Friday, December 31, 2010

Well, it's been an interesting year for the silver screen. I'm not a professional critic by any means and thus don't have equal opportunity to see as many films, but I have to say that for me of the movies I did see, Inception was clearly the best film of the year. If Oscar nominations don't come knocking, the gala's already shaky credibility will reach new highs. And by shaky credibility I mean, just to name a couple, the lack of crucial nominations for The Dark Knight and the fact that Stanley Kubrick never won a statue himself. That's just gotta be embarrasing.

I have a couple of questions and it would be interesting to hear my readers' opinions..

A) What did you think of Inception?

B) Which men-on-a-mission film was better?
 - The Expendables
 - The A-Team

C) Your own personal favorite for 2010?

Send your answers as comments (link on the top left corner of this post).

Thank you all for reading my dribble. I'll be back at it next year.

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Directed by Steve Barron
Starring Josh Pais, Michelan Sisti, Leif Tilden, David Forman, Judith Hoag, Elias Koteas, Kevin Clash, James Saito, Michael Turney, Toshirô Obata, Sam Rockwell

Yes, that's right, four statues. I kid you not. I decided to give this childhood classic from 1990 a new watch with mature eyes (which isn't always a good idea because most films tend to be shit when you see them again later in life). Jim Carrey's The Mask is good example. Geez, that movie sucked ass when I saw it again. Luckily and believe you me, surprisingly, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles was as good as it ever was. And even better.

 Four baby turtles end up in the New York sewer and through contact with mysterious substance called the Ooze they mutate into intelligent humanoid form along with a former pet rat called Splinter. Years later the turtles, now teenagers, are experiencing growth pains and after being trained as ninja warriors by Splinter, they also have to face a youth consuming criminal gang called The Foot Clan lead by a mysterious and very dangerous ninja The Shredder.

 Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles is obviously a family film, but as such it doesn't follow the traditional rules of the genre, meaning that the film is not corny, tasteless or worst of all, cute. There are serious themes at hand like family, not only from the point of view of the turtles, but the young teens who are drawn into this criminal gang by attraction of togetherness and sense of belonging. After all, that is how real gangs lure young people into their ranks. The tone at times is surprisingly dark but it also allows the film to be taken more seriously. The make-up and design of the tutles are what they are but one, it could be a lot worse and two, at the time it was the best available. I really enjoyed this film after years and years and even though the two sequels this film gained in the early 90's were not as good, they too still delivered the fun. Watch this if you have a chance, you just might enjoy it. I know I did. By the way, there's a remake slated for 2012.

Teini-ikäiset Mutanttininjakilpikonnat on viihdyttävä ja dramaturgisesti yllättävän laadukas perheleffa vuodelta 1990, kun nämä önkkimönkit olivat ensimmäisen kerran muksujen suosiossa. Vauhtia riittää, mutta parasta tässä on silti se viimeksi Transformerseissakin nähty lähestymistapa perheen pienimmille suunnattuun leffaan, eli korni söpöys ja mauton älykkyyden aliarvioiminen on karsittu minimiin ja leffassa on keskitytty vilpittömään viihdyttämiseen ja onpa mukaan ympätty ihan aitoa henkilöhahmojen kehitystäkin. Usein nämä lapsuuden klassikot on parempi jättää unholaan hyvien muistojen seuraksi, sillä muistojen verestäminen saattaa vain päätyä huonoon kokemukseen, mutta tämä filmi oli edelleen yhtä hyvä kuin muistinkin ellei jopa parempi ja se on jo aikamoinen saavutus leffalta jonka nimikin on realistisesti Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. Vitun hyvä leffa.

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles at IMDb

Tuesday, December 28, 2010


Directed by Marcus Dunstan
Starring Josh Stewart, Michael Reilly Burke, Andrea Roth, Juan Fernández, Karley Scott Collins, Madeline Zima, Haley Pullos, Robert Wisdom

I have somewhat of a love/hate relationship this so called violence porn. Meaning horror films that are wall to wall blood and guts executed by serial killers each one more deviant than the previous. The Saw-movies are a prime example.

Arkin (Stewart) is a man down on his luck. Pressured by his ex-wife to pay his debts, Arkin plots a heist on his new employer's country home but is unaware that a serial killer has also targetted the house and is planning to off the family in gruesome ways on the very night he's set to rob the place.

The traps which end up mutilating the victims in films like this are usually clever and give the film the gruesome entertainment value, but at the same time I can't help but wonder how many endless serial killers are we going to see? Seriously, has there ever been killers like this in real life? Guys like Ed Gein, Ted Bundy and Jeffrey Dahmer were indeed fucked up but very practical. I know it's just a movie, but a little realism really wouldn't hurt! Serial killers are sick and twisted people but has anyone gone through these lengths to off their victims?! Highly doubtful and it really is a stretch to get into these Collectors and Saws at this point because honestly the continuous suspension of disbelief is getting a little fucking boring. Even the most glorious gore can get old if it's packaged poorly. Eli Roth's Hostel-films were more than a welcomed breath of fresh air to this genre but nobody seems to have taken a lesson or two from them. Pity. There's a sequel in the works for The Collector called The Collection. Let's hope they freshen it up for part deux.

Yhdeltä näkökannalta The Collector on viihdyttävää goremättöä Saw-leffojen tyyliin, mutta toisaalta nämä kikka kolmosia käyttävät sarjamurhaajat alkavat olla niin nähty juttu, puitteet liian epäuskottavia sekä itseään toistavia ettei kunnon splatteristakaan saa enää täysiä kierroksia irti kun huomaa haukottelevansa mitä kekseliäimmillekin dekapitaatioille. Ihan kelvollista lahtaamista sunnuntaikankkusen ja hyvän pizzan seuraksi, mutta odotukset olivat silti korkeammalla. Tiedän toki näiden olevan täyttä fiktiota, mutta jatkuva ylilyönti ja massiivinen realismin puute alkavat väkisinkin jo hiertää. Keksikää jo jotain muuta kuin näitä loputtomia ansoja askartelevia sarjamurhaajia!

The Collector at IMDb

Thursday, December 16, 2010


Directed by Gore Verbinski
Starring Naomi Watts, Martin Henderson, David Dorfman, Lindsay Frost, Brian Cox, Jane Alexander, Amber Tamblyn, Rachael Bella, Shannon Cochran, Daveigh Chase, Adam Brody

The Ring (2002) is really the film which started the string of American remakes of eastern horror films. The Ring has been followed by others such as The Grudge (2004), One Missed Call (2008), Shutter (2008) and The Eye (2008). The remakes themselves have varied from excellent to fucking shit, but this American version of Ringu (1998) remains an effective and impressive opening act.

Watts plays a journalist Rachel who stumbles upon a videotape after her niece is killed under mysterious circumstances. Rumor has it that the tape kills anyone seven days after seeing it. After watching the tape herself and after some disturbing occurrances, Rachel becomes more and more convinced of the tape's power. She must dive into the mystery and origin of the tape in order to save herself and those close to her.

I for one have no problem whatsoever with remaking films as long as they are made with appropriate taste by talented people who know what the hell they're doing and the films have enough own spin to them so that they are not straight out copies of the originals. The Ring falls safely into that green zone of fantastic remakes. It is a very effective psychological horror film and improves on the original in terms of visual creativity and tension. Director Verbinski (Pirates of the Caribbean 1-3) has created a very unique atmosphere of uneasy but pleasurable viewing because the whole time you have that gut feeling that something terrible and disturbing is boiling under the surface. I've seen this film about four times now and it really hasn't lost much of it's energy as a result of repeated viewing. That's quite something for a horror film. In the end though, horror is like comedy in the sense that it either gets you or it doesn't. I have friends who've considered this a dull film, but I can't watch The Ring without cringing every once in a while. And thankfully from the atmosphere of fear and not because the film's a piece of shit.

The Ring aloitti kokonaisen virran amerikkalaisia uusintaversioita itämaisista alkuperäiselokuvista. Olen huomannut että useimmilla katsojilla on jonkinlainen ennakkovaraus aivan kaikkiin uusintaversioihin ja tuomitsevat ko. leffat edes näkemättä niitä, mutta itse en ole kokenut ainakaan vielä tarvetta moiseen, sillä yleistäminen on etenkin näissä asioissa typerä siirto. Kenties myös siksi että pääasiassa nämä uudet versiot ovat olleet erittäin onnistuneita kauhuelokuvia. The Ring on visuaalisesti kekseliäs, hieno ja aidosti ahdistava. Verta filmissä ei ole miltei nimeksikään, mutta psykologista kauhua senkin edestä, sillä koko elokuvan ajan katsojalla on tunne ettei kaikki ole aivan kunnossa ja että pinnan alla kytee jotain järkyttävää. Se mitä et näe on toki melkein poikkeuksetta pelottavampaa ja The Ring käyttää tuota taktiikkaa mestarillisesti vaikka lopussa hieman leikitäänkin tehosteilla. Kauhu, kuten komediakin, on silti hyvin yksilöllinen käsite. Se mikä on pelottavaa yhdelle saa toisen vain haukottelemaan, mutta omasta mielestäni tämä leffa on melko harvinainen helmi ja aidosti (mitä parhaimmalla tavalla) ahdistava.

The Ring at IMDb

The original Ringu at IMDb

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Directed by Marja Pyykkö
Starring Ada Kukkonen, Sara Melleri, Anna-Leena Uotila, Seppo Pääkkönen, Kristiina Halttu, Heikki Nousiainen, Santeri Kinnunen, Niko Saarela

You know what fucking pisses me off (among a variety of things)? There is no such thing as fresh perspective when it comes to teen drama in Finnish cinema. These films have been somewhat of a trendy item ever since Sairaan Kaunis Maailma (internationally Freakin' Beautiful World) back in 1997. They just all seem to follow that same dotted path and the characters are almost always irritating know-it-all assholes. Sisko Tahtoisin Jäädä (or internationally Run Sister Run!) ends up being no exception to that.

Emilia (Kukkonen [the blond one]) is a responsible teenager who looks after her little sister and does well in school. At a pool party, she meets Siiri (Melleri), a youth rebel who likes to party and doesn't give a shit about rules, what anyone else thinks and wants to live her life to the fullest. Emilia is enchanted by Siiri's freedom and after the two become friends, Emilia's success in school starts to go down hill and she has a falling out with her single parent dad (Pääkkönen in good form). Emilia struggles to find her true self in the new emotional environment that's fallen upon her.

That synopsis sounds like a thousand other teen flicks and in the end that's exactly what this film is. First your characters go out into the world and have fun and are without limits but then some kind of cataclysm comes along and they find out that life is hard but friendships last forever blaah blaah blaah! It's shit. How are we expected to identify with, let alone care about these characters when all you'd wanna do is hold them down and beat the living hell out of them and scream in their face "why are you so goddamn fucking stupid"?! And who the hell are these films made for anyway? The kind of teens it depicts? What are they supposed to draw from them? Life lessons or pointers on how to vandalize and be a loser boozer? Or are these films aimed at a more mature audience in hopes they know what the fuck their idiot kid is doing at the mall. In the end, whoever it's made for, Sisko Tahtoisin Jäädä is just a chronicle about two irritating teenagers. Take it or (as recommended here) leave it.

Sisko Tahtoisin Jäädä on juuri niin vitun ärsyttävä ja kliseinen nuorisokapinadraama kuin sen teatteritraileri varoittikin olevan. Huudetaan mäen päällä kun elämä ahdistaa, dokaillaan, örvelletään ja opitaan sitten kovin kourin elämästä virheiden kautta ja sitten itketään. Vanhemmat on näiden mielestä aina jotain saatanan vajakkeja eivätkä tajua nuoren tuskaa. Kyllä ne tajuaa (ovathan itsekin olleet nuoria), mutta ovat jo sen verran kypsiä että kun tietävät vastauksen ahdistukseen, se menee kuuroille korville sillä sehän on vain ihan clueless faija. On se sitten tämä, Kielletty Hedelmä (2009) tai jokin muu kotimainen nuorten kapinakela, nämä leffat ovat ytimeltään aina aivan identtisiä. Pienet päälle liimatut, koristelua tarjoavat sivuseikat tuovat ainoan eron toisiinsa kotimaisissa nuorisodraamoissa. Ensin on hauskaa ja sitten tulee itku pitkästä ilosta ja lopussa opitaan enemmän tai vähemmän. Samaa leffaa uudestaan ja uudestaan. Tylsää. Ainoat pisteet menevät pikkusiskoa herttaisesti esittävälle Uotilalle, Emilian faijana viisauden äänenä seisovalle "Jasperin isä" Pääkköselle ja Kukkosen perseelle.

Sisko Tahtoisin Jäädä at IMDb

Monday, December 6, 2010


Directed by Max Giwa & Dania Pasquini
Starring Nichola Burley, Richard Winsor, Sianad Gregory, Ukweli Roach, Charlotte Rampling, Patrick Baladi, Sacha Chang, Flawless, Diversity

First off, I didn't see this film in 3D but the official title includes the "3D". Not that it would've made a difference one way or another. A flawed movie is still a flawed movie if you drag it to the 3rd or the 15th fucking dimension. Also, is it just me or are these characters (the "nice" ones included) mainly just arrogant as shit?

Carly (Burley) and her dance crew are aiming to win big time at a high profile competition which would give them a greater chance in the US. Key member (Roach) of their crew takes off and the rest of them are left to withering chances for a win until an esteemed ballet school teacher (Rampling) offers them a place to rehearse in peace under the condition that they include her failing and reluctant students in their dance crew.

There's been a considerable trend for these dance movies in recent years and at the beginning the thing seemed endearing and sincere but since all subsequent films have been just the same shit over and over again only with different choreographies and casts it's hard to swallow the garbage whole. And why should we? Well, if you have understanding and invested interest in the streetdance culture, these films may please your ticker but otherwise they are badly written shit with hammy acting at best. Rampling (Life During Wartime, Spy Game) is the only real professional actress in sight and it shows especially in the scenes with Burley. Then again, naturally inexperience is cured with experience but it's a shame the audience has to bear the development. The dance scenes (which a few of them are really just cleverly edited montages) are the core and the "story" around them just an excuse to put those said scenes on the screen. Again, that is all fine if you appreciate the culture but if you don't, like myself, there's really very fucking little to enjoy in StreetDance 3D or any other dance flick for that matter. The film was shot beautifully, that I can say as positive. Watch at your own consideration or just watch the greatly more interesting and fun Run DMC ft. Jason Nevins video It's Like That instead.

StreetDance 3D jatkaa viime vuosien trendiä tanssileffoista joissa heilutaan ja vatkataan saatanasti, mutta unohdetaan luoda edes nimellisesti kiinnostava ja kekseliäs tarina mukaan. Nämä filmit ovat kuin toimintaleffoja, joissa vauhdikkaat takaa-ajot ja räiskinnät on vain korvattu koreografioilla, mutta kylmä totuus on silti että jos katukulttuuri vinoine lippiksineen ei kosketa pätkääkään (kuten allekirjoittanutta), niin näissä leffoissa on helvetin vähän jos ollenkaan mitään viihdyttävää. Myöskin, olenko ainoa jota vituttaa ankarasti näiden hahmojen selvä ylimielisyys? Kässäritkin näissä filmeissä ovat aina sitä samaa tyttö-kohtaa-pojan huttua, jossa ei ole mitään eloa ellet sitten kenties ole romantiikankipeä teini jolle kelpaa Twilightitkin aidosta tunteesta. Katsokaa mielummin alle lisätty huomattavasti viihdyttävämpi Run DMC ft. Jason Nevinsin video It's Like That.

StreetDance 3D at IMDb


And then there's the traditional trailer: