Enemy of the state (1998)

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Tonight I went back to the classics with Enemy of the state (1998), the story of hotshot lawyer Robert Dean who becomes the victim of a high stakes identity theft after unknowingly receiving a video portraying a murder. The NSA sets out to recover the tape and to take Dean down in the process.

Seeing this movie after the recent scandals facing the NSA makes this movie all the more important. They foretell a world where mass-surveillance is omnipresent, and everyone should be considered being under suspicion. It seems writer David Marconi wasn’t too far off.

This is one of my favorite movies from the late nineties with high paced action scenes bundled with a dystopian present where trust is no where to be found.

Score: 8/10 (Great)

V for Vendetta (2005)

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V for Vendetta (2005) is a movie set in the near future where Great Britain has become a fascist state and a masked vigilante known as “V” conducts guerrilla warfare against the British Government. When “V” rescues a young woman from being arrested by the secret police, he finds an ally to fight the oppressive government forces.

It’s easy to see the parallels with the classic dystopian fiction 1984, both having the totalitarian state and a control of fear. What sets this movie apart is the anarchist vigilante having a firm agenda and executing on it with absolute precision.

Score: 9/10 (Superb)

Watchmen (2009)

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Watchmen (2009) is the second Zack Snyder movie I have seen in a short period of time. Instead of alternate realities of the mind in Sucker Punch, Watchmen is about an alternate 1985 where superheroes exist.

We follow Rorschach in a murder investigation where he uncovers a horrific truth which could change the course of history and life on our planet as we know it.

I have put off seeing this movie for quite some time, mostly because of its length. What I didn’t realize was that the movie could in fact hold its own and never become boring during its three hours director’s cut edition.

While I have never read the original graphic novel on which the movie was based on, I can see strong influences from for instance Dr Strangelove and perhaps even Sin City.

If you want to see a superhero movie but without most of the usual clichés, watch this.

Score: 7/10 (Good)

Sucker Punch (2011)

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Zack Snyder’s Sucker Punch (2011) is a visually stunning story about a young girl who is institutionalized by her abusive stepfather. As a method of coping, she envisions an elaborate scheme with a goal to free herself from the institution.

Beware, the following text may potentially contain spoilers.

This movie appears to be deeply misunderstood by a lot of people, and since it contains an infinite amount of visually appealing scenes, nazi zombies, monsters and lightly dressed women, overlooking the complex layers of the story may very well just be a unconscious decision.

The key here is that Babydoll is not the protagonist of the movie, but a figment of Sweet Pea’s imagination and doesn’t really exist. Sweet Pea was the one who ended up in therapy at a psychiatric hospital after being sexually abused and accidentally killing her sister when trying to defend her from their stepfather.

All other girls in the brothel were just different aspects of Sweet Pea’s personality, and Babydoll is the "fifth thing" to overcome – The lobotomy of Babydoll was a way for Sweet Pea to let go of her illness and fight back, leading to her imminent "escape", or being cured.

The "second" reality (the brothel) was in fact reality as Sweet Pea visualized it, and an obvious clue is where Blue Jones was stabbed in the shoulder which was present in the "first" reality as well (the hospital as we would see it).

Score: 7/10 (Good)

Salt

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Salt (2010) is a movie about Evelyn Salt (Angelina Jolie), who plays the role of a CIA agent with a dubious background. After being accused to be a Russian spy by a Russian defector in CIA custody, she goes rouge and does what no one expects.

Score: 6/10 (Fair)

This is set out to be a standard action movie, which is does very well by the way. It does however go the extra mile with not fully expected plot twists and turns which will definitely keep you on your toes. This is in contrast with most classic over-the-top action movies which usually have a very simple and easy to guess plot.

If you want 100 minutes of pure action, Jolie and the whole world at risk, this is the movie to see.

Scott Pilgrim vs. the World

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Scott Pilgrim vs. the World (2010) is a movie directed by Edgar Wright (Shaun of the Dead), about Scott Pilgrim, who plays the bass in a local Toronto band, trying to make it and get signed. He meets Ramona Flowers after having a seemingly random dream about her, and Scott immediately falls for her quirky alternative appearance and personality. There is only one problem, Ramona has seven exes, who Scott has to “defeat” in order to win her over.

This is one of those movies where you have no idea what so ever about what will happen after seeing the trailer. Once seated and the movie starts however, it quickly becomes apparent how surprisingly brilliant this movie actually is. The moment the movie starts, you are thrown into a comic book atmosphere with an infinite number of video games references, and the Universal logo and theme are even in 8-bit.

I constantly kept thinking “What the hell am I watching?”, while at the same time feeling that this is something new and fresh. The transitions between the scenes were abrupt and fast, and could jump back and forth in seconds. There are no intense drama-scenes with deep conversations, but instead lots of one-liners and whitty comments.

This movie seems to have a lot of haters out there, but I think they just don’t get the feel of the movie. You will just have to see it for yourself and decide whether it is ingenious or overrated.

Score: 8/10 (Great)

The A-Team

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The A-Team (2010) is a movie based on the popular The A-Team TV series and follows the exciting and daring exploits of a colorful team of former Special Forces soldiers who were set up for a crime they did not commit. Going rogue, they utilize their unique talents to try and clear their names and find the true culprit.

Score: 6/10 (Fair)

Robin Hood

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Robin Hood (2010) is a movie about the classic story about Robin Longstride (Russel Crowe). The story begins in France with the death of King Richard and the journey back to England. Robin decided to honor a dying man’s wish, to return the sword of Walter of Locksley back to him.

The Book of Eli

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The Book of Eli is a post-apocapolyptic western movie about Eli (Denzel Washington), who has been on a 30 year long journey, heading west. During this tremendous journey though a wasteland full of thugs, robbers and killers, he tries to stay true to his mission to transport a very important artifact to the west-coast.

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Green Zone

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The Green Zone is the common name for the International Zone of Iraq — a 10-square-kilometer area in central Baghdad, Iraq, that was the center of the Coalition Provisional Authority and remains the center of the international presence in the city[1]. This movie is a political conspiracy thriller set in the beginning of the Iraq war and the politics surrounding the search for Weapons of Mass Destruction.

Roy Miller, played by Matt Damon, is the leader of a team searching for WMD’s at strategic locations around Iraq. These locations came from from a well-protected and highly regarded source in the US army, but after several operations without success, Miller starts to question this intel and begins digging. He finds an ally at the CIA which pushes him in the right direction and gives him the means and authority to execute his plans to capture the Iraqi General, Al Rawi, who is believed to be the key to the whole war.

The first few minutes of the movie felt like being on the battleground in Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2 — There were the same weapons, clothes and similar enemies. After yet again coming to terms with the Green Zone not being a Bourne movie, it could be enjoyed for what it truly is.

The movie is suprisingly fast-paced, and gets going immediately and holds the viewer in its grip right until the very end. There are plenty of hand-held shaky camera scenes, which most of the time enhanced the experience, making the terror and drama more intimate and real.

There was a scene where there was a sniper in a tall building were shooting at the team, which immediately brings a similar scene to mind — in Lebanon, there is the exact same scenario, however, since this is an American movie, there is no fear and everything always goes as planned.

Since this is a movie about the Iraq war and the controversies surrounding it, there are lots of facts thrown in there (like former president Bush holding a speech) and fiction are interweaved to make the story more real. Even though the movie is a fiction, having real facts and people brings a whole new dimension to the genre itself.

To conclude, if you go in expecting to see a Bourne blood-bath, don’t bother, but if you are expecting a combination of politics and moral dilemmas, you are in for a treat!

It is said that the movie is supposedly based on the novel Imperial Life in the Emerald City by Rajiv Chandrasekaran, a journalist for The Washington Post.