Sunday, February 27, 2011

 Most of us have at least some kind of expectations when it comes to the Oscars. We most likely haven't seen all or most of the films nominated, but still form opinions on who should win according to the ones we have seen and also according to filmmakers we cherish. Here are some I personally am rooting for come game time...

 Useimmilla meistä on edes jonkinlaisia odotuksia tulevasta Oscar-gaalasta, vaikkemme todennäköisesti ole nähneet kaikkia tai useimpia ehdolla olevia filmejä. Silti valitsemme suosikkimme näyttelijöistä näiden persoonien ja aiempien töiden perusteella ja leffaehdokkaista niissä esiintyvien näyttelijöiden tai taustalla vaikuttavien elokuvantekijöiden mukaan. Seuraavassa omia veikkauksia voittajista...

Presumed winners highlighted
Olettamani voittajat vahvistetulla fontilla

Personal favorite = (PF)
Oma suosikkini

Best Picture: 127Hours                                                                                    
Black Swan
The Fighter
The Social Network
The King's Speech
Inception (PF)
Toy Story 3
Winter's Bone
The Kids Are All Right
True Grit

Best Actor:

Javier Bardem Biutiful
Jeff Bridges True Grit
Jesse Eisenberg The Social Network
Colin Firth The King's Speech (PF)
James Franco 127 Hours

Best Actress:

Annette Bening The Kids Are All Right
Nicole Kidman Rabbit Hole
Jennifer Lawrence Winter's Bone (PF) 
Natalie Portman Black Swan
Michelle Williams Blue Valentine

Best Actor (Supporting Role):

Christian Bale The Fighter (PF)
John Hawkes Winter's Bone
Jeremy Renner The Town
Mark Ruffalo The Kids Are All Right
Geoffrey Rush The King's Speech

Best Actress (Supporting Role):

Amy Adams The Fighter (PF)
Helena Bonham Carter The King's Speech
Melissa Leo The Fighter
Hailee Steinfeld True Grit
Jacki Weaver Animal Kingdom

Best Director:

David Fincher The Social Network (PF) 
Ethan & Joel Coen True Grit
David O. Russell The Fighter
Darren Aronofsky Black Swan
Tom Hooper The King's Speech

Best Adapted Screenplay:

127 Hours
The Social Network (PF) 
True Grit
Winter's Bone
Toy Story 3

Best Original Screenplay:

Another Year
Inception (PF)
The Fighter
The King's Speech
The Kids Are All Right

Best Animated Feature:

How To Train Your Dragon (PF)
Toy Story 3

Best Original Score:

127 Hours
How To Train Your Dragon
Inception (PF) 
The King's Speech
The Social Network


Directed by Tom Hooper
Starring Colin Firth, Helena Bonham Carter, Geoffrey Rush, Derek Jacobi, Guy Pearce, Michael Gambon, Claire Bloom, Timothy Spall, Jennifer Ehle, Eve Best

The big favorite for the 2011 Academy Awards had to be seen before the big event itself (later today in fact) and even though my personal favorite, Inception may not win the statues it so rightfully deserves, it's a relief to know that should it fall in the wake of The King's Speech, it has still lost to a great effort.

 The film depicts the sudden rise to power of King George VI of Britain (Firth) after his brother abdicates. The King has a dreaded stammer and his Queen (Carter) enlists the help of an unorthodox speech therapist by the name of Lionel Logue (Rush). The two men get off to a bad start, but as his stammer gets worse, the King begins to trust Logue and their dawning friendship starts to take shape.

 The King's Speech is exactly the kind of film which the Academy favors. It has a broad canvas, essential themes and the feel of greatness. Firth and Rush are both up for statues and I'd be pleased to see either one of them as a winner, though as powerful and magnificent as Firth's interpretation of the King is, it's Rush's Lionel Logue who really stands out from the film with his unconventional treatments and personality. Also, director Hooper (The Damned United) is man of whom we can expect many great films in the future. I hope. A special mention must go out to the photography of the film which too is unconventional to say the least. At times, the characters are placed within the frame in very weird compositions and occasionally with lots of dead space above their heads which really creates a very unique look. It's very weird if you pay attention to it, but surprisingly it works well. Another traditional method questioned with great success.

Kuninkaan Puhe on loistava leffa, jos haluaa keskittyä taidolla kirjoitettuun ja etenkin upeasti näyteltyyn aikuisten draamaan. Historiallisesti hyvinkin paikkansa pitävä leffa on suuri suosikki tänään yöllä pidettävässä Oscar-gaalassa ja vaikka itse kampanjoinkin Inceptionin puolesta, on mukava tietää että jos kyseinen leffa ottaa takkiin Kuninkaan Puheen hallitessa, niin kilpailijakin on patsaittensa arvoinen. Ja sitä se on. Erityinen maininta pitää vielä antaa filmin erittäin eriskummallisesta kuvauksesta, sillä kuvakompositioiden kanssa on rikottu "sääntöjä" ja ajateltu laatikon ulkopuolelta. Lopputulos on erikoisen näköinen, mutta onnistunut.

The King's Speech at IMDb

Thursday, February 24, 2011


Directed by David Fincher
Starring Jesse Eisenberg, Andrew Garfield, Brenda Song, Justin Timberlake, Joseph Mazzello, Armie Hammer, Max Minghella, Patrick Mapel, John Getz, Rashida Jones

When I first heard that there was a movie in the works about Facebook.. well my thought was probably the same as everyone else's: "what?!". Shortly after I learned that Fincher was involved. Now, upon hearing news like that, you have to start thinking that maybe there is something here. After all, the man is a true force behind the camera and even a subject such as Facebook got a stylized treatment.

 Socially awkward Mark Zuckerberg (Eisenberg, Zombieland, The Village) is a genius with his computer and spends his time at Harvard writing code in his dorm room. Through some complicated circumstances he hits upon the idea of a social-networking site which proves to be more popular than anybody involved could've imagined. What follows is a story of investigation into the most significant internet phenomena of the 21st century and the crumbling relationships it took to get there.

 The Social Network is a film which shouldn't have worked at all. In theory. It tells the story of these somewhat boring and nerdy characters but through ingenius direction and an amazing string of performances from the cast, The Social Network works beautifully and at it's core it turns out to be a very compelling look into the dynamics of friendship or rather the lack of them while still coming together for the same agenda. I'm not surprised that this film has gathered all this attention around it and as brilliant as Eisenberg is in the lead role, for me personally it was Andrew Garfield (The Imaginarum Of Doctor Parnassus and the upcoming The Amazing Spider-Man) who delivered the most memorable performance as Eduardo Saverin, the hard working but yet backstabbed collague of Zuckerberg.

Luultavasti jokainen joka aikanaan kuuli että Facebook-sivustosta oltiin tekemässä elokuvaa, ajatteli samaa kuin allekirjoittanut: "mitä?!". Lopputulos on kumminkin jotain mitä ei voi katsella alas silmiä pyöritellen, sillä The Social Network on vahva ja erinomaisesti toteutettu draama ihmisistä kyseisen saitin taustalla ja heidän kaatuvista lojaalisuuksistaan. Ohjaaja Fincher (Fight Club, Se7en) on aikaisemminkin takertunut vaikeasti filmattaviin aiheisiin (Fight Club) ja tehnyt niistä mestariteoksia ja vaikkei tässä elokuvassa päästäkään aivan samoihin nerokkuuksien stratosfääreihin, on kyseessä silti loistava katselmus yhden 2000-luvun alun merkittävimpiin virstanpylväisiin kuuluvan sosiaalisen nettisivuston katkerasta alkutaipaleesta.

The Social Network at IMDb

Wednesday, February 9, 2011


Directed by Rodrigo Cortés
Starring Ryan Reynolds, Ivana Miño, Stephen Tobolowsky, Robert Paterson, José Luis García Pérez, Samantha Mathis

Holy shit. Personally, I admire nothing more than these "one man shows", films which revolve around the talent of a single actor or actress. Buried is such a film and a few others are Cast Away (2000) with Tom Hanks, Phone Booth (2002) with Colin Farrell and most recently 127 Hours (2010) with James Franco. The latter I haven't seen yet but all the others are a true pleasure to watch because they are brilliant performances in their purest form.

 Paul Conroy (Reynolds) is a US contractor who wakes up buried in a simple wooden coffin, buried beneath the dirt by Iraqi terrorists. He quickly discovers few items buried with him such as a lighter, a phone, a pencil and few other crucial things. The phone is his only link to the world above and Paul sets out to get help before his time and oxygen run out.

 Reynolds and Miño are the only visible actors in the whole film and Miño only through two videos via phone. Everybody else literally phone in their performances. The film is a masterpiece of minimalist approach as the whole film literally takes place inside the box which holds Conroy. The atmosphere is very claustophobic throughout and although the filmmakers could've easily made a boring film, Buried is anything but dull. Reynolds delivers his best performance yet of the one's I've witnessed and the script keeps throwing little twists which still do not belittle the tone, all the way to the very memorable ending. This really is a very intelligent film, not perhaps in terms of plot development but indeed of giving the audience a truly horrific experience of being buried alive up close and personal. After Inception, Buried is easily the best film I've seen from what 2010 had to offer.

Buried eli näin suomalaisittain Haudattu on kiduttavan ahdistava elokuva miehestä, joka haudataan elävältä. Katsoja on koko elokuvan ajan ahtaasti Ryan Reynoldsin (X-Men Origins: Wolverine, Smokin' Aces) kanssa arkussa, sillä missään vaiheessa filmiä ei näytetä oikeaa kuvaa ulkopuolelta vaan ainoastaan nopeasti kahden kännykkävideon kautta. Klaustrofobinen tunnelma on jatkuvasti päällä ja Reynoldsin luoma Paul Conroy on sen verran samaistuttava hahmo, että katsoja elää samaa jännitystä Conroyn kanssa niin ajan kuin hapen loppumisen pelossa. Näitä "yhden miehen show"-leffoja (Cast Away, Phone Booth) on aito nautinto katsoa, sillä ne nojaavat koko taakallaan yhden näyttelijän harteilla ja jos hän epäonnistuu uskottavuudessaan, luhistuu koko elokuva ympärilläkin. Näin ei ole käynyt esimerkkinä antamissani leffoissa eikä niin tosiaan käy tässäkään elokuvassa. Buried on mestariteos, joka kannattaa katsoa kun on aidosti aikaa keskittyä hyvään leffaan.

Buried at IMDb

Sunday, February 6, 2011

Directed by Terry Gilliam
Starring Heath Ledger, Christopher Plummer, Lily Cole, Andrew Garfield, Verne Troyer, Tom Waits, Johnny Depp, Jude Law, Colin Farrell, Peter Stormare

Let's be brutally honest here and say that this film would never have gotten the attention it did if it wasn't for the untimely departure of it's leading man. A modern The Crow-syndrome if you will. Of course, then again media attention has never been and will never be a measure of a good motion picture. The Imaginarium Of Doctor Parnassus received extra press but people still weren't too interested, most likely because the film is quite heavy.

 Dr. Parnassus (Plummer) travels the modern day Britain with his mobile theatre and offers people access to his "Imaginarium". Behind the scenes it's a different story though, since he's made a vager with the devil himself (Waits) and the price is nothing less than the soul of the beautiful Valentina (Cole) travelling among the crew. Along comes Tony (Ledger), a mysterious stranger who helps Parnassus turn his theatre into a success.

 Gilliam has never been a favorite for large audiences and to tell you the truth, his films thus have hardly been accessible with perhaps the exception of The Fisher King (1991), 12 Monkeys (1995) and The Brothers Grimm (2005). Parnassus, again, is anything but easily accessible. It's immersed in the crazy fantasy world of the Imaginarium (in which the character of Tony changes appearance due to Ledger's demise and his character is also played by Depp, Law and Farrell who all donated their fees from the picture to Ledger's daughter, Matilda) and is stretched very far at times. Still, when you consider the amount of work and sacrifice that went into this film, it's nice to find out that it wasn't for nothing because the finished picture is solid, although uneven towards the third reel. I wasn't previously aware that Andrew Garfield was in Parnassus, but since that is the case, I now got the first chance to see the man in action before seeing him in The Social Network (2010) and the Spider-Man (2012) reboot which is being filmed now. He is comfortable in front of the camera and I think we can expect great things in the future.

The Imaginarium Of Doctor Parnassus on ohjaaja (ja Monty Pythonistakin tutun) Terry Gilliamin paluu Paroni Von Munchausenin Seikkailujen (1988) kaltaisen fantasian pariin. Olihan tässä välissä toki Grimmin Veljekset (2005), mutta tuossa leffassa ei kumminkaan päästy täysillä irrottelemaan mielikuvituksen syövereihin, toisin kuin nyt Parnassuksessa. Halusi tai ei, leffan väistämätön vetovoima on Ledgerin kuolema ja sen aiheuttamat mutkat tuotannossa, joita on paikkailtu Deppin, Law'n ja Farrellin suorituksilla samaisessa Tonyn roolissa. Vaikka Leffa onkin hienoa katseltavaa Gilliamille tyypilliseen tapaan, se silti joutuu pinnistelemään aikalailla kolmannessa kelassa pitääkseen narut käsissä, mutta onnistuu siinä silti ihan kivasti ja sallittakoon tuo, koska olosuhteet ovat pakottaneet kaverit ajattelemaan kovin luovasti laatikon ulkopuolelta. Kevyenä popcorn-viihteenä tätä ei voi pitää, mutta pohdinnan iltapalana kylläkin.

The Imaginarium Of Doctor Parnassus at IMDb

Wednesday, February 2, 2011


Directed by Ben Affleck
Starring Ben Affleck, Jeremy Renner, Rebecca Hall, Jon Hamm, Blake Lively, Slaine, Owen Burke, Pete Postlethwaite, Chris Cooper, Titus Welliver, Victor Garber

Back when Affleck was making dime a dozen action films like Paycheck and Daredevil, it really would've been a stretch to imagine him as a talented director of such serious films as his directorial debut Gone Baby Gone (2007) and now The Town. Nevertheless, that is what we've come to and the success behind the camera suits the man well.

Doug MacRay (Affleck) is a bank robber and after he and his crew pull a heist on a bank, he finds himself falling for the manager (Hall) of the bank. Also in play are MacRay's long time friend and loose cannon James (Renner) and FBI agent Adam Frawley (Hamm) who's looking to bring the whole crew down.

Gone Baby Gone came out of nowhere in terms of the kind of film it was and what was expected of Affleck as a director. And believe it or not, I don't mean that as an insult but rather just an observation that he had hardly displayed any proof of his skills on grown up dramas with the exception of Chasing Amy (2007), Good Will Hunting (2007) and Jersey Girl (2004). The Town is a strong tale and told very well accompanied with memorable performances from Renner, Postlethwaite and especially Cooper as MacRay's imprisoned bank robber father. I'll be looking forward to what Affleck grabs onto next.

The Town on hieno draama ystävyksistä, jotka keikkaavat pankkeja ja joiden välille syntyy jännitettä kun toinen rakastuu edellisen keikan panttivankiin. Leffassa on myös mukiinmeneviä toimintakohtauksia, mutta tätä filmiä ei silti kannata lähteä katsomaan pelkän rymistelyn toivossa, sillä silloin pettymys on suuri, kun tylsyys iskee monesti toimintabiittien välissä, mutta nimenomaan vain jos se on ainoa mitä olet tullut hakemaan. Muilta näkökanteilta The Town on hienojen roolisuoritusten ja Affleckin itsensä hyvän ohjauksen ansiosta erinomaisesti toimiva elokuva. Näin ei olisi uskonut vielä jonkin aikaa sitten kun mies työsti isoilla näyttelijäpalkkioilla keskinkertaisia ja huonoja toimintaleffoja kuten Pearl Harbor ja Daredevil. Mielenkiinnolla jään odottamaan millaiseen proggikseen mies asettuu seuraavan kerran kameran taakse.

The Town at IMDb