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Magic Mike XXL (2015)
This film doesn't seem to know what it wants to be
I wanna start this off by saying I did not enjoy the first movie. This was probably due to wrongful marketing. Like many hopeful ladies I was expecting a comedy with playful strip routines and hot men and was served up something sad and serious.
For the sequel it was pretty much the same except this film wasn't sad, it was boring. For a film about "A group of male strippers going to a stripper's convention" this film has very little stripping in it. In stead it's filled with dialogue that is hard to follow and seems completely unnecessary. The first stripping happens like 40 minutes into the movie and it doesn't get better.
If you were hoping for Pitch Perfect with male strippers you will be disappointed. There are no elaborately choreographed synchronized strip performances in this film. They do mostly solo performances where they manhandle their female clients in a way that made me as an audience member very uncomfortable.
Overall I'm not sure what the target audience for this film is and I don't think the filmmakers know either, though I'm sorry to say this.
The Station Agent (2003)
The best mood piece I've seen in a long time
First I have to take my hat off to Peter Dinklage. I've liked and respected him as an actor for a long time but this is the first time I've seen him as the lead in a film, and boy does he deliver.
The premise of this film is pretty used up: 'Grumpy guy makes new friends, becomes more open to life'. However, Dinklage delivers the character's avoidance of unnecessary communication with other people with a truthful kindness I find extremely rare in films, no matter which country or decade.
Together with Patricia Clarkson and Bobby Cannavale who are also excellent, Dinklage and director Tom McCarthy have created a mood piece that gave me the exact same feeling as going on school trips as a teenager, and sneaking out of our tent at night to flirt with the boys. You might have to have grown up in a country with distinctive seasons to appreciate this sentiment, but watching this movie felt just like summer.
I also enjoyed the fact that the three friends do behave like teenagers to a certain degree. It's refreshing to see adults acting like this in a film.
All this being said, I think parts of the film didn't sit well with me, especially the opening. I actually had to watch it twice to understand what was going on, and not in a good way. I also found that the conflict in the film seemed a little forced, but all in all I m very happy I decided to watch this film.
An enjoyable fable in gorgeous settings
This is not at all a flawless production. Like most Norwegian TV series a lot of the characters and dialogue is somewhat corny.
The whole 'happy madhouse' genre is dangerous territory but I found this version way more satisfying than the Oscar nominated 'Silver Linings Playbook', easily comparable in terms of subject matter.
Buzz Aldrin's strengths for me lies in the Faroese actors, especially Havstein, Anna and Palli. It is also an undeniable fact that the scenery of the Faroe Islands is unusually beautiful, even the scenes that take place in the Capital are worth seeing for the location alone. That being said, the script also had some very funny elements, and I found myself laughing out loud at times, even though I was watching by myself.
My main reason for not instantly recommending this to everyone is that I found the first episode to be quite boring. Although it has some flashbacks to my beloved 80's and a very beautiful music scene it fails to really captivate me as an audience.
All in all I found the show enjoyable and by the time I got to the last episode I was almost sad there were no more.
Hebi ni piasu (2008)
Interesting subject matter, but extremely bland characters
I see myself as someone who's reasonably capable of separating movies from the books they're based on, but in this case it is just too difficult.
The book Snakes and Earrings is actually pretty good. The story is about a girl who suffers from some kind of depression that makes her so numb she has to feel pain to feel alive. The film is about a really annoying girl who just seems... for lack of a better word: stupid.
I'm not gonna spoil the plot, I'll just say that I found the film an interesting example of how a good story can turn bad when the filmmaker forgets to focus on characters and their wants and needs. Frankly, all of the characters in the film version were extremely underdeveloped, especially the female one. I don't want my time back, I'm just a bit disappointed.