tisdag 28 februari 2017

Congratulations to Moonlight

I feel very happy. 

I found out on Monday morning that Moonlight won the award for Best Motion Picture at the Oscars Academy Awards. And I think that the cast deserve this award, including director Barry Jenkins. You can read my review in here of Moonlight, that i posted in the end of January. 

I did not write many reviews in February, but in March i will try and post some more. Been very busy lately, so will hopefully get some more time for fresh reviews.  Thanks to all my readers worldwide, and i hope you all watch Moonlight in cinemas. 

Cheers from Daniel 

söndag 19 februari 2017

xXx: The Return Of Xander Cage

Since i am turning 40 this summer, i know what women in my age dream of, every single day, every minute. How can i know this ? Let´s just say i can read women´s mind, at least after a couple of whiskey shots ( makes it more easy ). Women in their 40´s want actor Vin Diesel, in fact this is the ideal man of many women. A bald muscle man, with a smile that will make you melt, i can understand why they are drawn to this ( not talking about my personal experiences ). Vin Diesel have become a household name worldwide, making action films that are fast, brutal and cheesy dialogue is of course always included. Most people love to see him in the Fast And Furious series, and i can agree that he is a steady reason for why you watch these films. Vin Diesel have made several other films in his career, outside the Fast And Furious films. Perhaps not so many that people might remember. But there is actually one film that i enjoyed, that bombed at the box office. The Last Witch Hunter, a horror action film that tried to combine horror, with classic witch ingredients, and made a fun combination. Nice to see legendary actor Michael Caine on board, and Elijah Wood in the cast as well. Let´s go back now, to the year of 2002. You might think i want to talk about the first The Fast And The Furious film, but that film came out in 2001. Instead, let´s talk about the action film xXx. Seeing Vin Diesel as the spy Xander Cage, for the National Security Agency, was a fun ride. Silly, and cheesy dialogue, but the action scenes delivered, and director Rob Cohen knew how to transform Vin Diesel to a secret spy. When a sequel was going to be made, Diesel did not return as Xander Cage, so instead Ice Cube stepped in to the action in xXx: State Of The Union. Not as good as the first film, but Ice Cube turned out to be a good choice in the lead role. His loud, raw language fit his character Darius Stone. The sequel flopped, and it seemed to be the last xXx film. But here we are in 2017, with a brand new sequel, with the original Xander Cage returning to the screen. So does Vin Diesel bring an action feast to us who appreciate lots of violence, or is this an awful sequel that never should have seen the light of day ?

NSA Agent Agustus Gibbons ( Samuel L. Jackson ) attempts to recruit footballer Neymar. Jr ( as himself ) for the xXx program. Unfortunately, both are killed when a satellite crashes in Brazil. Shortly after this happens, a team of four skilled individuals are led by Xiang ( Donnie Yeung ) infiltrates the highly guarded CIA headquarters, to retrieve " Pandora´s Box " ( a device capable to control satellites to crash at locations near warheads ). CIA Agent Jane Marke ( Toni Collette ) tracks down former xXx operative Xander Cage ( Vin Diesel ), who faked his death, and have been living in self-imposed exile in the Dominican Republic. CIA Agent Jane need Xander Cage to return to duty, and at first he does not seem interested, unitl he finds out his dear friend Agustus have been killed. He finally agree, but only if he uses his own team of sharpshooter Adele Wolff ( Ruby Rose ), DJ Harvard " Nicks "Zhou ( Kris Wu ) and getaway driver Tennyson " The Torch " ( Rory McCann ). The team of Xander Cage, is also aided by introverted weapon specialist Becky Clearidge ( Nina Dobrev ). Their main mission is to get " Pandora´s Box " back.

I think we should be honest. If you think violence, hot girls, guns, explosions, and bad language is the work of Satan, then you are going to love xXx: The Return Of Xander Cage. We have plenty of fun stuff here, and yes this is a dumb action film. But who cares ? A film like this is not supposed to be intelligent, dramatic, or heart warming. It is all about violence, and lots of speed. If you remember the previous xXx films, they were also filled with plenty of hard hitting action scenes. We get that in this film as well, perhaps even more with all the hard hitting martial art scenes, where Donny Yen kicks a hell of a lot of ass. Tony Jaa is also here, and in the scenes where he also fight, we are having fun. Unfortunately Tony Jaa does not get a chance to fight more, but nice to see him doing a different character. Vin Diesel pretty much remind of of Xander Cage, the typical macho type who love ladies, and to clean up evil turds. I think one of the most pleasantly surprises in this sequel, is Ruby Rose as the sniper Adele Wollf. She is tough, funny as well, and fits great to her character. I love the idea of a team gathered to help Xander Cage this time, almost like another version of The Expendables. Every person in this team have skills in different areas, so of course Xander Cage gets the chance to have some fun. While watching this film in a cinema, i was reminded of why i enjoy action films. You don´t need a good script, or really powerful dialogue, what we want is hard hitting action sequences, and you pretty much get it all here. I will say that the first film xXx is the best of the film series ( so far ), but this third film manage to work, because of the cast. I really enjoy the evil Jane Marke, played by Toni Collette. She is rough, and clearly knows how to handle complicated situations. There are of course some ideas that don´t really bring anything fresh, but that´s ok, because this is clearly made as a tribute to fans of classic B action films from the 80´s and 90´s. Director D.J. Caruso have directed several films in the past, such as Disturbia, Eagle Eye and I Am Number Four. I especially enjoyed his film Eagle Eye, that gave us a different view on future technology, and what could happen if the technology controlled our lives completely. His take on the xXx trilogy is clearly to deliver pure action, and he manage to do so. This is a simple film, with the same basics as the previous films in the series. Tired of hearing all the ladies telling you how good Fifty Shades Darker is ? Then i suggest you go and see xXx: The Return Of Xander Cage in cinemas, because clearly no one could be more 50 Shades than Vin Diesel in an armed suit. Did you hear that Christian Grey ? Looks like you have no chance at all.

By the way, well done China making this film an enormous success, hopefully you will do the same when Turbo Kid 2 hits theatres ( if it does get a theatre release ).

Rating: DDD

tisdag 14 februari 2017

Assassin´s Creed

Ever since i was a young boy, video games became a big part of my childhood. Nintendo, Sega Megadrive, Super Nintendo, i played all kinds of machines and titles, and i remember being very proud especially about the first Sony Playstation. Especially one game series called Tenchu. You could choose between playing Rikimaru or Ayame, two special trained ninjas, that go out to assassinate different evil characters. The video game Tenchu Stealth Assassins is still today a classic, released in 1998 on Playstatsion. It had strong characters, a great look of the game, and a different look than most ninja games. More of the Tenchu games continued to be released, and i enjoyed most of them, especially Tenchu: Wrath Of Heaven on Xbox 360. I really hope that Tenchu will return in a game format someday, because i feel that these characters deserve to be brought back to a updated version of the classic games. I could even imagine a film adaptaion being made, with the right director. Not that this is likely to happen, but the source material could offer a lot of goodies, if it was made correctly to a screen experience. Speaking of film adaptations of video games, i think most video games nerds have seen at least a few films, made from video games. Anyone remember Jean-Claude Van Damme in Street Fighter, or perhaps Mark Dacascos in Double Dragon ? Both films should be seen, if you want to laugh, because the acting is both horrible in both films. And the characters ? Oh boy, then you will find some really cheesy scenes in these two film adaptations. For some reason, the 90´s proved to be a time period, where directors wanted to deliver films based on video games. We all know the truth today, that most of them did not even function. But then we have some films that have been fun to watch, even if the source material may not be completely used correctly. I am thinking about the film Resident Evil, released in 2002 with Milla Jovovich as Alice, who tries to fight against Umbrella Corporation. The first film was a fun time, and i liked the sequels as well, especially because Milla Jovovich was a good choice as Alice. Did the films follow the games ? Not really, but had elements from the games. And that worked for me, sometimes it is hard to transform a film from a video game, exactly as the game itself. One of my personal favourite film adaptations of a video game, is the 2006 film Silent Hill. Director Christophe Gans, actually managed to capture the atmosphere of the game, and the visual style of the game. If you have not seen this film, i suggest you find it on dvd or blu ray. Have anyone of you played any of the Assassin´s Creed games ? Very popular games, and there are many games out there released in these series. I have 5 of them, and i have to say that i love the concept of the games, that feels majestic and looks really good. So when i read that a film was going to be made, based on the video games, i was actually pleased. This could be a good idea, if the right director choose to work on the project. Director Justin Kurzel ( who directed the very strong Australian film Snowtown ), choosed to accept to direct Assassin´s Creed. A good choice, and i was curious to see what he would do, knowing that the source material is very important. Is Assassin´s Creed the best movie adaptation of a video game in many years, or does this film fall flat right among the rest of film adaptations from the past ?

In 1492, during the Grenada War, Aguilar de Naur ( Michael Fassbender ) is accepted into the Assassins Creed Brotherhood. He is assigned to protect Prince Ahmed de Granada ( Keemal Deen-Ellis ). In 1986, young Callum Lynch ( Angus Brown ) comes home to find his mother murdered, by his father Joseph Lynch ( Brian Gleeson ). His father is a modern-day Assassin. Suddenly a group of armored men, led by Alan Rikkin ( Jeremy Irons ), CEO of the Abstergo Foundation are out to capture Joseph, but he manage to escape. 30 years later, in 2016, adult Callum Lynch ( Michael Fassbender ) is in death row, ready to be executed for murder. As the execution is proceeded, Callum later wakes up in a bed. He is not dead. In fact, he was transported to Abstergo Foundation, where Dr. Sophia Rikkin ( Marion Cotillard ) explain why he have been spared from death. They need him for a mission. Callum is an descendant of Aguilar de Naur, and with the help of the Aniumus, Callum can relive Aguilar´s genetic memories, so he can locate The Apple. This so called apple contains the genetic code for free will. The journey he is about to take, could possibly change the past, and present day.

We all know how Hollywood usually does films, based on video games. Most of the movie adaptations are not very good, or simply don´t follow the source material. But there are exceptions of course, just look at the 1995 film Mortal Kombat, based on the very popular video game. Director Paul W.S. Anderson actually managed to capture some of the feeling of the characters, that we have played on the video game. The stunt effects, especially the fighting scenes also looked good. Now when we have a new film, based on a very popular video games series called Assassin´s Creed, you might think that director Justin Kurzel would follow the source material of the games. He does, but not as much as we might have expected. You see, there are familiar styles of the action scenes, the costume design, and this is where Assassin´s Creed works best. Especially when we travel to Spain in the year 1492, as the main character Callum Lynch, who becomes Aguilar de Nerha. When we experience the Assassin team on different missions, during this time period, the film becomes more fun. Once we step out of the past, and into present day, the atmosphere of the film changes. I realise that it must have been difficult, trying to follow the games, since there are so many released. And knowing that this is the introduction to the film adaptation to Assassin´s Creed, automatically puts pressure on director Justin Kurzel, because he clearly must have known that the fans would expect to feel at home. I will say this, he could have done a lot worse. Because there are some positive ideas here, while some things could have been done better. Let´s talk about the positive. Michael Fassbender in the lead role, is a very good choice. This is not his strongest performance, but he is a good choice for a character like Callum Lynch. Jeremy Irons is nice to see as the stiff Alan Rikkin. I have seen him do much stronger performances in the past, but seeing him on screen in this environment is a nice touch. The spanish talking Assassins is also one of the positive surprises, this fits better to the location and from a historical perspective it also works better, than having them speak in english. Now to the bad sides. The film is a bit boring in some places, too much dialogue. This should have been more fast paced instead, with more intensive action scenes. I also feel that director Justin Kurzel should have sticked to making more scenes, that took place in Spain, because that´s where the film works better. Instead, he choose to focus on present day, where not much happens. As a film adaptation from a video game, Assassin´s Creed have flaws, but i have seen a lot worse film adaptations in the past. So i will say that i still enjoyed myself, even if i can see the problems. If you love the video games, i think you should see the film and make up your own mind. Somehow it is nice to see Michael Fassbender do this character, kicking ass as an Assassin. Hopefully we can get a stronger sequel, because i can see potential here. That is at least a positive start.

Rating: DDD

fredag 10 februari 2017

Fender Bender

There are some companies, that dare to dig into the past, and make sure we are served B movie quality. And this is where Shout! Factory is a perfect example, they release films every month, of both old classics, and forgotten films. I have bought several blu rays from them, and i am always pleased to see these films coming out, with better picture, better sound, and lots of special features. I try to check out upcoming releases, and also check if i have missed anything that already have been released by Shout! Factory. I love these kinds of companies that give B movies an honest chance to be seen again. Since i grew up with VHS violence in the 80´s, these films are important to me. Cheesy acting, bad special effects, naked girls, horrible titles, odd clothing styles, if you have all this in one film, you know it has to be a masterpiece. Well, that´s not completely true of course, but B movies are needed in today´s society. As an example, how many of you have not bought John Carpenter´s Body Bags on the release of Shout! Factory ? I hope most of you have, this is the kind of film you want to see during a holiday season with family and friends. 3 stories, all with a different twist, and you might actually see some kind of connection. There is a reason why it is very important that old B movies get a chance to shine again. They prove that you could do anything, no matter how bad the special effects were, or how bad the acting was. B horror films was more about delivering a great time, where blood flushed out of bodies, different ways to kill and insane violence stunt scenes. The script did not matter really, you would always sit there and look for the fun parts. Oh, i almost forgot, mudity is of course a regular ingredient in most of these film. Not that they were made to piss off feminists, but they did anyway. Especially sex scenes, that was the biggest sin of all (feminists will confirm this, just check at your local office ). Just about 2 weeks ago, i came across a film on dvd called Fender Bender. Sometimes i just love to take chances, and buy B movies on dvd, or blu ray, if they look interesting. This seemed to be like a horror film, in the same style as The Town That Dreaded Sundown, except for a different character, and a different story.  Since i have a big passion for low budget horror films, of course i had to check this one out. Is the film Fender Bender exactly what we could hope for, or is this a dull release, that you might as well avoid at all cost ?

Hilary ( Mackenzie Vega ) discover that her boyfriend Andy ( Harrison Sim ) is seeing another girl behind her back. She ends their relationship right away. On her way home, she is in a car accident, called a fender fender. The Driver ( Bill Sage ) offer his address, and information, so they can clear this situation in the best possible way. Hilary´s parents are not pleased, and Hilary is grounded to stay inside the house over the weekend. But the weekend, that seemed to be boring within the walls of her home, is about to change. The Driver is on his way, and he is ready for having some fun tonight.

Let's be honest here. If you love Eastenders or Days Of Our Lives, then you will feel right at home with Fender Bender. This is a classic slasher horror film, using old school technique, to make everything feel like an early 80's horror film.  And I have to say,  Fender Bender succeed to bring joy to the table, almost like you are having a buffé at the local strip club. Even if the film is not original in any way, young can enjoy the effort, trying to bring back B slasher horror. They original music score feels just right, it is the kind of tune you want to hear in a film like this. There is nothing original about Fender Bender, but that´s ok, we don´t need a film to be original to offer a good time. One of the few issues i have with this film, is that the acting is not very good. To be specific, some of the characters in the film are not very strong. I am especially talking about the parents of Jennifer, played by Steven Michael Quezada and....some woman i could not remember ( pretty much says it all ). Their scenes as Hilary´s parents are really bad, from an acting perspective. On the other hand, lead actor Makenzie Vega is one of the stronger characters in Fender Bender. My favourite character is actually the bad guy Driver ( Bill Sage ). You never really find out who he really is, and i love that mysterious vibe to his character. Of course he turns out to be a serial killer, collecting all the driver licences from his victims in his car, but he fits the role great. I especially think his face mask give him a look that fits the film. Hard to explain how the mask looks like, but imagine a World War II gas mask, without the breathing part, and with a bar mouth instead. Maybe an awful explanation, but i think you might get my point. Fender Bender is actually the first film co-produced by ChillerTv and Shout! Factory, and this gives me a pleasent feeling. If they can continue making films in this style, we have something good coming our way. Director Mark Pavia is perhaps known for his directorial debut film The Night Flier, based on a story by Stephen King. That film came out in 1997, and Fender Bender is his second full feature film, he is definitely in no hurry. His latest film shows that he knows this genre well, and this is definitely his best film so far. Not a classic, or something unique in any way, just a fun tribute to old school films. Buy the dvd, or blu ray if you can, this is without a doubt a film for you who love Halloween, or My Best Friend´s Wedding with Julia Roberts. I feel like making my own mask now, and ride the streets of Kramfors, who knows what party i will crash ?

Rating: DDD

torsdag 9 februari 2017


It is amazing how much we can learn from space. Yet, we barely know what is out there, because there must many many planets we have no knowledge of. Could there be life on planets, perhaps a planet that could look like Earth ? Hard to say i suppose, but i don´t think i is impossible that we could find life, in such a big universe. In centuries, humans have been interested in alien life forms. Some believe they have visited us for many years, and know everything about us, and our technology. Some people say they have been abducted, and have been on board space ships. I honestly don´t believe in ( most ) of these stories, because the so called proof material they say they have, is usually not very believable. There are even those who say they have become pregnant by aliens, like the hybrid mothers Bridget Nielsen and Aluna Verse. They tell their story on an article, published by the british news site Express.co.uk. I remember reading this story in October 2016, and the first thing i noticed was that one of the hybrid mothers Bridget Nielse, mentioned that she takes phone calls as a medium. Ok....so with this mix of being a mother of an alien baby, and a medium, i can´t imagine that she actually think that we would take her serious. Of course she is going to make money, all of these people find ways to make their names heard. When i think of aliens, i mostly think of how many great films we have to choose between. One of the greatest classics is of course Steven Spielberg´s Close Encounters Of The Third Kind. The 1976 film may not have the best special effects of all time, but still manage to capture the audience, because the film is both well made, and hold very solid acting performances. But i feel that we need to mention a science fiction film, that unfortunately have been forgotten. The 1993 film Fire In The Sky, directed by Robert Lieberman, is a true 90´s classic science fiction film. And one of the things that make this film special, is that the film is based on a true story, when a man is missing from the woods . Eventually he is found several days later, naked, completely torn apart. No one knew what happened. This is a film i highly recommend, worth finding on dvd. Last year we got to experience a science fiction film, no one deserved to see, called Independence Day: Resurgence. An awful sequel to a classic film, so i had much higher hopes when i found out about a film called Arrival. With Amy Adams in the lead role, and the very talented director Denis Villeneuve behind the camera, do we finally have a high quality science fiction film ? Or is this a sci fi story that will be forgotten, for a very long time ahead ?

Linguist Louise Banks ( Amy Adams ) lost her young daughter in cancer. She tries to do the best she can, to deal with the sadness, by focusing on her lecturing at a university. As she is ready to begin class one day, only a few students shows up. The students in the class room, clearly seem to know something is going on outside, and tell Louise to turn on a tv. They find out that twelve extraterrestrial spacecrafts appear around the world, at different locations.¨U.S. Army Colonel G T Weber ( Forest Whitaker ) go to see Louise, asking for her help. They need to make contact with the aliens, and she knows how to communicate in many different ways with different languages. Louise agree to help them, not knowing how to approach the visitors. One mistake, and everything could turn things around completely.

One of the things i really enjoy about Arrival, is that the film really tries to lift up different issues about how we would react in contact with another life form. Would we be afraid to learn about them ? Would we see them as a threat to our planet ? Could they help us in any way ? There are many questions that are brought up, not specifically the same ones that i asked, but something similar. Instead of focusing on alien battles, or humans attacking another life form, Arrival tries to dig deep into how we all handle a situation in an unexpected life changing moment. One detail i enjoy also is the communication scenes, when Louis Banks tries to understand their way to speak through different circle formations, like some kind of ink, almost like an octopus. I wont reveal how these aliens look, simply because i think it is more interesting to see them without knowing too much. The story surrounding the contact between humans and another life form have been done many times before. But the good news is that Arrival tries to do this genre in a different way. There are also flashback scenes, to where we learn from the life of Louis past, where she lost her daughter in cancer. To move forward, after loosing your child in this horrible way, must be the hardest experience any parent would go through. In some ways, i can imagine that Louise find a way to go on with life, through her knowledge of communication, and now to use this in a completely different way than before. The acting in Arrival is really good, lead actor Amy Adams is simply outstanding as Louis Banks, and you really feel like you can connect with her character. Jeremy Renner is also really good, as the very focused theoretical physicist Ian Donnelly. Their team works become very important through the film, since they are faced with a very difficult task. Forest Whitaker is finally back with a really good performance. I have always loved him as an actor, but sometimes he does not get the chance to shine, as he did in The Last King Of Scotland ( perhaps one of his best performances of his career, so far ). But in Arrival, he really strikes back with a powerful performance, and i am very pleased. Director Denis Villeneuve have done some really amazing films so far, such as Prisoners, Enemy and Sicario, so there is no doubt that he is a very good director. He proves this again with Arrival, where he gets the chance to really lift up science fiction on a different level. You can tell he is not really interested in the usual ingredients, instead, he wants to tell a deeper story, with strong characters. Arrival manage to lift up many issues, and also make you think about how important it is to respect each other, no matter where you are from. You might have heard that Arrival have been Oscar nominated in 8 categories. I think this film deserve to win, because it is not usual to see a science fiction film that deliver such a strong story. Arrival will please sci fi fans guaranteed, unless you expect lots of explosions and gun battles. Definitely worth a cinema visit for all ages.

Rating: DDDD

söndag 5 februari 2017

30 Years Anniversary Of The Stepfather

Let´s travel back in time to 1987. This was the year when Robert Englund returned in A Nightmare On Elm Street 4, where director Renny Harlin gave us a taste of his skills, from a technical perspective with cameras. Of course Robert Englund knew exactly how to deliver once again. Not as strong as A Nightmare On Elm Street 3 - Dream Warriors ( my personal favourite film in the series ), but still a fun ride. 1987 was also the year when Mötley Crue released their classic album Girls, Girls, Girls, an album made from all the strip club visits by the band ( and obviously after all their party nights i am sure ). This was also the year when the NES game The Legend Of Zelda was released in North America, one of the greatest Nintendo classic games of all time. There are of course many other reasons why we should remember the year 1987, but let´s focus on one particular film. The Stepfather, a low budget thriller was released in America on January 23rd. It may not have been a huge box office hit, but it was clear that the lead actor Terry O´Quinn was making a huge impact among some film critics. His performance as the serial killer got recognition, and the film actually managed to become a cult film over the years. Then in 1989, we got a sequel, and Terry O´Quinn was back as Jerry once more. The sequel may not have been awful, but compared to the first film it had no chance. Terry O´Quinn never returned as The Stepfather after this, and i can understand why. It would have been very difficult to make a film, as good as the first one. Then a couple of years later, a third film came out with a different actor, Robert Wightman in the lead role. This turned out to be a mistake, Robert could not go anywhere close the acting level to Terry O´Quinn, and the film flopped. I watched the film on VHS back in the 90´s, can´t remember much of the film, but i do remember it was bad. For a long time we did not hear anything about a sequel, or a possible remake. Until around the year 2008, when distribution company Screen Gems confirmed a remake was going to be released in 2009. I was actually happy about this, because it would be nice to see if the new actor Dylan Walsh would manage to be a worthy choice for this film. The film turned out to be ok, but not a worthy remake to the original film. Now in the beginning of 2017, i noticed that it has been 30 years since the original film came out, and of course it would be a good time to watch the film again, and see if it still holds today. Is this cult film still as good as i thought back in the late 80´s, or has it grown too old and barely give us anything interesting ?

Henry Morrison ( Terry O´Quinn ) is washing off blood of his face, takes a shower, and gets himself ready to leave his house. His family lies everywhere around the house, brutally murdered, while Henry leaves the house happy. A year later, Henry have changed his personality as the real estate agent Jerry Blake ( Terry O´Quinn ). He is married to widow Susan Maine ( Shelley Hack ), who have a young teenage daughter named Stephanie Maine ( Jill Schoelen ) who is a troubled teenager in school. Jerry believe that he is the key for the perfect marriage, and he knows what the family needs. Stephanie can tell that something is wrong with her stepfather, even if her mother Susan think that she is completely wrong. But when amateur detective Jim Ogilvie ( Stephen Shellen ), the brother of Jerry´s murdered wife, is hunting information about where Jerry is located, he finds out that he is married again. He lost his sister´s life to a serial killer, and he will do anything to stop Jerry from killing another family again. But is it too late, have Jerry already planned everything ?

I watched The Stepfather this week, for the first time in over 14 years. I still have the dvd i bought back in 2003, so i had to see if it would be as good, as i thought it was back in my youth. I am pleased to say that The Stepfather is still today a solid thriller. Maybe not as strong as i thought it would be, because this was one of my favourite thrillers of the late 80´s. Time have passed by, and even if the film may not make the same impact with me today, as it did in the 80´s, i have to say Terry O´Quinn is still really good in his performance as the insane serial killer. The way he switches over from a loving husband, to a brutal heartless murderer, shows that he really worked hard to capture the image of a serial killer. There are a couple of scenes where he really let the anger out, and you see how disturbed this man is. Like in the cellar, talking to himself, where he clearly let you know that the father is always right. No one knows how to handle family like a father. The story itself may not be anything special, but the strength of the film carries on by the performance of Terry O´Quinn. The other actors, Jill Schoelen and Shelley Shack do descent performances, but it becomes very obvious that they have a hard time matching up to the acting level as Terry deliver. Either way, there are some other positive things to mention about this film. The atmosphere surrounding the perfect family, clearly falls apart, and this is something that director Joseph Ruben ( director of The Forgotten with Julianne Moore ), manage to capture on screen. He must have studied the behavior of serial killers, because this film clearly give us a look into Jerry´s insane mind. Another thing i like about director Joseph Ruben´s vision of the film, is the way he show us the different personalities inside of Jerry, as if he have a personality disorder, but with a very disturbing look at the world. The fake perfect image that Jerry carries within himself, is too good to be true. He can never have the perfect family, no matter what he does to get what he wants. The Stepfather is still today, 30 years later, a thriller that stands on it´s own. It is a simple film, but effective. And i have a feeling that this film will continue to be a cult film. And it also proves that Terry O´Quinn should have been offered more roles, because he clearly knew how to make a strong character. Still, let´s look back at The Stepfather and remind ourselves where he really showed the world that he could shock the audience. 30 years may have passed, but The Stepfather is still worth a watch, and i suggest you pick up the Shout! Factory release dvd, or blu ray, with some nice special features. Any stepfathers out there who would help me make my noisy neighbor stop being rude ? Good, problem solved.

Rating: DDD

Beyond The Gates

When i was a kid in the 80´s, i used to play board games. Mostly Fia Med Knuff, a board game that was popular among kids. Monopoly was also one of the standard games, when i was a little bit older, i was simply too busy playing Nintendo most of the time. I can still see that board games are popular even today, maybe not on the same scale as back in the 80´s and 90´s, but they keep making new ones. One of the great things about board games, is that you can play with your family, spend some time together. There are of course films that have brought in board games into the world of cinema, and one of the best classics is perhaps Jumanji from 1995. The film had a very different image, of the traditional board game concept. The idea is that, once you play Jumanji, you have to finish the game, or all hell breaks loose. It is a fun movie, and of course Robin Williams did a great performance as Alan Parrish. I know that a remake is on the way, set to be released this summer where Dwayne Johnson is involved in the project. Let´s turn the clock back again, and see if some of you remember this. Did anyone of you play board games, with a VHS cassette was included ? I have only seen some of them, and i remember watching how some of them worked. To be honest, they were not really good. But looking back, the 80´s and 90´s had some crazy ideas, and i suppose they tried to do something different. In those days, especially in the horror genre, board games was supposed to make you frightened. I can´t say i was personally, but a fun concept, that eventually failed. So what if you founf a VHS board game, that would change your life completely, in a VHS store ? This is a part of the story, of the horror film Beyond The Gates. This is a film i discovered thanks to IFC Midnight, since they are known for releasing quality horror B movies. One thing i noticed instantly was that actor Barbara Crampton is here, from classic B movie classics such as Re-Animator, Chopping Mall, From Beyond and Trancers II. Of course she have been in plenty of more films, but it is clear that she is a legend. Beyond The Gates seems to bring back the VHS era, through a board game concept. Those of you who knows me, can confirm my passion for movies that have influences of the 80's and the 90's. When i finally found out that Njutafilms have released the film on dvd in Sweden, i had to get myself a copy. Is Beyond The Gates a feast for horror fans, or is this a straight to dvd release that you probably should avoid ?

Gordon Hardesty ( Graham Skipper ) and his brother John Hardesty ( Chase Williamson ) meet up in their father´s old VHS and dvd store. Their father have been missing for 7 months, so they need to pack everything down from the closed store. Gordon´s girlfriend Margot McKenzie ( Brea Grant ) tries to support her boyfriend, even though they have been through a rough time. While unlocking the office in the video store, they find a board game called Beyond The Gates, where a VHS tape is included. The video is connected to the game, and a woman named Evelyn ( Barbara Crampton ) appear on the tv screen, and tell them how the game works. Once they start playing, they soon realise that they are a part of the game in reality.

One of the things i find charming about the film Beyond The Gates, is that a actual board game is used in the film, with the VHS tape. The board game design by Brendan Wiuff looks really good, and he manage to capture the right feeling of a classic board game look. But there is plenty more to be happy about. The original music written by Wojciech Golczewski is absolutely wonderful, especially the brilliant theme song. A real cheesy 80´s vibe tune, that you might want to put your snow boots on, headbang and bring on a air guitar solo, while listening to it. We also have the legendary actor Barbara Crampton in here, as the board game presenter. Let´s be honest here guys worldwide, we all want Barbara, she looks fantastic, and she is also really good in this film. The other actors also do a good job. Brea Grant, perhaps known from tv show Heroes and in Rob Zombies film Halloween II, nice to see her back in a feature film. We also have Chase Williamson here, from the lovely films John Dies At The End and The Guest. Let´s not forget Graham Skipper, who have also been in some good films such as The Mind´s Eye and Carnage Park. Nice to see all these lovely actors combined, and i have to say i enjoy their characters. Even if Beyond The Gates does not bring anything fresh to the surface, it still proves that we appreciate the past of the video violence days of VHS. Just the fact that the film is based on a board game, makes this a fun tale. Barbara Crampton´s character Evelyn is both creepy, and simply gorgeous to look at. The story surrounding a missing father is not very interesting, to be honest. So it is basically the game itself that becomes the main reason why you enjoy this film, including the cast. Beyond The Gates is director Jackson Stewart directorial debut film, and i have to say that he have proved himself. He clearly have a passion for old school horror, and does not need a slasher theme, or lots of blood. Instead, he give us a nice treat of nostalgia, and i do appreciate his vision. Could the film have been stronger ? Perhaps, but i don´t feel like looking for faults, because i still enjoy this film. If you enjoyed the 1986 classic film Witchboard, and want to see something different with a board game included, then this is the film for you. Beyond The Gates both bring back the good old days of VHS and manage to please fans of VHS horror. I wonder if you can buy a copy of the actual game Beyond The Gates ? I feel like playing the game now, especially for watching Barbara Crampton ( but don´t tell her that though, i am a true gentleman you know ). 

Rating: DDD

By the way, here is the link to the swedish dvd release of the film, so you know that you should buy it ( for the whole family of course ) ;)


lördag 4 februari 2017

The Most Beautiful Message This Year....So Far

Hey kids, gather round!

Its your favourite Uncle Daniel here, the swedish romance master.

Sometimes you hear something so beautiful, you hug the grass field, you hug everyone on the street  ( even if they think you might be mentally insane ). 

So why this happiness? 

Because we found out this week that Sharknado 5 is starting to be filmed. This is exactly what we needed to hear. Sharknado is a part of our lives, we live for Sharknado, and these films make us complete.  I will of course review this film during the premiere this summer.

Sharknado 5 could be the most beautiful movie of 2017, lets get ready for a film that no one can resist. 2 reviews are coming this weekend,  so see you soon. 

Cheers from Daniel