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But I suppose what follows might interest you more...
Much too many, but I'll give it a try:
I would say mainly British, French, Canadian and Irish films. Cause they make the best.
Films with black humor, films that give my dreams wings, that capture me, touch me deep inside and which I will never forget.
- Intouchables -
- Stargate -
- Je ne suis pas là pour être aimé -
- Plots with a view -
- The Station Agent -
- L.A. Story -
- Anna and the King -
- The Crow -
- Maurice -
- The Secret Garden -
- Im Juli -
Pirates of the Caribbean
Kiss of the Spiderwoman
Addams Family Values
The Canterville Ghost
Harry Potter 1 & 2
Au revoir, les enfants
Mädchen in Uniform
The last unicorn
Les jeux sont faits
Bram Stoker's Dracula
Tipping the velvet
A walk in the clouds
Kings of the sun
Rebel without a cause
Dirty Dancing: Havanna Nights
Le comte de Monte Christo
La belle et la bête (with Jean Marais)
Weekend at Bernie's
Como agua para chocolate
Y tu mama tambien
Four weddings and a funeral
Love ... actually
Magical Legend of the Leprechauns
William Shakespeare's Romeo+Juliet
The Prince of Egypt
The Mummy I
Night at the Museum
West Side Story
He loves me ... he loves me not
pretty much every modern adaption of "Jane Eyre", but my favorite is the one with Michael Fassbender & Mia Wasikowska
and ... last but not least ...
every movie with Gary Oldman in it
Beauty and the Beast
Lana Del Rey
Johnny Hates Jazz
Goo Goo Dolls
Nat King Cole
and many more
Michael J. Fox
let's say every British actor except David Thewlis
Jon Bon Jovi
(not nessesarily in this order)
surely I forgot someone
check out my film and actor lists http://www.imdb.com/user/ur2196669/lists
"Maurice" by E.M. Forster
"Dream Boy" by Jim Grimsley
"One hot summer in St. Petersburg" by Duncan Fallowell
"The Catch Trap" by Marion Zimmer Bradley
"The twin brother" by Barbara Noack
"Rose Madder" by Stephen King
"The wishing" by Patrick ???
"Irish diary" by Heinrich Böll
"Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban&", "Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix" - both by Joanne K. Rowling
"The vampire Lestat" by Anne Rice
"Murder on the Orient Expresa", "Death on Nile" and "Evil under the Sun" - all by Agatha Christie
Some of the Sherlock Holmes tales by Sir Arthur Connan Doyle
and as a child I loved "The adventures of Tom Sawyer" by Mark Twain
Fave places to be
France (especially Paris and the Cote d'Azur)
Dublin Castle Garden
One day hopefully Egypt, New Zealand and Thailand
Fave kings and pharaos
King Mongkut (Rama IV)
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constantly under construction
What a really good actor and charismatic person can do
This movie at first was a clear but now is a difficult case for me. Like probably all people who see this film for the first time, I saw "The Prince and Me" first and this second film is way worse than the first film.
The major problem, of course, is that they exchanged almost all of the main cast. This makes it difficult to identify with the story and the characters. Also, it is very obviously that Luke Mably really didn't want to be in this one (and I can understand why he didn't).
The plot is thin, Paige is annoying, Edvard looks repulsed most of the time, and all the other characters are just ridiculous.
That was a while ago. In the meantime I have seen the film about three times. On my free will. What did change my mind? Simple: It was one actor. Jonathan Firth. In my opinion, he is the most elegant, sweet and sensitive character in this film. A real joy to watch. And basically the reason you like watching the whole film in the end.
Because it seems with brilliant actors that, their talent, and the heart they put into the role seems to rub off on the characters and the plot. In his calm and careful presence, Paige suddenly becomes a soft and likable personality, Edvard becomes sarcastic instead of depressed and the bitch of the film seems even bitchier.
So, in the end I can say: "The Prince and Me 2" is really a bad film. BUT Jonathan Firth's performance is worth every minute and you have missed something if you haven't seen him in it.
Seriously, one of the best CSI NY episodes ever
You know, if I start describing why this episode was so good, I would spoil a whole lot of it and probably run out of superlatives very quickly. So, I'll try to keep it basic.
Fantastic and very interesting storyline. Great moments between the team. But most of all, this episode belonged to Hawkes (and Mac and Hawkes) and I'm glad that finally the series focuses on him a little bit and he gets the attention he deserves.
One last remark is very personal: I am from Germany, therefore watched the dubbed German version. And the young man dubbing Hawkes, Julien Haggége, did such a good job on this episode. Very touching, sensitive and careful dubbing, he touches your soul. And basically breathes more life into Hawkes than he already has.
All in one a superb episode. Don't miss it!
Hands down, one of the best series episodes I've seen in my life
You know, it takes a lot to impress me and even more to touch me so deep that I break down and cry. And this episode touched me so deep that I don't think it could go any deeper. I won't lose one word about the plot because I wouldn't want to spoil it for anybody who will see it. But be assured: It will be an overwhelming experience that makes you realize so many things about yourself that you will probably want to laugh and cry at the same time. Although there is nothing remotely funny about this episode.
There are not many times that television creates magical moments. This episode is definitely one of them.
A Risk Worth Taking (2008)
The plot: A young designer (Muriel Baumeister) cares for her sick husband (the gorgeous James Wilby) and while the husband is dying from a sickness, she falls in love with his best friend.
Unbearable, incredibly cheesy flick. There is absolutely no chemistry between Baumeister and Wilby and at times it is obvious how uncomfy she feels around him.
The only person who saves this is James Wilby, whose performance is loving, caring and gorgeous as usual. He is also the only reason why one should watch this movie. Forget about the rest of it.
Credits go only to Wilby's performance and some beautiful shots of landscape.
Best film and most beautiful love story I have seen in years
What I loved most about this film is its silence. Usually big love stories are loud, passionate, desperate and over the top. But this film shows that big emotions don't have to be loud and sometimes silence and a little, tender touch between two people can be more intensive than screaming passion.
What I also love about this film that it doesn't only focus on the two protagonists and their love story but also takes care of other characters and their touching stories.
Most of all this is a film about people who are stuck with their lives and desperate to change them but too shy to do so. Thank God they find a helping hand that invites them to tango and together they dance into a brighter future. :)
A wonderful film and a simply beautiful love story. Outstanding performances by the two protagonists as well as the rest of the cast.
Les jeux sont faits (1947)
I have seen quite a few films in my life, but this is one of the films that will be one of my absolute faves of all time. And it's definitely a brilliant piece of art and a film legend.
Eva, the unhappy wife of a rich man and Pierre, a poor rebel, are killed at the same time, independently from each other. They meet again in a mysterious village and both are lead to a small street and a house that turns out to be the waiting room, where they get to know what happens to them in after life. Eva and Pierre fall in love while waiting and when their time comes, they are given a chance: Both will be send back to live and if they succeed in finding each other on earth again and staying a couple, they can stay together for all time in the afterlife. If they don't succeed, they will be banned from ever seeing each other again. And so off they go back to life...
I won't tell how this all is resolved and what end Eva and Pierre find, but the story, as well as the settings and the style this film was shot in, are remarkable and intriguing. Even more if you keep in mind that this film was made in the 40s.
I can't say anything bad about it. It has everything: Style, suspense, emotion, a simply wonderful love story and a fantastic plot. Both protagonists are doing a fantastic job and Micheline Presle is simply a feast to watch...
As I said: A masterpiece. Worth watching at least once and being remembered forever.
Beauty and the Beast (1987)
Ohhhh my God, that was dreadful. Okay, DeMornay is quite nice to look at, but the prince looks like a cheap body builder from a cheap advertisement.
Yeah, the costumes were nice. But the story was totally empty, lacking emotions, suspense, style, ah, just everything. In the end you just don't understand why she stayed with the prince and fell in love with him cause the dude is boring as hell and delivers one stupid line after another.
Never before have I felt less while watching a movie.
I guess the two best adaptions of this tale are still the Disney one and the one by Jean Cocteau, with Jean Marais playing the prince / the beast. Go watch those instead and save your time on this empty flick.
Don't Look Now (1973)
Has it shocking moments but I wouldn't necessarily give it the rating it has
I don't know, for me this is not one of the best movies of all time. It was a nice time-passer, has its thrilling moments, but in my opinion too many chances and ideas were wasted in this film.
What's with this blind, screaming woman always announcing that John was in danger? (I know her role.) They could have got more out of this instead of letting her scream every ten minutes and look frightened all the time. Because all the time the film tries to let her and her sister look freaky, but in the end they are just two normal women. (And more normal than the "normal" characters, I must add.)
What also was annoying was this endless wandering of the main characters, especially Donald Sutherland, through some dark corners of Venice. Honestly, after this movie you get the impression that Venice is a city inhabited by ghosts, murderers and freaks, is always dirty and dark and if you visit it you cannot be sure to get out of it alive.
I liked some moments and the ending, for it gave away the twist, but my personal highlight of this film is Julie Christie whom I have never seen in a movie before. She was elegant, emotional, very beautiful and intelligent - simply a pleasure to watch and some so-called "Hollywood" actresses from today surely could learn one or two things from her.
To sum it up: Typical horror trash - and I have seen better before. But Julie Christie gives the film a touch of class.
Verrückt nach Clara (2007)
Just another meaningless love-comedy TV show
A little bit "Sex and the city", the typical quota gay best friend and absolutely no brain - there you have "Verrückt nach Clara". A meaningless series about a young woman, who works as a journalist in Berlin, can do nothing, shags with men and discusses life and love with her best gay friend. This series was forgotten even before it started.
The only person who pulls it out a bit is Sascha Göpel as the gay buddy. The protagonist, Clara, looks like a transvestite and sucks beyond words. And finally, the plot is absolutely empty, boring and leads nowhere. In the end Clara has shagged, lost, shagged more, nothing has changed and nothing happened. You might as well not watch it.
The Ten Commandments (2006)
too long, too ridiculous
Oh my, not another "Best of Moses"-story. Well, first of all, I thought it was a stupid idea to cast an Indian and a British actor as Egyptian princes (with the British actor I mean the guy who played Ramses). Well, Dougray Scott, as much as I adore him, is also not the best choice for Moses, in fact, I don't think he fits into the role at all.
And what is it with costume films taking place in ancient Egypt where Egyptian make-up and clothes look like in a cheap drag show.
Boring film, laking plot, tension, drama, style and class. Absolutely unnecessary. And a waste for actors like Dougray Scott who simply don't fit into historical roles.
Queer as Folk (2000)
crazy sexy sweet cool
Two men are standing on the roof of a hospital. Brian and Michael are in their late twenties, gay and best friends. In the past three hours before this rooftop scene, Brian has had sex in a gay nightclub, hooked up with a 17-year old boy (whom he will deflower approximately one hour later) and has become a father. Michael, on the other hand, was about to have a one-night stand and realized but once again that he actually is secretly in love with Brian.
With drugs inside, Brian goes on a trip, climbs the edge of the roof, pulls Michael to him and whispers in his ear: "Come on, Mickey, let's fly!" In the background, Heather Small sings "I step out of the ordinary " It is a mild summer night in the middle of a sparkling city and there is magic in the air.
The first episode of "Queer as folk" was probably the sexiest, craziest, sweetest and best TV show premiere I've ever seen (well, apart maybe from "Desperate Housewives"). It really impressed me and woke my interest. But it was this magical moment Michael and Brian share on the roof that made me fall in love with this show. You can almost smell the night air, feel the warm summer wind breeze and know: it's one of those crazy, unusual moments that make us feel alive. The music, the atmosphere, the scenery it's all perfect and goes straight under your skin into your heart and soul. The scene gives a promise to the viewer that in the future we will witness unusual, as well as profound and ordinary things, but most of all it is a promise that there will be more magical moments like this one and breathtaking surprises like the ones that happened previously and followed right after. And what better promise can a first episode give and keep? We witness the lives of four gay friends, a newbie, a gay man's mother and a lesbian couple plus their friends, lovers, relatives and one-night-stands in Pittsburgh. Brian, the main character, is a selfish asshole and Casanova on the one hand and a vulnerable, caring, sweet young man on the other. Michael, whose relationship to Brian I have already described a bit, on the one hand loves his proud mother, on the other tries everything to pretend that he's straight at the supermarket he works in. Emmett, a sweetheart of a queen, always delivers flamboyant one-liners and looks for the man of his dreams. So does Ted, suffering from his not-classically-attractive looks, but having a heart of gold. Young Justin is about to discover the scene and has the (bad) luck to choose Brian as his first love(r). And then there are Lindsay and Melanie, just your average lesbian couple, who has just become mother and mother with the little help of Brian.
After having seen three more episodes I am completely addicted to this show. I could enumerate at least 1000 reasons why it went so quickly with me and scenes like the one above which pulled me inside this "queer" world. But I won't. Because everybody has their own reasons to love (or hate) this show and the right to discover it for themselves. But I would like to mention "QAF" 's greatest strength and maybe THE reason why this is a brilliant series. Today's TV shows have so many clichés, try to judge, to label. You will find none of this in "Queer as folk". It just witnesses the lives of people without commenting on it, judging or trying to justify what they do. If they want to shag, they shag, if they want to take drugs, they do so without asking anyone's permission, if they want to party, they party and they make just as many and stupid mistakes as everyone does. Sometimes they screw up and there are times they don't know if they want to scream of joy or suffering. They just live and the show celebrates them for it. And what better message can it have? I know that the show was already a huge success in the US, I am glad that it finally reached Europe (or at least Germany) and I am very grateful that I have the opportunity to see it. Great performances by a brilliant cast and a plot that simply knocks you off for me one of the best TV shows that has ever been done.
Brokeback Mountain (2005)
Much ado about two cowboys
So this is finally it. The movie that moved so many critics in the world. The movie basically everybody has been talking about in the past months. The movie I have been waiting for and looking forward to seeing for three years. Just to leave the cinema with an empty feeling afterwards.
Two men who love each other are unable and scared to admit it because of the time and the society they live in. What potential stuff for a movie! Even more so because it is set in the Wild West area but presented in a natural way. Annie Proulx' short story "Brokeback Mountain" is probably the most powerful, moving, tender and beautiful tale and love story I've ever read in my life. Too bad Ang Lee turned it into a sleepy two-hour documentary of the undoubtfully stunning Canadian landscape and the forced acting of two young Hollywood actors. Because basically this is how you can sum up the film that according to critics should actually be able to shake our beliefs and change the world.
As for me, it just didn't reach me. Or touch me. Or move me. Maybe Jake Gyllenhaal is just too flamboyant to play a simple cowboy. Or Heath Ledger too intellectual. From time to time their faces basically scream in this movie: "Give us Shakespeare! Or Allen!" Maybe the movie is badly cut (which surprised me the most as it is made by Ang Lee) the scenes and landscapes just are lined up one after another and somehow there is no time or space for them to set in. There is no flow. But what annoyed me most is really the obviously forced acting of the two protagonists that ruined the film. The sentence "I don't want to do it but let's just get over it" is all over the place and casts its shadows at every intimate scene those two cowboys have together. Also, often the viewer simply has the feeling to be in a theater and either watch two people perform in a hysteric, overacting way or witness two actors rehearse for their roles. Distance between a performance and the audience might be a good thing and work in a theatre but it sure is bad in a movie because I think the most important thing a film should achieve is to pull you straight into the plot and capture you so for one moment you forget about reality.
It's not about the gay aspect of the story. But this couple in love just isn't authentic enough. Or close enough. Or goddamnit human enough. Two men who work together surprisingly notice that they are attracted to each other. One day, their feelings just overwhelm them and they have sex in the first place they can find tearing down each others' clothes, sweating, not knowing what to do and one of them simply thrusting into the other. It's all violence and energy, with one or two tender looks in their eyes but so much lust and passion. It's dirty, it's uncontrolled, it's all over the place. You can see their pain and lust in their faces, you can almost feel it. One of the best (first) love scenes I have ever seen in cinema. But what I have just described here is a scene from the gay drama "Proteus" and something you definitely won't find in "Brokeback Mountain".
Yet there were one or two strong things in this film. Stunning, powerful and moving performances by the two leading ladies Michelle Williams' and Anne Hathaway's best work so far. The soundtrack has the most beautiful music I've ever heard in a movie and is the only thing about "Brokeback Mountain" that really deserves the buzz. And then of course the shots of the stunning Canadian landscape I've already mentioned they breathe wilderness, freedom and freshness so you just wanna pack your bag and travel there. But what's the use in two good actresses, great music and stunning landscape if you can simply forget about the rest of the film?
My final conclusion is that this film was shot in the wrong time (it should have been thirty or forty years earlier), the wrong director (should have been a gay one or Francis Ford Coppola), the wrong (male, leading) cast (too young, too Hollywood) and simply in too big dimensions. I really wish that this story will be adapted again one day by an independent, small, largely unknown European company, an independent, largely unknown director, with an independent, largely unknown cast. I think that would hit the tone of the novel far better than this large blockbuster something.
There have been and hopefully will be films that can shake your beliefs, change the world and some ignorant minds. Brokeback Mountain is not one of them.
Four champions and a funeral
So this is the new, long awaited Harry Potter, the adaptation of the fourth part of the legendary magical book series. I've been waiting for this movie for, let's say a year now. And from what I've heard, seen in the trailer and the MTV Making of I was optimistic. Even more so because Mike Newell directed the film who also did one of my favourite films, "Four weddings and a funeral". And yes, I had high expectations.
The beginning is spectacular. I didn't mind that they left the Dursleys out we had the Weasleys rescuing Harry from his summer holiday jail in the second Harry Potter film already. Then the film directly dives into the Quidditch finals and all the scary events surrounding it. Now, I thought, now we'll see the spectacular game! But would you believe it, after some impressions of the audience and a spectacular appearance of the two teams, the Irish and the Bulgarian, we are already taken away from the game. And so on, and so on. This is basically how the whole film goes: The director throws us into a situation and after some minutes takes us out of it without letting us time to understand or let it work. Don't get me wrong, the film has its moments. And Mike Newell shows that he has a good sense of humour. But Harry Potter is not a slapstick-comedy and we don't need a laughter every two seconds.
The fourth Harry Potter book has so many interesting moments and potential the stunning Quidditch World Championship final, the dangerous tasks at the Triwizard Tournament and its tragic ending, the romantic moments at the Yule Ball. Those were the scenes I was most looking for and Mike Newell spoiled ALL of them. Where is the wonderful scene in the garden that takes place after the Yule Ball? Where are all (or at least some) of the great obstacles that Harry has to face in the maze when it comes to the final showdown between him and Cedric in the tournament?
In my opinion the best two adaptations of Harry Potter are still the first two films under the direction of Chris Columbus. Some say those films are way too kitschy, but they had something you love in the books but never find in the third and fourth film: A heart, a soul and most of all magic. Mike Newell himself said that the fourth book is a thriller. Yes, it is. But it is also a fairy tale and about magic. We can't find neither of these two qualities in the film. "Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire" is nothing more than situations and impressions lined up after one another. Without emotion, without sense and without giving the viewer time to breath in between. So at some point you just lean back, switch your head off and watch the kids and adults work in their roles. But if this moment arrives during a film it's the worst thing this film can do. Besides, I don't want to criticize it just because I'm a fan of the books. I'm glad I read the book before seeing this film. Because if somebody sees this film without reading the book first he will get more questions than answers. For example Harry's dream of the house, where he sees Voldemort, is never explained in the film. Yes, it is foreshadowing the ending but we all know that there is another link (and is explained in the book). If you don't know the link you ask yourself: Why the heck did he show this dream sequence? He might as well have left it out.
A word about the cast Nothing to complain about the adults they're gorgeous as usual. As for the trio I really liked Daniel's performance he's getting better with every film and this one was maybe his best so far. Rupert "Ron" Grint is the only one of the three who really goes through a change he is no clown any more and not only a sidekick he begins to question things (including his friendship to Harry) and to develop his own personality. Emma Watson well, what shall I say? She's not a bad actress but thanks to the director she behaves like a hysteric little girl throughout the whole movie which most of the time is absolutely unnecessary. In general I must say that the director really achieved making slapstick clowns of most of the cast. Hello, we're not in a Charlie Chaplin movie here! In my opinion the best performance of the film comes from a youngster that stayed in the background and was nothing but a laugh so far Matthew Lewis as Neville Longbottom. He's basically the only teenager that could carry the character of the book to the screen and through the whole movie he is a shy boy discovering the girls and maturing. His performance was really touching.. It's a good co-incidence and a good job by the young actor because in the next Harry Potter movie Neville Longbottom will play an important role. Nice performances also by the gorgeous and hunky Robert Pattinson as the tragic hero Cedric Diggory and the charming Katie Leung as Cho.
All in one "Harry Potter and the GoF" is a 3-hour-trailer: Scenes and people are introduced without letting them space to develop their character, we get hints and foreshadowings, surprises and impressions but you cannot really see a flow or a plot. So for everyone who doesn't want to think, doesn't care about magic or good cinema, this is the right film. I do and this is why I was very disappointed.
Stage Beauty (2004)
I'm running out of words
When the British make a costume drama it is simply a feast for the senses: Luminous colours in the most beautiful shades of red, gold and brown, costumes full of little details and precious jewelry and a great music score that takes you straight to Shakespearian and Bronte England. Now, a new precious jewel of the British cinema comes to film theatres and from my first impression it could be the best film of this year (well, at least until the new Harry Potter comes out).
The topic is more or less familiar from "Shakespeare in love": It is the drama of this time when women wanted to act on stage but only men were allowed to do so. While "Shakespeare in love" showed this drama from a female point of view, "Stage Beauty" deals with a man whose life falls to bits and peaces when a woman plays a woman and achieves a change of law which now allows women to act on stage.
Ned Kinaston (Billy Crudup) is a stage beauty, means: A male actor who is skilled in and specialized on strictly performing female roles. He had done so for years, can do it like no other and play nothing else. He is a star and the best stage beauty in London. Like every star, Ned has someone who cares for him, knows all his wishes on and behind the stage and holds his feet on earth: It is Maria (Claire Danes), the girl who cares for his wigs, his make-up and his costumes. Maria does not only love Ned, she lives for the theatre and dreams to be on stage herself. One night she "borrows" Ned's costumes and wig and makes her dream illegally come true on a little stage. She is a full success and so sets the wheels in motion: A duke has seen her performance, a duke who has connections to the king and soon the law is changed: Women are allowed to act on stage now. Kinaston sees the end of his career and drowns in despair. But it is Maria again who might save him.
A fascinating tale about men in dresses, women in tights and the theatre in Shakespearean England. But "Stage Beauty" is so much more. It is about two people whose heart belongs to the theatre and who are so deep into it that reality and fiction is sometimes a dangerous mix. It is about a man and a woman who find their way in a time where this way seems not to exist. It is dramatic, sometimes wonderfully romantic and fragile, very entertaining and simply beautiful.
Hands down for Billy Crudup's performance: This beautiful man is not bad as a woman, but basically the film celebrates his male beauty. When he is on stage he's incredible and when he's off stage he's simply hot but also convincing when facing the greatest crisis of his life (in his role I mean). But actually the person carrying the film is a fantastic Claire Danes. Once again she is playing Shakespeare, this time not Julia but Desdemona. She is strong, she is beautiful, she is courageous but also sympathetic. The supporting cast is what every director and viewer can only dream of: It includes Tom Wilkinson, Rupert Everett, Hugh Bonneville and Ben Chaplin.
If you haven't seen this film yet, do so, it's a great experiences. It enchants, it gives your dreams wings, hope and strength. And is great entertainment, too.
Yossi & Jagger (2002)
A love story that simply knocks you out
I'd like to start with the fact that I hate movies about military and war. We had much too many of them and they are always hard to swallow because they always end in a catastrophe. That's why I didn't want to see "Yossi and Jagger" at first. But then I read that it's supposed to be a good movie with a tender love story; I swallowed and gave it a try. I'm glad I did this. I wouldn't go so far and call the whole movie good but it does have the most touching and beautiful love story I've seen in a long time.
I think it's no secret what the movie is about: We are in a military base in Israel and ordinary young people cope with the daily horror each in their own way. They make jokes about it, try not to be serious and look for ways to not think about it the whole day. Some do it with reading, others with music, the commander with sex for we are in a mixed camp here with two girls being in it. And then there are Yossi and Jagger close friends in the official version, closeted lovers in reality. Yossi is Jagger's boss and both are the stars in their base for in their very own way both young men are special. Yossi is the serious and more reserved one he doesn't speak very much, always concentrates on his job and is scared to come out. Jagger (named after Mick Jagger cause he's a bit of a rock star himself) is the more flamboyant, vivid, playful and childish one he's romantic, he is a dreamer, he makes plans for his future with Yossi and wants a love like in a Hollywood movie. It's stunning you wouldn't guess they're a couple because they learned to hide it very well, but when they are alone you get a hint at how much they love each other. But, alas, we're in a war movie here and no matter how strong the love between the two young men is and how hopeful they are towards their future the ugly reality will destroy it.
You might have an idea of how the movie ends and I won't spoil it for you. Despite this fact I would really recommend this movie to everyone. Also because of the two great protagonists: Israeli TV star Yehuda Levi is terrific as Jagger and the charismatic Ohad Knoller is simply wonderful as Yossi (he was awarded for his performance). Hands down for an unusual love story that will break your heart but that you simply can't help falling in love with.
Better Than Chocolate (1999)
A lesbian midsummer night's dream
Well, what can one say about this film? You could just agree to all the bad critics that have been written about it that "Better than chocolate" is nothing more but a cliché and an unrealistic fairy tale. Fairy tale's the word: What is cinema supposed to be if not a fairy tale? It's unrealistic; it helps us forgetting our daily troubles and allows us to dream and to bathe in romantic feelings. And these are exactly the reasons I recommend "Better than chocolate" and think that it's a splendid movie, a hilarious comedy and a love story so sweet you just get enchanted by it.
It's a classic: The sweet princess, Meggie, just quit university and preferred becoming part of Vancouver's gay scene, performing in a gay bar (and she's so great in it!) and working in a lesbian book store. Things seem to go pretty fine until the day when Maggie's Mum Lila calls and informs our princess that she just left her current husband and wants to move in with Maggie, bringing Maggie's teen brother Paul with her. The problem is: Mum doesn't know (or doesn't want to know) that her little daughter is gay. Things get even more problematic when one night, after her performing at the club, Maggie meets her knight, who does not wear an armour or ride a white horse, but who is an attractive, tough and cool girl named Kim, rides a funky van and lives on the road, earning her money with drawing portraits. When all the characters mentioned above finally find themselves living under the same roof some days later, things become chaotic and almost grotesque cause it's so obvious that Kim and Meggie are a couple but Lila is simply blind for it.
Mind you, the movie also deals with other interesting characters. We get to know Frances, the neurotic owner of the book shop Maggie works in. There is also Judy, who once was Jeremy, but now is a woman and hopelessly in love with Frances. And don't forget Carla, whose favourite pass of time is sex, who seduces almost every person crossing her way, is an expert in the newest *toys* and digs on Maggie as well as her brother Paul.
Of course it's one or two clichés, I mentioned it before. But if you see how lightly and heart-warmingly the story is told, if you hear the hilarious jokes and one-liners, follow the soft filming of the camera you just can't help forgetting about those clichés and falling in love with this movie. For in the middle of this colourful chaos the love story between Kim and Maggie is the calm and comforting pole, it's told in silent pictures and gentle sounds (which become a bit louder when it comes to well, the making love part). And this beautiful love story has highlights of its own, and I don't want to reveal even one of them. I can only say that much: A lot of colour and goddesses ;) (everyone who's seen the movie of course knows what I'm talking about) There is also something else I love about this film: Although it's a fairy tale and most parts of it are simply utopic, "Better than chocolate" can be inspiring and show possibilities: The possibility of an alternative life style and that you can be comfortable with it, no matter what others might think, the possibility to break out of certain expectations society burdens us with and the possibility to love differently. For example when Maggie quits her finance studies to live her dream of being an author. So, besides allowing us to dream, this film also gives incredible hope and this might be its greatest strength.
A word on the cast which is simply brilliant. And before concentrating on one of the protagonists, who in my opinion stood out, I'd like to compliment the others. There is this young actor playing Paul, who up to "Better than chocolate" has had no acting experience but is very good at what he's doing. There is the sex-ridden but likable Carla. The neurotic Frances Canada's currently probably most famous lesbian actress and author Ann-Marie MacDonald (and according to director Anne Wheeler the only openly gay actress participating in this movie). The icing on the cake in this film are two profound Canadian actors Wendy Crewson as Lila and Peter Outerbridge as Judy. Wendy (who is probably most familiar as Harrison Ford's wife in "Air Force One") is just outstanding as the confused, sweet and clueless Mum with a weakness for chocolate. Peter Outerbridge is just incredible as Judy and you really have a hard time to believe that this is his first transsexual performance he's so great in this role and just a beautiful woman. And now let me point out the person who impressed me most with her performance: Christina Cox as Kim. She's hot, she's sexy, she's tough and cool but at the same time so soft and feminine. I think only few actresses can add so many different facets to their role. I mean, she could have easily played a simple butch, but she adds such charisma and dignity to her character it's just amazing. There, enough said, she's just great.
The movie's soundtrack is a highlight of its own Sarah McLachlan with "Ice Cream" for example and perfectly mirrors the film's young spirit, it's modern, it's sexy, it's dreamy and it rocks. And with this I'd like to give "Better than chocolate" three thumbs up a summer movie with heart, soul, humour and a lot of love.
Higher Ground (2000)
Touched me deep within
It might have been because I've seen Higher Ground for the first time in one of the worst situations of my life, but this incredible series touched something deep within me that made me cry for a long time. It's about teenagers who have experienced horrible things in their life, have been hurt and betrayed by people who should love them, therefore tried drugs or committing suicide and ended up in a camp, where they shall learn to trust, love and feel again, at the same time hiking and living with nature and find shelter. And it's just incredible. One by one you find out what happened to those kids yet they don't give up and try to live as normal as possible, to find hope and maybe a new love, but most of all they find friends and adults who don't want to hurt but help them. The young Canadian actors in the leading roles do an incredibly good job (especially Hayden Christensen shines through and wins your heart with his quiet character), as do the adults. I don't know, for me it's one of the most precious series that has ever been shown on television which is why I don't understand why there was only one season of it and why it's not available on DVD or video. However, I really recommend it when watching it I felt like coming home. And how many series can stir this feeling in you?
Today, at last, I saw Episode III for the first time. To be honest, I had great expectations (also because of the fantastic trailers) they were fulfilled and even topped! The plot can be told very quickly, I think: The movie takes place one or two years after Episode II, chancellor Palpatine shows his true face, Anakin becomes more and more influenced by the dark side we all know the result of this (two words: heavy breathing) and his marriage with Padmé develops into a dramatic direction. Besides you have the usual: Spaceships in blasting battles, troups, aliens, monsters, beasts and light sabers.
To sum it up: The movie is great! After the unspectacular Episode I and a romantic but quite weak Episode II Lucas found his old spirit again and with it the charm of the legendary Episodes IV-VI: The dialogues are sarcastic, witty and humorous again, the great one-liners are back and R2D2 and C3PO are no longer just minor characters but more involved into and important for the plot. OK, there are one or two situations where Yoda appears maybe more funny than he was supposed to, but you've got so much fun watching the movie that you don't bother about this too much. Even Hayden Christensen's acting improved, the other major cast is great as usual (especially Natalie Portman) and I liked Ewan McGregor as Kenobi very much (although his beard was irritating, it didn't suit him I think it looked much better when it was shorter). The scenery once again looks stunningly realistic, the costumes beautiful and the wars bombastic as usual (though they sometimes were a bit too long).
But still we mustn't forget the tragic side of this movie here, the most legendary evil creature of the Star Wars universe is "born" (namely Darth Vader) and Lucas shows Anakins sad path to this transformation in every painful and merciless detail. This is why Episode III is maybe the darkest, most violent and also saddest movie of all the six. But what I liked the most: Although Anakin changes completely, Lucas still succeeds in showing that there are human feelings left in him (of course I won't tell you how he does that) those scenes are very touching and almost made me cry.
All in one I would say: It's a truly great final episode for the Star Wars series and in his fine quality a perfect link between the old and the new movies.
Adieu, mon ami (1996)
A truly emotional and epic tale
During the history of cinema a couple of films were produced that told the story of a love, family throughout twenty or thirty years and were historical at the same time. I'm talking about movies like "The House of the Spirits" or "Like water for chocolate". They are movies of high quality, brilliantly photographed, capturing and deeply moving, touching existential topics and questions in life.
"Adieu, mon ami" is such a movie, too although I suppose that only a small audience is familiar with it for it was only produced for and shown on German television. Although it's mainly a story about a girl who grows and becomes a mature and independent woman it's also a story of love, a family and it shows life during WWII and twenty years after. And would you believe it or not it also takes place in two different countries! I have told the plot here on IMDb already, so I won't repeat it here. What I liked most about it is how careful it deals with sensitive topics, such as first (and unusual) love, the fate of a child who loses her family through war and finds a new one, homosexuality and history. The story is very interesting, has many surprises and touches your heart.
The best thing about this movie are its protagonists and actually three of them breath life into this film. Two of them are Constanze Engelbrecht and her daughter Julie who gives her film debut here. Julie plays Dagmar as a child and Constanze is the adult Dagmar. Of course you can see that Julie is not an experienced actress but with her charm and freshness she wins your heart and the little mistakes she makes let her performance appear only more realistic. She touches your heart like only few young actresses did before her. Constanze Engelbrecht is just a great actress, she is elegant, she is beautiful, she has dignity, and she can be fragile and strong at the same time. She is one of those timeless German actresses like Lilli Palmer and Romy Schneider a woman with a touch of class but very emotional at the same time which is just a pleasure to watch. The third person who maybe is the spirit of this film impressed me most it's Jens Harzer who plays young Laurent. Jens Harzer today is a famous theatre actor who successfully captured the stages of Munich. His incredible talent was already obvious in this movie which was one of his first movies, I guess. In his way of acting he is very much comparable with Nicolas Cage an actor, who transports emotions through his whole body language, beginning with his eyes and finishing with his gestures. Laurent in this movie is a young French boy, who was violently taken away from his home to work in a country whose language he doesn't know and where people in addition hate the French and fight against them. You can almost feel his suffering in his every move he talks slowly and heavily, he moves slowly and as if every move causes incredible pain to him. On the other hand he can be happy whenever he remembers songs from his home country and speaks his mother language. And although this boy is suffering so much, he is the only one who can awake Dagmar from her apathy and bring a smile to her face. When he is with her, you can see through his suffering that he is just a boy, who can be happy, too, who can have fun and laugh and just fool around. He can feel joy and sorrow like no other character in this movie. Jens Harzer brings this with an exceptional talent onto the screen and you just can't help concentrating on him every time he appears.
All in one I would like to say that this film is a truly great epic story and touches you deep within. It's one of those films that you fall in love with and never forget.
Usually, when you see a biopic about a famous artist and genius you either get to see a tragic, suffering creature or an idealized God. And often it's always the same: He/she was born, had a difficult childhood, created some masterpieces, had some affairs (usually with actors/actresses or/and musicians) and dies a sad and lonely death. But what a refreshing difference "Frida" was! Frida Kahlo's life was more suffering than joy, yet the movie does not pity her all the time but shows Frida's lust for life, love, art and her husband Diegor Riviera.
It tells the story of a really unusual life: When Frida is a student, young, beautiful, full of live and in love with a gorgeous boy (Diego Luna from "Y tu mama tambien" and "Dirty Dancing Havanna Nights) she experiences a horrible accident when her bus crashes with a tram. Frida then becomes a cripple for the rest of her life, but through this she experiences herself in a new way and starts to paint, mostly self-portraits where she deals with her pain, her family, political situations and people she loves. Soon after the accident a miracle happens: Frida learns to walk again and the first thing she does is to visit the famous artist and painter Diego Rivera to ask his opinion about her paintings the beginning of an unusual and often complicated love story that should last a lifetime.
We get to learn a woman who experiences so many tragic things in life that it should be enough to commit suicide, yet she never gives up, grows stronger and one thing that certainly helps her through hard times is her wit, her dignity and her love for life and art. She takes what she wants and needs (which also includes love affairs with men and women) but has also a lot to give. Plus her works, so honest, brutal but also beautiful in their truth, reveal one of the greatest talents of our time.
A whole lot of this movie works of course through its female protagonist, whose role is not that easy and a real challenge sometimes. The wonderful and graceful Salma Hayek, who is immensely gifted, does really great work here and awakes Frida and her world to life again. Hayek perfectly holds the balance between triumphs and losses, joy and sorrow, madness and daily routine, life and death. She is just a pleasure to watch, she doesn't play Frida, she IS Frida. Another important character is of course Diego Rivera, the greatest love of Frida's life. Alfred Molina, a great British actor, is perfectly casted for this role and besides, has a remarkable resemblance to the real Diego. Outstanding performances also by the supporting cast: Valeria Golino, Ashley Judd (with a great imitation of the Mexican accent), Geoffrey Rush and Edward Norton.
Frida a feast for the senses full of life and exploding emotions and a tribute to a truly unique and remarkable woman, who was the greatest female artist of the last century!
Aimée & Jaguar (1999)
A masterpiece... one of the greatest movies of our time
There does exist an expression in the German language that describes this movie perfectly. It's "großes Kino". Literally translated it means "big cinema" and you use it for movies that are really grand: Grand in their structure, grand in emotion and grand in class. If any movie deserves this title then it's this one.
The Plot: Berlin during WWII. We get an insight in the daily life of two complete different women who don't know each other. Lilly is young, married with four kids and because of this can afford a quite pleasant life (as Hitler was fond of mothers with many kids, they got more of everything than other families: more money, more food etc.). So while her husband is somewhere out there fighting the enemy, Lilly occasionally has affairs and while she has her fun with the men, a nanny is taking care of the kids. The other woman, also being quite young, is Felice. Felice is Jewish, works as a journalist for a newspaper and unlike Lilly has to daily cope with the fear of being discovered and transported to a KZ. As if it all were not enough, Felice is lesbian and enjoys life as much as possible in the circle of her (mostly lesbian) friends. Now, one day, Felice by chance sees Lilly in a theatre and almost instantly falls for her. Surprisingly enough Lilly loves her back and they begin an irresistible and passionate affair, which at the time and circumstances back there was like dancing on a volcano
Of course the film deals with WWII and the holocaust here but the best thing about it is that it's only done on the side. The plot concentrates on the two women, the two different worlds they live in and their feelings towards each other. It's all so intensive and it's not all about two suffering girls who lived in a horrible time and were not allowed to love each other, it's about two strong women with a lust for life who tried not to care too much about the Nazi regime, but to concentrate on seizing the day. After watching it you don't only feel for them, you admire them for having been so strong and courageous. But most of all you get to appreciate love and life again.
A truly great film about a great love in times where this love seemed to be impossible. Based on true events.
Worse than bad don't waste your time on it
The problem with sequels is that the ideas from Part One don't work in Part Two, Three etc. because they're not new. And unfortunately in sequels the old ideas are mixed with a stupid plot. All this proves once again with "Sex Up Ich könnt' schon wieder", the sequel from hit comedy "Sex Up Jungs haben's auch nicht leicht".
We remember: In "Sex Up 1", three mates (Ziege, Sven and Häschen) discovered a plant which needs rubbish to grow and which produces a highly effective aphrodisiac. Now, in "Sex Up 2" the three friends (Sven is replaced by Max, Sven's ex-boyfriend) live and study in Berlin. One day, when there is really no money left guess what they discover in the garbage? Now, as this is a sequel: Do the friends experience the same mistakes as in part one? Do they experience even more stupid things? Is water wet? While the three protagonists had character and wit in Part One, here they are simply reduced to idiots (well, two idiots and a gay sex maniac). Plus: The producers make the same mistake as those who did "Bridget Jones 2": They repeat exactly the same jokes and funny situations that were so hilarious in Part One and you watch it thinking: I saw exactly the same jokes in "Sex Up 1", why should I bother at all? This movie is just bad and a waste for actors like André Kaminski. I guess when he thinks back one day and remembers making this movie, he will only have one excuse for it: I was young and needed the money.
Nice and harmless entertainment (mainly for teenagers)
In the past five years the German TV channel Pro Sieben produced a series of harmless comedy movies (for the whole family you can say) and "Klassenfahrt" is one of them. The plot is always more or less the same: Boy meets girl, they hate each other but step by step fall for each other. During the film there are many situations where they have discussions but in the end they become a couple of course. Plus you have the usual: Comic situations, a bit of sex and usually a gay subplot involving two minor characters.
The plot: Form prefect Vanessa (Nessie) and her class go on a trip into a German region instead of Tuscany like other classes. As if it were not bad enough, on her first day of the trip Nessie is intimidated by the new-boy-in-class-who-in-addition-is-rich Eric von Brückenstein, who "proves" that Nessie uses silicon bags to optically enlarge her breasts. This means war of course. And so off they start with dissing each other, manipulating and playing tricks on each other which is very amusing to watch. Plus you have Nessie's loyal best friend Tobi who is secretly in love with her and Nessie's other best friend Mira (the most beautiful girl in school), who is secretly in love with Tobi. Also there is Utz, the class nerd you can say, who is not really good looking, but clever and has a sense of humour. Utz loves Conchita, another ugly (because fat) and clever girl. Conchita, on the other hand, has the problem to be in the same class as her jealous (and stupid) cousin Diego, who beats up every guy who ever dares to lay an eye on her. Together with his best friend Klaus, Diego is more or less the boss of the class and torments everyone who ever does him harm.
You see, the movie unites many clichés about school classes and teenagers here yet presents them in a rather light and entertaining way. If you're tired of "American Pie", "Not another teen movie" and the likes, you will really enjoy it. But it's nice in general. Not your best comedy of all times, but a pleasant time-passer. Especially fans of Marlon Kittel, who mainly became famous through "Sommersturm", will have a good time for he mostly looks good and plays the slightly snobbish but nice richie Eric in a sensitive way. Also known from "Sommersturm" is the beautiful Kostja Ullmann, who has a pretty unthankful role in this film as the loyal-like-a-dog-without-personality Tobi.
I have seen many German films already, but this one beats them all! It's beautiful, it's sad, it's funny, it's tragic, it's warm, sunny and lovely. Just wonderful and a pleasure to watch.
The plot can be told very quickly: Tobi and Achim live in a Bavarian village, are the best of friends and also together in a rowing team. But Tobi has a secret: He is in love with Achim, doesn't dare to tell him of course and is jealous of Sandra, Achim's girlfriend. When Tobi, Achim and their team travel to a competition (which at the same time is a camp) and meet a gay rowing team there, the emotions boil over and soon Tobi has to face the truth and find out who he is.
To sum it up: This film is a masterpiece and in my opinion should be officially one of the best films of all times. It is filmed in a very quiet way, with calm shots of nature, of teenagers, their dreams, fears and emotions, but also their conflicts. It takes teenagers seriously without being too serious and deals with homosexuality, coming out and coming of age without drowning in clichés. Plus it has some hilarious comic situations and great one liners in it. One could say: The movie shows pure life, for life is sometimes fun, sometimes tragic, sometimes beautiful and sometimes hard. Also everyone, from the protagonists to minor characters is casted perfectly and you have some of the most talented young German actors of our time here: Robert Stadlober, Marlon Kittel, and Hanno Koffler. "Sommersturm" a terrific piece of art that you can't help falling in love with.
Just sweet and lovely and a hilarious summer comedy!
Ziege, Häschen and Sven are best friends and just average teenagers with the usual problems: girls, hormones and the first sex. Being 16, all three guys are still virgin and look for ways to change it. Sven is the only one having a girlfriend, Ines, but somehow their relationship just doesn't work. Ziege just looks for a girl who could deflower him, until then he passes the time with, well, pleasing himself. Häschen falls for the beautiful Valerie and has another problem: Whenever he walks up to a girl to talk to her he farts. Everything changes when Ziege's parents return from an exotic holiday and bring a mask with them. Overnight a plant grows out of this mask and its juice has an incredible effect: Once you've taken it and it starts to work you get horny at the first person you see at that moment. When the friends want the plant to work for them they slowly discover that they actually don't need it.
What sounds like "American Pie" turned out to be maybe the most intelligent teenage comedy of the last years, by international standards. Pity it only ran on TV, I think it deserved a bigger audience. However, the comedy is pretty sexy with many hints but thank god less obvious erotic things. It's one of those movies where something begins on the screen and the result of it plays in the viewer's imagination and this is one of the film's greatest strength. But to be honest what I liked most about "Sex up" were not the hilarious jokes, but the way it portrayed its protagonists and the theme love. Boys in this film are not only stupid, cool, hormone-driven teenagers only stumbling from one funny situation into the other, they have feelings, they are vulnerable and the film takes the time to give each of them enough room to develop their character on screen and it's just great. Like I said, an intelligent comedy with a certain depth but still lightly enough to deliver great one-liners and the likes. Besides it finds elegant ways to deal with other topics: Friendship, loyalty, family, homosexuality and well, dancing on stage The film lives, of course, mainly through its protagonists. André Kaminski, an inspiring young actor with international experience shows here a great comic potential and is very natural and comfortable in his role as the all-time-horny Ziege. Joseph Bolz, to some people familiar from "crazy" has grown up and matured, he, too, is a very talented and sensitive actor dealing with the most difficult part of the three. Jacob Matschenz, too, is great as the shy Häschen and is more the master of the more quiet tones. But basically everyone in this movie is casted perfectly.
Try this movie and enjoy it you'll love it. Especially because you certainly will discover yourself in one of the main characters. Three thumbs up for this summery coming of age comedy and a wonderful tribute to love.