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Saw this movie last night with Sam.  It sounded vaguely interesting so we thought we'd give it a shot.  For the first couple of minutes or so (okay, maybe few minutes) I was scared it was going to suck.  It looked a bit Blair Witch-y in that it's shot as a documentary (it's not an actual documentary of course).  As the movie went on though it picked up momentum and actually became VERY entertaining and interesting.  It's slow goings for the first few minutes as they establish the sort of back story as to why these kids filming are filming, but it picks up steam and doesn't let up until the movie's over.

Anyway, as you might expect from the title, the movie is about a troll hunter.  The overall idea of the movie is that the Norwegian government is covering up the existence of trolls.  They've hired one guy to keep them within their territories and not harm people or livestock.  The way the movie is set up is that the kids (from a local college) are filming a documentary about animal poaching and come across this hunter who lets them film his work because he's not happy with his pay and benefits. 

The creature effects are AMAZING!  The trolls don't look ridiculous, in fact they look very accurate to historical accounts in art and folktales.  They're not over-the-top and in fact blend in very well with the environment (gorgeous Norwegian scenery). 

What I found most interesting were all the little tidbits of information they dropped throughout the film.  I'm very interested in mythology and I loved all the detail they put into making the movie.  More than that they purposefully omitted certain details from folklore, explaining that "fairytales are for kids" in an effort to make it more believable.  There are really trolls out there, they're just not exactly like the stories say.  I'm really glad that this movie came out of Norway because I feel like no other nationality could have done a movie about their mythology better (though I understand there are rumbles of a US remake *shudder*).  Besides that it lends more credence to the film.  Folklore passed on to us by the people who grew up with it.  That's one of the things that made this such a great movie for me personally. 

Besides that it's also pretty funny.  Though I've never heard of them, many actors in the film are comedians in Norway.  They don't come off as goofy or over-the-top in the film, but you can feel the humor.  All the jokes are delivered dead-pan and generally play into the overall storyline which is believably absurd.  I guess what I mean by that is that it's just realistic enough to be believable ("this COULD happen, but probably doesn't...") and that that adds to the humor.  I would highly recommend this movie to anyone.  There are subtitles, but it's well worth it.  Not that subtitles usually turn me off anyway, but if it's not something most folks care to expose themselves to (reading, with a movie!?) make an exception for this one.  Don't wait until they make an English version, it won't be able to compare.
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I prefer "Road Warrior" to "Mad Max."  To be honest this is one of my failings.  I know I ought to be more open-minded about movies and all, but I let my preconceived ideas color it a lot.  The action from Road Warrior appealed a lot more to me, and it seemed to have more of those theatrics.  The fact that I wasn't aware of Mad Max at first didn't help a lot.  When I did get around to seeing it the differences in style seemed to be pretty big.  They probably weren't, but my mind was clouded.  The series got really goofy (even for it) after Road Warrior so I think it's also sort of a happy medium between a lot of brainless action and silliness. 

For the most part I prefer the first movie in a series, as they tend to get worse and more thrown together as they go along.  For a lot of the original ones there is a sense of adventure in that they put something out there that isn't so easy to predict public reaction for.  After that it seems like it's just about capitalizing on something that is already popular and will make money almost guaranteed.  That's not to say I think sequels are inherently bad, I just think they tend to be worse than the original.  I end up giving a lot of sequels to movies I liked (5 stars) 4 stars.  I like the sequel, just not as much as the original.  In all honesty I can't think of any more sequels I liked more than the original right off the top of my head.  I'm sure there are more, but I'm drawing a blank.

In another sphere of this whole thing is the fact that I haven't seen a lot of the Horror Movie series.  I haven't seen most of the "Friday the 13th" movies (saw the first one) and haven't seen any of the "Halloween" movies.  I also haven't seen any of the "Hellraiser" movies.  I've seen the original "Predator" and the original "Aliens" but none of the others (I have seen "AVP" but don't really count that as in their respective series).  In that way there is opportunity for me to enjoy sequels more than originals, especially since the horror genre tends to have sequels that don't necessarily tie back into previous iterations.  I try to be open-minded, I guess I'll think on this one a bit more...
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Ah, Netflix, you give me amusement, excitement, and new entertainment avenues to explore.  Sam has been pretty good about varying our queue as for what we get at home.  Most of our viewing has been done with Instant Watch but for those things not available there we order through the mail still.  We have an account for just Television shows.  Well a few shows from the BBC have been put into our queue and tonight me, Sam, and Byron watched two of them.  We watched "Peep Show" (not pornographic by the way) and "Being Human."

"Being Human" came first.  It's a drama about a vampire, werewolf, and ghost all living together in a flat.  Basically they try to go about their daily lives (except the ghost who so far seems bound to the house and isn't visible to everyone).  The vampire was turned during WWII and is battling with his urges to feed.  He has a bad habit of turning women who are interested in him.  His issue is only exasperated by a big event fellow vampires keep hinting at, our main character has chosen to be on the human side of things.  (keep in mind we've only seen the first episode so far, so don't know where any of this is going).  The werewolf was lucky enough not to be eviscerated because there was another man with him being chased that night.  He escaped with a scratch and a Curse.  There have been hints about a mysterious man getting involved with him (in the next episode it looks like) which look like his major story arc.  In addition he also has a lot of issues about accepting who he is now that he has this uncontrollable part of himself.  The ghost is living in the flat because that's where she died.  She is pining for her ex-fiance who has since moved on and is dating again.  She is easily excited when someone can see her and takes full advantage by being overly talkative, and active.  I suppose she's sort of a melancholy manic in that sense.

The show was really interesting actually.  Some of the themes are a bit other than original but the way that the characters are presented and the way their interactions have been woven together make it intriguing.  I particularly like how they put a focus on the vampire and the ghost trying to help the werewolf come to grips with who he is.  (side note, I don't remember the characters' names, except for the werewolf, who is George I think... sorry).  When they refer to vampires turning others they refer to them as monsters and predators, which adds a little dimension I think given the obvious states that our main characters are in.  I think it's a little hard to get a lot of feel for a show just from one episode, but I really look forward to seeing more.  This disc has three episodes, so we'll see how far we get.

After that we watched two episodes of "Peep Show."  Honestly after the first episode I was feeling a bit weirded out, I didn't quite get it; but during the second episode I found myself chuckling throughout most of it.  The idea is that there are a couple of roommates.  One is stuffy and the other is out there.  Not an original concept really.  The part that made it so interesting was that most of the dialogue is from the characters' thoughts.  In that sense we see that the stuffy fellow is actually a lot like his roommate in what he wants to accomplish.  Of course his thoughts rarely materialize into actions, so he ends up sputtering horribly when talking to women and being afraid of neighborhood children (who call him a pedo..).  The other roommate is trying to break into the music business and that seems to be his main motivation, though like with his friend, women are also a main focus.  These episodes were shorter than "Being Human" and focused in a lot more on little story lines.  The first one was about the roomies competing for the sexual attention of a neighbor.  Neither won out, as is often the case, but the way in which each failed was pretty fun to watch.  The second episode was about stuffy (sorry, don't remember the names here either, awful about that) trying to get the would-be musician hired on at the company where he worked because he never paid his part of the rent.  The musician does not get the job, but does get interested in a pyramid scheme that is NOT a pyramid scheme.  The stuffy roommate makes an embarrassing phone call to his object of desire at work but things somehow seem to work out.

Like Sam said, this must be a guy show.  It has a dialed back over-the-top humor, if that even makes sense.  I think the fact that we aren't meant to hear thoughts that go with actions, but here we do, makes it so appealing.  It makes things these two characters do make so much more sense, but makes them more ridiculous at the same time.  Writing that I think about a scene in the first episode when the stuffy roommate chases after those neighborhood kids with a steel pipe out of frustration.  It's so easy to understand having heard everything he thought up until that point driving him to the act, but it's still so zany.  How would you react if you saw a middle-aged man chasing kids around with a pipe?  Of course that kind of masculine sense of humor (especially with their women issues) appeals here too.  I have a feeling that me and Byron are going to be watching these on our own if we keep getting more discs, but we have six more episodes to go on this one I think.  We both got a kick out of them though.  

There's a lot to be said about watching programs that are from other countries.  We watch foreign movies every now and then (watched "Bloody Mallorie" the other day, great French horror flick) but it feels different with TV shows.  I've seen some from the BBC that I have a hard time "getting," like "Keeping Up Appearances" which Sam and the others love.  Keeping that in mind it should make it really interesting when we start watching the "Doctor Who" shows.  There's also a Russian version of "Law & Order: Criminal Intent" that I would like to see sometime.  There are just such different ideas and themes that can show up in different shows like that.  After a while the things that come up on TV here in the States starts looking the same.  There are so many crime shows it's hard to keep some of them apart.  The laugh-track shows start to get really predictable too.  I think with British television has enough cultural similarities that it allows for more understanding while still being different enough to offer fresh entertainment.  The sense of humor and the way emotions are conveyed are different enough that I really look forward to seeing more.

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December 2012

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