duminică, 28 mai 2023

Sisu (2022)

Finnish director (& writer) Jalmari Helander did Rare Exports (2010, on my top of 2011 & here), bsed on his 20023 short film and the high-concept action Big Game (2014). Took him a while to do his third feature, Sisu (2022), his best to date. Sisu means in Finnish a form of crazy courage & determination against all odds. 

The main character is inspired by a real sniper from the "Winter War" in WW2, Simo Häyhä, aka The White Death. It's set in Lapland in 1944, and what better villains than the Nazis? It starts with a lonely man discovering the mother lode into the wilderness (the Ecstasy of Gold), like in the vignette of Coen's bros. 2018's The Ballad of Buster Scruggs with the Gold prospector played by a scrubby Tom Waits. Then he starts a journey western style until he meets the Nazis, here a convoy of bad, bad Nazis retreating (Sven Hassel's style). Nazis in Finnish cultish films were seen in Dead Snow and its sequel by Tommy Wirkola, but those were Nazi zombies. 

Sisu premiered in Toronto Film Festival last Fall on Midnight Madness and picked by Lionsgate -US/ Sony (intl.) for distribution (Intercomfilm in Romania). Even though the film can now be found on the torrent sites I strongly advice those in for the ride to go and watch it on the BIG screen, it's absolutely worthy, due to the great cinematic compositions in widescreen by Kjell Lagerroos (2.39.1), glorious colors, the sound design, music (could've gone with a song on the End Credits-a bit of Morricone/Leone homage done a la Hans Zimmer in Broken Arrow) and spellbinding landscapes. 

Finn Jorma Tomilla is Aatami Korpi, surnamed by the Russians Koschei-"the immortal" . Tomilla was in Rare Exports the father hunter alongside his son, Onni Tomilla, who was in Big Game and here is the tank driver, Schutze. Norwegian actor Aksel Hennie (Headhunters, Max Manus, The Trip) is the very bad baddie, SS officer Bruno Helldorf, he reminded me of a cool younger Mads Mikkelsen, but he probably fares better than MM in the upcoming Indiana Jones V-th chapter. 

Korpi is like Rambo in the 1st film, First Blood, and like Mad Max ( a subplot is similar to Mad Max: Fury Road) and The Man with No Name. Surely a lot of spaghetti westerns went into the mix. Helander brings also John Woo into the inspiration for the film. 

The action sequences could be from Raiders and Indy 3 (the tank and under the car stunts) up to James Bond-esqe exploits (mostly the plane sequence).

People compare this with John Wick but there is no resemblances, the dog thing was part of Mad Max 2 and so many films way before the Keanu franchise. First Blood is the main ingredient here. Also Inglorious Basterds comes to mind, especially for the structure and lettering of the Seven Chapters (which are in fact classic 60's-70's film lettering).

But most of all the coolness comes from the fact it's Finnish (though I would've loved the nazis to speak German and not English...:( and to cut to the last scene before any lines...much better than any recent fare of this type. I hope Helander will keep on making his films and not become some gun-for-hire in the Hollywood up-and-down hills...So far it looks like it might be another Sisu film or maybe announced and postponed Jerry and Ms. Universe.

                                                                   The Red band trailer!

Check it out and see first if it's your kind of film ride, cos it's hyperviolent and kinda doomy/gloomy in its whole pulpy construction. With a lot of Finnish black humor. Perkele!

3 1/2 out of 5, 7 out of 10!

4 awards at Sitges Film Festival 2022, best film, best actor, cinematography and music !

sâmbătă, 27 mai 2023

The Trip (2021)

In seria #ALDrecomandă ultima oară v-am îndemnat să vedeți niște Woody Allen pe Amazon Prime. De data aceasta trecem la o comedie scandinavă, tot de pe Netflix. Nu e pentru toate gusturile, ați fost preveniți!

The Trip sau I onde dager (2021, regia Tommy Wirkola)

O comedie neagră, thriller sângeros — dar care nu se ia în serios, cu Noomi Rapace, actrița suedeză descoperită cu rolul Lisbeth Salander din trilogia Millennium (Fata cu un dragon tatuat) și vedetă internațională (Prometheus, Sherlock Holmes) în rolul principal. Rapace e aici Lisa, o actriță ratată suedeză, măritată cu norvegianul Lars -Acksel Hennie (Headhunters, Max Manus, Sisu), regizor de TV. Ei nu se înțeleg deloc decât într-o singură privință, vor să se omoare reciproc. Profită de un weekend la cabana lor de la munte, dar lucrurile se complică… onde dager înseamnă la rău, de la „la bine și la rău”. Interacțiunea lor cuprinde și o păruială lingvistică, Norvegia versus Suedia, cu accentele și glumițele de rigoare pe care le pot prinde doar cei de limbi scandinave.

Tommy Wirkola e un regizor norvegian de filme cult sângeroase, dar amuzante, Kill Buljo 1 și 2, o parodie la Kill Bill și Dead Snow și continuarea, cu naziști zombi. În mod interesant, a filmat în România What Happened to Monday (2017), tot cu Noomi Rapace, un SF distopic ambițios, cumpărat de Netflix în America pentru streaming. The Trip a ieșit în cinematografe în Norvegia la sfârșitul lui iulie, a fost la festivalul de la Sitges și a avut premiera pe Netflix pe 15 octombrie. Seamănă cu filmele de început ale lui Alex de la Iglesia (Crimen ferpecto), plus un touch de Raising Arizona, cu trioul Petter, Roy și Dave, pe modelul Three Stooges.

Soundtrack-ul e pigmentat cu piese cântate de trupe norvegiene de rock (Dum Dum Boys).

Și e tradus în românește Călătorie bestială (bestial titlu)!


din articolele pentru revista Golan in ianuarie 2022 aici:


miercuri, 24 mai 2023

RIP Tina Turner

The Acid Queen, Dame of Rock'n Roll is gone... Tina Turner was 83, living in Swizerland and retired a long time now...

There's an  doc on her on hbomax, Tina (2021), her life in 5 acts.

From Ike & Tina, the Phil Spector years, to The Rolling Stones-she was the one who taught Mick Jagger how to dance-, to Tommy and Private Dancer (composed by Mark Knopfler, 1984) to doing one of my top James Bond songs is GoldenEye (1995), sang by her, composed by Bono and The Edge.

She was also Aunty Entity in the third Mad Max film from 1985, Mad Max Beyond the Thunderdome.

Biopic What's Love Got To Do With It in 1993 with Angela Bassett.

obit in The Guardian here

I’m so saddened by the passing of my wonderful friend Tina Turner. She was truly an enormously talented performer and singer. She was inspiring, warm, funny and generous. She helped me so much when I was young and I will never forget her.

marți, 23 mai 2023

RIP Ray Stevenson

The (literally) big (and tall) (Northern) Irishman Ray Stevenson (1m 91) died on May 21st, in Ischia Italy, causes undisclosed (yet). He was supposed to shoot there the Italian flick Cassino in Ischia as Nic Cassino, a film that seemed interesting. 

Stevenson would've been 59 in just four days...:(

He was Frank Castle in The Punisher: War Zone, version of 2008, Porthos in The Three Musketeers, version of 2011, Danny Green in Kill the Irishman, Volstagg in three Thor movies, Redridge in The Book of Eli, DC in The Outpost, Gruner in Cold Skin. All tough guys, some of them too tough to not be played with some dry Irish humor. He was also the super-evil Scott Buxton in last year's Indian mega-hit RRR (that can be seen on Netflix).

He did a lot of TV, from Rome (Titus Pullo) to Black Sails (Blackbeard), Vikings, the new Das Boot and his last part will be the Disney+ Star Wars spin off, Ahsoka, that comes out in August- in which he is the baddie Baylan Skoll.

tributes here