torsdag 31 december 2015

And the best movie of 2015 is.......

Another year have passed by, and so many movies have been seen. Every year always bring us highlights, average releases and....terrible ones we would love to forget about. But one thing is for sure, movies sure make life better. 

So of course i have to look back now, as the year of 2015 is coming to an end. And i choose to pick the film i enjoyed best this year. I did see some really good films in 2015, but only one film got my highest rating. So without any doubts, my pick for the best movie of this year is.......


Wow, now this was a fantastic experience, sitting in the audience in january, and seeing such a fantastic film. Birdman had everything, a fantastic cast, acting on the highest level, brilliant cinematography, and of course Birdman won 4 Academy Awards. Best Picture, Best Director, Oroginal Screenplay and for Cinematography. I realise that Birdman was released in 2014 in some countries, between october and november. But the swedish premiere for the film was January 9th, in 2015, so i did not see it until the swedish premiere.

Birdman can not be described in an ordinary way, it is a film about life, passion, sadness, frustration, and taking chances. Of course i bought myself a copy of the film, because this is a film that should be seen over and over again. Michael Keaton proved that he have done the best performance so far in his acting career, he is absolutely fantastic in the lead role. Edward Norton, Emma Stone and Naomi Watts all did wonderful performances in Birdman, and i feel so much love for this film.

Thank you all readers worldwide, i love you all, and i will see you in 2016.

Promise me something, as we enter a new year. Support B action movies with Dolph Lundgren, Scott Adkins, Jean-Claude Van Damme, and all the action stars we all love. We need to keep the B movie industry alive.

Happy new year all my wonderful readers!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Cheers from Daniel

onsdag 30 december 2015


Does the name Jon Gries sound familiar ?

Of course it does. But if you say no, i think we need to have a talk. Do you remember the cult classic film Napoleon Dynamite ? I hope everyone have seen it by now, it is one of those films that you have to see, or you will never die happy. Jon Gries was of course Uncle Rico in Napoleon Dynamite, the uncle who wish he would have been a big football star, but is a salesman instead. Jon Gries made Uncle Rico so unique, you just have to love his style, and his personality. What many people may not know, is that Jon Gries have done several films over the years. Did you know that he was actually one of the werewolves in Fright Night Part 2 ? But let us take a look at some of his more serious work. He have been in all Taken films with Liam Neeson, as the character Casey. He have also been in a very good in a low budget horror film called Skinwalker Ranch. Another film i have not seen yet, but heard that it is good, is a film called Bad Turn Worse, where Jon Gries also is included in the cast. I know that he is in the new thriller Falsely Accused, with Rosanna Arquette, that´s coming out in 2016. So we will definetely see him again, on different projects. Even if he seems to work more on independent films these days, i can´t help to be curious to see what he will do next. I came across the film Faults, while reading on South by Southwest ( SXSW ) Festival. I would never have known about the film, unless i would have read what films would be shown on the festival. It took some time before i could see the film, since it is only released on dvd in USA so far. Some independent films are hard to get, and i like to take on challenges, especially on films that are not screened almost nowhere. And this is where i came across Faults, an independet film that seemed to have an interesting plot. I managed myself to get a copy online, since i try and support indepenent film makers. With a great lead actor, Jon Gries, in the cast, and Mary Elizabeth Winstead, who have done many really good performances, is Faults surprisingly good, or did the trailer promise too much and left us disappointed ?

Ansel Roth ( Jon Gries ), is a writer and cult specialist, who tries to make money on his fake career. Since he refuse to play for his meal, at the hotel he is staying at, he is forced to be kicked out. At this hotel, he is already booked to hold a presentation on cults. As he beings his presentation, he is inturrupted by one of his previous customers, who says that Ansel killed his mother, and did not help her at all from the cult church she left. Ansel have no money, and his manager Terry ( Leland Orser ) threaten that he have to pay him the rest of his debt in one week, or he will be in serious trouble. As he packs his stuff, from the failed presentation, an old couple comes forward to ask for his help. Paul ( Chris Ellis ) and his wife Evelyn ( Beth Grant ) are worried about their daughter Claire ( Mary Elizabeth Winstead ). She is trapped inside a cult church, and her parents are worried that she might be in trouble. Since Ansel is broke, and need money to pay his manager Terry, he accept the mission to try and help Claire out of the cult. He arrange a kidnapping of Claire, and take her to a motel. Here he begins his sessions, to try and make Claire understand that her parents want her back. Is she really brainwashed, or is there another side of this story ?

I was supposed to see Faults earlier this year, but ended up seeing it very late. But to be honest, i am glad i saved this film as my final review of this year. Faulst is an intelligent film, with different perspectives when it comes to scam artists. We have the main person, Ansel Rost, really well acted by Jon Gries, who is an scam artist. He belive he is helping people to leave religious cult organisations, but is he really doing that ? Is he professional at all, or have any skills in this area ? You could say that Ansel could have been a pastor in a religious cult, or in a very strict church. He belive that he knows exactly what to do, when he clearly have no structure to make his image work. And that is also typical cult leaders, they manage to find people who belive in them, until the day comes that everything falls apart. The kidnapped girl Claire, is played by actor Mary Elizabeth Winstead , and she does her character in an honest way. How would you feel being taken away from a cult, where you feel is your home ? She is actually one of the producers of Faulst, and that is an interesting detail. The most interesting view in this film, is if Claire really is brainwashed, or is her parents the ones who are insane ? You have to ask yourself that question, because once you see certain details in the parents behavior, you understand perhaps why Claire left. Director Riley Sterns have directed short films in the past, and Faults is his directorial debut. I have to say, for his first full feature film, he have managed to make this a good debut. We have interesting characters, great performances, and influences from The Coen Brothers included. I am looking forward to see if he will direct another feature film in the future, Faults proves that he knows how to make an independent film. If you don´t like a mixture of black comedy, religious issues and odd personalities, i have a feeling that you won´t enjoy this, However, if you do like the sound of this mixture, i suggest you get yourself a dvd copy, because Faults is not easy to find in video stores. This way you also support indepenent film makers, and i feel that they deserve to be recognized for their work. Faults is an odd film, but i enjoy the concept of the film, including the wonderful performance of lead actor Jon Gries. Remember people, avoid religious cults, just see what happened with FLDS and Warren Jeffs, people need to wake up and learn who the real God is, i am talking about Dolph Lundgren of course. A holy man who both kicks ass, and say brilliant dialogue, what more could we ask for ?

Rating: DDD

måndag 28 december 2015

The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 2

Movie adaptations of novels can be tricky to make. Either you follow the book, or make a film based on the book, using most of the details and make some changes. One of the problems sometimes is that some directors, does not even follow the book at all. There are plenty of examples of movie adaptations, but we don´t need to get into details. What is most important if you are making a movie, based on a beloved book, make sure you know the material. I remember back in 2012, i was hearing a lot of talk about a movie adaptation of Hunger Games, by author Suzanne Collins. I remember my first reaction, i hope this is not another Twilight inspired film, with cheesy acting and a terrible storyline. Not excited about this movie adaption, i still decided to give it a try, especially because Jennifer Lawrence was in the lead role. As i walked out of the theatre, i was pleasantly surprised. This film was in many ways a really well made teenage action movie, but with a much more emotional level than any of the Twilight films. The character Katniss Everdeen, felt like a freedom fighter, that really wanted to make things right, when the world is falling apart. As the sequel Catching Fire came out, we got a really good sequel in our hands. The biggest reason why Catching Fire turned out so well was because of Jennifer Lawrence, she is an amazing actor. From the first moment i saw her do a fantastic performance in Winter´s Bone, i was bedazzled. You could tell that, for her young age, she knew exactly what acting is all about. She also proved herself once again, doing another really wonderful performance in Silver Linings Playbook. Both of these films prove that she is one of the best actors of our time. If you thought she would stop here, she proved herself again in American Hustle by director David O. Russel. Just her presence on screen, makes you feel warm inside. She is without a doubt one of my favourite actors, and i have a feeling that she will continue to deliver wonderful performances. When i watched Mockingjay Part 1 in a cinema, the first part of the final Hunger Cames film, i was really dissapointed, And it was not Jennifer Lawrence fault, she did do her performance well, but the film was not what i expected. Boring, slow and uninspiring, are just some of the problems with the first part of Mockingjay. I remember walking out of the cinema, hoping that the next chapter would change everything, that was wrong with Part 1. While i was in Stockholm in december, i got a chance to see the final film Mockingjay Part 2 in their brand new IMAX cinema. Since i was curious on both this final film, and to experience a film in an IMAX format, i made sure to get hold on tickets. Since i felt dissapointed with the first Mockinjay film, is this finally a worthy last chapter of the well made Hunger Games films, or is this another dissapointment ?

Katniss Everdeen ( Jennifer Lawrence ) is recovering after her being attacked by Peeta Mellark ( Josh Hutcherson ), who was brainwashed by the Capitol. The rebels attack and disable the Capitol´s weapon arsenal in District 2. Katniss tries to rally the loyalists against the Capitol, but ends up being shot, and injured, in the confrontation. Despite that Katniss plan to kill President Snow ( Donald Sutherland ), personally, she is stopped by President Alma Coin ( Julianne Moore ). She will not allow Katniss to join into the battle against Snow. Instead, Alma Coin assign Katniss on the " Star Squad " with Gale Hawthorne ( Liam Hemsworth ), Finnick Odair ( Sam Claflin ) and Cressida ( Natalie Dormer ). Their mission is to go inside the Capitol invasion, providing with video of their incursion for propaganda purposes. Alma also sends Peeta Mellark ( Josh Hutcherson ) to join the squad, including Boggs ( Mahershala Ali ), who is chosen to be the team leader. Even if Katniss knows the rules, she is still planning to stop the tyranny of President Snow. With this team, she might have a bigger chance to end this misery, before more innocent people are killed.

If you have read my earlier reviews of The Hunger Games films, you might have noticed my low rating for Mockingjay Part 1. I might have been one of the most hard critics on that film, but there was a good reason for it. Mockinjay Part 1 was so damn boring, so it did not matter if the acting was good. The other Hunger Games films managed to keep me interested, while Mockingjay Part 1 felt drawn out. It is not a bad movie, i just don´t feel that it was a worthy part 1 of this final film. Luckily, after seeing Mockingjay Part 2, i can say that director Francis Lawrence must have listened. The action is much more brutal, the action scenes are much more detailed, and we do get to see a much more tougher side of Katniss. Jennifer Lawrence proves once again why she is perfect in the lead role, she is absolutely splendid as Katniss, and here in Mockingjay Part 2 she is more tough than ever. While Part 1 moved slow, and had a lot of dialogue, Part 2 manage to move away and go more for pure action. And this is one of the reasons why i really enjoyed this final film, we needed a big last chapter. There are many great acting performances here, especially from Julianne Moore and Donald Sutherland. The young cast also does very well, and this is one of the strength of The Hunger Games movie adaptations. They really made sure that they needed to act good, instead of doing the same mistake that the Twilight films did. One of my absolute favourite scenes in Mockingjay Part 2 is down in the Capitol sewer, where they try and get away from beasts known as " mutts ". They almost look like a mixture of the mutated vampires of Blade 2, and the action in these scenes are really well made. I was watching this in an IMAX theatre, and i just loved to see this in this format. Another really great scene, is in the end, when Katniss head towards the Snow mansion, while people are being killed in the streets. you can tell that director Francis Lawrence wanted to make sure that we would have a final battle, in a big way. The ending is not good, way to cheesy, and i suppose that it was done this way, just to make it simple. But overall, this is a really good ending of The Hunger Games, and Jennifer Lawrence is the biggest reason why these films are so good. Mockingjay Part 2 will definetely please the fans, and the audiences, if you were hoping for a hard hitting final chapter. Do not remake The Hunger Games, did you hear that Hollywood ? Jennifer Lawrence is Katniss Everdeen on the big screen, and nothing will ever change that. I am really looking forward to see Lawrence in her latest film Joy in cinemas, i might actually see it next week if i get the time. Until then, make sure you see this final chapter, i guarantee you will be much more pleased with this one, compared to Mockingjay Part 1.

Rating: DDDD

fredag 25 december 2015

The Vatican Tapes

Many years ago, i think it must have been the year 2000, i was supposed to go on a vacation with male friend Patrick to Rome. We had planned everything, and was about the book the tickets, when my boss at work says i can´t go. There were 2 people sick, and we had almost no one that could take the working shifts. We were of course very dissapointed, but said we would do this journey someday. So far, it has not happened. Instead, i have travelled with my wife a lot, we have been to many places in Europe, including much more far away in Thailand. I know my wife want to visit Rome, to see all the historical places, and who knows, we might even visit the Vatican. Speaking of the Vatican. I still hear stories that there are actually priests performing exorcisms, worldwide. You would think that this is just a story, and just fictional. I don´t know really what to belive about this, i think it is up to everyone to decide if you feel this is fake or real. I would like to see an exorcism performed on Michelle Duggar, she does seem to be posessed by Satan, you can see it in her eyes. Exorcism in the movie industry is classic, and we have loads of releases. But in my personal opinion, only one exorcism film is the best of them all. I am talking about The Exorcist from 1973.  Max Von Sydow did a really good performance as Father Merrin, and the film shocked audiences worldwide. Director William Friedkin managed to capture the exorcism rituals in his own unique way, using well made practical effects with well made make up on Linda Blair. There are a lot of exorcism films out there, so you really don´t know if anyone of them are going to be any good. I usually just give them a chance, but not many of them manage to deliver enough horror quality. One of the films i can remember right now that was actually alright was The Possession Of Michael King. A small budget found footage horror film, that not many people have seen, but well made considering the budget. If you have not seen it, i suggest you give it a chance. Earlier this year i was hearing rumours about a new exorcism horror film called The Vatican Tapes. Since i always enjoy checking out new horror film releases, i had to see if this could be a pleasent surprise in the exorcism genre. Do we finally have a good exorcism film in our hands, or is this another release that will be forgotten, just as fast as Peter André´s solo albums ?

Angela Holmes ( Olivia Taylor Dudley ) is an ordinary young woman, living a normal life with friends and family. But she seems to be changing, her personality is not the same as she used to be. She is becoming more agressive, and everywhere she goes, accidents seem to happen. After a serious car accident, she is taken to hospital. A priest named Father Oscar Lozano ( Michael Péna ) see that something is very wrong, and suspect she could be possessed. Two exorcist experts in the Vatican, Cardinal Brunn ( Peter Andersson ) and Vicar Imani ( Djimon Hounsou ) are contacted, to try and help Angela. Is Angela really possessed or is there another reason to her behavior ?

I usually try and check out exorcism horror films, if i notice that we have some new ones coming out. The Vatican Tapes is actually not that new, it was showing in cinemas during the summer of 2015, but i got a chance to see it through the american dvd release. Now, just because a horror film includes exorcism rituals, does not make it a good film. You need a good structure of the story, or you need acting to make the film interesting, in case the story is thin. In the case of The Vatican Tapes, there is no excuse for bad editing, and jumping the next scene into each other, and with bad acting included. The acting is actually really awful, i am trying to think the last time i saw acting on this level. Just like Kirk Cameron´s awful film Saving Christmas ? Maybe....not so bad as this one, but still, bad enough to make you feel frustration. There could have been an interesting plot if director Mark Neveldine would have used the Vatican properly, including well made exorcism scenes. Everything looks so cheap, even the exorcism possessions looks really silly at some moments. Let´s talk about director Mark Neveldine. He actually did a good action film back in 2006, called Crank, with Jason Statham. It was fast, impulsive, and well made. He did do the sequel called Crank: High Voltage also, but let´s forget about this one. Because his next film had very different styles, when we talk about Gamer and Jonah Hex. So you realise that he likes to take on different genres, with very different results. The problem with The Vatican Tapes is that you really don´t care about anything. You don´t care about the characters, or the story, so once the film ends the first thing that comes to mind is :- I think i might scratch my nuts. If you feel like watching an exorcism film, i suggest you go back to The Excorcist, or perhaps The Exorcism Of Emily Rose ( one of the few more modern exorcism films that turned out better than expected ). Just avoid The Vatican Tapes, it is not worth your precious time. Oh, i almost forgot. Swedish actor Peter Andersson is here, as one of the vatican exorcists. I hope he got a good paycheck, i see no other reason why he did this film.

My advice Hollywood, do a found footage horror film based on The Duggars Family, because one of them must be possessed by a demon, or most of them. Now, that should be interesting, especially if we have Peter Stormare as the catholic exorcism priest. Better call Michael Bay, i doubt he can say no to this concept.

Rating: D

onsdag 23 december 2015

The Ridiculous 6

Let me give you one good advice. Say the name Adam Sandler to a film critic and he or she will probably punch you in the face.

Why ?

Simply because a lot of critics hate Adam Sandler. I personally don´t hate him, he have actually done some good comedies over the years, especially the 1996 classic Happy Gilmore. I can honestly say i even enjoyed Big Daddy also, who else would dare to agree on that ? He have always had an certain style for almost all of his films, vulgar humour, that is really stupid, but sometimes funny. But he did prove himself, chocking probably the whole world with the very serious film Reign Over Me. A film that should have been a much bigger success, but did not get the recognition that Adam Sandler deserved for his performance. It is no surprise that he is still making films today, with the old school vulgar humour, and unfortunately i experienced Grown Ups 2. Don´t see this film, it is very awful indeed. He tried to become a bit more serious with a film called The Cobbler, where the premise looked good, while the final results did not match good enough. I have a feeling that most film critics have given up on him, that he will never make a good film again. I have a feeling he might suprise us again in the future, like he did with Reign Over Me. Just because he usuall make the same type of comedies, does not mean that he could change. After Grown Ups 2, i was not really excited to see any new films with Sandler for a while. Until i recently i discovered on Netflix, that the latest film of Adam Sandler, was released here, instead of in theatres. I had no idea that he have made an western comedy, i did not even know that he would put the film out in this format. Since many famous directors, and actors, have delivered quality productions with help of Netflix, i was kind of curious to see if Adam Sandler have managed to do something unexpected. I have not even seen a trailer of this film, so i had no idea what to expect. Considering that Sandler is know for makng under the belt comedies, is Ridicoulus 6 a step into a new positive direction, or is this back to the same vulgar concept we have seen him done too many times ?

In the Old West, a man named Tommy Stockborn ) is living with Native Americans, where he is preparing himself to get married to his Native girlfriend named Smokin Fox ( Julia Jones ). Tommy have an in-run with a gang of bandits, led by Will Patch ( Will Forte ). They don´t like Native Americans, but Tommy beat them all up, as they stand no chance against him. One day, at the Native village, an old bank robber man named Frank Stockburn ( Nick Nolte ) arrives. He claims that he is the father of Tommy. Frank begin to tell Tommy, what happened to his mother when he was just a child. That she was murdered by a silhouetted man, wearing tatoos on his hand. Frank also tell Tommy that he have 50.000 dollars hidden, buried in a meadow, next to a pine tree. The reason Frank told Tommy this, is because he says that he is dying of consumption, and want Tommy and the Natives to have all the money. Unfortunately, the next day, a gang of bandits led by the ruthless Cicero ( Danny Trejo ). Frank is kidnapped and they want him to show them where he hided all that money. Tommy decides that he must get his father back to safety, so he resemble a gang on his own, with 5 half-brothers, Ramon ( Rob Schneider ), Lil´Pete ( Taylor Lautner ), Danny ( Luke Wilson ), Herm ( Jorge Garcia ) and Chico ( Terry Crews ). Together they ride off, to find the man who is said to be their father, and to make sure justice is done.

Now, i choose to look at this film in different ways. Is this a stupid film ? Yes. Is it any funny at all ? Actually, yes it is, more funny than i expected. And the reason i enjoyed this comedy is because of this list of actors, who all portrait so many crazy characters. Just look at the acting list in this film, and you might be surprised......

Adam Sandler
Nick Nolte
Rob Schneider
Danny Trejo
Luke Wilson
Jon Lovitz
David Spade
Harvey Keitel
Taylor Lautner
Norm MacDonald
Vanilla Ice
Steve Buscemi
Terry Crews

And many more, the list never ends. Let´s think for a moment, when was the last time we saw an acting list like this in the same film ? That does not happen very often. So we already know that The Ridiculous 6 is a stupid film, but that´s alright. If you just want to laugh, especially in a western comedy, made to look stupid, i can tell you that this film works. Kind of remind me of Cactus Jack with Kirk Douglas and Arnold Schwarzenegger, where Schwarzenegger had the best character name in history, called Handsome Stranger. We get sexism here, racism, slavery, you name it, Sandler makes fun of all kinds of subjects. Everything does not work, and you get a sense that some of the jokes feel pretty blend. But it is the cast that make this film funny, especially Taylor Lautner. I can´t belive i said that, since i hated the guy in the Twilight films. He is actually really funny as the hillbilly boy Lil´Pete. He sounds just like he got out from banjo duels in Deliverance, waiting to squeal like a pig. Another suprisingly funny character is Mark Twain, the legendary author of Huckelberry Finn. He is now a gangsta, and does his gangsta style, played by Vanilla Ice. The story is nothing you really care about, since it is not much of an story. So why would you want to see Ridiculous 6 at all ? Good question, well it depends on your kind of humour i suppose. If you don´t like Adam Sandler, or vulgar humour, you are going to hate this guaranteed. If you do like Adam Sandler, and just want a stupid comedy, making fun of the western genre, than this is the film for you. I understand why so many people hate this film, because i know Adam Sandler is seen as a jerk. But i try and look outside of the frame, and look at what we have. It have been a long time a funny western comedy have been released, and i am not talking about Lightning Jack with Paul Hogan and Cuba Gooding, Jr. This film actually reminds me more of the 80´s classic western comedy Three Amigos, with Checy Chase, Steve Martin and of course Martin Short. Director Frank Coraci have directed several of Sandler´s films like The Wedding Singer, The Waterboy, Click and Blended. Even if you know that the characters are stupid, and that the script as as thin as Coolio´s career at the moment, you can still get some good laughs here. The Ridiculous 6 is a stupid movie, but still makes fun of many stupid things, in a western film, that actually deliver some good laughs. I will probably the only man on this planet who laughed at this film, but that´s ok, i am at least no Josh Duggar or Kim Davis, so i am pretty safe. Buckle up boys, and let us ride into the sunset, but i can not guarantee what i will do next to the campfire. There might be some brokeback lessons ready for a long shot.

Rating: DDD

måndag 21 december 2015


In the 90´s, i listened to a lot of hip hop music, especially in the nu metal era, where metal was mixed up with hip hop. The list can go on forever when it comes to hip hop albums i used to play, but some of them were Snoop Dogg, Warren G, 2Pac, Cypress Hill, Busta Rhymes, Nas and many more. At the time when Clawfinger broke out with their debut album Deaf Dumb Blind, nu metal started to be a bigger part of my life. The hip hop scene may not be a pig part of my life nowdays, but i still listen, both to new tracks by legendary hip hop artists and new acts. One of my very favourite hip hop songs right now, is Snoop Doggs song So Many Pros. By the way, check out the music video. It is without a doubt one of the best music videos in a very long time. When i growed up, i used to select cd albums with a certain style within the hip hop genre. I usually only bought the ones that had hook up melodies, especially Snoop Dogg. His sound was at that time was just what we needed. I even had Cypress Hill on album, but they were never really good on whole albums if you asked me. Snoop Dogg had a completely different way to make albums, and i suppose that it was more my style. Since i grew up in a typical swedish neighbourhood, you really did not hear a lot of hip hop there. It was more of a Jan Johansen street, where everyone smiled like they were from a catalogue, straight from Kappahl. And you heard those terrible ballads that i wished would go away. Thankfully i turned my stereo up and played everything from hip hop, rock, metal, anything to make the swedish smörstekta ballads go away. I also remember playing the Gary Moore album Dark Days In Paradise also on high volume, actually his best album if you ask me. It was more dark, and raw, than many of his albums from the 80´s and 90´s. Speaking of hip hop, have you seen many films with hip hop music included ? Maybe some of you remember Boyz N The Hood ? I am guessing most of you would think of 8 Mile with Eminem, doing an amazing performance. It is still one of the best hip hop films ever made, and proved that Eminem was not only a rapper, but he could act also. I started reading this summer about a new hip hop film called Dope, that were being praised on film festivals. Some even called this one of the best films this year, so of course i had to check it out. Not knowing much about it, i got a chance to sit down and see it finally. Is this a new classic within hip hop films, or are the positive reviews not really true ?

Malcolm Adekanbi ( Shameil Moore ) is a very intelligent student, with a big passion for 90´s hip hop music. Not many people understands why he is not listening to modern day music, but Malcolm´s big passion is the 90´s. He is hoping that one day, he will go to Harvard University. He spends a lot of time with his 2 best friends, James " Jib " Caldones ( Tony Revolori ) and Cassandra " Diggy " Andrews ( Kiersey Clemons ), who all play in a band, inspired to mix different music styles. One day while Malcolm is on his way home, he is stopped by a street drug dealer named Dom ( ASAP Rocky ). Dom want to know why Malcolm loves the 90´s hip hop music so much. Dom understand that Malcolm have a lot of knowledge about this subject, and realise he could use Malcolm, to take advantage of him. Dom asks Malcolm to go over and talk to a girl named Nakia ( Zoe Kravitz ), to invite her to a party with Dom. At first Malcolm fails, but Dom suggest he tries again. Nakia finally agree, but only if Malcolm will come to the party also. Malcolm agrees, and decides to bring his friends Jib and Diggy also. The party does not end very well, when Dom´s crew members are shot by revival members, but Malcolm and his friends survive, including Nakia. Malcolm take the chance to know Nakia a bit better, asking her to the prom, but she have other plans. The next morning, Malcolm discover that someone have put down a lot of drugs, and a gun in his backpack. He realise it must have been Dom, and he needs to get rid of it. A phone calls, as it turns out someone is looking for the drugs. Just a moment later, Dom calls and says that this guy who called earlier is fake, and Malcolm needs to hide the merchandise, until Dom is being held at the station. Malcolm and his friends are in big trouble, and they need to make sure this backpack does not go in the wrong hands.

I love it when i watch a film, and just absolutely love it. Dope lands right in my taste, being a crazy mix of an realistic story, about growing up, and all the crazy things that can happen. Dope throws in a great soundtrack of hip hop songs. mix it up with really good acting, and deliver a film that manage to deliver quality entertainment. The simple story of 3 school friends, who end up in trouble, when they find themselves trapped in a drug drama, goes all kinds of crazy ways. The cinematography looks great, the film colors are so bright, and the atmosphere of the big city fits right in. Let´s talk about the biggest strength in Dope, the acting. There are so many great characters here, who really do wonderful performances. Especially lead actor Shameik Moore. His cool 90´s hair style, and his kind personality, is someone you simply love, straight away. His friends played by Tony Revolori and Kiersey Clemons, both do really good performances, for being so young. There are so many films that fails to capture the feeling of youth, but director Rick Famuyiwa manage to capture that feeling, and bring in the emotions that we all felt in our teenage years. All the problems, all the frustration, but also all the good times, it is all here, maybe a bit more wilder than i can remember though. I feel that this is the best film that director Rick Famuyiwa have made so far, and i have seen almost all of his films. For some reason, he must have decided to change his style as an director, because his previous films looks nothing like Dope, and that is something i love about this film. I can´t say i can compare this film to any other releases out there, and that is something unique in these days. Dope looks great, and feels great, with such a cool style that follows all the way to the end. The soundtrack is one of the reason why the film manage to deliver the message, it all goes together, like a combined theatre play. While some of the films this year followed a pretty typical Hollywood standard, Dope manage to find another way, and deliver a film that should be seen by a larger audience. I know that the theatrical run was this autumn, but buy the dvd or blu ray, this is a film worth having in your collection, if you love intelligent independent films. I might get my own 90´s hair style after watching Dope, feels great to be nostalgic and showing a time when music videos meant more than reality shows. In some ways, i miss those days, but the good memories will always be there, and Dope helps them stay.

Rating: DDDD

Saving Christmas

Christmas time, a moment every year where families gather around the christmas tree, sing christmas songs, and wait for Santa Clause coming with presents. It is also a time where most families sit down, to enjoy christmas food, in all kinds of combinations. I have celebrated christmas every year, both in my own family and in my wifes family, and it is interesting to see how different to families can be, when it comes to making christmas dinner. My wifes family is very determined to make christmas dinner very big, with everything on the table, including the classic swedish pig ham. Every year we have chaos, in shopping malls, in stores, because of christmas. People shop like maniacs, and it never seems to end. But i do have a plan, when i get older, i might celebrate christmas in Thailand, with lots of sun, some drinks, and perhaps a lap dance included. Life is supposed to be lived in a good way.

I am not much fond of snow and ice, so for me i enjoy christmas for another reason, seeing everyone in family and having a good time. I was also dressed as Santa Clause once, when a family neighbour asked if i could help them out, since they did not have anyone who could dress up. The problem was i had a couple of drinks, before i knew this. So i was a bit drunk, but the kids were happy, they laughed as i falled down on a street filled with ice, and i still managed to give them all gifts. Speaking about christmas, remember all the classic christmas movies out there ? I have seen plenty, but there are 2 i find very funny. Elf of course with Will Ferrell and Bad Santa with Billy Bob Thornton. They are both very different christmas comedies, but manage to both deliver different sides of the christmas season, and also make you think for a moment. I can tell you, i have seen a lot of christmas movies over a long time of period, and only a few good ones can be worth to mention, as i did earlier. So, when i hear about some new releases, i take the time to see a few, just to see if they are any good. In december last year, i was hearing a lot of talk about a christmas film with Kirk Cameron, called Saving Christmas, but it was not the positive talk i heard. In fact, every single critic hated this fim, So i asked myself a question, can it really be that bad ? I decided since it is almost christmas time, to check this film out and write a review, hopefully to inspire people about christmas. Is this a suprisingly good christmas film for the whole family, or are the critics right that you should avoid this at all cost ?

Kirk ( Kirk Cameron ) loves christmas, and he loves this time of the year, when everyone can sit down and spend some time together. He have a conversation with his sister Bridgette ( Bridgette Ridenour ), when he finds out she is worried over Kirk´s brother-in-law, Christian White ( Darren Doane ). Kirk goes out to talk to him, where he finds out that Christian have lost hope on christmas. That we should not celebrate with presents, or have christmas trees, we should celebrate for the real reason, Jesus. Kirk agree, people need to understand what christmas is all about, so he decides to make a change.

I could have talked about this film for the biblical messages that is filled in here. I could say that i don´t really understand what Saving Christmas was trying to do for people with the message of the film. I understand that this film is trying to be educational, but i feel that i have to be honest.

The truth is, Saving Christmas is just as bad as Left Behind.

Seriously ?

Yes, i am serious. And it is not because it is an christian film, it is because this film is horrible in so many ways. The acting is so bad, i wonder where they found these actors, from a Jehovas Witnesses family meeting? The christmas feeling here is so drained in sweetness, that you feel like punching Kirk Cameron in the face, so you at least feel good about christmas. This film, is supposed to show what christmas is all about, from a christian perspective. That is not the problem with this film, the real problem is that you really don´t care about the message, because the film fails completely to deliver any christmas feeling at all.There is a christmas tree, hot chocolate, and christmas decorations, but the christmas spirit does not feel inspirational. And the comedy scenes ? Oh man, i cried, at least 3 times, from feeling depressed. Are you not supposed to laugh at funny scenes ? I guess not, at least not in Saving Christmas. Director Darren Doanne have directed a lot of music videos in the past, with bands such as Blink 182, Jimmy Eat World, Shinedown, and even some videos with popular pop artist Jason Mraz. He have also directed films , including the documentary film Unstoppable, with Kirk Cameron. Now, i have only seen his work as a music video director, and he did well in this area. As a movie director, he comletely lost his point with Saving Christmas. It is supposed to be cute, funny, and make christmas look great. I already regret seeing this film, just like i regret seeing After Earth and Änglagård Tredje Gången Gilt. I wish that a drunk Billy Bob Thorton could have walked into this film, and told Kirk Cameron what most of us are thinking. I understand now why this was one of the most hated christmas films released last year, and i think no film will change that position. Congratulations Kirk Cameron, you destroyed christmas with this film, Santa Clause better have some Ron De Jeremy Rum with him in his bag, i need a couple of drinks after this experience........

Rating: D

fredag 18 december 2015

Time Out Of Mind

I have met many homeless people in my life so far. Both in my job in health care, but also on the streets of bigger cities worldwide. The tragedy is that more younger people are becoming homeless in these days, because they don´t have any jobs, and many of them end up using drugs. Even if there are so many homeless people, who never have a chance to get a better life, there are some people who manage to find a way out. I do not belive that people choose to be homeless, if they could have their own home, with food on the table almost everyday. Some people can judge homeless people, because they look dirty, wear dirty clothes, and smell. But i see things differently. We don´t know what happened in their lives, so we should not judge them. We could be in the same situation one day, so try to be friendly at least. When it comes to motion pictures, there are plenty of films that takes on the subject of homeless people. One of the films that comes to mind is Ironweed, with Jack Nicholson and Meryl Streep, playing a homeless couple in New York. I also remember the 90´s classic drama comedy Curly Sue, with Jim Belushi. One film that many people never talk about, is Mel Brook´s comedy Life Stinks. I personally found myself enjoying his view on homeless people, when you learn to appreciate what you used to have. Let´s change subject for a while. How many of you watched Richard Gere in Pretty Woman in the 90´s ? I would guess most of you, and he have always been a ladies man, especially since American Gigolo in the early 80´s. Now, i have never been a big fan of Richard Gere´s films. Except for three films, that actually surprised me. First one was The Mothman Prophecies, because i never thought he would be good in a horror film. Second film was The Flock, a thriller about an agent, who checks on sex offenders, to make sure they don´t repeat their crimes. And at last we have the very good film Arbitrage. This could be the best performance Richard Gere have ever made in a motion picture, so you should see it. I have not seen that many films since then with Gere, i suppose that i have not been updated with his work. But about a week ago i got a chance to see one of his latest films, called Time Out Of Mind. I have not seen any trailer, or read about the story, but i understand that it is about a homeless man. Knowing that Richard Gere can be a good actor, is this another proof that he choosed the right script, or is this a sentimental story that is more easy to forget ?

George ( Richard Gere ) is a homeless man. He walks the streets, trying to find new places to sleep, and if he can, get money to buy alcohol. He have a daughter named Maggie ( Jena Malone ), who works as a bartender. He tries to get in contact with her, but it is hard, he is ashamed of his situation. George manage to find a bed, at a homeless center. He is asked questions about his private life, something he is not happy about. But he understand that he have to open up about himself, because he needs that bed. Being sent to different shelters, and having a bed, he meet Dixon ( Ben Vereen ) outside the homeless shelter. Dixon go with George, just to keep himself company, and try to have a conversation. Dixon have children, who he never meets anymore. He still belive that George have a chance to see his daughter Maggie again, but does Maggie want anything to do with her father ? Did she give up on him a long time ago ?

I like the fact that in recent years, Richard Gere have left the comfort zone, and focus on different scripts, than his typical genre of romantic comedies. Once he goes back into that genre, i am not interested in seeing him do another cliché role, like we have seen him done so many times before. One of those films that really showed how good he can be, doing a much more serious film, was of course Arbitrage. I don´t think i have ever seen act as good as he did here, he really proved himself as an respected actor. Time Out Of Mind is a small film, it did not even screen almost anywhere. This could be a warning sign, that this might not be any good. Thankfully, this is an interesting film, about a homeless father, trying to find a way out of living poor, and establish a relationship with his daughter. We follow this homeless man on his journey, as he tries to find places to sleep, buy alcohol, and just survive for each day. There are not a lot of dialogue scenes, instead we get to see when the main character just try to move, to different locations in the big city. I would not say that this is one of the best films i have seen Richard Gere do in his career, but i would definetely say that Time Out Of Mind is more interesting than his chliché roles. He does pretty well, as he tries to portrait George, a man who have nothing, who lost his home, his family, and don´t even know if he can eat every day. Actor Ben Vereen also does a good performance as the homeless man Dixon, who tries to become a friend of George. Kyra Sedgwick should also be mentioned, as the homeless woman Karen, she also do a good performance. Director Oren Moverman have directed 2 films in the past, The Messenger and Rampart, where both films feature Woody Harrelson. I especially enjoyed his film The Messenger, since it had an interesting view on issues within the american army. His earlier films were bigger budget films, that were screened worldwide. Time Out Of Mind did not get much attention at all, from either press or online. It is such a shame, because since there are many awful films that get attention, this is the type of film that deserves to be seen by a larger audience. Anyone could become homeless, if you loose your job, or you become ill, you never know if you will end up becoming one someday. The realistic settings, and the atmosphere of the city streets, make this film feel like this could be anyhwere in this world. We see homeless people everyday, and we usually just pass them by. Time Out Of Mind makes you think, that maybe we should be happy for what you have. Just the fact that we can have food on our table, sleep in a bed, and have people who care for us. A film that shows one side of poverty, and manage to deliver the message. Richard Gere still prove himself, and he did the right choice to do this film, we need realistic stories on screen. Nice to see Steve Buscemi in a smaller role, i always enjoy his presence on screen. Christmas is here next week, i am thinking about giving some homeless people some clothes i don´t use anymore. Besides, i could be there someday, you never know what happens in the future.

Rating: DDD

onsdag 16 december 2015

Don Verdean

One of the most magical summers that i can remember, was not in my young teenage years. It was the summer of 2004, when a film changed my life completely. I did not even know what the film was about, but that summer, me and my old friend Christian rented a film we never heard of, called Napoleon Dynamite. I remember how we both laughed, a lot, and just loved the film for being so strange. The story is very simple, Napoleon Dynamite, a school nerd who loves drawing and hate his Uncle Rico, fall in love with a student, so he begin to train for the school show, with his special dance moves. I have seen Napoleon Dynamite more than 10 times, and i still laugh almost as much as i did back then. There are not many comedies i can say have managed to make me laugh, so this film is very unique. Director Jared Hess made an icon film, and managed to make the characters so unique, that not many films had a chance to be as good as this one turned out to be. After the success of Napoleon Dynamite, director Jared Hess mad his next film Nacho Libre, with Jack Black as an mexican wrestler. It was a funny film, but not on the same level of Napoleon Dynamite. 3 years after Nacho Libre, Jared Hess returned to the nerd genre with a very unique film called Gentlemen Broncos. I loved this film, even if it was a major failure at the box office, and i wish more people would have seen it.I suggest that you buy Gentlemen Broncos on dvd, it is one of those films that needs to be in your dvd collection, because it is an very odd film. Since director Jared Hess had to deal with the situation of his box office failure, he took a long break. He worked on other projects, during the time he was thinking about his next film. It would take 5 years, before we found out that the next film would be a film called Don Verdean. Since i have always been a fan of director Jared Hess, i was of course excited, just to see what he could be doing in his latest film. In the cast we see both Sam Rockwell and Jemaine Clement, who both were in Gentlemen Broncos. Not knowing much at all about this film, i just had to see if Jared Hess have made another wonderful film. Is this the best film since his classic Napolen Dynamite, or is this a completely wrong step for this legendary director ?

Don Verdean ( Sam Rockwell ) is an archaeologist, who belive he have found many great items and lost treasures in Israel. Unfortunately, some people see him as a scam artist, that he actually have not discovered anything great at all. His personal secretary Carol ( Amy Ryan ) is always on his side, no matter how bad things are looking. Don is ready to take a break, not finding much work coming his way, until Carol is contacted by preacher Tony Lazarus ( Danny McBride ), he belive that Don Verdean could save him and his congregation, if he could deliver one of his recent big findings, an enormous stone statue, that is said to be from the biblical era. Don contact his Israel companion Boaz ( Jemaine Clement ) to make sure the statue is delivered to America. Boaz promise to arrange this. As the stone statue arrives to Tony Lazarus congregation, they notice that the statue looks different, more lika a transexual, than a woman. Don is furious, and call Boaz asking what he have done. Boaz is not sure where they actually seen the statue. But the congregation still see this statue as holy, a part from Pastor Fontaine ( Will Forte ), he belive Don Verdean is a scam artist, and intend to prove it. Tony feel the joy over this finding, and suggest that they pay for Don to go down to Israel, to find the skull of Goliath. Don accept the mission, as he belive that he can locate the skull. But problems with police, stops his plans from digging at a chosen location. To make sure he does not come home empty handed, Don steals a skull from a grave, and make it look like it could be the skull of Goliath. He goes back to America, hoping that he can finally be recognized as the great archaeologist, but can he hide from the truth ?

I love seeing this cast, where Jemaine Clement return to another film of Jared Hess, since he was brilliant in Gentlemen Broncos. We also have Sam Rockwell, Amy Ryan, Danny McBride, Will Forte included in the cast. With so many great names, and a wonderful director making another film, i was really hoping that Don Verdean would turn out to be almost as good as Jared Hess previous films. Unfortunately, i can´t say that i find this film to be very funny. On the other hand, this is a completely different film from Jared Hess, so you have to look outside the comfort zone. Don Verdean is more of a drama comedy, with a much more dramatic tone than we have seen director Jared Hess do before. So let´s try and explain what Don Verdean is. This is sort of a look on christianity, mixed with archeology, and where we stand on what to belive in. You could also say that the character Don Verdean is also some kind of Ulf Ekman, from the church of Livets Ord. A scam artist, since he took money from the congregation. Don Verdean may not have stolen money, but he tries to make himself famous on fake archeology, so he can be seen as a scam artist also. This is actually the most interesting part of this film, where we find out that everything Don Verdean does is fake, while he tries to convince people he always tell the truth. Sam Rockwell as the lead character Don Verdean, feels like a good choice, because he is a great actor of making different characters. Another character i really enjoy in this film, is Don Verdean´s personal secretary Carol, played by Amy Ryan. She is one of the strongest characters here, where you feel sorry for her, being used to help Don everyhwere he goes. Jemaine Clement may not be as good as he usually is, but still you can´t help laughing at his jewish american accent. Danny McBride does a great job as preacher Tony Lazarus, who dream of becoming famous with the help of Don Verdean´s archeology findings. Of course, things go terribly wrong, so you never know how Don Verdean will solve this mess. Even if i don´t find this film to be very funny, i still feel that it is an interesting view on scam artists, especially when it comes to church. There are so many out there in today´s society, and Don Verdean manage to show how scam artists work, in order to be respected for the wrong reason. Not the great Jared Hess comeback i was hoping for, but i still enjoy this simple story. Lesson learned people, never trust a greedy preacher, or any scam artist at all, just stick to bible reading, and enjoy some Ron De Jeremy Rum. Sounds like i will be busy this friday.

Rating: DDD

söndag 13 december 2015

The Walk

I can admit i am afraid of heights, especially when i have to be high up, in a skyscraper, or in a shopping mall with a hell of a lot of floors. I remember one shopping mall in Thailand, who had 10 floors, and was massive in height. I started to panic on the 6th floor, as i happened to look down, because you could see all the way down from the glass edges. So what did i do ? I just focused to find the nearest bar. The did not have my favourite, Ron De Jeremy Rum, but i could find other nice things. And it seemed as 2 lady boys were checking me out, must have been my hairy chest, i have been told it is magical. Back in the 90´s i used to help my father Thomas at his construction company. So i had to deal with heights, even if i did not enjoy it. Even if i was afraid climbing high on large buildings, to isolate pipes, i just had to focus on the job. Nowdays i try not to climb anything, except for my wife, when " My Little Friend " is ready to go. Let´s get serious for a moment. Does anyone remember the 1974 walk between the Twin Towers of the Wold Trade Center, by french high-wire artist Phillip Petite ? This is still today considered to be one of the most shocking and unexpected performances ever made, from a high wire artist. Since this event, Phillip Petite is an icon, who managed to walk eight passes along the wire. Incredible indeed. I would personally never even try to walk on a wire, that is why i love planes, helicopters, it feels much more safe. I remember watching the documentary film called Man On Wire. A very good documentary, based on the story surrounding Phillip Petite, so you get to understand why he did this. You also get to find out more about his passion for high wire performances, and what inspired him to become a high wire artist. I did not really know that a film was going to be made, inspired by this true story. But when i heard director Robert Zemeckis was going to direct this film, i became curious. Since i really enjoyed his film Flight, with Denzel Washington, i was hoping that he would return with another really good film. Is this another proof of why Robert Zemeckis is a talented director, or is this film not what i was hoping it would be?

The year is 1973. Phillip Petite ( Joseph Gordon-Levitt ) is a street performer, who try to do different performances, including joggling, magic and other appreciated tricks. But since he is not allowed to do street performances without permission, he have to find new locations. During a performance, he eats a hard candy and hurt his tooth. He visits a dentist, hoping to get the tooth fixed. While waiting in the waiting room, he is reading a magazine, and see a picture of the Twin Towers of the Wold Trade Center. He suddenly come up with a crazy idea. He will walk between the Two Towers, with a high wire. He rips out the picture of the magazine and begin to work on his plan. Phillipe is kicked out of his parents home, simply because they don´t like what he is doing with his life. Phillipe still have no plan to change, so he goes back to a circus that inspired him as a child. There he get the chance to meet legendary high wire teacher Papa Rudy ( Ben Kingsley ). At first, Papa Rudy do not like him, until he begin doing a performance. Papa Rudy can see that he do have some talent after all. Phillipe meets a beautiful street performer, named Annie ( Charlotte Le Bon ), and they fall in love. Phillipe tell her about his plan, to go to New York and walk between the Two Towers of the World Trade Center. She thinks that he is insane, but support his dream. Phillip ask Papa Rudy to help him train, and learn how to make wires much stronger, and what technique he might have to use to pull this off. Phillipe is ready to shock the world, but is it possible to make this idea reality ?

When you make a film, based on a true story, you really need to make it realistic, and also include great acting. Knowing that The Walk is supposed to show us what happened, before Phillip decided to do this walk, and during his high-wire performance, you get to see some different sides from this classic event. Let´s begin to discuss the acting. I am actually suprised to see Joseph Gordon-Levitt in the lead role as Phillip Petite. He is actually good in the role, and tries to resemble the personality, in his own way. As he mixes speaking french, and english, it becomes more clear that he is trying to sound like Phillip Petite, and manage to do so pretty well. Since this actually did happen, you can´t help feeling amazed that he actually did go this far, who else would have thought of doing something this dangerous in New York City ? Director Robert Zemeckis is an legendary director, and i do enjoy films like the Back To The Future trilogy, Who Framed Roger Rabbit?, Forrest Gump, among some of his work. His animated version of A Christmas Carol, with Jim Carrey, was also enjoyable. He have been around the film industry a long time, and have made all kinds of categories. But with this film, The Walk, he goes back into the Forrest Gump mode, and try to tell a story, that shocked a whole world. I would not say Phillip Petite is anything like Forrest Gump, there is a big difference between these stories. But you can feel a certain style from the direction that Robert Zemeckis have tried to put together. As we follow Phillip, telling his story, from the time as he was a young boy and discovered high wire artists at a local circus. All the time he spent training, to become a professional high wire artist, to show an audience how serious he is about being a real performer. I really enjoy Ben Kingsley here, as the strict but professional high wire teacher Papa Rudi, he knows how to make characters come to life. Once you see the big walk start, you will guaranteed sit in your sofa, and feel dizzy from the heights. The walk itself is very well directed by Robert Zemeckis, it is not easy to make a scene like this look good. The film itself is a charming story, where you realise that you can do anything, no matter what your dream is. I would not call this one of the better films of Robert Zemeckis, simply because it is a bit slow sometimes. Still, since this is a true story, and have great acting included, it is still worth your time. History is important to tell, to inspire children growing up to become whatever they want to be. Phillipe Petite proved this, and this film shows some of his personal issues, as he tried to prove everyone, including himself, that he would not give up. The Walk is an interesting view on a big event in history, a bit long, but still a well made film. I am not going to enjoy heights now, or never, i prefer airplanes, and a whiskey ( or two ), you can just fall asleep and wake up when the plane has arrived. Sounds good indeed.

Rating: DDD

torsdag 10 december 2015

The Visit

Remember the millenium ? I remember all the chaos that some people were saying, that when the year strikes 2000, this might be the end of the world, and nothing would work at all. I was celebrating on New Years Eve in Gothenburgh, with champagne and a hell of a lot of people. As the clock became midnight, the world did not end. In fact, nothing happened more than usual. There was actuall a film that tried to bring up the subject about the millenium, that you might remember called End Of Days. Schwarzenegger was fighting against Satan, played by Gabriel Byrne, in a fun combination of action and horror film. It failed at the box office, but from my perspective was at least worth watching. Now, let us talk about the year 1999. This year had some really good films coming out, but there was one film that took the world by storm. Am i talking about The Matrix ? I could have done that, but let´s look outside the Matrix world, because we had one film that became a huge box office success. Does anyone remember a horror film called The Sixth Sense ? This film was praised by audiences worldwide, and even from movie critics. Director M. Night Shyamalan became one of the most popular directors at this time, as people were talking about his brand new excellent horror film, that had a unique style, and really good acting. It was a comeback for Bruce Willis, after a couple of less good films, and they actually worked together on M. Night Shyamalan´s next film Unstoppable. It was not as good as The Sixth Sense, but still interesting. As he kept on making more films, staying in the horror genre with Signs and The Village, people were becoming less interested in M. Night Shyamalan´s films, and it became very obvious with his next project Lady In The Water. He kept releasing films, but the audience seemed to be less interested in his new work, especially the film critics also. I personally lost interest after Signs, because i did not really feel very interested in The Village. The concept sounded interesting, but the final results did not match good with my expectations. One film that i hope we can all forget, is the science fiction film called After Earth. I did see the film ( unfortunately ), and wrote a review, but i regret seeing it. I actually lost all hope for M Night Shyamalan, because of this film. I thought that he might never make a good film again. A couple of years later, rumours started speculating that Shyamalan was back to direct a smaller film again. The title turned out to be The Visit, and the premise sounded interesting. When the trailer came out, i was happy to see that this seems to be a smaller film, as if he was trying to go back to his roots. Before i decided to take a look on this film, i was skeptical, because he have released so many awful films in recent years. But i decided to gove The Visit a chance. Is this the best film from M. Night Shyamalan in many years, or is he back on the same terrible level as After Earth ?

Loretta Jamison ( Kathryn Hahn ) have not seen her parents Nana ( Deanna Dunagan ) and Pop Pop ( Peter McRobbie ) for many years. She feels guilty that her parents have never met their grand children Rebecca Jamison ( Olivia DeJonge ) and Tyler Madison ( Ed Oxenbould ). She decides to let her kids go and visit their grandparents, so they can get to know each other. Loretta decides to film everything, making a sort of documentary about their first meeting together, since she want to get to know her grandparents. Everything is going great, and everyone is getting along. One night, Rebecca and Tyler notice their grandmother Nana, doing some strange behavior. Next day they try to act like nothing happened, and everything seems alright. But for each night, more strange things are happening, that either Rebecca or Tyler can explain. What is going on ? Is there something that their grandparents are not telling them ?

I am happy to say that i can feel hope again for M. Night Shyamalan. The Visit is his best film, in almost 13 years. Last time i actually enjoyed a film from him was Signs, and that was in 2002. Now, this is made as an documentary, almost like a found footage horror film. We follow these 2 young children as they try to show us their relationship to their grandparents, that they have never met. It may not sound very interesting, or original, and in some ways it is not different from other horror films, that looks similar. But what makes The Visit interesting, and scary in certain scenes, is the ordinary day feeling. It feels like this could be any grandparents, suddenly going insane, because they might have dementia, or alzheimers. To see how 2 people, who you really don´t know, seem so nice and sweet, suddenly turn into the monsters we fear. Another detail we need to talk about, is how great the young main actors Olivia DeJonge and Ed Oxenbould are. When M. Night Shyamalan choosed to cast these 2 very young actors, he must have known that they fit the characters. Their presence feels natural, and they manage to make their characters feel realistic. The grandparents, played by Deanna Dunagan and Peter McRobbie, are actually really good in their roles. Especially Deanna Dunagan, when she starts making strange behavior, scratching her nails, and run around, you really feel like you just want to pull out a shotgun and blast her brains out. Since this is made like a documentary, you have to appreciate this type of film to enjoy it. The budget may not be very big, but the message is clear, don´t trust anyone you don´t know very well. M. Night Shyamalan manage to make this simple story, both frightening, and also make interesting characters. Since we want to belive in people, and want to trust our family members, it is hard to belive that there are evil people out there among us. The Visit clearly shows a different view on families, and ask the question, can we really trust our own relatives ? A nice surprise, and i am happy to see Shyamalan back on track after such a long time, with a good film. I know most of my family members very well, but trust me, if i notice that one of them act strange on christmas eve, i am bringing out the chainsaw. You can never be sure, and besides, there will be an extra dinner, with no charge at all.

Rating: DDD

tisdag 8 december 2015


The world would never be what it is, without Sean Connery.

How can i know that ? Come on, he was the first James Bond, and of course will always be the best James Bond ever. Sean Connery gave the world exactly what we wanted, as the legendary british secret agent. Ever since Ian Flemming gave us his legendary character, i have a feeling almost everyone in this world have seen at least one James Bond film. Ever since the 60´s, we had a lot of great times, seeing Bond back on a big screen, ready to save the world once again. I suppose that we need a hero, especially in hard times, when ISIS and other terrorist organisations kill innocent people. So, to see James Bond in today´s society is a good thing, because some things should remain nostalgic. I have followed James Bond ever since i was a child in the 70´s. My earliest memory is that my grandfather Ingvar introduced me to one of the first Bond films with Sean Connery. I think the first one i did see was From Russia With Love, if i remember correctly. I remember an old friend of mine, Nicklas, collected every single Bond film on VHS, so i used to borrow them and watch them, over and over again. One of my personal favourite Bond films, from the early days, is still Live And Let Die. I really enjoyed the combination of voodoo and Haiti influences, into a Bond film, and this was the first time we were introduced to Roger Moore. I guess you could say that each actor, who played James Bond had something to offer, in different ways. Am i the only one who enjoyed the rough Timothy Dalton in The Living Daylights ? Perhaps, but i think i enjoyed Goldeneye even more, when Pierce Brosnan gave the world a James Bond we all been waiting for. I rememeber how skeptical i was when Brosnan left the Bond franchise, after Die Another Day, and Daniel Craig took over. But it turned out to be a very good move. Casino Royale turned out to be the best Bond film in many years, Quantum Of Solace was alright, but when director Sam Mendes was chosen to direct Skyfall, all the pieces falled perfectly together. Skyfall is still one of the best Bond films ever made, and i can´t tell you how many times i have watched it. So, when the news came out, that director Sam Mendes would work again with Daniel Craig, on the new Bond film Spectre, i was really happy. Is this as good as Skyfall turned out to be, or is this second time around not as good as we were hoping for ?

James Bond ( Daniel Craig ) is located in Mexico City, where he have located Marcus Sciarra ( Alessandro Cremona ), who previous M ( Judi Dench ) ordered Bond to find. After a violent battle, Sciarra is killed, being kicked out of an helicopter, but before he flies out, Bond manage to get a ring from his finger. This ring have an Octopus symbol, that he have not seen before. Since James Bond did this mission without  M´s ( Ralph Fiennes ) permission, he have no other choice than to suspend him indefinitely. M introduce Bond to C, also known as Max Denbigh ( AndrewScott ). C campaigns for Britain to join " Nine Eyes ", a global survelliance and intelligence co-operation initiative between nine member states. C plans to shut down the '00'section, because he feels that it is outdated. James Bond still continue to look into his leads, with the help of Q ( Ben Whishaw ), since he is not allowed to work any further on this mission. Bond travels to Rome to attend the funeral of Sciarra. Later that night, Bond visits Sciarra´s widow Lucia ( Monica Belluci ). She informs him that her husband was a member of the secret criminal organization Spectre. Bond finds out where there is a secret meeting, where members meet to discuss their next operation. At the meeting, Bond identifies Spectre´s leader, Franz Oberhauser ( Christopher Walz ), also known as Ernst Stavro Blofeld. Bond is revealed and is chased by Mr. Hinx ( Dave Bautista ), an assassin of Spectre. He manage to escape, and continue to find out more information behind Spectre. Bond travels to Austria to meet Dr. Madeleine Swann ( Léa Seydoux ), daughter of Mr. White ( Jesper Christensen ). Mr White told Bond earlier, that his daughter is the only one he can get the information from, before he killed himself. Blofeld knows that Madeleine hold important information, and go after her. Bond is not going to let them finish their operation, he have to find a way to stop Spectre´s plans.

Since i feel that Skyfall is one of the best Bond movies ever made, i was really excited to see if director Sam Mendes would deliver on this level again, working together with Daniel Craig once more. Unfortunately i can´t say i feel the same passion this time around. And the main problem is the Bond villain known as Ernst Stavro Blofeld. In some of the early Bond films, this was a great villain, played by legendary actors like Donald Pleasence. In Spectre actor Christopher Walz take on this legendary villain. The actor is not the problem, because if you have seen Christopher Walz before, you know he is a really good actor. The biggest problem is that he is very boring here, as a character. A Bond villain is supposed to be a hard time for Bond, and not have conversations only. This is such a shame, because with such a legendary character as Blofeld, you could have had something special to enjoy. Don´t worry though, i will not say that Spectre is a bad movie. We do have Daniel Craig back as Bond, and that can not go wrong, because he proved himself to be the best actor to portrait the british agent since Sean Connery. Sam Mendes also proves once again, why he is perfect as the director of an James Bond film, he knows the material very well, and how to transform the world surrounding the agent we all know. We have the cars here, we have the gadgets here of course, but there are some details that i would have wanted more of. Like in the final scenes, where Bond is trying to escape a building, as he runs to find a way out. That is basically the action scene, and it is in the end of the film. In other Bond films in the past, you would see explosions, guns shooting, fighting, you know, all those things that we wanted to see James Bond do. Let´s not talk about the final scene between Bond and Blofeld, it is not a worthy ending. We do have some treats though, like the train fighting scene between Daniel Craig and Dave Bautista, that´s more like it. In the end, Spectre is far too slow, if you compare to Skyfall, that managed to be both entertaining and deliver really well made action sequences. I respect director Sam Mendes for working with Daniel Craig again, because they do work well together. I suppose this time it must have been harder to keep the Bond spitit as high as Skyfall did, and this is why it does not work as well this time. The Bond girls are alright, especially Léa Seydoux as Dr. Madeleine Swann. I like seeing Monica Belluci here as one of Bond´s girls, but mostly because she represent that you don´t have to have young women only, women in all ages should be able to be in a film like this. Her scenes are very short, so you really don´t get to see her much. Spectre is a stylish Bond film, and well made, there is no question about that. But if Christopher Walz could have been insane, and made Blofeld a better villain, we could have had something more interesting here. I still recommend you see Spectre if you enjoy James Bond films, there are many things to enjoy after all, even if i might sound negative sometimes. Daniel Craig have done it again, he proves why he knows how to transform his own style of the legendary british agent. There are rumours that this might be the last time he does this character again, who knows ? But i know James Bond will return, he always does, so until next time, i am having myself a martini, shaken, not stird, and i might as well have some Ron De Jeremy Rum also. I bet that will be the next Bond favourite, because we all know he have a good taste in life.

Rating: DDD

måndag 30 november 2015


Child actors come and go, and only a few manage to continue their careers after they grow as adults. We all know what happened to Macaulay Culkin. In the end of the 80´s, we noticed his potential in Uncle Buck with John Candy. He became a superstar in the comedy Home Alone, and seemed to be unstoppable. The sequel Home Alone 2 also was a massive hit in the box office, but things were about to change. When he did a thriller called The Good Son, in 1993, the audience, or the critics were not so pleased. I remember the film, and to be honest, it was not very good. At that time, when i was 16 years old, i might have enjoyed it. But looking back, i feel that it was just a try to make a simple thriller, just to make money at the box office. Speaking of the film The Good Son, we also noticed another child actor named Elijah Wood. You could tell that they were both different, from an acting perspective. While Macaulay Culkin´s career was going down the drain, Elijah Wood managed to continue working in the movie industry, and made himself known for his acting ability. One of the earliest proofs where Elijah Wood showed his acting skills, was in a film from 1997, called Ice Storm, by director Ang Lee. This is a very good drama film, with really good acting also from Kevin Kline, Sigourney Weaver, Christina Ricci, Tobey Maguire and Joan Allen. The film was a box office bomb ( unfortunately ), but critics loved the film. It is one of those films not many people heard about, that should have found a bigger audience. The whole world probably knew who Elijah Wood was, when he took the role as Frodo Baggins in Peter Jackson´s version of The Lord Of The Rings. With 2 more sequels, that became massive box office hits all over the world, Elijah Wood was now on everyone´s lips. Some actors might just go and make films, that are guaranteed to be box office hits, but Elijah proofed himself by doing smaller films, most of the time. One of the films, that had an amazing cast, for such a limited budget, was a film called Bobby. Some of the actors in this film is Sharon Stone, Anthony Hopkins, Christian Slater, Shia LaBeouf, Helen Hunt, Laurence Fishburne, Ashton Kutcher and many more. If you have not seen this one, i recommend that you do rent it. Not that long ago, Elijah Wood was the lead actor in a very good thriller called Grand Piano. I simply loved this film, because it had a very intelligent plot. How many of you would have guessed that Elijah Wood would show up in a zombie film ? I never would have guessed, but with the film Cooties, it looks like he is trying this genre. Since he is such a great actor, and have tried so many different characters, and genres, does he fit into the zombie horror genre really well, or should he have stayed away from this ?

In the small town of Ft. Chicken, horror writer Clint Hudson ( Elijah Wood ) have moved back to his hometown, after trying to live in New York. He agree to work extra, as an teacher at Ft. Chicken Elementary. There in the coffee room, Clint meet his high school crush, Lucy McCormick ( Alison Pill  ), who works here as an teacher. It seems that he still have feelings for her, after all these years. One of Clint´s students called Shelly Linker ( Sunny May Allison ), have eaten a chicken nugget with black spots. She begins to act strange, and her face is changing. Not knowing what is happening to her, Clint is shocked to see Shelly attack a student, biting a flesh wound in his face. This is just the beginning of a virus outbreak, where the kids are becoming affected, and turned into zombies. Clint and Shelly, get together with the other teachers Wade Johnson ( Rain Wilsson ), Tamra ( Morgan Lily ), Tracy Lacy ( Jack McBrayer ) and their collegues, just to hide and protect themselves. They have no idea how to stop these infected kids, and they have no idea how to get out. They will have to figure out, how to survive, without any help from the outside.

Some of you might think that this is a pure horror film. The fact is that this is more of a horror comedy. There is an horror undertone within the plot, but it is basically mostly built on comedy material. If you are not a fan of zombies, i doubt Cooties will change your mind. Besides, you have to appreciate this genre to enjoy the substance. One of the things that makes Cooties a fun experience, is the mixture of classic horror ingredients, combined with characters that have some serious big problems, on a personal level. One of the funniest scenes in the film, is when the teachers meet Elijah´s character in the coffee room, where he finds out they love Jason Patric, especially from his films The Lost Boys and...Speed 2. I just love it when they look serious, as if they loved Speed 2, when in fact most people in this world hated that sequel. If you by some reason have not seen Speed 2, be happy that you skipped it.  The biggest advantage of Cooties, is the teacher characters, especially the character known as Wade Johnson, played by Rainn Wilson. His 80´s style fits the school so bad, you just have to love him, and of course the fact that he loves Jason Patric. I also enjoy the character Tracy Lacy, played by Jack McBrayer. He both looks feminine, and i just love the scene where he says that he played with his tennis coach hairy balls. Of course, that is the first thing you want to tell your collegues at work. Director Jonathan Milott and Cary Murnion have made a film, that reminds me of another version of The Faculty meets Dawn Of The Dead. It is not hard to understand that we are not dealing with anything original, but that is ok. This is still a fun tribute to many films from the past, and who does not love zombie kids ? There is blood, guts, flesh wounds, and other classic elements here that we have seen many times before. But from a B movie perspective, Cooties deliver, especially thanks to the great cast. Shaun Of The Dead is still the funniest horror comedy in modern times, and it looks like no title will beat that film. Still, i do enjoy a good time, and Cooties does not fail to please me. I am pretty sure i could be the greatest zombie killer ever, besides, i have 3 seasons on dvd with Miami Vice. I have learned everything i need to know from Don Johnson.

Rating: DDD

In december, it is time for another Shout! Factory blu ray review

Hello everyone!

Daniel here, Sweden´s greatest film critic of all time. For those of you who have been following my movie review blog, you know i throw out some surprises sometimes. So it was a while ago i did any reviews on the blu ray releases from Shout! Factory, who bring out old movies, on new releases. Last time i did a review was the film Monkey Shines, by director George A. Romero, so i think it is time to do another one before the year ends.

This time i have chosen a film i have not seen yet, it is called I, Madman. This film was directed by Tibor Takácks, a man who have made both films and tv series. I actually noticed that he directed Sabrina Goes To Rome, a film that i hope he regrets doing. But we are here to talk about his horror film I, Madman, that i will post a review on in december.  I will come back with more reviews from Shout! Factory in 2016, because i know a lot of people love this company who put out old forgotten films, in brand new editions. Thanks for reading my reviews, more are coming up in december, so stay tuned.

Cheers from Daniel

söndag 29 november 2015

Last Shift

I enjoy working night shifts. In my youth, i used to work night shifts, both at a company called Odal, and at different health care homes. Sometimes it was hard, since you had to stay awake all night long. So i used a lot of coffee, and energy drinks to make it work. One of the problems with working night shifts, is that your sleep does not always get enough hours. But, since the payment was better, and i did not mind the late hours, i choosed to stay instead of going back to daytime shifts. One of the things i do remember, is working with some very strange patients, who could be very odd at night. I can´t really go into what happened, because of rules, but there were some creepy moments. To be able to work night shifts, you have to be able to adjust yourself, both mentally and physically. I can tell you all the times i fell asleep, on the bus, going home. I remember people had to wake me up, just to let me know that the bus end station is almost there. Nowdays i work 25 hours shifts, in health care, and i like it very much. Long shifts, but more free time to plan all kinds of activities. There are a lot of occupations where you have to work night shifts. Just look at Police Officers, who have to be out on the streets, no matter what the situation is. You have to admire them, for putting up with all kinds of difficult situations, and i feel that people need to stop talking shit about police. Sure, everyone may not be good, but in general i belive we need to trust them. They are only humans, who dedicate their lives to protect and serve. Now, let´s imagine something in our minds. Think about yourself as an police officer, working a night shift in an abandon police station, while strange things are happening ? Does not sound like the perfect way to spend the weekend. New horror film Last Shift seems to bring this subject into the storyline. I accidently heard about this film on an podcast, where 2 film critics were talking about new releases, and their own recommendations. I never heard of Last Shift before, but after listening to the podcast, i decided that i had to check it out. When i noticed that Last Shift is directed by Anthony DiBlasi, i remembered his film Cassadaga from 2011. This was a low budget horror film, that actually had some nice treats along the way. Curious to see his latest film, is this the best work so far from director Anthony DiBlasi, or is he running out of ideas, like most Hollywood directors are ?

Police officer Jessica Loren ( Juliana Harkavy ) is asked to do a last shift, in an abandoned police station. As she arrives, she gets all the information she needs from a police officer, who give her a round tour of the building. She is told to just be in the building, until her shift is over. After a while, at the beginning of the shift, she is getting phone calls from a woman, saying she is in trouble. Jessica tries to find out who the woman is, but the call breaks up. Jessica contact dispatch, where she is told not to use the phone. And she is also told that if the woman contacts her again, she have to call 911 instead. As the night shift becomes late, strange things begin to happen. A homeless man is suddenly standing in the entrance, peeing on the floor. She throws him out, but later finds him inside the building again, up on a shelf. She decides to lock him up, since he can not walk around like this. As the night goes on, strange things begin to happen in different rooms, and Jessica see strange people showing up from nowhere. What seemed to be an ordinary night shift, is soon becoming a nightmare.

To be honest people, i am very pleased. Last Shift is actually one of the better horror films released this year, and i will explain why. This is a very simple horror film, but what makes Last Shift work so well is the camera work by director Anthony DiBlasi, and the lead actor Juliana Harkavy. The atmosphere with the well made camera angles, makes this film more creepy than many other mainstream releases. The religious theme, that is presented later on in the film, fits really good with the plot, when you put the pieces together of what is going on. Another detail that i like, is that the whole film takes place in the same building, and still you never get bored, because of director Anthony DiBlasi´s visual direction. I would not say that there are many fresh ideas here, but once you get the puzzle, and what the message is, i still feel that the concept feels tasteful. While watching Last Shift, i noticed that director Anthony DiBlasi might be influenced by John Carpenter´s classic film Assault On Precint 13 from 1976. That film takes place inside a police station, but with a completely different plot. The characters are not that many, if you look at the few actors who shows up for a few minutes. But that´s ok, lead actor Juliana Harkavy manage to make the film interesting with her presence. If you have been watching The Walking Dead, you might remember her character Alisha from Season 4. She have also been in a couple of films, like the film Dolphin Tale, who is popular among family movies. I would say that this might be the best performance i have seen her do, in Last Shift, outside of The Walking Dead series. Hopefully she have something else interesting waiting for us to see in 2016. It is great to see that horror films are not completely knocked out in 2015, that we still have some hope left. Last Shift may not be original, or will change the horror genre in any way, but this is still better than i have expected. I suggest you give this film a chance, who knows, you might actually find yourself having a good time.

Lesson learn kids, never get a night shift inside an abandoned building, The Dansband Demons might attack you, when you least expect it.

Rating: DDD

Close Range

When i grew up as a kid, most of my family loved watching swedish comedies, swedish drama series. I tried to watch this also, and the only film i can remember that at least was pretty funny was called Sunes Sommar. One of the few swedish family movies that shows what swedes are like on camping vacation. But i always had a passion, looking for something else. And it all started with my grandmother Maj, who let me watch horror movies, even if i was too young. I discovered brutal violence, murders, and martial arts of course. VHS video violence became a lifestyle, that gave me a better view on the world. I have talked about this subject many times before, and when it comes to writing reviews on action films, this becomes an important issue. Without Chuck Norris, Dolph Lungren, Bruce Lee, Michael Dudikoff or Jean-Claude Van Damme, i would not be the intelligent man i am today. So how does video violence give you intelligence ? Let me explain really simple. You can´t solve all problems by paper, that´s why you use special kicks or an M60, to clean up the mess. You see politicians of Sweden, i should be the next prime minister, since you need bigger balls.

Let´s get back to the review.

Ever since martial arts became very popular, from the early days of Bruce Lee, Chuck Norris and David Carradine, i have followed many great action stars along the way. Remember Billy Blanks, Don " The Dragon Wilson, or perhaps Bolo Yeung ? The 80´s and 90´s will always be close to my heart. back in those days the budget did not matter, it was all about making action films with cheesy dialogue. B action movies are still being made even today, but there are some differences. In the movie industry today, you can make really well made action films for a very low budget. What you need is a director with a vision, and who knows his classic B movie elements, combined with the right lead actor. One actor who can do almost anything look great, is without a doubt legendary actor Scott Adkins. He is fantastic in martial arts, and he knows how to make action films look great. One more detail that we should mention, is that he is not a terrible actor, because he is one of the few who can combine acting in action films. One of my personal favourite films with Scott Adkins, is without a dout Ninja - Shadow Of A Tear. This is a really insane action film, so well made that your nuts will most likely explode of joy. If you have not seen it yet, go down and buy it on dvd, or blu ray. It is one of those films that should be next to your The Godfather dvd collection. Another film we have to mention is of course Universal Soldier - Day Of Reckoning. An action film so good, you never want it to stop, with the amazing cast of Scott Adkins, Dolph Lundgren, Jean - Claude Van Damme and Andrei Arlovski. One of the things i love about Scott Adkins, is that he is very passionate about keeping the B movie industry alive, telling people to support the films he and many other actors make. I try to tell people all the time, that we need to show our support, to make sure that B action films can be made in the future. So whenever i see that Adkins releases another film, i am always there to check his latest projects out. Close Range is a film i recently got a chance to see, with Adkins of course, doing another action film for B movie lovers. Since i have always been a fan of his work, is this film another proof that he knows what he is doing, or is his choice of films becoming weaker for each year ?

Colton MacReady ( Scott Adkins ) is an ex military, who is sent to rescue his estranged niece Hailey Reynolds ( Madison Lawlor ). She is a prisoner of the mexican drug cartel, but Colton manage to get inside and clean up the place. He takes Hailey with him back to her home, but the happy reunion does not last very long. Corrupted Sheriff Jasper Calloway ( Nick Chinlund ) is send my drug lord Fernando Garcia ( Tony Perez ), to take care of Colton. He fails, as well as his men, to finish the job. Fernando have already a back up plan, as he sends out his crew, including Lobo ( Anthony L. Fernandez ), Victor Garcia ( Ray Diaz ), Ignacio ( Julien Cesario ) among others. Colton stole a very important USB stick, with very sensitive information, that no one is supposed to know about. Fernando will do anything to get the USB stick back, no matter how many people will be killed.

Earlier this year, people were hysterical about 50 Shades Of Grey, because it was supposed to be so erotic and so emotional. I did watch the film, but i ended up wondering what the big fuzz is all about ? I think people need to understand that these kinds of movies are not the ones who are supposed to be shown in cinemas worldwide. You can watch naked girls at the local strip club, or just buy a dvd of Rocco Invades Poland instead, and get more value instead of 50 Shades Of Grey. I think this is the time, where B action movies should get more respect, and shown for audiences worldwide, so a younger generation can learn what quality is all about. If we could have had Ninja - Shadow Of A Tear on screen in almost every country, i have a feeling that people would have cared less about 50 Shades. Close Range may not be as good as Ninja - Shadown Of A Tear, but this is still a pretty solid action film, that fits for a Friskis & Svettis christmas dinner evening. We have the classic elements of a revenge story, and we have the drug cartel ingredients we have seen before. Even if Close Range brings nothing new to the genre, or something unexpected, it is nice sometimes just to get some kick ass action brought to your family gathering. Scott Adkins still does what he knows best, using his brutal martial arts fighting skills, and shows how you should do in congress, instead of talking statistics. Director Isaac Florentine have worked together with Scott Adkins in many of his films, like Undisputed 2, Undisputed 3, Ninja, and the really good sequel Ninja - Shadow Of A Tear. He is a good action director, and you can tell that he have passion for this genre. If we compare the other films that Isaac Florentine have made together with Adkins, in the past, Close Range definetely looks different. This is a different revenge story from the Ninja films, with some other details. That the film takes place in the desert areas of Arizona, makes me think of Walker Texas Ranger. I can even see influences from Lorenzo Lamas old classic tv show Renegade here. The acting is not that great from the cast, so the only thing that matters is the action scenes. The plot is very simple, and you don´t have to think too much. Close Range is a classic action film, almost made as this is a tribute to Walker Texas Ranger, but without a sheriff in Chuck Norris clothes. I would probably say this is not one of the better films, with the duo of Florentine and Adkins, but have enough entertainment value for B movie lovers. I still recommend that you see Ninja - Shadow Of A Tear, if you want to see a really good Scott Adkins film. If you did enjoy Walker Texas Ranger in the 90´s, then Close Range will bring you back into that atmosphere. I feel like dressing up in tight jeans, with a shirt and a cowboy hat. But don´t tell anyone i am going to Ray´s Bar for a brokeback ride, a true gentleman never reveal their secrets.

Rating: DDD

söndag 22 november 2015

Red Sonja

Let´s go back in time, to a year where film studios still made some really fun 80´s movies. The year we are about to enter is 1985. Most people would think of Michael J. Fox in the cult classic Back To The Future. But we have some more films to discuss on this year. Does anyone of you remember Iron Eagle, the action film about a young pilot, who travels to the middle east to save his father from terrorists ? This was a year before Top Gun, and if you ask me personally, i enjoyed Iron Eagle more, especially with Louis Gosset, Jr as an retired vietnam war hero. The song One Vision, by legendary rock band Queen, also made this film fit the concept. David Suchet, who have played Agatha Christie´s Poirot, in many tv films, was great as the terrorist leader. So what else is worth remembering in 1985 ? One film that i think many people should see, that most of you have probably forgotten is Terry Gilliam´s crazy science fiction film Brazil. This is a very odd combination of styles, and looks really good, considering being made in the middle of the 80´s. The cast is also great, how about Robert De Niro, Bob Hoskins, Jonathan Pryce and Ian Holm, included in the cast ? If you have not seen it, i suggest you buy the dvd, it is worth having in your collection. If you do get your hands on the blu ray release, i know that this includes a longer version of the film. Have you ever heard of the name Richard Fleischer ? Maybe a bell will ring inside your head if i say Conan The Destroyer ? Yes, the director of the sequel to the cult film Conan The Barbarian. The first film was really good, so the sequel was not on the same level, in fact, it was pretty silly in some moments. But from an entertaining perspective, there was some details that made the film fun to watch, including Arnold Schwarzenegger´s hair style. So just a year after Conan The Destroyer was released, director Richard Fleischer decided to direct a film adaptation of the Marvel comic book character Red Sonja. Birgitte Nielsen was chosen to become Red Sonja, the danish woman who took Hollywood by storm in the 80´s, being in several big Hollywood films, like Cobra with Sylvester Stallone, and Beverly Hills Cop 2 with Eddie Murphy. Arnold also said yes to do a different character, that looks like Conan, but with more dialogue. Since it is 30 years ago, Red Sonja came out, i decided to look back and see what i feel about this movie today. Is this a sword fighting film, that still deliver entertainment , after so many years, or is Red Sonja a bad transformation of a comic book character, that should have been left untouched ?

Red Sonja ( Birgitte Nielsen ) is raped, and left on the ground, while her family home is burned down by Queen Gedren´s ( Sandahl Bergman ) men, where her parents are killed, including her brother. Red Sonja wakes up, as she is confronted by a spirit, who give her the strength to seek revenge. Lord Kalidor ( Arnold Schwarzenegger ) finds wounded Varna ( Janet Agren ). She have escaped from her temple, where Queen Gedren´s army killed her friends, and she is the only survivor. Varna asks Kalidor to find her sister, and bring her back to her. Kalidor goes out on a journey to find Red Sonja. Kalidor manage to locate her training, with a sword master. He inform her of her sister´s bad health, and she goes with him. Just as Red Sonja arrives, Varna only manage to tell her some details, before she passes away. Since her whole family is now dead, Red Sonja rides towards Queen Gedren´s castle to finish her for good.

If you think that Red Sonja is just like Conan The Barbarian, but a female version, i would say that is not completely true. Since we are dealing with a completely different character, you can clearly see that there is a different message with the film. There are influences here, from Conan, no doubt about that, but i would say that Red Sonja is more of a feminist warrior. She fights, kills with her sword, but also try and do what´s right, while Conan would probably just kill anyway. I like the fact that we get to see more women fight, with swords, in a temple scene, almost in the beginning of the film. This gives the tone of the film, a positive touch, that women are not afraid to stand back against evil. Birgette Nielsen in the lead role as Red Sonja, may not be a good actor, but she does handle the sword battles pretty well, and looks tough. Sandahl Bergman, who also were in the first Conan The Barbarian film, is now the evil Queen Gedren in Red Sonja. Not the greatest cinema villain we have seen, but functional. Arnold Schwarzenegger is actually a more sensitive guy in this film, with his long hair. His dialogue is actually the best part of this film, because he is acting really bad. There are some scenes where he tries to sound emotional, and i just cant stop laughing. You got to love Arnold for being who he is, even if he does not always choose the best characters. I know that Arnold himself have said that Red Sonja is one of the films he does not like in his career, and i can understand why in some ways. At the same time, i see Red Sonja as a fun tribute to sword films, with some entertainment value for the fans of Conan The Barbarian. When i listened to the interview with assistant director Michel Ferry, of Red Sonja, he expained some interesting details that i have never heard before. For example, Arnold was only supposed to shoot a couple of scenes, but ended up staying on set much longer than planned. The budget was also much more expensive, because Arnold demanded a certain amount of payment to do the film. I also understand that Birgitte Nielsen was not happy with the film, because she did not like the portrait of Red Sonja. Looking at this film 30 years later, i can still say that i see some entertainment value here. Is the acting bad ? Yes, but better than any of Helena Bergströms movies, so that is a good sign. I think that director Richard Fleischberg at least tried to give us an image of Red Sonja. Could he have made a better film ? Of course, there are many things he could have improved. But with the cheesy dialogue, Arnolds terrible dramatic scenes, and the sword fights, we still get some entertainment here worth watching. I am interested in this new Red Sonja remake, that have been talked about since 2010. From what i understand so far, director Simon West, who directed The Expendables 2, could be the director who makes this remake come to life. Until then, sit back at home, order a pizza, and a couple of beers, and just have fun with 80´s nostalgic sword fight action. I suggest you watch the blu ray, with the interesting interviews, nice to hear stories from the set of this box office bomb.

Rating: DDD