• Sherlock Holmes: A Game Of Shadows (2011)

     

    Sherlock Holmes: A Game Of Shadows is an enjoyable follow-up of the first movie with the same line-up and includes everything fans and critics likes about the first feature: the camera work, the images and the exotic locations are breathtaking, the visual special effects and action scenes are also mind-blowing, the soundtrack is once again very intense, the movie contains a lot of humour and slapstick scenes and the flick finally features a solid acting that is rated up by some new actors like the Swedish shooting star Noomie Rapace. You will get very well entertained for almost two hours in this ride of action, humour and tension.

    The reason why this movie though can't keep up with the first part is that its story is less intriguing, less surprising and simply less twisted. Many elements of this movie are quite predictable and stereotypical for this kind of genre while the first part had several well thought twists. Some scenes of the movie are simply too exaggerated like the escape scenes in Germany and the final showdown in Switzerland. This is effect loaded Hollywood popcorn cinema as we see it every day and the talent of many great actors and some great pieces of literature are somewhat wasted in here.

    Another important problem is that the actions and goals of the main villain remain somewhat superficial. In general, the different new characters should have been more developed. The actors do their very best to give the somewhat ordinary characters a unique soul but sometimes they struggle a little bit and their talent gets a little bit wasted in this movie.

    The script should have been more detailed and precise and the movie could have needed a healthy dose of around ten minutes of additional running time to portray us the uprising and the first evil actions of the main villain and his first acts of terrorism in the beginning. On the other side, the ending on the castle in Switzerland could have been more detailed and one could have shown us what happened to the different characters after the final showdown.

    Even though these important flaws, the movie is saved by all the positive elements mentioned in the beginning of my review and the ending creates some high hopes for a possible third part. I hope that a possible third feature might unite the amazing script of the first part with the solid acting of the second part with more impressive sound and image effects to create a nearly perfect flick honouring one of the most fascinating characters in the history of literature where the traditional meets the modern.

     

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  • The Ninth Gate (1999)

     

    This is a truly fine piece of work with great actors, a highly addicting story with a couple of surprises, a really great soundtrack, a great light work and a more than solid camera work. Some images are really impressive in this movie and will stay on your mind for a while. I don't want to reveal too much but the movie includes a creepy murder scenery in France and a very unique sex scene for example. Even the locations and the different languages spoken in the movie are exotic and add a very special touch that should please to those who are interested in foreign history and culture.

    Even though there are some lengths in the beginning of the movie and even though the book still beats this adaption, this Gothic and occult thriller is a must see for any cinematic maniac when director legend Roman Polanski and one of the most brilliant actors of all times with Johnny Depp work together. The movie gets more and more intense, atmospheric and dynamical with every minute and has some good ideas even though I thought the devilish ending was a little bit too predictable after all but it leaves you on a rather mysterious and uneasy note instead of having a mainstream conclusion. The book and the movie are definitely extraordinary despite a few little and definitely pardonable flaws.

    Anybody who likes to have a dark ride should get in and watch this gripping and unforgettable flick. I enjoyed watching this movie several times and it never gets boring as you can always discover and focus on some new elements of this artistically diversified work.

     

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  • Nick Of Time (1995)

     

    Johnny Depp has always been an extraordinary actor in all stages of his shining career and the rather unknown "Nick Of Time" is a great example to underline this thesis.

    The movie is a good thriller in real time as the series "24" for example and introduces many interesting and intriguing characters on both the good and the evil side. With every minute, the tension rises and you will watch this movie on the edge of your seat without any boring moments.

    The only weak point of the movie is that there aren't too many surprises in the end and that the ending is rather mainstream and predictable but the rest is truly great from the acting and the characters to the dialogues and the fighting and killing scenes.

    If you are a fan of Johnny Depp or short and sweet action thrillers, you should definitely check out this movie. It's nothing new or original but highly intensive and interesting even after several tries.

     

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  • State Of Play (2009)

     

    "State Of Play" is your usual and pretty generic conspiracy flick where an ambitious journalist chases an obscure organization involving soldier veterans and politicians.

    The investigation is rather predictable and features the usual chasing scenes, minor twists in the ending and stereotypical characters such as an ambitious politician, a tough old journalist working together with a young, naive but motivated young journalist and an impatient, severe and very direct boss. This sounds very generic but the roles are at least played with enough authenticity by the actors to grab some attention.

    While the acting is solid and especially well done by Russell Crowe, the rest of the movie is too worn out to stand out. In the last years, there have been tons of better conspiracy flicks such as the Bourne series. This one isn't worth your attention. It's okay for a loan or a relaxed view on television if nothing else is on that attracts your interest but I wouldn't recommend a purchase or multiple viewings of this flick.

    The movie is a shortened version of a more detailed series that had been done with different actors a few years ago but the story still manages to have some lengths and overall lacks dynamic and originality. This movie should have been more compact, more surprising and a little bit darker to convince but the story is told from a rather boring and neutral third person view. Apart of the solid acting and the good but not outstanding story line, there is not much to talk about. It's not a bad movie after all but simply features too many standards and stereotypes.

     

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  • P2 (2007)

     

    P2 is a surprisingly enjoyable suspense flick that convinces with an intense atmosphere and a very good acting by the strange and intriguing main villain played by Wes Bentley and the refreshing and pretty smart female victim portrayed by Rachel Niochols. I didn't know these actors before but they did a brilliant job and they needed to convince as the entire story turns around their particular relationship. The location always remains the same as in a classic theatre play and this adds a lot of atmosphere to this movie. The work of light and shadows is also very well done in this movie. The camera work is also interesting and varies a lot to capture the different states of the two main characters.

    The story itself is quite predictable and maybe the only obvious weak point of the movie. A lonesome security guy kidnaps a female workaholic and single during the night before Christmas to spend some time with her. The villain is though not what you might expect. He's got some feelings for the woman but he doesn't want to rape her. He just wants her to be friends with her or to possess her in a certain way. He goes very far to realize his weird dream. As the situation gets more and more complicated, the tension arises and the clever victim begins to fool a more and more nervous, brutal and unpredictable main villain which leads to an intense finish.

    The movie is short and sweet and after a short period of introduction to the characters, there is not a single minute of boredom in this fast paced thriller. This is a different and refreshing kind of Christmas movie written by the promising horror expert Alexandre Aja and filmed by his young partner in crime Franck Khalfoun that I might look forward to watch again next year around the same time of the year.

     

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