Northwest (Nordvest, 2013) dir. Michael Noer

Northwest

Michael Noer is a filmmaker who is still practising the methodologies of the Dogme ‘95 movement. He grew up with the films of Lars von Trier and Thomas Vinterberg – the creators of the movement – and as a documentarian he is committed to upholding the organic process of filmmaking.

With his second feature film, Northwest, Noer has taken the American gangster drama and injected a European sensibility into it. Although obviously indebted to the likes of Martin Scorcese and Michael Mann, Noer’s film is more beholden to French cinemas interpretation of the gangster genre, particularly Matthieu Kassovitz’s groundbreaking work La Haine, and Jacques Audriard’s intelligent contemporary masterpieces The Beat That My Heart Skipped (2005), and A Prophet (2009).

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The film is set in the northwest parts of Copenhagen, hence the film’s title. However, in an interview for Cineuropa Noer has stressed that the area is not a defined geographical location and that there is universality to it. It can also be interpreted as a direction; a path one follows that leads to a number of possibilities whether good or bad. In terms of the film’s main character, Casper (Gustav Dyekjær Giese), it’s a milieu he’s grown up in and he doesn’t know any different. He does what he needs to survive and to protect and provide for his family. As the oldest brother he’s the man of the house. 

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Casper is a small-time burglar. He works with his friend Robin (Nicholas Westwood Kidd) to knock off the more affluent houses and sell the goods to a local buyer, Jamal (Dulfi Al-Jabouri). Casper often feels ripped off by Jamal but his luck changes when he attracts the attention of the hot-headed gang leader and pimp, Bjørn (Roland Møller). Bjørn sees great potential in Casper – his reputation and name suggests he is like a ghost, able to slip in and out of houses undetected. But the jobs don’t stop there. Casper must transport Bjørn’s prostitutes around town and as he ascends within the group his next task is to kill somebody.

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Things start to spiral out of control as Casper’s new business deal sparks a gangland war between Jamal and Bjørn’s crew but it takes on a more personal level when Casper invites his younger brother to work a job with him. Casper promised his mother that his brother, Andy (Oscar Dyekjær Giese – Gustav’s real life brother) would concentrate on his studies, but Andy disagrees and proves to be the bigger man of the two. Casper’s world is falling apart and he can no longer protect his family. With his brother moving higher within the ranks, Casper becomes an embarrassment and liability to his family, friends, Bjørn and Jamal.

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As a documentarian Noer has created a believable portrayal of impoverishment and crime in the European suburbs. He used a mixture of professional and non-professional actors and encouraged them to draw from their own experiences instead of memorising pre-written dialogue. The use of a hand-held camera adds to the verisimilitude and further enhances the organic properties of filmmaking that Noer loves to practice. At times the film feels slightly Americanised and predictable but the overall result is an extremely well-crafted, brutal and hard-hitting drama. 

Northwest is available on VOD, DVD and is showing at selected UK cinemas

The Birder’s Guide to Everything (2014)

Arriving on DVD & VOD 19th May 2014

iTunes, FilmFlex, Blinkbox, LoveFilm, Playstation, XBox, Google Play

Director Rob Meyer

Cast Kodi Smit-McPhee, Sir Ben Kingsley, Katie Chang, James Le Gros, Alex Wolff

Certificate 12tbc

Running Time 87 mins

Genre Coming of Age Comedy

Distributor Solo Media

TRAILERA-Birders-Guide-to-Everything poster

Sideways meets Stand by Me in this endearing story of friendship, family and a place in bird watching’s history books. On the eve of his widower father’s second wedding, fifteen-year-old David Portnoy spots what may just be the extinct Labrador duck. Now he and the two other stalwart members of the local Young Birders Society, joined by their headstrong photographer classmate Ellen, take off on a rollicking, interstate road trip in search of a rare bird and elusive answers to teenage questions large and small.

With marvelous supporting performances by Ben Kingsley and James LeGros, A Birder’s Guide to Everything is an alternately poignant and funny window into the thoughtful world of birding and the inner peace that can be discovered during a walk in the woods. Rob Meyer delivers a sparkling feature film debut with a coming-of-age tale to warm the hearts of anyone who grew up with a nerdy passion. It becomes a tenderhearted look at the moments and relationships that change even the most intensely focused lives. (Tribeca Film Festival)

Birder’s won second place in the Audience Award at the Tribeca Film Festival and received fellowships and grants from the Columbus/Vague Prize at NYU, the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation, the Sundance Institute, and the Tribeca Film Institute. To date, it has been an official selection of the Tribeca, Aspen, Woodstock, Austin, and Williamstown Film Fesitvals.

Text: Official film site and Maven publicity

 

REVIEW: The Grand Budapest Hotel

Well it certainly has been a very, very long time since I wrote my last review. The wait is over and I’m back on the film review wagon. Here is my review of Wes Anderson’s The Grand Budapest Hotel. Enjoy and see you all again soon!Image

Wes Anderson’s The Grand Budapest Hotel is a delightfully witty, theatrical and nostalgic affair coated in a gloriously lavish palette of pastel colours. It’s like looking through the window of the finest confectionery store and being in awe of all the items on display. Metaphorically speaking, Anderson’s mind is the window of the confectionery store and ‘we’ (the audience) are invited – VIP style – into the mind of this fantastical, idiosyncratic master…..

Read the rest of my review at White Coffee Magazine.com

Different kind of brainstorming

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So, the Stockholm Film Club brainstorming session has yet to happen. I’m hopefully meeting up with the group on October 6th to discuss their plans and go from there. It will be really interesting to see and hear what they are planning. However, I discovered in the week that Stockholm Cinemateket are having a Max Ophuls retrospective in November and Letter from an Unknown Woman is showing. This film changed my perspective of film and opened up so many layers of interpretation. I fought to find originality in my analysis of the film; it’s thoroughly rich in so many ways.

Moreover, despite the lack of a working ‘film’ lunch, we finally have a conference room set up in the house and every Sunday a group of super fabulous, interesting and important people – plus me – get together for an Empower Network/Big Idea Mastermind workshop. I’m still unsure as to whether the platform is for me, but maybe I’m thinking about it too much and should just do it! There is a lot of information to absorb and my brain needs to filter out all the jargon and compress what is left into the wonderful part of my brain that makes sense of it all. I’ll let you know when i figure it out. Alternatively, anyone involved in the Empower Network/BMI blogging  platform please let me know how you’re getting on. Any feedback or comments are greatly appreciated. Thanks.

Bron/Broen II

Attention all Scandiphiles on Nordic shores: September 22 sees the return of Swedish/Danish co-production The Bridge (Bron/Broen) on SVT1 & DR1.

Sneak peek – A cargo ship going through the sound will suddenly off course and steering in the direction of the Öresund Bridge. Maritime surveillance in Malmö call the ship but get no answer. Up on the empty bridge echoes the operator call. Whose ship and what’s on board?

5 days to go…

Hej från Sverige

Stockholm Film Festival

Stockholm Film Festival

Hi,

It’s been a while since I have written a post on my blog. The last 3 weeks have been a bit hectic as I have relocated to Sweden. I am hoping to get back into the swing of things with my reviews and update this site more regularly.

I recently joined the Stockholm Film Club via the fantastic social networking site MeetUp. I plan to attend a working lunch on Sunday in the city to brainstorm with like-minded people. This is a rather exciting opportunity for me, and it’s something that I’m extremely interested in. New friends, new skills and some exciting new films are coming my way…

DVD Review: Robin Campillo’s ‘The Returned’

The Returned aka They Came Back is the original French film that inspired the new hit series Les Revenants currently airing on Channel 4.  The film was released on DVD a week before the final episode of the series is due to air, which led many to believe that it was chock full of spoilers. This is not the case. The premise is the only aspect of the film that has translated across to the small screen. Campillo’s film is less of a spoiler and more of a compliment to the eerie, small-town French drama…

Read the full review online at White Coffee Magazine