This summer has, so far, been a perfect storm of amazing block-busters, but the next big thing I had to see included no heroes, unless you interpret the title character very differently than I do. The Great Gatsby holds a special place in my heart, because it’s one of those books I had to read twice to “get”, and made me realise how unfair we are to children when we force them to read these books in school. At the same time, however, I am a firm believer that every movie needs to stand on its own.
Radio Review: Anna Karenina
This week I had the pleasure of seeing another version of one of my favourite novels, and boy was I surprised! I was not expecting such a stylized version, but on many levels it just works because it’s a treat to watch. Occasionally, however, the characters get lost in the beauty of the set – something that’s really a crime with such a rich novel. All in all, I did enjoy myself, despite missing important parts of the book. It’s an utterly decent dice roll 4 for my favourite Russian.
Read and listen to the full review in Norwegian at Radio Revolt.
Second Place in Scandinavian Film Championship: the best and the worst movies
I am a proud member of Team Trondheim, one of 18 teams that competed in the Scandinavian Film Championship last weekend, and well into this week. Despite serious misgivings on my part, we went all the way to the silver medal, though sadly we didn’t get an actual medal, just the well-deserved prize of sleep.
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Double Review: The Decoy Bride + Christopher and his Kind
First things first: I have over the course of about a month become a massive Doctor Who fan. This has been on my to-do list for as long as I’ve been a geek, which is close to two decades now. About three seasons in, I was already massively “in obsession” with David Tennant, which was no surprise considering how much I enjoyed him in Casanova. I didn’t think anyone could top him, but Matt Smith managed to not only fascinate me, but make me love Eleven just as much as Ten.
So, as per my tradition whenever I find “new” actors to obsess over, I immediately started going through both of their CVs. As a way to find new films to watch, I love this technique. Although it means I have to watch a lot of movies that might not be really good, they are always films I never would have come across otherwise, and even if I don’t enjoy the films themselves that much, I can still enjoy the acting.
I picked one from each Doctor’s past, fairly randomly. The Decoy Bride (2011) from David Tennant’s filmography, and Christopher and his Kind (2011), starring Matt Smith. Both coincidentally from the same year – the first one with a 5.7 rating and the latter with a slightly higher 6.8 on imdb. No big hopes for either then, but with middle numbers like that you never know. Let’s see how they did!
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Radio Review: Lawless
With moonshine, bootleggers, gangsters and Tommy-guns, Lawless is still not just a prohibition-film. Set in rural Franklin, it often feels like a western. Even if you can’t stand Shia LeBeouf, you have to see this film for Tom Hardy’s performance as the “immortal” Forrest Bondurant. Part Clint Eastwood, part Jesse James, but with none of the charm, he presents us with a unique and fascinating character.
Dice roll: 4
Read and listen to the full review in Norwegian at RadioRevolt.no
Comments regarding the historical accuracy of Kon-Tiki
This is not a review! I just want to get a few points across about the issues regarding the historical accuracy of this movie.
First off: Explanations. Kon-Tiki (2012) is the dramatisation of the Kon-Tiki expedition by Thor Heyerdahl and his crew, where they drifted from Peru to a small island in the Pacific to prove the islanders had come from the east. It’s a very well-known expedition and Heyerdahl is considered one of the great Norwegian explorers. The movie was made with great Holloywood-esque effects and a big budget.
Second: The critique. Many people, the families of the expedition members included, have come out in the press to say how the movie simply ignores the facts. This is perfectly true; the real expedition went far more smoothly than- to us regular folks- seems believable. Also, the movie version of Heyerdahl’s second-in-command, Herman Watzinger, is a completely fictional creation. No one disputes this.
Third: My point(s). Having written a whole master thesis on whether or not movies can tell history, I have developed a compulsion to comment on issues like this. My main problem is the fact that some people seem so upset about it, and others have had to defend the film quite rigorously. So, I thought I might throw my two cents in.
The families do feel cheated, and I understand that. However, it is precisely because they comment and the press write about it, that a majority of the movie-goes are enlightened about the issues. No one involved in the movie is insisting they stuck to the facts. They weren’t trying to rewrite history, they were trying to make an entertaining movie. And thanks to the journalists, historians and families, the rest of us can go the cinema with a pinch of salt in our back-pocket and still enjoy an adventure.
Too often, writers deploring “bad history” on film give the audience too little credit. I constantly come across the movie Braveheart listed as one of the worst offenders, but I have yet to meet anyone who contends they know anything about Scottish history because they’ve watched Mel Gibson in a kilt.
I don’t want to give the audience too much credit, of course, as there is a very long way to go from 13th century Scotland to the Pacific Ocean in the 20th. The Kon-Tiki movie both suffers and is vindicated by this fact. Because the expedition happened relatively recently, we have all the facts, both in writing and on film, and we have family members to speak of the crew. Anyone can easily check these facts and so we can say the movie is wrong. At the same time this means the movie generates a lot of publicity and people are more aware of what type of history they are watching. We can read the articles, or the words of Heyerdahl himself, and enjoy the movie for what it is.
I, for one, am glad they didn’t spend all that money on two hours of guys sitting on a raft. It’s an incredible achievement, to be sure, but for that we have Heyerdahl’s own documentary. This was marketed as, and can not be taken for anything other than an adventure film. It could be argued they should have changed the names, but that’s too deep a discussion to get into now.
An Annoyed Droid.
Five Favourite Specific Film Genres
I love all kinds of movies – the good, the bad and even the just-good-looking, but there will always be more movies than I can watch, so how to pick which one? Usually, I catch whatever is at the cinema, or maybe a friend recommends a movie. On top of these standard ways of thinning the herd, there are a few specific “genres” that will always get me to watch a film, even though I know it’s probably going to be bad. I say genres, but every entry here can include everything from romance to action, so I guess you can say if a movie contains one of these five things, I’m watching it.
Movie: Hysteria (2011)
A movie about the invention of the vibrator. That sounds like a movie that will try desperately to be awkward-funny or too serious, and fail either way. Luckily, this movie is just genuinely funny while reminding us how far women have come, without stereotyping and mocking the “crazy, prudish feminist” type. It’s also, for me, Maggie Gyllenhaal’s best role (and yes, I mean including The Dark Knight).
Trondheim’s International Film festival is at an end, and I had an absolutely fabulous time. I watched a lot of movies, though I wish I’d seen even more. Here is a list of the movies I saw, with links to the reviews posted on radiorevolt.no! The dice rolls are in parenthesis, with a short explanation after.
Nostalgia at Midnight
Movie: Midnight in Paris (2011)
With the Oscars over, I thought it high time to actually watch some of the winners, and Midnight in Paris, an ode to nostalgia by Woody Allen, is first up. I believe it won Best Screenplay, which I can imagine it deserved. As for Best Picture, I’m surprised it was nominated, but why don’t I get back to you once I’ve seen them all, just to be sure.