May 28, 2010

Låt den rätte komma in

My summer holiday began today. I was thinking what it felt like, when you were ten and your summer holiday began. When did it stop feeling like that...? Well, this year, that rain might have something to do with it. Blah. Enough already! Though this weather is excellent for guilt-free movie watching!

Låt den rätte komma in - Let the right one in (2008)

Directed by Tomas Alfredson. Starring Kåre Hedebrant, Lin Leandersson, Per Ragnar.

Long story short: Oskar is a bullied, overlooked boy, whose life changes when a peculiar girl called Eli moves in next door. She happens to be a vampire.

One more reason to be jealous of the Swedes. The have ABBA, Stellan Skarsgård, Spotify, Ikea, Tre Krunor, and apparently they make great vampire films, too. Heja Sverige, good for you. I'm not bitter. At all.

Låt den rätta komma in is #206 on IMDb's Top 250 list, and that's how it caught my attention. I tried to watch it in English first, but it felt weird, original is almost always the best choice. I was rather nice to watch a Swedish film. I mean, the language isn't so bad, is it? Time to time it sounds almost beautiful. Why have I let myself forget the language? Jag måste börja skriva på Svenska. Eller inte. Dear oh dear. I bet I made some mistakes there. Ojdå. Better stick with English. Because I can't never make no mistakes when I write in English! (That was sarcasm, alright.)

Seriously speaking, I liked this one. It was very peculiar little film, but there was something very fascinating about it... The atmosphere, and how they had made a normal, wintery neighbourhood look so... peculiar. I know this is the third time I use that word, but it just descripes this film very well. Peculiar. Everything is quite peculiar about this film and it's not a bad thing at all!

The leading character is a 12-year-old Oskar, who is played by a remarkably Swedish-looking boy. Oskar is bullied by this very American-looking boy and his gang. Oskar handles it pretty well, but is thinking about ways to revenge when no one's looking. Then she meets Eli, who is - guess what? - peculiar. And we very soon learn that she's in fact a vampire.

This is a new, refreshing take on vampires. This little vampire doesn't sparkle, thank god. (Sorry, couldn't resist.) From the outside she's a sweet, though a little peculiar strange girl and you only really want to think good of her, because she's so sweet towards Oskar. But then again, she's 200 years old and kills people in daily basis. Shame. But somehow, you can't think of her as a monster. The actress is excellent, though I read that her voice was dubbed to make her voice deeper and less like a little girl's voice. Worked very well!

The film is very creepy and bloody at times, but can't be categorized as horror, no. I guess I'll put this under fantasy, though it would be quite as accurate to call it drama or thriller, too. Because I think this film isn't about vampires, initially. One of the main characters just happens to be one.

The film is based on a novel, and I think reading it would help to understand the film better. One more title on this summer's reading list, I guess... (Right... It's summer now. I forget that all the time.)

"Att fly är livet, att dröjä döden."

May 26, 2010

Newsflash: Sam Rockwell is awesome.

I want to thank IMDb for sharing this link with me. It truly made my morning.

May 25, 2010

Hot Fuzz

Hot Fuzz (2007)
Directed by Edgar Wright. Starring Simon Pegg, Nick Frost, Jim Broadbent, Timothy Dalton.

 Long story short: A top class London cop Sergeant Nicholas Angel is transfered to a little isolated town called Sandford - a multiple winner of the Village of the Year award. But he isn't going to just kick his heels in this seemingly peaceful town: he wants to look more closely on the so-called "accidents" that start occuring soon after his arrival.

I've previously seen Wright+Pegg+Frost working together on Shaun of the Dead, a hilarious zombie comedy. I love British humour and I love British accent and I love Britain, so I might be a bit biased, but this was a very funny film, too. I like Simon Pegg, and I'm sure he's a big hero to many British men: he's an avarage-looking Everyman who gets to kick ass on slow motion, shoot big guns, woo the ladies (not in this film, though, which is refreshing), drop around some funny one liners and then enjoy a beer at the end of the day. Actually, his character in Shaun of the Dead was named one of the "Icons of the decade" of Empire magazine, alongside Harry Potter, Aragorn, Kill Bill's Bride, James Bond, Heath Ledger's Joker and so on. Not bad at all, is it? Cheers to Simon Pegg!

And there's something very charming about Nick Frost, too, and his character, who admires and desperately tries to imitate his tough, straight-faced, officious partner. Jim Broadbent does a nice role as the town's Chief Inspector. And we get glances of many other familiar faces, too. Right in the beginning I had three "Oh, him!" moments in a row, when Martin Freeman, Steve Coogan and Bill Nighty walked in as Pegg's London collegues. Stephen Merchant of The Extras also did a little role. 

And apparently there were uncredited cameos by Cate Blanchett and Peter Jackson! I only spotted the first one, though I didn't think it really could be her, because that would be ridiculous, right? Haha. Very random, I must say, but cool anyway. And this is very, um, interesting: Elvis V is credited as 'The Swan'. He also has his own IMDb profile. Seriously. God.

I enjoyed Hot Fuzz. Didn't laugh my head off, but then again, I rarely do. It has some very clever and funny dialogue, some parodical cheesy one liners and some really authentic ass-kicking and comic book violence, which prevented the film from getting too far from its genre. If you enjoy British dark comedy, I can warmly recommend it. And i think Simon Pegg is my hero, too, just a little bit.

"Ever fired your gun in the air and yelled, 'Aaaaaaah?'"

May 24, 2010

The Apartment

Still trying to let go and move on... by finishing some drafts left hanging. God I can't believe it's over only a few hours have past and I miss the show already ah damn.

The Apartment (1960)

Directed by Billy Wilder. Starring Jack Lemmon, Shirley MacLaine, Fred MacMurray.

Long story short: A man lets his company executives use his apartment for secret meetings with their lovers, and is promised promotions in return. Then he falls in love himself.

As I'm sure I've mentioned before, I annoyingly often get bored by old films, so I don't dare watch them too much. This little film showed that I should take my chances more often, because sometimes the old classics turn out to be very delightful.

Jack Lemmon - best known for his hilarious role in Some Like It Hot - plays C.C. Baxter, the leading character of The Apartment. He's pretty much an Everyman, working in a company alongside of (approximately) five trillion other people, living in a modest little apartment (which he quite rarely gets to use himself, though), dreaming of love and better tomorrow and trying to calm down his wild reputation amongst his neighbours. I like Jack Lemmon. He's very likable and so is his character. And you just feel sorry for him for being bossed around by the horny silly executives. Like that scene where he's trying to find a convenient evening for everyone and fit them all in his schedule - which I'm sure has no other notes whatsoever. Poor man!

I liked his love interest, too! She was refreshingly tomboy-ish, not-Marilyn-Monroe-type-silly-blondie, a bit cynical (for understandable reasons), but still bright, funny and likable. Speaking of Marilyn Monroe...  Billy Wilder, the director, had previously worked with Monroe twice, and (quote from IMDb) "grew to despise her demands for star treatment and her poor work ethic". And well, in The Apartment there's one minor character, some brainless party girl, described to look like Marilyn Monroe. Ha. I thought that was quite funny. But well, I hope Wilder didn't feel too bad about his little mockery after Monroe died two years later...

The film was very funny at times, but not exactly the feel-good film of the century. It had very dark elements, too. And there really is something very charming about black-and-white films! - when they're not thoroughly boring, I mean.

Hmm. This is the reason I tend to write about the films straight after seeing them... I'm not sure if I've forgotten something less or more important. Ah! One more thing. Once again, like in Some Like It Hot, a superb final line! Endings and beginnings always matter a great deal to me. (...Which reminded me of Lost, so I'll just stop here and sink back into the bittersweet feeling of combined gladness and sadness and nostalgia. Cheerio.)

"I used to live like Robinson Crusoe. I mean, shipwrecked among 8 million people. And then one day I saw a footprint in the sand, and there you were." 

Oh man.

My life Lost is over.

I save the rest of my thoughts for my Official Lost Post, but I'll give you one word: satisfaction.

Now I should let go and move on and start writing an essey about Abraham Lincoln and slavery. Somehow I have a feeling that it will have to wait until tomorrow.

May 20, 2010

Confessions of a Dangerous Mind

This is me preparing for tomorrow's phonetics re-take. Ta-dah.

Confessions of a Dangerous Mind (2002)

Directed by George Clooney. Starring Sam Rockwell, George Clooney, Drew Barrymore, Julia Roberts.

Long story short: A television producer Chuck Barris is recruited by CIA and trained to be a hitman. According to Chuck Barris, that is.

I made a little mistake. I looked at the background of the film after I watched it, when I really should've done it beforehand. I didn't totally understand what it was all about until afterwards, which obviously was a bit of a shame. So. I need to watch it again sometime, from another point of view.. Because I realised - a bit late, but anyway - the film was really quite interesting!

As I learned just now, Confessions of a Dangerous Mind is based on a book by the real Chuck Barris. Who apparently did quite a lot of drugs and imagined he was living a double life. Cool, eh? I think I need to read that book.

I think this is the first film by Mr. Clooney I've seen. He also plays one of the main roles. I never really understood how that works in practice... Like does he say to himself: "Now George, in this scene I want you to be a bit more like mysterious but still seem like really trustworthy, you know what I mean, George?" Anyway. He is always nice to watch. And Julia Roberts should do more roles like this. Maggie Gyllenhaal was wonderfully unappealing and I loved the two-second cameos by Matt Damon and Brad Pitt! (Speaking of which... Today I had the last lecture of my North America course, and I was forced to talk for the first time, because the lecturer saw how I reacted on a question he asked. So, the only topic I gave my opinion on during the whole course was Brad Pitt. That suggests something about where my interests lie...)
Okay. Here's the reason I watched this film. I'm currently educating myself on a field called Sam Rockwell. Oh what a noble branch of sciece! He was great is this film, too. My hypothesis is that he doesn't know how to be not great. Poor guy. I also liked Drew Barrymore. And they worked nicely together. Next stop, Charlie's Angels...
 I also like that Sam was naked quite a lot. Just my humble opinion.

The game shows were funny. And the funniest thing is they're all real. God, what - excuse me - crap people watch, and voluntarily. The Game Game...? Haha. Right. Clearly a work of genious. And the ending made the whole film quite touching, too. I have to hunt down the book.

I have no idea under what genre I should place this. It was a biography, drama, comedy, thriller, but what was is the most? Maybe I'll put it under biography because that part is still empty. Although drama might be more accurate, but I watch too much dramas. That section is already crowded.

"You're 32 years old, and you've achieved nothing. Jesus Christ was dead and alive again by 33. You better get crackin'." 

May 18, 2010

A blast from the past: Beauty and the Beast

Today we got to enjoy a splendid spring storm! Heavy rain and thunder... Me and my roommate had a very clever idea, which involved us jumping around in the rain and getting really wet. Are we sensible and mature adults or what, haha... To continue the day's theme, I decided to re-watch a childhood favourite, only in  the original language this time. Beware, the following will inculde a lot of overwhelming praise. A lot.

Beauty and the Beast (1991)

Directed by Gary Trousdale, Kirk Wise. Voices by Paige O'Hara, Robby Benson, Richard White.
Long story short: A curse is set upon a young arrogant prince, as he fails to show hospitality towards a poor old woman. The curse can only be broken by true love, of course. As it happens, the beautiful and good-hearted Belle ends up as a prisoner in his castle...

One word: nostalgy. If the memory serves me right, Beauty and the Beast was the first movie ever we got on VHS. As a Christmas present. Aaw, good times, good times. This is one of the best Disney animations, GOD I can't tell you how much I love it. (A lot.) This was the first time I saw it in English, and it was brilliant this way, too. Though I can't help but love the Finnish version, the songs and all, because I know them by heart and I remember what I thought about them as a kid and aaaaaaaaaah this nostalgy is wonderful.

Here are some things I love and adore about Beauty and the Beast.
The CHARACTERS. First of all, Belle is awesome. I dare say, one of the best female characters ever. She's a real heroine, kind, clever, independent, subtly sarcastic, brave, caring, and soooo pretty. I love that little strand of hair that she has to tuck back all the time. She's very possibly my favourite Disney princess. (Cinderella is great too, but she doesn't have Belle's awesome attitude.) And isn't that yellow ball dress just every girl's ultimate dream? I know it was mine.

Beast (I read that his real name is Prince Adam. Blah? I prefer Beast. 'Adam' is a bit too sissy) is wonderfully sweet and awkward, and scary as hell when he feels like it. Gaston is so thoroughly disgusting, easy to hate. Gaston's sidekick Lefou offers light slapstick humour for the kids, he's not that funny to me - except in the scene with the asylum boss, as he unintentionally (?) mocks Gaston. And those three identical blond idiots who worship Gaston, haha, great...

And then the enchanted servants, what individuals! The smooth Lumiere, the cranky Cogsworth, the sweet, sweet Mrs. Potts and his cute son Chip. And I love how they still kind of look like the objects they were - a teapot, a clock - after turning back into humans.

Second thing... The SONGS. They are just... I'm running out of words of praise. Well you know how they are. Two of my favourites are the Belle song in the beginning and the legendary Tale as old as time. Oh and of course this one, though for some reason I like it more in Finnish. But OH MAN this music is fantastic. Unfortunately they don't have songs like these in the new ones anymore.
Third... The VISUALS. Oh, the good old days when people were used instead of computers. The Beast's transformation sequence is just, um... magnificent! (There, a new word!) The castle is gorgeous and all the scenes in the woods are creepy, the wolfs and all.

The new Disney/Pixar animations are awesome, but nothing can really beat these old Disney classics. They are timeless. I can't wait to show them all to my own kids, or first to my nephew. They have to love them, they don't get to choose! Ah, if only I could be four again...

(This is kind of funny, though. They were under the curse for ten years. The beast can't be much older than Belle, who is, I'd say, in her twenties. That would make the prince about ten (eleven, I read somewhere) at the time the curse was set upon him. Isn't that a little harsh for a little boy...? Who (apparently) lived alone...? And another insignifigant thing that popped into my head. Are all the spoons and cups enchanted servants? Just how many servants does a little boy need, haha? I suppose some of them were just objects, come-to-life, like the armours... Oh well. These things don't really matter at all. And they don't change the fact that this movie is AMAZING.)

"It's not right for a woman to read. Soon she starts getting IDEAS, and THINKING..."
 "Gaston, you are positively primeval."
"Why thank you, Belle."

Almost Famous

I did some more chages to my blog, again. I suppose I keep doing these little adjustments until I find something that both works and pleases my eye more than a week. Ha. Might be a challenge!
June is in two weeks and I still have unpleasantly much school work to finnish before that. Most of which I could've done earlier, but of course it's much nicer to do it now, with the sunny weather and all. Hmh. Too bad. But there's always time for a film, even if there really wasn't.

Almost Famous (2000)

Directed by Cameron Crowe. Starring Patrick Fugit, Kate Hudson, Billy Crudup, Frances McDormand, Jason Lee, Philip Seymor Hoffman.
Long story short: The 15-year-old Will is given a chance to write a story for Rolling Stone magazine about a rock band called Still water. He goes to a tour with them and meets Penny Lane, a charming groupie in love with one of the members of the band.
Yes, this was the first time I saw this film. I didn't even really know what it would be about and in the beginning I was a little worried, because rock 'n' roll isn't exactly my are of expertise.
The leading character Will is quite sweet. Though it bothered me how much he looks like a friend of mine! Seriously, they have exactly the same jaw. Anyway, he is very likable and I was rooting for him, like the viewer was supposed to, so, a successful character. Kate Hudson's Penny, who refuses to tell anyone her real name, is alright too. The hair is nice and she looks pretty. But again something bothered me! She looks almost exactly like she does today, and definitely older, a lot older, than the actor playing Will, so it felt a bit weird to watch those romantic vibes between them. How old was she supposed to be, anyway, really?
I think the best character was Frances McDormand as Will's fussy mom. I also liked Phillip Seymor Hoffman's brief appearance as the veteran rock journalist. Zooye Deschannel looked young and plump, but her voice helped me identify her. Russell's actor looked so familiar, but I couldn't place him until I cheated and checked his IMDb page and he was in Big Fish. Of course!

My favourite scene was probably the airplane thingy towards the end. It wasn't exactly pleasant to watch for someone like me who strongly dislikes flying, but it was well-written and the ending was pretty funny.

All in all, Almost Famous was an okay movie. My ignorance about rock music didn't really hurt, but I suppose if I had more knowledge about the period, the movie could've had some nostalgic value. Some parts of the film were very sweet and enjoyable to watch, but still I ended up glancing at the clock to see when it would end. I kind of understand  the love some people have towards this movie, but for me it was merely worth watching once, but no need to see it again.

"Your mom kinda freaks me out."

May 16, 2010

London in films: My Top 5 Favourites

In Robin Hood they made a quick stop at the medieval London (too quick, for me!). That's what gave me the idea for this list. London is the setting for numerous movies, and I'll give you five of my favourite portrayals of the city that stole a part of my heart many years ago. (Alright, only four, to be exact...)

I haven't had a chance to travel as much as I'd prefer, but of the places I've visited so far, London is no doubt the number one. I might be biased, as I lived an hour from London for seven months, and have also visited the place before and after that, but I can't get enough of it! I could babble about London all day, but let's move on to the list.

5. Children of Men (2006)

In 2027, no child has been born in 18 years, and alongside of the rest of the world, London is in chaos. Future in films in always somehow pessimistic - usually the world is coming to its end or the machines have taken over. Or both. London in Children of Men is both fascinating and scary. At first glance it might seem like the normal, modern London, but then you notice the full garbage bags and general dirtiness, the gloomy expressions on everyone's faces and well, the exploding cafés.

I sure hope this is not what London will look like in 17 years. Let's keep making babies, shall we!

4. Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince (2009)

Harry Potters are my favourite books, but the films are a bit... meh. I like The Half-Blood Prince the most so far (I've got quite big expectations towards The Deathly Hallows... Better not disappoint me!), partly because they showed more of London than before! And what's more, it wasn't Hogwarts and Diagon Alley that looked alien and weird, but Trafalqar Square and the office buildings the subway did - maybe because I'm not used to seeing so normal things in a Potter film. I loooooved the run-through of London in the beginning. ("Ooh, I've been there! There I sat drinking that delicious 600-calories-only Frappuccino from Starbucks! That's where we took those dumb pictures!")

And the subway scene... They made it look quite dream-like and the contrast between Dumbledore and a perfume advert is just great. And yet there's one thing they share: magic.

3. Sweeney Todd: The Devil Barber of Fleet Street (2007)

There's a hole in the world like a great black pit and it's filled with people who are filled with shit and the vermin of the world inhabit it... And it goes by the name of London, according to Mr. Sweeney Todd, previously known as Benjamin Parker, who isn't exactly in love with his hometown.

I've only driven past the shady alley on Fleet Street, where the the infamous barber supposingly practiced his noble profession, but I was a little disappointed, because it looked so... ordinary. London in Sweeney Todd is wonderfully Burton-y. It's dark and gothic and gloomy - fitting perfectly in the story of Sweeney. I guess that's what I expected to see on Fleet Street.

Plus one picture of Brighton, Burton style! Mrs. Lovett dreams about a better tomorrow by the sea, and it looks terrifically out of place! One of my favourite music sequences...

2. A Hard Day's Night (1964)

This one is a bit different from the others on the list, because there are no evil barbers or wizards in this London (not that I know of, at least). It is just London in the 60s. I had to take this on my list, because I love this film and if someone invented time travel, this is where I'd go first: in the middle of the craziest Beatlesmania!

That's all.

(I'm planning a re-watch some day now, so I save my praise for that post.)

1. Sherlock Holmes (2009)

I had to make this number one, because the movie is just fantastic. And London looked so charming, really! It wasn't über dark like in Sweeney, but realistically grim, like a place where you don't want to walk alone after dark. The horses and the carriages and the CLOTHES, accompanied by Hans Zimmer's BRILLIANT music, and there you go, that's the number one.

I also liked how they used London's famous landmarks, especially the unfinnished Tower Bridge was just splendid!

(And I refuse to think RDJ had anything to do with this choice. No no no. My subconscious is not like that. No no.)

There. Other nominees for the list were 28 Days Later, Shakespeare in Love, The Prestige and so on. Better luck next time!

Finally, a honorable mention for those films portraying the normal, modern London, just the way it is - Love Actually, About A Boy, Notting Hill, to mention a few. (Oh and mustn't forget the ever so awesome Spice World! GIRL POWER FOREVER!!!) This is the London I fell in love with, and that's the way I like it the most - without global catastrophes, zombies, death eaters and gothic serial killers. Wouldn't mind a Sherlock Holmes, though...

Here's a few more pictures.

I basically had to eat my hands off to stop myself from adding twenty more. Now, let's go enjoy the sunshine! This took me longer than I expected, where has the day gone...

(The four pictures of "real" London taken by me.)

May 15, 2010

Robin Hood

It's +28 degrees outside, sun is shining in the clear sky, nowhere to be and nothing to do - and what do I do? I go to sit in a dark, cool room to stare at Russell Crowe for two and a half hours. In other words, to a four o'clock showing of Robin Hood. It was quite a shock afterwards to step out of the green woods of medieval Nottingham and straight into busy, sunny streets, where people walked with cell phones and wore normal clothes. When it's darker the illusion doesn't break so suddenly.

Robin Hood (2010)

Directed by Ridley Scott. Starring Russell Crowe, Cate Blanchett, Mark Strong, Max von Sydow, William Hurt, Oscar Isaac.

Long story short: Robin Longstride is an archer in the army of Richard Lionheart and on his way into becoming the legendary Robin Hood.

Robin Hood was... long.


Haha, okay. Let's see, seriously now, where to begin? Let's begin at Russell Crowe. It's been ten years since Gladiator and he still knows how to become charismatic leader of the lesser in the society. (Obviously there are a lot of parallels between these two Scott/Crowe films, but I'm not going to mockingly talk about "Gladiator 2" or anything, let's just be nice.) Crowe has a great voice, one I could listen to for hours (maybe even more than two and a half!). He didn't rock my world, but gave a good, solid performance!

Cate Blanchett is splendid, one of the most powerful leading actresses in Hollywood, I think. I liked that at times she actually almost looked like she'd been working her ass off and been hungry for seven years. Still she was beautiful, of course, it takes more than that to make her not look beautiful. Her character was my favourite. And there was some very nice chemistry between her and Crowe, really!

Lots of other familiar faces, too... Mark Strong, once again as a believable bad guy. (Has he EVER played anyone even slightly GOOD...? Haha.) Also, Fred Flintstone (Mark Addy that is), Mr. Darcy (Matthew Macfadyen) and that doctor from ER (Scott Grimes). And of course Kevin Durand, or as I like call him, Martin Keamy! He's been the most evil ruthless cold blooded badass character in all six seasons of Lost, so cheers to Martin, er, Kevin! ("What does it look like we're doing? We're shooting things.") This is him as Keamy, couldn't find any good photos of him as Little John. Shame. (Not!)

Back to Nottingham, hmm? Personally I think the film was too long. It dragged at times. Too many battles. (Okay, that's just my girly opinion, but it got a bit boring to watch those action sequences one after another... Especially as they all felt quite the same.) Nothing groundbreaking, nothing new, really, I've seen many of these historic action epics before.

... I might sound too harsh now! I didn't hate it, no no no, just wasn't blown away. Still, I'm glad I went to see it in cinema, that's how it should be seen. I got quite a few shivers (and I think they weren't ALL caused by the cool temperature). Some none-action scenes were very enjoyable, especially those with Robin's gang and those between Robin and Marion. And the end credits were very nice!

I still think the Scott/Crowe film I've enjoyed the most is A Good Year. Yeah yeah, call me a girly girl. A Beautiful Mind was interesting too, and Gladiator, of course. All these beat Robin Hood in my book, but again I must point out, I didn't think it was bad. Just... long.

"And so the legend begins."

May 12, 2010

Iron Man 2

Watched the newest episode of Lost and... just... confusion. And it's not the good kind of confusion. I liked the episode, alright, but not how it left me feeling. Only ONE episode left before the FINAL finale EVER. I've always wanted to trust the writers, trust Damon and Carlton, trust that they'll come up with a briliant ending, trust that in the end it'll all make sense... What the **** am I going to do if it won't happen? What if I absolutely hate the ending, what if it's all left just... ambigious? It would totally ruin my fanatic fanaticism of six years! Has this all been for NOTHING?? ... Okay okay, I'm going a bit John Locke here... Sometimes it's tough to be so fanatic. Relax. Breath. They know what they're doing. Don't loose your faith, it's never good when someone looses their faith. That's how the Hatch blew up and I loved the Hatch!

Alright now. I'll save the rest for my Official Lost Post. Now I need an episode of Glee to clear my mind and deactivate my brain. And then Iron Man 2 to finnish the job.

5 hours later:

Mission accomplished. My faith is restored. Surely it'll all be alright. Thank you, brainless entertainment. You can always be trusted!

Iron Man 2 (2010)

Directed by: Jon Favreau. Starring Robert Downey Jr., Gwyneth Paltrow, Don Cheadle, Scarlett Johansson, Sam Rockwell, Mickey Rourke.

Long story short: Tony Stark has gone public: he is Iron Man. But now he faces some new problems, involving the goverment, deadlier enemies, his least favourite person in the world and oh, that shiny thingy on his chest that's keeping him alive is also slowly killing him. No biggie.

I wasn't a big fan of the first Iron Man, so I went to see the sequel with pretty low expectations; that's why I probably enjoyed it a lot more than many hardcore fans did. It was what pretty much every sequel is: the stakes are higher, the budget is bigger, the story is not so important. But that was okay with me! That's why I paid for the ticket (my brother didn't do that for me this time, boohoo!), that's why I went to the cinema: to be entertained. I was! Thus, this films was successful.

I love Robert Downey Jr., and he's just the perfect man to play Tony Stark. That's what he does best: an arrogant, witty, fast-talking, stubborn, yet charming character, to whom we forgive every silly thing he does, because he's just irresistable. (Tony Stark still doesn't beat Sherlock Holmes in my book! God I'm waiting for that sequel, hurry, will you!) I liked the pictures of young RDJ in the magazines! (Though he is like wine, when it comes to looks and getting older.) Another bullseye for RDJ, and yes, I think he really deserves it. And he should keep doing these shallow blockbusters if it's fun for him. Of course I love him when he gets more serious, too (Chaplin, anyone? Wow), but he can leave the drama for later.

It is really quite a shame that the Iron Man costume should be like that. All that muscle RDJ has goes in vain when it's hidden inside all that... iron. Or whatever the material really was. Also, it looks very dumb without the helmet. That's why for example Spider-Man's costume is so much better. It's so close-fitting that it lets all those sweaty hours in the gym show!

(Yes, I actually think things like that.)

The rest of the cast, then. I don't always like Gwyneth Paltrow (because her name is so damn difficult to spell!), but she's fine as Pepper Potts, who by the way has the funniest name ever. I want to be called Pepper Potts! I liked that they cast Scarlett Johansson as the sexy ninja secretary instead of some Angelina Jolie/Megan Fox kind of babe. (And that pepper spray knock-out was so much cooler than all the ass-kicking!) Don Cheadle has replaced Terrence Howard as Rhodey, and that's alright. Mickey Rourke is awesome as always. And I didn't expect Samuel L. Jackson, so that was a nice surprise. Nothing like some textbook badass-ing to spice up a movie.

But well well well, someone almost stole the spotlight from RDJ - I mean that's how I felt, and if I think that someone is stealing the spotlight from RDJ, that's SOMETHING. Say hi to your nemesis...

Sam Rockwell! I re-discovered this guy when I watched Moon (extremely good film, by the way, see it if you haven't yet!). Before that I remembered him from his brilliantly creepy role in Green Mile (and that was like three centuries ago, what has he been doing all this time...? Need to do some research. Beware, my must see list, you are about to get even more crowded). He was great as Justin Hammer. And so funny, presenting the weapons with a lollipop in his mouth, and doing that stupid dance on the stage, ha ha... And I simply like the way he talks! How his voice kind of "breaks" in the end of some words... But I suppose we won't be seeing him in anymore. Shame.

Iron Man always been about that über developed super sophisticated technology, and some of that goes over my head but that's alright. And once again we got a proof that computers are bad for you! At some point they always go out of control, and hello international mayhem and various casualties, which aren't worth babbling about later. (Speaking about those lousy computers, apparently some browsers don't show my blog properly. Great, just what I like, technical difficulties! I'm so great at solving them, I actually enjoy it! I could do it for recreational purposes! In other words, aaargh.)

When we got out of the cinema, my brother immidiately listed all the Marvel references he had spotted. ("God you're a geek", I said.) One of them was the mentioning of The Avengers, which is also the name of a film RDJ has been attached to. So... I guess we can expect some more Tony Stark in the future. And of course there's no way they are putting this money-maker franchise into rest just yet. So, Iron Man 3, we're ready when you are.

"Sir, I'm gonna have to ask you to exit the donut."

Nowhere Boy

Nowhere Boy (2009)

Directer by Sam Taylor Wood. Starring Aaron Johnson, Kristin Scott Thomas, Anne-Marie Duff, Thomas Sangster.

Long story short: The 15-year-old John Lennon escapes his troubled family life into music.

First of all, this is not a "Beatles movie". It doesn't concentrate on the origins of the band, even though Paul McCartney plays quite an important role in John's early life, and we get to meet George Harrison, too. (George is my favourite Beatle, by the way! I base my opinion mostly on A Hard Day's Night. He's just the best one in it! God I love that film. I really need to write about it some time. Now let's move on before I start quoting the best lines... OKAY-ONLY-ONE! "What do you call that hairstyle you're wearing?" "Arthur." Awesomeness.)

The emphasis is mostly on John's mother issues. He was raised by his aunt Mimi, who's strict, serious and almost cold. His biological mother Julia on the other hand is spirited and carefree. They both cause John problems, equally. Mimi is played by Kristin Scott Thomas (wow, has it really been that long since The English Patient...?) and Julia by Anne-Marie Duff (married to James McAvoy!), and they both do good job, I think.

I had a tiny problem with Thomas Sangster playing Paul. While I loved him in Love Actually, he looks like he hasn't aged a day since then, and that was six bloody years before Nowhere Boy! All I could think of was that his voice didn't match his face. Sorry, but I didn't buy him as Paul! For me, he'll always be that little boy who's desperately in love with the prettiest girl in school. And I can't believe he's actually the same age as Aaron Johnson... I guess puberty doesn't treat everyone equally. Tough!

Next: Aaron Johnson, Hollywood's latest heart-throb, also known as Kick-Ass. He's so preeettyyy...

... maybe even too pretty for John Lennon. But hey, everyone get's to be a bit better-looking when a film is made about them! I actually liked Aaron Johnson, and believed that he was John Lennon. At times he sounded scarily similar to Lennon, both talking and singing voice, really! (I don't know if he did his own singing but anyway.) That wonderful Liverpool accent, and all...

Okay, this is um, interesting. According to the IMDb board, Aaron Johnson is engaged to the director of this film and she's expecting a child. Oh and she's born in 1967, which makes her... 43, right? (I don't trust my math.) And Aaron's 20. Alrighty, before, I was "worried" about being a cougar, because Aaron's a year younger than me, but I guess someone took it a little further. Gosh. I'm not judging, but um, WOW. Well. Whatever floats your boat and all that jazz!

Let's see if I can concentrate on the film for one more minute. Those news were a bit distracting. Right. Nowhere Boy. Where was I...? Okay. What I really liked about the film was the setting and the clothes (that's why all these photos) and the soundtrack and generally the atmosphere. Oh and I miss England! I want to go to England I need to go to England! (Ok, girl, hold on, one trip plan at a time. I'm going to Paris mon cheri bonjour enchante merci beacoup this summer! I'll get to put my enormous French skills into action! Oui, mon ami!)

All in all, Nowhere Boy was quite a charming film. I don't know if it was accurate - apparently Paul McCartney had read the scrip and insisted some changes to be done - but I guess you don't necessarily have to look at it as a bio pic. It was moving and also funny. Something was missing, I admit, but it was a nice film, anyway. Some small delicious details saved a lot. For example, I liked the scene where all those girls were screaming their lungs out for Elvis and John was looking around like "um...okay?". Haha. Just wait for it, mate.

"Oh, why couldn't God make me Elvis?"
"Because he was saving you for John Lennon."
"I'll get you back for that, God!"

May 11, 2010

My favourite TV shows 4/5

2. (part 2/2) Extras

Sharing the second place with Glee is a little British TV show called Extras. I first got familiar with Extras through a friend, who showed me some YouTube clips. I was immidiately convinced that I would like this show, so I bought both seasons and the Christmas special from London. And I'm glad I did!

Extras is about, as it says in the poster's wonderfully ambiguous tag line, the story of a man with small parts. In other words, it's about Andy Millman, who works as a movie extra and desperately tries to gain bigger roles and fame. Ricky Gervais plays the leading role in a very hilarious way, and he's also pretty much behind the whole show.

This is British humour at its best! The main characters get themselves into awkward and embarrassing situations, and it gets even worse when they try to talk themselves out of them. The word I'd like to use here is "myötähäpeä", but I don't know if there's a word for it in English. Anyway, at times, "myötähäpeä" is almost unbearable!

You have to give some respect to these world-class actors, who agree to star in a small tv show, only to make fools out of themselves. And they've got some HUGE stars! Ian McKellen, Samuel L. Jackson, freaking Robert DeNiro! What's funny is that they always play "themselves", or rather the parodies of themselves. It's great to see that some superstars are still willing to laugh at themselves. Here are a few examples of my favourite guest star appareances in Extras.

Kate Winslet talks dirty. In a nun costume. "Oh fuck my fucking knees!" And this one's almost a legend: "If you do a Holocaust movie, you're guaranteed an Oscar." Indeed you are. Ricky Gervais knows best. And I just love Kate Winslet! Seriously, who doesn't!

Orlando Bloom is over-confident about his charm. Plus bitterly mocks Johnny Depp. Who knew the pretty-faced, constantly confused-looking Legolas can do comedy? And I thinks it's so amusing how Maggie isn't even slightly interested in Orlando, although she tries to hit on basically every other man.

Daniel Radcliffe tries to loose his good-boy-imago. I just genuinely like Daniel! Not his acting in particular (though in addition to Extras, I've only seen him as that boy who does magic and stuff and has like a weird scar on his forehead, can't remember the name...), nor his looks, but I just like how he seems so abnormally... normal! I base this assumption on all the interviews I've seen and read. I really wish him only success for his post-Potter life. (Gosh, remembered the name, after all.) Right, and Daniel in Extras. He's SO FUNNY. SERIOUSLY! (Sorry for exploiting the caps lock, but he's HILARIOUS.) "I've done it! With a girl. Intercourse-wise." Ooooooh dear god...

I also have to mention this wonderful line delivered by Chris Martin of Coldplay (he's doing one of these "hey, many people die because of the lack of clean water, please help!" ads): "Can we get on with this? I've got to do AIDS and Alzheimer's and landmines this afternoon and I wanna get back for Deal Or No Deal. Plus Gwyneth's making drumsticks."

However, it's not only the celebrity guest stars that make extras funny. The main cast is awesome, too. Some of the funniest scenes are the ones between Andy and his, frankly, idiotic agent Darren. Just a flash of that stupid grin and I'll start loosing it... And of course there's Shaun Williamson playing Shaun Williamson, or, as he's often refered to as, Barry off Eastenders.

And here's my favourite: Maggie Jacobs, Andy's best friend. She's just, um... kind of slow? She also has that wonderful accent. She and Andy work just perfectly together. I could give you a dozen examples, but here's one:

Maggie: "I think I need to go for a wee. That's the third one already..."
Andy: "Good. Well, keep me posted throughout the week. Maybe keep a journal."

And another one...

Now I'll stop before this gets out of hand.

Number one will have to wait until the end of the month, when the best show ever ends and possibly my life as I know it, too.

Iron Man 2 tomorrow! I can't believe I'm going to pay for it, I didn't even like the first one that much! Well, anything for RDJ... And sure, Sam Rockwell comes with the bargain, too. I'll report back to you!

May 10, 2010

It's been a hard day's night... of the living dead?

Hi. This is me avoiding school work: first I re-watched a film I knew would be bad. Then I found myself wandering around Internet chasing down information about an upcoming movie that will potentially be VERY bad. My teachers would be proud.

The film I used to waste time was Mars Attacks!, which I had previously seen approximately ten years ago. It was even worse than I remembered! Ha ha. I know it's supposed to be like a sci-fi parody, but at times it just too absurd! And excuse me but what the **** is Tom Jones doing there?? Oh well. Maybe I'm a bore. But for me, Tim Burton has done much much better things, before and after. Oh and I can't believe Titanic was released only a year after this! Just compare the special effects... Well, that's how you see who's spending the money and aming for the highest-grossing film to date. (Yes, I'm carefully mocking James Cameron here. VERY carefully, because I don't want to insult Titanic.) (How come I always end up bitterly mocking JC...? Guess I'm a bad loser. Me being Titanic and the other side being Avatar. Alright, enough now. I should write a whole post about this, get it all out of my system for good...)

It has a pretty funny poster, though! "Nice planet. We'll take it!" Speaking of posters and Tim Burton, here's a nice link I came across. Minimalist posters for the films of Tim Burton. I think some of them are quite charming!

Then the other thing! I'm sure you might me familiar with these already...

I really don't know what to think about these books! I haven't had a chance to read any, but I'm seriously thinking about ordering one, just to satisfy my curiosity. Somehow I find these quite intrigueing... And then I found this article. The Beatles and zombies? This could be very very bad or very very good. They also mentioned that movie is being made based on the Abe Lincoln book, and its producers: Tim Burton and the man behind Wanted, Timur Bekmambetov. And I'm strangely looking forward to this! Here's the cover of the Beatles book.

I'm a Beatles fan, should I find this somehow offending? Well, I think this has as much potential to be very good as it has to be very bad, so I'm hoping for the best. It's becoming available next month, I think, so I guess this might be my birthday present for myself...