Posts tagged “Loser

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

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The Invention of Lying: 4.0 Stars


The Invention of Lying  -  Front Blu-ray CoverLast week I spent two days away from home on a ‘business trip’, talking about how to revolutionise the support of environmental volunteering in the UK.  I had to stay in a hotel in Leeds.  I selected the cheapest one I could find, the Discovery Inn.  It was fine, if a bit warm; then again, I can sleep just about anywhere.  The reception desk was on the third floor, which was kind of weird, so I had quite an adventure in the hotel even before signing in.  All those lifts, staircases and corridors, it was like a really rubbish role-playing game, not a dwarf or gelatinous cube to be seen. The nearest I came to finding a ‘monster’ was when I finally got to reception, where a guy was hassling the chap behind the counter for a different room, because his was too noisy.  It’s the middle of Leeds, the third largest city in the UK; what did he expect, total silence broken only by the occasional hoot of an owl?  And I’m not suggesting that the hotel was seedy or anything, but I had to pay a £10 deposit to get a remote control for the TV in the room so I could watch it.  My room’s en suite bathroom was quite large, with the sort of flooring you could throw water all over without it causing a problem.  All the walls were covered in really large, really bright, white tiles.  It smelt a bit of cleaning fluids, appeared to be antiseptically clean and had the sort of acoustics that an alpine mountain range would pay good money for.  It reminded me of a morgue.  It was the sort of bathroom in which an axe murderer could kill someone and then easily clean up the mess afterwards.  In fact, given all the shouting coming from one of the rooms near mine at one point, I think that’s exactly what was happening.

2009  –  Certificate: 12  –  USA
Rating Details:  Moderate comic sex references

I really liked this film.  Any film featuring a fat loser who ‘gets the girl’ is assured of my vote, even if this does clearly identify it as a work of fiction.  I also liked it because he’s basically a decent guy, who doesn’t suddenly become a megalomaniac or power-mad psychopath when he finds out he has a unique gift.  (Unlike “Limitless” or “Chronicle” for example, to give two recent examples).  Sure, he does exploit it a bit, but not in a really bad way.  He also gets the girl without much in the way of cheating either.  Despite our showing in the Olympics and Paralympics, us Brits do like a loser, especially one who comes good in the end.  More negatively, I couldn’t quite work out why some characters couldn’t stop themselves from blurting out stuff that really didn’t need to be blurted out; not lying is one thing, but saying bad stuff about people that doesn’t need to be said just for the sake of it, is a bit mean.  This film also seems to have become quite controversial, due to its atheist leanings.  In fact I could probably write pages and pages about this subject, but frankly I’d rather just watch and enjoy it as a fun, gentle comedy.  It’s actually quite a moving film.  The scene in the hospital manages to be both funny and heart-wrenching at the same time; it made me cry, but then it’s not been that long since my mum died, so it probably had more resonance for me that it might otherwise have had.

Recommended for losers who want a good role model.  Or those who think Ricky Gervais is a comedy god.

No cats, decapitations or chainsaws.

Top badass moment?  Fat loser Mark getting the beautiful girl.  That is so totally badass, (if highly improbable).  What a shame it never happens for real.

The Invention of Lying at IMDB (6.4/10)