Posts tagged “2000

101 Reykjavík / Hedge-laying


101 Reykjavik  -  Front DVD Cover  -  UK Release

Living on social security in the protected environment of his mother’s home, Hilmir has never felt the urge to venture beyond the confines of his neighbourhood, 101 Reykjavík, and is determined to resist adulthood at all cost.  However he soon finds out that life is busy making other plans for him when he discovers that the woman he has just been to bed with happens to be his mother’s lesbian lover, and may be carrying his child.  101 Reykjavik is a zany black comedy set against the backdrop of Iceland’s swinging nightlife and features a musical score by Damon Albarn and Einar Orn Benediktsson.

  1. Certificate: 18. Icelandic Film.  6.0 out of 10.

Tomorrow I’ve got to go out and teach some people how to lay hedges.  This isn’t as sexually adventurous as it sounds, but it is quite a lot of fun.  Hedge-laying is a traditional way to manage farm hedges to ensure they remain stockproof.  Doing so also ensures that they’ll survive almost indefinitely and continue to provide both homes and a transport network to wildlife, as well as attractive features in the landscape.  Of course, it’s a lot cheaper and faster just to put up a fence, or shove a few old beds and car doors in any gaps that appear in a hedge, but that’s not nearly as interesting.  The forecast is for rain, heavy at times, cloudy and windy, 10°C.  The weather in winter really sucks. I’ve also got to get up at some ungodly hour of the morning, so I’ve time to get all the kit packed, go pick up all the materials and then get out to the site.  By a cruel irony, the hedge runs alongside the Kennet & Avon Canal, a place I know well from having walked the entire length of it last summer in lovely weather.  Still, let’s look on the bright side, (not that it’s going to be very bright tomorrow); I’m unlikely to get skin cancer, but I will have an opportunity to try out my new, three-in-one fleece and waterproof jacket.  The weather is even worse in this film.

Representing 50% of my entire Icelandic film collection, I struggled a bit with this black comedy as its central character Hilmir isn’t really the anti-hero we’re meant to think he is.  He’s actually just a sponging loser who a bout of National Service would soon sort out.  Okay, I don’t really believe that either, but he was an almost total waste of space; (and I’m being nice by using “almost”).  He spent most of his time avoiding things or ineffectively moaning about them when he couldn’t.  I wasn’t able get behind him at all, I just wanted to see bad things happen to him and for him to get his comeuppance.   Walking around like an extra from Britpop, he’s the sort of person the Daily Mail would put on their front page to justly the abolition of welfare support and the reintroduction of capital punishment; and to be fair it would have a point too.  I guess this is a complement in terms of the acting and script, but the movie’s entrainment value was eroded by my frustration with its main character.  I’m not sure it did much to encourage me to visit Iceland either.  It just seems to be filled with people who’re a bit wacked out on their isolation, drinking hugely expensive beer in overly cramped bars, whilst its (insert your least favourite crappy weather here) outside.  We do get to see a bit of the countryside, but mainly it’s set inside ugly buildings made of concrete and corrugated metal.  Then again, all I though Iceland did was sell cheap frozen food, so what do I know?  Overall I’m probably being a little mean about this film.  I should watch it again sometime.

I was never a big Blur fan, so the fact that Damon Albarn wrote some of the soundtrack to this film didn’t really do much for me; it was okay but nothing special.  Having said that, the frequent use of a horrible sub-reggae / trip-hop version of the Kinks’ “Lola” was a notable low point, over and over and over again.  A good match for Hilmir in fact.

The trailer’s okay.  Pretty middle of the road.  One interesting thing is that despite most of the movie being made in Icelandic, the trailer uses a lot of parts taken from the English speaking sections.

Movie Weather Forecast.  Snow, heavy at times, turning to rain.  Further snow expected later.  Cold, with temperatures remaining below freeing for most of the time.

Recommended for wasters, lesbians and jobcentre advisers.

No cats, chainsaws or decapitations.

Top badass moment?   Main character Hilmir was a waste of space in so many ways.  However, his reaction when going to a family dinner party at Christmas and then having to sit there and watch a video they made the previous year of them all eating at the same dinner party, was understandable.  Please someone, if I ever get that bad, take me to a vet to be put down.

101 Reykjavík at IMDB (6.9 / 10)
101 Reykjavík at Wikipedia
101 Reykjavík Trailer

Advertisements

Aberdeen / My Aston Martin


Aberdeen  -  Front DVD Cover  -  US ReleaseKaisa (Lena Headey), a beautiful and feisty Scottish woman, finally has her life together, at least until her mother (Charlotte Rampling) asks an enormous favour; to bring back to her Kaisa’s estranged larger-than-life father (Stellan Skarsgård).  The two of them, father and daughter together, set out on a wild, brutally funny yet heartbreaking journey, which takes them through their emotional past before reaching their ultimate destination.

2000  –  Certificate: Not Rated  –  Norwegian / British Film
9.0 out of 10

Despite being a lowly nobody at work, a combination of staff sickness and annual leave yesterday meant that all the more senior staff with direct line management responsibility for me weren’t in.  Taking advantage of my self-appointed, temporary CEO role, I finally got to order that Aston Martin V12 Vantage S I’m always on about.  I knew my recent ‘job enrichment’ as “An Authoriser” would come in handy.  With this new company car, I’ll soon be making better use of my valuable time, by utilising its top speed of 205m.p.h.  (I spent over six hours driving today, mostly on the M25, covering a little over 200 miles in that time; it would’ve only taken me an hour in the Aston.)  I haven’t been able to find out much about it fuel consumption or exhaust emissions, but luckily it’s got a catalytic converter so I’m sure it’ll be really good for the environment too.  I can’t wait for it to be delivered.  I imagine the optional, 1000W Bang & Olufsen BeoSound with ICEpower technology audio system I’ve included in my order is pretty good as well.  This film features a decent car, but it’s not an Aston Martin.  I should have watched a James Bond movie instead.

I’ve been to Aberdeen.  It’s gray, depressing and bloody cold.  It’s so cold even ice tries to avoid the place.  The fact that many years ago I got dumped there by the most beautiful woman on the planet (although with hindsight she was clearly way out of my league), has no bearing whatsoever on my opinion of the place.  I’m nothing, if not a consummate professional when it comes to giving factual, well-balanced information about things.  (I remember the two of us building a huge snowman in a park.  A short time later as we walked past it again, we saw some little bastards abusing it.  They had just pushed its head off, in what turned out to be a remarkably accurate metaphor for our future together.)  This is an amazing film that features the relationship between a father and daughter, two emotionally damaged individuals; one an alcoholic and the other a successful solicitor who’s seemingly lost the ability to love anyone.  It’s essentially a road-trip movie, in which the daughter has to go from London to Norway to collect her father and then transport him to Scotland.  I like films like this, as they me feel better about myself.  Lena Headey and Stellan Skarsgård, who seem to turn up in quite a few films I watch, both put in wonderful performances and manage to make their characters sympathetic and somewhat endearing, despite their not being very nice people.  I really did end up caring about what happened to them.  If it has a fault, then it’s that some of the situations they run into on their journey just seem a bit too random and strange.  This is an emotionally tiring film to watch, but worth every second.  The trailer really doesn’t do it much justice.

To be brutally frank, the soundtrack’s unlikely to result in a circle pit in your living room.  However, I don’t think that was the intention.  Like most things about this film, the music works and really enhances the scenes its used in.

Recommended for alcoholics, solicitors and dysfunctional families.

No cats, chainsaws or decapitations.

Top badass moment?  I’ve never been an alcoholic; I don’t have the time or the money.  So I’ve never experienced what it’s like.  Tomas is an alcoholic and spends most of the film very drunk.  However, he does manage to go into a bar at one point and drink just water.  I’d imagine that’s pretty hard to do when you’re an alcoholic.  That’s badass.

Aberdeen at IMDB (7.1 / 10)

Aberdeen at Wikipedia

Aberdeen at YouTube


In the Mood for Love / Drinking Port


In the Mood For Love  -  Front DVD Cover  -  UK ReleaseHong Kong, 1962.  Chow (Tony Leung – “Happy Together”, “Hard Boiled”) is a junior newspaper editor with an elusive wife.  His new neighbour, Li-zhen (Maggie Cheung – “Days of Being Wild”, “Irma Vep”), is a secretary whose husband seems to spend all his time on business trips.  They become friends, making the lonely evenings more bearable.  As their relationship develops they make a discovery that changes their lives forever…  In this sumptuous exploration of desire, internationally acclaimed director Wong Kar-Wai (“Chungking Express”, “Happy Together”, “Fallen Angels”) creates a world of sensuality and longing that will leave you breathless.  “In the Mood For Love” has seduced audiences and critics alike, winning awards at Cannes 2000 for best actor, cinematography and editing.

2000  –  Certificate: PG  –  Hong Kong Film
Rating  Details:  Mild sex references and language
7.0 out of 10

I’ve recently developed a new interest; a new kind of fetish if you like.  I’ve discovered port.  Not the type with boats and things, but the one that’s like red wine on steroids.  Cockburns Special Reserve Port is meant to be vegan and is well structured, with rich, ripe fruit and gentle spicy tannins.  It has a clean aroma, showing maturity and finesse, with a hint of dried plums.  Off dry to medium sweet, it has a rich, mellow texture and a smooth tannin structure, with a long, satisfying finish.  (Obviously I got that lot from the Internet; I don’t really know anything about port, other than it’s red and I like how it tastes.)  Apparently the classic way to serve Special Reserve is with aged Stilton cheese after dinner; or with roasted almonds or walnuts and squares of rich, dark chocolate, for a simple but elegant dessert.  Personally I just drink it on its own out of the wrong shaped glass.  Still, I like to think I’m a higher class sort of drunk.  You won’t find me in the gutter with some cans of Asda lager in the remains of a six-pack ring, or a smashed bottle of Buckfast.  Port is a bit of a throwback to a more civilized time now past; so’s this film.

When I was young I used to sit at home on a Saturday afternoon with my mum, watching old, black and white films on BBC2.  In those days we only had three TV channels to pick from and no Internet or home videos; life was hard.  Nowadays I can pick from about 200 TV channels and a billion videos on the Internet, or select a DVD or Blu-ray disc to watch.  No wonder more people suffer from mental health difficulties these days.  Those old films were inevitably made in the 50s and focused on some couple in America with ‘marital difficulties’.  They were pretty boring.  I’d much rather have watched the wrestling on ITV’s “World of Sport” and seen ‘bad-guy’ Mick McManus trashing another opponent illegally when the ref’s back was turned, but you only had one TV in those days.  (Sadly Mick died earlier this year.)  Watching “In the Mood For Love” took me straight back to those days; (the films that is, not the wrestling).  It’s in colour and set in Hong Kong in the first part of the 60s, but other than that…  When I was watching it I was trying to work out why I’d bought it, as it’s not the sort of movie I’d normally watch, but by the end it made perfect sense.  It’s got the sort of plot Thomas Hardy could easily have written, (if he’d been able to get away with writing about marital affairs).  Chow Mo-wan certainly has something in common with Jude Fawley.  The first 15 minutes or so are a real muddle to follow, but then it settles down.  It’s also currently the 247th most highly rated film on IMDB, so I guess that means it’s pretty special.  Whatever.  But overall it’s worth watching, despite the lack of explosions, spaceships and perverted sex.

The music plays a big part in making this movie work, from the use of a number of songs by Nat King Cole, through to the regular musical montages (using the same bit of hypnotic waltz music) that’s used to drive parts of the story along.  Not a soundtrack I’d want to listen to on its own, but great in the context of the film.

Recommended for newspaper editors, PAs and lonely husbands and wives.

No cats, chainsaws or decapitations.

Top badass moment?  It seems you have to be a bit of a bastard to get anywhere in life these days.  Su Li-zhen and Chow Mo-wan were just too nice.  This makes them badass, but unfortunately it also makes them total losers.  What a shame.

In the Mood For Love at IMDB (8.0 / 10)

In the Mood For Love at Wikipedia