9 ReviewsOrdered By: Date
First rate Horse-Film
30 May 2005
I think I was about 10 when I first saw this film. I loved every minute of it and always felt that the ending was a bit rushed, because if the subject matter is sappy, then the sappiness must go on so that it produces real thick syrup -- like Sarah Brown having a baby "a new Olympic gold-medallist hopeful" and so forth. Well, with that ending "twist" they would have needed to have someone older to play Tatum O'Neal's part in the end and obviously that was not to be.. anyway, just my 2cents.

But back to the review.. I think I've seen the film numerous times during the past 14 years or so and it's always good. I like the riding parts (great to spot famous Eventers) I've had the biggest crush on Christopher Plummer ever since I saw the Sound of Music (way before this) and I had an Anthony Hopkins period as well. So actor-wise this film is PERFECT! Oh, and I think the film shows the blood, sweat and tears what you need in order to be the best. Great film.

And yeah, Sarah Brown is not English or British, she's American whose come to live with her auntie and auntie's man in England.
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Pieni pala Jumalaa (1999– )
"A Little Piece of God"
17 April 2004
Lilli has just been made a parson of a small parish in East side of Helsinki. It's a rough area and it takes time to win the locals confidence.

However much she tries she feels that she's not giving enough.

Rudolf is a sculpturer whom Lilli meets one night at the pub. They have a thing going on, but then she has to help so many people that she hasn't got any time for him. Then she's checked into Lapinlahti mental hospital.

It's really difficult to explain the plot, however, there is one, and the whole mini-series (4 x 50min) is really well made. Marjaana Maijala as Lilli and Kari Väänänen as Rudolf are excellent. Lots of famous faces throughout the series, all giving great performances.

Go to your local library and lend it!
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Pictures from Finland...
17 April 2004
I never used to like Kaurismäki films, mainly because I didn't understand them and thought they were boring. I have since then changed my mind. The thing with Kaurismäki films is that you can watch them without understanding them and still like them or you can understand them and not like them etc. each in their own way. However, they are not these artsy-films that only critics love and everyone else hates. Drifting Clouds is Finnish life that has been made a parody but it's not mocking Finnish life. There are people like Lauri and Ilona. Lauri as played by Kari Väänänen is a very typical Finnish male in a way he behaves. He may not say much, but you just know that he really loves Ilona. And no matter how Lauri behaves, Ilona loves Lauri as well. You don't need a million 'I love You's to get the message through, just take a look at his body-language.

In the beginning of the film, Lauri has just bought a new TV (with colours) on part payment. They have a similar plan for the sofa and the bookshelf - as Lauri optimistically puts it: In four years time they can afford to buy books as well. Then they both lose their jobs because of recession. Getting job is difficult, Ilona is being told that she starts to be a bit too old being a waiter,she's 38 (wonderful scene with Esko Nikkari) and Lauri has medical problems. Too proud to go and get unemployment benefit, Lauri says something like I don't beg, I am me... which reminds me of another Kaurismäki film, Calamari Union where one of the characters called Frank as played by Kari Väänänen says something like I don't drive buses, I am me.. Well anyway, back to Drifting clouds.. so yes, they continue their quest for employment. The characters in the film don't talk very much, and at first it really bothered me that they didn't sound natural at all, but I actually know people who speak less than that and it's completely natural! I loved the scene in the breakfast table when Lauri is preparing to take the dog out - he finishes his coffee, says that he's going now, Ilona replies simply 'Good' then Lauri asks whether he should take the rubbish out as well and once again Ilona gives a very minimalistic reply saying 'Take'. It works beautifully and though it might seem funny to foreign ears, it's normal to have such conversations in Finland. The ending gives hope and is very optimistic but not in the Hollywood sense of the word! Great songs throughout the film which really echo the feelings of the characters (too bad the songs have not been subtitled - they could have since in some scenes the characters speaks so little!)

I think this is a fantastic film. Both Kari Väänänen and Kati Outinen are great. The film is dedicated to Matti Pellonpää (little boy in one photo) who was supposed to have starred in the film, but sadly he died before they started to film this...well, he wasn't the first Finnish person to drink himself to death..

watch it on DVD!
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Return to Plainlands
30 March 2004
This film did reasonably well in the box-office in Finland. Four years later it's still a good film and solid family entertainment. It's the final part of a family saga titled Pohjanmaa (Ostrobothnia) by Antti Tuuri. There are six books in total, but only three have been filmed (Talvisota, Pohjanmaa and now Lakeuden Kutsu)

Kari Väänänen plays Erkki Hakala, a man returning back home to Ostrobothnia after spending years in Florida. The reasons for his departure ten years earlier were tax related and he has now come back to take what is rightfully his; the place in society and his wife, Kaisu. However, things are not as straight forward. Kaisu has a son whose father is someone from Lapua and not everything can be bought with money. During one day Erkki and his business partner buy a metal workshop, drive (sometimes fast sometimes slow) around Ostrobothnia, Erkki meets his relatives and tries to talk things over with his wife.

Esko Nikkari is great as Erkki Hakala's older brother Paavo and Kari Väänänen is fantastic (when wouldn't he be?) as Erkki Hakala.

Watch it.
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Ambush (1999)
Not great but good.
17 March 2004
I agree with many of the other reviewers here that the film was trying to be a Hollywood film in some scenes but nevertheless, I thought it was a good film with excellent cast.

However, there are things that really bothered me. Like the final heroic battle and the whole love story thing between Björklund and Franzén. I don't know, for some reason the whole scene where they were lying on the bed naked made me think of Levottomat (that's a baaaad image to have) And yes, the final heroic slow-mo fight scene

Supporting characters were great, I just love Kari Väänänen - he was excellent as the caring father of Ville - both father and son were in the same platoon. He gets to deliver one of the most heart-breaking of lines : "There are no sons here, only Finnish soldiers."

But yeah, I'm partial to all stuff originally written by Antti Tuuri and when adapted to screen starring Kari Väänänen, so I think this was a good film. DVD release is excellent and it has English subtitles and few extras.
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Action film - Finnish style.
16 March 2004
This film is pretty funny - most of which is intentional, and the rest, well, non-intetional...

Tauno Palo has a dual role as both Max Östermalm, a CEO of a certain unnamed company and as Kari Kivi, an adventurer who has just returned back to Finland from South America.

Östermalm has been involved in some kind of shady business and is forced to escape from Finland. He hires a man, Kivi, who looks exactly like him to impersonate him for a week. International spies, nuclear threat, microfilms, lovely secretaries and other beautiful ladies and you have the makings of a great spy thriller/comedy. Well in theory anyway. The plot is not that complicated and I would advice people to see this film with open mind - it's not the best film of its kind, but worse films than this have been made.

The humour is quite funny - especially the non-intentional and Tauno 'The Great' is great with the ladies. *swoon* Recommended.
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Leif Wager is the Count of Munkkiniemi
12 March 2004
This film is a Finnish classic. In the 1940s Finland had two romantic leading men, Tauno Palo and Leif Wager and this is the film that established Leif Wager as the Finnish romantic leading man to the ranks of Tauno Palo. Palo was the more masculine whereas Wager was the sensitive young lover with European air.

The popular Finnish song Romanssi (Romance) was written for this film, and it was Leif Wager who first sang 'I love you more than anything, you are my heaven on earth...' to Regina Linnanaheimo in the garden of the Munkkiniemi estate.

Wager is Count Mauritz Armborg, the young master of the estate. Linnanheimo plays Katariina (Catherine) the nanny to Mauritz's nieces and nephews. The two fall in love and decide to escape to Italy via Denmark where they have planned to get married. There are always complications because Mauritz's grandmother doesn't want him to marry below him - she has decided that Mauritz is to marry the Swedish beauty, Ingeborg Liliecrona.

the plot twists and turns and both of our hero and heroine face hard times. Much happens before Mauritz can once more sing 'I love you more than anything to..' to Katariina.

This film was very popular in war-time Finland and is a Finnish film classic these days. It just needs to be released on DVD like so many other films.
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Pala valkoista marmoria (1998 TV Movie)
Sad and rather tragic, but I like it.
4 March 2004
Eeva-Kaarina Volanen and Lasse Pöysti put on master performances in this tragic TV-film about an old married couple.

Nelly (Volanen) and Ossi (Pöysti) are an elderly couple whose sense of reality has dimmed. Though it is not mentioned, it is likely that both suffer from Alzheimer's disease. Ossi decides to go on a travel to find his long-lost son and Nelly, wandering aimlessly, finds a good friend of the police. The film is tragi-comic and so the end cannot be a happy one, but so much happens on the way to the end that you just have to watch it until the very end- This film won the Prix D'Italia prize. It was also Eeva-Kaarina Volanen's last film.

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Forward - Towards life.
4 March 2004
For some reason, I used to really like this film. I can't have been more than 6 or 7 years old when I first saw it, and I still have fond memories of it.. It's based on Hella Wuolijoki's play titled 'Justiina'

Young Tauno Palo playing Robert Harmelius and young Regina Linnanheimo playing Justiina the maid, have a brief passionate affair in Harmaalahti, which happens to be an estate owned by Robert's uncle. Their happiness is short-lived as Robert's uncle sends him back to town and when he learns that Justiina is pregnant, he drives the girl away as well. However, the uncle lets Justiina return to the estate as a maid after her child is born. Justiina raises her son Olavi by herself.

Many years later Robert returns. He is a lawyer now, and he has also changed his name to Harmaalahti - to make it sound more Finnish. However, Robert also has a wife and daughter. Robert has to face the fact that he is the father of Justiina's son Olavi and that he still loves Justiina.

This film is Finnish melodrama at its best. Tragic characters, desperate deeds, tears and suffering. Recommended, this film is crying for a DVD-release.
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