Stefan Arndt

Stefan Arndt

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Cloud Atlas Review


Mad geniuses Tom Tykwer (Perfume) and the Wachowski siblings (The Matrix) boldly take on David Mitchell's layered epic novel, which connects six generations through the power of storytelling. The film takes so many huge risks that it's breathtaking to watch even when it stumbles. And as each tale is passed on to the next generation, the swirling themes get under the skin.

The six stories are interlinked in a variety of ways, transcending time to find common themes. On a ship in 1849, a seriously ill American lawyer (Sturgess) shows kindness to a stowaway ex-slave (Gyasi). In 1936 Edinburgh, a great composer (Broadbent) hires a musician (Whishaw) to transcribe his work, then tries to steal the young man's magnificent Cloud Atlas symphony. In 1973 San Francisco, a Latina journalist (Berry) gets a tip about dodgy goings on in a local nuclear power plant. In present-day London, a publisher (Broadbent) is trapped in a nursing home by his brother (Grant) and plots a daring escape. In 2144 Neo Soul, an official (D'Arcy) interrogates a replicant (Bae) who started a rebellion alongside a notorious rebel (Sturgess). And in a distant stone-age future, an island goatherd (Hanks) teams up with an off-worlder (Berry) when they're attacked by a warlord (Grant).

While the themes in this film are eerily involving, what makes this film unmissable is the way the entire cast turns up in each of the six story strands, changing age, race and gender along the way. Even so, they're essential variations on each other. Weaving is always a nemesis, whether he's a hitman, a demon or a nasty nurse. Hanks' characters are always strong-willed and often badly misguided. Grant goes against type to play sinister baddies. And D'Arcy is the only actor who plays the same character in two segments, as Whishaw's 1930s young lover and Berry's 1970s elderly informant. Meanwhile, each segment plays with a different genre: seafaring epic, twisted drama, political mystery, action comedy, sci-fi thriller and gritty adventure.

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Picture - Stefan Arndt Century City, California, Saturday 16th January 2010

Stefan Arndt Saturday 16th January 2010 35th Annual Los Angeles Film Critics Association Awards held at the InterContinental Hotel - Arrivals Century City, California

Picture - Stefan Arndt, his wife Manuela... Berlin, Germany, Thursday 29th May 2008

Stefan Arndt, his wife Manuela Stehr and Michael Haneke - Stefan Arndt, his wife Manuela Stehr, Michael Haneke Berlin, Germany - Premiere of Funny Games U.S. at Kino International Thursday 29th May 2008

Stefan Arndt, his wife Manuela Stehr and Michael Haneke

Run Lola Run Review

After all that running, Lola had better be in shape. Indeed, relatively unknown German filmmaker Tom Tykwer has put this film through such an exhaustive workout that not only is it in tip top condition for viewing, it'll leave you a little out of breath when it's over.

A simple Rashomon meets Go tale of a lost sack of cash and twenty minutes to find 100,000 Deutsche Marks to replace it, Run Lola Run (aka Lola Rennt) follows Lola (Potente), the girlfriend of a hapless guy, Manni (Bleibtreu), a low-down on the organized crime totem pole. When Manni foolishly leaves said cash on the subway, Lola figures it's up to her to fix the situation before Manni does something even more stupid in the next 20 minutes, before the appointed time for the money drop.

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Heaven Review

Before his death in 1996, Krzysztof Kieslowski left behind a final work, Heaven, as part of a trilogy that he intended to see directed by a series of three different filmmakers. While he didn't live to see his dream become a reality, the production company that held the rights to Heaven tried to make the film in the manner Kieslowski intended. Those familiar with Kieslowski's work will probably agree that the he most likely would have been proud of Heaven's result.

How a Polish script, a German director, an Australian lead actress, and an Italian-American actor managed to concoct such an authentic vision of the deceased French filmmaker is beyond comprehension, but they accomplished it nonetheless. Heaven looks, feels, and sounds like a Kieslowski film with its limited dialogue and slow, deliberate pacing, but it's actually the product of Tom Tykwer, who directed the acclaimed films Run Lola Run, and The Princess and the Warrior. Tykwer gives credit to Kieslowski's writing, but the cinematography, the scenes, the sound design, and the performances are a result of his decisions.

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Good bye, Lenin! Review

Good bye, Lenin!, directed by Wolfgang Becker, is a sappy nostalgic comedy about lying to the people you love in order to keep them alive.

The film is about a young man named Alex (Daniel Brühl) who tries to keep his convalescent mother (Katrin Sass) - who has recently awakened from a coma which she fell into right before the fall of Communism -- fooled into believing that the Berlin Wall is still up and Communism is alive and well.

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Love in Thoughts Review

I wasn't expecting much from this movie. It's called -- appallingly -- Love in Thoughts (or at least that's how it's loosely translated from German), and the cover shows two young men with their shirts unbuttoned, standing in a field of golden grain.

Well, you shouldn't judge a book by it's cover and you shouldn't judge a DVD by one, either.

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Wintersleepers Review

Sweeping shots of snowcapped mountains, displayed against a thumping techno beat and cut in with introductory shots of various characters (complete with their names appearing on screen) packing up to go somewhere might give one the impression that Wintersleepers is about a heist. The momentum builds like wildfire in these opening sequences as the phrase 'Are you really leaving today' echoes throughout the various departures happening across the board. This momentum quickly dies, as does the hope for any bank robbing scenarios. What comes in its place is a much slower film which lumbers along (painstakingly at times) to a crisp, almost haunting close.

Tom Tykwer, the German director who exploded onto the international scene with Run Lola Run brings this odd story of mistaken identity and deathly fate to the screen with an awkward, but in some ways rewarding, slant.

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The Princess and the Warrior Review

German auteur Tom Tykwer downshifts from the frenetic pace of Run Lola Run, landing solidly back in first gear -- if that -- with The Princess and the Warrior, a glorified and conceited film school project if ever I've seen one.

Tykwer reunites with Lola star Franka Potente, casting her as Sissi (the princess, presumably) a troubled mental ward nurse who probably ought to be a patient herself. After a morose 20-minute setup wherein the players are cryptically introduced, we find Sissi lying near death under a semi truck, run down in a city street. To her rescue comes the unlikely hero Bodo (the warrior?), played by the Gary Oldmanesque Benno Fürmann (also Potente's Anatomy costar), a two-bit crook who indirectly caused the collision in the first place. Bodo saves Sissi's life by giving her a homemade tracheotomy, and after a long recovery, the already unstable Sissi soon finds herself obsessed with her savior.

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Stefan Arndt

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