Archives For November 2012

It’s nearly the time to sum up the film year, but there are still some really exciting films coming to the cinema before the end of the year. These are the ones I’m most excited about:

Life of Pi‘ (USA)
Release date: 25.12
Directed by: Ang Lee
Genre: adventure/drama

Based on the allegedly “unfilmable” novel by Yann Martel, this is a story of a young man lost at sea and forced to share a lifeboat with a tiger. I watched (and posted) the trailer for this last week, which left me tremendously excited. So far, most critics seem to be blown away by it. I don’t know much about the story, but it looks absolutely stunning! My only worry is that it might pull a ‘The Tree of Life‘ and turn too spiritual for me to be able to connect. Still, in the relatively steady hands of Ang Lee, I am prepared to be amazed.

The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey‘ (USA/NZ)
Release date: 12.12
Directed by: Peter Jackson
Genre: Adventure/fantasy

Like just about everyone else I’m excited about being reunited with the LotR universe, and relieved to find it in the hands of Peter Jackson where it belongs. The thing about ‘The Hobbit‘: I don’t really like dwarves, and here’s a film featuring twelve of them. However, I do like the universe Jackson’s created and I’m thrilled about the perfectly cast Martin Freeman in the role of Bilbo Baggins, so I think this will be a proper treat!

Amour‘ (Austria/France/Germany)
Release date: 25.12
Directed by: Michael Haneke
Genre: Drama

Another film I’m very anxious to see. It won the Palme d’Or at Cannes Film Festival in May, and there is no end to the praise it has been given in the media ever since. Haneke is behind several highly acclaimed – yet controversial and in a few cases quite disturbing – films, such as ‘The White Ribbon’ (2009), ‘Funny Games’/’Funny Games US‘ (1997/2007) and ‘The Piano Teacher‘ (2001). ‘Amour’ is about an elderly married couple coping with the inevitability of old age. I expect it to be contemplative, uncomfortable, touching and really, really good.

Seven Psychopaths‘ (UK)
Release date: 25.12
Directed by: Martin McDonagh
Genre: Comedy/crime/drama

I loved the chaotic, crude and very quote-friendly ‘In Bruges‘ (2008), and I’m extremely excited to see what whackiness its creator Martin McDonagh has come up with this time. On the team with him again is Colin Farrell (whose well-deserved Golden Globe for ‘In Bruges‘ passed in virtual silence) and a pretty awesome cast, among them Sam Rockwell, Woody Harrelson and Christopher Walken. The trailer gives me a ‘Snatch‘ vibe, and it looks potentially disastrous, but it could be a hell of a ride!

Bully‘ (USA)
Release date: 07.12
Directed by: Lee Hirsch
Genre: Documentary

This award-winning documentary about peer-to-peer bullying was first showed in film festivals last year, and I’ve waited for it for quite some time. Perhaps because I have some personal experience on the subject, or because it is such a universal and massive societal issue, I believe documentaries on bullying may contribute to increased awareness of its impact. I imagine this will film be a really heavy watch.

Which movies are you looking forward to in December?

Great stories can come in many forms, and although this blog primarily celebrates visual storytelling, I’m straying off the celluloid path for a moment to share a small piece of alternative media that tells a story which is every bit as emotionally striking as any visual narrative. It blows me away, so I really want you to hear it, too.

I’m talking about a really powerful piece of music that was written and recorded by a friend of mine several years ago, for a friend of hers who was battling cancer. This song is at once heartbreakingly sad and hopeful, perhaps all the more since her friend recently passed away in surgery.

No pictures are needed to tell this story. It’s in the notes and the words, and all you have to do is close your eyes amd just let it unfold in your mind.

(More of Maia’s music can be found on her website.)

Just got back from watching ‘Spring Breakers‘ at Oslo Film Festival, one of the very few festivals that have been granted permission to show the film, which isn’t due for release until next year. I honestly don’t know what to think yet. The word “bizarre” springs naturally to mind. Some parts worked really well (the filming was at times magnificent), others did not (pacing, script) and dragged the film down. I might write a full review when (and if) I have wrapped my head around it properly.

‘Life of Pi’(2012)

This is so my kind of movie. It’s like an arthouse version of ‘Kon-Tiki’, with a tiger! Can’t wait to see it. Norwegian cinema release 25th December.
What do you think?

What a busy and exciting week it has been so far! In between job interviews, therapy and contract meetings (I finally have a new job!), I have been to some really enjoyable cultural events, and more are yet to come. I’ve been to Det Norske Teatret to see the musical ‘Evita‘ performed by my two favourite stage actors; been to a lovely wine-tasting evening with a group of expats from several different countries, and to the cinema to see ‘Beasts of the Southern Wild‘ at long last. As if that wasn’t enough, Oslo International Film Festival (OIFF) kicked off yesterday, so the next few days should hold several great experiences too.

I was very happy to finally see ‘Beasts of the Southern Wild‘, the sensational movie that has, to use an exceptionally well-fitting expression, taken the world by storm this year. It first premiered at the Sundance festival in January, and I’ve wanted to see it ever since it received standing ovations and raving reviews at the Cannes festival in May. It’s been out in the cinemas for three weeks, but I’ve been on the fence because my flatmates expressed a wish to come along to see it. In the end I decided three weeks of waiting for them to get organised was my limit, and made a spontaneous decision to watch it mid-afternoon yesterday (which really is the best time of day to be at the cinema, because there’s usually not many people around).

It is very difficult movie to write about, but this Rolling Stone review sums things up pretty well; still, you have to watch it to get the big deal. And you really should watch it!

Six years old Quvenzhané Wallis in ‘Beasts of the Southern Wild’.

 

As for the rest of the week, Oslo International Film Festival (OIFF) is on, so there will be a few more cinema visits. So far I have tickets to ‘Side by Side‘ and ‘Laurence Anyways‘. The first is a documentary about film creation and features a couple of my favourite directors; the latter is a seemingly intense and untraditional love story about a transsexual and her lover.

I was planning on seeing ‘Seven Psychopaths‘, which is on my list for anticipated December releases (which incidentally I will publish at the end of the month), but as it will be shown at the cinema after the festival anyway, I thought I might prioritise the films that will (probably) only be shown this week. The same goes for ‘Pieta‘ and ‘Amour‘, even though the latter won’t be released before Christmas and I am very, very eager to see it.

The remaining movies at the the festival are less known to me, so I’m going to look them up and decide which might be worth catching. So far I’ve got an eye on ‘Codebreaker‘, ‘It’s Such a Beautiful Day‘, ‘Spring Breakers‘ and ‘Red Sorghum‘. If you’ve happened to see either of them and can recommend it, please let me know.

It’s a good week to be a culture junkie!