In the first-ever monthly movie and television catch-up article series titled ‘Additional Bite-Sized Reviews,’ I take a look at a solid Danish film from 2020, I tell you whether or not you should watch the new Danish television series that was released on Netflix on New Year’s Eve, and I also finally tell you what I think about the Russell Crowe starring vehicle Unhinged.
- What are Additional Bite-Sized Reviews?
– My monthly movie and television catch-up review series ‘Additional Bite-Sized Reviews‘ is an evolution of the Overview-article section previously titled ‘What I Didn’t Write About.’ I was originally inspired by film critic Peter Sobczynski’s article series ‘Films I Neglected to Review,’ wherein he writes short, or brief, reviews of films that he hasn’t had the time to write full reviews about. Therefore, in articles such as this one, I will provide my readers with my thoughts on select films, shows, and even classics that I feel like giving my thoughts on, even though I don’t have the time to dedicate thorough reviews to them.
- Why do the bite-sized reviews not include either a letter grade or a review score?
– In my full and thorough reviews, I like to score or grade what I watch. But since these reviews aren’t as detailed, I think it is fairer to the films and shows to simply just decide whether or not to recommend them. I guess you could say this is the only type of review that is basically ‘scored’ with the classic thumbs-up/thumbs-down-method on my site.
Unhinged | Film | Dir. Derrick Borte | Screenplay by Carl Ellsworth | Release Year: 2020 | Seen on: Blu-Ray | Recommended?: Unsure.
In mid-2020, I remember thinking that it felt like the producers of Unhinged were trying their damnedest to beat Tenet in the race to become the first notable film to arrive in theaters during the rather movie-less summer movie season of 2020. I think that is honestly what I’ll remember this movie for in a couple of years because I don’t think this is a particularly memorable film.
In spite of the presence of Russell Crowe, who gives a hammy performance as the so-called ‘unhinged’ antagonist, Unhinged is just a ridiculously unsubtle road rage B-movie thriller. Some of its most pivotal scenes are very clumsily written. But, then again, the film delivers exactly what it promises, which is, to reiterate, B-movie rage and violence displayed by an Oscar-winning actor.
You’d be much better off just rewatching Falling Down or Joy Ride, though, as they are both superior films and much more memorable and rewatchable. There definitely is an audience for this type of film — I quite like some of the films that it reminded me of — but Unhinged, frankly, didn’t work for me as well as I wanted it to.
Vores Mand i Amerika (Int. Title: The Good Traitor) | Film | Dir. Christina Rosendahl | Screenplay by Kristian Bang Foss, Dunja Gry Jensen, and Christina Rosendahl | Release Year: 2020 | Seen on: Blu-Ray | Recommended?: Yes.
Christina Rosendahl’s Vores Mand i Amerika, or The Good Traitor as it has been dubbed internationally, is probably the best Danish World War II film of 2020. Now, granted, that isn’t saying much since I wasn’t a big fan of Anders Refn’s De Forbandede År, but what I really dug about this film was the characterization of the main character and Ulrich Thomsen’s performance as the historic Danish ambassador to the United States, Henrik Kauffmann.
Kauffmann comes across as a complicated idealist who may have been a heroic traitor but who was also someone willing to gamble, among other things, his life and his marriage. It doesn’t look like any other Danish WW2 film that I have seen, and I also thought the sound work was commendable. Ultimately, I don’t think it is as engaging as Rosendahl’s previous film, The Idealist, was, but Thomsen’s performance helps to make it one of the more interesting Danish films from 2020.
Equinox | Limited Series | Created by: Tea Lindeburg | Release Year: 2020 | Season Length: 6 Episodes | Seen on: Netflix | Recommended?: Unsure.
Released on New Year’s Eve 2020, Equinox is Netflix’s latest attempt at making a Danish series that captures Danes’ imaginations. Their series The Rain didn’t become as big of a success as they probably hoped it would, and they can’t rest on their laurels even though they know they will release the much anticipated fourth season of the popular Danish political series Borgen down the line. Equinox is an ‘okay’ though unfortunately ultimately somewhat unremarkable mystery-and-folk-horror series.
Equinox, though based on a Danish podcast series, feels very much like the kind of show that was pitched as Denmark’s Stranger Things or Dark (the popular German series). And the mystery at the center of the show, which is about a radio journalist investigating the mysterious disappearance of her sister decades earlier, is interesting enough that it does hold your interest for quite some time if you binge-watch the show like I did.
But the central investigation is stretched out so thin that it often felt like I was a step ahead of the show, and that made the underwhelming ending of the show even more disappointing than it already was. That said, there are some really good things about this show. For one, the cast is pretty good. I have become a relatively big fan of Danica Curcic and Lars Brygmann, and I thought they both delivered solid performances. I was also impressed by the performance delivered by relative newcomer Karoline Hamm, who plays the missing sister. Ultimately, this is an easy show to binge due to the length of the series, and it will keep fans of these types of shows interested if they can accept that it isn’t a very memorable show.
– Reviews Written by Jeffrey Rex Bertelsen.