Lukas Moodysson

Lukas Moodysson

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We Are the Best! Review


Excellent

Swedish filmmaker Lukas Moodysson returns to the improv-style charms of his earlier films (like Together and Show Me Love), a welcome break from his more recent grim experimental dramas (see Mammoth or Lilya 4-ever). This light-hearted film explodes with youthful energy, drawing engaging performances from the three lead actresses that completely win over the audience.

In a boring Stockholm suburb in 1982, 13-year-old Bobo (Mira Barkhammar) is utterly humiliated by everything her mother (Anna Rydgren) does, so she of course rebels, chopping off her hair to go punk with her best pal Klara (Mira Grosin). They decide to start a band, but neither knows anything about music, so they draft in Hedvig (Liv LeMoyne), a musician in their class. Hedvig may be a devout Christian, but Bobo and Klara think they can change that with their rebel music. And as they begin to take shape as a fiercely anarchic pre-teen punk band, they decide to enter a local competition.

Of course, everything changes when they meet two teen boys (Jonathan Salomonsson and Alvin Strollo) who play in their favourite local punk group, and the jealousy that sparks between the girls gives the film a semblance of a plot. Otherwise, it's a joy to watch these three girls express their feelings through their music. Their first song Hate the Sport is a brilliant rant against their annoying PE teacher. And their stream-of-consciousness dialogue is just as witty, leading to ill-advised antics and relational stress.

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We Are The Best - Trailer & Clips


Bobo, Klara and Hedvig are three best friends from Stockholm on the cusp of being teenagers and, like most pre-adolescents, they're all about experimenting with their identity. While their school friends are all about hairstyles and getting involved in dance shows, these girls are all about cutting their hair off and getting involved in punk music. They decide to form a band in spite of the fact that only one of their trio can actually play any music and even she is taking some persuading to get involved with the girls' punk aesthetic. But in the end, other people's criticism and remarks that 'punk is dead' go disregarded, and even when they are told that only boys form bands, they are determined to set out to be the people they want to be. Each other's support is all they need to follow their dreams  and become the best punk rockers in the world.

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We Are The Best Trailer


It's the eighties and Bobo, Klara and Hedvig are three lgirls from Stockhom between the tender ages of 12 and 13. While their classmates prance around with long tresses and leotards performing sickening dance routines on stage regularly, they decide to cut their hair drastically short and form a band - despite the fact that only one of them is remotely musical and even she is certainly not used to playing rock music. They go against all the criticism from their peers, who insist that punk is dead and that being in a band is what boys do, and carry on their dreams, supporting one another and gaining the confidence to reach for the stars because they are sure, deep down, that they could very well become the best punk group around.

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Mammoth Review


Good
Darkly honest and emotionally involving, this ensemble drama cleverly examines the impact of modern life on children through several distinctly different characters. It's not particularly original, but it's still gripping.

In New York, gaming expert Leo (Garcia Bernal) is happily married to surgeon Ellen (Williams). While they work, their young daughter Jackie (Nyweide) is tended to by their Filipina nanny Gloria (Necesito), who's working to raise money to help her two young sons (Nicdao and Delos Santos) back home. Leo's latest business trip takes him to Thailand, where he has some time to kill waiting for his business partner (McCarthy) to make a deal, so he heads to a remote beach, where be befriends a lively young hooker (Srinikornchot).

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Lilya 4-Ever Review


Weak
When the only joy in your life comes from eating that rare meal at McDonald's, does it really matter how horrible the rest of your life is? Isn't that punishment enough?

Sadly, Lukas Moodysson's endlessly depressing movie about teenage alienation has many more horrors in store for its heroine, 16-year-old Lilya (Oksana Akinshina). The film begins earnestly enough: Lilya's mother (a badly miscast Lyubov Agapova) is shipping out from their dreary Russian suburb for America, as she's a mail order bride (though she certain doesn't look it; the pixie Akinshina fits the bill far more aptly). Lilya assumes she's going too, flipping off the local shopkeeper in farewell, only mom springs it on her that she's staying behind to "come later."

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Show Me Love Review


Excellent
To get an idea of Show Me Love, take the average teen movie, subtract plot holes, add quality acting, substitute a lesbian couple, translate to Swedish and subtitle. The result: a simple movie that the art establishment adores for the simple reason that it is a Swedish Lesbian Romance. The film is called bold due to its original title (Fucking Åmål), and the critical establishment throws flowers at its feet.

Now I may be a critic, but I am not part of the establishment. Yet I will still throw flowers at the feet of Show Me Love. Why? Not because its Swedish (although I do love the two Swedish films I have seen). Not because it's a lesbian flick. But because, pound for pound, Show Me Love is as good of a Hughesian romantic comedy that I have seen since Can't Hardly Wait.

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Lilya 4-Ever Review


Weak
When the only joy in your life comes from eating that rare meal at McDonald's, does it really matter how horrible the rest of your life is? Isn't that punishment enough?

Sadly, Lukas Moodysson's endlessly depressing movie about teenage alienation has many more horrors in store for its heroine, 16-year-old Lilya (Oksana Akinshina). The film begins earnestly enough: Lilya's mother (a badly miscast Lyubov Agapova) is shipping out from their dreary Russian suburb for America, as she's a mail order bride (though she certain doesn't look it; the pixie Akinshina fits the bill far more aptly). Lilya assumes she's going too, flipping off the local shopkeeper in farewell, only mom springs it on her that she's staying behind to "come later."

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Together (2000) Review


OK
My memory might be a bit hazy, but Together dealt with the following subjects among a dozen different characters: growing up, divorce, lesbianism/homosexuality, loneliness, Communism, spousal abuse, shoddy parenting, infidelity, and marital discontent. I might have forgotten about the release of Abba's third album in there, but again my memory flickers.

What I do remember is that the movie takes place in 1975 Stockholm at a large house full of free-loving Communists -- kind of like The Real World, if Karl Marx and Hugh Hefner shared a flat with an MTV feed. The leader of the group is Göran (Gustav Hammertoe), a gentle fellow with a great beard, whose sister, Elisabeth (Lisa Lindgren), escapes her abusive lout of a husband, Rolf (Michael Nyqvist) by moving with her two kids into Göran's clan. This, of course, sets in motion a series of changes for everyone in the house.

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Lukas Moodysson

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