søndag, juli 20, 2008

Hot Fuzz (movie)

A good comedy is actually hard to create, as it requires humor to hit the audience at the right time. And as we all know something as easy as telling a joke can be quite a challenge because its all about how its told not the actual content.

Hot Fuzz failes to be much of a winner. You will find some good fun at times, but for the most it is one of those painful, I try to be funny kind of thing. There are also at least to places where we have some really gory scenes for no other reason than to what??

Should you watch it? I don’t know. I would say its about average.

Blackball (movie)

A good British comedy of “sports”. I am not going to go to deep into the story or the movie. It is basically a typical good “no brainer” comedy that you will enjoy watching both alone, with friends or family. Basically its one of those movies you can pick from your shelve and you have a sure winner.

Reign of fire (movie)

This is a strange one, part Mad Max 2, part LOTR, part end of the world disaster movie. The story while interesting is totally unbelievable. My mistake some miners are digging a hole into a dragons cave, the dragons take over the world and kills almost all humans.

Only a few are left among them the one that first saw the dragon as a kid.

Although the story is basically utterly crap. It is not too bad a watch actually.

Penelope (movie)

The start of this movie screams cheap family movie, cheap laughter and probably some youngster in the family might like it so much you will have to bite your teeth together and watch it time after time.

The “ugly” child is actually a cute girl with just a pig nose. So what we get is a very limited version of Shrek´s Fiona. I think that this is an obvious reference to teenage girls (but maybe also to a certain extend boys?) that are good looking but have one (1) part of their body they are not happy with, mostly without any good reason. (just a part of being a teenager maybe) And later in the movie it seems that my thought are just about right.

Now the good parts: The initial impression of the movie, while right, its done in a good way, although it fails to be hysterically funny, it has some nice touches and lines and at times almost an enjoyable watch.

Jumper (movie)

The rather ridiculous back-story of Jumper hits us with a bang. But not to worry, we have been subjected to this kind of crap before and we do not really care, we are watching for the thrill.
People with amazing and special capabilities, a love story that can not be since she is normal (sic), a abandoned mother and a pretty useless father. Perfect conditions for a (anti)hero with capabilities to jump in space (not time this time around).

With this kind of story it is basically how the package is wrapped together which will determine how well the movie works.

Unfortunately you will not need to see it as I will tell you already now: Not too good – this one is not really worth it, there are plenty of other movies with similar settings that are a better watch.

The Wire – Season 4 (series)

First of, The Wire Season 1-3 is The Wire. That’s a complete cycle with its skeleton story of wiretapping and Godfather tendencies. In season 4 there is only the left over character to play on and quite correctly they take them out of theire old roles and we meet them in new places new roles.

This is nice but however it has nothing to do with The Wire. At least they should have changed the name to: The Wire – Aftermatch. As that what it is. Basically instead of making the mistake to try to invent an artificial story and again playing wiretap against some new drug lord, they put all the emphasis on drama and pointing at new important sides of society. Brilliant and enjoyable! But there are also some fall downs. They have obviously had some panic in the material not knowing what to put in there at times (which is something all series will face in time) and in this season we are for the first time subjected to obvious story flaws and gaps.

The biggest thrill is the election of the major and to see if it is possible for a white man to be elected in Baltimore, but this storyline is already finished half way in the season and so there are now real ending or drive for the last half.

Leaves us to watch the last 10 episodes of season 5 and hope it will be all summed up (again).

Veien til Jerusalem – Jan Guillou (book)

This is the first book in a trilogy about Arn Magnusson the crusader. While Jan has taken the step to stop writing about the Swedish James Bond and try to write more serious fiction I actually do spot some of his trademark in Arn. It is not too hard to spot either, as Arn is some kind of superhuman blessed by the Gods. (he just do not know it yet)

Jan mixes old believes with modernism and old magic with Christianity. Although he shows a good commitment to the history and knowledge and even tries to be objective at times I do have a strong feeling that this story is strongly influenced by Jans personals views.

Nothing wrong with that really but when it is partially hidden behind objectivity then… well nothing more to say about this at this moment as it is purely speculations.

The truth is that Jan is wise using his skills from his Carl Hamilton books here as it keeps the tension up and keeps the reader hooked to the awkward story and funny happenings he sometimes presents us – and without his cold seriousness it would end up being a comedy instead of a popular and enjoyable crusade.

I am looking forward to read the later books and also watch the movies.

Rockwerchter - Music Festival

I have wanted to visit Rockwerchter since 2001 when I was in Macedonia – because I heard from ”Careful with that Axe, Eugene” that this was an amazing festival.

Neil Young
More so I have wanted to see Neil Young again. I saw him the first time at Kalvøya in 1994 and then I didn’t even know much about the man (and the legend). Yes I have to admit that someone at home had desperately tried to make me listen to his works but I was to young and naive to understand what it was all about.
I was at Kalvøya to see Pearl Jam and Rage against the Machine. When Eddie Vedder was about to leave the stage he said some bad ”F” words to the later to be ”Mirrorball-pal”.

Neil went on the stage and delivered something that was rated (probably subjectively) among his ten best concerts! I was amazed and I understood. And I went back to see him in 1995 when he played even better. How was it possible.
This year it was on high time to see him again and I was just as eager as all his fans. He is older now and its almost funny to listen to him play “Old man take a look at yourself, I’m a lot like you are….” (In the end the snake bites his tale) but not fully though as he refuses to let down and plays his songs and the guitar like he is still 15 years old!

It is 2 and a half hour of magic. And we get the feeling that the paradox is a lot more complex than we can apprehend.
He has an enormous catalog of great songs so it is just impossible to hear them all. He does not play the best song (my favorite anyway): Cortez the killer – but he performs the best song in the world. While this song can only be performed perfectly by one guitar player and he has been dead for a long time, Neil does a god second best – we are of course talking about: All along the watchtower!

To be honest I wish I could see a lot more of Neil, Right now!
When I came home I just had to play Cortez the killer a few times just to fill it all up to the brim and get wonderful dreams.

Lenny Kravitz
I remember in the beginning when music videos had become popular and Lenny was jumping around screaming: “Are you gonna go my way?”

The pumping energy that Lenny showed us right there, lead us to understand and know that this was something different. But at the same time we had a feeling that he would be just short lived fly on the music heaven.

So wrong and later sometime in 2004 in Latina, listening to his new album at the time, asked the inevitable question: “Has Lenny grown up?” I dared not to think so, I dared not to believe it. Even when “Where are we running” hits me, this question have been bugging me – until I see him first time live on stage.

Even if you might not give it a lot of thoughts a lot of Lennys song has a lot of post-production (as with a lot of music today) and that is often a hard task to bring into the live sound. Lenny knows however that there is something called Rhythm and Blues and by having a great backing band and relying on parts of Rhythm and Blues he makes his tunes different but more alive. Just the way the crowd needs to be pleased and amused.

He is definitely older, but his tunes are not. To my disappointment he does not play “Were are we running” but when he jumps around in the end and screams “Are you gonna go my way?”

We all know that he has not grown up, not even a bit.

Again someone at home tried to make me understand and like REM already in a young age. I was to young but still some of it was actually easier to grasp than Neil Young. And when “Loosing my religion” hits the hits, it was easy to start exploring the catalogue. As of later REMs catalogue of unique and interesting album is quite long and I have to admit that I even enjoy some of the later albums that has been considered “weaker”.

One of my friends back in time went to see REM in Oslo I think and when she came back she was paralyzed and told us about a special moment where Michael Stipe was pointing right at her. True or not true, all of us that sat around the table and heard the story wished that it was us which was there standing between thousands of fans and had that magical short moment of communication with Stipe himself.

Seeing them live for the first time and enjoying them is big. However I had a little of the same problem as I have written about when I saw White Stripes last year. Even if they have the unique REM sound every song is just so special and strange that a full concert of REM just becomes too much.

As with White Stripes I do not intend to criticize REM for this, rather the opposite: The World would just not be the same without them.

Jay Z
This performance was the one that surprised me the most as it was not only good but a lot more. It reminds me a little of seeing Timbuktu actually. The set was set up of a long series of short but hard pounding tunes/raps. Even his most known hits he played short and all in unusual versions.

But it ruled, even his less known songs (which where many) was all rocking us and I cannot say the same of all his studio albums.

Basically he (and his crew) just knew to get the crown straight on a height and carry us higher, never letting us down. In fact there are not many live performers that are able to this without even one (1) weak point. I take my hat(which one?) for this one.
Overall for the festival I was not to impress by the area. Of course I had to try the fries but they made my stomach ache (not the good ones.) and the rest of the food was mostly equally unimpressive. The drink system was also terrible, if you want a soft drink you can only choose Cola. Come on? What about at least some choice like Sprite and Fanta.

For beers you could also chose Kriek while I would not really call it beer, it is an interesting drink. I also find the actual areas itself a bit too small and too crowded, but for strange reasons there was almost never any big lines. I do not understand this, seems to be some strange secret among the Belgians.

fredag, juli 04, 2008

Seigmen at the Opera (concert)

In Oslo there is a new Opera house and I was one of them among others that though it would all be in vain (for normal people).

But of course not, this is Norway we are talking about at so the people at the administration in the Opera are sporty enough to let the Opera be used for some cools stuff.

Housing a brilliant concert with PJ Harvey which I unfortunately did not attend. But more so the only Norwegian (rock)band that has been allowed to play there is the split up Seigmen.

And the only reason why Seigmen get together again and give us is a gig is because of this unique chance and honor it is to give a concert at this nice “palace”.

So all the hardcore Seigmen fans from all over the world came together and lined up for a two-day show.
Seigmen delivered something of an awesome concert. The sound in the Opera is the 2nd best I have ever heard (and the best was only within a demo stage) it was such a precise sound that when I could feel it rumble under my seat it was because it was meant to rumble just for me!

The set was divided in two parts. The first part started off with a brilliant opening and followed by some more slow songs. To my dislike is that here they played also some songs from the later era, the industrial part. I am a firm believer why Seigmen never made it well internationally is they progressed from the unique punk-goth style they had to the industrial side where they did not have the unique and interesting touch anymore.

Don’t get me wrong it didn’t sound bad, my favorite parts were just to come. They played even an Opera piece and then the second part begins and all was just full of awe and good stuff until the end.

If there is anything bad to add up to this concert is the fact that since the sound picture was so good there; Seigmen did have a hard time in a few songs to get that real feeling if only because …… the sound was to good.

Imagine that! I was a fan of Seigmen all since the first “Det finnes ingen utvei” and I am just hoping I will be there somewhere in the DVD that will be released from this awesome concert.

The Wire – Season 1-3 (TV Series)

The Wire is really a masterpiece. It is lo-fi realistic TV. Gone is anything that reminds you about being in the 21st century and here we are back with hard ass acting and plot.

Every scene has so much love and detail and realism in it that you just have to smile again and again. The main story line however progresses slow and during one season there is just enough main story to fill up a normal TV series episode! So how come it is so good then?

For some reason it is extremely satisfactory to sit and let the world unfold in a slow matter (realistic drama like). I think one of the reason why reality TV is so good is because people like reality and a series like this (unlike reality TV) gives it in such folds that you and I really believe that what happens is not only true, but also that the actors are not really actors but For Real ;)

The first season can be explained as something like the movie “American Gangster” just longer and better.

There is another very important point about this and that is the underlying stories it tells about people, about society is really bare to the bone. And it leaves us with a deep impression and wish to make the world a better place.
Season 1-3 really sums it all up in a great way.

This is the Real Godfather Trilogy!

The 4400 – All Seasons (TV Series)

I had heard that this would be a good watch but I had never foreseen the fact that I would get hooked. It is SCI-FI on its best. Like nothing I have seen before, except Heroes – but I think heroes is the later one…

Basically first of all one has to understand what the SCI-FI genre is all about: Its not about future and hot gadgets but about pointing the finger on present issues in the society by extracting these issues in a different world, often a futuristic world.
If you ever had time to read 1984 you will understand as it ”was” a futuristic novel about how the World would become in 1984 but really it is telling a story about the WW2.

The 4400 uses the promise of mixing people from different ages, races and ages and mixing them all together in a promise of making a better world. In the works you can find inspiration from movies like ”The Terminator” trilogy as well as the ”Back to the future” trilogy. But 4400 takes the promise to play with time even further and giving the people special abilities (Heroes like).

But of course it is not meant to be easy. The opening is one of the best I have ever seen and it got me hooked. The way they mix the stories and play around with reality and our minds really has no limits! And this is why I just had to see all seasons… before I could rest.

The last episode kind of sums it all up in a nice way but still people are demanding more or at least another ending episode.
There are some bad parts about 4400 also and I have to tell about them: but let it not stop you from watching it: B-rated actors, most of the actors sucks pretty much, they take themselves too serious and do not how to properly act. Sometimes or quite often there are obvious history glitches, which can only be caused by bad quality control. But the worst part in my eyes is that when they are not able to keep the story going wheel enough they resort to cheap soap drama tricks, which means that people change sides and friendship like rats without other meaning than to keep the tension up.