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The 'I am bored at an airport' post...

...and I only have myself to blame! I somehow managed to get it into my head this morning that my flight was a midday not that I needed to check-in at midday so here I am at Oslo airport with some time to kill. Before I get to the more neccessary stuff of reviewing the presentations I have to give in Korea I thought I'd share my thoughts on what was a good weekend on movies at the Oslo Film Festival.

Managed to catch four films before this trip. The short time frame this year due to the visit to Korea made me make sure I caught what I wanted to see.

'New York, I love you' was inconsistent but well worth watching. Nine different directors each presenting little vignettes of modern relationships all woven together against the backdrop of the Big Apple. Not all the segments hit home, and by and large you got the impression most were an exercise in clever writing, with slightly larger than life characters. With a few exceptions these weren't everyday situations, but the combined effect was a compelling view of the breath of life, love and loss on the streets of one of my favorite cities.

'The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus', Terry Gilliam's latest flight of fantasy was everything I expected it to be. All the more poignant for the untimely demise of Heath ledger, this time out Gilliam was more going back to Baron Munchausen than any of his more recent output. It was wildly imaginative and thoroughly enjoyable, and the whole Ledger / Depp / Law / Farrell all playing the same character worked far, far better than it had any right to. If you like Terry Gilliam and accept that he isn't an ordinary director you will be captivated by what is on show here...and Tom Waits as the devil...Tom Waits was almost born to play the devil...don't miss this one when it opens at Christmas.

'Up in the Air' with George Clooney playing a 'redundancy specialist' (his job involves traveling throughout the US firing people when companies are in trouble) was a fantastic film. I have to admit up front I have really admired director Jason Reitman's work so far, both 'Thank you for Smoking' and 'Juno' were brilliantly written funny character movies. He doesn't disappoint this time out either. It is every bit as funny as his previous efforts with clever and subtle humour always underpinning the dialog. Clooney's character here shares a lot of ground with Aaron Eckhart's character in Than you for Smoking, he is comfortable and confident with his own life despite it not being something we can all relate to. It takes a charming and charismatic performance to pull off, and Clooney does so expertly. He manages to make what could have been a very unlikeable character human and sympathetic, you might not necessarily share his world view, but you will come to understand it and understand that he is just another person making his way in the world as best he can. The supporting cast excels (in particular an all too short turn by JK Simmons) and the story is all the more relevant in these days of financial turmoil. I also wouldn't be surprised if Clooney picks up another Oscar nod for this one...

Lastly we checked out 'Cold Souls' with Paul Giamatti playing himself, who has his soul removed so he can complete a play without it weighing him down but then loses it to the Russian mob who traffic human souls and has to go and retreieve it. It is every bit as strange as it sounds. Very much on the same type of ground as Eternal Sunshine, where the amazing is treated as if it is almost normal. None of the characters really seems to challenge the absurdity of the premise, Giamatti reads about the 'soul removal' service in the New Yorker and promptly signs up to have his soul removed and everything spins off from there. The film works though, despite some slow pacing in the middle, it works almost because the cast aren't treating any of it as absurd and play it straight. It manages to ask questions about what it means to be human almost without asking them. Definitely a film festival movie and not a mainstream one, and well worth checking out if this sounds like your type of thing!

Now time to get ready for the flight...next stop Korea and the city of Busan for the GStar convention. Definitely looking forward to this trip, it is a great country and a new city to explore is always a good thing! The iPod is loaded with TV shows (House and Sanctuary to be precise) and I picked up the Metal Gear Solid Touch App out of curiosity. I also have the new Gran Turismo on the PSP ready to go, so pretty much set for the journey hopefully.


Pictures and stuff will follow!
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