Thursday, October 28, 2010


Directed by Nicolas Winding Refn
Starring Mads Mikkelsen, Maarten Stevenson, Gordon Brown, Andrew Flanagan, Ewan Stewart

Now this is what I call an artsy fartsy picture. I've only seen Bronson from director Refn's previous films and it was an okey film, but in my opinion needlessly dragged on and embedded in weird subliminal flashes and metaphors. That apparently was nothing compared to Valhalla Rising.

 Set around 1000 AD, for years One Eye (a charismatic and mute Mikkelsen, Casino Royale, Clash Of The Titans) has been held captive by Norse chieftain Barde. He manages to violently escape captivity and with the aid of a slave boy Are, the two begin a journey that leads them on board a ship of Christian Vikings heading for the holy land of Jerusalem. They stray away from course in a thick fog and soon find themselves in a strange land where the crew starts to suffer from crisis of faith.

 Now, on the count of Bronson, Refn has been compared to Kubrick for that film being like a modern day A Clockwork Orange which was understandable though Bronson NEVER reached the brilliance of Clockwork. Valhalla Rising in turn brings Terrence Malik's war epic The Thin Red Line to mind for it's glorified depiction of the new world and it's pure nature. The film is beautiful, there's no denying that, but where it hits the rocks is the slow and pretentious pace. Refn described Valhalla (and I'm paraphrasing here) as a viking scifi from a metaphysical point of view. Wow. Okey. That's definitely what it is but a very boring and needlessly cryptic one. This film will surely split the audience clear in two. See for yourself. I wasn't expecting an action spectacle to begin with but this is ridiculous. You have two characters staring at each other muttering a line of random dialogue every six seconds after each other against a stormy backdrop. That's not art, it's pretentious boring shit. Refn wants to use silence in the same way Kubrick did but the thing with Kubrick's films was that he always had a good emotional reason for it kicking in the background whereas Refn almost seems to trust the audience to randomly find or invent one themselves.

Valhalla Rising on tanskalaisen ohjaaja Refnin viikinkifilmi, jossa pohditaan uskon asioita ja olemassaolon tarkoituksia. Aivan helvetin pitkästyttävällä tavalla. On yksi asia tehdä kiinnostava elokuva elämän järjettömyydestä tai järjellisyydestä, mutta vaikka leffa on käsittämättömän upean näköinen ja Mikkelsen on karismaattinen mykkänä soturina, niin koko filmi tuntuu teennäiseltä eikä ollenkaan vangitsevalta. Refn yrittää käyttää hiljaisuutta kerronnan keinona Stanley Kubrickin tavoin, mutta siinä missä mestarillinen Kubrick piti tilanteessa aina, aina henkisen yhteyden hahmoihin ja kerrontaan, tuntuu Refn vain randomisti heittelevän niitä toivossa että kyllä yleisö keksii itse syyn miksi madellaan eteenpäin. En voisi vähätellä rankemmin kun sanon ettei tätä kannata katsoa ainakaan vauhdikkaan seikkailun toivossa.

Valhalla Rising at IMDb

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Directed by Samuel Bayer
Starring Rooney Mara, Kyle Gallner, Jackie Earle Haley, Katie Cassidy, Thomas Dekker, Connie Britton, Clancy Brown, Kellan Lutz

Up until now I've been somewhat on board the horror remake boom by Michael Bay's production company Platinum Dunes because the films have been good (The Texas Chain Saw Massacre) and some even excellent (The Hitcher, Friday the 13th). You have to remember that these are absolute classics that they are remaking and the new ones can never surpass the originals but what's the harm with having fun with the consepts if there's some new perspective and fun to be had? A Nightmare On Elm Street continues the series of new versions but this time something's way off.

 Teenagers on Elm Street start dropping like flies and after their friends confide to each other about their fears of the horribly burned man who stalks them in their dreams, they realise that these dreams and the man in them, Freddy Krueger (Haley, Watchmen, Semi-Pro) is out to get them and if he's able to kill them in their nightmares, they die in real life as well.

 The original film from 1984 is an undying classic and in my personal opinion one of the best and most effective horror films ever made. It is still something that's almost uncomfortable to watch (in the best sense of the expression) thanks to Wes Craven's ingenious writing and unforgiving direction. Even the sequels which always get a bad wrap were effective though they were much more loose and laid back but in the end still very entertaining. This new Nightmare is none of that. It's a very lazy effort free of any actual psychological horror. All the horror in it is based on cheap and easy scare tactics and nothing more. They've basically stripped the original's powerful underlying tension away and replaced it with stupid predictable teen dialogue and ineffective camera tricks. There's nothing to fear here. Jackie Earle Haley gives the legendary Freddy all he's got but in the end he's just simply not Robert Englund. The demise of Krueger is not his fault, but largely of Bayer's who's had no real vision for the film. Colorful visuals alone don't make good horror. Not the worst movie ever made but it does have very few redeeming qualities which aren't even enough on themselves to be mentioned here. The original launched Johnny Depp. This remake will launch a mandatory sequel. Trust me, it's just as sad as it sounds.

Alkuperäinen Painajainen Elm Streetillä on edelleen väkevä ja täydellisesti toimiva kauhuklassikko joka aikoinaan esitteli Johnny Deppin ensimmäisessä elokuvaroolissaan ja teki ohjaaja Wes Cravenista (Scream) legendan. Nyt kyseessä oleva uusintaversio on piloille laimennettu pikkupelottava teinihippa. Originaalin aidosti ahdistava ilmapiiri on vaihdettu helppoihin ja tylsiin säikyttelytaktiikoihin ja oikeasta kauhusta tai sympatiasta hahmoja kohtaan ei ole tietoakaan. Watchmenissä vakuuttanut Haley yrittää kaikkensa painajaisissa murhaavan Freddy Kruegerin kengissä, mutta ei huonon käsikirjoituksen takia täytä niitä samoin kuin roolin historiaan viillellyt Robert Englund. Kannattaa vilpittömästi katsoa mielummin se oikea alkuperäinen, vaikka se nuoremmalle polvelle saattaakin vaikuttaa jo elähtäneeltä. Hyvä elokuva on silti aina hyvä elokuva yhtälailla kuin tämä tulee aina olemaan alempiarvoinen ja pian todennäköisesti jo unohdettukin.

A Nightmare On Elm Street (2010) at IMDb

A Nightmare On Elm Street (1984) at IMDb

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Directed by Oliver Stone
Starring Michael Douglas, Shia LeBeouf, Carey Mulligan, Josh Brolin, Susan Sarandon, Austin Pendleton, Frank Langella, Eli Wallach, Vanessa Ferlito, Charlie Sheen

The first Wall Street (1987) was a very hard look on the quick-buck financial culture of the 1980's. It was a typical Oliver Stone film in the sense that it presented a very cynical look of the greed for wealth and power over simplicity and honest labor. Over two decades have passed and Stone brings the sequel at the most appropriate moment and bases it on the world wide 2008 financial crisis.

 23 years have passed since the events of the first film and Wall Street legend Gordon Gekko is being released from prison. At the same time a young up and coming trader Jacob Moore (LeBeouf) is getting engaged to Gekko's estranged daughter Winnie (Mulligan). Jacob suffers a personal tragedy when his boss and mentor commits suicide and as a result he sets out to seek revenge on the calculating investment banker Bretton James (Brolin) whom he thinks is to fault. Gekko wants to rekindle with his daughter and he and Jacob start helping each other on their respected goals. Gekko hasn't yanked his green tooth though and trouble brews.

 Before I say anything else, I'll admit that most of the trader lingo and business manouvers of these films go right over my head. It is fairly easy to follow the basic plot though because it's quite like watching Star Trek. And by that I mean that I have no idea what the hell it means when someone yells that they have a disrupted plasma coil. You still understand that it means the fucking Klingons have the upper hand, you know?

 I've liked LeBeouf ever since I first saw him in films like Constantine and I, Robot and now Wall Street 2 continues to prove his rightful place among the most talented young stars in Hollywood. The man can act, there's no question about it. Most importantly, he can take on different roles and adapt according to director and genre like in Transformers for example. LeBeouf and Douglas play well together and as great as LeBeouf is, there's no way he can out shine Gordon Gekko, the role that pretty much defined Douglas' career. Stone continues to question the greed which rules the lives of these characters and rightfully so because I too have always wondered what is it about money that turns people into these cold, arrogant bastards. At one point in the film Jacob asks Bretton what's his figure at which the money he has is enough to lay down and live comfortably. The given answer perfectly summarizes the mentality of these hollow suits: MORE.

Osakemaailmassa luultavasti jo miltei käsitteeksi noussut alkuperäinen Wall Steet (1987) sai ennalta-arvaamattomasti jatko-osan 23 vuotta myöhemmin ja lopputulos on Oliver Stonen tapaan kriittinen ja koruton katsaus ahneuden ja sen tuoman kyseenalaisen moraalikadon lopputuloksista, sillä pohjana filmissä käytetään erittäin fiksusti vuoden 2008 finanssikriisiä. Douglasin uran määritellyt Gordon Gekko on taas vapaalla jalalla ja raha pistetään virtaamaan hinnalla millä hyvänsä. Vaikkei monimutkaisista pörssikikkailuista ja kuplista metaforina tajuaisikaan mitään niin leffassa pysyy silti mukavasti kärryillä, sillä tuo kaikki siansaksa on samanlaista pilkunviilaamista kuin Star Trekin teknolöpinä. Ei esim. tarvitse ymmärtää kirjaimellisesti mitä "revennyt plasmakäämi" tarkoittaa tajutakseen että Enterprise on paskana, kohta läski tummuu ja Klingonit tulittaa perseeseen.

Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps at IMDb

Sunday, October 10, 2010


Directed by Roger Kumble
Starring Cameron Diaz, Christina Applegate, Selma Blair, Thomas Jane, Jason Bateman, Parker Posey, Frank Grillo

Geez, where do I even begin?! It's obvious that this piece of shit was made to be the chick version of American Pie. In the Making Of reel the main female cast goes on about how great it was that for once someone put on paper how women really think and act. I don't know whether to panic right now or two seconds ago because these characters are fucking annoying idiots. Please, let this not be an accurate depiction of the female psyche!

 Christina (Diaz), Courtney (Applegate) and Jane (Blair) are best friends who love to go out, have drinks, party and pick up men. Christina bumps into Peter (Jane) and spends the rest of the movie pining for that cute guy she missed out on. Courtney really has no story and Jane hangs out with a hunk with a big cock which gets stuck in her throat. Funny? Nay.

 These kinds of women tend to overanalyze everything related to the men in their lives. Analyze them to death I mean. "Well should I call him or will I seem too eager if I call him? Why hasn't he called me? You think he'll call me? How long should I wait till I call him..?" SHUT THE FUCK UP! Relationships are not that complicated. They only seem to be if you always magnify every little meaningless detail. It doesn't mean shit if he called you now insted an hour from now. At one point Christina blurps out "I'm so tired of the game" which brings us neatly on to the next point I've always had a problem with: the phrase don't hate the player, hate the game. That has got to be the most dumbass, vainest, idiotic line ever uttered. How are we supposed to not hate "the players" (which in itself is a very self-flattering, brainless term) when they're usually superficial, egomaniacal, shallow pieces of shit who only use that said phrase to excuse their rotten core and who only care about a favorable outcome for their little dicks. Literally. I say fuck the players right up their bling bling asses and hate them as much if not MORE than the fucking game!

 The Sweetest Thing is a horrible mistake. Maybe it really is the case that we guys are immature idiots and expect you girls to be the mature ones and roll your eyes everytime we fuck something up. If that is the case then it's easy to point out why this film is such a piece of bat shit. I don't think it's that complicated however. The bottom line is that the script is terrible with it's bad and overly stupid dialogue and LAME jokes. The cast makes it even worse with the exception of Jason Bateman who has the only few amusing moments. Director Kumble (Cruel Intentions, College Road Trip) has boldly shown me the limit of tolerance when it comes to bad comedy. For that I guess I'll thank him. But enough about the greatest abomination to the history of cinema, The Penis Song..

The Sweetest Thing eli suomalaisittain Radalla on jotain hirveintä ja epähauskinta paskaa mitä Hollywoodin "luvattu" maa on koskaan kehittänyt. Vahvoissa naisissa ei ole mitään vikaa, mutta nämä bilehileet ovat vain ärsyttäviä, typeriä ääliöitä. En keksi mitään säälittävämpää tai surullisempaa kuin tällaiset ikääntyvät bilepissikset. Antakaa jo olla ja kasvakaa aikuisiksi. Leffassa mennään pitkälti myös "älä vihaa pelaajaa, vihaa peliä"-mentaliteetin mukaan, mikä on idioottimaisin fraasi jonka olen aikoihin kuullut. Kysympä vain kuinka voin olla vihaamatta "pelaajaa" (joka jo itsessään on itsekehuskeleva bling bling fraasi), kun he usein ovat itsekeskeisiä, egomaanisia tolloja, jotka vain naamioivat mädäntyneen ytimensä moisten onttojen iskulauseiden taakse?! Minä kehoitan vihaamaan "pleijeriä" yhtä paljon ellei ENEMMÄN kuin sitä perkeleen peliä. Ja sitten on vielä se miltei kestämätöntä myötähäpeää synnyttävä Penislaulu..

The Sweetest Thing at IMDb

Sunday, October 3, 2010


Directed by Peter Jackson
Starring Timothy Balme, Diana Peñalver, Elizabeth Moody, Ian Watkin

Everytime I think about Peter Jackson's career pre-Heavenly Creatures, I laugh myself silly because who in their right minds would've EVER figured that the guy behind such gore classics as Bad Taste (1987), Meet The Feebles (1990) and Braindead (1992) would become the Oscar-winning helmer of the LOTR trilogy and other more "respectable" productions like The Lovely Bones and the remake of King Kong?! I wouldn't and to tell you the truth I personally prefer these over his new endeavors.

 Lionel (Balme) is a sissy mamma's boy who has a huge crush on the girl who works at his local corner store. Lionel's mother is a vicious old hag who submits him to her own will. Well wouldn't you know it, she gets bitten by a Sumatran rat-monkey (!!!) and starts spreading a disease around that turns everyone into a blood spewing and really very ill-mannered zombie. Lionel must now overcome the undead and let go the emotional grip of his dead mother.

 That sounds fucking crazy and that's exactly what the film is but in the most glorious way way over the top fashion. You seriously can't watch Braindead with a straight face because you'll either walk out on it with total disgust or you'll cheer and applaude and piss yourself laughing as I almost did. Braindead has been called the goriest film ever made and it very well could be just that. There's so much blood, guts and other disgusting shit that your brain is on the verge of rebooting from sheer disbelief. And let me remind you folks that I sincerely mean all of this as a good thing! Sometimes you need to blow off steam by watching classy films like Elizabeth and Quiz Show.. and.. sometimes you also need to go for other extreme and watch something so incomprehensible that you have to stand in awe and respect the celebration of chaos and brilliant madness. Besides how many films include a fucking ninja priest?! "I kick ass for the Lord!" Geez! After watching this The Lord Of The Ring can kiss my tubby ass.

Voi näitä goreklassikoita nuoruudesta. Ne lukijat jotka eivät ymmärrä mitä hauskaa tai nerokasta on verellä ja suolenpätkillä, eli lyhyesti ilmaistuna gorella mässäilyllä eivät tule tajuamaan tästä senkään vähän vertaa jota ovat tajunneet jostain Screamin tyyppisestä höyhensarjalaisesta. Me muut nostamme käden lippaan ja teemme kunniaa tälle kaikkien goreleffojen äidille ja ihmettelemme vain niin perkeleesti kuinka tällaisen taideteoksen ohjaaja on myöhemmin löytänyt tiensä Taru Sormusten Herrasta-trilogian maestroksi. Hilloa (siis verta eikä mitään helvetin bling blingiä!), oksennusta ja kaikkea muuta inhoa shittiä lentää ja koko sirkusta tuijottaa vähän väliä monttu auki ihmetyksestä että kuinka tällainen älyvapauden riemujuhla on koskaan saatu tehtyä. Sitä paitsi, monessako leffassa muistat nähneesi *ninjapappeja*?! En kaiketi voisi vähätellä enempää kun sanon ettei tämä leffa luultavasti uppoa tosikoihin.

Braindead at IMDb

The very cleaned up Braindead (aka Dead Alive) trailer..


Directed by Phil Alden Robinson
Starring Robert Redford, Sidney Poitier, Dan Aykroyd, River Phoenix, David Strathairn, Mary McDonnell, Ben Kingsley, Eddie Jones, Timothy Busfield, Donal Logue, Stephen Tobolowsky, James Earl Jones, Bodhi Elfman

Sneakers (1992) is one of those movies I grew up on. I used to watch this almost once a week but hadn't seen it now for at least a decade and it couldn't have been better after all this time. Don't you find it refreshing when time hasn't ravaged the memories you hold dear..? It sadly isn't always the case but holy shit how I loved this film still!

 Redford plays Martin Bishop, a man who with the aid of his team of mixed experts tests high security facilities by breaking into them. On one fine day the NSA knocks on his door and let's Bishop know that they're onto his illegal activities from his distant past and are willing to wipe the man's record clean if he and his team pull off a job for Uncle Sam. What they're after is a brilliant code breaking device which turns out to be an extremely dangerous item to anyone who hold it in their possession.

 Sneakers is a perfect mixture of masterful tension and humor. Results on said balance that are as brilliant as this have been attempted by many but they've failed almost without exception. Sneakers is that exception. Director Robinson (The Sum Of All Fears) uses his top notch cast to their best abilities and all other departments are firing on all cylinders as well. Especially brilliant is James Horner's (Titanic, Braveheart) at times haunting and on the other very relaxed and humorous score. The one thing some anal-retentive geek might critique is that the techology is badly dated. I actually heard this as a serious argument for trashing another film dealing with computers and hi-tech, called Hackers. That is NOT a valid argument because A) you don't trash Star Wars either for it's effects being old and not on par compared to recent action films and B) it really has fuck all to do with what's essential in the actual core of the film itself. Sneakers is a brilliant feel good film with a dark and very intelligent edge. A rare gem to find these days.

Whistler: I want peace on earth and goodwill toward men.
Abbott: We are the United States Government! We don't do that sort of thing!


Sneakers (1992) on kohta parikymmentä vuotta vanha elokuva, joka ei ole menettänyt yhtään charmiaan eikä tehokkuuttaan. Allekirjoittanut on tuijotellut tätä leffaa ipanana alituiseen ja luojan kiitos, se nerokkuus jonka muistan leffasta ei ollut vain hyvä muisto vaan jotain ainutlaatuista ja loppujen lopuksi filmi, jossa näyttelijät ovat parhaassa terässä, ohjaus on häkellyttävän taitavaa ja James Hornerin nokkela musiikki viimeistelee huolellisesti kelatun komediajännärin (äärimmäisen harvoin ja näin letkeästi toimiva genreyhdistelmä), joka myös nuoremman polven kannattaa katsoa mahdollisista ennakkoluuloista huolimatta. Suokaa anteeksi karkea ranskani, mutta aivan vitun hyvä leffa.

Sneakers at IMDb