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Reviews

The Oak Room
(2020)

A stormy cold day
The Oak Room is a good movie with a creepy feel. It's all about the mystery and the mood - and he dialog. It all starts with a man entering a remote bar in a snow storm as it's closing for the evening. The man is known to the bartender, and the meeting is the start of an eerie evening, with a story told the very same way this movie starts. Who are these men, how are they interconnected?

Well played, and with good tension, this movie unfolds like a theatrical chamber play where it lies in the dialog.

Al morir la matinée
(2020)

The Cinema Paradiso of horror
It's a soaking wet day with rain pouring down and one of the best hings to do is to go seek refuge in a great old cinema. There's only a problem: A scary murderer is on the loose and he also has taken refuge there.

That's the plot of the Uruguayan horror movie Red Screening (Al morir la Matrinee) which is a throwback to old 80'ies horror movies, where colour and style is more important than the believeability of the plot. It's a beautiful, dark and very moody film, which is a treat to see.

Thoughts go to both Scream, Cinema Paradiso, Stage Fright and even the rains of Blade Runner, and I'm quite sure the film makers have seen them all. A real treat, and well played.

Ya ne splyu
(2020)

Nasty and well made
Sleepless Beauty (Ya ne splyu) is in the cathegory torture-horror, not unlike the Saw movies. It's gritty, dirty, bloody and very well made.

A young woman doesn't realize she is under heavy surveillance until she finds herself locked up in a cellar-like building, where she finds she is under scrutiny by cameras. She's online, and participant in an awful experiment, which only the admins know what is about. The paying viewers are just passive, though participating through the chat. Soon she realizes she's in for a nightmare due to her having taken an abortion some time back.

The film takes time to be both mystical and explaining, and will satisfy fans of torture horror mobies.

De kuthoer
(2019)

A bit of fun? - Very nastily enjoyable
The Columnist (De kuthoer) is well made gore-thriller about a female newspaper columnist which gets a lot of abuse online, and decides she won't take it. She starts confronting the abusers, which also are among those close to her life. The film is well played, especially by the main role, which really is 100% believable. Production value is good, and we all know how it is to surf the net, reading all the nastiness. Should we all prevail, or do something about it? This movie told in a somewhat hitchcockian style is a ripe thriller and a joyful watch - if you like films on the more macabre and dark funny side. The film is far from laugh out loud funny, but you tend to enjoy the cozy nasty bits, due to only the way it is made.

The Mole: Undercover in North Korea
(2020)

Amazing stuff, once more Walraff Brügger
Mads Brügger is better than ever when he uses others as walraff mole to uncover the nasty secrets of North Korea and their disiples. I was tied to the screen for every second of this, and if you ever thought that the North Korean regime was up to any good, you'll learn better from this. This is very important work, and kudos to the two moles. Fantastic work, and important work for world human community.

Tills Frank skiljer oss åt
(2019)

Laugh out loud funny, due to good acting
Though this would be both unfunny and boring, but was wrong. Stupid, yeah, but still very funny. Until Frank do us part (Tills Frank skiljer oss åt) is about a woman desperate to find a man to merry and have kids with. Surrounded by bad advisors she decides to lower her expectations for a man, and starts lying due to the other advises, due to "lies being what makes the world go round". She gets involved with more than one man, and the lying starts.

Well played by all involved and a silly but very funny film, due to good writing. Recommended if you need several good laughs.

Wilma
(2019)

SHORTREVUE: Maybe funny about serious topics?
The Islandic short Wilma is seemingly about an estranged father meeting his young son William again, just after the son has decided he is gay, and wants to be called Wilma. But the isn't about that at all. It dissolves into a prejudiced and rather stupid tale about really nothing, before it ends without any meaning except what you least want. Acting is overacted, but production values are OK.

The Personal History of David Copperfield
(2019)

A complete and utter mess of a Charles Dickens story
I haven't been so angry after a cinema experience since i saw The Hottie ans The Nottie, and that was better than this utter piece af movie shambles. If you love the original story or any of Charles Dickens stories, do yourself a favor an avoid this at all costs. Imagine a Dickens story, half costume drama where the only thing left in the story to remind you of the original is the names David Copperfield and Uriah Heep filmed with shaky cam, filled with humorless bad jokes. What's even worse is pathetic actor instructions and the fact that the story is as dull as dishwater. What an awful movie, and a disgrace to the memory of the great Charles Dickens.

Kometen
(2017)

The loss of a father and the need to believe
The Comet - Kometen - is a small well made gem of a movie with basis in the Norwegian Film Scholl Academy. The movie has well known actors in most roles, which are all doing a great job. Main character is a young man, Gustav, well played by Axel Bøyum, who is searching for his father which mysteriously disappeared at the same time as a comet was passing Earth, 10 years ago. This has obviously affected his life immensely, and so much that he uses all his time dealing with UFO's and such, when he's not running the small family hotel together with his mum.

The script by Torben Bech is well written, both in dialogue as well in pace, and the directing by Bård Røssevold is quite flawless, and as such very promising.

The story has a nice and eerie feel, which makes up for both tension and excitement. Did the father just leave them, or did he disappear with a UFO? Well, find out for yourself. If you liked this, I also recommend another movie with a similar feel; Orange Girl from 2009, originally named Appelsinpiken.

Greenland
(2020)

One of the best cathastophe/natural disaster movies ever?
Well, I think so, and here i'll explain why his might be one of the best of it's kind, and then I'm talking about realistic catastrophe movie with good acting a.s.o.

Greenland is not only a two hours thrill-ride, it's also an intelligent and quite realistic catastrophe movie. My thoughts went to The Towering Inferno (1974) and Norwegian The Wave (2015), and the very best The Impossible (2012). And I rule out the alien-kind like Indendence day, which isn't that good either.



The film has great story up-building, and doesn't tell to much on why things are like they are, questions will still be answered later on. No over-explaining, but tension-up-building in a good way. the film also make us care about the main persons, and they sweat, scream, are breathing heavy after a run. All actors are ding a great job. The film is well acted, and full of great actors, even in the smaller roles.

When you then also ads a plausible story and mostly very good CGI then there can't be much going wrong. (OK not all CGI is perfect, but its good, especially the fires and comet-fractions.) But the film even takes time to ask very good questions - I won't reveal them here, but the film can actually both make a debate, as well as change how we will react to a comet hitting the earth.

The film also is careful not stereotyping, it's very generous and all in all not only a good script, but als very well made. Kudos to Ric Roman Waugh which really is a film maker to look out for. I love his Felon, Shot Caller and Snitch, which all were impressive. But this is in fact his most impressive so far! Go see it in theaters if you can. This film deserves a large screen - and I'll go watch again tomorrow!

Fantasten
(2017)

Losing control
All in, or originally; Fantasten, is about a middle aged man losing totally control. Claus is a seemingly successful carsales man with a nice flat, but also a compulsive gambler loving russian roulette and all kinds of gambling. So compulsive that he borrows money by some Chinese gangsters. But things gets worse when he gets his 19 year old son Silas mixed up in considerable gambling debts to criminals.

Dejan Cukic does a very good job in depicting the downfall of a man which is like most, seemingly having control, being some kind of world champion, but emotionally is quite disturbed in some kind of way, lacking important relations. He is close to taking his own life when his son suddenly appears, but things might have gone too far when this happens. When he introduces his son to his gambling friends everything escalates out of control.

The film is about losing control, and dragging someone with you in the downfall. Well played and keeps tension, though it's far from any masterpiece. Well worth your time.

Lump
(2006)

SHORTREVUE: Very good and extremely promising
The title says it all. We're at the hospital. The plot is: Every time Christine gets a lump removed, another appears. Increasingly disturbed, she begins to suspect her surgeon is a lot less benign than her tumours. A very well told horror/thriller short with great acting and first rate quality, and shows great promise from film maker Faye Jackson, which is an editor of profession. This is a short the way they should be made. Exciting and a bit funny as well.

En dag til i solen
(1998)

Sweet story from an encounter in a sleepy mediterranen town
The young Norwegain sailor Almar get stranded under odd circumstances in a sleepy Spanish mediterranean island town, while waiting for his valauble pocket watch to be repaired. There he has an accident with the newspaper deliver girl Marta. This is the opening plot of "Water Easy Reach" (In Norwegian: "En dag til i solen", which translated means "Another day in the sun".)

This is acclaimed Norewegian filmmaker Bent Hamer second feature film after the genius "Eggs" three years earlier, and since then he has made several films of which all I've really liked. The tops are Kitchen Stories, Eggs and O'Horten, but every film from Hamer is well worth a watch. So is this film, which I had to wait 20 years to get to see, due to it being rare after being sold out on DVD back in 1999.

Bent Hamer's films are always quite slow paced charming stories about normal people showing their odd sides in the meeting with others. You could call it the every day humor, and making the films a fun and rememberable watch.

Water Easy Reach is no different, and the actors are all doing a great job, like Nicholas Hope here as an English encounter, and of course the lead Eric Magnusson, which also is great. Water Easy Reach is one of those small films which stays with you after you've seen it, due to the charm and humanity which lacks in Amercan films.

Samtalen
(2019)

SHORTREVUE: When others know more about you than yourself
The Conversation (Samtalen) is a Norwegian short, and the debut work of Daniel Paida Larsen.

We meet Benjamin, which has travelled to a unknown small town, where he feels free to be alone, but where he constantly is approached by persons which seems to know him very well, though he's sure he has neber met them before. Meeting strangers which act like they are almost family is threatening to Benjamin, who try to run away from himself.

The film is artistic, and beautiful, but feels abit unfulfilled when it comes to the storytelling. The plot is great, but we would have wished a bit more to the story's ending.

Producer and director Daniel Paida Larsen has with him photographer Runar Sørlie, and the film won best photo at the film festival in Aarhus, Denmark.

Barn
(2019)

Astonishing achievement in explaining human reactions to tragedy
Dag Johan Haugerud's second feature film "Beware of children" or originally "Barn" which means nothing like the English word, but "Children" or "Kids" in English, is a profound movie. The film premiered in competition at the Venice film festival. The film is treating the tragedy as we humas react. We deal with it both depression and humour (!). The film is much funnier than you would expect. We got to laugh about some people's reactions, and are disgusted by other's.

The film starts with it's turning point right away: A 13 year old boy is treated by an ambulance crew in an Oslo suburb school yard fotball field after what seems like a violent episode involving a girl at the same age. She tells she was "just kidding" but admits to hitting her class mate with her rucksack. The boy dies just after reaching hospital, and the school goes into crises mode. What makes it worse is that the scholl's freemale principal actually is having an affair with the boys single father, a right wing politician. The girl's parents are left wings, and the father actually a member of parliament. The film is about what happens, and what is said around the scholl environment and at their homes in the aftermath.

Just like his first feature "I belong" ("Som du ser meg" = "The way you see me") this film is really about human communication. I guess the way we communicate is something which interests director Haugerud quite a lot. and it is really interesting as well, and becomes very clear in his movies. Communication, and here as personal, and not so much through all kinmds of media, which many latter fils have as a theme, is based on so many factors. All humans social communcation is based upon upbringing and environment, and dealing with such a profond tragedy is a difficult matter for all. We was to blame? Was it an accident? Could this have been prevented? Who feels guilt? What was the reason for this? What do you say? What can be said? How de poople react? How can one deal with such a tragedy? How do the people around the main involved react? How can they help? What can't be said? What is said behind their backs? Well, still life has to go on. Even trivial talking about curtains and dinner.

The film two and a half hour long, which is a bit lenghty, but none in the cinema seemed to feel it too long. Me neither. Still I think many will think it's too long. However, it was very different, and quite interesting, though a tiny bit too subtle for to me for giving it a 10/10. Still a film I'd recommend, especially for teachers, but certainly also for people working in environments with a lot of people. Much is actually to learn.

Svartere enn natten
(1979)

80 minutesof quarrelling
The "love-stoty" Darker than night / Svartere enn natten, is about the challenges realtionship between a couple which are masters of bad quarrels. And awful love story by Norway's worst filmmaker couple Svend Wam and Petter Vennerød. The stoty is full of badly written dialog when this couple argue over everything and everywhere. They fight at the bus stop, home, in restaurants, and sometimes they make love. Wam and Vennerød made social realistic films, and this couple is kiosk attendant and garbageman. The final of the movie is worth watching, though, as and insane ending to it all. Maybe Wam and Vennerød's least interesting film.

Voldtekt
(1971)

Real about a suspected rapist
Rape, or in Norwegian Voldtekt, is acclaimed Anja Breien's second feature film, and the film made before her critically acclaimed Wives(Hustruer), and really shows why she grew to be one of the most known female Norwegian film makers. Rape tells how 22 year old Anders Bakken, a youngster with an unstable backround, is suspected to be behind a rape, and another attempt, seemingly done by the same perpetrator. Anders finds himself in a process he can't get out of, claiming his innocense. The trail process is very real, using real and well known laywers as actors in court. The film is holding qualities which I find good, and you also feel the helplessness of the process. Acting is superb, and Svein Sturla Hugnes is very good in the main role. The lawyers impress as actors, as well.

Fifty-fifty
(1982)

Visually OK, but awful ly written dialog
Fifty-Fifty by Oddvar Bull Tuhus is a Norwegian road movie about a fictive band. Some youngsters decide to start a band. Sad to say, the film feels clichéd, nad is filled with bad acting. The dialogue is very poor, due to a rather bad script, and humourous dialog doesn't function. It's actually always way off. The film also lacks the drive to make us interested. The script tries hard, but fails in delivering even the faintest realistic atmosphere. Even the music feels contrived. Visually the film is OK, but the film is an example on how bad Norwegian movies were at the time. Some years later, the Norwegian film industry took grip, and started making films which also got international attention. This, however, is not at all a proud moment.

Hockeyfeber
(1983)

Quite rwalistic, but badly written dialogue
Oddvar Bull Tuhus' Hockeyfeber is following Manglerud/Star, a real Norwegian hockey team in a fictive season where they get a Finnish National trailer as coach. The film is about a Norwegian hockey team trying to make a challenge for the top of the league. The Finnish coach Glenn, played by Jörn Donner, makes the team practice much harder including boxing-training. But there's still lots of personal conflict, both internally within the team and the organization.

The film is quite OK visually, and has a realustic fell, but the play and rsather bad dialogue puts the film down. If it hadn't been for that, this would be a quite good sports movie.

Elva bak huset
(2007)

SHORT REVUE: Behind the House
A young boy struggles with his quarreling parents, and find refuge from it all behind the house, where a small river runs. De decides to change the path. The film is underplayed and short-film-strange in a way that makes you interpret what you want into it. Others will find it frustrating. Director Jon Haukeland has made several documentaries which has made an impact, however this doesn't to me.

Der nede sørger de ikke
(2006)

SHORT FREVUE: Down There They Don't Mourn
Two classmates who don't know each other, but can't adjust to life at school. Thomas has moved in almost a year ago, but isn't a part of his class yet. He has no friends. Karsten is an odd boy, liking to ruin things. The film tells about the day the sneak away and go on a rampage at school. Dramatic told, and gives an impression of being outside, still it's not fulfilling. Director Per Sveinung Larsen have had success with the film Brettkontroll, about skateboarding, The nice performance of thre kids are a great plus.

Lykke til, pappa
(2007)

SHORT REVUE: Good luck, Dad
The narrator is Erlend, who looks back on when he was nine year old Erlend, visiting his beloved father. Back when Norway was a great speed skating nation, with the four best in the world. A father which isn't among the best, and have had his struggles, but still tries to learn his son the importance of speed skating on ice. During the next days the film follows, their fragile relationship will be challenged.

The film relies very on nostalgia, which work fine with me, remembering the period. The period setting of the late 70'ies is good, as well as the acting. The film touches strings that is profound and heartfelt.

Director Stian Forgaard has later made three more short films with kids in the main role.

Ut og stjæle hester
(2019)

Visual and poetic nostalgia, with a sting of real tragedy
Out stealing horses (Ut å stjæle hester) is a very careful adaption of the very successful novel with the same name by Norwegian author Per Petterson, a novel which have solid millions in at least 50 languages. The film won the silver bear in The Berlin International film Festival.

Let this be said up front: if you're not up to watching a slow storytelling, and not able to sense the small and careful waves of air, glimmers of sun and the wet sensation of rain woven into the nostalgia here, this film will not be for you. You need to be completely at ease when watching, otherwise the film will feel very slow.

Hans Petter Moland has made a film true to the poetic and nostalgic tone of the book, which tells the story about a newly pensioned man, in grieve after the loss of his wife, moving out in the remote countryside, not too far from where he have had childhood memories. The he randomly meets a neighbor which he realizes he must have known some 50 years back. This brings back a lot of forgotten memories from the past. Memories of fondness and great tragedy.

The film is slo and thoughtful, with a stark nostalgic thread, but also a tiny fracture of humor. The film is very sensible, with a lot of thoughts put into photography, with pictures of grass and wind. The film is narrated by the mans telling voice, which in this case adds to the feeling of storytelling. A work of art of a film!

Venuto al mondo
(2012)

Over the top story which is OK, before the final crash
I had hopes for this, which never came to me country either on cinema , nor as a DVD/Blu-Ray. well, now i get it, because what seems like a credible story ends up completely ridiculous, and too far fetched. A typical 8 hours read as a romantic novel made in to a film which really is getting over the top when supposed to put into a two hour movie. melodramatic, unbelievable, ridiculous and over played. Be kind to yourself and spare the two hours you'll need to see this. Just as stupid as the title, though the actors do their best to keep it afloat.

Paha perhe
(2010)

Compelling about concequences of a ruined family
This Finnish family drama manages to build up suspense after starting off a rather slow first 15 minutes. We get to know a broken family's response to a mother's death. A well respected lawyer who is left behind bringing up his son, when the addict of a mother leaves. An estranged daughter which left with her mother and turns up, now in her early 20'ies, to live with them when the mother dies. A younger son - with another woman - in a relation that is growing bad. An old father with severe alzheimer, and a stone face, which still seems to get what's happening. An estranged family, where no natural family relations have had time and grounds to grow.

The family father, played brilliantly by Ville Virtanen, is unsuccessfully trying to keep the facade and make a difference when he suspects the daughter is having a bad influence on her brother, and even suspects them being too close. But he isn't able to be more than a witness, except that he contributes to what seems like a disaster.

The film functions well due to the excitement the film is able to build up, as the father wonders how to deal with his problems. Whatever you think about how the family deals with their differences, the film is well worth a watch.

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