Albums Music

Värttinä – 25

{mosimage}25 years as a band deserves a celebration. Värttinä was created in 1983, and now SonyBMG thought that there could be no better moment to offer a compilation to the fans.

Obviously, after 25 years, Värttinä does not need to show anything new to the public. The ones who like the bands peculiar style, rooted in Finnish folk traditions, know perfectly what to expect.  The album is offered in digipack version, and acquires the status of a big celebration. 22 tracks extracted from their 11 albums and an unreleased song as an extra: Vipinäveet. 24 page-booklet with pictures of all the band’s career and a tour of their evolution, from those pre-teen female voices of the beginning to the more mature ones of Susan Aho, Mari Kaasinen and Johanna Virtanen, the remaining and present singers.  Good time to take advantage of the opportunity that the album represents, since you must know that 25 has only been released so far in Finland, so if you don’t live in this Nordic country, do not expect to find it in the music shops.

At the same time of the appearance of this compilation, Värttinä is offering several shows in central Europe, around Germany and Switzerland, and it was recently announced as well the departure of their drummer “Jaska”  Lukkarinen.

Värttinä will not leave you indifferent. If you want to discover something unique in Finnish music scene, a band that adds to their vocal harmonies old Finnish poems (runo poetry) and takes influence from the Finno-Ugric tribes tradition, this is your album. But if you prefer other kind of music and get annoyed by the constant repetitiveness in the lyrics, maybe this album is not for you. Mostly recommended for those who want to explore one step farther on Finnish music than only HIM, The Rasmus or Lordi.

Rating: 3/5

Cinema DVD

Sunlight in your eyes

{sidebar id=34}Danny
is one of the most exciting
English directors during last decades, with fresh products like
Trainspotting or
28 Days Later
(and some other films that failed, like
the disappointing
The Beach).
Now, with this
he has achieved a product that pays homage to some science fiction
classics, being the most obvious inspiration to be recognized:
2001: A Space Odissey.

film is visually beautiful and shocking, with nice sequences like the
one when the captain and
Capa go out of the
spacecraft to solve the problem with the protection panels. The
design inside inside and outside the craft is astonishing, once again
you can feel the impact of classic sci-fi movies all around the sets.
Boyle shows respect for all that previous influence and achieves
technically a very competent film. The actors` work is efficient,
with special mention to
Chris Evans
as the down to earth man on board,
as the sun-lover doctor and
Hiroyuki Sanada
as the sacrificed captain. But the plot loses balance after the
encounter with the
Icarus I and
the appearance of Captain Pinbacker. The film could have had much
more to offer just exploding the philosophical and ethical crashes of
the crew’s personalities, without having to resource to the typical
“monster” solution to endanger the mission. At the end, Boyle
just offers a bit of everything good from the science fiction’s
tradition, and much of nothing.

Cinema DVD

Redeeming the lust

They say that
everything is hotter there in the South of USA. It must be true for the
character played by Christina Ricci, Rae, since she cannot control the sexual
desire that turns her body, specially the part between here legs totally crazy,
due to abuses suffered from childhood. Samuel L. Jackson is the
God-fearing retired bluesman that will put effort, faith, patience and
understanding in curing and listening to this troubled woman.

{sidebar id=33}Both actors are
great in their roles, and with a lot of chemistry. It is not easy to play their
parts without falling in a misleading interpretation of their relation, but
they just know how to spice up things when needed, and cool them down to show
that what is really important all over the film is to transmit the feeling of a
real friendship.

Not that I am a
great fan of Justin Timberlake, but he does his part as the betrayed
husband while John Cothran Jr. is a good support and guaranteed fun when
sharing scenes with L. Jackson.

But the best of
the film is when L. Jackson plays the blues, with some electrifying scenes
while makes his guitar cries that matches greatly with the southern atmosphere
exhaled by the film.

Maybe it is not a
great comedy, and probably it is not to be taken seriously enough as a drama,
but Black Snake Moan gives a new nice approach to the relations between
black and white people, showing that there is some universal feelings that we
all share, starting for the pity, the love, the friendship and the
philanthropy. Let’s see when the time finally arrives for the taboo of love and
sexual relations featuring more interracial couples to be finally and openly
broken in the still very morally strict Hollywood

Rating: 4/5

Cinema DVD

A movie to reflect

{sidebar id=32}Guy Ritchie became one of my favorite (and
many others delighted fans`) directors after masterpieces like Lock, Stock
and Two Smoking Barrels
and Snatch. But the higher you climb, the
hardest the fall is, and that exactly happened with his previous work: Swept
, a movie to forget, featuring his wife Madonna, which was smashed
without mercy by critic and public.

So there was a lot of curiosity around his
new film, Revolver, to see if Ritchie would come back to his origins.
And the initial plot certainly reminds his earlier films: gangsters, action,
acid dialogues… He even eliminated the scenes where Madonna appeared trying to
avoid the “kiss of death” that his wife had given to the previous failed work.
But once you get immersed in the story, you can see that there is not much left
from the first successful films mentioned above if not for the repeated
appearance of his “fetish” actor: Jason Statham, perfect in his work as
usual.  Ray Liotta appears as
maybe the best of the whole film, in the role of a tanned and despotic mafia
boss that totally suits him.

Ritchie had warned that this time he wanted
to make a film for intelligent people… and alas that the movie is not easy to
follow! The timeline is broken successively, the thoughts, the real facts and
the imagination of the characters is often mixed, and you really have to pay
attention to catch the subtle angles of the story. This time the sharp
dialogues are not aimed at making you smile, but at making you reflect about
some philosophical questions. The chess game and strategies to win is a great
leitmotiv all over the movie, and looks like Ritchie wanted to create a chess
game also inside our minds. But at the end my feeling is that the product got “over
baked”. Ritchie wanted to play to be a director resembling Christopher
Nolan, David Fincher
and himself at the same time, instead of just being
happy of showing his personal style, leading to the viewers and critics to be
still trying to decide if this is a masterpiece, or a piece of shit. Decide
yourselves, but my advice is that maybe watching the film for a second time can
help you understand it more (or maybe not). I still prefer the Guy Ritchie less
philosophical and more into purely entertainment.

Cinema DVD

The Number 23

{sidebar id=28}Jim Carrey continues struggling with his status of comedy
actor trying twisted roles where he can show that he is able to provoke more
than laughs from the spectators. Sometimes results are huge successes and great
interpretations like in The Truman Show (1998), Man on the Moon
(1999) or Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind (2004) and some other
times we have to resign with a weaker result as happens in this Joel
’s The Number 23.

The first half of the film looks promising, with Carrey in the role of
Walter Sparrow, a normal and good citizen that gets hooked step by step and by
some mysterious circumstances to a book that keeps plenty of reminiscences with
is own life. But an initial plot that could have been turned by Schumacher into
an exciting and mysterious exploration of the human mind starts to feel predictable,
boring and dull from the moment when Sparrow’s family takes an active role in
helping with the investigation.

The product smells too much of Carrey needing once more to reaffirm
himself as a “serious” actor, repeating once more registers seen in previous
works. At this level most of the audience already knows about the good skills
of Mr Carrey, so he could try to focus on choosing a bit more solid scripts
that can offer more extra excitement during the last and final twist. Virginia
and Logar Lerman are just correct in their roles of wife and
son of Sparrow without any special brightness in their work, while Ronda
Mitra and Lynn Collins
bring some fresh and needed sensuality to the

Not a bad effort by Schumacher, but the film had all the ingredients
needed to be the main course of the menu, and finally lacked of some spices
that turned it into a normal appetizer.

Cinema DVD

Eddie Murphy x 3

{sidebar id=21} The king of the
comedy is back, and stronger than ever! 2006 was an important year for Eddie
with two new films released: Dreamgirls and the one in
spotlight here: Norbit.  

After making us laugh with his voice as the Donkey
of Shrek, the help of new technologies plays an important role again, (same
than happened in latest products as The Nutty Professor 1 and 2), to
transform Murphy into three totally opposite characters: The young, sweet, naïve
and sometimes slow minded Norbit, his ugly fat wife Rasputia and the Asian
owner of the orphanage where Norbit was raised, Mr Wong. A multi-role formula
that has worked pretty well for Murphy all over the years.  It comes to my mind in his extended filmography
the exhilarating title Coming to America where he played already four
different roles! Those were “Chocolate sexy” times!

And what can you expect from Norbit?
Well, the story is well known: A poor guy married to the wrong woman, and whose
old love from child times appears again to bring fresh air to his life. But in
this case, the cocktail has tones of…weight personified in Rasputia, Norbit’s
dominant and monstrous wife, who heads the clan of brothers that rule the city
with the muscle: the Latimores.

Murphy’s biggest virtue is that he knows how
to make fun of everything, starting from his own black race and continuing with
all kind of stereotypes. The movie does not bring anything new to the comedy
genre, but I must recognize that there were some exhilarating moments where I
could not stop laughing. As co-starts, a couple of big names in Hollywood: Cuba
Gooding Jr.
and Thandie Newton, but the ones who really take the
glory after Murphy are Norbit´s curious pimps friends Eddie Griffin and Katt
. Norbit is recommended for watching with the family or with
the girlfriend in a rainy evening.

Albums Music

Suomipoppia 10

Just look at the names in the list: Apulanta, Hanoi Rocks, Ari Koivunen (the young heavy metal singer, last winner of Finnish idols) Viikate, Liekki, Sunrise Avenue, Uniklubi or Tea gives some good examples of how healthy the hard rock scene is nowadays in Finland, while new names like Hanna Pakarinen (the Finnish representative during last Eurovision song contest) can be compared with other female top dogs in Finnish music scene as Jonna Tervomaa.

As in most of the cases with this kind of albums, Suomipoppia 10 turns to be the perfect album in situations like finding that hit from the Finnish radio that you liked so much and did not know the author, as a present to a friend or relative or as a good first introductory step to get immersed into the fascinating music scene of Finland. Although next time, for avoiding misunderstandings among the buyers, we will have to see if the guys of EMI can make the difference between pop and other music styles.


1. IRINA Miksi hänkin on täällä
3.  ARI KOIVUNEN On The Top of The World
4.  PMMP Joku raja
JONNA TERVOMAA Läpikulkumatkalla
6.  HANOI ROCKS Fashion
Viisaus ei asu meissä
8.  YÖ Satukirjan sankari
11. ALEKSI OJALA Koditon mies
12. HANNA PAKARINEN Leave Me Alone
13. VIIKATE Ei enkeleitä
15. BLOODPIT Wise Men Don´t Cry
17. KALLE AHOLA Nämä päivät ovat meitä varten
18. JUHA
TAPIO Sitä jotakin
19. TEA Si-si-sinä Mi-mi minä
haluu huussin


Cinema DVD

Mr. Bean goes on holiday

Run for your
lives, Mr. Bean is back! After the first film released in 1997, and having had uneven
fortune with his appearances in Johnny English (2003) and Keeping Mum
(2005), Rowan Atkinson is back with the character that has driven him into
fame during the last 2 decades with the second (and rumours say that maybe last
one) long feature film that narrates the adventures of Mr. Bean in his way to
holidays in the south of France.



{sidebar id=6}
ut of
course Mr. Bean, a man with the soul of a child, has the ability to turn every situation
into a small disaster. With his “French” language skills reduce to a simply
“gracias”, he will live once more the more amazing adventures in company of
Stepan (Max Baldry) a child that is accidentally separated by Bean from the
company of his father while heading to the Cannes festival.

Rowan Atkinson's
mastery for provoking laugh is undeniable, and he shows a total dominium of his
body, pushing the expressions of his face to paroxysm. The storyline is well
worked and looks plausible, but Bean’s reactions do not look as fresh as in his
beginnings. Fortunately, he is superbly supported by Willem Dafoe in the
role of an egocentric American director assisting to Cannes to release his last “masterpiece”, and
Emma de Caunes as a sweet young actress who will help Mr. Bean to get
rid of the problems he gets immersed into.

Maybe, to
“kill” Bean after this second movie is a wise decision from Atkinson, who
should try to reinvent himself in new roles, and although the film do not
suppose a breakthrough in the comedy genre, there are a couple of interesting
new features as the use of a video camera by Bean all along the film, as well
as good moments like the impressively beautiful 
last sequence when he walks to the beach stepping on trucks to reach the
other side of the road. Not being anything extraordinary, the film makes you
have a good time during the approximately hour and half when Bean almost
literally turns half France
into chaos.

Cinema DVD

Casino Royale

is based on
the  novel of the same name by the father
of Bond, Ian Fleming, and presents the first adventure of Bond just
after getting the status of 007: an agent with a license to kill. It combines
the best of the old Bond films with the use of the new technologies.

Daniel Craig
is convincing as the new Bond: virile, seductive, ironic and with a powerful
gaze not seen since Sean Connery himself. The “Bond girls”, Eva Green
and Caterina Murino, are sensual and wild; the action is brilliant; the
fights are vibrant; the baddies are perfect in their roles; Judi Dench
is superb as “M”; and the locations are astonishing.

The critics
loved the film and the audience loved Craig (especially the women), so why did
I not feel totally satisfied after watching the movie? Maybe I have become too
conservative or maybe I have started to get a bit tired of this continuous race
to show in the movies how the latest technologies are always available for
saving the world. Maybe since the last Mission:
trilogy, I have started to feel bored of so many games with
mobile phones, and so many satellites locating the “seed of the devil” in some
remote island in the middle of Pacific. I feel annoyed with this
“ultra-technological saturation” every time I try to watch a spy movie.

I liked the movie a lot. It is sometimes very explicit, even raw (like in James
Bond’s torture scene, which you can feel directly in your own testicles) but
you cannot deny that the film’s rhythm absorbs you for its 144 minutes.

Cinema DVD

Eight Below

If Bambi has cruel moments, what to say about a movie where the
dogs, which cope wonderfully with the leading roles of the film,  face the toughest challenges that turn them into
almost a pack of wolves. They die, fight, kill and become sharper in the
struggle for life. You can see the wildest side of nature since the moment they
are left behind, but also the most marvellous one.

I even enjoyed Paul Walker´s acting. There is not much of the
“handsome boy” role as everybody would expect, and more about sobriety in front
of the camera. He is very smart playing the role of Jerry Shepard, the owner
and guide of the dogs. The veteran director, Frank Marshall, has created a wonderful story,
evolved in paradisiacal and extreme landscapes, that is able to transmit a real
love for friends, even if they have four legs. Because if there is one word
that defines the film, that would be commitment. The friends have not left
behind, and if they had to for major reasons, other friends would come to help rescue
those who had been left.

The rest of the cast develop their roles quite nicely as well, and even Jason
´ foolness does not turn our to be too smarmy.

As I said, I enjoyed the movie through all of its 115 minutes. I never felt
bored; I enjoyed the stunning polar nature surrounding our dear fellows Buck,
Dewey, Maya, Max, Oldie, Jack, Shadow, Shorty and Truman

One complaint: the Huskie dogs look really beautiful, but so similar the
eight of them that it can easily cause difficulties to distinguish who is doing

When I sit on a sofa and get ready to see a Disney’s movie, I know that
probably I am not going to witness the last masterpiece from the psychological
drama genre, or a movie with a very difficult plot. I expect fun and
entertainment for all the family.  Eight
Below achieves it, and for that reason deserves all my respect.

Cinema DVD

Riding Alone for Thousands of Miles

Riding Alone for Thousand
of Miles
is a movie
that flows peacefully and is well-balanced, just as the main character Gou-ichi
Takata (played by Ken Takakura) faces the problems of life.

There are many important things being told to the spectator in the film,
hidden behind the simplicity of forms used to narrate the storyline. It tells
about family relations, about bonds broken and remade, about communication,
between human beings and between cultures (Chinese-Japanese) and about the loss
of communication (from a father and a son who have not met for decades to the loss
of phone coverage in a remote Chinese village).

Director Zhang Yimou, who became internationally recognized with
his previous film House of Flying Daggers, completes a circle here; such
a recurrent figure when we come to think about Asian philosophy. He is able to
transport us from the simplest things of life, to the most complicated
feelings, and then back to simplicity reflected in the pure eyes of a child.
And all that with an exquisite respect for the culture, traditions and relations
of the two most powerful Asian tigers.

I enjoyed the redemption pilgrimage of Mr. Takata through the land of China, because it makes us just take a
look to some of the most important features that we have left in this life to
be considered human beings: forgiveness and love.