film review

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-

 

The Boy (2016)

Title: The Boy
Year: 2016
Run Time: 1h 37mins

Director: William Brent Bell
Writer: Stacey Menear
Stars: Lauren Cohan, Rupert Evans, James Russell

Synopsis:

An American nanny is shocked that her new English family’s boy is actually a life-sized doll. After she violates a list of strict rules, disturbing events make her believe that the doll is really alive. (imbd.com)
Thoughts:
While watching this i actually felt i had seen this before, i have no idea where, but i think i’ve seen something about the “real” story behind this.
Anyway, in the beginning i thought this could be a decent scary movie, but honestly nothing really exciting happened. I don’t think the audience ever get to see the doll actually move (which with the end makes sense, kinda). The end did not come as a surprise, but still, I don’t understand it completely. There’s no sudden audio or close up scares, it’s kind of like a drama… with some scary/freaky elements haha! I even have a bit of a living doll “phobia” (from watching Goosebumps when i was younger), but this didn’t really affect me at all, soo… something went wrong somewhere you filmmakers! It had some pretty piano music though! 🙂
Was it a spirit, or was it not? That is my question about the end. I don’t think i would recommend this to many unless you are easily scared or a horror fan (like me), and just want to see it.
Raiting: 2.5/6
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– CinaMonster –

CineReview: Suicide Squad (2016) *No Story Spoilers*

Title: Suicide Squad
Year: 2016
Director/Writer: David Ayer
Cinematographer: Roman Vasyanov
Editor: John Gilroy
Cast: Will Smith, Jared Leto, Margot Robbie, Viola Davis. (Full List)

Synopsis:
A secret government agency recruits imprisoned supervillains to execute dangerous black ops missions in exchange for clemency (imbd.com).

Thoughts:
Having been waiting for this film for a while, I had pretty high expectations, which is never good, specially not with Superhero movies. In the beginning, I really enjoyed the music, that was really good, when introducing each character. After a while though, I thought the music kind of took over, and it tried to lead the audience. In addition, by using popular music, it will definitely (at least for me) distract me from the story and/or character instead of adding to it. During the introduction, being an editor, I really enjoyed the way the edited to the music! And i think only once, I got thrown out because of weird jump cut editing (..the bad side of being a filmmaker I guess, seeing all this tiny details.)

A downside to movies like this is that it is TOO MANY CHARACTERS to get attached to.  And because of this, the characters are not as deep as they should be for the audience to connect fully and care for them all!

Jared Leto as the Joker: I really, REALLY!! wanted him to be super GREAT as The Joker, because I love Jared, and I think he’s a good actor. Sadly, I was a bit disappointed. I thought, Of all people, he would be the one that could be just as crazy as Heath Ledger, but i didn’t feel it like that. I don’t want to compare them, but I don’t think his character was strong enough here.

My favorite characters was Harley Quinn (Margot Robbie), and Katana (Karen Fukuhana). Girl power all the way! And, Amanda Waller (Viola Davis) was pretty badass. I actually liked each character in the squad by them selves, and the background stories they tried to mix in, but it was too many for one film!

Storywise, i don’t even know. The film is only 2 hours and 3 minutes, it should be longer for us to know the characters, and feel their losses. I didn’t really feel the challenges in this film either, or the stakes. So much missing, that could’ve made this film a lot better. And because of the “short” run time, things happens pretty fast, and it’s all boom-boom-boom after each other! I’m not trying to be negative, I am just pointing out things critically, i actually enjoyed the film.

Note: Sadly I saw this Pre.Premiere at a music venue/ bar, and they decided to have a freaking 15 MINS BREAK in the middle, i was, to say it nicely, PISSED OFF!! Because they cared more abut selling alcohol than giving us a good cinematic experience! 

All in all, the film is entertaining like it should be. It did not reach the level I wanted it to be at, but I wasn’t bored. Also, I haven’t read any comics of this, maybe it follows it? I don’t know, but I am SURE it is better suited for “normal” audiences, who’s there for the superhero, entertaining film.

Rating: 4/6
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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-

 

 

2001: A Space Odyssey

Film: 2001: A Space Odyssey
Year: 1968 (had no idea!)
Run Time: 2:22h-2:41h (Depending on which version you watch)

Director: Stanley Kubrick (One of my favorites!)
Cinematographer: Geoffrey Unsworth
Editor: Ray Lovejoy

This film has been on my list FOREVER! Finally, I saw it on the BIG SCREEN in my film narrative class a few weeks ago, and it was basically nothing like I expected. I expected aliens and weird shit. I mean, it was a lot of weird shit going on, but nothing as I had visioned. I’m happy I saw it in class, because i’m not sure I would’ve lasted through the first Part on my own!

It starts with monkeys.. lot’s of monkeys, and a black stone. Then it goes into space travels to the moon and Jupiter, and I learn that my former place of studying was 100% influenced by the interior design in Part 2 (see pictures). Then there’s the thing between humans and smart machines, which was interesting.

Lnacaster University Learning Zone

Learning Zone, Lancaster University, UK

Station_V_01

Hotel in the Film.

 

 

My favorite part was the weird, WEIRD trippy travel near the end! I absolutely loved it, it was so beautiful. I think the cinematography and the audio design/ music is amazing, and is absolutely the best thing about this movie. I remember feeling so uneasy I almost had to leave whenever we only heard the breathing in the spacesuit… it was so claustrophobic and anxiety raising, pretty great.

Yes it’s so long (at least it feels long because everything is slowly paced), but in the end it’s all worth it, even if you don’t understand exactly what you watched because of the separate story lines in each part!

 

I’m not gonna give this a rating because i’m not sure yet how to feel about it yet, I think I have to watch it again, and write an actual review.. I’m just excited I finally saw it! It was a pretty great experience. It’s a MUST WATCH for any film enthusiast (specially in the working field) though… but I don’t think my mother would get through it.

-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 –

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. 🙂

Cine-Review: Frozen

Title: Frozen
Year: 2013
By: Disney

Synopsis:
Princess Elsa has a secret power of controlling snow and ice. By an accident she hurts her sister Anna when she is young and is banned from using her powers again. Years later, after living in solitude, she is going to be crowned as Queen, but is annoyed by her sisters irrational attitude and end up freezing the whole town of Arendale. Else is mad and scared and runs up to the mountain so she won’t hurt anyone ever again. The film follows Ana on her trip to find her sister and get her to defrost their town.

Review:
I didn’t go into the movie theatre expecting much of this. Yes, it could be as good as Tangled, but after reading some reviews i doubted it. What made me happy was that Disney still holds on to their traditions of musical elements in their animated films. This film may not hold classics like heard in Lion King and Beauty and the Beast, but I found it heartwarming and fun to re-live these childhood memories of Disney films and songs. Some of the songs are also a bit long and weird to be honest.
Since I am from the North, what i enjoyed most in this film was the influences it has from Scandinavian-, in particular Norwegian culture! The music, the names, the scenery resembles my culture, and it makes me a bit proud that Disney has chosen to portray this in one of their films.
All in all, the film is entertaining, and has it’s fun moments. Especially the Snowman Olaf and the reindeer Sven makes the film very enjoyable! The songs however, are a bit long and out of place at times, but the overall impression is quite good.

So if you are into Disney, and musicals… this is the film for you!

– CinaMonster –