Archives For January 2013

From BBC's 'Pride and Prejudice' miniseries, 1995

Happy anniversary, ‘Pride and Prejudice‘! Jane Austen’s adorable classic is 200 years old and still going strong. The illustration is from the perfectly cast BBC miniseries of 1995 with Jennifer Ehle as Elizabeth Bennett and Colin Firth as Mr Darcy.

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Congratulations to Ben Affleck and ‘Argo’ for directing and best drama awards at the Golden Globes last night!

No major surprises otherwise, with ‘Django Unchained’ receiving the prize for screenplay, Daniel Day-Lewis for his performance in ‘Lincoln’, and Jessica Chastain for hers in ‘Zero Dark Thirty’. I haven’t seen either yet, but both are majorly hyped, so let’s hope they were well-deserved. ‘Amour’ expectedly won best foreign movie award, the epic ‘Les Misérables’ won several awards almost by default, even if the movie’s received lukewarm reviews. Adele’s ‘Skyfall’ won best theme song (yay!), and ‘Life of Pi’ won for best score.

I was also happy to see ‘Homeland’ winning best series, actor and actress awards in a drama series (again), even though I would have loved to see some credit for Benedict Cumberbatch and ‘Sherlock’. I will also have to look into ‘Girls’, which won best series and actress in a comedy series.

Full list of winners here.

The list of  BAFTA (EE British Academy Film Awards) and Oscars (Academy Awards) nominees have been released, and I am thrilled to say that two Norwegian movies have been nominated in the category of best foreign movie: ‘Headhunters’  at the BAFTA and ‘Kon-tiki’ at the Oscars.

Norwegian movies have made a great leap in quality over the last decade, and is slowly beginning to earn recognition abroad. Last year was a really good year for Norwegian cinema, and I am thrilled that it’s being noticed. Seeing the competition, I think the chances of either of the movies actually winning are slim, but being nominated for two of the biggest and most prestigous awards in the film industry is a great achievement in itself and something of a triumph for Norwegian cinema.


The big award season is coming up, with the Golden Globes, BAFTA and the Oscars all being handed out during the next six weeks. Full lists of nominees can be found here:

Golden Globes nominees – award ceremony 13th January
BAFTA nominees – award ceremony 10th February
Oscars nominees – award ceremony 24th February

Argo (2012)

‘Argo’ (2012) is the almost unbeliavable story about an unconventional rescue mission in Iran in 1980. Initiated by the CIA and with the help of the Canadian government, a fake Hollywood movie production was staged in order to smuggle six American diplomats out of the country during a violent riot. This masterly suspenseful thriller caught me somewhat by surprise and soars right up among my favourite movies of 2012.

“This is the best bad plan we have… by far, sir.” Jack O’Donnell, Argo

Grim, scary, provoking: this was two intense hours at the cinema. I nearly held my breath throughout the entire movie. Thankfully, the outstanding screenplay has also been spiked with some clever and nicely timed jokes to loosen up the otherwise unbearably intense story, which allows you to ease up and exhale in between the nail-biting suspense.

Ben Affleck once again demonstrates his skills behind the camera, and now truly has my attention as a  director. I’ve never been a fan of his acting performances, and even though he showed promise as a writer through ‘Good Will Hunting’ (1997), his poor choice of movies to appear in hasn’t done anything to spark my interest in him. However, after having directed ‘Gone Baby Gone’ (2007), ‘The Town’ (2009) and now his third big success, in which he also does a great job portraying CIA agent and man of the hour Tony Mendez, I’m beginning to realise that this is a man worth paying attention to.

Argo (2012)

9/10.

Seven Psychopaths (2012)

Hilarity!

Writer and director Martin McDonagh follows up his schizophrenic work of genius ‘In Bruges’ (2008) with an ensemble movie in the same style. ‘Seven Psychopaths’ too has the characteristic clever, snappy and frequently nonsensical script and the unpredictable, outrageous characters as his debut film, only on an even bigger scale: everyone single character here is batshit crazy. They all also happen to be equipped with deadly weapons. Inevitably, havoc ensues. The plot is in the style of Snatch’ (2000) or ‘Kiss Kiss Bang Bang’ (2005), with multiple storylines, which are all – more or less – tied together at the end. I will need a rewatch to piece all the details together.

The acting performances are what you’d expect of an ensemble of this calibre: flawless. I love seeing Colin Farrell back with McDonagh, as this kind of movie is where he gets to demonstrate that he really does have talent (note that his performance in ‘In Bruges’ won him a Golden Globe). Sam Rockwell, Christopher Walken and Woody Harrelson all do what they do best, and they’ve all got it down to a tee.

This multi-layered, gun-slinging psycho fest could easily turn into a big mess, but McDonagh has a firm enough grip on things that it doesn’t loose its way entirely, even if it isn’t rounded off quite as neatly as I’d have liked. It is an ambitious movie which falls a little short of being as brilliant as I would have loved to see it, but which was a blast to watch.

7/10.