onsdag 26 september 2012

The Raven

I absolutely love From Hell, where Johnny Depp investigated the murders by Jack The Ripper. This were one of those old fashioned crime thrillers made like a handicraft production, with perfect scenery and the right feeling of the 1800´s dark era. Every year most movie studios release costume dramas for romantic musical dreamers. Not often do we see something like From Hell, with a darker perspective, make it to a big screen. But maybe that is about to change right now. The Raven, based on the writer Edgar Allan Poe, looks like something equal to From Hell, with a different story. Is it posible The Raven is a production worth your attention, or were the expectations too big to make reality?

A mother and a daughter is found brutally murdered in Baltimore. Police begin an investgation, where Detective Emmett Fields ( Luke Evans ) finds clues to the murders have been staged as from stories from writer Edgar Allan Poe ( John Cusack ). Detective Emmett contacts Edger Allan Poe to help them with their investigation, since the killer seem to follow his stories. When critic Rufus Griswold ( John Warnaby ), Edgar´s rival, is found brutally butchered, Edgar realise he needs to think of what the next victim could be, since every victim is connected to his writing. Captain Hamilton´s ( Brendan Gleeson ) annual masquerade ball, ends in chaos, when his daughter Emily Hamilton ( Alice Eve ), is kidnapped by the murderer. While police search for Emily, more bodies are found. But the more Edgar try to understand who is behind all of this, the closer he may be to the answer than he ever could have imagined.

Ok, it´s not as good as From Hell. But still, i enjoy The Raven for trying to bring old fashioned crime thrillers back on track, as John Cusack does one of his best roles for a long time. It´s quite funny that director James McTeigue is behind the camera, who directed Star Wars Episode 2 : The Clone Wars, talk about changing genres. And most suprisingly is that he does a good job to deliver a solid thriller. A lot of dark scenery helps the story build up tentions, very effective. Not so much negative to say, The Raven is a nice surprise and works well on a cold rainy night, perfect for a snack moment.

Rating: DDD


Belgium is a country i always wanted to visit. And actually i have plans for next year, since i really enjoyed visiting Holland, Amsterdam was a great city. When it comes to belgian movies, i have only seen a few. I remember enjoying Ben X, a belgian drama about a bully victim, who found a way to escape reality through video games. Bullhead is a critically acclaimed motion picture, who won several awards on different film festivals. With so much positive reactions around this movie, is Bullhead something extrodinary, or is the hype too big?

Jacky Vanmarsenille ( Matthias Schoenaerts ) lives on his dads farm, working as a cattle farmer. His family have been involved for many years in doing illegal business with animal steroids. When Jacky was a young boy, a group of other boys crushed his testicles with a rock. The family behind the boy behind this tries to keep this quiet. Now as an adult, Jacky can´t forget about the past. He use steroids to ease the pain, and sorrow. Police starts to investigate a murder of an federal police man, with connections to the illegal meat market. But that´s not the only problem. Jacky´s mood shifts extremely negative, to the side effext from the steroids. He wants to revenge what happened to him all those years ago, and see no other way out.

I think i might have a new favourite actor on my list. Matthias Schoenaerts is completely brilliant as the steroids junkie Jacky, who see no future, only misery and pain. When he starts to let the anger out, i am completely shocked how well he brings this character to the big screen. Absolutely fantastic. The other side story of the illegal business doesn´t feel as interesting as the story of Jacky, that´s where the real power kicks in. Without Matthias Schoenaerts, Bullhead would not have made such a big impression as it does now. But still, this is a really good dark drama with much to say. Most people have probably heard about how some farmers use steroids on animals, but what if the farmer also use them on himself?  Interesting perspective, well acted all the way. Bullhead deserves to be seen, it´s one of those movies that will leave you with many thoughts.

Rating: DDDD

tisdag 25 september 2012

Hamilton 2: Men Inte Om Det Gäller Din Dotter

When swedish actor Mikael Persbrandt took on the role as Intelligence officer Carl Hamilton, i was completely taken by suprise. I Nationens Intresse is a swedish action movie that actually delivered a good story, with great acting from Mikael Persbrandt. I saluted director Kathrine Windfeld for helping swedish cinema going in the right direction, after many terrible swedish releases. So when this sequel was on the way, i was hoping it would continue the legacy of Hamilton with such a good start last time. Is Hamilton: Men Inte Om Det Gäller Din Dotter a worthy sequel, or is this a step back to the usual pattern of swedish cinema?

Carl Hamilton´s goddaughter is kidnapped by muslim terrorists. The kidnappers demand a big amount of money if they will keep the girl alive. Hamilton and his team mates arrange a rescue operation.

Why? Why destroy something good while you had the chance to save swedish cinema? An actor like Mikael Persbrandt knows how to deliver, here he seems to care less about the character Hamilton, he only gets a few good scenes, but they are very few. If director Katherine Windfeld would have directed this time also, things might have been different. Now, we have director Tobias Falk who fucks it up. What could have been a good action story, is lost on the way, with too many flaws. The only positive scene is the rescue operation, where we at least get some real action. Hamilton 2: Men Inte Om Det Gäller Din Dotter is a failure in many ways, the only thing that saves this movie from falling apart is a few scenes with Persbrandt when he actually tries to give some kind of credibility. I know a third movie is on the way, let´s hope they make some big changes until then, or it might be too late.

Rating: DD

The Raid: Redemption

Growing up in the video violence era of the 80´s, i remember how mad i was when Sweden cut movies almost 15 minutes shorter, because of video violence. To see the uncut vhs tape, you had to order from England or Usa, but cost a lot of money. Thankfully a videostore called Movieline in Gothenburgh sold uncut titles, this became my favourite movie store. One of my earlier memories was when i first watched John Woo´s classic The Killer. It was beautiful. 300 men becoming shot down with 4000 bullets, it was like watching a ballet performance, gone totally wrong, with so many emotional violence scenes, i just sat there smiling, like it was christmas eve. When i heard of The Raid: Redemption through The Totally Rad Show, i became very curious. There seemed to be a lot of violence, lots of weapons, lots of bullets, yes, everything you need. On the final result, does The Raid: Redemption give a steady kick in the nuts, or barely touch the surface?

A SWAT team led by Sergeant Jaka ( Joe Taslim ) and Lieutenant Wahyu, prepare themselves to make a raid, to take down the crime lord Tama Riyada ( Ray Sahetapy ), and his criminal network, in a big appartment building. Everything is going well, untill a young boy see the SWAT team, and sets the alarm. Now, hell has just begun, and the survivors of the SWAT team needs to find a way out, before everyone is executed.

Holy shit......now this is what i needed. The Raid: Redemption is Malou Von Siewers worst nightmare, this is pure action for a big screen, with so much violence, you jump of joy, just like you won a million dollars on a lottery ticket. And not only are the action scenes impressive, director Gareth Evans fills the scenes with really nice details, that give the simple story a lot to offer. It´s not often i watch Indosesian movies, maybe because not many of them are screened here in Sweden, or maybe i simply need to check more for new releases. Either way, i had a great time watching The Raid, took me straight back to the early John Woo movies, that you don´t see very often in these days. If you love full pumped up action, this is the one for you. I wonder if you can hire a SWAT team like this one to destroy every dvd of Something Borrowed...that would be a mission worth to follow.

Rating: DDDD

tisdag 18 september 2012

Men In Black 3

It´s strange. Will Smith is one of the few actors in Hollywood who gets blockbuster hits almost every time. Maybe it´s his personality, his charisma. Even if his music career have been more quite, he seems to find his way back to the audience, no matter what he takes on. Men In Black became one of the biggest box office hits of 1997. and the critics loved the idea of an agency, who protect earth from evil aliens. I enjoyed the first movie, because Tommy Lee Jones was a good match to Will Smith, they are both very different personalities, what made it successfull. And the special effects delivered some highlights. When the second movie came out in 2002, i was not that happy about the sequel. The humour was not as good, the characters were not that impressive, as in the first movie. This third time around, is Men In Black back on track, or is this a turn in the wrong direction?

On the Earth´s moon, Boris The Animal escapes the prison LunarMax. Agent K ( Tommy Lee Jones ) put him in prison in the year 1969, that year Boris also lost his arm. Now, Boris wants to kill agent K by time travel back to 1969 and change the future. Agent J ( Will Smith ), finds out that Boris succeeded with his mission, K has now been dead for 40 years. To make everything back to how it used to be, agent J has to travel back and stop Boris from changing the future.

Im happy to say that Men In Black 3 is better than i expected. The comic timing is better, the aliens are cooler than last time, and Will Smith actually did a better performance this time around, including the young K ( James Brolin ), who actually works well as the younger agent in 1969. Director Barry Sonnenfeld makes sure we get the true feeling of Men In Black, as he both goes back to the original style, and also throw in time travelling in a clever way. Let´s not forget about the evil character Boris the Animal ( Jemaine Clement ), a funny and crazy alien who looks like a 78 year old Lorenzo Lamas on a bad hair day. Tommy Lee Jones keep his agent K stiff and precise about anything he does, and it still works well as it did back in 1997. If you loved the first movie i am pretty sure you will enjoy this one also. Nothing spectacular, but a fun ride, especially for sci fi fans.

Rating: DDD

måndag 17 september 2012


In space no one can hear you scream. Just that line became classic back in 1979 when Ridley Scott gave us Alien, a movie that still today stands on its own, as a sci fi iconic motion picture. The sequels delivered different feelings, Aliens directed by James Cameron was amazing in many ways, never before have anyone made a sci fi movie with so much power and technical action with so fantastic details. By the time Alien 3 came out, a lot of changes were made, and the audience did not respond well. Most people have forgotten about Alien 4, and over the years there have been talking about a new Alien movie. Many directors had ideas, but did not complete them, or they felt it wouldnt work. When rumours started coming about Ridley Scott going back into the Alien franchise, fans were very pleased while some were sceptical. As the title Prometheus came out, Ridley Scott himself told us this is a story set earlier than Alien, but also a different story than Alien, with a different approach. It took some time for me to finally see this one, but finally i got the chance. Is the new Prometheus a new beginning of a franchise, or is this unnecessary to deliver fans of Alien?

In the year 2089, archaeologists Elizabeth Shaw ( Noomi Rapace ) and Charlie Holloway ( Logan Marshall-Green ) discover a star map, in a cave in Scotland. The map matches many different cultural writings, as if they have experienced the same meeting, with another lifeform. Peter Weyland ( Guy Pearce ), the elderly CEO of Weyland Corporation, arrange a mission for the passengers in the scientific vessel Prometheus. A team will travel to the distant mon LV-223. The android David ( Michael Fassbender ) will monitor their journey, while the team sleeps. 4 years later, they arrive to their destination. As the team heads out to investigate the amazing structures, they are about to find new details, that may be even bigger than they expected.

If you hope for a new Alien movie, you might be disappointed. This is not the same kind of story, but dont be afraid. There are some elements of Alien in here, even if the beasts are not in here. I will let you find out for yourselves. The good suprise is that Prometheus manages to capture the feeling of discovering a new world, just like the original Alien movie did, but in a completely different way. Ridley Scott really worked hard on making clever details about the moon LV-223, and you can see he found a great balance. The acting is of high quality, that is necessary, in a majestic motion picture like this, to make it work. One detail you should know is that Ridley Scott did a lot of old school work behind this project. He wanted to make it feel more real, and not everything in CGI, that makes a big difference. The sets are amazing and the atmosphere is astonishing. If you love the first Alien movie, then give Prometheus a chance. As a sci fi movie, it has so much to offer the audience, you will probably do just like me, applaude infront of the blu-ray player. Definitely worth having in your movie collection next to the Alien box.

Rating: DDDD