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The 100-Year-Old Man . . . Movie Review *** 10/30/2015

Posted by Films to consider in Adventure, Based on a novel, Chicago International Film Festival, Comedy, Dark Comedy, European Film Awards, Movies, Swedish language film.
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The 100-Year-Old Man Who Climbed Out the Window and Disappeared (Swedish) 2013
Based on the novel by Jonas Jonasson

Directed by Felix Herngren
Starring Robert Gustafsson, Iwar Wiklander, and David Wiberg

Among other awards and nominations:
WINNER, Audience Choice Award (Herngren), Chicago International Film Festival
NOMINATED, Audience Award (Herngren), European Film Awards

Allan Karlsson (Gustafsson) doesn’t want to celebrate his 100th birthday at the nursing home, so he opens the window of his room and climbs out. Off he goes on an adventure that will eventually include disposing of a dead body.

The quirky tale of Allan’s latest adventure is interspersed with flashbacks from what has been a most unusual life. We see events of decades of history unfold through a series of coincidences that brought him into contact with major players; unwittingly he influenced the course of history.

The 100 Year old man is not your usual generic look at aging. If you like dark humor, this movie should tickle your funny bone.

Highly recommended. ***

114 min. Rated R.

Kon Tiki-Movie Review *** 11/11/2013

Posted by Films to consider in Academy Awards, Adventure, Amanda Awards, Based on true events, European Film Awards, Golden Globes, Movies, Norwegian Int'l Film Festival, Norwegian language film, Palm Springs International Film Festival, Satellite Awards.
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Kon Tiki (Norwegian) 2012 ***
Based on true events, as also recorded in a book and documentary film by Thor Heyerdahl.

Directed by Joachim Rønning and Espen Sandberg
Starring Pal Sverre Hagen and Odd Magnus Williamson

Click here for IMDB’s complete list of awards and nominations
NOMINATED, Best Foreign Language Film of the Year, Academy Awards
NOMINATED, Best Foreign Language Film, Golden Globes

Very interesting and engaging story of a real-life adventure, undertaken by a group of Norwegians (and one Swede) led by Thor Heyerdahl. In 1947, with little to no experience on the open seas, they set out to prove Heyerdahl’s idea that the Polynesian Islands were long ago populated by people from Peru.

The men construct a raft using mostly methods and materials thought to be used by Peruvian sailors 1500 years ago. After sailing nearly 5,000 miles westward across the open waters of the Pacific Ocean, they make landfall in Polynesia after 101 days. They survived against some incredible odds, and their story has become a legend in Norway and elsewhere.

I watched the Norwegian version of the film, but there is an English version, which in this case I suggest watching. The English subtitles left something to be desired, and I had to keep stopping the movie to read them. The Special Features are worthwhile mostly for some interviews with Heyerdahl and with people who knew him.

Look for the original documentary created by Thor Heyerdahl, which includes actual footage shot on board the raft. This film won an Academy Award in 1951. Although the documentary gives the impression that they did not have much in the way of difficulties, the later film (and apparently the book, which I have not read) understandably shows otherwise.

Highly recommended.

118 min. Rated PG-13.


North Face-Movie Review 08/21/2011

Posted by Films to consider in Adventure, Based on true events, Drama, German Film Awards, German Film Critics Award, German language film, Movies.

North Face (German) 2008

Based on the 1936 attempt to conquer the North Face of the Swiss Eiger

WINNER, Film Award in Gold, Best Cinematography; Best Sound, German Film Awards
WINNER, Best Cinematography; Best Screenplay, German Film Critics Award
NOMINATED, Golden Reel Award, Motion Picture Sound Editors, USA

Directed by Philipp Stölzl
Starring Benno Furman, Florian Lukas, Johnanna Wokalek, and Ulrich Tukur

Toni Kurz (Furman) and Andi Hinterstoisser (Lukas) are two young climbers determined to be the first team to conquer the North Face. Ironically, although they are not sympathizers with the Nazi regime, if they do conquer the “Murder Wall,” they will be lauded as German heroes.

With a mix of romance and adventure, along with atrocious weather conditions, this film made me once again wonder “Why???” while at the same time marveling at what mountain climbers undergo to get to the top.

I especially liked the character of Luise (Wokalek), a brave photojournalist who grew up with the two climbers and is in love with one of them. Her boss, the cold and calculating Henry is well played by Ulrich Tukur (from the Lives of Others).

The cinematography in this film is absolutely incredible; the view of the climbers is as if you are hanging nearby, watching these men make decisions between life and death.

121 min. Not rated. Intense scenes.


How to Train Your Dragon-Movie Review 08/14/2011

Posted by Films to consider in Adventure, American, Animated, Comedy, Movies.
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How to Train Your Dragon (American) 2010

Among many other awards and nominations:
NOMINATED, Best Original Score (John Powell); Best Animated Feature Film (deBlois and Sanders), Academy Awards
WINNER, VES Award, Outstanding Animation Effects, Visual Effects Society Awards
WINNER, Golden Reel Award, Best Sound Effects, Motion Picture Sound Editors, USA

From Dream Works Animation
Directed by Dean deBlois and Chris Sanders

Voices by Jay Baruchel, Gerard Butler, America Ferrera, and Craig Ferguson

A very funny and enjoyable animated film from Dream Works Studios.

Hiccup (Baruchel) is a young Viking who is a huge disappointment to his overbearing father, Stoick the Vast (Butler). Although Hiccup has many creative and inventive talents, his father wants him to follow in his footsteps and become a fearsome Viking. Hiccup must learn to kill the dragons that threaten their town on the island of Berk. As he begins training under Gobber the Belch (Ferguson), Hiccup has little hope of ever killing dragons and little hope of ever impressing the spirited Astrid (Ferrera). An accidental run-in with a dragon gives Hiccup the opportunity to save his town.

This film overcomes what could be a predictable storyline with funny dialogue, well-matched character voices, and incredible animation. It was filmed in 3D and received many awards for special effects. A sequel with the same cast is in the works, due to be released in 2014. I look forward to seeing that (and maybe a re-release of this one) in the theater.

98 min. Rated PG. Not suitable for very young children (scary and intense scenes).