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Movies I've watched recently:

  • Hypnotisören (2012) - IMDb 2/10

    2014-10-19 23:32
    * *

    This is basically like your everyday Beck film, but two things are different here: 1. One actor can actually act somewhat; it's Lena Olin 2. The cinematography is slighly better than during most Beck films; still, the shaky-handheld-cam thing still has Swedish film locked in a vice Apart from those two things, the dialogue is bog standard (i.e. dreadful and unbelievable) and I found no sympathy for the characters, the film or the plot. Do avoid.

    0.3
  • The Trial of Jeffrey Dahmer (Video 1992) -... 7/10

    2014-10-18 17:36
    * * * * * * *

    The voice-over from the man at the start is *not* rated here; the trial, however, is; naturally, this is a very abridged version as this film is only 90 minutes long, but the most interesting bits about it, I think, are the psychologist's words from having spoken with Dahmer and Dahmer's own words at the very end.

    0.3
  • The Jeffrey Dahmer Files (2012) - IMDb 7/10

    2014-10-18 16:36
    * * * * * * *

    This is a documentary-meets-dramatisation film where Jeffrey Dahmer's deeds and trial meets an intelligent way of display; the viewer is treated as an intelligent being, and some knowledge about Dahmer should be attained before watching this film. Having said that, it's interesting to see some of the interviews as they were more eye-opening than other bits of film that I have seen in regards to Dahmer's life, including written materials. This is good, but one or two testimonies could have been scratched.

    0.3
  • The Thin Blue Line (1988) - IMDb 6/10

    2014-10-05 18:48
    * * * * * *

    This film is marked by time, especially where things are dramatised by actors and some "suggestive" effects, e.g. a malt flying through the air. Despite that, the much more interesting stuff is caught from the interview objects, especially the Houston police at the beginning. I mean, first and foremost, the antifeministic approach from the white, middle-aged police who really wanted to nail the female police who failed to shoot her colleague's killers as they left. Still, the prosecutor and the judge is the real enigma; how the original verdict went the way they went is incredible but, as anybody who is into the legal system and its prejudices will tell you, some times a judge and prosecution just want to condemn a person and won't stop at anything to do so. Other interviews are quite something as well, especially one with the couple who semi-witnessed (or did they?) the shooting. Well worth a check, this one, despite being marred by time.

    0.3
  • Boyhood (2014) - IMDb 9/10

    2014-09-26 22:49
    * * * * * * * * *

    Forget the fact that this film spans 12 years. Know this: it's a human, straight-forward story about a boy growing up, his family, his passions, being lackadaisical, finding out what he wants in life, as he is subjected to all kinds of wants, likes and you-don'ts by his divorced parents, his teachers, friends and others. Watching this reactivated my sense of how much you were told what to do, where to be, what to think as you were little, especially by adults, even if they are completely wrong and/or don't know what they're doing. The times when Mason is silent and other people practically invent what they believe he thinks, are, to me, the most astounding ones. Peoples' projections are often little fables onto themselves, but it's sad to see them overshadowing the real thoughts of youths. Linklater is, as usual, worthy of rewards for this script. It's well-written, and apart from a few clichés that don't really work in my eyes and are quite vulgar, this film is as close as you can get to the work of Antonioni - notably in "L'Avventura" - and Steve McQueen - notably in "Shame" - without becoming stocky and unpopular. This film is popular, and I think part of its appeal is because it's universal; I think anyone can see this and love it from a variety of angles and get something different out of it with every viewing. I loved Austin (the city) in this film. I really loved how some scenes were directed, e.g. the one with abuse in a garage. The music is atypical of the time and is not there to impress nor interfere. All in all: a very well-made film with very good acting. Two-and-a-half hours flowed past as though the film was an hour shorter. Sublime.

    0.3

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Review: Lena Dunham – “Not That Kind of Girl: A Young Woman Tells You What She’s ‘Learned'”

Not That Kind Of Girl
Not That Kind of Girl: A Young Woman Tells You What She’s “Learned” by Lena Dunham

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

This books is mostly like a count-down of things that Dunham’s done or not done, things she cries about and decries; her style of writing is very western, in the sense that she’s a privileged person who has her neuroses, much like a modern-day Woody Allen in her way.

Basically, any paragraph from this book works as a reference to how Dunham writes. For example:

You wouldn’t know it to see me at a party. In a crowd I am recklessly cheerful, dressed to the nines in thrift-shop gowns and press-on fingernails, fighting the sleepiness that comes from the 350 milligrams of medication I take every night. I dance the hardest, laugh the hardest at my own jokes, and make casual reference to my vagina, like it’s a car or a chest of drawers. I got mono last year, but it never really went away.

A line like the following is interesting:

He had the severe face and impossibly great hair of Alain Delon but said “wicked” more than most French New Wave actors.

I mean, it’s like a stream-of-consciousness way of looking into Dunham’s head but I’m slightly irritated by the anecdote itself. I can’t really explain it. It’s just me.

Other times, I think her style works very well (for me):

There was a particularly raucous party in the loft above the video store. I wore Audrey’s fancy wrap dress, and we drank two beers each before we left and split a Xanax she still had from a flight to Boca with her grandma. It hit me hard and fast, and by the time we showed up I was possessed by a party spirit quite alien to me. Audrey, on the other hand, became dizzy and after much deliberation went home, making me promise to treat her wrap dress with the proper respect. I missed her keenly for a moment, then snorted a small amount of cocaine off a key, before kissing a freshman and dancing into the bathroom line, where I showed people how easily Audrey’s wrap dress opened and explained how “bogus” the creative writing department was.

I love her TV series “Girls”, and this book kind of hammers in the sensitivites of the series in a good way, while being prolix and slightly too nagging for my taste. Apart from that, I must say that Duhham throws a lot of insight into her daily thoughts, her sexuality and everyday ways, fears and emotions, which I seldom see. I can get really bothered with her nagging, but her insight makes this book almost a complement to Tina Fey’s “Bossypants“, as written by somebody who’s along the same walk of life as Dunham, but older and perhaps wiser.

I also like Dunham’s way of responding to people thinking she’s “brave” for revealing her body on screen:

And my mother always knew that, hence her Nikon raised high and pointed right into the mirror. She sensed that by documenting her own body, she was preserving her history. Beautifully. Nakedly. Imperfectly. Her private experiment made way for my public one. Another frequently asked question is how I am “brave” enough to reveal my body on-screen. The subtext there is definitely how am I brave enough to reveal my imperfect body, since I doubt Blake Lively would be subject to the same line of inquiry. I am forced to engage in regular conversation about my body with strangers, such as the drunken frat boy on MacDougal Street who shouted, “Your tits look like my sister’s!” My answer is: It’s not brave to do something that doesn’t scare you. I’d be brave to skydive. To visit a leper colony. To argue a case in the United States Supreme Court or to go to a CrossFit gym. Performing in sex scenes that I direct, exposing a flash of my weird puffy nipple, those things don’t fall into my zone of terror. A few years ago, after I screened Tiny Furniture for the first time, I was standing outside the theater in Austin when a teenage boy approached me. He was tiny. Really tiny. The kind of tiny that, as a teenage boy, must be painful. He looked like a Persian cat’s toy mouse. “Excuse me,” he said shyly. “I just wanted you to know how much it meant to me to see you show your body in that way. It made me feel so much better about myself.” The first result of this was that I pictured him naked, which was stressful. The second was extreme gratitude: for his generosity in sharing, for my ability to have any impact on the body image of this obviously cool and open young gentleman (after all, he was seeing a fringe women’s-interest film on a school night). “Thank you so much.” I beamed. “You’re really hot.”

And I do love the complain-with-your-friends bits at times:

We often spent Isabel’s lunch break in Pecan, a local coffee bar where we disturbed yuppies on laptops with our incessant—and filthy—chatter. “I can’t find a goddamn fucking job and I’m too fat to be a stripper,” I said as I polished off a stale croissant.

This book’s funny and entertaining.

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Review: Carlos Ruiz Zafón – “The Angel’s Game”

The Angel's Game

The Angel’s Game by Carlos Ruiz Zafón
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This is an epic tale. Not as a fable, but more as a detective/mystery/friendship/love story. It is so well-written, that any cliché is useless against it. Sure, it contains a few usual pushes and pulls, common in detective stories, but for example, one quarter into the book, it goes into a completely (for me) direction than I expected, and it goes on like that. Not in a tiresome way, because the book really breathes; it allows the reader to go up and down and back and forth in great ways. And there’s love. And people lovelorn:

Tomorrow, or perhaps the next day, I’ll write again to tell you that I love you, even if it means nothing to you.

‘I owe you much more than an explanation . . .’ ‘Then tell me about her.’ Vidal looked at me with desperate eyes that begged me to lie to him.

There’s so much more to this book than I’m able to do justice to. It’s truly an epic book, which is very well told. Recommended for all who like mysteries, suspense, figuring stuff out and…well, people who like to read should read this. :-)

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