The Snowman by Jo Nesbo (Book Review)

The film adaptation of Jo Nesbø’s novel The Snowman is out today in the UK & out October 20th in the US. It was directed by Tomas Alfredson and stars Michael Fassbender, Rebecca Ferguson, Charlotte Gainsbourg, Val Kilmer and J. K. Simmons. Here’s my review of the book…

**Quick edit to say I wrote this review before the reviews came out for The Snowman movie. Ohhhh.. Reviews are NOT good!**

The Snowman by Jo Nesbø
Norwegian: Snømannen

What It’s About: (via Amazon)
On a cold winter night, a young boy wakes to find his mother missing. The house is empty but in the garden outside he finds his mother’s favourite scarf – wrapped around the neck of the snowman that appeared in their garden that day.

As Harry Hole and his team begin their investigation they discover that an alarming number of wives and mothers have gone missing over the years. Is there a link between the disappearances and a menacing letter Harry was sent months earlier?

When a second woman disappears it seems his suspicions are confirmed. For the first time in his career Harry finds himself confronted with a serial killer operating on his home turf; a killer who will drive him to the brink of insanity…

My Thoughts:

Murder & crime stories are really not at all my sort of thing but I’ve been spending 2017 reading books that are being made into films so I decided to give this one a try. I probably won’t go to the film but I’ll Netflix it at the very least, mainly because Michael Fassbender is a hottie. Netflix & chill with Fassbender! Oh yeah, there’s one other reason I decided to read this: I quite liked the film Headhunters, also from a Jo Nesbo book. Good movie – I recommend it.

As for this book, I’d have to say it’s a good crime thriller and had some inventive murders (if you’re the kind of psycho who’s into that sort of stuff). 😉 I didn’t realize it was part of a series: the “Harry Hole” series, following the life & cases of detective Harry Hole. I don’t know how necessary it is to read the other books first (it looks like The Snowman is the seventh). I didn’t feel like I was missing anything as far as the murder mystery went. I’m assuming it’s a case unconnected to others, although there were some references to previous cases. The only thing I felt I was missing was knowing anything about Harry Hole & his relationships with the other characters prior to this book, such as his ex-girlfriend & her son who were clearly a big part of previous book(s). I still enjoyed the story but suppose I had less of a connection to the characters than readers of the entire series would have.

If you like the look of the below trailer and prefer to read a book before seeing the movie, I do recommend this one. I’m not an expert on this genre but it’s a got a good murder mystery that keeps you guessing and I got to know the characters just well enough to start to care about what would happen to them. I’ve not rated it more highly since it’s not my type of thing but I’d think any fans of this genre should definitely like it.

My Rating: 3/5

The Snowman movie trailer (Fassbender is so hot…):

Books I’ve Read So Far In 2017 (ranked from least favorite to favorite…)

– Tape by Steven Camden
– The Sisters by Claire Douglas
– We Were Liars by E. Lockhart
– If I Stay by Gayle Forman
The Circle by Dave Eggers
– The Snowman by Jo Nesbo
– The Chrysalids by John Wyndham
Thirteen Reasons Why by Jay Asher
Finders Keepers by Stephen King
The Dinner by Herman Koch
The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood
– Blaze by Stephen King
The Dark Tower: The Gunslinger by Stephen King
– A Monster Calls by Patrick Ness
Big Little Lies by Liane Moriarty
Everything, Everything by Nicola Yoon
End Of Watch by Stephen King
– Murder On The Orient Express by Agatha Christie
– Annihilation by Jeff VanderMeer
– All The Bright Places by Jennifer Niven
– The Fireman by Joe Hill
The Glass Castle by Jeannette Walls

**Currently reading I Let You Go by Clare Mackintosh

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Dead Snow 2: Red Vs Dead (2014) Review

**Welcome to Horror Comedy Week on Cinema Parrot Disco! I actually got my shit together enough to have an actual theme this week! Okay, it wasn’t originally my plan but I realized that I’d watched enough horror comedies to have a themed week. Yay!**

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Dead Snow 2: Red vs. Dead (2014) (Norwegian: Død Snø 2)

Directed by Tommy Wirkola

Starring: Vegar Hoel, Orjan Gamst, Martin Starr, Ingrid Haas, Jocelyn DeBoer, Stig Frode Henriksen, Kristoffer Joner

Plot Synopsis: (via IMDB)
Still on the run from a group of Nazi zombies, a man seeks the aid of a group of American zombie enthusiasts, and discovers new techniques for fighting the zombies.

My Opinion:

I really liked the first Dead Snow (I reviewed it HERE). I mean, it’s full of Norwegians and NAZI ZOMBIES for crying out loud. That’s so awesomely crazy. Then the second film came out and all I heard was that it was absolutely hilarious and even better than the first one so I of course had to check it out. I actually bought both of these on DVD. Does anyone do that anymore? I buy hardly any these days – I miss physical copies of movies! And I miss physical copies of music even more. *sigh* I miss the old days… Tangent over! The first Dead Snow is far better than the sequel. Sorry sequel lovers! Dead Snow 2 definitely ups the comedy BIG TIME and I did get some laughs out of it but it goes so far overboard that, as a film, it pales in comparison to the originality and the subtle dark humor of the first film. Plus, where’s the fucking SNOW in this one?!


(See? I was so proud of my foreign DVD haul when I picked up Dead Snow that I tweeted this photo in March 2014. That’s probably the last time I bought so many at once.)

I’m not going to say that you shouldn’t watch this one if you liked the first one. It’s definitely worth checking out if you did but be aware that it’s a very different film. As this is a sequel, there will be slight spoilers for the first film (but I’ll still try to avoid spoiling things too much as I really want any zom-com lovers to watch the first film). Anyway, when you fall behind on horror movies you can’t help but know who survives the previous film when they’re clearly in the sequel, so… The survivor from the first film is our hero in this one and I like him so was happy to have that link to the first film.

He’s the best thing about the sequel (along with that other guy in the picture, who was a fun new addition) and, without him, I’d have enjoyed this movie far less. He’s the only true link here due to there not only being NO SNOW in this one but, also, our main Nazi zombie from the first movie is so completely different in this one. In Dead Snow 2, the Nazi zombies aren’t really threatening or scary – they’re just silly. Well, the whole movie is just plain silly.

Silly! That’s really the best way to describe the comedy in the sequel and, while I’m certainly not above “silly” (I still crack up at the silliest knock knock jokes), I just usually prefer my comedy to be a little more subtle and less over-the-top. Which is “funny” as I remember my main complaint about the first film was that it wasn’t funny enough. Maybe there’s just no satisfying me! 😉 Well, I take back that original complaint as this movie took it a little too far. Maybe Dead Snow 3 can find the perfect comedic balance! I’d still watch a third film as I really did enjoy both of these films despite my complaints.

Yes, I did enjoy this one despite my negative-sounding review! I just can’t help but compare it to the first film… Sorry! I can see why some people like this one more – I guess it just depends on what type of movie you prefer. Plus, I really hated the “American zombie enthusiasts” who help our hero fight the Nazi zombies. I found them annoying and completely unfunny (even the Star Wars nerd-girl!). They’re the worst example in this of “trying too hard” whereas the horror-movie-loving-nerd from the first movie was a lot of fun and a really likeable character. Plus, the back & forth language thing between Norwegian & English once the Americans arrived was actually very distracting (and confusing, in a way, as I didn’t immediately realize that I was no longer reading subtitles! Odd).

I’m going to wrap this up as I’m sounding negative again & I don’t want to be that way as I would definitely recommend both of these movies to horror comedy lovers (especially zom-com lovers). Despite some annoying new characters, there are quite a few funny moments and I did laugh out loud a few times (like with that kid in the hospital room. Funny!). I just prefer the characters and the “spirit” of the first film (and the fact that there’s actually SNOW in the movie, which is pretty damn important, yeah? Blood-splattered snow & all that? It’s a big selling point! There’s snow on the damn poster for this so at least the poster-maker realized its aesthetic importance).

I’ve realized while writing this what it is about this movie compared to the first one and I really shouldn’t make this comparison as my knowledge is limited on the movies I’m about to mention, but… Here I go anyway! When I was about 18, I rented The Evil Dead and Evil Dead II and wasn’t really the biggest fan of them so I’ve not watched them since (although I do appreciate their importance). So, I don’t remember them well but I do remember preferring the first one while the second one went all silly, right? That’s exactly the same with Dead Snow & Dead Snow 2 so, thinking about it, it makes perfect sense as the Snow films both owe a lot to and reference great classic horror movies, especially the Dead films (without giving away too much, the Evil Dead II arm thing plays an important part in Dead Snow 2). Holy shit – these are clearly an homage to the Evil Dead films and I only fully realized that while writing this review. I’m such an idiot! Ignore everything I said before this paragraph! 😉 If you’re a fan of the Evil Dead films, you’ll love the Dead Snow films too! Huh. Well, damn… I guess Dead Snow 3: Nazi Zombie Army Of Snowless Darkness comes next. I’ll watch that but I’ll still always like the first one the most.

My Rating: 6/10

Headhunters (2011) Review Chat With Laura Of Filmnerdblog

I watched Norwegian film Headhunters on Filmnerdblog Laura’s recommendation & we decided to have a little chat about it. You can read our chat below (we did try to avoid any major plot spoilers).

Thanks for doing this with me Laura – it was lots of fun! And it was a great recommendation, too. 🙂

Headhunters (2011)

Directed by Morten Tyldum

Based on Hodejegerne by Jo Nesbø

Starring: Aksel Hennie, Synnøve Macody Lund, Nikolaj Coster-Waldau, Eivind Sander, Julie Ølgaard

Plot Synopsis: (via Wikipedia)
A successful but insecure corporate recruiter lives a double life as an art thief to fund his lavish lifestyle. He finds out that one of his job prospects is in possession of a valuable painting and sets out to steal it.

Our Chat: (I’m “M”, Laura is “L”… Obviously!)

M: Hi! 🙂

L: Mutant!

M: I have Headhunters on in the background to refresh my memory but forgot that I can’t understand a damn word so it’s kind of pointless to have it on while typing… Lol

L: Ha! When did you watch it? I watched it on Tuesday, but had seen it before.

M: I watched it about a month ago. I remember it well anyway. I really liked it!

L: It’s good isn’t it? I wanted to see it because it’s based on a Jo Nesbo book and I’ve read most of the Harry Hole books, which I really liked. Plus… ding dong!

M: Hello Jaime Lannister! When did he get so hot?! I can’t believe I never noticed how hot he was on Game Of Thrones. The sister screwing distracted me!

L: And the sister raping was the final nail in that coffin for me, but in a suit? And with that moody look on his face? Simply, yes.

M: Hell yes! And he was also super hot in Mama, which almost made that movie not suck. Almost…

L: Oh yeah, I forgot he was in that. And as twins, too!

M: But I do love how the other guy in Headhunters is like the Norwegian Steve Buscemi!

L: You’re so right! He was really good, but I did find his peculiar face a bit distracting. It was just right for the character, though.

M: Oh, right – I forgot Jaime Lannister dude was twins in Mama! I’ve tried to put that shitty movie out of my mind. Hmm – two of him… We could share! I think maybe I liked this movie so much partly because of the main guy’s weird face. I have a weird sort of crush on Buscemi.

M: I also love Norwegians, so that helps. But Troll Hunter is still my favorite!

L: Wow, that IS a weird crush! Mama was SO SHIT everyone should probably put it out of their minds. I liked Troll Hunter too. Rare Exports was good as well. Was that Norwegian? Or Danish? I don’t remember. But anyway, Headhunters

M: I don’t know that one – I’ll have to IMDB that later! Oh – I like those earrings Buscemi guy buys his way-too-sexy-for-him wife. I have similar from my Norwegian ancestors. The concave mirror bits apparently “ward off evil spirits”.

M: Can’t find the exact earrings from the movie. Plus I don’t think mine are anywhere near as expensive as hers!!

L: Ah, pretty…

L: She reminded me of Heidi Klum. She was way out of his league. Not so much because he looks like he fell out of the ugly tree but because he was such a monumental douche.

M: Ha! Oh – Gollum is so cute in that picture. Actually, he looks kind of like the dude in this movie (Aksel Hennie – I suppose I should stop calling him Norwegian Steve Buscemi).

M: Yeah – I think she’s even prettier than Klum. Definitely out of his league, especially when he’s being such a douche at first!

M: Boob-grabbing douche!

L: I was really annoyed at how he gives her absolutely no credit throughout the entire film. He’s so insecure.

L: I mean, he thinks she’s a gold-digger, right?

M: I know! If he thought that, why did he marry her? Because she’s pretty, of course! Plus, what a DICK he was to be banging away at that other woman while he has such a lovely wife at home who treats him so well! (not really a spoiler as he’s shown cheating at the very start)

M: Shirtless Jaime Lannister on right now!!! (Nikolaj Coster-Waldau is his real name. I was too lazy to type that out during the chat) 😉

L: The character was called Roger(!) so we could call him Roger?

M: Sounds good! Oh, main guy was Roger. Lannister was Clas. Thank you, IMDB!

L: I only watched it 2 days ago and had already forgotten.

L: Anyway, Roger was an arse. His wife was gorgeous, loving, and kind. And he thought the worst of her, and treated her so badly.

M: Asswipe! I could say he maybe changes his ways at the end. Is that a spoiler? I won’t get into any major plot spoilers I suppose as one thing I really liked about this movie is that it actually keeps you guessing. For once I didn’t have it all figured out from the start! I loved that. It was twisty & turny and I thought the climactic moment toward the end was quite brilliant. The “plan”…

L: Yeah he did get a grip by the end but, look what it took to get there?! None of that is acceptable behaviour in a relationship, and he didn’t deserve her loyalty. I feel very strongly about this!

M: Hehe. I noticed! You can tell we’re women. 😉

M: I wish Roger had been more likeable but another thing I did like about this movie was that it wasn’t exactly the movie I was expecting. It starts out this high class “art heisting” movie, which is cool. But then it REALLY goes to shit for Roger (literally).

M: I liked how there was a sort of a dark humor to the whole thing.

L: Yeah, it was really clever, and good at subverting your expectations because, as you say, it isn’t a straight art heist movie. Is that a spoiler?! I really liked that it kept switching on me, when I thought it was one thing and then it was something else.

L: Urgh! Imagine the smell!!!

M: Lol. I know!!! That outhouse scene was nasty. I almost couldn’t watch it. But it was kind of awesome as well. Yuck! Disgust indeed. 😉

L: This looks good – Max Manus: Man Of War

L: Sorry, I digress…

M: Oh look – Norwegian Buscemi again. That does look kind of good! I really should explore more foreign films instead of just the famous ones I hear about…

M: Ha! I’m a terrible digresser. Always digressing!

L: I love foreign films but it’s hard to fit them in because it means I can’t simultaneously prat around on the internet.

M: Hahaha! EXACTLY! I love to second-screen (except in an actual cinema, of course. That would be super rude). But at home I’m almost always writing a review while watching a movie. Or tweeting!

M: No wonder I have such a terrible memory when it comes to movies I watch lately…

L: Yep, it’s hard not to. I’m currently watching Trollied.

M: Oh! It’s the outhouse scene right now! EW.

L: Yuk!

M: What the hell is that? I’ll look it up on my iPad. I’m actually three-screening right now. 😉

L: You’re taking it to another level, now.

M: Ohh – English TV show?

L: Yeah, it’s quite cute.

M: I’m one bad, multi-tasking fucker! Hmm – I really should try watching English TV shows since I’ve been here over a decade now. Lol

L: Definitely.

M: I did like Never Mind The Buzzcocks when it was good. Are we digressing again???

L: We’re digressing again, should we wrap up this Headhunters business so I can go and look up more pics of Jaime Lannister…?

M: You’ve already been doing that this whole time, haven’t you? I know I have a bit. 😉 Right! Let’s wrap up this Headhunters conversation. Um… I recommend it! It’s good! You get to see the Norwegian Steve Buscemi covered in shit! And Jaime Lannister looking super hot! I give it 7.5/10

M: And I’ll possibly read some Jo Nesbo now. 🙂

L: I concur. Part of me wishes that Roger was a likeable protagonist I could cheer for, but I do like that it wasn’t a run of the mill, paint by numbers, lovable rogue heist movie. Maybe I’ll cheer for the wife. Yay, Diana!

M: Hooray for Diana! I liked that she was not only sexy but also smart. Poop on Roger! Cheating bastard.

L: Screw Roger!

L: I recommend it too. Smart, original and intriguing. Jaime Lannister is a hottie, obvs and I really like the main female character, Diana. Norwegian Steve was good, too. 7/10

L: Also, knitwear

jaime knit

Dead Snow (2009) Review

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Dead Snow (2009) (Norwegian: Død snø)

Directed by Tommy Wirkola

Starring:
Vegar Hoel
Stig Frode Henriksen
Charlotte Frogner
Lasse Valdal
Evy Kasseth Røsten
Jeppe Laursen
Jenny Skavlan
Ane Dahl Torp
Bjørn Sundquist
Ørjan Gamst

Running time: 91 minutes

Plot Synopsis: (via Wikipedia)
Dead Snow is a 2009 Norwegian zombie splatter film that centers on a group of students surviving a Nazi zombie attack in the mountains of Norway.

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My Opinion:

This is my second favorite Norwegian movie of all-time after Troll Hunter! (Okay – they’re the only Norwegian movies I’ve seen). This is also the third zombie comedy I’m reviewing for my month of horror movie reviews (that I totally flaked out on and stopped posting for a week). I liked Dead Snow much more than Life After Beth but, while I didn’t enjoy it nearly as much The Return Of The Living Dead, I did like it and thought it showed a lot of promise. I’ve heard some pretty positive things about the sequel and am not surprised as I thought this was a great concept that didn’t quite work overall but could possibly be improved upon in a sequel. I’ll have to check that out at some point.

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What does work is, as I said, the concept. Nazi zombies! Why did no one think to do that sooner? Or HAS it been done before? Not that I can think of. A lot of reviews have also mentioned the look of the blood on all that white snow and it did make for a great look to the film. Also, the characters are decent. At least, as far as horror movie characters go, a few of them are fairly well developed. There’s a great “movie nerd” guy who keeps talking about & quoting movies throughout the film so that was fun for a geek like me. And guess what? Slight spoiler, but… He’s the one who gets laid! So there may still be hope for movie geeks (maybe even Mike?). 😉

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I think what didn’t work quite as well as I’d been hoping was the comedy. The movie takes itself slightly more seriously than I was expecting and a couple scenes felt a little too dramatic for a comedy. The pacing was a little off as well as it seemed too slow at first then suddenly gets pretty mental at the end. These aren’t huge complaints, though, as I still thought it was pretty good. I think I’m just trying to figure out why I didn’t like it QUITE as much as I should have as it’s my type of thing and all the elements are there for it to potentially be great. I think they could have upped the comedy more and been a little more silly and made it a bit more “fun”. It sounds like this may be the case in the sequel?

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Summary:

If you’re looking for comedy horror, I’d recommend Tucker & Dale Vs Evil or Grabbers instead as they were just loads of fun. If you specifically like zombie movies, though, I think you’d be perfectly happy with this as a zombie comedy as well as just a zombie movie. The gore gets fairly excessive at the end so that should keep zombie fans happy. It’s not as funny as The Return Of The Living Dead but there were a few unexpected laughs and the characters are more well developed and likable than a lot of horror movie characters manage to be. The movie doesn’t quite reach its potential but it’s still a pretty good effort. However, I can’t believe that girl sucked that guy’s finger just after he’d done a poo & wiped himself and hadn’t yet washed his hands!!!!! That’s just nasty.

My Rating: 7/10

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