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Far worse than the book
Having finished the book trilogy recently, I was curious how this little known movie was doing in adapting the first book to the screen.
Well it was not doing well.
The hypnotic quality of especially the first book has not been well translated to the screen. Whereas some major elements of the book are totally left out, the director is adding gratuitous violence, blood and gore. Thank you very much that's exactly NOT how to do it. Also the focus is wrong. Annihilation the book is nearly completely about a team of scientists meandering through a nightmare landscape, but the nightmare is in your head, the book is not using cheap effects to create it. The movie puts to much focus on Lena and her husband - just short flashbacks in the book - on shock effects and on putting aliens in a story where they never actually show in the book.
So all in all this is rather disappointing for someone familiar with the books. This could have been a psychodelic experience but the director wasted too much time in focusing on blood, gore and aliens. Maybe they realized that they were not up to something great - that would explain how they rushed the ending to be final instead of speculating on a sequel...
Game of Thrones: The Iron Throne (2019)
There is some good about this ending...
...and not just that, unlike with the books, there IS an actual ending!
Problem of this episode was that it somehow had to get out of the mess the two episodes before had left it in due to their rushed, unbalanced approach and their clumsy writing. This was a feat nobody could get out of unscarred. Still, as far as the second half of this episode goes, I thought it managed to pull it off and gave us a feeling of closure.
Of course, the council to elect a new king - featuring some long presumed dead characters from seven seasons before - was impossible to portray in just 15 minutes. It would have taken a whole season to really show the political intrigue necessary to reach the conclusion shown here. It would probably take half a book. But come on - Bran the Broken? Giving the power to the one who least desires it? Does this not - finally - sound like a plot outline given by the grand George R.R. Martin?
The closer this episode came to its end, the more it felt like this was the ending given by the composer of the Song of Ice and Fire. Brienne - check. Sansa - check. Arya - check. Jon Snow - check. This all felt like it could be the ending Martin is struggling to reach for so many years now.
Weiss and Benioff struggled to reach it at well. The way they reached the ending is the problem, not the ending by itself. They rushed it, and its their own fault that they decided to tell this extra-large story in just eight seasons. That is what - in my eyes - they are most to blame for. Did they do it out of stubborness or out of fear that they could not write a longer, more satisfying version? You decide.
The story they told once they ran out of books was often lacking depth, was often too much "in your face", going for the shock moment instead of reaping the seeds that had been sown. They rushed to the ending, losing plot highlights and character moments as they ran. They did not have the patience to let this story go were it belonged, they forced it - and this is why in my eyes many story elements like size of the armies, powers of the dragons, motivations of the characters went out of proportion.
That's a pity.
Still, it is not fair to blame all this on this one, final installment of a still great series. People are giving this one out of ten, but the mistakes have been made earlier. As I went into this season with a feeling of dread worrying about the characters, it turned into a feeling of dread because of the bad, unbalanced, and I force the point again, rushed, rushed, terribly rushed writing. In this final episode. I got some kind of closure that will suffice for the time being. I was content with the final fate of most characters. Could it have been better? Certainly. But considering last weeks episode, it definitely could have been much worse. The only thing left now it waiting for the official version of the ending printed in a book. George R.R. Martin, long may he reign!
Game of Thrones: The Bells (2019)
What was GRRMs plot?
To be honest, I could have done without this. So little time to finish all those stories, and here we are with another hour of mayhem and bloodshed. Wish they would have used the time in a more intelligent way. That just for the beginning.
To be fair, we don't know George R.R. Martin's plans for Daenerys Targaryen. In the books, she's lost somewhere in the desert near Mereen for over 8 years now. And yes, she did have to live through a lot lately - losing two dragons, Jorrahs and Missandeis deathes, betrayal within and the news of Jon Snow having a better claim to the Throne. And that miserable string of madness in the bloodline.... Of course you can justify this turn of events that way.
Unless you can't, because it's an overly rushed turn, and it still feels out of character. This whole episode did not reap what has been sown. It just happens.
So this is the pivotal question about Kings Landings big finale: Can you arrange with the Mad Queen turn, of can't you? Everything else hinges on this question. That one single dragon destroys first a whole fleet and then a whole city made of stone - that some character arcs are finished in rather unsatisfying ways - that a city is burned instead of just the Red Keep with the evil witch in it - all this is secondary to the question of Daenerys change of mind.
I would very much like to hear what GRRM had to say about this. If he would have had a similar plan for the mother of dragons, well then it definitely stands as his right to choose where his characters go and how they live and die. Then you can put this final season away as the - not exactly - Hollywood ending of an outstanding story, less complex, less formed out, less intricate, more in your face. But did he? Have such a similar plan for Daenerys Targaryen?
I really hope we one day will find out. Lots of health to George R.R. Martin. Long may be write...
Now this... Feels rushed.
This probably is what happens if you try to wrap up a story which the writer himself is struggling to finish for so many years now in just six episodes.
The balance still worked in the first three episodes in my eyes with two fantastic slow installments and one action packed third episode. Now this one speeds up in the middle of the episode in a ridiculous level, people being all over Westeros within mere (screen) moments. Stuff is happening which would have taken half a book to tell. I'm not happy with that. At least I hope some of the final seeds sown in this one will be satisfyingly reaped in the last two. But boy, do I hope that someday I will have the chance to read this story finished in a less rushed way in the so very much missed final books...
Game of Thrones: The Long Night (2019)
Glad that this one's over...
Since the rise of the Walking Dead and its success as first a comic book and later a TV show, there have been literal millions of zombies in mainstream media TV, novels or comic books. I'm fed up with them. I have seen enough for a lifetime. That a horde of them was the main antagonist of a splendid character ensemble like the Game of Thrones cast really was one of the main downside of the show in my eyes (considering that their role was way smaller in the books).
Now people are clamoring that the Night King was beaten too easily in just one episode. They even seem angry that so many of the characters have survived. Well, I never understood the fascination with the undead and am definitely glad the zombie war is over and so many characters are still there to enjoy in the last three episodes!
I have to be frank with this: I'm 46 years old and have the feeling that I've seen more than enough bloodshed and slaughtering on TV for a while life. I really love a show that has characters that feel like actual people and can interact for a whole episode without anybody dying (like 8.02 last week). I have little joy with 78 minutes of constant fighting. I don't understand why people want some bad guy like the Night King to survive even longer to see even more fighting. I actually had to fast forward during some of the scenes cause I did not want to see this hopeless battle any longer. So Arya comes out of the blue and gives us an ending to it all? I'll take it. I don't care how she got there and if she might not be mentioned in any prophesy - I'm just glad it's over and the good guys won... Not to mention that Aryas act of valor kind of WAS foreseen by Melisandre many episodes back in season 3 (wow!).
In the end this was not an episode made for me. It certainly was not bad, and it gave those impatient people who could not get over the first two episodes having so little killing and maiming something to revel in. In the end all is well that ends well. In my book, the only thing missing now is an end to Cersei who has no reason to sit on that throne in the beginning...
So this is what the Song of Ice and Fire is all about, why it's so much better than many other franchises: Characterization.
All the fighting and killing is worth nothing if the characters suck. These characters shine. This episode, we were given one final big breather before the fighting and killing starts again. We don't know who will survive. But we were all given a long moment in the calm before the storm with all those wonderful characters - so we know what we will have lost with each and every one of them who will not make it out of the next episode. This was a deeply moving episode, getting better every minute, and just as if I was being there in Winterfell myself I was feeling the army of the dead coming closer until...
I do so much hope this will end well. In some way or another. Kudos to everyone involved in this show, the constant feeling of dread I'm having watching this show does not change the fact that it's simply excellent. And the pacing is wonderful - now only four to go...
Game of Thrones: Winterfell (2019)
Still good but hard to enjoy...
Yes, I had to immediately watch it, yes, it is still good. The characters of "A song of ice and fire" to me are what the characters of "Lost" have been in the last decade - true three dimensional persons who you want to succeed and, in this case, survive.
But in the end, already since the 7th season, for me watching this show is quite an ordeal. It's because it (together with the books which I read in 2011) has done such a great job building these characters so that now, I am watching every new episode with the constant feeling of dread. That tends to get hard, and for me it made waiting for this new season much easier. I really am not looking forward to the emotional turmoil this final season will be bringing me...
So yes, still high quality and certainly a good start to the grand finale. But with all the bad things lurking - the Night King, Cersei, whatever - I certainly will be very happy once this is finally over. And then I hope that someday, Mastermind George R. R. Martin will be gracious enough to finish the books, which have even more danglers than the TV show ever had...
8 Tage (2019)
Pretty good as it gets very personal later on
Starts out fairly overacted and overly melodramatic. But there's some great character building and even more very interesting twists and turns that make it better and better as it goes on. The ending is not only thrilling but also gave me goosebumps due to the personal drama that unfolds as the world as we know it is ending.
After the brilliant Pagan Peak, this is another pretty good German production made by Sky. Actors whose fame never reached beyond "Tatort" suddenly begin to shine, and when you never know what will happen next, you really start to hope that German television has finally arrived in this new century.
Der Pass (2018)
Not being much of a crime story fan, it was by sheer accident that I watched the first episode at all.
But it quickly earned my attention. Spectacular camera work, beautiful nature setting, a thrilling story and brilliant characters. Watched the whole series with my wife and we both thought it was excellent.
My personal favorite, as I love Austria and the Austrian accent, of course was Nicholas Ofczareks portrayal of detective Winter. He has most of the greatest moments. Add some great music by Wolfgang Ambros - and there you have a surprisingly perfect package that Sky produced.
The Expanse (2015)
Good Science Fiction show getting better
I really like the Expanse. The books, that is. This is a Science Fiction series that has a good balance between action and drama, between space fights and sense of wonder, between a believable depiction of the future and fantastic elements. The TV show manages to bring all this to the screen. The fact that the writers of the books are George R. R. Martin alumni shows in many story elements and this also translates to the show: Like Game of Thrones, it starts out slowly, very close to the book original Leviathan Wakes, and starts to pick up speed only in the second season. The optics often remind me of the 90s cult show Babylon 5, mostly because a lot of the action takes place on clunky space stations, which is a good thing. The characters are not on "Lost" or Game of Thrones level, but they keep on growing and there is sufficient screen time spent on characterization. Halfway through the second season, I also see that the show now dares to move away from the books and to do some deviations that speed up the story.
All in all I am very content with this show, as it is probably the best Science Fiction Space show currently on the market. I am not flashed by it, and as I know from the books what is going to happen, though I really enjoy watching I have no hurry to see the new season until it is released on DVD. This might change once they start to stay further from the books - but unlike in Game of Thrones, in this case the authors manage to produce new books on a regular basis so the show will never be able to catch up.
A great thing that the cancelation of the show was canceled. There is a lot of story left to be told, and they would certainly need at least three further seasons to get to some kind of closure which does the books justice...
Bohemian Rhapsody (2018)
An emotional 10 for an ode to the greatest singer of all time
At first I refused to go. As a Queen fan since 1986, born a little too late to ever see them perform live, I was scared that a movie about my life long idol Freddie Mercury was bound to disappoint me. Today, exactly 27 years after him dying way too early, I went to see the movie after many fans talked positively about it where critics didn't. And yes, as you can see I was not disappointed at all.
I can see that as a biopic, the movie might be too far away from the facts too often. But what fans tend to understand better than critics is that that's not what this movie was all about. In the end, this movie celebrates, in an entertaining and condensed way, the life of the greatest singer that ever existed. A rock star, an incredible performer, an enfant terrible. His personal tragedy is shown, but while there are some scenes and many allusions converning his lifestyle and sexuality, the main focus is on the music, his grand opus and also, the band. Mercury needed Deacon, Taylor and May, and they needed him. And that is what fans want to see. There is a whole generation of Queen fans that "grew up proud in the shadow of the mushroom cloud", and the movie manages to reach us on an emotional level, where we can for a moment forget that those are actors instead of the real band playing at Live Aid. And we can grieve again - one more time - for the musical genius Freddie Mercury, whose light burnt out so long before its time. We grieve for all the songs that we will never hear because Freddie Mercury is dead. So in my eyes, the eyes of a fan, they managed to pull it off. What a pleasant surprise this movie was!
That show I will always remember
When it originally came out, I missed it. The idea of a whole show about a plane crash seemed boring. Friends convinced me that there was more to it, that I should give it a chance. When I did, I was already hooked during the first episode, and together with my wife, we binge watched the first season (as a video taped Sky marathon just before season 2 started). We never binge watched anything again after that, Lost was the only show that ever captured our attention like that. For the next five years, we were Lost fans, we hoped and feared for the characters, we wondered what would be happening, we discussed it with friends.
Lost, until today, was THE show for us.
Yes, we were not enthusiastic about the ending - we thought it was okay though - and we also felt that the first three seasons were better than the second three. And yes, the fact that some major mysteries of the show like "the numbers" were never really resolved in the show - but in the internet instead! - was a major letdown. (they had a WHOLE season in the past and did NOT bother to put in an on-screen explanation for 4 8 15 16 23 42? Still really bothers me...)
But in the end, with all of its late weaknesses, the show is still the one I always remember, that I compare everything to, that is the benchmark for TV shows that not a single one has reached. I liked a lot of shows since 2010, but none of it has provided these kind of compelling characters, such an intricate tapestry of stories and backstories, such a constant amount of plot twists and surprises. In the end, Lost may not have been perfect. But it is the one show that will always stay in my mind and hold a special place in my heart.
Legends of Tomorrow (2016)
Bringing the comic book feeling to the screen
Let's be open about "Legends of Tomorrow": Of course the stories are rubbish, and the acting is (with some exceptions) nowhere near Marvel Netflix quality. But this series has something that Arrow (which tries to be incredibly gritty) and Flash (which tries to be incredibly witty) fail to display: Entertainment value! Legends of Tomorrow is like the playground of the Berlantiverse where you can take underused characters or crazy story ideas and make an episode out of it no matter what happened the week before. This is even more so in the second season where the constant need to antagonize Vandal Savage has gone.
The writers can send their heroes straight through the ages from feudal Japan to the Wild West, from the 80s to the future. There is an overall storyline but that is not what makes this series fun: What makes it fun is the snappy banter of Snart and Rory, the crazy jumping through time trying to save the timeline while having no qualms causing time paradoxes themselves (constantly!) and not giving a damn about making sense. Doesn't sound like a modern TV show? Well that's because it sounds like a classic comic book, existing just to be enjoyed and to have people have fun with it.
Yes, the bogus stories and the crappy acting may turn many people off. But I'll take Legends of Tomorrow over any season of Arrow with its abysmal flashback story lines (and its own crappy acting) anytime.
The Leftovers (2014)
A celebration of sadness
Does that make sense? I haven't written a review here for so many years, but this show prompted me to do one. Because it touched me on such an intimate emotional level that I just had to share.
There have been so many shows over the years to make me happy, or angry, some people like their favorite shows to make them scared - but there's hardly ever been a show which has shown the ability to make me so utterly sad. And: It's a good kind of sadness, the one you can revel in and then leave behind because - after all - this IS just a TV show and still, it manages to show you how much you have in real life. And that you have so very much to enjoy it.
"The Leftovers" is about so much more than a mystery disappearance of a huge load of people. It is about the human heart and the feelings that it has to go through. Considering the fantastic finale of Season 1, you really have to wonder if it's a good thing that the show has been renewed for another season cause... hey, Lindelof and friends are not planning to solve the riddle why people have disappeared anyway, so why continue? The first season would do great standing on its own, there's reason to fear that a second season will only water it down.
What is there left to say? Spectacular acting by Justin Theroux and Carrie Coon in particular, superb job as to the musical arrangements (adding to the sadness part is the piano music reminding of "The Virgin Suicides") and a whole lot of good ideas thrown into the story - the Cult (which does seem to make no sense but doesn't every Cult?), the madness, the dogs, some (but not too many) shock effects and so many subtleties to make such a grand mix.
Not a show for everybody. But definitely a show for me. Because of the grand finale: 10 out of 10
SPOILER WARNING: SPOILER WARNING:
Once more about the finale: Showing that there's still hope left in a world of so much sadness made me improve my rating from 9 up to 10 stars. Kevin saving his daughter, Nora finding the baby, Laurie meeting her son - that's just like phoenix from the ashes. Perfect ending to the first season, don't know how to top that... even if there are still many mysteries left.
Underworld: Evolution (2006)
Action slugfest without any inspiration
This was a really disappointing movie. It totally lacked the intricate plot of the first one, substituting it with violent action galore. Not only did the continuing fighting scenes get boring after some time, but they were also relying on cheap shock effects adding nothing to the oh so thin story. It's a shame that the makers did not have the courage to add to the complicated storyline the first movie provided.
There were a whole bunch of question marks left after the film finally ended, but I did not care. One vampire could do this, the other vampire could do that, no consistency at all in what the races were able to perform - as long as the shock effect was guaranteed, any character could do just what came into the mind of the director.
If not for Kate Beckinsale looking great and getting out of her suit in one scene (hot!), this movie would not be worth watching at all. A real letdown after the really well done first movie.
Ich heirate eine Familie... (1983)
Wonderful family show from the 80s
When a divorced woman with three children meets the charming Werner from Vienna, this is the beginning of the most popular family series in Germanys TV history (at least in the last 30 years).
The show mixed new social realities (broken home families) with the old feel-good attitude of the 60s - resulting in a TV series which is timeless in spite of typical 80s furniture and clothes. You can still watch it, not only for nostalgia reasons, but because the new family system gives you the good feeling that every problem can be solved within 45 minutes - and you can be happy in a family even in troubled times like these.
A more than funny supporting cast provides for many laughs. Must see TV for German Generation Xers...
Sin City (2005)
Splendid adaption - but disturbing brutality
You can't blame a movie for being close to the original, can you? Having read most of the Sin City comic books just recently, I sometimes thought that some of the most disturbing portrayals of extreme violence and bloodshed should have been left out in the movie. It is something different if you have a black and white panel in a comic book or if you have moving pictures which make the experience much more alive.
Still, apart from the blood and gore criticism, the film is a very exact rendition of what the comics are about. Harldy ever has any form of book been transferred to the big screen in such an unbiased form - certainly due to Frank Miller being the co-director of the movie.
The movie is fast-paced, the characters are strong and the visual adaption of the comic is breath taking. If you close your eyes during some of the most violent scenes, you have a perfect example of a comic book movie here.
Still, I thought that some of the elements left out in the Hardigan storyline were diminishing the personal drama the character is going through. Maybe it would have been better to show these elements - scenes in which Hardigan talks to his wife or is confronted with Senator Roark in court - and to leave out one or two severed limbs instead?
Splendid black comedy
I really like Austrian humor. Many Austrian comedians display a certain kind of self irony modern German comedians seem to be incapable of. Georg Hader is one of the best Austrian comedians out there, and his movies are unfortunately hardly famous in Germany, which is a real pity.
Hader mixture of black humor, self irony and the wonderful accent provide splendid entertainment. in "Silentium", he targets the catholic church and the high society of the beautiful city of Salzburg.
While Salzburg is a beautiful panorama for this movie, the most important thing about this film are the characters, who - far from being heroes - try to solve a murder mystery with nothing else but courage and surprising integrity - considering they hardly manage to keep their own lives straight.
A wonderful example of Austrian comedy. Highly recommendable!
Kill Bill: Vol. 1 (2003)
Pathetic excuse for a movie
I've seen Reservoir Dogs, Jackie Brown and Pulp Fiction. There was a lot of blood and gore in these movies, but they had a story - something "Kill Bill" is totally lacking.
I was rather appalled to see this movie so many people are mad about - and to see that it's nothing else but a meaningless bunch of fight scenes, full of blood and bad taste.
Has Tarantino finally lost his mind? Violence for the sake of violence? No plot whatsoever? Fight scenes ten minutes long that make Matrix 2 look like Citizen Kane? What has happened that our society embraces a movie like this which has nothing to show but blood and chopped of arms and feet?
The Day After Tomorrow (2004)
Have you understood anything at all?
There is a movie in which the (possible) dramatic consequences of Global Warming are displayed.
The message is simple: If we, and that is especially the U.S., keep on destroying our environment, there is the terrible danger that someday, nature will strike back.
In Emmerichs movie, this "strike" is a new Ice Age.
End of message, end of movie.
But: All people here seem to be caring about is how dull the plot was and how insolent it is to bother Americans with such a topic after 9/11.
I really feel for the victims of this tragedy, but the essence of the movie is lost is these complaints. Because if some kind of weather crisis would actually someday be happening, it would be far worse than a hundred 9/11s together.
It is always simple to escape into dream worlds - but the truth remains out there, and it is not about a quarrel between Liberals and Republicans, but about our future. Let's hope Emmerichs vision will never come true. But don't look away from the reality of pollution, wasting our natural resources and Global Warming. That would be an insult to your intelligence...
Lost in Translation (2003)
So what's so special about this flick?
Two people meet far away from home and do some exploring of japanese culture. The movie drags on and on and on, it's neither boring nor exciting - it just is. One thing the movie certainly is NOT is thought-provoking. I would go as far as saying that I had forgotten it already the moment I left the theater - yes, I thought a lot more about "X-Men 2" than I did about "Lost in translation"...
Could not make out the splendid direction, could not make out the wonderful screenplay... all I could detect were two excellent actors doing their best while doing nothing special at all.
The Time Machine (2002)
Could have been much better - but still is entertaining...
I saw the original Time Machine movie last when I was a boy, so I hardly remembered the original story which probably was the better way to watch this remake.
Unfortunately somehow the subtitles went awry so I did not get all the subtle elements of the story. Still, I thought the movie was entertaining and some moments were rather breathtaking, especially the time travel scenes themselves - seeing the Ice Age crushing in was really a thrill.
The end of the movie seems hasty and somehow leaves a big question mark. Well, most time travel movies do - but this one does so a little bit more because it ends so suddenly and to be true, the main question asked by the Guy Pearce character is answered - but I did not get it because of Jeremy Irons' mumbling...
The Matrix Reloaded (2003)
Heaven help me...
...for Gods sake it's over.
I really was never a big Matrix fan from the beginning. The first movie was kind of cool, but the story was by far not that new - to be honest, reality not being reality has been a well known Science Fiction concept for over 50 years.
But there had to be a sequel - big money was waiting. So no matter how thin the story was in the first installment of this series - the Wachowski Brothers succeeded in providing even less story and putting together a movie which consists of two main "devices":
- Endless (and after a while incredibly boring) Kung Fu fighting scenes
- Tons of utterly meaningless monologues by nearly every character but Neo.
While the action sequences in spite of their seeming endlessness sometimes had an entertaining element in them, the monologues really made me (and many viewers around me as I could hear) yawning. I still can hardly believe what a huge amount of total gibberish the Wachowskis expect us to swallow in Matrix: Reloaded. It seemed that every time they did not know how to explain what was going on, they chose to say: "It's destiny". But when you sit in a movie theatre and have to listen to ridiculous characters from Jacques Chirac to Sigmund Freud talking about nothing but destiny - then that particular story device is certainly overused... and the Rocky Horror Picture Show comes to mind: "Booooooring!"
All in all I was very disappointed and totally unnerved. Do I believe in destiny? Well, I believe in entertainment, and this movie certainly is not entertaining - at all!
Too much action...
... too little plot.
I have read the Daredevil comics for years and I know there is more about the story than Daredevil fighting Bulleye, Bullseye fighting Elektra, Elektra fighting Daredevil, Daredevil fighting Kingpin...
The characters were barely introduced before they were thrown into a fight. The action was a little bit too quick for my eyes, the costumes were a little too sado maso for me. The director tried to imitate the Tim Burton Batman atmosphere and was successful - but only to the extent that many scenes were pretty dark, so dark you could only guess what was happening.
So what remains? A decent action movie which is quite brutal at times, still worth watching if you like Superhero movies. But nothing compared to X-Men and Spiderman. A pity.
I should have known when I found out that this movie did not run in the Big Screen Movie Theatre but in the independent movie theatre: This is an art movie. I didn't believe that a big budget movie by Steven Soderbergh with George Clooney in it would not be "high profile" enough to be omitted by the Big Screen - but well, it was, and what a shame!
This movie somehow is like a new "2001" with a clearer message and a much shorter running time - and that's a good thing! It is a contemplative experience with visual and acoustic brilliance which never gets boring though there is not too much happening on screen. Well, the casting of Natascha McElhone was certainly a big addition to the atmosphere - not because she is especially good, but because she has a certain scary quality about her which is hard to bear. The are scenes in which she is looking directly into the camera where I for my part would not like to be alone in a room with her. Soderbergh could have casted a beautiful woman - that would have made the movie a different film - but he decided to cast McElhone, and therefore gave the movie an eery, surreal touch. Well done!
All in all a very satisfying movie which certainly could have been faster, longer or more action packed, but that would not have captured Stanislaw Lems spirit - and though I hardly remember the book, having read it a decade ago, I am sure that in spite of many changes the movie captures it right now.
You probably won't remember this one for years - but it's certainly worth a look!