Tag Archives: Stellan Skarsgård

Here we go again

Mamma Mia! ten years on, or five if you consider the plot. We’re all ten years older, but we – mostly – don’t look it. Do we? And a person can always have a young self, like they do in the new Mamma Mia! film. I adored the young Harry especially.

So, Donna is dead. Maybe this was for the best, as it left all of us crying, and it meant there was for the most time only two almost identical young women to be confused by. Sophie, and her mother Donna as a young woman, and made more confusing by shifting quickly between the two. Now we know what it was like for Donna and Sophie’s three dads, even if some of the continuity might not actually work. Who cares?

It’s like a family party. You’re just so happy to see everyone again. This time there were fewer old ABBA hits, and possibly less music too, but you’re happy, crying both sad and happy tears, and a film has to be pretty good to achieve that, and I don’t care if the film critics are still a little sniffy about it. Although they learned their lesson ten years ago, and now take Mamma Mia! Here We Go Again much more seriously.

There were the expected cameos from Björn and Benny. I suppose many of the appearances were somewhat cameo-like, really. I love Cher, but am not sure she was the right grandmother for Sophie, even if great. And ABBA songs are less well suited to a deep voice.

Lots of laughter, quite a bit of crying, both from me and Pierce Brosnan, not to mention from Julie Walters. I could watch the film again tomorrow, if only life didn’t need me for other things.

And thanks to Daughter who saw the film in Pasadena 20 hours before me, I knew to stay for the scene after the credits. I waited and I waited and everyone else left and the cleaners came, giving me funny looks, but eventually, there it was; the extra scene. I took a chance on it!

Mamma Mia! for mother

I’m continuing my trend of jumping into the middle of films. This evening Swedish television very suitably screened Mamma Mia! which was a good end to Mother’s Day. Not that I celebrate it, but any excuse will do.

Came in about halfway, which is good enough for me. Even the Resident IT Consultant seemed to enjoy it for a few minutes. What’s not to like about James Bond getting down on one knee and singing ABBA?

That’s the thing, really. We had Mrs Kramer singing with Dr Hofstadter on one side and Mrs Weasley on the other. Agent 007 has to share a third of a daughter with Mr Darcy and Bombi Bitt. And their offspring is in love with a History Boy.

My own Daughter/Offspring was so keen to see the film the first time that we were in the cinema hours after her returning from her Swiss school trip. And Switzerland continues to be on the agenda.

Anyway, nice treat for all mammas.

The Railway Man

How can a family of railway lovers not go and see The Railway Man? Even after being warned off by people that the torture scenes are so horrific as to make it unbearable.

The Railway Man

We were charmed by Colin Firth’s wooing of Nicole Kidman (I had feared she’d be too glamourous for the part, but she was fine) at the beginning of the film, in spite of the stations and railway lines and the rolling stock being ‘a bit wrong.’ It was all done in good faith. (But the bit with the guard saying Colin was on the wrong train was too much 21st century. They didn’t go in for that kind of thing back then.)

Somewhere in the middle, when it was – mentally – dark, and slow and very depressing, with little hope for improvement, I wondered what we were doing. The scenes showing Jeremy Irvine as the young Lomax during the war, as a Japanese prisoner, told me why we were there. It was good. Not fast paced action, nor enjoyable. But good. Stuff you need to see.

The torture was bad. But it was expected and it was once done for real, and it was nowhere near as awful as you get in some of those fun action films people don’t mind watching.

The Railway Man

Despite knowing the outcome, having read about Eric Lomax, it almost came as a surprise. Low key and quietly unassuming, this was an excellent film. And for all its awfulness, we found ourselves surprisingly cheery as we compared notes afterwards. That’s probably why you should see The Railway Man.

More Thor

For one crazy moment I thought I was sitting down to blog about something for the second time. I looked at the CultureWitch page and saw the name Thor, and was surprised because I couldn’t recall having blogged about the film Thor already. I hadn’t. There was a Thor in The Man From U.N.C.L.E.

Shortly afterwards when Daughter insisted on watching a film, we were somehow coerced into choosing Thor. It was all right. In fact, as entertainment it was perfectly fine. I suffered an elderly moment when I had to ask what Thor’s brother’s name was. I knew I knew. I just couldn’t find it in that dark cave where I keep my information. Loki.

Naturally. I didn’t like him in The Avengers, and he was no better before (seeing as I appear to watch the films backwards). I’m not much of a fan of blondes, but I preferred Chris Hemsworth to Tom Hiddleston. And I never quite know where I am with Stellan Skarsgård.

Chris Hemsworth - Thor

It makes a change to have an action film featuring Norse gods, as opposed to modern agents or aliens and that sort of thing. I just don’t have a lot of enthusiasm for Norse gods. But I reckon I can manage to watch the other films (whatever they are, because I am not keeping track). Captain America was fine. Yes, it clearly has something to do with who plays the hero.

And there is always humour in the outsider’s baffled reaction to what we believe is normal.

Good Will Hunting

I tried so hard. When I noticed this film ‘about maths’ was on television, I recorded it for the entertainment of the Resident IT Consultant, and then it turns out he’d already seen it! But he was sufficiently enthusiastic, and felt I should see it too, so we watched. You can tell all the regular shows have come to an end…

The maths came mostly at the beginning. After that it turned into more of a psychological portrait of a young maths genius – working as a janitor at MIT – with issues. I liked the role well enough; but I just am not keen on Matt Damon. I thought his pal Ben Affleck was a lot more interesting, really.

Good Will Hunting

The film also offered psychoanalysis of both the psychologist who talked to Will Hunting, as well as his old pal, the maths professor who discovered Will. Hard to tell who had the most issues in their life.

Very nice time capsule thing, set in the mid 1990s. I was wanting them to exchange email addresses, when all Robin Williams had to offer was an answering machine. He was still mostly Robin Williams, I thought.

Stellan Skarsgård as the professor was interesting, if a little selfish/immature. Lack of maturity seemed quite a general thing. Not sure what Minnie Driver saw in Will, but she fell in love the way girls are meant to.

Not having seen this film back in 1997, I don’t know what it would have felt like at the time. Now, as I said, it was the period charm that I enjoyed.

Maybe my problem is Matt Damon is a blonde?

The Avengers

Now that I – as the last person on Earth – have seen The Avengers, I suppose it’s pretty pointless to ‘review’ the film. But it wasn’t bad at all. Noisy enough that none of my crackling food wrappers could be heard. I even knew who some of the actors were, although not as many as I had thought.

For some obscure reason I was under the impression the film boasted lots of cameos from famous names. I might have had the super-powered men and women in mind, and to me Stellan Skarsgård is always famous. I admire a man who doesn’t have to sound so frightfully Swedish all the time.

Thor and Loki didn’t seem very Norse, either. As ‘always’ a good baddie is British.

I came to this film cold. Not literally, seeing as it was a hot and humid day, but with no preparation. I had not seen the other films, whatever they might be. I hadn’t even had time to check out the links to useful clips Daighter emailed me. But that just goes to prove that any idiot can grasp what went on (as much as you can any adventure film these days) in The Avengers.

Captain America

Bad things happened. Good people were kidnapped by baddie. Other good people (super powered) were assembled by a mastermind to help fight the bad guy and put the world right again. They did, with the help of a lot of kicking and lots of noise. Some parts of Manhattan are still intact.

So, all is good. Until next time.

I did admire the Hulk’s way with Loki. More people should be that decisive.

The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo, take two

It wasn’t bad. In fact, it was pretty good. The American version of The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo was as enjoyable as the Swedish original, despite what I said about it earlier. I still don’t hold with the need to make a ‘proper’ American film of every foreign success, but that doesn’t mean they are poor copies.

As Mrs Pendolino said, the film was faithful to the book. Although how she knows this is a mystery. It was as faithful as the first film, which means most of it but not all. You can’t use the excuse that a long book needs to be cut in order to fit into a normal length film. Because if you did, you couldn’t explain away the extra bits that were never in the book.

We were fascinated by the accents. Here they go and make a proper US film and they have the actors speak as though they were a little bit Swedish. That’s everyone but Stellan Skarsgård, who as a true Swede spoke Americanised English the way he always does. (OK, there were a few real Swedes of lesser Hollywood standing who also sounded Swedish.)

The landscape was a wee bit bleak at times. A true Nordic film maker would know that you can be bleak in mind and in meaning, while still providing beautiful sunny landscapes for the eye. The cottage was rather dreamy, but maybe Hollywood believes in large and elegant cottages.

And the seasons! They were strange seasons. All right with some autumn to begin with. Then Christmas. Also fine. Followed later by autumn leaves on the trees, when it ought to have been spring. No summer to speak of, so I’m guessing they didn’t film over a whole year.

Rooney Mara was a great Lisbeth Salander. I didn’t think it would be possible for her to match Noomi Rapace, but she did. Even James Bond as Mikael Blomkvist was all right. Most people were OK in their roles, but seasonal disorder notwithstanding, it’s the landscape that wins. And you don’t get that in California.

Rooney Mara and Daniel Craig in The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo

What happened to Mikael’s stint in jail? Cleaned up? At least they ended the film the same as the book! None of this being careful with Lisbeth’s feelings.