fredag 27 oktober 2017


There are some films that will last forever. In the horror movie universe, there are so many titles we could talk about. But let´s focus our minds on one specific film. A film that made people faint, puke in cinemas, and was also banned in some countries. I am of course talking about Tobe Hoober´s cult classic The Texas Chainsaw Massacre from 1974. A very small film, made on a extremely low budget. But what made this film so special, was the way that director Tobe Hobber managed to tell a story, of a disturbing cannibal family, in a way we have never seen before. And the chainsaw, also made a completely different impact than before, in some of the most odd and sickening chainsaw scenes ever made. The Texas Chainsaw Massacre is still today one of the few films, that keep making horror fans all ages bedazzled. No matter how many times you have seen this film, you can´t get bored watching it again. Then in 1986, a sequel made it´s way to cinemas. The sequel is very different from the original film, but i did enjoy it, because of the crazy characters. I also feel that director Tobe Hooper, managed to mix comedy with horror, in an intelligent way. You could sense that the influences from The Texas Chainsaw Massacre was still there, though portrayed differently than the original film. As the third film came out in 1990, i did not even see it. I did not see the 1994 film Texas Chainsaw Massacre: The Next Generation. Why ? Well, everyone was saying how terrible they were, so i thought i might as well skip them. Luckily, in 2003, German director Marcus Nispel, directed a remake of the original film, that turned out to be much better than what i would have expected. The brutality, and the evil savage tone of the film, was exactly what a remake needed. I still think that this is one of the better horror remakes since the millenuim. Of course a sequel was released called The Texas Chainsaw Massacre - The Beginning. Critics were not happy with this film, i thought it was alright, but not a worthy sequel to the remake. Things got even worse when Texas Chainsaw 3D was released in 2013, a film that was a direct sequel to the original film. It did not feel like a sequel, it felt more like a horror film, just made to make money at the box office. So here we are in 2017, and we have a prequel to the original film released, simply called Leatherface. Since i love the first film, is this prequel almost as good as the cult classic, or is this a disaster that should have been burned to ashes ?

At the Sawyer homestead, a birthday birthday is celebrated for little Jedidiah ( Boris Kabakchiev ). Mother Verna Sawyer ( Lili Taylor ) have a special surprise for Jedidiah, a chainsaw. They have a victim tied up in a chair, and it is time for Jedidiah to show the family, how you make the birthday celebration extra fun. Jedidiah is not ready to be a butcher, but Verna and Farnsworth ( Nathan Cooper ), are sure he will learn their tradition. Grandpa Sawyer ( Eduard Parsehyan ) finish off the victim. In 1955, couple Betty Hartman ( Todor Berov ) and Ted Hardesty ( Julian Kostov ) are heading down a highway, when they almost hit a child with Ted´s car. The young boy Jedidiah is dressed with a cow head, and runs into the fields. Betty is worried something is wrong, and follow him to a dilapidated barn. Here she falls into a trap, and is killed brutally by the orders of Farnsworth. Sheriff Hartman ( Stephen Dorff ) is called to the scene, where he finds out his daughter Betty have been brutally killed. He attack Farnsworth, promising him that he will be executed. Verna steps in to bring Jedidiah back to the family, but Sheriff Hartman inform that she will no longer take care of him. Jedidiah is taken to mental institution Gorman House Youth Reformery. 10 years later, Jedidiah, now known as Bud ( Sam Coleman ), is a very quiet young man. Recently-hired nurse Elizabeth White ( Vanessa Grasse ) forms a bond with patients Bud and Jackson ( Sam Strike ). Verna visit the mental institution, demanding to see Jedidiah. The director of the facility deny her to see Jedidiah, so Verna start a riot, causing the mentally disturbed patients to escape. Bud and Jackson follow the patients Ike ( James Bloor ) and Clarice ( Jessica Madsen ). Ike and Clarice begin a murder spree at a diner. Bud´s silence is about to fold out, as they will all discover, a really disturbing killer is about to explode.

Since this film is supposed to be a prequel to the original film The Texas Chainsaw Massacre, we are supposed to know the story surrounding Leatherface. For those of you who have seen the previous films, do we really need a prequel like Leatherface ? Honestly, not really. But here is the good news, this is not an awful film. In fact, i do see something about this prequel. If you remember Rob Zombie´s remake of Halloween from 2007, we got to see how Michael Myers became a serial killer. In the prequel Leatherface, we find out more about how a very young child, becomes a human butcher. And i have to say, i do like the idea surrounding this film. It is not as effective as Rob Zombie´s Halloween, but the origin story does work, as long as we get to see some gory scenes. Some of the brutal killing scenes, match with the story. And we do get some nice treats along the way. Stephen Dorff as Texas Ranger Hal Hartman is really cool, as the small town Texas Ranger. You can tell he fits for this character. One of this film strongest performances is from actor Lili Taylor as Verna Sawyer. The way she portrait Verna, mother of Leatherface, shows you a disturbing look into a mother, who shows no empathy for victims. So how does this prequel match up to the original film ? Honestly, it is nowhere as good as the original film. But that does not mean that Leatherface is awful. Compared to Texas Chainsaw 3D, this prequel is both more well made, and have a much better story included. Also, the characters are also much more interesting. Directors Alexandre Bustillo and Julien Maury, manage to capture some of the feeling of Texas Chainsaw Massacre, while they also step on a different territory. They could have easily just made it look like another sequel, but it is clear that they want us to know more about the legendary character. There are a few scenes, where dialogue takes too much space of the film, but once the gory scenes gets back on track, you instantly feel at home again. I do like the scenes where we get to see young people at a mental institution. It gives you a different perspective of The Texas Chainsaw Massacre story, of disturbed young killers. You also get a different view on the disturbed Sawyer family, even if some details could have been told deeper. Leatherface is a surprisingly good prequel to the original classic film. It may not win any new audiences, but for the fans if Texas Chainsaw Massacre films, i think you should see this one and make up your own mind. One thing is clear, next time we serve turkey at family dinner, i am bringing the chainsaw. Who knows, we might need some extra meat, in case we run out of turkey....

Rating: DDD

tisdag 24 oktober 2017


There is a saying in Sweden that goes something like this:- Don´t expect to get inside the house, if you wear any pants. What does this mean ? Well, in Sweden we like to be polite, and don´t always need to be dressed. You could say that we have " nature view " on dress codes. So if you happen to be dancing down the lovely fields of Dalarna, don´t be surprised if a nude couple invite you for coffee. Dalmasar are known for their friendly hospitality, and their good taste of falukorv.

You would think, that if house people are this friendly, then people would love to go more often to the countryside. Well, not exactly, and i think one particular film may show us why. The horror film You´re Next, showed us what could happen, if you end up in the wrong house in the countryside. A horror film that actually was much better, than i expected. The film had some disturbing surprises, and the cool lead actor Sharni Winson, as the bad ass Erin, was exactly what this film needed. Director Adam Wingard ( who also directed the underrated film The Guest ) proved that you can actually make an intelligent horror film, on a limited budget. Unfortunately, You´re Next was not seen by a larger audience in cinemas, so the film got a bigger chance to be recognized on dvd and blu ray. Horror films that takes place in the countryside can either be a good combination, or a terrible one. I think one of the most effective horror films, that takes place in the countryside, is the British horror film Eden Lake. This is a must see film, where actors Kelly Reilly and Michael Fassbender really delivered solid acting performances, in a very psychological film, with some very sweaty situations. I suggest you pick up the UK blu ray release, and listen in to some nice special features as well. Religious cult horror films is also a genre that i have always appreciated. Perhaps one of the classics, has to be Wes Craven´s classic 80´s film The Serpent And The Rainbow. I also enjoy the 80´s classic The Believers with legendary actor Martin Sheen, a film that does not get mentioned very often. So what if you combine a religious cult theme, with the style of You´re Next, and mix it all together ? That is what you get in the new horror film Jackals, released through Scream Factory. I got a chance to watch the film on dvd, right before Halloween weekend arrives. Is this a film that should be watched this Halloween with the family, or should you avoid this one at all cost ?

Kathy Powell ( Deborah Kara Unger ) and Andrew Powell ( Johnathon Schaech ) have hired cult deprogrammer Jimmy Levine ( Stephen Dorff ), to help them get their son Justin Powell ( Ben Sullivan ) back into their ordinary day life. Justin is kidnapped and brought to his parents house. Justin´s girlfriend Samantha ( Chelsea Rickets ) is also there to try and help Justin back into family life, especially since they have a child together. Justin refuse any help. Instead, he warns the family, that unless he is released, unexpected consequences may appear. The religious cult have located where Justin is, and they will do anything to get him back.

One of the things i really appreciate with Jackals, is that this is a film, based on a really disturbing religious cult. That helps the theme of the film feel more interesting. You can clearly see that there are similar ideas from You´re Next thrown in here ( without copying the film scenes ), but that´s ok. The stories are completely different, so that is a good sign. Once the cult members begin to attack the house, we do get to have some fun. One of the strongest characters in Jackals, is without a doubt actor Ben Sullivan ( perhaps known most for his work on tv series The 100 ). He is the most effective character in this film, as the kidnapped cult member Justin. Once he get to start to show his angry personality, with no empathy at all, you can tell he have tried to make his character feel like a monster. I also enjoy the performance of Alyssa Julya Smith as the cult member Fox Girl. She does not speak, but her body language, and brutality, works really well with her character. Unfortunately, we do not get to see her that often, that is a shame. Legendary actor Deborah Kara Unger is also here. Maybe not her strongest performance, but i still think she does ok. Director Kevin Greutert have directed 2 of the Saw films in the past, and have worked as an editor on the earlier Saw films as well. He knows how to capture the sense of brutality on camera, and he also knows how to portrait disturbing human behavior. In the best scenes, i would say that Jackals is a horror film that manage to deliver popcorn entertainment. This is in no way an original film, but that´s ok. What Jackals tries to do instead, is to bring back some of the old school horror from the early 80´s. Are there any flaws with this film ? Yes, there is. Especially that we never get to find out more information about the religious cult. What do they believe in ? Why do they wear their special outfits ? The only thing we know is that they are out there to bring back their beloved cult member. I also feel that legendary B movie actor Stephen Dorff is in this film, far too little. His character Jimmy, who hunts down cult members, could have so much more to offer in a film like this. Jackals may not be nowhere as good as You´re Next is, but i still feel that i enjoy this film, since it is well made from a cinematography, and technical perspective. There is especially one scene you can´t miss, when Fox Girl does a dance to a sliced throat, a tasteful treat indeed. Jackals may not bring anything new to the table, but if you appreciate religious cult horror films, then i suggest you give this one a chance. Now excuse me, i better pick up the axe, looks like Jehova´s Witnesses are dancing around the front porch again. Those bastards never listen, maybe my axe might change their mind ?

Rating: DDD

torsdag 19 oktober 2017

Halloween is getting closer, and i got something for you.

Greetings everyone, its your favourite Uncle Daniel here, ready for Halloween.

Since horror films is a big part of Halloween, i have 2 new horror movie reviews coming up close to Halloween weekend. I wont reveal any titles yet, but don't worry, once they are posted, you have something to look forward too. If you are going to celebrate Halloween, remember this....the most frightning film ever made is Saving Christmas with Kirk Cameron. This film will make you so scared, you wont sleep for years.....

Until next time, thank you all my readers worldwide. 

Cheers from Daniel

måndag 16 oktober 2017

Blade Runner 2049

Let´s travel back in time, to the year of 1992. The year when Ugly Kid Joe´s album Americas Least Wanted, was a big thing in my school. I was around 14 years old, and i remember the first time i got to experience the 80´s cult classic film Blade Runner. My paint teacher actually played this film in class, on VHS. We were not supposed to watch violence films in school, but obviously she wanted us to experience something unique. Since i was pretty young at that time, i may not have taken Blade Runner under my arms completely. But after watching the film again, a couple of years later, i knew that this science fiction film from 1982 was something special. Director Ridley Scott have made a film, that looked completely different from anything i have ever seen before. It was not only the cinematography that looked amazing, but the characters, and the storyboard was also something unique. Harrison Ford as Detective Deckard became one of the most Iconic police officers of the 80´s, and Rutger Hauer as the replicant Roy Batty, had some of the best dialogue scenes in a futuristic science fiction film ever. There is no doubt that Blade Runner is still today, one of the all time classics in the sci fi genre, and is still loved by all ages and nationalities. I think that one of the reasons, why this film still works so well, is because we can relate to many humanitarian issues in the film. I also feel that the film managed to portrait the future in a very mysterious way. Even if it is not very realistic, you could tell that director Ridley Scott wanted to make sure that the film would look original. You might think that Blade Runner was a big box office success, back in the 80´s. It actually did not do well in box office numbers, but became a cult hit on VHS instead. So when a Director´s Cut was released in cinemas, people got a chance to see the film again, with some smaller changes from the original release. I have the Final Cut edition, a 5 dvd release, that includes different versions of the film, including a lot of special features. After many years from the original film´s release, there have been speculations if a sequel was going to be made. It seemed that it would not happen for a while, not until i heard rumors in early 2017, that a sequel was on the way. Everytime you hear a classic film is getting a sequel, you always start to wonder if this is a good idea. But when a trailer was finally released, i could not help sitting down bedazzled. The film looked amazing, by the few scenes you got to see from the film. And the cast of Ryan Gosling, Jared Leto, and Harrison Ford coming back as Deckard, seemed too good to be true. When this sequel finally landed in cinemas, i had to experience the film. Do we have a sequel better than the original cult film, or is this a sequel that never should have been allowed to be released ?

In the year 2049, bioengineered humans called replicants have been integrated into society, as servants and slaves. Officer " Joe " K ( Ryan Gosling ), a newer replicant model, created to obey. He works as a blade runner for LAPD, hunting down, and retire older replican models. In Officer Joe´s home, he lives with his holpgraphic girlfriend Joi ( Ana de Armas ), an artificial intelligence product of the Wallace Corporation. Officer Joe´s investigation on a growing replicant federation, leads him to a farm, where here retires rouge replicant Slapper Morton ( Dave Bautista ). Here he finds a buried box. Forensic analysis reveal that the box contains the remains of a female replicant who died as the result of complications from an caesarean section. Officer Joe did not think it was possible for replicants to be pregnant. He is ordered to destroy all the evidence related to the case by his superior, Lieutenant Joshi ( Robin Wright ), and retire the child. She fears that is this information comes out, this could start a war between humans and replicants. Joe is disturbed by the idea of destroying the evidence, so he decides to dig deeper into the truth, by visiting the headquarters of Wallace Corporation. He finds out from Wallace Corporation Founder Niander Wallace ( Jared Leto ), who identify the body ( the evidence Joe found ) as Rachel, an experimental replicant. He also finds out about the romance between Rachel and former veteran blade runner Rick Deckard ( Harrison Ford ). While the investigation keeps going, Joe is about to find out something about himself, that will change his life completely.

When i first heard that a sequel to Blade Runner, was going to be made. I was very skeptical, because some films should be left alone. Remember the sequel to Escape From New York, simply called Escape From L.A. ? Yes, it is so bad, i can´t really describe what that film was. However, after having seen Blade Runner 2049, i think i can honestly say that i don´t feel sad. In fact, i am very impressed about this sequel. It looks gorgeous, and the tone of the film fits really well with the classic cult film, with a much bigger budget of course. Also, the acting is really good as well. Ryan Gosling in the lead role, as Officer Joe, is a perfect choice for the character. We already know that Ryan Gosling is one of the best actors, so he knows exactly how to make his character feel interesting. Harrison Ford is also back as Rick Deckard, and i have to say, he does one of his best perfomances in many years, here in Blade Runner 2049. To see him on screen, so many years since the original film, is a pure delightful moment. Jared Leto as the odd Niander Wallace, match perfect with the story, and the characters. He also deliver a very solid performance. One of the most important details of this film, is how beautiful the cinematography is by Roger Deakins. He really knows how to capture the essence of the world of Blade Runner, and i think he found a way to also surprise us with some unexpected details ( i won´t reveal anything here ). Director Denis Villeneuve have directed a lot of really good films over recent years, including Prisoners, Sicario and Arrival. He continues to deliver once again, and i can honestly say that Blade Runner 2049 is his most ambitious work so far as an director. The details that he manage to capture on camera, with this amazing futuristic world, is simply outstanding. I might have to say that this is his best film so far, as an director. I can´t remember the last time i watched a science fiction film, that is so well made as Blade Runner 2049. Is it better than the original film ? This is a tricky question, because i love the original film. But i will say this, technically, and story wise, this sequel delivers on a whole different quality level than the first film. I have no doubt saying this, Blade Runner 2049 is one of the biggest highlights of this year in cinema, and everyone should go and see this film. You won´t see any film as gorgeous looking as this film, that also deliver really solid acting. I think i might actually see it in a cinema again, since this is such an amazing film. Blade Runner in 1982 changed the world, i hope Blade Runner 2049 will be able to do the same, this is a film you can´t avoid.

Rating: DDDD

American Assassin

Over recent years, we have seen so many terrorist attacks in Europe. It seems that we never will know, when terrorists will strike. It can happen anywhere, on public places, in any city. And one day, i especially will never forget, is April 7 this year in Stockholm. A terrorist attack on civilians when a truck drove straight into a crowd of people, killing 5 people and injured 14 people. The man who was pointed out as the man behind this act of evil, was Rakhmat Akilov. I really hope this man will never be let out of prison, he should be locked up for the rest of his life. I have to say, i was so proud to see the city of Stockholm united, after the terrorist attack. That people were there for each other, that everyone took care of each other. This is exactly what we need in difficult times, when tragedy strikes. Hopefully, terrorists will be defeated, no matter what needs to be done. No one should be a victim in public places of these savages. Terrorists in films have been made in many different formats and shapes. One of the biggest classics ( if you ask me ) has to be the 1986 film The Delta Force with Chuck Norris. A film that may have grown old, but as an action film, it still holds up even today. There was something special about seeing Chuck Norris taking down terrorists, with his Delta Force team. 19 years later, a similar film was released, called Executive Decision, with Kurt Russel, Halle Berry, Oliver Platt, David Suchet and Steven Seagal ( in a role where he at least is not all terrible ). What made Executive Decision work, was because of the great cast, and the way director Stuart Baird constructed the film, to make it seem like a professional U.S. Army Special Forces operation, and it felt realistic ( for the most part ). Both of these films should be seen, if you love to see terrorists being taken out. In recent years, i would say that one of the highlights of films, where terrorism is the main subject, has to be Leonardo Di Caprio´s really well made film Body Of Lies, by legendary director Ridley Scott. A really effective action thriller, where both Leonardo Di Caprio and Russel Crowe deliver solid performances, and director Ridley Scott knows how to construct a film on terrorist issues. During early April this year, i got to see a trailer of a film called American Assassin. A new action film, where the main mission is to take down terrorists ? Very original idea...not really. But i decided to give this film a chance, because of the interesting cast list. Do we have an action film that is guaranteed to please the audience, or is American Assassin doomed to fail, from start to finish ?

Mitch Rapp ( Dylan O´Brien ) is on vacation with his girlfriend in Ibiza, Spain. Suddenly, a boat of terrorists enter the beach, and start killing everyone, including Mitch´s girlfriend. 18 months later, Mitch lives day and night, to track down terrorists online in forums, so he can get in contact with the men behind this slaughter. He manage to find the target, that he have been searching for, and arrange a meeting. His plan is to take down the terrorists on his own, but that plan fails, when the location is stormed with U.S. Special Forces, who wipes them all out. They take Mitch with them for questioning in a CIA safe house, for 30 days of debriefing. They know he is a skilled fighter, and knows he can handle weapons. So they make a suggestion, to let him be trained by former U.S. Navy Seal Stan Hurley ( Michael Keaton ), who is an expert on how to handle terrorists. If Mitch is good enough in the training program, he will be a part of the team. Words comes down through intelligence channels, that weapons grade nuclear material have gone missing from a decommissioned Russian nuclear facility. Mitch and his team have no other option, they need to act now, before time is running out.

If you only love very intelligent drama films, you might as well stop reading here. American Assassin is not for fans of Woody Allen, i can guarantee you that. However, if you just want to see a pure action terrorist film, with very patriotic messages, then you might actually have fun with this film. This is in no way a very intelligent action film, but that is not the point. This is the kind of action film, that is made for a certain type of audience. Especially for those who loves lots of guns, fighting, explosions, and no cheesy romantic scenes ( except for one in the beginning, but it only last very short ). American Assassin is in many ways a very typical action movie, where you find all the typical cliches. With that said, i still had some fun with this film and i will tell you why. Since i have always loved action films, i don´t need to have a complicated plot, as long as the action scenes deliver. And this is something i feel that this film does. Not all the time, but there are some highlights. Once the film really start to get speed, and get into the terrorist hunt, you have no problem not getting bored. Lead actor Dylan O´ Brien, ( who most of you probably know from The Maze Runner films ), may not be the greatest action cinema character, but he works pretty good for this specific film. He must have trained a lot for this role, since he seems to be in good health condition. I can´t say that he does his character very good, from an acting perspective. However, it is in the action scenes where he function best. Michael Keaton is the highlight of this film. His character Stan Hurley, is exactly what this film needed. A character that stands out, who will get his message out, loud and clear. Nice to see legendary actor David Suchet here, who unfortunately does not get a lot of screen time. Scott Adkins is also in here, and he is actually a part of the team. Even if American Assassin looks exactly as many typical terrorist films, you can at least enjoy the film for the moment. No big surprises, just violence and shootings, perfect for a sunday tee afternoon in the garden. I saw that the film just opened in Germany last weekend, so go ahead Germans, run to the cinema and see American Assassin, or if you still got a chance to see it in cinemas worldwide. Sometimes, we need a dumb action film to fill our minds, to forget that Colin Nutley films actually does exists.

Rating: DDD

onsdag 11 oktober 2017

Shot Caller

Criminals are a very big problem in society. No matter if they are robbers, sexual offenders, murderers, there are a lot of people who should not be walking the streets of our neighborhoods. I have personally never been a victim of any crime ( except for having my car windows smashed by some idiots ), but i know people who have. And in most cases, the criminals have not been convicted correctly. Here in Sweden, you can get a way with a lot of criminal acts, with smaller convictions. How about murder, and you get perhaps 5 - 8 years ? If you look at other countries, you can tell that murder is a very serious crime. And we all know that America give criminals much harder convictions. If you do a very serious crime, you need to be locked up. That is my view on criminals. If you are a pedophile, you should be tortured, and killed. This is also something i feel, because pedophiles does not deserve to live. Does this sound mean ? Perhaps, but my view is, if you molest a child, you don´t have any rights. If we are talking about other types of crimes, like stealing, i might see that they may not need hard convictions. I seriously doubt that criminal gangs will ever go away, because we live in a world where money talks. And we have seen this so many times, when gangsters or drug dealers, will do anything to make more money, even if they destroy lives. There are of course plenty of films, that will take on the different sides of criminals, but i will mention one of the greatest classics of all time. The 1983 film Scarface with Al Pacino ( actually a remake of a much older film ), is without a doubt one of the best films made, with a view on criminals and their lifestyle. Al Pacino as Tony Montana, is one of those performances i seriously doubt anyone could have done better than him. Another really good film, is Martin Scorseses remake of Cape Fear from 1991, with a brilliant Robert De Niro in the lead role. This is a film you have to see, it is so damn good. There are of course some really good films i could mention, that you also have to see, how about Martin Scorseses masterpiece Godfellas ? In more recent years, there are still some really good films coming out, taking on the world of criminals, perhaps some of you saw Leonardo Di Caprio in The Wolf Of Wall Street ? Another really good Martin Scorsese film you have to see. I came across a smaller film, called Shot Caller on VOD. Not knowing much about it, i decided to give this film a chance, since the cast looked interesting. Is this a criminal film that actually have something to say, or is this a film that no one needs to see ?

Jakob ( Nikolaj Coster-Waldau ) and his wife Kate ( Lake Bell ) are out for dinner with friends one night. Jakob is intoxicated, but decides to drive everyone home anyway. As he misses a red light, his car is struck by another car, where his friend Tom ( Max Greenfield ) is killed in the accident. Jakob is convicted, and forced to serve time in prison. His ordinary family life is no longer a part of his life, and the only thing he can focus on now, is how to survive in prison. The ordinary family man, is about to become a completely different person, where violence is a part of his every day survival. If he ever comes out, can he face a different world, or will he forever be stuck in his past ?

I have to be completely honest, i did not have any expectations of this film. And after watching Shot Caller, i can tell you that i am shocked. This is a much better film than i ever expected. A really solid prison drama, criminal drama, with acting much better than the average criminal film. The story does not bring anything fresh, but it is such a well made film, considering the budget. The acting is most of all the biggest reason why this film is so good. Almost all the characters bring some really powerful performances, and this is something you don´t see very often in films, that usually goes straight to VOD releases. You could say that this film does handle different subjects, within the world of criminals, but also the world of how prison works. How does a man handle his life, after killing one of his friends, and trying to survive in a world with no easy way out ? Lead actor Nikolaj  Coster-Waldau ( probably most known from Game Of Thrones ), shows a completely different side from his acting abilities than before. I love seeing him as this brutal criminal, who will do anything to survive. I have to mention some other really good actors as well. Benjamin Bratt nails his performance as Sanhez, cleaning up the streets from criminals ( loved him in the 90´s classic Blood In Blood Out ). Lake Bell also do a strong performance as the wife Kate, of convicted Jacob ( Nikolaj Coster ). Keith Jardine as the brutal, insane convict Ripper, is the perfect choice in a role like this. He really looks insane, and capture this with facial expressions, the brutal dialogue and body language. Omari Hardwick as parole officer Kutcher, is also one of the great casting choices for this film. You get a sense that Kutcher is a man, with a lot of baggage in his heart, trying to make sure criminals get their lives together. Director Ric Roman Waugh have directed another prison film from the past, called Felon. It was actually not bad, and one of the films where actor Val Kilmer managed to act better than in most of his smaller budget films. With Shot Caller, director Ric Roman Waugh have stepped everything up, on a much higher quality level. I personally think this is his best film so far as an director, and he deserves respect for his hard work on making this film so good. This is not a classic in any way, but without a doubt one of the biggest surprises of 2017. Shot Caller is a hard punching criminal drama, that you need to see. Life can change much faster than you think.

Rating: DDDD

lördag 7 oktober 2017

The Dinner

Cooking shows are everyday on TV, on almost every channel. I don´t think all of these cooking shows are bad, but it can be a bit much to watch every single one of them. I usually try and look at the more original cooking shows, that dare to try something else, with a fresh twist on the standard cooking TV show. That is why we should have a new cooking show, simply called Getting Hardcore With Fredrik Strage. A TV cooking show where Swedish Icon Fredrik Strage cooks the great, hip/hop, punk, metal meals, with his sidekick Mikkey Dee, former drummer of Motörhead, now playing for Scorpions. Just imagine what an awsome cooking show that would be. I sometimes wonder how i can come up with these amazing ideas, must be because i am one of the biggest Swedish fans of Corey Feldman´s music albums. I love to sit down and enjoy homemade meals, with friends, or with family, and i try to cook some lovely meals. Speaking of dinners, how many classic films have you not seen where food is the basic ingredient? One of my personal favourite films, where food is the subject, has to be director Jon Favreau´s drama comedy film Chef. A charming and well made film, with a great cast of talented actors. I can also recommend that you see Julie & Julia with Meryl Streep, also a charming film, based on the story of famous chef Julia Child, who inspired the young woman Julie Powell to cook all 524 recipes, from Julia Child´s cookbook in 365 days. Using food themes in films can be a very clever idea, depending on what the story is, and in what way you present the theme of the film. That is why i was curious to see a film, simple called The Dinner, that came out earlier this year. The film was never screened in Sweden, so i had to watch the film on dvd instead. One thing that i noticed was how good the cast was in this film. Richard Gere, Steve Coogan, Laura Linney, Chloe Sevigny, Adepero Oduye and many more, in the same film. Of course i just had to see The Dinner, to see if this could be one of the highlights of this year. With a golden cast, and a talented director, is The Dinner a film everyone should take the time to see, or should the film be thrown in the restaurant garbage can ?

Paul Lohman ( Steve Coogan ) and his wife Claire Lohman ( Laura Linney ) are going to have a nice dinner at a lovely restaurant, where they will meet up with Paul´s politician brother Stan Lohman ( Richard Gere ) and his wife Katelyn Lohman ( Rebecca Hall ). Since Paul and his brother Stand don´t get a long very well, they all try and sit down, just to enjoy a nice dinner. But during this evening, some secrets may be revealed that will change their lives.

I was hoping that The Dinner would be an interesting film, with different personalities meeting up for a dinner. What we get is something completely different. This is the kind of drama film, where you need to have patience. You have to wait to find out answers, or you might not understand the plot of the film. If you don´t have patience to wait, then this is probably the wrong film for you to see. The Dinner is departed into different pieces of the story. We get to learn more about the characters, both while they are sitting down for dinner, but also outside the restaurant. Since this film is 2 hours long, you should find out a lot of interesting details, about this gathering. But we only find out certain details, and the rest of the scenes are filled out with a lot of dialogue. The film also jumps, forward and backwards, trying to explain certain details about some of the main characters. I can tell you that it takes a long time, before i found something interesting about this film. And that part is founding out more about Steve Coogan´s character Paul. When he finds out what his son did with a homeless person, and that his wife cheated on him, you can at least see some acting, compared to some very slowly moments throughout the film. Steve Coogan is a really good actor, but i don´t think he uses his full potential in The Dinner, and that is such a shame. Because he clearly could have made his character something special, if he only would have digged deeper into the personality and the personal issues. Richard Gere is here as well, but the moments he have screen time, don´t really make any big changes for the film. Considering how fantastic he was in the thriller drama Arbitrage, he does not seem to care much about his character in The Dinner. Actor Laura Linney was absolutely brilliant in the drama film The Savages, but she also does not seem to give her character much effort in The Dinner. There are more great actors i could mention in this film, but with so much potential with a great cast, it feels like it does not matter, because The Dinner does not deliver, as much as it should have. Director Oren Moverman have actually directed 2 great films in the past, The Messenger with Woody Harrelson and Time Out Of Mind with Richard Gere. It is nice to see him work with Richard Gere again, but he clearly loose focus on the most interesting parts of this film, and just throws it all together. The Dinner is not completely awful, there are some interesting scenes in the film, but in the end you don´t really care. I suggest you see Arbitage with Richard Gere instead, and see that he can be an incredible good actor. The Dinner might make you fall asleep, i almost did a few times.

Rating: DD

måndag 2 oktober 2017

The Circle

When i was a teenager in the 90´s, the internet was becoming the most cool technology to talk about. I remember how curious i was, that i could actually surf online, read web pages, chat with people all over the world, and even order stuff online. Of course, all of this would not be perfect back then, so everything improved by the millenium. Internet was becoming much more important for everyone, especially through work. Since i grew up from the very early 80´s, when computers really took off to a massive level of technology, i have seen a lot happened. And i have to say, seeing what you can do now, in 2017, while surfing online, is really impressive. You can basically do everything from your computer, or mobile phone, anywhere you are in this world. But is there anything bad with improved technology ? Is there anything we should be worried about, if everything is becoming too personal online ? There are of course many things you could think about, and ask if some things are necessary to have online. Do people really need to know how much money you have made through work ? I personally don´t think so, that is your own personal information. I do have Facebook and Twitter, like most people have, and i update a lot of stuff there ( except some things i don´t need to tell the world ). I think there has to be some kind of limit, what you are giving away through information. One classic film, that already went out early in the 90´s, to warn about the internet, was the 1995 thriller film The Net with Sandra Bullock. It may not be as good today, as it was over 20 years ago, but the film clearly managed to get the message out, beware of the power of the internet. Sandra Bullock gave a solid performance, as a woman who gets her identity stolen online. A film still worth seeing. Plenty of films have been released about the internet, and there are plenty to choose between. One of my personal favourite films, is without a doubt director David Schwimmer´s film Trust. A very disturbing look, how easy it is for young girls, to be victims of pedophiles online. A must see, and worth buying on dvd. I was supposed to see the new film The Circle in cinemas in May here in Sweden, but that did not happen, so i got a chance to see this technology sci-fi thriller drama on blu ray instead. I am always curious to see a film, that takes on modern technology, and this seemed to be something interesting. Is the film The Circle a future classic, or is this a complete waste of your time ?

Mae Holland ( Emma Watson ) is thrilled to get the news from her friend Annie Allerton ( Karen Gillan ), that she have a new job at the company known as The Circle. Mae is really happy about this opportunity, and really want to make a good impression. The company have a very impressive facility, with very modern technology, and with very friendly workers. Everything seems to be going well, and Mae is working hard to make an impression. CEO for The Circle, Eamon Bailey ( Tom Hanks ), introduce SeeChange at a meeting, small cameras that will follow every step of The Circle workers, at work and outside work. Mae begin to become suspicious on The Circle, when one of the workers named Ty Lafitte ( John Boyega ) show her the secret passageway to the underground of The Circle. Is there a secret behind The Circle, that no one want the public to find out ?

I do think that there is an interesting story behind The Circle. What if the company you work for, knows almost everything you do, even in your own free time, without your permission ? This would of course not be acceptable for many people, and i like the idea behind this film. However, one of the big issues i have with The Circle, is that the acting is not very strong. You have actor Emma Watson here, who have done some good performances in the past. She is not all terrible here, but you don´t really connect with her character, as much as you would have wanted to. I would call her performance " flat ". Tom Hanks is here as well, and he might be the highlight of this film. But i will say this, he does not do a performance on his usual high level of acting. But he still manage to at least make his character feel, interesting in some way. Bill Paxton ( who we lost this year, R.I.P ) plays a character with MS ( multiple sclerosis ). I would have liked to know more on his character, but he is not in many scenes. When you have a story that is surrounded by how far technology can take over your personal life, you would hope that the story have something interesting to say. Unfortunately, it becomes clear that The Circle does not manage to lift this subject up, and this is where the film fails. Without an intelligent formed plot, you don´t really get much left. What saves this film from falling apart is the scenes, where we get to understand more about how controlled we can be, if we let other people control our lives. Because this is basically what Emma Watson´s character does, she let the company into her personal life, and cross the border between privacy and work. I do feel that The Circle could have worked, if the story was constructed correctly. Director James Ponsoldt have directed a number of films, where especially his films The Spectacular Now and The End Of The Tour have been praised by movie critics. I have not seen any of the films, but plan to do so. His latest film The Circle is not a film that make you interested in technology, you feel more sleepy. And this is such a shame, because underneath this story, there is a film that should have been made, in a different way. This film is way too predictable. A few scenes makes me curious, over the questions about how The Circle functions, but that´s about it. If you are a die hard Tom Hanks fan, you might want to see this film, just to see him do a different character. Other than that, i see no reason spending your time with The Circle.

Rating: DD