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Girl holding her head looking at the world cup on a screen in a groud in a pub

I don’t even have a team, but I pick one during each game and end up like this!

I know there is no game tonite, but I have a job so I simply can’t watch and review “the Godfather” in one evening. It will require some research on my behalf to give you other snippets than what I think. Besides, we are having a summer party at work. 😉

In the mean time enjoy this post from last Christmas where I, among other examples, re imagine “Bend it Like Beckham” as a Christmas feature.

Or just watch “Bend it Like Beckham”. It is after all the greatest football film of all time, is it not? 😉

 

I will be back next week with the next installment in the ImDb top 250 reviews and we have come as far as number 2, “The Godfather”. Does this movie really deserve to be on the top 250 list? I will watch it again and let you know if it stands the test of time. In the mean time, you can read my review on number 1, “Shawshank Redemption“.

See you next week 😉

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Slightly fed up with lists of the same Christmas movies everywhere, I decided to make a lists of movies that SHOULD be Christmas classics, but are not. These movies have heart, are well written and acted, sometimes borderline genius and most importantly, they are the epitome of feel-good movies.

So, you might ask, why aren’t these movies already on everyone else’s lists of Christmas movies?

Well, you see, the only issue her is, these movies don’t happen during Christmas 😉

BEND IT LIKE BECKHAM (2002)

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I remember the first time I saw this movie like it was yesterday. I had won tickets to a screening in my hometown and brought one of my friends along. We had never heard of the film nor any of its actors (Keira Knightly and Jonathan Rhys Meyers being two notables among the cast) and given that this was an independent British venture, we didn’t really know what we were getting ourselves into.

I can still summon the state of pure bliss I had inside of me as we excitedly chattered and giggled, floating on a new found air of enjoyment on our way home. It is the first time I truly understood the meaning of a feel-good movie. “Bend it like Beckham” is the definition of a feel-good movie.

We follow Hindu-British Jesminder (Jess, played by Parminder Nagra) who comes from a rather traditional family where the girls should aspire to marry a rich doctor and know how to cook daal in the kitchen. Jess, however wants to play football. Through her friendship with Hammersmith Harriet’s Jules (Keira Knightly) she manages to steal away and play football on a higher level than with the boys in the park. But trouble arises as both girls fall in love with their coach, the ever smouldering eyed Jonathan Rhys Meyers, and as Jess’ family demands and football matches inevitably have to clash and a choice needs to be made.

The colourful juxtaposition of the grey and drab (sorry Britain) British suburban lifestyle with the deep pinks and paradise turquoise in the garbs and festivities of the Hindus, is what makes this film something more than just another “coming-of-age” story. The character gallery is so rich with believable and loveable characters; from Jess’ barbie doll sister and culturally confused father, to Jules’ conservative-but-wants-to-be-cool mother who steals any scene she is in.

I do not know why this is the first movie I think about when somebody says “feel-good”, and I don’t know how it makes me feel this good, but it continues to do so, and I bet that if the backdrop was how the Hindus struggle with celebrating or not celebrating Christmas in a Christian country, instead of the three day wedding they are going through in the movie,  it would be equally hilarious and a movie I would religiously watch every Christmas season.

But I guess football in snow is not that cozy 😉

UP IN THE AIR (2009)

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I recently watched this movie for the first time and almost beat myself up for not watching it earlier. From the poster, I thought this was another “The Terminal” type movie and having just watched that one, and it falling a bit short of my expectations, I didn’t really feel like venturing into this one.

Oh boy, have I been missing out.

The movie has George Clooney prancing around US airports as the self-important, 50 something Ryan Bingham who is hired to fire people for companies. And boy is he having a ball, strutting around with his tiny, wheely luggage, feeling like the king of the world, hoarding up on all the miles. But a snooty little girl (Anna Kendrick), freshly out of university, is endangering his perfect world of no commitment. She has suggested the firing take place online so that travel expenses can be cut. The company likes the idea. Clooney does not. Both his work lifestyle and sexual relationship with likeminded Alex (Vera Farminga) is thus in jeopardy.

What makes the movie a feel good movie, is essentially that you will be happy that you have someone in your life after watching it, because being alone eventually comes and bites you in the ass. It’s almost like this movie already could be set during Christmas times. It’s not like Clooney would notice that very much between his hotel stays and airport lounges.

The beauty of this film lies in the absurd job of firing people, which calls for a lot of funny and weird situations. In addition, it contains a lot of decent observations about life from both the perspective of the honed and life worn Clooney, and the bright and spirited Kendrick who comes with Clooney to learn the art of firing which he has perfected over several years. The little comments will make you laugh, the arguments will make you think and in the end you might reconsider the perceived glamour of a life on the wings. Believe me. I did the same type of life for a while, but driving. At least flying contains some sort of glitz.

(500) DAYS OF SUMMER (2009)

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THE best romantic comedy in recent years. When it comes to Christmas, I really want to watch something romantic or something family. Obviously, my current all-time favourite rom-com needs to make the list.

On this one I will do you a favour and not say too much about what it is about, except that it stars Joseph Gordon Lewitt (so you really don’t need any other reason to watch it) opposite Zooey Deschanel. Its an independent American film, so you know it won’t be the way you think it will be all the way though, AND it contains some lovely visualisations of what feelings would look like if you could see them. It also jumps back and forth in time which always makes for an interesting way of watching a story in my mind. Probably also the factor that makes the movie feel more unpredictable than it really is.

This movie spans a timeframe of 500 days (WOW WHAT? REALLY?) so couldn’t have been a pure Christmas movie, but given that Bridget Jones’ Dairy (the first one) feels a bit like a Christmas movie because it starts and ends on Christmas and has significant scenes in that setting, it easily could have been one for  the holidays with a slight change of mind on the author’s side. And if the girl was named Christmas, then maybe that would have been the more natural route to go, and we would have (500) days of Christmas instead. (Oh God, just the idea of 500 days of actual, stressful, fatty food Christmas, made me vomit a bit inside.) But as the movie is now, it has more of a summer feel. But, I guess, in a cold (and in Norway stormy and snowy) winter, what better is there than to watch a feel-good movie that reminds you of a warmer time to come 😉

And again, not your typical feel-good movie ending, just like “Up in the Air”, but for some reason I feel good. I know why. Hopefully you will too.

KEEPING MUM (2005)

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I know this movie looks shit. That is what me and my cousin thought the first time we looked at the cover (and that was with the Norwegian title; “En hushjelp til besvær” -> directly translated “A Maid Upset”), but we saw the face of Rowan Atkinson, Maggie Smith, Kristin Scott Thomas and Patrick Swayze and thought, hell, at least there will be good acting.

And it is funny. Believe me when I tell you it is funny. We were stunned in disbelief.

As with “(500) Days of Summer”, it is much better not to know what you have gotten yourself into, let’s just suffice it to say that the delightful picture of a tranquil and rather boring English parish will see a more entertaining morning as the maid Grace (Maggie Smith) comes to town with her own agenda for the family of the local priest (Rowan Atkinson). Both observations of life, characters and the dialogue is delightful and at its best hilarious.

It has always been a mystery to me how such a gem of a comedy could have been surpassed by the mainstream and the cinema screenings. It has first-class actors, and should have easily been sold world wide. But I didn’t hear about this movie till my cousin picked it out of a pile of random DVDs on sale.

So please watch it, and make this movie the cult classic it deserves to be. Hell, make it your new Christmas movie, because although there is no snow, this movie is definitely about family and family values. Although with a distinctly British feel. That is grey and drab 😉

Do you have any movies that should have been or could have been Christmas classics?

PS: “Up in the air” and “Keeping Mum” are available on Netflix. The other two you can borrow from me 😉

So, all of these movies are probably off the big screen by now and you will have to wait for the downloads to become decent, or you know…buy them. Alternatively forget about it and remember a year from now when they pop up on Netflix and then remember that I had something to say about that movie. That is fine. I can wait for your opinions 😉

The summer has been plagued by science fiction and doomsday flicks, most of which I would gladly have waited to watch until no one cares about them anymore. But alas I have a boyfriend who loves me and wants to take me to the cinema so I had to watch quite a lot of them 😉

I will review the ones I remember, which is about four movies, in one paragraphs. You can always ask me if I have seen any of the other summer blockbusters. Just suffice to say that if the answer is “Oh yeah, I watched that one as well”, then it wasn’t really good, I have already gone in denial over the fact that I watched it and you should seriously scrutinise all of the reasons for why you would like to waste your life on it 😉

Movie Number 1:

World War X

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This was the first movie we watched after coming back from summer holiday in Sicily (HAD to squeeze in THAT somewhere now didn’t I;). Normally I am not a fan of zombie pics, because in general they try to scare me, and I am not easily scared and I don’t enjoy being scared when they actually achieve it. So there, not a horror film kind of person. But after having my eyes yanked open by the genius that is “The Walking Dead” series, I am more inclined to see the value in a doomsday zombie flick. Because it is interesting to see how people react in such situations and how they survive. Not in this movie though. I am sure if I read the book, it would all make sense, and on some simple stupid level it does make sense, but it is just that. TOO simple. And Brad Pitt is such a genius that he replaces the clumsy  virus expert about five minutes into the movie. Sure…that’s believable… To be honest, I do remember liking aspects of the movie. There are some amazing visuals of these crazy, rabid (no not the slow and stupid kind) zombies running around. Especially in the beginning where I had no idea exactly what was happening because we saw it all from Brad Pitt “The Father”‘s viewpoint, before he emerges as “The Super Spy” and gets to know everything. The not knowing, which would be the situation we would all be in as regular people, is very interesting and scary on in different dimension, and I wish the film would have explored that side of the situation more rather than becoming a regular dooms day, one guy saves the day flick.

CONCLUSION: Although there are some clever ideas, it is just not well enough though through and makes some jumps that are just too simple to be believable. But my boyfriend liked it so you might like it as well (although Israel featured prominently in the movie so that might be the reason why he loves it)

Movie Number 2:

The Lone Ranger

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Since the boyfriend got to decide the Brad Pitt movie, I decided that we had to go see the Johnny Depp movie 😉 And that is exactly the problem with this movie… The people of the film business just HAVE TO realise that they can’t have a movie with Johnny Depp as the sidekick. It doesn’t work. Because he ISN’T a sidekick, nor will he ever be one. And since the story is really centered around the pure and noble lawyer become outlaw which is the main character, and not the scarred indian child turn weird shamanesque outcast, this balance becomes wrong because they do give alot of space to Johnny Depp, but they have to give equal space to the Lone Ranger and the movie just becomes long and taxing. And I don’t care about the lawyer. I care about the indian. I care about Johnny Depp. It should have been about his character 100%, then it might have worked. And they can blame critics all they want for their failure, if it WAS a good film, it wouldn’t have stopped people watching it that some critic thought it was below par. But I did laugh a lot and there are some amazing stunts and to be honest if you like Jack Sparrow, you will like this indian too.

CONCLUSION: If you are a Johnny Depp fan, go for it. If not, then maybe consider how much of a western fan you are before you are locked in front of a screen for nigh on three hours. If you would rather watch a shorter Johnny Depp venture, watch the underrated “Dark Shadows” which suffers from a bad title, but is a great watch for any Depp/Burton fans out there 😀

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Movie Number 3:

Oblivion

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There is a lot of these “lonely person walking in desolation” kind of posters out there. Though I guess it’s logical 😉

Oblivion we downloaded, and again, a film that is visually stunning with a desolated planet, the empire state building tower sticking up from the sand and just in general stunning landscapes which never become monotone and boring. And again, the idea is very good and I like some of the concepts and rules that govern this film-world of “The Oblivion”, of which I will not relay too many here, but again it all just isn’t clear enough. Loads of it is confusing. But I have to confess I might be to blame because the film didn’t grab me so I was at times distracted by other electronic devices. But a film should stand the test of not making me want to reach for a different entertainment medium while I am watching. Probably an excellent movie for the cinema. And boy has Tom Cruise gotten old. And apparently he is an old war veteran, a fact that eluded me till the end of the movie, and I just don’t buy it. He doesn’t strike me as a war veteran. But what do I know.

CONCLUSION: I know you should only watch this if you are prepared for wanting the movie to be really good, but it not really ever getting there. But still stunning effects, camera work and production design which shouldn’t leave you feeling too empty hearted.

And Movie Number 4 (the last movie):

Iron Man 3

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Last but not least really is an appropriate expression here. This movie was devoured this weekend the day before a wedding in a hotel bed on my boyfriends laptop with poor sound. And STILL I think this movie was ten times better than any of the other two Iron Man instalments. Now usually with Iron Man I find Robert Downey Jr.’s cocky Tony Stark too much to handle. Which is why I loved him in “The Avengers” where his personality was balanced off the others and actually became funny rather than annoying. And someone in the production of Iron Man 3 has also realised that it needs to be dialled down. And they have done it brilliantly so. I don’t think Robert Downey has fought so many frames without the Iron Man suit or only part suit, and it is admirable. It all becomes more personal. He is also suffering from some nervous breakdowns after all he has been through, which is an interesting addition. I am not saying that this is an Oscar winning feature and deserves all praise. It is still only a superhero movie, but it is a good one and an entertaining one that delivers all you want from a superhero flick. And it is not often I say this about the third instalment in a series.

CONCLUSION: Definitely watch it if you like Iron Man as you will come in your pants at all the different new suits Tony Stark has been making, like my boyfriend did. And you will like it if you like superhero movies. And let your boyfriend force you to watch it. It is Robert Downey Jr after all 😉

For the future, I am looking forward to enjoy some gobsmacking british dry and dusted humour in the Simon Pegg and Nick Frost flick (guess they are kind of their own genre of comedy now) “The World’s End”. The boyfriend wants to see Matt Damon in action with “Elysium” which I feel, from watching the trailer, is a pointless movie, but as it has an interesting director, I might let myself be dragged along. Until we have the cash to get to the cinema and watch these we might pirate some Dispicable pics or some Miller pics. I don’t know, we’ll see 😉

Until next reviews 😀

So, Easter movies.

What are Easter movies? Do they feature bunnies and eggs? Are they distinctly yellow? Or do they teach us about religious events like the crucifixion of Jesus or the 40-year desert walk by the Jews across the Sinai desert?

My definition of an Easter movie is anything that the TV programmers deem worthy to put on their schedule. And there are few movies that involve any of the mentioned factors above. Granted I only randomly turned on the TV and didn’t plan my days around the different movies that were aired, but I still have a feeling that my selection of random titles represent the average Easter movie. One even has a bunny in it 😀

The wonderful drawings come to life in the mind of Beatrix

The wonderful drawings come to life in the mind of Beatrix

The first movie that I just had to watch, simply because I had that movie at hand for about two years when I lived in UK and I NEVER watched it, was Miss Potter. I love anything with Ewan McGregor so sue me. It had bunnies.

This costume drama is the definition of an Easter movie. You would never bother to spend time watching it any other time than when you are stuck at home (or, as you would in Norway, in a cabin) during the holidays. It is slow and the conflicts are so small that you almost don’t notice that they are there. Oh yes, Beatrix’ parents want her to do anything but become a writer, but she has always been a head strong one what with her already having turned down several suiters to her hand, so of course she becomes one. And even the love story that transpires between her and her publisher, which doesn’t have her parents approval either (apparently “no man” is better than “a man of the same means as themselves”, women should marry up) is so perfect and cute that you know that something bad will happen. From that stolen kiss at the train station, you know they are doomed (no one ever kisses before marriage in proper costume dramas, the sexiest thing is a touch of the hand, if they do kiss, hell will rain on their love). So not a happy ending. But still a movie that will leave YOU happy because it gave you about an hour and a half of calm bliss. And let’s not forget the insight it gives into what it was like to be the first (at least one of the first) female writers and illustrators of children’s books.

A good and healthy love story is key. No backstabbing or adultery.

A good and healthy love story is key. No backstabbing or adultery.

This is what an Easter movie is, a slow, slightly enlightening, beautiful bliss. No hard emotions. Not attention grabbing. We watch those kinds of movies all year. During the holiday we have time to sit down, make ourselves a cup of tea and just enjoy the fact that we have the time to watch a movie like this. While we slowly finish off our Easter egg.

Fun fact: In Norway we fill cardboard eggs with pick-and-mix as a tradition for our Easter eggs. I was so surprised when I lived in the UK and they actually had huge chocolate eggs filled with more chocolate. Now I kind of miss it though. Especially Cadbury’s Cream Eggs. Yum!

Of course, whole bout of Easter didn’t result in just one movie, although the total was only a surprising three. We have been slightly addicted to the ingenious drama “Walking Dead” and spent a lot of time catching up on episodes there as well as spending some time celebrating in the Jewish and Moroccan traditional ways (which I find more intriguing than the Christian ways). Basically we have one afternoon having a Pesar dinner after which the Jews recollect the 40 years that were spent crossing the Sinai desert by spending a week not eating anything made from flour or yeast (that is; no bread or cakes). They have one type of flatbread called Matza that they can eat, and boy do they get creative with that. A week after Pesar, it is a Moroccan tradition (my bf’s mother is originally from Morocco) to get together again and eat loads of cakes and sweets as well as a kind of pancake (Mufleta) that you put honey, rose jam, butter or any kind of stuff on. It is an experience I hope many non-Jews and non-Moroccans will have the joy of experiencing.

Anywho, back to a short relay of the other two movies we watched.

Of course, since I am from Norway, one of the movies HAD to be a crime story. I don’t know if the rest of the world does this, but during Easter there are multiple crime series on television and people stock up on crime books to bring with them to their cabin in the mountain. Maybe that is why Scandinavia has now become known as a place for good crime stories since there is a yearly market for it. Instead of going for a Norwegian crime story, like “Headhunters”, we decided that it was about time that I finally watched “Fargo” by the Coen-brothers.

 

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I LOVE the Coen-brothers for their quirky characters and their way of making pointless conversations say so much about the people in their stories. And boy I wasn’t disappointed here. I don’t want to say a lot about this film, only that it is hilarious (in a Coen/Tarantino way) and that no one should go any further in their lives without having watched it. It has a pregnant detective (Frances McDormand), a weird looking guy (Steve Buscemi) and you know from the get go that shit is going to go very wrong. You just can’t imagine HOW wrong it is actually gonna go. Jah! So watch it! Jah!

Last, but actually not least, we watched the new Judd Apatow comedy “This is 40”.

ThisIs40_20130403I have been skeptical towards this film because of the reviews it has gotten, which claim that the story is weak, and generally I don’t like it when the story is weak. And all the critics were right. There isn’t even weak story, there is no story. The “story line” that they pretend is there is so wafer thin that you forget that they actually tried to hinge these scenes together somehow. But what made me not hate it was that it was Easter, I can waste my time watching stupid movies. AND we laughed. We laughed a lot. It is like watching a series of sketches about what it is like being in your 40s and having a kid in her teens and a slightly younger kid. And dysfunctional families always hits close to home because we might not be AS bad as they are, but we can relate to their situations. And they often react in ways we would never do, but we surely do dream about. So there is your escape. To see what happens when we just do what we want and not think.

I find it amazing that Judd Apatow’s two little girls, who play in this film, are as good as they are. They exaggerate yes, but it is after all a comedy, and what isn’t more fun than being reminded of how absolutely crazy you were as a teenager. It makes me second guess whether I should have children. I don’t know if I could deal with it. For us, a couple in our 20s without any children as of yet, this was a fun look into the future. To see what obstacles will come and be thankful for our living situation right now.

Don’t waste money on this film in a cinema, if it even still runs in the cinemas. It is way more of a “movie night” at home kind of film. Maybe one you put on after the big picture that initially made you want to sit down for a movie, but which has left you so emotionally distraught that you cannot go straight to bed. Save it for one of those days. I guarantee you will like it.

 

This was a little piece of my Easter experience. I hope yours was as wonderfully uneventful as mine 😉

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