söndag 28 juni 2015

Dead Rising: Watchtower

There is a rule in Hollywood, if a video game become successfull, we need to make a film based on the game. This have happened many times in history. One of the biggest problems while making a film based on video games, is that it is hard to capture the feeling of the game itself. If you grew up in the 90´s, did anyone of you see the film adaptations of Super Mario Bros and Double Dragon ? Both films flopped at the box office, and we even got one film adaption Street Fighter. Compared to Super Mario Bros and Double Dragon, at least Street Fighter captured some details from the video game right. Could have been a lot better of course, but a fun action film if you just want to see Van Damme kick ass. More films were made based on video games, and i remember especially one who got panned by critics worldwide. Have anyone of you seen Uwe Boll´s film House Of The Dead, based on the popular arcade game ? This film did actually manage to get a profit, but the critics were furious of why Uwe Boll decided to make a film adaption. I have seen it, and i can at least say it is not as bad as Catwoman, with Halle Berry. But in 2006 we actually got a good film, based on the video game Silent Hill. I was surprised to see that we finally had a film that managed to capture the feeling of the game, and for that i think director Christophe Gans did a great job, We have all the Resident Evil films with Milla Jovovich, some are ok, some are just average. My personal favourite of all the Resident Evil films, is without a doubt Resident Evil: Extinction. Directed by Russel Mulcahy, the same man who directed the classic film Highlander, he gave the Resident Evil a different look and a concept that the film series needed. If you are curious to see one of these films in the Resident Evil series, i suggest you choose this one. When i can, and when i feel like it, i play video games both on xbox360 and PS3. I try and buy some when i get the chance, and i have played some good ones over the years. One of my favourites, is a video game called Dead Rising. The story of a journalist, stuck in a zombie invasion, had both great action, and video graphics. I played this game for days, even weeks when i was stuck. So of course when i heard that Dead Rising 2 is coming out, i had to make sure to get myself a copy. This game was even more crazy, with more guns, more enemies, and a lot of fun details. I still play these games still today, because they are so good. About 6 months ago, i read online that an film adaption of Dead Rising was on the way, i was a bit skeptical. Was it possible to capture the feeling of the video games on screen ? I decided to take a look, and see if i would be suprised. Is Dead Rising: Watchtower a great adaption of the classic video games, or just another worthless try of making films of video games ? 

All across America, the governemnt is running an organisation called FEZA – Federal Emergency Zombie Authority. This organisation is trying to contain an viral outbreak , that turn humans into zombies. An anti-viral drug called Zombrex, is being given to infected people, just to help them from transforming. Online reporter Chase Carter ( Jesse Metcalfe ) and his camerawoman Jordon ( Keegan Connor Tracy ) are both working to cover stories along an infected area in Oregon. When the outbreak becomes unstable in this area, Chase and Jordan try to find a secure location. They run into Maggie ( Virginia Madsen ), who just killed her own daughter, who was infected. Since there is nothing else Maggie can do, she joins Chase and Jordan on the run from the outbreak. They also meet Crystal O´ Rourke ( Meghan Ory ), who also managed to stay alive. As they continue their journey, the group finds out that Crystal have a dark secret. Who is she really, and why is there an hidden agenda in the army ?

If you were hoping that you would see big action stars in the leading roles, with a massive budget on special effects, this may not be what you expected. This is more of a B movie, and you can tell they have used more handmade make up, than CGI zombies. And this is a good thing. There is nothing worse than a CGI zombie attacking, you need to make some nostalgia feeling by bringing in zombies with real make up. Since i am a big fan of zombie films, and zombie games, i was hoping that Dead Rising: Watchtower would capture the feeling of the well made video games. You can tell that director Zach Lipovsky have tried to find a way to make this look like Dead Rising. My problem with this film, is that it feels too light. If you are going to do a Dead Rising film, make it disturbing and fun, just like another version of Zombieland. Or they could have chosen to make it more darker, with more make up effects, because some of the zombies look way to simple. You do get to laugh, especially when you recognize scenes that remind us of the game, where you hit zombies with toasters, or anything you can find to use on them. There is a feeling of Dead Rising here, but in the end it all feels like too many details makes this film adaptation, loose the right strings to make it work. Lead actor Jesse Metcalfe is not so bad, he tries to portrait the character Chase Carter, as good as he can. He is probably one of the reasons why Dead Rising: Watchtower, manage to stay alive. I am surprised to see legendary actor Virginia Madsen here, always nice to see her show up in films. This may not be one of her better performances, but she is a legend, and it is hard not to like her. Overall, this is only a film for those who plays the video games of Dead Rising. I know that there is a sequel on the way, and i am hoping that they get things right next time. This first film have a few good moments, but feels way too simple to care about. If you love zombie films, i suggest you give Maggie a try instead, with Schwarzenegger. I have not played Dead Rising 3 yet, so i better buy myself a Xbox One, so i can spend a week, or 4 weeks, just slashing zombies apart. I have a feeling that game will be more fun than this film.

Rating: DD

torsdag 25 juni 2015

Get Hard

Comedians have brought us entertainment for decades, starting of in the early 1920´s with Charlie Chaplin. There are so many talents to be mentioned, but one of my personal favourites is definetely Mel Brooks. This man really did some crazy films during the 60´s and 70´s. I would imagine most of you have seen his films The Producers,  Silent Movie, To Be Or Not To Be and of course Blazing Saddles. He had a way to make comedies crazy, and proved that if you make situations completely insane, it will turn into satire comedy for all ages. One of the comedian legends, Richard Pryor, also proved himself to be really good at making films. Especially with Gene Wilder, who can forget their classic films Silver Streak and See No Evil, Hear No Evil ? In the 80´s there was one man who did change the comedy genre with his special apperance, you all know him as Chevy Chase. National Lampoon´s Vacation is a classic film, about holiday travelling, where everything goes wrong. But it was in Fletch, you could really tell that Chevy Chase was great at doing many characters in the same film. It is actually 30 years ago this year, since the first Fletch film came out. If you have not seen it, buy it, it is one of those classics you can watch over and over again. Since a lot of comedians came out from Saturday Night Live, i was not surpised to see Will Ferell turn into a comedy movie star in the late 90´s. he was the modern Chevy Chase, with even more crazy characters to offer. As he became a bigger star, Will got to do more feature films, and some really good ones also. I would imagine most of you have seen his 2004 classic Anchorman: The Legend Of Ron Burgundy. This is a film that you can never get tired of, it is crazy, vulgar and so funny at certain moments, you will never forget Ron Burgundy. One of my favourite characters with Will Ferell, is a smaller role in the 2009 comedy, The Goods: Live Hard, Sell Hard, where he plays a really strange man called Craig McDermott. He is only in a few scenes, but those moments he really shines with his presence. Oh wait, i have to mention his political comedy The Campaign, a funny comedy about politics, and american patriots. Will Ferell continue to give us many wonderful characters, and keep releasing films. I decided to take a look at one of his quite new films, called Get Hard. Is this Another funny release from this comedian legend, or is he running out of ideas ?

James King (Will Ferrell) loves his life, he is one very wealthy hedge fund manager, who have a beautiful gold-digging fiancee Alissa (Alison Brie), who wants more luxary, and a bigger house. James listen to her, and knows he have to make her pleased. James personal car washer Darnell Lewis (Kevin Hart ) tries to please James with his job, making sure his car is shining bright. James try to tell Darnell, how he also could find a successfull life, if you work really hard for it. Alissa arrange a party for her and James, inviting all of their closest friends, and family members, to celebrate the success of James King´s life. But the party is about to end, when FBI rush inside the party, and arrest James, suspected of fraud and embezzlement. At court, the judge sentence James King guilty of these crimes, and give him 10 years in prison. He have 30 days to prepare himself for prison. The luxary life is slipping away, all of James friends are not talking to him anymore. James accidently meet Darnell, while he is lying in the trunk of his car. James tell Darnell that he only have about 30 days to prepare himself, as Darnell comes up with an idea. If James get the money, Darnell will teach James how to survive in prison. James is very pleased with this idea, but the question is, can he survive the prison world ?

Finally, i get to laugh at stupid vulgar humour, still done in a good way. We already know Will Ferell is a great comedian, especially in Anchorman: The Legend Of Ron Burgundy, and the sequel that was not too bad. There is something about seeing him making a fool of himself, almost as if he will always be like a spoiled child, saying what kids would say in different situations. If you are looking for an intelligent comedy, Get Hard is definetely not what you want to see. If you just want to laugh, this film gets the job done. It is predictable, and not original, but what works so well is Will Ferell and Kevin Hart combined. These guys knows how to deliver comedy, and there are some really crazy scenes. We have seen this kind of story Before, maybe not in the same way, but you recognize the influences from 80´s and 90´s comedies. Director Etan Cohen ( not one of the Coen Brothers ), have worked as a writer in many films, such as Tropic Thunder and Men In Black 3. Get Hard is his first directorial debut as an director, and i have to say he manage to give us entertainment. Sure, there is a lot of bad language, vulgar sex jokes, but it all lands with a combination made to please you, on a blu ray night with your buddies. If there is one thing i would have wanted more of, is to hear Will Ferell do something even more crazy, like he did in Step Brothers. He does give a good performance in Get Hard, but he would have been even better if he did something really unexpected. Kevin Hart is just what you would expect him to be, the guy who wants to look cool, and is being beaten by his woman. Get Hard is definetely more fun than Ride Along, the action comedy with Kevin Hart and Ice Cube last year. One of the reasons why Get Hard works much better is the dialogue between Kevin and Will. Rich man vs ordinary day worker. Since they live 2 very different lives, they really don´t get along when James ( Wills character ) is about to go to prison, and need to learn how to survive. Not very original, or surprising, but as a comedy you will get to laugh with Get Hard ( that is if you are in the right mood ). I actually hope they do make a sequel, since i feel that this duo work great together on screen, but with a good script of course. Until then, watch Get Hard for a good time , reminding us of classic comedy films of the 90´s.

Rating: DDD

tisdag 23 juni 2015

Good Kill

There are actors who do good performances, and there are actors who can act so good, that your hair rises from your arms. One of these actors, who proved himself in many motion pictures is Ethan Hawke. One fine example of fantastic acting is of course in Training Day, where he is a new police officer, being trained by Denzel Washington. If you have not seen this one, i really think you should buy the blu ray. This is a film you want to keep in your movie collection. Another film that is so damn good, that you need to buy it, is Sidney Lumet´s fantastic thriller Before The Devil Knows You´re Dead. With the cast of Ethan Hawke, Philip Seymour Hoffman, Marisa Tomei and Albert Finney, this was one of my favourite films from the year 2007. A very intelligent hijack thriller, and the final film that director Sidney Lumet directed, after his death. One of the things i like about Ethan Hawke, is the fact that he never really repeat himself, and do sequels, or do the same characters. The only time he have chosen to do sequels is after his critically praised 90´s film classic Before Sunrise. 2 more films were released where we follow what happend to the main characters, between life changes and becoming older. If you have not seen any of them, i would recommend you take the time and see them all. These are not films for you, if you don´t like to hear a lot of dialogue. But if you do love strong performances, and intelligent stories . I noticed something while looking at the latest releases with Ethan Hawke, he have made 9 films between 2014 - 2015, and only 4 of them have been released so far. So we have a lot to look forward too. One of these films that he made, released in may this year, is called Good Kill. Now, here comes something interesting that most people might not know. Ethan Hawke and director Andrew Niccol worked together on the film Gattaca, a sci fi film released in 1997. So with Good Kill, it will be the second time they work together. Last time i watched one film from director Andrew Niccol was the film The Host. A sort of sci fi thriller, made for the teen audience. Better than Twilight, but nothing you remember really. With Ethan Hawke back together with the director of Gattaca, is this film another successfull combination, or is this second time around not a good final product?

Major Thomas Egan ( Ethan Hawke ) is one of the men, working with drone attacks against Taliban threats. He is told that every shot matters, even if innocent people might die. The base is set outside in the Nevada desert, so he can still go home to his wife Molly Egan ( January Jones ) and his children. Molly can tell that her husband Thomas is affected by his drone missions, as he tries to handle his emotions, knowing he kills innocent people, especially children. For each mission, he tries to focus on just doing the job, even if he does not see a threat in every position. Major Thomas co worker Airman Vera Suarez ( Zoe Kravitz ) does not agree with the decisions being made in certain missions, when she see that they are not completely sure if they are killing talibans or innocent people.  Colonel Jack Johns ( Bruce Greenwood ) make sure that they follow orders, even if he also doubt that they make the right choices. Thomas is becoming more destructive, having alcohol problems, and forced to work more. Will he be able to control his life, or is he going to destroy his marriage and his career ?

Back in 1997, Gattaca became an box office flop, and it seemed to be forgotten among audiences. But after a while, the film discovered its way back on dvd, and found a new fan base. At the time, it was an original sci fi film, with a plot very different from other releases. Looking back at Gattaca today, i would still say that this film is unique. Good Kill is a completely different film for director Andrew Niccol. This story about an U.S. Air Force Fighter, is not very original, or ground breaking when it comes to military film. On the other hand, this film looks really beautiful, where director Niccol shows his view on the U.S. military. The wide filmed scenes among the military operations, feels very realistic, almost as if you could feel yourself being so close to the drones in the sky. Not that long ago, Clint Eastwoods film American Sniper got a lot of attention, because of the content. Good Kill is also based on true events, taking place in 2010. One big difference between American Sniper and Good Kill, is that they show 2 different sides of living in the military, while having a family. While Bradley Cooper was serving his country in Iraq, Ethan Hawke is controlling drones from the military base in America, and can see his family everyday. Even if he is close to his loved ones, you can tell he have a problem, handling emotions and his personal feelings. How do you feel after killing people with drones, almost everyday, do you just connect your feelings outside and just kill the targets ? This is where Good Kill becomes very interesting, where we try and understand how you deal with handling difficult situations no normal person would be able to do. Director Andrew Niccol have managed to make a small film, that feels very powerful, with such an emotional story. Ethan Hawke proves once again why he is one of the best actors of doing different characters, and with Good Kill he shows why he is so good at doing emotions on screen. This might be shocking to some people, but i feel that Good Kill is a better film than American Sniper. Simply because it is not as patriotic, or predictable, it shows a darker side on the military forces. If you love really good acting, and an intelligent story, i suggest you watch Good Kill. I would say this is the best film from director Andrew Niccol and he seems to work so well will Ethan Hawke. Hopefully we can see them do another film together in the future. If Good Kill does not get nominated in any film festival this year,  i will personally complain to the jurys.  This is a film that deserves attention. 

Rating : DDDD 

måndag 22 juni 2015

The Man With The Iron Fists 2

I grew up loving kung fu movies from the 70´s. Some of these films had so many cool fights, you wanted to be one of these bad ass fighters. There was something unique about the way kung fu films were made, since they really did all the fighting themselves without special effects. Stunt guys were used of course, but the fights were almost never fake, because they knew the audience wanted to see the fights look spectacular. David Carradine ( a legend and dearly missed ) made his effort with Kung Fu, the tv series. This classic tv series gave us a different look at an kung fu master, who wanted to teach people that peace is more important than violence. The legacy of David Carradine followed with him through his film career, especially for his tv series Kung Fu. When the 80´s kicked in, there were still kung fu films made, but you could tell that the world was changing. Martial arts films was taking over in a different way, especially after Jean - Claude Van Damme got his big hit with Bloodsport. As the 90´s came along, martial arts films seemed to stay popular, while kung fu films did not get much attention. It would take a long time, until director Quentin Tarantino decided to make Kill Bill Vol.1 in 2003, when we could see the kung fu cinema make a big return for the big screen. Who would have known that the sequel Kill Bill Vol.2 would be even better than the first film ? Quentin Tarantino made sure we got some really wonderful kung fu vibes with Kill Bill, and Uma Thurman did an excellent job. Film makers seemed to be interested in bringing the feeling of the kung fu films of the 70´s, and we got some more releases. But it was not until 2012, when hip hop artist RZA, decided to make his own tribute to kung fu films with The Man With The Iron Fists. With Eli Roth as one of the producers, and with an cast of Russel Crowe, Lucy Liu, Cung Le ( and many more ), i was very curious to see if this was a tribute that respects the old kung fu films. It actually managed to deliver some solid entertainement, without giving something ground breaking. There were even some hip hop influences thrown into the film, and that proved to be something different for this genre. When i found out that a sequel was coming out, with no promotion at all here in Sweden, i decided that i should take a look anyway. Is this sequel almost as good as the first film, or is this another release that should have been cancelled from the beginning ?

Thaddeus the blacksmith ( RZA ) is travelling to the monks at Wu Chi Temple on a quest on inner peace. Suddenly Thaddeus is attacked by the brother of Silver Lion and his henchmen. Thaddeus manage to defeat them, but is badly injured, and ends up in the river, floating away. In Tsai Fu village, a woman named Innocence ( Pim Pubear ), daughter of Li Kung ( Dustin Ngyen ), find Thaddeus in the river. He is brought to the home of Li Kung, where Innocence is taking care of his wounds. Since Thaddeus is an blacksmith, he is needed to make weapons, because the village is preparing to fight back against the evil silver mine owner Master Ho ( Carl Ng ). Master Ho arrange fights, to defeat every warrior who is brave enough to face them. Innocent people are dying, and Li Kung can not watch the village people become victims of this tyranny. Thaddeus wanted to live a peacefull life, but he realise that he must help the village defeat Lord Pi ( Cary-Hiroyuki Tagawa ) , to make sure that they can all live a normal life again.

When you see an sequel coming out, and you did not even know it was made, this could be a bad sign of what to expect. Since i enjoyed the first film, for being a tribute to Kung Fu movies and mixing in hip hop styles into the genre, i was not sure if i wanted to see a sequel. After watching The Man With The Iron Fists 2, i can tell you that i could have skipped this one. Let´s get to the problems right away. When you see that the production budget is much smaller, with more B film actors than Russel Crowe from the first film, that is a warning sign. While the first film had some cheesy moments of acting, at least the actors were good enough to make their characters look pretty cool. In this sequel, some of the acting is so bad, i begin to wonder if director Roel Reiné just hired the ones he could find, just to finish this sequel. The kung fu scenes where they chop heads off, and other body parts feel very cheap, while they could have made some effort to make it look better. One of the few positive things are the fight sequences, they look pretty good when they get started. I realise that this is an direct dvd release, so i can´t expect this film to carry the same qualities from the first film. I have seen a lot of martial art films, kung fu films, over almost 18 years of my life, so i appreciate this genre if it is made with heart. I can see potential here in the cinematography, and in some of the fight sequences. I usually have one demand, when directors make sequels. Make them as good as the first film, or make them even better, or you might as well avoid making one. Unfortunately, we don´t get many great sequels to films nowdays. Sometimes it does happen, like with The Purge: Anarchy, i felt this film was much better than the first film, and that is always appreciated. The Man With The Iron Fists 2 is not awful all the way, there are just so many problems that should have been fixed before the film was released. Director Roel Reiné is known as the director for films like Pistol Whipped with Steven Seagal, and The Scorpion King 3, so you know instantly he is known for making low budget films. If you love kung fu movies, there are plenty of classic ones i can recommend. If you did enjoy the first film The Man With The Iron Fist, i can guarantee you will disappointed with this sequel. Maybe it is time you find another project RZA ?

Rating: DD

söndag 21 juni 2015

Finally we get some action

Hello everyone! 

I have been really busy lately but i have reviews coming up this week.  And i also have a request by swedish martial arts swede Lindskog,  to write one review on the film called Merantau.  I will see it first and then write a review.  In the meantime,  keep your eyes open and be patient,  reviews are coming guaranteed. Thanks for reading my reviews,  and i will update you more in july on what is going on. 

Cheers from Daniel 

måndag 15 juni 2015

In Memory Of Christopher Lee

One of the greatest actors from the old school scene have left us. Christopher Lee passed away about a week ago,  and he will be missed. I remember that i used to watch all of his Dracula films from the 60's and 70 ' s,  while he worked on many films from the legendary company Hammer Films.  In recent years you might remember him as Saruman in The Lord Of The Rings.

Since he is no longer with us, i will write a review on one of his films, that he made with the legendary film company Hammer Films. He will always be known as an horror icon, and this is a great way to remember him, choosing one of his films that he made during this epic time in horror. Hopefully be posted by the end of this week, so keep your eyes open. Thank you to everyone out there, who keep coming back to read my reviews

Cheers from Daniel

söndag 14 juni 2015


All actors are not meant to be making Oscar winning motion pictures. Some actors are limited when it comes to their acting abilities. And that is ok, especially when it comes to action films, or horror film. There are a lot of great examples, but let´s take one film up here. Ninja: Shadow Of A Tear, is a really awsome action film, with legendary actor Scott Adkins. He is fantastic here at kicking ass, even if he is not the best actor. But that does not matter in this film, he pulls it off really good with his physical performance. If we go back into the 80´s, and remember all the cheesy action films, anyone remember Tango & Cash ? It was dumb in some ways, but entertaining, seeing Sylvester Stallone and Kurt Russel as cops, fighting for justice. If there is one actor who got a big breakthrough in the 80´s, it was without a doubt Arnold Schwarzenegger. This big austrian became an action icon, with his magnificent american accent. I belive i have seen every film he have ever made, even from the end of the 70´s with Kirk Douglas in The Villain. This film is actually a funny spin off, on the western genre, where Schwarzenegger plays the character Handsome Stranger ( brilliant name ). After the big breakthrough in The Terminator, released in 1984, Schwarzenegger became very popular with his very violent action films. One of my personal favourites is Predator, from 1987. I think i have seen it 15 times since the release, and i still Watch it when it is on digital cable tv. Over the years, Schwarzenegger have tried many different genres, from the usual action films, to comedies like Kindergarten Cop, Twins and even pregnant in Junior. He even tried the horror genre in End Of Days, that actually was not that bad. After the box office failure Terminator 3, Arnold took a long break from the film industry to focus on his governor job in California. For 10 years he did not do one single film, that is quite a long time. When he was ready for a comeback with The Last Stand, the film flopped at the box office, and it did continue with Sabotage. Arnold is no longer an guaranteed box office success, and it might be that the new generation prefer younger actors. I personally enjoy Arnold for who he is, and he can make fun of himself. When i Heard his next film would be a zombie film called Maggie, i was really skeptical, since i was not sure if this was the right movie for him to make. I was curious to see if he might surprise me, and show a different side of his usual catalogue. Is Maggie one of the best Schwarzenegger films in many years, or is this exactly what he never should have done and sticked to action instead ?

All over the world, an outbreak by the Necroambulist virus, turned humans into zombies. Scientists are trying to find a cure, while many people are already infected. Maggie Vogel (Abigail Breslin) call her father Wade (Arnold Schwarzenegger). Maggie was found by military on the streets, where she have been bitten, and is now infected with the Necroambulist virus. Wade is allowed to bring his daughter home with him, just to make sure they spend time together, before the virus breaks out completely. Wade brings Maggie home to her stepmother  Caroline (Joely Richardson), to make sure Maggie is taken care of. One day while outside, Maggie falls on the ground, hurting her finger. Caroline run out to help her, since she is bleeding. Maggie decide to cut the finger off, and run away from their house. While she tries to cover up the flesh wound, she encounter a couple of zombies walking among the forest. One of them is Maggies friend Nathan, who is no longer alive. Maggie beg Wade not to harm him, but Wade have no choice, to protect his family. Wade try and deal with the situation, especially when he and Maggie visit Dr. Vern Kaplan ( Jodie Moore ), who checks Maggies health. Her arm is badly infected, and Dr. Vern suggest that Wade should be prepared that she will change within time. Wade refuse to let Maggie go, and will deal with this himself. Is there any way Maggie can get well again, or have the virus spread too fast ?

If you are hoping for big explosions, big guns, and some fighting scenes like the glory days of Schwarzenegger´s career, you might be dissapointed. This is not a film that looks anything like his previous films. He did try a more dramatic role in The Last Stand, even if this is an action film. But Maggie is defienetly the most dramatic film i have ever seen Schwarzenegger do in his whole film career. There is a mixture of apocalyptic feeling here, almost like they have used influences from The Walking Dead. If there is one thing i am quite shocked about, is that Schwarzenegger is actually acting in this film. Am i joking with you ? No, it is actually true. This could be one of his better acting performances that he have done for.....over 20 years ? I could understand why he choosed to make a film like Maggie, he have already proved himself to be an action film icon, so he does not need to prove that he can kick ass. Instead, he want to show us that there is another side of him, that if he get the right script he does know how to act. I first thought that this would be another typical zombie killing film, it is definetely different than most films in this genre. The story is much more intelligent than that, because we are following the story of an infected daughter, and her father trying to help her get well. Director Henry Hobson is someone i never heard of, until i checked him up. He have only directed tv specials, trailers, and he have worked on several films as an title designer. Maggie is his debut feature film, and i have to say for his first time as an director ( for a feature film ), he manage to deliver a solid story. Maybe not very original, but at least a different take on the zombie genre. Actor Abigail Breslin, who was the adorable girl in Little Miss Sunshine, is also good in this film. She feels very natural, and gives her character the right touch, of how an infected young woman might react in hard times. Maggie is not one of the best films i have seen with Schwarzenegger, but this is without a doubt a much better film than some of his standard releases. Give Maggie a try, see this film with an open mind without judging Arnold, he is better here than his usual facial expressions. I am quite suprised that he finally managed to deliver an solid performance.

Rating: DDD

lördag 13 juni 2015

Kill The Messenger

When i hear young people who never heard of films like The Deer Hunter, or Taxi Driver, i feel very worried. Most of them seem to know all Michael Bay films, and that is not a good sign on their movie knowledge. I am not saying that all young people are like this, just some, and those young minds need to learn what true film making is all about. The 70´s really proved to be a time of cult films, and some of the biggest classics of all time. Taxi Driver is without a doubt a masterpiece by Martin Scorsese, a film that you can never get tired of. Some old classics still hold today, and you want to know why ? Because they have both fantastic acting, combined with a brilliant story. In today´s society, we still get some really good films, by directors who have the passion to tell interesting stories. Usually these are independent films, because major studios are afraid to go for films that may not make more than 10 million dollars in profit, as an example. Speaking of the 70´s, for those who might remember, there were a lot of films released about crimes, included with drug business. Action films combined with drama, seemed to mix well together, and many directors tried to captured to rough life behind the drug industry. Let´s move along much more recently in time, into the year of 2007. Director Ridley Scott released his film American Ganster, with Russel Crowe and Denzel Washington in the lead roles. This turned out to be the best film of 2007, and i still love it just as much even today. The true story based on the life of drug dealer gangster Frank Lucas. Director Ridley Scott delivered one of the best criminal films in many years, and with such powerful performances from both Russel Crowe and Denzel Washington, you could not stop watching. The drug industry is massive, and it will never go away. As long as drug dealers, drug lords and people working to deliver drugs keeps on going, many people can live good lives. So what if an journalist finds out that CIA covered up their tracks, that they worked together with drug dealers, importing crack cocaine ? This is actually something that happened in the middle of the 90´s. Journalist Gary Webb gets information from an secret source, and begin to write on this story. The portrait in Kill The Messenger of journalist Gary Webb, is no one other than Jeremy Renner, most known from films such as The Hurt Locker, The Avengers, and American Hustle. Knowing this is a film based on an true story, is this better than i was hoping for, or is the story simpy too boring to care about ? 

San Jose Mercury News journalist Gary Webb ( Jeremy Renner ), loves his job as an journalist. But the stories he is writing so far, is not what he is interested in writing about. Until one day, when he gets a phone call in his office. A woman under the name of Coral Baca ( Paz Vega ), says she have secret documents, containing information that CIA have imported crack cocaine into USA, helping Nicaraguan rebels. Gary understand that if he writes a story on this scandal, and publish it, this will be something that everyone will talk about. He finally publish the story, even if he is warned by the CIA, and get the whole country talking. How could CIA agree to do such a scandalous operation, when they are supposed to stop criminals ? The normal life that Gary once had, is now becoming very serious, with threats towards him, and his family.

I did not know much about the plot in Kill The Messenger, and i think that is the best way to go, when you decide to watch a film. I am really surprised how good this film turned out to be, and the acting ? There are so many great performances from Jeremy Renner, Ray Liotta, Michael Sheen, Robert Patrick and Andy Garcia ( finally we get to see him in a bigger production film ). Remember the classic film All President´s Men with Dustin Hoffman and Robert Redford ? You can feel the influences from that film here, with an investigation by an news journalist, who finds information that the government have been invloved in an major cocain scandal. The fact that this is based on a true story, about journalist Gary Webb, makes me feel even more interested in what happened during his investigation. Jeremy Renner is really good in the lead role, he feels like a journalist, and do manage to portrait someone who is ready to go all the way, to get the perfect story. Director Michael Cuesta, is mostly known as an tv series director for tv series Homeland and Blue Bloods. When it comes to feature films, i have only seen one of his films called Tell-Tale, with Josh Lucas in the lead role. It was alright, but nothing original in any way. Kill The Messenger feels like a touchdown for director Michael Cuesta. If you compare with Tell-Tale, it is almost like Cuesta changed his style completely, and worked really hard to make a film with a powerful message about corruption. I will be honest and say, i don´t remember anything about this case, even if i used to read a lot of newspapers in my youth. One reason could be that Sweden did not report that much about Gary Webb, since i remember other scandals that happened in America during the 90´s. Drug scandals still happen in todays society, among politicians, celebraties, and i have a feeling it will go on forever. It is an big industry, where everyone want to make lots of money, even if it means people will end up dead. Did journalist Gary Webb did the right thing to reveal information ? I think he did what any journalist would have done, with secret documents that could destroy peoples lives. Scandals sell papers, and could also help your career to grow to a completely different level in journalism, if you have the perfect story. Kill The Messenger is a really well made thriller, that show us how greedy powerful people can be. Unfortunately this film did not get much promotion, and you could not see this film in cinemas around Europe. So now you can find the film on blu ray or dvd, and i suggest you see it if you love intelligent thrillers. Jeremy Renner, if you are reading this review, i wish you would have been nominated for your performance, you deserved one nomination at least.

Rating: DDDD

lördag 6 juni 2015

Hot Tub Time Machine 2

If you could travel back in time, what would you do ? Would you change the past just to see what the future will look like instead ? Let´s turn it around for a moment. What would you do if you could travel into the future ? Hard question, i suppose i would want to make the world better, but as they say, you make one change,  and you might cause problems in a longer term. Time travelling have been brought up in many motion pictures, in many different versions. From the early 1960 film The Time Machine, into the 80´s with the massive box office success of Back To The Future. Many films have taken on the subject of time travelling, some really good, some less good. I actually have one film that i still feel passionate about, the 1994 film Timecop. This was actually the biggest box office hit for Jean-Claude Van Damme, and one of his best performances from an acting perspective. Of course i would say that Back To The Future is one of the best time travelling films of all time, because that film nailed everything in what could go wrong, or what could change if we decided to go back in time. So what if you suddenly woke up hangover one day, and have travelled back in time, without knowing it at all ? This is something that the comedy Hot Tub Time Machine delivered, with a funny plot included. Just the idea of an hot tub made as a time machine is actually a brilliant idea, so whoever came up with this original detail, you deserve respect. When this film came out in 2010, i was actually surprised how funny it was. Sure, there were plenty of vulgar jokes, nudity and alcohol, but it was all combined into a great mix with some surprises along the way. And the 80´s influences fit really well with the story, including some classic 80´s metal. To see John Cusack back in a comedy was also great, because he can be funny, if he get the right character. I would still say that this comedy holds 5 years later, because it had an original idea. So when i read a sequel is coming, i realised that i had to take a look, if the guys have managed to capture the same feeling from the first film. Is Hot Tub Time Machine guaranteed to make you laugh like the first film, or is this a sequel that should not have been made ?

5 years have passed. Lou Dorchen ( Rob Corrdy ) is an successfull business man, who still continue to party, and have no plans of becoming serious about anything. Nick Webber ( Craig Robinson ) is a musician, and a pop artist loved by fans. What the people don´t know is that he stole old songs and make them hits, as if he created the songs. Jacob Yates Dorchen ( Clark Duke ) is the butler, and son of Lou, but Lou see him more as his personal butler. Lou is planning to have a huge party, where Nick and his wife Courtney ( Kellee Stewart ) is invited. While Lou is holding a speech, about how bad ass he is, someone shoots Lou. Panic breaks out, and no one knows what to do. Until Jacob realise that they could use the Hot Tub Time Machine, to go back and see who shot Lou, and make sure he never gets shot. They all agree to do one more trip, to make things straight. But when they wake up, it seems that they have travelled 10 years ahead into the future. They can´t go back either, because they can´t find the substance that is needed to make every time travel moment possible. So they have to find a different way to come up with a plan, how they can go back. Meanwhile, Jacob realise that they might be in an alternative timeline, when he looks into what might have happened. Is it possible that they still can find out who tried to kill Lou, even if they are stuck in the future ?

The first film was funny. It made fun of the 80´s in a good way, about the glam metal and the metal ballad bands that took over the charts. Chevy Chase also shows up, and gives the film an nostalgia feeling. One of the things that made Hot Tub Time Machine work so well, was the comedy timing from the actor Rob Corrdy. His passion for Mötley Crue made his character so great, that you could not stop loving him. The idea of a gang of male friends, accidently travelling back to the year of 1986, worked pretty well. Especially with the vulgar humour, since this was needed to capture the right feeling. So when i heard a sequel was coming, i was actually surprised. Hot Tub Time Machine did not seem to be a film you make a sequel of, unless you come up with a great idea. Unfortunately, this sequel does not live up to the first film by comedy standars. Most of the cast is back, except for John Cusack. He is only mentioned in this sequel. but it does not matter honestly. This film tries to make fun of time travelling in a completely different way, and this film is not that funny. Rob Corrdy is still the best part of this sequel, without him this would have fallen flat. There are a few scenes where i did laugh, a little bit, but compared to the first film the humour feels forced. Director Steve Pink, did direct the first film, so you would hope he would give this sequel some good material. It feels like he must have lost his thread, because Hot Tub Time Machine 2 is not a worthy sequel. Simple jokes, mix with sex jokes, and dick jokes, that can be funny if you do it the right way. Here, it feels like a big mix of everything, but without no meaning. I do like one thing though, in the beginning of the film, Lou Dorchen, looks like another version of Vince Neil, with much more chest hair. I am sorry to say, in the end this is not a film i am pleased about. I enjoy vulgar humour, if it mix great together with a funny story. Somehow, director Steve Pink did not give this film the passion it needed. See the first film instead, and you will guaranteed have some good laughs.

Rating: DD

fredag 5 juni 2015

Avengers : Age Of Ultron

Ladies, i think it is time you should know what every man wants you to do !

No matter if you are a wife, girfriend, or interested in a guy, the best thing you can do to make men happy are to dress up like comic book characters like Catwoman, Elektra, Red Sonja, Tank Girl, or any other comic book character you can think of. So why is this a good idea ? I know what men like, and if they see you dress up like Red Sonja, with a massive sword and short dress, i can guarantee they will marry you. If you want the relationship to end, i suggest you dress up as Hans Martin, the swedish ballad singer. Speaking of comic books, i am a big fan of Marvel motion picture adaptations of classic comic book characters. Some of the films have been amazing, with fantastic special effects, great actors and great dialogue. With the right director, you can make a comic book character come to life on screen. Is there any bad ones out there ? Oh man, yes there is. I think the biggest proof of that is Catwoman, with Hale Berry. Elektra with Jennifer Garner may not have been as bad as Catwoman, but when you have a character like Elektra, and make a film that looks very cheap, it is not a good sign. Over the years, we thankfully have movie adaptions of comic book characters that really proved to work very well. You might have seen the films about Iron Man, Thor, Captain America, The Hulk, and many more ? The great thing about comic book motion pictures, is that you can enter a world where anything is possible. You do get lots of violence, but we also get great acting, and surprisingly good stories to be told. In 2012, director Joss Whedon brought the latest adaption of The Avengers to the big screen. It was definetely one of the better Marvel films, and looked amazing, with some really good acting included. A massive box office success, so i knew that a sequel will eventually show up. So here we are, Age Of Ultron is the second film, based on the characters from Avengers. The whole team is back, including the same director from the first film, and that is a good sign. Is this sequel just as good as the first Avenger film, or is this proof that some films should be left alone ?

In the Eastern European country of Sokovia, the Avengers is at war , at an Hydra outpost led by Baron Wolfgang von Struker ( Thomas Kretschmann ). Wolfgang have been making experiments on humans, using the scepter that Loki ( Tom Hiddleston ) have used before. The Avengers get their hands on the scepter, when they encounter two of Wolfgangs experiments, twins Pietro, and Wanda Maximoff ( Elizabeth Olsen ). Tony Stark ( Robert Downey, Jr ) and Bruce Banner ( Mark Ruffalo ) find artificial intelligence from the scepters diamond. They use the diamond to complete Stark´s ( Ultra ) Global Defense Program. While having a party with the whole team, Ultran show up infront of all the guests, attack the Avengers at their headquarters. Ultron escapes with the scepter,  uses the resources in Strucker's Sokovia base to upgrade his rudimentary body, including building an army of robot dromes. Ultron recruit the Maximoffs, who hold Tony Stark responsible of their parents death. They all travel together to the base of arm dealer Ulysses Klaue ( Andy Serkis ), to obtain Wakandan vibranium. The Avengers follow them, but Wanda subdues the team so they have haunting visions. Nick Fury ( Samuel L Jackson ) arrives, and try to encourage the team, to come up with a plan to stop Ultron, before he manage to end his vision.

Let us make one thing clear. If you don´t like comic book films, and loved The Boy Next Door with Jennifer Lopez, i suggest you run now. Why ? The nerds of Sweden will without a doubt make you suffer , and let you watch Rolf Lassgård and Richard Wolf play rock music in Angel. I have seen this, and i almost died for real, it is that dangerous. On the other hand, if you loved The Avengers from 2012, with so many great comic book characters, i have a feeling Age Of Ultron is a film in your taste. Personally i had a great time with this film, simply because i really enjoy comic book adaptions made into big screen films. If you love the characters Iron Man, The Hulk, Thor, Captain America, Hawkeye, among some of the classics, you are really in for a feast. The action scenes are just as massive as you probably were hoping for. Lots of CGI ? Of course, otherwise you could not do a massive action film like this. As long as they make it right, CGI specialists are welcome to use all the technology that a film like this needs. The whole idea behind The Avengers is that it is supposed to feel majestic, when you have so many superheroes fight against evil forces. If you did not see the first film, it might be hard to understand certain details what they are talking about in this sequel, but you don´t have to see the first film to understand the characters, they are still pretty much what you have seen before. When it comes to a sequel of a really good comic book film, i would not want to compare the differences from last time. This time around we get new characters, especially Ultron, who is a very unique sentinent. I like the way Ultron is portrayed here, an artificial intelligence who knows exactly what to do, trying to destroy The Avengers in every single possible way. You also get to see a different emotional view on the whole Avengers team, as you realise that they really need each other, when times are tough. Even superheroes makes mistakes, just as we humans do. Director Joss Whedon have a feeling for making this world become alive on screen. He makes sure we get both majestic action sequences, but also a human perspective that affect even these super heroes. Age Of Ultron is an action film, with both brain and substance, and so many great performances from all the actors. Is it one of the best Marvel films so far ? I am not sure, but this is definetely one of the better ones, and that is a good sign. One thing is for sure, i need to make my wife dress up like Red Sonja for my birthday party in august, just so i can.......enjoy the birthday cake, without the candles of course.

Rating: DDDD