Jens' Recent Reviews
The evil child coming to a household that has it's own demons from the past to deal with is such a well known movie trope, that it's hard to imagine a film having much too add to the genre. And this one doesn't really. The tension builds slowly and you actually feel bad for the well acted child antagonist for a while. As things get more bloody, the film becomes less believable, but at least the twist adds some very fresh spice to the mix and doesn't have to rely on any supernatural element. The showdown is exciting even if a little unbelievable. Overall pretty entertaining and while never particularly scary the film has its moments of tension.
Mainstream horror film that dares to get nasty a couple of times, when a few American tourists decide to visit mysterious Mexican ruins in the jungle. The secret behind the eerie events is maybe revealed a tad too soon, and turns out to be a little silly, too, but there is a pretty decent sense of suspension throughout the entire film, as the situation gets more and more dire for the protagonists. Especially the somewhat unusual setting works in favor of the film's atmosphere and the characters are believable enough and not the generic idiots that add one bad decision after another. It also helps that the ending is neither preachy nor falls back on the last second scare. Pretty decent.
Jens' Favorite Movies
The end of the series and my personal highlight of the Star Wars films, this is the most racy puppet theater of the Universe. It easily shows that you don't need CGI effects, because not only do matte paintings, puppets and masks still work excellently 25 years later, they are also part of the charm. It also shows, that what the prequels were lacking was mostly a character like Harrison Ford's Han Solo, delivering snotty lines by the minute, being the coolest asshole in space. The set-up, the action, the effects, the flow, everything here is perfect and leads to the biggest showdown cinemas ever saw. The tripartite conference scene with the space battle over Endor, the hilarious and imaginative Ewok warfare on the planet and the Emperor on the Death Star is just fantastic. Said Emperor is nothing less than the most evil villain of all times tempting Luke Skywalker to the Dark Side, knowing each step of the good guys in advance and making you wish for his death so much. The final lightsaber battle Vader vs. Skywalker is easily the most emotional of the whole series. And then the ending: Vader's redemption and final celebration, which makes the audience just as happy as the surviving rebels: Perfect. All threads are tied, everyone gets what they deserve (yes, fans of the Extended Universe know Boba Fett made it out of the Sarlacc). The ultimate fairy tale ending. After 25 years this easily remains my favorite movie of all times.
And then Jackson just went and topped it all...The conclusion to his Lord of the Rings trilogy actually has the weakest beginning of the three, if you wanna use that word, because it's still pretty good, just not as mind-blowing as FOTR and TTT. What follows in the last two hours of the extended version is movie making to dream of, though. A lot has been said about the Oscar nominated effects, props, camera work, music and of course Jackson's flawless directing. But few mentioned how much fine acting is happening here between the great visuals and enthralling storytelling as well: it's the small gestures, facial expressions and lines especially Wood, Mortensen, McKellen and Astin deliver that make this movie unforgettable just as much as the stunning visuals do. The lighting of the beacons, the ride of the Rohirrim, Legolas taking out the war elephant, Eowyn and Merry taking on the Witch King, Sam carrying Frodo up Mount Doom and this unbelievably beautiful ending (not one minute too long) - all perfect, memorable scenes and going down in movie history. One of the best movies of our time. "You bow to no one".