November 2017


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Fantastic song.

Secret Service agent Ethan Burke (Matt Dillon) arrives in the bucolic town of Wayward Pines, ID, on a mission to find two missing federal agents. But instead of answers, Ethan’s investigation only turns up more questions. What’s wrong with Wayward Pines? Each step closer to the truth takes Ethan further from the life he knew, from the husband and father he was, until he must face the terrifying reality that he may never get out of Wayward Pines alive…

I just finished the first season of “Wayward Pines” and I must say I was disappointed by it. I should have been warned when I did know that M. Night Shyamalan are one of the executive producers of the show, as he has, let´s say a mixed bag of films under the belt. “Wayward Pines” tries to be “Twin Peaks” with a futuristic horror twist, but fails to deliver as the main plot becomes just wishy washy the further you get into the show. And it´s simply not exciting nor gripping. And the acting is so so. A disappointment in my eyes.

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Rest in peace Malcolm Young 1953-2017. AC/DC has lost its co-founder, rhythm guitarist, backing vocalist and songwriter. A sad day in rock n roll. #ACDC

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During an orchestrated drug bust at a marine loading dock, Detective Stan Zedkov (Michael Rooker) kills Triad lieutenant Peter Wei (Yau-Gene Chan). Looking to exact revenge for his son’s death, crime boss Terence Wei (Kenneth Tsang), sends for professional assassin John Lee (Chow Yun-fat). Paying off on an old debt, Lee has already killed two targets for Wei, and the crime boss tells him that this third and final job will wipe out the remainder of his obligation. However, Lee’s conscience prevents him from completing his final assignment: to murder Zedkov’s seven year-old son Stevie (Andrew J. Marton) before the detective’s eyes. Realizing that his actions will result in retaliation against his mother and sister, Lee prepares to return to China, enlisting the help of old friend Alan Chan, a monk in a local Buddhist temple, to make arrangements to have his family moved to a secure location. Infuriated by Lee’s disobedience, Wei orders his men to hunt for him and has his men in China begin the search for Lee’s family. Wei also hires replacement killers, Ryker (Til Schweiger) and Collins (Danny Trejo), to finish the original job of killing Zedkov’s son. No longer able to use the Triad network to get out of the country, Lee searches for alternative means outside Wei’s sphere of influence, and meets with skilled forger Meg Coburn (Mira Sorvino) to have her create a new passport for him. Before she can finish the job, Wei’s men storm her apartment, destroying the computerized tools of her trade in the ensuing shootout. Having been made aware that the Triads are involved, Coburn wants out, but Lee forces her to finish her original task of creating a forged passport. Getting pictures from a photo booth, Lee phones Alan, who offers the use of his passport. When Lee arrives at the temple, he discovers that Alan has been tortured to the point of death. Alan tells Lee that his family was moved to Canton-but he told his torturers they were in Shanghai. Lee has little more than 24 hours before his family is found. The monk gives Lee his passport before dying in his arms. Lee needs to stop the replacement killers and Wei from extracting revenge on his family…

During production, Columbia Pictures felt that Antoine Fuqua was struggling to deliver suitable material and ordered a studio exec to be present during most of the filming to ensure that their money was being well spent. This angered Fuqua and made things tense between him and Columbia. ‘Debra Hill’ (II), a veteran producer, was called in by Columbia to cool things down. Lead actor Yun-Fat Chow stood by Fuqua the whole time and told the producers to trust him and his vision. The troubles didn’t end after the production wrapped. When Fuqua delivered his initial cut, Columbia began testing the film. Test audiences struggled with the notion of a less than pure hero and the bi-racial relationship between Yun-Fat Chow and Mira Sorvino. They also had issues with most of the other characters back stories, so Columbia called in action editor ‘Richard Francis Bruce’ to tighten up the film. All romantic elements between Yun-Fat and Sorvino were removed, along with most of the characters’ motivations. The movie set the record for the most bullets fired in an American film. Mira Sorvino speaks fluent Mandarin Chinese. Yun-Fat Chow is a Cantonese Chinese native speaker but can also speak some Mandarin. Sorvino was able to help translate for Chow who was just learning English at the time. In The San Francisco Examiner, Walter Addiego perceived that the film “remains a counterfeit of a Woo movie, even though Woo himself co-produced it. He turned the directing chores over to first-timer Antoine Fuqua, whose previous work was limited to music videos and commercials, and it shows.” He added, “The script, by Ken Sanzel, is the work of someone who’s seen Woo’s movies and wasn’t particularly moved by the experience.”

I saw “The Replacement Killers” when it came out in 1998 and from what I can remember I thought it was an intense action flick with Hong Kong references. Today I see a cartoony b-action movie with stereotypical characters in all sorts of ways, a fetishism of firearms, not that convincing acting and a bit too heavy trigger finger. I reckon what was hot then, action á la John Woo (swooping slow motion scenes, extreme gun action etc), feels really outdated now. Yun-Fat Chow´s John Lee is just quite uninteresting and Mira Sorvino´s Meg is not really balancing things out despite a hard action facade. It really bugged me that she was walking around with an open shirt in the end flashing her bra. Made no sense, except the fact that Fuqua wanted to show some nude skin I reckon. Nah, this was actually a disappointment to see again. (2 and a half out of 5)

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In 1986 MI6 officers James Bond (Pierce Brosnan), agent 007 – and Alec Trevelyan (Sean Bean), agent 006 infiltrate an illicit Soviet chemical weapons facility at Arkhangelsk and plant explosive charges. Trevelyan is apparently shot and killed by Colonel Arkady Ourumov, but Bond steals an aeroplane and flees from the facility as it explodes. Nine years later Bond arrives in Monte Carlo to follow Xenia Onatopp (Famke Janssen), a suspected member of the Janus crime syndicate, who has formed a suspicious relationship with a Royal Canadian Navy admiral. She murders the admiral to allow Janus to steal his identity. The next day they steal a prototype Eurocopter Tiger helicopter that can withstand an electromagnetic pulse. They fly it to a bunker in Severnaya, where they massacre the staff and steal the control disk for the dual GoldenEye satellite weapons. They program one of the GoldenEye satellites to destroy the complex with an electromagnetic pulse, and escape with programmer Boris Grishenko. Natalya Simonova (Izabella Scorupco), the lone survivor, contacts Boris and arranges to meet him in St. Petersburg, where he betrays her to Janus. In London, M (Judi Dench) assigns Bond to investigate the attack. Bond flies to St. Petersburg to meet CIA officer Jack Wade (Joe Don Baker). He suggests Bond meet Valentin Zukovsky (Robbie Coltrane), a Russian Mafia head and business rival of Janus. After Bond gives him a tip on a potential heist, Zukovsky arranges a meeting between Bond and Janus. Onatopp is sent to meet Bond at his hotel and attempts to kill him, but he overpowers her and she takes him to Janus. Bond meets Janus who reveals himself as Alec Trevelyan, who had faked his death but was badly scarred from the explosion at Arkhangelsk. A descendant of the Cossack clans who collaborated with the Nazi forces in World War II, Trevelyan had vowed revenge against Britain for their involvement in his parents’ deaths. Just as Bond is about to shoot Trevelyan, Bond is shot with a tranquiliser dart, knocking him out. Bond awakens tied up with Simonova in the Tiger helicopter programmed to self-destruct, from which the two escape. They are immediately arrested by the Russian police and are brought to the military archives, where the Russian Minister of Defence Dimitri Mishkin interrogates them. As Simonova reveals the existence of a second satellite and Ourumov’s involvement in the massacre at Severnaya, Ourumov bursts into the room and kills Mishkin. As Ourumov calls for his guards, Bond escapes into the archives with Simonova, where a firefight ensues. Simonova is captured and is dragged into a car by Ourumov. Bond steals a T-55 tank and pursues Ourumov through St. Petersburg to Janus’ armoured train, where he kills Ourumov as Trevelyan escapes and locks Bond in the train with Simonova. As the train’s self-destruct countdown begins, Bond cuts through the floor with his laser watch while Simonova locates Grishenko’s satellite dish in Cuba. The two escape just before the train explodes. Bond and Simonova, now lovers, meet Jack Wade and trade Bond’s car for Wade’s aeroplane. While flying over a Cuban jungle in search of the satellite dish controlling the satellite, Bond and Simonova are shot down. As they stumble out of the wreckage, Onatopp rappels down from a helicopter and attacks Bond. After a struggle, Bond shoots down the helicopter, which snares Onatopp and crushes her to death. Bond and Simonova then watch a lake being drained of water, uncovering the satellite dish. They infiltrate the control station, where Bond is captured. Trevelyan reveals his plan to rob the Bank of England before erasing all of its financial records with the remaining GoldenEye, concealing the theft and destroying Britain’s economy. Will 007 be able to save the world from this disaster?

At the time the script was being written the producers were under the assumption that Timothy Dalton would be renewing the role of Bond. It was written to match Dalton’s darker, more realistic portrayal of 007. “Goldeneye” is actually the nickname of Bond creator Ian Fleming’s beachfront house in Jamaica where, between 1952 and 1964, he wrote the Bond novels and short stories. It was named for the contingency plan that the SIS, whose members included Fleming himself, devised in the event of a Nazi invasion of Spain. The new arrangement of the Bond theme used in the opening was disliked by many fans and was replaced by a more traditional version in future films. In the Chicago Sun-Times, Roger Ebert gave the film 3 stars out of 4, and said Brosnan’s Bond was “somehow more sensitive, more vulnerable, more psychologically complete” than the previous ones, also commenting on Bond’s “loss of innocence” since previous films. Several reviewers lauded M’s appraisal of Bond as a “sexist, misogynist dinosaur”, with Todd McCarthy in Variety saying GoldenEye “breathes fresh creative and commercial life” into the series. John Puccio of DVD Town said that GoldenEye was “an eye and ear-pleasing, action-packed entry in the Bond series” and that the film gave Bond “a bit of humanity, too”. Ian Nathan of Empire said that GoldenEye “revamps that indomitable British spirit” and that the Die Hard movies “don’t even come close to 007”. Tom Sonne of the Sunday Times considered GoldenEye the best Bond film since The Spy Who Loved Me. Jose Arroyo of Sight & Sound considered the greatest success of the film was in modernising the series. However, the film received several negative reviews. Richard Schickel of Time wrote that after “a third of a century’s hard use”, Bond’s conventions survived on “wobbly knees”, while in Entertainment Weekly, Owen Gleiberman thought the series had “entered a near-terminal state of exhaustion.” David Eimer of Premiere wrote that “the trademark humour is in short supply” and that “Goldeneye isn’t classic Bond by any stretch of the imagination.”

I remember not being all that impressed when “GoldenEye” came out, and not being too happy about Pierce Brosnan taking over as Bond. I still agree with the fact that “GoldenEye” is mediocre in terms of the plot, way too much cold war memorabilia in the storyline if you ask me as this came out in 1995. I think that a rogue british agent as the main bad guy is not that satisfying either (but we did get to see that in “Skyfall” again, however Javier Bardem was a bit better than Sean Bean). The action is ok, but the stunts a bit way over the top at times, the “catching the plane midair without a parachute” was just too ridiculous in my eyes. Pierce Brosnan is not bad as Bond (as I thought then), but he is still a bit too stiff as Bond to really convince me. Famke Janssen´s Xenia Onatopp is just overbearing with such a ridiculous name. The lovely and beautiful swedish/polish Izabella Scorupco was a treat to see, even is she´s not fully convincing as a russian. All in all, “GoldenEye” is tops a 3 out of 5. Nothing more, nothing less. (3 out of 5)

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Washed up former race driver Brent Magna (Ethan Hawke) arrives home to find his house ransacked and his wife, Leanne, missing. Suddenly, his phone rings. On the other end is a mysterious man known only as The Voice (Jon Voight) who reveals himself as the kidnapper of Magna’s wife. The man tells Magna that he must follow a set of instructions precisely in order to be reunited with his wife. The Voice orders Magna to steal a specially customised Shelby Mustang from a parking garage. The Voice warns Magna that if he does not follow the instructions or is caught, Leanne will die. Magna sees two police officers chasing him and speeds off. Being a skilled driver, he is able to evade them with ease, eventually setting a trap to cause one to crash into the other. Despite more police cars joining the pursuit, Magna is able to out maneuver them. Some time later, Magna is again contacted by The Voice, who directs him towards his first task. He tells Magna to speed up and take some perilous turns, eventually being forced to crash through a park, ice rink, and shopping center, nearly killing numerous civilians in the process. The Voice calls to congratulate him and tells him to keep moving. Magna is ordered to crash into a water truck and run through a red lighted intersection, causing accidents in his wake. Magna is then ordered to park in a construction zone and await further instructions. While Magna is waiting, a young woman known only as The Kid (Selena Gomez) attempts to steal Magna’s car. The Voice calls and orders Magna to kill The Kid. Magna refuses, and The Voice says that keeping her alive was the right choice, as he will need her help. As Magna and The Kid drive off, with more police in pursuit, she reveals that the Mustang is, in fact, her car, and that she was told, by a police officer, it was stolen. Magna realizes that their meeting was orchestrated by The Voice. After the Voice assigns Magna another destructive task, The Kid reveals herself as a skilled computer hacker and the daughter of the C.E.O of a large bank. The Voice contacts Magna again and orders him to upload the contents of a USB flash drive into a computer before 11:30 pm. Upon reaching the designated area, a power plant, The Kid attempts to hack the computer in order to contact the police. She appears to have succeeded, only for The Voice to cut her off, revealing that he set up the computer as a trap for her. The plant suddenly overloads and explodes, destroying itself and blacking out a large portion of the city. The Voice gives Magna his final task: to rob the bank owned by The Kid’s father. The Kid points out that there is no actual money at her father’s bank; it is an investment firm which holds all of its assets on computers. Gradually, the duo realizes that they are not actually committing a heist, but are merely providing a distraction for the police while The Voice executes the real robbery and subsequently frames them for it…

There is no CGI in any of the car crash scenes. All the crashes in the movie are real. 130 cars were wrecked in the making of this movie. The production had its own junkyard on set to store the wreckage. The Shelby Super Snake Mustang is such a rare car, that Shelby had to make cars especially for this production. To catch all the breakneck action from both inside and outside the Shelby Super Snake the director used a variety of cameras, numbering anywhere from 18 to 42, in any given scene. The cameras ranged in size and format, including state of the art digital RED Epics. “Getaway” was panned by film critics and was considered to be the worst film of 2013. The critical consensus states: “Monotonously fast-paced to the point of exhaustion, Getaway offers a reminder of the dangers in attempting to speed past coherent editing, character development, sensible dialogue, and an interesting plot”. The film won the Moldy Tomato award for the worst-reviewed film of 2013, and is one of the worst ever reviewed films on the site. IGN said “Not even the gruffly likable Ethan Hawke can make the murky, messy car chase movie Getaway worthwhile thanks to its inane script and poorly conceived action sequences”. John DeFore of The Hollywood Reporter called it a “brainless chase flick that doesn’t even offer guilty pleasures.” Ethan Hawke doesn´t carry the part (despite some driving skills) and the always cute Selena Gomez looks lost together with Jon Voight. The plot has so many holes and the whole movie is just a poor excuse for making an epileptic crazy car crash movie that makes no sense. (1 and a half out of 5)

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