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Hajen som visste för mycket (1989)
Among Galenskaparna's best
I was surprised by the level of enjoyment that "Hajen som visste för mycket" (The Shark That Knew Too Much) provides. It provides a perfect overall comment on society. Through an original, creative and funny story it mocks the world of money and looks. What lends endurance to this film is the comedy of which many alternating forms are used; physical, intelligent, sarcastic, silly - all forms original. Having watched other TV series and films by Galenskaparna, such as "Macken," "En Himla Många Program" and "Leif" I was also surprised by the budget of this film; a lot of money and work has been used for stunts and special effects to make the film look more expensive than any of Galenskaparna's work I've seen. The story never halts or abates - it evolves at a fast pace throughout the film. It is somewhat of a musical, and as always the musical arrangements are impressive (regardless of the very late 80's overall sound.)
John Belushi - actor and/or individual
I haven't seen this, but have read everything about it (trivia, reviews, comments...) on IMDb and understand that it is not a biography worthy of an Academy Award. I understand that Aykroyd was upset about the way the film displayed Belushi (if not all content) and assume I wouldn't rely on this as a source of biographical information. However, many of those expressing themselves similarly who have seen this film suggest for people to watch "Animal House," "Blues Brothers" and "Continental Divide" in order to experience Belushi properly, as if watching him act is watching him in real life, which is VERY misleading...a fantasy for many fans, I assume. Don't kid yourselves assuming he was a sweet lovable guy just because he might have played various characters of such qualities. This goes for Chris Farley as well (or actually any actor - stage or screen - famous or unknown.) Belushi and Farley had many things in common; they were both made famous on SNL; they both had problems with overweight and drugs; they both acted in a similar amount of movies after having left SNL; they both died at the age of 33 from an overdose of heroin and cocaine. With all of the above in mind, what people love about the two (including myself) is their talents, abilities to make others laugh, acting skills and characters, but as I never met any of the two entertainers (Belushi died 4 months prior to my birth) I have no idea (other than what I've read or heard from their close ones) what they were like in real life. Not having seen this movie I shouldn't comment too much, but judging on its rating, trivia, reviews etc. I doubt that the movie is meant to high-light Belushi's career peaks. From what I understand it seems to be a pretty avant-garde picture, which is something one should keep in mind while watching. ...my message here is mainly a reminder that "Animal House" does not display who the person John Belushi was remotely accurately (even though you may want to draw parallels between Belushi and his scripted characters all you like.) Just admit it - he was a great performer/entertainer/actor/comedian (all of the above or whatever sounds good to you,) but if you weren't one of his close friends you didn't know him.
The Aristocrats (2005)
A guy goes into a talent agent's office...
"The Aristocrats" may not be a very well known joke to any ol' regular Joe, but among entertainers--especially comedians--it is. Here we get to hear many versions of the joke, as almost all of the joke can (and should) be improvised (within certain frames.) I am not going to give a personal--or any other person's--version of this joke, as IMDb would have every other word bleeped, and probably send my personal information to the white house for a brief investigation which probably would follow a quick trip to the chair-of-human-fellow-death. The list of entertainers involved in the documentary is very very long, and the manner of presenting the different presenters of their takes, versions and opinions of the joke are edited and cut in an almost hysterical manner (presumably to make it look "hip"), although I doubt any participator was misrepresented. This film is a lot of fun, and is entertaining throughout, even though--10 or 15 minutes into watching--I was almost certain that It'd turn sour after half an hour. Two things I missed, and which I thought the film should have featured, was a) a viewpoint of the joke and why people find it funny, from a professional psychologist's (or someone in a related field of work), and b) from where it originated, i.e. for how long has this joke been around / where did the joke come from / does anyone know, or could they guess who first thought of it and told it...? THAT I'd still like to know...so...while this entertained the hell out of me (and had me laughing at the top of my breath) I wouldn't vote for it to receive first price at the "2005 Documentary Oscars."
A hysterical review of a hysterically hyper "show"
The ANNOYING, hysterical, OVER-THE-TOP, incredibly Hollywood and unnaturally excited narrator is the main reason why this "documentary" ruins it for me (among others.) Another reason why it simply is NOT GOOD is that it's cut together in a way which results in a hysterical and hyper presentation; 10 to 20 people are interviewed in one minute. The result of cutting together one sentence from a few words each by three or four people makes you kind of go "huh!?" Among many other clips, the footage of Britney Spears' moving boobs is shown over and over and over again as is comedian Rachel Quaintance's suggestion that "B-bye should almost go in Webster's dictionary." "...and remember: E! is the only place to catch all these episodes every weeknight at 5 and midnight!" The constant background music, moving of camera angles, zooming, spinning and blinking images will have you rolling on the floor drooling saliva within seconds, so I would ESPECIALLY not recommend this program to epileptics - you could DIE! Out of the 101 "most unforgettable SNL moments" (according to whom I don't know,) not ONE sketch is performed from beginning to end. Actually, I don't think more than 10 seconds of a sketch is presented (at least not without interruption in order to be repeated or proceeded.) In order to understand what the fudge all the 100 million+ people who are interviewed for about 5 seconds each are talking about, you'll have to recall all these "moments" from TV, or you'll have to catch them from reruns, because way way way too little material from the actually aired SNL shows, which everyone are reminiscing about, is shown here in order for you to appreciate all the endless praise people are giving these supposedly hilarious moments. Commercial breaks appear about every 2 to 3 minutes, BTW. There is good material in here, but it's presented in such a hyper way that it cannot be properly enjoyed. It's hysterical, but far from hysterically funny or entertaining. I'd expected to actually SEE 101 SNL moments. Incidentally, and the worst fact of all: Steve Martin's legendary 'King Tut' sketch is NOT included (!!!) ...and I don't think having included 'Massive Head Wound Harry' and 'The McLaughlin Group' somewhere in the swamp would've been a mistake either, as both these sketches are celebrated pieces shown on both the 'Best of Dana Carvey' and the '25th Anniversary' tapes.
I leave you now with the narrators' sing-out from the first of the five installments of this show (imagine the following spoken in a VERY "fake excitement kind of you're on candid camera manner"): "Alas! We've run out of time in this hour, but TRUST US, there are plenty more Will Ferrell moments left in our countdown. Check out what's in store in the NEXT installment of our 101 most unforgettable SNL moments. From the CHEERful...to the MILItant...from guys in DRAA-AAG...to Lord and Lady Douchebag. We have more hilarious moments from the show you can't stop quoting as we work our way down to number one. You can catch every single ONE of these moments plus many more of your favorites every weeknight at four and midnight, right here on E! But for now..." (ending with a two seconds long clip of David Spade saying "b-bye.")
Happy Endings (2005)
This move is actually three little movies in one; it deals with three pretty unrelated family relations - so literally unrelated that they could be separated, re-edited and released as individual films. At first, already in the beginning of the film, seeing several people with large Christian crosses around their necks (one on which Jeezus hung on) and then meeting the child whose parents had to inform the people with the birthday cake that they can't sing "happy birthday" because it would make the child cry (as if saying that he's abnormal for having "two mommies" as we are informed in text,) seeing the homosexual guy masturbating to a security tape where a cleaning man is mopping the floor shirtless (as if to say that gay people are weirdoes) followed by a bunch of demeaning gay jokes, more Christian crosses, and the gay "freak" who has a REALLY hard time pooching this girl (which to "normal" people would be easier than screwing in a light bulb,) another gay guy referring to the relationship between a mother and her child as "a sick, sick bond" and the chick near the ending of the movie assuring a gay guy's dad that his son's homosexuality is a choice, I thought this film would turn out to be nothing but a Christian bullshit propaganda waste of time. It has its clever moments of comedy, fun puns, it proves at one point that lawyers talk while sanity walks, plus it isn't comparable to any run-in-the-mill teen Hollywood production, although it has a teenage reality-TV documentary feel, mainly lent from the not very professional directing and camera-work (but it's "hip" to make it that way these days, I know.) The way the making and presenting of the documentary which is being made in one of these three relations is being presented one assumes that the writer/director for this film is trying to say that documentaries are as (maybe even less) reliable than fictional movies - Kudrow is obviously supposed to appear "manipulated" or "bamboozled" while watching the finished product (watching it with a large Christian cross around her neck). Morality all the way ("this is what will happen if you..."), as is the referring to abortion as "ripping the baby out of me and flush it away" before signing the form supposed to make you think about how inexcusable it is to "MURDER people" by making an abortion on a sperm. Also, the text constantly telling us what happens to someone every now and then throughout the film, read, at the end of the film, about Max (the kid brought up by two mommies;" "Max turns out to be straight. This is a great blessing" - it's just very simple stupidity. But OK, entertaining movie if you have nothing else to do, good actors, blah blah blah, they should spend money making more of these, and so on...
This is not the Sandler film you'll want for "stupid jokes." Compared to other Sandler classics like "The Wedding Singer," "Happy Gilmore" and "Mr. Deeds," this film leans towards the drama genre. I noticed this at the beginning of the film, and didn't at all mind (I don't mean to come across as someone who dislikes drama - I'm a huge Ingmar Bergman fan), but this movie just didn't keep me interested throughout, though the first half of the film had me wide awake - at some point after that I thought to myself "hey, didn't I already watch this scene...?" In the movie Sandler is married to an always stressed and hysteric wife who, though unemployed, has to hire a (Spanish) house keeper. The house keeper can't speak a word English, and so, through all the translation by the house keepers daughter, a "Spanglish" language is born (well, kinda). There aren't any "HAA HAA highlights" (no scenes you could watch over and over again,) but the idea for the movie (unlike the abrupt and surprisingly STUPID ending) is really good. I don't want to give anything away, but the moral speech and "big decision" that is made at the very end of the film surprised me and others who watched it. Nobody seemed to understand or appreciate the 180 degree turn the movie suddenly took at the last 30 seconds... ...a good idea for a movie, but it could be re-done better with a few changes. Also - the directing is kinda chilly. You never really sink in and feel cozy during the film - I felt like I was standing outside watching this film through a window (but perhaps that's what they wanted).
Bruce Almighty (2003)
Gimme Dat IL' Time Religion
Prayers, prayers, prayers. Soothing music to go along - lets your tears flow better. Rachel from friends is someone the whole planet will sympathize with, so she equals love and rightfulness. Too bad she's married to that hunk, tho - this won't be a teen-girl movie. The billion dollar Hollywood thingie starts out "normal" with a light tone. Then things start happening - this is the real comedy part...things are going well for Bruce. But then Bruce (as God...instead of Morgan Freeman...NATURALLY) starts to struggle, and you might choke up for feeling bad for not having prayed or payed a lot of money to the church of whatever religion you're part of (and by whatever religion I'm naturally referring to the "only right one"...the Christian one...NATURALLY), things are becoming sensitive. Get out yer hankey...only to (and to your great surprise) see Bruce make it at the end. They kiss. Seen this one before? ...thank god for Ingmar Bergman (and Alfred Hitchcock). There's nothing wrong with Carrey as an actor but... boy - does he seem to be in need of more money or what!? ...oh, and btw - did I just thank god!?
Insightful and available in the U.S.
"Om liv och arbete" (About Life and Work) was made for Swedish television in 1998, but is available as an extra feature on Criterion's fabulous DVD edition of Bergman's 1957 movie "Wild Strawberries". Interviewed by Jörn Donner (Finno-Swedish writer/film maker, and producer of "Fanny and Alexander"), Bergman gives an insightful and revealing view into his childhood, his personal life, and his work. It isn't as much a documentary as it is an interview; about 90% of "Om liv och arbete" consists of the interview, but it is entertaining and interesting - especially so for the dedicated Bergman fan, I'd assume. As an extra on a DVD this is a great treat!
Fanny och Alexander (1982)
I have given the vote of a perfect 10 for the five hour version of this flawless masterpiece, not for the three-hour version.
This film is excellent. It's beyond words. The story is much based on (real, similar and imaginary) experiences of Ingmar Bergman's childhood. The story begins at the grand Christmas celebration of the Ekdahl family in 1907. The Ekdahl family run the local theater in Uppsala, and are a family of both shared and opposite opinions, but a perfect example of blood being thicker than water. They are partly a family of unpleasant experience, yet a joyful and humor group. No cinematography tops this particularly beautiful work by Sven Nykvist, and I couldn't imagine a movie being as warm and beautiful in its raw cleverness as Fanny and Alexander. From the opening of the first scene until the ending of the last, mesmerization is guaranteed. This was Bergman's last work in cinema (although 20+ years of directing and writing for TV and the theater was to come), and he definitely ended on a high note. At the moment the full 5+ hour version is only available on Artificial Eye (DVD), which is a shame, since the representation of the movie (mainly its sound quality) doesn't live up to the standard of the movie itself - furthermore the subtitles aren't optional! Let's all cross our fingers for soon being able to watch this film well-represented on DVD. The movie isn't worth less than the best treatment.
Djävulens öga (1960)
A Finnish youngster's look at the Devil's eye
A clever comedy; Satan permits Don Juan a leave of absence from hell to cure a sty in the Devil's eye which is caused by the virginity of a young earthly woman. It's a very funny movie - without being intentionally "stupid." It has a very theatrical feel, but tastefully so, and brings everything needed from Jarl Kulle as Don Juan. Nils Poppe (known best as "Jof" from "The Seventh Seal") and Bibi Andersson also contribute with an additional display of their usually skillful performances. The plot is light, but brilliant, and will probably shock regular Bergman fans. For some reason "Smiles of a Summer Night" is talked about as Bergman's "best" or even "only" comedy, but although I really like that film too, and have watched over forty of his movies, and must say that this is the funniest by a long shot. A highly enjoyable, but sadly underrated (possibly misunderstood) movie. At the time of my writing this, Djävulens Öga is not yet a DVD item in the US or the UK.