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Kitty litter
Clichéd, tiresome psychological thriller/horror movie with a one-note central performance by Liv Corfixen, whose titular feline is accidentally possessed by a demon, when it happens to gate-crash an occult seance by the upstairs neighbours. Eventually it turns into a panther-like monster, attacking targets of its owner's jealous rage, like her two-timing boyfriend (a miscast Martin Brygmann) and her ditto roommate (Charlotte Munck). Only Pilmark as the cop on the case manages to rise above the material and emerge unscathed from this incoherent and unintentionally funny piece of dreck. After the risible teen-horrors "Sidste Time", "Mørkeleg" and now this, the time seems ripe for director/horror buff Martin Schmidt to try his hand out at other genres.

Kunsten at græde i kor

Watch this gem
Based on an autobiographical novel by Erling Jepsen, this drama/black comedy of a dysfunctional family takes place in southern Denmark close to the German border in the early 70'es. Jesper Asholt plays the family patriarch, a whining grocer, who has a hard time coping with changing times and family patterns. As a result, he constantly threatens his wife and kids that he'll commit suicide. While his wife escapes reality with sedatives, his young son Allan is determined to keep his father from killing himself. As his dad is only truly happy when he gets to deliver tearful speeches at local funerals, Allan sees no other option than to make sure there are plenty of funerals for his father to attend... If you think you know where this is going, watch this movie anyway, as it's got plenty of surprises and twists, changing from black comedy to heartbreaking drama, with some shattering, almost unbearably intense, albeit discreet, scenes of child abuse. Made with care, a genuine feel for time and place and destined to become a modern classic. Truly unforgettable, and an impressive feature debut for director Peter S. Fog.


Admirable horror amateur feature
Nicolas Bennetzen is an amateur filmmaker, whose debut feature GLIMPSE, shot for only 25,000 DKK, premiered on cable channel DK4 in October '06. Bennetzen, well aware of his budgetary limitations, has wisely decided to avoid major special effects and large set pieces. The object was admittedly to use the filming process as a learning experience and prove that amateurs can complete a feature film on a low budget. The film is obviously inspired by Japanese horror movie hits of the late '90es like RINGU, DARK WATER and JU-ON, replete with shots of dark long-haired Japanese chicks appearing out of nowhere. Director Bennetzen knows the genre conventions, which results in a moderately entertaining, but overlong attempt at a Danish psychological horror movie. Some judicious cuts might have resulted in a tighter and more effective film. Lead actor Eliot does a fine job, but the performances of the supporting actors are highly variable. For horror buffs, the film offers nothing new. Anyone who's ever seen a Japanese horror film will see the twists coming a mile ahead, but on its own terms, a worthy and respectful amateur effort that Bennetzen can take pride in and use as a guiding tool for future projects. Hopefully he'll come up with something a bit more original next time.


Lock, Stock and Two Wasted Actors
Poor Guy Ritchie wannabe tells the thin story of gambling addict Laura (Hjejle, in an annoying one-note performance) hooking up with hard-nosed debt collector Claus (Bodnia, a bit more softhearted than usual, but on autopilot most of the time - he should definitely resume working with better directors). Spang Olsen's direction is less incompetent than usual, but with the emphasis less on action this time, the film also suffers from many dull stretches. Nikolaj Peyk's supposedly "authentic" dialog is simply not funny. A bunch of good actors are wasted in bit parts (Erik Clausen in particular) and a highly inappropriate soundtrack, as another user mentioned, make for an unimpressive movie.

Elefanter på loftet

It stinks! It reeks! Did I mention it stinks?
Unbelievably cheap, stupid farce about two aspiring actresses, who switch bodies thanks to a small jade elephant with magical powers. Chaos ensues. Filmed in Denmark, mostly on the same, barren set, with grating performances by its two female leads. Danish comedians Dirch Passer and Ove Sprogøe appear briefly in embarrassingly unfunny scenes and the whole thing drags along despite its short running time. Written by Sidney W. Pink, who was in charge of another Danish disaster you may have heard of: Reptilicus. Director Guldbrandsen had his name removed from the credits, which will give those familiar with his other work a pretty good idea of how bad THIS film is! A strong contender for #1 worst Danish movie ever.

Mimi og madammerne

The Big Shrill
Female talk show host invites her old fellow band members and their spouses (including her former lover) for a weekend in the country, but the reunion is less than joyful. An abrasive, annoying film filled with obnoxious characters that make no sense whatsoever, with dialogue reminiscent of crass feminist cinema of the 70'es. Not funny enough to work as a comedy, not serious enough to work as drama, the film is a car wreck and as erratic as its main character. Acted, written and directed with zero conviction. If you enjoy watching venomous couples arguing in front of their friends, this is the movie for you. Others beware. *½

Regel nr. 1

Rule No. 1: Men Are Pigs
With the possible exception of love interest Sebastian (played by Levin), virtually all the male characters in this movie are depicted as selfish and complete b******s. (Chick flic Rule No. 1?)

Two sisters meet again after four years. One walked out on the other before a kidney transplant, so naturally they don't hit it off right away. Circumstances during a birthday party changes things somewhat, and they move in together and start going out, mainly to find the perfect guy for one of them.

A paperthin premise, but surprisingly realistic and compelling, thanks to Susanne Juhasz' winning and sincere performance. Mira Wanting plays the other self-centered sister. Stand-up comedians Mick Øgendahl and Carsten Bang appear in pointless cameos.

Not for all tastes, but funny and played with conviction. Juhasz' disastrous date with Nicolas Bro is as hilarious as it is embarrassing. Incidentally, alternate ending (available on DVD) changes film's message completely!

Terkel i knibe

The first Danish 100% computer-animated feature, and it's a deserved hit!

From the opening credits, a bullseye parody of Kyle Cooper's classic title sequence from SE7EN, the film hits a note far away from your usual animated fluff, be it from Disney, Pixar or anywhere else, for that matter. If Tim Burton and The Farrelly Brothers directed South Park, it would look something like this. Adapted from Anders Matthesen and Mette Heeno from Matthesen's radio play, it's a paperthin story of sixth-grader Terkel, who receives death threats and has trouble with a couple of bullies at school. But what it lacks in story, it compensates for with inventive CGI animation despite its low budget (more Jimmy Neutron than Finding Nemo), brilliant voice characterizations by Matthesen (who does all the voices), and a sharp, anarchic, non-PC and absolutely hilarious sense of humor. Extra bonus: Pixar-like "outtakes" during end credits.

Lad de små børn...

Solid non-dogme drama
Ubiquitous actress Paprika Steen makes an assured directing debut with this hard-hitting drama of a couple (Birkkjær and Gråbøl) attempting to cope (in very different ways) with the tragic loss of their teenage daughter, who has been killed by a drunk-driver (Mynster). There's no easy way out in this extremely well-acted film, which unfortunately also lacks a satisfying conclusion, and a few loose ends. Written by Kim Fupz Aakeson with music by Nikolaj Steen, the director's brother.


Lone Runner

Like watching camel dung dry...
Exceptionally dull post-apocalyptic effort from schlock director Deodato, stars ever-wooden Miles O'Keeffe (sporting another ridiculous hair-do) as Garrett, "The Lone Runner", a low-rent Mad Max on horseback, constantly out to free a princess (Savina Gersak) from the claws of greedy kidnappers, who are after her father's diamonds. Not much plot to get involved in, but a repetitive and mindless actioner with very little entertainment value. Huge disappointment from the director of "Cannibal Holocaust". It does, however, feature an outrageous performance by cult favorite John Steiner, acting like the errant offspring of Robbie Williams and Adam Ant.

Til højre ved den gule hund

Close, but no cigar
Pleasant enough comedy-drama starring Gantzler as shallow architect Philip Hoffman, who upon learning of his estranged father's death, forms a relationship with an old playwright, who claims to have known his father well. Meanwhile, Hoffman himself has issues with his teenage son. Occasional absence of logic and ill-defined characters (Gantzler's in particular) mar an otherwise compelling and funny film, with Jesper Klein in his best part in years, and a welcome return to the screen for 60'es star Judy Gringer after a decade's hiatus. Jørgen Kiil's final film appearance.



Stealing Rembrandt.
Thoroughly enjoyable caper film in which the heist itself takes only about 30 seconds, when a few low-rent criminals accidentally steals the wrong painting from a Danish art museum, only to realize they've got their hands on a genuine Rembrandt. Stealing it was the easy part, getting rid of it turns out to be the hard part. Lars Brygmann stars in his first leading role, and does a great job as the petty thief, who wants to do better. Brygmann is supported by a great cast of newcomers and veterans. Great fun and always entertaining with a hilarious final twist. Echoes of "Olsen-Banden" and "Blinkende Lygter", but this film can easily stand on its own. Scripted by the director and the ubiquitous Anders Thomas Jensen, loosely based on real events.


Filmed theater to the nth degree.
The term photographed stageplay must have been invented for movies like this. For those who found the Dogme films too flashy and hi-tech, Von Trier has stripped his style down to the bare necessities. Filmed on one set in which an entire village is marked with chalked lines and only a minimal use of props. Nicole Kidman stars as Grace, a mysterious woman who flees to a small town in the Rockies, Dogville, during the Depression years. At first the villagers are kind and hospitable, but eventually they start taking advantage of her, because of her predicament. The tragedy is inevitable, and the finale violent and surprising. And that's the problem.

The film didn't have the emotional impact on me that I was led to believe from the positive advance words Dogville received on the Cannes festival. The bizarrely constructed style and artificiality of the whole thing mute whatever true emotions might have emerged had the film been made "traditionally" (for lack of a better word). All the more so, when the end credits with authentic photographs of Depression-era America accompanied by David Bowie's THE YOUNG AMERICANS, has a far more powerful effect than anything preceding them. First in a trilogy (U, S and A), to be followed by Manderlay and Wasington (not a typo!) Widely praised, and if you buy into the conceit, your rating may be higher. Anyway, it's extremely well acted, under the circumstances. Narrated by John Hurt.

Take a Hard Ride

Black-oriented western
A knockout cast of blaxploitation favorites (Jim Brown, Fred Williamson, Jim Kelly) and western veterans (Lee Van Cleef, Harry Carey Jr.), an excellent score by Jerry Goldsmith, good Canary Islands location filming and a reasonable premise. Entertaining and colorful production directed by Anthony M. Dawson (=Antonio Margheriti). Jim Kelly's mute kung fu indian(!) is a bit far-fetched, though...

How about a remake with Ving Rhames, Samuel Jackson and Jeff Bridges?


Die Another Day

Brosnan's MOONRAKER...
...not quite, but almost. *** SPOILERS AHEAD *** Lee Tamahori directs the 20th (official) Bond movie with several nods and references to previous entries (check the trivia section to see if you spotted all of them), but also excessive and far-fetched, even by Bond standards. The film kicks off with an exciting hovercraft chase, followed by the colorful main title sequence, in which the plot is actually developed for the first time. Unfortunately Madonna's title song falls short of satisfaction and seems out of place in the Bond universe. Brosnan is getting better and better, but is let down by the increasingly silly and pun-heavy script and some truly ropey CGI effects. In a film of this magnitude and budget, such flaws are inexcusable. Toby Stephens makes a sneering villain, Berry a sexy companion for Bond and John Cleese has a more dignified (and funny) cameo as Q's replacement than he did in The World is Not Enough. Judi Dench as M has little to do this time and is upstaged by macho NSA leader Michael Madsen. Rick Yune is effective as diamond-pierced henchman Zao, but Rosamund Pike is near-catatonic as agent Miranda Frost. And the gadgets? An invisible car, come on... However, Bond finally gets to shag Moneypenny this time...or does he? Brosnan, Berry and some dazzling action set pieces save this from being a total Moonraker, but they should have fired the writers.

Overall rating: **½ out of ****.

Dark Mission: Flowers of Evil

Worst anti-drug film since "Poppies Are Also Flowers"
Prolific sleaze merchant Jess Franco's sorry excuse for a message movie has plenty of unintentional hilarity for dedicated bad-movie fans. Atrociously acted, hopelessly amateurish action scenes, horrendous dialogue and one of the worst music scores ever make for a truly strange film experience. Christopher Lee and Brigitte Lahaie try to lift the film, but is let down by the stupid script and Franco's clumsy direction.


Elsker dig for evigt

High quality drama with great sense of humor. (Spoilers)
Susanne Bier hits all the right notes in her first "Dogme 95"-film, which on paper may look quite conventional (an engaged couple is torn apart when he is paralyzed in a horrible accident, and she falls in love with the doctor husband of the woman who caused the accident), but exceptional acting, writing and directing lift this drama way above average. Lead actor Mads Mikkelsen as the doctor is good as usual, newcomer Sonja Richter as Cæcilie is a talent to watch, Paprika Steen (in her 4th Dogme film) is excellent as his wife, Nikolaj Kaas gives one of his best performances as the bitter quadroplegic and every character is given a voice in this highly charged emotional drama, written by the director and the ubiquitous Anders Thomas Jensen, who adds his trademark sharp, funny dialogue and avoids the worst clichés of the genre. Realistic and gripping, with the rather redundant Dogme label its only liability, this is one of the best Danish films of 2002. Some may find its deliberate pace and stylistics a drawback, but rewarding for a mature audience. ***½

Jolly Roger

What a mess...
Impossibly confusing, poorly written and directed kids movie with basically the same cast and crew as "I Kina Spiser de Hunde", but without that film's quality. Kim Bodnia gained several pounds and grew a beard for his role as pirate Jolly Roger, all in vain, because the film is hopelessly amateurish and even boring, with primitive special effects and stunts. Will make kids squirm in their seats and adults reaching for the remote...what a waste! 1/10

Gamle mænd i nye biler

The cooks are back in town.
A prequel to "I Kina Spiser de Hunde" (In China they Eat Dogs) from 1999 with same writer/dírector/cast (save Dejan Cukic and a few others). This time, we follow Harald (Kim Bodnia) as he is released from jail, only to get involved in a plot to get Swedish serial killer Ludvig (Torkel Petterson) out of prison, so he can meet his estranged father, The Monk (Jens Okking). Once again, peppered with funny dialogue, not as inspired as the original, but with one hilarious scene in which the cooks and Harald futilely tries to speak English to a Swedish hotel receptionist. The car stunts are still clumsy, a notch above the sloppy action sequences from the first film, and the film is loaded with a high mortality rate, but it's uneven and substitutes black humor with a mean spirit, and even asks us to care about these characters, after putting them through numerous outlandish situations and hurling credibility out the window. Kim Bodnia plays it straight, but his tough guy act is getting a little tired by now, but Tomas Villum Jensen and Nikolaj Lie Kaas still make a great comic duo as the put-upon sidekicks. Iben Hjejle is lovely as Ludvig's love-interest, but her role is badly written (even though she gets to punch Bodnia in the face). Jacob Haugaard gets some laughs, too, as a seedy doctor. Note to writer Anders Thomas Jensen: A couple of anachronistic goofs. The film is supposed to take place before the first film, which was released in 1999. If this film is set before that, they couldn't have crossed the bridge between Denmark and Sweden, as it wasn't built at that time, and the national football league wasn't sponsored by SAS then, either.

The supernatural elements of the first film are totally ignored this time around. Okay entertainment, but doesn't hold up to close scrutiny. **½


More than Okay!
Solid kitchen sink drama with Paprika Steen in her first starring role, and none too soon. She is excellent as a harried mother and wife who upon learning that her father is terminally ill, invites him to stay at her family´s already small apartment for his remaining weeks. Steen carries the film a long way, but is supported by a great cast: Ole Ernst has his best part in years as her grumpy, but ultimately goodhearted dad, Troels Lyby generates sympathy as her unfaithful husband and Molly Egelind does well as their teenage daughter. Jesper Christensen is also very good as an emotionally detached doctor, and Nikolaj Kopernikus turns in a finely tuned performance as Paprika´s gay brother. His first reunion after eight years with his estranged father is a memorably funny scene. Occasionally heavy subject matter is given equal doses of black humor and realistic drama, thanks to writer Kim Fupz Aakeson´s script and Jesper W. Nielsen´s directing. ***

Ghosts of Mars

File under "bomb"
Dreadful space western goes to show that John Carpenter is, alas, creatively burnt out. Basically an outer space remake of ASSAULT ON PRECINCT 13, as just about everyone else has noticed, this also manages to include elements of THE THING, PRINCE OF DARKNESS and non-Carpenter sci-fi films like ALIENS and SPECIES (also with Henstridge in the lead). Throw in a typecast Pam Grier in leather as a lesbian prison guard (as if JACKIE BROWN never happened) and a mechanical Anthrax score, and you still haven´t got the edge to help this turkey anywhere. Ice Cube is actually pretty good under the circumstances, but the rest of the cast is reduced to martian ghost zombie attack victims... The ending is totally ridiculous, and thus very fitting to the rest of the film. When are you going to make a great movie again, John? 2/10


If you don´t get it, you´re probably quite normal...
Von Trier´s Dogma movie is one of those that you either love or hate. Just check the comments index, and you´ll see what I mean. Still, I´m not quite sure what to make of it. It´s entertaining enough, and occasionally very funny, even unsettling, but the whole idea of people "spazzing" for no apparent reason other than to "find their inner idiot" still puzzles me, and is probably also what turned off many viewers. Grungy and clumsy with brief, explicit (although unerotic) sex. Having seen the uncensored Danish version without the black boxes, I can assure you, you´re not missing out on anything. Maybe Von Trier is taking the p*** with this movie, but who´s to know... Incidentally, the Dogma 95 certificate was questioned, when the producer altered the lighting in post-production without Von Trier´s knowledge, thus ignoring one of the Dogma 95 rules. This caused many publicized rows between Von Trier and producer Aalbæk Jensen, perhaps all part of the act to promote "The Idiots". 5/10

I Am Dina

Worth checking out.
Norwegian Herbjørg Wassmos bestseller is turned into an unorthodox costume drama by the director of "Night Watch", Danish Ole Bornedal. Overwrought, but fast paced drama tells the story of Dina, a young girl who was way ahead of her time, and her influence on the men in her life, her stern father (Floberg), husband Jacob (Depardieu, in great form), and Russian lover Leo (Eccleston, sporting as dubious a Russian accent as Sean Connery did in The Hunt for Red October...). Dina is played by Maria Bonnevie, who turns in a wild-eyed, over-the-top performance that is alternately frightening and fascinating (think Liv Tyler with a bad caffeine addiction). Major liabilities are the shifting accents, due to the film´s cast of mostly Northern European actors. This is a distraction, and would have worked better just sticking to Norwegian actors, but then, no one would probably go see "I Am Dina". Many Danish character actors appear in bit parts; you can spot them by their dodgy accents...although Sætter-Lassen and Mikkelsen stand out positively as cello tutor Lorch and the treacherous bookkeeper Niels. Beautiful locations and lush cinematography by Dan Laustsen, a Bernard Herrmann-inspired music score by Marco Beltrami help this a long way. Plenty of sex and violence that you wouldn´t find in a Merchant-Ivory working of the same theme, the film is more reminiscent in tone and execution to Luc Besson´s "Joan of Arc", but just as uneven.

Best scene has young Dina introduced to the magic of the cello. 6/10.

Two If by Sea

Funny how?
This movie´s characters and performances makes me wanna quote star/co-writer Doctor Denis Leary himself in "No Cure For Cancer": "SHUT THE F*** UP!" I like Denis Leary´s stand-up act - he´s turned in some quite good performances in other movies (like "The Ref"). Here he´s just obnoxious. I like Sandra Bullock, but she´s made some pretty bad career choices in the nineties. This is one of them. I like Yaphet Kotto, but this part is just a badly written reworking of his sarcastic FBI officer in "Midnight Run". Naming him O´Malley was pretty funny, though. *½ (of ****)

Les Patterson Saves the World

Arguably the most disgusting thing to come out of Australia since Vegemite... Predictably distasteful comedy with Barry Humphries in a dual role as boozy Australian diplomat Les Patterson and undercover agent Dame Edna! So many bodily function gags that even the Farrelly brothers would have been sick, and several gross-out moments, especially the effects of the horrible H.E.L.P. virus. Only for fans of extreme toilet humor. Oh, and that´s the "NeverEnding Story II", NOT the "Mad Max" George Miller, who directed... *½

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