To celebrate the Norwegian release of Tim Burton’s Frankenweenie (2012), I thought it would be nice to take a look at one of my favourite Tim Burton films: the animated short Vincent from 1982. It’s oh so charming, funny and sweet, and the best part is I can link to the whole film here!
Don’t you just love it?
Yes, I love Gibli! I mean, who doesn’t? They’re the best!
And their 2008 animated film Ponyo on the Cliff, is no exception.
It is kind of a twisted take on The Little Mermaid: Brunhilde is the fishy daughter of a wizard and the goddess of the ocean. Her father is working on a concoction that will bring the ocean back to its glory days, when dinosaurs walked the earth and swam the sea. His reason for doing this is that the humans are a selfish, polluting lot of idiots (so there is a nice moral there), and well, who can argue? However, Brunhilde is the adventures type and she soon escapes and travels to the surface where she meets a boy, Sosuke.
Sosuke saves Brunhilde from a glass jar she is stuck in and keeps her in a bucket (believing she is a normal gold fish) ,and names her Ponyo (which, honestly, is a much better name than Brunhilde). Ponyo is soon brought back to the ocean by her father, but she is determined to become a human and live together with Sosuke. In a daring escape, she spills all of the magical concoction into the ocean, thus disrupting the balance of the universe and dooming all humans to extinction.
But who cares when you can have legs and eat ham with your new best friend?
A storm approaches. Will the world be saved? And will Sosuke pass the final test?
This is one of those Gibli films where you feel like you just enter in the middle of a story and get to tag along for a bit. Many questions are left unanswered (most of them regarding the wizard), but what the film lacks in story-building, it more than makes up for in charm. Ponyo is the cutest little freak to ever have come out of the ocean!
So yes, I highly recommend this film. And all other Gibli films.
Moonrise Kingdom (2012), written and directed by Wes Anderson and Roman Coppola, is one of the best movies of the year, if you ask me. And you should ask me. Cause I’m kind of a genius. Self-declared, but nonetheless.
It’s a cute, weird and funny story about a 12ish year old girl who runs away from with a 12 year old boy who has escaped some sort of boy scout camp. (And can you blame him? You lost me at beige uniforms).
Of course the entire community, plus the boy scouts, go out searching for them. Awesomeness ensues.
Among the cast are the brilliant young actors Kara Hayward and Jared Gilman, you also meet Vili Flik hotties such as Tilda Swinton and Edward Norton, Bill Murray, Frances McDormand and Bruce Willis.
This is most def a must see movie.
When I first saw it I wanted to run away from home. Then I realized I was a grown up and lived alone, so the entire point of running away from home would be, well, pointless. Growing up sucks in so many ways.
Oh, and did I mention it is set in the 1960s? Gorgeous clothes and furniture and stuff. Two words: Orange piano. Best idea ever.
Still not convinced? Check out the trailer and be amazed.
It’s autumn and thus time for horror! I know Halloween was a while ago, but in my opinion, you can watch horror films all year round. Although they are naturally more effective during the dark months of autumn. And what better film to watch than Cabin in the Woods (2011).
Written by the legendary Joss Whedon (yes, I am a Buffy-fan) and Drew Goddard, and directed by the latter, Cabin in the Woods is one of the most interesting, surprising and intriguing horror films in the past few years. I cannot actually tell you much about it without spoiling it, but suffice to say, it takes all the American horror film clichés and plays with them in a very interesting way. With great writers and a great director, this works very well for the film, and made it an instant favourite for me. Scary, hilarious and extremely good entertainment!
If you are only watching one movie this year, then The Artist (2011) should probably be it.
The story is about silent movie star George Valentin who fails to make the transition from “silents” to “talkies”, and falls into oblivion and despair. However, Peppy Miller, a young starlet, is willing to do whatever it takes to save him. Will she succeed?
The Artist is a black and white silent movie about the film industry in the 1920s. It stars Jean Dujardin as a very convincing Valentin, and Bérénice Bejo as the peppy Peppy (see what they did there?). It is extremely skillfully made and actually won five Oscars, all of them truly deserved. And I know what you’re thinking: Black and white? Silent movie? How dull! But believe me, it is anything but!
So go and see it!
Curtis, a young husband and father, is troubled by a series of apocalyptic visions and dreams in which his friends are trying to harm him and his daughter. Fearing for the safety of himself and his family, he decides to build a storm shelter in the garden. But are the visions real? Or has he simply inherited his mother’s schizophrenia?
Take Shelter (2011) is directed by Jeff Nichols and stars Michael Shannon as Curtis, and Jessica Chastain as Samantha, his wife. The film is quiet, at times slow, and leaves you wondering throughout just where the story is going. Shannon does a great job at portraying the quiet and troubled Curtis, and his almost intense features add to the weirdness of it all. This is a good film, and probably the most low-key apocalypse movies made so far. It is very much recommended!
In the mood for some lighthearted learning this Friday afternoon? If you are, then let me recommend the documentary The Greatest Movie Ever Sold (2011), directed by Morgan Spurlock, the man behind Supersize me (2004).
The concept: to make a film about product placement in films. The twist: to have that film completely sponsored by products, that is, to include as much product placement as possible. The goal: to make us as viewers aware of the amount of product placement in films.
The documentary is entertaining, easy-going and light-hearted. No shocking revelations are made, but you don’t always need the shock effect. Sometimes it’s just nice to watch something fun (and you do get to learn about products such as Head’n’Mane).
So if you would like to see a documentary, but can’t face the really heavy stuff, this is the thing for you.
Another weekend is upon us, and as December is closing in with its Christmas parties and joyful season, I thought it best to stay within the realm of style. Let’s face it, we all want a new dress for each party we will be attending this Christmas, and we all want our dress to be the prettiest, coolest, awsomest one (yeah, you can totally say “awsomest”). That is why you shall all spend this weekend watching Mad Men. Even if you hate the storyline and the characters, you can’t help but fall in love with the clothes and the set. Oh, the glory of upper class early 60s style! *sigh*
Anyway, Mad Men is about Donald Draper, who works in advertising, has a mysterious background, a desperate housewife and oh so many mistresses. It is set in New York in the 60s, and let me tell you; male chauvinism, adultery and alcohol abuse never looked this good!
I love this show; the story is intriguing, the dialogues well-written and the characters are interesting. This is a show where you actually really care what happens to your favorite characters. If you have not seen it yet, get going!
Ah yes, another Friday night with nothing interesting on the telly. Well, fear not, my friends, I have an excellent suggestion for tonight’s entertainment: The King’s Speech (2010).
It is the Second World War, Britain is facing a crisis. The king dies and the successor to the throne abdicates. It is now up to the seemingly unfit second son, George, to take on the role as king and keep his country calm. However, he is held back by an insufferable stammer. Will he, with the help of speech therapist Lionel Logue, be able to overcome his handicap and rule the land?
The King’s Speech won four Oscars for best directing, best motion picture, best leading actor and best original screenplay. It also won 64 other awards, so you know that this is a good film. It stars Colin Firth as King George VI, Helena Bonham Carter as Queen Elizabeth and Jeffrey Rush as Lionel Logue.
This is a must-see, so if you haven’t already, do so tonight!
As autumn and its darkness is bringing us all down, this week’s film is pure entertainment, no hidden depth or anything like that. It’s the wonderfully silly kiwi horror comedy Black Sheep (2006).
The story is as simple as it is hilarious: a bunch of genetically engineered sheep turn into vicious killers and start terrorizing a New Zealand farm community. In addition to being killing machines, the sheep’s bite will turn people into one of them. And as sheep outnumber the human population in NZ, it’s imperative to find an antidote! The film is very much in the vein ofthe early works of New Zealand’s great son, Peter Jackson, and well worth your time if you’re into that sort of thing (which I really am).
Get ready for the Violence of the Lambs indeed!
MirrorMask (2005) is the brainchild of Dave McKean and Neil Gaiman, which in itself should be enough to make you want to watch it. It is about Helena who works with her parents at a circus. After a heated argument with her mother, her mother falls ill and Helena naturally blames herself. Soon after she wakes up in the middle of the night and discovers that she has entered a different world, the City of Light, which is being consumed by shadows. She agrees to help restore the city by finding the Mirrormask, together with Valentine the juggler.
The cast consists of, among others, Stephanie Leonidas, Gina McKee, Rob Brydon, Jason Barry and Stephen Fry. The visual art is designed by McKean, and as such is weird, magical and beautiful, and makes up for the fact that the story and dialogue is not as brilliant as it could have been.
Still, if you want a visually beautiful experience I recommend this film.
And please don’t let this terrible trailer put you off…
Greetings gentle reader. The weekend is again upon us, and today I will recommend to you one of my all-time favourite TV-shows, Green Wing (2004-6).
Starring such brilliant actors and comedians as Tamsin Greig, Mark Heap, Stephen Mangan, Julian Rhind-Tutt and Sarah Alexander, this British show is a very strange take on the hospital genre. Despite its slightly overdone setting (seriously, how many hospital shows do we really need?) it is nothing like its American counterparts. Check out some clips:
Also, the insanity of the characters is beyond most shows you’ll ever see. While none of them can be called normal or sane in any way, none can beat the wonder and sheer madness of staff liaison Sue White. Oh, Sue White!
Such a lovely bag of Scottish crazy!
So to follow up on yesterday’s post, this Friday’s film suggestion is Capote (2005).
The story is partly biographical and depicts the writer Truman Capote’s investigation into the murder of a family in Kansas, with the intention of turning the story into a novel called In Cold Blood. Despite being an arrogant, flamboyant outsider, he manages to get the locals to open up to him and reveal information, and he even develops a close relationship with one of the killers. However, as he digs deeper into the story, he finds himself struggling with his own emotions and reactions.
The film is shocking, sad, funny and, I think, quite honest regarding the tension between Truman’s sympathy for the killers and his need for a closure to the novel, which only an execution can provide. Capote is beautifully portrayed by Philip Seymour Hoffman, who won several awards, including the Academy Award for Best Actor, for his work.
So go watch it, people!
Continuing in the vintage vein from yesterday’s post, today’s film is an old classic, George Cukor’s The Philadelphia Story (1940), starring Cary Grant, James Stewart and the amazing Katharine Hepburn.
The story revolves around rich girl Tracy Lord (Hepburn), who is about to get married. In the days leading up to the wedding, her ex-husband C.K. Dexter Haven (Grant) returns to complicate things, and with him are two reporters trying to get the scoop of the year: the inside story on the wedding.
Clever quips are wittily exchanged, and the self-assured heiress learns some important things about herself and her soon-to-be husband (not to mention her ex). In the mix is also Tracy’s amazingly cool little sister, Dinah.
I thouroughly recommend this film this weekend!
Finally Friday! And what better way to celebrate than curling up on the sofa with a good old Disney movie? Well, not that old, mind you, because the movie in question here is no other than the fantabulous The Emperor’s New Groove (2000).
Poor spoiled-little-brat emperor Kuzco is transformed into a llama by his cunning and evil advisor, Yzma, and finds himself shipped off into the countryside due to henchman Kronk’s moral standards and a whole bunch of random coincidences. Hilarity ensues.
This is one of my all time favourite Disney films. It is self-aware, includes awkward silences and has so many good quotes. And Kronk is adorable!
Want to be happy tonight? Watch this film!
Yes, it is summer! Long, bright days and nights filled with sunshine and laughter. Or maybe constant rain, as is the case here at the moment. So I was thinking, why let all this good bad weather go to waste? This is perfect for some real horror. So this Friday I think you should all watch The Grudge (2004). This is the Americanized remake of the Japanese film Ju-On (2002), they are both directed by Takashi Shimizu, and they are both equally terrifying.
The story goes like this: A social worker gets assigned a house where bad things dwell. Anyone who enters it ends up on the spirits death list, but can the curse be lifted?
These films are perfect if you’re looking for a good scare.
This Friday I think you should all enjoy some quality drama, and with that in mind I hereby recommend to you the glorious sadness that is A Single Man (2009).
The story begins when George (Colin Firth) gets a phone call that his partner of 16 years has died in a car accident. As this is the USA in the 60s, George is not invited to the funeral and is left dealing with his loss alone. The viewer follows him through one day, a week later, where plans and friendships are made and remade, and several perspectives of life is encountered. Intertwined with this are memories of the time George and his boyfriend spent together.
The film is directed by Tom Ford, which ensures that everything is classy, stylish and beautiful, and includes such wonderful actors as Colin Firth, Julianne Moore and Nicholas Hoult.
You really need to see this.
Scrolling through our previous posts, I am shocked and appalled to find that we have not yet featured one of my all time favourite films, the brilliant Shaun of the Dead (2004).
Written by Simon Pegg and Edgar Wright, directed by the latter and starring the former, in addition to Nick Frost, Kate Ashfield, Bill Nighy, Dylan Moran and Lucy Davis, you know it’s going to be amazing (and I’m pleasantly surprised at how many of these wonderful actors/directors we’ve featured on this site. It seems we may have a thing for brilliant Brits).
Lovable loser Shaun (Pegg) is determined to win back his girlfriend Liz (Ashfield) and sort his life out after he has disappointed her one too many times. However, in the midst of this, zombies are invading Britain, and it’s up to Shaun and his (mostly useless) best friend Ed (Frost) to save Liz, her roommates, and Shaun’s mom, and shack up in their favourite pub, The Winchester, until it all blows over. It’s the world’s first RomZomCom (romantic zombie comedy), and that alone should be enough to peak your interest. Just take a look:
The idea for the film came during production of the comedy series Spaced, and it was the first feature film made by the glorious creative team of Wright and Pegg. The second installment in their “blood and ice cream”-trilogy was the equally marvellous Hot Fuzz (2007), and the third and (possibly) final one is currently in the early stages of production. Probably. Hard to confirm actually. But it will eventually be released! And I can’t wait, as I love and adore their work.
Just in case you’re still not convinced (what’s wrong with you???), here’s a bonus trailer:
Enjoy your hopefully zombie-filled weekend!
I apologize for the lateness of the hour, but time does fly when one is watching bad Asian horror films. But here is a good film suggestion for you:
I am sure you all have heard of the amazing French singer, Edith Piaf, and I am also pretty sure that most of you have seen the film about her from 2007: La Vie en Rose. But I’m going to write about it anyway.
La Vie en Rose depicts Edith’s upbringing, partly in a brothel, partly with her father at a circus. At the age of 20, her talent is discovered by a night club owner, while working as a street singer. She is given a voice coach and quickly rises to fame as “the Little Sparrow”.
The cast includes the wonderful Marion Cotillard (as Piaf), and Gérard Depardieu. I highly recommend this film if you have not already seen it. It is heartwarming, heartbreaking and everything in between. And if you’ve seen it, why not see it again?
Today, I want to present one of my all time favourite TV-shows: Joss Whedon’s amazing Buffy the Vampire Slayer (1997-2003).
If you’re not familiar with the show (or if you are, but have not watched it as religiously as yours truly), you may think it’s just another monster-show. But it is so much more than that! In fact, the monsters aren’t even that important – what the show is really about is friendship, growing up, taking responsibility, and (naturally) feminism.
The characters are wonderful and brilliantly cast, the story arcs are great and often unpredictable, not to mention the writers’ play with language and hilarious sense of humour. Additionally, they are not afraid to break convention – as demonstrated by such episodes as “Hush” (4×10), “Superstar” (4×17), “The Body” (5×16), “Normal Again” (6×17) – which dares to question the very premise of the show, and of course “Once More With Feeling” (6×7) – the musical episode:
No plans this weekend, you say? Lucky for you, there are seven lovely and entertaining seasons waiting for you – all available on DVD. And trust me, it’s well worth the time and money you invest!
And here’s a bonus song:
If there is one TV-series you should all be watching, my dear readers, it is Deadwood (2004-6) by David Milch.
The show revolves around the town of Deadwood in Wild West South Dakota, a town ruled by crime and corruption. The characters, the storylines, the language, it is all so very, very brilliant, and the cast includes such wonderful actors as Ian McShane, Brad Dourif, John Hawkes and Paula Malcomson.
Unfortunately the show only lasted for three seasons, due to lack of funding (which is quite vexing considering the kind of shows that get to go on forever and ever), but it has won several awards, including a golden globe.
Both historical and invented characters visits the town of Deadwood (a real town btw), and I highly recommend that you do too.
I expect most of you darling readers to have seen this week’s film already, but at the odd chance that some of you haven’t, I thought it would be worth to mention it. This week’s weekend entertainment is no other than the musical The Rocky Horror Picture Show (1975).
Newly engaged Brad and Janet are on their way to visit their friend Dr. Everett V. Scott, but unfortunately their car breaks down and, as there is a storm, they are forced to seek help in a nearby castle. And you just know that this is going to be good. The castle is inhabited by Frank- N- Furter, a sweet transvestite from Transsexual, Transylvania, who is throwing a party to celebrate that he has created a man, with blond hair and a tan, and he invites Brad and Janet to stay for the night and witness the “birth” of his creation. And trust me, psychedelic 70s weirdness ensues.
The stars of this amazing musical include Tim Curry, Susan Sarandon, Richard O’Brian (who also wrote the script) and Meat Loaf. The music is great, the costumes are revealing, there are oh so many references to old horror- and mystery films and the humor is great. You can tell that they had a lot of fun making this movie.
I strongly advise you to see or re-see it this weekend!
Welcome, gentle reader, to another Friday and, subsequently, another fabulous film. Today I will introduce you to the amazing and lovely Bugsy Malone (1976), a favourite from my childhood.
This film noir/gangster film tribute/spoof is directed by Alan Parker and stars Jodie Foster and Scott Baio. The entire cast consists of children, and the story centres around a gangster war between Fat Sam and Dandy Dan in 1929. Smart guy Bugsy Malone (Scott Baio) gets caught up in the war and eventually it’s up to him to save Fat Sam and his speak-easy, which is also the workplace of his girlfriend Blousey Brown (Florrie Dugger) and the alluring Tallulah (Jodie Foster). It contains every element you’d expect from a gangster movie, while simultaneously featuring some great singing and dancing. Again, I stress that the cast is strictly made up of children. Now, some of you may think that this is a lousy premise for a film, but I beg to differ. However, why take my word it when this film comes with a seal of approval from none other than the great Edgar Wright – who not only paid tribute to it in Spaced, but also often include it in the programme for his film festival, “The Wright Stuff” (see what he did there?). And if you’re suspicious enough not to trust either of us (what the h…!?!? We’re totally trustworthy!), listen to this plea from Jodie Foster herself:
See? Now, doesn’t that look brilliant? This weekend, you could do a lot worse than to check out this old goodie! Charming and funny, with great costumes.
This Friday’s film is an oldie but goodie: Double Indemnity (1944), directed by Billy Wilder and starring Fred MacMurray, Barbara Stanwyck and Edward G. Robinson.
The story goes like this:
Walter Neff (MacMurray), and insurance salesman, falls in love with neglected housewife Phyllis Dietrichson (Stanwyck), and together they conduct a plan to murder her husband and collect his life insurance. Their only real obstacle is Neff’s partner, Barton Keyes (Robinson), an expert in discovering insurance fraud. Will they get away with it?
This film is interesting and exciting, and the dialogue is brilliant. The euphemisms are amazing! Besides, the clothes and hairstyles are lovely (pay special attention to the fact that Phyllis is about as tall as Walter’s trouser’s waistline).
If you want some classy entertainment tonight, Double Indemnity is what you should go for.