söndag 28 maj 2017

Predator ( 30 Years Anniversary )

The 80´s was a hell of a good time for action films. In fact, this was the period where some of the best action classics came out. Just think about it for a while, we got The Terminator, Aliens, Die Hard, Lethal Weapon, Robocop, Rambo films, and many others. The 80´s launched a lot of possibilities for action movie directors. They combined many different genres, and tried to combine some insane ideas. Some films were of course more fun to watch, without being good. While some films like Commando, with Arnold Schwarzenegger, turned out to be the right kind of film for the sunday family dinner. Lots of violence, classic dialogue and lots of muscles. Commando was cut a hell of a lot on swedish VHS, back in the days of VHS renting stores. I remember seeing the cut version, it destroyed the film completely. For some reason, some asshole thought that video violence was bad for you, when in fact they did not forbid swedish Dansband albums. At least i got to see the uncut version on Filmnet, a tv channel that showed a lot of action films. And of course i was so happy, because that showed me why censoring films was the work of Satan. Schwarzenegger released quite a lot of action films in the 80´s, and one of the classic ones that is actually turning 30 years old this year, is of course The Running Man. The idea of a tv show, where you hunt victims on live tv to kill, turned out to be a nice surprise. The film is actually pretty well made, and Schwarzenegger is also good in the lead role. If you have not seen The Running Man yet, i suggest you try and find the blu ray release. It is a fun ride, and have some classic scenes. But let´s stay here in the year 1987. Because this was the year when Schwarzenegger made one of his best film in his whole career. A film that changed the lives for many movie lovers forever, with an epic action film. I am of course talking about the film Predator, directed by John McTiernan ( the director who also made another great action film, Die Hard with Bruce Willis ). This film became a box office success, and fans of the Predator genre have always loved the first movie. In some ways, you could say that Predator gave us a different concept on sci fi action, because we have never seen a film combining a war film with an alien in a jungle. This year it is 30 years ago since Predator hit theatres worldwide, and of course we should celebrate this with a blu ray review. I had to see the film again just to see, if Predator is still a true classic, or have the film lost some quality after so many years ?

Major Alan " Dutch " Schaefer ( Arnold Schwarzenegger ), Blain Copper ( Jesse Ventura ), Mac Eliot ( Bill Duke ), Jorge " Poncho " Ramirez ( Richard Chavez ), Rick Hawkins ( Shane Black ) and Billy Sole ( Sonny Landham ) are all called in for a mission, deep down in the Val Verde jungle. Major General Homer Phillips ( R.G. Armstrong ) give Major Dutch all the information with Dutch all friend Colonel George Dillon ( Carl Weathers ). The mission is to rescue a cabinet minister, and his crew, as their helicopter seemed to have crashed into the jungle. The mission is to find them, and get them out. The chopper is located, but with butchered bodies hanging from the trees. Dutch and his men all head down into the deep jungle, and wipe out an army. But the evidence in this camp, turns out to be something completely different to what the mission was said to be. It seems that they have been fooled, that in fact the CIA lied, just to get Dutch and his men to do their dirty work. Dillon knew this, but did not say anything. A woman named Anna Gonsalves ( Elpidia Carillo ), found in the military camp, is forced to go with Dutch and his men, as they try to make their way back to safety. But during this time, one of the soldiers are killed, and disappear in front of Anna. Since she is the only witness, she can´t describe what she saw. But this turns out to be something, that no one is prepared for. Dutch and his men are now hunted, by an unknown alien life form, known as Predator ( Kevin Peter Hall ). 

One of the reasons why Predator is one of the best action movies of the 80´s, is because it does not hold back the brutal violence. You get massive shootouts, explosions, and a lot of rage, just the way you want an action film to be in the jungle, between soldiers. This film could have failed on so many levels, but thanks to director John McTiernan and his wonderful cast, you get all that you could wish for. I can´t say there are many military teams i have seen in films, that feels so connected, as this team does. Every single character give the film something positive, and you really feel like they are a team. Arnold Schwarzenegger as Dutch, is simply outstanding. This is in my opinion one of his most iconic movie characters of all time. Maybe not on the same level as The Terminator, but still pretty close. Carl Weathers as Dillon, is one of those unforgettable characters. He might not be the best nicest guy in the gang, but his secrets during their mission makes the plot more reasonable. Former Minnesota Governor Jesse Ventura is the bad ass war machine Blain, and if someone is going to clean up this jungle, you know he is the one to do it. Unfortunately, he is not one of the survivors, but you got to love his rough character. The story set in the jungle is a brilliant idea, because of the fact that this team of soldiers have been in many wars worldwide, but nothing as difficult as this one. The massive shoot outs last very long, and it is clearly made with an glimpse of an eye, to make it almost a satire of violence in some scenes. The Predator suit is very impressive, considering this was made in the 80´s. The alien looks really cool, and the make up effects works very well. The scene where Dutch and Predator fight against each other, is one of those scenes where the nostalgia level reaches to the top. The theme song, composed by Alan Silvestri, fits perfect to the look of the film, with a majestic string orchestra. The blu ray release i have, simply called Ultimate Hunter Edition, also includes some nice special features, where you learn more about the making of Predator, with interviews from the cast, and of course a Commentary by director John McTiernan. Predator is still today one of the most iconic action films from my childhood, and even if it has gone 30 years, the film does not fail to deliver quality. Since we are getting a new Predator film out in theatres next year, i suggest you buy the blu ray release of Predator, and gather all your friends for a movie night. Predator kicks ass in so many wonderful ways, and will always be classic for all ages to experience.

Rating: DDDD

torsdag 25 maj 2017

Alien: Covenant

Mixing science fiction with horror is something, that usually does not work well. We have seen so many low budget horror films, trying to mix these genres together, and most of the films fall flat to the ground. But there are of course exceptions. And i think one of the most well known science fiction horror classics of all time, has to be the 1979 film Alien. This turned out to be a very dark, frightening sci fi horror film, that had a very unique look. The film became a huge box office success, and critics were really positive ( for the most part ). Sigurney Weaver as Ripley became one of the most iconic female action stars. Alien did not look like any other science fiction film around this time, so director Ridley Scott have really proved himself to be one of the best science fiction directors of the late 70´s. It would take many years until a sequel would be on the way. Of course, there was a lot of skeptical people about a sequel, how on earth can you do a film as good as Alien ? Then in 1986, we got the answer we all have waited for. The Terminator director James Cameron, took on the job to direct Aliens, and oh boy was this a good call. Aliens could be the best science fiction action horror film of all time, honestly. This is such a well made film, on so many levels. The aliens look bad ass, the characters are bad ass, the special effects are fantastic, and the cinematography as well. Aliens knocked everyone off their cinema seats. Critics loved it, audiences worldwide loved it, and i can still today call it the best Alien film ever. Director James Cameron really showed the world that he was the perfect choice to direct this film. After the successes of Aliens, it seemed that there were discussions about Alien 3. But there seemed to be problems surrounding the script, and the film got delayed. Until director David Fincher was chosen to make the film. Looking back at Alien 3, i can say that this could have been a good film. But i understand that director David Fincher did not get to do this film, the way he wanted to do it, because of the film studio demands. The final result turned out to be a big difference to Aliens in 1986. You could say that Alien 3 have some potential ideas, but did not manage to pull them out correctly. Sigourney Weaver did at least what she could with her role, so no need to blame her for anything. In 1997, after a lot of negative reactions of Alien 3, french director Jean-Pierre Jeunet was chosen to direct Alien Resurrection. This film did go back more to the roots of the Alien franchise, but was also critisized by critics and fans, for being a lame sequel. I actually had fun watching Alien: Resurrection in cinemas, it was an improvement from Alien 3. After the 4th film, it seemed as if Alien would not return for a long time ( unless you count in the Alien Vs Predator films ). And director Ridley Scott, did return with a sort of a prequel called Prometheus. This film was supposed to give us an idea of how it all started.  I enjoyed it, but did not really see it as an Alien film. So here we are in 2017, with a brand new Alien film in cinemas called Alien: Covenant, and director Ridley Scott is back as the director. Do we finally have an Alien classic in our hands, or is this the sequel that never should have been made ?

In the year 2104, synthetic android Walter ( Michael Fassbender ) is controlling the ship Covenant. On board the ship there are thousands of colonists on board the ship, sleeping in pods. When a sudden neutrino burst damage the ship, a lot of colonists are killed. Some of the survivors manage to wake up, and begin to repair the ship. Among the space ship survivors, we see Daniels " Dany " Branson ( Katherine Waterston ), Christopher Oram ( Billy Crudup ), Sergeant Lope ( Demián Bichir ), Tennessee Faris ( Danny McBride ) and many more. When a signal is picked up from radio transmission from a distant planet, the crew begin to investigate where this planet is located. It turns out to be the remote planet Origae-6. Since no one knows what is down there, or if there are any survivors down there that might need help, they decide to go down and check out for any signs of life. 

Since my early childhood, the Alien films hold a special place in my heart, especially Aliens from 1986. So, going in to the cinema to see Alien: Covenant, of course i had high expectations. Especially since director Ridley Scott is the director of the film, it has to be good, right ? Well, let´s just say maybe my expectations was too high. You see, this Alien film does have some quality to offer. You have a very good looking film, with well made cinematography by Dariusz Wolski. The film also manage to deliver, from a technological perspective. And i especially enjoy Danny McBride as the chief pilot Tennessee Faris. His character is exactly what a crew like this needs in space. Michael Fassbender, in double roles as David and Walter, manage to deliver a solid performance, as both characters. Katherine Waterston does a good performance, as the tough terraforming expert Daniels. I do enjoy the space sequences as well, surrounding the space ship. I found out recently that the space ship was actually build by hand. and that is very impressive.

Now, let´s bring up some problems.

For being a throwback to the classic Alien genre, director Ridley Scott makes it a bit too easy for himself. If he really wanted to make a film, that true Alien fans would want, he would have done a story with much more depth. Alien: Covenant is far too simple in the plot. It is basically the same story we have seen so many times before, except for a few details. I would have liked to see an unexpected twist in the plot, that no one would predict. A simple story can be good, but you have to bring something interesting into the story, or it will be forgotten pretty easy. Another problem is the fact that you don´t get to see any major battle scenes between aliens and humans. There are a few, that looks ok. But considering this is an Alien film, you would expect lots of gore, blood and brutality. There are a few moments where you recognize the Alien theme, but these moments don´t feel crafted in the right way. 

So what is my overall opinion of this film ? I feel kind of split in some ways, because i do enjoy some parts of the film, and we have seen worse Alien films in the past. So if you enjoy the previous Alien films, i don´t see why you should not see Alien: Covenant. There are some positive things in this film, and it feels more of a throwback to the traditional look of Alien, than what Prometheus did. Director Ridley Scott is without a doubt a technical director, and this is where he prove himself best. And a film like this needs to look very stylish, from a technological perspective. If he only could have changed the story, and thrown in some more solid ideas, we might have had a much stronger film. As it stands now, this is a film that will most likely split fans, with many different opinions. I still enjoyed seeing Alien: Covenant, even though the film have problems. This film looks really good, and the cast does help the film work ( when other problems become obvious ). I heard that there is another film on the way. I really hope that we will get some details improved to next time. Until then, you might as well see Alien: Covenant in theatres. Especially if you have seen all the other films, then you might want to know some details about the past. Remember the phrase:- In space, no one can hear you scream ? I don´t think you will scream this time around, but you might have some popcorn fun in the cinema seat. Flame thrower anyone ? You might need one, just in case those mean bastards climbs out of the cinema walls.

Rating: DDD

tisdag 23 maj 2017

Boyka: Undisputed

I have thought about something. Why did i become so intelligent over the years ? And i know the answer now. It is because i grew up watching Cannon Films releases with Chuck Norris, Jean-Claude Van Damme, Dolph Lundgren and Michael Dudikoff. Is this possible ? Yes, you see you can try and learn all the math in the world, or how to calculate distances from a building to a post box. But in the end, the best way to become intelligent is to watch Van Damme´s classic Cyborg, to understand what life is all about. And there are three basics.

* Kick ass, ask questions later
* Always use less dialogue, use a big knife instead
* Make sure to show muscles, anywhere you pose

If only Harvard University could run this film every year during tea time, our students would be filled with very important knowledge for the future. We should at least thank director Albert Pyun for giving us this film. Cannon Films gave the kids of the 80´s everything you could ask for. Explosions, ninja swords, naked women, uzi guns, extremely hair styles from another galaxy. So it was a good time to grow up, because as kids we learned from the best source material, you would find in the VHS store. After the millenium kicked in, straight to dvd action stars kind of disappeared. Sure, Van Damme, Dolph Lundgren and Steven Seagal still made films, but you did not see many new faces. Until we experienced british actor Scott Adkins. Before he landed inside the martial art films, he was actually an actor on tv series Doctors. But his true fighting skills on screen, really bloomed out on the film Undisputed 2: Last Man Standing. This was the first time we were introduced to see Scott Adkins as the russian fighter Yuri Boyka. The fight scenes between main actor Michael Jai White, and Scott Adkins in this film, became a delightful experience. The film is actually better than the original film with Wesley Snipes ( in my opinion ). Boyka became a very loved character, and Scott Adkins noticed how much the fans appreciated this russian fighting machine. Scott Adkins decided to return as the russian fighter Boyka in Undisputed 3: Redemption. This is without a doubt the best of the Undisputed films i have seen, so of course it was a good time. Boyka was kicking ass like never before. Unfortunately, the film flopped. Maybe the fans asked for something else, or maybe the film was a victim of the dvd industry, where people rather spend money on bigger budget films. Either way, Scott Adkins continued to work hard on several other films. He was clearly one of the most hard working martial art action actors in the movie industry, and in my opinion he clearly proved that with Ninja : Shadow Of A Tear. One of the best action movies i have seen in many years, and with some really amazing fight scenes from Scott Adkins. Buy this film on blu ray, or dvd, it should be in your film collection. When i heard rumors about Adkins returning as Boyka, i was of course very excited. A third film with the legendary character, how can we say no to that ? With such a talented action actor back in the lead role, is Boyka: Undisputed the big masterpiece of the film series, or is this a sequel we did not ask for ?

Uri Boyka ( Scott Adkins ) is fighting for the big league, and he seems to be unstoppable. His name is known worldwide, and promoters knows that the audience want to see Boyka back in the ring. But at a fight in Ukraine, Boyka kills one of his opponents Viktor ( Emilien De Falco ) in the ring. This is something that affect him personally. This was not what he planned to do. So he looks up Viktor´s wife Alma ( Teodora Duhovnikova ), to show his respect. Since Alma belive Boyka knew her husband, she arrange so Boyka can train for his upcoming matches in her husbands home made gym. Zourab ( Alon Aboutboul ) is a gangster, arranging fights and keep Alma under his strings, making sure she pays of her debt from her dead husband. But when the truth comes out, what really happened in the ring, Boyka is forced to open up to Alma, while he is about to risk his life for his most dangerous fight ever. 

Since i have always been a fan of Scott Adkins, i was looking forward to see the next Boyka film. And especially when this film was marketed to please the fans of the previous films. The character Boyka, the russian slaughter machine, is of course by now a classic character, and Scott Adkins does manage to deliver. But overall, as an action film, we do have some issues to talk about. The characters surrounding Boyika does not feel very interesting. In a film with fighting, you need some characters that stands out, so the main character is not the only interesting part of the film. And this is where we find Boyka: Undisputed. The film is saved by the brutal fights, and i suppose you can say that this is where the film manage to function. Scott Adkins have an amazing fighting ability, and he really show that once more. If you have seen the previous films, you can pretty much guess what the film will be like. It is a simple action film, that will only please fans of classic fighting films, such as we experienced in the 90´s. The acting is of course awful, what else would you expect ? It is clear that this film tries to step into a more dramatic perspective, almost as if Boyka does another version of Van Damme´s Kickboxer. I do like the idea, that director Todor Chapkanov ( assistant director on films such as London Has Fallen, and Messengers 2 ) want to give us another view of Boyka. Since he is getting older, maybe his view on life is changing as well ? Director Todor Chapkanov have not directed any martial art films before in the past, so for him to step into the world of Boyka is of course a challenge. He does do a good job on the fighting scenes, but for some reason he does not seem to care much about doing anything about the other characters. In one way, i can imagine that he knew that Boyka fans want to see most fighting scenes, so of course he probably thought it is better to focus on what fans want to see. The Undisputed films have of course delivered action entertainment for years, especially for the martial arts audience. Boyka: Undisputed follows up the previous films, with a more serious tone. I would not say that this is one of the better films, but it works as a sequel. If you are a fan of Scott Adkins, i know you want to see this next chapter. There is no doubt, Boyka is the cousin of Ivan Drago ( the greatest russian boxing character in history ), that will never stop. And this film shows that Scott Adkins still knows how to run a show. One advice though, never ask Boyka what he thinks of Fifty Shades Darker. If you do, you might not be standing up very long.

Rating: DDD

måndag 15 maj 2017

May is the month to stay awake

Greetings movie lovers worldwide, including Norway - The Holy Land Of Violins!

This is Captain Daniel speaking, the happiest mop boy on deck. I have some more reviews on the way and will try to post something extra before the month ends. One review that will be posted is of course Alien Covenant, a film i am really looking forward to see. Including the Steven Seagal film The Perfect Weapon ( should be a masterpiece, right ? ). Thanks to all my readers worldwide and prepare yourselves for some fresh reviews soon.

Cheers from Daniel - The Greatest Romantic Swede Ever

fredag 12 maj 2017

Ghost In The Shell

As a teenager, i used to watch a lot of animated japanese films on VHS. My school friend Anders used to order them from the UK, and i bought some, especially Doomed Megalopolis. I remember having all 4 episodes on VHS, and i can´t tell you how many times i watched them. I loved Doomed Megalopolis, where the animation looked wonderful. Director Rintaro ( real name Hayashi Shigeyuki ), have directed a lot of anime films in many years, and i still consider Doomed Megalopolis to be one of the highlights of his career. I also enjoyed his film Metropolis, released in 2001. It may not be a film many anime fans talk about, but it is definitely worth seeing. Since my friend Anders had a very big collection of anime films, and constantly bought new releases, i remember seeing the film Ghost In The Shell in his VHS shelves. I instantly became curious what this film was all about. This film, based on the manga comic, written and illustrated by Masamune Shirow, turned out to be a wonderful adaptation of the comics. The film, released in 1995, is directed by Mamoru Oshii, and is one of the best animated films out there. Ghost In The Shell was ground breaking, because it was very original, and looked very different from many other animated films. I have seen it is out on blu ray, so i will eventually get myself a copy, since this is a cult classic. I did see the sequel called Ghost In The Shell: Innocence, released in 2004. If you enjoyed the first film, i think you will enjoy this sequel as well. The sequel is a bit different from the first film, but it does not fail as a sequel. Then we ha a film called Ghost In The Shell: The New Film, released only 2 years ago. I have not seen this one, but i will eventually at some point. Since i have been a Manga fan since my childhood, i was pretty excited when Paramount Pictures announced that a film adaptation of the classic Ghost In The Shell was going to be released, with Scarlett Johansson in the lead role. This did make me curious, how were they going to be able to turn the world of Ghost In The Shell into a feature film, with a much bigger budget and professional actors ? I remember reading that director Rupert Sanders have been chosen as the director, who actually did well with his debut feature film Snow White And The Huntsman. Since i did not know what to expect, when Hollywood is doing a feature film on such a classic anime film, i had to see this film. With a great cast, and with very strong ground material for a feature film, is Ghost In The Shell better then i expected, or is this another example of when Hollywood make bad choices, such as the remake of Ghostbusters ?

In the near future, the majority of humans are augmented with cybernetics, enhancing various traits like vision, strength and intelligence. Hanka Robotics, the world´s leading developer of augmentative technology, establishes a secret project to develop a mechanical body, or " shell ", that can integrate a human brain. Mira Killian ( Scarlett Johansson ), a young woman who is the solve survivor of a cyberterrorist attack that killed her parents. She is chosen as the test subject after her body can not be repaired. Mira´s designer, Dr Ouelet ( Juliette Binoche ) does not like this project, but is forced to make Mira a perfect weapon, from the orders of CEO Hanka Cutter ( Peter Ferdinando ). A year later, Mira has attained the rank of Major in the anti-terrorist bureau Section 9, working with operatives Batou ( Pilou Asbaek ) and Togusa ( Chin Han ) under Chief Daisuke Aramaki ( Takeshi Kitano ). The team successfully thwarts a terrorist attack on a Hanka business conference, and Major Mira destroy a rouge mechanical geisha after it murders a hostage. Mira have been experiencing hallucinations that Dr Ouelet dismisses as glitches. For some reason, no one does not seem to be telling the truth to Mira, about her past. But as she digs into information, she is about to discover much more than she expected.

Since i was a bit skeptical going into the cinema, i was afraid that the trailer only showed the best parts of the film. Thankfully, i enjoy this film adaption. And i would like to say that there are a couple of reasons why i enjoy this film. The cinematography by Jess Hall ( who worked on several good british films, such as Son Of Rambow and Hott Fuzz ), have done a wonderful job with this film. The futuristic look of the film looks really lovely. You can sense that he have tried to capture the feeling of the original anime film. Scarlett Johansson in the lead role as Major Mira Killian is a really good choice, and she definitely does a great performance, both physical and emotional. Some of the majestic city scenes looks really gorgeous, especially when Major Mira sky dive off buildings. Nice to see legendary actor Juliette Binoche here as Dr. Ouelet. This may not be one of her better performances, but i still like to see her in a completely different genre film, compared to what she usually does, european drama productions. Let´s not forget legendary japanese actor Takeshi Kitano ( who have done some really good films, especially Hanna-bi from 1997 ). His character in Ghost In The Shell, known as Daisuke Aramaki is tough, and one of the most interesting characters on screen. I am not sure if you will notice this, but i somehow felt that this film had some elements from the cult classic 1982 film Blade Runner in some scenes. Director Rupert Sanders have proved with this film adaptation that you can do a film, based on anime and make it almost look like an animated world. Everything is not perfect, but i think the transformation shows that he really tried to make this film, to please the fans of the original anime film. The CGI effects looks for the most part really good, and you would love to see more of this world. Is there anything negative ? I suppose some of the dialogue scenes does not feel very interesting, as if they are placed there to fill out some empty spots. As a science fiction action film, Ghost In The Shell have plenty to offer, not only for fans of the original anime film. The action scenes with Scarlett Johansson is exactly what we need in cinemas, rough, violent and really good looking. Since this film have flopped in box office numbers, under performing in China as well, i am not sure if we will ever see a sequel. Too bad, i think that would have been interesting. But i suggest you go see Ghost In The Shell in cinemas, until it stops showing in cinemas pretty soon. It is worth the ticket price, and who does not want to see Scarlett Johansson in tight outfits ? Exactly, we all do.

Rating: DDD

torsdag 11 maj 2017


If there is one thing more dangerous than anything in this world ( a part of the Dansband religious cult members ), it must be pregnant women. If you say no to a pregnant woman, and she does not agree, the following things might happen.

* She might break your nuts into 1,4 million pieces.
* She will force you to buy a glamorous house, or she will burn your cd collection of Ronan Keating ( we all know you guys have his collection )

How can i know all of this ? Well, in my family, several women have been pregnant, and they followed these 2 rules. I think pregnant women know that men love Ronan Keating more than anything in this world, that´s why it is our weak spot. If my wife burned all my Ronan cd´s, i would not be a man anymore. That´s how much he means to all men worldwide. He knows our emotions, and fill our hearts with the passion we want more of.

So....let´s get back to pregnant women. To see women carrying a child is of course a miracle. Every woman who carry their child have a very wonderful time to look forward too. And with this comes a lot of responsibility of course. There are many films, where pregnancy is brought up in different situations. Since we have so many titles to choose between, in all genres, i have chosen one particular title called Inside, released in 2007. A really well made horror film, with really good acting, especially from the main actors Beatrice Dalle and Alysson Paradis. To make the story short, what the film is about, a pregnant woman is visited by a stranger, who wants to take her unborn baby from her. A creepy, very disturbing film, that was actually one of my favourite horror films of the year 2007. Worth buying on dvd, or blu ray, if you have not seen it. Pregnant women on film is of course a very sensitive subject, but since it is a very natural way of life, there are many stories to tell on film. Some do it more traditional, while some directors try and choose a different path. And this is where i came across the new british film called Prevenge. I have read about this film in several reviews, and it seemed to be an unusual concept of a comedy slasher. I did notice that this was the directorial debut film for actor Alice Lowe, a british actor that we have seen in some really good films, such as Hot Fuzz, Sightseers and The World´s End. She is the main actor of this film Prevenge, and directed this film as well. Since she have done some wonderful performances in the past, is this one of her best films, or should she have made another awful Hugh Grant romantic comedy instead, that no one asked for ?

Ruth ( Alice Lowe ) is a pregnant woman. Her partner ( the father of her unborn child ) died in a climbing accident, leaving Ruth to handle her pregnancy alone. But Ruth is convinced that her baby, is telling her to kill people. And she does, whenever the baby orders her to do it. But is it really the baby that control the mind of Ruth, or does these killings have another explanation ?

British humor is of course one of the best things in this world. So many great british comedies out there, and so many really funny films to choose between. Prevenge is sort of a dark comedy, with horror influences, and it is also a bit disturbing. Your child in your belly telling you to kill new victims, have you ever seen that before ? Or is it her other voices telling her what to do? If you don´t like what you´re reading about this film, then this is not going to change your mind. I think this is a film for those who appreciate odd films, with different influences from british humor with some disturbing twists. And i appreciate the mix, because i can´t say i have seen this combination before, especially with a pregnant woman. Alice Lowe does a really good job as the mentally disturbed Ruth. Her journey throughout the film have plenty of dark comedy scenes, and it feels very strange laughing when some bloody brutality happens. But maybe that´s the point with this film, it is not a typical british comedy. It is supposed to be different, and that is a good sign for me. Since Alice Lowe is also the director of Prevenge, i think she have done a special film that can´t be compared with anything out there this year. And for that she has to be respected, she clearly don´t want to make everything traditional. When you actually find out more about Ruth´s past, you soon begin to understand what might have made her gone insane. The natural characters through out the film, help the film feel natural. And if you are in the right mood, be prepared to laugh when you least expect it. Prevenge is definitely one of the most odd films i have experienced this year, so far. And i appreciate a director that take chances, and dare to move outside the mainstream film clichés, and do something unusual. Does it have flaws? Perhaps, but i don´t really bother about them, since i think this film succeed to give us something different. If you did see the film Sightseers, and you enjoyed that film, then i suggest you watch Prevenge as well. Two different films, but both worth a watch. I am not sure if some pregnant mothers want to see this film, but for those of you who are curious, go for it. This should be a film shown on dvd for a house filled with pregnant mothers, just so they feel prepared to become mothers, when the time comes. Well done Alice Lowe, looking forward for your next film.

Rating: DDD

Here is a link to the scandinavian release of this film, out now all over the internet stores.


fredag 5 maj 2017

Salt And Fire

I am a big fan of documentary films, especially films that tell a story on true stories, or real personalities. I think it all started for me when i saw Michael Moore´s really well made documentay film Bowling For Columbine, back in 2002. This film had some very interesting topics, especially about why ammunition is so easy to get in stores, and why America have so much more murders than in Canada, and many other subjects within the gun issues. Of course the film also focused on the Columbine massacre, a shootout no one will forget. Michael Moore continued to deliver very strong documentary films. But in 2005, i discovered a documentary film that basically changed my life. I watched director Werner Herzog´s documentary film Grizzly Man, about an odd american man named Timothy Treadwell. He was a bear enthusiast who lived in Alaska, to document the lives of grizzly bears. Unfortunately, he was found eaten by one bear. A man who spend so many years, trying to live with bears and understand them, could not escape the fact that they are animals. They have animal instincts, and attack no matter how nice you are. The documentary film Grizzly Man is a very strong and emotional film. You found out so much interesting facts about the life if Timothy Treadwell, and why he was so passioned about living in nature close to grizzly bears. Director Werner Herzog really digged deep into this story and gave us a film that is unforgettable. If you have not seen it, try and find it online to watch, or buy the dvd. Director Werner Herzog have directed many documentary films over the years, and he have also made feature films with big Hollywood stars. One example of his work, is of course his classic vampire film Nosferatu The Vampire from 1979. This was of course long before he made Grizzly Man, and his first big step into a Hollywood film was the film Rescue Dawn with actor Christian Bale. A good film in my opinion, and he decided to do his next film with Nicolas Cage called Bad Lieutenant: Port Of Call New Orleans. I actually thought this was a remake of the classic 1992 film with Harvey Keitel, but according to director Werner Herzog, his film is more of a re-imagining of the original film from the 90´s. I have not seen his film Queen Of The Desert with Nicole Kidman from 2015, but i read it was supposed to be ok. So here we are, with the latest film from director Werner Herzog, a film called Salt And Fire. I have not seen a trailer, or barely read about this film before i decided to see it, just to make it more fun. Is the legendary director back with a powerful film, or is this a film you might as well avoid ?

Three ecologists , Dr. Laura Sommerfeld ( Veronica Ferres ), Dr. Fabio Cavani ( Gael Garcia Bernal ) and Dr. Arnold Meier ( Volker Michalowski ) are sent to South America as part of a U.N. investigation into an ecological disaster of Salar de Uyni. As they arrive at the airport, they are kidnapped by CEO Matt Riley ( Michael Shannon ) and his armed men. Matt´s company is responsible for the ecological disaster. As a volcano nearby begin to show signs of erupting, Matt needs the ecologists help, to try and take control in this difficult situation.

Every director can make films, where some films are really good, and other choices may not turn out in a positive way. And this is where we find Salt And Fire. Considering that this film is directed by legendary documentary film maker Werner Herzog, you would expect him to deliver a strong story. You would also expect him to deliver a strong cast, giving us solid acting. Unfortunately, Salt And Fire feels very weak compared to his previous work. It is as if Werner just decided to get a good cast, but don´t really give them any interesting characters. Just look at some of the names in this cast, such as Michael Shannon, Veronica Ferres, Gael Garcia Bernal and Volker Michalowski. All of them have been in some really good films, and we know they are great actors. So why don´t they seem to care about their characters ? This might actually be one of the few times where i see Michael Shannon make a bad performance, and i love him as an actor. Take Shelter, Midnight Special, Mud, Before The Devil Knows You´re Dead, a list of really good films that he have been a part of. My only guess why these actors agreed to do this film, is because of their respect for director Werner Herzog. They might have been passionate about the story, but on screen you can´t really feel any connections between their characters. It is like they just say their lines, and walk around. Even if the kidnapping is supposed to be the intensive part of the film, is delivered without any passion. The story could have been interesting, since it is a story of a ecological disaster in Bolivia. But somehow, director Werner Herzog decides to go very light on this subject, and tell a story that you don´t really care about. Werner and Michael Shannon have worked together before, in the thriller My Son, My Son, What Have Ye Done. This is actually a good film, with a very nice cast. I honestly don´t know what went wrong with Salt And Fire, there must be an explanation. Maybe the project did not turn out the way Werner thought it would do, or maybe he just wanted to make a film just to get cash. I have no idea what happened. All i know is that Salt And Fire is not a film worthy such a great cast, and a great director. A few scenes give a glimpse of what could have developed into something interesting, but eventually you don´t really care. Not an awful film all the way, but still a big disappointment. I really hope director Werner Herzog come back with his next film, with a much more structured film. Well all make mistakes sometimes, hopefully Werner regret this film and can look into the future instead.

Rating: DD


Even if humans have an incredible body, we can´t protect ourselves from everything. Especially certain viruses, where we need medical help. Viruses can cause some big problems to humans, unless we know a cure. But then you have more dangerous viruses, where it is much harder to find a cure. And this is something that many people worldwide are trying to find ways, to make sure that we are safe from airborne bacteria and viruses. There are plenty of films, that have tried to brought up different subjects, about viruses. And one of the films i still remember, is the 1995 film Oubreak, with Dustin Hoffman and Rene Russo. The film tells the story, of aw very dangerous outbreak of a virus called Motaba. The virus is originally from the African jungle in 1967. They thought that they destroyed the virus, but it returns in Zaire, where people become very ill and die. This complicated situation between virologists and experts becomes very tricky, trying to work together, makes the film very interesting. How do you handle a situation as dangerous as this, without taking any dangerous risks ? I saw the film in cinema back in the 90´s, and i remember how curious i was about the most dangerous viruses. I also remember the 2007 film called Rec, a spanish horror film, about a virus outbreak that turn people into insane zombies. Not the typical zombie film actually, because this film is more focused on the outbreak of the virus. And a really well made horror film as well, from director James Balagueró and Paco Plaza. I highly recommend you see the sequel Rec 2 as well, actually the sequel might be even better than the first film. There are of course other films, based on virus outbreaks that follow pretty much the same pattern. But i like to see different stories, based on both true events, or fictional stories. I almost forgot to mention Steven Soderberghs film Contagion, a really good thriller about a dangerous virus disease, that tries to show that we can´t always be prepared for unexpected turns. Since i watch many films every month, i usually miss some titles now and then, that have been released on dvd or blu ray. And this is where i decided to pick up a blu ray called Viral. Described to be a science fiction horror drama ( that´s a lot of combinations ). I have not really heard much about Viral before, so it is always more fun seeing a film you know very little about, so you don´t have to have high expectations. Is this a cool throwback to classic parasites films, or is Viral a film that is so dull you will fall asleep instantly ?

Emma Drakeford ( Sofia Black-D´Elia ) and Stacey Drakeford ( Analeigh Tipton ) are two young sisters, living in a nice clean neighborhood. One day at school, one of the students turns out to be infected, by an unknown virus. Emma and Stacey leave school and head home. They manage to get in contact with their father, but he tells them to stay at home and lock themselves inside. They decide to head towards a party, not far away from their parents house. One of the infected manage to attack the party guests, and now the situation is much more serious. Emma and Stacey head back home, hoping that things will calm down and the virus will eventually be defeated. But no one really knows how to handle the infected, and more civilians are in danger.

It is very clear from the very beginning of Viral, that we have seen films like this before. So, you can´t expect to see anything really original here. I can probably mention a few films that looks similar to Viral, without trying to compare them. But the good news is, that Viral do have some positive turns to offer. Imagine another version of Robert Rodriguez classic 90´s film The Faculty, but with some different elements where parasites are included, and you have Viral served on a plate. This is sort of a throwback to the Invasion Of The Body Snatchers from the 70´s as well, where people suddenly change and attack for no reason at all. The classic 70´s film is a very interesting view on how vulnerable humans are, especially if our bodies are taken over by another life form. The 1993 remake Body Snatchers was of course mostly laughable, as it was trying to be adjusted for the teenage audience. And this is where Viral actually succeed, this is a horror film made for teenagers, but it is not terrible. As most of you know, films made with college teenagers are usually very predictable and dull. Viral on the other hand, turn this around for a bit. Sure, there are a few scenes we get some clichés, but overall i enjoyed myself. Lead actors Sofia Black-D´Elia and Analeigh Tipton are actually not bad. Their characters Emma and Stacey feel natural, and not the perfect teenage girls image. One of the few issues i have, is that the outbreak itself does not really tell you much. You get some details through out the film, but too little to actually feel that chaos is around the corner. Directors Henry Joost and Ariel Schuman both directed the technology thriller Nerve, that i reviewed last year. They may not make this film as good as Nerve, but i still feel that Viral is smarter than most teenage horror films. There is not a lot of blood here, or flesh wounds, it is more about how to survive against infected people and how to avoid them. Viral is no classic in any way, or can win against the classic Invasion Of The Body Snatchers. Still, nice to see that some directors try to keep the parasite franchise alive, in present day. I am probably one of the few who have seen this film so late, since it has been out for quite some time, but what the hell, you can´t see them all at the release. Give Viral a chance, if you love science fiction horror. I better load my shotgun, just in case those damn parasites attack again from the Jehovas Witnesses center.

Rating: DDD

onsdag 3 maj 2017

The Void

If there is one thing i do not always enjoy, is CGI effects in films. There are of course films that have really good special effects, but then we have really expensive films with CGI effects, that are really awful. How many of you remember the disaster film After Earth with Will Smith ? That film is a really good example of how a lot of money was wasted for nothing. Another good example is of course Catwoman with Halle Berry. It could be one of the worst films based on a comic book characters ever. In some films you need to have really well made CGI effects, because it would not be possible to make every film with practical effects. But in the old days of film making, you had to do everything with practical effects. You could use animation of course, in some scenes, just to fill in the blank spots. But at the end of the day, practical effects were always more fun to watch. Now days most film makers rely on CGI, because you can pretty much do anything with computers. But true film makers, who really love making films, they use practical effects. Just look at the Evil Dead films, director Sam Raimi brought us some really fantastic practical effects, thanks to make up artist Tom Sullivan ( who made the make up in the first film ), while Greg Nicotero did the make up effects for the other 2 films. There are a ton of horror films that have delivered a lot of fun practical effects, but my point is that i always prefer a horror film to be made in an old school way. There is something special about seeing practical made monsters, aliens, or whatever we get to see. Independent film makers who prefer to make films, in an old school way, is of course always welcome. It is a hard business out there, and i respect new film makers that dare to go against the main stream concept. One good example of a practical effects horror film, that is not very old, is the Irish horror film The Hallow by director Corin Hardy. The creature effects, combined with the creepy Irish forest areas worked really well. Nice to see actor Joseph Mawle in a lead role, and i think he did really well. I suggest you buy a dvd or blu ray of this film, it is worth having in your collection. About a few weeks before christmas of 2016, i was reading online about an upcoming horror film called The Void. What i noticed especially was that this was supposed to be a film, made with as much practical effects as possible. This made me very curious of course . As the film came out in Sweden a couple of weeks ago on VOD and dvd, i threw myself on to check it out. Is this a gore fest for old school horror fans, or is this pure garbage ?

Police officer Daniel Carter ( Aaron Poole ) is just about to head towards the police station, when a mysterious man named James ( Evan Stern ) crawls out of the forest. He seems to be injured, so Daniel drives him to the nearest hospital. James is put to sleep, since he is hysterious. While Daniel takes a walk around the hospital, a patient is murdered by a completely insane nurse. No one knows what made her kill a patient, but suddenly it seems that a mysterius religious cult is surrounding the hospital, while the dead turn into strange creatures. What is going on ? Who are these people outside ?

I have actually watched The Void 3 times now on VOD. Why ? Because when you get a film like The Void, and you love old school practical effects, then you are served with a big feast. This is the kind of horror film you should enjoy, if you love Hellraiser. Imagine the nightmare style of Clive Barker, mixed with what seems to be a religious cult, and you can probably imagine that this is the perfect summer party. The practical effects make this film so much fun, because it reminds us of John Carpenter´s classic The Thing, but still manage to throw in some original ideas. Another detail i also enjoy about this film is that the acting is actually not bad. Most of the cast actually acts pretty good, how often do you see that in a B horror movie ? Especially from actors Aaron Poole and Daniel Fathers, they both have strong characters. I would also like to say that legendary actor Kenneth Welsh delivers with his character Dr. Richard Powell. The Void may not sound very unique if you read about the plot, but once you get into the darkness, you will experience something i can´t really explain. Transformed dead people, who turn into different creatures, looks just the way you want them to be. The location, set at a hospital, filled with different personalities may be a bit cliché, but if you can forgive this part then you won´t be disappointed. Simple details such as the religious cult clothes, works with the concept. They look creepy, with the triangle mark across their covered faces. The unexpected turns is also something positive, you can´t really figure out what will happen ( for the most part ), and this is also something to be positive about. Is this an original film ? Yes and no, it depends on how you look at some scenes. Some details do feel fresh, while some details feels like something we have seen before. Either way, i can´t say that The Void disappointed me in any way. Directors Jeremy Gillespie and Steven Kostanski have managed to deliver something special, and i have to say that they did a really good job. This is so far the best horror film i have seen this year, and i really hope people rent this film, or buy it, to show support independent film makers. Did the trailer of Fifty Shades Darker make you feel sick, or even become demon possessed ? Then i have some good news for you. The Void will make you sing, and dance, on every single street, because this is the happiest film you will see this spring. With so much gore, blood, and violence that this film give the audience, there are no excuses why you can´t buy the blu ray. Run down to your local film store and get The Void.

Rating: DDDD