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It's hard not to feel betrayed.
It's impossible for me to find a rating that reflects the overall quality of the show. It started out strong; the first season was far from perfect, but it had an energy and a message that simply felt good. There were incredibly fulfilling episodes, such as Homecoming, Company Man, Five Years Gone, and heart-warming character moments not just for a few, but for most characters. I felt safe with this show. Anyway, one of the show's biggest problems became obvious in th finale, when all the character came together for a mostly underwhelming showdown. Somehow, Heroes was best when it did not follow closely to a plan, but allowed its characters some room to develop naturally. The best moments and characters of Season 1 are thanks to the writers having enough sense to use the opportunities that opened up. When Noah Bennet proved a more interesting character than previously hoped for, his role became bigger. The same for Sylar. The enmity between Mohinder and Sylar. Molly. It all grew naturally, and lost its momentum only when everything was yanked back into the intended showdown.
The second season put a damper on the mood. What fans wants to wait a whole season only to find out one of their favourite characters died between seasons? I'm one of the few who didn't mind the new characters. They felt fresh and gave new impulses, showed us new perspectives on their power. What really slowed the series down to a crawl was the need to force certain other characters back into the plot, even though they no longer had any purpose, and should in fact have died in the season finale. Since the writers could not think of what to do with these characters (Nathan, Peter, Claire mostly) they simply rehashed their previous story lines. But there was still enough to keep me interested, and I thought that if I could see the problems of Season 2, then surely the writers could see them as well.
Sadly, Season 3 came and was a nightmare, a disaster. Characters were written off, other characters had their backstories and even basic motivations retconned. The once international cast was suddenly down to three (two of which are the Asian comic relief), and all the characters who had already run out of steam by the end of Season 1 were now front and centre, source and solution of the problems. Showrunner Tim Kring now declared that Heroes was actually about the Petrellis and the Bennets. Had I known that from the start, I wouldn't have bothered - I started watching when he described the show to be about "ordinary people across the globe". Instead, Heroes is now about a bunch of upper-class New Yorkers ensuring one another that it's okay they started a genocide. Heroes did the impossible with Season 3: they made a show that bears little to no resemblance to Season 1. They also managed to make Sylar into one of the most obnoxious characters on TV. They shed all pretension of being interested in diversity. Consistency and continuity have been tossed overboard, not just in regard to previous season, but even with things established just an episode earlier.
I chose the rating to reflect this disappointment, too. If I was to judge only the first two seasons, the rating would be considerably higher. But in the end, the complete product shows a disrespect towards the audience, a hatred for its own characters and story lines except a few precious upper-class New Yorkers, like I've never seen it before. It leaves a foul taste in my mouth. As a viewer, you're lost. Can I grow attached to this character, or will he die, or will the next episode forget he existed, will this storyline be dropped or will his entire personality be switched around? Probably. What reason is there to watch?
Jud Süß (1940)
A couple of years ago, I saw this film in my history class. It's been long, so I couldn't give a detailed summery of what exactly happened, however, the plot wasn't what stayed with me anyway. What registered, more than anything, was that this was a propaganda film intended to convince the audience that Jews were evil. It is not that the villain - whom I remember to be partly intriguing, partly repulsive - just happens to be Jewish. The final scene makes it quite clear that he is the way he is because he is Jewish. It's when the film abandons all subtlety and decides to give its message a final hit with a hammer, to assure it's been properly driven into the heads of the audience.
I find it quite impossible to judge this film under any other than the propaganda aspect. While it may be a decent film a far as technical apect are concerned, it is nothing anyone could watch purely for his or her amusement, at least not if they know about the historical background; and people in Germany are probably even more aware of this than anyone else. I cannot ignore that this film was meant to sow hatred, and nor do I want to. All other questions, whether the acting and directing were good or whether the dialogues were well-written, are of secondary importance to me. Certainly the film was well-made - how else would it have worked so well? - but even this doesn't make it into something watchable or entertaining.
Garden State (2004)
I didn't expect this to be so good, and now it's one of my favourites.
I liked the trailer. A few days later we were standing in front of the cinema, and having narrowed down the choice to two titles that did not entirely scare us off, flipped a coin. In retrospect, I am glad the coin did not land on the Star Wars side that day, but instead sent us to watch Garden State. We watched Star Wars anyway the next evening, but would we have returned for Garden State, a film we'd never really heard anything about?
Consequently, we did not expect much of this film. We went to see it with only a faint idea of what to expect. Maybe this is partly why I loved the film so much. I was positively surprised. Who'd have expected to find such a pleasant film, suddenly and unannounced? I enjoyed it, it made me feel good and in the end I left the cinema thinking that I'd be getting the DVD for sure.
Maybe there are clichés in there. I don't care. I don't watch a lot of movies like that. I don't switch off as soon as I encounter a cliché. As long as the film makes sense in itself, all is well. And Garden State did just that. Maybe some people find such main characters, who consider their lives empty and who don't know what's important anymore, to be annoying. I guess I kind of agree. It only really annoys me, though, if the idea is executed poorly. In Garden State, I didn't mind. The main character seemed believable and likable to me - and who cares if his problems aren't 100% unique? Are real persons' worries always 100% unique? This is as unique as it gets. Andrew Largeman's story is complex enough without becoming too unlikely.
Garden State did what really very little films managed. It came from nowhere and jumped straight onto my list of favourite movies, despite me not caring about the genre at all.
We went the cinema impressed, also, by the actors' performances. Especially Natalie Portman had fascinated us. Her uninteresting role in Star Wars, which we watched the next day, made us appreciate Garden State even more. Star Wars could have fooled me, but Garden State made me realize Natalie Portman is a great actress.
Give this film a chance, definitely.
Eau de la vie (1993)
An absolutely scary, gripping little gem
I'm still relatively new to short films, and I'm amazed at how such a small, short story can excite and fascinate me. This film had me stare at the screen in horror, sitting on the edge of my seat. I must congratulate this film on having had such an excellent effect on me.
Eau de la Vie takes us to a world where the gap between rich and poor is huge and - at least in the eyes of the truly decadent elite - a (poor) life isn't worth anything. In a posh restaurant, a group of people is celebrating a young woman's entering their class. She's treated warmly by all of them - or at least that is the first impression. Then it comes to choosing the "entertainment" for the evening. The choice is left to the heroine, who knows just as little as the audience what this is supposed to mean. She is to select one person out of a group of four intimidated looking people, a middle-aged man and woman, a young, handsome young man and a little girl. She obviously doesn't know what this is about, but quickly picks the young man. As he is then stripped of his clothes and locked into a glass tank, and as the tank slowly fills with water, it finally becomes clear what the "entertainment" is supposed to be: watching a man drown. The heroine's reaction to this situation was quite terrifying for me to watch, since I almost entirely shared her horror. I could not help but feel relieved in the end, but when I came to think about it later, my initial relief couldn't hold. This solution isn't really one, I fear, and if anything, the other characters' reaction in the very end is in fact utterly, utterly disgusting.
This film is really disturbing. It's a bitterly evil, dark satire of society. I was told after this film that it's been inspired by the political situation in New Zealand at that time. Not knowing anything about New Zealand, I cannot judge whether this is correct, and how appropriate such a grim view is... but who cares? Sadly, this film is always on topic, addressing issues that still exist, and will exist, in many places all over the world.
I recommend this film!
"Boring" is the first word that comes to mind. "Why?" the second.
I cannot help it. I appreciate the effort of trying to portray the Cuba crisis in a realistic way without one central character playing the super hero. Yes, I do appreciate it, and I liked having French people be the main heroes. I can appreciate all that, but I still found the film absolutely boring, boring beyond compare.
There are moments when something like suspense or excitement can be felt, but there is no suspense running through the whole movie, nothing holding the audience's interest for the entire story.
Similarly, there is one great, beautiful shot in the middle of the movie, but the rest of the thing is filmed in a bleak, normal style... If this is intended, if the realistic look is intended, then why add this one gorgeous shot at all? It doesn't fit in there at all, and strengthens my impression of Topaz being 'nothing'. An attempt at best. An attempt at making a realistic thriller about spies involved in the Cuba Crisis, a beyond the scenes showing several nationalities work together or against each other... An attempt that failed in every aspect: It didn't find a visual style; the main character could as well have been a cardboard cut-out for all the impression he makes; the script has never heard of the word "climax".
In fact, I half-missed the ending, because I was just making some sort of comment to a friend next to mine, and suddenly the film was over. I don't normally talk in important scenes, let alone during endings. I usually pick scenes that seem not-so-important to me, if I really do have something to point out, or ask, and cannot hold back... I guess that says it all: I didn't feel that the end was approaching. The film was just suddenly over, ending in a very, very unspectacular way. Everything it gave me was this emptiness.
It's too bad. This could certainly have been better. There were things that were somewhat interesting, like the resistance fighters in Cuba, whose inventive methods kept me entertained for a brief while. But like I said, the movie as a whole is just boring, even if episodes or instances strike me as nice. What a waste.
This is one of the rare movies that I did not immediately discuss with my friends after watching it. This wasn't because it had particularly entranced or impressed me. The contrary, it had given me nothing at all.
Why? Because somehow, everything was so much overdone that I couldn't take this film seriously anymore. There was so much sex and violence that I got the strong impression that the film was trying very, very hard to be offensive, as if it was aiming at superlatives in ugliness, rather than in telling a convincing tale about two women caught in a spiral of crime.
Baise-moi had been described as "Thelma & Louise with actual sex" to me. Well, it is true that the main idea is similar. There are two women traveling through the country because they've committed crimes and know that their lives are finished now, that the police are going to catch them, and they decide that now that everything's over anyway, there is no way to hold back.
Baise-moi had been described as a feminist film where women, who had suffered from male dominance in the past, exact revenge upon the men that they encounter.
This is something that I had never interpreted into this film, simply because none of these women had ever been innocent, and because they do not just kill irresponsible, violent men, but also men that they seduce themselves, men that show the sense of wanting to do protected sex. And they kill women. No, they are in no way better than the characters that they encounter and murder in hideous, brutal ways.
How easily the "heroines" decide to murder, and how much pleasure they take in it, made it absolutely impossible for me to relate to them in any way, or even take them seriously. It was just all too much. Too much sex, too much violence. I got the feeling that sex and violence were only there in order to create a superlative in ugliness, rather than in conveying a story, or making a point.
Baise-moi left me with no impression, hadn't set me thinking, because it was so far removed from any real world. So constructed, unrealistic and over the top.
There was nothing that I could do with this film, there was simply nothing about it to think about, other than "Why did they make this terrible film?" Had the intense unpleasantness going on in this film, served a purpose, I'd easily accepted it. But since I found nothing, since the film's story appeared to be not more than an excuse to squeeze as much and as ugly sex as possible into one film... I filed it away under "unnecessary torture", decided to never ever, EVER, watch this film again, and I now consider this to be the worst film I've ever seen.
Worst, not just because it really isn't my cup of tea to watch people get raped, rape, have sex in other forms and kill one another... but because whatever it was that the makers wanted to tell the world with their film... if they wanted to say anything at all... it just didn't work. And there's nothing else that could save this film, because it's also filmed in such an ugly style.
Those Magnificent Men in Their Flying Machines or How I Flew from London to Paris in 25 hours 11 minutes (1965)
I'm sorry, but I was disappointed.
I remember watching the film, or part of it, years years ago. Recently, I saw it again, and must admit that I found it undeserving of all the praise this film seems to be getting.
What annoys me most were the national stereotypes. They were not just stupid, seemed utterly outdated from today's point of view. They also killed the suspense. Most of the cast was degraded to being stereotypical representations of their countries, anyway. Real personalities were only granted to the English and American characters, whom the film visibly focused on. The rest was just there for cheap jokes, and cheap they were indeed. I've never been a huge fan of slapstick, and it certainly doesn't help if you can see a joke coming. And since a lot of these jokes were just based on national stereotypes, and I hate stereotypes, I found it terribly unfunny. And since the story is so predictable, it becomes boring.
Too bad. The idea itself is rather nice, and I would have loved to watch a light-hearted, fun movie about the early days of flying. This wasn't it, though.
The Big Hit (1998)
Watch Melvin Smiley's more than complicated life erupt in chaos. His fiancée's parents are coming for a visit, his (other!) girlfriend is to blame that he's kind of out of money, he really ought to return the tape of King Kong Lives... On top of all that, Melvin soon gets problems of an even worse kind. A professional hit-man, Melvin suddenly finds himself in terrible danger of getting killed by his own co-workers when a kidnapping turns out to have been a bad idea.
It's crazy. Exaggerated, chaotic, full of somehow weird characters, often unrealistic action scenes, fun. I'm surprised this movie is so little known, and I am even more surprised that so many people hate it. Sure, if you expect a serious, realistic action movie, The Big Hit isn't the movie for you. You really need a sense of humour for this. Expect an action comedy, almost a parody, and you'll be entertained for sure.
Urmel aus dem Eis (1969)
An unforgettable classic!
The "Augsburger Puppenkiste" and its famous marionette plays are known to every person in Germany, and loved dearly by several generations. Among the many classics that were aired on television countless times, is "Urmel aus dem Eis", the wonderful adaption of a children's novel of the same title by Max Kruse.
Professor Tibatong is a scientist who eventually moves onto an far-off island with only his assistant and the sow Wutz - who is keeping his household, and who's been taught how to speak by the professor. On the island, he also teaches a variety of other animals how to talk, but all of them end up with their own, cute, speech impediment. One day, an iceberg appears with a frozen egg, and once hatched, it reveals the Urmel, a mischievous baby dinosaur thingy.
Urmel is a classic and has everything it needs to make the show unforgettable. The characters are lovable, the dialogues (and the way they are spoken) are extremely fun. When watching "Urmel" again recently, I discovered that I had not forgotten many of the dialogues and sentences. At other times, I was pleasantly thrilled to discover that the dialogues really were so very witty, funny, even more so than I remembered from my childhood. This is an absolute gem!