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Love true stories, dramas, sci-fis and a good crime or thriller.
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En dag til i solen (1998)
Sweet story from an encounter in a sleepy mediterranen town
The young Norwegain sailor Almar get starnded under odd circumstances in a sleepy Spanish mediterranean island town, while waiting for his valauble pocket watch to be repaired. There he has an accident with the newspaper deliver girl Marta. This is the opening plot of "Water Easy Reach" (In Norwegian: "En dag til i solen", which translated means "Another day in the sun".)
This is acclaimed Norewegian filmmaker Bent Hamer second feature film after the genius "Eggs" three years earlier, and since then he has made several films of which all I've really liked. The tops are Kitchen Stories, Eggs and O'Horten, but every film from Hamer is well worth a watch. So is this film, which I had to wait 20 years to get to see, due to it being rare after being sold out on DVD back in 1999.
Bent Hamer's films are always quite slow paced charming stories about normal people showing their odd sides in the meeting with others. You could call it the every day humor, and making the films a fun and rememberable watch.
Water Easy Reach is no different, and the actors are all doing a great job, like Nicholas Hope here as an English encounter, and of course the lead Eric Magnusson, which also is great. Water Easy Reach is one of those small films which stays with you after you've seen it, due to the charm and humanity which lacks in Amercan films.
SHORTREVUE: When others know more about you than yourself
The Conversation (Samtalen) is a Norwegian short, and the debut work of Daniel Paida Larsen.
We meet Benjamin, which has travelled to a unknown small town, where he feels free to be alone, but where he constantly is approached by persons which seems to know him very well, though he's sure he has neber met them before. Meeting strangers which act like they are almost family is threatening to Benjamin, who try to run away from himself.
The film is artistic, and beautiful, but feels abit unfulfilled when it comes to the storytelling. The plot is great, but we would have wished a bit more to the story's ending.
Producer and director Daniel Paida Larsen has with him photographer Runar Sørlie, and the film won best photo at the film festival in Aarhus, Denmark.
Astonishing achievement in explaining human reactions to tragedy
Dag Johan Haugerud's second feature film "Beware of children" or originally "Barn" which means nothing like the English word, but "Children" or "Kids" in English, is a profound movie. The film premiered in competition at the Venice film festival. The film is treating the tragedy as we humas react. We deal with it both depression and humour (!). The film is much funnier than you would expect. We got to laugh about some people's reactions, and are disgusted by other's.
The film starts with it's turning point right away: A 13 year old boy is treated by an ambulance crew in an Oslo suburb school yard fotball field after what seems like a violent episode involving a girl at the same age. She tells she was "just kidding" but admits to hitting her class mate with her rucksack. The boy dies just after reaching hospital, and the school goes into crises mode. What makes it worse is that the scholl's freemale principal actually is having an affair with the boys single father, a right wing politician. The girl's parents are left wings, and the father actually a member of parliament. The film is about what happens, and what is said around the scholl environment and at their homes in the aftermath.
Just like his first feature "I belong" ("Som du ser meg" = "The way you see me") this film is really about human communication. I guess the way we communicate is something which interests director Haugerud quite a lot. and it is really interesting as well, and becomes very clear in his movies. Communication, and here as personal, and not so much through all kinmds of media, which many latter fils have as a theme, is based on so many factors. All humans social communcation is based upon upbringing and environment, and dealing with such a profond tragedy is a difficult matter for all. We was to blame? Was it an accident? Could this have been prevented? Who feels guilt? What was the reason for this? What do you say? What can be said? How de poople react? How can one deal with such a tragedy? How do the people around the main involved react? How can they help? What can't be said? What is said behind their backs? Well, still life has to go on. Even trivial talking about curtains and dinner.
The film two and a half hour long, which is a bit lenghty, but none in the cinema seemed to feel it too long. Me neither. Still I think many will think it's too long. However, it was very different, and quite interesting, though a tiny bit too subtle for to me for giving it a 10/10. Still a film I'd recommend, especially for teachers, but certainly also for people working in environments with a lot of people. Much is actually to learn.
Svartere enn natten (1979)
80 minutesof quarrelling
The "love-stoty" Darker than night / Svartere enn natten, is about the challenges realtionship between a couple which are masters of bad quarrels.
And awful love story by Norway's worst filmmaker couple Svend Wam and Petter Vennerød.
The stoty is full of badly written dialog when this couple argue over everything and everywhere. They fight at the bus stop, home, in restaurants, and sometimes they make love.
Wam and Vennerød made social realistic films, and this couple is kiosk attendant and garbageman.
The final of the movie is worth watching, though, as and insane ending to it all.
Maybe Wam and Vennerød's least interesting film.
Real about a suspected rapist
Rape, or in Norwegian Voldtekt, is acclaimed Anja Breien's second feature film, and the film made before her critically acclaimed Wives(Hustruer), and really shows why she grew to be one of the most known female Norwegian film makers.
Rape tells how 22 year old Anders Bakken, a youngster with an unstable backround, is suspected to be behind a rape, and another attempt, seemingly done by the same perpetrator.
Anders finds himself in a process he can't get out of, claiming his innocense. The trail process is very real, using real and well known laywers as actors in court.
The film is holding qualities which I find good, and you also feel the helplessness of the process.
Acting is superb, and Svein Sturla Hugnes is very good in the main role. The lawyers impress as actors, as well.
Visually OK, but awful ly written dialog
Fifty-Fifty by Oddvar Bull Tuhus is a Norwegian road movie about a fictive band. Some youngsters decide to start a band.
Sad to say, the film feels clichéd, nad is filled with bad acting. The dialogue is very poor, due to a rather bad script, and humourous dialog doesn't function.
It's actually always way off. The film also lacks the drive to make us interested.
The script tries hard, but fails in delivering even the faintest realistic atmosphere.
Even the music feels contrived.
Visually the film is OK, but the film is an example on how bad Norwegian movies were at the time. Some years later, the Norwegian film industry took grip, and started making films which also got international attention.
This, however, is not at all a proud moment.
Quite rwalistic, but badly written dialogue
Oddvar Bull Tuhus' Hockeyfeber is following Manglerud/Star, a real Norwegian hockey team in a fictive season where they get a Finnish National trailer as coach.
The film is about a Norwegian hockey team trying to make a challenge for the top of the league.
The Finnish coach Glenn, played by Jörn Donner, makes the team practice much harder including boxing-training. But there's still lots of personal conflict, both internally within the team and the organization.
The film is quite OK visually, and has a realustic fell, but the play and rsather bad dialogue puts the film down. If it hadn't been for that, this would be a quite good sports movie.
Elva bak huset (2007)
SHORT REVUE: Behind the House
A young boy struggles with his quarreling parents, and find refuge from it all behind the house, where a small river runs. De decides to change the path.
The film is underplayed and short-film-strange in a way that makes you interpret what you want into it. Others will find it frustrating.
Director Jon Haukeland has made several documentaries which has made an impact, however this doesn't to me.
Der nede sørger de ikke (2006)
SHORT FREVUE: Down There They Don't Mourn
Two classmates who don't know each other, but can't adjust to life at school. Thomas has moved in almost a year ago, but isn't a part of his class yet. He has no friends. Karsten is an odd boy, liking to ruin things.
The film tells about the day the sneak away and go on a rampage at school.
Dramatic told, and gives an impression of being outside, still it's not fulfilling.
Director Per Sveinung Larsen have had success with the film Brettkontroll, about skateboarding,
The nice performance of thre kids are a great plus.
Lykke til, pappa (2007)
SHORT REVUE: Good luck, Dad
The narrator is Erlend, who looks back on when he was nine year old Erlend, visiting his beloved father. Back when Norway was a great speed skating nation, with the four best in the world. A father which isn't among the best, and have had his struggles, but still tries to learn his son the importance of speed skating on ice. During the next days the film follows, their fragile relationship will be challenged.
The film relies very on nostalgia, which work fine with me, remembering the period. The period setting of the late 70'ies is good, as well as the acting. The film touches strings that is profound and heartfelt.
Director Stian Forgaard has later made three more short films with kids in the main role.
Ut og stjæle hester (2019)
Visual and poetic nostalgia, with a sting of real tragedy
Out stealing horses (Ut å stjæle hester) is a very careful adaption of the very successful novel with the same name by Norwegian author Per Petterson, a novel which have solid millions in at least 50 languages. The film won the silver bear in The Berlin International film Festival.
Let this be said up front: if you're not up to watching a slow storytelling, and not able to sense the small and careful waves of air, glimmers of sun and the wet sensation of rain woven into the nostalgia here, this film will not be for you. You need to be completely at ease when watching, otherwise the film will feel very slow.
Hans Petter Moland has made a film true to the poetic and nostalgic tone of the book, which tells the story about a newly pensioned man, in grieve after the loss of his wife, moving out in the remote countryside, not too far from where he have had childhood memories. The he randomly meets a neighbor which he realizes he must have known some 50 years back. This brings back a lot of forgotten memories from the past. Memories of fondness and great tragedy.
The film is slo and thoughtful, with a stark nostalgic thread, but also a tiny fracture of humor. The film is very sensible, with a lot of thoughts put into photography, with pictures of grass and wind. The film is narrated by the mans telling voice, which in this case adds to the feeling of storytelling. A work of art of a film!
Venuto al mondo (2012)
Over the top story which is OK, before the final crash
I had hopes for this, which never came to me country either on cinema , nor as a DVD/Blu-Ray.
well, now i get it, because what seems like a credible story ends up completely ridiculous, and too far fetched.
A typical 8 hours read as a romantic novel made in to a film which really is getting over the top when supposed to put into a two hour movie. melodramatic, unbelievable, ridiculous and over played.
Be kind to yourself and spare the two hours you'll need to see this. Just as stupid as the title, though the actors do their best to keep it afloat.
Paha perhe (2010)
Compelling about concequences of a ruined family
This Finnish family drama manages to build up suspense after starting off a rather slow first 15 minutes.
We get to know a broken family's response to a mother's death. A well respected lawyer who is left behind bringing up his son, when the addict of a mother leaves. An estranged daughter which left with her mother and turns up, now in her early 20'ies, to live with them when the mother dies. A younger son - with another woman - in a relation that is growing bad. An old father with severe alzheimer, and a stone face, which still seems to get what's happening. An estranged family, where no natural family relations have had time and grounds to grow.
The family father, played brilliantly by Ville Virtanen, is unsuccessfully trying to keep the facade and make a difference when he suspects the daughter is having a bad influence on her brother, and even suspects them being too close. But he isn't able to be more than a witness, except that he contributes to what seems like a disaster.
The film functions well due to the excitement the film is able to build up, as the father wonders how to deal with his problems. Whatever you think about how the family deals with their differences, the film is well worth a watch.
Rolling Kansas (2003)
Absoluelty rediculously awful and unfunny movie
If you like your comedies intelligent and not with people in their mid thirtees playing high school kids, finding it funny to say poop and fox piss, and having fun with disabled, homosexuals and old people, this movieaintfor you.
Not a single funny moment, and a complete time waster of a movie.
The plot about them driving on a long trip the weekend before their final exams to find a big field of free weed, isn*t worth commenting.
Stay away at all costs!
French situation described with nerve and intelligence
Not unlike Laurent Cantet's famous movie "Entre les murs", this new one "The Workshop" (Originally "L'atelier", the film takes us to a class with different personalities. In both films we meet a group of French teenagers, brought together under the supervision of a teacher.
Location is a French southern coastal town not far from Marseilles, La Ciotat, a town on the Mediterranean coast, which is beautifully filmed.
The Workshop starts off with a class i creative writing which is to make the script of a thriller novel, and develops into a story which seem to spiral out of control due to one of the students, Antoine, which is a smart guy, but with obvious right wing thoughts when it comes to politics, though he says politics isn't of interest.
La Ciotat is a port yard town in decline, but with nostalgic memories of its important past. The town is almost as a player in this itself, and when an elegant Parisian author Olivia Dejazet, great played by Marina Foïs, the student in the workshop finds her a snob. Dejazet is intrigued by the loner Antoine, with provocative attitude at the workshop. Antoine is brilliantly played by Matthieu Lucci, which is soon the main character in the movie. I won't tell more, except that it all spins out of control, and the film's best part is the tension and the question you start asking yourself.
I would say this film in a very good way discusses the problems of modern French society today, with the start tensions which should be a huge concern. The film also refers to the Bataclan massacre, the Norwegian right winged terrorist Behring Breivik and his massacres as well as the truck driving terror incidents. Terrorism is not all a muslim activity.
Political yes, but also a psychological drama between strong characters, and a French society under the microscope. I found the movie exiting in three ways. First what was going to happen, secondly what I would have done as the teacher, and thirdly the way the film takes up this discussion. I love that fact. the film is intelligent, and worth all the praise it's got from critics.
For vi er gutta (2018)
I only give 10710 to films which are really great, or to films that touches me deeply on an emotional level. This did.
I knew the film had good critics, but it came as a shock how heartfelt a rollercoaster of emotions this deocumentary is.
First of all it's funny. Some Norwegian well known personalities from TV, radio, music and culture are mixed with 15 others in a male choir, called "The Male Choir", started by the vocalist of DumDum Boys, Prepple Houmb and radioperonality Geir Schau. Every tuesday they meet and rehearse and drink beer. now they have got their biggest concert job ever, thanks to festival general Dvein Bjørge, warming up for Black Sabbath with Ozzy Osbourne. But weeks before they get to know that their choir conductor just have weeks to live, due to cancer. The race is on. Will he experience the big event?
Sometimes very funny, other times very sad, this movie will not let you off. The emotional rollercoaster is a gem of a film, and an experience you'll never forget.
En affære (2018)
A forbidden affair
An affair (En affære in Norwegian) is productive film maker Henrik Martin Dalsbakken's fifth film, and his best so far. The film really show his talent as a young film maker, and should be a festival hit around the world.
We meet the middle aged newly appointed sports teacher Anita (played by Andrea Bræin Hovig), when she meets a new class af 16 year olds at her new work place. She's been married for five years with a husband who have two grown up daughters, that both has left home. He travels a lot in his work, and leaves Anita to her own fantasies. Already on the meeting with the class Anita is challenged by Markus, as he at her introduction, when she asks for their name and a fun fact about themselves, he tells he is well equipped. Soon afterwards she gets the feeling of being watched and followed. Soon messages and flowers start turning up, and a text message is answered with a shock message. This is the start of an affair they both seem to wish. A troublesome and forbidden affair.
The film is a drama thriller about going too far with a fantasy. As such it is done well. The film is both able to be creepy, cringy, exciting, as well as funny and well made. The humour serves as well put comic relief, as the film is quite graphic in both sex scenes as well as the chances they take. Thay co,me through dialogue and questions, where Anita impossibly can answer with small little white lies.
Small, well played roles by well known Norwegian actors add to the quality of the film, and the dialogue functions well. So the script is definitely Dahlsbakken's best so far.
The production value of the film is good. So far the best of Dahlsbakken's five outings, which tells he is refining his talent. So is his brother's photography. Their joint company FilmBros are definitely going somewhere, and they also have three new films on the way. Well worth a watch!
Awful script ruins what could have been
A lot of good reviews here, but the trailer sells a bad script. the plot is OK, but nothing in the script holds water.
It's simply awful, and I left the theater 15 minutes before the end. Then I had fallen asleep, bored with the killing.
Garner does great with an awful script, and is the only one saving this from a 1/10.
Not a thing here is believable, and there are so many stupid shortcuts that is both laughable and annoying.
It's a C-thriller, quite similar to the worst of Charles Bronson's vigilante films, and far, far away from his best.
Lacking ability to feel pain but needs love in a corrupt system
16-year-old Denis (Denis Vlasenko) has a kind of superhero-ability. He has congenital analgesia, a rare condition in which he feels no pain. As an infant, he was put in a baby hatch at an orphanage, by mother Oksana, which now 16 years later comes back to steal him out to exploit his abilities.
Just like his las year's movie "Loveless," Tverdovsky's cynical contemporary Russian story gives a portrait with parenting sneaking in a portion of pervasive corruption and lack of moral abilities.
We learn about his ability among his boarding-school comrades who often wrap him hard in a rubber hose and squeeze him to see how long he can take the pressure before fainting, as the director implies that such numbness is practically universal for those raised in a system like this. Either it is an orphanage like this or it's Putin-Russia as a whole.
At first, Denis is delighted to escape the orphanage and thrilled to get his own room, gorging on 16 years' worth of belated birthday cake when they get to Oksana's flat, although he soon learns the cost of staying there are high and possibly fatal.
The film is beautyfully shot by Denis Alarcon-Ramirez in beautifully lit long-take sequences. Direction is flawless, and main character Denis is a find in his role. Except when Denis plays the hose game, the kids on either side are clearly only pretending to pull, while Denis Vlasenko merely looks like this is a strain at all.
I very much liked the film, though I don't think it'll meet the director's intentions. Director Tverdovsky probably wants this to be a wake-up call, although the final part of the movie is heartfelt, it's hard to deliver - since Denis is an expendable kid in a system obviously too rotten to reform.
So the film is good, but no masterpiece.
On the borderline of human existance
If you liked the Norwegian movies Troll hunter or Thale, you'll also like this Swedish-Danish co-production, which has been a festival hit at both Cannes and Karlovy Vary, and probably a lot more festivals to come. You could say the Swedes and Danes seem inspired by the folkloric tales from Norwegian directors, having huge success the latter years.
Saw this at the screening in the Thermal grand hall (cap. 1150) and hardly any went away during the showing, due to the this film being quite captivating.
Border (Originally: Gräns) first appears to be a drama about an odd looking and rather strange woman in her late thirties with a seemingly unique talent in semlling fear, and she has a suitable job as a customs inspector at a Swedish ferry port. She can sniff out guilt, shame, fear and rage. Off-duty, she is a loner, loving quietness in the woods close to her rural home, with a redneck living with her, in separate beds, and she visits her seemingly half demented father in a nursing home. But one day she meets a man which looks surprisingly like her.
This is only the beginning, as the film now takes a slide into a different genre.
Director is Ali Abbassi, who has the equally strange concepts before in the movie Shelley. Well directed and well played. This is far from being a comedy, but there are many funny moments and the audience had huge outburst of laughter.
The title "Border" is really well suited in all ways. Very much recommended, and really something else.
Trash on Mars (2018)
Whitney Houston, we have a problem!
An easy going Czech sci-fi comedy filmed on a minimal budget of $ 123.000, and it's filmed during 22 days in the desert. The film is partly spoken in English, partly Czech, both translated in the version I saw at it's world premiere in Karlovy Vary Intl. Film Festival i the grand hall at Thermal.
The script is OK, and so are some of the jokes, a couple of them even laugh out loud-funny, like the title here, but all in all are the lack of good enough jokes the reason the film comes out mediocre. The grand hall was full to last seat, which means 1150 spectators, and they had too few laughs, even most of them obviously were Czech. So it wasn't that.
The effects are minimal, but you don't mind in a low budget movie like this, where the actors are doing a good job. Will function just as well on a small screen as at a cinema.
Girl in the Box (2016)
Surprisingly creepy film, beautifully filmed
This is a little hidden gem of a of a psycho killer movie, about a kidnapping that found place in 1977, of a young hitch hiking woman, picked up by an odd couple in rural California.
The 20 year old woman is soon gagged and put in a wooden box and kept there for a long time, before being kept as a slave.
The film immediately gets your attention for being very beautifully filmed, and kept in sunny warm colors, asa contrast to the chilly story.
The film is also well acted, by the estranged couple, played by Zelda Williams and Zane Holtz, both doing a great job. The victim is played by Addison Timlin.
Well worth a watch!
Awful and incoherent movie without any logic
Ghostland is a mess of film, I'm afraid.
The film offers a couple of good jump scares quite early, and the sound i crisp, but then there's nothing else than a bad script, annoying women and a couple of insanely insane killers which are really to far out to believe.
The whole film turns out the same way, and the women aren't able to do a single logical thing.
They just sit and wait to be tortured, and falls asleep because they are so afraid! (sic!)
Avoid at all cost!
20 Weeks (2017)
Seems like the verys same as the German movie 24 weeks
I saw the German film "24 Weeks", and the plot is exactly the same.
I recommend you checking out that one as well.
Intense chamber play in remote cabin
Amnesia, written and directed by Nini Bull Robsahm, is an intenaepsychological thriller about the fear in a relationship.
On a weekend trip to a remote island cabin the psychopathic Thomas loses his memory after bumping his head, and Kathrine, which is suppressed in her partnership, sees an opportunity to get out of the unhealthy relationship. She hides his ID and wallet, and it really seems he doesn't have the faintest idea who he is. Or does he?
This starts off a roller coaster of a nightmare for Kathrine, played by Pia Hjelta. Her boyfriend is played by Christian Rubeck. Both doing a great job.
The play between them is intense and raw, and you never really knows what to expect from this unhealthy relationship. The film is kept in shallow dark colors, and the nature feel bleak and brutal, though still beautiful. And the intense situation promises a solution.