Mini-Reviews #11

2015-08-18

Bad time for movies, but TV shows are getting better.

Film

Joe
Nice to see Nicolas Cage again in a more subdued role than what he did in recent films.
Other than that, it was a watchable indie drama, but nothing that would hang with me long after the credits rolled.
Einer nach dem Anderen/Kraftidioten
Again a dark scandinavian comedy with Stellan SkarsgÄrd, by Hans Petter Moland
(who, as I just realized on IMDb, also made Aberdeen). A bit more drive than Ein Mann von Welt/En ganske snill mann, but still these films are an aquired taste — and I wasn’t really hooked (absurdly, I want to like these kind of films, but can’t). As a whole, not really that good.
The Thing (2011)
Oh boy, what a desaster and unnecessary remake/prequel/whatever. The less spoken about it, the better. Just watch the original remake, you’re better off for it.
Young Ones
A small-budget SF drama with a western-vibe to it. Unremarkable, except for one or two scenes.
Focus
What a disappointment. I was expecting a stylish caper movie and I got a whole lot of nothing! The story was pretty much non-existing, the little plot that was there made not much sense and therefore all the glitz and glamour only left a stale taste. Better luck next time, Mr. Smith.
Fury
Small scaled World-War-II tank drama. Doesn’t revolutionize the genre, but is a worthy entry.
Warm Bodies
Saw the trailer for it some years ago and was excited; catched it on TV recently and was let down. That sums it up; don’t waste your time.
Kingsman
Granted, some great visual effects, but a terrible film taken as a whole. But of course, it made buckets of money and soon it will become a movie franchise (too bad).
Whiplash
Intense personal drama and character study. In my eyes, not quite as good as most of the film critics wrote, but still damn watchable.
I Give It A Year
Again a case of “The Trailer Already Showed All The Funny Bits”. Besides those, an average romantic comedy with a twist. OK for a lousy sunday evening, but nothing more.
Fast & Furious 7
As mentioned before, I didn’t care for F&F 1-4. Part 5 was a real game changer, though. But part 6 was already several steps down again and this most recent one jumped the shark for me. I guess the next time it will be Fast & Furious 8… in Space! — but without me, thankyouverymuch.
Jurassic World
I’m staggered by it — not by the quality of the flick (there is none), but that this turned out to become such a record-breaking blockbuster. Really?! This half-hearted attempt of capturing the magic of the original by paying lip-service to it? So tragic.
Run All Night
Liam Neeson kicking ass again. Although I should be bored to death by now by his current generic default modus operandi, somehow his movies are still (lightly) entertaining enough that I keep watching them. Definitely not a must-see, but you could do worse.
Terminator: Genesys
… for example watching this shit. A weird mix of a remake, re-imagination-by-time-travel and Terminator-Best-of-Scenes. Absolutely disgusting. Instead, watch the original, part two and (definitely) the short-lived TV show and forget the rest of the franchaise.

TV

Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. (Season 1)
Rather underwhelming. As a TV show, it’s obviously lacking in the big-budget-special-effects-and-actions-scenes department. But unfortunately that isn’t made up by interesting plots, characters no dialogues; only sporadically and for the last couple of episodes some of these traits show up. I remain a skeptic.
House of Cards (Season 3)
Dilemma #1: When your protagonist is already on the top of his world/food chain and therefore the only way is down, it suddenly is not all that enganging anymore.
Dilemma #2: The fall could be handled in interesting ways… — or, like in this season of HoC, with mostly boring, simplified political issues.
The second season was already a step down compared to the first, and now I hope the fourth will gain momentum again (and maybe/hopefully it’s the final one? This show doesn’t seem to be destined for running 5+ seasons).
Salem (Season 1)
*Woohoo!* Little known show from a little known network, but what a nice surprise.
Despite occasional hiccups in the plot, this is one promising show.
Sons of Anarchy (Season 6)
I’ll repeat myself: If you, like me, have made it this far, you like (some of) it and will now stick until the end. And it maybe it was knowing that the next season will be the last, but I found this to be less drudging than the one(s) before.
Penny Dreadful (Season 2)
Another example of how not to give up a show after a mediocre first season. The inital one had potential, but was far from optimal. This one improved on many accounts: It gained more storylines to follow (not all, from the start, thrilling, but getting there at the end) and characters to be interested in. Please more of it.
Justified (Season 6)
Again, a show that didn’t really stood in the media’s spotlight during its run, but should now be considered as one of the greats. I vividly remember how I watched the first half of the first season, one case-of-the-week episode after another and thinking if I should not just skip this crime procedual (usually not my cup of tea). And then suddenly, the series changed: People and storylines from previous episodes popped up again, interlocking; the dialogues got better, and over the course of the next 5 ½ seasons, this turned into one of my all-time-favorite shows. So, I’m sad to say goodbye, but I’m also glad that it stopped at the peak, with many things folding up at the end.

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