• Ladyhawke (1985)

    Ladyhawke (1985)

    Ladyhawke tells the story of a young thief who gets involved in the story of an ancient curse: an ancient military hero got cursed by a jealous and egoistic priest to live as a wolf by night and his beautiful girlfriend as a hawk by day so that they could never meet as humans as long as the sun rises and goes down.

    Well, the story is nothing really original or surprising and of course, there is a dramatic closure with a happy end. But the whole movie is quite charming and entertaining and tells a beautiful fantasy story filled with clichés. The young and charismatic Matthew plays a nice role as a naive and annoying thief, Rutger Hauer incorporates the tough guy waiting for his vengeance and Michelle Pfeiffer the charming young lady. The key message of the film that one has never to give up and wait for a good twist or idea to solve one's problems instead of using violence is a typical, but nice idea. The ancient traitor who wants to correct his errors in an innersight experience is a nice gadget of this film, too. The films has a quite large type of genres, beginning with fantasy elements (the curse of the hawk and wolf), romantic elements (their faithful love), dramatic elements (as the hawk is heavily injured and as the wolf seems to commit a huge mistake), action elements (as the young thief escapes from prison and military) and philosophical elements (love, religion, faith) with some interesting twists (the change of mood of the monk, the eclipse).

    The only negative elements are that the movie deals with a lot of clichés, that the end is quite predictable. Another bad point is that the film has been shot in 1985, but that the graphics are rather old-fashioned and that there is a lack of special effects or interesting director's ideas. This lack of ideas makes the film quite ordinary which is quite sad as the actors are doing a good job and as the whole thing could have been better as many interesting basic elements are there but not no profound or surprising aspects based on it. It all rests quite superficial, very diversified, but with no special concentration on one of the different genre elements. A bit less diversity, but a more profound analysis could have made the film a lot better.

    All in all, the movie is quite entertaining and is especially interesting for its young main actors who have all become well known actors in their later careers. If you're seeking for a really innovating blockbuster, you may be disappointed, as it is a very traditional and old-fashioned fantasy movie. I would recommend you to watch this and to have a nice two hours with it but not to buy it.

    Final rating: 7/10

    Flesh+Blood (1985)

    Flesh+Blood (1985)

    Historical action thriller Flesh+Blood by renowned director Paul Verhoeven and acting legend Rutger Hauer was indexed for decades in Germany for its portrayal of violent fights and gang rape scenes. Germans rather prefer slow-paced thrillers in depressive settings. The movie got finally released six years ago and is now available in its original and intended form.

    Flesh+Blood takes place in 1501 and follows charismatic mercenary Martin, played by a very cool Rutger Hauer. His ruthless gang gets betrayed by a nobleman who hired them to conquer a walled city. The gang gets its revenge by kidnapping the fiancee of the nobleman's intellectual son and takes refuge in a castle. The intellectual young man uses his inventions and hires his father's former commander to confront the gang of mercenaries and prostitutes.

    Flesh+Blood is unlike most movies portraying the Middle Ages and Renaissance. There are no heroes to be seen in this movie. Everything looks decayed, dirty and muddy. The characters are superstitious, opportunistic and mean. An innocent nun gets critically injured and is then forced to work as a farmer. A young fiancee gets raped by a gang of thugs and falls for the leader. We meet a dying child suffering from the plague whose entire family gets murdered. We see a young girl who was raped by bandits at the age of twelve and got her tongue cut out. A sick dog gets shot and cut into pieces to be used to poison people. If you are looking for charming princes and innocent princesses, you've got it all wrong. There isn't anything romantic about this movie.

    The story might be simplistic but the movie remains intense despite a long running time thanks to its shockingly realistic portrayal of the past, a selection of nasty characters and a mixture of violent action scenes and pornographic elements. Flesh and Blood is actually a euphemism for sex and violence. This type of movie certainly isn't for everyone and shouldn't be watched by children or even teenagers. A movie like this couldn't be made anymore nowadays due to its portrayal of sexual abuse. However, the movie is very unique, very realistic and very entertaining. Flesh+Blood has stood the test of time as its intended impact is as intense nowadays as it was three and a half decades ago upon its release. It remains one of both Rutger Hauer's and Paul Verhoeven's greatest movies and also features a memorable performance by a very young and very nude Jennifer Jason Leigh.

    Final rating: 8/10

     

    Split Second (1992)

    Split Second (1992)

    The great Rutger Hauer is known by most people for his outstanding performance in the etremely overrated Blade Runner but there are numerous other and better movies he has played in. Those aren't sophisticated movies that would win Academy Awards but they were unpretentious and thoroughly entertaining films that should be prefered over artsy but boring flicks. Split Second is a perfect example for Rutger Hauer's entertaining charisma and even though its a so-called b-movie made on a shoestring budget, it convinces with tense action scenes, sinister atmosphere and interesting characters.

    The story takes place in the near future as global warming has caused terrible floodings in the city of London. Isn't it ironic that even a cheap b-movie would accurately foresee our current issues with climate change that some aged conservatives still refuse to accept? In this dystopian setting, Rutger Hauer plays Harley Stone, a rough cop who constantly argues with his colleagues, disrespects his superior and got suspended a long time ago. He has become such a bitter man since his former partner got killed by a sadistic serial killer who never got caught. Five years after those grisly events, Harley Stone is still determined to find the murderer and he gets his badge back when he nearly captures the killer in a shady bar. He is however forced to collaborate with intellectual detective Dick Durkin played by Alastair Duncan. The movie also features a young Kim Cattrall who plays Michelle McLaine, the widow of the deceased officer and love interest of Harley Stone. The trio tries to find the serial killer's hideout but quickly realizes that they aren't the hunters but the hunted. Note that the movie also starrs musician Ian Dury in a secondary role, known for hits such as "Hit Me With Your Rhythm Stick".

    The most memorable element about the movie are the settings. The decaying city of London is flooded and most scenes take place during heavy rainfall and at night. The lead character's apartment is the dirtiest I have ever seen and underlines his negative state of mind. Even crows are living in his flat. The investigations take place in the tunnels of the sewer system that is overcrowded with rats. The smooth camera work and sinister soundtrack amplify the movie's gripping atmosphere cleverly. The characters are truly intriguing as the lead character isn't only trying to solve an old case but to find peace of mind. His intellectual partner becomes more and more like him while the lead character's mental condition slowly improves. The woman who completes the trio also has to deal with guilt and wants to find the murderer to finally leave the past behind. With a concise running time of ninety minutes, Split Second never ever gets boring and entertains from start to finish with the explosive conclusion being a highlight.

    The plot might not be surprising and some special effects look older than the movie actually is but Split Second oozes with atmosphere, convinces with fascinating characters and is entertaining from start to finish. This movie has aged surprisingly well and even has an important ecological message. Our world needs more unpretentious actors like Rutger Hauer and climate activists like Greta Thunberg.

     Final Rating: 8/10

    Salem's Lot (2004)

    Salem's Lot (2004)

    Salem's Lot is another television adaptation of a Stephen King novel and definitely too long with a running time of three hours even though the ending definitely lacks of details and seems to be produced in a hurry. It's not a very thrilling movie but it has some entertaining moments, some intriguing characters and solid acting performances. Note that the movie features legendary and skilled actors such as James Cromwell, Rutger Hauer and Donald Sutherland. Even though they don't always shine in this production, it's interesting to see them all together in this mini-series.

    The movie kicks off as a documentary when the sleepy town called Jerusalem's Lot is introduced by the protagonist. The introduction is definitely too long and bores a lot after an interesting opening sequence.

    The movie tries to introduce several story lines with different characters. Some of them are interesting like the love story of Eva and Ed but some are also quite boring like the fates of the police officers. The movie feels a little bit stretched and lacks focus at some points.

    The second half of the movie has some thrills, some action elements and feels overall more dynamic. The main problem is that the ending of the movie is too predictable to surprise, convince or grab any attention.

    In the end, I can't really recommend this production as there are almost as many weaknesses as there are strengths. If there's nothing else to watch late at night on television, it's a good choice but a purchase or loan is definitely not necessary.

    Final rating: 6/10

    Hobo with a Shotgun (2011)

    Hobo with a Shotgun (2011)

    Hobo with a Shotgun is a great comeback for charismatic actor Rutger Hauer who has played in many well known classics of modern cinema such as Blade Runner, Ladyhawke and The Hitcher. He plays the role of a merciless and yet very philosophic, melancholic and warm-heartened homeless man who gets in conflict with a whole corrupt city where violence and crime reign when he tries to save the life of a prostitute.

    This low budget b-movie has the potential to become a true cult movie. It has some philosophical and introspective parts and presents an exaggerated criticism of modern society. The acting is quite strong and credible even though the movie works a lot with extremes and stereotypical or exaggerated events which give the whole flick an almost dystopian or at least abstract and surreal touch.

    But the main focus of the movie lies on the vengeance story that leads to many harsh dialogues with memorable bad language quotes and a lot of bloody execution scenes. There is a lot of blood and gore in this movie and this is nothing for weak stomaches. Thanks to a lot of dark humour and a lot of exaggerating moments, the whole thing doesn't get too heavy to disturb most of the viewers but the main characters are credible and profound enough to connect the viewers to them. The movie finds just the right middle way here and is easy to digest without being too superficial and simplistic. Of course, the story is short, sweet and simple and we should not expect any twists, surprises or innovating moments but the potential cult factor is so elevated that we don't need those things to make this flick stay on our minds. The movie generally feels like an experimental hack and slash movie with a contemporary Asian style that can also be found in the latest works of Quentin Tarantino for example.

    If you like rude and bloody vengeance movies with some memorable scenes and quotes, this movie here is your highlight of the year. If you are a fan of Rutger Hauer, you will witness his strongest performance in years and a great unexpected comeback. If you look for an entertaining short and sweet b-movie that is not too flat to be one movie amongst many others but not too commercial to lose its rude charm, you can't go wrong with this at all.

    You should only avoid this if you expect a well thought and twisted vengeance story. You may find better stuff in contemporary Asian cinema with movies such as "Oldboy", "Mother" or "I Saw the Devil".

    Final rating: 8/10

     

     

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  • Leverkusen 2019: Pattscheid

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  • Leverkusen 2019: Japanhaus Neuboddenberg

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  • Leichlingen 2019

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  • Mesdames et Messieurs!

    Après une longue pause, j'aimerais continuer ces petites présentations de groupes que j'aime énormément, mais qui ne cadrent pas beaucoup dans les styles que j'écoute habituellement.

    Apoptygma Berzerk est un groupe norvégien qui est aussi vieux que moi. Le fondateur, compositeur, chanteur, musicien et seul membre permanent du groupe est Stephan Groth. Le groupe joue de la musique électronique des genres synthpop et futurepop, occasionellement entremêlés avec une petite touche de rock alternatif.

    Le groupe a sorti son premier simple "Ashes to Ashes" en 1991 et a ensuite connu du succès dans la scène gothique avec des simples tels que "Bitch" en 1993, "Deep Red" en 1994 et surtout "Non Stop Violence" en 1995. Le premier album "Soli Deo Gloria", sorti fin 1993, est devenu un album culte parmi les amateurs de musique électronique gothique.

    Le groupe a connu du succès commercial avec son cinquième album "You and Me Against the World" en 2006 et les vidéos pour les simples "In This Together", "Shine On" et "Love to Blame" ont été montrées fréquemment à la télévision. 

    Suite à la sortie de l'album "Rocket Science" en 2009, beaucoup de membres du groupe ont quitté et Apoptygma Berzerk s'est par la suite concentré à jouer des dates de concerts et festivals.

    Un nouvel album instrumental expérimental pratiquement ignoré n'est sorti qu'en 2016 avec "Exit Popularity Contest" sur lequel le groupe a renoué avec ses origines et ses influences de base, ne prenant pas en considération le succès commercial du tout.

    Apoptygma Berzerk a annoncé de vouloir sortir un nouveau EP intitulé "Nein Danke!" en 2019. 

    "Ashes to Ashes" (1991)

    "Deep Red" (1994)

    "Non Stop Violence" (1995)

    "Until the End of the World" (2002)

    "In This Together" (2005)

    "Shine On" (2006) 

    "Apollo (Live on Your TV)" (2009)

    "Major Tom" (2013)

    "The Genesis 6 Experiment" (2016)

    "Atom & Eve" (2019)

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