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Terribly Happy-Movie Review 11/19/2016

Posted by Films to consider in Action/Thriller, Bodil Awards, Chicago International Film Festival, Danish language film, Dark Comedy, Movies, Psychological Suspense, Robert Festival.
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TERRIBLY HAPPY (Danish) 2008

Directed by Henrik Ruben Genz

Starring Jacob Cedergren, Lene Maria Christensen, and Kim Bodnia

Among other awards and nominations:
WINNER, Best Film; Best Actor (Cedergren); Best Actress (Christensen); Best Supporting Actor (Bodnia); Best Cinematography; Special Award; NOMINATED, Best Supporting Actor (Lars Brygmann), Bodil Awards
WINNER, Silver Hugo-Direction, Chicago International Film Festival
WINNER, BEST in 10 categories, including Film, Actor, Actress, Director, Screenplay; NOMINATED in 4 other categories, Robert Festival

After he has a nervous breakdown, Robert (Cedergren), a police officer in Copenhagen, is sent to a small, tight-knit town located near an infamous bog, where things and people sometimes just disappear. Robert doesn’t try to fit in at first, but he is gradually sucked in (sorry for pun-didn’t try) by the weirdness of the townspeople.

If you like offbeat tales from the northern climes, you will likely enjoy this one.

99 min. Unrated; not suitable for younger audiences, IMO.

A Royal Affair-Movie Review *** 10/28/2013

Posted by Films to consider in Academy Awards, Based on true events, Bodil Awards, César Awards, Danish language film, Drama, Emotional Drama, European Film Awards, Golden Globes, Historical Drama, Movies, Philadelphia Film Festival, Romance, Satellite Awards.
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A ROYAL AFFAIR (Danish) 2012 ***

Directed by Nicolaj Arcel
Starring Alicia Vikander, Mads Mikkelsen and Mikkel Boe Følsgaard

Among many other awards and nominations:
NOMINATED, Best Foreign Language Film of the Year, Academy Awards
NOMINATED, Best Foreign Language Film, Golden Globes
NOMINATED, Best Foreign Language Film, César Awards

Based on true events during the reign of Denmark’s King Christian VII (Følsgaard). When young Princess Caroline (Vikander) is “imported” from England to become his queen, it soon becomes apparent that the king is not in his right mind. Queen Caroline and the king’s German doctor, Johann Friedrich Struensee (Mikkelsen) fall in love, and together they try to put things right in the country.

Mads Mikkelsen adds a gentler touch to his character than might be expected from some of his other roles, and Alicia Vikander has a regal presence befitting her role of queen. But it is Mikkel Følsgaard who deserves special mention; in his first movie role, he plays a complicated, increasingly manic character, who is nominally in charge of an entire country’s fate.

Highly recommended if you like this kind of movie (and I do). ***

138 min. Rated R.


After the Wedding-Movie Review *** 08/01/2013

Posted by dbinder in Academy Awards, Bodil Awards, Danish language film, Drama, Emotional Drama, European Film Awards, Highly recommended, Palm Springs International Film Festival, Rouen Nordic Film Festival.
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After the Wedding (Danish) 2006 ***
Efter brylluppet

Directed by Susanne Bier
Starring Mads Mikkelsen, Rolf Lassgård, Sidse Babett Knudsen, and Stine Fischer Christensen

Among other awards and nominations:
NOMINATED, Best Foreign Language Film, Academy Awards
WINNER, Best Supporting Actress (Christensen); NOMINATED, Best Actor (Lassgård); Best Actress (Knudsen); Best Film (Bier), Bodil Awards
NOMINATED, Best Actor (Mikkelsen); Best Director (Bier), European Film Awards
WINNER, FIPRESCI Prize-Best Actor (Mikkelsen), Palm Springs International Film Festival
WINNER, Best Actress (Knudsen), Rouen Nordic Film Festival

Jacob (Mikkelsen) has dedicated his life to working in a Bombay orphanage. In order to secure funding from wealthy businessman Jorgen (Lassgård), Jacob is summoned back to Denmark. There, at the mercy of the manipulative Jorgen, Jacob is forced to confront his complicated and dissolute past.

Mikkelsen will likely be a familiar face, as he has appeared in movies such as Casino Royale and more recently A Royal Affair. He starred as Ivan in the 2005 crime comedy, Adam’s Apples (see my review of that film).

Highly recommended.

120 min. Rated R.


Fear Me Not-Movie Review 10/20/2012

Posted by Films to consider in Bodil Awards, Danish language film, Dark Drama, Mar del Plata Film Festival, Movies, Psychological Suspense, Suspense, Thriller.
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Fear Me Not (Danish) 2008
Den du frytger

Directed by Kristian Letring
Starring Ulrich Thomsen, Paprika Steen, and Emma Sehested

Among other wins and nominations:
WINNER, Best Actor (Thomsen); Best Screenplay; NOMINATED, Best Film (Letring), Mar del Plata Film Festival
NOMINATED, Best Actor (Thomsen); Best Supporting Actress (Sehested); Best Supporting Actress (Steen), Bodil Awards

A pretty good psychological suspense thriller in which Mikael (Thomsen), unknown to his family, takes part in a trial of antidepressants that completely alter his outlook on life. When the trials are discontinued, Mikael continues to take the pills anyway. Soon his personality undergoes radical changes; he feels free to be himself as he has never done before, leading to unforeseen consequences that affect his family (to put it mildly).

Star Ulrich Thomsen may look familiar; he has appeared in many films worldwide. On films reviewed on this site, he stars in Adam’s Apples and The Inheritance.

95 min. Unrated. (Violence; not suitable for children.)


Adam’s Apples-Movie Review *** 09/09/2012

Posted by Films to consider in Amsterdam Fantastic Film Festival, Brussels International Festival of Fantasy Film, Danish language film, Dark Comedy, European Film Awards, Movies, Warsaw International Film Festival.

Adam’s Apples (Danish) 2005 ***

From Film Movement

Directed by Anders Thomas Jensen
Starring Paprika Steen, Nikolaj Kaas, Mads Mikkelsen, Ulrich Thomsen, and Nicolas Bro

Among other wins and nominations:
WINNER, Silver Scream Award (Jensen), Amsterdam Fantastic Film Festival
WINNER, Golden Raven; Grand Prize of European Fantasy Film in Silver; Pegasus Audience Award (all Jensen), Brussels International Festival of Fantasy Film
NOMINATED, Audience Award-Best Film (Jensen); European Film Award-Best Screenwriter (Jensen), European Film Awards
WINNER, Audience Award (Jensen), Warsaw International Film Festival

Adam (Thomsen), a tough and violence-prone ex-convict, must spend part of his parole time working at a rectory in a remote country area. Its priest, Ivan (Mikkelsen), looks at the world and all those he comes in contact with in a biblically-based way that is so positive it has become irrational. The townspeople just accept that Ivan is insane and let him be, but Adam is determined to convince Ivan that everything he believes about the world is false.

A dark comedy with a very unusual collection of characters thrown together in an odd setting.

Highly recommended.

94 min. Not rated. Suitable for older teens and adults (violence).


The Inheritance-Movie Review *** 06/19/2011

Posted by Films to consider in Danish language film, Drama, Emotional Drama, Movies.
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The Inheritance (Danish) 2003

Among many awards and nominations:
Winner, Best Actor (Thomsen); Nominated, Best Film; Best Supporting Actress (Werlinder), Bodil Awards
Winner, Audience Award (Per Fly), Robert Award – Best Film; Best Director (Per Fly); Best Original Score (Halfdan E); Best Actor (Thomsen); Best Supporting Actress (Norby); Best Supporting Actor (Peter Steen), Robert Festival
Winner, Norwegian Film Critics Award (Per Fly), Norwegian International film Festival

Directed by Per Fly
Starring Ulrich Thomsen, Lisa Werlinder, Gita Norby, and Lars Brrygmann

An intense and emotional story about a man forced to make a choice.
Christoffer (Thomsen) is very happy living in Stockholm with his actress wife Maria (Werlinder), where he runs a successful restaurant. After the sudden death of his father, his domineering mother Annelise (Norby) convinces Christoffer to return home to run the family steel business, a job that he hates. As Christoffer struggles to keep his personal life separate from the harsh business decisions he must make, he starts to crumble under the strain.

With twists and turns in both parts of Christoffer’s world, the story remains both unpredictable and believable throughout. The musical score by Halfdan E is also outstanding. Ulrich Thomsen, known for his starring role in the 1998 film The Celebration, received many awards for his powerful performance in this film as well.

In the Special Features segment, director Per Fly describes his method of having actors improvise a scene with no script before filming (something actors aren’t always comfortable with); afterward, he films the first take. Also, there are always two cameras trained on the actors from a distance; they don’t know which camera is on them at any given moment, leading to a spontaneity and naturalness in their reactions. I’m looking forward to seeing other films by this director.

115 min. Not Rated. Adult themes; some sexual content.


The Boss of It All-Movie Review *** 04/25/2010

Posted by Films to consider in Comedy, Danish language film, Movies.
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The Boss of It All   Danish (2007)

Winner, Best Supporting Actress (Lyhne), Zulu Awards
Nominated, Best Supporting Actor (Fridriksson); Best Supporting Actress (Lyhne), Bodil Awards (Denmark)
Nominated, Best Actor (Albinus); Best Screenplay; Best Supporting Actor (Gantzler), Robert Festival (Denmark)
Nominated, Golden Seashell (Von Trier), San Sebastian International Film Festival

Written and directed by Lars Von Trier
Starring Peter Gantzler, Jens Albinus, Jean-Marc Barr, Mia Lyhne, Sofie Grbl, Anders Hove, and Fridrik Thr Fridriksson

The IT firm seems like a normal enough workplace. The employees show up every day, work hard, do their best. Their boss is Ravn (Gantzler), who in turn reports to the Boss of It All. Soon everyone has to start asking: who knows what, who knows who(m), and how do they know what they know?

Through its cast of kooky coworkers, the humor combined just the right amount of absurdity and fast-paced verbal parrying to keep me on my toes.

The Boss of It All is one of my favorite funny films and held up to a second viewing; knowing what was going to happen made everything leading up to the end more entertaining. I’ll be watching it again.

96 min. Not rated. Some sexual content and adult themes.