onsdag 24 juli 2013

Dead Man Down

Noomi Rapace became an over night sensation here in Sweden. Her character Lisbeth Salander, introduced in the swedish movie Män Som Hatar Kvinnor ( The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo ) became a huge hit all over the world, and it was easy to understand why. This was one of the few swedish movies that was actually good, while Svensk Filmindustri still put out money to Colin Nutley to make fucking shit movies. The sequels ( there were 2 more ) were not as good as the first movie, but Noomi Rapace still made an impact, as Lisbeth Salander. As she became famous, she got bigger roles in Europé, and of course Usa. I enjoyed her character in Babycall, a norwegian thriller, maybe a very slow thriller drama, but well acted. What about Sherlock Holmes : A Game Of Shadows ? She was in there, but nothing i can say i remember much about her character. Moving on into the future, it looks like Noomi is here to stay, offered more roles, in different genre movies. In her new thriller Dead Man Down, is she still delivering as the actor we like, or has she lost her way in the Hollywood jungle ?

Victor ( Colin Farrell ) works as a hitman, and clean up when ordered to by the ruthless kingpin Alphonse Hoyt ( Terence Howard ). Alphonse finds one of his men in a freezer killed with a note, and some pictures taken of Alphonse. He realise this might be one of his enemies, so he takes a chance and visit a group of Jamaicans, that do drug dealing and disturbution. A massive shootout kill them all, and Alphonso belive he took care of the problem. In the appartment house Victor lives in, he can see a woman across the street, on the balchony everyday. After some time, the woman living in the building next to Victor, named Beatrice ( Noomi Rapace ), puts a message in Victors mail box. She would like to meet him, and Victor agrees. Out on a date, everything seems as usual, until Beatrice shows pictures, that she knows Victor murder people. She offer him a deal, she will keep her mouth shut, if he kills the man that injured her face in a car accident. At first, Victor does not agree to take the mission, but since Beatrice have information that police really want, he decide to change his mind. Meanwhile Alphonso arrange a meeting with Long Gordon ( Armand Assante ), a famous criminal with information. He have recieved a letter, and some photos, just like the ones Alphonso found in the freezer, but with different writings. Alphonso realise he have not found the person behind this, and begin a bigger search. Victor start planning the assassination of Beatrice´s chosen victim. But once Victor begin to work outside his criminal team, problems start growing by every minute.

The same director who directed The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo ( not the american version ), Niels Arven Oplev directed Dead Man Down also. These are very different genre movies, so let´s not compare them. But i have to say i enjoyed his swedish movie more than this american thriller. Maybe because this feels like the story we have seen before, with not many surprises along the way. Thankfully this still works out, since along the way Dead Man Down gets better. Especially thanks to some of the actors like Armand Assante, Terence Howard, and Colin Farrell. But it hurts to say this, Noomi Rapace does not deliver this time like she used to do. She is not awful, she just seem to be uninspired by her character. Speaking of Armand Assante, it is a shame we don´t see this legendary actor more in bigger motion pictures. He can deliver, if he gets a powerful character, to prove his acting talent. The story is kind of slow at some moments, but once the action hits in, Dead Man Fall climb to a better level. Colin Farrell have been better before, but at least gives enough to please the audience. I would recommend The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo over this one, but still this is not a bad thriller, there are some good moments here, and once they hit the screen, we get a pleasent journey.

Rating: DDD

The Host

Stephanie Meyers books sell so many copies, you would think teenagers would get enough of these deeply romantic stories. Just look at Twilight, not only does these books sell more copies than Inner Circle´s Greatest Hits, the movie adaptions have made a hell of a lot of profit. So you have to ask yourself, why ? I wish i could answer that, but it is impossible. I have never been a Twilight fan and never will be. I have tried to understand why people love Twilight, and i still can´t find one good reason why you should like these movie adaptions from the novels. So what if Stephanie Meyers writes another novel, with a completely different story, and this novel also becomes a movie ? Yes it is true, The Host is a new launch in the world of Stephanie Myers, and this time around there are no vampires or werewolves. How about a sci fi movie ? Ok so we get laser guns and flesh eating aliens ? Not really, this looks more like a serious sci fi movie. Is The Host a much better story than Twilight, or is it back to the usual boring standards we are used to fall asleep from ?

The human race is in danger, only a few have survived in the future, since extraterrestrial psychic parasites known as " Souls " take over human bodies, controlling their minds. Melanie Stryder ( Saoirse Ronan ) is on the run with her brother Jamie Stryder ( Chandler Canterbury ). Melanie is captured by the Seeker ( Diane Kruger ). The Seeker let a parasite take over Melanie´s body, so she becomes one of the "Souls ". She is named Wanderer, and is asked to help Seeker, to locate humans who are still hiding. Wanderer tries to remember where these humans are located, but the mind of Melanie is still strong enough to control Wanderer´s choices. Melanie manage to pursuade Wanderer to escape the complex, to find her little brother Jamie. As she head out into a desert, with almost no water, she is found hydrated by Melanie´s uncle Jeb Stryder ( William Hurt ). Since Melanie is now infected by a parasite, the remaining humans in a secret location feel they should kill Wanderer, because she can lead other " Souls " to their secret hideout. Melanie´s brother Jamie is also located here, he realise that Melanie is not here anymore in her body. But Melanie´s mind is trying to convince the group members she is fighting back to become who she really is. The Seeker is now searching for Wanderer, and she will not give up.

The positive surprise is that this is not like Twilight, with a much more deeper story than before. Unfortunately, The Host still have a lot of ingredients that we recognize, those romantic moments, slow talking scenes, that Twilight hopelessly continued during the film series. This is such a shame, with better scene details, and better acting, The Host could have been something to look forward to. Now we are left with a motion picture with way too many slow scenes. The story is not that bad, i like the idea of human bodies being taken over, but director Andrew Niccol does not take this subject very high, he only touch the subject very easily and leave so many important details. One of the biggest problems is the acting, why let so many young actors perform so dull, that you can barely stay awake at some moments ? William Hurt is here thankfully. Even if he does not do one of his better roles, he can still make a character fel interesting. Too bad, The Host could have been the step outside that Stephanie Meyers movie adaptions needed. Now we just get a glimpse of something positive, and left with too many mistakes.

Rating: DD

onsdag 10 juli 2013

Man Of Steel

Look up in the sky
Is it a bird ?
Is it a plane ?
No.....its Zack Snyder trying to forget Sucker Punch

Even if i did not hate Sucker Punch, it was one of those movies you easliy forget. On the other hand, Zack Snyder did direct Watchmen and Dawn Of The Dead ( remake ), so this guy know how to make good movies. I suggest you check out the fabulous movie review of Sucker Punch by Stupid For Movies on youtube when they slaughter Sucker Punch, it´s simply a classic moment. I honestly never thought we would see Zack take on the legendary story of Superman. In most people´s minds, Christopher Reeve will always be Superman, and there is a good reason why his legacy lives on. The first 2 Superman movies are classics, where Christopher Reeve managed to find a way to make Superman feel more of a human, than an alien. When the third movie came out, the magic started to vanish. Not that mr Reeve was bad, but the quality of Superman did not shine through as it used to do. And the fourth one......hmmm.....let´s just forget this one. In 2006 we finally got a new Superman movie called Superman Returns. I actually enjoyed this comeback, maybe not great all the way, but at least a descent update on the classic story. And now, we have a new updated version, where we even have Kevin Costner as Jonathan Kent ? Now who whould have thought that was possible. Is the Man Of Steel a new start for Superman, or is this another reebot with no big surprises ?

The planet Krypton is in bad shape. Scientist Jor-El ( Russel Crowe ) is aware of the situation, especially since he just became a father, to a son named Kal-El. This boy is special, since this is the first natural born child on Krypton for many years. General Zod ( Michael Shannon ) tries to bring down the council, to rule Krypton. But Jor-El and his wife Lara Lor-Van ( Ayelet Zurer ) want to make sure their son will survive, and find a better world to live in. Kal-El is send away in a spacecraft, and General Zod fails to stop the spacecraft from going to Earth. General Zod kills Jor-El, in rage of his failure. But the council arrest General Zod, making sure he will never harm anyone again, and place him and his team in the Phantom Zone. Kal-El lands on Earth in a small Kansas Town. He is raised up by Jonathan Kent ( Kevin Costner ), and Martha Kent ( Diane Lane ), as they name him Kent. As Kent grow up, he learns to adjust his super powers with Earths atmosphere. Jonathan tries to learn Kent to not show the world how powerful he is. One day a tornado hits Kansas, and Jonathan does not survive. Kent ( Henry Cavill ) is told not to save his adoptive father, even if he wants to, Jonathan stops him. Moving on with his Life, Kent tries to find out where he comes from. In the spaceship he came with, Jonathan found found a metal object, marked with an S, formed almost as a key.  Kent takes this object to Arctic, where a space ship have been found underneath the ice. As he injects the key, a whole new world unlocks infront of Kent´s eyes. He meets his real father Jor-El as a hologram, who explains of where he comes from. A reporter Lois Lane ( Amy Adams ) is doing a report on the mystic spaceship, where she is injured by a strange alien lifeform. Kent manage to stop the alien from hurting Lois anymore, and stop her bleeding. Who is this man ? Lois begins to investigate about Kent, as she tries to get her Daily Planet editor chief Perry White ( Laurence Fishburne ) to publish her story. He does not agree, and feel this would not be belivable for the readers. Lois continue to investigate who Kent is, but suddenly the whole world is shocked. A spacecraft is heading towards Earth, and a message is sent out all over media from General Zod, he is looking for Kal-El. He threatens that if Kal-El does not surrender himself, Earth will face consequences. Kent is ready to surrender himself, but is the world ready to find out his true identity ?

There are parts of Man Of Steel i really enjoy. The more human aspect of the story, where Henry Cavill really finds a good balance on human emotions, as he tries to fit inside a world he is trying to understand. And guess what, Kevin Costner does a really good perfomance as Kent´s biological father. I had no high expectations on him, so im happy to say he did well. The planet Krypton is more detailed than before, not the ice planet we are used to see, this is more of a alien planet, with much more to experience than earlier Superman movies. And then we have the bad part. I love action scenes, as long as they look great and feel connected with the story. Unfortunately Zack Snyder shows once again what he is capable of doing, massive action scenes with as much power as possible. It works for some moments, but the longer these scenes go on, it´s easy to be fed up. Let´s get back for the positive moments again, Michael Shannon is actually a great evil character as Zod, maybe not as good as Terence Stamp in Superman 2, but still he does a pretty good job. Overall, Man Of Steel is a pretty good reboot of Superman, but this could have been much better. I know Zack Snyder is on board for a sequel, so i hope the fix the biggest mistakes until then, because this could be something if they get everything right. Henry Cavill may not be Christopher Reeve, but i have to say he might find a way to continue the legacy of Superman, he has both the look and the acting ability to pull this into the right direction. Now excuse me, i am putting my cape on, who knows, maybe someone needs help out there.

Rating: DDD

måndag 8 juli 2013

Spring Breakers

Every year, teenagers ( and even older ones who refuse to grow old ), travel to Florida, for 58 hours of party, for the ultimate party events. I know most guys have seen a Girls Gone Wild video, and we all know what happens. We get tits, alcohol and asses, what else do you need ? Over a decade, so many spring break comedies have been released, i barely remember any titles, because most of them look exactly the same. But hold on, what if there is a darker story, behind this party weekend ? Maybe that might be more interesting ? Spring Breakers took the worlds movie critics by storm, many of them called this one of the best movie releases in a very long time. With James Franco on board, and the Musical High Scoll girl Vanessa Hudgens goes wild, what else can we ask for ? Is Spring Breakers as good as people say, or is this way too much of a teen party to care for ?

Life is boring, in fact life sucks so bad, there is only one reason to live for something, Spring Break. Childhood friends Faith ( Selena Gomez ),  Candy ( Vanessa Hudgens ), Brittany ( Ashley Benson ) and Cotty ( Rachel Korine ) plans on going to Spring Break. While short on cash they decide to rob a café, to get enough money for the journey. The robbery turns out succesfull, and the girls are now on the way to the ultimate party place. While the girls party hard, everything goes terribly wrong. While behaving outrageous, the young girls are arrested. Suddenly they are bailed out by a man called Alien ( James Franco ). He have noticed the girls , and offer them to stay at his mansion. Faith becomes uncomfortable with the lifestyle Alien lives, and decide to leave. She tries to get the other girls to go with her, but they want to stay. The girls are offered to help Alien do criminal jobs, to make more money. Since the girls needs more money, they don´t say no to more cash. At a strip club, Alien meets his biggest enemy Big Arch ( Gucci Mane ). Archie warns Alien to stop Selling drugs in his territory, but Alien does not take the threat seriously. Archie orders a drive by shooting on Aliens car, where Cotty is shot in the arm. Cotty have had enough of this, and decide to go home. Candy and Brittany decide to stay and revenge Big Arch. But their plan is not as easy as it seems.

The bright colors, the intense scenes, the top quality acting, there are so many good things to say about Spring Breakers. It´s a ride straight to hell, where everyone lives for today, and nothing else matters. James Franco delivers a character, who never will grow up, but lives on to party and get cash, that he never seems to realise he should stop, and see a different lifestyle. Director Harmony Korine, who mostly directed short films earlier, takes us straight inside the mad world of Spring Break, with his own vision and style. And i have to say, he does a splendid job on capturing the feeling of Spring Break, with a much more darker tone than we are used to see. All these young girls so vulnerable, and they have no idea how bad things can go. It´s the realism captured on screen that gets more interesting, while you travel on this journey between party´s and criminality. The young girls act really well, and really capture the look of Spring Break. Who would have thought Vanessa Hudgens could act this good ? Spring Breakers is a blast, not just because of the delightful screenplay, but so many clever details are delivered along this journey. And the colors, i just love all the wonderful colors that Spring Breakers shine throughout the movie. If you thought the parties at American Pie were wild, you really need to see over this side. Trust me, no party will go as wild as this one, for a long time.

Rating: DDDD

måndag 1 juli 2013

Identity Thief

Did you know that Jason Bateman stars with 2 Swedish actors in Disconnect ? Yes, it is true. You can see both Michael Nykvist and Alexander Skarsgård in this thriller, great to see Swedish actors get more space in fresh movies. Usually i enjoy Jason Bateman in comedies, remember the hillarious The Change-Up and Horrible Bosses ? He can take on different characters, and make them fit right in the storyline, with his own way of acting. With Identity Thief, Jason Bateman works together again with director Seth Gordon, who directed Horrible Bosses. Considering that they worked so well together last time, is the magic still there, or is this just another comedy easy to forget ?

Diana ( Melissa McCarthy ) steal other peoples identites, and take their money, using different credit cards. Every day seems like a big party, until she gets arrested. Before she is arrested, she manage to get personal information of Sandy Patterson ( Jason Bateman ), and find another victim to take money from. Sandy have no idea what is about to happen, so he continue his ordinary life. Until he gets a call from Florida, about an appointment at a hair salon. The problem is, Sandy does not even live close to Florida, so he is very confused. While at work, his co-worker Daniel Casey ( John Cho ) wants to talk to him in the garage. Sandy finds out Daniel is starting their own firm, and want Sandy to join them, he agrees. But suddenly, all hell breaks loose. Sandy´s card is declined, no money left. Police contact Sandy, with information of who took all his money, but there is a problem. They can´t arrest the woman guilty named Diana, because she needs to be in Denver, to get arrested. Sandy come up with an idea, what if he could transport Diana on his own from Florida to Denver ? Police agree with the idea. Sandy go out on a road trip to bring Diana to Denver, to make sure she gets convicted. But what Sandy does not know, is that this road trip is not going to be that easy.

Have you seen the classic action comedy Midnight Run with Robert De Niro ? If you have, you will recognize yourself. Identity Thief looks almost like a updated version of this classic motion picture, but this is not as good as Midnight Run. Still, if you enjoy vulgar humour, and pretty good acting on this bounty hunter ride, you are in for a treat. Melissa McCarthy finds a way to do her character Diana, to show us how tragic it is, when you are desperate to find friends, and the only way to get them is to steal money and lie. So deep within all the comedy, there is a tragedy beneath, and that´s one of the reason this story works well. Melissa McCarthy shows that women with curves can deliver comedy, and that is great. What about Jason Bateman ? He plays pretty stiff at some moments, but considering his job it fits the character. One of my personal favourite scenes is when Big Chuck is invited, in a hotel room for sex. He really is big, but not in the way you would think. Identity Thief is a popcorn treat for those who enjoys a comedy, without glamour and champagne. Not the best work from director Seth Gordon, but still enjoyable enough to check out.

Rating: DDD

A Good Day To Die Hard

If there is one actor, who made action movies you remember from the 80´s and in the 90´s, it has to be Bruce Willis. The first Die Hard movie is without a doubt one of the best action motion pictures ever made, and i really enjoyed the sequels that came along. The Last Boyscout is a classic, Striking Distance was pretty good also. The good thing about Bruce Willis, is that when he did his classic character John McClane, he knew how to make him realistic emotionally. The action scenes may not be realistic, but at least the character is an icon. As he turned up in both The Expendables movies, it was great to see him doing something, together with classic action stars. Die Hard 4.0 may not have been the best sequel to Die Hard, but i still enjoyed it, since the plot worked well, as well as Bruce Willis acting. And here we are, a 5th Movie released, with John McClane, this time in Moscow. Is the latest Die Hard an action feast for all of the old school fans, or just a sequel we will soon forget ?

Jack McClane ( Jai Cortney ) is arrested in Moscow, suspected of assassination. But he agree to testify against government whistleblower Yuri Komarow ( Sebastian Koch ). Jack´s father John McClane ( Bruce Willis ) finds out his son will testify in Moscow, and decide to travel there to support him. An explosion inside the courthouse, is rigged by Viktor Chargarin ( Sergei Kolesnikov ). Jack breaks free and take Yuri with him. John confronts his son, but they are soon on the run, after Alik ( Radivoje Bukvić ) and his men chase them off the streets of Moscow. While they find a safe place to hide, John finds out his son has been a CIA officer in an undercover operation, for 3 years. Jack´s partner Collins ( Cole Hauser ) demands that Komarow reveal the loctaion of secret files, that is supposed to have convicting evidence of Chagarin. Suddenly Collins is killed by Chargarin´s men, and Jack, John and Yuri manage to escape once again. On their way to Ukraine, they think they might have found the location of the secret files. But something is not right, and the truth may be harder than anyone expected.

I respect Bruce Willis, he can be a great actor with the right material and with the right director. A Good Day To Die Hard have some great action scenes, but hold on.....where is John McClane ? He says his name is John McClane in the movie, but he does not sound like him ? Unfortunately mr Willis decided to do this sequel, and he does not look very interested in the character we all grew up to love. Yes we get explosions, big guns, but something is missing ? Oh yes, a good plot, and a good villain. We don´t get any of that here, it´s more about how much we can blow into pieces, and how many cars we can damage. I love the old Die Hard movies, because they were both entertaining and had great action scenes. But this is just a sequel made, without heart and soul from the older movies. A Good Day To Die Hard ? Not really, it´s more like A Bad Day To Watch Die Hard 5.

Rating: DD