Month: October 2014

Happy Halloween – What To Watch?

Hey there, today I’d like to suggest a couple of films that me and my family loves to watch on Halloween. Sure, Halloween’s not strictly a Scandinavian-tradition – but as Denmark has been Americanized (or rather its youth has been), we’ve started to adopt things.

So, today I’d like to show you some of the films my family likes to watch on Halloween. With that having been said, the obvious ones won’t be featured – i.e. don’t expect films like Halloween or Trick ‘r Treat.



REVIEW: Nightcrawler (2014)

In Nightcrawler, the cinematic directorial debut for Dan Gilroy, we meet Louis Bloom – played by Jake Gyllenhaal – a thief, desperate for a chance at a job. As Bloom traverses the night, looking for a job, he encounters Joe Loder – played by Bill Paxton – who makes a living by selling footage of crimes in the Los Angeles night. Bloom becomes intrigued, and thus begins to climb up the social ladder. But when Bloom becomes an employer, he becomes unhinged. That’s the basic plot, and from this point forward expect SPOILERS for Nightcrawler.

I just got back from a theatre in Taastrup, Denmark – and thankfully I was alone in the theatre; therefore I was not bothered at all; which is perfect for a reviewer. Going in I expected a mash-up of American Psycho and The Wolf of Wall Street, but I was unsure whether it was more the former or the latter. Louis ‘Lou’ Bloom is an interesting character, and Jake Gyllenhaal gives an amazing performance here. This isn’t just because of his weight loss, he simply gives us the best performance of his career. I’m a big fan of Gyllenhaal, but I do think this is his best performance – as he transforms himself into an almost metallic Louis Bloom, with Patrick Bateman-like (American Psycho) charm – and Dexter Morgan-like (Dexter) social skills.

This is a character-driven story, and Gyllenhaal is the main reason to go and see this film – but it is also important to note that this film in itself is a social commentary on the way the news glorifies violence. In what is an eerie conclusion to the Gyllenhaal-Rene Russo (who plays Nina Romina, a TV-veteran) relationship, we see his footage in the background while Gyllenhaal’s piercing eyes meet the ones of Russo. She is captivated by him, he’s her dealer – and the footage is her drug – or rather, it’s what keeps her working. I really like her performance in this film, and the romantic relationship helps in understanding Louis Bloom’s role. It is incredible to watch Bloom climb the social ladder, and to see him change in front of us – but it is also frightening to see where the want for violence takes him. But he is a fast learner – and he learns from the best.

Some things did bother me though, as I found Bill Paxton’s Joe Loder-character to be used poorly. However, the one big thing that bothered me was the score. There are times when Louis Bloom is monologing, revealing his American Dream – and suddenly the score turns this film into something it’s not. While the social ladder is important to this film, this is not a sentimental pursuit of happiness-story; and at times the score muddles the overall plot.

The best part of this film is Jake Gyllenhaal’s portrayal of Louis Bloom, and the social commentary is another stellar part of this film. But I would be remiss if I did not mention that I found the film’s final act to be the most thrilling I’ve seen all year.

Overall Score: 9 out of 10. Jake Gyllenhaal gives an Oscar-worthy performance in a American Psycho-like film, complete with a thrilling final act and a comment on glorified violence on U.S. local news.

Marvel Reveals Phase 3

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On tuesday the 28th of October 2014 Marvel Studios decided it was time to reveal their Phase 3-line-up, something that’s been discussed and speculated upon on pretty much every site – including this one. Now, in my aforementioned post regarding MCU Speculation I theorized on quite a bit – and some of it was spot on. Thor 3 will indeed be Ragnarok, and Black Panther is getting his own movie. Though there were a couple, if not quite a few, surprises that surprised even the biggest Marvel True Believers. In this post I’ll go over the most interesting choices year by year for the Phase 3 Line-up – including, but not limited to, new characters.

2016 – The Big Event & The Sorcerer Supreme

So here we go, Captain America 3 – directed by the Russo Brothers – will be The Serpent Society… Or, well, Feige wanted to fool us all, I guess. At the last minute he revealed that the rumours were true. The epic Marvel Comics Event Civil War will be adapted to the big screen.

This was a polarizing Comic Book Event, but a huge reveal for the MCU – everyone who’ve held Marvel Comic Books for the last few years should know what this means. This is the battle of ideologies between Steve Rogers and Tony Stark. Interestingly, they also revealed that Black Panther will indeed be a part of this film – but I’ll get to him, and the confirmed actor, later in this post. A huge part of the comic book event is secret identities, now Feige pretty much revealed that that won’t be a huge part of the cinematic version – and that’s a good thing – because Spider-Man is still in Sony‘s possession. This is by far the film I’m most excited about in the cinematic universe – and it blows my mind that we will see Captain America versus Iron Man in the same summer as Batman v Superman – this is quite obviously a battle, not only for fanboys, but in Hollywood as well.

Here we go, Dr Strange is indeed coming to cinemas – it might be rushed somewhat – but it is coming. I really wanted Joaquin Phoenix, and apparently so did Marvel – but when that deal fell apart, I was open to a lot of things; and Benedict Cumberbatch was one of those. Of course, Benedict is not yet confirmed as Dr Strange – but I’ll trust Deadline on this one. If it falls apart, though, this could end up as a bigger media-nightmare than Ant-Man was for Marvel. All in all though, Cumberbatch would make me pretty excited for this film.

2017 – Star-Lord, T’Challa & The End

Now, Star-Lord and Guardians of the Galaxy 2 are not going to be written about in this article – however it is notable that its date has been changed (Now being released on the 5th of May 2017). The big pieces of news here are the arrivals of T’Challa and the end of all things in the Norse Mythology.

As I wrote in July, Chadwick Boseman would be an excellent choice – and indeed it is – Boseman’s star is rising, and this won’t slow it down. The fact of the matter is that this character is extremely important to True Believers. Also, his involvement in Civil War will instantly make him a part of the greater importance in the Marvel Cinematic Universe – this casting is huge. T’Challa is going to be important, and I am extremely excited about this film – and the casting of Boseman is making me completely giddy.

Judgement Day is coming for Asgard. Now, this is important – not only because of it being a third film – but because it has to change something, something has to end. I could easily see Thor die in this film, and I wouldn’t be surprised if that happened because of the ruler of Asgard, Odin, I mean Loki. I would love to see Thor battle Fenrir or the Midgard Serpent – but honestly, I don’t know enough about solo-Thor stories in the Marvel Comic Books.

2018 + 2019 – Infinity & Beyond

Now, this is where everyone went completely nuts. Not only is Avengers 3, now titled Infinity War (obviously about the big Infinity Gauntlet, Thanos – the whole shebang), to be split into two parts – one in 2018, one in 2019 – but we’re also getting the Carol Danvers-movie…. Oh, and let’s not forget about the Inhumans-movie. Nerds all over the globe lost their minds.

This is huge for female nerds around the world, and females in general one might say. We need more female superheroes, and this is a great start. I wouldn’t mind seeing her in the Cosmic Universe – if that means she won’t just suit up with the Guardians, this is a solo star, not just a part of the gang. To be honest, I’d rather have the Kamala Khan Ms. Marvel, but that may be too fresh for the MCU – hopefully, we’ll eventually see her.

It is being theorized that Quicksilver and Scarlet Witch will be mutants, I mean Inhumans, in this universe – and that would make sense with this reveal. With that having been said, we need Black Bolt in an eventual film – and hopefully Lockjaw. But to be honest, I don’t know enough about the Inhumans to truly evaluate them – but that is really exciting.

So that’s it, True Believers – Phase 3 will be the biggest yet – and the most diverse for sure. I predict the loss of at least two Avengers-heroes by 2019 – and I’m eyeing Stark, Rogers and/or Odinson. We’ll see, but one thing’s for sure – Marvel’s not slowing down. Not. At. All. Buckle up.

REVIEW: Gone Girl (2014)

WARNING: EXPECT FULL SPOILERS FOR GONE GIRL Warning over (It’s better to be safe than sorry). Now, I always write this before my reviews, but I will try to steer clear of any spoilers – though, that may be tough with this film – we’ll see how I do.

Gone Girl, directed by David Fincher, stars Ben Affleck and Rosamund Pike as the Dunnes. Affleck, Nick Dunne, is introduced right away – and is really the main character in this film. With that having been said, Rosamund Pike’s character, Amy Dunne, is essential to the plot of the film – I’ll leave it at that for now. The plot revolves around Amy having disappeared – presumably killed, or at the very least kidnapped. What follows is a witchhunt – not unlike the one seen in Thomas Vinterberg’s The Hunt. While this film may look like the simple ‘whodunnit’ tale, it is actually quite unique – and some twists and turns will leave you speechless. That’s the plot, really, but in getting into a review – I’d first like to talk about David Fincher.

Fincher has taken this adapted screenplay and has taken it through the Fincher-process. Fincher is one of the best directors out there, and this film is like every other film he’s attached to. It’s beautiful, it’s on-point – it is David Fincher. One of the things I worried about was the casting, though. Tyler Perry & Neil Patrick Harris seemed like odd choices for their particularly roles as Nick’s lawyer and Amy’s old ‘stalker-boyfriend’, respectively. Really, though, Perry does quite well – and NPH does fine too – however, I’ve not read the novel yet, and I’m curious to find out whether NPH’s portrayal is true to the book.

I like to compare Affleck’s Nick Dunne to Mads Mikkelsen’s Lucas in The Hunt, and the thing is – that while both characters are being chased, or rather speculated upon, their reactions are quite dissimilar. Lucas was angry, but mostly you felt sorry for him – you saw him contemplating his future, you saw people becoming violent towards him. Now, Nick Dunne is a different person – he’s aggressive, he’s angry – but he’s being told to calm down; to fit in. The thing is that he’s too calm, he’s too awkward at media events following the supposed kidnapping of his wife. Affleck does well, but I do think Mikkelsen’s acting performance is superior. The star performance in Gone Girl, comes from Rosamund Pike. She has an Academy-Award-Performance, and it might be tough to understand this if you haven’t seen the film, but her performance is stellar.

The plot is amazing – its twists and turns are mindboggling – and when you combine that with the amazing directorial qualities of Fincher – you get something amazing. Go see this film – not only because of the Oscar-potential of Pike, or the directorial performance of Fincher – but for the twists, the turns, the whodunit of it all. It’s an instant classic in that category.

Overall Score: 9.0 out of 10. Amazing performances – both in front of the camera and behind it – take you on a ride as this terrifying witchhunt transforms itself into something legendary for the whodunit-genre.

NFL 2014 – Week 9 Preview

Pre-Week 9 Power Ranking:

  1. Denver Broncos
  2. Indianapolis Colts
  3. Arizona Cardinals
  4. Seattle Seahawks
  5. New England Patriots
  6. Baltimore Ravens
  7. Dallas Cowboys
  8. San Diego Chargers
  9. Buffalo Bills
  10. Detroit Lions
  11. Green Bay Packers
  12. Cincinnati Bengals
  13. Philadelphia Eagles
  14. Kansas City Chiefs
  15. Pittsburgh Steelers
  16. San Francisco 49ers
  17. Houston Texans
  18. Carolina Panthers
  19. Miami Dolphins
  20. Chicago Bears
  21. New Orleans Saints
  22. Atlanta Falcons
  23. Cleveland Browns
  24. Minnesota Vikings
  25. Washington Redskins
  26. New York Giants
  27. St. Louis Rams
  28. Tennessee Titans
  29. New York Jets
  30. Jacksonville Jaguars
  31. Tampa Bay Buccaneers
  32. Oakland Raiders

Week 9 Predictions (64%):

  • New Orleans Saints over the Carolina Panthers
  • Cleveland Browns over the Tampa Bay Buccaneers
  • Arizona Cardinals over the Dallas Cowboys
  • Houston Texans over the Philadelphia Eagles
  • Kanasas City Chiefs over the New York Jets
  • Cincinnati Bengals over the Jacksonville Jaguars
  • San Diego Chargers over the Miami Dolphins
  • Washington Redskins over the Minnesota Vikings
  • San Francisco 49ers over the St Louis Rams
  • Denver Broncos over the New England Patriots
  • Seattle Seahawks over the Oakland Raiders
  • Pittsburgh Steelers over the Baltimore Ravens
  • Indianapolis Colts over the New York Giants

REVIEW: Boyhood (2014)

The following is a spoiler review of Boyhood, a Richard Linklater film.

There’s something quite special about Richard Linklater’s Boyhood. This isn’t like anything else you’ve seen in the cinema. And I know what you might be thinking – is this like a documentary? No, this is not filmed like a documentary. No, this is not a mockumentary. You’re not going to see a Modern Family-like camera setting. This is simply a story about a boy, or rather a story about one kid growing up.

Now, this movie throws you some curveballs. Some might be led to believe this film is about parents splitting up – it’s not. Some might be led to believe this film is about a violent stepfather – it’s not really. Sure, there are elements of the aforementioned plotpoints. With that having been said, this film is simply about life. It’s about a single-mother, her disobedient daughter, sibling-rivalries, learning to allow your parents to move on from eachother. This is life.

Filmed over the duration of 12 years with the exact same actors – Boyhood is unique. The two main children are not really trained actors, as far as I understand, but following them grow up is a sight to be seen. Interestingly, the daughter in the film is the real life daughter of the director – and her character is significant. Mason Jr. (played by Ellar Coltrane) is really intriguing, but while he’s the main character in Boyhood, it’s his parents that provide the most stellar performances seen in a while.

I’m a big fan of Ethan Hawke, and his character’s transformation is possibly the most interesting. For while Mason Jr. & Samantha go from children to teenagers – Ethan Hawke’s Mason Sr. goes from mid-life crisis dad, worrying about his children forgetting his role in their life, to a new father – a new husband – trying to juggle two lives; becoming a role model in the process.

But while Hawke’s character finds his spot in the world eventually, he might be the only one doing that. Samantha and Mason Jr. go their seperate ways as they need to build their own lives – it’s exciting to watch Mason Jr. finally being able to build his life (in spite of some problems along the way).

This film is depressing too, though – and it is due to an amazing performance from Patricia Arquette’s Olivia. Arquette deserves an Academy Award for her performance, she really does, as she is dealt some very tough cards in life. It’s tough for Olivia, as she has seperated from Mason Sr. and rather quickly gets together with Marco Perella’s Bill Welbrock. Bill ends up being a heavy drinker, and a violent one at that – as becomes apparent when his strictness evolves into hitting Olivia in front of Mason Jr. And eventually another man becomes a problem. This is tough for Olivia, and I dare you to not feel heartbroken as Olivia finally breaks down in front of Mason Jr.

But as I said, this film is about life – and doesn’t rest by these plotpoints for too long. Life goes by fast, and so does the various events in Boyhood. So will Mason Jr. have a disappointing life, like his mother did? We don’t know, all we can do – as viewers – is to leave Mason Jr. at College – just like Olivia does. A boy became a man, and it is his job to evolve. We witnessed this coming of age-film – and it was absolutely perfect.

Overall Score: 10 out of 10. This is my favourite film this year, and it really is stellar. This is a unique film, don’t miss it.

REVIEW: The Great Gatsby (1925 – Novel)

This review marks the first time I officially review literature. Now, I won’t be releasing a lot of reviews – but some will come up as I finish certain books. Note that I won’t be giving a review score for literature, the reason for that can be found in Dead Poets Society – in the scene wherein Keating wants the students to rip out the introduction. I begin my literature review-process with what is called the great American novel. Themes of capital vs. romance and the American Dream are interweaved in a story of want – and objectification.

I wonder when students are assigned to read this novel in America – I guess that it might be in High School (as most Danes come across it at the corresponding level). Somehow I managed to miss this book though, other books were read by me in high school. I finally got around to reading it at University. Now, it is absolutely important to state that I will be discussing spoilers, and book reviews are seldom without spoilers. So, yeah, there’s your warning. Having said that, this book is a part of my curriculum – so I will leave out my in-depth analysis – so that I am able to use it for the exam.

Now, the book itself is written from the first person perspective, and our narrator (Nick Carraway) is extremely unreliable. But, for me, the reason why he’s unreliable is extremely important. I really love reading about friendships, and especially friendships that are more than just simple. Carraway’s relationship with Gatsby is extremely muddled, as Nick declares that Gatsby represents everything he loathes – while Nick almost drools over the illusion set forth by Gatsby, deemed ‘great’ by our narrator.

The novel is beautiful – as it highlights American origins, American Dreams – and the contemporary outlook. It has been said that this novel predicted the great depression. The final two pages are infamous for its imagery, both in describing Gatsby’s wants and dreams – but also for describing Dutch settling sailors – how they drooled over the Promised Land – and how Long Island – America – now is a wasteland.

I love this novel for its unreliable narrator’s almost homoerotic relationship with the titular character, for its late loathing of the main female character – but also for the dream. For the social mobility presented in this novel is extremely important to me, and so is the depressing ending – highlighting the proposed hope, while taking it away… And one fine morning.

This is the great American novel. While Gatsby’s greatness can be contended, the legacy of the book cannot. And while its dreams may be universal – it is the distinctly American Promised Land that makes us believe this showman, this Houdini – this illusionist. And yes, I think Gatsby was great.