Categories
Film Review

Beavis and Butt-Head Do America (1996)

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Running time: 1h 21min
Directed by Mike Judge, Mike de Seve (segment director), Brian Mulroney (segment director)
Written by Mike Judge, Joe Stillman, Brian Mulroney
Starring Mike Judge, Bruce Willis, Demi Moore

Beavis and Butt-Head (original series 1993-1997, 1st revival 2011, 2nd revival 2022?) was (is?) MTV’s popular animated show about a pair of teenaged dingleberries who love to live, laugh, and love. To be more precise, they love (indicated by their perennial penchant for chortling obnoxiously) the notion of “scoring” — while they have significant difficulties in achieving this lofty goal themselves. Everything is a joke to them, rated from “sucks” to “rules”, even if they do not quite understand the joke; and with nothing being sacred, the show was able to make fun of a wide variety of topics. As the series quickly became a success, a movie was inevitable, and in 1996 Beavis and Butt-Head do America saw the light of day — and now, in the summer of 2022, there is also a sequel that has just come out. Beavis and Butt-Head was clearly a product of the 90’s, but it has proven it has staying power — does the 1996 movie, though?

Categories
Film Review

Kindergarten Cop (1990)

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Running time: 1h 51min
Directed by Ivan Reitman
Written by Murray Salem (story), Herschel Weingrod (screenplay), Timothy Harris (screenplay)
Starring Arnold Schwarzenegger, Penelope Ann Miller, Pamela Reed

In 1990 Arnold Schwarzenegger was one of the biggest stars in Hollywood, having appeared in action films such as Conan the Barbarian (1982), The Terminator (1984), and Predator (1987). He had also branched out into comedy with Twins (1988), and, some would say, also Commando (1985), which I have already reviewed. Kindergarten Cop is a family-friendly affair in which John Kimble (Arnold) has to work undercover as a kindergarten teacher in pursuit of a dangerous criminal. Of course, when you put the tough guy with a funny accent in the middle of tiny humans, hijinks will ensue.

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Film Review

Drive (2011)

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Running time: 1h 40min
Directed by Nicolas Winding Refn
Written by Hossein Amini (screenplay), James Sallis (book)
Starring Ryan Gosling, Carey Mulligan, Bryan Cranston

Drive is a competently made, stylized, somewhat artistic, and (relatively) low-budget drama/action/thriller that was very well-received with both critics and audiences. I like it, and I think it deserves its reputation, but it is not quite as good as some claim; it has a good cast, great direction, and it is visually fantastic, but it does not quite manage to reach greatness.

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Film Review

Dune (2021)

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Running time: 2h 35min
Directed by Denis Villeneuve
Written by Jon Spaihts (screenplay by), Denis Villeneuve (screenplay by), Eric Roth (screenplay by), Frank Herbert (novel)
Starring Timothée Chalamet, Rebecca Ferguson, Zendaya

Frank Herbert’s Dune from 1965 is one of the most well-regarded SF novels of all time. David Lynch’s 1984 adaptation is widely considered weird and flawed. How, then, does Denis Villeneuve, who has made a name for himself as a director of somewhat artistic, critically acclaimed, yet commercially succesful films in recent years (Prisoners (2013), Sicario (2015), Arrival (2016), Blade Runner 2049 (2017), etc.), do with the material?

Categories
Film Review

The Matrix (1999)

IMDB link
Running time: 2h 16min
Directed by Lana Wachowski, Lilly Wachowski
Written by Lana Wachowski, Lilly Wachowski
Starring Keanu Reeves, Laurence Fishburne, Carrie-Anne Moss

The Matrix (no relation to John Matrix of Commando (1985)) is one of the most influential films ever made, and not only in the genres of action and scifi. It was a huge hit that shaped the landscape of film-making and teen fashion trends for years, and spawned a franchise that got its latest entry in 2021 — not to mention all the memes. But does The Matrix have the same impact and remain as watchable as it was in 1999? Not quite, in my opinion, but it is still a monumental piece of action cinema that cannot be dismissed from the conversation about the greatest of the genre. During the years since its release, it has been endlessly viewed, analyzed, discussed, and reviewed. There is not much to say about the film that has not already been said, but I will give my two cents on it anyway.

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Film Review

The Farewell (2019)

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Running time: 1h 40min
Directed by Lulu Wang
Written by Lulu Wang
Starring Shuzhen Zhao, Awkwafina, X Mayo

The Farewell is feel-good drama/comedy which centers on the Chinese custom of not informing (or lying to) people about their terminal illness, so that they can live the rest of their days in blissful ignorance. The film is based on the true story of director/writer Lulu Wang’s life experiences.

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TV Show Season

Severance (2022–) Season 1

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Running time: less than 1 hour / episode
Created by Dan Erickson
Starring Adam Scott, Zach Cherry, Britt Lower

Severance is a mystery/drama/science fiction show on Apple TV+ that has been getting some praise (at the time of writing, 8.7/10 on IMDB, 83 from critics and 8.4 from audiences on Metacritic), so I decided to check the first season out. I must say that this is one of those rare occasions where I am neither with the critics nor the regular viewers — I did not enjoy Severance. It does have some things going for it — a stellar cast, some great ideas — but I think the execution (mainly the writing) was sorely lacking, and the characters were not at all interesting. The mystery aspect is revealed only slightly during the course of the season, and the pacing is at times glacial. But let us get into the details.

Categories
Film Review

Das Boot (1981) (dir. cut)

IMDB link
Running time: 3h 28min
Directed by Wolfgang Petersen
Written by Wolfgang Petersen, Lothar G. Buchheim (based on the novel by)
Starring Jürgen Prochnow, Herbert Grönemeyer, Klaus Wennemann

Das Boot is one of my favorite war films, and maybe even one of my favorite films of all time. It is a somewhat realistic look at what it was to sail in a U-boat during World War 2 — there was no glory, and the vast majority of the time on the boat was spent fighting boredom, but when the enemy is finally encountered, adrenaline quickly gives way to despair. Due to the subject matter, the pacing, and the length, Das Boot can be a hard watch, but it can also be very rewarding, and it is inarguably one of the greatest war movies ever made.

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Film Review

Once (2007)

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Running time: 1h 26min
Directed by John Carney
Written by John Carney
Starring Glen Hansard, Markéta Irglová, Hugh Walsh

Musicals are not really my thing, but occasionally I am forced to watch them. Once stars two singer-songwriters who I had never heard of, in a story where not much happens. There is the possibility of romance in the air, but will it ever get there? Find out, if you care!

Categories
Film Review

Heat (1995)

IMDB link
Running time: 2h 50min
Directed by Michael Mann
Written by Michael Mann
Starring Al Pacino, Robert De Niro, Val Kilmer

Michael Mann’s Heat is by now a classic crime thriller/action film, made almost legendary by great casting, great direction, and perhaps the best shootout scene in the history of cinema. I would not say that it is a perfect movie, but it does come close. Despite its almost 3 hour running time, it manages to entertain and thrill even on a rewatch.