My Filmviews

- What are yours?

Gattaca (1997)

Review Gattaca

In the world of Gattaca who you are is defined by your genes. Designer babies whose DNA has been altered have become a reality and genetic imperfections have been removed as much as possible. Still there are some parents who decide that they won’t let science alter their child and have nature take its course. Unfortunately in the society of Gattaca that immediately means a disadvantage. After they have been born a test is done to see how old a child will be and which diseases it will have in its life. Although it is forbidden by law to deny someone a job based on their genes this type of discrimination has become commonplace. A hair, some saliva or a glass someone touched are all that is needed to extract DNA and check the records of an applicant. It means that “natural babies” don’t get hired for the best jobs.

Vincent Freeman (Ethan Hawke) has experienced this and can only work as a janitor at Gattaca. The company is not unlike the NASA, but here thousand of people are at work to make sure their can be a launch each day. Vincent has been dreaming of going into space since he was a child and he is prepared to do anything to get there. To get the job he really wants he has to make some big changes in his life in order to make that a reality. Continue reading

The Counselor (2013)

Review The Counselor (2013)

“What have I just been watching!?” That was the first question that popped into my mind after watching The Counselor. My expectations in advance was that this would be a movie which would be both visually beautiful and also engage on an intellectual level and I had enough reason to do so: directed by Ridley Scott (Blade Runner, Alien, Thelma & Louise, Gladiator, Black Hawk Down) and starring an amazing cast, including Michael Fassbender, Penélope Cruz, Cameron Diaz, Javier Bardem and Brad Pitt. With so much experience and raw acting talent it was not strange to have those expectations. The first blow came before seeing the movie as a lot of bad reviews entered my mailbox. It made me decide not to see the movie at the cinema, but wait until it was available on DVD. It could be that I would like this movie a whole lot more than others did and in the end it is all about forming your own opinion about something. After watching it though that question went through my mind about what I had just seen. Was this an amazing misunderstood Ridley Scott movie or was it as bad as all the reviews had made me believe? Continue reading

Need for Speed (2014)

Review Need for Speed

Besides being a huge fan of movies, I have been playing games ever since the original Pong home machines. One of my favorite genres has always been racing games. Ever since the Indy game on the Atari 2600 I have been playing them and it is a genre which has developed a lot through the various hardware generations. The first Gran Turismo game took it to a place which was new, where you could race a normal every day car. Besides the very realistic racing games there are the so-called arcade racers. These games are less about realism and more about thrills. I played a lot of these games (Burnout and Split Second come to mind).

The Need for Speed games have been fixed part of arcade racing games, with new installments released yearly. I must admit that I never was a fan of the games. Reason for that is that they are games where you hardly use the brakes and where corners only seem to exist that you can take at high-speed. I never felt they were very challenging or exciting and therefore rarely bought them. The Need for Speed Shift games changed as they moved away from arcade racing and were more simulation based games, more realistic. I did play those games quite a bit.
Movies based on games usually aren’t very good and when I heard this franchise was making the step to film I was not really looking forward to it. Still, there was a chance that it would be interesting. The Fast and Furious movies have proven in the past that movies with a focus on cars can be very enjoyable. Continue reading

Rurouni Kenshin (2012)

Review Rurouni Kenshin

Rurouni Kenshin might not be known to everyone, but it is a Japanese manga series (also known as Samurai X). It tells the story of a samurai named Himura Kenshin (Takeru Satoh), who after the start of a new age in Japanese history decides to no longer kill and protect those in trouble. He even carries a sword where the sharp edge is on the inside, not being able to hurt others with it.

When a murder takes place the police find a letter, claiming the murder is performed by this samurai, also known as Battosai. Not everyone is convinced though as a cruel businessman (an enjoyable scene chewing role by Teruyuki Kagawa) is trying to expand his power and wealth selling opium. Himurau Kenshin meets a woman who tries to run the dojo her father left her, with little success. When a group of thugs tries to get their hands on the dojo it is Himurau who makes sure to stop them. Samurai X has to prove his innocence and protect the ones he cares for. Continue reading

The Hunger Games: Catching Fire (2013)

Review The Hunger Games Catching Fire

When the first Hunger Games movie came out I read a lot about it being a very good movie. So I looked forward to checking it out. After having seen it though I did not get all the praise it received. Sure, the movie looked beautiful with impressive costumes, great special effects and detailed sets, but if you stripped all that away it told a story not unlike Battle Royale. Among my friends many of them felt the same wah, so when the sequel was released and again was getting a lot of positive reviews I was cautious. Maybe this would be one of those franchises which wasn’t for me. Still I felt I had to give it a chance. Continue reading

The Grand Budapest Hotel (2014)

Review The Grand Budapest Hotel

There are some directors whose work you’ll recognize almost instantaneously because of their style. You know that a Michael Bay movie most likely will have some explosions, lots of shots of barely dressed women and a saturated color palette. Quentin Tarantino is known for his dialog and homages to other films and I could name many other examples. If you watch one of their movies you will realize their hand eventually.

One of the most instantly recognizable styles is the one used by Wes Anderson. His movies have a very specific look, where the sets almost have a dollhouse quality to them, often with bright colors and a feel of another time. There are a couple of camera moves he also loves to do, like moving it along one axis….along with the action, often through walls, instead of cutting between faces during a conversation he will actually swing the camera around. The characters in his movies all seem to be unique as well, their clothes having some distinct features which make them stand out. I have to admit that initially I was not a huge fan of his style as I thought his movies were simply strange, but especially with his last couple of movies he has managed to win me over. The stories he tells seem to have become stronger and therefore I was very much looking forward to his new film: The Grand Budapest Hotel. Continue reading