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Musta jää (2007)
Dark and cold, yet cleverly humorous European cinema
Musta Jää is a dark and cold love triangle and at times quite humorous one. It makes you laugh the first moment and the second it gives you the chills. Director Petri Kotwica clearly had no rush making this, because it seem so well finished, with not much faults. The only thing that I think didn't work all the time was the score. It is a score by a talented cello player from Apocalyptica, but it was playing maybe a bit too much during the movie. It's a minor minus, but not a big one.
All the actors are just fantastic, and the characters are very interesting. Outi Mäenpää is one of the best finnish actresses and she plays Saara, who finds out her husband is cheating on her. It happens the day she turns 40. Husband Leo is played by Martti Suosalo, a very fine actor too. Leo is having an affair with his student, 29 year old Tuuli (Ria Kataja). Saara starts planning a revenge, that is megalomanic and wonderful to watch, she even creates herself a new identity for it. The plot twists are not stunning but very entertaining and well made.
Movie is good looking too, visually. I think it's not a bit lower than the European medium of cinema. In my opinion it is by far the best finnish movie made in last few years, with Kaurismäki's Laitakaupungin Valot of course. This makes Petri Kotwica one of the most interesting new finnish directors. And this proves he's a great writer too. Movie has a lot of small little things - of acting, characters, cinematography, dialog - that are just genius, not really that much seen in finnish cinema. Much of it happens in Saara's mind. Not that much that you could analyze it like Ingmar Bergman's Persona (which has some fine similarities), but still some. The whole masquerade sequence is one of the things i like a lot too.
I recommend Musta Jää to people who like a well written, well acted and well directed little dark but cleverly humorous European, almost an art film-like cinema. Not for ones who dislike semi-low tempo, and too intelligent structure.
o.k. little short
The story in it's all simplicity: A woman is isolated in her home. She gets a gun. She has a gun. What will happen next? Will the gun make the woman go crazy? Does it start controlling her? Can she keep her mind clear?
A decent short by a Finnish guy, Jari Haanperä. It's black & white and it is visually quite effective at times. The only actor in the movie is Rea Mauranen, and she does her job well. Of course you could count the gun as an actor, because it is in the leading role with Rea.
It's worth watching if it happens to show somewhere, but there's nothing special why you should get it in you hands.
The scene with the doll's house is cool.
Bad teen angst
for - and only for 15 year old girls.
This film is directed by Finnish Kirsi Liimatainen in German film school. Liimatainen is known as an actor in some TV-series in the 90s. Directing is partly just okay, partly rather meaningless. The storyline is bad, the anticlimax of the ending is frustratingly hollow and the actors are empty.. And just how many times do we see the maincharacter step out of a car in the middle of nowhere and start walking pointlessly away in some direction.. or from home... or from anywhere wherever she is in the every single scene. One time she even seem to cross a lake or something. And there's dozens of scenes where the film keeps rolling, filming her while she's alone, with her thoughts (probably wondering when that bulls*** is going to be over)
So... We've had enough of these already. Why couldn't a teenager enjoy this? Of course one can, but as a movie this is just horrible. The maincharacter is Sonja, and she's terribly in love with her best friend, Julia, and she don't know how to say it. Sonja is having hard time in home with her mother, who found out that her daughter is interested in girls. Girls planned, that they'd go to Sonja's dad for a visit, but Julia can't come because she just lost her virginity.. And while Sonja is away from home, why shouldn't she try too. She has sex with his dad's neighbour who looks like he at least 10 years older than her. Blaah Blaah Blaah..
Watch Heavenly Creatures, not this!
Knalli ja sateenvarjo (1994)
For the die hard fans of the K & S radio show
Knalli ja Sateenvarjo (A bowler and an umbrella) is based an a radio play originally written by Edward Taylor, and awesomely translated in finnish by Kersti Juva. It's quite popular in Finland for a radio show, and it has it's own strong fanbase. I myself am one of the fans, and i have probably every episode taped on a cassette (over 300 episodes if a remember right).
After the other main voiceactor (Kauko Helovirta)past away the play was never the same. There still comes new episodes every other year, because there are so many fans of the play. The reruns have been playing as long as I remember as well. And by the way, the play was on air for the first time back in the 70s! The play is set in a ministry in London.
The main characters:
Richard Lamm & Hannibal Hamilton-Jones (Pekka Autiovuori & Kauko Helovirta): two moron government officers, who don't seem to make anything right.
Mildred Murfin (Aila Svedberg): A blonde bimbo secretary
Sir Henry Pitkin (Esa Saario): The boss, the dictator, the evil
The storyline is only namely a new one, since the fans of the play will notice similarities to the old radio plays.
But now.. I think I've praised the radio show enough, so it's time for the part: What went wrong in the film version?
- All the actors are great voice/theaterical actors, and we do not want to see them on a video! I've never seen such overacting in any film. They are acting like they would on a theater play, so everyone in the last row sees your acting. And that doesn't look good when the camera is in front of your face
- The screenplay isn't the best possible. Combined from one of the not-so-good whole radio episode with some added material from others. They seriously should've chose better material (because there is a lot where you pick from), made a good radio episode entirely on film or optionally spend time to write a whole new good episode.
- The "director" Lars Svedberg isn't one of the professional ones, and of course that's why the film looks very amateurish. In the beginning of film there's few short clips from actually London, they're filmed by Lars during a vacation i guess. The film is published by Aila and Lars Svedberg's Ailars (Aila is Lars' daughter).
And the good sides...
+ There is no sequel coming, thank god.
All in all this TV-movie is made for just the die hard fans of the radio show, and probably nobody can't possibly see this by accident.
Radio show: With no doubt 10/10
This.. thing: Unrateable
Extras: Samuel L Jackson (2005)
Samuel L. Jackson's quick visit
Samuel L. Jackson in this one! He's the biggest name guest starring in the Extra's first season, and he does his job well indeed. His part was filmed separately a month before rest of the episode, and it was filmed in just one day. It still works well there, even if he doesn't get as much screen time as the other guest stars in the shows.
Andy is having hard time with a fellow extra, who wants to get to know Andy. Maggie is desperately in love with a black actor, and in this episode she has a date with him. Maggie have to think what she says all the time. She's constantly afraid she'll say something racist. They move from a club to Maggie's house and everything goes well, until...
Extras: Kate Winslet (2005)
My favorite episode from Extra's first season. Thanks to Kate Winslet.
This is absolutely a great episode. Clearly my favorite from the 1st season. And a big reason for it is Kate Winslet, she's just wonderful. She's doing a holocaust-film just because she thinks she'd finally going to get an Oscar from it. The funniest bits are the ones, where Kate (dressed as a nun) is giving advise how to talk dirty on the phone.
The other thing is Andy's (Gervais) attempts to get a girl with lies following lies. And the scene when other's find out about the lies, and Andy's trying to solve his way out of it. He explains that he only said a white lie, so he wouldn't hurt the girl's retarded sister's feelings.
Extras: Patrick Stewart (2005)
Great final to the 1st season
"You're not married, you don't have a girlfriend... and you've never watched Star Trek!" Patrick Stewart is guest starring in this episode. I'm glad that Gervais didn't get Jude Law, who was originally supposed to be in it. Even more that he didn't get Leonardo DiCaprio. Because 1) Patrick Stewart is awesome perv in this 2) the DVD extras include fun clips of Gervais trying to get phone contact to Leo, but can't quite make it.
Every scene with Patrick is great, his idea for screenplay and Star Trek stuff. Gervais' character also has finally made a screenplay that the people at BBC have accepted. Now he's put to work with this "too gay" guy at BBC, and they're planning the pilot episode. Can he handle the situation, without saying anything stupid at gays? Sure...
Possibly my second favorite episode of the Extra's 1st season, just after the Kate Winslet episode.
Ozu no mahôtsukai (1982)
I've seen this movie dubbed in Swedish and subtitled in Finnish so I don't know how wonderful Aileen Quinn is as Dorothy. I watched this movie probably at least over 10 times when i was about 4-7 years old. The first times someone had to read me the subtitles but i guess I learned them from memory after few watchings. I saw Return to Oz (1985) when I was 7 or 8, and I loved that too, and still do. When I was about 12 or something I saw Wizard of Oz from the 20s, and only after all these I saw the Judy Garland's one, which is one of my favorite movies by now.
So... As a great movie experience, of course the Fleming's 1939 flick is the one to watch, but you got the storyline in here too, and even more accurately. Plus I like the animation in this even if it isn't so polished and superb. Then I love the own kind of synths in the music, and always when I hear same kind of synths anywhere (for example some car commercials has it, chill-out music or 80s Pink Floyd), it brings this movie to my mind. But this is not a musical, there's no Somewhere over the Rainbow.
I still think this is a good children's movie, so I recommend this of course to all the children, but then to all the people who love the 80s animation and nostalgia. Not the best in this "genre" but worth watching. You can never top Silver Fang, Alfred J. Kwak, Willy Fog: Around the world in 80 days, Nick Knatterton and Il était une fois...-series but you can see fair efforts like this too.
In Finland this movie was distributed by Omaxi, which had these video series and pretty interesting films actually. The company was live and kicking through the 80s and the early 90s, but then it disappeared. Some people still treat those Omaxi cassettes as treasures, and they kind of have this cult status. Other animated movies in this series that i got, is a version of Jack London's Call of the Wild and the great great Genshi Shounen Ryu.
Injû gakuen (1992)
I don't recommend watching before you know what it is
*WARNING: ABSOLUTELY NOT FOR CHILDREN* (text on the cover of the DVD)
Cannibal Holocaust, Cannibal Ferox, Salo o le 120 Giornate di Sodoma, Cradle of Fear etc. etc. When a typical movie lover starts making a top 10 list for the most disturbing or revolting movies they've seen (as every movie lover of course does every other day) they may not even be aware of one ultimate sub-genre of shocking art forms. Japanese Hentai anime simply can bring about anything in front of your eyes, nearly nothing is sacred. It brings you the most pervert images of twisted porn between human beings and.. usually something else than another human being.
Probably the best known hentai would be La Blue Girl, and in a way, I kind of like this crazy and ultimately stupid stuff, it's just something really different. But it just makes it interesting that it's not popular and it's tabu-breakingly sick. It's not my thing becoming a huge fan of the genre but this is actually pretty well made (if not exactly tastefully). So I'm not an expert in these.. From this genre, besides all the La Blue Girl movies, I've seen just few other movies, and the next best thing might be Urotsukidoji (though i saw a version which was blurred almost half of the movie's running time because of the censorship).
And how clever does the plot sound: Miko Mido is the last one of the Supernatural Sex Ninjas, and she'll become a mistress of martial arts sexcraft. At the beginning she's a virgin and she must keep it that way. She must practice that she can be on the edge of having an orgasm while she masturbates, but still won't quite have it... and what do you know, she eventually loses her virginity to a gigantic monster who rapes her.
Nevertheless, I think La Blue Girl movies are an entertaining and funny curiosity, but I don't take the risk of recommending them to anyone..
It makes you think
Andrei Tarkovsky's greatest masterpiece cannot be commented without comparing it to Stanley Kubrick's 2001: A Space Odyssey. They're very alike in some ways. If you can't concentrate on 2001, you probably can't make it here, and likewise. Tarkovsky's movies have long sequences with not really anything going on in them, and often when there's something going on, you may not have a clue what it is.
I believe fans of Tarkovsky will definitely love this one. Compared to, let's say Stalker, this may be easier to watch and a better one to start with, if you're interested in Tarkovsky's films. All the films he's directed has all these weird scenes with no actual meaning, but you're not able to get them out of your head. But what ever you do, never try to watch a Tarkovsky, if you're tired or cannot be fully concentrated on it.
Solyaris may be the greatest science fiction film ever made. It's remade by Steven Sodenberg, but you can never achieve the same Tarkovsky did. The movie is based on Stanislaw Lem's Solaris. But the movie can be watched also as a series of beautiful images and fascinating cinematography, but it has pretty much more going on, that everybody may not understand the same way.
I think the film has some same themes as Ridley Scott's Blade Runner, which is a great science fiction movie too, in more traditional way than Solyaris. The movie makes you think and it doesn't leave you alone in some while after you've seen it