The Avengers: Age of Ultron

Disney continues on its quest for world domination… Successfully I might add…

On Thursday I went to The Avengers marathon and the next day I woke up with some form of Avengers depression because I realized there are no superheroes or superpowers in this world, I felt sad and dissapointed promising myself to cosplay the Winter Soldier one day.

On the bright side, the marathon was amazing (this marathon, I like it, another!) as well as the newest entry into the franchise. Although, I think I still haven’t seen my personal favourite Avengers film (my current Marvel top 2 consisting of Guardians of the Galaxy and Captain America: The Winter Soldier), Age of Ultron was great – don’t believe anyone who tells you otherwise!

I’m not a Marvel connoisseur so I cannot go into the details of how some character talks and all that stuff. All I know is that I enjoyed myself watching the 3D version on a big screen in Dolby Atmos. Now I’m going to sit back and wait for Ant-Man. Really?

I wonder for how long can something like Marvel’s Cinematic Universe keep on going?
 

The Purge: Anarchy

I must admit the first film, The Purge, didn’t do too much for me. I though the whole idea of ‘purging’ was stupid and then from the very beginning there was no doubt who would turn out to be the hero. But I gotta give it to the sequel for stepping it up.

The Purge: Anarchy is larger in scale although at its core it is still about a very personal conflict – the need for revenge after being wronged. Don’t worry though; it’s all done according to the Hollywood formula where the protagonist grows into a better, stronger, forgiving person. That aside though, there’s plenty of violence, blood-shed and, as usual, the 1% doing whatever fucked up things they please to do.

I do have some issues with some of the secondary storylines. For example the masked gang that is presented in the beginning is intriguing yet the story doesn’t really go anywhere but instead dies of once their leader gets his money. The second storyline that bothers me is about the anti-Purge resistance group which does a lot of talking against the Purge but yet again it doesn’t develop anywhere beyond a bloodshed at the end. Again the expectations are raised a bit too high especially with Cali (Zoë Soul) constantly talking about the group with such praise. I am suspecting that the resistance-group angle might be developed in the further franchise entries though.

Overall the film is good, mindless, violent entertainment. I’m almost a bit surprised how Hollywood is allowing for this kind of a critique of the American government, however, I am not complaining!

364 days until the next annual Purge…

Hundraåringen Som Klev Ut Genom Fönstret Och Försvann

The 100-year-old explosives expert Allan (Robert Gustafsson) escapes from a retirement home on his birthday only to acquire a suitcase containing 50 million Swedish kronor setting him on a journey involving a biker gang ‘Never Again’, the elephant Sonya, a nose-hair-picking cop, a gangster residing in Bali, a lot of drinking and a lot of explosions.

Adapted from the bestselling novel (which I haven’t read) the film is well-entertaining. Set in the calm landscapes of the pretty Sweden, while running away Allan keeps recounting his experiences with Franco, Stalin, Oppenheimer, Eisenstein’s idiot brother and Raegan. Basically, this man has influenced the course of the history in some pretty major and historical ways yet he rarely seems to acknowledge it. Instead he, and the film, effortlessly make their way to whatever destination they set their mind on. Light in tone with well-balanced Scandinavian humour, Felix Herngren’s adaptation is overall a perfect summer dip.

The Young and Prodigious T.S. Spivet

Colourful, beautiful landscapes, at times a bit too slow but mostly an enjoyable feast, Jean-Pierre Jeunet’s latest really centres on the idea of a family overcome by a trauma that is never spoken of. The story is that of Tecumseh Sparrow Spivet, a little genius who invents the perpetual motion machine and is thus invited to the Smithsonian Institute to receive the prestigious Baird Award.

At times the film seems to dwell a bit too long on moments of sadness but it comes out of those well with Spivet’s (Kyle Catlett) precociousness. The miniature boy Spivet, born into a family of a cowboy and an entomologist, is the film’s carrying force (to me, at least) by keeping the whole thing rolling – a talent to keep an eye on. For me, this isn’t Jeunet’s best attempt but it works. There’s something really calming about the idyll of the prairie surrounded by mountains.

Film Review: Only God Forgives

I also wrote a review on Only God Forgives (what a beautiful film!) for The Newspaper which is a student paper at my university. Let me hear your opinion either on the review or the film or both!

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Nicolas Winding Refn’s latest film sparked controversy at this year’s Cannes Film Festival. The critical reception of Only God Forgives was accompanied by dissatisfaction and booing from one side and with praises from the other. This time Winding Refn’s piece is set in the exotic and deadly streets of Thailand where a confused and undetermined protagonist Julian (Ryan Gosling) tries to find his way in the midst of an emotionally imbalanced family that has built its fortune on the shaky foundations of drug smuggling.
 
Only God Forgives is an artistic experiment. With its stark contrasting colours, shadows, gorgeous compositions and fascinating locations, the film presents itself as a visually stunning piece. Granted, if you are a fan of storytelling, Only God Forgives might not be the film of choice mainly because the story is fragmented. On the surface, the film seems like a compilation of unmotivated brutality and gore but at the very core of it lies a story of revenge and justice. However, since rarely stories are so black and white, the film can be interpreted in multiple ways. Although the brutal events seem to be initiated by Billy’s (Tom Burke) death, the film constantly plays on the idea that there are more layers and other explanations. And so it becomes hard to escape the thought that Julian and Chang (Vithaya Pansringarm) share a deeper history.

 

 
The director definitely concerned himself with the visual aspect and the cinematography over the storytelling. But like any art film, it seems that Only God Forgives invites the viewer to construct their own interpretation of the events. One of the bigger questions being: how much of what we witness is reality and how much is a product of Julian’s mind? A lot is left unanswered and as much is left for speculation.
 
Here also lies the beauty—the spectator can participate in the construction of the story and there will be as many unique interpretations as there are viewers. The fragmented events that occasionally miss either explanations or motivations, or both, do not suggest a bad film. What we are presented with is instead different—un-Hollywood—and that is why it works. Clearly Winding Refn didn’t seem to concern himself with the audience and their softness or sensitivity. He had a vision and he transformed that vision onto the screen.
 
The ever-so-stunning Kristen Scott Thomas never disappoints. Playing your typical rich and arrogant American blonde, she brings the character to life. Unfortunately, the same cannot be said for Ryan Gosling. His character obviously looks handsome but that is pretty much it. Julian lacks any kind of depth. The viewer gets to witness only a slight variation between the states of sadness and emotional deadness. A disappointing role for an obviously strong actor with such good past performances as Half Nelson and The Notebook.

 

 
Overall, this feature is not for the light-hearted, as you might’ve guessed from the sensitive and fancy folks at Cannes. There will be blood and brutality and ruthlessness—visuals that will make you cringe and actually feel something. With Only God Forgives, Winding Refn showcases his talent as it takes some skill to make every shot look like a loaded photograph. One can argue that the best films are the ones that create a clear division in the audience—you either hate it or love it. This one is definitely worthy of love.