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A blog and website by Peter Bengtsson

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The Chinese Martial Arts Film at BFI

31 January 2004 0 comments   Film

http://www.bfi.org.uk/showing/nft/martialarts/index.html


Blood Brothers at BFI BFI (British Film Institute) is running a Chinese Martial Arts month. From their calendar of films by date I only recognised the name of one film, and I thought I had seen so many of these films.

The premise, as I've understood it, is to uncover that there is such much more than just Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon. One film I'd like to see is Return to the 36th Chamber

As I was browsing their website I also found this that I want see: S21: The Khmer Rouge Killing Machine

Here are directions to NFT

Julien Donkey-Boy

30 January 2004 0 comments   Film

http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0192194/


Julien Donkey-Boy posterHave you ever seen any of these films: Kids, Gummo, Ken Park? They're all by the same director (Harmony Korine).

It's Dogma 95 certified but doesn't "jump" like films like The Idiots (Lars von Trier) or The Celebration (Fredrik Vinterberg). In Julien Donkey-Boy there are long scenes, but sometimes it's like a rapid slideshow of images with deliberate out-of-sync sound. A central theme of the film is schizophrenia, and the film really succeeds in depicting this.

This is not the kind of film you have dinner to whilst watching. It's revolting and disturbing but you can't stop watching and it really gets your brain going. Not like The Usual Suspects or Groundhog Day, where you think back at the details.

Julien Donkey-Boy the father "He laughs, hysterical, then assaults his companion with a rock. Drooling and dripping snot from his nose, the young man looms over the camera, as if he has assaulted you with this rock, as the companion — positioned as you — lies battered beneath him. You're five minutes into the movie, and already you're feeling exhausted."

Read this review after you have seen the film.

Lost In Translation

16 January 2004 0 comments   Film

http://www.lost-in-translation.com/


Lost In TranslationLost In Translation is a beautiful little film about an American man and a woman, alone and misery in Tokoyo. He's an old movie celebrity. She is the wife of a fashionable photographer. They are both very lonely and are desperate to go back to America again. They don't know a word of Japanese and the Japanese don't know a word of English. Well, they know some but when they speak they mix up the r's and the l's. "Have a nice fright", "lip the stockings" they say.

There they are. Lonely at the hotel they're staying in and after some time they become friends and start to enjoy themselves. Their happiness isn't show by their words or actions. It's instead shown by how they enjoy Tokoyo.

With time they become better and better friends. Just on the verge of being romantic. He's much older than her and they're both married but somewhat uncertain of their marriages. It's kind of like forbidden love, still not like some many other cheesie movies. They kind of love that was acted out in this film is very rare in movies.

I really like Bill Murray who plays the leading role with Scarlett Johansson. There's lots of good humour throughout the film.

A returning joke is the language barrier. Something that I personally feel resemblance with from when I moved to France.

You should definitely try to go and see this film. I recommend it. Here's the page IMDB.com

LOTR - Return of the King

20 December 2003 0 comments   Film

http://www.lordoftherings.net/


LOTR - Return of the KingOn Thursday morning 11AM, David and I met to go and see Lord of the Rings - Return of the King. Long waited but still feared for it's length: 202 minutes (3 hours and 22 minutes + adverts). The cinema was only half full but we had the luck to go at the same time as some 150 school-kids who did NOT have the patience to sit 4 hours. It was noisy but we learnt to ignore it after a couple of hours.

It was mighty. Magnificent and mighty. Environmental scenes that makes you think it's an IMAX documentary. The acting was better than the two other two films I think, but maybe you simply appreciate them more between all the massive landscape scenes.

I haven't read the book otherwise I would probably also find flaws like this pessimist apparently has.

My biggest concern was that too many things happened too quickly. In the first two films I managed to follow everything but this time it felt like too many things had to be squeezed in to remain under three and a half hours. Maybe they should have done this last film in two parts both 3 hours long. Looking forward to download the Extend DVD version from the net when available.

People on IMDB.com seem to like it

Adaptation

19 December 2003 0 comments   Film

http://www.sonypictures.com/homevideo/adaptation/


Adapation"Adaptation was supposed to have been a straightforward adaptation of the fact-based novel The Orchid Thief but instead Kaufman turned his script into the story of his problems adapting such a difficult book for the screen."

I saw this film today and it is probably one of oddest and softest films I've seen in a looong time.

It's about a Hollywood screenplay-writer called Charlie Kaufman (played by Nicolas Cage) and his twin brother Donald (also played by Nicolas Cage). Charlie is the sensitive and talented one but has absolutely no confidence in himself or his work. He envies his brother Donald who is just as extrovert as Charlie is introvert. Here's a picture from the film

Charlie's job is to write a screenplay based on a book about flowers but he can't do it so eventually he instead writes about him trying to write the screenplay. That's what the film is about. Oddly self recursive somehow.

Nicolas Cage, Maryl Streep and Chris Cooper all do a wonderful job in this film. The best I've ever seen of any of them.

Charlie Kaufman has also written the screenplay for Confessions of a Dangerous Mind and Being John Malkovich and here is a page with a picture of him and there is also a picture on this IMDB.com page.

Movie trailer
IMDB.com page

The Matrix Revolutions, naive but spectacular

06 November 2003 0 comments   Film

http://whatisthematrix.warnerbros.com/


Trinity, still sexy but saddened in this filmJust got back from the premiere of The Matrix Revolutions which is the last in the trilogy of the Matrix films.

I don't want to spoil it for anybody but I can say that I was impressed. Lots of computer animated laser guns, flying punches and causality questions. The story is as expected pretty shit but who cares. I didn't go to see the film for the love story or the "We're doomed! ...unless a miracle happens".

One thing is for certain: Don't rent this film on VHS. See it at the cinema with great sound and wide screen.

I particularly enjoyed the final fighting scene. My immediate impression is that Jacky Chan, Let Li et. al. have a lot of catching up to do :)

IMDB
Slashdot (careful some spoilers in the comments)
Pessimistic BBC.co.uk review