lördag 13 augusti 2022

Daniel´s Summer B Movie Madness: Extremity ( 2018 )

Summer, the best time of the year. You can walk naked wherever you want ( at least here in Sweden ), do some fishing, light up that barbecue, listen to all your favourite Westlife albums ( that means all albums of course, they have never made a single bad album, trust me ). Summer is that time of year when you don´t have to worry about anything, since the sun is the answer to all problems. Unfortunately, we only have 10 sunny days in Sweden, but when we do get them, we lie there for at least 7 hours. Every summer i have a tradition, and that is to check out independent horror films in many different categories. No matter if we are talking about cannibal horror, demon horror, supernatural horror, i am open for all options. Even if i enjoy most releases for different reasons, i do come across some bad ones as well. And when you go into low budget films, you can´t have too high expectations, since you know that there is always a chance that you might be disappointed. Sometimes though you come across an independent horror film, that you had no expectations at all, and is pleasantly surprised. One of the films that comes to my mind, is the 2014 found footage horror film The Houses October Built from director Bobby Roe. I remember picking this film up on Blu Ray from Germany ( where the film is called Houses Of Terror, also called The Houses Of Halloween on DVD in the UK ), as i never watched any trailer for the film. Since i did not know much at all about the plot, i wanted to give this film a chance since the DVD cover looked cool. And it turned out to be a pretty descent found footage horror film. Definetely worth picking up on DVD if you enjoy films with a Halloween theme, or enjoy found footage horror films. There is a sequel that i have not seen yet, but i will probably check it out at some point. As i were going through different independent horror films that i have not seen, i came across a title called Extremity. Not knowing much about the plot, i decided to give this film a chance. Is this a film that turned out to be better than i expected, or is this just as bad as The New Kids On The Block member Danny Wood´s solo album Second Face from 2003 ( wich proves why boy bands have a problem doing solo albums ) ?

Allison Belle ( Dana Christina ) is obsessed with horror, and decides to subject herself to hours of grueling torment inside an extreme haunt in an atempt to confront her fears. What she does not know, is that this will not be as easy as she might have expected. 

Ever since i first read about the plot about Extremeity, i did feel that this film could be interesting. Unfortunately, there are some big issues with this film that should have been fixed before the film was finished. I like the idea behind a building, where you sign a contract to allow yourself to be used, and abused, for the ultimate horror experience, no matter what this means could happen.. And here is where my biggest problem with this film becomes clear, when you don´t really feel that the experience is scary, or that the chosen people are in any danger. If they really wanted to make this the ultimate horror experience, thy should have crossed the limit, and done somethng really brutal or horrifying. There are a few scenes that are alright, where they actually find the right tone for the plot, but they never really explore ways to torture further more than just doing it very simple. I have a feeling that Extremity would have worked much more effective if they would have taken some chances, and surprised the audience instead of making too soft decisions. I wonder what the Japanase news reporter team is doing here, since they don´t really feel like they fit in with the plot. I do have a few positive things to say about Extremity though, and let us begin to talk about how good this film looks. Knowing that this film have a limited budget, i have to say that i am impressed with how professional this film looks. Especially in the most colorful scenes, and it feels like the budget is more bigger than what it actually is, and that does help the film stand out from the crowd of independent horror films. I enjoy lead actress Dana Christina as the character Allison Belle, and she actually tries to do something interesting with her character. Actor Nikki Rae Hallow´s character Erica seems to be an interesting character, i wish we knew more about. Extremity does have some good things going for it, especially when it comes to certain interesting characters. But the horror experience falls pretty flat, and i wish we would have gotten more. Director Anthony DiBlasi ( who directed the great independent horror film Last Shift from 2014 ) have some interesting ideas surrounding Extremeity, but he should have been more extreme with the horror elements. With a title such as Extremity, this film comes across as very soft. Worth checking out if you want to see something different in independent horror films, but still not a film i can highly recommend. 

Rating: DD

If you want to check out Extremity on Blu Ray, you can get it here from Epic Pictures, and you get special features as well:

https://epic-pictures.com/merchandise/extremity-blu-ray

fredag 12 augusti 2022

Daniels Summer B Movie Madness: Haunted ( Ghosts, 2013 )

Every summer i love to walk along the countryside. I pick all the beautiful flowers i can find, and i also look for old houses. If i see a really old house, and especially an older couple, i just walk inside hoping i will be invited for coffee. I found out that you can´t really walk into a house like that, so i have been thrown out quite many times. I don´t know if i said the wrong thing or if i was not dressed properly, or it could be that they have simply run out of coffee. Either way, it is still a nice walk among the trees. Old houses may have old secrets hidden within their walls, such as tragedies that no one have known about, or perhaps you accidently go through something unexpected. I have seen a lot of horror films where old houses are connected, so just a while ago i randomly picked a horror film i have not seen so far called The Intruders, released in 2015. This film is directed by Adam Massey, and tells the story of Rose Halshford ( Miranda Cosgrove ), who moves into an old house with her father Jerry Halshford ( Donald Logue ). In this old house, it seems that Rose is experiencing some strange events in this house. As she begin to investigate the past of this old house, the real truth begins to unfold. The Intruders is more of a psychological thriller than a horror film, even though the film is labeled a horror film. There are a few horror elements, but overall i felt that this film was actually alright. Lead actress Miranda Cosgrove did a good job with her character, and the psychological tension in this film worked for the most part. Director Adam Massey deliver a film that reminds me of thrillers of the 90´s that actually feel effective, wich is something you don´t see everyday in this genre. Worth picking up on DVD. I decided to look around this summer for horror films i have not seen, and decided to pick the British found footage horror film Haunted, released in 2013. Not knowing much about the plot, i did notice that this is a paranormal horror film. Is this a film that turned out to be better than i expected, or is Haunted just as bad as Antonio Sabato Jr´s recent patriotic films that no one remembers?

A TV crew of Paranormal investigators travel together to find out if there really are any ghosts out there. Almost none of the team members really believe in ghosts, but maybe they are about to change their minds?

I have seen episodes of Paranormal TV shows like Ghost Hunters ( that you can find on Amazon and Discovery + ), just to see their investigations. I will be honest and say that i don´t really believe in everything a TV show like this tries to show, so going into a found footage film that tries to capture the feelings of encountering ghosts in a paranormal TV show, is kind of similar to Ghost Hunters. In the case of the film Haunted ( known as Ghosts on DVD in the UK ), this is specifically made for fans of found footage horror films, or fans of TV series like Ghost Hunters. So how is this film if you compare it to other found footage horror films? To be honest, not that different. And i suppose if you are a big fan of this genre, you might actually enjoy this film for what it is trying to do. But i have to be honest and say, this film does not really feel like a horror film. It may try and look like a paranormal TV show investigation and the idea itself is not bad, but the final result is that this film feels too predictable and quite frankly, not much happens in this film. Considering the low budget this film has, i understand you have to work with what is available. The cast is filled with British actors i have never heard of before, and i can at least say that they are not the biggest problem of this film. The biggest problem with Haunted, is that for trying to be a paranormal TV show, this may be one of the most boring ones you might encounter. The few scenes that are supposed to be scary, i guarantee you will not feel affected by the events these investigators go through. Directors Steven M. Smith, Zane Casablanca and Svenja Quazzani have directed different segments of this film, and if they only would have worked more effective on each segment, this film might have been interesting. I like the ideas behind the story of Haunted, unfortunately it does not really do much to scare the audience that it was made for. There are four sequels to this film, and who knows, they might be more effective than this first film. Haunted is not the worst haunting movie i have ever seen, but i definetely feel that this should have been a lot better, considering that this film did have an interesting plot.

Rating: DD

If you want to check out Haunted on DVD, I suggest that you pick up the UK release called Ghosts, on the following link:

https://www.amazon.co.uk/Ghosts-DVD-Jon-Paul-Gates/dp/B01AKEGU90/ref=mp_s_a_1_3?crid=3UYY6O6DUP958&keywords=steven+m+smith+dvd&qid=1660341646&sprefix=steven+m+smith+dvd%2Caps%2C172&sr=8-3

söndag 7 augusti 2022

40 Years Anniversay Review Of First Blood

Anyone who goes through a war, will never be the same again. Once you see people getting killed, no matter if you personally had to kill or watch military friends die in the battlefield of a war, you will be scarred for life. Those memories will always be with you, no matter where you go. I have personally never been in any war, so i can not imagine how difficult it must be, coming home from a war and trying to adjust in society. When it comes to the Vietnam war specifically, i have seen several documentaries about what happened during those years. To hear the stories of some of the soldiers that survived, is very emotional. You can see in their eyes, and facial expression, that they have gone through some really horrible memories. Speaking of the Vietnam war, there is especially one war film that i really love, that i feel may give the best portrait of how it was during the Vietnam war, and that is the 1979 film Apocalypse Now. Directed by legendary director Francis Ford Coppola, this film tells the story U.S. Army Captain Benjamin Willard ( Martin Sheen ), a burn-out veteran assassin, who is ordered to travel to an outpost in Cambodia, and murder U.S. Army Special Forces Colonel Walter E. Kurtz ( Marlon Brando ). While he travels there with a crew of soldiers on the Nung River, he is forced to experience even more horror of war, while he is already struggling with his inner demons. A lot of really powerful performances from legendary actors such as Martin Sheen, Marlon Brando, Dennis Hopper, Robert Duvall and many more. Apocalypse Now is a very powerful war film, that really shows a lot of different perspective of how war affect us, and what war force us to do in a lot of horrible situations. One of the best films in legendary director Francis Ford Coppola´s amazing career, and i highly recommend the longer version called Apocalypse Now Redux. Speaking of the Vietnam war, in 1972 author David Morell released his novel First Blood, that tells the story of war veteran Rambo, who wanders into a town known as Madison, and get in trouble with local police chief, Wilfried Teasle. This novel became a film adaptation in 1982 from director Todd Kotcheff ( who directed the classic 70´s comedy Fun With Dick And Jane ). Legendary action actor Sylvester Stallone was chosen to be in the lead role as Vietnam war veteran John Rambo, and this film is still today considered to be one of the best action drama films of the 80´s. Since this film turns 40 years this year, i decided to revisit the film to see if my opinion have changed anything. Is the very first Rambo film just as good as i remembered, or have this film aged really bad?

John J. Rambo ( Sylvester Stallone ) is a Vietnam war veteran who is walking along the outskirts of a small town called Hope, Washington, in search of an old comrade Delmar Barry. He finds out that his friend died in cancer, that he got from the exposure of Agent Orange during the war. John continue his journey as he enters the town of Hope, he is intercepted by the local Sheriff Will Teasle ( Brian Dennehy ). Sheriff Will does not want strangers in his town, so offer Rambo a ride, to make sure that he is heading in the right direction. As soon as Rambo is dropped off, Rambo starts walking back to town. Sheriff Will arrest him for not following orders, and they have no idea that they are about to feel the rage, of a true war machine.

I know that a lot of people say that the 1976 film Rocky is one of their absolutely favourite films in Sylvester Stallone´s amazing career. But i personally feel that First Blood may be one of his best films ever, when it comes to telling a powerful story, and doing some real emotional acting as well. This film really show an honest portrait of a Vietnam war veteran trying to adjust in society, while he is still struggling with his own demons from war. To see a man being attacked just becuase he is an outsider, shows how prejudiced certain people can be. In the case of John Rambo, the last thing he needs is to be pushed away, with everything that he is struggling with emotionally from war. I do feel that First Blood manage to capture the feeling of a broken man, not knowing where he belongs, or if he ever will find a place where he feels accepted. One of the things that makes this film so good, apart of all the great action scenes and dramatic moments, are some of the characters. Sylvester Stallone manage to portait John J. Rambo in his very own unique way. You can tell that he really wanted to show the world, how war can affect your life with some really powerful acting ( especially towards the end, when he holds a very personal speech ). Legendary actor Brian Dennehy may do one of his best acting performances ever in this film, as the douchebag Sheriff William "Will" Teasle. He may come across as a family loving man at first towards the small town of Hope, but he is definetely the wrong man for his job. Brian manage to balance his performance with both strong dialogue, and very clear body language. One of the most powerful acting performances in First Blood, is definetely from legendary actor Richard Crenna as Colonel Samuel R "Sam" Trautman. You can tell that Colonel Trautman really care about John Rambo, knowing what he has gone through. And no one knows John better than Trautman either. The radio scene where Trautman talks to Rambo for the first time in many years, that´s where you see the only trust Rambo have left in this world. This film is violent in certain scenes, but for specific reasons. If you play too much with a soldier, you can hope he spares your life. First Blood is one of those films that manage to combine action and drama, and make it work so well. There is no question in my mind, the first Rambo film will always be the best in the franchise, and is one of the true classics of the 80´s that will never be forgotten, A must have on DVD or Blu Ray collection.

Rating: DDDD

torsdag 4 augusti 2022

X

I love independent horror director´s, especially the ones who really appreciate old school horror classics and use elements from different time period´s in the horror genre. One of those director´s that comes to my mind, is without a doubt director Ti West. I have seen all of his films since he started making films, and i am still really impressed over his passion of making really solid horror films. His first film The Roost ( that we don´t really hear a lot about these days ) was a great first feature full film for Ti West. It was made on a limited budget, but it is a nice throwback to low budget horror films. If you appreciate low budget horror films, you should check it out. The film also have legendary actor Tom Noonan ( Robocop 2, Last Action Hero ) as the Horror Host, introdcing the audience for the story. But it was actually in 2009 when director Ti West really proved why he is so important for the independent horror film industry, when he released his film The House of The Devil. Now, i have probably seen this film at least 10 times since i first picked it up on Blu Ray, and i will tell you why this film is so good. First of all, this film is really well made, considering the budget. You get a sense that director Ti West really wanted to capture the time period of the early 80´s, and he does in a very effective way. This film also manage to feel like a very powerful throwback to satanic films of the 70´s, that especially takes place in one house. I have to mention lead actress Jocelin Donahue ( also worth checking out in the really good independent horror film I Trapped The Devil ) as the character Samantha Hughes. She is definetely a perfect match for this character, and deliver a very solid performance. I should mention that legendary actor Tom Noonan is also in this film, delivering dialogue in his own unique way. The House Of The Devil is a must see on physical media, and i highly recommend that you listen to the commentary track. Director Ti West continued releasing solid films such as The Innkeepers and The Sacrament. And here we are with his latest film, simply known as X. Since i am a big fan of Ti West, i was really excited to see if X would be just as good as The House Of The Devil. Is this the horror film you need to see this summer, or have director Ti West lost his passion for horror with X?

It is the year of 1979, a group of adult film actors and a small film team arrive to a farmhouse occupied by an elderly couple in the desolate Texas countryside. Adult film director Wayne ( Martin Henderson ) is prepared to make his next film, and he hopes this one will be appreciated by the home video audience. But as they start working on the film, they will soon find out that this was not the perfect location they thought it would be.

There is no doubt that director Ti West feel a big passion for films of the 70´s, and this becomes very clear with X. You get the bright colors of the 70´s, and you feel the time period is captured in a very effective way. Everything from the costume design, even to the hair style´s, it definetely feels like we are back in 1979. I think it was a really good idea to tell a story about the making of an adult film, since we know that this was a big industry for home video. I still remember seeing adult films in VHS stores back in the 80´s, so for a younger generation today, this is a great way to show them how different it was back in those days. It was ok to show nudity and sex in stores, after all, people enjoyed adult films. If you wanted to see sex on film, you just picked up a couple of VHS films, no matter what you enjoyed. And the film X really manage to capture the feeling that this is supposed to be the making of a sex film, for anyone who enjoys watching porn. But this is just a piece of X, in the end this is an old school slasher film. And i have to say, this film does a really good job delivering some really brutal slasher moments. If you love lots of blood and people being killed, you are in for a treat. How about the characters? There are several characters that i enjoy in X, and especially actress Brittany Snow ( mostly known for her character Chloe in the Pitch Perfect movies ) as the porn star character Bobby-Lynne. This is honestly the best acting performance i have seen Brittany Snow do in her movie career so far, so she is perfect for this role. She finds the perfect balance to portrait this character, with a good sense of humour. Martin Henederson ( who i especialy remember from the American remake of The Ring ) is really good as the adult film director Wayne. The thing that makes Wayne such a funny character, is his charming personality, always seeing the possibilities than problems. And of course we have actress Mia Goth ( who i will always remember for her performance in A Cure For Wellness, a must see ), giving us a very strong performance as porn actress Pearl / also known as Maxine. X is a horror film that knows exactly what audience it was made for, and that is fans of old school horror with influences from the 70´s grindhouse era. There is one ridiculous sex scene between the old couple living at the farm, that didn´t really add anything to this film. But other than that i am very pleased with X for what it is trying to do, tell a story about the adult film film industry in the late 70´s, and bring back a nostalgic feeling of the good days of horror films. Director Ti West knows exactly what he is doing, and brings back practical make up effects horror, just the way we like it. Definetely worth picking up on Blu Ray this summer, and i promise you will have a really good time. 

Rating: DDDD

onsdag 3 augusti 2022

The Haunting Of The Tower Of London

Sometimes when you hear a certain name, you might remember that person for different reasons. It could be that the person have made a positive impression on you, or that you enjoy the personality. In the case of director Charlie Steeds, i can honestly say that i have become a big fan of him, for delivering so many wonderful independent horror films over the years. I am always excited to see that he is working on several films, so i am really looking forward to see what he has to offer, no matter what the genre is. I still remember the first time i saw his film Winterskin, released in 2018. Since i am no fan of snow, winter landscapes and winter movies in general, director Charlie Steeds helped me overcome my winter fear with this wonderful film. This film tells the story of Billy Cavanagh ( David Lenik ) who is shot out in the wilderness, and taken to the cabin of old lady Agnes ( Rowena Bentley ). At first you may think that this cabin is completely safe, but Billy is about to find out, Agnes is not the only one around this cabin. Winterskin reminded me a little bit of the 1990 film Misery with actors James Caan and Kathy Bates, in the sense that Billy is being taken care of Agnes, just like Annie helped novelist Paul in Misery. Of course these films are very different from each other, but i liked that director Charlie Steeds told a different kind of winter story, with horror elements that seemed inspired by similar ideas as Misery. I also enjoyed the twist in the plot towards the late part of Winterskin, that reveals what is really going on in this cabin. If you did not think there are any good winter horror films out there, i recommend that you pick up Winterskin on DVD. Director Charlie Steeds have released several other great films such as The Barge People and of course A Werewold In England ( wich i really enjoyed ), and i always try and check out every film he works on. I finally got a chance to sit down and watch a DVD copy of his latest film The Haunting Of The Tower Of London, excited to see what this film could offer. Is this one of the best films in his career so far, or is this film not as good as i was hoing it would be?

When the remains of two murdered Princes are discovered at the Tower of London, a troubled Priest named Isaac ( Reece Connolly ) must put his beliefs aside to befriend a mysterious prisoner, who have supernatural powers. Together they must solve the mystery of who murdered the Princes. 

There is no doubt that you can´t feel that this is a Charlie Steeds film. The Haunting Of The Tower Of London have all the right elements that you could wish for, when it comes to capturing the feeling of the mind set of director Charlie Steeds. He knows how to make old school independent horror films, and i have to say that this film actually manage to bring back some nostalgic feelings from Hammer Films ( the classic British film horror company ). The story of this film is pretty simple, and i actually appreciate that. You don´t need to make a haunted horror film complicated to make it work, and this is something director Charlie Steeds is aware of. One of the things that i especially appreciate with The Haunting Of The Tower Of London are some of the characters in this film, and let us begin with the most powerful one. And that is of course actor Tim Cartwright as Richard III. Tim have been in several of Charlie Steeds films, and everytime he shows up on screen you can feel his magical screen presence. And you really feel that in this film, as he is perfect as Richard III, both for his way to portrait this character, but also delivering dialogue that matches so well, I actually have a feeling that if director Charlie Steeds would ever consider making a viking film, i know that Tim Cartwright would be the perfect choice for viking king. Wonderful actress Emma Spurgin Hussey gives a solid performance as the character Mistress Blythe, a woman who is clearly not shy, and knows how to express herself. The scenes between Emma Spurgin Hussey and Tim Cartwright are especially entertaining, because you can feel that they have a great chemistry on the big screen. Reece Connoly ( who i especially enjoyed in A Werewolf In England ) as the priest Isaac, shows that Reece knows exactly how to portrait this character. I have to mention one especially funny character known as Solomon The Torturer, played by actor James Swanton ( who played The Jack, the demonic clown in The Jack In The Box: The Awakening ). The scenes where we get to see him in action, both preparing the torture chamber but also the torture scene with a prisoner, is really funny. So how does the haunting elements work in this film? Considering that this film is an independent horror film, i have to say for the most part it works well. Of course you can tell that they tried to do their best with the budget they had, and i appreciate that. The costume design is fine with the time period, and the castle gives a nice historical approach to the story. Director Charlie Steeds deliver once more another solid horror film, that will especially be appreciated by fans of his previous films. Definetely worth picking up on DVD to support both the film maker, but also his film crew, as we hope for more wonderful films in the style of The Haunting Of The Tower Of London.

Rating: DDD

tisdag 2 augusti 2022

Final Caller

Physcial media stores are the best place to be, where you can pick up movies in many different categories. There are a few physical DVD / VHS / Blu Ray stores still trying to survive across Sweden, but they are not as many as i would like them to be. Stores like this have been with me since my childhood, and i will always support these kinds of stores ( i would not be surprised if you find me dead in one of them, a perfect location to spend your last living hours ). I try to visit some different ones when it´s possible in different cities, to check out what they have on their shelves. Let´s go back for a moment to the year of 2001, when i was visiting the Swedish capital city Stockholm ( where we hope to have a statue of Dolph Lundgren, the greatest swede ever ). I was there with a friend of mine ( who also collected a lot of films ), and we both decided to check out VHS stores and DVD stores. We visited 4 of them, and for each store we spent hours in there. I remember buying at least 15 DVD´s and 7 VHS films. And my friend picked up at least 12 DVD´s, so we definetely had a good weekend there. In one of these stores i especially remember one VHS cover that looked really interesting, and that was a VHS release of a low budget film called The Shivers. This film looked like a lot of fun with bloody practical effects, and i noticed that the film was directed by Todd Sheets. This was actually my first time seeing one of his VHS releases in a physical media store. I did not pick it up unfortunately, but i do remember the movie store owner said:- This is one funny B movie, you should check it out man. I still to this day remember that VHS cover of The Shivers, and i hope that whoever owns it now, still enjoy the film. Over the years i have seen several films from director Todd Sheets, and reviewed some of them as well, such as Sleepless Nights, Hi-Death ( where he directed a segment called The Muse ) and Clownado. I think it is very clear that director Todd Sheets is a big fan of practical make up effects, and practical effects in general. Recently he released his latest film called Final Caller. When i heard that title it felt like it could be sequel we always wanted of the 2000 film Hanging Up with actors Diane Keaton, Lisa Kudrow and Meg Ryan. I decided to check out the film, to find out if there is a connection between these films. Is the latest Todd Sheets film The Caller one of his best releases so far, or does it not reach the same quality level as Clownado did?

Radio host Rolan Bennett ( Douglas Epps ), who runs the radio show On Through The Night, is taking phone calls from listeners, to discuss any subject that is on their mind. He gets a phone call from a man who calles himself The Outsider ( Jack McCord ), who seems to be torturing women and want to be respected live on radio. At first Rolan does not care about The Outsider, but as he keeps getting more victims, something needs to be done. If Rolan and his team can use their radio platform to stop him, they at least have to give it a try.

If you were hoping that this was the official sequel to Hanging Up, i can tell you that this is not a sequel in any way, or a remake of Hangin Up. However, you can feel elements of the Diane Keaton film Hanging Up in here. We do have some wonderful phone calls in Final Caller, just like they had in Hanging Up, so clearly director Todd Sheets knew that this would be appreciated. The characters may be a bit different in Final Caller as well, but the one thing where i feel the Hanging Up connection in Final Caller. And that is the scene where actors Douglas Epps and Jane Plumberg discuss a divorce live on radio, and i don´t think we could have been any closer to the 2000 film Hanging Up than that. So how is this film from previous Todd Sheets releases? This is quite a different film in many ways, because there is a bigger psychological perspective in this film, since we are dealing with a very disturbed serial killer. Speaking of the serial killer, this is one of the highlights of this film. Actor Jack Mackord ( who played Sheriff Morgan in Clownado ) plays the serial killer The Outsider. If you want to see a really crazy acting performance, i guarantee you will find it here from Jack McCord. I especially love the torture scenes, where he makes sure that each victim get their bodies ripped up. There is one scene that really works well, and that is the scene where The Outsider start taking his clothes off, dances around to opera and attack his victim Security Guard ( played by wonderful actress Dilynn Fawn Harvey ). Since i mentioned Dilynn, i have to tell you how amazing she is. In the scenes that she has, you would not find anyone doing her character as good as she does. It is like director Todd Sheets knew that she was perfect for this role. I would have liked to see more of her, since i have a feeling she would have brought something special for the plot, with her character. The funniest character is without a doubt radio host Roland Bennett, played by actor Douglas Epps ( who played the character Nic Stone in Clownado ). I have to say, he is the best radio host i have ever heard in my entire life. The way he communicate with each caller is so wonderful, and no one takes his job more seriously than he does. I especially love when he gives a lady advice, regarding a Bigfoot subject. That is when you know you have a radio host, who really care about his listeners. Final Caller is a film filled with brutal kills, funny characters, and funny dialogue as well. I have to say that they did a great job on the practical make up effects, i love to see big flesh wounds. Director Todd Sheets delivers another quality film, and clearly shows why he still knows what the audience want, a nice cozy film with classic ingredients. If you had some wonderful lovely dreams lately that Final Caller would be the worthy sequel to the Dianie Keaton film Hanging Up, you at least get some nice influences that reminds us of that film, and deliver some tasteful treats as well. Finall Caller is definetey worth checking out on VOD or DVD. Who knows, maybe one day director Todd Sheets will let me be in a cameo role in one of his future films? 

Rating: DDD


onsdag 20 juli 2022

The Northman

When i was in Spain back in 2002, i met a Scottish woman named Sharon. We just started talking at the hotel we stayed at, and we became friends so quickly. Those remaining days i had on the vacation, we would spend the time together going to a carneval, going swimming in the ocean. When our vacations ended in Spain, we stayed in touch and she wanted me to come to Scotland and celebrate New Years Eve there. So i went over to Edinburgh, to visit her and her family. It was one of the best New Years Eve party´s i have ever been to. You see, her friends have dressed up as vikings, because i was a guest from Sweden, so they thought that in Sweden we live for the honor of vikings. I tried to explain that we don´t really live the viking life, dressing up as vikings, but these Scottish friends wanted to show their respect for my visit, and dressing up as a viking was their way to welcome me. I will always remember this as one of the best weekend celebrations i have ever experienced, so New Years Eve in Edinburg, 2002, is a memory i will never forget. It ended up with John, a friend of Sharon, he undressed in underwear and jumped into the ice cold river. Why? Well he was drunk and thought it was a good idea, probably not. We both passed out drunk on a sofa that night, so everything was in perfect Scottish order. Since i am Swedish we do hear about vikings now and then, it could be from documentary TV films, or perhaps film adaptations as well from viking stories. One of the viking films i still enjoy today, is the violent viking action drama Valhalla Rising, released in 2009. This film is directed by Nicolas Winding Refn, who directed the very well made British biographical drama Bronson, where Tom Hardy gave a powerful performance as Charles Bronson ( real name is Charles Arthur Salvador ). Valhalla Rising takes place around the year of 1096 AD and follows a Norse warrior named One-Eye ( Mads Mikkelsen ) and a young boy as they travel with a band of Christian Crusaders by ship in the hopes of finding the Holy Land. Valhalla Viking is definetely a different film from the film catalogue that director Nicolas Winding Refn have delivered to us. It is a very dark story, with beautiful Scottish landscapes, and really brutal as well. Definetely worth checking out if you want to see a solid, and different film about vikings. I recommend you get the UK Blu Ray release and listen to the commentary track, and you find out some interesting details about the film. Speaking of vikings, i remember being surprised that actor Alexander Skarsgård was working on a new viking film called The Northman. We don´t see many viking films being made in Scandinavia, so of course it sounded interesting that includes a cast of Ethan Hawk, and Nicole Kidman as well. Is it possible that The Northman is the best viking film we had for many years, or should you skip this one and watch the 1958 film The Vikings instead ?

In AD 895, King Aurvandill ( Ethan Hawke ) returns to Jutland after his overseas conquests, reuniting with hiw wife, Queen Gudrún ( Nicole Kidman ), and his heir, Prince Amleth ( Oscar Novak ). To prepare Amleth for his eventual ascension, the two participate in a spiritual ceremony overseen by Aurvandill´s jester, Heimir ( Willem Dafoe ). The next morning, Aurvandill´s bastard brother Fjölnir ( Claes Bang ) murders the king, raids his hilfort and carries away Gudrún. Amleth flees by boat, swearing vengeance. As an adult, Amleth ( Alexander Skarsgård ) is determined to make sure that Fjölnir will suffer for his

Since i was excited goint into a film such as The Northman, i have to say that this film managed to deliver what i was hoping for. I wanted some really brutal viking kills, and you get that here. I also wanted the vikings to look cool, and we got that as well. I also have to say that the story ( even if it is very simple ) works for the most part, because you don´t need a complicated story in a film about vikings. The story actually reminded me a lot of the 1982 film Conan The Barbarian with Arnold Schwarzenegger. Even if these films are very different, for a number of reasons, they do have a similar revenge story. Conan´s ( Arnold Schwarzenegger ) parents are killed by Thulsa Doom ( James Earl Jones ) and his men, and in The Northman you have young boy Prince Amleth, who watches his father King Aurvandill be killed by his own brother. A revenge story in a historical film, is actually a great idea to make the plot interesting. If it would have been a story of just vikings killing people, you may have not cared about the characters either. So they made the right choice to make a viking film with a plot that matches the time period. The costume design looks good, and you can tell they tried to capture the look of how people used to dress during these times. I have to say i am impressed over the houses that were built for this film, where certain details makes you feel like you are visiting the home of a viking family. Anything negative to say? I have to be honest and say that this film is a little bit too long. It feels like certain dialogue scenes feels a bit drawn out, to try and make you engaged into the characters. And i honestly did not care at certain times, no matter if some of the characters discussed important subjects. The acting from some of the smaller characters does not leave any bigger impact and felt uninspired to deliver their dialogue, so it is basically the bigger Hollywood stars who make this film work. Alexander Skarsgård definetely went into this film with a passion for his character, so i can´t say anything negative about his performance. The Northman is basically a historical action film that is definetely made for fans of vikings, and that is something director Robert Eggers tried to focus on while making this film. He clearly felt passionate to tell a story during this time period, and he give us a film that definetely will please the audience it was made for. The Northman may not be a film for everyone, but if you enjoy historical films, i have a feeling you might appreciate what this film have to offer. The Northman is a great choice for your Blu Ray shopping mall visit this summer, especially if you dress up as a viking in the store ( we want to leave a good impact, right? )

Rating: DDD