Film review: Letter from an unknown woman (1948)

One of my all time favourite black and whites. Based on a story written by Stefan Zweig, who is an acclaimed author. This is one of the most romantic films, I have ever seen. I rate this 9/10.

'Before sunrise' may be a homage to this film and other Max Ophuls movies with train scenes, ferris wheel, and a couple in Vienna.
Ophuls used Vienna in other films he made called 'La Ronde' and 'Liebelei'. I think 'Before sunrise' and 'Before sunset' directed by Richard Linklater have better scripts, but LFAUW comes close to equalling the magical atmosphere and setting in Linklater's two films. Another similar movie I remember is 'Portrait of Jennie', which is also from 1948.

The music and Joan Fontaine's and Louis Jourdan's voices and performances in LFAUW are very memorable. Everything seems to work.

It’s not just a simple love story, this film has a few twists and a good script like 'Casablanca' also has. It’s best not to know anything about the story before you watch.

Some may not recognize French actor Louis Jourdan, who in 1983 was a bond villain. This type of romantic part is more suitable for him, I think, and he became slightly typcast over the years. Even though he does look a bit like an evil weasel in Octopussy! Ha ha ( :

I thought Max Ophuls' 'La Ronde' was good, but to me lacked the magic of LFAUW. 'La Ronde' was similar to 'Magnolia', but not as good as that ensemble film.

I gave up on Max Ophuls' Madame de...(1953), it didn’t connect with me and hadn’t aged well in my opinion.

You can read a ‘making of’ in google books, if you perform a google search on: Letter from an unknown woman.

8.0/10 on IMDB, 100% on RT




Songs for your iPod

Don't I Hold You - Wheat

(Probably my fav track from the Elizabethtown soundtrack)


Whatever It Takes - Sinéad Lohan

(A sadly overlooked album and singer from the 90s. This song gives me goose bumps)


Girl in the Tower - Benji Hughes

(Similar to the Beatles. I like the video as well)

Film review: Flash Gordon (1980)

Probably the movie I have seen more than any other. I think I’ve seen it about ten times or more in my life. I rewatched it last year and hadn’t seen it in a long time and enjoyed it once again. It’s very nostalgic to me like many call the old Star wars movies childhood favourites.

I agree with cartoonist Alex Ross on youtube, he points out the special effects look so colourful and like no other superhero movie. He also calls it a rock opera, due to the fusion between the story and Queen rock music. According to Alex Ross, the director intended it to be tongue-in-cheek and not a very serious film. That’s the reason some may label it cheesy. It feels like a world you have never been to before.

If you are not aware of it, the character's are based on a cartoon strip from the 1930s, which became a black/white TV-show, later on several movies followed. It's also been turned into a recent TV-show.

I heard the actor playing Flash actually had his voice removed and dubbed, because the studio didn’t like the way he spoke. He is not a great actor. I wonder what happened to the male and female leads? , I never saw them again in anything else.

Apart from Flash, I thought the rest of the cast of characters are very memorable, especially Ming played by an almost unrecognisable Max von Sydow was pretty scary, but well-picked. Zarkov from 'Fiddler on the roof' and Bond movie 'For your eyes only' is also very believable as the mad scientist.

An underappreciated and underrated 80s movie, which in my opinion ought to rank along side such sci-fi classics as Star Wars.

One to watch multiple times, but probably more when you’re a kid or teenager. But everyone who likes science fiction should watch it, not to be missed.

6.2 on IMDB. Rottentomatoes gave it 83%




Film review: The Fourth Protocol (1987)

Many movie fans have probably seen or heard of the British spy thriller The Day of the Jackal (1973), which is based on a book by Frederick Forsyth. An in my view inferior and soulless remake 'Jackal' was also made in 1997 starring Bruce Willis and Richard Gere.

The fourth protocol is a screenplay written by the same author Frederick Forsyth based on his novel. It's not so well-known as the above, but is in my opinion underrated and a good movie.

But give the Frederick Forsyth movie The Odessa File (1974) starring Jon Voight a miss, it was really dull. "The dialogues are made of wood", as a guy I agree with on IMDB rather amusingly puts it.

The fourth protocol is similar to a Bond movie, but without Bond in it. The film stars Michael Caine and Pierce Brosnan and is a thriller with agents, spies, gadgets, girls, KGB, Russia conflict and you name it. It doesn’t have so many action scenes as a Bond picture, though, focusing more on a different kind of suspense, which draws you slowly into the story. They obviously had a smaller budget to work with. It almost feels like a TV movie at times, but not in a bad way.

If I had to criticize something, I would say some of the dialogue in the beginning seems unnecessary and isn’t useful to the second part of the film, which has more action. You could almost say it’s like watching two different movies. The plot is a little dated maybe, but still suspenseful, especially the last half. It didn’t bother me they were clearly trying to cash in on being similar to the Bond franchise. The poster is NOT a true reflection of the story!

Having recently rewatched it, I would give movie a 7.5/10. The IMDB rating is 6.3/10. RT gave it 64%

Let me know your opinion, if you watch/already have watched The Fourth Protocol.

To me, The Fourth Protocol is a good lesser-known 80s movie, which many people probably have never heard of. Definitely worth a watch, if you like these kind of films.

Readers, any other 80s gems I might not have seen, you can recommend?




Look up in the Sky: The Amazing Story of Superman (TV special)

This post will be more of a summary. My opinion is at the end.

The 2 hour US TV special from 2006 is a chronological look at the history of the Man of steel in its various media forms such as comics, books, TV, movies etc from the beginning up until today.

The duel role of Clark Kent and Superman was a predecessor for other superheroes like Batman and others. People can relate to his more vulnerable and human side as Clark, and look up to his heroic qualities.

At the beginning in the first comic, Superman was an evil figure, later he became more physically strong, he began to leap, even later he flew.

Superman was seen as a mythical symbol of hope, strength and moral certainty to a struggling nation during the depression in the 1930s and also later on. Superman doesn’t pass judgement, he just helps.
He transcended nationality, became an inspiration for Americans and immigrants, an ideal to strive towards. Superman is the ultimate embodiment of the American dream, proof that an immigrant can come to a new land and achieve their potential.

It’s suggested Superman could be interpreted as a secular messiah in the 70s comics, an allegory as he descends from the heavens. Similar to an old testament story about Moses who escaped, his mother and father where about to be killed by the Egyptians, in his case Krypton. Just like Moses Superman arrives as an immigrant and was adopted. But they argue Superman doesn’t become a hero to substitute for religion, but is a hero in a mythology sense. Superman’s attitude is perhaps what you yourself can choose to do, if you want to be a hero. Superman's challenge is to continuously see good in people, and to see good, when others don't see it.

But the TV special is not without its faults in my opinion. It focuses on the American attitude towards Superman, hardly anything is said about the international audience. I thought the first hour and the last 5 minutes were the most insightful, the second half about the movies was a little shallow, it didn’t explain very well how C. Reeves flew in the movies, which I thought was disappointing. It also doesn’t really illuminate why the movie became a success, as they kept saying Superman was on the decline in comics and TV in the 70s, but perhaps there is no explanation for that rejuvenation?

Any thoughts on Superman, readers?

Songs for your iPod

This week I’ll try something new, instead of random songs, I’ll post 3 Paul Simon tunes I love.

The first 2 are not so famous, but great, they are both from Paul Simon’s more recent solo career. But I had to add one of the acoustic classics from the 60s with Garfunkel. Enjoy!

Cool Cool river - Paul Simon
(Very interesting and original lyrics, love the section at 1.58 about the metal detector )


Wartime prayers - Paul Simon

Track tends to get deleted, so here’s another link:


Simon & Garfunkel - Scarborough Fair (live)
(So dreamy and beautiful. I prefer the live version of this song, stripped down to guitar and voice)

Any thoughts on the music, readers? Any other Paul Simon (solo), or Simon & Garfunkel you can recommend?

Film review: Year of the dog (2007)

A film for dog lovers, but also other people can enjoy the story, as it among other things is about finding yourself and finding a partner in life etc. But I would say animal lovers are the primary audience.

The development of the main dog-loving character and the other character's reactions were interesting to watch.

The good thing about the film is it's not limited to only showing one side of the theme, but tells us about animal lovers AND animal haters. Also character's who are neither for nor against animals. It's a touching and caring little independent movie.

I think you will like animals more than you did before you saw the movie. The story felt a little contrived in places, which is my only criticism.

It feels like an Alexander Payne movie to me, so if you like his movies, I think you will like this one as well. The soft colours in the background reminded me of Dummy (2002), another indie gem in my opinion.

Director/screenwriter Mike White was screenwriter on a few episodes of the acclaimed and popular 1999 TV-series 'Freaks and geeks', which was given an average of 9.5 out of 10 by 12000 voters on IMDB.

6.1 on IMDB for 'Year of the dog' to me is one of the most inaccurate ratings I have ever come across!!! It deserves better than that. RT gave it 69%. Personally, I would give it an 8/10, trust me, it’s a good move.

Let me know what you think, if you decide to watch it ( :




Songs for your iPod

Infinite arms – Band of horses

(Song is from 2010 Band of horses cd, this is their 3rd album. I listen to most of my music with headphones, so I prefer their quieter songs. The album is a mix of softer and louder tracks. They sound kind of like The Shins, I think. The band are streaming the full album for free on their site at the moment: )

Winter - U2
(from the movie Brothers)

Good Boys - Blondie

(Cool video, although editing a little irritating. IMO, one of Blondie’s better songs. But I can’t help thinking Blondie due to her age is hiding in this video a bit like MJ did in 'You rock my world'. To me, the 'Good Boys' music video is a little similar to the movie 'Freaks' from 1932, also set in a circus)

Any thoughts on the music, readers?

Film review: The Color of Paradise (1999)

I saw it with English subtitles, in Iranian it’s called ’Rang-e khoda’.

This is one of my favourite foreign language films, ever! It has one of the most moving, powerful and thought provoking endings I have ever seen! You can easily watch the dvd several times.

I liked the characters, cinematography and the haunting music at the end. The main character being blind and Iran being so beautiful is ingenious. You see Iran in a different light, I think. I for one didn't know it was such a beautiful country. I like the title of the film as well, which is clever. Perhaps the viewer appreciates the scenery more, because the boy can't? You see that Iran is more than just a desert. People on IMDB claim this movie was filmed in Northern Iran, near the Caspian Sea, where it's very lush and green.

The relationship between father and son for me carries the movie and is psychologically interesting.

I would say it's suitable for all, though many might be put off by having to read subtitles.

I saw a couple of other films by director Majid Majidi with high ratings on IMDB, ’The Song of Sparrows’(2008) and 'Children of heaven'(1997), they were both well-crafted Iranian movies, but for me lacked the ambiguous ending of 'The Color of Paradise'.

All three of his movies I’ve seen are sort of innocent, family type movies.
The Color of Paradise got 7.7 /10 on IMDB and 87 % on RT




Any thoughts on the movie, readers?

Songs for your iPod

I Ran (So Far Away) - A Flock of Seagulls

(An amazing 80s rock song, which not everyone knows. I have forgotten the name of the movie I heard it in. It was an indie, played when a boy rides down road on a motorbike, anyone remember title of movie?)


Extraordinary Machine - Fiona Apple

(I wish Fiona would sing more gentle songs like this one, where her voice sounds so beautiful, I think it suits her. So if your reading Fiona, please make your next album more folk/acoustic!!! In my opinion she has a tendency in a lot of her songs to shout out her well-written lyrics, which I think is a shame)

Gone To Earth - The American Analog Set

(I heard song in the movie ‘The Time Traveler's Wife’, a movie I wasn’t keen on. The Austin based band’s songs are a little monotonous, but give them a chance, they have released 6 albums since 1995, some of their tracks are really good, if you like quiet, electronic music. An underrated indie band also known as 'AmAnSet' more people should discover. Only 300.000 have visited their myspace!!! Perhaps the marketing of the band has not been up to scratch. This video by them is impressive and looks pretty expensive. I'm unsure if they borrowed some of this footage for the video.)

Any thoughts on the music, readers?

Film review: In search of a midnight kiss (2007)

Another independent picture I like, I saw it because I heard it was similar to one of my favourites Before Sunrise. ‘In search of a midnight kiss’ is mostly a guy and a girl on a date walking around the streets talking about this and that. So I thought, this must be my kind of film. It didn’t matter to me it slightly ripped off the concept from Linklater’s movie, as the conversations were totally different.

I thought it was better than your typical romantic comedy. What lifts this film is the dialogue, which is funny and original. Oh, and another thing, the woman on the date is seriously good looking ( :

Apparently made by the producers of Before sunset and Dazed & Confused according to the trailer.

I don’t get why it was filmed in black and white, though. An attempt to be "cool", like a Jim Jarmusch movie? You can probably sense I’m not a fan of Jarmusch. Actually, I think Jarmusch and Wes Anderson are two of the most overrated independent directors currently working today, their movies are so boring in my opinion, I gave up midway through a number of them, though I would admit 'Ghost Dog' is a gem, and a couple of segments in 'Coffee and Cigarettes'(2003) were good. I'm sure many disagree and love Jarmusch & Wes Anderson, but they are not for me. A little off topic, I know, but what the hell, it's my blog, I can write what I want ( :

‘In search of a midnight kiss’ is directed by Alex Holdridge and stars relative unknowns. I like what rotten tomatoes said: it has a heart and a brain.

Any thoughts on the movie, readers? If you decide to watch it, let me know what you think ( :

7.3/10 on IMDB and 84% RT



I have to warn you, the trailer gives away a lot:


Songs for your iPod

Lover Undercover - Melody Gardot

(A fairly new discovery. She is only 25. Some would call it soft jazz, similar to Norah Jones, if you like that kind of music. Melody Gardot has become quite popular in the last couple of years)


Happiness – Goldfrapp

(Seventh tree (2008) is by far my favourite Goldfrapp album, and among my favourite electronic albums of the last 5 years. One of those albums with good songs all the way through, I never get tired of it. Brit Alison Goldfrapp has such a beautiful and otherworldly voice with an amazing range. Disappointed with Goldfrapp’s newest album Head First (2010), which I felt was predictable and boring pop, and they kind of sold out. ‘Seventh Tree’ by comparison is a more experimental and mature album)


The first days of spring – Noah and the whale

(I’ve read the name is taken from this British band’s favourite movie “The squid and the whale”. The first part of the band’s name (Noah) is the director of the same movie Noah Baumbach. It felt like the right kind of song to post now that it’s spring, although obviously not the first days any longer)

Any thoughts on the music, readers?

Songs for your iPod

The worst taste in music - The Radio Dept.

(I love the Swedish dream pop band The Radio Dept. I like most of what they have put out over the years. A new album by them has just come out. The words are somehow distorted, ideal to use as relaxing, background noise, when you are doing something on your computer, like writing a review or whatever! By the way, don't forget the dot at the end of the name ( ;

Pittsfield - Sufjan Stevens
(His voice has a 60s feel to it, I think, a beautiful acoustic tune. Here are some other album tracks by Sufjan Stevens I like: All the trees of the field will clap their hands, Chicago, A good man is hard to find)

Dances With Wolves - John Dunbar Theme (remix)
(This electronic remix surpasses the original in my mind, so beautiful, especially the beginning)

Readers, thoughts on any of these artists or songs ?

Dinner for Five-Bill Maher, Alanis Morissette...(Part 1)

If you like movies, you might be intrigued by this tv-show I discovered on youtube. It’s a little like ‘The actors studio’, but just with several guests.

I thought this was a good episode, it added a bit of spice that singer Morissette took part, even though she didn’t really fit in. Interesting to hear how Rosanna Arquette has directed a film about being an older woman actress in Hollywood called ‘Searching for Debra Winger’

Maybe the has beens can get away with more, than current actors would be willing to say, just a thought. You can get part 2 + other episodes by clicking on the video.

Edward Norton on The Hour with George Stroumboulopoulos

An enlightening interview with one of my favourite actors. Norton has something between the ears, you can tell. It also shows in what movies he decides to act in.

I can't believe the interviewer's surname! I bet he gets asked all the time, how do you spell that again? ( : He actually has his own show, where he interviews stars.

Film review: Dandelion (2004)

The thing I liked was the relationship between father and son, complex and interesting. The scenery was another highlight for me, I love beautiful cinematography with blue skies and fields of gold. So in that respect it felt similar to a 1970s movie.

The budget is small, it’s an independent American picture. Probably one of the lesser known indie movies of recent years. I think it’s underrated and deserves a bigger audience, which is why I'm recommending it here. The beginning of the story may be a little bit shocking, but don’t let that scare you away, the rest as far as I remember is not like that at all. It’s about mostly young people living out in the country searching for their identity.

I saw it last year, and will be watching it again. I really believe it’s better than 6.8/10 on IMDB and 67% on RT. It seemed to have more to say in my mind than your average independent movie about growing up. I am very selective with my recommendations, take my word for it ( :




Songs for your iPod

Eels – Flyswatter
(Not really a fan of Eels. But I like this electronic song by them and the music video is interesting)

Lonely Won't Leave Me Alone – The Arlenes

(Her voice is extremely beautiful. Discovered this haunting song in the excellent Australian independent movie ‘Look both ways’. I will probably recommend that movie one day. The louder you listen to the voice, the more impressive it is.)

Waterfall – Without gravity
(This one was in the French movie ‘The Grocer’s Son’, which I wasn’t that mad about. I think the song is better than the movie! A very relaxing song, but I know nothing about the singer, so can't tell you much. A pity the end is cut off on youtube)


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