Sunday, November 30, 2014

En Av Oss - Åsne Seierstad

Seierstad is a multiple award-winning Norwegian journalist, specialized in reporting from war-zones.
This is her scrutiny of Anders Breivik, the man who placed a bomb in the Oslo government buildings before gunning down 70 youngsters at the Worker's League youth camp, in 2011.

Thoroughly researched and masterly penned, the strength of this opus is that it deals not only with Breivik, his childhood and inner thoughts, but also with the victims and with Norway as a whole.
Excellent read!

Saturday, November 29, 2014

Monster House - G. Kenan, 2006

You think this is a kid's film, but there is no coming-of-age story anywhere in sight, so probably not. 
Classic horror film plots, like this one (it's all pretty much in the title!), are few and far between in kid's films, probably because it's scary for real; at least to some of us!

Friday, November 28, 2014

Louie, season 4

The fourth season has a lot less laughs in it than the first three : Louie is in looove, and the poster fully well illustrates the leap of faith implied.

Mr CK continues to blatantly disrespect basic tenets of TV sitcoms (characters come and go, episodes are of various length, some events are so surreal you wonder whether you are supposed to believe in them or not...) very much to the benefit of his show.

Brilliant TV! Brilliant!

Thursday, November 27, 2014

Listen - David Guetta

Even to a dilettante like myself, most DJs - like most other artists - have their little idiosyncrasies. Guetta's distinctive traits, however, are tough to pin down.  

It might be that sounding mainstream and bland is actually what characterizes his music. That is certainly how this brand new album sounds, and that's despite the fact that it is more personal that what he has done before..!

It is, however, quite adequate music to run to and also, I suspect, to dance to.

Plus, kudos to Guetta for his enthusiasm! No falsely detached, cool-dude attitude here!

Sunday, November 23, 2014

Le Bal des Vampires, Théâtre Mogador, Paris

 This is the musical set-up of Polanski's 1967 film : Jim Steinman - king of bombastic rock music - has conceived the music and Polanski himself has directed this Parisian stage version, attacking his first on-stage musical at the age of 81. (At least his first to the best of my knowledge - not counting 'Amadeus'. Polanski is terribly hard to keep track of, though!)

I found the show just as extravagant, colorful, professional, playful and electrifying as I had hoped for; it ended befittingly with a standing ovation from the audience.

(Sexual innuendo was indeed heavy, but I think possible to ignore by present children.)

Friday, November 21, 2014

Champs Elysées Christmas market

If you want handicraft items, a genuine sense of old-fashioned yuletide or a spiritual sense of the reason for the season, then perhaps you should check out the markets in Strasbourg or Stockhom instead of this one.

At the Champs Elysées, you will find shamelessly over-priced candy, high quality streetfood and potential presents in abundance.

I suppose it's all just a matter of knowing what you're after.

Thursday, November 20, 2014

Och Ett Skepp... - Bodil Malmsten

Like many other Swedes I am very fond of ageing writer Malmsten (despite having never read a line of her poetry) as I have been of the previous parts of her life's logbook. 

Here, she has returned from France to Stockholm and is meditating on what has become of her home country.

The problem with being ageing and discontent is that it's terribly hard not to sound like an old schnock. Malmsten unfortunately does precisely that, from time to time, albeit a very witty schnock, with razor-sharp phrasings and an elegant style.

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Lemony Snicket's A Series of Unfortunate Events - B. Siberling 2004

I clearly remember reading this with my now-seventeen-year-old, when she was the age the ten-year-olds are now. We never moved on to part 2 as we felt we had had enough misery after the first book.

The current ten-year-olds felt pretty much the same about the film, it turned out. 
I congratulated myself to not having insisted on reading the book with them. 
There are heaps of other, funnier books to read.

Pictures were beautiful, however.

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Johnny Depp Retrospektivt - Steven Daly

A rather perfunctory inventory of the Depp filmography, this was! 
As a long-time Depp-devotee, I still appreciated the photos. Johnny Depp will always be Johnny Depp to me, I guess. (Or so I thought, until he pathetically divorced his wife for a 20-year-old blonde...)

Horrible translation, though. Do not read in Swedish.

Monday, November 17, 2014

Epic - C. Wedge 2013

In my opinion, kids' films can do without creative boldness, since their audience automatically renews itself every decade or so. That doesn't mean all kids' films stick to conventions, but this one certainly does.

However, as the mother of you-tube-aged pre-teens, I no longer really have to sit through these! 

(So why did I?? Why couldn't I just let well alone, and watch something else, instead?)

To be noted, though : On the (very!) same subject-matter, 'Arthur et les  Mini-Moys' is heaps better!!

Sunday, November 16, 2014

Seriously... I'm Kidding - Ellen De Generes

I'm just as much an Ellen-fan as the next person, and most likely this would have had me in stitches coming off a stage or a TV-set.

Unfortunately, emotion just isn't immediately transferable from one medium to another (which explains a lot about novels adapted on film). My theory is, this material isn't cerebral enough to stand for the thousandth of a second of afterthought that is inherent to reading. Un-funny.

Maria, who lent me and warned me against this book : I apologize for not trusting your reading skills. Again.

Friday, November 14, 2014

Les Garçons et Guillaume, A Table - G. Gallienne 2013

Adult Guillaume plays his teenage self as well as his mother in this autobiographical opus, based on his one-man-show on stage.

To be politically correct about it, Guillaume differs somewhat from traditional standards of masculinity, which leads his family to assume he is gay, thus adding spice to his upbringing in an aristocratic upper-class family.

This sounds insane for a pitch, but - amazingly - it works. It even works amazingly!
It was touching, funny, serious, ambitious and light, all at the same time.
Gallienne definitely deserved all the awards he walked away with from last year's Caesar Ceremony.

Thursday, November 13, 2014

The Andy Warhol Diaries - Warhol, edited by Pat Hackett

If this hadn't been such a heavy-weight, 1000-page-long opus, it would have made the perfect coffee-table book : Something to browse through absent-mindedly, read a page here and there to smile at Warhol's quirky way of expressing himself and the disconcerting mix of shrewdness and shallowness.

As it is, however, I find it rather indigest and feel rather sorry Hackett didn't edit more of it out while she was at it.

For the record, Warhol called Hackett every day from 1976 up to his death in 1987 and told her about the day before, in order for her to take it down. Entertaining, but - despite the compactness of the posts - very long.

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Wreck-it Ralph - R. Moore 2012

Did you ever stop to wonder what goes on after hours, inside a Video Arcade?

No, if truth be told, neither did I. For some reason, though, Disney thought we needed to find out.

This was pretty much the usual coming-of-age story of children's films - bad guy turning good by befriending cute little creature (a girl!) - with nothing particularly original nor particularly witty about it.

The one thing that did make me smile was the casting.


Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Att Föda Ett Barn - Kristina Sandberg

This is part one in a trilogy heavily tinted with modern history of the new social realism kind, focusing on a young woman of working class origin in smalltown Sweden. 
This segment starts out in 1938, introducing her as a pregnant young bride taking her first steps into adulthood.

The writing is skillful and ambitious, playing with narrative voices and points of view (although not with the effortlessness of a Virginia Woolf... But then, Woolfs are hard to come by!) all the while remaining an absorbing read. 

I most likely would have enjoyed it a lot more had I not found the main character such a whining martyr, impossible to either relish or relate to. I don't need disheartening stuff like this in November; it's already my least favourite time of the year. 

Saturday, November 8, 2014

1989 - Taylor Swift

As attentive readers might remember, I was not overly impressed with Swift's previous album, Red.

Applying the low-expectations principle therefore came quite naturally.

'1989' however was a pleasant surprise! I somehow reckon you have to be American to truly appreciate country music (just as I guess enjoying Johnny Hallyday necessitates a French upbringing) (and a minimum age of 50) whereas catchy pop tunes like these have no particular nationality.
That most of them are produced by (Swedish!) pop genius Max Martin obviously does them no wrong. (Though nor is it any guarantee, as the same was true for 'Red'.)

Nothing overly brilliant, but OK running music.

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

OSS 117, Rio Ne Répond Plus - M. Hazanavicius 2009

Dujardin stars as the brainless hero of this true-to-life parody of a 1960s spy film.
Amazingly, it is just as well-wrought, kitsch and tongue-in-cheek fun as the first OSS 117-film, from 2006.

Dujardin is first-rate and the swinging sixties are life-like to perfection.

Infinitely superior to, and loads merrier than, 'The Artist'!

Monday, November 3, 2014

Gravity - A. Cuaron 2013

Most likely this was not at all the same film on my 32' TV screen as in the dark of a a wide-screen, 3D movie-theatre.
Even so, it had both me and my ten-year-old gnawing away at our nails! 
(And please note I am not referring to my film buff ten-year-old, but to the other one, who normally cannot be bothered with anything fictitious, watching nothing but documentaries and youtubers.)

Cuaron's astute choices in camera angles and sound effects underscore the isolation of Bullock's sole survivor space scientist. 
As for Bullock herself, absolutely nothing at least I had seen of her early career romcoms ever let on she had any skills of this kind!

Extra kudos to Cuaron for having mastered the art of Killing His Darlings and kept the film an agreeable 90 minutes long. 

Sunday, November 2, 2014

Medeltids-museum, Stockholm

 A life-sized medieval village (ok; almost life-size) to amble around in this prettily situated museum of Stockholm in the middle ages.

A kick for all ages.

Saturday, November 1, 2014

Frozen - Buck & Lee, 2013

Disney it is, all right! The headstrong princess, perky animal secondary characters, bombastic songs and happy ending are all there, just as usual. 
Except this time, the film also passes the Bechdel-test swimmingly, which in itself constitutes huge progress and hopefully beckons brighter, less sexist times ahead.

It's Disney, like it or not, but it's top-notch Disney.