Peterbe.com

A blog and website by Peter Bengtsson

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Head-to-head movie voting There's really no good way to explain what The Great Movie Experiment is other than just testing it. It's quite addictive and you somehow feel like you're contributing to something great.

"The gist is that we're compiling a list of movies based on head to head votes, matching them up in a giant round-robin tournament."

It's not really what head-to-head voting is about but there are times I would like a third button when a film sucks. Many times you're confronted by one mediocre film and one film which is only ok; then you're "forced" to vote for the one that is only ok.

Great work Matthias!

Kingdom of heaven Me and my friend Andreas accidently went to see Kingdom of Heaven yesterday. We had extremely low hopes having seen the trailer but thought we'd give Ridley Scott a second chance.

What a load of crap it was. It was constantly unrealistic and pathetic. All the bladdering about honour, love and pride made us sick. One word summorizes Orlando Bloom's character: pretentious!

There's a moment when he speaks to the soldiers before a war like we've seen so many times in Braveheart, Lord of the Rings etc. except this time I get uneasy in my seat because it's so god damn embarrasing. Don't get me started on the recurring theme where the main character tries to prove that you don't have to a lord or knight to accomplish this and that.

I feel sorry for the people who kind of people who like stories like this. It's been done a million times before but those other times much less pretentious and often with a hint of humanity.

There were some impressive scenes I must admit but I'm hoping that Ridley Scott just got trapped with his wonderful camera techniques in a shitty screenplay given to him by senseless executives.

Bad Santa I knew nothing about this film went I went to see it at the cinema yesterday. No one had told me that it was a comedy and the opening scenes gives the impression of a black depressing film about a alcoholic loser who hates his life and contemplates committing suicide. Well, this is what the film is about. Him and his partner, a shopping mall and a fat bullied kid.

What makes the film to funny is the language Santa (played by Bill Bob Thornton) uses. The swearing and the sarcasm. Comedy is always funny if it's unexpected. The story is really quite sad and destructive much like Leaving Las Vegas and in such a morose environment every little joke is much appreciated.

Go and see this film. Don't expect a joyride but do muse over some of the little things in it.

UPDATE: Check out these photos of kids being afraid of santa

Have you, like me, had problems with downloaded .AVI files that you can't fast forward? There's a solution to that. Install mplayer and run it like this:

Z:\Films>mplayer -idx Movie.avi

Might for some be old news but I've not until now discovered this and hopefully by writing about it now, someone else will be happy to know how to do it.

Classic Movie Scripts is a site that hosts a long lists of, unsurprisingly: movie scripts. The list isn't very long but keep it in mind, it might grow. I was happy to find the script to Annie Hall by Woody Allen. One of my favourite films of all times. This is taken from Annie Halle:

                       ALVY 
       Tsch, I know.  A relationship, I think, 
       is-is like a shark, you know?  It has 
       to constantly move forward or it dies. 
               (He sighs) 
       And I think what we got on our hands 
               (Clearing his throat) 
       is a dead shark.

S21: The Khmer Rouge Killing Machine This Sunday I went to see S21: The Khmer Rouge Killing Machine at NFT which is what I wrote about in The Chinese Martial Arts Film at BFI

It was a documentary about the prison camps under the Angkar regime in the late seventies. Victims (the few of them who survived) and prison guards met and talked about what happened. A recurring theme was the indoctrination of the prison guards who still until this day can't explain the cruelty the were responsible for. Some of the stories about the interrogations sound very much like 1984 by George Orwell, but for real. Horrible.

The film was at times dull and depressing but the stories faces made up for it. This film makes Schindlers List look like a comedy at times, much because it felt much more real since it was a documentary. The terror that was going on in Cambodia probably still happens in some communist and fascist states today to a certain degree.

"How often do you get the chance to stare directly into the face of evil? S21 gives you that chance, and what do you know - evil's face looks just like everybody else's." A review from Rotten Tomatoes

S21: Cambodian Genocide Site with some of the paintings by the painter who appears a lot in this documenary.

Blood Brothers at BFI BFI (British Film Institute) is running a Chinese Martial Arts month. From their calendar of films by date I only recognised the name of one film, and I thought I had seen so many of these films.

The premise, as I've understood it, is to uncover that there is such much more than just Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon. One film I'd like to see is Return to the 36th Chamber

As I was browsing their website I also found this that I want see: S21: The Khmer Rouge Killing Machine

Here are directions to NFT

Julien Donkey-Boy poster Have you ever seen any of these films: Kids, Gummo, Ken Park? They're all by the same director (Harmony Korine).

It's Dogma 95 certified but doesn't "jump" like films like The Idiots (Lars von Trier) or The Celebration (Fredrik Vinterberg). In Julien Donkey-Boy there are long scenes, but sometimes it's like a rapid slideshow of images with deliberate out-of-sync sound. A central theme of the film is schizophrenia, and the film really succeeds in depicting this.

This is not the kind of film you have dinner to whilst watching. It's revolting and disturbing but you can't stop watching and it really gets your brain going. Not like The Usual Suspects or Groundhog Day, where you think back at the details.

Julien Donkey-Boy the father "He laughs, hysterical, then assaults his companion with a rock. Drooling and dripping snot from his nose, the young man looms over the camera, as if he has assaulted you with this rock, as the companion — positioned as you — lies battered beneath him. You're five minutes into the movie, and already you're feeling exhausted."

Read this review after you have seen the film.

Lost In Translation Lost In Translation is a beautiful little film about an American man and a woman, alone and misery in Tokoyo. He's an old movie celebrity. She is the wife of a fashionable photographer. They are both very lonely and are desperate to go back to America again. They don't know a word of Japanese and the Japanese don't know a word of English. Well, they know some but when they speak they mix up the r's and the l's. "Have a nice fright", "lip the stockings" they say.

There they are. Lonely at the hotel they're staying in and after some time they become friends and start to enjoy themselves. Their happiness isn't show by their words or actions. It's instead shown by how they enjoy Tokoyo.

With time they become better and better friends. Just on the verge of being romantic. He's much older than her and they're both married but somewhat uncertain of their marriages. It's kind of like forbidden love, still not like some many other cheesie movies. They kind of love that was acted out in this film is very rare in movies.

I really like Bill Murray who plays the leading role with Scarlett Johansson. There's lots of good humour throughout the film.

A returning joke is the language barrier. Something that I personally feel resemblance with from when I moved to France.

You should definitely try to go and see this film. I recommend it. Here's the page IMDB.com

LOTR - Return of the King On Thursday morning 11AM, David and I met to go and see Lord of the Rings - Return of the King. Long waited but still feared for it's length: 202 minutes (3 hours and 22 minutes + adverts). The cinema was only half full but we had the luck to go at the same time as some 150 school-kids who did NOT have the patience to sit 4 hours. It was noisy but we learnt to ignore it after a couple of hours.

It was mighty. Magnificent and mighty. Environmental scenes that makes you think it's an IMAX documentary. The acting was better than the two other two films I think, but maybe you simply appreciate them more between all the massive landscape scenes.

I haven't read the book otherwise I would probably also find flaws like this pessimist apparently has.

My biggest concern was that too many things happened too quickly. In the first two films I managed to follow everything but this time it felt like too many things had to be squeezed in to remain under three and a half hours. Maybe they should have done this last film in two parts both 3 hours long. Looking forward to download the Extend DVD version from the net when available.

People on IMDB.com seem to like it