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The Pirate Fairy

Great movie for young children - a positive addition to the Tinker Bell universe
I have been a fan of the Tinker Bell franchise, since I started watching them with my children a few years ago. There are relatively few high-quality animated movies that, like this one, are appropriate for very young children, so we look forward to each new installment. The Tinker Bell universe adds a little Pixar magic to the original Disney Peter Pan universe story and brings it up to date. Compare it to the original Disney Peter Pan movie, and it is striking how aged and inappropriate for young children that one feels.

I watched the movie in the cinema during the winter holiday with my daughter (4 1/2 years) and son (3 years). They were glued to the silver screen the hole time and loved it just as much as the other installments. My daughter now wants to be a fairy pirate like Zarina. I enjoyed it, too. I have watched the other four Tinker Bell movies, and it actually manages to renew the universe and bring in new three-dimensional characters like Zarina who tests the limits of Pixie Hollow even more than Tinker Bell.

One of the interesting things in the movie is how they have started to bring in a little more of the original Peter Pan universe in an unexpected way. I would not be surprised to see even more of this in the next installment. I also liked the score, where they added a few pirate songs to the always beautiful fairy songs (I should mention that I watched the Danish-language version of the movie). Summing up, a great movie for young children that adds positively to the charming Tinker Bell universe.

Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind

Most beautiful movie ever made
Eternal sunshine on the spotless mind is the most beautiful movie I have ever seen. What is it that makes it so unique? The most important thing is that the dialog is so utterly realistic and believable that you cannot help getting the movie under your skin.

Just consider one of the dialogs that gave me goose pimples. This dialog takes place when they both realize the memory will soon be gone:

Clementine: This is it, Joel. It's going to be gone soon. Joel: I know. Clementine: What do we do? Joel: Enjoy it.

Or just consider this dialog that took place after Joel had abandoned Clem in one of their first memories together:

Clementine: I wish you had stayed. Joel: I wish I had stayed to. I swear to god I wish I had stayed. I wish I had done a lot of things. I wish... I wish I had stayed. Clementine: Joel? What if you stayed this time?

I have truly never experienced a movie that came this close to portraying real life. The feelings were so utterly realistic that I could not help crying. What a truly magical and beautiful movie.

It makes me think of one of my favorite songs of all time, "At my most beautiful" by R.E.M. What makes this song so fantastic. It's the believability that we can all relate to:

I read bad poetry into your machine // I save your messages just to hear your voice // you always listen carefully to awkward rhymes // you always say your name // like I wouldn't know it's you // at your most beautiful."

The most beautiful art is the one that touches you deep in the heart because it catches the most important aspects of the human condition. Eternal sunshine is one of those films. In fact, when I compare the film to the 500 other films on my ratings list, they do not reach it. It is simply the best movie of all time.

Cet obscur objet du désir

Interest portrait of male obsession of women, but marred by violence and sexism
A movie about the fundamental theme of male sexual obsession with a woman. The wealthy old bachelor Mathieu is intrigued by beautiful young Conchita, who lives in poor conditions with her mother. He becomes more and more sexually obsessed with her as she keeps turning down all his attempts to have sex with her and varies between feelings of love, indifference and hate towards him. He keeps following her around Europe and is increasingly obsessed and violent.

Buñuel lets two women play the same character, symbolizing the conflictual sides of her personality. This is a brilliantly outrageous idea, no matter whether Buñuel intended it or not, as the other commenters have discussed at length.

This brings me to the fatal flaw of the movie. I was disturbed by the sexism, violence, and repulsiveness of the main character because the movie never makes it completely clear where it stands towards him. The movie puts us on the side of the man trying to understand him as he becomes more and more obsessed with her, tries to buy her from her mother, has her deported, tries to rape her, and brutally beats her. His obsession never drives him to the tragedy that would be morally logical outcome, but the movie ends symbolically without conclusion.

Charlot og Charlotte

Feel-good road movie
Cool city girl Charlot ends up with lonely naive country girl Charlotte on a road trip together across Denmark. On their trip to Skagen on the top of Denmark they have many strange and existential experiences, meeting among others an angel, a mass-murderer, and religious fundamentalists.

The movie has great and hilarious moments and is the best Danish road movie I've seen so far (there are not many, though). Naturally, the trip through Denmark is also a personal voyage for the two Charlots, who both learn from each other, and sort out their messy lives.

The movie is definitely a bit uneven at times, but it leaves you with that great feel-good experience, and I love the road movie feeling. R.E.M.'s Monster album works also works perfectly as background music for the movie.

The director Ole Bornedal is the man behind Danish international success movie "Nattevagten", which he later (less successfully) remade as the US movie "Nightwatch" with David Nicholson.

Kaj's fødselsdag

Touching and subtle Danish movie
A group of Danish men take a boat-trip to Poland to celebrate the 40th birthday of Kaj with lots of drinking and women. They wind up in a group from a contact agency for Danish men and Polish women. Kaj is mistaken by Polish Magdalena for her date, who didn't show up at the ferry, and is quickly involved more than he expected.

A comedy on the surface, the movie has many layers. On the surface, it is very funny at times, but throughout the movie is a very disturbing undertone in its realistic portrayal of the clash between Danish and Polish culture. Essentially a social realist drama rather than a comedy, the movie also gives an unflattering depiction of Danish drinking-culture, yet one most Danes would agree is unfortunately not far from reality.

The greatest strength of the movie, however, lies in its striking portrait of Kaj. Overweight, not too bright, awkward and shy, yet very warm-hearted and with something of a dreamer hidden inside, he gives the movie its touching appeal.

Both Steen Svare as Kaj and Dorota Pomykala as Magdalena give strong performances, and she deservedly won a Robert (the Danish Oscar) for best actress. We cannot help caring for them as persons because they are so real.

Director Lone Scherfig has made a similar touching portrait of awkward dreamers in her recent movie "Italian for beginners", which won the Silver Bear in Berlin. Both movies are highly recommended if you want to walk out of the movie theater with a feel-god yet thoughtful experience.


Confusing catastrophe movie
After a natural disaster, the Northern Hemisphere enters a new ice age with temperatures as low as 70 below zero. Society in the US breaks down, and the only place with decent temperatures is the Equator, but it is almost impossible to get there.

This story sounds somewhat promising, I always found those apocalyptic movies kind of fascinating, but the execution of this one is horrible. The story doesn't make sense, something about a group of people from Los Angeles getting a ride on a submarine to the Equator. The movie is full of confusing and ill-placed side stories.

The acting is bad, but the director and the story is partly to blame. None of the characters are likeable, not even the heroes. The only positive thing about the movie is consistently creepy Udo Kier who adds a little ambiguity to this rather silly movie.


Good sci-fi comedy
I saw this movie with Danish subtitles a long time ago, and I found it very funny. It was a little difficult to find it because of its title.

There are at roughly two types of science fiction. One type focuses on the fascination with science and tries to depict the future. Another type seeks to satirize or criticize contemporary society by simplifying the problems in futuristic settings.

This movie is of the second kind. Two men are frozen down and wake up 50 years later in a society populated only by women. Not a very credible story, but that's not the point of the movie. The movie is full of funny dialogues as well as satire of questions of sexuality and the meaning of equality in contemporary society.

The movie is highly recommended. It also gets away with the special effects quite well despite a low budget.

Fawlty Towers

So funny it hurts
Probably the best comedy series ever made. John Cleese is astonishing as Basil Fawlty, and he is supported by an excellent cast. I often find myself laughing so much during the shows that my stomach hurts. The shows don't loose with time or with reviewing, they seem to get funnier each time.

Der Name der Rose

Detective novel set in middle age monastery
Eco's detective novel set in a middle age monastery has long been one of my favorite books of the 20th century. Combining a complex crime story with the intricacies of the complex political situation in medieval Europe, postmodern philosophical reflections about the nature of truth and limits of reason, and a love story on top, the novel holds your attention from start to finish despite its complexity and numerous quotes (in Latin - translated in the back) and notes. The historical details about the political situation in the middle ages are quite accurate, when I studied history some years ago, the book was a favorite among several of my professors of medieval history.

The movie adaptation is not bad and probably could not have been done much better without distorting the story, but it cannot live up to the book. Basically, the philosophical and to some extent the political parts of the book are left out and what is left is the detective story which is somewhat simplified, although probably not enough for people who have not read the book - this is probably the reason for Maltin's negative view of the movie. This is a general problem for movie adaptations, but often the adaptations make up for it in other ways. If you have read the book, it is very nice to put pictures on the places and faces on the characters in the book and watch the action in the way that only a movie can show it. The plot is quite close to the book, so you can use your knowledge from the book when you watch the movie. If you haven't read the book, you have to watch the movie very closely (or watch it twice) to keep tract of all the murders and characters.

Generally, the movie is very enjoyable, and is highly recommended, especially if you have already read the book. I would give it 9 stars out of 10.

The Fifth Element

Visually stunning sci-fi set in French comic book universe.
Possibly the best sci-fi movie of the 90s. Visually impressive and original set in colorful, futuristic universe taken from French comic books. The universe is a mixture of that found in the Christin/Mézières comic book series Valérian and in some of Moebius's works with some hints from Japanese comic books as well (Both Mézières and Moebius (Jean Giraud) were involved in the design). Imaginative costume design by Jean-Paul Gaultier gives the movie a very distinct an innovative style.

I can easily understand why so many people don't like the film because it is so heavily focused on style and impressive sets, and few Americans have had the opportunity to get acquainted with the French-language comic book tradition which ads a special flavor to the movie. It is a mystery to me why so few of the high quality French and Belgian comic books have been published in America (most of these comic books have even been published in my native language Danish).

My problem with the movie was a bit the same I had with the Jar Jar Binks character int the Phantom Menace. I really don't like ill-placed humour in sci-fi movies. Some of the "funny" scenes with the bad guy (Gary Oldman) are misplaced, and the president is seriously miscast. Maybe it is wrong to blame Besson since the inappropriate use of childish humour is not only a problem in this movie, but also in the unfortunate development of the Valérian comics it has been influenced by. Moebius has a strong sense of humour, but in a very strange and surreal way that the movie doesn't even try to copy.

Because of these flaws The Fifth Element cannot reach Blade Runner which I would consider the best sci-fi ever made. Interestingly enough, some of the earlier, darker, and more ideological oriented sci-fi comics by Christin/Mézières have some of the same qualities as Ridley Scott's masterpiece. If there is a sci-fi director out there in need of a good idea, check out some of the Valérian comics from the 70s.

Les parapluies de Cherbourg

Wonderful music, beautiful love story
In the beginning the fact that the characters are singing all the time is a bit ackward, but don't give up on the movie, you quickly get used to it. Some of the songs are wonderful, the kind you can't keep from humming for days afterwards.

You have to know a little French to enjoy the movie fully, it certainly wouldn't work in another language. I'm not too much of a French speaker myself, but the singing actually makes it much easier to grasp the words.

Ok, I admit, the young Catherine Deneuve was one of the reasons I watched the movie in the first place, and I wasn't disappointed, she's truly magnificent. The story about the lost love between a mechanic and an umbrella girl is probably both simple and banal, but I love it. Don't miss this film.

Yellow Submarine

I just love this movie
I just love this movie. Great Beatles score, wonderful, surreal, colourful animations. The story about Beatles trying to save Pepperland from the Blue Meanies is complete nonsense, but who cares. It's a film that makes you happy. And remember...All you need is love.

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