fredag 30 september 2016

Will there be a Fifty Shades Darker review ?

Hello everyone worldwide!

Hope you all have a great weekend out there, I am preparing my first reviews for october, and i got all kinds of films coming our way. We will of course have some box office films in here, and some smaller films, just as i usually try to mix it up. Now, about a few days ago i was asked if there will be a Fifty Shades Darker review in here, when the premiere is set in early 2017. So i wanted to take the time and tell you what it looks like in my scheduele.

Fifty Shades Darker will not be reviewed in here, and i will tell you why.

Because we don´t need to see it, none of you do. Why ? Let´s think for a moment. How good was the first film ? Let´s just say i wanted to jump from a balchony after seeing it, that might explain how i feel. So sorry Fifty Shades fans, i will not write a review, not even how much anyone of you would pay me to do it. Ok, if you happen to offer at least 32 million dollars, then i might suffer myself to do it, but only then. And if that includes an evening with Kirk Cameron´s Saving Christmas special screening, we might have a deal.

So there you go folks, i better get back to what i was doing, it includes latex gloves and hand cuffs, this means Thomas Deutgen ( the dansband guru ) is waiting for me. See you soon and thanks for enjoying my reviews.

Cheers from Daniel

Blood Father

When i was a kid, i enjoyed seeing actors from the classic actors in Hollywood. There are many names i could mention, but let's do some of them. Chevy Chase, Steve Martin, Gene Hackman, Kurt Russel, Kevin Costner, Dustin Hoffman, Robert De Niro, Harvey Keitel, Robert Redford, and the list goes on. There are so many of them, and i am happy to say that almost all of them are still working in films, even if though they are old. But there is something special about actors from another time in Hollywood, they have something special that not most young actors can replicate. I would like to take the time and focus on one legendary actor, who have been in the movie industry since the 70´s. Let´s talk about Mel Gibson. Most people probably know him from his australian action films Mad Mad, or perhaps as Martin Riggs in the Leathal Weapon film series. But the nice thing about Mel Gibson, is that he can do so many different films, and still manage to do a great character. One of the films i am thinking about, that some of you might remember, is a film called The Man Without  A Face. Seeing him play a man with a deformed face, who become a father figure for a young boy, is a film that deserves a view. This film was also directed by Mel Gibson, and from what i understand he wanted to do a smaller production, and take a break from the action genre. He made a good choice. Of course we all know that Mel Gibson have worked well in action films, and he have proved himself in several titles. I was one of the people who enjoyed his action film Payback from 1999, even though i know critics had very different opinion about this film. We could talk about his classics, and the films he directed that became huge successes. But there was a time when Mel got himself in trouble, perhaps some of you remember when he talked about jews. This became a very big issue and it did affect his career. Mel did continued making films, but either The Beaver or Meet The Gringo got fans interested, and they both bombed at the box office. It was not until he landed a role in The Expendables 3 we got to see him in better shape, and i have to say he gave this film a touch of Mel magic. Recently i got a chance to see his latest film Blood Father on VOD, and i was curious to see if he still got that sparkle in him. Is Mel back in his best film in years, or is this another one that no one will care about ?

Lydia ( Erin Moriarty ) and her boyfriend Jonah ( Diego Luna ) go with a criminal gang, armed with weapons, to go kill a tentant family who have stolen money. As they arrive, Jonah asks Lydia to watch the back exit. Something goes terribly wrong, and Jonah is killed. Lydia takes off, and run away, as she tries to figure out a safe location. She finally decide to call her father John ( Mel Gibson ) to come and pick her up. John comes to the location, and he can tell Lydia is in trouble, especially when he knows she have had trouble in the past. John lives out in a desert area, working as an tattoo artist, and have tried to leave his criminal life behind him. The criminal gang is out to locate Lydia, but they don´t know that her father is a well known ex con, and he knows how to take care of bad situations.

When you have no big expectations at all, and see a film that is better than you expected, you have to feel pleased. Blood Father is in no way original in any way, but that´s ok. Because the story between a young teenage daughter, and a father who tries to help his daughter, works better than many similar films i have seen in recent years. And the reason for that is Mel Gibsons acting performance. His character Link is a man with a rough past, and now he wants to leave all that behind. Of course he can´t eventually, but that is the way life is. His daughter Lydia played well by Erin Moriarty, combine really well with Gibson, and they match on their scenes together. There is plenty of violence here, but somehow it is a good idea, because this family have always had trouble, so you realise that this will never change. To see Gibson fight against drug criminals is actually a fun ride, he is an old school fighter and he will not give up that easily. Since the plot is not very interesting, you have to rely on the acting and the action scenes instead, and i have to say director Jean-Francios Richet have managed to combine this, in a positive way. He clearly have tried to make this film a classic revenge story, and made sure to use Gibson as a rough man, who gets another chance to clean up the problems. I also like the enviroment, where Gibson lives. A trailer wasteland with nothing but sand and simple people, living in a community, helping each other out. Nice to see William H. Macy here as well, as his friendly neighbor Kirby. If you think about it, when you look at the previous work of director Jean-Francois Richet, he have worked on effective action films before. He directed the remake of John Carpenter´s Assault On Precinct 13. For a remake, in a more updated version, i think he did a pretty good job. Blood Father is of course a completely different story, but from from a action perspective i feel that this is a film for people who enjoy classic action elements. Time might have passed, and Mel might be older, but he is still a great action actor, there is no doubt about that. Want to enjoy a film on a popcorn night with some drinks of Ron De Jeremy Rum ? I suggest you watch Blood Father and enjoy your evening, especially with that best rum in the world.

Rating: DDD

fredag 23 september 2016


There are many great horror authors out there, who have written some really good novels over the years. Depending on what kind of horror novels you enjoy, you will most likely find an author who tell a story in their own unique way. One of the most famous, and still very popular horror authors, is of course Stephen King. His classic novels are still read by millions of people, in all ages. I have some of his books, and i have to say that he knows how to tell stories. No matter if it is supernatural, black magic, psychological, he have explored many different areas where the horror genre fits in perfectly. I will say that i have not read all of his books, just a few, so i have a lot of reading to do if i want to be updated on his latest work. One of the novels i still love, is his novel called It. Some of you may have seen the classic film adaptation, made in 1990 with Tim Curry. It is one of those classics that worked really well, considering it it based on a Stephen King novel. Of course we have plenty of films that worked out really well, made from his books. Carrie, The Shining, Salem´s Lot, Cujo, Pet Sematary, Misery, The Green Mile, the list goes on and on. Oh i almost forgot Creepshow, where Stephen King wrote the screenplay for the movie. He also had a role in one of the short stories, as a hillbilly boy. Now here is something that some of you may not remember. Stephen King actually directed and wrote a horror film called Maximum Overdrive, released in 1986. This film is nowhere near as good as his books, or the film adaptations based on his books, it is just a funny silly 80´s horror film with awful dialogue and bad acting. As years passed by, Stephen King novels got more film adaptations, and we finally hit the jackpot with a really good release called The Mist. This film looked great, had great acting, and from what i understand, this film managed to get some of the details from the book correctly. In more recent years we have had some smaller films, based on Stephen King books, and stories. One of them is called Bag Of Bones, but i have not seen it, simply because people told me not to. During summertime this year, i read that a new film, called Cell was coming out. It is supposed to be based on the book by Stephen King. When i read the cast, i noticed that Samuel L. Jackson and John Cusack is back together. They actually did really well with their performances in the horror film 1408. This film was based on a short story of Stephen King, and i love how director Mikael Håfström managed to make this film so frightening. So with 2 big lead roles, and another film based on the work of Stephen King, do we have another winner this time around, or is this going down by a knockout, into the drain ?

Clayton Riddell ( John Cusack ) is at the airport, waiting for his flight. Suddenly an electric signal is broadcast across mobile networks. People who are on their cellphones, suddenly begin to go completely insane, turning into some kid of rabid killers. Clayton manage to escape down to the subway. He meets Thomas McCourt ( Samuel L. Jackson ) inside the subway train. They make the decision to escape, and find a way out. No one knows why this have happened, or where this started. In an attempt to find answers, Clayton and Thomas go on foot, picking up other survivors, on their way through a nightmare. Where did this electric signal come from ? Is there a reason to why humans are being controlled ?

There are so many horror films coming out, inspired by zombie outbreaks, or they borrow influences from classic films. Cell is in some way a typical zombie film, but still looks different. How many times have you seen people turning into zombies, from a cellphone? To be honest, the idea looks pretty silly at first. Then i got to understand more of why this is happening, and it makes a little bit more sense. Eventually, you try and understand the plot, but realise that it is not really interesting. The main reason why you watch the film Cell, is to see Samuel L. Jackson and John Cusack. Without them in the cast, i doubt we would have watched the whole film. You can tell that most of the other actors are not on the same professional level as these two are. The biggest problem for me with this film, is that it does not really make any sense. Ok, you can understand what the film is trying to say, but the final result is not done correctly. If you want to make a different type of zombie film, you better make sure it works with the plot. One positive surprise is to see legendary actor Stacy Keach show up in the film. Who can forget his classic 80´s thriller Road Games with Jamie Lee Curtis ? Even if his character is not very strong, he still gives a performance better than most actors in here. Too bad he is only in the film for a short time. Cell tries to be some kind of apocalyptic survivor horror movie, with a touch of Invasion Of The Body Snatchers. Once you get into the film, you realise that director Tod Williams have problems getting it all together. If he only have worked harder, fixing details in the plot, and executed the combination of science fiction and horror, we might have had a different film. As it stands now, you are most likely to forget that you saw this film, and that is not a good sign. Knowing that this film is based on a story from Stephen King, you have to wonder why director Tod Williams did not put more effort into production. If you are doing a story from such a legendary author, make sure to please the fans. Cell is not the worst film i have seen based on a story by Stephen King, i can tell you that Dreamcatcher from 2003 is even more awful. Still, with such a cast and a messy plot, there is much left undone here. Good to see Samuel and John though, they should return again, hopefully in a better film.

Rating: DD

torsdag 22 september 2016

Lights Out

Sometimes when you read a movie title, you can instantly think of a song with the same name. When you think about it, there are so many movie titles out there, that it is not hard to find songs that are called exactly the same as a film. As an example, the 1976 horror classic film Carrie, most of you have probably heard the rock ballad of the same name by swedish band Europe ? Not that they are related in any way, the film came out many years before this song was released. Another example is the Queen song Play The Game, and we have a film called the same released in 2009. So if you just look around, you can find many similar titles. When i read a title called Lights Out, i instantly thought of the P.O.D. song Lights Out. This song is actually from my favourite P.O.D. album Testify, a nu metal album mixed with reggae influences. Even if the song Lights Out is not one of my favourites on the album, it still works if you want to trash your hotel room, throw a sofa out from a balchony, and feel like a true british EastEnders soap tv fan. Lights Out by the way, is a short film that director Adam Sandberg released in 2013. The short film was praised, both by viewers and critics, that he have found a scary concept that worked very well. I will admit that i enjoyed the short film, because it was simple, but still effective. Around early 2016, i heard news coming out that a feature film was going to be made from the short film Lights Out. The same director as the short film, David Sandberg, was going to direct the full feature film. It is always hard to know how the results will be, when you make a feature film, based on a short film. Somehow, you have to get the feeling from the short film, to be captured on a feature film. I was not sure if this would work, because most of the time we are used to see adaptations from original material become complicated. However, i wanted to have a positive mind, as i went to the cinema to see if the transformation works in a longer format. With a director who seemed to have the ability to make horror material work on camera, and with James Wan as one of the producers, is Lights Out an effective horror feast, or is it the same dull release we have seen so many times before ?

In a mannequin warehouse, co-worker Esther ( Lotta Losten ) is about to leave, but experience something very strange. When she turn of the light, a woman appear from nowhere. When she turns on the light, the woman is gone. For each time she turn of the light, the woman comes closer. Esther warns owner Paul ( Billy Burke ), that he should leave right now. Paul does not take her seriously, until he also notice the woman in the dark. Unfortunately, Paul have no way out, and is brutally killed in the warehouse. Paul´s stepdaughter Rebecca ( Teresa Palmer ) is living life, as a young woman, with no plans of having a serious relationship. She is seeing Bret ( Alexander DiPersia ), who she really enjoy being with, but don´t try to get too emotional with him. When Rebecca is contacted from school, about her little brother Martin ( Gabriel Bateman ), she understand that something is wrong. Their mother Sophie ( Maria Bello ) is suffering from mental illness and depression, and can no longer take care of her young son. Rebecca decide to take her little brother to her home instead, without permission from their mother Sophie. When Rebecca start to experience a visit in her home, from a woman in the dark, she is terrified. The woman who appear in darkness, is known as Diana. She used to be a friend of mother Sophie, but when she died, her spirit continued to follow Sophie and her family. Rebecca know how dangerous Diana is, and that she is after her, and her brother Martin. Somehow, this needs to stop, before it is too late.

To make a short film, into a feature film, is a very difficult thing to do, especially if the short film was good. But the good news is that Lights Out works as a full feature film, simply because of the simple details. This film only cost around 5 million dollars, but looks much better than Gods Of Egypt did that had a budget of 140 million dollars. Insane right ? But this proves that you don´t have to make a film on a massive budget to make it look good. One of the main reasons why Lights Out works is also because of director Adam Sandberg. He clearly knows how to make a horror film feel scary, even if he is not James Wan. The story of Lights Out is very simple, and we have seen similar stories before. So the film relies on being scary, and this is where the puzzle pieces click together. Director David Sandberg tries to match traditional creepy horror influences, with unexpected turns. And i have to say, since this is his feature debut film, he have managed to deliver a horror movie that feels good. The practical effects looks great, and the jump scares actually work. The acting is for the most part great, especially from Maria Bello and Teresa Palmer. So is there anything negative to say ? The only thing i can think of, at the moment, is perhaps that i would have wanted to know more about the character, known as Diana. We find out some details, but i feel that there is more to tell about her, before she died and returned as an evil spirit. Could this be more scary ? Sure, but i can´t complain, since this film is much better than most horror films that comes out recently. Not as good as The Conjuring 2 of course, but still a solid film. Knowing that David Sandberg is from Sweden, makes me feel proud. I always knew we should have hope about swedish directors, especially since so many of us have suffered the awful, horrible films of Colin Nutley for 60 years. That long ? The nightmare never seems to end. So David Sandberg, if you are reading this review, thank you for giving Sweden hope again, please make more films so we can forget that Änglagård really exist. Lights Out may not be a horror classic, or feel unique. But as a traditional horror film, this is better than i expected. I suggest you run down and see it in your local cinema, but remember, always keep the light on, or Colin Nutley will swallow your soul. 

Rating: DDD

söndag 18 september 2016

Suicide Squad

DC Comics films have had some issues in the past, especially since the Green Lantern film bombed at the box office, and upset fans of DC Comic books. To try and gain respect to the fans, and get fans to be pleased, we were going to get some surprising news, with the announcement of a certain project. Spring of 2016 became very important for many comic book fans worldwide. This was the time when Superman V Batman: Dawn Of Justice was going to be released in cinemas worldwide. But the long journey to the premiere have been filled with drama. A lot of fans of comic books, and the superhero films, questioned how they could cast Ben Affleck as Batman. This was something a lot of people were not happy about, but of course they still wanted to see the film. I was confused at the time, could Ben Affleck do a great performance as Batman, considering it is a very hard role to do ? Most of all i was confused of the choice of Lex Luthor, the role was given to Jesse Eisenberg. My first reaction was, what the hell ? You always want to give a film a chance, and should not judge it unless you have seen it. As the cast showed up at Comic Con, to talk about the film, and discuss the combination of Batman and Superman in the same film, i think people got curious after all to see if this would work. Director Zack Snyder did manage to make Man Of Steel a good superhero action film, so why would he not make it this time again ? As the trailer was shown for the first time, i remember the confused fans looking at each other. Was this going to work ? As the film finally landed in theatres, critics were upset, fans were upset, while some were pleased. I was somewhere in the middle of all of this. Most of all i did not like the way Zack Snyder tried to mix the combination of Superman and Batman, and not giving us the epic battles he promised. Some scenes look ok, but that´s it ? I was mostly upset of why Jesse Eisenberg was Lex Luthor. Who ever thought this was a great idea should have been fired, it was all wrong. Remember how good Gene Hackman were in the Superman films from 1978 and 1980 ? He was Lex Luthor, and always will be. Batman V Superman: Dawn Of Justice failed to give us what we deserved, a film that could bring the legacy of 2 major comic book characters to a new level of cinema experience. I will say that Ben Affleck was not terrible as Batman, so that was at least something positive. After all the negative reviews, and people were upset of the film, it seemed like DC Comics would not dare to give another film a chance. But the news of Suicide Squad have been out there for sometime, and this was a project people actually were happy about. When the first images came out from the set, and a first trailer, the fans went wild. This actually looked like it could be really good from the DC Comics universe.The cast also looked great, so we had something more to be positive about. As the film finally got released in august, i had to see it in the premiere week, really excited to see if this could be the film we all hoped for. Is this film version of Suicide Squad a worthy adaptation of these crazy comic book characters, or does it fail completely to give the fans what they deserve ?

After the tragic death of Superman ( Henry Cavill ), intelligence operative Amanda Waller ( Viola Davis ) is forced to put togther a team of criminals, locked up at Belle Reve Prison. The team is named Task Force X, and the criminals chosen to be a part of this team is Deadshot ( Will Smith ), Harley Quinn ( Margot Robbie ), Boomerang ( Jai Courtney ), Diablo ( Jay Henrnandez ), Killer Croc ( Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje ) and Slipknot ( Adam Beach ). Their mission is to stop Dr. June Moore ( Cara Delevingne ), who was possessed by an ancient evil, and turned into Enchantress. She is ready to revenge everyone for being imprisoned. Task Force X is going to be send into a battle zone, clean up, under the orders of Colonel Rick Flag ( Joel Kinnaman ). Every criminal in the team have a nano bomb inplanted in their heads, so if they try and run away, they will be killed. Knowing that they have to complete this mission, they agree to do this. But Harey Quinn have other plans, her boyfriend The Joker ( Jared Leto ) is going to get her out of here, somehow. Time is running out, and Enchantress is ready to destroy humanity, unless this team can find a way to work together.

I was one of the people who were actually looking forward to see Suicide Squad. And i have to say, after seeing this film, i feel divided into two parts. This is an improvement from Batman V Superman, no doubt about that. But considering we have so many great comic book characters here, i feel that we should have had more of everything served to the fans. This does not mean that Suicide Squad is a bad film, and i will try and explain why it works ( when it does ). The characters Deadshot, played by Will Smith, is one of the coolest characters of this film. Will Smith manage to make this character the way he does, combining fighting and dialogue. Harley Quinn, played by Margot Robbie, is without a doubt the strongest character in Suicide Squad. Her evil look, while she loves to go crazy, is exactly what this film needed. The other characters have some charm in there as well, but some of them don´t really get a chance to show their abilities, since there are other things going on around them. Since we have so many bad characters, i would have wanted to see them be even more insane, and turned up the volume on insanity. The action scenes works for the most part, and when it does get violent, you can´t complain, especially when Harley Quinn is kicking ass. Jared Leto as The Joker does have a few good moments, but with an actor that made fantastic performances, as in Dallas Buyers Club, not get the chance to really shine, we have a problem. Since we all remember the amazing performance of Heath Ledger as The Joker in The Dark Knight, i think most of us were hoping that Jared Leto would give us something unexpected, and thrilling with this iconic comic book character. The scenes where he does deliver, is the ones with dialogue, but they are not as many as we would hope for. If you know these comic book characters from the comic books, and if you enjoyed the previous Batman films, you might find yourself confused. Batman shows up here as well, again played by Ben Affleck. I can´t complain about his performance, but he is here for such a short moment, you will most likely forget that he was here. The story where Deadshot is faced to meet Batman, is very short, and quickly moves on. So the film basically needs the main story to work, with the Suicide Squad. In some ways it does, but not strong enough. Director David Ayer is perhaps known for his films Harsh Times and End Of Watch, where he portrait a realistic life in society. Suicide Squad is a completely different genre, but i will say that he does find a certain tone of the comic book characters. I also enjoy his vision of the team, even if it could have been more developed. Suicide Squad is not as good as i was hoping for. Still, from a comic book perspective, with so many characters brought together, i had a good time watching this film for what it is. Let´s be honest though, without Margot Robbie, we would not have enjoyed ourselves as much as we do now. I read she is getting her own Harley Quinn film, sounds fantastic. But please, cast Dolph Lundgren in one of the roles, he deserves to be in this film.

Rating: DDD

fredag 16 september 2016

Captain Fantastic

It is always interesting to see smaller films, the ones that big audiences never find, unless a miracle happen. I can say i have seen a lot of really good independent films, that most people have never heard of. Why is that ? Well, there are of course different reasons. It may be that cinemas go for the safe card, and show films they know will get a lot of tickets sold. And it could also be that these films are usually not promoted very much, so they tend to disappear quickly from the cinema. Some films even get a straight to dvd release. Just look at one film, that no one of you probabkly have seen, called Cop Car. A really good independent film, about 2 young boys who steals a police car, being chased by Kevin Bacon ( doing his best performance in many years in this film ). If you have not seen it, i suggest you buy it and support independent film makers. We also have other really good films, that more people should have seen. How many of you have seen Mississippi Grind with Ben Mendelsohn and Ryan Reynolds ? Also a really good independent film, about gambling and personal issues. The smaller films are usually stronger than the big box office hits, because they rely on stories that are more deeper, and usually have a lot more to say. Since it is hard for independent films to find a large audience, you need to talk more about them, through friends, neighbors, relatives, anyone you can think of and recommend what you have seen. I just remembered one more title, Holy Ghost People. A story surrounding a young woman, looking for her missing sister in a cult group, turned out to be a nice surprise, and the best film so far from director Mitchell Altieri. I suggest you rent this one on your Tivo box, or rent it on other streaming sites. Since i always look around for smaller films, i heard very positive feedback at the Sundance Film Festival, where critics were praising a film called Captain America. I did not know much about the film, so i started reading some more articles, and some early reviews before the cinema release. As the film finally got a premiere date in Sweden, i was very happy. I just had to experience this film in a cinema seat, because with all the positive feedback from many critics, i understood this could be something special. With Viggo Mortensen in the lead role, is this a independent film that could be a future classic, or is the hype surrounding this film way too big to be true ?

Ben ( Viggo Mortensen ) is the father of 6 children, who he all train in combat, finding food, philosophy, and let them survive in the forest. They builded a home here, with their mother , who have been in a hospital for a long time. Ben tries to check up on how she is doing, and one day as he phones home to his sister, he finds out that she is dead. Devastated about the news, Ben decides to tell his kids what really happened, their mother killed herself. The children all suffer tremendously of these horrible news, and don´t know what to do. All the kids want to go to their mother´s funeral, but Ben says they can´t go, because their grandfather Jack ( Frank Langella ) forbid them to come, because he belive that Ben is the reason she killed herself. Ben knows that he should not go, but he decides to go anyway, so their family can say one last goodbye to their mother. A family who have lived away from society, how do they handle the modern life on this journey, and will they reach their destiny ?

There are a few moments every year, when you come across a film that makes you feel complete. A film that gives you so many emotions, and will effect you in different ways. And this is how i feel about Captain Fantastic. This is a film that will grab you, make you laugh, bring you tears, and make you feel like you never want to leave the cinema seat. After the first time i saw this film in the cinema ( i have seen it twice in 2 different cinemas ), i just sat there and felt a warm feeling. The cinematography is brilliant, the acting is brilliant, the emotions are captured so natural, that you can actually feel what this family is going through. Viggo Mortensen have just done the best performance of his career, so far. His character Ben is a sort of a hippie father, who don´t believe in living a modern life, and you can´t deny that his is a wonderful person. This simple story of a family, going to their mother´s funeral, reminded me a lot of the film Little Miss Sunshine, a really good drama comedy. But of course the story in Captain Fantastic is much more emotional, in some ways. The children actors are absolutely fantastic, i seriously doubt you will ever see a film this year with kids acting as good as in this film. Frank Langella delivers a very powerful performance, he is truly one of the greatest in his generation. We have more quality acting here, especially from Kathryn Hahn and Steve Zahn. From the moment we follow the family on their journey, there will be some really fun moments, and very powerful emotional break downs, so you will not feel bored. There are so many famaily issues brought up here, but i feel that director Matt Ross have managed to capture so much of them, and put the pieces together in a wonderful way. You can tell that director Matt have really worked hard to make this film feel so warm, and emotional. Every scene where the emotions breaks out, when the kids let their feelings out, you can´t help yourself from being emotional with them. When you manage to make a film that powerful, you have to be respected for the hard work. Captain Fantastic is a story that takes 2 different sides, one from the hippie family, and one from the ordinary family, and who is right ?`Are we supposed to follow the same pattern in life and do everything, just because people want you to ? There are many important issues in this film, and i had a really good time, especially the way Ben is honest to his kids. Whatever they want to know, he tell them like it is, no holding back. Have you been looking for a film, that will make you feel, think and smile, all at the same time, then this is the film you need to see.

I have no problem saying this, Captain Fantastic is the best film of 2016, you are not going to see a better film this year. I know it is september now, and we have a few months left, but i seriously doubt i will change my mind. Run to the cinema today, and experience a film you will never forget, this is the film of this year. 

Rating: DDDDD

tisdag 13 september 2016


Having a career in Hollywood can be very rough, especially if you have been in the movie industry for many years. You have to be able to take on all kinds of characters, and movie genres, even if you may loose cinema visitors. It is all about taking chances sometimes, and we have many great actors who have proved themselves. One of these actors i am thinking about right now, is Kevin Costner. A man who is known for many great performances in the past, especially in The Untouchables, Dancing With Wolves and JFK. I happen to enjoy his classic 90´s film Waterworld, even though i know a lot of critics always hated this film. If you look at it for what it is, i see a film that tried to mix different genres in a positive way. He have tried a lot of different film genres, and seems to be open to try anything that looks interesting. There is one film that many people don´t talk about, a film that was better then i expected. I don´t know if some of you remember a film from 2007 called Mr. Brooks ? Kevin Costner played a serial killer, and he actually did a pretty good job as a psychopathic killer. The film did not do well enough to get a sequel, when there were rumors of doing a trilogy. But i recommend you rent this film, if you want to see Kevin do a very different character. There are other films i could recommend that some of you may not have seen, like the horror film The New Daughter. Not one of the better films in Costner´s career, but nice to see him do something unexpected. One of the performances i did enjoy, where he surprised me, was in Man Of Steel, as Clark Kent´s father. I think he was the right choice, and he proved himself doing a dramatic role. In recent years Kevin keeps on working a lot, and releasing new films. To be honest, i have not seen many of these releases. I got a chance to see one of them, called Criminal. I only read a little bit about the film, and read some of the reviews. Since i always try to see a film with an open mind, and not be affected of other critics, i decided to gove Criminal a chance. Is this a surprisingly good film with Kevin Costner, or is his glory days long gone into another galaxy ?

Industrialist Xavier Heimdahl ( Jordi Mollá ) arrange for his associate Jan Strook ( Michael Pitt ), a computer hacker known as " The Dutchman ", to create a wormhole program. This program will make it possible for the owner, to bypass all computer codes protecting the world´s nuclear defence codes. " The Dutchman " panics and attend to leave over the information to the CIA. He makes contact with London-based agent Bill Pope ( Ryan Reynolds ). Bill manage to help " The Dutchman " to a safe location. But soon Bill is taken hostage and tortured to death, by Xavier Heimdahl´s men. Xavier does not get any information on where " The Dutchman " is located, so Pop´s CIA supervisor Quaker Wells ( Gary Oldman ) contacts Dr. Micah Franks ( Tommy Lee Jones ). Dr. Micah have developed a treatment that could theoretically plant the memory pattern of a dean man, into a living person. This way they might have a chance to locate " The Dutchman ". Frank request that dangerous convict Jericho Stewart will be the subject of the procedure. But the procedure eventually fails, and Jericho escape. As he goes on a rampage on the streets of London, Jericho have flashback memories, but do they have a connection with " The Dutchman ", or do they lead Jericho somewhere else ?

When you have a cast list of Kevin Costner, Ryan Reynolds, Gary Oldman, Tommy Lee Jones and Jordi Mólla, you would expect a really good film included. This is where we find ourselves a big problem. Criminal is not a very effective action thriller, mainly because it is way too predictable. And Kevin Costner does one of the most strangest performances in his career. Really ? Yes, he clearly did this film for a paycheck, not because of the content. So what about the rest of the cast ? Gary Oldman, who usually do really good performances, does not deliver on the quality level of acting, we are used to see. This is such a shame, because he may be one of the best actors in this film, and he does at least do some acting. But it is not very strong, so if he really wanted to make us interested, he should have turned up the level much higher. Tommy Lee Jones is usually good in his choices of characters, here he feels pretty tired, and does not look very interested. Ryan Reynolds is a great actor, when he gets the right character. Not even he can save this film, from being pretty dull. One of the biggest problems i have with Criminal, is that the story is not very interesting. As many of you know, a thriller is supposed to feel intensive, or suspenseful. It all lands somewhere between an ordinary mainstream action thriller, and a typical dvd release that no one remembers. This is starting to sound like i don´t see anything positive with this film at all. There are a few good details. The London scenes look good, and some of the scenes where Kevin Costner use action, and don´t talk, is more effective. He should have skipped the dialogue, and just be violent all the time. Director Ariel Vromen directed the good thriller The Iceman in 2012, with a very good performance from Michael Shannon. Seeing his vision of Criminal, and comparing it to The Iceman, it feels like he have turned pages in the wrong direction. His latest film is not as good as it should be, with such a great cast. If you want to hear Kevin Costner speak drunk, and punch people, this is the film to see. Criminal is not completely awful, but way too boring to make you interested.

Rating: DD 

Kickboxer Vengeance

The 80´s and the 90´s was a fun time for B action movies. Everything from ninja films, martial arts films to cheesy fun action films. The best part of these time periods, was that the film studios choosed to cast the right people for this genre. You had Chuck Norris, Dolph Lundgren, Billy Blanks, Don " The Dragon " Wilson, Jean-Claude Van Damme and many others. The scripts may have been terrible, but these films survived because of the characters, and the well made action scenes, considering the low budget most film had. No matter what actor you enjoyed watching, you could always be sure that you would find one film to enjoy, of all the releases that came out back in those days. Let´s talk about one actor in particular. Jean-Claude Van Damme, the legendary martial arts action superstar, made his name with Bloodsport. At the time, he became very popular, with his unique way of fighting skills. Van Damme continued his career with a film called Kickboxer. This film also became a box office success, and it proved how well Van Damme could combine action and drama. Kickboxer also had a nice concept, within the revenge genre. I especially enjoyed the performance of Michel Qissi as Tong Po, he was such a bad ass character and perfect for this type of film. Kickboxer got 3 more sequels, but none of them had Van Damme on board again, as Kurt Sloane. So these so called sequels were not any good, and did not bring anything special to the franchise. Van Damme continued his movie career instead, releasing many action films over the years, and also picked up Universal Soldier again in 2009, with a third film called Universal Soldier Regeneration. This film was much better than the awful 1999 film Universal Soldier - The Return. And just a few years after the nice comeback, Universal Soldier got an even better sequel with Universal Soldier Day Of Reckoning. This is one of those action films i highly recommend, that you should all own on blu ray ( includes an uncut version ). Let´s get back to Kickboxer. After i heard the news about a remake of Kickboxer. I found out that Van Damme would be in this remake, but not back in the lead role. This time he would be a trainer instead. Alain Moussi was chosen in the lead role, mostly known as stunt double in films like X-Men Days Of Future Past, Warcraft and Suicide Squad. This combination did sound fun, considering i did not expect to see Alain Moussi do a film like this. With a classic concept, and a classic story in their hands, does this Kickboxer remake manage to be respectful, or does it fail like other similar films have proven before ?

Kurt Sloane ( Alain Moussi ) is a professional trainer in muay thai fighting, for his brother Eric Sloane ( Darren Shahlavi ). Eric is a world champion, and he wants his brother Kurt to see him fight in Thailand, against the very respected fighter Tong Po ( David Bautista ). The fight is arranged, and Eric is ready to prove his skills. But the fight ends in tragedy, Tong Po kills Eric brutally, and Kurt have lost his only brother. Kurt decides to revenge his brother´s death, and try to locate Master Durand ( Jean-Claude Van Damme ), who helped Eric train for this fight. Master Durand will agree to train Kurt, but only if he follow his rules, and prepare himself for really rough training. But is Kurt strong enough, or is he doomed from the beginning to fail ?

When you do a remake of a classic action 80´s film, you better know you are doing it right. Kickboxer from 1989 may not be the best film Jean-Claude Van Damme made in his career, but it is a classic, and deservers respect. And this is where i found myself seeing problems with this remake. The main characters are nowhere near as good as the original film was. The lead role by Alain Moussi is no where near the acting level of Van Damme. He may fight well, and manage to do some nice fighting scenes, but that´s basically it. Van Damme is of course here, as the trainer Master Durand. He is the best part of this film, and holy shit he is in great shape. Just look at his kicks still today, he should be offered much more action films on his quality level. And he also knows how to act much better, than these young actors, so you know his scenes will be better with him included. The evil Tong Po, played by David Bautista, does at least give his character some power, and looks massive in the fight scenes. So he is also one of the few highlights. The story pretty much follow the same concept as the original film. Nothing wrong with that, but the original film managed to tell a story, that was put together nicely. This remake jumps in different directions, and sometimes you don´t really know what is going on. The training scenes between Alain Moussi and Van Damme, give some of the feeling of the original film. But apart from this, Kickboxer Vengeance is more of a simple martial arts action film, and not a worthy remake. Director John Stockwell is perhaps mostly known for his acting, being in films such as Stephen King´s film Christine, and Top Gun. But he have directed a lot of films, and actually managed to make a pretty good horror film called Turistas, released in 2006. I can understand why he wanted to direct this Kickboxer remake, since he have been in the film industry since the early 80´s, and must have a passion for classics. And he does manage to do some nice kicking scenes, especially with Van Damme. But the story does not feel structured, like the original film was. This is more about fighting, and i love the idea of this. But when the cast does not manage to make this work, except from Van Damme and Bautista, we have a big problem. If you are going to make an action film, with great looking fighting scenes, you better have the right cast for this. Remember how really good Skin Trade was with Tony Jaa and Dolph Lundgren ? Now that´s what we want, a combination with professionals. Kickboxer Vengeance is not completely bad, we do get well made fighting scenes, and nice to see Van Damme show his nice moves. But that´s it, when we should have had much more to be pleased about. I read that another film is on the way called Kickboxer Retaliation, let´s hope that they get it right next time. Until then, watch the original film instead.

Rating: DD

söndag 11 september 2016

Take Me To The River

Summer is over. At least for this year here in Sweden. And now it all begins again, everyone is back at the stressful life, with school, work and yelling at neighbors for not parking correctly. Of course i am also back to work, but when i get the time, i dance around to the song Mala Onda by the awsome band Little Jesus. It was one of those songs this summer, that made me feel so good. For many people we have different things, that make us think of summer. It could be weather, food, or just being with family. No matter what makes you love summer, it is a season where we are supposed to enjoy ourselves. Speaking of family, how many of you have big families ? My wife have, so every holiday we gather to enjoy a big dinner, talking and laughing. Especially in summer time, when you gather everyone for barbecues, or other meals. Family is important. But what if you don´t get along with your family ? When it comes to films, taking on family issues, we have a masterpiece film called Buffalo´66. Directed by Vincent Gallo, and he is also in the lead role as Billy, we follow a man who is just released from prison, with no future and no one who cares about him. Not to reveal too much, but this is one of those independent films, that you have to buy. The simple story is so well done, that you can´t deny that Vincent Gallo is one film maker who knows passion. The parents, brilliantly played by Anjelica Houston and Ben Gazzara should both have been Oscar nominated back in 1998. This is also one of the best performances i have seen Christina Ricci have ever made, simply outstanding. So take my advice, Buffalo´66 is a film everyone should buy, and i know you will love it just as much as i do. As most you of you readers knows by now, i am a very big fan on independent films. I personally think that they are mostly much better than the big Hollywood films that comes out every month. So when i get a chance to see independent films coming out, from all corners of the world, i am usually very curious to see what will be served.  I just got a chance to see a independent film called Take Me To The River, a film i only heard about since the screening at the Sundance Film Festival in early 2016. I finally got a chance to see this film, hoping that it would be as good a some reviews have been positive.  Do we have another independent classic in our hands, or should you wait for another one instead of seeing this one? 

Ryder ( Logan Miller ) is going with his parents on a family reunion, where all relatives meet up in Nebraska to enjoy a weekend together. Most of the kids love to see Ryder draw, because he turns out to be really talented at drawing. After a while,  Ryder is asked to go with Molly ( Ursula Parker ) to a barn.  Everything seems calm, until Molly runs out crying as if something happened while they were alone.  What did happen to Molly, or is this what it seems to be? 

If you don´t enjoy a lot of dialogue, and deep issues, you are not going to enjoy Take Me To The River. This is the kind of film you want to see, if you enjoy films with more depth, than the usual Hollywood release. We have characters that you will remember, and a bizarre story that goes from one point, and take a completely different turn. I like films where you have no idea what will happen. Where you have to think for yourself, if you can figure out where the film will pick up next. And this is one of the details i enjoy about this film. This is a independent film with depth, something we don´t see in the major studio releases very often. The story is pretty simple, but that´s ok, because you soon realise that there is more than just one side of the story. And this is where it gets interesting, when the film seems to follow a certain way, a big change comes unexpected. So you have to think for a moment, are we really getting the truth ? When you are forced to think in a film, and not just figure out everything from the beginning, you have to be pleased. Films that dare to go in different paths are needed in this world, and for that i think director Matt Sobel deserves respect for trying to do something deep with his story. The film takes place mostly in the countryside, where you get to know some of the family members, after a relatives gathering. But the most interesting character in this film is actually the lead role Ryder, really well acted by Logan Miller. He seems to be a normal young man, but once you see him faced with an unexpected turn in his life, the film shows a different side of his personality. I also think that child actor Ursula Parker is really good, as the adventurous girl Molly. Her innocent look, with her view of this world, makes you think back to when we were young, and were ready to explore the world. Of course there is a more serious plot here, so it becomes a bit more complicated than the usual teen stories. Director Matt Sobel proves that there is still hope for well made independent films, he digs deep into family situations, and want us to see that every family have secrets, even if the truth may never come out. I actually enjoyed the ending also, because you don´t really get all the answers, as if you have to think what you believe is going on. Take Me To The River may not be one of the best independent films i have seen, but this is still a strong film with really good acting included. A complicated family situation can be more interesting than you would expect. The film is out on dvd now in september, and can be seen on VOD. If you like intelligent films, then i think you might enjoy this one for what it is. Knowing that this is the directorial debut film from Matt Sobel, i hope to see his next film in the future, he clearly have an eye for quality films.

Rating: DDD