Archive for the ‘Denmark’ Category

Borg vs McEnroe – *(*)

Posted: September 10, 2018 in 2017, Denmark, Sportsdrama, Sweden, X1/2

Back in the seventies, Bjorn Borg was quite the spectacular sportsman. He looked good and seemed to be void of emotions. Back in the eighties, John McEnroe was quite the spectacular sportsman as well. He didn’t look that good, but he swore a lot and had anger outbursts during games. Both excelled in tennis. They played against each other in two finals at Wimbledon. One in 1980 and one in 1981. This movie focuses on their first major confrontation. The emotionless & perfectionist Swede against the aggressive & careless American… But in trying to show the differences between both, the makers manage to show their similarities.

It’s an okay movie. It’s not a must-see, but it doesn’t bore. It’s pretty superficial and the tennis players don’t really come across as intriguing people. Which is sad, because they probably were. It uses flashbacks, every 5 minutes or so. That’s a format that works in this case. The childhood of these champions is a tad more interesting than the preparation to the final. You can watch the highlights of the final on youtube below (it’s considered to be the most thrilling finale in tennis history) and it pretty much makes sense that both were nervous about the event. That’s clear in the movie, but that’s not really intriguing. Shia LeBoeuf is great though and Sverrir Gudnason does a good job too.

Borg apparently thinks the movie is okay as well. McEnroe doesn’t. Both call it fiction.

It starts off really good, this crime thriller set in Cairo. The plot is intriguing. The introduction to the story and its characters is told by images rather than by words. The mood is dark. The setting is, well not really exotic, but different and thus exciting. But somewhere halfway through the story it becomes less appealing. There’s repetition. There’s no suspense. The direction is less inspiring. The acting is still good though. And there’s anticipation until the end about how the revolution of 2011 will be presented.

That Fares Fares is doing a fine job as the troubled good cop/bad cop who needs to solve a murder committed in a hotel room. A starlet is killed and there’s a housemaid who’s seen the killer. But instead of looking for the housemaid, the detective has a different trace that leads him to a network of prostitutes who seduce rich men, frame them and then blackmail them…

It’s heralded as a film noir. Which is understandable. The cops are depicted as a bunch of corrupt, cigarette smoking, alcohol drinking, territory claiming gang of scumbags. They’re not roaming the streets of LA, but of Cairo. And the housemaids aren’t poor Mexican immigrants, but poor Sudanese immigrants. They all talk (shout) in Arab instead of English and the events occur during a rising revolution against the corrupt powers that be. It’s not the LA riots for a change. At one point the movie feels like an episode of a Scandinavian detective series. And guess what? The director happens to be from Sweden. Okay, he has Egyptian roots. But still.

The movie has a lot of potential, but the story is weak and unoriginal. Too bad. I’m sure it won’t be shown in Egypt.

Some series are worthy of binge watching. Others aren’t. Forbrydelsen isn’t. Of course, once you start watching this 20 episode Danish crime series, you do want to know how it will end. But you do want to know it as soon as possible.

However, this is a 20 episode series! 20 episodes of an hour each. 20 hours to find out who killed a 19y old girl. 20 hours to dig into the secrets of the girl’s family. 20 hours to look into the troubled life of the female detective in charge. 20 hours to figure out what the link is between this girl’s death and the mayoral election campaign. 20 hours of interesting and exciting, but often irrelevant plot twists. 20 hours of chasing and clearing the wrong suspects. 20 hours of listening to Danish. 20 hours of watching pretty incompetent police detectives make mistakes over and over again. 20 hours of watching politicians and their staff talk and talk and talk about clearing their names in the campaign. 20 hours of people changing their story all the time. 20 hours of thinking: why the f*** can people not just tell the truth from the start? (really, it would make everything so much easier, especially for the suspects!) 20 hours of trying to be a detective yourself and shouting at the detectives on screen to stop making mistakes! 20 hours of often thinking: this just doesn’t make sense ! (for instance: when – on two occasions – a character asks the identity of the main mayoral rival, who is in the news all the time as the potential new mayor and as a suspect to the murder.  20 hours of hoping for a surprising end. 20 hours not entirely wasted.

Sure, solving a crime isn’t as easy as what shows like C.S.I. want to make you believe. It takes a while. And cops can fail. Situations can be deceiving. Politics and pressure can play a part. It’s nice to add dept to the story and the characters. It’s nice to show realism. It’s nice to show failure. It makes it all the more believable. The acting is great. That Sofie Gråbøl is phenomenal. But a lot of questions remain unanswered. A lot of plot lines fade away and seem forgotten after a few episodes. Several scenes don’t make sense. And the end is disappointing. If only the series would have been 10 hours. But no. 20 hours. Twenty hours!

An older man who loves literature, fly fishing and polyphonic classical compositions finds a wounded woman on the street and takes her in to his apartment. She refuses to see a doctor or go the police, but prefers a cup of tea with some milk AND to recount the man her adventures as a nymphomaniac.

This first part of Lars von Trier’s latest cinematic project – you cannot really call it a movie – is intriguing enough to be anticipating the second part. You get to learn more about the main character Joe’s sex addiction, even though she refuses to see it as an addiction because she wants sex out of lust not out of necessity. And that’s basically it.

Maybe it’s me, but I didn’t see any lust in this woman’s expressions. Is that bad acting of the newcomer Stacy Martin? Not really. It’s just bad storytelling and bad directing. I am not a fan of Mr von Trier at all. I never get all the fuzz about his releases. But for every redundant scene (the first five minutes, Christian Slater getting his ass wiped after shitting himself, …), there’s a cool moment that makes this a cinema experience worth discovering (Rammstein blasting out of nowhere, the polyphonic sex session explanation, …) For the moment, I still feel that the woman (played by Charlotte Gainsbourg) is making the stuff up. But there’s a scene where her caretaker (Stellan Skarsgård) points out the silliness  and incredibility of her stories , to which she replies “Do you prefer to believe what I say and be entertained or do you prefer to not believe it and be bored?”. Well, bored I wasn’t. In awe neither. Entertained yes.


If life is shit, then life in Cité Soleil, a slum of Haiti’s capital Port Au Prince is the amount of diarrhea from 100.000 dysentery affected tourists. It’s an area controlled by gang leaders who are in constant war with each other and in constant war with both the government and it’s opposition.

The political situation in the country is quite difficult to understand and this ‘documentary’ is not really explaining it. But basically this movie takes place in the year that former president Aristide left the country and rebels/opposition took over control.

A Danish director managed to film two gang leaders from the notorious slum during that year. How he was able to gain their trust is unclear. But he did and the result is quite disturbing. The gang leaders are brothers, they each control a part in the huge slum. They have a love/hate relationship with each other, which is very confusing. They are physically quite different, so it’s weird that – by the end of the movie – the director still writes the names of the brothers when they both appear on the screen. As if he assumes the viewers still won’t be able to tell them apart. They are very intriguing people. One, called 2pac, is a wannabe rapper. The other, Bily, is more serious and even has political aspirations. They both are smart. And quite likable. But their adoration of power and violence makes them no kids to fool around with. If they were fictitious, they would be superfly motherfuckers. But they are real, so it’s more difficult to fully empathize with them.

Luckily there is bonus material on the dvd, which is worth watching. The main feature feels like a snippet. By the time the end credits roll you feel disappointed because there are so many other things you want to know about these guys. The extras don’t really explain that much more, but it makes you realize that the director had to make a decision on how he wanted to tell the story. He totally decided to tell it from the brothers’ perspective. So it’s very biased. Several critics blame him for not being more neutral and for taking sides. But I guess he had to do so in order to get this movie made. I wonder if he ever asked them questions, because all they do is talk into the camera and say what they feel like saying.

The third main character in the movie is even more intriguing. It’s a volunteer worker who befriends the brothers and ends up being the girlfriend of 2pac. Throughout the entire movie I couldn’t help thinking that she worked together with the director. It felt like she was (voluntarily) used as bait to get the trust of these gangsters. I’d love to meet her and ask her about this. I’d interrogate her for hours about her relationship with these guys. You never really get to learn why she’s in Haiti really. It feels like she’s just there to party with the bad guys. I’m sure she must have done so helpful work too. And I’m really interested in learning about these kids’ past. They aren’t just street (or slum) smart, they are very eloquent both in their creole-French and in English. Oh well.

It’s NOT a documentary. It’s a showcase. But it’s a fascinating one. Endure the unimpressive beginning and wait until the volunteer worker becomes very present in the story. Don’t expect to understand the Haitian situation after this movie. Don’t expect neutrality. And don’t expect a Haitian Cidade De Deus either. It really isn’t that cool. It’s sad. But true.

the whole film is on youtube dubbed in French, like a real documentary


Posted: January 8, 2013 in 2011, Denmark, Drama, France, Germany, Sweden

When someone says/writes that he/she likes the latest movie of Lars Von Trier, I always wonder if they’ve actually seen the movie or not. I never believe it when someone claims to like the vision and artistic talent of Von Trier. I think people just say it because it’s the artistically correct thing to say. It makes them feel part of the ‘in crowd’ who knows all about art.

Well, I do NOT like Lars Von Trier’s movies. I tried to watch Melancholia, because, well, it did get good reviews and several people I know liked it. Or said they did. But this is just NOT my kind of movie. The stories always bother me so much, that I cannot even enjoy the cinematography and the art direction, nor the acting. Same here. I’m sure Kirsten Dunst is doing a great job here, but her character is so utterly uninteresting and the setting is so incredibly boring that I just didn’t care.


Efter Bryllupet – **1/2

Posted: October 29, 2011 in 2006, Denmark, Drama, XX1/2

A Danish volunteer worker reluctantly goes back to his home country to obtain much necessary money for his orphanage project in India. One rich industrial in particular wants to finance the cause, but seems to have other intentions for flying over the volunteer worker. A big secret gets revealed at the wedding of the daughter of the industrial, which sets off the movie. Another big secret gets revealed in the third act, which leads to a dramatic finale.

The story setup is very simple and allows the director to focus on the many personal aspects of the main characters with hundreds of close up scenes that show every single emotion possible. From anger to frustration to love to disappointment. The directing is pretty intimate, but efficient. This is an actor’s movie and the acting is superb! So why add special effects or long scenery shots? The story however just isn’t all that exciting and there are parts at the end of the movie that could have easily been cut out. It’s because of those scenes that I don’t find the movie an absolute must. But it was a pleasant surprise.

Bought this dvd in Denmark, because I wanted to get see some typical Danish movie that isn’t known outside of Denmark.  Just watched (with subtitles) and I didn’t quite get it. Sure it’s a dark comedy and maybe a manifest against greed. But it didn’t work for me.

Two butchers decided to open up a butcher shop on their own. When they accidentally forget someone in the meat cooler, they aren’t sure what to do with the dead body. Until a customer needs a large amounts of steaks and one of the butchers, starts to, well, cut of steaks from the dead guy’s thighs. Very predictable.

I smiled maybe three times because of the absurdity. But I never laughed.

Damn, I just see that they have the whole movie online: