March 25, 2010

Italiensk for Begyndere (Italian for Beginners) (2001)

I always dread of comedies as they tend to always be dumbed down and generally instill a sense of guilt in me as I watch them. Thankfully there are things like Italian for Beginners and The Boss of it All that supplement the laughs with a good dose of absurd, grief and requisite avant-garde Danish cinema movement to put it all into perspective. This actually fits Dogme 95 while still managing to work very well as a light-hearted romantic comedy (although by no means to the extent that some Hollywood vanilla would have it). So yes, there is the handheld camera, the occasional jumpcut and the overall depressing feel of a small Danish town. But so what? It only shows that you can find humour in anything, and it doesn't have to be watered down and washed out, reduced to the lowest common denom just to qualify as funny. Not many movies manage to mix miserable despair and grief with comedy quite so eloquently, and I am thankful that there are still filmmakers out there willing to do it for the rest of us when we feel that we have seen the same old Hollywood comedy for the 500th time.

The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet's Nest (2009)

The third and final part of the Millennium trilogy. Like the previous two, it follows the book pretty closely, tweaking the plot here and there and getting rid of some unrelated subplots to make it fit the cinematic format a little tighter. Overall great adaptation of the book, considering the original's length. Some characters are completely gone and some are reduced to a few lines and smaller roles, but in the end the most crucial parts and the overall feel are still there. Noomi Rapace is again great as Salander, and the rest of the cast fits in nicely with their novel counterparts. I am so thankful that this was picked up by a Swedish filmmaker keeping most of the original regionalisms intact, instead of some undoubtedly failed Hollywood adaptation (although I'm sure one is in the works). Overall enjoyable, but definitely to watch AFTER having read the novel.