June 2005


After the Sunset
Directed by: Brett Ratner.
Written by: Paul Zbyszewski (story, screenplay), Craig Rosenberg (screenplay).
Actors: Pierce Brosnan, Salma Hayek, Woody Harrelson.
Released: 2004.
MPAA Rating: PG-13.
Length: 97 min.
Crime, Comedy, Romance.

Brief outline:
Two master thieves Max and Lola (Brosnan and Hayek) retires to an exotic Caribbean island after their final successful score. Then a cruise ship comes to this island, and on board there is a big diamond on display. They are now retired and will not try to steal it. Their nemesis an FBI Agent Stan P. Lloyd (Harrelson) are not convinced and tries to catch them red handed.

Personal opinions
This is the sort of movie that you watch a Sunday afternoon when it is raining and you got nothing else to do, it do not offer any out of the ordinary in acting or story wise.

Good
Possible spoiler: the best thing was the original ending, but if you see the tagline to this movie you may figure out what it is about. I did not know this tagline and it came as a bit of a surprise that lifted the movie a bit. There are the occasional funny one liner and humorous scenes.

Bad
The story is a bit thin, and you feel that you have seen this plot before in crime movies; the law that tries to catch thief. The movie lacks the intensity that a crime movie needs, that something that nails to your chair. The movie also tries to play on technology, Brosnan plays the master thief that has all these gadgets that he can use like driving a car with the cell-phone, but it is the same thing he did in James Bond.

Bottom Line
It’s a lightweight movie, it could be that the girls like it since it is with Brosnan and that it is adorable to watch the romance with him and Hayack.
Rating: 4/10 (where 10 is the best).

Der Untergang (The Downfall)
Directed by: Olivier Hirschbiegel.
Written by: Bernd Eichinger, based on “Inside Hitler’s Bunker” by Joachim C. Fest and “Bis zur letzten Stunde” by Traudl Junge and Melissa Müller.
Actors: Bruno Ganz, Corinna Harfouch, Juliane Köhler, Ulrich Matthes, Alexandra Maria Lara.
Released: 2004.
MPAA Rating: R.
Length: 156 min.
War, Drama.

Brief outline:
The movie is based on the historical event about Adolf Hitler’s (Bruno Ganz) final days in the bunker. The movie is true to history in the way it is strongly based on the accounts from Hitler’s secretary, Traudl Junge (Alexandra Maria Lara). The movie follows her as she gets picked as the secretary and to the end of Hitler’s life and the capitulation of the Nazis.

Personal opinions
This is a war movie from the perspective of the state leader; other war movies are often based on the men that have to fight in the war. The movie really portrays the insanity in the bunker good.

Good
Hitler is portrayed as really demented and out of touch with reality. He thinks that Berlin will be liberated from the Russian at any minute when his divisions retaliate when in reality those forces have been severely defeated. But it is not just Hitler that is out of touch with reality, the rest of the officers and the women try to ignore the reality and party the days away. Some of the officers tries to escape out of Berlin, and those left are afraid to disobey Hitler’s orders even how crazy they may seems. The movie gets out a lot of the grim sides of war and how sadistic these people were.

Bad
It may be a bit long. This is such a good movie that it justifies it.

Bottom Line
It is a really disturbing movie about one of the big dictators. It is highly watchable.
Rating: 8/10 (where 10 is the best).

Constantine
Directed by: Francis Lawrence.
Written by: Jamie Delano (comic book Hellblazer), Garth Ennis (comic book Hellblazer), Kevin Brodbin (story), Kevin Brodbin (screenplay) and Frank A. Cappello (screenplay).
Actors: Keanu Reeves, Rachel Weisz, Peter Stormare.
Released: 2005.
MPAA Rating: R.
Length: 121 min.
Fantasy, Thriller.

Brief outline (no spoilers):
John Constantine (Reeves) is a chain smoking exorcist. He is stuck between heaven and hell chasing demons. He meets the female police detective Angela (Weisz) who is trying to figure out the suicide of her twin sister. Constantie is slowly dying from lung cancer and he is trying all he can to break the promise of going to hell by doing good deeds.

Personal opinions
The fun thing about this movie is that you get to see Reeves playing a pale broken down man. Even though he has lung cancer, he still smokes like there is no tomorrow, then he breaks down coughing. Other roles Reeves has been playing he is always the slick hot shot.

This movie is based on the comic, but I am not sure I like the comic to movie type of movies. It seems to become very unbelievable. There was a very high expectation for the movie, and that is probably the reason for feeling short changed.

Good
It is not all bad you get entertained in between. It is some entertaining fighting with the demons. The iron knuckle he uses with crosses on is just hillarious.

Bad
The computer graphics are a bit bad, the demons in hell seems very sterile. It is a lot of scorching going on, should not everybody be black of sot if there was a lot of burning going on.

There was also a little segment after the credits, not many are going to see that.

It is demons that are the bad guys in this movie, but the whole movie seems very close to zombie movies.

Bottom Line
If you like movies with the battle of good and evil you should see it. If Reeves is your hero you should see it. It is possible that the fans of the comic will love it or hate it. It could be that the tubegator do not “get” the movie.
Rating: 5/10 (where 10 is the best).

We Were Soldiers
Directed by: Randall Wallace.
Written by: Harold G. Moore, Joseph L. Galloway.
Actors: Mel Gibson and others.
Released: 2002.
MPAA Rating: R.
Length: 138 min.
War.

Brief outline (no spoilers):
In Vietnam in the valley that is going to be known as he Valley of Death Lt. Colonel Hal Moore (Gibson) and 400 soldiers are surrounded by 4.000 North Vietnamese soldiers. The movie is about the unfavorable battle that is ahead of the American soldiers.

Personal opinions
This movie is a tribute to the men that fought in the battle. With that as the starting point this movie can only show one side of the story. The nobility, their common acts of uncommon valor, and their loyalty to and love for the fellow soldier. It is based on the book by Lt. Col. Harold Moore (ret.) and journalist Joseph Galloway, “We Were Soldiers Once…and Young”, I have a hunch that the book is better than the movie.

Good
This is good as an action movie. You get a lot of crazy shooting and destruction.

Bad
It is a tribute to the heroes movie, and by that it does give a very one sided image. Nobody has any negative sides. All the soldiers are fearless killing machines; there is no fear to eat bullets. It just becomes too much, and it do not seem realistic. Some may think this is great stuff, but it more propaganda than a great portrayal of soldiers in combat.

Bottom Line
It is a good movie if you like over glorified heroism, and a hefty dose of shoot-em up war action. It is really good action. You have to be a patriotic American to be able to like this movie.
Rating: 5/10 (where 10 is the best).

Platoon
Directed by: Oliver Stone.
Written by: Oliver Stone.
Actors: Charlie Sheen, Tom Berenger, Willem Dafoe, Forest Whitaker, Francesco Quinn, John C. McGinley, Richard Edson, Kevin Dillon, Reggie Johnson, Keith David, Johnny Depp.
Released: 1986.
MPAA Rating: R.
Length: 120 min.
War.

Brief outline (no spoilers):
The movie is the story of Chris Taylor’s (Sheen) tour of duty in Vietnam. It starts when he is fresh out of basic training and the other soldiers in the unit do no care much about him since he is a rookie. When they get to know that he is a college drop out that has volunteered because he do not think that it was “fair” for the underprivileged to do all the fighting, he gets known as a crusader. Two of the leaders of the platoon Sergeant Barnes (Tom Berenger), a psychopathic veteran who gets high on combat, and Sergeant Elias (Willem Dafoe) are conflicting characters of good and evil, and this will also cause two fractions in the platoon.

Personal opinions
Platoon is highly inspired by Stone’s own tour of duty in Vietnam, and the main character Taylor is supposedly a portrait of him self.

Good
The fact that Stone has been in Nam gives him an advantage and he manages to give a lot of details on how it is to really be a grunt; the bugs, the heat, the fatigue, the fear. War offers a good deal of nastiness and Stone is not afraid of incorporating that into the film. The movie builds up to a horrific final battle. It is not a recruitment movie that wants to subliminal portrays war as something glorious. All the soldiers want from the moment they get to Nam is to go home alive.

Bad
Some critiques that the story is weak and that there is no plot. But it necessarily is not bad, it just makes it different.

Other
The film won four academy awards: best picture, best sound, best editing and best director for Stone.

Bottom Line
It is one of the heavy hitter war movies.
Rating: 8/10 (where 10 is the best).