No Need – Need for Speed Review

needforspeed1Cars worth more than I could make in two lifetimes, proper physical stunts that leave you winded, and adrenaline fueled driving by Breaking Bad star Aaron Paul. What more could you want from a driving movie? Absolutely nothing. So, why then does Need for Speed feel the need to assault me with bad jokes, eye-rolling clichés and an added-on ending that feels like executives securing their franchise options?

I don’t play racing games, but I am a car fan, and an even bigger driving movie fan. Need for Speed looked like just the right bit of serious, hard driving I needed after years of over-the-top (but admittedly fun) fooling around in the Fast and Furious franchise. The movie stars Aaron Paul as Tobey Marshall, whose workshop is in financial trouble. Along comes his rival on the track, Dino Brewster (Dominic Cooper), who offers him a great deal. An “accident” happens, however, and Tobey ends up driving across America to seek his revenge.

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Rise of the Sequel – 300: Rise of an Empire Review

300_rise_of_an_empire_2014-wideI reviewed this on the radio, as usual, but between then and now I have been trying my hardest to see if I shouldn’t change my final dice roll for this film. I have to stand by my convictions, however. Sure, maybe the movie will age well and I can see it again in two-three years and not feel the same. Until then, here is my rather mean rant about 300: Rise of an Empire. Not the actual review, but the scribbles I wrote down immediately after I left the theatre. I decided to do it this way to see if it helped people understand why I simply did not like the film, even though I had every reason to considering the premise, my personal tastes, and those involved.

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Norwegian Connections in Frozen

Frozen-movie-posterI have finally watched Frozen, and as a Norwegian I had a pretty great time finding some of the Norwegian elements in the film. The tourist website, Visit Norway is already using the film to do a bit of promotion. There is no doubt the film has a lot of Scandinavian elements, and I thought I’d catalogue just a few details I caught on my first viewing.

First a short review (spoilers):

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Not Dead Yet – Dead Snow 2 Review

deadsnowIf you haven’t heard about the Norwegian zombie-movie Dead Snow (2009) then you are in for a treat – if you like zombie comedies, that is. The film resides both inside and outside the genre, poking fun and fulfilling the tropes at the same time. It is gruesome, but the actual massacre isn’t really disgusting. The most grotesque moment, for instance, comes not during one of the many intestine-ripping scenes, but when two of the group have sex in the outhouse. The film features the standard “friends on a camping trip in the mountains”, but ups the ante by including zombie Nazis on the hunt for their Nazi-gold. One by one, the group gets massacred, ending with our last protagonist thinking he finally got away, only to have the Nazi leader, Oberst Herzog (how many zombie movies have zombies with names?) about to finish him off.

And that is where Dead Snow 2 (Dø Snø 2) starts, after a quick recap, so there are some spoilers ahead if you haven’t seen the first one. Our protagonist had his arm cut off during the first film, and during his escape he manages to rip the arm off Oberst Herzog. At the hospital the doctors accidentally attach the zombie’s arm, which turns out has a bit of a mind of its own. Meanwhile, Oberst Herzog and his army of zombies start recruiting in order to finally accomplish the mission Hitler set them: wiping out the quiet town of Talvik.

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A Weird Winter’s Tale

hr_Winters_Tale_1I knew absolutely nothing about the film Winter’s Tale when I sat down in the theatre. The title made me think of adventures in the snow, maybe some sweet story set in winter, but what I got was very different from expected. I think not knowing anything about it made it an experience I won’t forget, but I’m not sure that makes it a good movie.

The story, when I explained it simply, is a fairy-tale romance. A young orphaned thief falls in love with a dying girl. It turns out the evil forces of the universe (read demons and Satan) doesn’t want him to save her, because they’re all about destroying all the good in the world.

When I tried to explain the details, including which actors are playing the different roles, I got a reaction somewhere between skepticism and laughter. Colin Farrell plays the lover of Jessica Findley (Lady Sybil from Downton Abbey) and although the age-difference isn’t a stretch in Hollywood, it still felt odd compared to all the other supernatural romances with young, unknown, actors in them. Then we have Russell Crowe as an Irish gangster-boss/demon. And it’s all set in 1913, Brooklyn. Oh, and Will Smith is Satan. That’s when I lost most people.

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The Triumph of Love – Valentine’s Day Review

Films about royalty - The Triumph of Love 2001This week I was planning on reviewing some Oscar noms, but so much has been said about them that I didn’t feel like being an echo-chamber, so I went on Netflix and picked a random film from the romantic category. Nearly all my favourite love stories are period dramas. I think that’s because the costumes and Shakespearean dialogue lets you get away with a few more clichés. The Triumph of Love (2001) embraces the clichés, and delivers on all the good ol’ ones.

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