Review: The LEGO Movie

An anti-capitalist corporate-sponsored advert? Everything about this really is awesome.

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Jo Nesbo's Jackpot film still

Director: Magnus Martens
Cast: Kyrre Hellum, Henrik Mestad, Marie Blokhus, Mads Ousdal, Arthur Berning, Andreas Cappelen
Certificate: 15
Trailer

Back when Headhunters came out in 2011, I laughed at the warped humour of the Nordic crime thriller, squealed at the bloody violence and promptly declared it “Nesbo-rilliant”. One year later, I saw Jackpot. I laughed at the warped humour, squealed at its bloody violence – and promptly realised I couldn’t just re-use the same terrible pun. Which sucks. Because it really is… also very good.


Magnus Martens’ take on Jo Nesbo’s novel sees likeable loser Oscar (Hellum) join a football pool with his ex-con workmates. One surprise win later and the four are stuck with millions of kronors to split between them. Needless to say, they start dying pretty quickly.

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Director: Marius Holst
Cast: Stellan Skarsgård, Kristoffer Joner, Benjamin Helstad, and Trond Nilssen
Certificate: TBC
Release Date: Friday 29th June

Winner of Best Film and Best Supporting Actor (Trond Nilssen) at the Norwegian International Film Festival (2011) and Best Feature Film at Lübeck Nordic Film Days (2011), King of Devil's Island depicts the violent uprising of a group of young boys against their oppressive guardians. Starring Stellan Skarsgård (Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, Mamma Mia, Angels and Demons, Pirates of the Caribbean, Good Will Hunting), Kirstoffer Joner (Shooting Star), and rising talents Benjamin Helstad (Body Troopers, Angel) and Trond Nilssen, this is a story of hope and friendship in the face of great hardship.


Based on a true story King of Devil's Island tells the unsettling tale of a group of young delinquents banished to the remote prison of Bastøy. Under the guise of rehabilitation the boys' daily regime is dictated by mental and physical abuse at the hands of their wardens. The arrival of new boys Erling (Helstad) and Ivar (Magnus Langlete) spark a chain of events that ultimately ignite rebellion. King of Devil's Island explores a sinister moment in Norwegian history that won't be forgotten.

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Headhunters - breaking Norway's box office records
 

Scandinavian cinema (and fiction) has been massively popular in recent years. Ever since Wallander and The Killing, we can’t get enough of cold-blooded murders and even colder climates. But while Sweden and Denmark set about capitalising on their frosty personalities, Norway’s cinema seem to go largely unnoticed. Until now.


In 2011, the Norwegian film industry experienced a record year, with locals packing into cinemas to lap up the latest release: Headhunters. Out in UK cinemas this week, Morten Tyldum’s adaptation of Jo Nesbo’s best-selling book was a massive hit at home, drawing 557,000 people into multiplexes in a country of just 5 million people. The only film to attract a bigger audience? Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2. A midget art thief vs. a wizard? That was never going to be a fair fight.


In total, 11.6 million Norwegians went to the cinema last year – according Film & Kino (via The Hollywood Reporter), the "strongest performance of any theatrical market in Europe last year".


But what makes 2011 so remarkable is the number of people who went to see domestic releases (head to THR to see the figures in full detail); 2.85 of the 11+ million admissions were for local productions. That's roughly a quarter of the country’s market or, to put it another way, the best performance by Norwegian cinema in Norway since 1975 - a peak that echoes the golden year also experienced by British indie films.

 

Just like the UK's 2011, there’s also the international success to speak of. Everyone's been “Let the Right One In” this and “The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo” that, but Norway stole Sweden's spotlight last year with the arrival of the fantastic Troll Hunter in UK cinemas. Taking just under half a million quid at the box office, it snatched a total of $3,906,234 around the world – an achievement so impressive that Hollywood instantly bestowed its highest form of recognition: a remake scheduled for 2014.


So there you have it. Norwegian cinema. They can’t get enough of it. Neither can we.


What’s happened then, to make us all so fjord focused?

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King Curling review - London Film Festival
Director: Ole Endresen
Cast: Atle Antonsen, Jan Sælid, Jon Øigarden, Linn Skåber, Ane Dahl Torp
Showtimes

A curling champion who suffers from OCD. A man who hasn't slept for three months. A bloke with no hair who has lots of sex. And Steve, who thinks he's a pirate. This ragtag group of Norwegians pull together to play curling in this sports comedy. Except for that last guy. He's from Dodgeball.


That's clearly the kind of film director Ole Endresen is aiming for, but King Curling misses by quite a way. It's not that the premise doesn't work (although the depiction of OCD is debatable) or the performances are bad, it's just not very funny.


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Aksel Hennie - Headhunters Review, London Film Festival
Director: Morten Tyldum
Cast: Aksel Hennie, Nikolaj Coster-Waldau, Synnøve Macody Lund
Showtimes

Come to Sweden. We have vampires, racists and serial killers. And Kenneth Branagh. That's the message you get from most Scandinavian fiction. But after Stieg Larsson and John Ajvide Lindqvist, Norway's Jo Nesbo has added his country to the fray. And judging by this film version of his novel Headhunters, it's a country worth visiting. Not even Ken Branagh can rival such brilliant nonsense.


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Fans of The Thing are no doubt dreading this prequel to John Carpenter's classic, but the first photos that have cropped up from the film's set aren't looking too shabby at all.


Also called The Thing, Matthijs van Heijningen Jr's (say it three times) movie sees a group of humans facing off against the alien life form of the first film, again in an Antarctic research base. The fleshy fodder include Mary Elizabeth Winstead has graduate student Kate Lloyd. She gets to wield a flame thrower - great news for those who loved her in Scott Pilgrim. Which is just about everyone with a brain.


With quite a bit shot on location in Norway, authenticity is the aim of the game here. That and some decent horror. It's obvious from Carpenter's eventual follow-on that everyone will die horribly horribly horribly in the cold snow, but there could still be a neat story to tell here. And by neat I mean anything that involves Elizabeth Mary Winstead holding a flame thrower. 


The photos were helpfully collated together by Hitfix - read on to see them in all their icy glory. 

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