REVIEW: Retfærdighedens Ryttere (2020)

Promotional Still Image
‘Retfærdighedens Ryttere / Riders of Justice,’ Promotional Still Image — Photo by Rolf Konow — Nordisk Film.

Directed by Anders Thomas Jensen — Screenplay by Anders Thomas Jensen.

It is quite extraordinary that in a year like 2020, which has seen a global pandemic severely damage the film industry and movie theaters all around the world, somehow the Danish film industry has thrived. This year has produced several event films, so to speak, in my home country. It all began with Mikkel Nørgaard’s Klovn: The Final, which is a continuation of arguably Denmark’s most popular comedy series of the last two decades. Then, not too long ago, Thomas Vinterberg’s near-masterpiece Druk was released to rave reviews, and it has almost single-handedly revived Danish movie theaters. Now, this week, Anders Thomas Jensen’s black comedy Retfærdighedens Ryttere has been released in Denmark. It is strange to say this, but, in spite of the COVID-19 pandemic, this has been a remarkably strong year for the Danish film industry. Continue reading “REVIEW: Retfærdighedens Ryttere (2020)”

REVIEW: Breeder (2020)

Film Poster
Theatrical Release Poster – Beo Starling

Directed by Jens Dahl — Screenplay by Sissel Dalsgaard Thomsen.

I think the Danish film industry has produced several gems and even some masterpieces. I really like to write about Danish films on my blog since it gives me a chance to highlight and talk about films that people outside of Denmark may not have heard of. But while there are very many excellent Danish dramas and great Danish comedies, I think it’s very odd that the Danish film industry has been struggling to keep up with the rest of the world when it comes to the very popular horror genre. Continue reading “REVIEW: Breeder (2020)”

REVIEW: Artemis Fowl (2020)

Film Poster
Character Poster – Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures

Directed by Kenneth Branagh (Thor) — Written by Conor McPherson & Hamish McColl.

Following several years of development hell, a film adaptation of Eoin Colfer’s young adult fantasy novel Artemis Fowl was finally completed and released by a major film studio this year. Disney seemed like a good home for the film, and Kenneth Branagh seemed like a good fit as the director of the film since he had previously done a good job with fantasy films such as Thor and Cinderella. It was originally intended for a theatrical release in, first, 2019, and, later, 2020, but the COVID-19 pandemic forced Disney to release the film on their new streaming service, Disney+. However, it almost feels like a straight-to-streaming release was the best thing that could’ve happened for the film since it has now been essentially swept under the rug without much fanfare. Continue reading “REVIEW: Artemis Fowl (2020)”

Recommending Danish TV: ‘The Mole,’ ‘The Investigation,’ and ‘Cry Wolf’

Still Image Efterforskningen
‘Efterforskningen / The Investigation,’ Still Image — Photo by Henrik Ohsten — TV2.

Lately, I’ve been watching a lot of Danish television. I did this, in part, to prepare for my article on Mads Mikkelsen, but I’ve also been binge-watching a lot of Danish TV in anticipation of the upcoming fourth season of Borgen, which will be a co-production between Netflix and the Danish Broadcasting Corporation (DR). But I’ve also recently watched three Danish shows that were released over the course of the last few months. Today, I want to tell you about Cry Wolf, The Mole, and The Investigation. Continue reading “Recommending Danish TV: ‘The Mole,’ ‘The Investigation,’ and ‘Cry Wolf’”

REVIEW: On the Rocks (2020)

Film Poster
Release Poster – Apple TV+ / A24.

Written and Directed by Sofia Coppola (Lost In Translation) — Available on Apple TV+.

As most people know, Sofia Coppola is Hollywood royalty. She made appearances in many of her father’s films, before a less-than-stellar supporting performance in The Godfather Part III led to scathing reviews and, not long thereafter, her acting career was over. But Sofia Coppola is not just Hollywood royalty, she is also a terrific filmmaker. Over the years, she has managed to reinvent herself as a great director and for her second film as a director, 2003’s Lost in Translation, Coppola was allegedly inspired by her own relationship with her ex-husband and filmmaker Spike Jonze (Her). Since Lost in Translation, which I think is a beautiful film (as well as her best), it has been difficult not to look at her films as being directly inspired by her own experiences. When I watched On the Rocks, which, like Lost In Translation, features Bill Murray, I started to think about her relationship with both her father and middle-age. Continue reading “REVIEW: On the Rocks (2020)”

REVIEW: His House (2020)

Film Poster His House
Release Poster – Netflix

Directed by Remi Weekes — Screenplay by Remi Weekes — Story by Felicity Evans & Toby Venables.

Every once in a while, you find yourself watching a feature-length debut that knocks you sideways and reminds you of just how magical debut films can be. Babak Anvari’s Under the Shadow was that kind of film and I think that Remi Weekes’ feature-length debut film, His House, is equally good. Weekes’ film has been released very close to Halloween 2020, and, even though the subject matter is not a classic horror story, the film is designed to fit into a classic horror movie subgenre. This is a brilliant haunted house flick. Continue reading “REVIEW: His House (2020)”

REVIEW: Borat Subsequent Moviefilm (2020)

Release Poster – Amazon Studios

Directed by Jason Woliner — Distributed by Amazon Studios.

In 2006, Larry Charles’ mockumentary Borat: Cultural Learnings of America for Make Benefit Glorious Nation of Kazakhstan — or, you know, just Borat — became a cultural phenomenon. Fourteen years later, Sacha Baron Cohen has brought back his most popular fictional satirical character for the purpose of ringing the alarm bell as Americans get ready to vote in the 2020 Presidential Election. Although it’s not as fresh, sharp, or funny as the original hit film, Borat Subsequent Moviefilm [sic], as the sequel has been titled, is arguably the funniest movie of the year. Continue reading “REVIEW: Borat Subsequent Moviefilm (2020)”

REVIEW: The Trial of the Chicago 7 (2020)

Trial of the Chicago 7 Film Poster
Release Poster – Netflix

Written and Directed by Aaron Sorkin (Steve Jobs) — Distributed by Netflix.

Back in July 2020, news broke that Netflix had acquired the distribution rights to this Aaron Sorkin legal drama following negotiations with Paramount Pictures. The global COVID-19 pandemic had made it difficult for Paramount to live up to the promise of a wide theatrical release this year especially since it was, reportedly, important for the filmmakers to have their film released to the public prior to the 2020 United States Presidential Election in November. Netflix provided them with a feasible and acceptable way out. The Trial of the Chicago 7 has now been released globally on the popular streaming service, thus giving Americans a chance to watch this drama before casting their vote. Continue reading “REVIEW: The Trial of the Chicago 7 (2020)”

REVIEW: Dick Johnson Is Dead (2020 – Documentary)

Dick Johnson Documentary Poster
Release Poster – Netflix

Directed by Kirsten Johnson — Distributed by Netflix.

A couple of years ago, I saw Martin Scorsese’s documentary short film Italianamerican, which is basically a very personal documentary wherein the filmmaker films his parents, has them tell their life stories, and even reveal their best recipes. Since I first saw Italianamerican, I’ve actually been thinking a lot about the best way to celebrate your parents in the documentary format. This made me very interested in Kirsten Johnson’s documentary about her father, Dick Johnson is Dead, but when I sat down to watch her documentary, I was slightly trepidatious about what film I was about to watch. The title is obviously ominous, but the poster looks more like a comedy than anything else. I eventually came to realize that Kirsten Johnson’s documentary was the total package. Dick Johnson Is Dead is one of the best documentaries of the year. Continue reading “REVIEW: Dick Johnson Is Dead (2020 – Documentary)”