Saturday, February 26, 2011

Funny Quotes of the Week 116

"A triumph of the embalmers art" (Gore Vidal on Ronald Reagan)

"There is a luxury in self-reproach. When we blame ourselves, we feel that no one else has a right to blame us. It is the confession, not the priest, that gives us absolution." (Oscar Wilde)

"They told me how Mr Gladstone read Homer for fun, which I thought served him right." (Winston Churchill (1874-1965) on William Ewart Gladstone (1809-98))

Movie: Chico & Rita

I saw eight movies at the Gøteborg international film festival this year. I have never been there before, but this was a nice festival which I would like to return to - even though the movie theatres were a bit further apart than in Tromsø, for instance.

The first movie I saw was this Cuban animated feature, telling the life story of the piano player Chico and the singer Rita. The drawings are beautiful and warm and the jazz music is very enjoyable. And the story is both quite believable and romantic. The movie gives an image of 20th century Cuba that would be difficult to give without animation. Well worth a look (and a listen)!

Chico & Rita (2010)

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

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Photo of the week: David's butt

Some of the fun of photographing sculptures, is the endless opportunities to find new angles. Thus, it is no surprise that this photo was one of the hundreds I did of Michelangelo's David in Florence...


Movie: Precious

How does it feel to be an overweight, underprivileged girl living with an alcoholic and abusive mother in Harlem? This movie is good mostly because it gives a small glimpse of such a life, reminding us that every single one of these kids are wonderful human beings who deserves a chance.

It is a US movie, though, also in a negative way. It has a superstar in the role of the social worker, which is pretty distracting. And one may wonder whether the ending gives people the feeling of "We should do something about this!" that I would wish for.

But still, a good movie.

Precious (2009)

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

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Movie: The Fountain

This movie tells three stories which are interconnected by a central theme: life (and death). Three different persons (or actually the same person in different eras) are all trying to postpone death - or avoid it altogether. Each of the three stories are only moderately interesting to me, so the film depends on the three stories going together into some kind of higher unity. But to me, it doesn't really do that either.

So what should I say about Darren Aronofsky after viewing two of his films so far? He seems to be making interesting movies which I will probably want to see more of, even though I don't necessarily like them too much... :-)

The Fountain (2006)

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

Saturday, February 19, 2011

Funny Quotes of the Week 115

"MacArthur is the type of man who thinks that when he gets to heaven, God will step down from the great white throne and bow him into His vacated seat." (Harold Ickes talking about Douglas MacArthur)

"He is not only dull himself; he is the cause of dullness in others." (Samuel Johnson)

"He is simply a shiver looking for a spine to run up." (Paul Keating)

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Photo of the week: Guy looking at the Bergen fjord

Here's a photo from Bergen. A guy was sitting with his back to me overlooking the fjord, and I couldn't resist shooting...

111_1141 edited

Monday, February 14, 2011

Movie: Pi

This is the first of Darren Aronofsky's movies I've seen. I did not know what to expect and after seeing it, I almost don't know what I saw.

First of all, it's always nice to see a movie about mathematics. Maximillian Cohen is a mathematician who is looking for a "pattern" in the number pi. That is not unreasonable, although we know pi is irrational, we certainly do not know everything about it. However, there is a fine line between reasonable mathematics and crazy pattern-finding in everything. Cohen crosses this line, and starts to try to find patterns to explain the stock market, God and everything else.

I wouldn't say that the development of Cohen himself is unbelievable. I am more uncertain about the outside forces which influence him - there are some jewish influences and there are some commercial interests which happen to come forward at much the same time.

Anyway, the movie is a mixture of mathematics and the magical which is interesting. I also like the visual expression of the movie - black and white and quite harsh contrasts. I do understand why this movie got quite a reputation when it arrived.

Pi (1998)

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

Saturday, February 12, 2011

Funny quotes of the week 114

"He is a self-made man and worships his creator." (John Bright)

"The reason we all like to think so well of others is that we are all afraid for ourselves. The basis of optimism is sheer terror." (Oscar Wilde)

"They inculcate the morals of a whore and the manners of a dancing master." (Samuel Johnson (1709-84) on Lord Chesterfield’s letters of advice to his son)

Friday, February 11, 2011

Movie: It's A Wonderful Life

This is another one of the movies that has become so iconic and famous that it's necessary to see it for that reason. It pops up in so many lists and discussions that it is unavoidable. Which of course also means that it's difficult to watch it just as any other movie.

"It's a wonderful life" is the great Christmas movie. It features God in an important (but small) part, and it's Frank Capra's most well-known movie (but not the best).

It tells the story of George Bailey, who has lived all his life in a small US town, starts doubting that he is worth anything. His dreams are shattered, his life's work in ruins and already in the opening scenes of the movie, he is standing on a bridge, planning suicide. "God" does not want that to happen, and sends an angel to convince George he should not end his life - after all, it's a wonderful life.

It is a moving story, which works okay even 65 years later. My main problems with it is probably due to its age: it does meander its way through the story a bit too slowly and it is a bit too simplistic - there is never much doubt who are the good guys and who are the bad.

So: as so often: it's certainly not the best movie I've seen, but I'm glad to have finally seen it, as it is a classic that any film buff should know...

It's a wonderful life (1946)

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

Wednesday, February 09, 2011

Photo of the week: Maori dancer

In 2003, I travelled around the world for three months. I spent three weeks in New Zealand, including a few days in Rotorua, where I attended a Maori dance performance. Of course, the batteries were flat before the performance was, but here's one of the photos I took...

rotorua edited

Tuesday, February 08, 2011

Movie: Karate Kid (2010)

I was right in the target audience when the original Karate Kid hit me. I loved the movie. The small guy standing up to the big brutes, that's a story that hits home with a 14 year old (the first few times he sees it). And of course, I fell in love with Ralph Macchio, the sexy young thing playing Daniel.

We have both grown up now. Ralph was last seen as a politician in "Ugly Betty", and my heart did not beat as it used to.

So I was pretty sceptical when I heard that they would make a remake. Would Jaden Smith match Ralph Macchio? And could anyone be a better mentor than Pat Morita? Well, Jackie Chan is certainly not a bad idea. But then I heard that Norwegian Harald Zwart would direct it, and I got seriously interested. I rather liked his One Night at McCool's, for instance.

The most risky thing he has done is to add 15 minutes to an already rather long movie. This gives plenty of time to get to know Daniel - eh, Dre - but risks getting the young audience impatient.

But I'm rather happy with the whole thing. Jaden Smith is vulnerable and desperately needs some help, Jackie Chan is actually very good as the old, wise man. There are some boons to the fans of the first movie (for instance the chopstick-and-fly scene. Yes, it is a rather good remake.

And it's always nice to revisit Beijing, if only through the tv screen...

Karate Kid (2010)

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

Saturday, February 05, 2011

Movie: Paprika

A movie about dreams, wherein there are dreams within dreams, and where you never really know if you are awake or dreaming. Does that sound familiar?

My favorite in this genre may be Linklater's Waking Life. This one is not as funny - although it may be just that I don't understand the Japanese humour as well as the American.

There are some powerful "nightmareish" images in this movie, reminding me a bit of the marching hammers of "The Wall", but more colorful and chaotic, but no less scary.

But in all, I find the movie a bit difficult to follow, not too interesting and actually overlong. But I must admit I was a bit tired when I watched it...

Paprika (2006)

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

Wednesday, February 02, 2011

Photo of the week: Vigeland boys

My new plan: every week I will look into the corners of my photo albums and find a photo to blog about here.

The first photo I choose is one which have already been seen by an amazing 34,000 people - admittedly mostly because of the artwork pictures and not so much for my skill as a photographer... Anyway, it is a photo taken in the Vigeland park in Oslo, a very nice place to be on a summer day. The fields of grass and the (nude) sculptures are a good combination. Should not be missed on a trip to Norway (or even Europe...)

Nude boys sculptures

Tuesday, February 01, 2011

Movie: Cornelis

This is the second movie about the Dutch-Swedish singer/songwriter Cornelis Vreeswijk I've seen lately. The first one was the wonderful Pappa kom hem, and it is hard not to compare the two.

"Pappa kom hem" was a documentary following Cornelis' son Jack on a "train-movie" trip to Tromsø, while it was also telling the story of Cornelis and of the relationship between the father and the son. "Cornelis", on the other hand, tells the story in a more traditional manner, chronologically. That also works fine, and the actor playing Cornelis is plan wonderful - looking and acting like the Cornelis we know from the images that remain.

But still, it is as we don't get to know Cornelis as well. While "Pappa kom hem" gives an intimate portrait through the memories of his son, while being very careful to point out that his image may be only one of several, "Cornelis" never really goes that close, it is as if we see Cornelis' sometimes rather destructive behaviour at a distance.

Therefore, while "Cornelis" is certainly worth seeing, I will never recommend it to anyone without recommending "Pappa kom hem" more.

Cornelis (2010)

All movies I've seen