Rare Exports Inc. is serious, right? I mean, I get it’s a comedy, but it’s really about Santa Claus haunting and not some weird Most Dangerous Game with homeless guys thing?
Here’s the concept if it’s serious–there are these feral Fathers Christmas roaming the Finnish countryside and a corporation hunts them down and trains them to be department store Santas. Helander does a good job directing the hunt scene and Jean-Noël Mustonen’s photography is outstanding, but the training session tries too hard. It’s funny for a bit, but not for over a minute.
The problem’s the plotting–Exports is pseudo-commercial but Helander needs to hide the reveal of hunting Santa, which confuses things. The short runs over five minutes, way too long for just one good joke.
Rare Exports is fairly good filmmaking, but it’s a perfect example of concept over content. It’s just not funny enough.
Directed by Jalmari Helander; written by Jalmari Helander and Juuso Helander; director of photography, Jean-Noël Mustonen; edited by Anssi Puisto; produced by Harri Aalto; released by Woodpecker Film.
Starring Otso Tarkela (Father Christmas), Tommi Korpela (Marker), Jorma Tommila (Sniper) and Tazu Ovaska (Tracker); narrated by Jonathan Hutchings.
Posted in 2003, Action, Color, Comedy, English, Finland, Finnish, Short, Woodpecker Film
Tagged Anssi Puisto, Harri Aalto, Jalmari Helander, Jean-Noël Mustonen, Jonathan Hutchings, Jorma Tommila, Juuso Helander, Otso Tarkela, Tazu Ovaska, Tommi Korpela
Want to see an amazing, can’t-believe-I-haven’t-heard-of-him performance by Eion Bailey? See Mindhunters. Want to see a goofy, affable Val Kilmer performance (maybe the first of its kind since Real Genius)? See Mindhunters. Want to see Christian Slater’s possibly best performance since Pump Up the Volume? See Mindhunters.
Want to see a terrible Jonny Lee Miller performance, where he tries a Southern accent? Mindhunters. Or LL Cool J totally failing in a major role (since he established himself as the likable but possibly tough supporting character)? Mindhunters again. Want to see something where you’re shocked to remember Renny Harlin directed Die Hard 2? Not kidding, Mindhunters.
I didn’t fit Clifton Collins Jr. giving a bad performance (the first I’ve seen from him) in that last paragraph. Oops.
Mindhunters appears to be Dimension’s attempt to turn Kathryn Morris into its Julia Roberts (and Patricia Valesquez, in maybe the film’s most absurdly awful performance, into its Angelina Jolie).
The film’s a considerable disaster, if only because the pacing is so idiotic–it didn’t get a theatrical release and it’s easy to see why. Unlike some of the other atrocious (but theatrically released) Dimension efforts, Mindhunters doesn’t even have a compelling cast. While there are good actors and good performances (the two are not corollary, however), Mindhunters would have been better served as a network miniseries. The script’s weak characterizations and Harlin’s laughable direction do the film no favors.
Though, I suppose, Charles Wood’s production design is good.
Directed by Renny Harlin; screenplay by Wayne Kramer and Kevin Brodbin, based on a story by Kramer; director of photography, Robert Gantz; edited by Neil Farrell and Paul Martin Smith; music by Tuomas Kantelinen; production designer, Charles Wood; produced by Cary Brokaw, Akiva Goldsman, Jeffrey Silver and Rebecca Spikings; released by Dimension Films.
Starring Eion Bailey (Bobby Whitman), Clifton Collins Jr. (Vince Sherman), Will Kemp (Rafe Perry), Val Kilmer (Jake Harris), Jonny Lee Miller (Lucas Harper), Kathryn Morris (Sara Moore), Christian Slater (J.D. Reston), LL Cool J (Gabe Jensen) and Patricia Velasquez (Nicole Willis).
Posted in 2004, Action, Color, Crime, Dimension Films, Drama, English, Finland, Horror, Mystery, Netherlands, Thriller, UK, USA
Tagged Akiva Goldsman, Cary Brokaw, Charles Wood, Christian Slater, Clifton Collins Jr., Eion Bailey, Jeffrey Silver, Jonny Lee Miller, Kathryn Morris, Kevin Brodbin, LL Cool J, Neil Farrell, Patricia Velasquez, Paul Martin Smith, Rebecca Spikings, Renny Harlin, Robert Gantz, Tuomas Kantelinen, Val Kilmer, Wayne Kramer, Will Kemp