be the big fight. Now this is definitely among the most memorable parts this film has to offer and I liked most of it, but when it really escalates I am not sure I was so fond of it all, perhaps only because I quite like the characters, but probably it was just too much for me and I could think of a couple ways how it could have been written better, maybe more subtle. But the weak (some of it subjective) here is not half as frequent as the strong. The final sequence that also include the notes I mentioned earlier is really good and we see how Johansson's character has moved on (and Driver's partially as well) and they found a solution that works for them as well as their son. But I also noted that Johansson's character's mother in this scene did not have a strong connection with Driver's character anymore, but instead she was joking around with her daughter's new boyfriend, which also felt a bit sad because it shows how time changes everything and the two were so close before that. Okay, I could have done without the reference that the female protagonist is now a successful filmmaker herself, but it's okay. Another thing I did not like too much was that actually Johansson's character went to all those different lawyers to also make sure her husband can't get one of them and that I found a bit despicable honestly and I did not like it because it's okay if the lawyers go up against each other, but this seemed like a really malicious move by her.
Like I already said, it is true the two are still married in the movie, but it really feels way more about their (upcoming) divorce. Real harmony is only there at the beginning with this voice-over sequence that tells us a lot about these characters and it was cute how they were pretty different with regard to so many things, but they both hate losing at Monopoly. There is another little fun reference later on about how their son still sucks at it. They seem to be so competitive there. And parents, please play with your children. Really play, I mean. So the entire film is basically about the conflicts between the two as they are heading towards new chapters in their lives. There is this escalation scene and we will never know if Driver's character is correct in telling her that she just searches for something to be unhappy with and that she will never be happy with a guy. We don't know how her new relationship is going to unfold. But even if they initially intended to manage the break-up and divorce in good spirit, it is not working out. Many dark things come to light. Be it the pills (I wondered they weren't mentioned later on by Liotta's character), the alcohol (how she is stumbling down the stairs) or the hacking and on the other side be it the seatbelt, the amount of time he spends with his son, be it his cheating or how she talks about that he never really saw her as an individual human being, but just as a part of himself. This reference is actually even more present on other occasions than in the courtroom. The boy you can also see on the photo, but while it is always a lot about him, also when we don't see him, especially then actually, there is major focus on the two parents instead and the son does not get too much screen time. The exception is the lengthy sequence when the (rather shy) female assessor comes to his home and basically all goes wrong there that could go wrong, most of all obviously how he cuts himself accidentally and falls to the ground when she is gone. We don't find out what happened exactly afterwards. He lost a lot of blood apparently. Maybe the boy called an ambulance or maybe he managed to get up himself and take care of the wound. This long sequence, as entertaining as it was, surprised me a little bit though because Driver's character seemed to be the one who is better structured from the couple, so I definitely did not expect it to turn out like this. Instead I thought that he could easily deal with the situation and really make it work and impress her. But it became obvious that the little chance he had was gone completely now and that he would see his son less frequently in the future. Much less. Still there are some slightly happy references towards the end of the film: For example, Johansson's character still does not want to hurt her ex and she does not want 55% instead of 50%. She does not want to humiliate the one she loved. Maybe still loves, just differently. And the second shot at happiness is that Driver's character now lives really close and can take care of his son more frequently and it won't be complicated anymore because he lives so far away. Overall, with the exception of those parts I already mentioned that I did not like from a subjective perspective, I think this was a really well-written film and the screenplay comes in second after the two lead performances in terms of what I consider the best aspects of this movie. It is definitely worth seeing, especially for couples I believe. Probably not for couples who are about to break up, but instead for those who still love each other dearly and won't let things go as far as they do here when it escalates in terms of one character screaming how he wishes the other was dead and the other comparing her man to his violent father before that. Hurtful. Next when they compare each other to all the family members, it felt so bizarre really. I'd like to close on a high note and mention something I fancied, which would be just a minor moment at the end and again when we have Driver's character read what his ex-wife thought about him, there is a brief reference about his family background and he omits a sentence there because he does not want his son confronted with this kind of malice. Here you have great attention to detail, something Baumbach always brings to the table.