7. Switzerland: Der Flambeur.

A literary travel

Erwin Koch. 2007. Der Flambeur. Fischer Taschenbuch Verlag. Frankfurt am Main.

Erwin Koch was born in 1956 in Hitzkirch, Switzerland. He’s a journalist and wrote for magazines and newspapers as e.g. Das Magzin, Der Spiegel and FAZ. He wrote many literary reports and received awards, such as the Egon-Erwin-Kirsch-Preis for the best report in 1989 or the Mara-Cassens-Preis in 2003 for his first novel, Sara tanzt (‘Sara dances’).

In Der Flambeur we learn about Siegfried Kuhn. He used to be a chef and his speciality was to flambé food in ever which way. And then he made an invention: he developed a soap that can turn oil into water. But the problem is, that nobody cares. Netiher do the environmental activists nor the public authorities. So Kuhn sees only one way to prove his invention’s effectivity by causing an oil accident himself.
So while waiting for the…

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Go West.

Go West.
USA, 1925.
This review might contain spoilers!

Buster Keaton is never disappointing, so much I learned from his movies.
It’s not been the first time I went to a silent movie cinema with live music when I watched Buster Keaton’s Go West a few weeks back. I really enjoyed this one. It’s about a young man who doesn’t have too much success in life, so he sells all he has and goes to the west, where he becomes a cowboy. If you have seen any picture of Buster Keaton, you will immediately know that he sure is no cowboy at all and chances for him to become one are very little. Nevertheless he gets hired by a farmer on whose farm he has to tend the heard. funny things happen of course while he hast do try riding horses etc. and he has a new best friend, a cow that is following him around.
Buster doesn’t get along with the other cowboys, or rather: they ignore him more or less completely. And of course there is this girl that he more or less likes and she likes him but in the end, when he saved the farm by transporting the cattle to the place where they are supposed to be sold, he gets the opportunity to get the girl, he decides for his new friend, the cow.

So, I’ve seen this movie in a small cinema together with live music and it was a great experience. The music was perfectly fitting and great and I laughed so hard I had slightly sore muscles the day after. I guess that a lot of the fun had to do with it being in cinema. You experience this kind of movies differently when you watch it togethere with many people on a big screen. I can recommend it to everybody to do so! It’s great. Just don’t expect it to be a comedy like today’s ones. It’s funny in a completely different way, which is, in my opinion, hard to describe. It’s more visible, somewhat so obvious, that you laugh even before it happend. Silent movies usually aren’t going to deep into the character’s developement, yet they are so close to the heart as you can get with a comedy. Buster Keaton is no exception. He is a master of his art and yet way too little people get the chance to watch his movies. If you ever get one, do so!

Go West! isn’t an exception in great silent movie making. It might be even more American in some way that it is covering the American dream of a cowboy life, but yet it’s more. There are so many lovely details that you can find and the people that made this film put so much effort in there, that it would actually be a shame not to watch it, no matter if you care about cattle and cowboys or not.

5/5 stars for a funny movie, humorous and with a good technique in filming and a lot of soul hiding in the details.

6. Austria: Gut gegen Nordwind

Again – Sorry for the long delay. Life is busy!

A literary travel

Daniel Glattauer. 2008. Gut gegen Nordwind. Goldmann. München.

Daniel Glattauer was born in Vienna in 1960 and from the age of 25 on he has been a journalist and author. Since 1989 he writes for the newspaper “Der Standard” and some of his books have actually been made into movies.

Glattauer’s Love virtually is a postmodern novel written in form of e-mails. It all happens by accident: Protagonist Emmi wants to quit her subscription of a magazine but accidentially writes to Leo, who kindly replies that she has the wrong adress.
Somehow they start a conversation via mail, beind total strangers but soon developing an emotional bond which is making it hard for them to stop writing to each other. Their virtual relationshipt gets so deep that they feel jealousy when talking about other people in their lives and soon they get the feeling they want to meet each…

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Gravity.

Gravity
USA, 2013, 12+
This review might contain spoilers!

I can only say: Oh. my. god!
I went to cinema yesterday and usually I’m not so much of a 3D-fan but this movie just rocked it. It’s exciting, it’s drama, it’s great!

So, you have three astronauts working a routine mission on the Hubble Space Telescope when their shuttle gets destroyed and they are more or less lost alone in space. The firsts one dies while the shuttle is crashed and the other two are all alone, one being a well trained astronaut, the other one being a medical engineer on her first mission. The contact to the station on earth gets lost and the long road to survival begins…

What I really loved about this movie was its silence. Even though you have explosions and crashes, you more or less don’t hear a thing, just as if you were in space yourself. It gives you a weird feeling. You start feeling calm but yet totally nervous at the same time, wondering what will happen and if they will mange.
The special effects were great, too, and you actually have to watch it in 3D to get all out of it. All those small details you can see while watching are just so amazing and I guess just for this you can watch this movie over and over again. No matter if it’s just water drops or pencils flying around, as well as all the surroundings in space. Even if you are not interested in the story, it’s worth to just go in for the effects!
Then I must admit that I was surprised over Sandra Bullocks acting skills. I usually don’t really like her too much, which might be a result of the movies I have seen with her, but in this movie, she did a really great job and I think that she was really convincing, regarding the whole stress, panic and isolation her character goes through during this movie.

So if you like space, special effects and great movies: watch it! If not: watch it anyhow!
Check out the trailer. It speaks for itself.

5/5 stars.

5. Germany: Beerholms Vorstellung

Sorry for the long delay. Sometimes life keeps you busy! I hope it will be a bit better by the end of deptember then! 🙂

A literary travel

Daniel Kehlmann. 2007. Beerholms Vorstellung. rororo. Hamburg. Daniel Kehlmann is from the younger generation of German authors. He was born in Munich in 1975, but lives in Vienna today. His most famous book is Measuring the world, one of the best selling German books in recent literature history. Kehlmann has been criticised a lot but nevertheless he seems to be one of the most popular authors in post war literature history.

I read the book Beerholms Vorstellung (probably Beerholm’s imagination in English, it’s not been translated yet) in German and I enjoyed it. It tells the story about the boy Beerholm whose mother is killed by a thunderstorm. His adopted father, Beerholm senior, merries anew and young Beerholm is sent to Switzerland to a bording school. He develops a deep interest for card tricks and true magic as well as mathematics and then, at the end of his…

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Slither

USA, 2006, 16+ (Germany)

This review might contain spoilers!

Slither is a so called splatter-comedy that I bought for a fair price about a year ago. Even though it was funny, I wouldn’t really call it a cinematic masterpiece.
The plot is simple. You have this weird species from outer space that slithers around and infects people. It all starts with a meteor crashing down to earth and a wealthy man getting infected by it while being in the woods. He infects other people, turning them into some kind of weird zombies with the help of those slithering creatures and he also metamorphoses himself. He can only be stopped by blowing him up.

Well. What can I say? I enjoyed the movie, though it wasn’t the world’s best movie ever made. It had funny moments as well as many disgusting moments (in my opinion the level of disgust was a bit higher than the average) and I laughed quite a bit while watching it. Nathan Fillion, know for roles in TV shows like Firefly and Castle, obviously had fun doing this movie, as well as the other members of the cast.
If you are actually looking for a movie with a deeper sense, you are totally wrong by picking this one. It is definitely funny if you like it a bit more splatter-y, but except for the entertainment, it doesn’t really have a meaning. The plot is quite obvious, more or less, and it doesn’t really get deep down to your soul, so to say. Rather to your stomach.

All in all I’m giving this movie 3/5 stars. It is entartaining and if you like it a bit more bloody and weird: go for it.

Trailer (but seriously, just watch if you aren’t disgusted too easily):

Kokowääh

Kokowääh

Germany, 2011. 6+ (Germany)

I must admit that I had my opinion on this movie before seeing it because the main actor and director, Til Schweiger, sure isn’t one of my favorite actors but this movie proved, that it was better than I expected it to be.

This review might contain spoilers!

The film is about a screenplay writer who comes home and suddenly has a girl sitting at his porch who turns out to be his daughter. He hadn’t known about her because her mother kept it a secret. She is in New York at the time, facing a trial for her company and the protagonist has to take care of the girl, write a screenplay together with his ex-girlfriend and deal with his daughter’s other dad.

The film is quite as you expect it. They have a few troubles, the protagonist falls back in love with his former girlfriend, but it isn’t as easy for them to get back together as they might want it to. You don’t have any severe twists in the movie and you see everything including the ending coming. Yet it was nice and entertaining, just the right thing for a lazy sunday afternoon and way better than some of Schweiger’s other movie productions.

Kokowääh gets 4/5 stars because it is a cute and solid movie that you can recommend without having a bad concience. Nevertheless, if you are looking for a typical German movie, I don’t know if this one would be the correct choice.

See trailer below for a few impressions.

Friday the 13th

Friday the 13th.

USA. 2009. 18+ (Germany)

The following review might contain spoilers!

So, this movie, a remake of the 1980s version that I, I must admit, haven’t seen, was on TV the other night and I decided to watch it. It wasn’t really good. I had no certain expectations when I switched it on, besides maybe an entertaining movie. It didn’t really entertain me much. The intro where a group of students is being killed was totally obvious and more or less boring, thinking about that he is just killing them violently and that’s it more or less.

Then you have the ‘plot’. A brother is looking for his missing sister (who was part of the group that got killed first, but we learn that Jason, the killer, kept her alive because she reminded him of his mother), meets a group of students who are going to spend their break in a friend’s house nearby the lake where the camp Jason “died” in was located. Of course, one after one gets killed while the brother is looking for his sister. A lot of blood, bad camera handlin (in my opinion) and some naked girls later he fnids his sister (together with his new friend from the group, who then gets killed), they escape together and manage to kill Jason. When they want to sink him in the lake together with his mask, he returns though.

I’m giving this movie 1/5 stars because I didn’t like it. Therefore the short review. It was boring and poorly made and not even Jared Padalecki, who played the leading role, could make the movie any better. I sure won’t watch it again and I won’t recommend it to anybody. It’s been just another bad “horror” movie, that wasn’t even scary.

4. Denmark: Ehrengard

Another reblog from my literary travel. Enjoy!

A literary travel

Tania Blixen. 1990. Ehrengard. Suhrkamp. Frankfurt am Main.

Well, first of all there is to say, that Tania Blixen isn’t the author’s real name, but nevertheless many novels of hers were published under this name.
Actually her name is Karen Blixen (1885 – 1962), so don’t ask me, please, how she ended up becoming Tania. Maybe it derived from her childhood name, Tanne, but I don’t know, really. It nevertheless is the name her books are published as Tania Blixen in Germany. At some time in her life, Blixen was also writing under the pseudonym Isaak Dinesen, especially in English speaking countries, as Dinesen was her birth name. The Danish author wrote both, Danish and English books.
Blixen also used to live in the part of Africa, that is Kenia today. She had a farm there for about 17 years until she sold it again because it didn’t go too…

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Cello

Sorry fpr the delay. I was abroad, so this time you all can enjoy two reviews this week. 🙂

Cello.

South Korea. 2005. Original title: Chello hongmijoo ilga salinsagan. 16+ (Germany).

The following review might contain spoilers!

I had this movie at home for ages but just now I never got to watch it before this day. In some way it’s typically asian, I’d say, twisting and turning ALL THE TIME! Well, at some parts it was obvious that a twist was coming but honestly, this was way better than I had expected!

The female protagonist, Mi-Ju Hong, is a former cello player with a dark secret, that is being revealed bit by bit. It was actually her fault that a former friend and colleague died and now that her older daughter starts learning to play the cello herself, the house is being haunted by the dead friend’s ghost. Horrible things start to happen and the whole family has to suffer from it.

I must say that I liked the movie. I have seen quite a few asian horror movies so far and I knew what kind of style I was probably going to expect. I wasn’t disappointed of the concept as such, even though I think that this one was a bit more vivid than, e.g. Japanese horror movies (which are good, but yet very grey and depressing).
There was quite a huge amount of blood in the movie, but not in a too disgusting way, if one can put it like this. It was never unfitting, yet it dramatized. The amount of major and minor twists was great, yet some scenes were really unnecessary in my opinion, because they didn’t push the plot forward in any direction at all. Once or twice I caught myself commenting things like “that was a bit creepy” – a good sign.

So my rating is 4/5 stars. The movie is vivid, thrilling and very asian at the same time. It doesn’t get boring and I can recommend it, even if you don’t know if you like asian horror movies or if you think, they are boring. This one has a hint more speed than movies like the Ring or Ju-On. Minus one point for too many unnecessary scenes for my taste.

The trailer below is in Korean only but I don’t think translations are needed. The pictures talk for theirselves.