lördag 30 april 2016

Midnight Special

There are some directors who only manage to tell a strong story once in their film making career. Usually, it is hard for some directors to deliver more than once, unless they have a passion of telling stories we love, with really good acting. But there are directors who have proved themselves, more than once. Directors who know exactly what they are doing, and i would like to take this moment to mention one of them. Christopher Nolan is one of those directors, who always manage to surprise me, if you look at his catalogue. Apart from his fantastic Batman films, you have his classics Memento, Insomnia ( a really good remake of the norwegian film ), Inception and not long ago Interstellar. I have a feeling he will give us some really good films in the future, because he always proves that he knows how to tell stories, and make interesting films. There are of course plenty of directors we could talk about, but let us focus on one director, who definitely surprised me more than once. Director Jeff Nichols surprised a lot of people with his 2007 directorial debut film Shotgun Stories. It is a powerful independent film, with solid acting, where especially actor Michael Shannon proved himself. This film did not get to screen worldwide, and maybe this is why not many people have seen it. I suggest you do, if you find it on dvd online. 4 years later, Jeff returned with his second film Take Shelter, and managed to make this his best film so far. Michael Shannon is also seen in the lead role, and i have to say that he blew my mind this time. Take Shelter is a very strong psychological drama, where you have to figure out what is wrong, or if the main character is actually is telling the truth. A film you should own on dvd, or blu ray. 2 years later Jeff delivered another really good film again, this time with Matthew McConaughey in the lead role, in Mud. Another powerful film, this time telling a different story, also portraits the small town life in America. All of these 3 films are all worth to have in your dvd collection, or in blu ray, because they all manage to tell very interesting stories. Jeff Nicols is a director who works hard, to bring ús films, that have a lot to say, both emotionally and psychological. The interesting detail is that he have worked with actor Michael Shannon in 2 of his films. And now, this is the third time in the new film Midnight Special. I was very curious to see their third film together, knowing that they have proved themselves before, and i had to make sure i got a chance to see this film. Is this another really good film by this outstanding director, or did he step in the wrong direction with this completely different film ?

Roy Tomlin ( Michael Shannon ) is on the run, from a religious cult in Texas, with his 8 year old son Altor Tomlin ( Jaeden Lieberher ). Altor is a very special boy, who possesses otherworldy powers. FBI is called in, in the search of Altor, and the hunt is on. Roy´s childhood friend Lucas ( Joel Edgerton ), a state trooper, decides to help Roy and Altor on the run. The religious cult congregation, who is runned by leader Calvin Meyer ( Sam Shephard ), have FBI running in to their location. Everyone is being questioned, where FBI is trying to get an image of Roy and his plans. While Roy and Lucas keep the boy protected, they pick up Alton´s mother Sarah Tomlin ( Kristen Dunst ) on the way. Together, they try and stay safe, but is this the right way for Alton, or should he be following a different path ?

After all the positive talk about Midnight Special, and all the positive feedback that this film have been given, i can honestly say i am not let down. Even if Midnight Special is a very different film from the previous films of Jeff Nicols, he still prove himself to be one of the strongest independent film directors of our time. To see that he and Michael Shannon still work together, and manage to make such powerful films, is absolutely wonderful. Even if Midnight Special looks completely different from Jeff Nicols previous films, you can still recognize his style, and his way to tell a story. There are influences here from early Spielberg films, and i can understand why some people think of Close Encounters Of The Third Kind. I would say though that Midnight Special, is very different though in the sci fi genre. There are no Michael Bay explosions, laser guns here, this film is much more deeper, and tries to give us a whole different aspect of human life. There is also a story of a young boy, who does seem to be very special, but is he human at all, or is he from another place ? As we follow the main characters across the country, running away from justice, and protecting this young child, we get to ask ourselves questions. And this is one of the details i really enjoy about Midnight Special, you have to think instead of just knowing what will happen. Another interesting view of this film, is the scenes where we see how people who lives in a religious cult, with their leader played brilliantly by legendary actor Sam Shephard. You feel that Jeff Nicols capture the typical pattern of a cult congregation, where the leader knows everything you need to know. The interviews with the members of the cult, clearly shows their lifestyle. Don´t think about what is logical, just follow your leader. Michael Shannon does what he always do, give us acting on a top level. He knows exactly how to make his characters, in his own unique way. But we have more really good acting here, especially from Kristen Dunst. In the past, i was not a big fan of her work, but she have proved herself to become a great actor, if she choose the right character. The young boy played by Jaeden Lieberher, does a really great performance as the unique child, who is very mysterious. I think it is best not to go to deep on the details of this uique boy, that the film is basically focused on. As i went in to see the film, i had no idea what to expect, and i think that is the way to experience Midnight Special, know as little as possible. If you have seen Take Shelter, you might remember that you had to think for yourself if the character is insane, or if he is telling the truth. Midnight Special also want you to think for yourself, but in a different perspective. I am so pleased to say this, you did it again Jeff Nicols. Someone needs to tell the world that you deserve more respect, and more people should see your films, especially in the theatre now to Midnight Special. I can´t think of many films so far this year that is so powerful as this film.

I have no problem saying this, Midninght Special is one of the best films of 2016 so far. Run and see it in a cinema near you!

Rating: DDDD

Road Games

If there is one thing i learned from the 1986 cult classic film The Hitcher, never pick up a hitchhiker. This film is one of my favourite action thriller films of the 80´s, and Rutger Hauer did one of his best motion picture performances in his career. He have made many great films, but The Hitcher is a special film. Director Robert Harmon managed to do a very solid thriller, just based on a hitchhiker, who obviously is completely insane. If you have not seen this classic, you need to buy it on dvd, or blu ray. This is one of those films that you have to have in your collection. Speaking of hitchhikers, how many of you remember the film Into The Wild, directed by Sean Penn ? This film is also one of those classics where hitchhiking is included, the emotional story of a man, who is tired of living the ordinary day life. I still see this film to be one of the best films, that Sean Penn have directed, and the lead actor Emile Hirsch did a wonderful performance. In ordinary day life, i never pick up hitchhikers with my car, i suppose i don´t trust anyone who stands with a cardboard sign that says :- I will do anything to get to Oslo. As most of you know, i love checking out independent films, and there are plenty of them coming out every year. Only a few are seen in cinemas, while some of they either get a straight to dvd release, or go straight to VOD. No matter where these independent films make their final landing, i try and keep my eyes open. Over the years, after seeing so many Hollywood block busters, i appreciate the smaller films usually more than the million dollar projects. So i stumbled across an independent film on VOD called Road Games, a film i knew nothing about. And i have to say, that is the best way to be introduced to a film, so you have no idea what to expect. I did notice on the movie poster, that actor Andrew Simpson is in this film. He did a really good performance in the british drama film Notes On A Scandal, where both Judi Dench and Cate Blanchet both delivered top quality acting. He was very young at this time, so i am curious to see him in a lead role, what seems to be a completely different genre. Is the film Road Games a film that manage to deliver more than expected, or is this a film you might as well avoid ?

Jack ( Andrew Simpson ) have been out on a personal journey, as he needed to get away from his home country. He is hitchhiking out in the french countryside, but with no luck. As he walks on the highway, he encounters Véronique (  Joséphine De La Baume ), fighting with her boyfriend. She leaves in the company of Jack, as they hitchhike together. Finally a man named Grizard ( Frédéric Pierrot ) stops to offer them a ride. He will make sure that they have a good night sleep, and food, in his mansion, where he lives with his wife Mary ( Barbara Crampton ). At first, Jack and Véronique feel welcome into the mansion. But they see that both Grizard and Mary have personal issues in their marriage, or is there another reason to why they behave strange ? 

The good thing about smaller independent films, is that you have to use all the necessary tools you can, to make the film feel interesting. With the right locations, strong characters, and really good dialogue, you have a film that will deliver. Road Games may not have all of this, but somewhere along the way, i see a film that at least tries to go forward in the right direction. The story is very simple, and it is not hard to understand the plot. In fact, we have seen films like Road Games before, perhaps in other formats. One of the things i enjoy most about Road Games, is that it is so simple. Everything seems to start off as an ordinary french english drama, when the hitchhikers manage to get a lift. But after a while, the film take a completely different turn, and this is where things get interesting. I won´t spoil any details, just to make it more fun to watch the film.  Even if Road Games have some good ingredients, we do have some smaller problems also. The characters feel a bit too simple, you don´t really get to know them deep enough. And i would have liked to know more, especially Mary, played by legendary actor Barbara Crampton. You can tell that her character is not feeling well, that something is buried deep inside her. I would have wanted to know more on her background, and why she is in such pain. Even if Road Games does not bring anything unique, or something different to the viewers, i still feel this film manage to keep the plot interesting. Director Abner Pastoll may not be someone you heard of before, but he have directed 9 short films, and also the director of the tv series Action UK!. Road Games is his first full feature film, and i like what he is trying to pull together. There is a mix of different genres here, but i would probably call i a thriller drama. Lead actor Andrew Simpson, as the soul searching Jack, should have been more deep, from a character perspective. Joséphine De La Baume as Véronique, is so adorable that you want to see her in more films, she feels very natural. I still think she should have had more scenes, since i have a feeling she could have been even stronger. She does not get to shine, as much as you want her to do. Frédéric Pierrot does manage to give a performance, and he may be one of the stronger characters in this film. He is like a Jekyll and Hyde, 2 personalities, and you don´t really know who he is, and this is something difficult to do as an actor. Road Games shows us what happens, when you run into an unexpected turn in your life, and nothing is what you expected. Not a film you might remember for being original, but there is an interesting twist in here, and this is where Road Games manage to deliver. One thing is clear, be careful being picked up during hitchhiking in the french countryside, unless they have banjos, then you will be ok.

Rating: DDD

måndag 25 april 2016

I made a mistake

Hi everyone worldwide ! 

I need to talk about something. Some of you might have read my review of London Has Fallen. Now, at the time i saw it in the cinema it was not doing very good with the box office numbers. But when it arrived in chinese theatres, everything changed. London Has Fallen have made about 50,870,000 million dollars  ( so far ) in China and is still going strong. In total worldwide numbers are about 189,161,90 million dollars. That means it is going to break Olympus Has Fallen in box office numbers.

So i admit that i was wrong. London Has Fallen is now a box office success. I also said in my review that we probably wont see Gerard Butler and Aaron Eckhart back together again. But with these unexpected numbers, i understand that we might see a third film in the future.

New reviews on the way this week, until then take care and support B movies.

Cheers from Daniel 

onsdag 20 april 2016

10 Cloverfield Lane

I love to be surprised by films, i have no big expectations to. Most of the films that comes out, you either know they might be good, or you have a feeling that you will be disappointed. Then we have those films you have heard very little about, and have no idea if it will be any good at all. That happened to me back in 2008, when i heard a film called Cloverfield was coming out. I noticed that people were talking about the film, but i honestly did not have any high expectations. As i finally got a chance to see the film, i was very surprised. For being in the found footage horror genre, this was actually one of the better films in this category. The action scenes, with the majestic monster destroying town, looked really good. And it was also a very well made film, with very nice cinematography in chaos locations. The film was directed Matt Reeves, who proved himself to be a really good technical director. He gave us a very different approach on monster films, and i had a great time watching the film in the cinema seat. Matt continued to direct more good films, how about Let Me In ( a really good remake of the swedish vampire film Låt Den Rätte Komma In ), and Dawn of The Planet Of The Apes ? One of the most interesting details about Cloverfield, is that the film is produced by J.J Abrams. Most of you might know him, as the director of the new Star Trek films, including Star Wars - The Force Awakens. Cloverfield is still today seen as one of the best films in the found fottage horror genre, and i have a feeling it will be very hard to defeat this film. About 4 months ago, there was news of a new Cloverfield film, that no one knew was coming. In fact, this project was so secret, that not even the media had any idea about it. I loved this, because usually most media reporters tell you all the details about upcoming films. But when the title of 10 Cloverfield Lane came out, no one knew exactly if it was a sequel, or something else. Since i really enjoyed the first film, i was of course curious to see if this would be like the first film, or different. Reading that J.J Abrams was one of the producers on this film, i was hoping that the quality of the first film would still be here. With such a secret production, with almost no one knewing this film was being made, is this as good as we were hoping it would be, or did they fail to deliver a solid sequel ?

Michelle ( Mary Elizabeth Winstead ) is leaving New Orleans, after an argument with her fiancé Ben ( Bradley Cooper ). As she drives through the night, she is hit by a truck. As she wakes up, she is chained in a room, by a man named Howard Stambler ( John Goodman ). He tries to explain that she can´t leave, because there is no one alive out there anymore. Michelle does not belive Howard, and she tries to handle this difficult situation. Michelle finds out that there is another man down here, in this bunker. A man named Emmett DeWitt ( John Gallagher, Jr ) is also trapped in the bunker. Michelle tries to find out more information of who Howard really is, and why he is doing this. Is Howard completely insane, or is he telling them the truth ?

I am so pleased to tell you, 10 Cloverfield Lane is just as good as i were hoping it would be. And the main reason for that is the cast. John Goodman does one of his best performances in many years, he is simply outstanding as the doomsday prepper Howard. Is he insane, or is he perhaps right, that everyone outside is gone ? As you try to get your own opinion, it is difficult to know if he could be right, because you get a sense that he might have personal issues. Mary Elizabeth Winstead is also really good, as the trapped Michelle, who have no idea why she is locked up in Howard´s bunker. We also get to meet Emmett, played by John Gallagher, Jr, who reminds me of a mixture of a hillbilly trucker boy, and one of the Gator Boys. He also manage to deliver a solid performance. Most of the film focus on these 3 characters, and i like the way that director Dan Trachtenberg have used simple details to tell different sides of their stories. We get to find out details on Howard, as well as Michelle and Emmett, as they begin conversations. By the way, Dan used to be one of the hosts on The Totally Rad Show, one of my favourite web shows on Youtube, i used to watch a lot of their movie reviews. This is the first directorial debut film for Dan, and i am very suprised how well he managed to do this film. It is a very psychological thriller, and you have some horror influences here as well. Since most of the film takes place in the bunker, you feel that the atmosphere is sensitive, that Howard can explode any minute, if you don´t follow the rules. I would not say that this film is worse than the first film, simply because i almost enjoy this film, as much as the first Cloverfield. The films are very different, but i still feel both manage to capture the feeling of how we handle hard situations, with our lives at stake. The claustrophobic atmosphere manage to make this film feel intensive, as Michelle tries to figure out how to escape to the outside. I am not going to give away any details about what is going on outside the bunker, because you really don´t want to know. Going into this film, you are supposed to know as little as possible. 10 Cloverfield Lane manage to stand strong, and deliver a psychological thriller, that will make you sweat of joy. Everything is not perfect, but this is probably one of the better horror influenced films you will see this year. Remember kids, if you see the sign Cloverfield Lane, make sure you have Gerard Butler with you by your side. He knows how to get the party started.

Rating: DDDD

4th Man Out

I love gay people!

I am not gay myself, but my sister is, so thanks to her i have opened my eyes into a different world. In this world, people are dancing, hugging, and you can dress anyway you want. Also, no one will judge you, they might just joke, but in a good way. Gay people get the day started in a great way, and we need more of this in ordinary day life. We are supposed to feel happy about life, and not worry about tomorrow. I have danced in gay clubs, dressed in a prom dress and been grabbed on my ass by a guy, so this definitely makes me ready to be Kommunfullmäktige. Unfortunately, some people see homosexuals as a sin, so i try to spread some love to these people instead. We should not see gay people as something wrong, they actually make this world a better place. When it comes to films, that take on different stories of gay people, we have some really good ones out there. One of my personal favourite films a british comedy called Pride. Based on a true story, about a lesbian and gay activist group, who raised money to families who were affected by The Miner´s Strike in 1984. This film is both very funny, sad and you also learn that we are not so different from each other, no matter if we are gay or straight. I highly recommend you buy this film, and even give it as a gift to a family member. Another film i think we should mention, that is very different from Pride, is the swedish action comedy musical film Dyke Hard. One of the funniest swedish ever made in swedish film history. It is so crazy, about a metal lesbian band, who tries to make a career, and we also get ninjas, gay prison guards, psychopaths, all the right ingredients for Fredagsmys on TV4. I can´t say i have seen many films that include gay characters, but the ones i have seen have been good. And i am sure that there will be more good releases coming our way. I stumbled across a smaller film 4th Man Out, that i only seen a trailer of. Since i usually enjoy smaller independent films, i thought i might as well give this film a try. I noticed that actor Jon Gabrus was included in the cast to this film, and i remembered him from Stephen Frears film Muhammad Ali´s Greatest Fight. He only had a smaller part in the film, but the cast was amazing, with Christopher Plummer, Frank Langella, Ed Begley Jr, Peter Gerety, Barry Levinson and Danny Glover. Lots of old school actors, who all did a good job on that film. Since i have not heard almost nothing about 4th Man Out, is this a suprisingly funny film, or have we seen this too many times before ?

Adam ( Evan Todd ) is a car mechanic, who have a lot of fun with his best friends Chris ( Parker Young ), Nick ( Chord Overstreet ) and Ortu ( Jon Gabrus ). They hang out, play games together, hit bars and just enjoy spending time together. But Adam is carrying a secret, something he have known for a long time. He is gay, but he is afraid to tell his best friends. His friends want him to find a great girl, and enjoy life, but they don´t know how Adam really feels. Can he tell them his biggest secret, or is their friendship about to be destroyed because of him ?

Making fun of a subject of homosexuality can be sensitive, but i think if you do it a positive way, people can enjoy themselves and see the point with the message. 4th Man Out is sort of a drama comedy, basically telling a story how friends react when one of them turn out to be gay. Now, this is nothing new, or refreshing. We have seen this in other films, done in different ways. The good news is that 4th Man Out does have something to say, even if we recognize the concept. We all know that you learn who your real friends are, the ones who respect you for who you are. And this is something we should appreciate, good friends are worth keeping. The characters in this film are pretty basic men, who talk about ordinary day life, and have a good time. Of course they become surprised of their friends confession. How would you feel if one of your best friends turn out to be gay ? I think if you love your friend, it should not matter if she or he is gay, you are still the same friends. What makes 4th Man Out pretty funny, is different situations, where they have discussions about what it is like to be gay. The funniest of the characters is without a doubt Ortu, played by Jon Grabus. He is just the friend we all need, who knows what to say, at the right moment, or does he ? He is a mixture of James Belushi and Stiffmeister, who gets the party started, and never stops. His luck with ladies may not be very big, but you have to love his character. The main character Adam, played by Evan Todd, is the man who is trying to deal with his sexuality. You feel sorry for him, at the same time happy that he dares to tell the truth. Evan gives a good performance, and tries to show us what it could be like in his situation. There are some funny moments, when Adam´s friends try to be the same friends they have always been. How do you talk to gay people ? Can you say whatever you want as male friends, or could he be hurt ? This is where Ortu kicks in and say everything wrong, and i love his character. Director Andrew Nackman have directed short films in the past, and 4th Man Out is his debut feature film. He manage to make a simple film, feel both funny, and dramatic, in a good way. Not original in any way, but that is ok. Because what makes 4th Man Out a good film, is the characters. When the boys hang out, discuss about life, problems, relationships, you can see that there is a connection with these actors. The story itself may be very simple, but it is the friendship that makes this film function in a positive way. 4th Man Out is not anything special. But as a drama comedy, i think this film manage to deliver the message of how important good friends are in our lives. Gay or straight, who cares ? Good friends are worth to hang on to.

Rating: DDD

Dirty Grandpa

There are some actors that will always be respected, for making some of the greatest acting classics of motion pictures. And this is where i can think of many amazing actors, but let us focus on one in particular, known as Robert De Niro. For me personally, it all started with The Godfather Part 2. He have been in several films before this one, but this is really where he showed what an amazing actor he is. I will have to say that it might have helped, thanks to the brilliant mind of film maker Francis Ford Coppola. We all know what happened then, Martin Scorsese made his masterpiece Taxi Driver, and Robert De Niro became one of the biggest actors. His performance in this film is still today so damn good, not many actors would have pulled this off than him. De Niro continued his rampage of fantasic performances with The Deer Hunter, Raging Bull and The King Of Comedy. Of course he have made a lot of more amazing performances, especially in Godfellas. But let´s talk about Robert De Niro in present day. We all know he can still do great performances, and he does still try to release smaller films. There are just some things that i have noticed, especially that he choose way too simple films for an actor on his level. How many of you remember Killing Season ? A film where he was hunted by John Travolta, with a serbian accent out of this world. It clearly showed that De Niro took some films just to get paid, i can´t imagine that he actually thought Killing Season was a good film. But between films like this one, De Niro have proved his acting skills. One of the best examples is a small film called Everybody´s Fine. This is a film not many people saw, but should be seen for two reasons. The cast is great, and the film have a charming story included. In more recent years there are 2 films where he really bloom out, Silver Lining´s Playbook and Joy. Let´s talk about another actor, who i have not been a big fan to. Zac Efron made his name big thanks to the High School Musical films. And he really made a fan base with the comedy 17 Again. I have seen some of his films, and he tried to make more serious films in recent years. But i have to say he managed to surprise me, in the Seth Rogen comedy Neighbors. Not a unique film in any way, just funny as a comedy. A sequel is coming out this year by the way, not sure if we wanted that. So here we are with a film, with De Niro and Zefron in the lead cast, a combination that is pretty odd. Is this combination better than expected, or is this another De Niro film way to simple for his acting skills ?

Jason Kelly ( Zac Efron ) is attending his grandmothers funeral. Jason used to be close to his grandfather Richard " Dick " Kelly ( Robert De Niro ), but they have drifted apart.  Mainly because of Jason´s new job as a corporate attorney. After the funeral, Richard have a request, that Jason can drive him down to Boca Raton, Florida. Jason is not sure if this is a good idea, considering he have to plan his wedding with his controlling fiancee Meredith Goldstein ( Julianne Hough ). But he change his mind, and agree to do so. While Meredith is planning their big day, Jason is about to find out grandfather Richard have a very special trip planned, and it is not included with bingo nights.

Let´s make one thing clear. If you choose to see Dirty Grandpa, do not expect to see De Niro make an oscar performance. You should know that this is a much more simple comedy, in some ways remind us of The Hangover. I can enjoy drunk comedies, if they deliver on a comedy level as the first Hangover film. And this is the problem with Dirty Grandpa, it tries to please the audience with dirty language and sexual content. But when you just make jokes about sex, and it does not give you anything back, you really don´t care about the concept. To see De Niro hit on college girls, feels in some ways a desperate try to make his career stay alive. And this is such a shame, De Niro is such a respected actor, and we all kow that he can deliver. But as a dirty grandfather who wants naked college girls, does not match his acting abilities. Zac Efron looks pretty much the same, as he have done in some of his films. I will say though that he fits better in this comedy genre, and he can be funny in some scenes. There is especially one scene, when he wakes on a beach, almost naked, and a kid walks up to him. I will not say what happens, but i actually did laugh at that scene. De Niro´s comedy scenes does not feel as funny, as they could have been with a better script. The road trip itself is pretty basic, and i would have enjoyed some unexpected turns along the way, like a cameo from a great actor. There is one scene where they visit Danny Glover, and i have to say i appreciated that. If they only could have done more scenes with Danny Glover, i think this would have been a more fun comedy. As it stands now, Dirty Grandpa feels like a very simple comedy, without any surprises. Director Dan Mazer is mostly known for being the co-writer for the comedy film Borat, and he also directed his feature debut film I Give It A Year. Even if i was not a big fan of his debut film, i would probably say that it was a bit more fun than Dirty Grandpa. These 2 films are very different, considering that I Give It A Year was more of a serious british comedy. I can understand what he was trying to do with Dirty Grandpa, mixing 2 very different actors in a vulgar comedy. The final results is still that there is no reason to care for the main characters. A few scenes are ok, but overall a film that fails to deliver entertainment. Bad Grandpa is pretty much a typical party comedy we have seen so many times before. Not awful, just too simple to care about.

Rating: DD

måndag 11 april 2016

Batman V Superman: Dawn Of Justice

Every year we get new comic book film adaptations. And every release always have a great cast, and a big budget. While some releases are really good, there are those who fail to make a comic book character feel interesting on screen. One of the films i am thinking about now, is Green Lantern. At the time, when we found out Ryan Reynolds will play the Green Lantern, i was still curious to see if he could pull this off. The final result proved what many people expected, that it would be a failure. I would not say that Ryan Reynolds was awful, but his performance did not deliver much, while the CGI was really bad. Combine this together, and you realise that this can not be a good combination. But there are comic film adaptations that proved to be better than many of the old film adaptations. Just think about how Christopher Nolan proved himself, with Batman Begins, back in 2005. This was the best Batman film, compared to the early films. Until we got the sequel The Dark Knight, where Heath Ledger made a fantastic performance as The Joker. I would also say that The Dark Kight felt very majestic, both in cinematography, and really good acting. When Chrisopher Nolan announced that his last Batman film would be The Dark Knight Rises, we all understood that things will never be the same again. He did something that most directors can not do, make comic books films better than almost every adaptation so far. And i have to say that Christian Bale as Batman is still the best choice, as the iconic superhero. Another iconic comic book character that people all over the world is of course Superman. The comic books is still today enjoyed by people of all ages. When Christopher Reeve made his debut as Superman, in his first performance as the classic hero, i think most of the world was very pleased. Christopher Reeve proved himself to be really good, and perhaps thanks to Gene Hackman´s brilliant performance as Lex Luthor. Even if i enjoyed the first film, i loved the sequel even more. Superman 2 had both great action scenes, and some really well made battle scenes, where Superman fights against General Zod ( Terence Stamp ) and his evil sidekicks. There were 2 more sequels released, and to be honest, i feel that this would have been enough with the first 2. Superman 4 - A Quest For Peace is one of the worst films i have seen in this genre, and it is such a shame that Cannon Films choosed to do it. When Christopher Reeve passed away, there was a big silence in who would become the next Superman. Not until 2006, when Bryan Singer directed Superman Returns with Brandon Routh as Clark Kent / Superman. The detail i enjoyed mostly on this film, was Kevin Spacey as Lex Luthor. He did a really good job, taking over for Gene Hackman. Even if the film failed a the box office, i did enjoy what Bryan Singer tried to do with the film. Most of you might have seen Man Of Steel, that came out in 2013, with Henry Cavill in the lead role as Clark Kent. I have mixed feelings for this film, but i did not expect to see Henry Cavill in a new film, where Batman is included ? Especially suprised that Ben Affleck would take over the role as Batman. Director Zack Snyder, who directed Man Of Steel also, is now back into the superhero gerne, with a film that combines 2 of the most legendary comic book heroes. Is this one of the best films in this genre, or is this project a proof of a failure from start ?

18 months have passed since Superman ( Henry Cavill ), stopped General Zod ( Michael Shannon ) from destroying the world. But Superman have left a lot of damage, both in Metropolis, and many people were emotionally hurt by his actions. Daily Planet´s Clark Kent ( Henry Cavill ) have now moved in with Lois Lane ( Amy Adams ). In Gotham City, Bruce Wayne ( Ben Affleck ) is also one of those who is critical to Superman´s behavior. Bruce is informed that weapon-trafficker Anatoli Knyazev ( Callan Mulvey ) have contacted Lex Luthor ( Jesse Eisenberg ). It seems as they are working together on a project. To find out more information, Bruce attends Luthor´s party at LexCorp, hoping to get some information through data of the company´s mainframe. Here he meets mysterious antiques dealer Diana Prince ( Gal Gadot ), who steals the data drive from Wayne. At the party we also find Clark Kent invited, as he is listening in to what Wayne is doing. Diana return the data drive to Wayne, telling him that she can not decrypt the data. Wayne realise that Lex Luthor is not only experimenting with kryponite, but also investigating metahumans. Wayne admits Alfred Pennyworth ( Jeremy Irons ), that he plans to steal kryptonite, to use it against Superman. The idea is to let the convoy White Portugese ship, carry the kryptonite, and ship it to LexCorp. The plan fails, as Superman interferes. Since Superman have caused so much damage, he is ordered to go to a congressional hearing, where Senator June Finch ( Holly Hunter ) will be questioning Superman for his actions. A bomb goes off and kills everyone, including Senator June. This makes the situation even worse for Superman, since he could not save anyone. Batman ( Ben Affleck ) continue with his plans to steal kryptonite, to build weapons. Lex kidnaps Martha Kent ( Diane Lane ) and holds her hostage. He tell her that it was his plan, to make Batman and Superman fight against each other, so he can go on with his own plans. Is this the end of Superman and Batman, or is there any other way out, before the end begins ?

When i heard about the idea of Batman and Superman, fighting against each other on screen, i was not sure what to think. Since Christopher Nolan left Batman series after his third film, The Dark Knight Rises, i had a feeling that things will never be the same again. Man Of Steel was at least a Superman film, that had some interesting ideas, even if the film failed to reach nowhere near Christopher Nolan´s brilliant direction. As i finally got the chance to see Batman V Superman Dawn Of Justice, in the cinema, i have to be honest. This is not what i expected......

There are some epic fight scenes, and some massive action scenes, where you at least feel some entertainment. But eventually this film feels like a big mess, with different ideas just smashed into each other. And one of the biggest problems i have with this film, is that there is too much of everything here. We have the 2 different stories here, that includes Bruce Wayne, how he is struggling with life, and we also follow the life of Clark Kent. This could have worked if we had some depth in the characters. We don´t really get that here. Instead, it is more focused on the major action scenes. Some of these action scenes looks good, while some does not feel very interesting. I would say that Ben Affleck as Batman, is better than i expected. I was worried he would do something different with this character, but he manage to pull it off. Henry Cavill as Superman is not bad, but maybe a bit stiff in the acting area. And now we get to one of the problems i can not lie about. Jesse Eisenberg as Lex Luthor was not a good idea. I like some of his films in the past, and if he gets the right character, he can be good. As Lex Luthor, he simply feels wrong for this iconic character. He is probably trying to expand his acting career, and i don´t see a problem with that. I just don´t see him as Lex Luthor. Director Zack Snyder have made some very different films in his past. I did enjoy his film Watchmen, because it had a very cool visual style, and some great characters, based on the DC Comics characters. I also enjoyed his remake of Dawn Of The Dead, where he managed to bring the zombie genre back to life. Then we have Sucker Punch, a film i can´t really say is that good. I did enjoy some of the action scenes, but the acting is awful, and some things in the plot does not make much sense. I suppose Man Of Steel proved that at least Zack Snyder had some good ideas, but maybe did not managed to pull them out correctly. Batman V Superman: Dawn Of Justice proves that he still have problems to structure a film correctly. He have so many ideas, and when he tries to put the pieces together, it is clear that the film have problems. One positive detail is Gal Gadot as Wonder Woman. When she steps in and introduce herself, the quality of the film raises a bit higher. But still, with the problems that are seen in different parts of the film, i don´t feel pleased with this film. If it was supposed to be more about the battle between Batman and Superman, the film should have focused more on that part. I can imagine myself to see Ben Affleck in his own Batman film, until that happens, i hope Zack Snyder takes a break from this genre, and do something else. I know he can deliver, but this is not the right place to do it.

Rating: DD

London Has Fallen

I love to travel, especially outside of Sweden to different cities and different countries. So far i have been in 15 countries, and there are more countries i would love to visit. I was supposed to go Paris last year, just at the time of Paris Attacks. Of course we did not go, even if we lost all the money we paid for the trip. But it was better to stay safe, knowing that we were secure. Terrorist organizations are active worldwide, killing innocent people. We all wish they would all be stopped, and we could live in a world of harmony. Unfortunately, it seems that more terrorist attacks will just continue to go on. One important detail, is not to let these terrorists stop us from living life, and enjoying time with friends and family. We need to keep ordinary day life going as usual. When it comes to motion pictures, that takes on the subject of terrorist attacks. Some are based on true stories, some are made in a typical american patriotic was. Either way, this kind of genre does include some highlights, and i have some good classic titles to recommend. How about Delta Force with Chuck Norris and Lee Marvin ? Or perhaps Executive Decision with Kurt Russel ? I also enjoyed Steven Spielberg´s film Munich, that was based on real events. One of the most interesting films, taking on a very serious subject, is the film Zero Dark Thirty. This film is based on te real chase after al-Qaeda leader Osama Bin Laden. The director of this film, is Kathryn Bigelow. Her way of telling a story, proved to be very effective, and she also had a really good cast to support this emotional film. I would probably say that this is one of the best films, that manage to show 2 different sides of a war. Ever since 9/11, America have been talking about terrorist threats, and it is not hard to understand why. Terrorists are attacking all over the world, and that day changed the whole country. In 2013, we had 2 films released about terrorists attacking The White House. One of these films is called White House Down, and the other one is Olympus Has Fallen. Both films were filled with lots of action, and obviously targeted the problem with terrorism. Olympus Has Fallen was dumb, but fun from an entertaining perspective. Gerard Butler kicking ass in The White House, and Aaron Eckhart as The President Of The United States Of America, turned out to be a fun combination. This was of course a film that was dumb from the start, but if you look at the film as a popcorn film, you might see why it has some value. Director Antoine Fuqua may not be a fantastic director, but he clearly knew what he wanted to give the audience. So after hearing online that a sequel was going to be made, i was surprised. I actually did not think that there would be a sequel, but here is is. Is this film even better than the first film, or does it fall flat in the sequel traps, most sequels do ?

Pakistani arms dealer and terrorist leader Aamir Bakawi ( Alon Moni Aboutboul ), is discovered, and is known for terrorist attacks around the world. Western intelligence services locate Aamir´s compound, and the United States launch an attack against Aaimr. At a family wedding, where Aamir is celebrating, the US Army attack, killing most of his family members, but Aamir survives. 2 years later, Mike Banning ( Gerard Butler ), is still working as an Secret Service Agent for President Benjamin Asher ( Aaron Eckhart ). Mike is about to become a father soon, and is very happy with his wife Leah Banning ( Radha Mitchell ). Suddenly, President Benjamin is told that British Prime Minister James Wilson have died, and the president must go to London to show his respect at the funeral. Mike was planning to quit his job, but realise that he have to go on this trip, to once again make sure the president is safe. To make sure everything is working correctly, Secret Service Director Lynne Jacobs ( Angela Bassett ) is doing her best while they plan the journey. Leaders from the whole world is on heir way to London, but some of them will not make it through, since Aamir is killing innocent people in London, making sure he is going to revenge the death of his family. Aamir´s terrorists are targeting President Benjamin as well, but Mike is making sure that no one will get close to him. The problem is, Aamir´s well planned terrorists attacks in London are making big problems in security, and Mike have to find a way to get the president into safety, no matter what he have to do.

I was one of those who did not hate Olympus Has Fallen when it came out. The main reason for that is it was a dumb fun action film. Some action films are not made to be intelligent, just made as pure action, for a popcorn night. Olympus Has Fallen did not have anything fresh, or an interesting plot. What made this film a fun time, was plain, simple action with lots of violence and bad dialogue. The acting was not on a top level either, but the cast of Gerard Butler, Aaron Eckhart and Morgan Freeman, worked on a simple level. So when i heard a sequel was going to be made, simply called London Has Fallen, i was not sure if a sequel would work. After having seen this sequel in a cinema, i was not very surprised. Since the first film managed to be a fun dumb action film, this sequel is trying to look more serious. Gerard Butler and Aaron Eckhart are both back, and that is a positive sign. But even if some action scenes look ok, you don´t feel the same popcorn entertainment from this sequel. Some scenes look good, and it is fun that this sequel is directed by Iranian-swedish director Babak Najafi. He directed the very popular Easy Money 2, with Joel Kinnaman. That film was actually good for being a swedish film. But with London Has Fallen, i think he might have taken on a project, too big for him. Once the terrorist attacks begin, you feel connections from the first film, but this is not as well made as the first film. The editing is also an issue. One example of one problem, is the motorcycle chase scene. It is supposed to look cool, and intensive. It simply looks pretty boring. It is more fun when Gerard Butler walks around, killing terrorists, and use his fighting skills. Aaron Eckhart is still good as the president of America, and he does have a few good scenes. Apart from this, and some smaller details, i can´t really see why this sequel was needed to be made. If director Babak Najafi would have used some more influences from the first film, and let the cast be more crazy, we might have had something fun here. Now, it is just a sequel, but not with much to offer. Not an awful sequel, just a boring one. I doubt there will be a third film, since the box office numbers are not very big. I suggest you see the first film instead. One thing is clear, you don´t mess with Gerard Butler who looks serious. And don´t forget, iron his shirt correctly, if you don´t, expect a knife in your head within 4 seconds.

Rating: DD

lördag 2 april 2016

Freaks Of Nature

I have always been a big horror fan, especially independent films, that use practical effects and no CGI. I especially love horror films that mix comedy with horror influences, and we have some really good classics in this genre. Who can forget Evil Dead 2, a true masterpiece ? I can still laugh at many of the scenes, and Bruce Campbell is absolutely brilliant. Another film that managed really well to mix splatter horror with comedy is the 90´s classic Braindead, by legendary director Peter Jackson. This could be the most insane comedy i have ever seen. So brutal, but so damn funny, it´s not hard to pee in your pants of joy. One of the most appreciated horror comedies that people still talk about, is Shaun Of The Dead. I would say this is more of a comedy, but i love the way that director Edgar Wright made fun of zombies. To be honest, one of the earlier horror comedies i personally think is one of the biggest classics, is called An American Werewolf In London. This is one of those films that manage to keep generations coming back, enjoying it over and over. And i think the main reason to that, is because director John Landis found a great way to do satire about werewolves. The scenes where main character David Kessler, talks to his dead zombie friend, is still today a lot of fun. By the way, the special effects in this film, with the werewolf transformation, looks really good also. There are of course many more films that combined horror and comedy, and one of the films that not many people have seen, should see the film The Revenant. This was one of the best films in many years, that combined horror with comedy, and also included some good acting. I would recommend that you buy this title, it is one of those films you can see more than once, and still enjoy. About a month ago, i was listening to Bloodbath & Beyond on Youtube, and checked out their review of Freaks Of Nature. I usually don´t let other critics affect me, in what films i should see. On this occasion i got curious, since they were pretty positive about the film. Since i have never heard about this film before, i was not sure what to expect. Since i love the combination horror and comedy mixed, is Freaks Of Nature a film in my taste, or should you avoid it at all cost ?

In the small town of Dillford, everything seems normal. But there is actually a battle in town between vampires, zombies and humans. Luckily, some of them get along. Dag Parker ( Nicholas Braun ) is an ordinary high school student. Petra Lane ( MacKenzie Davis ) is a vampire, and a student. And then we have Ned Mosely ( Josh Fadem ), zombie and always hungry for brains. When the town is suddenly is invaded by aliens, these 3 personalities have to find a way to work together. But is that even possible, or is the town of Dillford doomed to be destroyed ?

When you combine horror with comedy, you need to find a way to make these combinations work. And the good news is, Freaks Of Nature is actually a small surprise. There are a lot of crazy elements here, where you have vampires, zombies and aliens in the same town. When i think about it, there are not many films that have had all of these mixed together in the same film. So right from the beginning, i found myself enjoying the concept, especially since this is supposed to be a high school film also. The concept of the film does not work all the way, but there is a lot of funny ideas here, and they actually work pretty good. When you find out that humans, have to work together to survive with vampires, and zombies, against aliens, you understand how crazy this film is. We have seen many alien invasion films over the years, but Freaks Of Nature is actually doing a very different approach. Since this is about high school students, you might it is going to be cheesy and cliché staged drama. The good news is, we don´t get that much cheesy moments at all, compared to many high school films. Director Robert Pickering have directed one feature film before, a small independent film called Natural Selection. This film does have good reviews, and have been appreciated by the audience. I have not seen it, but it is very interesting that he choosed to do Freaks Of Nature. Natural Selection was a serious drama comedy, and his second film Freaks Of Nature, is almost a different version of the classic film Monster Squad. There are some major differences between these films, but i would guess that there are influences from the 80´s classic. One of the things i think director Robert Pickering manage to do, is mix classic horror figures all together, and make a fun tribute to old school horror comedies. There are a few scenes that might feel a bit too dramatic, but eventually we get a fun nostalgic ride. Freaks Of Nature is not a film for everyone, you have to enjoy this combination to have a good time. If you do like this combination of nostalgia and funny satire, i think you will be clapping your hands infront of the blu ray player. The film is just out in Sweden on dvd and blu ray, and can be bought on many web pages. Get yourself a copy, and pop a beer, this is Fredagsmys just the way Gudryn Schyman would want her weekend to be.

Rating: DDD