a.k.a. "The Oscar Messenger"

Posts tagged ‘Norway’

“The Half Brother” New Norwegian TV series from MHz

“The Half Brother” a four-disc, eight episdoe DVD set, just out now on the MHz is a very interesting trip in to modern day Norway and also its’ turbulent post-WAR II past.

Beautifully shot and packed with the top-notch cast of Norway’s A-list actors, who, of course, are completely unknown in America, “The Half Brother” compels you to keep watching. It’s an epic family saga that is told in several time frames simultaneously. Skipping back and forth from V-Day in May 1945, the day Norway was freed from the Nazi Occupation, to modern day Oslo in 1987 where the main character Barnum Nilsen is trying to piece together the shattered fragments of his family’s strange history.

Barnum is played very persuasively by the curly-haired Norwegian heart-throb Nicolai Cleve Broch, whose is known as Nico to his fans. He has dark-hair and dark eyes, which in Scandinavian makes him an exotic. Barnum is a would-be screen-writer who was named Barnum after the American circus Barnum and Bailey. His strange father’s rationale for this unusual name, even for Norway, is questioned by the presiding cleric at the christening.
“It’s not what You see that matters, but what you THINK you see.”

Based on a famous novel, by one of Norway’s popular contemporary novelists, Lars Saabye Christiensen, it’s a very intricate interweaving of the lives of the Nilsen family, which begins in Ep.1 with the violent rape of Barnum’s mother Vera, by an unknown man.

A child, Fred, is born of this unholy incident, and Vera’s mother Boletta (Marianne Nielsen) and HER mother played by one of Norway’s greatest actresses Ghita Norby, take care of the baby until the arrival several years later of this unusual guy, Mr. Nilsen who charms himself into the lives of these three lonely women with silk stockings and seals the deal with a brand new washing machine, something they’ve never seen before.

And the story goes on from there. Fred, the unhappy bastard child, comes to be its’ center. Played by the very striking young actor Frank Kjosaas, who has a great screen presence with his prominent cheekbones and his seething, deep-set, haunting eyes. If there was anyone I’d pick for springing to international stardom from this cast, it’s Kjosass.

Fred wants to know the circumstances of his birth and who his father is. His mother doesn’t even know. And this search also becomes an obsession of Barnum, when his beloved HALF brother, Fred(Kjosass) disappears.

The 1940s is shot in a golden light, and the present with Barnum acting as a history detective is bluish. You HAVE to pay attention, or you could get easily lost amidst the generations and the decades as they go flying back and forth.

Having been to Iceland memorably twice with my TV show, it was interesting to see how the Norwegians view the Icelanders depicted here. They’re the circus freaks. And of course, the Norwegians are all normal.

But it’s a sumptuous spectacle and an interesting one, a perspective on Europe that we almost never see here.

“The Half Brother” is worth checking out.


Jonathan Groff of “Glee” in Disney’s “Frozen”

The delightful Jonathan Groff of “Glee” is now voicing and singing one of the leads in Disney’s new animated holiday film “Frozen.” He plays the Norwegian Ice Man, Kristoff and also his reindeer Sven.
Jonathan is also starring in a new HBO series “Looking” debuting in January.

Editing ~ Kevin Teller

Oscar to Spread the Wealth! Final Predictions in All Categories!

I think Oscar is going to spread his love all over many movies on Sunday night at the Dolby pavillion, and there’s going to be at least one major upset. Read below.

This is NOT who I WANT to win, but who I think will win. Never did ALLLLL the categories before, but FINALLY this year, I think I can.

Best Picture ~  Argo ~ Slam Dunk. It even just won Best Foreign Film at the Cesars, France’s Oscars. Does any one else even have a chance? Would be the ultimate shock if that happened.

Best Actor – Daniel Day Lewis. Does anyone else have a chance? No. Wish it was Hugh Jackman, but…

Best Actress- Jennifer Lewis ~ She’s Hollywood’s future. Young, beautiful, shapely, funny. She’s got it all. A last-minute surge of Emmanuelle Riva for “Amour” is not gonna be enough. I think not enough people saw it. Believe it or not. But they ALLLL saw “Silver Linings Playbook.”

Best Supporting Actress ~Anne Hathaway. “Les Miz” Slam dunk. See Daniel Day-Lewis.

Best Supporting Actor ~ Robert De Niro “Silver Linings Playbook” He’s got the Weinstein Co. behind him full force. If for some unforseeable upset in Best Actress, meaning Riva OR Qu’venzhane Wallis(my pick. I would vote for her. I WOULD!) getting R. De Niro his third Oscar is where “Silver Linings Playbook” will prevail. It just went of $100 million just this past week.
But if ALAN ARKIN wins here for “Argo” you KNOW that “Argo” is going to win everything it’s nominated for, which it might. It’s not just gonna win Best Picture.

<p>Best Director ~ Ang Li “Life of Pi” Beautiful film, best use ever of 3D, and degree of difficulty make this a second Best Director win for the much loved director of “Brokeback Mountain”. That terrible night when “Brokeback” lost to “Crash” may make Ang Li winning again, a KIND of Karmic pay-back. Same thing happened to the late Heath Ledger, but he was gone, tragically, when he won for “The Dark Knight.” I just feel Heath steering Ang’s boat to shore here.

Best Original Screenplay ~ Michael Hanke “Amour” I think this is the big win for “Amour” like it was for Pedro Almodovar for “Talk to Her” a few years back.

Best Adapted Screenplay -Chris Terrio for “Argo”.Again. It’s going to be an “Argo” kind of night.

Best Cinematography – Claudio Mirando for his beautiful work in “Life of Pi”

Best Visual Effects- Again, “Life of Pi”

Best Costumes -Jacqueline Duran “Anna Karenina” Wish it was going to win more. Another beautiful, beautiful film that wasn’t appreciated as much as it should’ve been.

Best Production Design ~ “Les Miserables” ANOTHER Beautiful film that didn’t get its’ due. I’ve seen it FOUR times! It’s nominated for Best Picture, so I think it will win this category, which used to be called Best Art Direction. They like them big and dressy and period in this category.

Best Film Editing ~ William Goldenberger  for “Argo”. He also edited much of “Zero Dark Thirty” which I don’t think it going to get anything, unfortunately. Too much controversy.

Best Song ~ “Skyfalll” and Adele will blow the roof off the play. Especially if this loses to “Suddenly” from “Les Miz.

Best Score – Alexandre Desplat “Argo” AGAIN.

Best Sound Editing ~ “Argo” AGAIN.

Best Sound Mixing-“Les Miserables” No contest. The live singing was brilliantly mixed!That’s Sound Editing at its best. And how it was blended, later with a 60 piece orchestra! Incredible!

Best Animated Short – “Paperman” Disney’s first black-and-white cartoon since when? “Steamboat Willy”?

Best Live Action Short – “Buzkahshi Boys” The actual Afghan locations and child actors are breathtaking and heartbreaking. Revelatory. And director Sam French is a director/Rock-Star in the making. Alternately, it could be the only film in English, “Curfew” set in New York City. Which is the light-er funny one here. Sometimes that wins this. But who has heard the Afghan language actually as spoken dialogue in a film?

Best Documentary – SHOULD be “Invisible War” but probably will be the very popular “Searching for Sugar Man.”

Best Doc Short “Open Heart”

Best Animated Feature ~ “Wreck It Raplph”

And the biggest surprise upset? Could be if “Amour” does NOT win Best Foreign Film, yes! It could happen! And it goes instead to the feel-good high-seas adventure, Norway’s “Kon-Tiki>” How can that happen when “Amour” seems so locked and so acclaimed and awarded? It’s,as they say, a difficult sit. For “Amour” details in stark, sterile clarity the step-by-step deterioration of a Parisian married woman, Emmanuelle Riva’s acclaimed Ann, after a series of strokes. It’s NOT for the faint-of-heart, which the small, the VERY small and elderly group of Academy voters, who vote on Best Foreign Film, are noted to be.
Anyone who’s a member can vote, but they have to sign in at the screenings of ALL FIVE FOREIGN FILMS, to make sure they’ve seen them all. This also applies to Doc Shorts.

It used to be applicable to Animated and Live Action Shorts and Feature Docs, too, but for the first time this year, they’ve opened up the voting to all 6,000 Academy members and deluged them with screeners. So now, a new rule must be applied. The most popular film like “Searching for Sugar Man” is the likely win over the VERY serious “Invisible War.” Unfortunately.

That’s at least four or is it five for “Argo”? Four for “Les Miserables”,Three for “Life of Pi”,Two for “Silver Linings Playbook”,One for “Amour” and One for “Lincoln” 


Check back on Monday and see how right, or WRONG, I was! Have fun watching the Oscars!With “Les Miserables”, “Argo”, “Lincoln”, “Silver Linings Playbook”, “Django Unchained And “Life of Pi” alllll having past the $100 million mark at the box-office, this may be the most-watched Oscars in a very, very long time.

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