Archive for March, 2011


BOOH!

This one's a Must-See!

Phillip Seymour Hoffman as Brandt (left) and David Huddleston as The Big Lebowski.

Actors yell dirty words, trippy sequnces show up consistently, people get injured, blood is shed, characters are just bizarre, and it is all for the sake of comedy.

Wonderful!!

From the Coen-brothers, the makers of Fargo, comes The Big Lebowski; what the movie is about I shall tell you, despite the fact that it’s not really important, as the characters is what we’ve come to see – it is a Coen-movie, after all.

The incredibly lazy train wreck Jeff Lebowski (Jeff Bridges), or The Dude, as he insists on being called, is a pathetic joke of a man, who doesn’t do much except bowl, smoke and drink, however, suddenly something strange happens: he is mistaken by two thugs as the Big Lebowski, a different and much richer man.

From there, things get worse and much more complicated, but with his tough friend and fellow bowler Walter Sobchak (John Goodman) and their teammate Donny (Steve Buscemi), The Dude keeps on fighting the enemies he makes.

But like I said, the plot is not important; it is the various weird characters and their unique dialogue that drives the film.

From left to right: The Dude, Donny and Sobchak.

All the characters The Dude runs into are fascinating and fun in their own right: Sobchak is so intimidating, he’s charming; a crazy but intelligent hard-core – if you will – feminist Maude Lebowski (Julianne Moore), also fun to watch and listen to; Big Lebowski’s sycophantic right-hand Brandt (Phillip Seymour Hoffman), hilarious character;  and of course, The Dude’s new bowling nemesis, the ambiguosly gay Jesus (that’s what he calls himself) played by John Turturro.

Well, the critics are absolutely right; this movie’s great – the writing is great, the characters are great, the camera work is great, the music is great, Bridges is great, Goodman is great, Hoffman is great, Buscemi is great and the directors are – of course – great!

Oh, and Peter Stormare and Sam Elliot are in this movie as well, though in relatively small parts; they too are great!

Yeah, what can I say? It’s a movie that needs to be seen, especially if you’re a film freak, like yours truly. If you’re not a huge fan of violence or offensive stuff, however… you’re entering a world of pain! I just had to write that!

5/5 whatever!

‘The Lives of Others’ Review

This one I recommend!

Ulrich Mühe as Wiesler

Blogging kind of bores me, but I will keep sharing my thoughts on movies, for certain. Today I’m going to write about a very well-recieved German film, Das Leben der Anderen (eng.The Lives of Others).

Hauptmann Gerd Wiesler (Ulrich Mühe) is a loyal Stasi-agent in the German Democratic Republic in 1984 (Berlin-wall still standing, for those who don’t know); he sits in a dark attic, headphones on, listening to the sounds and eavesdropping on the lives of others, making no sounds and barely any movement – there is only him, his surveillance-gear and his thoughts.

Wiesler gets assigned by one of his superiors to bug the flat of playwright and author Georg Dreyman (Sebastian Koch), and eavesdrop on him and his girlfriend, actress Christa-Maria Sieland, played by Martina Gedeck. At first Wiseler is not entirely sure as to why he needs to spy on this man, but once it all becomes clear to him, and once he starts to feel sorry for the couple, he starts to lie to his superiors about what they do and what they talk about. He becomes their protector.

You could say that the Dreyman-storyline has a lot more going on than that of Wiesler, such as love-affairs and suicides, but Wiesler is the main reason I enjoyed this film; he is a very fascinating character, who has no life or no real friends or hobbies, and whose facial expression never changes. Instead, the audience needs to look him in the eyes to figure out what he might be feeling and thinking about. His lack of emotion isn’t bad acting – it is just extreme subtlety.

Dreyman (left) and Christa-Maria, unaware that someone is listening.

Das Leben der Anderen is a very queit and slow movie, so I can’t recommend it to those who wish to see an explosion every 9 minutes or a shampoo-hating vampire-wannabe running around in a forest and making out with an ugly girl, although you should definitely see it if you’re a true film-buff and need to see some really good foreign films.

Despite it’s silence, the movie manages to be very powerful, smart and touching. I really love how closely you need to watch Wiseler to understand him, I love the sound of the music, I love how intelligent the writing is, I love how believable the actors are, I loved the way it was filmed, I just loved how it made me feel.

Basically, what I’m saying is that this is damn good film. It’s the greatest German film I’ve seen, although I haven’t seen that many, to be perfectly honest.

4.5/5 whatever.

 

Heh-heh-heh. Uh-huh-huh-huh.

This one I recommend.

Beavis and Butthead are two of the most charming and entertainingly stupid cartoon-characters I’m familiar with; no matter who you are – even Stephanie Meyer – you will look like a damn genius when compared to these two. I loved Mike Judge’s cartoons so I could not help but eventually expose myself to the movie, Beavis and Butthead Do America.

Our heroes, ladies and gentlemen.

The film begins as our two idiot-protagonists (both voiced by Judge) wake up to find out that their TV has been stolen and of course, they set out on an adventure to find a new one. They try to steal one from the school but end up breaking it, they try to watch their neighbour’s television but end up breaking it, and finally they visit a motel, hoping to watch TV there, but tough-guy Muddy (Bruce Willis) mistake them for the two hitmen he’s been waiting for, so he gives them the mission to go “do” one of his enemies, his wife Dallas (Demi Moore), as in kill her, but of course the two bright kids misinterpret his words.

Nevertheless, they fly to Vegas, where they eventually encounter Dallas, who gives them another job – which they will indeed do as long as they get to “do” her at some point, as well – the new job being to go to Washington D.C. by bus and meet her there and then go on a special mission.

Obviously, none of what I just mentioned happens without Beavis and Butthead screwing something up, ending up in the wrong place at the right time (You’ll understand if you see the movie.) or even destroying something, having absolutely no idea what kind of dangerous adventure they’re actually on; all they really want is to watch some TV.

Nothing to say now, except.... Heh-heh-heeh. Uh-huh-huh-huh.

Some people are so incredibly incompetent that you just can’t help but love them; Beavis and Butthead are fine examples of loveable morons. I also like their film; it’s really fun to watch these two bafoons walk around nonchalantly as they cause chaos everywhere and even end up wanted by the F.B.I., as all they can pay attention to is funny-sounding words, hot girls and other things that fascinate them, like automatically flushing urinals!

This is a very funny movie, the animation is alright, the characters are all enjoyable, the plot (which, again, our heroes seem to ignore) is kind of interesting, the choice of music is also very good and there are many hilarious scenes I will always remember, especially Beavis’ hallucination-sequence. There is also a strange scene earlier where Beavis and Butthead seemingly meet their fathers!… Interesting.

Very good movie. I recommend it especially if you’re fan of the cartoon, but if you are, you’ve most likely seen the film already. If you haven’t, do! (Heh-heh-heh… he said do! Heh-heh!)

4/5 whatever

‘Mulholland Drive’ Review

This one I recommend!

As a David Lynch-fan, I had no choice but to eventually give Mulholland Drive a watch, since it, after all is commonly referred to as Lynch’s greatest film. Do I agree?

Ha-ha!

Mr. Roque, waiting.

I would be lying if I said that I understand the movie. As with most Lynch-films, it’s no child’s play to figure out which of the things that happen in the film are real and which are hallucinations or twisted dreams, let alone the chronological order of the scenes. Lynch’s movies are more often than not confusing and/or incomprihensible, but not all of them seem to make any sense in the end – this one strangely does, even if I can’t figure it out myself.

It opens as a confused brunette woman (Laura Herring) is held at gunpoint in a car, but fortunately for her, a car crash occurs, she being the sole survivor. She runs away, apparently having lost her memory, from the crash-site and sneaks into the home of Hollywood-actress Betty Elms (Naomi Watts); the two women make friends and Betty promises to help Rita – which is what the woman decides to call herself, after Rita Hayworth – to discover her true identity.

We also see a man in a diner, telling another man about his grotesque nightmares, which apprently took place in the diner. Not much later, we see what appears to be a gang of mobsters, insisting that Hollywood-director Adam Kesher (Justin Theroux) casts a woman named Rhodes – who may or may not actually be Rita – in his next motion picture. That’s basically the premise; Betty Elms attempts to help Rita discover who she really is, while also getting her own career started, all while in the meantime practically all of the other characters in the movie work to get Adam Kesher to cast this Rhodes person in his next film. And as the film progresses it gets more and more beautifully bizarre and we’re not even sure who’s who anymore, eventually!

These are our two leads.

Now, I’m not here to tell you what I think the movie is actually trying to say, or how I interpret all the really weird scenes. I’m just here to tell you how I liked the film, and I liked it a lot.

Lynch did well here, I think. Had I seen all his movies in the order in which they were made, I’d say that Eraserhead and The Elephant Man made me a fan, he lost me with Dune, tried to win me back with Blue Velvet, failed due to Wild at Heart and Lost Highway and then finally he won be back with Mulholland Drive.

The characters, the dialogue and the story – all very good writing; I liked the actors, the cinematography and the music; I enjoyed the creepy scenes (usual for a Lynch-movie) as well as the funny ones (not so usual for a Lynch-movie). Sure, I didn’t think much of it as it was getting started but towards the end, when it got especially surreal, that’s when I realised that this is, indeed, one of his greatest films. I do agree.

Can one make sense out of the movie? I haven’t attempted it myself, though I believe it’s possible.

4/5 whatever.

‘Rango’ Review

This One’s a Must-See

When you take Western, cross it with Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas, make it about nasty small creatures, and make it all totally awesome, this is what you get

Gore Verbinski’s Rango is a fine ILM-film with a fine cast; it stars Johnny Depp, Alfred Molina, Ned Beatty, Bill Nighy, Harry Dean Stanton and several other stars, but since Swedes have a tendency to dub all animated feature films ever – no matter how insane – I was rendered unable to tell which character was voiced by Molina or Nighy etc. etc.

Either way, our story – which, for some reason, is  told by a group of singing owls – begins as our protagonist Rango (Depp), a self-proclaimed master-actor and also a chameleon, falls out of the car of his owners and after running into Raoul Duke – I’m totally serious – and a mysterious armadillo (Molina), who looks like an UrRu from The Dark Crystal, who tells him of a nearby town inhabited by small animals, he visits said town. There he uses his acting-skills and wits to come off as a legendary hero. Of course, the citizens – each uglier than the last; there are NO cute animals in this town, aside from this one mouse – believe him, make him their new sheriff and ask him to help them find the ones responsible for all the water disappearing.

What follows is lots and lots of action, adventure, more gritty characters, great jokes and all that other stuff I love.

Sheriff Rango.

Characters that Rango runs into throughout all of this include Beans, a female lizard voiced by Isla Fisher, the suspicious mayor, a tortoise voiced by Ned Beatty, a giant snake voiced by Bill Nighy and even Clint Eastwood! Lucky guy.

This movie is strong on visuals, let me tell ya! All of the animated characters are unbelievably detailed, not to mention unbelievably grotesque, but in a good way! By that I mean that they are unique and extremely fascinating and fun to watch, as is much of the other imagery in the movie. Never before has a movie looked so hideous and so astonishingly beautiful at the same time.

As you might have been able to tell by now, I really liked this film – loved it, in fact! I loved the characters, the visuals, the music (especially that which pays homage to Ennio Morricone), the in-jokes, the imagery and the surreal dream-sequences – yeah, this movie has some of those, too! I’m also glad the movie was in glorious 2D(!) which meant I could actually friggin’ SEE what was going on, which is a rarity these days.

Parents, be warned. This is not a movie for little children; the language is somewhat rude, the images can be very frightening and I don’t think they’ll get the clever in-jokes. See, there are references to films such as Chinatown, Apocalypse Now, Transformers, Star Wars, and the list goes on and on.

Bottom line – it’s an excellent film, worth seeing escpecially if you’re a smart moviegoer, have some cinema-experience and thus get the jokes. Otherwise… watch it anyways!! It totally rocks!! ILM, be proud!!!!

5/5 whatever!

Krank and his lovely hat.

This one's a Must-See

La cité des enfants perdus (eng. The City of Lost Children) is a surreal 1995 steampunk-film created by Marc Caro and Jean-Pierre Jeunet.

It takes place in The City of Lost Children, since that’s apparently what the city is called.

T.T

Krank (left) is moved to tears by the story of his own life.

Krank (Daniel Emilfork) is a lonely scientist who lives on an offshore oil rig with his dwarf-mother, his brothers, who are all clones of Dominique Pinon, and his uncle, a talking brain in a fish-tank with tubas for ears. I’m supposed to make a joke after uttering those words, but I just don’t feel like it. Krank seeks the ability to dream and thus (???) slow down is rapid aging, so what he does is steal children from the nearby city, aiming to find out how exactly they dream. So yes, Krank ages quickly, which is obvious due to his overall behaviour; he’s just a little boy inside an old man’s body. Also, early in the film, the talking brain makes us wonder whether Krank is actually the scientist or if he was in fact created by someone else??

Is that Miette's leg under the sheet or are you just happy to see her?

One keeping Miette warm... *cough*...

Hired to capture the children of the city are the Cyclopses, a gang of strange one-eyed cyborgs, who get circus-strongman One (Ron Perlman!) involved when they capture his very little brother. And after that, One gets a little girl named Miette (Judith Vittet) involved, as well. She is an orphan, who along with other orphans work for two evil ladies – although the ladies share one leg, so to speak, which makes them siamese twins and techincally just one lady – stealing things from rich people on the streets and bringing them to “her”. “She” is known as The Octupus; y’know, because she has 8 legs… well, more like 3 actually, but… yeah. As One and Miette become very close friends (whether it’s like a brother-sister relationship or more like peadophilia, I’m not quiet sure) and eventually escape the Octupus to go find the Cyclopses and the lost children, she hires the mysterious Marcello (Jean-Claude Dreyfuss) to go after them. He uses a flea carrying a special venom, or something, that will make you violent and aggresive if it bites you. This flea becomes useful towards the end of the film, I can assure you.

Now, its plot coming off as rather confusing, it might very well turn you off – it’s sounds way too weird, you say; I would never watch this crack-hallucination of a movie, you say – but even for those who are not interested in the story, it is definitely worth seeing because of its surreal and beautifully dark visuals, as well as the characters, who are fascinating both in the bizarre way they act and also the way they look – you just can’t take your eyes off any of them, including the ones that actually look pretty, like little Miette.

Can we get a little smile, Emilfork?

Krank is displeased.

Indeed, it’s a movie worth seeing mostly because of how gorgeous it is, and if you don’t try to think to hard about what the movie is actually about – it can be hard to follow, I know – then that’s even better. Just enjoy the characters, enjoy the visuals, enjoy the clever chain reactions Jenuet and Caro are known for, enjoy the beautiful sets, enjoy the ride.

I love it, personally. I no longer find the story all too confusing; I love the crazy characters, while feeling genuinely sorry for Krank and rooting for One and Miette; I love the acting; I love how absurd it is; I love how different it is; it’s simply one of my all-time favorites. Again many people compare this to a crack-fantasy, so if you don’t know anything about art, this might not be the film for you. I myself adore it!

5/5 whatever.

I’m speechless!

 

‘Ink’ Review

This one I can recommend!

The next movie I want to review is Ink, a movie that’s surprisingly touching, well-acted, clever and over-all good for an indie-film.

It tells us of two kinds of supernatural beings, The Storytellers and The Incubi, that emerge at night and exist to either give you pleasant dreams (The Storytellers) or horrific nightmares (The Incubi). I wonder who’s responsible for the wet dreams??

Left to right: Gabe, Jacob, Ellel and Sarah

One night, a whole new creature, going by the name Ink, shows up and kidnaps the daughter of a man who has just lost his wife. The man, his name’s John, doesn’t seem to care much for his daughter Emma, even when she’s in the hospital, but luckily The Storytellers are there to mess with the timeline, with the help of a so-called Pathfinder named Jacob (he serves as the otherwise sad film’s comic relief), causing John to go to the hospital – as a patient, that is – where Emma lies dying. Her soul however (I hope I’m getting this right!) is with Ink, who tries to travel back to the Incubus-world using special gateways, but fails due to one of The Storytellers breaking his special key as he was kidnapping Emma.

Some of the movie focuses on poor John and his past, some of it focuses on Ink and Emma’s journey through different worlds and the rest focuses on three Storytellers attempting to get Jacob to stop spewing wisecracks and just help them get a hold of John; all of it is actually rather interesting.

I came across this movie accidentally, not knowing I was about to watch something really, really good. After then learning some things about it, I was sad that no major film studio picked it up when it was finished back in ’09. Well, I hope the people who actually bother to read this will consider giving it a chance.

The visual effects and make-up are of course not perfect, but the movie still looks nice thanks to the way it’s filmed: with many different-colored filters – this will annoy some, but I personally thought all the different colors fitted the tone of the film; it all looks very dreamlike and pretty, but sometimes frightening and unnerving.

Ink and his nose(!)

The actors all do well (again, rather surprising), the plot had me interested from beginning to end, I thought the characters all looked fascinating, I was fond of the soundtrack and I just like the overall look of the film, though some of you might not. The fast editing and sometimes shaky camera work IS something that even I will admit can be annoying at certain times.

Once again, this is one of those films that I wish more people to acknowledge; too few people have seen this, but I do hope that this will soon change. I just wish I could get why Ink’s nose had to be so gosh darn huge???

4.5/5 whatever.

This one’s a Must-See!


As I am such a film-freak, I feel it’s appropriate to start off my blogging with a review of one of my all-time favorites.

What we have here is The Dark Crystal – don’t be fooled, it may be directed by Jim Henson, but Elmo and Kermit are nowhere to be found in this picture. These are no ordinary muppets; these things are detailed, fascinating to look at and sometimes really frightening, for children at least. (Though I thought Miss Piggy was much scarier than these guys when I was a child.)

Two Skeksis

The story of this masterpiece takes place on the planet Thra,where the cruel Skeksis, a dying group of vulture-reptiles or whatever, rule from their dark castle where they guard the dark crystal, which used to be bright and pure until a shard was lost from it. These monstrosities used to be merged with a (also dying) group of wise, old creatures, called the UrRu, although they are referred to as The Mystics; they took care of one of the Gelfling, another group of interesting creatures, one of which is destined to save Thra from the Skeksis and mend the dark crystals as the three suns on the sky align, according to a prophecy (What else?).

This particular Gelfling – his name’s Jen – gets raised by the UrRu (or “Mystics”, take your pick) and lives in their valley until his master decides that he is mature enough to take on the quest the prophecy talks about: find the shard, find a way into the castle and heal the crystal before the three suns meet, otherwise the Skeksis will remain in charge forever… or atleast until the next time the suns meet, maybe.

Fizzgig (bottom), Kira (left) and Jen

On his quest, Jen also meets Aughra, an old witch-like creature who has hidden the shard from the Skeksis, the Garthim, crab-like soldiers of the Skeksis, and also Kira, another Gelfling who just happens to be a female (is it getting hot in here?), and her little furry ball (dog??) Fizzgig; I want one of those! As they join forces they move towards the castle whilst the Garthim and one of the Skeksis, who was banished from the castle by the new emperor, pursue them. It is a quite an exciting adventure for a muppet-movie.

This is one of those movie that will grow on you every time you re-watch this; that means you will love it more and more, but it also means that it literally “grows” because you keep finding little details in the backgrounds, sets and costumes that you have failed to notice previously. It’s the most impressive puppet-movie I’ve ever seen – still not sure how they did alot of all this – and I consider it Jim Henson’s greatest achievment (no offense, Elmo); the characters are interesting, the music is nice, the cinematography is very pretty, and of course, as I mentioned, the sets and characters all look stunning. Loved it as a little kid and I will always keep on loving it. But when in the name of Santa Christ will we see the sequel??!!

5/5 whatever.

Quoth Roger Ebert

“I was indeed a snob, if you agree with this definition: ‘A person who believes that their tastes in a particular area are superior to those of other people.’ I do believe that. Not superior to all other people, but to some, most probably including those who think Transformers Revenge Of The Fallen is a great film. That is not simply ego on my part. It is a faith that after writing and teaching about films for more than 40 years, my tastes are more evolved than those of a fanboy.”

 

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