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Musta jää (2007)
Dark and cold, yet cleverly humorous European cinema
Musta Jää is a dark and cold love triangle and at times quite humorous one. It makes you laugh the first moment and the second it gives you the chills. Director Petri Kotwica clearly had no rush making this, because it seem so well finished, with not much faults. The only thing that I think didn't work all the time was the score. It is a score by a talented cello player from Apocalyptica, but it was playing maybe a bit too much during the movie. It's a minor minus, but not a big one.
All the actors are just fantastic, and the characters are very interesting. Outi Mäenpää is one of the best finnish actresses and she plays Saara, who finds out her husband is cheating on her. It happens the day she turns 40. Husband Leo is played by Martti Suosalo, a very fine actor too. Leo is having an affair with his student, 29 year old Tuuli (Ria Kataja). Saara starts planning a revenge, that is megalomanic and wonderful to watch, she even creates herself a new identity for it. The plot twists are not stunning but very entertaining and well made.
Movie is good looking too, visually. I think it's not a bit lower than the European medium of cinema. In my opinion it is by far the best finnish movie made in last few years, with Kaurismäki's Laitakaupungin Valot of course. This makes Petri Kotwica one of the most interesting new finnish directors. And this proves he's a great writer too. Movie has a lot of small little things - of acting, characters, cinematography, dialog - that are just genius, not really that much seen in finnish cinema. Much of it happens in Saara's mind. Not that much that you could analyze it like Ingmar Bergman's Persona (which has some fine similarities), but still some. The whole masquerade sequence is one of the things i like a lot too.
I recommend Musta Jää to people who like a well written, well acted and well directed little dark but cleverly humorous European, almost an art film-like cinema. Not for ones who dislike semi-low tempo, and too intelligent structure.
o.k. little short
The story in it's all simplicity: A woman is isolated in her home. She gets a gun. She has a gun. What will happen next? Will the gun make the woman go crazy? Does it start controlling her? Can she keep her mind clear?
A decent short by a Finnish guy, Jari Haanperä. It's black & white and it is visually quite effective at times. The only actor in the movie is Rea Mauranen, and she does her job well. Of course you could count the gun as an actor, because it is in the leading role with Rea.
It's worth watching if it happens to show somewhere, but there's nothing special why you should get it in you hands.
The scene with the doll's house is cool.
Bad teen angst
for - and only for 15 year old girls.
This film is directed by Finnish Kirsi Liimatainen in German film school. Liimatainen is known as an actor in some TV-series in the 90s. Directing is partly just okay, partly rather meaningless. The storyline is bad, the anticlimax of the ending is frustratingly hollow and the actors are empty.. And just how many times do we see the maincharacter step out of a car in the middle of nowhere and start walking pointlessly away in some direction.. or from home... or from anywhere wherever she is in the every single scene. One time she even seem to cross a lake or something. And there's dozens of scenes where the film keeps rolling, filming her while she's alone, with her thoughts (probably wondering when that bulls*** is going to be over)
So... We've had enough of these already. Why couldn't a teenager enjoy this? Of course one can, but as a movie this is just horrible. The maincharacter is Sonja, and she's terribly in love with her best friend, Julia, and she don't know how to say it. Sonja is having hard time in home with her mother, who found out that her daughter is interested in girls. Girls planned, that they'd go to Sonja's dad for a visit, but Julia can't come because she just lost her virginity.. And while Sonja is away from home, why shouldn't she try too. She has sex with his dad's neighbour who looks like he at least 10 years older than her. Blaah Blaah Blaah..
Watch Heavenly Creatures, not this!
Knalli ja sateenvarjo (1994)
For the die hard fans of the K & S radio show
Knalli ja Sateenvarjo (A bowler and an umbrella) is based an a radio play originally written by Edward Taylor, and awesomely translated in finnish by Kersti Juva. It's quite popular in Finland for a radio show, and it has it's own strong fanbase. I myself am one of the fans, and i have probably every episode taped on a cassette (over 300 episodes if a remember right).
After the other main voiceactor (Kauko Helovirta)past away the play was never the same. There still comes new episodes every other year, because there are so many fans of the play. The reruns have been playing as long as I remember as well. And by the way, the play was on air for the first time back in the 70s! The play is set in a ministry in London.
The main characters:
Richard Lamm & Hannibal Hamilton-Jones (Pekka Autiovuori & Kauko Helovirta): two moron government officers, who don't seem to make anything right.
Mildred Murfin (Aila Svedberg): A blonde bimbo secretary
Sir Henry Pitkin (Esa Saario): The boss, the dictator, the evil
The storyline is only namely a new one, since the fans of the play will notice similarities to the old radio plays.
But now.. I think I've praised the radio show enough, so it's time for the part: What went wrong in the film version?
- All the actors are great voice/theaterical actors, and we do not want to see them on a video! I've never seen such overacting in any film. They are acting like they would on a theater play, so everyone in the last row sees your acting. And that doesn't look good when the camera is in front of your face
- The screenplay isn't the best possible. Combined from one of the not-so-good whole radio episode with some added material from others. They seriously should've chose better material (because there is a lot where you pick from), made a good radio episode entirely on film or optionally spend time to write a whole new good episode.
- The "director" Lars Svedberg isn't one of the professional ones, and of course that's why the film looks very amateurish. In the beginning of film there's few short clips from actually London, they're filmed by Lars during a vacation i guess. The film is published by Aila and Lars Svedberg's Ailars (Aila is Lars' daughter).
And the good sides...
+ There is no sequel coming, thank god.
All in all this TV-movie is made for just the die hard fans of the radio show, and probably nobody can't possibly see this by accident.
Radio show: With no doubt 10/10
This.. thing: Unrateable
Extras: Samuel L Jackson (2005)
Samuel L. Jackson's quick visit
Samuel L. Jackson in this one! He's the biggest name guest starring in the Extra's first season, and he does his job well indeed. His part was filmed separately a month before rest of the episode, and it was filmed in just one day. It still works well there, even if he doesn't get as much screen time as the other guest stars in the shows.
Andy is having hard time with a fellow extra, who wants to get to know Andy. Maggie is desperately in love with a black actor, and in this episode she has a date with him. Maggie have to think what she says all the time. She's constantly afraid she'll say something racist. They move from a club to Maggie's house and everything goes well, until...
Extras: Kate Winslet (2005)
My favorite episode from Extra's first season. Thanks to Kate Winslet.
This is absolutely a great episode. Clearly my favorite from the 1st season. And a big reason for it is Kate Winslet, she's just wonderful. She's doing a holocaust-film just because she thinks she'd finally going to get an Oscar from it. The funniest bits are the ones, where Kate (dressed as a nun) is giving advise how to talk dirty on the phone.
The other thing is Andy's (Gervais) attempts to get a girl with lies following lies. And the scene when other's find out about the lies, and Andy's trying to solve his way out of it. He explains that he only said a white lie, so he wouldn't hurt the girl's retarded sister's feelings.
Extras: Patrick Stewart (2005)
Great final to the 1st season
"You're not married, you don't have a girlfriend... and you've never watched Star Trek!" Patrick Stewart is guest starring in this episode. I'm glad that Gervais didn't get Jude Law, who was originally supposed to be in it. Even more that he didn't get Leonardo DiCaprio. Because 1) Patrick Stewart is awesome perv in this 2) the DVD extras include fun clips of Gervais trying to get phone contact to Leo, but can't quite make it.
Every scene with Patrick is great, his idea for screenplay and Star Trek stuff. Gervais' character also has finally made a screenplay that the people at BBC have accepted. Now he's put to work with this "too gay" guy at BBC, and they're planning the pilot episode. Can he handle the situation, without saying anything stupid at gays? Sure...
Possibly my second favorite episode of the Extra's 1st season, just after the Kate Winslet episode.
Ozu no mahôtsukai (1982)
I've seen this movie dubbed in Swedish and subtitled in Finnish so I don't know how wonderful Aileen Quinn is as Dorothy. I watched this movie probably at least over 10 times when i was about 4-7 years old. The first times someone had to read me the subtitles but i guess I learned them from memory after few watchings. I saw Return to Oz (1985) when I was 7 or 8, and I loved that too, and still do. When I was about 12 or something I saw Wizard of Oz from the 20s, and only after all these I saw the Judy Garland's one, which is one of my favorite movies by now.
So... As a great movie experience, of course the Fleming's 1939 flick is the one to watch, but you got the storyline in here too, and even more accurately. Plus I like the animation in this even if it isn't so polished and superb. Then I love the own kind of synths in the music, and always when I hear same kind of synths anywhere (for example some car commercials has it, chill-out music or 80s Pink Floyd), it brings this movie to my mind. But this is not a musical, there's no Somewhere over the Rainbow.
I still think this is a good children's movie, so I recommend this of course to all the children, but then to all the people who love the 80s animation and nostalgia. Not the best in this "genre" but worth watching. You can never top Silver Fang, Alfred J. Kwak, Willy Fog: Around the world in 80 days, Nick Knatterton and Il était une fois...-series but you can see fair efforts like this too.
In Finland this movie was distributed by Omaxi, which had these video series and pretty interesting films actually. The company was live and kicking through the 80s and the early 90s, but then it disappeared. Some people still treat those Omaxi cassettes as treasures, and they kind of have this cult status. Other animated movies in this series that i got, is a version of Jack London's Call of the Wild and the great great Genshi Shounen Ryu.
Injû gakuen (1992)
I don't recommend watching before you know what it is
*WARNING: ABSOLUTELY NOT FOR CHILDREN* (text on the cover of the DVD)
Cannibal Holocaust, Cannibal Ferox, Salo o le 120 Giornate di Sodoma, Cradle of Fear etc. etc. When a typical movie lover starts making a top 10 list for the most disturbing or revolting movies they've seen (as every movie lover of course does every other day) they may not even be aware of one ultimate sub-genre of shocking art forms. Japanese Hentai anime simply can bring about anything in front of your eyes, nearly nothing is sacred. It brings you the most pervert images of twisted porn between human beings and.. usually something else than another human being.
Probably the best known hentai would be La Blue Girl, and in a way, I kind of like this crazy and ultimately stupid stuff, it's just something really different. But it just makes it interesting that it's not popular and it's tabu-breakingly sick. It's not my thing becoming a huge fan of the genre but this is actually pretty well made (if not exactly tastefully). So I'm not an expert in these.. From this genre, besides all the La Blue Girl movies, I've seen just few other movies, and the next best thing might be Urotsukidoji (though i saw a version which was blurred almost half of the movie's running time because of the censorship).
And how clever does the plot sound: Miko Mido is the last one of the Supernatural Sex Ninjas, and she'll become a mistress of martial arts sexcraft. At the beginning she's a virgin and she must keep it that way. She must practice that she can be on the edge of having an orgasm while she masturbates, but still won't quite have it... and what do you know, she eventually loses her virginity to a gigantic monster who rapes her.
Nevertheless, I think La Blue Girl movies are an entertaining and funny curiosity, but I don't take the risk of recommending them to anyone..
It makes you think
Andrei Tarkovsky's greatest masterpiece cannot be commented without comparing it to Stanley Kubrick's 2001: A Space Odyssey. They're very alike in some ways. If you can't concentrate on 2001, you probably can't make it here, and likewise. Tarkovsky's movies have long sequences with not really anything going on in them, and often when there's something going on, you may not have a clue what it is.
I believe fans of Tarkovsky will definitely love this one. Compared to, let's say Stalker, this may be easier to watch and a better one to start with, if you're interested in Tarkovsky's films. All the films he's directed has all these weird scenes with no actual meaning, but you're not able to get them out of your head. But what ever you do, never try to watch a Tarkovsky, if you're tired or cannot be fully concentrated on it.
Solyaris may be the greatest science fiction film ever made. It's remade by Steven Sodenberg, but you can never achieve the same Tarkovsky did. The movie is based on Stanislaw Lem's Solaris. But the movie can be watched also as a series of beautiful images and fascinating cinematography, but it has pretty much more going on, that everybody may not understand the same way.
I think the film has some same themes as Ridley Scott's Blade Runner, which is a great science fiction movie too, in more traditional way than Solyaris. The movie makes you think and it doesn't leave you alone in some while after you've seen it
Dersu Uzala (1975)
Struggle against nature
It's impossible to name the greatest movie Akira Kurosawa has directed, but it just might be this one.. But it also might be for example Ran or Ikiru, and I haven't mentioned Rashomon or Seven Samurai yet.
Well there's still something special about Dersu, not only that it's made in USSR and it's filming took years, it has something unique powers. It still has it's Kurosawa elements. The scene where Dersu and Captain are struggling against the storm, is one of the most powerful.
Dersu is a hunter, who lives in Siberia, and a Russian expedition meets him. A special bond is created between Captain and Dersu. They separate when the expedition's have to return home. Dersu couldn't live anywhere else than in the nature. But they meet again when Captain and his crew returns..
In the beginning of the movie, you'll see what is going to happen eventually, but the story that is told is beautiful and touching. You'll return to watch this movie again sometime if you just manage to watch it once.
An average Polanski piece
If we think of Roman Polanski's pieces, Nóz w wodzie (1962)is more important, Repulsion (1965)is in my opinion almost the best movie ever made, Rosemary's baby (1968)is more horrifying and Le Locataire (1976) is more interesting, not to talk about Chinatown (1974) etc.
So why should you see Cul-de-Sac? Because it's polanski and it's not crappy. And because of Catherine Deneuve's sister Francoise Dorleac, who died way too early (in 1967, just some time after she co-starred Les Demoiselles de Rochefort with her sister).
Once again, the main characters are separated from the world and stranger's are getting in from the outside. The movie is fun, weird and of course a must-see for a Polanski fan.
If you can stand some violence and don't demand an easy movie..
The movie is quite violent and puzzling, if you are not into that, it cannot be recommended to you then.
Puzzling... yeah well, this movie might seem confusing and the story rather strange, but there's so much more. There are few quite unforgettable scene and character in it. I doubt that I ever forget how a cassette with Frank Sinatra's My Way taped on it, is taken out of a dead woman's stomach with bare hands (yes, it's there, just behind the liver..) But the gore is not all what's in this film. Another great scene is a one where Ageha is "getting a tattoo" and remembering the time when she saw a butterfly for the first time. There are so many levels in the movie, and it means a lot more than it looks like.
Visually best looking of Pasolini's films
Pasolini film is always a Pasolini film. This is visually the most beautiful one Pasolini ever made. Filmed in Yemen, Ethiopia, Iran and Nepal, so it gives a great background to the Arabian Night- stories. The movie is quite loosely based on the original stories, but you can find them there anyway.
Better known movies, Il Decameron and I Racconti Di Canterbury started the "Trilogy of Life" -trilogy, that this movie ends. Every of these three movies, is based on classic erotic literature. Directors homosexuality shows on the screen too. After this one he finished his last movie before getting murdered, Salo, which is the most revolting and sick movie ever made.
Il Fiore delle mille e una notte shows you beautiful landscapes and buildings, much naked men and women, but pretty naive acting and stories. Fun to watch, but not as interesting as it should.
Desperate world of Emmanuel Carrere works well on screen
Emmanuel Carrere's novels are chilling, desperate and very well told. This adaptation to screen by Nicole Garcia works pretty well. If it wasn't based on a true story, you'd think that it's silly and a bit too much. The movie certainly doesn't leave a happy feeling with you, it's hopeless and sad, in everyone's point of view. So the story is told in the beginning of the movie, in the matter of fact before to movie starts, but the point isn't that at all. Film is about what's going on inside Jean Claude Romand's (played by great Daniel Auteuil) head and life during the times before he murders everyone he knows. The music in L'Adversaire is by Angelo Badalamenti, one of my favorite composers (escpecially Twin Peaks -soundtrack), and it fits perfectly. Latest adaptation of Carrere's work is La Moustache and it's directed by himself
Les parapluies de Cherbourg (1964)
Most unfortunate if you can't bear singing in movies.
1. Coloring, that is absolutely matchless 2. Even the first notes of the main theme make you cry 3. Unique way of singing in a musical 4. One of the most touching love stories 5. Beautiful Catherine Deneuve 6. It's not American 7. Made in the sixties 8. You can watch it over and over again 9. Since you've once seen it.. you must watch it over and over again 10. Esso-scene
Ten more or less good reasons why this just might be the one.. the favorite movie of mine. I partly understand people who hate it, the singing is the main reason i think. But the unique way of singing! Not in the traditional way this is a musical, people just happen to sing when they talk. And the music (especially main theme) is so hauntingly beautiful it really does make you want to cry when you hear the first notes.
The coloring is like in no other film. The clothing and background have been matched in every single scene of the movie. That's real cinema, that's beautiful! And if that's beautiful already, then what comes when the 20-year old Catherine Deneuve is in the lead role! Just WOW!
Once again I don't bother explaining any of the plot, because there's no point really...but one of the saddest scenes in movie history, is the Esso-scene in this one. Watch it! if you're not too busy watching the latest Van-Damme.
Baron Prásil (1962)
Zeman's beautiful imagenary world and color using is worth watching
Very affective fantasy world with great colors. This movie wouldn't be anything without Karel Zeman. He brings the story to life with his interesting animation mixed with the filmed material. I can't say that the movie is all good or the best of Zeman, but you really can rest your eyes on the screen. Gilliam's version of the story is possibly a little better, but as these are so different, you can't really compare.
Zeman's Sinbad the Sailor short films are much more important to me than this one. Their story is more interesting and the animation even more fun. Anyways..this movie is about a mysterious Baron who have been through all the exciting adventures and he tells about them.
Beautiful and entertaining Sinbad the Sailor realization
Feels unfair that these short movies of Karl Zeman haven't got votes in IMDb. Very entertaining and beautifully made films of Sinbad are one of the most celebrated stories in the Arabian Nights. There have been plenty of movies based on Arabian Nights, but there still isn't as good one as I'd like. This may be the closest one I've seen to date. Of course the films are made for child audiences but I'm sure the adults will enjoy these works as well, at least I do. I saw these films when I was a kid and when I found these not so long ago in a second-hand shop, it made me really happy. Arabian Nights is the most important book-series for me and these short films are gold! Sinbad the Sailor is the hero of these stories, he just can't have enough of seafaring. No matter how close he's to death in his every adventure, he will go again. He's crew is surely going to die anyway. These films are great whether you know the story or not. But I don't want to spoil anyone's joy by telling anything else about the stories. I recommend it to every child and childlike person who enjoys good story with excellent realization. Can be watched multiple times and you never get tired. Karl Zeman is one of the greats in the genre of animation
Reminds us why we love cinema!
Fascinating, disturbing, beautiful and cold world of Ingmar Bergman's Silence brings me to watch it over and over again. Every scene is somehow visually stunning and the environment is hauntingly superb. There's not much talking so pictures do the talking here.
Two sisters are travelling through an unknown country in Europe, with a kid of the other sister. There's a disquieting relationship between sisters and the kid is exploring the hallways of the hotel.
Surprisingly erotic film offers a great experience for real movie fans. You can't take your eyes from the screen for a second! In my opinion the greatest work of Bergman, better than Seventh Seal, Wild Strawberries or Fanny and Alexander Not for people who want a "traditional" plot and characters, lots of action...or anything found in an average Hollywood movie
The Company of Wolves (1984)
It makes me sad how underrated this masterpiece really is..
Company of Wolves is perhaps one of the most underrated masterpieces that comes to mind. The movie can be seen in so many different ways, and most of the people watch it may have watched it without thinking enough. Anyways.. the whole movie is a symbolic reference of growing from a girl to a woman. End of innocence and the blossoming sexuality confuses the Rosalee's mind in shape of dreams.
The fantasy world in the movie is created by a genius. Everything seen and heard (Toys, dolls, mirrors, clocks, instruments, dogs barking, sister knocking the door etc.) in her room, appears in the dream sequences. I would see the mysterious ending like this: The girl finally understand, that she's not a child anymore. All the toys crashing down, like the illusion of innocence. Like many do in some pace of their youth, they go and bury their childhood toys.
"Never stray from the path, never eat a windfall apple, and never trust a man who's eyebrows meet" says the magnificent Angela Lansbury as Rosalee's grandmother. Rosaleen is like a Little Red Riding Hood in a dark forest, full of wolves. The image of a wolf piercing through a human body is used in the posters and covers of the movie. Although its an effective scene, and pretty well made, it doesn't give the right image of the film.
The irish director Neil Jordan is well known for movies like Crying game and Interview with a Vampire. I can't say that I don't like his other films, like Mona Lisa, End of Affair and the ones above, but I think this is much better in so many ways..
The Star of Company of Wolves is absolutely Rosaleen, that is Sarah Patterson. She has only starred in two pieces after this amazing debut. She has starred in Snow White few years after this. I haven't seen that one, but the role sounds like one that she's made for.
There are too little movies like this one. Jim Henson's Labyrinth or Jan Svankmajer's Alice would be the next best thing. I recommend this to everybody who likes a good fairytale, beautiful and clever fantasy or just a great movie.
Heavenly Creatures (1994)
Beauty of imagination
Back in the days, not many of us would have believed that Peter Jackson directed something like this. This is one of the most beautiful movies ever made. Jackson's debut, Bad Taste, and the follow-ups Braindead and Meet the Feebles are legendary splatter-classics, not even close to Heavenly Creatures.
Before a quite well known trilogy Jackson directed, he also made movies named Frighteners and Forgotten Silver. Frighteners may be the lowest point of his career but Forgotten Silver is a real masterpiece. So the best works he has done are also the least known.
This movie is based on a true story. It's about a murder, that happened in New-Zealand a long time ago, committed by two teen aged girls. But what is attractive in the movie, is the beautiful fantasy world these two girls have created in their minds. Girls are played by Kate Winslet and Melanie Lynskey, and they do the roles of their lifetimes. As they are homosexuals, their parents try to separate them, but it doesn't feel like an option for the girls.
This is one of those films I watch every year, and the video cassette I got, is in pretty bad shape already, but I haven't found a DVD yet. When the DVD appears on stores, I'm going to buy it the second I see it.
And I do hope that Peter Jackson would come back to make movies like this, instead of King Kong (which I liked, but anyway...)
Dancer in the Dark (2000)
If you hated Bjork before, you simply cant after seeing this movie!
Definitely one of the saddest, most tragic, unfair and moving film of this decade. The epic masterpieces like Lord of the Rings -trilogy or Kill Bill volumes (which are great movies in their leagues), could never move like this one.
Danish Lars von Trier is one of the most interesting directors at the moment. His own dogma-movie Idioterne (Idiots) have probably made many people feel sick, but he has also given us some great cinematic moments to experience.
In one of von Trier's best known movies, Breaking the Waves, there's been some excellent work on casting. The star of the film is a religious and naive girl in 70s Scotland, played by Emily Watson. She's one of the most sympathetic character's ever seen on screen. Similar character is then seen in Dancer in the Dark, four years later. The actor is Bjork, and she's at least as good as Watson. If you hated Bjork before, you simply cant after seeing this movie! Bjork plays Selma, an immigrant in America, in the year 1964. She has a rare disease, that would make her blind eventually. She doesn't want her son to have the same destiny, so she works all day and tries to get the money to fix his eyes.
As Selma is nearly blind, all she has is music. She can make music in her head from any sounds she hears. In a way the movie could be a musical, but its too heavy to be watched as one. Selma's only friend is played by fantastic actress Catherine Deneuve (who by the way starred the musical, Umbrellas of Cherbourg in the year 1964). This is a very heavy movie to watch, and its hard to say what mood you should be on when you do it. But no matter what kind of mood you on, it will make you want to cry.
Lars von Trier is at the moment working on his America-trilogy, which started with Dogville. He directed his Europe-trilogy before he had such popularity, what he has today. Highlight of that trilogy is unarguably the movie named simply Europa.