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Best Swedish Film of the Decade
I must be honest with this one. This is the best Swedish film of the decade. Other critics and my old peers at film studies will not agree with me and mention You, the Living (which is awesome), Let the Right One In (slightly overrated) or something like Sebbe (crap). But Remake is a masterpiece. While Ruben Östlund films peoples feet and complains that people do not watch his movies, Öhman and Gavatin creates a gut-punch of a movie.
Remake is a found footage movie without the horror. At times there are moments when the illusion is broken and it seems like the characters has adjusted the camera just to get a better shot or make a better edit. That's the only fault I can find with the film actually. The film is presented through Lisa's point of view. She is obsessed with documenting everything she does with a camera, even fights with boyfriends and sexual acts. It's as if she wants to record everything about life to be able to revisit those emotion like one would with a movie. She is returning to New York with her new boyfriend Martin, but when friction in their relationship turns up, she meets and starts to see the American Lucas (who talks like the Joker).
Really, I don't want to talk to much about the movie because I don't want to give away anything. I can just tell you to go see the movie as soon as possible. The acting performances of Henni, Hazlett and Wallström are the strongest I've seen in a Swedish film in years. What are you waiting for? Go see it now!
I love this movie!
Terror In Rock 'n' Roll Önsjön is Swedens first feature length zombie flick and I love it! In the 1940's, some Nazis try to create a super-soldier but end up creating zombies. They decide to hide the secret chemical in a Swedish lake but ends up in a firefight with Swedsih soldiers which ends with the death of the Swedes and the only surviving Nazi drowning while exposed to the chemical. In the 1970's, a bunch of teens decide to have a party at the very lake very the chemical was dumped. The rock music awakens the drowned Nazi who has become a zombie and the predictable mayhem ensues. In the middle of this is a sweet romance between a brat-girl and a raggare.
The film has a rich gallery of characters. Most of them, and most importantly the leads, are well played by the actors, most of which are complete newcomers. The film is filled with references to 1970's and 1980's films: the Nazi plot is a homage to the original Nazi-zombie flick Shock Waves. The script is not a masterpiece but it's pretty well written. The film's budget is low and it shows, but there has but there has also been a lot of effort put into this film and it shows as well! The film is funny charming and very entertaining. Warmly recommended!
A hilarious documentary short made for the DVD-release of the film Blodspår/Bloodtracks/Heavy Metal. We meet two members of easy action who tells us about the making of the film. One seems embarrassed over the whole deal while the other is very enthusiastic. We get to know that the actors where severed beer and performed drunk, how the band got involved with the production and stuff like that. The reactions of one of the band members while the other brags about his experiences on the film is simply hilarious.
At the end they thank Hard Rock Café for being able to shot the short there or else they would have to shot
This film truly is a underrated masterpiece. Here Åhlin has created a wonderful little mystery movie for all ages. This not a kids film. Kids can watch it but it's aimed at adults as much as it is for children. Sadly, animation is considered a children's medium in the west and I see no reason for it to be so. But that does not mean children won't be able to enjoy this film.
The story is simple, yet very mysterious. Sture (and the audience) has no idea what is going on. It's basically a surreal comedy. It is funny as hell. The animation is cozy, the acting is fantastic and the script is great. No less than a masterpiece and a must see.
And you got to love the fact that a film that was marketed to children takes influence from and references Kubrick's The Shining and Polanski's The Tenant.
Unoriginal but furiously entertaining
There is certainly both pros and cons about this film. First and first there are really some problems with the script. It's very unoriginal; it's Evil Dead in Swedish. It tries to do little new with the concept and shares it's basic premise with a dozen other horror films. The one original thing about it is that the villain is a Vittra, a creature from Swedish folklore also known as "vätte", that turns it's victims into zombies that it uses to kill and maim any person who intrudes on it's domain. There is also a old man who warns the protagonists and tells them about the monsters.
Another weird thing about the film is that the filmmakers seems to don't know how to film and direct a normal dialog scene. The film also has a scene where a character says "I feel so f**king bad", when there is not a single person around. Who is she talking to? The audience? You are bleeding from every cavity, it's not like we get it.
Then there are the pros. And boy the pros are good! In the first part of the film the acting is off, but once the real drama starts and the Wither attacks the acting gets really good (The film also has the advantage of having killed off the bad actors by then). Lisa Henni is the one that stands out the most, but Saxe, Almkvist and Wallmo are really, really good too. They have to work with big and difficult emotions like fear, sorrow and brutality and does it amazingly. I really like a brief scene at the end where one of the characters is almost unable to fight any more after the loss of so many loved ones. That is really the theme of the film. Lot's of characters loose their close and loved ones. Johnnes Brost is in the film for about 10 minutes but those are ten minutes you will remember. Especially when he draws his knife.
The effects are really good, with a few exceptions that fortunately does not take the edge of the film. The film is really, really violent. Heads are mashed with rocks, there is a really messy decapitation and early on a really disgusting scene where a lip is torn off. The wonderful sound design is the best I've ever heard in a Swedish film. The last part of the film is a real furious roller coaster and the last 15 minutes will have be sitting on the edge of your seat. The film goes on a bit to long but that is sort of nitpicking. Some character does some stupid things but when you think about it, they kind of makes sense from an emotional stand point.
In the end, Vittra/Wither is a real thrill ride that demands to be seen in a cinema with a good surround-system. You need Vittra. You need to see it in a cinema and be swept away by it.
I hope there will be a Vittra 2.
205 - Zimmer der Angst (2011)
What is real?
I had the pleasure of seeing this film at German Films Go North in Stockholm 2011 in 35 mm.
Some of the scares in the film are pretty tame, some clishé, some effective. The effects are not much to hang in a Christmas tree and the ghost looks terrible. The two things that make this film worthwhile is 1; the screenplay and 2: Jennifer Ulrich. Jennifer Ulrich is freaking amazing in this film and after seeing this film, Die Welle and Wir Sind Die Nacht she is now my favorite actress. She give everything to her role and it pays of. She is the force that keeps the film going.
That said I must comment on the other actors. Tino Mewes was OK, not the greatest actor around and his part was not too interesting but he was not bad in any way. Daniel Roesner was pretty terrible, it does not help that he looks and behaves like a douche. Marleen Lohse was just annoying. I found Inez Bjørg David as being pretty good and André Hennicke extraordinary sympathetic as the cop Urban. Julia Dietze of Iron Sky plays the ghost but is only in the movie for a limited amount of time in the film when she is not a special effect but she is almost as good as Jennifer Ulrich in her few scenes.
The script is pretty clever and sets up twists and turns but makes sure to set them up and that they perfect sense when we come closer to the end of the film. The ending is amazing
I don't know if this film will ever come to Sweden again but I will sure watch it in cinema again and buy the DVD.
Die vierte Macht (2012)
"Your bird can't sing anymore"
Dennis Gansel has become one of my favorite directors, giving us multi layered masterpieces like Die Welle(The Wave) and Wir Sind Die Nach(We are the Night). Die Vierte Macht or The Fourth State disappoints a bit, but is far from a bad film.
Paul(Moritz Bleibtreu) gets a job on a Russian paper where his late father worked. The two where not on the best of terms by the time of his death. Paul and the young photographer Dima(Max Riemelt) goes around and attends shallow parities in the obliviously globalised Moscow(in a interesting wink to the club-scene in Wir sind die nacht). Paul soon meets with the radical reporter Katja(Kasia Smutniak) and the two soon fall in love. Dima warns Paul not to have longer relationships with Russian women(strange as he is Russian himself...), and soon Paul is framed for a terror bombing.
The acting and writing was pretty good. The relationship between Paul and Katja feel genuine, an improvement over the not so well fleshed out relationship in Wir Sind Die Nacht. On the other hand the acting and writing is not as good as in Die Welle and Wir Sind Die Nacht, Gansel has a lot of good ideas going on but I think he needs a co-writer who can help him write. That said some of the characters are really well fleshed out.
Mark Ivanir(who looks like he is Peter Stormare's brother) as Alsan, a Chechen terrorist, steals the show completely and is by far the most interesting character. Rade Serbedzija also gets some interesting stuff to say at the end.
The cinematography is a bit bland and seems to have been color corrected a bit to much but the music is pretty good. There is some interesting visuals like the contrast between the modern, globalised club and the small, traditional Russian bar.
The story seems very realistic, it is much like all the news we get from Russia these days. The plot seems all to plausible.
In the end, I think people should see Die Vierte Macht if they get the chance but Gansel can do better than this.
Plot? What plot?
Watching "The Girls" at film school it struck me how confused and disorganized this film is. There is nothing wrong with confusing the audience, something Davind Lynch has showed us over and over again, but in combination with this film lacking plot, the characters being 2 dimensional and lacking any sort of characteristics and the all out confused nature of the "narrative" this film comes of as little less than a drug fueled, surreal mess.
Which is fine if the film is interesting. This film is not interesting. I have heard a lot of people calling it feminist. Maybe people call it that because the main characters are female and the director/writer is a woman. Well feminism is "the advocacy of women's rights on the grounds of political, social, and economic equality to men". In this aspect the film is not feminist as the women say they won't to break free, but in reality are quite dependent on the men. At the end one of the actresses say she wants a divorce but this does not come off as she does it to liberate herself and be equal to the men.
Swedish Terror at it's all time high
As far as scares go this films is above all other Swedish films. I have never seen a Swedish film or few other films at all that has even touched upon the levels of terror this film delivers.
The first story is by far the best of the three and the scariest. It tells the tale of a woman trapped in her apartment as strange zombie-like beings roam outside. This segment is just perfect. It's hard to comment on because it does everything right. 10/10
The second segment is a step down. While the acting, cinematography, sound and scares are all the right the story and theme is much lifted from Silent Hill 2. It's pretty close to plagiarism. Very good plagiarism. This makes me lower the grade. 7/10
The third story is not good at all. Not as scary or as thought provoking. 3/10
But in all the film is well worth the watch. Anyone doubting a Swedish film can be scary should see this film. And anyone else for that matter. This is good.
Tenshi no tamago (1985)
Oh my god this is the greatest movie I ever seen in my life!
There is this movie, called Tenshi no Tamago which translates to Angel's Egg, and if End of Evangelion is the 2001: A Space Odessy of animé then Angel's Egg is the Eraserhead. There is a lot of symbolism that can and has been interprented in a lot of very interesting way, yet the simplistic core of the story is enough. The story is about a little Girl who lives alone in this scary, Gothic and beautiful city. It seems then end of the world has happened and the girl is living in the ruins of a long dead world. The Girl is tending over a large egg. A Man with a scarred hand and caring a cross-like weapon comes along and offers the Girl is protection.
The visuals are haunting and the score leaves you stunned. The ending is a very ambiguous one and I would love to have a long conversation about what it means.
The Man's identity is the most lurid part of the film; is he Christ or a deceiver?
Any person with the slightest interest in animé must see this film. Any cineast must see it to be able the call himself a cineast.
This is with little doubt one of the best films ever made.