Jul 23, 2014

Kon-Tiki (2012)

Kon-Tiki is a take on the famed voyage that Norwegian ethnographer/explorer Thor Heyerdahl undertook in 1947. With only a raft, some supplies and a small crew, he sailed from South America to Polynesia which is a total distance of 8,000 km. The guy couldn't even swim! That's insanity right there but obviously it was a success because the man lived until his 87th birthday and went on many other ill advised voyages in non-modern boats and rafts.

Kon-Tiki is based off of Thor Heyerdahl's 1948 book The Kon-Tiki Expedition: By Raft Across the South Seas. There was also a documentary that was released in 1950 directed by Thor Heyerdahl himself during the expedition which I really want to watch. The 2012 Kon-Tiki is a dramatization of all these events but I think it's definitely a story that has the potential to make an interesting movie. It was even nominated in the foreign language categories for both the Golden Globes and the Academy Awards. 

Jul 22, 2014

Kopps (2003)

There's no shortage of comedy-cop movies in Hollywood but there's definitely room for a Swedish entry to be a part of the club. Josef Fares made his mark with Jalla! Jalla! which was his directorial debut in 2000. It's a comedy film, but one that I think is pretty personal for Josef which also stars his brother Fares Fares. No joke, that's really his name.

Fares Fares also has a part in Kopps and Josef Fares had the help of a certain Mikael Håfström to write the script with him. Håfström has since gone on to direct some relatively large Hollywood projects with varying degrees of success. Take Escape Plan with Sylvester Stallone and Arnold Schwarzenegger which was dope I tell you! 1408 was pretty good too but his best work is Evil which was done in his native country of Sweden though.

Jul 21, 2014

Knife Fight (2012)

American politics have the potential for some pretty interesting films. There's no shortage of dirt and thrills to keep everyone happy. Whether it's a political movie set in the present day or in the past, there will always be something of interest. Knife Fight is supposed to reveal the ugly underbelly of current political advising and it's actually co-written by Chris Lahane who was at one time Al Gore's spokesman. The man must have some pretty good insight into the whole process wouldn't you say?

Director Bill Guttentag has done some interesting work in the past and he's been able to assemble a semi-respectable cast of TV and film actors. The Ides of March which came out the year before is easy to compare Knife Fight with and well, let's just say that Knife Fight is clearly the one that brought the knife in this particular gun fight. The underbelly of politics is never very well explored and the story is terribly developed. 

Jul 20, 2014

Kleine Teun [Little Tony] (1998)

Alex van Warmerdam is a director/screenwriter/actor who hails from the Netherlands. Oh, he's also a painter. Kleine Teun was his fourth directorial effort which he wrote, directed and acted in. He also gets his wife Annet Malherbe in on the action, who plays his for-the-screen wife as well. It's not the first time she's been in one of his movies either.

Kleine Teun was originally screened in the Un Certain Regard section of the 1998 Cannes Film Festival. Tueur à gages was the winner in that category for 1998 but I can say that I preferred Kleine Teun a little bit more. The movie starts off without any surprises for the most part before completely losing its mind. It's worth a watch to say the least.

Jul 19, 2014

Kiss the Sky (1998)

The premise of Kiss the Sky doesn't sound all that promising. Summed up, I guess that it's a midlife crisis movie which to me, definitely has the potential of going in a dumb direction if it isn't properly done. Men going through a midlife crisis doesn't exactly get a lot of support do they? It's also pretty hard to shake the image of a balding man driving around in a red convertible, trying to recapture his youth. I've never heard of director Roger Young either who seems to be mostly known for a TV/miniseries version of The Bourne Identity from 1988 and (sorry to generalize) some boring biblical stuff.

The two main actors however I do know and happen to like them both. William Peterson is more of an 80's guy who then just went into TV later on while Gary Cole is Gary Cole. I guess he's just known as that guy who played the boss in Office Space but that doesn't really give him enough credit.

Jul 18, 2014

The Odd Couple II (1998)

The Odd Couple is an undeniable classic of the 1960's. It's powered almost single-handedly by Jack Lemmon and Walter Matthau's wonderful chemistry and saw them become one of the most famous buddy film pairings. It's great that despite the humungous gap (30 years!!!) between The Odd Couple and The Odd Couple II, Lemmon and Matthau returned with even Neil Simon coming back for writing duties while also being one of the producers.

The Odd Couple II is one of the rare movies in Neil Simon's repertoire that didn't begin as a stage play. It's the tenth and final film that pairs Lemmon/Matthau and was probably made in response to the financial success that Grumpy Old Men and Grumpier Old Men got. Both movies pretty much doubled their budgets at the box office so making a sequel to one of their best films was a surefire way of more box office gold no?

Jul 17, 2014

Saidoweizu [Sideways] (2009)

It still hasn't sunk in that there is a Japanese remake of Alexander Payne's Sideways and I just finished watching it about ten minutes ago as I write this. It's not that I'm opposed to there being a remake, it's just so weird all the same. Payne himself gave his blessing for this movie to be made so we're good.

Can the whole romance of Napa valley and California wine drinking be translated into Japanese? I think so, it's definitely possible. I'm no wine drinker myself but the Japanese can enjoy Pinot Noir just as well as anyone else, right? Sorry, I'm still trying to convince myself that this isn't all too weird.

Jul 16, 2014

Dawn of the Planet of the Apes (2014)

I still remember the day I went to go see Rise of the Planet of the Apes in 2011. The power went out and everything went black in the cinema, robbing me of the last 25 minutes of the movie. Man was I disappointed. At least there was that employee by the emergency exit handing everyone out free passes to another movie but still. I'm a stickler when it comes to finishing movies so I dragged my girlfriend to go see RotPotA again to see the conclusion as well as give Cineplex just a little more popcorn profit.

It was definitely worth it because Rise was definitely better than expected. My major problem with RotPofA is the cardboardness of human characters compared to the apes. It was still very solid and a worthy entry in the Planet of the Apes series. I was a bit concerned during the preproduction of Dawn of the Planet of the Apes because Rupert Wyatt wasn't coming back and neither was anyone else really besides Andy Serkis.  Matt Reeves was also a bit of an unknown to me besides having done Cloverfield

The Odd Couple (1968)

The Odd Couple began its life as a Broadway play with Art Carney and Walter Matthau as Felix and Oscar respectively. Before Jack Lemmon got the Felix role, many other big names were rumored to get the role like Frank Sinatra or Dick Van Dyke. Famed producer Robert Evans wanted Lemmon though and got him which makes The Odd Couple the second of ten movies that Lemmon and Matthau appeared in together.

Neil Simon is the writer for The Odd Couple and of course is also responsible for the Broadway play. I'm not cultured enough to have seen any of his plays but I've seen some of the other movies he's written like The Out of Towners and The Heartbreak Kid which are great. Some movies you can just tell that they were at one time a play but I find the The Odd Couple kind of escapes that. It lends itself extremely well to being a movie and it goes without saying that it is very well written.

Jul 15, 2014

Kirikou et les hommes et les femmes [Kirikou and the Men and Women] (2012)

Fourteen years after Kirikou et la Sorcière charmed audiences with its unique animation and reliance on real West African folklore, Michel Ocelot brings us a third entry in the Kirikou film series. Like
Kirikou et les bêtes sauvages, it's also an anthology of episodes that take place during the events of Kirikou et la Sorcière. This time the number of episodes is up to five and funnily enough that makes it the longest film in the whole series when the two other films last a little over an hour each.

I can understand why Ocelot would want to follow this kind of midquel format though. At the end of Kirikou et la Sorcière, Kirikou is magically turned into a grown man and Karaba turns good. I'm sure that most audiences want to see Kirikou as a tiny little boy and they also want to see Karaba being all mean and evil. It's definitely the safe decision and the right one I think.