Posts tagged “Iceland

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


The Bothersome Man: 3.5 Stars

The Bothersome Man  -  Front DVD Cover (UK)I spent this afternoon working, updating my financial budgets.  I seem to spend an inordinate amount of time on these, yet somehow they never seem to be quite up to date or accurate enough for anyone.  Numbers on a spreadsheet, there must be more to life than adding up endless numbers on a spreadsheet.  It doesn’t achieve or change anything.  A chief executive of a small, community regeneration charity in London once told me that “regeneration was invented to keep the liberal middle-classes happy”.  I think she meant projects that are set up to make a difference to people don’t really achieve much, but keep a lot of the latter group in jobs that make them feel good about what they do.  This film offers a similar view of the world.  Its main character Andreas even spends his days in an office adding up numbers on a computer screen.  Oh God, I think I’ve become him!  I need to go find a window and throw myself out of it; (which someone in this film appears to do as well.)

2006  –  Certificate: 15  –  Norway
Rating Details:  Scenes of strong gore

If you don’t like films with neat, tidy endings, or that make it clear what they’re about, then you’ll probably hate this one.  I viewed it as a statement on the mundane, superficial and uncaring lifestyles that many of us live these days, but maybe that’s just me.  As someone whose way of life is tissue-paper thin and pretty meaningless, I could relate to it.  A mindfuck of a movie, this is a nicely made black comedy that’s well worth a watch.  The snogging scene at the beginning is really quite disturbing and sets the tone for the rest of the movie.  The best bit of escape tunnelling I’ve seen since “The Great Escape” too; and a much better plan than trying to play with subway trains.  The more I’ve thought about it since I watched it a few days ago, the better it seems to become.  It represents 20% of my entire Norwegian film collection as well.

Recommended for people who enjoy thinking about the films they watch.

No cats, decapitations or chainsaws.  However, at one point a finger does get amputated by an office guillotine machine.

Top badass moment?  Andreas digging a tunnel to try to escape from his mundane life.  Despite being frequently surrounded by the mundane myself, it’s something I’ve personally never considered doing.  Trying to escape from the mundane is badass.

The Bothersome Man at IMDB (7.4 / 10)

Judge Dredd: 3.5 Stars

Judge Dredd  -  Front DVD CoverWhere I work there’re people called Regional Finance and System Managers.  They generally manage few staff and control few resources or budgets.  Yet despite this, they are feared!  Unbending, emotionless and utterly without compassion, they demand absolute and total compliance from the rest of us, least we complete a spreadsheet incorrectly, or enter a field of data wrongly into The Management Information System.  Generally mild-mannered and calm, (which makes them sound a bit like Clark Kent but don’t let that fool you), they are in fact imbibed with arcane, secret and awesome powers.  Up until a couple of years ago, when we had a bit of a reshuffle at work and the Regional Finance and System Manager I dealt with was physically transferred into the entity known as the IT Department, (at least that what I think happened to him, as no one’s seen him in person since), I viewed him as rather like Judge Dredd.  All that “I Am The Law” stuff and everything.  Well I don’t think he ever actually said that, but it’s the way you say things that matters, not what you actually say.  What he typically did was write an e-mail to ask if I could provide him with a few bits of information.  In my head this became a vision of him riding into my office on his massive Lawmaster bike, (after blowing the door and part of the wall away with his Lawgiver sidearm, using an appropriate high-explosive round to do so), into the chaotic fire-fight that passes for my finance management and generally non-existent record keeping. I felt ‘judged’ on many occasions.  “At the end of the day, when you’re all alone in the dark, the only thing that counts, is this, the MIS.”

1995  –  Certificate: 15  –  USA

I think this movie gets a bit of a bad deal from people.  So it doesn’t stick to the mythology of the Judge Dredd comics very well.  More Judge Stallone than Judge Dredd, it’s still a lot of fun in a brainless sort of way.  I enjoy watching Sylvester Stallone, he always seems to put so much effort into everything.  For an action film, it’s actually the slower parts that feel the best put together.  All those explosions and ‘car chases’, they just seem so mundane.   I wonder what the new version, due out later this year, will be like?  Oh, but what were they thinking of when they released the DVD I watched?  A non anamorphic transfer?  If I wanted to watch something as if I was watching it thorough a letter box, I’d go and put the TV behind a real letterbox and stand in the street outside and watch it through that.  I didn’t spend all that money on my massive TV just to have a little slice of picture shoved into the middle of it.  Twentieth Century Fox, back of the class for you.

No cats, no decapitations and no chainsaws.

Recommend for law-abiding citizens everywhere, who need a hero to look out for them.

Top badass moment?  People parking thoughtlessly is a real bugbear of mind.  Too lazy, stupid or selfish to park sensibly and walk a few yards to the shop, they ‘abandon’ their cars all over the pavements, on junctions, in disabled parking bays, or generally in the most piss-taking places they can find.  As far as I’m concerned, seeing how Judge Dredd deals with an anti-social motorist (he blows up his car, completely destroying it) is totally badass.  The sooner they arm Traffic Wardens with large calibre weaponry like that, the better.

Judge Dredd at IMDB (5.1)