I visited the theatre a couple of times, checking out two sequels that I was looking forward to, and while I did enjoy both of them, they unfortunately did not manage to rise up to the bar set by their predecessors. In addition, I also saw a German film that I will definitely not forget for a very long time. More info on everything below.
The Hangover Part II (2011) - 5/10
I cannot say that I did not enjoy The Hangover Part II, nor can I say that I was overly bothered by the copy-pasted plot from the first movie, as some refer to it, but deep down I knew that it simply did not achieve the level of comedy that made the original such a big hit. The cast is all there, but no one seemed to be as impressive as they were back in 2009. Except for maybe Ed Helms—he’s undoubtedly a very talented actor and his outburst turned out to be some of the film’s highlights. On the other hand, Zach Galifianakis was definitely not as fun to watch this time around, his character becoming more of a nuisance rather than the leading comic relief in this movie. I also found that some of the film’s jokes fell completely flat, especially those involving the running gag revolving around the monkey or Mike Tyson’s cameo appearance, which set in motion an incredibly awkward scene devoid of any humour. However, I have to say that The Hangover Part II is more shocking than I recall the first one to be, delivering some really memorable moments along with a series of outrageous and downright hilarious photographs that roll after the movie’s conclusion. Go ahead and check this one out if you enjoyed The Hangover and want more of the same thing (because that’s precisely what this sequel is), but do not expect a product as original as the first one since there is no such thing to be had here.
Kung Fu Panda 2 (2011) - 7/10
Having recently seen Kung Fu Panda, which I completely enjoyed, I was really looking forward to its newly arrived sequel, but I have to say that even though most people found it to be more than a worthy successor, I was a little let down by the film as a whole. Don’t get me wrong, the movie looks great. As a matter of fact, it’s probably the best 3D experience I’ve had in a very long time (perhaps as far back as James Cameron’s Avatar), and the voice acting is just as impressive as it was in the original a couple of years ago, but I just didn’t find Kung Fu Panda 2 to be as grand and expansive in scale as the first movie was. For me, it just seemed like the entire hero’s journey was gone and replaced by a whole lot of action scenes and a barely interesting storyline. The flashbacks were a great addition, but for some reason, I just wasn’t as enthralled with Po’s past as everyone else seemed to be. In addition, the jokes seemed more like a hit-and-miss this time around, indeed delivering a few laugh-out-loud moments along the way, but ultimately failing to achieve the comedic level of the original film. Having said all that, Kung Fu Panda 2 still remains a solid addition to the animated film genre, delivering top-notch visuals, an excellent score and first-rate voice acting. And considering what everyone else is saying about it, you’ll probably enjoy it more than I did.
Das Experiment (2001) - 8/10
I stumbled upon this highly lauded German film a while ago, and after reading its premise and a couple of very positive reviews, I wasted no time and checked it out as soon as possible. It did turn out to be just as good as everyone made it out to be, even going as far as to exceed my expectations altogether. Das Experiment is very unique in nature, setting up a deeply intriguing plot that never gets predictable and always keeps the viewer on the edge. The film also features all-around solid acting from its cast, with actors Moritz Bleibtreu, Christian Berkel, Justus von Dohnanyi and Oliver Stokowski delivering some truly outstanding performances. It’s remarkable how the movie manages to build up tension, starting from the feeling of unease that prevails as early on as during the very first minutes and concluding in a spectacular no-holds-barred finale that really leaves you breathless. To sum it up, Das Experiment is one of the best German films I’ve ever seen and a true study of the human psychology. It’s not an easy watch, but it does make for an incredibly engaging and thrilling experience.