Although it hails from Norway, Buddy is very much a lightweight, American style slacker romantic-comedy, and while that would normally prompt a litany of snotty remarks from this reviewer, the movie is actually quite involving and watchable. Kristoffer (Nicolai Cleve Broch) and Geir (Askel Hennie) are 20-something roommates and coworkers on a billboard hanging crew who relieve the tedium of their jobs by engaging in elaborate and slightly dangerous stunts; all of it captured by Kristoffer on his trusty camcorder. Their tapes accidentally fall into the hands Oslo’s version of Jay Leno, who requests permission from the young men to use the videos in his show. Predictably, Kristoffer and Geir become minor celebrities in Norway, but soon find that success can bring unexpected complications, as well as the resurfacing of problematic relationships from the past. The film is fast paced without being breathless, and everything works out pretty much the way it should.
Tony Takitani (2004)**
Jun Ichikawa's brittle lotus of a movie features a technical illustrator as the main character, and every frame here is as deliberately constructed as an architectural rendering. In essence, a film about a control freak, apparently made by a control freak. Sadly, the results are a kind of cinematic suffocation.
By the time Andre Techine's bohemian anti-romance is over, you will likely have lost any marginal interest in any of the characters. Perky Juliette Binoche plays the archetypal young woman who flees the provinces for the big city to pursue an artistic career and the attendant sexually liberated lifestyle. Along the way, she gets buck nekkid with several miscreants, all of whom turn out to be shining examples of what utter pigs men can be. But Binoche is no victim, but rather an enabler, as the lack of respect she shows for her own body is mirrored by the men who continuously confuse her for an inflatable party doll. The most disturbing aspect of this dour snoozer is that its a reasonably accurate picture of urban dating life in the 1980s. It's a miracle we survived.
Cold Comfort Farm (1995)*****
Not much grows in the flinty soil of Cold Comfort Farm except a bumper crop of zaniness. Kate Beckinsale is adorable as the London sophisticate who sets about injecting some glamour and romance into the grim, hardscrabble lives of her bumpkin relatives. Joanna Lumley, Stephan Fry and Sir Ian all lend brilliant support as well. Any fan of British humor will find this a lighthearted, screwball comedy that actually gets funnier with repeated viewings. I've been watching this film at least once a year for the past decade, and I love it more each time.
There have always been Starkadders at Cold Comfort Farm. Unabashed silliness too.
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