Archive for the 'Filmkritik' Category

Movies about Disease Outbreaks

Monday, May 25th, 2020

I’ve been collecting movies about disease outbreaks, since this February 2020. I already had a few of them, and I started to look for more.

The criterion was basically: I’ts about disease outbreak from a virus or a bacterium which does NOT turn the victim into a zombie and certainly does NOT induce physical transformation into some sort of monster. So all zombie-movies immediately disqualified, as did a lot of horror- and monster-movies such as: The Thing (1982, 2011), Virus (1999), Also disqualified was anything not related to viruses or bacteria, outbreaks that relied on insects, parasites, the supernatural and so on. Like The Thaw (2009), The Signal (2007), The Faculty (1998), Shivers (1975) and all vampire movies. Which actually leaves us with a pretty short list.

  • The Andromeda Strain, 1971 (USA). An alien biological lifeform crashes to earth with a satellite and nearly all residends tof a town die. Not too realistic, but a pretty good movie (and book) anyway.
  • The Crazies, 1973 (USA) This is a Virus that’s modeled after the rabies, inducing permanent insanity and most often death.
  • Virus Fukkatsu No Hi, 1980 (JPN). This is more an “apocalypse”-movie than a disaster-movie. Their “Virus” is an impossibility, as it apparently can multiply without host, even at freezing temperatures; and stay airborne for months. It also co-opts other viruses and infects and kills all vertebrae and nobody is immune. To add to the troubles, some automatic retaliation systems threaten to launch nuclear strikes because of earthquakes. It’s not a bad movie, but extremely unrealistic.
  • Warning Sign, 1985 (USA) Outbreak in a biotech-lab. The whole movie plays in and around it.
  • Outbreak, 1995 (USA) Their depiction is pretty good, it depicts a kind of Ebola-type outbreak.
  • Twelve Monkeys, 1995 (USA) A man is sent back from the future to gather intelligence on a virus that wiped out most of humanity.
  • Adrenalin: Fear the Rush, 1996 (USA) In some kind of closed up ghetto, someone kills people. Apparently it’s the first stage of a disease, and he will turn ebola-like infectious in the next stage, but that’s not in the movie. Police hunt it in underground tunnels. Basically “Alien” and not a movie about a disease outbreak.
  • Virus, 1996 (USA) aka “Spill”. Classic nineties action cinema, where every car explodes. Virus is airborne, but can survive days in water; can be fought with the common cold. I don’t think they really thought a lot about it, it’s just a ploy for action cinema.
  • Pandemic, 2007 (USA) Two-part TV movie. This depicts an Ebola-type virus which somehow only affects Los Angeles and behaves more like avian flu. Also, some escaped drug lord hijacks deliveries of anti-viral medicine, and holds the city hostage. On the whole, not terribly believable.
  • Kansen rettô, 2009 (JAP) This is rather gritty, as the heroes of the movie are medical doctors. They’ve overdone it a bit with regards of dissolution of order, and underestimated global proliferation. But all in all, nicely done. The virus depicted feels plausible.
  • Carriers, 2009 (USA) A road movie in a disease-devastated land. The diesease is probably modeled afer H1N1 or something like that. It’s mostly about the cohesion of the group, and how it falls apart.
  • The Crazies, 2010 (USA) Bascially a remake of the 1973 movie; but with a quite different plot. Enjoyable but not outstanding. The ending is pretty unconvincing.
  • Virus X, 2010 (USA) Rogue scientists in meager personal protection and overly dark labs engineer a dangerous H1N1 strain which is more like Ebola. The most ridiculous thing is that everyone still is smeared with blood after hours and days in a lab, despite there’s no lack of water and cleaning utensils. Everything is utterly unconvincing.
  • Contagion, 2011 (USA) Depiction of the virus is rather good; social dissulution is exaggerated.
  • Gamgi, 2013 (KOR) I can’t really understand why they thought anyone would try to stop the spread of a virus by concentrating the whole population of a city in a central ghetto. Otherwise it’s quite ok, but a bit kitschy.
  • The Last Ship, 2014-2018 (USA) This series is also about a world-wide pandemic of an avian-flu type virus that is extremely fatal. But there are immunes. It’s rather militaristic, and suffers from a Star-Trek-bridge-crew-goes-everywhere syndrome. The virus depiction is pretty ok; the social dissolution exaggerated. Meh.
  • The Carrier, 2015 (UK) Here, the disease is caused by a bacteria, which spreads by touch and causes leper-like symptomes, with a near 100% fatality rate due to organ failure. The movie is about an air crew that tries to fly to saftey where none can be found, and how their group disintegrates. Pretty good.
  • Epidemic, 2018 (USA) A small budget movie, and a very small outbreak of some disease, initially stolen from a lab, that produces hallucinations, vomiting, necrosis and death.

Since the description of these were not clear about the kind of a disaster they are about, I did watch them. They are not really about diseases. One was a mistake;

  • Pontypool, 2009 (CAN) This is about, well, more a semantic virus. And the movie is great. Heartily recommended.
  • Skybound, 2017 (GER) Some rich kids fly in a swiss-registered Hawker 800, on the outside at least, from NYC to LA. Or something; the plane is bigger on the inside, but don’t worry, compared to the illogical behaviour of the people in it, that’s nothing. Don’t waste your time.
  • COVID-21: Lethal Virus, 2021 (Spain?) Despite the title, this is a zombie movie. Where daytime lasts 30mins apparently. It’s bad.

All Singing, All Dancing and the Music to Puke

Friday, May 20th, 2016

Apparently it’s now a Hollywood trend to end your movies in some all-singing-all-dancing scene, everytime with non-fitting, mood-destroying cheap bad pop.

Case in point: Descpicable me. It’s starts out with a ballet of swan lake,in which the turntable is taken over by some drone which strangles off swan lake, and replaces it with some miserable pop straight from the garbage-bin, after which everyone starts dancing happily. Apparently Hollywood wants to tell the kids that swan lake is no fun, and everybody should like this abyssmal concotion of uninspired and amelodious malware.

Another one is Ice Age 4, if I remember correctly. I’m not quite sure, because I immediately tried to get it out of my memory, because it was that bad.

In any case, would you let your children be indoctrinated with such a message? “It’s only good if it’s bad pop”?

But if the movie really can’t have any all-singing-all-dancing scene in it, well, there’s always the credits. There you can do you worst, and the people watching the movie can only hope to flee before the mood of the film is destroyed completely, because either some 12 year old boy-band fan chose the music for this, or some exec of one of those instant-band chose it to further his dark plans. Like not allowing anyone to listen to Tchaikoswky instead of the bollocks he wants to sell them.

Shrek 3 is an example of this. I guess in Shreck 4 they put the waste again into the all-singing-all-dancing.

Yes, the most obnoxious examples are all rendered movies, but the trend can be seen in other movies as well, where they exert themselves with choosing the most unfitting music for the credits. Narnia for instance, where the pop is bad, but at least the singer can sing. For what its worth, to sing bad pop.

What is good music for credits? Well, the one that fits. Like the one for “The Madagascar Penguins in a Christmas Caper”. It doesn’t actually matter what style, along as it is consistent. The Lego Movie features astoundingly bad pop to make a point. And in that case it’s absolutely right to return to that for the credits (Actually, they even feature a different (and much better) version of it at the end).

Hollywood versus History

Friday, November 13th, 2009

In History…
Heroes distinguish themselves by wearing elaborate cloth and headgear
In Hollywood…
Heroes distinguish themselves by wearing no headgear, no jacket (shirt only), and generally running around like the poorest peasant.

In History…
Heroes wear helmets in battle.
In Hollywood…
Heroes take off their helmets before battle. If they ever wore a helmet.

In History…
Swords are worn in wooden or leather scabbards until late 19th century
In Hollywood…
Drawing a sword always gives a metal-on-metal sound.

In History…
Swords are worn in wooden or leather scabbards until late 19th century
In Hollywood…
Drawing a sword always gives a metal-on-metal sound.

In History…
Black powder appears 1242 on the European battlefields.
In Hollywood…
Any black powder weapon used in in the middle ages will baffle everyone, since they can’t ever have encountered it as it does not fit into Hollywoods image of the middle ages.

In History…
Nobody lights his house or castle with torches for fear of a fire.
In Hollywood…
Everyone uses torches indoors. And they don’t even need to be replaced, they will burn 50 years or more once lit, especially in caves.

In History…
Guns until about 1850 are muzzle-loaders and only fire one shot until reloaded again.
In Hollywood…
The average muzzle-loader can fire several times. And you never see anyone reloading it, because the guys in the studio also have no idea on how it’s done.

In History…
It could happen that the British capture a Nazi U-Boat and manage to decrypt the codes with the help of polish Scientists.
In Hollywood…
US-Americans will capture the U-Boat, even before they’ve even entered the war and will decrypt everything themselves. Except for the Japanese code “Purple”, because that would mean their government could have known about the attack on Pearl Harbour hours before it happened.

In History…
It often happens that no US-American is involved in some heroic deed. Or that along US-Americans other people from other nations were involved.
In Hollywood…
Some US-American saves the day. If somebody else did it, US-Americans did it now. If somebody helped, like some thousands of Canadian troops, they are not shown in the movie.

In History…
A knight is proud of being a knight, tries to behave as such and certainly wears clothes and armour of a knight.
In Hollywood…
A knight might run around in a towel, a face painted blue like some picts did 1200 years earlier, and still lead a rebellion against the British.

In History…
The Scots really wore kilts, and claymores and broadswords. In the late 17th and the 18th century that is. They fought against British redcoats who mostly had muskets and bayonets.
In Hollywood…
Ah well. You already guessed it. They always do that; no matter the historical evidence.

In History…
Some cities in the middle ages found it necessary to limit bathing for its inhabitants to three times a week, because its infrastructure couldn’t live up to the demand.
In Hollywood…
People in the middle ages are always filthy, but most spot gleaming white teeth.

In History…
Plate Armour is mostly made to fit the wearer and made in the style of the time.
In Hollywood…
Plate Armour is made from whatever pieces are left from previous productions and in an style from 14th to 18th century. Except for helmets, those are in style from the early iron age to the 18th century.

In History…
People thatched their roofs very tight, 20-50cm thick.
In Hollywood…
Thatched roofs are see-trough and only on houses used by peasants.

In History…
People knew from the writings of Greek philosophers from A.D 300 upwards that the earth was round.
In Hollywood…
People from the middle-ages believe in a flat-earth.

In History…
People had a lower life-expectancy than today. Something like 60 years instead of 75. But if you factor in infant mortality, you get a mean of only 30 years.
In Hollywood…
People in the middle ages of course only have a life-expectancy of 30 years.

In History…
People wear shoes of their time, in the middle ages for instance turned-shoes without heels.
In Hollywood…
The Hero wears 19th century heeled cavalry boots.

In History…
The joined hose/trousers got out of style in the early middle ages, to be replaced by separate hoses. The joined hose comes back in the 15th century (with a codpiece).
In Hollywood…
The Hero does not wear separate hoses.

In History…
The Romans ridiculed hoses, they called them “feminalia” implying only women would wear them. And certainly would not like to wear them.
In Hollywood…
Romans wear hoses. Because the actors would feel nude, and it would conflict Hollywoods morality standards.

In History…
Most cannon-balls are just that: balls of stone or iron. The explosive shell is a relatively recent invention; explosive ammunition appears in the 17th century and is only shot by mortars. The first explosive shell for a flat-trajectory-gun appears 1823.
In Hollywood…
All guns shoot explosive shells.

In History…
People have weird haircuts in certain epochs. Long hair was considered a sign of nobility in the middle ages, and later a sign of a gentleman until the early 19th century (tough you could wear a powdered wig if you didn’t have long hair).
In Hollywood…
Hairstyles mostly reflect the time when the movie was made. Thus we get short-haired Ivanhoes, long-haired WWII aviators, and crop-haired Tudors.

In History…
The widht of belts varies with the epoch. They Merowingians wore huge belts. So did one in the 17th century. But in the middle ages, they wore very thin belts, 1-2cm in width.
In Hollywood…
It’s supposed to be historical, so people have to wear huge belts, besides some other historical movies did it like that before.

In History…
People sometimes are ugly.
In Hollywood…
Actors are not chosen by their likeness to the historical person they are supposed to represent, but according to their prominence. Behold the slim and handsome Henry VIII. And the straight-nosed Wellington.

In History…
Heroes sometimes have a very dark side as murderers, rapists or slavers.
In Hollywood…
Any dark deeds of the Hero are never shown, whereas the the designated Villain gets attributed every imaginable crime, including mass-murder, even if the historical evidence says otherwise.

See Also
Classic Cliches for the Medieval Historical Movie
Troy: Hollywood vs. Homer
Hollywood Rewrites History
Hollywood hokum: Fake history in films wipes out the facts learnt in class
Novelist condemns Hollywood’s yen to rewrite history as cultural imperialism
Hollywood Censors History (PDF)

List of Napoleonic Era Movies

Sunday, January 13th, 2008

Since I’m interested in the napoleonic period lately, namely the british navy of this time (heck, I even own a complete royal navy post-captains uniform, pattern 1795-1813. Replica of course), it occured to me, that somewhere on the internet a comprehensive list of movies playing in this time should exist. Well, I couldn’t find one. The ones that exist are mostly a salad of maritime movies of all periods, and I’m not interested (well, not much) into WW2 or the crimean war or whatever.

So here goes my (incomplete, I only included those I know of) list of movies, preferably with a date their action takes place and some remarks.


The Count of Monte Christo, 2002. Plays 1814 to 1838.
Goyas Ghosts, 2006. Plays around the occupation of spain by Napoleon. Very good and very depressing.
That Hamilton Woman, 1941. Haven’t seen it. Meant is, of course, Emma Hamilton, the lover of Admiral Horatio Nelson. The movie was subject to heavy censorship by the PCA and thus riddled with 1940ies US-morality-add-ons.
Scarlet Pimpernel, 1934. Gets a lot of history wrong. Like Robespierre executing people in 1792, when he actually held no office then. Costumes are cheesy, with ridiculously high collars. Quite enjoyable, in spite of the meager quality of the recording.
Scarlet Pimpernel, 1982. Haven’t seen it.
War and Peace, 1956.Haven’t seen it. A story of two families in front of a napoleonic background.
Love and Death, 1975. Haven’t seen it. A comedy which plays in czarist Russia during Napoleons time.
Swiss Family Robinson, 1960.
A family from Berne flees from Napoleon and is cast on an island as their ship wrecks.
Treasure Island, 1950. Plays in the 1760ies. Costumes are a bit cheesy. There is also a Version from 1990 which is much worse.
The Crimson Pirate, 1952. Says it plays “in the late 18th century”, but it’s a total Fantasy-movie. Nothing is historically right, or even works as it’s supposed to. Otherwise enjoyable.
Night Creatures aka “Captain Clegg”, 1962. Plays 1792 in Cornwall. A Navy-Captain is searching for the remains of the pirate Clegg. The Captains uniform is a 1795 undress uniform with a modern after-1800-cut.
Yankee Buccaneer, 1952. In 1840(!) a US Ship of the Line(!) tries to infiltrate Pirates in the Carribeans(!). Totally unbelieveable and bad.

Maritime and Naval Warfare

The Bounty, 1984. Plays 1789 aboard HMAV Bounty on her way to Thaiti and back.

Master & Commander, 2003, plays 1805 in the atlantic and pacific. Definitly and by wide margin the best of all those naval movies.

HMS Defiant, 1962. Plays 1797 at the mutiny of Spithead. Uniforms are good, only epaulettes and some swords wrong. Hairstyles less so… Culture aboard is sometimes depicted correctly (the women, for instance) sometimes not (pressed landsmen do not go aloft). The usual exploding balls. There’s some other goofs (sails set, and not set any more only seconds later), and the final “battle” is confusing and too long, but in general, the movie is very enjoyable.

Hornblower Series

This spans 1793 to somewhere after 1800. It’s quite nicely done, costume- and propwise. You’ll notice that the budget was considerably lower than that of Master & Commander, for instance the Guns don’t recoil back.

Captain Horatio Hornblower R.N., 1951. Plays in 1807. It’s actually quite true to the books, and captures Hornblowers personality a bit better than the series. From a historical perspective it’s not bad, but you’ll notice several wrong things. The uniforms for instance are the 1787-1795 pattern.

War on Land

Waterloo, 1971. Tells the story of Napoleons defeat. In my opinion, the characters don’t match, and it concentrates way too much on the psyche of Napoleon. Nice battle tough.

The Duelists, 1977. Two Hussar officers become enemies and duel themselves over the course of the napoleonic war several times. Very nicely done.

Barry Lyndon, 1975. The story starts somewhere around the seven years war 1754 and tells the rise and decline of the fortunes of said Barry Lyndon. Only the first half is about war, but contains a very nice display of a regiment.

Sharpe Series

the series spans from 1809 to 1815.

Girl With A Pearl Earring

Friday, August 25th, 2006

Ein Film der die Geschichte um die Entstehung des gleichnamigen Gemäldes von Vermeer erzählt. Spielt 1665. Und scheinbar ist meine These dass alles was vor 1600 spielt von Hollywood konsequent in einen Fantasy-Sumpf verwandelt wird, und man sich nur bei Filmen die nach 1600 spielen mühe gibt historisch irgendwas zu recherchieren. Denn dieser Film ist punkto Sachkultur und Gedankenwelt ein Hammer. Absolut wahnsinnig auf was man alles geachtet hat, fast jedes Detail stimmt (Laut Hitomi ist einzig ein Kleidschnitt falsch, und die Gabeln haben zuviel Zinken).

Nicht nur haben die alles richtig gemacht, nein, Sie geben noch einen drauf mit so kleinen Situationen wie dem Kegelspiel der Dienerschaft, oder einem Schwein welches durchs Haus getrieben wird, die wenig mit der Handlung zu tun haben, aber den Haushalt ungemein glaubwürdiger und die Zeit viel lebendiger werden lassen.

Dazu kommt eine glaubwürdige Handlung und gute Schauspieler.

Fazit: Ein rundum gelungener Film, einfach wunderbar. Genau so muss ein Historienfilm sein.


Friday, August 25th, 2006

Spielt 1200 BC und behauptet von sich “historisch” zu sein, was man vermutlich daran merkt dass die Götter nicht in Person auftreten. Ansonsten herrscht ein bunter Salat an Fantasy-Rüstungen und Helmen die eventuell ebenfalls Fantasy sind, und wenn nicht, dann 700 Jahre daneben. Überhaupt haben wieder alle zuviel Rüstungen und Helme für diese Zeit. Dito die Kleidung und der Schmuck, da ist nix griechisches dran, das ist Fantasy. Die Schiffe sind ebenfalls 500 BC und 700 Jahre daneben. Das einzig “historische” sind offenbar die griechischen sanduhrförmigen Schilde und eventuell die Speere dazu.

Last Samurai

Friday, August 25th, 2006

Ein Amerikanischer Hauptmann aus der Sezessionskriegszeit soll als Militärberater dem Kaiser von Japan helfen aufständische Samurai zu besiegen. Tatsächlich waren zu der Zeit solche Ausländer am Hof des Kaisers, allerdings Franzosen… Er wird gefangengenommen, verbringt den Winter in einem Dorf und wird schlussendlich selber zu einer Art Samurai. Die Geschichte ist nicht wahnsinnig überzeugend, die Schauspieler auch nicht. Die Kostüme sind gut, allerdings erlaubt sich der Regisseur solchen Mist wie die Hauptdarsteller als einzige ohne Helm in die Schlacht zu schicken, offensichtlich damit man die Gesichter der Hollywood-Stars sieht. Mittelmässig gut.

Spartacus (2004)

Friday, August 25th, 2006

Spielt um 72 vor Christus und strotzt vor Blödsinn. Gallierinnen tragen keine modernen Unterhemden; und Römer in der Therme keine Boxershorts. Auch sonst tragen alle zuviele, und kreuzfalsche Kleidung. Römer in Hosen, Toga in der Therme, Gladiatoren mit hohen Stiefeln mit 2cm Absätzen, Legionäre in Lederrüstungen, Heerführer mit Brustplatten die 10cm abstehen, uniforme Schilde in gedeckten farben und so weiter. Auch die Haartracht ist ein Tiefpunkt, der “römische” Held ist unsauber rasiert und zu langhaarig, die Gallier haben keine Schnäuze und dafür trägt der reichste Mann Roms einen Bart. Von der Gedankenwelt her ist Spartacus so kaputt wie er nur sein kann, er glaubt nicht an die Götter, meint aber er müsse bis zur Heirat enthaltsam sein. Gastfreundschaft mit Fusswaschen gibts auch nicht mehr, und eine Aufständische mokiert sich über einen gekreuzigten römischen General. Für einen Plaisadenbau brauchts zwei Legionäre um ein 3m-Pföstchen zu tragen, macht nix, das schwer befestigte Camp besteht eh nur aus Zelten; wie man auch bei der Flucht in die Berge bestimmt nur Waffen aber keine Vorräte mitnimmt. Oh, und wieder mal Julius: Er wird Cäsar genannt, als Name, obwohl Rom da noch eine Republik ist und Cäsar der Titel des Kaisers… Spartacus Schauspieler ist auch schlecht gewählt, sieht falsch aus, hat kein Charisma, und kämpfen kann er auch nicht, die Gegner müssen ihm ständig helfen. Das einzig coole ist Marcus Gracus parallelrede zu Bushs “War against Terror”: “strike terror against the greatest nation known to man”

Flesh + Blood

Friday, August 25th, 2006

Netter Landsknechtfilm, der um in Norditalien um 1501 spielt. Die Kostüme und Ausrüstung grenzen an Fantasy, öfters merkt man dass das typische Theaterkleidung benutzt wird; und eine Kriegsmaschine DaVinci’schen Ausmasses kommt auch vor. Die Charaktere sind toll, die Handlung macht spass und ist spannend. Gewisse Situationen recht brutal. Einige Dinge sind sehr unlogisch, warum sollte ein Kardinal schon mit einem kleinen Söldnerhaufen mitziehen? Oder handelt es sich um einen Pfaffen in Kardinalskleidung?


Friday, August 25th, 2006

Alter Wikingerfilm aus den 50ern. Auffallend ist dass die Wikinger teils ganz anständig angezogen sind, aber die Hauptdarsteller katastrophal. Inklusive aber nicht limitiert auf offen getragenes Schwert, eine Art lederbezogene Brigantine (16.Jh?) und eine Dame direkt aus dem 13. Jh.