• 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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  • The Oxford Murders (2008)

     

    The Oxford Murders is a dark crime movie that convinces with a charming location, many mathematic mysteries and puzzles and several twists in the end of the movie that you simply can't see coming.

    I really liked the unusual technical approach and the scientific and especially philosophical content of the movie as well as the fact that a slow tension is built up that is hold on until the very last seconds of the film. The soundtrack of the movie is interesting and the camera work an interesting nod to the works of Brian De Palma and therefor quite artistic and interesting. This movie got some very good inspirations.

    But this film also has a few important flaws. First of all, the acting is somehow weak. All characters have different interesting aspects and a good book surely makes these factors evolve but the movie fails to do so. The film is overall too short and the acting is rather mellow. The main actors and especially Elijah Wood seem emotionless and uninspired at some points. You don't feel with the characters that all seem rather antisocial and not very attracting.

    The characters are simply not develop profoundly enough. Especially the main role should have been developed more: where does the American student come from? Why is he so interested in meeting Seldom? The backgrounds of the other characters are also not very clear. We can't really understand the despair of Beth and the role of her assassinated mother Mrs. Eagleton. The reactions of Lorna are also strange. She meets with her old lover Seldom and the American student Martin in a restaurant even if she obviously can't stand the first one anymore. She doesn't want to get in touch with Seldom or Martin as she says towards the second third of the movie just to meet and sleep with Martin again after a short while and little discussion. In the end, she suddenly wants to leave the country with a young man she barely knows and even though she has a good job. There are many confusing aspects like these that seem random and even strange. It seems as if some important scenes or details have been cut and that there must be a director's cut that explains it all in a better and more coherent way.

    There are many missed occasions in this movie. The plot is great, the locations are amazing and the budget was there. But the acting is disappointing, the characters remain superficial and strange and the movie seems sometimes too intellectual. Mathematically, there are as many positive points as there are bad points. But as we learned from the movie, not everything can be simply explained by mathematics and that's why I still give a rather favourable rating. The ending reserves many surprises and is definitely worth the wait and there are a couple of truly original ideas in this still very solid European movie. If you like dark British crime movies and surprising plots, you should definitely not miss the chance to check this film out. If you expect a strong acting, an amazing Elijah Wood as in the Lord Of The Rings trilogy or simply several addicting characters, you may be disappointed and should skip this movie.

     

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  • Mesrine: L'ennemi public numéro un / Public Enemy Number One (2008)

     

    This second part of the two Mesrine movies shows us the return of Mesrine to France, how he became the public enemy number one and how he was finally gunned down by the French police after two extreme decades of living on the edge of life.

    The acting of Vincent Cassel as Mesrine is even more profound and insightful in this part as in the first one. The way he demands pardon for all the bad things he had done in front of his dying father or how his daughter meets him as he is imprisoned are truly touching events. The way how Mesrine is left alone by all of his partners and friends in the end and how his girlfriend acts after his death are also very intense and sad moments of the movie.

    With the great and charismatic Mathieu Amalric that portrays François Besse, there is a new interesting character in this movie that forms an explosive and very diversified partnership with Mesrine.

    The second part of the movie also adds a lot of absurd, dark and sometimes almost surreal humour in comparison to the first part for example when Mesrine and Besse try to cross a river, when Mesrine and another gangster kidnap an old millionaire or when Mesrine gives some of his strange interviews.

    The problem I have with this movie is that it is somewhat repetitive. Mesrine commits a murder or theft, gets imprisoned and finally escapes and the circle begins again which is very predictable. Even though Amalric does a great job, I also miss some more memorable characters such as the ones portrayed by Gérard Depardieu, Cécile de France or Roy Dupuis in the first part.

    Neverthelss, this movie is a truly solid and essential continuation of the first and better part of this masterpiece and portrays the final years of one of the most stunning gangsters of the twentieth century. Both parts are definitely worth your time and money if you like straight but still insightful gangster movies.

     

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