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Added by blue_skies

on 2 Jan 2012 11:23

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Movies seen in 2012

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People who added this item 119  Average listal rating (61 ratings) 7.4  IMDB Rating 7.7 
157. Carlos (2010)
TV, 1st viewing
DIRECTED BY Olivier Assayas

The mini-series version with six episodes.

A very ambitious, layered and bold work. Phenomenal acting, especially by the lead Edgar Ramirez who switches easily between what, 4 languages at least?

Perhaps I would appreciate it even more if I was more knowledgeable of politics but this also gave a great and surprisingly neutral insight into the matter. A fascinating portrayal of the crumbling of ideals.

blue_skies's rating:

People who added this item 4941  Average listal rating (3320 ratings) 8.1  IMDB Rating 8.4 
156. Amélie (2001)
DVD, re-watch
DIRECTED BY Jean-Pierre Jeunet

It's still the whimsical, charming film it was back when I saw it the last time some years ago. It still makes me smile.

A little over-stylized and sometimes quirky to the point of irritation but what the heck. + 0.5 stars for Audrey and +0.5 stars for the gorgeous music by Yann Tiersen.

blue_skies's rating:

People who added this item 1700  Average listal rating (967 ratings) 7.1  IMDB Rating 7.3 
155. Revolutionary Road (2008)
Digibox, 1st viewing

I wasn't concentrating first so I missed some things about it but yeah, it's OK. The acting is really great and the story is gripping in a subtle way. It's just a bit heavy to sit through as it takes itself maybe a bit too seriously - although Michael Shannon's character offers some great black comedy, I just wished there was more of him!

This guy.
blue_skies's rating:

People who added this item 782  Average listal rating (452 ratings) 7.7  IMDB Rating
154. The Straight Story (1999)
Digibox, 1st viewing

It's weird to see a Lynch film with no dancing midgets but it works anyway. Tied with Blue Velvet and Inland Empire for my third favorite Lynch film.

It's also weird how little it gets talked about, compared to pretty much every other Lynch film. It's endearing, funny and has some of the most gorgeous compositions by Angelo Badalamenti I've heard thus far.

I absolutely loved the scene with the woman who bumped into a deer with her car.

blue_skies's rating:

People who added this item 7466  Average listal rating (4837 ratings) 7.6  IMDB Rating 8.2 
153. Finding Nemo (2003)
Digibox, re-watch
DIRECTED BY Andrew Stanton

Hadn't seen this for almost ten years and it remains great. Probably one of the funniest Pixar films, the different fishes have amazingly apt personalities.

The visuals weren't on par with their more recent output, of course, but this is also due to the TV broadcast quality.

blue_skies's rating:

People who added this item 7912  Average listal rating (5066 ratings) 7.7  IMDB Rating
152. Edward Scissorhands (1990)
TV, re-watch

I like the visuals: the suburbs look lovely and the people are fun caricatures.

It still annoys me in a way I can't quite explain - maybe it's due to the try-hard cuteness of Edward and I'm just overall not a big fan of Burton's style of film-making.

blue_skies's rating:

People who added this item 1891  Average listal rating (1177 ratings) 8.2  IMDB Rating 8.7 
151. It's a Wonderful Life (1946)
TV, 1st viewing

Finally saw this one. Perhaps not quite as touching as I'd heard - I found the ending actually pretty fun in how over-the-top triumphant it was.

Anyway, it's an uplifting, good-looking film with some nice dialogue. It's just that It Happened One Night is better!

blue_skies's rating:

People who added this item 183  Average listal rating (105 ratings) 8  IMDB Rating
150. Steam of Life (2010)
TV, re-watch
DIRECTED BY Joonas Berghäll & Mika Hotakainen

I'll just copy my slightly altered mini-review from here:

A documentary of different kinds of Finnish men telling their life stories in saunas all over Finland. Whether the stories are funny, touching or completely heartbreaking, they are always a treat to hear in their realness and honesty.

Miesten vuoro ("Men's Turn", the official English title sucks) is the most accurate and heartfelt representation of Finnish culture I've seen put on film and also the best film from this country I've ever seen. Complete with gorgeous nature shots, it is the tearjerker movie of 2010. Yes - even more so than Toy Story 3.

The sing-along at the end is one of the most spine-tingling and goosebump-inducing endings ever.

Also, the film has a scene from the exact sauna in a swimming bath in my hometown Kemi where I, too, have listened to these prosaic, inspiring life stories. The last one I heard there was about diarrhea though but every subject is fascinating at heart - and especially in a sauna.

blue_skies's rating:

People who added this item 3029  Average listal rating (2009 ratings) 7.8  IMDB Rating 8.2 
149. Fargo (1996)
DVD, re-watch
DIRECTED BY Joel & Ethan Coen

Coens always make great films and I think I've called almost each one I've seen "my favorite by them". I'll just avoid saying it yet again and instead express my love for the film's wintry landscapes, the odd dialect and the lovely pair of idiotic thugs played by Buscemi and Stormare.

Also, the ending is surprisingly beautiful. Not the woodchipper scene, but the very ending.

blue_skies's rating:

People who added this item 34  Average listal rating (25 ratings) 7.1  IMDB Rating 7.3 
148. Santa Claus and the Magic Drum (1996)
VHS, re-watch
DIRECTED BY Mauri Kunnas & Pekka Lehtosaari

I wouldn't be surprised if this was the film I've seen the most in my life. Therefore, it's becoming unfortunately tiring to watch even every two years or so as it's clearly a children's film.

Kunnas' trademark illustrations are legendary of course and J. Karjalainen has this fun little song in it but yeah, the thing's just getting a little boring by now.

blue_skies's rating:

People who added this item 661  Average listal rating (401 ratings) 7.7  IMDB Rating
147. Waltz with Bashir (2008)
TV, re-watch

Not actually an uplifting movie. Cool, original animation about the 1982 Lebanon war. Made in documentary style, it is rather "dry" in a sense. Bar some fantastical scenes, it's a very realistic portrayal which is not really something I'm looking for in animated films.

It's good though; it's probably even great for someone who's interested in the conflict. It's got some great use of music, too!

blue_skies's rating:

People who added this item 1221  Average listal rating (831 ratings) 4.7  IMDB Rating 5.4 
146. Jingle All the Way (1996)
DVD, re-watch
DIRECTED BY Brian Levant

Christmas spirit boosted +4,000 %. Incredible acting, genius writing and spot-on editing. It has a great message about how new stuff is the only thing worth shit about Christmas and how it's OK for little kids to kick a lame mascot's ass.

I love how it has a black sidekick who isn't actually black.

blue_skies's rating:

People who added this item 785  Average listal rating (422 ratings) 8.1  IMDB Rating 8.1 
145. Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf? (1966)
TV, 1st viewing
DIRECTED BY Mike Nichols

Expert writing, good cinematography and great acting. It's just that the film's basically four people screaming at you for two hours so it becomes very exhausting at some point. The twist was cool.

blue_skies's rating:

People who added this item 157  Average listal rating (72 ratings) 8.8  IMDB Rating 8.5 
144. The Human Condition I: No Greater Love (1959)
Cinema, 1st viewing
DIRECTED BY Masaki Kobayashi

The first part of the sprawling epic, the 200-minute No Greater Love is a really profound film of a young man trying to balance his humanist views & values with his working for the government, his married life and his own safety during the WWII.

Not sure if the length was entirely justified. There's a lot of these "Let that be your final warning! Oh well, maybe I'll just warn you yet again" type of scenes. So yeah, maybe some editing would've made it more effective.

Yet there are enough stand-out scenes so that the film's definitely not a bore. The execution scene is still strikingly uneasy to watch today and the scene where the war prisoners get out of the train is incredible. The overall atmosphere is just really captivating.

Looking forward to seeing the other two parts.
blue_skies's rating:

People who added this item 700  Average listal rating (436 ratings) 8.1  IMDB Rating 8.1 
143. The Wild Bunch (1969)
Blu-ray, 1st viewing
DIRECTED BY Sam Peckinpah

Peckinpah seems like a cynical badass. Here's a film where men are hairy, ugly, double-crossing criminals and women basically whores. Watching it, I was thinking about a drinking game along the lines of "drink every time you see facial hair" but the amount of alcohol would kill anyone. Hilariously masculine film.

Anyway, it's definitely remarkable as it's "the film that ended the traditional western". Violence here is still ugly and horrible in 2012. Some very nice allegoric images (the cut to a vulture when the "good guys" loot the bodies) and brilliant scenes (the tense train robbery scene being my favorite).

blue_skies's rating:

People who added this item 240  Average listal rating (140 ratings) 7.4  IMDB Rating 7.8 
142. Red Desert (1964)
DVD, 1st viewing
DIRECTED BY Michelangelo Antonioni

Beauty and boredom in the same proportion. Gorgeous locations, colours and Monica Vitti. Some brilliant scenes (such as the "girl on the beach" story by Vitti) and interesting dialogue writing ("There's something terrible about reality, but I don't know what it is") but the whole just doesn't really click for me.

Blow-Up is the only Antonioni film so far that really did click :(

blue_skies's rating:

People who added this item 587  Average listal rating (325 ratings) 7.5  IMDB Rating 7.5 
141. The Illusionist (2010)
Blu-ray, 1st viewing
DIRECTED BY Sylvain Chomet

A bittersweet, beautiful love letter to the long-gone cinema of the likes of Jacques Tati and Charles Chaplin. With just visuals, music and sparse dialogue mostly comprising of apparently gibberish, the film paints a heartbreaking picture of a magician nearing the end of his career.

The last 15 minutes or so were some of the saddest I've seen.

blue_skies's rating:

People who added this item 78  Average listal rating (42 ratings) 7.8  IMDB Rating 7.6 
140. Chinese Roulette (1976)
DVD, 1st viewing
DIRECTED BY Rainer Werner Fassbinder

Well it goes to show how hit-and-miss Fassbinder seems to be for me. So far, Chinese roulette is my favorite by him. Michael Ballhaus is the cinematographer again and the camera moves effortlessly from a perfect frame to another. The shot compositions actually tell most of the story as the dialogue remains minimal yet interesting (take that, Effi Briest).

A great psychological exercise that culminates in the awesome long sequence where the characters play a game of "Chinese roulette", a game involving revealing questions about the characters' relationships. There's also a great scene with Kraftwerk's "Radioactivity" which gives it a few extra-points.

Ulli fucking Lommel
blue_skies's rating:

People who added this item 47  Average listal rating (31 ratings) 6.5  IMDB Rating 7.1 
139. Effi Briest (1974)
DVD, 1st viewing
DIRECTED BY Rainer Werner Fassbinder

Probably the dullest film I've ever seen. The film is god-awfully tedious and filled with fancy dialogue with difficult sentence structures to the point of being almost impossible to follow. It's like they failed adapting the book into a film by including way too many inner monologues and stuff. I wouldn't mind it if this was a book but this is a film, for fuck's sake.

What's more, the characters surely do not make it any more likable. I don't care for them and I don't understand them. The subject matter - political hierarchy in 19th century Prussia or whatever - was another aspect not-so-appealing to me.

So yeah, it's more confusing than Inland Empire and Mirror combined. It's rare that I want to give up with a film shot this well - finishing this was a real struggle for me. I was skeptical of liking this film but I did not expect to downright hate it.

PS. the complete title is honestly the best part of the film. In English:

Fontane - Effi Briest or Many People Who Are Aware of Their Own Capabilities and Needs Just Acquiesce to the Prevailing System in Their Thoughts and Deeds, Thereby Confirm and Reinforce It

blue_skies's rating:

People who added this item 943  Average listal rating (561 ratings) 8.2  IMDB Rating 8.4 
138. All About Eve (1950)
Blu-ray, 1st viewing
DIRECTED BY Joseph L. Mankiewicz

The little sister of Sunset Boulevard, All About Eve similarly depicts an actress past her prime. While the former was a psychological drama with a hooking sense of mystery, the latter focuses more on the dialogue and a young actress' aspirations to become a star.

Unfortunately, it's nothing spectacular visually - bar a few shots including the very last one. The acting's decent by everyone but no one makes a really memorable performance, even Bette Davis borders on annoying overacting.

The dialogue and writing's very good at best though and it makes the film enjoyable, entertaining and definitely worth seeing.

blue_skies's rating:

People who added this item 298  Average listal rating (175 ratings) 8.1  IMDB Rating
137. Playtime (1967)
DVD, re-watch
DIRECTED BY Jacques Tati

Unreal. Pretty much the cinematic equivalent of Hieronymus Bosch paintings or something like that. Wherever you look at at any time, there's something interesting, peculiar or funny happening.

That's also the frustrating thing about Playtime - it's so full of gags and jokes that at times I have trouble focusing on anything that's presented in a particular frame.

Gotta love how architecture and furniture/household design works as a predominant character here.

blue_skies's rating:

People who added this item 233  Average listal rating (148 ratings) 8.1  IMDB Rating 8.1 
136. Ali: Fear Eats the Soul (1974)
DVD, 1st viewing
DIRECTED BY Rainer Werner Fassbinder

Emmi, a 60-something cleaner woman stumbles into a bar to shelter from the rain and falls in love with an Arab man. Eventually they get married which is not to everyone's liking.

The film paints a very real, xenophobic picture of post-Munich-tragedy Germany. Everybody around Emmi seems to despise and forsake her. Out of jealousy, out of fear, out of hate - the reasons are not stated, which I liked.

It's the turn the film takes after the couple returns from their holiday trip that makes the film lose its focus a bit, at least for me.

Nevertheless, a sweet and dryly funny romance film - the best Fassbinder I've seen thus far.

blue_skies's rating:

People who added this item 336  Average listal rating (195 ratings) 8.2  IMDB Rating 7.9 
135. La Notte (1961)
DVD, 1st viewing
DIRECTED BY Michelangelo Antonioni

It's funny how Antonioni's films about alienation feel so distant to me. Like with the other film I've seen from his "alienation trilogy", L'avventura, I could definitely appreciate the directing and writing, though.

There is obviously a lot of psychological depth into these films and lots of hidden meanings - I loved those tiny, genius moments such as the elevator door closing behind Giovanni when the young lady tempts him or the helicopter noises during the hospital room scene in the beginning. The night club scene was really atmospheric as well.

But yeah, ultimately it left me a bit cold. I understand that Antonioni's characters are dull for a reason but it's also the reason why I can't really get behind them. I hope these films get better on further viewings; I already liked this much more than L'avventura.

blue_skies's rating:

People who added this item 189  Average listal rating (97 ratings) 7.9  IMDB Rating 7.8 
134. The Bitter Tears of Petra von Kant (1972)
DVD, 1st viewing
DIRECTED BY Rainer Werner Fassbinder

Michael Ballhaus is a WIZARD behind the camera, the acting's really great and it's refreshing to see an all-female cast.

Still, two hours of basically "nobody loves me" with such sparseness (one location, lots of dialouge) is a bit too much. It's as if the weakest song on The Smiths' The Queen Is Dead, "Never Had No One Ever", was a 10-minute song. Sorry, I had to make a Smiths analogy.

A couple of spell-binding scenes, though: the one with "Smoke Gets in Your Eyes" and the ending. Worth watching, definitely, especially if you're into melodrama. I'm a bit worried if Fassbinder is my kind of director after all :/

blue_skies's rating:

People who added this item 1451  Average listal rating (813 ratings) 8  IMDB Rating
133. Nosferatu (1922)
Cinema, 1st viewing

It's unintentionally funny here and there, dragging during its middle part, has the least intimidating werewolf ever but still it's a film that has stood the test of time remarkably well. After 90 years it still has genuinely horrifying moments. Exceptionally good use of shadows and lights as well, of course.

They didn't play ANY music in the cinema. Would've surely benefited from a good soundtrack, I think.

blue_skies's rating:

People who added this item 69  Average listal rating (48 ratings) 7.2  IMDB Rating 7.6 
132. The Merchant of Four Seasons (1971)
DVD, 1st viewing
DIRECTED BY Rainer Werner Fassbinder

The visual side is excellent with lush colours, nice camera angles, framing and all-around camera work really. Also this must be one of the best-looking DVDs I've seen.

It's the story that left me a bit cold. Did the beginning with the merchant beating his wife really mean anything later on in the film? The wife forgives him very soon and suddenly no one seems to remember that even happening. The rest of the film is better though.

blue_skies's rating:

People who added this item 720  Average listal rating (447 ratings) 8.1  IMDB Rating 8.2 
131. It Happened One Night (1934)
DVD, 1st viewing

Amazing how this was made 11 years before Mildred Pierce because it feels a lot more modern.

I adore the dialogue, the characters, the acting and the script. Lots of memorable scenes, my favorite probably being the one with the people in the bus singing that trapeze swinger song all together. Wonderful.

blue_skies's rating:

People who added this item 296  Average listal rating (168 ratings) 8.1  IMDB Rating
130. Mildred Pierce (1945)
TV, 1st viewing
DIRECTED BY Michael Curtiz

Playing L.A. Noire lately has put me in a film noir mood so when I saw this classic was coming on the TV, I thought I should check it out.

It began promisingly with all the elements I want from a film noir: a murder, a sense of mystery, a beautiful femme fatale and lots of cigarette smoke.

For the most part, the film is a flashback sequence based on the story Mildred tells the police of how her husband got killed. The film gradually takes a turn into a family drama and a rags-to-riches story describing the relations between Mildred and men, and Mildred and her two daughters.

Unfortunately, I didn't care for this turn all that much. The acting's too over-the-top melodramatic and the characters and their actions don't feel realistic.

The way the story ultimately comes together is cool though and there's a little twist to it as well. An alright flick; it's just that I was expecting a crime film and got a melodrama.

blue_skies's rating:

People who added this item 4457  Average listal rating (2955 ratings) 8.1  IMDB Rating 8.4 
129. WALL·E (2008)
Blu-ray, re-watch
DIRECTED BY Andrew Stanton

A really sweet love story with striking visuals, great sound design and enchanting main characters. The first 40 minutes with almost no dialogue are magical. The film takes a bit of a slump after that as I'm not that interested in the human characters but it's solid all the way through. What's also noteworthy is how expressive the robot characters are! They (almost) don't need words or tones of voice.

Remains one of Pixar's finest moments, even though Ratatouille proved to excel it on second viewing.

blue_skies's rating:

People who added this item 1634  Average listal rating (977 ratings) 7.3  IMDB Rating 7.6 
128. The Thin Red Line (1998)
DVD, 1st viewing
DIRECTED BY Terrence Malick

Malick is excellent at combining the four elements in his films. The flowing rivers, the flaming battlefields, the sun rays filtering through the tree tops, the dirt on the soldiers' faces.

The Thin Red Line has been criticized for the "pseudo-philosophical" voice-overs and "slowness". I can sort of understand these criticisms and actually agree with them a little; this film would've been excellent with fewer inner monologues. Beforehand, I thought the duration and the slowness would be a problem but it actually flowed quite well. At least for the first 2 hours; the last 40 minutes were a bit dragging.

Anyway, I like how it doesn't glorify the soldiers; they are messes of men. It observes the war like all the various animals depicted in the jungle - an aspect I liked very much.

I don't like Hans Zimmer much, I prefer all the other Malick film soundtracks to this - even if the Melanesian chants were really pretty.

It's a very 3.75 film but I'll round it up to 4 this time.

blue_skies's rating:

People who added this item 258  Average listal rating (146 ratings) 7.8  IMDB Rating 7.8 
127. Stolen Kisses (1968)
DVD, 1st viewing
DIRECTED BY François Truffaut

A charming little new wave film about the further adventures of Antoine Doinel, the protagonist of 400 Blows.

He gets kicked out of the army, proceeds to work as a hotel clerk, a private detective and a TV repairman. He has a girlfriend (played by the beautiful Claude Jade), yet he falls in love with his boss' wife.

It's a light, enjoyable film but not transcendental at any point. I can see how it must've had a big influence on Aki Kaurismäki.

blue_skies's rating:

People who added this item 2961  Average listal rating (2073 ratings) 7.8  IMDB Rating 8.4 
126. Aliens (1986)
Blu-ray, 1st viewing
DIRECTED BY James Cameron

Compared to the first film of the saga, it's a pretty dumbed down, ordinary Hollywood action film. Compared to actually ordinary Hollywood action films, it is definitely entertaining, mostly well shot and original.

It sort of does the same thing to Alien as the second Terminator does to its predecessor, softens it a lot. Still not actually a family film but Newt, as well as John Connor in T2, was a pretty annoying character. Also I didn't like how the alien was taken off the mysterious, frightening aura it had on the first film. It used to be invincible but now you can fight it with... guns and shit. No!

Lots of complaining but ultimately it is a good film. Just shouldn't compare it to the first film.

blue_skies's rating:

People who added this item 927  Average listal rating (572 ratings) 7.7  IMDB Rating 7.5 
125. Suspiria (1977)
PC/TV, 1st viewing
DIRECTED BY Dario Argento

Needless to say, it looks absolutely gorgeous. Such strong colors deliberately conceived by Argento & co., combined with the terrifying soundtrack by Goblin together create an otherworldly experience that is scary, cheesy and beautiful at the same time.

Not much of a plot in it but who needs one when you've got a film this pretty and fun? The first murder scene is ingenious.

blue_skies's rating:

People who added this item 3993  Average listal rating (2764 ratings) 8  IMDB Rating 8.5 
124. Alien (1979)
Blu-ray, 1st viewing
DIRECTED BY Ridley Scott

Another major gap in my film education filled.

The best film by Ridley Scott I've seen so far. A pure visual feast. Amazing lighting and absolute thrill - especially during the last 20 minutes or so. Also the characters are likable, the acting and dialogue isn't as hammy as it tends to be in these kinds of films and the effects haven't dated at all.


blue_skies's rating:

People who added this item 308  Average listal rating (186 ratings) 7.8  IMDB Rating
123. Black Narcissus (1947)
DVD, 1st viewing
DIRECTED BY Michael Powell & Emeric Pressburger

Unfortunately I found this one a bit annoying. The characters are irritatingly over-the-top and the acting's often too cheesy and melodramatic for my taste.

The sets are beautiful though and I loved the twisted turn the film takes when Sister Ruth leaves the nunnery. That look on her eyes is just terrifying. Pretty much saves the movie for me.

blue_skies's rating:

People who added this item 30  Average listal rating (17 ratings) 8.3  IMDB Rating 7.9 
122. The Terrorizers (1986)
PC/TV, 1st viewing

Edward Yang seems like a really great filmmaker. The two films I've seen by him, Yi Yi being the other, have breathed like few other films. As if the characters weren't just characters but actual, living people.

The Terrorizers, like Yi Yi, is pretty much perfect in an aesthetic sense. The framing is absolutely beautiful, the colors are warm and the symbolic imagery is astounding.

Still, it feels like I don't fully comprehend his works. The narrative here started out as a few people living their lives until the story lines started connecting. But the connections weren't underlined like they tend to be in the American drama films of the '00s with a similar narrative. Some characters only subtly influence each other but either way, the accumulation is fateful.

Zen in film form.

By far my favorite gif animation on this site!
blue_skies's rating:

People who added this item 618  Average listal rating (298 ratings) 7.4  IMDB Rating 7.4 
121. Arizona Dream (1992)
DVD, 1st viewing
DIRECTED BY Emir Kusturica

An absurd comedy about dreams, love and Arizona. At its best it is a precursor of the brilliance of Underground; the dinner scene had that lovely chaos going on. As a whole this film frustrated me though - I don't know what it all added up to and it just went on and on way too long.

Nice images and some funny moments. I also love the way Kusturica uses animals in his films.

blue_skies's rating:

People who added this item 1494  Average listal rating (1002 ratings) 7.3  IMDB Rating 7.5 
120. Looper (2012)
Cinema, 1st viewing
DIRECTED BY Rian Johnson

For a mainstream modern American movie is definitely a cleverly written and relatively original action film. It tackles time travel and the ensuing paradoxicalities very well and the casting is great with the likes of Joseph Gordon-Lewitt, Bruce Willis and - my personal favorite in the film - Jeff Daniels.

So why "only" 3.5 stars? What did it lack?

In addition to some plot holes (why don't they send the bodies back directly into a volcano or something? Why do loopers actually have to kill their future selves?), which shouldn't be much of a case in a film made for entertainment after all, I felt it lacked a special 'punch'. Maybe a special scene that would knock my socks off? Maybe it didn't have a really outstanding character to it? I don't know.

But yeah, definitely a fine, entertaining action film

blue_skies's rating:

People who added this item 7  Average listal rating (4 ratings) 6.3  IMDB Rating 6.7 
119. MP - minä pelkään (1982)
Cinema, 1st viewing
DIRECTED BY Pekka Hyytiäinen

Low-budget, Finnish underground films are not something I watch very often. MP - Minä pelkään is the last film in the sadly small oeuvre of little-known director Pekka Hyytiäinen who clearly had a lot of talent and vision - until his film career was cut short by his perfectionism and insufficient financing. He's even been compared to the likes of Michael Haneke, Luis Buñuel and, his biggest influence, Ingmar Bergman.

MP - minä pelkään (I'm Scared) is a psychological drama with surreal/horror elements. A plain tale of a father, mother and their daughter who go to their summer cabin where the army are rehearsing nearby. The constant sound of bombs and machine guns troubles their minds - even if they don't say it aloud.

It creates a rather strong atmosphere of living in fear of war. The dream/nightmare sequences were quite amazing and unlike anything I've seen in Finnish films (admittedly I'm not the most knowledgeable of the subject). The low budget just makes it a bit corny here and there, and the film would've benefited from having a proper lightning equipment - some shots were so dark you almost couldn't see what was on the screen. It's just frustrating, not tense. Who knows what this guy could've done with proper equipment?

Anyway, interesting look into the mind of an unsung artist. Too bad it's next to impossible to see his films anywhere else than festivals.

blue_skies's rating:

People who added this item 525  Average listal rating (277 ratings) 8.2  IMDB Rating 8.2 
118. Cries and Whispers (1972)
DVD, 1st viewing
DIRECTED BY Ingmar Bergman

It seems I find Bergman's more "experimental" films less appealing. Well, Persona was pretty damn good but this and The Silence I couldn't get into wholeheartedly.

It's good though. The red, black and white colors are beautiful - I bet Sven Nykvist could make anything look beautiful. Harriet Andersson is fantastic and the most interesting character in the film, too bad that she dies!

For my liking, the film - in all its minimalism and overbearing pessimism - is just too harsh. Even harsher than Autumn Sonata - I found that one to be more interesting as a film though.

The ending is surprisingly positive though - very pretty.

I'd like a poster of this picture on my wall.
blue_skies's rating:

People who added this item 238  Average listal rating (148 ratings) 6.7  IMDB Rating 5.8 
117. Vampire's Kiss (1988)
PC/TV, re-watch
DIRECTED BY Robert Bierman

I got a whole lot of more out of this now that I had subtitles and friends to share the experience with. Truly a mindfuck film like no else. Nicolas Cage getting sexually aroused by a bat or some shit, descending into madness and thinking he's a vampire. The subplot involves him harrassing his secretary over a lost contract.

Genius acting by Nicolas Cage, in my opinion. Just what the hell is happening in this film.

Re-watched 27.10.

Lifted the rating up by half a star. A wonderful film, one of my favorite (tragi)comedies.

blue_skies's rating:

People who added this item 931  Average listal rating (505 ratings) 8.4  IMDB Rating 8.3 
116. Wild Strawberries (1957)
Digibox, re-watch
DIRECTED BY Ingmar Bergman

The most heart-warming Bergman film? Of the ones I've seen, yes. Not that it's without his trademark grim qualities but it makes you feel light-hearted. And I smiled at the end.

Breathtaking outdoors shots, very likeable characters, stunning dream sequences... overall a successful film about nostalgia, loneliness and family relations.

blue_skies's rating:

People who added this item 8  Average listal rating (4 ratings) 8.5  IMDB Rating 7.6 
115. Camouflage (1977)
Cinema, 1st viewing
DIRECTED BY Krzysztof Zanussi

Surprised to see I'm the first one to rate it.

Also surprised at how damn good the film was. I was expecting just another random Polish film with sort of nice cinematography, sort of interesting themes but one that leaves me a bit cold emotionally.

But no, this was a very interesting depiction of the cliquey, hierarchic system that is the academic world. It managed to capture the rebellious and cheerful nature of twenty-somethings fantastically as well.

The two lead actors are absolutely fun to watch. The dialogue is great - I wonder what gets lost in translation - and I love the scene where the tensions between them break out.

blue_skies's rating:

People who added this item 41  Average listal rating (26 ratings) 7.6  IMDB Rating 6.7 
114. Three Wise Men (2008)
DVD, 1st viewing
DIRECTED BY Mika Kaurismäki

Mika might be the more inconsistent film-maker of the Kaurismäki brothers but he seems to have higher highs as well.

Sort of a tribute to John Cassavetes, Kolme viisasta miestä is a film with largely improvised and very character-centric. It's shot in the same vein as well, the documentary way the camera floats and makes close-ups.

The film's three lead actors knew almost nothing about each others' characters, except for their professions and that they're old friends. The way the three story lines intertwine is really intriguing to follow, the dialogue is interesting and the acting's believable. Great stuff.

blue_skies's rating:

People who added this item 132  Average listal rating (72 ratings) 8.2  IMDB Rating 7.5 
113. Husbands (1970)
DVD, 1st viewing
DIRECTED BY John Cassavetes

My first Cassavetes film. Three New York husbands go boozing after a friend of theirs dies, eventually end up in London and back to New York. A tale of total suburban boredom.

Interesting concept - lot's of improvised dialogue, not much narrative and the camera moves like it's one of the characters. Atmospheric and very intense at times.

The ending was absolutely heartbreaking.

blue_skies's rating:

People who added this item 29  Average listal rating (19 ratings) 3  IMDB Rating 2.4 
112. The Marshal of Finland (2012)
TV, 1st viewing
DIRECTED BY Gilbert Lukalia

It's like they filmed over three hours of material and edited out all the relevant scenes. The film is a total mess - just a Kenyan Mannerheim having random relationships with random women in random places in random chronology. Absolutely uninteresting, amateurish and cheap.

The idea of breaking down the "Mannerheim myth" was pretty good, yeah, but this is just a shit film.

The documentary series Yle Teema showed right after the film was much more entertaining (and had a ten-time budget, a fun curiosity). Language barriers, unorganized schedules, amateur crew members, chaos and bitter tears. A portrait of a film production team on their way to a total failure - should be a future cult classic.

Ha ha ha, what a story, Yle!
blue_skies's rating:

People who added this item 110  Average listal rating (48 ratings) 8.1  IMDB Rating
111. The Saragossa Manuscript (1965)
Cinema, 1st viewing
DIRECTED BY Wojciech Has

A surreal historical comedy bearing slight resemblance to films such as Monty Python and The Holy Grail and Hausu - worth noting that this one preceded both by more than 10 years.

Besides its obviousness originality and clever story-within-a-story technique, I was not really able to get immersed in its world. The humour didn't do it for me - I barely chuckled although the demon-possessed, one-eyed guy making weird noises was a fun character.

It had awesomely cheesy death imagery with skulls and rats here and there and the cinematography on the whole was nice, though. Also it probably detracted from my enjoyment that I arrived 5-10 minutes too late for the screening and that I was really tired. Just can't honestly give it any higher rating right now.

blue_skies's rating:

People who added this item 355  Average listal rating (206 ratings) 8.2  IMDB Rating 8.3 
110. Autumn Sonata (1978)
Cinema, 1st viewing
DIRECTED BY Ingmar Bergman

Another really strong film by Bergman. The way his films feel so effortless (in that they feel natural, I mean) is really remarkable.

On one hand, it's typical Bergman: dialogue-centric, few characters and morbid as fuck. On the other hand, there are slight differences from what I've gotten used to see in his films.

The reminiscence/flashback scenes, which have not been that common in the other films by him I've seen, was one of the best of its kind, managing to capture the nostalgia and dreamy atmosphere.

The "autumn colours" scheme was absolutely gorgeous. Sometimes I'm not sure if I love Ingmar Bergman or Sven Nykvist more, definitely one of my favorite cinematographers.

Also, holy shit was the shouting, angry monologue performed by Liv Ullman one of the best pieces of acting I've ever seen. I was all shivers during it.

blue_skies's rating:

People who added this item 328  Average listal rating (156 ratings) 7.9  IMDB Rating 7.8 
109. Kes (1969)
DVD, 1st viewing

Gritty realism from a little Yorkshire town depicted as a thoroughly depressing shithole. There's this boy who looks like a kid version of Mark E. Smith whose childish older brother (he's like 25) and P.E. teacher - a complete sadistic fuckwad - give him a hard time, all the time.

So what can you do? Well you train a hawk.

It is touching.

blue_skies's rating:

People who added this item 1844  Average listal rating (1211 ratings) 7.8  IMDB Rating
108. Moon (2009)
Blu-ray, 1st viewing
DIRECTED BY Duncan Jones

It was pretty, well-directed and a remarkable effort for a debut film. I also like Sam Rockwell. The clone thing just really didn't do it for me and the film felt - although I was trying to make not too much comparing - a bit too much like a re-hash of Solaris; without the surreal, hypnotic magic. Good film though, no doubt.

blue_skies's rating:


Only films of +30 minutes.

Number of films per decade:

1930s: 3
1940s: 4
1950s: 7
1960s: 20
1970s: 28
1980s: 19
1990s: 26
2000s: 32
2010s: 15

Most watched directors:

Ingmar Bergman: 5 (different) films
Rainer Werner Fassbinder: 5
David Lynch: 5
Andrei Tarkovsky: 5

Hayao Miyazaki: 4

Michelangelo Antonioni: 3
Joel & Ethan Coen: 3
Francis Ford Coppola: 3
Aki Kaurismäki: 3
Terrence Malick: 3
Mikko Niskanen: 3
Christopher Nolan: 3

Robert Altman: 2
Frank Capra: 2
Masaki Kobayashi: 2
Satoshi Kon: 2
Emir Kusturica: 2
John McTiernan: 2
Yasujiro Ozu: 2
Roman Polanski: 2
Andrew Stanton: 2
Isao Takahata: 2
Quentin Tarantino: 2
Wim Wenders: 2
Edward Yang: 2
David Zucker: 2

Rating distribution:
5.0 4
4.5 21
4.0 49
3.5 40
3.0 20
2.5 13
2.0 3
1.5 4
1.0 2
unrated 1

Films seen per month:

January: 22
February: 12
March: 16
April: 6
May: 8
June: 8
July: 13
August: 13
September: 12
October: 11
November: 18
December: 20

159 films in total.

1st viewings / re-watches ratio: 115 / 44

This year's best discoveries:

Tarkovsky: Andrei Rublev (1966)

Dassin: Du rififi chez les hommes (1955)

Niskanen: Pojat (1962)

Takahata: Hotaru no haka (1988)

Ozu: Sanma no aji (1962)

Coppola: Apocalypse Now (1979)

Kusturica: Underground (1995)

Bergman: Höstsonaten (1978)

Kaurismäki: Kolme viisasta miestä (2008)

Zanussi: Barwy ochronne (1977)

Capra: It Happened One Night (1934)

Chomet: L'illusionniste (2010)

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Posted: 3 years, 6 months ago at Jan 14 9:55
Really dig you're style when it comes to your comments. We seem to have similar feelings about a number of these films, even if I was more found of both Kill Bill's (particularly volume 2) than you were. (Though your thoughts about the films feeling less "honest" than his other efforts is an interesting one. In fact, that alone kind of makes me want to sit down with them again to see what I think).

But 50/50, Black Swan, Hobo... seem to be on the same wave length.

Oh, and thank gawd! It appears I can continue ignoring Benjamin Button for a while.
Posted: 3 years, 6 months ago at Jan 14 19:57
Oh and this film reminded me of how amazing the song "The Other Side of Mt. Heart Attack" by Liars is.

One of my favorite songs. :) And that comment will reinforce my decision to eventually watch 50/50.

I watched Hobo this month too & aside from Rutger Hauer's performance hated it. The Patriot is indeed bad...the only thing I enjoyed was the cannonball cam. Glad to know I can continue to ignore Expendables. A few here I disagree with you on, but I like your honest comments. I'll keep an eye on your journals.

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