Sunday, May 25, 2014

Movie Review: Rare Exports

Rare Exports
Director: Jalmari Helander
Starring: Onni Tommila, Jorma Tommila, Per Christian Ellefsem, Tommi Korpela, Rauno Juvonen, Ilmari Järvenpää, Peeter Jacobi. Jonathan Hutchkins, Risto Salmi
Cinet, Pomor Film. Finland, 2010
 A mining expeditions finds an ancient grave from Lappland. Soon local butcher Rauno and his son Pietari find their herd of reindeers killed. Pietari fears that the culprit is the mythical monster: Santa Claus. After a weird disappearance of local kids, radiators and potato sacks Rauno and his friends Aimo & Piiparinen capture a weird geezer. They try to sell the geezer to the mining company as Santa Claus, but the creature is revealed to be an elf. 
This is not the Santa Claus you know.
This is an exciting alternative Christmas horror comedy for mature audiences. Towards the end there are some deadpan christmas themed one-liners that fit the context of the film perfectly.
The fearless Santa hunters.
In the DVD extras there are also original short film "Rare Exports Inc." (2003) that reveals how the feral Santa Clauses are hunted and tamed and trained to be the final product. There is also short film "Rare Exports - The Original Safety Instructions (2005)" that tells the gory consequences of neglecting the safety instructions handling the Father Christmas- product.
Taming the Santa
Rating:  Very good

Friday, May 23, 2014

Movie Review: DuckTales the Movie - Treasure of the Lost Lamp

DuckTales the Movie - Treasure of the Lost Lamp
Director: Bob Hathcock
Voice actors: Alan Young, Christopher Lloyd, Terence McGovern, Russi Taylor
Walt Disney Animation France S.A., Walt Disney Pictures, 1990.
Scrooge McDuck and the ducklings Huey, Dewey and Louie and Webby are searching for the treasure of Collie Baba, in the spirit of Indiana Jones. Evil wizard Merlock steals the treasure but misses the magic lamp. The lamp contains a genie boy who becomes friends with the ducklings. Webby makes some funny wishes that cause some trouble. Eventually the lamp gets into wrong hands and Scrooge and the ducklings have to break into Scrooge's money bin Mission Impossible style.
Launchpad knows how to fly but not how to land
Treasure ahead!
The animation quality is somewhere between video animation and Disney movie animation. The movie feels like prolonged Ducktales episode. Scrooge's pilot Launchpad McQuack, butler Duckworth and Mrs. Beakley also get enough screen time. Nice and nostalgic adventure with Scrooge McDuck and DuckTales characters.
Genie and Webby play tea party.
Rating: Good

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Movie Review: The Village Shoemakers (a.k.a. Heath Cobblers) (Nummisuutarit)

The Village Shoemakers (a.k.a. Heath Cobblers) (Nummisuutarit)
Director: Valentin Vaala
Starring: Martti Kuningas, Lauri Leino, Alice Lyly, Ernest Ervasti, Jalmari Rinne, Heidi Krohn, Helge Herala
Suomi-Filmi. Finland, 1957
Finnish author Aleksis Kivi was the first one to write the first significant novel in the Finnish language, Seven Brothers in 1870. Sadly he died couple of years later in poverty and the importance of his writings was understood only later. The Village Shoemakers is based on his play Heath Cobblers written in 1864 and is regarded as one of the most popular plays in Finland. 
According to testament an inheritance of 500 dalers goes to either Esko or his foster sister Jaana whoever marries first. Esko is quite dumb and stubborn. Esko's cobbler father has agreed on marriage between Esko and Kreeta. However Esko doesn't know that Kreeta's father only joked when drinking with Esko's father and Kreeta is really marrying clogmaker Jaakko who is Esko's enemy. Esko and his friend Mikko Vilkastus go to wooing trip. They arrive when Kreeta and Jaakko are getting married. Esko gets into strife with fiddler Teemu and they wrestle. Esko gets angry and breaks some stuff.
Esko and Mikko crash the wedding
In the meantime Jaana's father Niko has returned from the seas. There is also a wanted thief with bounty of 700 dalers. Niko gets an idea to disguise as the thief to get a free trip home. Esko's brother Iivari and uncle Sakeri who have been boozing capture Niko. Sly Mikko tricks all Esko's money away. Mikko gets Esko drunk for the first time in his life. Mikko runs away. Esko loses his hat and other shoe. He knocks out tailor Antres and thinks he is dead. Antres revives and Esko returns home with Iivari and Sakeri. At home Esko gets scolded. Blacksmith Kristo and Jaana marry and Niko is revealed to be Jaana's father. Jaana gives half of the inheritance money to Esko's parents.
Esko is drunk, Antres is getting worried
Movie is funny with over the top acting and old dialogue. Martti Kuningas plays well energetic
simpleton Esko and Helge Herala plays well the sly Mikko. There are also couple silly songs sung by
Esko. Heath Cobblers was filmed before two times, once as silent movie version. This was also one of
the first Finnish colour films.
Kristo, Jaana and Niko
Rating: Very good

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Movie Review: Motorway

Motorway (Che Sau)
Director: Pou-Soi Cheang
Starring: Anthony Wong, Shawn Yue, Guo Xiaodong
Media Asia Films ans Sil-Metropole. Hong Kong, 2012

Cheung (Shawn Yue) and Lo (Anthony Wong) are traffic cops who try to catch speeders. Lo is already waiting for retirement. Rookie Cheung spends his time by street racing at night. A crime boss escapes prison with the help of master driver Jiang (Guo Xiaodong). Criminals escape so Cheung must learn new tricks to drive in the tight alleys.
Lo and Cheung serious after hard day's work.

This is a modern style Hong Kong film, so action is quite realistic. Plot is quite simple. The action is serious and there is almost complete lack of humour. Anthony Wong is good as an old master driver. Car chases are good to watch and rubber burns in the drifting scenes. The mountain road scenes remind of Initial D live action movie which Shawn Yue also starred.
HIghspeed chases are a must in this genre.
Bad guys being bad
Rating: Good

Movie Review: Body of water (Syvälle salattu)

Body of Water (Syvälle Salattu)
Director: Joona Tena
Starring: Krista Kosonen, Peter Franzén, Kai Lehtinen, Kari Hietalahti, Viljami Nojonen, Risto Aaltonen.
Matila Röhr Productions. Finland, 2011

Long ago a famine hit a village and the miller begged the lake for help. The lake spirit promised to help for a price: his first-born son. Years later Julia (Krista Kosonen) and her son visit her parents. Julia is working as a lawyer, and despite her parents' warnings is going to visit a desolate village. There she tries to gain support for the nature conservationists who are resisting electric company's plans to build a water power plant. However the locals give cold shoulder to her. Also her family seems to have dark secrets. 
Damp cellars are scary.
The cinematography is good and uses plenty of watery environments. The mythology of the film uses old Finnish legends about water spirit Näkki and the village has creepy atmosphere. The movie style is somewhat remiscent of Spanish horror film Hierro and Japanese Ringu and Dark Water, both of which also had single mother protagonists. All in all the movies is quite good and exciting... until the final. I won't spoil but the ending breaks the whole setting and also leaves numerous plot holes.

Lovely lake. Or not.
Rating: Average

Sunday, May 18, 2014

Movie Review (Eros Int. Box set, Part 2): One Two Three (2008)

 One Two Three
Director: Ashwani Dhir
Starring: Suniel Shetty, Paresh Rawal, Tushar Kapoor, Sameera Reddy, Esha Deol, Upen Patel
Big Screen Entertainment. 2008

The hitman, the businessman and the lingerie salesman

Laxminarayan 1 (Tushar Kapoor) is a poor boy whose mother wants him to become a successful gangster. After a valuable diamond is stolen, he gets an assignment to kill a rival mob boss 'Papa' (Mukesh Tiwari). The second Laxminarayan (Suniel Shetty) is a clumsy executive who is always very concerned about getting directions right. He gets assignment from his boss to buy a vintage car from Laila (Sameera Reddy). Laxminarayan 3 (Paresh Rawal) sells lingerie and is trying to do business with underwear designer (Esha Deol). The three Laxminarayans get mixed and hilarity ensues.

Anyone understood the plot?

The characters are comic book-like, the gangsters wear rimmed hats and pinstripe suits. There are plenty of one-liner jokes. One of Papa's henchmen, the bomberman, is even named Pinto. The music usage is quite different from usual bollywood-films, and title song is often repeated. There are only a few "music video" songs.
Mexican stand-off, Bollywood style
Overall the movie is silly fun, with lots of slapstick jokes. Certainly not a classic but goofy fun in the style of Police Academy films.

Rating:  Good

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