Jan 31, 2012

Hulluna Saraan (2012) / crazy about Emilie

directed by Samuli Valkama / starring Emilie de Ravin, Jussi Nikkilä, Ville Virtanen

Vieläkö on villihevosiaaaa...
On aina hauska huomata että kyllä meiltä täältä kotimaastakin löytyy mainioita elokuvantekijöitä. Kyllähän se nyt tässä vaiheessa olisi varmaan pitänyt jo sisäistää, mutta jotenkin se vaan joka kerta yllättää ("Yllättävän hyvä suomalaiseksi leffaksi!" Kaikki ovat joskus joko kuulleet tai itse suustaan päästäneet tuon kommentin, am I right or am I right?) kun kotimainen onnistuu naurattamaan, viihdyttämään tai koskettamaan. Tai kaikkia kolmea, vähän niinkuin Hulluna Saraan! I enjoyed it a lot, for a Finnish film! (...) Tästä tulee varmaan kaksikielinen postaus, but isn't that only appropriate, since the film I'm discussing is bilingual, too.

Hulluna Saraan, or "crazy about Sara", or Love and Other Troubles, is a comedy about Finnish men, about unusual daddy issues, about love, about other troubles, and a little bit about clashing cultures, too. It brings the Australian Lost actress Emilie de Ravin to the streets of Turku and the fields of the Finnish country side, as an American girl who sweeps both the son and the father off their feet. Se toi mukanaan nostalgisia tuntemuksia muistuttaessaan että olipa kerran tv-ohjelma nimeltään Tenavatähti (olisin niin halunnut itse Seppo Hovin pikku cameo-rooliin!). It made me long for summer even more than I already do; because you know what they say about the Finnish summer... It's always worth the wait. It is what gets us through the rest of the year. Meaning, from August to June. Sigh. Anyways. We know it's worth it.

Tämä elokuva oli melkoinen piristysruiske! Hyvin ilahduttava ja sympaattinen, ja äänenkin sai naurahdella useamman kerran. Todellinen hyvänmielenelokuva, genressään melkoisen täydellinen. Feel-good, feel-good! I should watch more shameless, honest, guilt-free feel-good flicks! In fact, maybe I should watch ONLY such films! Because, you know, I feel good now! Earlier today I watched a distinctively Finnish, depressive kind of film, and I felt crappy. Now... I feel goooood! Simple as that.

The characters in this film were fun and likable, and they worked well together. The father/son relationship was of course the corner stone of it all, and it was very amusing to watch these two completely different personalities tear apart everything we thought we knew about the traditional roles of fathers and sons. It's hilarious, and the actors do a great job. Also, the Finnish language and the way of speaking can be used in such a comical way; the wonderful awkwardness and blunt expressions make great comedy!

Ja entäs meidän ihana ulkomaan vahvitus! Emilie is just adorable, cute as a button! And of course I very much appreciate her for coming to Finland and making this film! Two thumbs up, girl! I mean, she's worked in Hawaii and she's kissed Robert Pattinson, so saying yes to a weird little project like this...? Awesome, she's totally cool and extremely amazing in my book now. She was cool and amazing before, but now she's got the intensives too.

I'm always a sucker for stories about the Finnish culture clashing with another. It is both interesting and absolutely hilarious to look at Finland and the Finns from another culture's point of view; in this case, American. It makes it extra fun that you happen to be familiar with that other culture, too. (By the way, if you haven't yet, I very much recommend reading How to Marry a Finnish Girl by Phil Schwarzmann. He makes such spot-on comments and observations about this country, you can't help but laugh. And he gets pretty harsh, too. I actually kind of felt like moving away from this country after finishing the book, haha.) Finnish-ness in general is just very entertaining to discuss and analyze, we are such a peculiar group of people!

Lopuksi huomautettakoon, että Ebookers.fi:n mainos hollywoodilaisen taksin katolla oli aika hauska yksityiskohta. Jokseenkin hienovaraista piilomainontaa. Ja voi, se riemu kun tunnistaa valkokankaalla näkyvän paikan ja voi kertoa käyneensä siellä! Me Miinan kanssa vingahdettiin riemusta yhtä aikaa kun Roosevelt Hotel vilahti kuvassa. Ah ja voi.

Kautta Ronald Reaganin haamun, olipas ilahduttava elokuva. (Olisikohan tämä se ihmeidentekijä joka saa minut ostamaan suomalaisen leffan DVD:lle toista kertaa elämässäni? Menolippu Mombasaan on vähän yksinäinen hyllyssäni.)

Jan 24, 2012

Oscar nominees 2012

It seems it was about a month ago when they last gave away a bunch of Hollywood's golden boys, but here we are again. The nominees for this years Academy Awards were just announced. I must say I haven't been building up any expectations, and I'm feeling a lot more indifferent about these awards than usually. Maybe because there hasn't been a Toy Story 3 or a Social Network for me this year, meaning nothing has gotten me too pumped up. And of course, I still have a LOT to see before February 26. Funny, you'd think that spending the fall in the country where all the biggest and best movies come from (and where a movie comes to theatres the same day it's released - not four months later, if at all) would give you an advantage in keeping up with your Oscar hopefuls, but apparently not. Maybe it was my inopportune location (Emporia, Kansas isn't exactly the Mecca of culture). Maybe I just saw the wrong movies (whooot, I was CERTAIN Glee the 3D Concert Movie would rob all the awards!). Anyway. Here are a few of my thoughts.

It's a good year for animated film. And when I say good I mean unpredictable! Since Pixar spent the year making Cars 2, there is no Pixar film nominated for best animated film, so someone else finally has a chance! Good for them.

The Bridesmaids! Well well well. I'm not a huge fan of the film, but it certainly is refreshing to see a female-centered comedy nominated for best original screenplay, and one of its stars in the supporting actress category.

I really can't say much, because there's so much yet to be seen before I can shout out opinions that are not completely baseless and biased. From the best picture category I've actually seen just one film, so it's not very surprising that I feel like naming The Artist as my favourite. Well, it was a wonderful film, and I think it might remain my favourite, even after I've seen some of the other candidates. Let's see.

I am very eager to see The Help and Hugo; these are actually the two that I believe might have a shot at challenging The Artist in my book, and I will do my best to check them out before the Oscars.

I'm not sure why, but The Descendants seems really annoying to me. The trailer kind of makes me yawn. I'm not excited about Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close, either, it just gives me a too strong The Blind Side kind of vibe, you know, one of those oh-so-sentimental and inspirational and disgustingly American stories. Might skip it. I've never been one for Woody Allen, and Tree of Life just seems boring as hell. I'm not sure about what The War Horse might have to offer for me... And Moneyball. Well, it's about baseball. Baseball is officially the most numbing sports in the world. I might still give the film a chance. Maybe it's not all about baseball. And if it is, maybe they've edited out all the parts where the players try and try and try and try hit the ball but never do.

When it comes to the acting categories, I, again, don't dare say much. Bérénice Bejo was absolutely lovely in The Artist, so her nomination made me happy. Sure, she wasn't exactly in a supporting role, but never mind, she's better off in a category without Meryl Streep, haha. Speaking of whom, I really want her to win that third Oscar, it's been a damn long time coming. Even though Michelle Williams as Marilyn really won me over, too... Rooney Mara's nomination was a nice surprise, but I guess she doesn't stand a chance, and that's ok.

I've been kind of inattentive, so I don't know if someone got snubbed. I did notice the lack of J. Edgar. Shame, it was an alright film. And yeah yeah, I have good memories about it since I saw it in Washington, a few blocks from the FBI building. Ah! Good times. Anyways. Enough with the bragging, haha...

In summary... Hugo got most nominations (11), with The Artist right behind it (10). I guess I'm happy! My favourite and my potential other favourite! And lo and behold, it is indeed a "kids' film" leading the game! Hurray! Take that, stupid adults!

Jan 5, 2012

Scarface & Manhattan aka let us prerend it's still 2011

January 1

18:25 New Year, old pains in the rear. This is me watching Scarface, as the part 11/12 of my 2011 Resolution project. Yeah, yeah, I broke the resolution. They're not meant to be kept, anyway...

18:29 ONE HUNDRED AND SEVENTY MINUTES? Oh. Fun. I'm gonna need some ice cream here.

18:40 Ok, let's go.

18:43 Is this the Say Hello To My Little Friend one? I think so.

18:46 That's a pretty good accent, Al, I give you that.

19:00 Ooh, Espanol.

19:50 Why are these movies always about grumpy, violent men, who take themselves too seriously...

20:48 "Can't you stop saying fuck all the time? Can't you stop talking about money? It's boring."

21:37 Yay, I did it! And it wasn't even that bad! I mean, it could've been a lot worse. I think Scarface goes in the same category with Sunset Boulevard and Citizen Kane; I do kind of see what the fuss it about, but there's nothing in it for me personally.

January 4

19:38 Alrighty, time to wrap up 2011! This should be fairly easy. I've only seen some more recent films by Allen, and though I've disliked them all, I think I just might enjoy Manhattan, at least a little. Because, my guess is, it sets in Manhattan. And it's only an hour and thirty minutes, so even if I'll suffer, I won't suffer for long! Ha! Let's go.

21:16 Ha ha! Watched the whole movie without one snide remark!

So. I did enjoy watching this movie. Compared to the torture the recent few classics have been (yes, I'm talking to you, Goodfellas and Scarface), this was a very pleasant experience. Give the girl her relationship dramas and she'll be happy; that's how it goes, I'm afraid. Also, compared to my previous Woody Allen experiences (yes, I'm talking to you Cassandra's Dream, Match Point and especially you, Vicky Christina Barcelona), I got quite a lot more out of Manhattan. It's pretty charming and smart and relatable, and you can't really not like Allen's character, so comfortable with his own awkwardness. Meryl Streep was (and is) a goddess. I couldn't keep my eyes off of her! And New York! (I can't believe it's been only two weeks since I left the States, and cruised in a yellow taxi in Manhattan, on my way to the airport... Life is so weird.)

Still, there's still something too Allen-y that kept me from liking the film more. One thing must be the endings, and the indecisive and aimeless nature of the story. It feels so purposeless, watching a movie and in the end... nothing's really changes. Like I was wasting my time, putting my mind into a story that ends up going nowhere. Agh, I just need closure, or at least change.

Anyway. That's that for 2011. Now I can fully acknowledge that it is 2012.

Jan 4, 2012

Hey 2012, show me what you've got!

There's no doubt about my most anticipated movie of the year. The Hunger Games movie will be so epic! I was a bit scared at first, about how easily it could be screwed up, but after the (mostly) solid casting choices, first promo pictures and the trailer, I'm quite positive that I will very much enjoy the film adaption. That world is so creepy and dark, yet cool, and they seem to have done a pretty good job transferring it on screen. March, come on, come on, come on!

Struck by Lightning is the love child (and the showcase) of my favourite Glee star, Chris Colfer. The story is written by Colfer himself, and he also plays the main character. After enjoying his performances on Glee, I'm so excited to see how he portrays a character other than the fabulous Kurt Hummel. And even more than that, I want to see him kick ass as a screenwriter, because that's where I think his glorious future might lie.

Superheros! Who wouldn't love superheros! For those of us who do, 2012 is a very good year. The Avengers is definitely the most exciting upcoming action epic. I'm thrilled enough to see my unexpected new favourite Captain America return and explore the modern world, but in addition, he will unite with other awesome old friends like Robert Downey Jr.! Also known as Iron Man, but for me, he's just good old RDJ playing RDJ. Brilliant. I hope they'll really feast on this delicious opportunity and actually let the characters properly interact with each other, among the undoubtedly impressive explosions and action sequences.

Brave will introduce Pixar's first ever female protagonist! As sad as it is how long it took for that to happen, my expectations towards the next adventure by the best modern animation studio are huge, to say the least. That red, curly mess of hair is awesome enough. At least visually this film will blow everyone's minds, let's hope the plot delivers, too.

Let's be honest. Andrew Garfield is pretty much the only reason I'm looking forward to The Amazing Spiderman. But well, there are worse reasons, I guess. Because have you seen Andrew Garfield in action? That kid is brilliant.

I guess I can't claim to be the biggest fan of Chris Nolan's Batman movies, since I've only seen half of Batman Begins, and for me The Dark Knight was all about Heath Ledger, not so much about that stupid Batman dude. Still, I will definitely go see The Dark Knight Rises, even though it has a really lame title, because Nolan is awesome, and I know the movie will be great.

What do Abraham Lincoln and vampire hunting have in common? I don't know. That's why I'm so eager to see the Wanted director's upcoming Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter. Because I don't have any idea what to expect. It sounds both odd and fascinating. And American history, oooh, droooool. Good old Civil War.

The Hobbit: The Unexpected Journey. More Middle-Earth. 'Nuff said.


3D rereleases seem to be the new trend. The most anticipated of such films is of course Titanic, oooh, can't wait, it will be amazing! Not because of the 3D, necessarily, but seeing it on big screen will be brilliant. Poor baby was too young when it first came out.

Also, I'll probably have to check out Phantom Menace. If it ever comes to Finland, I mean. The Obi-Wan/Qui-Gon/Darth Maul lightsaber battle should look pretty good with that extra dimension!

Beauty and the Beast returns to theatres already on January, and far as I know, in Finland, too. Naturally I will need to see my beloved Disney favourite, as a bigger and better and more expensive version. Finding Nemo is coming back as well, but don't know if I'm ready to pay for it, or if I'll even have a chance to.

Finally, some other more or less interesting films coming out this year. I need to check out Iron Lady, to see how Meryl Streep earned her third Oscar. (Yes. Please?) Might wait for the DVD, though. Albert Nobbs seems pretty interesting. And Woman in Black, oooh, Daniel "Post-Potter" Radcliffe, this should be good. I hope, for the poor boy's sake. Tim Burton's Dark Shadows is a must-see; oh, have I missed Burton+Depp+Bonham Carter.

The two Snow White adaptions, Mirror Mirror and Snow White and the Huntsman need to be seen, because I dig classic fairytale modernizations, even though neither of them look too promising. Still, I will see both of them, because of Armie Hammer and despite Kristen Stewart. Speaking of K-Stew, Breaking Dawn Part 2. Sigh. One more, and then it's over!


Alrighty, 2012. You look good. And epic. So bring it on!

Jan 3, 2012

New Year Resolutions 2012

Same idea as last year; each month I watch a classic that I can't seem to make myself watch otherwise. Last year wasn't altogether successful, but I'm choosing to be quite hopeful about this year. Fingers crossed, haha...

JanuaryAnnie Hall (1977)
February: Mr. Smith Goes to Washington (1939)
March: Apocalypse Now (1979)
April: Chinatown (1974)
May: Braveheart (1995)
June: Back to the Future (1985)
July: Taxi Driver (1976)
August: North by Northwest (1959)
September: Metropolis (1927)
October: Vertigo (1958)
November: From Here to Eternity (1953)
December: It Happened One Night (1934)

Jan 2, 2012

2011: A Summary of a Year

It's been an unusual year. It feels like most of the year I've been so preoccupied with everything else that there hasn't been as much movie-watching as, say, last year.  Still, there has been some gems and discoveries from both this year and previous years.

I found John Hughes (better late than never, right?) and thus added The Breakfast Club and Ferris Bueller's Day Off to the list of my all-time favourites. I watched more documentaries than ever before; I bawled my eyes out at Bowling for Columbine and Nuit et brouillard; I was shocked by The Cove and Food Inc. and swore never to see a dolphin show or eat a fast food burger again; I was entertained by Exit through the Gift Shop and Glee: the Concert Movie. One documentary really stood out, but more on that later.

The year's total is 163 films watched, out of which 52 were rewatches, which makes 111 new films. I went to cinema 23 times. And let me add, twice I saw a film with live orchestra playing the music (The Gold Rush (here at home) and the first Lord of the Rings (in Vegas; guess which one was more expensive...)). Here's the full list of the films, from another Inception rewatch to the Sherlock Holmes sequel.


Here are some of my favourite people of the year.


My (more or less succesful) New Year Resolution project was a nice spice to the year's movie-watching experience. Sure, due to being in the US I was behind schedule for part of the year, and in the end got to mark only ten of the twelve movies as 'over and done with'. Because, yes, that's what it was like most of the time: an obligation, something I just HAD to do, whether I enjoyed it a lot or not. This of course is NOT the attitude that movies should be watched with, but since I know myself (and what I know is that unfortunately I just often happen to dislike classics), this techinique is the best way to ensure that I watch what every movie fanatic should watch. Anyway, here's how it turned out:

The films I still need to see in 2012: Scarface, Manhattan

The film that I very strongly disliked: A Clockwork Orange

The films that bored me to death: Mulholland Dr., 8½, Goodfellas

The films I might have liked more had I been able to concentrate on them properly: Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid, Blade Runner

The films I kind of liked and properly concentrated on, but that failed to impress me in a way worth mentioning: Sunset Blvd., Citizen Kane

The film that I expected to like the least, but that ended up blowing my mind a little or at least giving me a pretty epic Friday night: 2001: A Space Odyssey

The film that I very much liked and that I will actually see again in the near-future (unlike the previous one): The Deer Hunter

So. Maybe the percentage of the films I actually ended up liking isn't very encouraging, but I will all the same continue this project in 2012. I need to get more classics watched.


My extremely unofficial TOP FIVE of 2011

My Week with Marilyn

It's Michelle Williams that earned this movie a spot on my list. When I was watching her in My Week with Marilyn, there was a moment when I realized I didn't remember what the real Marilyn looks like. That's how good Ms. Williams is! Other than that, it's a cute, quite harmless little film. A little sad at times, and quite relateble, in some ways, at least for me.

Captain America: The First Avenger

 Haha. Weird? I don't know why I liked this film so much. But I did. I haven't liked a superhero this way since my ridiculous Spiderman phase when I was fifteen. There is something sincerely sweet about Chris Evans's Steven Rogers, and something admirable in the way he develops into a superhero: it's merely a physical transformation, since his mind was the mind of a hero all along.

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part II

Well duh. The conclusion of the adventures of everyone's favourite wizard boy was nothing less than epic, even though the conclusion of that conclusion was disappointingly ridiculous thanks to the poor attempt to make the young cast look nineteen years older. Sigh. Anyway! This was the end of another era. But Harry will live on.

The Artist

 This black-and-white silent strike of genius will be my favorite in the Oscar races next year, and I'm not alone with my opinion. It's charming and fun and tragic and just delicious. I loved the creative ways to use sound they'd come up with, in the midst of the good old Hollywood kind of title cards and wonderfully exaggarated acting. It's a love song to the roots of cinema, with a modern twist and a great sense of humor.

Life in a Day

Well, this is interesting. I never saw this little film coming. One day I read about it somewhere, watched it, and whoa, it just blew me away. The idea is wonderful, really, maybe the best idea any filmmaker ever had. People all over the world documented their lives on film in July 24, 2010. The material came together as what apparently is my favourite film of the year. In summary, I cried at people brushing their teeth. I'm determined to finish my post about this, so this is all I will say now.
If you haven't yet, see the film here.


Well, I guess that's what we can call a mixed bunch; a Hollywood icon, a superhero, a fantasy blockbuster, a silent film and a documentary. But the list is extremely unofficial because there are many films I haven't yet seen that might've easily made the list. I still need to see at least The Help, Hugo, 50/50, Drive, The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo... Still, I'm quite confident about number one, at least.

It was a pretty good year, and 2012 will probably be pretty epic. Just saying.

Jan 1, 2012