30. okt. 2010

2010: The Troll Hunter/Trolljegeren

The Troll Hunter is a suprisingly good horror/comedy that thrives in its Norwegian setting, often with cultural references and shots of its natural landscape.
The movie plays like Cloverfield in the way that it lets the story transpire unnarrated by utilizing the "found footage" angle, leaving room for some speculation. Starting out as a documentary project, the story suddenly takes a turn for the surreal and supernatural.

The movie is an entertaining mix of satire and horror that has a few dull moments, and many exciting ones. It is also realistically told, with few clichés, and plenty of clever jokes about Norwegian folktales and even Norwegian politics.

However, It is weak in a few areas, namely not displaying any memorable characters, although interesting, or taking full advantage of its fascinating premise by creating more interesting scenarios or a better story. Despite this, The Troll Hunter is successfully excecuted with moments of genuine horror as the trolls do look quite realistic, created with top notch CGI.
This is without a doubt a triumph for Norwegian cinema.


28. okt. 2010

Bergen International Film Festival: Castaway On The Moon

As the poster might indicate - this movie is a quirky romantic comedy. This is true to some extent although the humor tends to be a bit on the dark side at times, exercised with the type of vulgarity you could only find in Asian cinema.

Comparisons to Castaway (Tom Hanks) are fitting as several of the elements of the film are present. These are often parodied and combined with satire about modern society in ways that never gets tiring, and are endlessly hilarious.

The love story between the film's two characters is also interesting, although it might seem familiar to some, despite it's original setting. It also drags a bit towards the end in some parts, although these parts are necessary in order to build tension. The two characters are not hard to sympathize with, both facing defeat, we see them at their most intimate.

All in all Castaway On The Moon is a clever, funny, touching and socially relevant movie that is essential to anyone who enjoys foreign cinema.


26. okt. 2010

Bergen International Film Festival: Au Revoir Taipei

Probably the first and only Taiwanese movie that I have ever seen, this romantic comedy was suprisingly entertaining and compelling in its presentation of a story that often treads into some very familiar territory. Au Revoir Taipei is an infinitely hilarious journey that is small in scope and focuses on, instead of making a complex narrative or clogging up the movie with too many characters and intertwining stories, a simple story that is believable and touching.

The movie also features some beautiful cinematography that makes the city appear to be the perfect scene for its love-struck characters to explore during the nighttime.

Most of all, the movie is a pleasant and ironically hilarious take on 'the guy who gets in 'trouble' with mobsters', who in this movie all seem like really decent people.
And who would ever have thought that orange suits look as cool as they do here?


24. okt. 2010

Bergen International Film Festival: Client 9: The Rise and Fall of Eliot Spitzer

The title of this documentary pretty much explains what it is all about. It sums up the story of how Eliot Spitzer, governor of New York (2007-2008), went from fighting the corruption on Wall Street to resigning after the embarassing scandal that took place soon after Spitzer was revealed to have used an escort service.

The documentary goes back and forth in time while interviewing earlier colleagues, sworn enemies, people from the escort business, and of course: Eliot Spitzer. Who all contribute with interesting interviews that are often enlightening in covering the story from more than one angle.

Client 9 is an entertaining documentary that rarely neglects the necessity of the cinematic aspect of filmmaking. In fact it is filled with interesting shots of the city, and manages to capture the passion of its subject as well as it reveals his faults.
This documentary is also sure to entertain those who barely know who Eliot Spitzer is, as it takes on a number of heated issues that are sometimes explored philosophically. It also tells the tale of a politician, fighting for what he believes is right and what he has to deal with as a consequence, while not being devoid of the occasional laugh.


23. okt. 2010

Bergen International Film Festival: The Social Network

I could write a proper review, but that would just be a waste of time seeing as everyone pretty much knows how good it is.

Seriously though, it's an amazing movie. Don't let anyone tell you otherwise. It's a fascinating account of one of the most important stories of our time. After all, Zuckerberg is the youngest billionaire ever. Eisenberg (who plays Zuckerberg in this movie) is also one of the best actors at his age, and his performance is nearly flawless.

Rivaling The Ghost Writer for best movie of the year. This movie is destined to be regarded as a modern classic, along with such movies as Pan's Labyrinth, Up In The Air, There Will Be Blood, etc.


Bergen International Film Festival: Inside Job

Most of us are probably familiar with the recent financial meltdown. Fewer are probably familiar with what caused it and how it started. Narrated by Matt Damon, Inside Job is a great introduction to the mess that is the financial crisis, although it only highlights a small part of the whole picture.

The movie shows us a series on interviews with some vital people that played a part within the political and financial system. Matt Damon fills in the gaps and explains most of story to the viewer in a way that is most clear and understandable.

An obvious part of the movie however, is that many of the key players, some contributing to the cause of the financial crisis, are missing from the interviews. But the director does the best with what he's got and displays a great knowledge of his subject. Several of the interviews are insightful of the cause, often frustrating, and some of them even hilarious. Particularly one regarding a former employee of the state (financial advisor?) who left his position during the crisis to "revise a textbook".

The movie manages to present the root of the problem free of political bias, and does a great job of unfolding itself without a single dull moment.


Bergen International Film Festival: Heartbeats

A movie that begs for the word 'pretentious' to be thrown at it. And deservedly so, as the movie sometimes indulges a bit too much in slow-motion scenes dubbed with french pop-music and cultural references that might a bit too much for some.
Setting aside that issue, the movie is another attempt at the classic love-triangle drama. It does a good job of carrying out this premise with unexpected humorous moments as well as devastating ones.

What is most striking about the movie is the vast amounts of colourful and stylish images that the audience are constantly bombarded with, some of which are remarkably well done.
The movie also does an outstanding job of tackling themes concerning love and obsession, and is sometimes even insightful.

The director (Xavier Dolan) seems endlessly obsessed with the kitsch and the coolness of noir, perhaps favoring the visual aspect a bit too much at times. There is no denying that Heartbeats is an art film, one that verges on greatness and showcases a director with potential.


Bergen International Film Festival: Carancho

Carancho was one of several movies which I was looking forward to seeing at this year's BIFF. Mostly due to the protagonist being played by Ricardo Darin, who also played the protagonist in the Oscar-winning The Secret In Their Eyes last year (which it was more than worthy of).

All in all Carancho is a decent film that deals with the somewhat obscure subject concerning a fraudulent business that takes off with most of the insurance-pay intended for the victims of traffic accidents which they represent.

There are some big issues with the film though. Firstly, it may be a bit too much rooted in its attempt to depict the 'realism' of its subjects that it fails to engage the viewer to take an interest in their lives. The characters are sometimes just as uninteresting as the setting of the film. And certain scenes may feel a bit forced, however well the actors play them out.
At the end of the film is when the actors shine though, as the director manages to create some truly stunning scenes that send chills through your spine.