Archives for posts with tag: Maggie Gyllenhaal

Ever watch a movie that you can’t quite put in a box? The successful ones are few and far between.

One of those is kind-of-horror, kind-of-halloweeny mystery, with some added time-travel, fantasy and psychological thriller, “Donnie Darko”. If you really think hard about it, “Donnie Darko” can even be just another superhero movie where the superhero makes the ultimate sacrifice.

What genre do you think it is?

The poster of Donnie Darko where loads of stills from the film make up the silhouette of a bunny

The bunny will come and get you!

What is this film?

“Donnie Darko” (2001) is an original screenplay written and directed by Richard Kelly who managed to pull this off as his first feature film.

The film is scattered with famous faces, both faces that were famous at the time like Drew Barrymore and Patrick Swayze, and also faces that has since become a staple on the silver screen, like siblings Jake and Maggie Gyllenhaal (Not-Heath Ledger in Brokeback Mountain and Dark Knight Batman’s love interest).

The movie follows Donnie Darko, a youth dealing with “mental issues” and a big bunny Frank who tells him to do stuff. Whether the stuff is good or bad is really in the eye of the beholder.


Is it any good?

This is a mind-fuck movie.

And I love me a good mind-fuck movie, because there are a lot of great attempts, but only a select few that will actually mess with your brain.

By mind-fuck movie, I mean that by the end of the movie, your brain should be pounding after the excruciating effort it did of trying to makes sense of what just happened.

And even though there are dragged-out sequences in semi- slow motion, that at least now seems like something every graduate from film school coughs up, at least in “Donnie Darko” it’s a thing that permeates the movie on so many degrees that after a while I am kind of fine with it.

Even footage speeded-up or run backwards has some merit here where the topic at hand is time travel.


Frank – the bunny

If someone has ever created a bunny that I would not want to meet in a dark alley, it is this one.
And because it has such a comforting outline paired with such a hideous grin, the creepiness doesn’t evaporate when you get a full frontal look. I still find it scary even then.

Bunnies are aparently a recurring theme in the film, if you can bother to look back and find the long list of shots found by die-hard fans. Also the number eight has people counting and over-thinking things.

Funnily enough, all these details that add up in the end and all the background information that links to different scenes are probably the reason why “Donnie Darko” has gone kult. It rewards the adamant viewers who come back and back again with new little nuggets of a-ha moments.


The Time Travel Thing

Yes, there is time-travel and yes it feels rather believable. I mean, they did bring in Stephen Hawkins and everything 😉

To really understand the idea of time travel used in this movie, I would recommend checking out the chapter descriptions of the fictional book “The Philosophy of Time Travel” which Donnie Darko is obsessed with in the film.

I would never suggest to anyone to go read this explanation before you watch the movie. Let your mind be rattled and see where you end up. What explanation did you come up with?

Once you have watched the movie and made up your mind though, it can be great to see where Richard Kelly was coming from. It won’t necessarily give you a lot of answers but it might make you a little less of a question mark than you initially were.


What mood should you be in?

It fits well in a setting where you kind of want to watch a horror and be a bit freaked out, but you don’t think a good-ol’ slasher is going to do the job.

You also will need some patience. The film is in parts slow-paced, probably due to the inexperience of its first-time director, but fear you not. It is worthwhile to get to the end.

(Although my boyfriend couldn’t handle it and fell asleep).

Be aware that people are prone to lose their thoughts ever so slightly to the vast questions of time and space, fear and love, after watching. But challenge your brain once in a while why don’t yah.


Further Watching

Want some more mind-fuckers? Go for the movie told backwards – “Memento” (2000), the movie told in really short cuts – “Requiem for a Dream” (2000), the movie told in disappearing memories – “Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind” (2004), or the one with the dreams within dreams – “Inception” (2010).

If your mind has been sufficiently fucked, take a look at “Harvey” from 1950. Whether a conscious nod to this film or a total coincidence, it is worth looking at another film that has chosen a giant bunny as the imaginary friend. And how completely different it has been interpreted.


If you like what I read, follow my blog and get ideas on what movies are worth spending your time on. I mean, some 3 hour movies will just steal from your life. Let it only be my life 😉

Next week I will look at the next movie on the ImDb top 250 list: #6 The Good, the Bad and the Ugly. For now you can read #5: Pulp Fiction.


Still from Donnie Darko where someone has written "They made me do it" on the ground

The bunny makes him do it!


Who am I?

I’m a freelance writer who likes to watch movies. I watch Netflix a lot and sometimes there is a long way between the really good movies, whether good means entertaining or profound.

To help you avoid watching all the crap I have had to endure, I will give you some hidden gems or best movies of Netflix right here every month.

Want another good Netflix movie? Check out the chilling community in “Winter’s Bone”!


Why do I think I can talk about movies?

With an over average interest in movies since watching Star Wars as an 8 year-old, and with some background in the industry, I know at least a little bit about what it takes to get a movie made, and have loads of opinions about what makes them great.

But no matter my merits, it is whether or not you agree with my taste in movies that will make these reviews beneficial to you, whether you follow my advice or not 😉


Where can you find the film?

All movies in this Netflix-series can be found in the Norwegian Netflix Catalogue, which is the one I have access to.

If you can’t find it on your local Netflix? File a complaint, they really should have it 😉


If you like what I write, please give me your favourite movie in the comments so I can put it on my list of reviews or sign-up to read my next blog post 😉


If you’re good at something, never do it for free

– The Joker –

The Dark Knight poster

It’s all very very dark

***minor SPOILERS***


What is this film?

The second instalment of the “darker” Batman trilogy by Christopher Nolan (the guy who likes mind twisting you with Memento and Inception). It is definitely, by a solid mile, the best of the trilogy.

This is the first superhero movie to win an Oscar for a creative rather than technical award, namely the Best Supporting Actor award given posthumously to Heath Ledger.

It was nominated for a full eight awards, and is thus the superhero movie with the most nominations, although not for Best Picture, which didn’t sit well with fans of superhero movies.

It is also, interestingly enough, the only movie to rank number one on the ImDb top 250 list only two days after it’s release. It has dropped a little since then, as most movies do, but has remained in the top 5, which is impressive.


Do I think it is good?

Just like everyone else, I love this movie.

And to be honest, it takes quite a lot to make me go from “OK” to “Brilliant” when it comes to superhero movies. There are so many of them, and my interest is so saturated that there is no in between. There is only “Meh” or “God-damn-effin -genius”.

“The Dark Knight” is never boring, it always keeps moving forwards at a rapid speed with gadgets, and funny one-liners, and a story that twists and turns in directions you could never have fathomed in your wildest dreams.

And there is one character who makes all of this possible, puts pressure on time and creates a lot of horrendous fun.


The ultimate villain – The Joker

Heath Ledger makes this superhero movie more than just another superhero movie. And not all of the credit can go to his genius portrayal of the Joker.

The appealing nature of the movie’s villain is basic and goes as far back as choices in the script. Ask yourself, what does the Joker want? A usual villain will want something. He will want money, power, revenge or all of the above. The Joker doesn’t want anything but the chaos he is already creating and revelling in.

Some men just want to watch the world burn

– Alfred –

Thus he become impossible to stop, you have to kill him. And the number one rule of Batman is; he doesn’t kill anyone.

The funny thing is that we get equally mind fucked by the Joker.

The Joker tells the other criminals how his father put a knife to his face and made a permanent smile on his face. We obviously sympathise. He has been through a lot of hard times and is obviously scarred from bad parenting. Later at the fundraiser for Harvey Dent (Aaron Eckhart), the Joker tells Rachel (the journalist love interest) the story of how he got his scars…

And now it is totally different!

We realise we put our sympathy in a pathological liar. No one knows what is true. Maybe not even the Joker. This betrayal is paramount in building the Joker as the ultimate villain.


Will it stand the test of time?

I think it will.

I hope it will.

After six years, it still feels fast, and it is still funny. Heath Ledger’s The Joker still feels iconic and his death has lent it even more eeriness than originally intended.

Heath Ledger himself might be the very reason why this movie has become iconic and the ultimate superhero movie. It has dug out its place at the top of the ImDb top 250 list and will probably stay there for as long as I am alive.

And I 100% think it deserves the spot.


What mood should you be in?

You can be any kind of mood really.

Regardless this is a great movie and it will suck you into its vortex whether you like it or not.


Further Watching

The other movies in the trilogy, although not up to the same standard as “The Dark Knight” (I mean, they don’t have The Joker so how can they), are definitely worth a watch and specifically in order.

Batman Begins” (2005), the first one, is a bit longwinded as origins stories go, but it has Liam Neeson in it so no complaining. “The Dark Knight Rises” (2012) lives in the shadow of its predecessor, but is an entertaining watch.

Batman” (1989) by Tim Burton is worth a watch, if nothing else to look at the a wildly different take on the Batman universe and Jack Nicholson as The Joker.

Other than this I would watch some more of Heath Ledger. I can particularly recommend the movie that made me love him as a teenager, the guilty pleasure movie “10 things I hate about you” (1999).

Or check out “Brokeback Mountain” (2005). A bit overrated, but definitely worth a watch!


Further Reading

For an overview on superhero movies that have been nominated and/or won an Academy Award, check out this article “Oscars Celebrate Superheroes“.


Enjoy following the top 250 ImdB review? Subscribe and get a notification for my next blog post.

Next week, I will get my ass to the cinema and watch a new release so I can tell you whether or not it is worth the money to go 😉


Why so serious? Poster with the Joker of the Dark Knight

The truly genious element of “The Dark Knight”


Who am I?

I do not work for ImDb, I just have a nerdy need to make sure I watch all the movies people claim to be good. In this way I can make up my own mind about whether or not they are a hype.

This is not a per se recommendation from the ImDb Top 250 list, but rather a statement about the movies on the list that hopefully will make you want to watch the movies again, or watch the movie and make up a mind of your own 😉

Or avoid it a movie like the plague.


Why do I think I can talk about movies?

With an over average interest in movies since watching Star Wars as a 8 year-old, and with some background in the industry, I know at least a little bit about what it takes to get a movie made, and have loads of opinions about what makes them great.

But no matter my merits, it is whether or not you agree with my taste in movies (or my boyfriend’s, whose opinion will be noted if opposing my own) that will make these reviews beneficial to you.


Where can you find the film?

You can watch “Batman Begins” (and “Batman”) on Netflix Norway, but none of the other movies. I see what they did there. It might however stream on your local Netflix.

It’s not like you’re going to get tired of watching it, so flesh out the measly £7-£8 and buy The Dark Knight on crispy Blu-Ray for your collection.


Once a month I will review the top 250 movies on ImDb and determine whether they still deserve to be on the list or not. Have they stood the test of time, or are they just there out of habit or historical significance (which does not a good movie make). I start from the top because there is less change in the top films than at the bottom of the list.

Look here for my judgements on #2 on top 250 ImDb “The Godfather” and #3 The Godfather Part II.

Other Fridays of the month, I will look at “New Releases – is it worth a cinema ticket”, “Guilty Pleasures” and I will also be “Unearthing the Best Movies on Netflix”.


I have used several sources in writing this post among them ImDb trivia.

Sign up with your email and get a notification next week so that you don’t miss the next blog post or my next ImDb top 250 review. Next month we will have a look at number 5,  “Pulp Fiction”!

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