A and A's Movie A Day

Watching movies until we run out.

Movie 646 – Clue

placeholder – this marks the end of the official project. We’ll watch stuff as we get new things, but no more one-a-day viewings. I feel a little bereft.

December 6, 2011 Posted by | daily reviews | 1 Comment

Clue

December 6, 2011

Clue

For the last daily movie viewing in our project we’ve saved a movie that is probably one of Amanda’s favorites of all time. Certainly there are few movies we know better or quote quite as often. Things like “Not that key – the key to the cupboard” are part of our daily lexicon for some reason. Amanda can pretty much quote the entire film verbatim. Indeed it reaches the point where she has trouble watching the movie without saying the lines along with the cast, which could be distracting if I didn’t know the movie just about as well.

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December 6, 2011 Posted by | Uncategorized | 1 Comment

Movie 645 – Real Genius

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December 5, 2011 Posted by | daily reviews | Leave a comment

Real Genius

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December 5, 2011 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Movie 644 – Save the Last Dance

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December 4, 2011 Posted by | daily reviews | Leave a comment

Save the Last Dance

December 4, 2011

Save the Last Dance

We’re on the third to last movie in our daily movie project tonight. This is one that Amanda wanted to add to our collection – a movie she’s seen so many times on TV that she considers it a comfort film – but I’ve never watched it before tonight.

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December 4, 2011 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Movie 643 – TrollHunter

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December 3, 2011 Posted by | daily reviews | Leave a comment

TrollHunter

December 3, 2011

TrollHunter

We decided a couple weeks ago to watch this movie tonight specifically. Today Amanda and I attended the annual Yuletide Festival presented by the Boston branch of the Swedish Women’s Educational Association. It’s a traditional family outing with her parents and some of our closest friends that we look forward to each year, and it marks the start of the Christmas season for us. It also puts us in a Scandinavian mood, what with all the Swedish culture and traditions. We get meatballs with lingenberries. I have Glögg and Julmust. This year Amanda’s mother bought a big book full of gorgeous pictures of the Swedish countryside. This year we get to follow that up with a movie with a uniquely Scandinavian flare – this strange faux documentary about Norway’s only licensed troll hunter.

In many ways this movie is clearly inspired by The Blair Witch Project in that it is presented as found footage of an ill fated expedition, but this movie has a great tongue in cheek humor to it that makes it a different sort of beast. It follows a trio of college students who are trying to get an interview with a mysterious man who they suspect is a notorious bear poacher. It is explained through news on the radio and interviews with local authorised bear hunters that although there have been killings and mauling of farm animals attributed to bears in the wilds of Norway only these few professionals licensed by the government are allowed to actually kill bears, and the hunters are upset because lately they suspect this individual in a beat up white range rover of killing bears without a license.

The three youths – journalism students and film makers from a local college – track down the poacher at a RV camp where his trailer is abandoned each night as he drives off to do whatever is that he does each night. He doesn’t want anything to do with the kids, but they doggedly follow him into the woods one night where they are attacked by some creature in the darkness that bites one of the trio, at which point the grizzled poacher reluctantly agrees to let them tag along with him and explains just what exactly it is that he does. He hunts trolls.

At first of course the students are skeptical, but very soon they have an encounter with their first giant nocturnal monster and they come to realize that everything the hunter, Hans, has told them is true. He warns them that trolls can smell the blood of a christian, so none of them had best believe in God or Jesus. He gives them troll musk to coat themselves in so as not to frighten their quarry. Trolls can be killed, it turns out, by using UV light because they either ossify, turning to stone, in sunlight or explode. The reason that nobody knows any of this, aside from what they’ve heard in fairy tales as children, is that the Norwegian government covers up all information about trolls. Hans is dogged by an official stuffed shirt who makes sure that nobody ever discovers what it is that he does for a living, planting dead bears at the scenes of troll-related carnage and creating flimsy cover stories. Hans is fed up with the ignominy of his job, the awful hours and the lack of recognition, so he has decided that he might as well let these students collect their footage and make their film to let the world know the truth.

It’s when the trolls start to actually show up that the movie really starts to be fun. It’s not just that the special effects are cool and the design for the trolls themselves are a great combination of big-nosed classic illustrations and gritty realism (though they are.) What really makes this movie special I think is the sense of Norwegian civic pride to it. When the students have their first big encounter with a troll they’re not just terrified and exhilarated by the danger and thrill of their adventure – they’re exuberant to discover that trolls really are real – all their childhood stories had a basis in truth!

There’s a sense that the trolls are not just dangerous wild predators that eat anything they can get their hands on (though they are partial to rocks apparently) but that they are also precious national treasures. They’re mysterious and majestic in their own odd way. Over the course of the movie we get to see a number of different types of troll, and we learn all about them. They can grow to be as much as 1200 years old. They come in all shapes and sizes. Some travel in packs, some wander alone. There are rivalries between the woodland trolls and the mountain ones.

I understand that there is an American re-make of this movie in production now. I have to admit that I don’t think that there’s any way a re-make can capture what it is about this movie that makes it work as well as it does. This movie thrives on the gorgeous Norwegian landscapes, the lore and traditions, the sense that trolls are part of Norwegian culture and national pride. I can’t imagine that the movie would work at all in any other country, much less without the original Norwegian and subtitles. I’m so glad we have this version and that we watched it tonight. Happy yule everyone!

December 3, 2011 Posted by | daily reviews | , , , , , | 1 Comment

Movie 642 – Seven Samurai

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December 2, 2011 Posted by | daily reviews | Leave a comment

Seven Samurai

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December 2, 2011 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment