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Had not been for video website Youtube, danish singer/songwriter Tommy Seebach might been only known in his homecountry Denmark. On Youtube there are some videos featuring his music and performances but the most famous(or rather infamous)is Seebachs funky disco cover of the old instrumental classic "Apache"(Apache was first released by the British group The Shadows in 1960).
But in Seebachs hands it becomes a disco song featuring Seebach himself dressed up in yellow colored western outfit, sporting a huge mullet, and a mustache bigger then 1970's pornstar Harry Reems. And with a smile bigger then any actor in a toothpaste commercial.
The video becomes funnier after that, but I'm not going to spoil the fun...
But who was Tommy Seebach?
Born in Denmark, he quickly became interested in music and started playing in bands in 1960's. When he st-rated going solo in 1970's he would become one of the most beloved musical solo acts in Denmark during the 1970's-80's.
But what happens to an artist when he stops being trendy?
And how to handle a setback in one's career?
These and others questions is discussed in this documentary and more troublesome aspects of Seebachs life that would become more and more tragic as time went on.
There are some great moments, and sad moments when his family, especially his children tells his life story. Seebach comes across a nice guy who unfortunately went out of fashion.
Luckily he has regained some fame (even though some of it, is in tongue in cheek) mainly thanks to his cover of "Apache". And the fact that his son Rasmus Seebach makes music, but a different style of music.
So anyone interested in the strange, but happy man that made the funky disco version of apache and wants to know more, this is a perfect film to start with.
This film is based on a very popular series of children's books written by novelist Martha Sandwall-Bergström. There have been a couple of adaptations of Bergströms books, but Kulla-Gulla is her most famous and revered work.
In the 80's Swedish public service(SVT) made a TV-series based on the same books.
Its fairly simple story about lonely orphan girl Gunilla(Kulla-Gulla) who gets placed as an housemaid with a sharecropper, and then gets attention from squire Sylvester who asks strange questions. But why?
This film is utterly predictable in its Dickensian attempts to tell the story about a orphan with secretive past. But no wonder, since it is aimed at children and not adults.
The acting is fairly good, with Malou Fredén in the main lead as Kulla-Gulla. Fredén has only a handful of credits on IMDb and this film seems to be her last film. Whatever happened to her? Fredén does good job, and brings that kind of bright eyed optimism that this type of film needs.
Märta Dorff as the comic relief role as Mamsell Modigh, one of the maids working at the Sylvester household. She makes a lot out of one smaller part.
Margaretha Bergström does a great performance as an upperclass girl, Regina Sylvester. This is one the few great performances in this film. There are nuances, emotions, that Bergström carefully plays out to the audience. Reminiscent of Elizabeth Taylor in Cat on a Hot Tin Roof (1958).
Other then some few great performances this film is very bland, predictable. I would be surprised if even kids liked it. Disney massproduces these type of stories every year, so a kid today might be too sophisticated for this type of film.
Luckily for director Håkan Bergström he made better films then this, like the noir crime drama Farligt löfte (1955). Future viewers should watch that film instead of this.
Damen i svart (1958)
Well-made mystery thriller.....
This film is based on an popular series of crime novels written by Folke Mellvig. Mellvig was also one of the screenwriters to this film, and this film was also the first of the so called Hillman detective films.
Just like in Sherlock Holmes, The Thin Man, the Hillman couple would solve crimes together. This one has a generic storyline but have an eerie, darker feel, which sometimes borders on Gothic horror.
The story is simple about a girl that disappears and Hillman and his wife, together with a stuttering, bumbling assistant Freddy tries to solve the case. But it proves to be very hard....
Two main actors Annalisa Ericson(Kajsa Hillman)and Karl-Arne Holmsten(John Hillman) had great chemistry on screen. The same kind of banter, and razorsharp wit that William Powell, Myrna Loy had in The Thin Man (1934).
I don't think this film and its sequels could have been that successful without them. And with supporting comedic relief from Nils Hallberg(Freddy Sjöström) they carry this film with excellence.
Director Arne Mattsson did a great job creating suspense and also adding a very creepy, Gothic horror style to this film. Using a great musical score, and a talented cinematographer Sven Nykvist(who would work with Bergman, Woody Allen among others) he makes a top notch thriller from the 50's.
The problem with film is the very generic storyline, and the problem of clichés that are prevalent in this film. Sometimes it feels like watching any episode of the Scooby Doo series.
But as always it is better then most Swedish crimethrillers made today, this film creates far better atmosphere then Strandvaskaren (2004). Future Swedish genre filmmakers should watch this film for that reason only.
Even though Mattsson did a better thriller later on in his career, Yngsjömordet (1966), this one isn't bad. Anyone interested in Swedish crimethrillers should check this one out.
Ever wanted to see a softporn/sexcomedy featuring the legendary cryptid Bigfoot(also known as Sasquatch)? Look no further because this film contains this and so much more!
This is very silly, softporn feature, with incredible stupid storyline. It is about this girl and her friend who decides to travel to summer resort owned by a hippie, where Bigfoot has been sighted.
But will they be able to capture Bigfoot on film? And are they the only ones looking for Bigfoot? And will they be able to get laid?
This is a surprisingly well directed soft porn film, with few pacing problems, some pretty lowbrow comedy skits that sometimes work. And of course features lots of nudity and fake sex scenes.
If there are an uncut hardcore version out there, I have not been able to see it. The casting is pretty good, but remember this being a softporn film with lowbrow comedy, and with a very silly intrigue, future viewers shouldn't look for Oscar winning performances and instead just enjoy the naked bodies.
And with 4 lovely girls like Albina Hussain, Angie Bates, Lynzey Patterson, Heather O'Donnell spending majority of the film naked, one shouldn't complain.
Director William Burke seems to have picked girls with fairly natural bodies, without many cosmetic surgeries, and that came as surprise for me. This more natural approach makes the film look more like softporn from 1970's, 80's then any reminiscent of hardcore porn of today.
The film seems to been shot on a shoestring budget, reusing the same locations, the bigfoot costume looking like cheap halloween outfit, bad audio, etc.
But director William Burke manages to squeeze most out of his actors anyway, especially from the girls. From Angie Bates upbeat, perky character, Albina Hussains perfect posed coolness, Heather O'Donnells hippie chick with serenity, to Lynzey Patterson horny vixen.
Another surprise is Luke Gallos comedic relief in form of cryptozoologist Dirk. He is sometimes very funny, and delivers some genuinely comedic moments in this film.
Michael Slade is the cool, good looking hunk, and I suppose a lot of girls will find his appearances here exciting.
But after all this is softporn, with lots of sex scenes, which I found slightly monotonous and boring. Mainly because is not hardcore, and story isn't that good to begin with, and thus at times the viewer may find themselves bored with watching yet another girl on girl encounter.
However William Burke seems to know how to direct, and his cast had a good chemistry. Therefore I wish he would do another film but with a space theme, just like Galaxina (1980), Barbarella (1968).
So, future viewers that likes softporn, and don't mind a crude lowbrow comedy approach, featuring some natural beauties, should watch this film.
Äntligen midsommar! (2009)
Comedy dramas is a popular genre in Sweden mainly because they usually generate a lot of money and therefore will be a hit at box office. However, few directors in Sweden seem to understand that the genre is difficult, and that is hard to reach and maintain a good balance between comedy and drama.
This film being one of the proofs how hard it is the maintain a good balance.
The story is about a group friends(and one American) that decides to celebrate midsummer together in the Swedish archipelago. Everyones is planning to have good time but soon conflicts arise, truths are being told, lies exposed....
Setting a comedy drama during a holiday, and in this case one of the most biggest holidays in Sweden, is great choice because then you will have small group people to explore and create drama from.
Just like a wedding, Christmas, holiday trip etc. But problem here is that some of the script is uneven, flawed and doesn't give us anything new. There is some slapstick comedy that feels misplaced and wrong.
The dialogue is not as good as should been either. But the actors do their best, for example Olle Sarri Swedish comedian, who does his best in trying to be funny.
But that is not enough, when the script is so bland and so boring at times. With 4 screenwriters one would have expected more.
However, this film was more entertaining then the very overrated Sommaren med Göran - En midsommarnattskomedi/ A Midsummer of Love(2009), that critics hailed as funny drama comedy.
I only wished that the makers of this film had seen Ogifta par - En film som skiljer sig (1997), Adam & Eva (1997) or why not Bergmans old classic Sommarnattens leende/Smiles of a Summer Night (1955).
Had they seen these films they may have been finding a better balance between the comedy and drama bits in this film. Future viewers have been warned, watch with caution.
Änglar, finns dom? (1961)
Here is one of those suave, elegant romantic comedies that you hardly see nowadays in Sweden. It is not groundbreaking, genre shifting film but it has a lot of charm and wit.
The story is an simple one about Jan Froman(played by Jarl Kulle) who gets hired as an assistant janitor at bank office. He quickly shows an interest in one of his co workers Margareta Günther(played by Christina Schollin).
But she is upperclass, rich and also engaged, she however flattered by Fromans interest and his charm. Will Froman succeed?
This is basically the whole plot in a nutshell, but there is an incredible chemistry between Jarl Kulle and Christina Schollin. Kulle mainly famous for his work with Bergman(notably Sommarnattens leende/Smiles of a Summer Night 1955) shows again his incredible charm and talent for witty dialogue.
Christina Schollin does great job keeping up with him and together they form the same kind of partnership that Cary Grant/Katharine Hepburn had in Bringing Up Baby (1938).
In the supporting cast there also other veteran Swedish actors such as Edvin Adolphson, Sigge Fürst. They were versatile, talented cators who would mainly play comedies and their performances here are very good.
Too bad the storyline didn't get more work, because sometimes the film feels like it is lacking something, exactly what is hard to say, but it would have needed something more then just boy meets girl intrigue.
However, future viewers, interested in an suave, elegant romantic comedy from Sweden, should check this one out. Mainly for the great performances.
No Sex Please: We're British (1973)
Flawed but entertaining....
Here is filmed adaptation of famous English sex farce, or comedic play that was panned by critics but proved so popular that it became one of longest running stageplays in theater.
The story is pretty simple about a couple, David Hunter and his wife Penny who live in the apartment upstairs from Davids workplace, a bank, but due to a mix up of addresses they get mistaken for a pornshop and starts receiving porn that they never ordered.
At same time Davids boss starts anti porn campaign and to add even more problems, Davids mother comes to visit, while David, his wife and co worker Brian Runnicles try to get rid of all the porn....
This an oldfashioned kind of comedy, lots sexual innuendos, slapstick gags, and misunderstandings that will lead to even more comedic results.
Nothing new, but has an incredible charm, mainly thanks to the talented actors like, Ronnie Corbett who plays Brian Runnicles. Corbetts offers amazing ability for slapstick gags and steals almost every scenes he is in.
Together with Ian Ogilvy(David Hunter), Susan Penhaligon(Penny Hunter), they form a strong trio in the center.
But the jokes are old and dusty, and makes any screwball comedy by Howard Hawks, Preston Sturges, to look sharper and more update.
However, future viewers only looking for little bit of lighthearted fun and entertainment should look at this one, it will make you smile.
I've only seen a handful of films(most notably Sin nombre), TV miniseries about human trafficking and therefore was very interested in seeing this TV film to see how this production would tackle this very difficult subject.
Unfortunately the film lacks in depth, and length and rendering the film into a flawed but entertaining journey about human trafficking. The idea that perhaps came from screenwriter Stephen Butchard to use 3 different children from various continents, forced into slave labor is an intelligent one.
Now the viewer gets served with different perspectives, and also due race, gender, background, a much wider look on the problem of human trafficking.
Mixed with personal life and career of DI Anthony Carter(Damian Lewis)who is main character in this TV film, the viewers get know the frustration, anger and troubles that police is facing while trying to deal with the problem.
But 90 minutes is too short, which makes this film feel rushed, flawed and also, some scenes feel unrealistic, contrived and forced because of the very short timelimit that the makers of this film is under.
Technically this film delivers, having very high production values, good use of split screen and editing. With an cinematography adapted for big screen productions rather then the usual TV photography.
But all of that is just style over substance, and makes th film somewhat shallow. A real shame because there are some pretty solid performances by Damian Lewis, Nonso Anozie, and the three children.
Why the makers didn't make this into miniseries divided into 2 or 4 parts is a mystery to me.
Despite its flaws I suggest that anyone interested in seeing this film should also watch Sin nombre (2009), Casa de los babys (2003), miniseries for TV like Sex Traffic (2004).
They better productions and have better scripts then this one.
She's Staging It (2012)
2012 marks the anniversary of famous playwright/author August Strindberg who wrote several world renowned books and plays.
To celebrate this anniversary SVT(Swedish public service TV)has decided to show several TV-productions, documentaries and other Strindberg related programs on Swedish TV.
So for some unknown reasons SVT decided to give director Fia-Stina Sandlund , a newcomer, free hands to show two films in connection to this anniversary.
The other film being She's Blonde Like Me (2011), a another flawed production where actress Alexandra Dahlström portrays Miss Julie in person answering questions from an audience.
Both these film stand out but not in a good way, because they are both very flawed, unfocused and downright boring productions. Sandlund is a débutant director and as such, show to have very little or no previous experience in creating film on screen.
This film however, has a little better narrative structure then her other film She's Blonde Like Me (2011). It is easier to follow this film as well, because Sandlund doesn't seem so preoccupied with trying to create some kind of art film.
Here we get follow the behind the production of Strindbergs stageplay, Miss Julie using only female actors. It is interesting, bold move from director Sandlund but unfortunately the result is ranging from mediocre to downright bad.
Technically the film is very flawed, sloppy editing, etc but also again Sandlunds inexperience shines through. Sandlund seems to be more interested in actress Alexandra Dahlströms private life, that by co incidence is reflecting some of the plays themes.
The end result feels more like a badly made episode of a reality show then an serious documentary. I feel mainly sorry for the other cast members Elizabeth Whitney, Lea Robinson that seem to be wasting their time with this project.
Director Fia-Stina Sandlund and her fans might argue that this is art therefore should be judge by other types of standards. Perhaps so, but I rather go watch Len Lyes experimental shorts, Maya Derens films, then see Sandlunds two feature films again.
Hjelp, vi er russ (2011)
Funny and charming....
In recent years I have seen some great comedies from Norway, some much better then Swedish comedies (notable exception to this rule, the productions from directors Peter Dalle, Ulf Malmros) that couldn't even entertain a monkey. These comedies (for example Elling (2001), Salmer fra kjøkkenet 2003 )have had flawless direction, scripts and acting on a very high level.
This film however, is a step in another direction, paying homage mainly to US produced sexcomedies aimed at a teenage audience. Now on paper it sounds like a incredibly bad idea but director Kenneth Olaf Hjellum and his co writer Stig Frode Henriksen knows the genre well, and uses the clichés in a good way.
The story is a simple one, about a group students, that are going to graduate from high school and go to big party in south parts of Norway. But someone steals their money, and now they can't go. And usual, a group of misfits decides not to give up, they are going on a roadtrip anyway.
The film is filled with a sometimes, crude, adolescent humor, but done in a very warm, charming way. Paying homage mainly to the teen comedies of the 80's such as Porky's (1982), Revenge of the Nerds (1984),Ferris Bueller's Day Off (1986) etc.
There also links to more recent productions like Accepted (2006), Road Trip (2000) , Superbad (2007). Mostly impressive is the fact that the director Kenneth Olaf Hjellum does this with very distinctive norwegian style. The film looks and feels like norwegian sex comedy set in high school.
Granted, this film isn't breaking new grounds but has so much charm and some genuinely funny moments that the audience can overlook some of the very predictable storyline.
Add a great cast, some very sexy naked norwegian girls, and you get a very entertaining comedy. Just don't expect too much.
This kind of genre experimenting you will probably not see by Swedish directors in the near future (with notably failures, like Göta kanal 2 - Kanalkampen 2006 )and therefore this film was a pleasant surprise.
This film may not be a serious comedy drama like Bare Bea (2004) but has its own charm and entertaining value.