The Man of the Day – Alan Rickman

Today I woke up to the terrible news of Alan Rickman passing. To me this has been the most devastating news of great talents passing lately. I loved the man. I first saw and was terrified of him in Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves, back in the days. I loved that movie and he was the best thing in it as Sheriff of Nottingham. Rickman was always great at portraying these villanous characters like Hans Gruber of Die Hard or Rasputin in the TV movie of the same name. And of course as Severus Snape in Harry Potter films. When I heard for the first time that they are making movies of the Potter books, I thought that Rickman must be cast as Snape. And they did. ❤

I don’t know, words are failing me. This sucks because he had a lot of life left and many, many great characters to play. It’s weird to think that we won’t be seeing him on a screen or a stage again. At least we will hear his unbelievable voice once more in Alice Through the Looking Glass later this year.

In these pictures.

alanrickman

rickmanandradcliffe

hansgruber

R.I.P., Alan

SPECTRE review

spectreposterSPECTRE (2015)

Directed by Sam Mendes

Written by 7 (!) different people plus Ian Fleming

Starring Daniel Craig, Léa Seydoux, Christoph Waltz, Ralph Fiennes, Ben Whishaw & Naomi Harris

Synopsis (by IMDb): “A cryptic message from Bond’s past sends him on a trail to uncover a sinister organization. While M battles political forces to keep the secret service alive, Bond peels back the layers of deceit to reveal the terrible truth behind SPECTRE.”

The problem here is not Spectre, it’s actually Skyfall. Spectre is a good Bond film. Skyfall is a great film. So after seeing both of them, Spectre feels empty and stupid. Yeah, Bond films are usually that but they’re also entertaining, fun and full of action. There are beautiful people in beautiful clothes in beautiful sceneries with the latest gadgets. Spectre fits the bill. But it’s not as emotional as Skyfall that made you really feel it for Bond, maybe for the first time in Bond-history.

The biggest flaw in Spectre is the script but now, after seeing, that there’s been just way too many people involved in writing, it kind of makes sense. But if you forget the ridiculous screenwriting with worth-of-facepalm dialogue and lack of emotion, Spectre is fine. It’s almost 2,5 hours long but it doesn’t feel that long. And you even forgive stupid one-liners because it’s Bond! If he or someone else involved would have said those things 50 years ago, it would have been totally fine.

dayofthedead

In general Specre doesn’t look as good as Skyfall but hey, Deakins as a cinematographer is the greatest living one, so don’t go blaming Hoyte van Hoytema, he had huge boots to fill. And did a good job. Especially I enjoyed prologue, how come no one thought of using Day of the Dead before as a backdrop for Bond. Genious! Looks amazing! And I liked Thomas Newman’s soundtrack quite a lot, it compliments the film. And even though Sam Smith’s Writings on the Wall was not my favourite at the beginning, it’s growing on me and the title sequence in Spectre is again gorgeous.

leaseydoux_spectre

All of the actors are good. Enough. I don’t really see the points of Monica Bellucci’s or Dave Beautista’s characters but Léa Seydoux definitely helps her international career here even though they wrote the most ridiculous lines to her and Christoph Waltz is usual Bond-villain. Ben Whishaw is cute as hell and I’m glad they gave him more to do and talk and well, I never complain when a film has Andrew Scott in it. And I will be the most surprised if Craig is coming back to play Bond, in Spectre it feels like he has given everything now. Bond is fed-up with everything but doesn’t know what else to do but Craig has a choice.

danielcraig_bond_spectre_lasttime

So, all in all, Spectre is good. It’s not spectacular like Skyfall was but it’s good enough. Great sounds and amazing explosions. It’s worth of your 2,5 hours but don’t expect too much.

Rating: ***½ (out of 5)

SCREEEEEAM!!!!! (x5)

I was totally inspired by Zoë at The Sporadic Chronicles of a Beginner Blogger to check out Scream films after she reviewed all four parts. And I continued by watching MTV’s and Netflix’s collaboration series based on the films. And I was kind of pleasantly surprised. All of them weren’t total waste of time.

scream posterSCREAM (1996)

Directed by Wes Craven

Written by Kevin Williamson

Starring Neve Campbell, Courtney Cox, David Arquette, Skeet Ulrich, Rose McGowan & Matthew Lillard

Synopsis (provided by IMDb): “Attempting to cope with her mother’s murder, Sydney and her horror movie-obsessed friends are stalked by a murderer who seems to have a hard time letting the past go.”

If you haven’t seen Scream, you should watch it. It’s a classic. Craven and Williamson redefined horror genre with this flick. I remember when I saw it for the first time. It was the first day of the year and I guess I felt a bit hangovery and kind of relaxed because I remember laughing out loud a lot. Scream combines all cliches of horror genre and laughs at them. But it’s still a bit exciting. At least if you watch it alone.

“What’s your favorite scary movie?”

Scream has survived the time. It looks very much ’90’s but it’s as the new series (reviewed later in this post) shows it could as easily be happening now with a bunch on technological advances. Craven was a master horror director but to me Scream works because Williamson is an excellent writer (on and off though; do never see Cursed if you haven’t yet). He’s at his best in horror/high school genre, but I also love Dawson Creek where he made his characters much older dialogue-wise than annoying teens usually are. But Scream is his master work, I think. It’s also his first writing job. It’s funny as hell but still surprising and very interesting to follow. You sure don’t know what’s going to happen next. What I and I think the most of the viewers like the best is how Scream reminds us how horror flicks usually go and Skeet-Ulrich-photo-222x300then shows it. Hilarious.

Of course all actors play nicely. Sidney is great example of good girl from neighbour and so are the usual characters from horror genre. I enjoyed how they are build and how they are played. It also helps that Skeet Ulrich was such a hottie back then.

I’m blabbing. Anyway, Scream works. I liked it even more this time around that I did the first time or in between. It might be a bit nostalgic but who cares?! Just enjoy the script, it’s a rare treat.

Rating: **** (out of 5)

SCREAM 2 (1997)

Directed & Written by same guys

Starring: same guys and some more

hot_girls_from_scream2

I just realised that the less you know who is in, the less spoilers there are in case you haven’t seen these films.

Scream 2 is by far not as good as the original. For some reason I found its beginning hugely annoying and supporting characters that are new just are not interesting enough to carry the story. And the biggest fail is the obvious one. According to the greatest film critic Robert Ebert “each film is only as good as its villain” and that is so true. Scream 2 (and actually 3 and 4 as well) forgets that. Or then they just wrote way too good villain to number one and the sequels just couldn’t compete with that one. Good thing is that all sequels make fun of that fact and the villain in number one is remembered thorough. But again, the dialogue clicks and there are some memorable moments in the second film too. Though I’m just trying to remember some and it’s a bit hard. So maybe not. At least there’s Sarah Michelle Gellar whom I love!

Rating: **½ 

ghostface_in_scream-1920x1080

SCREAM 3 (2000)

Directed by Craven

Written by Ehren Kruger (characters obviously by Williamson)

Starring same folk and some

This part is made more like a comedy. And not very good one. And it feels much cheaper than the previous installments. Then again, if you look Scream 3 that it is intentionally made over-the-top like its tagline says “the final scream will be the loudest”, it works a bit better. I kind of hate all the characters, including Sidney the protagonist. She steps up her game quite a lot from the second part but she’s still a whiner. No Ellen Ripley there.

But the positive side is that I remembered this to be much worse. It actually wasn’t. I enjoyed it enough. I don’t really know what to say. Nothing new here. We go through the same cliches, how the film should go when it’s the final part of trilogy and then it’s rolling.

Rating: **½

Scre4m_Cast

SCREAM 4 (2011)

Made by same folk plus some stars of today like Emma Roberts, Hayden Panittiere & Alison Brie plus bunch of cameos

11 years and several Courtney Cox’s plastic surgeries later we have the final Scream for now. And it’s back to its roots surpassing parts 2 and 3. Even the villain is almost there. But the scariest thing still is that modified face of Mrs. Cox. Kind of sorry about that as I like her. I watched parts three and four in a row last night and her face really popped out.

Anyway, Scream 4 is updated to suit the time and it suits quite nicely. The story is familiar from the original one and it works well. No one is particularly annoying but you don’t really care about them either. I’m trying to think of something more to say but I can’t really figure out anything original. Williamson writes better than he did in part two and there is a hint of originality in this installment and some relevant commenting of the world we are living right now with our obsessions of ourselves.

Rating: ***½

Scream-Header-02-Pilot

SCREAM – The series (2015)

Created by Jay Beattie, Jill E. Blotevogel & Dan Dworkin (Williamson wrote the pilot)

Starring Willa Fitzgerald, Bex Taylor-Klaus, John Karna, Carlson Young, Amadeus Serafini, Tracy Middendorf, Tom Maden, Amelia Rose Blaire, Connor Weil & Bobby Campo

First of all, I love the fact that this series Scream is paying serious respect to original movie. The mood is there, the dialogue is there, the characters are like they could be in the first film, everything is pure homage to original material and that works! It’s not a masterwork but it surely is entertaining pop culture piece.bobby campo

Secondly, I love that they used (some very handsome ->) new faces in the series. When you don’t know the players, you never know who’s going to get it and how soon. That is a trend today (see Game of Thrones for example) and it is great! It is actually pointed out in the script how much it hurts when one of your favourite characters is killed after you started to love the character and root for her/him:

Noah Foster: Gotta remember that the whodunit may not be as important in our story… You need to figure that it’s a horror story, that someone might die at every turn. You have to care if the smokin’ hot lit teacher seems a little too interested in his female students. You have to care if the team wins the big game. You have to care if the smart, pretty girl forgives the dumb jock.

Riley Marra: Sounds like Friday Night Lights

Noah Foster: Exactly. You root for them, you love them, so when they are brutally murdered, it hurts.

And as you can see from that clip of dialogue, the series is full of references to other series and films. I love that! Make sure your up to your viewing though or you might get spoiled. Not badly, thankfully.

Unfortunately, Scream fizzles out of steam at some point between sixth and seventh episode (altogether 10) and fills in too much drama. That very annoying teenage girl kind of drama. Ugh. But it picks up again in the last episode. I did knew the killer though, so I hope they will be more inventive in the second season that I will be, for sure, watching.

Oh, and the soundtrack. They do make good music still! Yay for that. Listen to this nice playlist in YouTube from the first season. And the mask! Oh yeah, so much better than the original Ghostface’s.

Rating: ***½ (I would have given four without that annoying teenage girl drama.)

Everest review

everestEVEREST (2015)

Directed by Baltasar Kormákur

Written by William Nicholson & Simon Beaufoy

Starring Jason Clarke, John Hawkes, Emily Watson, Keira Knightley, Sam Worthington, Josh Brolin, Michael Kelly, Jake Gyllenhaal, Robin Wright & Mount Everest

IMDb – synopsis: “A climbing expedition on Mt. Everest is devastated by a severe snow storm.”

I’m still thinking of this film. I saw it only few hours earlier. It’s not very good. But it’s not very bad either. And it’s not that much “meh”. I don’t really know what it is. Let’s try a pros vs cons list.

Cons first because I’m a positive person and like to finish with the good stuff.

Robin Wright and Keira Knightley were so unused. So unused because they were, after the said mountain, the best things in the film. They are so good and these brief roles they have in Everest proofs my point exactly.

I didn’t really care about anybody. Too many characters. Gone in a second. And most of the time they are covered by necessary clothing and stuff, so you don’t really know who that is. That being said, it was kinda waste with that kind of actors not to really see how good they actually are because, lets face it, the main character in the film is Everest. As it should be but, you know, you do know it’ll survive no matter what.

mount-everest

And that brings me to the pros. I really liked that the film did respect the mountain. It is actually shot in Nepal and Everest’s South Base Camp. According to IMDb there were another real life accident at the mountain when shooting of this film happened: “This movie is based on the worst disaster to ever occur in the Mount Everest region in Nepal but a striking coincidence occurred when this movie was being shot in Nepal. An avalanche on April 18, 2014 killed 16 people on Everest and the casualty was higher than the 1996 disaster which this movie is based on. The shooting had to be postponed and the disaster took the most lives ever taken in an Everest Disaster mostly Sherpas (all Nepalese) who were preparing ground work for the upcoming climbing season.” You have to respect the nature. And after seeing this film I have absolutely no desires to climb a mountain. No way. No. I can still hear the wind. And feel the cold. No.

Everest looks great in the film. Beautiful and dangerous. Majestic. All in all, all the technical aspects work really nicely. It sounds and looks good but the feeling is kinda gone and, as a mountain lover, I think it’s hard to capture how enormous those things are, especially Everest. I’m glad some other things are easier to capture.

Jake Gyllenhaal shirtless gif

Rating (for the film, not Jake here): *** (out of 5)

RIP Philip Seymour Hoffman

hoffmann1Obviously this is not the post that I had planned to write. But to ramble about something else seems inadequate . Yesterday the movie world, like the whole community around it, lost one of the greatest actors of his time. Such a waste. Only Saturday morning I was reading about Ezekiel Moss that was supposed to be starring Amy Adams and Jake Gyllenhaal and had just found a director in Philip Seymour Hoffman. I was so happy to hear about all the talent that film involved. And then this. It just makes me incredibly sad. Jim Carrey wrote to Twitter that “Dear Philip, a beautiful beautiful soul. For the most sensitive among us the noise can be too much. Bless your heart.” Guess he’s right.

hoffman2I first saw Hoffman in Scent of a Woman a many many years ago. I didn’t even remember him being in it. After Boogie Nights you had to pay attention to him. He made every role matter. And made a lot of bad films feel so much better, Along Came Polly for sure. I don’t think he ever made even mediocre roles, he was always on top of his game. Especially in Capote, where he earned the Best Actor Oscar. My personal favourites of his roles are Lancaster Dodd of The Master and Lester Bangs of Almost Famous, the latter probably being the ultimate best one because he’s so much more likeable than Todd’s character. But I recommend the first to everyone, even though it’s exhausting, it has masterful performances from all of the actors involved. But I’ll leave you with PSH as Lester Bangs. Farewell, Mr. Hoffman. Long live your art. You were very cool.

The Weirdness of Saying Goodbye

mereltäYesterday was a bit of a weird day. It would have been my father’s 65th birthday. Instead it was the day I scattered my father’s ashes to the sea. Weird. Yes, sad as well but because it’s already been a while since my dad’s passing (during the winter time in Finland, the sea is not an option for burial, so you need to wait), it was just mostly weird. It was a beautiful, sunny day and I always love to go out to the sea, so I kind of felt like I was doing something wrong because I actually enjoyed the day. And I didn’t know if I should have made it somehow ceremonial. I already had my cry at the funeral and also couple of days before when listening to music that reminds me of my dad. So, I ended up doing nothing special, just scattered the ashes. Just me and the rear end of the boat. And the sea. Guess it was suitable enough.

My relationship with my dad was always quite complicated one. Especially when I grew up and started to understand that there’s no need for me to take that shit that he used to throw at me. He was really bad at calling me when sober, so instead he always called me when really drunk and usually end up giving hell to me by telling how bad person I’ve become. So, after I told him that if he’s not able to call me sober, he should not call at all. It took few years for him to understand that but during the last couple of years of his life, we did talk a few times a year. Mostly about the weather or how the fish is catching. But civilized conversations anyway. But I don’t remember when I saw him the last time. And then cops came to tell me he had a heart attack and didn’t survive. So, you might understand why it feels weird. Especially because afterwards I heard how he had been so proud of me and how he always talk about me and my doings. I don’t know. At least he’s now forever at the sea, in the place he loved the most.

Bye dad.

That's the harbour of our home town Kotka.

That’s the harbour of our home town Kotka.