Sunday, October 26, 2008

Movie: Cruel intentions

I like this movie a lot. It is funny, it is sexy and it has some great actors.

Ryan Phillippe is great as Valmont, the cynical guy who has sex with girls just to enhance his own reputation. The whole "game" that he and his step-sister is working on, is pure evil - and still remarkably realistic. The main problem of the movie is perhaps Cecile Caldwell (Selma Blair) who is too naive. The relationship between Witherspoon and Phillippe, on the other hand, is full of fire.

It is also funny to see Eric Mabius as a closeted gay (he is now famous for his role in Ugly Betty...)

Cruel intentions (1999)

Director: Roger Kumble

Main actors:
Sarah Michelle Gellar as Kathryn Merteuil
Ryan Phillippe as Sebastian Valmont
Reese Witherspoon as Annette Hargrove

Movie: Sen to Chihiro no kamikakushi

This is a very beautiful story, probably Miyazaki's biggest hit. It tells the story of Chihiro whose parents get too greedy, leaving her alone in a bath-place for gods. She has to confront magic to get back to normality.

The visual impact of the movie is great - often it feels like watching a beautiful artwork. However (and now I come back to what I say almost always when a movie is approaching the two hour mark) it is over-long. For me, it doesn't really hold up the interest all through the film.

However, it should certainly be seen - not least to see a big collection of fantastic creatures that you didn't know anyone could imagine...

Sen to Chihiro no kamikakushi (2001)

Director: Hayao Miyazaki

Movie: Shark Bait

This movie is a cute follow-up to "Shark Tale". Pi is a little fish who loses his parents in one of the first scenes, and who has to try to find a more secure life in the reef.

It is consistently funny and moderately interesting, with cool action sequences and a beautiful romance...

And I like to hear Fran Drescher again...

Shark Bait (2007)

Directors: Howard E. Baker and John Fox

Saturday, October 25, 2008

Movie: Burn after reading

The Coen brothers are some of my favorite filmmakers, so it was with great anticipation that I went to see this movie. They have a way of being original within the frame of a filmatic genre, and to put small, funny stuff all around the place.

This time, I was not altogether satisfied. The story was sort of funny, the actors were sort of good and everything was done in a way that put me in a quite good mood, but the movie never took off and I guess I pretty much spent the time looking for things that just was not there.

So perhaps it's better to approach this movie with caution - maybe it will be a pleasant surprise then...

Burn After Reading (2008)

Directors: Joel and Ethan Coen

Main actor:
George Clooney as Harry Pfarrer
Frances McDormand as Linda Litzke
John Malkovich as Osbourne Cox
Tilda Swinton as Katie Cox
Brad Pitt as Chad Feldheimer

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Sarah Palin - the real (and fun) thing

For the two persons who may still not have seen it - Katie Couric's interview:

Start is back at the top level

The football club Start - from Kristiansand - is back in the top division in Norway. They are well-known for sexy soccer - at least in summer. (Sadly, the Norwegian series tends to take a rather long holiday at exactly that point...)

Scenes from the locker room

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Movie: Mor suit nam

"Magic Boy" was the English title of this movie when it screened on the Films from the South festival yesterday. It was a charming story of two magicians and a girl who fell in love with at least one of them. The acting is not perfect and the story goes out of focus at times, but some of the scenes are memorable and the photography is at times interesting.

Most importantly, it is an honest story about different kinds of love, and the relationship between Leggo and his grandmother is beautifully portrayed.

Mor suit nam (2007)

Director: Adam Wong

Main actor:
Tien You Chui as Hei
Kate Yeung as Wing
Anjo Leung as Leggo

Monday, October 13, 2008

Scotland - Norway 0-0

Norway managed to keep the goals empty in Saturday's match against Scotland, and can therefore still stay in the fight for a place in next year's world championship - if they win against the Netherlands on Wednesday...

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Movie: La Môme

The life of Edith Piaf is breathtaking, and Marion Cotillard does a very good role in this version of Piaf's life. Moreover, Piaf's powerful music contributes a very good soundtrack to the movie.

So how come I'm not satisfied? I can't really say for sure. The movie is long, but Piaf's life is strong enough for 140 minutes. I do not, however, like the director's choice of jumping forwards and backwards in time all the time. Particularly for me, who doesn't know Piaf's life in advance, it's confusing as well as depressing. Moreover, by coming back to her fainting on stage time and time again, that moment in her life is turned into a defining moment of her career, and this seems wrong and unfair.

I know the movie is celebrated and I know it's brought pleasure to lots of people. For me, it didn't. It may make me check out her music once again, though.

(The movie is also known as "La vie en rose" and "Edith Piaf", among other titles.

La Môme (2007)

Director: Olivier Dahan

Main actor:
Marion Cotillard as Edith Piaf

Movie: Déficit

Cristobal is a young guy with rich parents. Sadly, he is a jerk. This movie shows the one day in which life finally strikes back and hits him hard.

Some people are charming in a way that makes you understand that you could never stand spending more than a very limited amount of time with them, and Cristobal is certainly one of these. Sadly, I don't really think even Gael García Bernal does a very good job as an actor in this movie - and neither does he do a very good job as a director. The "gardener" has a potential of being interesting, but his role isn't given enough space either. Which means what is left is some good-looking people and a few funny scenes, but not enough to hold up an entire movie.

Déficit (2007)

Director: Gael García Bernal

Main actor:
Gael García Bernal as Cristobal

Sunday, October 05, 2008

Movie: The Dark Knight

I loved "Batman Begins", and the reviews have been so panegyric that it's hard not to be disappointed now that I've finally seen "The Dark Knight". For one thing, I tend to think that two hours should be enough for most movies, and I also don't particularly like car chases.

But of course, there's plenty to be happy about in this movie. Gotham City is convincingly and consistently created, all the main actors are good (even Heath Ledger in the difficult role of The Joker). The action sequences are impressive and the story has depth.

For me, the transformation of Harvey Dent is not entirely convincing, however, and as that is very central to the story of the movie, that may have been a major reason for me not being so excited as "everyone else".

Good movie, though.

The Dark Knight (2008)

Director: Christopher Nolan

Main actors:
Christian Bale as Bruce Wayne / Batman
Morgan Freeman as Lucius Fox
Heath Ledger as The Joker
Aaron Eckhart as Harvey Dent / Two-Face
Michael Caine as Alfred Pennyworth
Maggie Gyllenhaal as Rachel Dawes

Movie: Sztuczki

"A magic summer" would be the English translation of the title used in Norway, but the title actually used in English-speaking countries is "Tricks". Anyway, it tells the story of Stefek and Elka, who live together with their mother and lots of "extended family". They seem to have a quite happy life, but they are missing their father, who left years ago.

The "magic" part of the title comes from Stefek's attempts to change the turn of events by small "tricks" - which mostly don't work, however. His sister, on the other hand, has a more realistic approach, and tends to do only tricks with an intelligent idea behind them. They also tend to work. In that way, the movie seems to be saying: It is possible to change your destiny, but only by making the changes yourself. Don't trust destiny to change itself.

It is a nice little movie, from a country (Poland) which I rarely watch movies from...

Sztuczki (2007)

Director: Andrzej Jakimowski

Main actors:
Damian Ul as Stefek
Ewelina Walendziak as Elka
Tomasz Sapryk as Father of Stefek and Elka

Movie: Pretty Woman

A light comedy and classic movie with Richard Gere and Julia Roberts doing some of their finest roles.

I've seen it before, of course. This time, I spent some effort trying to think of whether this movie was sexist, misogynic or in other ways "immoral". Of course, the whole Pygmalion theme of a rich man picking up a poor girl to make her into a swan puts the action in the hands of the man and leaves the girl to be adored - but neither in Pygmalion or here does the girl allow things to go on without making her own decisions.

Funny movie.

Pretty Woman (1990)

Director: Garry Marshall

Main actors:
Richard Gere as Edward Lewis
Julia Roberts as Vivian Ward

Movie: Freaky Friday

A mother and a daughter don't understand each other. Actually, they almost hate each other. Then they suddenly have to spend some time in each other's bodies - and learn to see the things from the other person's perspective.

Surprisingly, the movie isn't nearly as bad as the short resume above may suggest. Jamie Lee Curtis and Chad Michael Murray are doing good jobs, and the movie does make the best of the comic possibilities in this unbelievable set-up.

Freaky Friday (2003)

Director: Mark Waters

Main actors:
Jamie Lee Curtis as Tess Coleman
Lindsay Lohan as Anna Coleman
Chad Michael Murray as Jake