lördag 31 augusti 2013

John Dies At The End

Making a movie from a novel is not easy. Especially if the novel becomes loved by people, who love a very different story. John Dies At The End is one example, this novel may not have been the biggest best seller of all time, but still got attention for being original. Published first as a webseries, all the stories were collected an published in 2007 into a novel by author David Wong. When the buzz started about John Dies At The End, was to become a motion picture, fans were pretty skeptical. How can you make a movie on a novel like this ? With the legendary actors Paul Giamatti and Clancy Brown onboard the project, is this motion picture a very cool original adaptation, or is this a failure ?

David Wong ( Chase Williamson ) claims he have psychic powers. While meeting reporter Arnie Blondenstone ( Paul Giamatti ) at a restaurant, he tells him stories of strange happenings, while Arnie is not sure if he belive him. As the story begins, David wakes up when his cellphone rings. It is his friend John Cheese ( Rob Mayes ) who is calling. He have a customer who needs their help. Since both David and John try to help dead people who come back, they have their own business. This girl that contact John, claims her dead boyfriend has come back and never leave her alone. They agree to visit her house to see if they can talk to her dead boyfriend, but something seems wrong. They find no evidence of his existance, instead it turns out the girl tricked them into a trap, who explodes into snakes and reform into a monster of meat of sausages from the freezer. The meat creature wants a showdown with it´s nemesis, TV infomercial psychic Albert Marconi ( Clancy Brown ). David arrange to get Albert on phone to talk the the creature, as Albert destroy the creature with his special Powers through their conversation. Back at the restaurant, David begins to tell another story, where he is at a party, and meet a strange jamaican guy. He can tell David anything he want to know, he even know what he dreamed about last night. David is confused and leave the party, and wakes up, John is calling. He sounds very afraid, and beg David to come to his appartment. John claims someone is after him, but David can´t see no one. He finds a very strange needle, with black content. He asks John what this is, but John does not want to give information. But this needle might be the answer to what is going on.

I have not read this novel, so i can´t say i know if i enjoyed the novel more than the movie. I did hear an interview with director Don Coscarelli, as he explained he had to leave some parts of the novel out of his movie adaption, because it would have been hard to make everything fit into the storyline. So looking overall, what we are served, this is a very special adaption. Imagine a slice of David Lynch and The Cohen Brothers, with some elements of Sam Raimi ? Yes, this is definetely nothing for fans of One Direction. I love original movies that can stand on their own, even if they borrow influences from classic motion pictures and still deliver something fresh. John Dies At The End have so many strange ways to go, you have to follow to understand what the message is, or trust me you will be lost. And this is what i really enjoy about John Dies At The End, this is a weird movie in many ways, that feels interesting enough to find an audience, who enjoy original stories. Director Don Coscarelli use many ideas and try and puzzle these parts of the novel, all together into a odd mixture. There are some moments you feel certain details could have been better, but i have to say i like this. Finally someone tries to do something that does not follow the same pattern, give John Dies At The End a chance, you might actually enjoy this, even if you are skeptical. A Swedish release of the dvd and blu ray is coming out this fall, but you can watch this on Itunes, or buy the dvd/ blu ray from Usa, there are some great special features on that release.

Rating: DDD

fredag 30 augusti 2013

The Heat

Sandra Bullock is actually one of the few women around, who have both combined a successfull comedy genre with action. It did not work every time of course, but she is very talented, for the most part. Let´s forget about Divine Secrets Of The Ya-Ya Sisterhood, by all means don´t even watch it. I noticed actress Melissa McCarthy first in tv series Mike & Molly, where she turned out to be a great comedy talent. I did review her box office hit Identity Thief earlier this year, where she delivered once again. With these 2 actors combined, in an action cop comedy, does The Heat have what it takes to entertain, or is this another failed version of Lethal Weapon ?

FBI Special Agent Sarah Ashburn ( Sandra Bullock ) is a very skilled, and professional agent. But her co workers does not like her, and the pressure is on Ashburn´s boss Captain Woods ( Tom Wilson ) to do something about this mess. Woods decide to send Ashburn to investigate a drug kingin named Adam Larkin ( Taran Killam ), as Woods promise to consider to make her as his replacement. But she has to solve the case and work better with other people, or she will not get this opportunity. While she arrives to Boston, she finds out she has a new partner, a police officer named Shannon Mullins ( Melissa McCarthy ). The biggest problem is, Shannon hates her new partner, and she hates everyone. Even though this looks bad, they are both sent out to work together, to try and solve the case of Larkin. Confronted by 2 DEA agents, they realise they are being watched as the investigation goes on. Ashburn discover that Mullins brother Jason Mullins ( Michael Rapaport ) may be connected to Larkins organisation. He was recently released from prison,  and Ashburn have an idea. Shannon needs to find out if her brother know anything about Larkin, that could help their search. Jason tips his sister about an abandoned car, where a dead drug dealer can be found. While exemination of the body is done, they found chemicals on the dead drug dealers shoes. The chemicals lead them to a abandoned paint factory, where they arrest Julian ( Michael McDonald ), a member of the Larkin organisation. They try to question him, but with no luck. Time is running out, so Ashburn and Shannon needs to try some new methods.

The plot is not that important, instead it is the comic timing from Bullock and Melissa that works so well. Especially when they need to help each other out, in some very embarassing moments. Remember all those time Martin Lawrence tried to make this genre look cool ? The big difference is that director Paul Feig, finds a great combination of vulgar humour, and action scenes, that don´t go over the top like Lawrence usually do. One scene you will remember is the dance scene, at a local bar, when both women become very drunk, and dance to classic Dee-Lite song Groove Is In The Heart. Or at the office when Melissa talks about her boss balls, how tiny they are. Its vulgar, but this is a funny comedy. Maybe a bit long, almost 2 hours, but i can´t say i am dissapointed. The Heat sets out to do what it is supposed to do, entertain an audience, and it works. I heard rumors about a sequel, not sure if that is a good idea, but for now check this one out, if youre looking for a good laugh.

Rating: DDD

söndag 18 augusti 2013


Most of the time, when you read about new movie releases, you get excited. Or you might read about an upcoming movie, you never heard of, that have no famous actors, but suddenly becomes one of the most loved motion pictures by critics and audiences. This is exactly what happened in 2009, with the release of District 9. With legendary Peter Jackson on board as a producer, i got kind of excited. Especially when i read that director Neill Blomkamp, only used a budget of 20 million for his sci fi project. The first time i watched District 9, i simply loved this story. The most interesting part of this motion picture was the idea, of aliens being locked up in a certain area, like black people were in the 1800´s, like slaves. Even if the slavery did end, people with different nationalities are still being treated different, you can ask yourself, why ? So now it´s time for another sci fi action movie, but with a different story, starring Matt Damon and legendary actress Jodi Foster. Is Elysium as good as District 9, or is this another sci fi blockbuster without intelligent content ?

In the year 2154, two classes of people are divided, the wealthy and the poor. The poor work down on Earth, while the rich people live on the space station called Elysium. Here on Elysium there are no sick people, no poverty, while on the overpopulated Earth people struggle every day to survive. High-ranking Elysium government minister, Jessica Delacourt ( Jodi Foster ), make sure no immigrants from Earth lands on Elysium, with the help of mercenary C M Krueger ( Sharlto Copley ), who shoot down 2 of the spaceships heading towards Elysium. One spacecraft manage to land, but the immigrants are arrested. On Earth, Max De Costa, an ex-con living in Los Angeles is heading towards work, at one of Armadyne's factories , the company that built the space station Elysium. One day at his shift, he is badly injured from a industrial accident, and Max is exposed to lethal levels of radiation. The Armadyne Company refuse to help him, and leave him with some pills. He is told he will only survive a few days, and the only way to get treatment is on Elysium. Max agree to work for Spider ( Wagner Moura ), a smuggler known for his brutality. Spider send Max and a team of soldiers to steal information from John Carlyle, the CEO of Armadyne.  The mission does not go as planned, but they succeed to steal the corporate information. On Elysium, Jessica is fired from her government minister position, for breaking rules over her own descicions on killing immigrants from Earth. But she still keep in contact with Krueger, to wipe out the team of Max. Badly injured, Max finds his way to the hospital where his childhood friend Frey Santiago ( Alice Braga ) works as a nurse. He does not want to stay in the hospital, because he knows Krueger is looking for him, so Frey brings him to her home. Jessica is determined to get Max killed, so Krueger goes hunting to finish him, and his plans to go to Elysium.

Even if i do enjoy District 9 more than Elysium, i still had a great time at the Cinema while watching Elysium. This is a very visually splendid sci fi movie, for all of you who loved the style of District 9. There are some details that reminds me of Neill Blomkamp´s earlier work, but that is ok, because Elysium have something different to say. Mr Blomkamp is one of those directors, with such great camera skills, he knows exactly what he is doing, and his work looks great on the big screen. Just look at the space station Elysium, so detailed in every way you feel bedazzled. Matt Damon does one of his best perfomances in a while, showing once again why he can do very different characters than we are used to see him do. What about Jodi Foster ? For over 30 years she have delivered in many classics, and smaller budget productions, and still today she is one of her generations best actors. With some really massive special effects, we get a sci fi action movie filled with lots of tastefull scenes. Finally we can forget about After Earth, and move on to a much better place in the world of Blomkamp.

Rating: DDDD

lördag 17 augusti 2013

Only God Forgives

If you have not seen Drive with Ryan Gosling, you made the biggest mistake of your life. This is one of those motion pictures that delivers such a strong impact, you won´t forget it. And if you have read my earlier reviews this year, i gave The Place Beyond The Pines the biggest rating of any movie release this year, and praised Ryan Goslings fantastic performance. If you have not seen that movie, buy it. After Drive made such an impact, both critics and cinema visitors loved the story of a stunt car racer going on the wrong path. I was very excited to hear director Nicolas Winding Refn was going to Thailand for his next motion picture, with a completely different story. Is Only God Forgive a knockout experience, or has the hype been too big since Drive ?

Julian ( Ryan Gosling ) is a box club owner in Bangkok, Thailand. The boxing club is not only used to teach boxing, but also used for a massive drug smuggling opertaion. Julian´s older brother Billy ( Tom Burke ) rapes and murders a prostitute, until he finally surrender to the police. Lieutenant Chang ( Vithaya Pansringarm ) arrives to the murder scene. He informs the girls father Choi Yan Lee ( Kovit Wattanakul ), and take him to the crime scene where his daughter lies all covered in blood. Ltn Chang give Choi an opportunity, to do whatever he wants to do with his daughters killer, who is in the same room as Billy. Choi brutally murder his daugthers murderer, as he think this was allowed. But Ltn Chang cut Choi´s arm off, for letting his daughter work as a prostitiute. Jilian finds out his brother is dead, as he and his crew goes out to find out the truth from Choi. He reveals that he was forced to kill Billy by Ltn Chang. Julian spares his life and is very interested in the Angel Of Vengeance ( Ltn Choi ). Julian´s mother Crystal ( Kristin Scott Thomas ) arrives to Bangkok to identify Billy´s corpse. Crystal order Julian to kill the person responsible of Billy´s murder, but Julian refuse, since he believes Billy deserved to be killed, the way he murdered a young prostitute. Crystal does not take no for an answer, and still demand that Angel Of Vengeance must die.

If you were hoped that we would get a motion picture at the same quality as Drive, you will be dissapointed. Visionally it looks great, and the brutal scenes are well made, but the story is a big mess. Some scenes jumps across each other, while you try and keep up with the storyline, which makes it hard to concentrate at certain moments. The colors look great, and the scenery of Thailand fits the style, but somewhere along the way i feel something is missing. Ryan Gossling is one of this generations best actors, unfortunately he does not get much to do here, and not many lines either to deliver something unique. Finally when Kristin Scott Thomas does her entrance, we get something to be excited about. She can do many great characters in many different genre movies. Here she tries to be a real nasty bitch, and she actually does pretty well. Director Nicolas Winding Refn is a very talented director, and have a bright future ahead. But with Only God Forgives he left us something unfinished, that could have been something to look forward too. There are parts i love while watching Only God Forgives, but suddenly some very bizarre scenes turn up and make a big mess. Such a shame, but at least this is not terrible. If you love David Lynch inspired motion pictures, you might enjoy this one, but for those who loved Drive, i suggest you watch it again and leave this one for the art inspired people.

Rating: DD

onsdag 14 augusti 2013

After Earth

I have seen so many great movies with Will Smith since the 90´s. He is an actor with many skills, mostly in comedy, but actually works very well in the action genre also. And of course, he did do Wild Wild West, that most of us forgot over the years. One of my personal favourite movies with Will Smith is still Independence Day. The special effects may not look as great as they used to, but this is still a great sci fi action movie with great acting. I, Robot turned out to be a interesting view on technology about the future, that maybe robots is not the answer to all our problems. In 2006 we got to see Will Smith´s own son Jaden Smith in the drama motion picture The Pursuit Of Happyness. For a drama movie, this was actually pretty good, and for such a young age Jaden did very well. Now they are both back in a new movie together, After Earth, and it is directed by M Night Shyamalan, remember his classic The Sixth Sense ? With all these great names, mixed into a sci fi movie, is this finally a proof that M Night is a very talented director, or is this business as usual ?

Since humans had to leave Earth from an Alien invasion, they are forced to travel to a new world named Nova Prime. A thousand years later,  The Ranger Corps ( a peacekeeping organisation ) is commanded by General Cypher Raige ( Will Smith ). He fights aliens known as S´krell who are ready to invade Nova Prime. But with a powerful weapon known as Ursas ( large blind predator creatures ), The Rangers Corps manage to defeat the S´krells. Unfortunately Cypher´s daughter Senshi ( Zoe Kravitz ) is killed by a Ursa. Her brother Kitai Raige ( Jaden Smith ), blåmes himself for the death of Cypher, that he could not save her. As the years go by, Kitai is training to become a member of The Ranger Corps. But he is not good enough yet, so his teacher can´t let him continue training. Cypher tries to talk to Kitai, that he can become a soldier, if he continue to work hard. Cypher´s wife Faia ( Sophie Okonedo ), convinces Cypher to take Kitai with him on his last journey. However, the spacecraft is hit by an asteroid shower, and they are forced to crash land on Earth. Cypher is badly injured, so he order Kitai to continue on his own. Kitai needs to go inside the backup beacon, to send a signal home to Nova Prime. But out in the woods, Kitai is about to fight for his life.

It is a shame M Night Shyamalan have taken his skills, right down the drain, and left us with this garbage. After Earth may have lots of special effects, but the acting is really awful. Will Smith can be a great actor, so why does he do this ? Because he is a scientologist ? Most likely, but still this is nothing worth your time. After Earth is a sci fi movie, with no plot. Well, there is a story, but it´s just as thin as anus hair. What about Jaden Smith ? I enjoyed his performance in the reboot of Karate Kid, but here ? This is a big disgrace that so many talents wasted their time in this project. The action scenes are boring, the so called adventure is just about as exciting as picking your nose. I really hope M Night can recover from this, or i am throwing in a towel, i almost have had enough.

Rating: D