Change Your Image
Upload An Image
Crop And Save
Into the Inferno (2016)
Not so much about volcanoes as it is about experiences
"I am the only one in filmmaking who is clinically sane."
If you know something about Werner Herzog's reputation and take into consideration that Into the Inferno is about volcanoes, you might be doubtful when reading that. What's interesting is that Herzog's reputation and partly also his sanity are a brief topic in the movie.
Besides volcanoes, Into the Inferno is also about Werner Herzog's friendship with volcanologist Clive Oppenheimer. When they first met on Mount Erebus (Antarctica) during the shooting of Herzog's Oscar-nominated documentary Encounters at the End of the World, Oppenheimer and his team were afraid that Herzog would want to take them down to the lava lake. Herzog admits that he would be interested in seeing it up close but refuses to do it because "that would be silly". Later in the film, Oppenheimer comes to the following conclusion: "You wouldn't still be here if you were insane. [...] It's quite clear that you're sane. I never doubted that for a moment." That is of course up to interpretation.
So, what about the volcanoes? They look stunning thanks to really good cinematography. You shouldn't expect too much volcano action from Into the Inferno, though: as Herzog states in his narration, the film is less about the scientific aspect of volcanoes and more about the cultural impact they have on the people living close to them. That is really interesting, mostly because the film shows various environments, people and stories.
There is one problem I had with this movie: sometimes, I asked myself where it was going. There is one sequence in particular that didn't have much to do with volcanoes or Herzog's friendship with Oppenheimer, although it was surprisingly funny. I feel like it would be more interesting if Herzog had made a dedicated movie about said sequence's topic.
Into the Inferno is not a world-changing documentary, but it is interesting and the friendship between filmmaker and volcanologist adds an aspect of charm to it. I did not regret watching it.
The Adventures of Tintin (2011)
Does a motion-capture project directed by Steven Spielberg, co-written by Edgar Wright, produced by Peter Jackson, scored by John Williams and starring a stellar cast including Andy Serkis and Daniel Craig sound good to you? Well, it is.
All the positives are self-explanatory. The film is well directed and gorgeously animated. The score is fun, every actor gives a great performance. The pacing is also perfect, the film flies by in the best way possible. You're never bored.
I honestly have no real problems with The Adventures of Tintin. I just didn't give it a higher rating because it's not anything special besides a very well done fun adventure flick.
But what's not to like? Sequel please.
Weird in a good way
Birdman is a weird one. And I mean that in a good way. It's very unique. The (almost) drum-only score, the long takes and clever editing that trick you into believing the movie is shot in one continuous take - you don't see that in many other movies.
The camerawork and cinematography are masterful in general. Little details like seeing someone spitting while speaking when standing in front of headlights that point towards the camera just add to the experience. Michael Keaton, Edward Norton, Emma Stone, every actor is on their A game here. That's especially impressive considering the long takes. They were also given good dialogue; almost every word they say feels important.
What's also most impressive are the themes Birdman has. It's about movies, it's about the film industry, it's about art, it's about critics, it's about mental issues, it's about the fear of not mattering, you could even say it's about the meaning of life, it's about everything!
There is only one problem I have with the movie: it is very artsy and although that is a really good thing as I described, it lead me to not understanding the point of some scenes. However, these scenes don't take up much time in the movie, so it really isn't a big problem.
All of this makes for a special experience. You're in constant admiration for how unique the movie is. Birdman is probably unlike anything you've ever seen.
The Last Airbender (2010)
Not quite as bad as most people say (but still bad)
Let's get the positives out of the way first. The costumes look very good in this movie, James Newton Howard's score is good and Noah Ringer is actually decent as Aang. The effects aren't great, but also not as bad as everyone says. The best thing about The Last Airbender are the action scenes which are pretty well choreographed although some of the movements of the benders look a bit silly. The camera keeps focusing on the action and the cuts aren't like shots from a machine gun.
The list of negatives would obviously be huge but I actually don't have much to say. The dialogue is bad for the most part and most of the performances are mediocre to bad. The plot isn't adapted well: the movie is just too short for its narrative although it already isn't very long. This is partly fixed by exposition (no critique here, it's needed for a movie like this), but not fully. This causes pacing issues: some scenes either take a long time to explain something or are extremely boring (I noticed myself grabbing my phone multiple times) while others either rush the narrative or are packed with action.
All those negative things in combination give the movie a very weird and uncomfortable tone it can only escape when some of the positives appear. And although the cinematography and effects are fine for the most part, the movie looks kind of ugly. I can't really describe it.
In the end, The Last Airbender is a bad adaption of the cartoon show/book it's based on. It has some noteable positives, but they don't make up for the negatives.
Johnny English Strikes Again (2018)
Fans of Rowan Atkinson will enjoy it the most
I can see why this movie mostly didn't get great reviews: Rowan Atkinson's humour never really crossed the European border and it's not for everyone, especially not for many people that live in countries where Mr. Bean was never a big deal.
With that being said, I grew up with this type of humour and still love it. If I had eaten popcorn during some scenes, I might have choked on it. Rowan Atkinson is still a genius in entertaining just through facial expressions and body language. The theme of old-school vs. high-tech / English vs. the modern world was really cool, the acting was on point and the cinematographer also knew what he was doing. My only problem with the movie is that the first half is way funnier and therefore also way better than the second. But that's not a big problem because with the movie only being 89 minutes long, the pacing is pretty fast.
Overall, Johnny English Strikes Again is a really good and funny comedy that not only parodies spy movies, but also aspects of the modern world.
Oh, I also know why Howard Goodall was credited as Howard Goddall in Mr. Bean. The soundtrack of this movie, especially the main theme, is really good.
Werner Herzog: Filmemacher (1986)
Short, but interesting.
Interesting little autobiographical documentary about an interesting man and one of the greatest directors of all time.