söndag 29 april 2012

Take Shelter

Family is the most important part of our lives. But what if you protect your family too much, that your mental statement becomes worse? This is what Take Shelter wants to bring up, how humans are effected by our mental condition. Take Shelter won the 50th Critics Week Grand Prix, at the 2011 Cannes Film Festival. Does Take Shelter make an impact with this heavy subject, or is it too much to handle?

In Ohio, Curtis LaForche ( Michael Shannon ) tries and live a good life with his wife Samantha ( Jessica Chastain ) and his deaf daughter Hannah ( Tova Stewart ). Everything is going good, untill Curtis begins to have apocalyptic dreams, where people he loves is harmed in his presence. And it´s getting worse, he also have visions of terrible storms, as he begins to build a storm shelter in his backyard. Not knowing what is going on, he visits a counselor at a free clinic, to hopefully get some answers.

This is what film making is all about. To find a simple story and build something unique and powerful with the right tools. Take Shelter is so good, i could not get enough watching Michael Shannon´s life fall apart, he does a fantastic performance. You can tell director Jeff Nichols does not want a typical mainstream production, he wants to hit you straight in the face and tell the truth about life. And that is the biggest strength with Take Shelter, it feels so honest and naked, you just sit there hoping for more. I´m very close of giving this one a full rating, it gets a bit slow in some scenes, still, this is one of the best movies i have seen lately. A must have in your movie collection.

Rating: DDDD

The Grey

Liam Neeson is one of those actors who have tried every kind of genre, ok....almost. He is not afraid to go in another direction, and that is one reason i usually enjoy his work. For those who have seen Taken, i know most of us were very suprised what a great action actor he is. The story itself is pretty simple, but as a action movie it delivered high quality. The Grey is produced by none other than Ridley Scott among others. Have Liam Neeson taken too much snow over his head, or is this actually a thriller worth some attention?

John Ottoway ( Liam Neeson ), lives in Alaska and hunt wolves. He is depressed and plan to kill himself, and prepare a letter to Ana ( Anne Openshaw ), who left him. He tries to kill himself, but stops himself eventually. When his final job is finished, for the oil drilling team he protects from wolves, the whole team gets on board a plane. A terrible storm makes the plane crash out in the wilderness of Alaska, and no one knows where the survivors are. John survives the crash, as well as a couple of other men. Together they try and find a way out of this hell.

Disaster movies are usually signed and delivered by Michael Bay addicts, with a budget of 200 million dollars. The Grey is not a cgi project, instead this is actually a very good surviving thriller, with realistic story telling, of what could happen. Liam Neeson delivers once again a solid performance, this man is a miracle for sure. To see him pull this off once again makes me belive he has still a lot more to give the audience. Director Joe Carnahan uses the landscape of Alaska very well, and try to give us a glimpse of how dangerous the wild is out there. Finally a thriller that sticks in your head, The Grey may be simple, but very effectively made. Now i understand why my dad hates snow....

Rating: DDDD

söndag 22 april 2012

One For The Money

Mixing comedy with action have been done in many forms, with different results. Katherine Heigl, mostly known from Grey´s Anatomy and mostly romantic comedies, is giving this genre another try, remember her character in Killers with Ashton Kutcher? One For The Money seems to be the perfect chick flick for women who enjoys some action included. Do Heigl deliver a solid performance as a enforcement agent, or is this as thin as Miley Cyrus latest dress?

Stephanie Plum ( Katherine Heigl ) is out of work, and have economical problems. Her grandmother Mazur ( Debbie Reynolds ) suggest she should go and meet her cousin Vinnie, on his company Vinnie´s Bail Bonds for work. Not pleased with the idea first, since she does not like Vinnie, she visits in desperation. Thankfully she gets a job as an enforcement agent, who is assigned to bring Joe Morelli ( Jason O´Mara ) to justice, for his crime. There is just one problem, Joe dumped Stephanie in high school, and they still have issues over this.

One For The Money is as predictable as a episode of Gossip Girl. Here, they just use guns and less makeup. My biggest problem is that there are no fun suprises along this bounty hunter ride, we know exactly what will happen. Wich makes me wonder, who is this made for? As a saturday morning matiné it might work, while having breakfast, but at the cinema screen? I think Katherine Heigl needs to find a better script, where her acting skills can fit better than here. It´s not all bad, there are a few funny scenes, but they are very few. Where is Chris Tucker these days? He could have made something more descent with this material.

Rating: DD

onsdag 18 april 2012

The Woman In Black

Ever since the first Harry Potter movie came out, Daniel Radcliffe became a over night sensation. Since 2001, he has followed the tradition to continue the legacy of Potter, and kept the world enchanted with the tale. Since the Harry Potter series ended last year, it was time for mr Radcliffe to go another path. He has done broadway shows, as well as drama, but horror? This is definetely a new direction. With the reborn cult movie company Hammer films on his side, is this the right way for Radcliffe, or is he stuck forever in the Harry Potter phenomenon?

A solicitor named Arthur Kipps ( Daniel Radcliffe ) is assigned, by the lawfirm he works for, to handle the estate of Alice Drabow. The house is located on an island in the marshes, far away from the nearest village. As he visits the house, strange sightings of a black woman appears. He asks people in the village who she is, but they refuse to answer. As he gets closer to the answers, the more dangerous the situation gets.

When Hammer Film Productions returned after many years with Wake Wood, i was very pleased. This old school horror company knows how to build horror stories, without a lot of cgi effects and more real locations. The Woman In Black is nothing unique, but for a old school horror movie, it fits right in. And i have to say, Daniel Radcliffe is alright in the leading role, he is not a fantastic actor, but for his first time beeing in this genre he does ok. I recently read that The Woman In Black is the most successfull british horror movie at the box office in 20 years, maybe people realise that Hammer Films are quality, instead of dull teen slashers. Even if this motion picture has some flaws, like a parrot scene wich is pretty ridiculus, this is still very well made horror, just in the way for old school fans to enjoy. After seeing Radcliffe here, i believe he might actually have a future after mr Potter.

Rating: DDD

måndag 16 april 2012

The Descendants

Palm trees, white beaches, and lots of sun. Honolulu seems like the perfect vacation. But is it really in reality the perfect place to live in? The Descendants wants to bring this subject up, with a view on a family living in this paradise. George Clooney won for best actor at the Golden Globe Awards, while critics praised this motion picture for beeing one of the best movies of 2011. Will George Clooney deliver high quality once again, or should he have stayed underneath the palm trees?

Matt King ( George Clooney ) is a hard working lawyer in Honolulu. His wife Elisabeth King ( Patricia Hastie ) is in a coma, doctors say she may not wake up again, and Matt is forced to take care of his 2 daughters Scottie ( Amara Miller ), and Alex ( Shailene Woodley ). Problem is, he is not that close to his daughters, and now he has to do the best he can over this situation. He finally confronts his daughters that their mother will die. Both daughters take the news very heavily. Matt decide to take his daughters with him to another island Kaua´i in Hawaii, where he is supposed to close a deal of selling 25.000 acres of pristine land. Along on this journey, he starts to find back to his daughters, and finds out it´s not too late to be a family.

Emotional drama movies are not my typical choice, but with The Descendants i have to change my mind. This is a very heavy story, about losing your steady ground, and have to face a cruel reality. How do you go on with your life with your kids, when you don´t know them that well, when their mother is dying? George Clooney opens his soul into his character, trying to find a way to go on with his life. And it feels real, you can tell Clooney wants to make this as realistic as possible, and not make it the typical Hollywood way. Shailene Woodley is one amazing actress for her young age, what a performance she gives. To see her fall apart from her mother´s illness, is very sensitive. Director Alexander Payne builds alot of tentions and emotions around this family, that makes this story more interesting. One message that is very clear is, no matter where you live in this world, and even if it may look like a paradise, tragedy is not anything you can escape from. We all go through sadness and pain, in different situations. The Descendants is a very strong motion picture, with a very clear message. Make sure you see this one, and i promise you will soon start to think about what life is all about.

Rating: DDDD

Red State

Back in 1994, when i was just 16 years old, i watched Kevin Smith´s debut film Clerks. Made of a budget under 30.000 dollars, it turned out to be a hit at the box office. It had some funny moments, and gave Kevin Smith a ticket straight to Hollywood. Since then Kevin Smith has continued making motion pictures, mostly comedies, and actually most of his movies has had Ben Affleck in the cast. With his latest motion picture Red State, he is ready to try something new. A religious thriller about a religious sect. Is this a new start for Kevin Smith, or should he continue making comedies?

3 best friends, Travis ( Michael Angarano ), Jared ( Kyle Gallner ), and Billy Ray ( Nicholas Braun ), decide to go on a road trip. They have found a woman online who is willing to have sex with them all at the same time. As they arrive to the womans trailer, everything seems alright. They are offered beer to relax before the fun starts, but something is wrong. They all fall asleep, as it turns out they have been drugged. As Travis wakes up, locked in a cage, he is inside a church held by Pastor Abin Cooper ( Michael Parks ), who leads the religious sect named Five Points Trinity Church. His friends are also hold hostage, as Pastor Abin call these boys sinners as well as homosexuals. Travis realise they will die if he doesn´t do something soon.

Suprise....suprise...Red State is actually a quite fun ride of religious psycho´s armed with machine guns. And its also disturbing in a way, because we all know there are plenty of religious sects who are all willing to die in the name of Jesus. Red State may not bring anything special in this subject, but it works well on paper, with a good cast, Especially Michael Parks as the Pastor, he really lives into his character. If there is one problem with this movie, it would be that it´s a bit too short. We could have learned more about the sect members, and why they became so obsessed with this church. Still, this is a pretty good piece of work. I have always been against religious sects, and after watching this one, i know my view on this subject won´t be more positive.

Rating: DDD

tisdag 10 april 2012

The Darkest Hour

There are plenty of cool sci fi movies out there. One that comes to my mind is Independence Day, it´s getting a bit old now, but still impressive even today. Most movie fans would probably say Star Wars is the ultimate sci fi experience, and i would agree at some points. Because who can defeat George Lucas epic story telling? Looking at the latest sci fi releases, you realise times are changing. You can make really well made sci fi with a low budget, remember District 9 ? The Darkest Hour is a new alien movie, set in Moscow. Will this sci fi smoker please us laser nerds, or is this a complete disaster?

Two american men, Ben ( Max Minghella ) and Sean ( Emelie Hirsch ) travel to Moscow, with a vision to sell their networking social software. They meet up with their swedish business partner Skyler ( Joel Kinnaman ), who already finished a deal with the russians of a application. Everything is going great, as they head out to a nightclub to have a good time. Suddenly strange lights fall down over the sky of Moscow. As the lights come closer, all hell breaks loose.

There are plenty of movies to compare The Darkest Hour with. But does this deliver anyhing fresh? Not really, this is a mix of everything, almost like director Chris Gorak said at the writing´s table :- Listen guys, i want The Darkest Hour to give sci fi geeks orgasm, or i will kick your ass.  Problem is, The Darkest Hour doesn´t give much at all. The effects are alright, and it´s pretty fun to see swedish actor Joel Kinnaman run around from aliens. But apart from that this is not something that gives you a hard on. I will admit that at least they tried doing a different approach on aliens, making them invisible at times, wich is pretty cool. The Darkest Hour is not terrible, but there is not much to be pleased with either. I prefer Skyline over this one, and i know Skyline was not popular among critics, still that movie had some better ideas.

Rating: DD

söndag 8 april 2012

A Dangerous Method

There are some directors who dare to push limits, who tries to find new ways of making movies. David Cronenberg is a perfect example. If you look at his movies, most of them do look very different from each other. One of my personal favourite motion pictures from David Cronenberg is his classic Scanners. The story of ordinary people who has the ability to remove objects and injure humans with their telekinetic powers, is just brilliant film making. A Dangerous Method takes on the subject of psychiatric treatments in World War I. Does the canadian director Cronenberg still deliver quality, or is this far beyond his limits?

Burghölzli is a psychatric hospital located in Zurich. A patient named Sabina Spielrein ( Keira Knightley ) begins her treatment for hysteria with the help of swiss doctor Carl Jung ( Michael Fassbender ). Carl is testing a new treatment method, wich includes word association and dream interpretation. While he begins to help Sabina, he finds out what triggered her problems, she was humiliated by her own father, while he spanked her naked, as she was aroused by this. Carl is interested in these events, as he begins a relationship with his patient, where the sexual limits go further. Problems begin to grow when Sabina reveals to Sigmund Freud ( Viggo Mortensen ) neurologist in psychoanalysis, her relationship with dr Carl Jung. 

The most interesting thing about A Dangerous Method, is that he actually steps back to Scanners in a way. Not on the same level, since this is based on true methods used back in the first World War. But he seems very interested in humans mental statement. And as a psychological drama, this is quite interesting. We all know that medical staff have had relationships with patients, and what effects this may have. A Dangerous Method both brings up the subject of forbidden relationship, as well as psychiatric treatments, to let you decide what´s right or wrong. This is not one of Cronenberg´s better movies lately, A History Of Violence is still a emotional jackpot. But, if you are interested in psychological treatments in history, this may actually give you a interesting view on the subject.

Rating: DDD

lördag 7 april 2012


Ryan Gosling is one of the most talented fresh actors to hit the screen in the last 10 years. He seems to understand the importance of choosing different characters and different genres, without beeing a drama queen. When this movie won the Cannes Film Festival for best director award, i was very curious of what Drive had to offer. Is Drive just a movie about driving cars, or is this another quality motion picture served from mr Gosling once again?

The Driver ( Ryan Gosling ) works as a mechanic, stuntman and as a driver, but only for small jobs. Living in a cheap appartment, he tries to stay as simple as possible. His neighbour Irene ( Carey Mulligan ) begins to hang out with The Driver, as they get along very well. Shannon ( Bryan Canston ) arranges jobs for The Driver and owns the garage, he is impressed over how well The Driver can handle a vehicle. Shannon talks to gangster Bernie Rose ( Albert Brooks ), that he should purchase a stock car, for The Driver to use between races. Irene´s husband Standard ( Oscar Isaac ) is out of prison, but have a big problem. He owns alot of money to criminal gangster Cook ( James Biberi ), who threatens to kill Irene and his son, if he don´t get the money. The Driver offers to help them, but this will also put his life in danger.

Drive is exactly what i was hoping for. A very elegant thriller drama, made by danish Punisher director Nicolas Winding Refn. The night scenes are beautiful, while Ryan Gosling drives through the big city, with so many small details that gives you thrills. On paper it´s nothing original, but with such powerful perfomances and elegantly well made scenes, Drive gives you the perfect balance of intelligent film making. It´s great to see that movies like these are still beeing made, and not just for box office profit. In the end, most movies that come out are forgotten after 3 months, while some titles are worth more attention. Drive is deffinetely a must buy.

Rating: DDDD

fredag 6 april 2012

The Adventures Of Tintin : The Secret Of The Unicorn

There are plenty of comic books made into animated movies. But a character like Tintin is unique, since he does not have any super powers, instead he is just a reporter. It has been a long time since we have seen Tintin on the big screen, and that Steven Spielberg and Peter Jackson worked together to bring him back, makes you wonder what this will deliver. Is this animated adventure a knockout, or should they have left these comics alone after so many years?

A young journalist named Tintin, buys a old ship model on a square market. Pleased with his bargain, he gets stopped by a man named Ivan Ivanovitch Sakharine. He wants this ship model, no matter what the price is. Tintin turns his offers down and leaves. He walks back home and look at the details of this very old ship. An accident from his dog Snowy, and the ship falls down on the floor. A small piece of parchment scroll comes out of the ship´s mast. There are writings that tell of a secret treasure. A family name of Haddock is mentioned, as Tintin intend to find out more about this secret. But while leaving his appartment, the men of Ivan Ivanovitch kidnap Tintin in hope to get his scroll. Captain Haddock is also kidnapped, as they both are beeing taken towards the port of Bagghar, in Morocco. Tintin manage to escape with Captain Haddock, as they both head out to find out if there really is a hidden treasure, buried somewhere in the ocean.

Watching this updated version of Tintin, you realise that Steven Speilberg and Peter Jackson go back to Indiana Jones. There are plenty of action scenes with some funny details, as well as really well made animations, with some fantastic scenery of different parts of the world. And as an adventure movie, this updated version works really well. And with a british cast of Jamie Bell, Daniel Craig, Simon Pegg and Nick Frost, among others, it gives this adventure a true fun ride. The Adventures Of Tintin will bring the whole family a great time, maybe some scenes can be scary for smaller children, but it´s definitely worth your time. Come to think of it, i have not had so much fun since The Goonies.

Rating: DDDD