Archive for the ‘Sweden’ Category

Gräns – **(*)

Posted: July 20, 2019 in 2018, Fantasy, Romance, Sweden, XX1/2

Not half as bizarre as critics want you to believe, this romantic drama will keep you intrigued until the very end.

Tina looks different. She’s been told that it’s due to a mistake in the chromosome system. She has some traits that others don’t have though. She can smell emotions and feels much more united with nature. She works at customs and can ‘sniff’ out those passengers with illegal merchandise. Then, one day, she meets a passenger that seems to suffer from the same medical injustice. It turns her world upside down. He claims not to be human.

It’s a movie about a troll woman figuring out who she really is. And it’s a good movie. Sure, there are some scenes that may be disturbing, but they fit the narrative. It’s a bit predictable though. You may not smell it, but you can still anticipate what’s coming. Maybe that’s why in the end it’s a bit disappointing, after having read all the raving reviews.

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.

The Square – ***(*)

Posted: December 22, 2017 in 2017, Comedy, Satire, Sweden, XXX1/2

And then there’s a movie that you want to recommend to everyone. Because it’s a unique experience. It’s well acted, well-directed, well told and is funny! It’s the kind of movie that makes you rave about several of its scenes. Scenes that tell so much without actually explaining anything. What a relief. And when there is dialogue, it feels very natural. Every expression, wether verbal or visual, is real and recognizable. You can list a dozen of examples, but you basically just have to go watch. The trailer intrigues, but doesn’t really do the movie justice. It’s for a much wider audience than what reviews may want you to believe. It’s very accessible. It’s a Golden Palm winner, sure. And it’s long and most of it is in Swedish. But it’s probably the best movie of the year. So give it a chance.

You don’t really need to know much about the story. It’s just set in Stockholm and the main character is a curator of a modern art museum, who’s having a bad week. The story isn’t important. The satire is.




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!

This is really crazy.

But it’s fun !

30 minutes of non stop 80s persiflage scenes that make no sense at all, but are incredibly entertaining. It’s probably better after the use of alcohol or marihuana (where it’s legal of course), but even in a sober state of mind this is awesome.

There isn’t really a ‘story’ apart from the fact that a kung fu cop is sent back in time to kill Adolph ‘Kung Führer’ Hitler. It’s filled with funny one-liners (‘Knock Knock’ ‘Who’s there?’ ‘Knuckles’), great action scenes (the video game like kung-fu killing of Hitler’s gas mask wearing army), absurd encounters (a prehistoric Laser Raptor), nostalgic sounds (80s synths, 80s guitar rock) etc… it’s Knight Rider meets Back to the Future meets The Karate Kid meets Conan The Barbarian meets He-Man, meets, well, everything else that you watched when you were a kid in the eighties…

Just watch it: it’s online!


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.

It took me a while to watch this movie. I first wanted to read the book, but that book has been on my shelve for more than three years now. And in the meantime they made an American remake.

I am not sure if I want to see the remake though. It will probably come too soon. But on the other hand, it might be a better movie than this one. This is the original Swedish movie based on the best seller that sold more than 35 million copies worldwide! And unfortunately it looks like the producers wanted the movie to be released while the book was still in the charts. It is always difficult to visualize what was written as a novel and you just have to add extra scenes to make the story come to life, but I was a bit annoyed by the repetitiveness of certain images. That picture that becomes the first clue is shown endlessly. I got it imprinted in my memory forever. And yes, it is controversial to show sadism and sex and that’s how it got the crowds in, but those scenes do not add anything at all to the experience.

The movie starts good and you get intrigued by the story and the characters. But then it all gets told way too fast. A series would have been better for this story, because now it looks like the script writer works for a weekly tv crime show. The end credits roll and think wonder what made the book so popular, because the plot line in this movie isn’t all that brilliant.

But as a detective movie, it definitely has its merits.