So. Head. It’s really… something. Now, we’ll be the first to admit we went into this knowing next to nothing about The Monkees, except that they were the One Direction of their time and that they started as a sitcom rather than a band. And there our knowledge ended. Now, after watching Head we know…very little more.
Any plot in the movie is hard to find, but that’s ok – we’re not usually too bothered with plot. There are music and dance numbers, silly sketches and all manners of absurdity, which is more than enough. And to be fair – we would probably have loved to have seen something like this from a favourite band/group in our teens. However, without a relationship with The Monkees it’s a bit of a curious phenomenon.
So, let’s do the positives first: we enjoyed the self-deprecating humour (“God’s gift to 8-year-olds” is pretty spot on!), the silliness and absurdity, the desert war bits, the walking through sets, Toni Basil, the style and the concept. However, we weren’t entirely sold on the execution of it.
Maybe we’re too spoiled having grown up in a world where Monty Python had already set the standard for absurd, silly and hilarious weirdness decades before we watched this? Maybe we just didn’t get it? While we far from disliked this, we were left with the impression that the viewing experience might have been vastly improved by either being fans of The Monkees, watching this when it was first released, or being very, very high. Licorice tea just didn’t do the trick…
Starring: John Phillip Law, Marisa Mell, Michel Piccoli, Adolfo Celi, Claudio Gora, Terry-Thomas, Mario Donen
Runtime: 1h 45min
Diabolik: a criminal mastermind! Think 1960s Batman villain/dark James Bond. He has a suave underground lair, fast cars and even faster dames, revealing showers, infinite tricks up his (immaculately tailored) sleeves, and a lust for adventure and danger surpassing even Rick O’Connell. He also has A Dame of His Own; Eva – a trusted sidekick and confidant as well as Secret-Lover-in-the-Night-Time (or really any time, it seems). Like her man, the Dame has expensive taste and her only wish for her birthday is an emerald necklace owned by a powerful politician’s wife. Cue heist!
Now, being a Criminal Mastermind™, Diabolik has managed to piss off both law inforcement, represented by inspector Ginko, and a mafia-like crime syndicate, led by the ruthless Valmont. They’re both after his hide, and throughout the movie our anti-hero and Eva must thwart their plots and avoid capture, traps and certain death.
Danger: Diabolik is the epitome of the 1960s in our minds (of course, as we are very young and nubile, we didn’t experience the decade ourselves); it’s colourful, cool, sexy and sleek. At first, Diabolik himself was presented like a clear hero – his first heist was immaculately planned with no loss of life. However, as the film progressed, he started killing people left, right and centre. Still, he is much more humane with more of a moral compass than say crime boss Valmont, and we loved how we ende up rooting for both Diabolik and Inspector Ginko. Diabolik and Eva seem very much in love and in a surprisingly healthy relationship. You know, apart from the crime of it all.
We loved the art/graphics of this, the fact that we learn nothing about the backstory of this gentleman criminal (we guess there might be more meat on that bone in the original comic, but we enjoyed the mystery of it all), the Morricone score and the drama queen that is Diabolik himself. It’s a funny, cool, stylish and thoroughly entertaining watch, and we recommend it to basically everyone. Enjoy!
What we learned: Clearly, there’s a universe out there where cars and guns come cheap, but fabric for women’s clothing is out of everyone’s price range. Also, it is impossible NOT to pronounce Diabolik as “diabolique.”
Watched: January 30 2021 …and then again on January 3 2022 since we’d forgotten the experience.
Director: Jean-Luc Godard
Starring: Mireille Darc, Jean Yanne, and a whole bunch of other people
Runtime: 1h 45min
How can we describe Weekend? It’s definitely a film you should experience for yourself, but we’ll take a shot at describing the plot.
Roland (Yanne) and Corinne (Darc) are planning to kill her parents for the inheritance, as one does. Then, he plots to off her for the same reason, since he has another girl waiting in the wings. Lovely couple, very nice.
After describing a sexual encounter in detail (though without any emotion), as we all always do with your partners, Corinne gets in the car with Roland and off they go a-killing. They soon run into major traffic, as well as an impressive and very long shot of them passing said traffic in the wrong lane. With honking. Lots of honking. And some dead bodies casually strewn around.
Eventually the two crash their car (it was inevitable, really) and go on foot instead, running into historical and fictional characters, cannibals, and rapists. You know, the sort of people who tend to hang out in your local woods.
Somehow it all works, thanks to Godard’s genius. In a way, we feel as though it’s designed to stress you out. It’s a commentary on consumerism, classicism, racism, egotism and general shittyness. You kind of have to see it to believe it, and while Weekend doesn’t seem to be streaming anywhere, a good library will probably have a copy. This is why we love physical media and public libraries.
Weekend is funny and silly and brutal and disturbing, but most of all it’s fascinating. Sure, it’s not a movie everyone will love, but we enjoyed this roadtrip from Hell quite a lot, even though we didn’t quite understand the world we were thrown into. To be fair, we feel that way just waking up in the morning, so it might be us…
What we learned: We’re going to need diagrams of the sex scene Corinne describes. How did that work physically?? If anyone can do a powerpoint presentation, an illustration, a demonstration or something of the mechanicals of it, please let us know.
Joanna and Mark Wallace (Hepburn and Finney, respectively), a disillusioned and sniping couple, are going on a road trip to St. Tropez. The story of their 12 year relationship is told through flashbacks juxtaposed with more current events as we examine how they ended up in their current, seemingly loveless, marriage.
Travel permeates their relationship – at least most critical events appear to have happened while they’re on the road. They met in Europe and fell in love while hitchhiking together, and from there on out most developments occur on other trips they take, alone or together.
Our favourite might be their ridiculous road trip with Mark’s ex Cathy (Bron), her overbearing husband Howard (Daniels) and their obnoxious and unruly daughter Ruthie (not her fault – her parents are useless). The fact that Joanna and Mark have kids after this is mindblowing.
We’re in two minds about this movie. We love the non-linear storytelling and the wardrobe, but the relationship doesn’t quite work for us. Audrey Hepburn is lovely as Joanna, but frankly we’re not sold on Albert Finney in this, and we don’t quite see their chemistry.
At times it seems as though they’re going for the loving bickering of Nick and Nora, but while she is charming enough, he often comes across as a douche. Why on earth would they get married? They’re a perfect example of how squabbling and negging does NOT a cute couple make.
Sure, they have some good times – their express tourism is fun, and the continuous gag about his passport is cute, but overall our impression is that they should have been a holiday fling. Not building a life together. Especially as they fall into the classic trap of “sure, my partner and I have agreed on a life goal together, but I’m sure they’ll change their mind now that I have!” Then again, maybe that is the point of the story..? In which case: well done to all involved!
We have a fondness for Cathy though – just the way she talks is enough to make us want to hang out with her. And we’d pay good money to see a crossover show with Cathy and Howie befriending Mortitia and Gomez Addams! Or Nick and Nora Charles. If anyone wants to develop that show we’ll take 10% of all proceeds, including merchandising, please and thank you.
What we learned: Who travels in a vinyl outfit? Have fun with the thrush…
Starring: Stanley Tucci, Tony Shalhoub, Minnie Driver, Marc Anthony, Isabella Rossellini, Ian Holm, Allison Janney, Liev Schreiber
Runtime: 1h 49min
Like Pulp Fiction, Big Night also gets to skip ahead in line because of Kosmorama Film Festival’s fantastic Culinary Cinema program. On September 15th we enjoyed a lovely meal inspired by the even lovelier movie we were watching during the meal. What else can two gals ask for?
Brothers Primo (Shalhoub) and Secondo (Tucci) run an Italian restaurant in New Jersey. And when we say Italian restaurant we mean Italian restaurant. Primo will not compromise on his food – it will be just the way he learned to make it, thankyouverymuch, despite the New Jersey palate not appreciating his traditional cuisine.
Secondo, who’s dating Phyllis (Driver) while secretly sleeping with Gabriella (Rossellini), goes to rival restauranteur Pascal (Holm) to ask for a loan to keep their business afloat. Pascal refuses the loan, but offers to get a famous singer to come eat at the brothers’ place to draw in customers and publicity. Oh, by the way Pascal is married to Gabriella. Just to further complicate things. Primo and Secondo pour their last savings into the menu for their Big Night – everything must be perfect for their famous guest! But will the investment pay off?
Big Night is charming, funny and a bit sad, with wonderful performances from its entire cast. At the heart of it is the relationship between the two brothers, which is loving yet volatile – just like ours. Food culture and authenticity are also major themes, and the chef is portrayed as an artist – not “just” a craftsman. Apparently, there was a whole movement in the ’90s where food stopped being food and started being art. We’re not mad at it.
Watching Big Night makes you crave Italian food in a major way, so the only way to watch it is really at an Italian restaurant while being served food inspired by the movie- including a delicious timpano. So next time you go out to eat, why not bring a TV?
What we learned: Authentic cuisine is some serious shit!
Starring: John Travolta, Samuel L. Jackson, Bruce Willis, Uma Thurman, Tim Roth, Amanda Plummer, Ving Rhames, Rosanna Arquette, Harvey Keitel, Eric Stoltz, Phil LaMarr, Christopher Walken, Maria de Medeiros, Quentin Tarantino
Runtime: 2h 34min
On Wednesday, we went out (yay vaccines! Thank you scientist people!) for an amazing evening of “kulinarisk kino” (culinary cinema), courtesy of Kosmorama film festival. First, there was a screening of Pulp Fiction at Prinsen cinema, then we went to Bula Neobistro for a fabulous three course meal inspired by the movie. More on that to follow, but first our review of the film.
Ok, Pulp Fiction probably doesn’t need an introduction. From its release in 1994, it has been one of the most watched, discussed and acclaimed movies of our time, and for good reason. The non-linear structure, various intertwined storylines and fantastic cast all come together to create one hell of a ride!
Among the stories we have Pumpkin and Honey-Bunny (Roth and Plummer) – a couple of bank robbers planning on switching to robbing restaurants; Vincent Vega and Jules Winnfield (Travolta and Jackson) – two gangsters running errands for Marcellus Wallace (Rhames); Wallace’s wife Mia (Thurman) looking for a good time and a dance trophy; boxer Butch (Willis), who’s ready to get out of the business with his girlfriend Fabienne (de Medeiros) – a girl with the mind of a child, and oh… Oh no, that’s not good…
Throw in some racist hillbilly rapists with a gimp, a drug dealer and his wife, an unfortunate shooting victim, a dapper cleaner, and a killer soundtrack, and you’ve got yourself an instant classic. The two and a half hours fly by, every minute entertaining.
The cast are pretty much perfect, and while there are some questionable moments (are we all ok with a grown man dating a woman whose mental age is about 6..? And is the character of Jimmie just there as an excuse for QT to say the n-word 45 times in 3 minutes?), Pulp Fiction is, 27 years on, still a stylish, exciting and entertaining piece of cinema.
Now for the meal we had. There were fried squash rings with a Hawaiian inspired habanero-pineapple dip, a Big Kahuna burger with fries (served with both mayo and ketchup, of course), and finally a $5 milkshake (with a shot of bourbon). Yum! If you ever find yourself in Trondheim looking for a delicious meal and wonderful service, look no further than Bula (and no, we’re not paid to say this)! Together, the movie and the meal made this night a phenomenal success and we can’t wait for our next culinary cinema. Which is coming up this Wednesday with #767 Big Night shown with a three course Italian meal. Buon appetito!
What we learned: How to handle an O.D. Which, we’re sure we can all agree, is useful knowledge. Also, the safety is there for a reason, Vincent!
Starring: Gene Wilder, Zero Mostel, Dick Shawn, Kenneth Mars, Estelle Winwood, Christopher Hewett, Andréas Voutsinas, Lee Meredith, Renée Taylor
Runtime: 1h 28min
Max Bialystock (Mostel), The King of Broadway, has fallen on hard times. He is now dependent on doling out sexual favours to rich, elderly widows to finance his plays, most of which don’t do particularly well.
Leo Bloom (Wilder) is an insecure, young accountant tasked with auditing his accounts. However, he is pulled into the fraudulent world of Bialystock and comes up with a way to make more money from a theatrical flop than a hit.
Teaming up, the two men go searching for the most offensive play they can find – something that could never ever be a hit. And they score big with Springtime for Hitler: A Gay Romp with Adolf and Eva at Berchtesgaden – a love letter to Hitler written by an actual Nazi, Franz Liebkind (Mars).
While the play itself should ensure their (un)success, they seal the deal by engaging a horrible director and casting an off-beat hippie who just happened to wander into the audition to play the lead. Everything is coming up Bialystock!
We love EVERYTHING about this movie, and we go around humming “Springtime for Hitler” a LOT more than any human being should. From the cabinet filled with framed pictures of Bialystock’s old, rich women to “We’re Prisoners of Love,” The Producers is a hilarious romp fueled by fantastic performances and Mel Brooks’ particular sense of humour. The plot, the music, the characters, the dialogue – it all works, and we can watch it again and again. And so should you.
Dr Sidney Schaefer (Coburn) is recruited to be, as the title suggests, the President’s psychoanalyst. And boy does the President need it! Schaefer is conveniently moved to a new home with a secret tunnel connecting it to the White House, meaning that his new patient can call on him at all hours of the day and night. And he does.
Cushy or not, the job is top secret and totes private, so Schaefer cannot vent to anyone about the stress and pressure of his new position, and this soon starts to tear on his own psyche. He begins to see conspiracies everywhere – even suspecting his new girlfriend of spying on him.
Turns out he’s right all along! There are a whole bunch of agencies out to get him, such as the CEA, the FBR, the KGB and, worst of all, the TPC! How is a poor psychiatrist supposed to get out of this mess?
This movie is hilarious. Ok, it’s very, very silly, but if you’re in the right mood it’s great. The sixties are truly swinging in this comedy/thriller/sci-fi, and Coburn is swinging along. Despite his strife, he seems very jolly and happy all the time – he handles everything thrown at him with ease. He appears to be especially delighted during his stint as a gong player in a hippie band while on the run.
The quintessential American Family™ the Quandrills are also among our favourites, but what we enjoyed the most about this movie were all the different agencies and their relationships with each other. The agents and spies from the FBR, KGB, TPC, CSS, CEA, etc. tend to bump into each other so often that they’re all old friends – especially Masters (Cambridge) and Kropotkin (Darden), CEA and KGB, respectively. Their scenes together are easily the best parts of the movie. We also enjoyed the piles of dead assassins and spies. Mass murder is hilarious (in the right context)!
What we learned: Are you paranoid if they’re actually out to get you?
Starring: Dustin Hoffman, Anne Bancroft, Katharine Ross, William Daniels, Murray Hamilton, Elizabeth Wilson
Runtime: 1h 46min
Surprise motherfuckers! We’re not dead. We just got to summer and realised we were completely exhausted by work and pandemics and generally being alive, so we needed a proper break. No work, no writing, no responsibilities! Sorry ’bout it. But we are now rested and rejuvenated and ready to dive back in with a fun, lighthearted romp through depression, existential crises, borderline abuse, doomed relationships and rape allegations… Oh. Oh damn.
Well, the plot of The Graduate is pretty well known. Ben (Hoffman) comes home from college, all disillusioned and emo. His parents’ generation is totes old fashioned and lame, and all Ben knows is he certainly doesn’t want to become like them (spoiler alert: he probably will). Then the ultimate cougar seduces him.
Ben’s domestic claustrophobia and feeling of alienation on his return home are probably familiar to most people – we know we’ve been there. Being a young adult is hard, man! Luckily, he deals with his emotions in a mature manner – by floating around in the pool and fucking his parents’ friend.
Things get more complicated once Ben falls in love with Mrs Robinson’s daughter Elaine (Ross). Whether out of jealousy or because she thinks her daughter could do better than her boy toy, Mrs Robinson does everything she can to break the two up – including falsely accusing Ben of rape.
As is tradition, let’s go through what we liked and didn’t like about The Graduate. We loved the stress, depression and claustrophobia experienced by Ben, the clown painting, the portrayal of ennui and alienation, Simon and Garfunkel, and the last shot when the two crazy kids realize they may have just made a huge mistake.
What we didn’t like… Well… Let’s face it: Elaine is a non-person. The only semi-intelligent thing she does is leave him on that first, disasterous date. Then after that, she sort of just exists to be an object of obsession for her new stalker who’s secretly banging her mom. And also to show him if you just stalk and bother her enough, she’ll eventually fall in love with you. #lifehack
That being said, Ben’s malaise is relatable for people of several generations. The ’60s was not the last decade where the youth had trouble relating to their parents, and while we came around a long time later (we’re still young dammit!), we’ve been in the same boat. Luckily, we avoided being seduced by the neighbourhood cougar. Phew!
What we learned: A relationship is the solution to all your problems! Also, stalking is super romantic.
Starring: Jan Vostrcil, Josef Sebánek, Josef Valnoha, Frantisek Debelka, Josef Rehorek, Jan Stöckl, Frantisek Reinstein, Frantisek Paska, Josef Kolb, Frantisek Svet, Josef Kutálek, and a bunch of other guys probably called Jan, Josef and/or Frantisek.
Runtime: 1h 13min
Our small city of Trondheim has been relatively unaffected by Covid for the past few months – we’ve had few infections and most of our businesses have run more or less like normal. In fact, it’s been a source of pride for many local politicians and citizens how well we’ve handled all of this. But those of us who watch a lot of movies know all too well the price of hubris… It was only a matter of time before a new wave hit, which happened recently. This time with fun, new mutations! The result of all this is that while the rest of the world is slowly opening up again, we’re going in the opposite direction: many places are shut down, we’re in and out of quarantines, and things are far from normal. But at least we’ve got movies, right?
After a wait list period (who else checked out this movie in 2021???) we just managed to get our hands on The Firemen’s Ball before the libraries closed down. And was it worth it? Well, probably.
OK, we’ll be honest – The Firemen’s Ball needs context to work, at least it did for us. With no context, it’s a farce about a bunch of bumbling, incompetent firemen trying to throw a ball, while being both stupid and a little bit sexist about it. And we’re not really big fans of farces – we tend to find them annoying (and sometimes sad) rather than funny.
However, context is important. This movie was made in Czechoslovakia in 1967, and the Communist Party was not amused by the depiction of bureaucratic idiocy and inadequate leaders. In fact, they were so unimpressed that Miloš Forman ended up in (self-imposed) exile in the wake of it. Which makes the whole thing pretty badass, even if the movie itself isn’t really our cup of tea.
So basically, watch this if you’re interested in history and/or like farces. But if you don’t like either, maybe skip it…
What we learned: “Uzenka” means “sausage”. We’ll never again starve or go horny for long in the Czech Republic.