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Swordfish (2001)

Swordfish (2001)

Old hacker movies are just so fun to watch! :D They don't get the hacking part right at all, but having a visual representation of what the directors of the time probably considered 'high tech hacker stuff' for the viewers to relate to... it's always so entertaining! In some movies it's futuristic and cool, in some it's just silly. This one? It's a bit of a hybrid, but maybe it's just not old enough yet. We'll see how outdated it looks in a few years...

What's strange is that you'll find just as unusable and alien-looking computers in newer movies too, though maybe there's less and less. Only B-movies now? It's a mystery they can't just use a normal interface or terminal, without spectral vector graphics, layers, excessive information presented in incoherent ways and flashy graphics hovering around wherever possible. Not to forget that typical artificial, apathetic yet often sensual female computer voice to make the visual audial as well. I guess there's nothing flashy about the real thing, and this is how they give it life... or in retrospect at least make it more entertaining. It's just that it clashes with the seriousness of the script a bit... in movies that have one. Like this.

The story is that of a hacker, Stanley, getting invited by Ginger to do a little job for Gabriel. He's given a hundred thousand just for attending the interview, and since he has some legal troubles only money can solve he says yes, goes to the interview, and is given a minute to hack into NSA servers with a gun pointed to his head and a random woman giving him a blowjob. Ginger and Gabriel stand on each side and watch. Smiling.

Not the best or most comfortable start to a profitable partnership, but he does as well as he can, almost makes it under a minute, the gun clicks, he shoves the woman away - nobody blows their load, and that's when he actually does get into those servers. He walks away angry, Gabriel tells Ginger that's their man, and if it didn't already seem so this is the point when things start getting serious. The whole movie is one big flashback, and it starts with death and fire, so you know it is serious right from the start.

The aforementioned trio's played by Hugh Jackman, Halle Berry and John Travolta. They've got their normal dose or more of charisma and class here. They're great. You can spot Vinnie Jones in the background too, and plenty of other faces you might recognize. The plot's not linear, and not too simple either. The stakes are high, Grabriel's not one to be messed with, and Stanley's like a dust particle caught in the storm. Considering it's marketed as a hacker movie there's surprisingly little of that going on, but it is a good movie. Action. Thriller. Mystery...

The main character's a reluctant one btw, but a combination of threats and incentives keep him going, and though there are way higher stakes than his own life that's the one the movie focuses on. Him and his daughter. He's the good guy. Gabriel? The bad guy, supposedly.

Isn't there any movie where the bad guys win? The officer says no, but Gabriel begs to differ. Maybe he's wrong, because every time they try to make a movie like that they somehow end up portraying the bad guys as the good guys, or at least bringing forth some part of their persona or perspective that in part redeems their actions. That makes them human. Relatable. I guess it all is all black and white.

That clue is what this movie starts with though, and even if it doesn't follow through completely it does make for a good show. Misdirection. They prepare you right from the start, and maybe that quote is part of the bigger picture too. Even when it's over you don't really see the big picture. Who did what, who was what, if it was good or bad or not... leave that up to the viewer. It's a refreshingly open ending.

The Swordfish? It's explained in the movie, though even without explanation it's a suitable title. Good symbolism. It sounds cool too.

Details like the one guy waving the gun around before he actually starts shooting into the ceiling, and the slow-mo car scene with unfortunately outdated CGI - not to mention the futuristic tech stuff that seems neither historically nor futuristically realistic in our present day, are details that bring down the score a bit, but most of it doesn't disappoint. The car chase feels typical. The fall down the hill though, that was intense! It has it's moments, and the strongest moments lie with the plot twists. It's got just enough of those to make it a great watch, outdated effects or no.

 rated 4/5: fo shizzle

Turbulence (2016)

Turbulence (2016)

This one was clearly a TV movie.

You notice it in the music. In the actors. In the stretched-out dialog, and suspense, and the loosely tied plot elements. For example: Sarah Plumber is an FBI agent. It seems unlikely her next-seat neighbor would be able to put such mental pressure upon her with a simple hostage scenario that she completely forgets her training and lets the villain get the upper hand.

I also can't help notice the unnaturally square plane windows, and wonder if it's a real plane at all. Due to air pressure and turbulence cracking windows with corners, they made them round, so if that really is a real plane... well I hope it's old and out of commission. Just like stewardess.

Reading up on the IMDB goofs page I'm made aware of many more inconsistencies, regarding how the FBI work, and the technology they use, and details like these, but disregarding those it's a pretty good thriller.

It keeps the suspense high, and the characters are convincing enough even if their actions sometimes feel badly scripted. Dina Meyer and Victoria Pratt play the main characters, and Brent A. McCoy the main villain. The latter really isn't presented in as shady light as he could have though, and in the end you almost feel sorry for him. He just seems like such a sorry guy. Sorry. That might be the impression they're trying to give, but when justice is finally served I wish it felt all the more just. Of course he shouldn't get away with what he did, but I just wish they'd made him seem a bit more powerful; a bit more sinister...

The adventure all starts when he kills a young lady, and a camera catches the act. FBI agent Sarah Plummer jumps on a plane to take care of the trial, but gets an interesting neighbor on the plane, who after initial chit chat lets her know her family's been taken hostage, and she has to delete the video or they'll all die.

Though the entire premise is a technical error (see above) you can feel the tension well enough, and the plot takes a few twists before you know how it'll really end. For a moment the situation really does seem hopeless - Sarah's frustration and despair is perceptible, but then things happen and you know how the rest is about to go...

All in all a good thriller, though the script feels hasty and unresearched, and the atmosphere not as gripping as it could've been if it was made for the movies. It's in the small things.

 rated 2/5: decent

Ben & Gunnar (1999)

En Liten Film Om Manlig Vänskap (1999)

AKA En Film Om Manlig Vänskap (A Film About Manly Friendship).

I watched this movie with a buddy recently. He searched for comedy, and found this short thing (just an hour long), which was titled simply A Little Film, featured two well-known Swedish comedians, and is now that I've researched it apparently the third of four short films starring a group of actors/comedians who basically decided to try something new.

It really is new. Well it's old now, of course, but it really wasn't what we were expecting. These guys usually don't do movies like this... or maybe that's exactly what they do do? They do just about anything. Be wary.

It started out alright, with a short trip to a Bruce Springsteen concert in 1965. Just two strangers in a small car heading the same way. They talk a bit. One guy's a bit weird. That one guy says something out of line, the other guy gets upset, they keep driving, and you think that's the end of it but... ten years later they meet at the airport again, and this time that one guy has a beard. A beard, you know? Next time he has an even bigger one.

It got weird fast, yet at the same time it was captivating. The film's divided up into a few different chapters. Encounters. Phases of life. A group of guys with beards speak about their beards between these segments of the film. I'd say movie but it says film in the title btw, so I say film. It's the one international word.

Comedy feels like the wrong genre here. Comedy is too light. It seems just random and crazy at first but it gets serious. Tension. Despair. I'm not sure there was a message, but it definitely goes deep. You see that? That's the kind of comedy this was. It made you sometimes smile and sometimes just want to look away. It made you feel for the characters, but then just laugh it off. It was about beards, and friendship between men... that turns into more than friendship. Probably not the best film to watch with a good friend with a beard if you're not up for awkwardness, but props to Robert Gustavsson and Johan Rheborg on really taking things to the next level! When they go in for something they really dive in all the way.

Great characters. Great filming. Great in every way but the ending which eh... well I really can't critique it on anything but being uncomfortable... and beautiful. It's a happy end for Ben & Gunnar, and I'm happy for them. And btw I am straight. No doubt. No beard - not a real beard. Not even a craving. Not that it has anything to do with anything but just so you know.

Good watch.

 rated 3/5: not bad

Winning Winning Winning

Winning Winning Winning

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Musicalish #224

Have some new music! And sketches with mainly music in them. One. Yeah.

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I Had A Dream

Post-apocalyptic scenario.

It all ended on a road, after a turn, with a bear standing there. I told him to keep on going. We'd ram the bear, and be rid of at least ONE of those creatures, but he didn't think that'd kill it. He went out with the other guy instead, the retarded one, and told me to take care... I'm not sure if he was about to sacrifice himself or the other guy, because that's when I woke up.

We drove around a lot in the dream.

We had two cars, and we were two drivers, so that if something happened with one the other could always take over. Though we'd lose a car.

Usually we just scavenged, but today we'd visited a settlement with a mission... though I'm not sure what that mission was. We sat around a fire in a ring, and put forth our demands, but the leader wasn't forthcoming at all. He didn't understand our problems, so we headed back.

Our own settlement was somewhere cold. There was snow. It was high up. Woods surrounded us on all sides, and we didn't have to defend ourselves from people, but rather from infected animals. I remember wondering how we survived, in the dream, if all animals were infected. Did we fish? Was there food to grow? The moose were trouble, but the bears were the real killers. You didn't want to run into those.

I remember a bit from some construction place. An industrial area. Death Race-like. We had a meeting there. Some kind of trade. It went bad... but my dream's in shambles now, and that's all I remember. It was a barren world, but not bad, just beware the bears.

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