Thursday, December 31, 2009

Love or Hate College?

Movie: The Curious Case Of Benjamin Button

The makers of Benjamin Button are simply trying too hard. Of course the film has its qualities. Brad Pitt is never really bad (even though he is getting too old to play a young guy) and the sets, visualizing the great changes of almost an entire century, are created at big costs. But in the end, the movie goes into the huge pile of attempts of being epic and awesome that turn out to be too long and too unfocussed.

From the PR of the movie, the point that Benjamin is born an old man and dies a youth – physically, that is – has been hammered in. But in a way, that is not a very important part of the movie. More important is a love story and a life story. The parallels to Forrest Gump have been commented on by many: the story of an extraordinary man and a nation at the same time, banal folk wisdom, love. But Forrest Gump also had a truly great soundtrack that Benjamin Button lacks (unless it escaped my notice).

The Curious Case Of Benjamin Button (2008)

(See a register of all movies I've seen at

Magnus is number 1!

Magnus Carlsen is now officially number 1 on the world ranking in chess. Here's the list from FIDE:

1 Carlsen, Magnus NOR 2810
2 Topalov, Veselin BUL 2805
3 Anand, Viswanathan IND 2790
4 Kramnik, Vladimir RUS 2788
5 Aronian, Levon ARM 2781

It will be interesting to follow him in the years to come.

Saturday, December 26, 2009

Funny Quotes of the Week 56

"I cannot say how sorry I am for the time I have spent reviewing this paper." (anonymous referee)

"If all economists were laid end to end, they would not reach a conclusion." George Bernard Shaw

"Any connection between your reality and mine is purely coincidental."

Friday, December 25, 2009

Movie: A Man for all Seasons

There are several problems with this movie. First of all, the story of Sir Thomas More is so well-known that the element of suspense that I tend to like movies to have, is impossible to obtain. Secondly, the actors play in a way reminding of stage acting at times, quite different to the way mortals talk to each other.

On the other hand, the story is so full of intrigue that it is still interesting to watch, and it is quite well told. It is both disturbing and fascinating to see Orson Welles in an important but small role.

This is a movie which received 6 Oscar statuettes in 1966, apparently being the best movie that year. I doubt it.

A Man for all Seasons (1966)

(See a register of all movies I've seen at

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Some straight guys are strange...

Dad Took Son to Hooker to Make Him Straight is the title of a news story in The Advocate.

According to the newspaper, an Australian guy is facing rape charges after forcing his son to have sex with a prostitute, fearing that his son might be gay.

I'm not sure that forcing a gay boy to have sex with a woman is really any better than forcing a straight boy to do it, so I don't think that's a good excuse for the dad...

The best movies from every year

I've decided to make a list of my favorite movies from every year. I've included only the years from which I've seen more than one movie, and the number of movies seen from that year are in parenthesis. Any comments?

1925: The Gold Rush (Charles Chaplin) (2)
1927: The General (Buster Keaton) (2)
1936: Mr. Deeds Goes to Town (Frank Capra) (3)
1937: Sara lär sig folkvett (Gustaf Molander) (3)
1939: Gjest Baardsen (Tancred Ibsen) (3)
1940: The Great Dictator (Charles Chaplin) (5)
1941: Dumbo (Ben Sharpsteen) (5)
1942: Casablanca (Michael Curtiz) (3)
1944: Murder, My Sweet (Edward Dmytryk) (2)
1945: Brief Encounter (David Lean) (2)
1946: Notorious (Alfred Hitchcock) (3)
1948: Hamlet (Laurence Olivier) (4)
1949: The Third Man (Carol Reed) (3)
1950: All About Eve (Joseph L. Mankiewicz) (3)
1951: Vi gifter oss (Nils R. Müller) (4)
1952: Singin' In The Rain (Stanley Donen) (3)
1953: The Big Heat (Fritz Lang) (8)
1954: Dial M for Murder (Alfred Hitchcock) (9)
1955: Rebel Without a Cause (Nicholas Ray) (10)
1956: Giant (George Stevens) (6)
1957: Fjols til fjells (Edith Carlmar) (6)
1958: Vertigo (Alfred Hitchcock) (6)
1959: North By Northwest (Alfred Hitchcock) (7)
1960: Let's Make Love (George Cukor) (4)
1961: The Guns of Navarone (J. Lee Thompson) (8)
1962: Lawrence of Arabia (David Lean) (8)
1963: The Birds (Alfred Hitchcock) (6)
1964: Dr. Strangelove or: How I learned to... (Stanley Kubrick) (10)
1965: The Sound of Music (Robert Wise) (11)
1966: Hawaii (George Roy Hill) (13)
1967: Cool Hand Luke (Stuart Rosenberg) (12)
1968: Romeo and Juliet (Franco Zeffirelli) (14)
1969: Andrey Rublyov (Andrei Tarkovsky) (14)
1970: On a Clear Day You Can See Forever (Vincente Minnelli) (18)
1971: Morte a Venezia (Luchino Visconti) (16)
1972: Deliverance (John Boorman) (21)
1973: The Way We Were (Sydney Pollack) (18)
1974: The Front Page (Billy Wilder) (13)
1975: Flåklypa Grand Prix (Ivo Caprino) (13)
1976: King Kong (John Guillermin) (14)
1977: La Vie devant soi (Moshé Mizrahi) (15)
1978: Foul Play (Colin Higgins) (18)
1979: The China Syndrome (James Bridges) (27)
1980: Nine to Five (Colin Higgins) (22)
1981: Polyester (John Waters) (17)
1982: The World According to Garp (George Roy Hill) (30)
1983: Risky Business (Paul Brickman) (37)
1984: The Karate Kid (John G. Avildsen) (37)
1985: A Room with a View (James Ivory) (30)
1986: The Karate Kid, Part II (John G. Avildsen) (22)
1987: Cry Freedom (Richard Attenborough) (31)
1988: Nuovo cinema Paradiso (Giuseppe Tornatore) (27)
1989: Dead Poets Society (Peter Weir) (37)
1990: Edward Scissorhands (Tim Burton) (28)
1991: Drengene fra Sankt Petri (Søren Kragh-Jacobsen) (25)
1992: De Noorderlingen (Alex van Warmerdam) (29)
1993: Dazed and Confused (Richard Linklater) (31)
1994: The Hudsucker Proxy (Joel Coen) (37)
1995: Don Juan DeMarco (Jeremy Leven) (54)
1996: The Birdcage (Mike Nichols) (64)
1997: Shooting Fish (Stefan Schwartz) (52)
1998: Finding North (Tanya Wexler) (57)
1999: South Park: Bigger Longer Uncut (Trey Parker) (44)
2000: O Brother, Where Art Thou (Joel Coen) (47)
2001: Shrek (Andrew Adamson) (27)
2002: Dom durakov (Andrei Konchalovsky) (40)
2003: Dogville (Lars von Trier) (41)
2004: Sommersturm (Marco Kreuzpaintner) (39)
2005: Charlie and the Chocolate Factory (Tim Burton) (32)
2006: Shortbus (John Cameron Mitchell) (46)
2007: Sweeny Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street (Tim Burton) (36)
2008: Mamma Mia! (Phyllida Lloyd) (34)
2009: Upperdog (Sara Johnsen) (14)

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

A Gay Christmas

Here's another video to give you that good, gay Christmas feeling... :-)

(Thanks to Dagens Valium.)

Movie: HouseSitter

I almost never consciously choose to see a Steve Martin movie - they just tend to pop up on my TV screen at times when I am vulnerable... He's played in lots and lots of movies, and only rarely are they any good, in my opinion. This movie was actually better than most. The basic premise of the movie, that the moderately successful architect meets a girl who cannot tell the truth, but happens to tell lies wonderfully well, works quite well.

The girl is played by Goldie Hawn, of which I could say almost the same as Steve Martin. Together they are quite okay.

This is a movie I would never have chosen to watch if it hadn't been the least bad thing on TV just when we needed something to see. And it turned out to be okay.

HouseSitter (1992)

(See a register of all movies I've seen at

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Christmas mood

To get in a Christmas mood: here's the most popular "Christmas hit" this Christmas in Norway: "Upp gläd er alla" with Sissel Kyrkjebø og Odd Nordstoga.

Saturday, December 19, 2009

Funny Quotes of the Week 55

"The fact that no one understands you doesn’t mean you’re an artist."

"To you I'm an atheist; to God, I'm the Loyal Opposition." (Woody Allen)

"I was working on the proof of one of my poems all the morning, and took out a comma. In the afternoon I put it back again." (Oscar Wilde)

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Movie: Brüno

I put on this movie with very low expectations, but sadly, they were not quite low enough. While Borat was a very uneven movie - from the hysterically funny to the boring, this one is just as uneven, but now from the moderately funny to the painfully embarrassing. But at least it is short.

Some people have been arguing whether this movie is a good or a bad thing for gay rights. That's like arguing whether Porky's - or any other movie with straight people in the lead role - is good or bad for straight rights. It's a comedy (or at least trying to be) and anyone who seriously thinks Brüno is representative of anything are without hope anyway.

I just hope Sacha Baron Cohen's next project will be better.

Brüno (2009)

(See a register of all movies I've seen at

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Cool FAILs

One cool blog I'm following is The Fail Blog. Here's the top 10 fails of 2009. Hilarious.

Monday, December 14, 2009

New from John Andresen

Oslo's John Andresen has posted some more photos on his website - this time of wrestler Zack.

Check them out!

Zakaria Gåskjølen

Sunday, December 13, 2009

I tried to do handstands for you (live)

This song has gotten on my mind lately. Cute.

Nude protest in Manila

VG shows a video from a nude protest in Manila.

"A bunch of boys take off all their clothes and run naked around campus, to the joy of their female costudents." I've watched to try to figure out whether there is actually any difference between the joy of the female and the male costudents, but I can't really see any...

Saturday, December 12, 2009

Funny Quotes of the Week 54

"Thought: Why does man kill? He kills for food. And not only food: frequently there must be a beverage." (Woody Allen)

"I think that God in creating Man somewhat overestimated his ability." (Oscar Wilde)

"Sometimes I think the surest sign that intelligent life exists elsewhere in the universe is that none of it has tried to contact us." (Bill Watterson)

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Extremely good talk on poverty

Paul Chaffey had a posting about a wonderful lecture about poverty and the development of the world. Hans Rosling shows how we can use statistics in innovative ways to get to see things that is hard to figure out just by looking at the numbers. The talk is both interesting for its topics and for its extremely good presentation.

Wednesday, December 09, 2009

Movie: The Usual Suspects

A ship in port explodes and lots of people are found dead around it - most of them known criminals. Who are responsible? And is it really true that a legendary criminal master-mind is involved?

We see the whole story from the point of view of one single man, and even though we know where the story will end, it remains a "who-done-it" all the time.

Lots of good actors and good directing has contributed to this movie's popularity - it's on many "films you must see"-lists. And deservedly so.

The Usual Suspects (1995)

(See a register of all movies I've seen at

Amazon: The Usual Suspects (Special Editon)

Sunday, December 06, 2009

Movie: Orfeu Negro

There are many reasons to see Orfeu Negro. It is taking place during the carnival in Rio, which is an interesting event in itself. It contains nice music. The direct reason why I chose to see it is that it won the Golden Palm in Cannes as well as the Oscar for best foreign-language movie, as well as being included in the "1001 movies you should see before you die". (Not that I'm actually believing that I'll see all of those - I still have 725 to go...)

If you know the story of Orpheus and Eurydice myth, you will probably find this movie interesting. I must admit I didn't know it, and only read about it afterwards. Anyway, it is a beautiful love story, although I don't find the actors too convincing. However, both Orpheus and Eurydice are beautiful enough to play their parts...

Orfeu Negro (1959)

(See a register of all movies I've seen at

Saturday, December 05, 2009

Funny Quotes of the Week 53

"Thank you. We’re all refreshed and challenged by your unique point of view."

"We must believe in luck. For how else can we explain the success of those we don't like?" (Jean Cocteau)

"I don't give a damn for a man that can only spell a word one way." (Mark Twain)

Friday, December 04, 2009

A wolf at my train station

Today, a wolf has been seen on Grorud train station (my nearest train station). VG writes about it and also brings photos of the wolf.

I find it quite cool - it makes me feel that I'm living closer to nature than I usually do.

But please don't panic - the station the wolf was seen at is many miles from the area that Barack Obama will visit next week, so unless the wolf takes the train, the US president will be safe...