World Cinema

아저씨 (Ajeossi/The Man from Nowhere), (2010)

Finally got around to see this! I love asian cinema because they push boundaries (visually and thematically) not often seen in western films, and this one did not disappoint.

Korean title: 아저씨 Ajeossi
English title: The Man from Nowhere
Runtime: 1h 59 mins
Country: South Korea
Year: 2010

Director: Jeong-Beom Lee
Cinematographer: Tae-Yoon Lee
Editor: Sang-Beom Kim

Cast: Bin Won, Sae-Ron Kim

Synopsis:
A quiet pawnshop keeper with a violent past takes on a drug-and-organ trafficking ring in hope of saving the child who is his only friend. (imbd.com)

Thoughts:
From the opening scene I found the characters compelling. The kid, So-Mi (Sae-Ron), is so cute, and fast we learn about her family situation and want her to get all the good in the world. While Tae-Sik (Bin-Won) is a mysterious dark (and handsome) character! The story follows their friendship and how Tae-Sik ends up hunting high and low to find the kidnapped So-Mi.

Usually I don’t like it when the main character just walks through the film without any challenges, I don’t know why this was different? Maybe because so much was at stake, and you never know what’s going to happen in an Asian film. You never doubt that Tae-Sik will lose the fights he’s in, he’s so raw. I think I accept this because of his backstory and sudden connection to the kids also because his fighting is pretty GENIUS! On many levels.

Last knife fight was pretty awesome. The P.O.V camera/editing made it super intensive, and i would love to try this technique in the future myself.

I really enjoyed this film and would recommend it to people who like action, and doesn’t mind blood, brutal fights (knife, guns, beautiful martial art) and gruesome images of cut up victims. This film makes you feel, it gets you emotional, even some funny moments, and definitely… ACTIOON! 😀 Compared to many new action films, I love that this is action with reason, not just to show off all the guns and blablablahZzzZzz.. It is compelling all the way through, and I can’t wait to see it again soon enough!

So many twists!
So much heartbreak!
So much action!
I loved it!

Now go watch it (it can easily be found online for free)!

 

Rating: 4.5/6 .. but so close to a 5!

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-CinaMonster-

Horror from the Homeland : Villmark 2/Villmark Asylum (2015)

Title: Villmark 2 (Eng. title: Villmark Asylum)
Year: 2015
Runtime: 1h 33mins
Genre: Horror

Director: Pål Øie
Cast: Anders Baasmo Christiansen, Mads Sjøgård Pettersen, Ellen Dorrit Petersen.

Synopsis:
Five contract workers have taken on the task of tracking a huge old sanatorium for hazardous waste before demolishing. They realize that the job is more than a search for asbestos and mercury. The enormous building has much darker secrets. (imbd.com)

Thoughts:
The first ‘Villmark’ was made in 2003, and is my favorite Norwegian horror film, so of course I wanted this to be as good. First of all, this story doesn’t follow ANY THING from the first one, I don’t understand why this is a “sequel” (Just to get the audience of course, plus is the same director). I had hopes it was going to be creepy because it is set in an old mental asylum. I think the location itself is a great place for a horror film, and as much as it is used quite well, i think it’s just a small portion of how much it could be used as a scary element. We honestly don’t get the feeling of how big this place is, even when they get separated. Yes the walks go out of reach (i think), but there’s no establishing of the inside, only the outside full house, which is not even filmed in an eerie way like it should be.

So this story revolves around 5 people who searches this huge house for “hazardous waste” before it’s going to be demolished. One man, Frank, has takes care of the property from its closure in 1978, and of course this guy is a little bit fishy. During their stay they start experiencing weird things: a dead guy, a creepy girl, and other stuff. And like “every” other horror in an isolated place, they start disappearing one by one.

Honestly, I didn’t find this very scary, and the ending was like WHAT WHY.. it is a twist, they tried, but not a twist wanted, mostly because it doesn’t make sense. I just think it wasted a lot of potential at the actual location. It is pretty good for a new horror film though, even though i didn’t feel it to the bones. Another note is that i feel the color scheme is not completely right.. more colder?? Like the new Japanese horror films.. Yes please!

If I were them, I would use this place for a crazy ass GHOST STORY!! Not Frankenstein-ish WWII nonsense….

With that said, i’m gonna start writing it right now… !
Look for it in 2020!

Rating: 3.5/6
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– CinaMonster-

 

A Filmmakers Wet Dream: Nuovo Cinema Paradiso

Title: Nuovo Cinema Paradiso (Cinema Paradiso)
Year: 1988
Run Time: 2h 35 min
Language: Italian

Director: Guiseppe Tornatore
Cinematographer: Blasco Giurato
Editor: Mario Morra

CINEMA PARADISO

I was honestly ecstatic when I realized we were watching this in my film narrative class. I have wanted to watch it for so long, I even have it somewhere on a hard drive I think, I have NO IDEA why I haven’t checked it out before!! It’s a SHAME!

Synopsis:

A filmmaker recalls his childhood, when he fell in love with the movies at his village’s theater and formed a deep friendship with the theater’s projectionist. – IMDB.com

Thoughts:
The films follows Toto, a kid without a father who forms a relationship with the village’s projectionist Alfredo through their love for film. It follows Toto through life, love, leaving his home behind to become something more, and then getting back to remember the life he once lived.

This film shows how movies units people. Here, it unifies a whole village. It shows what you have to give up to pursue and live your dream. It shows you beautiful love. It is truly an amazing film that touched all of us film geeks in the audience because we felt so close to Toto.

The final scene is (a little bit to much and cheesy BUT!) emotionally beautiful ! I absolutely recommend this to anyone who loves making films, anyone who wants to follow their dream and does, and most people in general.

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5/5 stars for sure!

-CinaMonster-

 

 

Review: Nymphomaniac: Volume I and II

Four hours I spent in the cinema tonight, and it was four hours well spent! I have waited a long time to see this film, as it had a good cast, interesting story and a scandinavian director. To my surprise the screening was full, I thought this film only appealed to weird film geeks like me, I guess not. The film is originally 5 and a half hours long, but due to making it more appealing to the audience it was cut in half and also trimmed so these two parts in all lasts for 4 hours! Both films were shown after each other here in Norway. I myself would have preferred the uncut directors version, so I hope it will be out on dvd or something later. I always believe the directors cut is the best, cause that’s how it was supposed to be in the first place. Censorship is a biatch for an auteur filmmaker who doesn’t make films to please the capitalists.

Review:

Director: Lars Von Trier
Cast: Charlotte Gainsbourg, Stellan Skarsgård, Shia Labeouf, Uma Thurman, Willem Dafou, Jamie Bell
Genre: Drama / Erotic

Plot: Self-acclaimed nymphomaniac Joe tells the story of her life to Seligman, a man who found her beaten up and decided to take care of her.

Volume I: 124 mins

Consists of chapter:

1.   “The Compleat Angler”
2.   “Jerôme”
3.   “Mrs. H”
4    “Delirium”
5.   “The Little Organ School”

Part 1 was my favorite. It consists of the 5 first chapters (out of 8) of Joe’s erotic journey. Why it was my favorite is because it had a lighter mood than Part II (Especially the 3 first Chapters), and it was easier to digest.

It begins with Joe’s first discovery of her ‘cunt’, as she puts it nicely herself, through her ‘first time’, through her first and only “love”, her relationship with her family, people she’s hurt and so on. She believes she is a bad person because of the things she’s done, but her new friend Seligman is trying to convince her she’s not by using examples and metaphors from history describing her exact stories and feelings.

Volume II: 123 mins

Consists of Chapter:

6.  “The Eastern and the Western Church (The Silent Duck)”
7.  “The Mirror”
8.  “The Gun”

Part II is a bit darker than part I. It consists of the last 3 chapter of Joe’s journey, and these chapters are a bit more serious than the last as it consists of violence, torture and dealing with sex addiction to name a few elements without revealing anything. Jamie Bell plays a very different (sadistic) role than i’m used to seeing him in, but he plays it well. And the ending, not exactly shocking, but I wish it could’ve been different… Not that it is bad, it is just unlucky and sad for the main character! aka frustrating for the audience aka me!! I was just thinking: “WHY OH WHY DID IT HAVE TO END THIS WAY 😦 ”

 All in All:

I recommend this (these) film(s) highly. It had humor, drama, good music (a mix of rock and classical) and it also makes you think a bit. Although people may think this looks like a porn movie, I disagree, it’s nothing sexual about the story really.. well of course it’s sexual, but it doesn’t turn you on.. Unless you count the short moments with Shia’s strong back and arms hah. These films speaks about all kinds of different sexualities (heterosexuality, homosexuality, asexuality, pedophilia, hyper-sexuality (nymphomania) to name a few), and about feminism and so much more, which is one reason I think people should see this film! Joe’s character is also deep, her emptiness and reasons for doing what she’s doing is fascinating, and so is the interesting characters she meets on her journey. The cinematography is amazing in my opinion. Von Trier’s use of close ups and long shots, color and black/white pictures and everything in between is very well sown together, and keeps it interesting and artsy. I also think the script is great because it makes you laugh in between all the seriousness of the film, which is needed when talking about such a serious topic. Specially the part with Uma Thurman, Chapter 3: Mrs H, is awesome, she plays her role really well, and the script in these chapter is hilarious and sarcastic, and you feel sorry for the characters and so much emotion. So. Good.

“With Nymphomaniac, Lars von Trier wishes to transfer, in film, previously unseen qualities from the world of literature. A monumental film about the female erotic desire, with claims and counter-claims, conflicting angles, and moral or perhaps precisely immoral observations. Because through the help of the main story, the film allows for the most strident arguments and wildest thesis, and exactly thereby it creates space for the discussion of it all – the film itself, the human beings, life!” – the makers of the film

There’s not much I could say without revealing important things in the story, so i’m just gonna tell you to go see it for yourself. It is very very good.

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– CinaMonster –

Zombies from the Motherland!

First Look: Død Snø 2 (Dead Snow 2: Red vs. Dead)

I didn’t really think the first film was that awesome… Yes, it was good to be Norwegian, but after hearing all these great things about it, I was a bit disappointed when i finally watched it.. I can’t remember exactly why at the moment, I think it was because you didn’t actually get to see the zombie attacks, which is a bit boring! But that probably had something to do with the budget not being big enough to include scenes with lots of special effects (CGI/makeup whatever). Also I didn’t find it scary, or funny. Which it should’ve been since it is a horror comedy 😛

Anyway, in this film it looks like they’ve included the attacks, so i’m looking forward to seeing it when it comes out in February. 😀

Trailer:

– CinaMonster –

On Netflix: Paradise Now (2005)

Director: Hany Abu-Assad
Language: Arabic and English
Cast: Kais Nashif, Ali Suliman, Lubna Azabal
Runtime: 90 mins

So I skipped through the “critically acclaimed” films on Netflix and came across this Palestinian film from 2005. I found the plot description interesting and after IMDB-ing it, I saw it was nominated for an Oscar, and decided to give it a try.

The story is about two best friends, Said and Khaled, living in a small town, Nablus,  in Palestine. One day they are chosen to go to Tel Aviv in Israel as suicide bombers, but the night before they’re leaving they question whether this is the right decision of fighting Israel or not.

Personally I do not know much about the conflict between Palestine and Israel even though i know people from both places, which is one of the reasons I wanted to see this film. It did give me an insight in to the conflict though, and the issues between Muslims and Jews in this setting. I think this film raise important questions, and this is why it was nominated for an Oscar. It had some holes in the story, and a bit confusing time line at times. I think the female character Suha (Lubna Azabal) is supposed to be a voice of reason and new thinking. She is cultured, has experienced the world and is an independent woman. On the other hand we have Said and Khaled from this little isolated town and raised in a refugee camp, only knowing what they’ve taught through family and their hard life. The film is nicely depicting friendship and family, and following what you believe is your fate.

Even if I found the beginning to be a bit slow, I enjoyed watching it by the end. I found it very interesting to get an insight in how, and why things like this happen. What drives people to do attacks like this, even when there is a chance to hurt innocent people. It is a good and very interesting film, and i recommend it to fans of international and political / historical films.

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– CinaMonster –

P.S. I’ve started from now on to rate the films on a 5 star rating system 😉 Sometimes a rating is not necessary though, as it is all up to the personal experience. 🙂