Tag: Sebastian Koch

Never Look Away

Never Look Away is a foreign film I would have never noticed if it wasn’t nominated for Oscars. Not only one Oscar, Foreign Film, but also Cinematography.

So I decided to watch this one in theaters instead of Happy Death Day 2U (which is getting good reviews?). I pulled into the lobby a good 30 minutes before showtime, not really sure what to expect, and then after I pulled out my phone to see the rough plot outline, I was shocked. Aghast. The run time of this movie is 3 hours and 6 minutes.

There is nothing wrong with a long run time. It is just something that you should know about before going into it. I was prepared for The Wolf of Wall Street, and Lincoln. I had napped ahead of time. But this is a time when I had nothing to help me keep myself awake or get going.

So instead I just ran around for 30 minutes hyping myself up. A film about art and Nazis does not usually seem like one that you would “hype” up about. And that explains why I went into the film like a strange excited little man.

Art! Paintings! Nazis! Annnnd MURDER!

When Kurt Barnert (Tom Schilling) was a young lad, he lived with his extended family outside of the city of Dresden. It is the 1940’s, art is shunned if it isn’t realistic, and he wants to draw. He takes a liking to his free spirited aunt, Elisabeth May (Saskia Rosendahl) who teaches him to look for the truth in things, to live, to see the injustices around him.

And then she is eventually killed in a gas chamber. Not for being Jewish, but for having bad genes, schizophrenia they say, and they can’t let that pass on. Sucks!

Eventually Kurt grew up, still into art, and now Germany having lost the war. Germany is also split up, with him on the Eastern side, not yet a physical barrier to separate them. He gets into art school, learns to make murals and perfect realistic portraits and hates his life. This isn’t art. This isn’t important.

He needs to get to the west, to find out love, and truth, and beauty. Then he can maybe unlock his real potential.

Also starring Paula Beer, Sebastian Koch, Oliver Masucci, and Hanno Koffler.

Sure is a lot of pictures in this movie of a guy doing art. What a surprise!

This film is supposed to be a biography, except there is no artist named Kurt Barnert who fits the story. How can that be!?

It it actually based on the life of Gerhard Richter, who has similarities with the plot and the major paintings by the end, but it seems like Richter didn’t want this story to happen. Here is a really long article about it. It didn’t come out as inspired by a true story, but it is better to put this as a fictional story and just pretend it is all made up. Inspired by World War II, then we don’t have to worry about accuracy.

And this is a story that goes hard in a lot of ways. They show a lot, death, nakedness, and the struggles of art. It is a film about finding your true passions, and made with a lot of passion. I ended up having to run out to pee at some point (its long, remember), and was surprised it had already been over 2 hours. It didn’t drag in the slightest. A film about not the most exciting topics ended up being really entertaining.

It was about love. Achieving success. And not necessarily about revenge, but overcoming demons certainly.

A really strong film, but one I definitely won’t see again, for the obvious reasons.

3 out of 4.

Bridge of Spies

Lies have got to be very sturdy. Lies can make a foundation for buildings and relationships, so lies have a lot of use. The more you lie, the more weight it can hold, I guess.

After all, you can have a throne of lies. So they must be able to support your weight and be at least a little bit comfortable.

I just don’t know if I’d trust a bridge of lies. Bridges usually have to hold dozens of cars at once, including the things that cars hold. Those bitches need to be super sturdy.

I’d want more than lies. I’d want some cement too. And I dunno, a couple engineering and psychology students to supervise the mixing of cement and lies. And if that isn’t enough, the actual physical embodiment of lies, to make it mostly a Bridge of Spies. Then it becomes something I’d stand on to hang out and shit.

I wasn’t even considering weather. Snow can add a lot of weight to it all.

In the 1950’s, everyone was afraid there would be a Nuclear Holocaust across the globe thanks to the cold war. Hell, people (including me) still are hugely afraid of this occurring. But back then it was new and caused kids to cry and shit. The information age was rampant, so there were spies everywhere. We sent guys over there, they sent Keri Russell over to us.

They also allegedly sent to us Rudolf Abel (Mark Rylance). He did some USSR spy stuff. He was also found by the US Government, so everyone in America collectively wanted him dead for being a traitor. But to prove we are better than them, we have to put him on trial with a real lawyer. They settle on James B. Donovan (Tom Hanks), an insurance lawyer who did some criminal stuff in the past. Thankfully, Donovan is a good man and he does the fuck out of his job to defend his client, even if all of America hates him for doing his patriotic duty.

Since this is a true story, allow me to go further. As Donovan is the only man that Abel is willing to trust after awhile, Donovan starts getting used as a pawn by the USA government. He is brought in to try and trade Abel for a captured US Soldier, Francis Powers (Austin Stowell). He has to go to East Germany right as the wall is being built, while the East Germans have captured a US college student, Frederic Pryor (Will Rogers). That is two FPs. I smell a conspiracy. And Donovan wants to get both of them back, and not leave one to torture or worse.

Man, what’s a scumbag insurance lawyer going to do? How bout be a hero! FOR AMERICA! And one Russian spy.

Amy Ryan plays his wife, Alan Alda his boss, and Sebastian Koch / Mikhail Gorevoy are his main negotiating partners. I was going to mention the main US Agent in East Germany too, but I can’t find him on the list at all. Generic white dude.

Lawyer up
That perma-frown face, if turned upside down, somehow stays a frown.

Steven Spielberg is the main reason I wanted to see this film. He hadn’t directed a film in about three years, and damn it, I wanted more. Lincoln could only hold me off for two of those years. He is a magical little man that can make phenomenal movies.

With Bridge of Spies, he tried a little bit hard and didn’t come across as honest as some of his past films. Maybe done intentionally, given the subject matter. The filter to make the film look like it was “set in the past” generally bugs me, and this time was no different. Despite the color scheme, the film was beautifully shot. I especially enjoyed the rain scene.

The acting from the big names was acceptable, but Rylance stole the show. Quite a few realistic jokes and an unflinching sense of awareness that nothing he could do could change his situation. Nothing ethical, a least from his point of view. Hanks was pretty good too, but the last third of the film just featured him playing sick with coughing during negotiations. The character itself was annoying at that point, somehow making it seem like he both didn’t care about the exchange and cared more than anyone else.

My overall complaint with the film is that it just felt far too long. The true story subject is quite a long one, but it seemingly skimmed over areas I thought would be more prevalent (court scenes), and spent far too much time on other plot points(the US Pilot training to be a spy, in particular). Thankfully they didn’t also spend a lot of time trying to humanize the college student. The one scene before he gets arrested felt like it was too much already.

A decent movie, but one that only excels in smaller doses and doesn’t feel as grandiose as the subject matter deserves.

2 out of 4.

A Good Day To Die Hard

Die Hard, Die Hard, Die Hard.

Such a strange film series when you think about it. How many others have the main character balding naturally through the series, and look nothing like he really did in the first? It is so strange, yet so real, and thus it is awkward.

But did anyone really like the fourth Die Hard? To me, it felt pretty weird, and put me off. I liked it more than Die Hard 2, but not on the tier of Die Hard 1 / Die Hard 3. Did I tag them all? Well, not Die Hard 5 yet. Oh snap, done.

Either way, time to see what is good and bad about the next installment. Maybe even see if they lied to us about movie scenes with the trailer?

And now my website shows more of this scene than the actual theatrical release.

John McClane (Bruce Willis). Still a cop. Has had a rough relationship with his son. Why? Because of vague “always at work, no time for family” stuff. His daughter (Mary Elizabeth Winstead) is fine with it. Just not his son, Jack (Jai Courtney).

But he finally finds him after three years, apparently in Russia. In Prison. For murder. Well, guess John has to use some vacation time to go figure out what the hell is up.

Oh snap, he is actually some sort of Spy and undercover?! Trying to extract Komarov (Sebastian Koch) and his daughter (Yuliya Snigir) from the country, to get valuable information on one of their new leaders Chagarin (Sergei Kolesnikov) who might be willing to start World War 3? Yes, I am aware of the run-on sentence.

Why does John have to show up and fuck everything up? It is like he is looking for trouble. Also featuring Radivoje Bukvic as a tap dancing hit man.

Warning – This was my favorite scene, despite its awkwardness and strange ending.

I can’t not compare the movies, damn it. First things first, this Die Hard is about 30 minutes shorter than the previous Die Hards. That is 25% less movie! Previous Die Hards have had pretty intense plots, some with big political intigue and pretty awesome one liners, with great action as well. So does this one?

Well, first off it isn’t Hard enough. There is one death that feels pretty great, but everything else was a lot tamer. As I eluded to above, the trailer made it seem like the main woman would get down into her skivies for a scene, and in the actual movie it cuts away when the zipper goes down a few inches only. Not even cleavage. I am not trying to sound pervy, but they put a long version of the scene in the trailer literally to attract more males. That was its purpose. Yet it wasn’t in the movie? That is pretty strong levels of deception there.

So no sex, no great violence, heck, even the cursing felt tamer.

But the positives? For the first time, in a long time, it felt like an actual “non stop action” movie. Outside of the “plot-y” beginning, basically once it started, it kept going the whole film. I think my main issue is it really didnt feel like a Die Hard film to me. They basically made him invincible in this film, surviving many crashes without too big of a problem, and having the stupidest fall (that a person can run from) I have ever really seen. Remember in the first film, when he had issues because of no shoes? If this John McClane was there, he would have taken the C4 himself down the elevator shaft.

I think the actual best part about this movie, is that we will get a fifth verse to this amazing song about the franchise.

2 out of 4.