Saturday, April 23, 2016

High Life (2009)

You just gotta love stupid criminals. There's a simple, but oh so compelling and poetic justice to seeing people fail at being bad.

Take for example this bunch of washed up junkies trying to rob a bank, when they can't hardly stop fighting amongst themselves. Contrary to the super-cool heist films where slick criminals pull of the most intricate plots while being chased by a bumbling detective, the fun in this one comes from knowing their ploy is doomed to fail from the very beginning, and wanting to see just how much they'll fuck up.

If you enjoyed Weirdsville or Contact High, you'll definitely love this one too.


Friday, February 5, 2016

Cross My Heart and Hope to Die (1994)

The coming-of-age-genre is a difficult beast to tackle. While some such movies are made as safe and sound moral lectures, I often find they insult the audience's intelligence by being way too childish and on the nose, as if everyone watching were dumb kids who believe anything you throw at them. On the other side, part of the genre's appeal is providing a nostalgic remembrance of the naivete of youth, and nobody wants to watch a movie where children acts way too smart for their age.

However this Norwegian classic just manages to balance the line, by being both cute and juvenile, while at the same time being somewhat dark and out of place. It also includes some pretty great performances by Norways most prolific actors Bjørn Sundquist and Bjørn Floberg, in addition to a spellbinding soundtrack by A-HA keyboardist Magne Furuholmen (famed for the 80s hit Take on Me).

It turns out someone has actually uploaded the whole movie with English subtitles to youtube, so don't hesitate and watch it now, because it'll probably be taken down pretty soon:


Thursday, February 4, 2016

Bronson (2008)

These days, everybody and their pet monkey loves Tom Hardy. It seems there's nothing the British actor can do, that doesn't get drenched with global appraisal, even though nobody can really understand a word that comes out of his mouth.

Everybody loves Nicolas Winding Refn too. The Danish director always had a cult fan following from his Pusher trilogy, but after the success of Drive, his name got etched into the minds of movie buffs world-wide.

Following these statements, you'd think it natural that the only cooperation these two idols have done, would also be highly cherished. And yet, Bronson somehow managed to slip through the cracks, and exists only in the murky world of unrecognized gems. Which is a real shame, as it's truly a fantastic movie.

The film has it all: There's fighting, there's laughter, there's growling, there's nudity, there's more fighting, there's madness, there's sex, there's elaborate face-painting, and did I mention that there's also fighting?

Be sure to watch it with subtitles though, because if it's one thing Tom Hardy is known for, it's mumbling every word into a mangled slush-language.


Tuesday, February 2, 2016

Scorched Negro (2003)

If stereotypical American trailer trash would relocate to a secluded Norwegian fjord, this weird little film could almost be a documentary about their lives. Imagine the bastard offspring of John Waters and Jean-Pierre Jeunet on a night full of intoxicated mayhem, and you might have an idea about what sort of politically incorrect chaos ensues.

Before filming commenced, everyone involved had to sign a manifesto saying that they could not shower or cut their hair during the duration of the shoot, and that all sex and violence should be unsimulated. So if unwashed and hairy sex is your thing, then you've just hit the jackpot.

What really makes the movie however, is the soundtrack composed by experimental elctro-jazz-ambient-weirdos Ulver. So even if you don't watch the film, at least have a listen to this dreamy wonder of pure beauty:


Monday, February 1, 2016

Throw Momma from the Train (1987)

Danny DeVito is one funny fraggle. Although seldom the lead, still his roles are oftentimes the most memorable in any film he's in. His track record is very impressive, consisting of classics such as, Batman Returns, One Flew over the Cuckoo's Nest, Ruthless People, The Virgin Suicides and It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia to name a few, yet his greatest comedic performance, is arguably the good-hearted idiot who want to kill his own mother, in the aptly titled film.

And the fact that his querulous mother is played by the perpetually sour faced Anne Ramsey, makes for a perfect character comedy, where the laughs are never far between.

So if your sense of humor tends to sway towards the bleaker side of black, you won't be disappointed by this forgotten gem.


Thursday, January 28, 2016

Contact High (2009)

While there are many great stoner movies and it's hard to pick out an all time favorite, this criminally underrated gem is definitely among the top 3.

The best way I can think to describe it, is a mix of Human Traffic, Weirdsville, Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas, Trainspotting, Half Baked, The Big Lebowski and all your favorite drug-comedies, mixed into one big bag, and given a sturdy shake.

The true brilliance however, comes from not only being hilarious story about a bunch of misfits who gets caught up in a series of psychedelic events, but the movie itself is also an actual drug, which tries its best to make the audience high just by watching! And boy, does it succeed.

Keeping you company along the way, a bunch of characters all gets high on different drugs, and in turn personify each different substance, in a neon colored ballet of hallucinations. Featuring the most authentic portrayals of being under the influence of a multitude of illicit substances, ever to be put on screen, anyone who's ever come in contact with any drugs at all, will respond with tears of laughter at the reorganization of how on the money the characters act.

And if you've never done any drugs at all, well, this is a pretty good and safe way to feed your curiosity.


Wednesday, January 27, 2016

Confessions of a Dangerous Mind (2002)

With Bridge of Spies being nominated in no less than six categories at this year's Oscars, I'd like to take a look back at another spy thriller from a few years back, which didn't receive a fraction of the attention, but is still the far superior movie.

Confessions of a Dangerous Mind is perhaps the most overlooked film in Charlie Kaufman's aberrant filmography, and the box office flop surely didn't do any favors to George Clooney as a debuting director. But if anything, the playful mishmash of genres makes for a movie that keeps circumventing expectations and entertains by being a somewhat tough pill to swallow.

Like Bridge of Spies, Confessions is also based upon a true story. Or is it? Adapted from the "unauthorized autobiography" of TV-producer Chuck Barris, it satirizes the actual claim of truth, and teases you with how far a "true story" can go before it's no longer believable. The unruly main character also challenges your desire to sympathize with a protagonist who might very well be lying from start to finish.

In addition to Clooney also starring himself, the rest of the cast is almost too good to believe, with  Sam Rockwell, Drew Barrymore, Michael Cera, Maggie Gyllenhaal, Brad Pitt, Matt Damon, Julia Roberts and Rutger Hauer all making an appearance.

So instead of giving your money to the sentimental sap that is Spielberg's latest propaganda feature, chances are you'll be much better compensated by digging up this troublesome confession. Because after all, both movies' claims of truth are nothing but marketing ploys in the end.


Friday, January 22, 2016

Ong Bak (2003)

While I do enjoy a good kung-fu movie, they can sometimes get a bit repetitive. Especially after the Matrix kung-fu renascence, which became such a huge hit that every film suddenly had to feature the same too-fast-to-see moves, which looked more like kids playing hand clapping games.

But then, out of nowhere came Ong Bak, and shook everything up. Instead of mere speed and acrobatics, the choreography focused on force and brutality. Lead actor Tony Jaa jumped right across a room and delivered double elbows to the head of his brutish opponent. He broke ribs with granite knees and smoldered walls in the process. Every blow looked lethal as the sad recipient fell down several floors, and hit his head along the way.

The film was such a fresh breath of air in a genre gone somewhat stale, it influenced everything that came after.

Forget about the sequels though. Seriously, don't even go there.