onsdag 31 januari 2018

The Florida Project

Poverty is a shit hole!

Especially for those who are sick, or have a disease. They are forced to live on a very small amount of money, and it is not their own fault. Of course, there are poor people who appreciate the small things in life, when they actually feel happy about some things in life. Life is hard, and you have to work for everything. Bills, health care, food, clothes, transportation, everything costs money, so the best secure you have is having a job. Then we have the poverty people who does not want to work. Or the people who want to make money, doing criminal activities. And one film that struck my mind, is the film Frozen River from 2008. A very strong crime drama, directed by Courtney Hunt, about 2 women who try to make money, smuggling illegal immigrants into America. Melissa Leo in the lead role as Ray Eddy, a desperate discount store clerk, does one of the best performances in her career. This film clearly showed how desperate poor people will do anything, to make sure they can survive. Another film i still remember is Time Out Of Mind, a 2014 film where legendary actor Richard Gere does a really good performance as the homeless man George. A sad film, about how hard life can be when you don´t have a home, no food, no money, and no self respect. I actually think this is one of the highlights of Richard Gere film career, even if not many people have seen the film. I suggest you check it out on dvd, or blu ray. A lot of films have portrayed people on welfare, having economical problems, or living in poverty. I think this is very important, that film makers can show how life can be, outside all the glamour and all the fancy houses. There is a lot of people out there who barely have food to eat, or any money to pay their bills. While reading Empire Magazine back in November of 2017, i came across a movie review of The Florida Project. The review was really clear, this is a film you have to experience. I finally got a chance to see the film, knowing that this could be something special. Is this one of the best drama films in a long time, or is The Florida Project not as good as so many critics have said it would be ?

Six-year-old Moonee ( Brooklynn Prince ) lives with her young mother Halley ( Bria Vinaite ) in the Magic Castle, a motel in Kissimmee, Florida near Walt Disney World. Moonee plays most of the time with her motel resident-friends Scooty ( Christopher Rivera ) and Dicky ( Aiden Malik ). The kids are stealing, mooching from tourists and cause other problems. Halley have a lot of personal problems, and no money. So she force herself to make money through prostitution, while her daughter Moonee is taking a bath. Motel manager Bobby ( Willem Dafoe ) finds out what she is doing, He warns her about the consequences, since he knows that she is not the best role model for her daughter. Halley does not listen to anyone, but will she understand the serious situation, before it is too late ?

The Florida Project shows a completely different side of life in Florida. You would think it is all palm trees, pools and nice houses, but this film really digs deep inside the poor communities surrounding Florida. You see broken families, stuck in drugs, without no money, and no future ahead of their children. The kids are frustrated, carrying anger inside, and have no moral behavior. What else can they do when their parents can´t give them safety, and a real home ? The film does a really good job, especially portraying how all the poor family children handle the situation. They play, doing ordinary children games, but they also use other people, and put themselves in dangerous situations. I also feel that this film does a really honest portrait on how especially parents, with no education, and no self esteem, are lost in reality. Especially the mother Halley of the young girl Moonee , played really powerful by actor Bria Vinaite. Her performance is exactly what makes this film so disturbing , a young woman with a destructive behavior and have no idea what children needs. Legendary actor Willem Dafoe does one of his best performances in many years, as the motel manager Bobby. You can tell that his character is trying to do his best, to take care of residents, even if some people have big problems. The cinematography by Alexis Zabe looks really good, and it fits perfect with the story surrounding the film. Director Sean Baker have directed a number of films, where especially his 2015 film Tangerine got a lot of movie critics extremely happy. The film was quickly seen as one of the better films of that year, and i remember reading some of the positive reviews. I have not seen the film yet, but i can tell you that i have to see it. Especially now when The Florida Project is such a powerful film, that you won´t forget. Director Sean Baker manage to both handle dramatic situations in a very professional, realistic way, but he also knows how to make characters feel realistic in poverty society. I can understand why many film critics have nominated The Florida Project as one of the best films of 2017, this film is worth that positive feedback. If you want to see a really powerful film, with a sad look on reality, i suggest that you must see The Florida Project. 

Rating: DDDD

The Commuter

Let´s go back 10 years from now. The year of 2008 may not ring any big bells at this moment, of why we should think about this year. But there was actually one movie that came out this year, that changed action films on a completely different level. The film is called Taken, and turned out to be a massive hit in cinemas. Legendary Irish actor Liam Neeson turned out to be the action star, we all dreamed of seeing again. To see Liam Neeson kick ass in Paris, France, turned out to be a really good idea. The film may not be original in any way, but that was not the point with Taken. The point was, if you mess with Liam Neeson, your ass is terminated. And sometimes, that is all you need to have fun in a cinema, or on blu ray. Taken worked so well as an action film, i remember calling it one of the better action films at that time. Since i have followed Liam Neeson´s movie career for a very long time, i have seen him in a lot of really good films, both from the past and closer to present day. The one thing i really appreciate with Liam is that he can basically take on any genre, or any character, and he can deliver solid performances. With classic films such as Schindler´s List, Rob Roy, Michael Collins and many more, there are plenty of films i could recommend. I can´t forget to mention the 2011 film The Grey, a really solid action survival drama, you should pick up on dvd or blu ray. Since Taken was such a big hit, Liam continued the action thriller franchise, and actually made 2 films, Unknown and Run All Night with the same director, Jaume Collet-Serra. I enjoyed both of these films for different reasons, especially because they were both well made action thrillers from a classical genre perspective. I was reading online about upcoming movies during 2017, and came across an article about Liam Neeson´s upcoming film The Commuter. What striked me first was that he was working again with director Jaume Collet-Serra, something that made me pleased. Since i know they have done a good job together in the past, i was hoping that the chemistry would work, this third time around. I also noticed that The Commuter included some other really good actors as well, so of course i had to visit the local cinema. After all these years, is Liam Neeson still the king of traditional action thrillers, or is The Commuter the downfall of his long respected career ?

Michael MacCauley ( Liam Neeson ) is a hard working insurance salesman, who have worked hard for the same company for many years. One day, he finds out that he is fired. His world falls apart, because he have so many bills to pay, and a family to support. Unless he finds a new job, everything will fall apart. On the way home on board a commute train, a woman approach Michael. Her name is Joanna ( Vera Farmiga ), and she have a proposition. In a bathroom, on board this commute train, there is an hidden envelope with a lot of money. At first Michael think this is a joke, that someone is playing with him. But when he realise that she is serious, he begin to think about it. He needs all the money he can get, since he lost his job. But there is a catch, once he takes that money, he will get even more money, if he kills one person on the commute train. If he does not kill this person, his family will be killed. Now, Michael must make a choice, will he kill this chosen person to save his family, or will he try to find a way out of this complicated situation ?

If you have seen many of Liam Neeson´s previous action thrillers in the past, i don´t think The Commuter will change his catalogue too much. However, what The Commuter does a bit different, is that the film have a slightly different twist than just action scenes, and fighting. The main character is actually given a chance to do something unexpected, and that makes this film more interesting. Would you kill a stranger on a train for a lot of money, when you know you really need the money ? Would you be able to do this, and just walk away as nothing never happened ? When you think about Liam Neesons character´s position, he is close to being retired, he lost his job and he might be too old to find another job. And the bills are growing, so what do you do ? The plot is of course nothing original, but what makes this film work ( for the most part ), is that i enjoy the character Michael of Liam Neeson. He seems to be a gentle husband / father, who wants to make sure his family survives. Of course the situation changes throughout the film, as he may be having regrets, if he really should go this far. Liam Neeson is of course always an actor who knows how to make great characters. I would not say The Commuter is one of his better films, but if you enjoy action thrillers, i think this might be appreciated. It is really nice to see both actors Vera Farmiga and Patrick Wilson in this film. I would imagine most of you recognize their names, especially from both The Conjuring movies. They don´t have any scenes together in The Commuter, but i enjoy their characters, and their screen presence in this film. I hope we will see them again soon. I really appreciate to see legendary actor Sam Neil in this film as Captian Hawthorne, i just wish he had more screen time. The scenes he does appear in, works for me. Other good performances in The Commuter, is of course actor Andy Nyman as Tony, and Ella-Rae Smith as the shy Sofia. The film switches in the end, and become more of an old school traditional action thriller, and this is where i have a few issues. While the film was pretty clever in the beginning, it should have stayed there instead of going into safe mode. The plot could have been developed differently. Director Jaume Collet - Serra have made a film, that may not bring anything new to the table, but clearly knows how to use Liam Neeson in the category he fits into. In the end, i enjoyed The Commuter, especially because of Liam Neeson. He still can kick ass, and he knows how to make solid action thrillers. By the way, the sound effects in the fights, are really good. So my advice is, give The Commuter a chance, if you enjoy old school action films. 

Rating: DDD

söndag 21 januari 2018

The Wrong Nanny

I used to have Hallmark Channel on my digital box. I barely watched any films there, because a lot of them were not good. There was maybe a few surprises, that were at least ok, but other than that i would say that most of Hallmark films did not give me anything in return. One of the films i remember Hallmark showing on TV, is a film called Prairie Fever with actors Kevin Sorbo, Lance Henriksen and Dominique Swain. A western film that actually was not that bad, perhaps because Lance Henriksen was one of the films stronger characters. You can find it on dvd, if you want to check it out. Who does not want to see TV series legend Kevin Sorbo ( Hercules in the 90´s ) be a sheriff ? Kevin Sorbo have actually made more films with Hallmark Channel since then, but i can´t say i have seen any of them. The thing about TV movies is that they can be made pretty quickly, on a limited budget. But if you have the right source material, and with a classic actor, you might do something good. Just look at the TV movies with Jesse Stone, played by legendary actor Tom Selleck. This is a good proof that even TV movie productions can work, if you have a passion for the project. There are so far 9 Jesse Stone films with Tom Selleck, and another one is on the way. I think Tom Selleck did the right choice, sticking to TV productions. He is pretty good is tv series Blue Bloods as well. Lifetime movies have continued releasing films every year, especially tons of Christmas movies. And it seems that they get viewers, and a lot of them every year. Lifetime movies seems to be the channel for every family, where you can find romance, drama, or even thrillers. Sounds like the perfect channel right ? I have not seen a Lifetime movie for a very long time, so just for fun i decided to give one of their latest thriller dramas a chance, called The Wrong Nanny. I had no idea what the film was about, i just choosed the film simply because of the poster, hoping it would be a serial killer nanny on the loose. Does this film prove that Lifetime movies can deliver quality, or is this a really bad low budget disaster, not to show at TV at all ?

Stella Armstrong ( Lindsay Hartley ) needs help with her twin children, so she decide to find a nanny. She finally finds Blake ( Freya Tingley ), a sweet young woman who seems to be perfect of taking care of children. But Stella does not know, Blake is carrying a secret from her past, that could change everything. 

The Perfect Nanny is a film that is made for a certain kind of audience, who wants everything to have the perfect family look. In fact, this is a film made to please house wives / mothers, who don´t like blood, but want the film to be exciting. 

Well, let me tell you the truth.

This film is about as exciting, as watching a grass field grow in a whole year. Sounds fantastic right? I realise now why i have stayed away from so many Liftime movies, because clearly the quality has not changed much at all. We have actors who ( acts ? ) like they came out from Days Of Our Lives auditions, and that is a bad sign. We also have a story that is so thin, you barely remember why you should care. The characters are very flat, and there is no character i feel like connecting to. The women in the film looks great, and that is it. What about the thriller suspense that they clearly try and promote with the poster ? If this film is trying to make a nanny scary, the film fails completely. I realise that this is a TV film, but i have seen TV films that actually can work. And if this is the best they can do with a Nanny who kills, i don´t see a bright future. There is a reason why Terry O´Quinn is still one of the most terrifying serial killers of classic thriller films in The Stepfather, and The Wrong Nanny falls flat in the category known as " Saving Christmas with Kirk Cameron Awful ". Well, at least The Wrong Nanny is not exactly as bad as Saving Christmas, but still....i think you get the picture. Director Craig Goldsmith have only directed one film so far, and that is this film. I suggest Craig that if you have plans to make another Lifetime film, make sure you give that film all the right pieces, instead of throwing it all away. Wow....what a lovely way to start the new year of 2018, watching The Wrong Nanny. I should have known better, not to give this film a chance. I blame all the hours i have suffered watching Fifty Shades Freed trailer in cinemas, You know what, this actually makes perfect sense. The Wrong Nanny is a film you won´t remember, and there is a good reason to why. A TV movie made with no passion for anything at all, except for good looking women.

Rating: D

tisdag 16 januari 2018

Star Wars: The Last Jedi

Last year i turned 40 years old. Its amazing how time flies, and i really appreciate being born in 1977, because the VHS period was a big part of my youth. The 80´s VHS rental stores would soon recognize my face, because i used to rent VHS tapes as a maniac. It was around the year 1986 when i saw the Star Wars movies for the first time, and if i remember correctly it was in the home of The Ostwalds, a neighbor family that collected VHS films, just like myself. But the first Star Wars film i watched as a very young boy, was actually Star Wars: Return Of The Jedi, so i had to see the other films later on. The Star Wars films from director George Lucas ( especially number 4, 5 and 6 ) changed science fiction film history completely. Never before had anyone seen anything like the Star Wars films. The amazing cinematography, the puppets, the costumes, the laser swords, and most of all so many iconic characters. It was clear that director George Lucas had a big vision with these films, to make these epic stories very special. If you ask any male science fiction nerd out there, when did they finally become a man, they will guarantee say after watching The Empire Strikes Back. Can i proof this ? No, but think about it. If you ever mentioned The Empire Strikes Back to a male friend, have you noticed how men hug each other, and cuddle ? I think this is all the evidence we need. After many years apart from the Star Wars franchise, director George Lucas decided it was time to tell the story from the beginning with Star Wars: The Phantom Menace in 1999. I know that many fans have very different opinions about this film. I personally think it is enjoyable, but i can´t stand the character Jar Jar. The next film Star Wars: Attack Of The Clones turned out to be a better film. As the third film landed called Star Wars: Revenge Of The Sith, i finally felt that George Lucas have improved the story, and the characters than The Phantom Menace and Attack Of The Clones. Once more, Star Wars was now left alone for quite some time. When after almost 10 years, we received the news that director J.J. Abrams would direct the next chapter of Star Wars titles The Force Awakens. I actually really enjoyed The Force Awakens, that it was a really good step to the old school structure of Star Wars. The next film Rouge One ( supposed to be the beginning of the Star Wars Antology series ) also turned out to be surprisingly good. So here we are with the new Star Wars: The Last Jedi that was released late last year. Of course i had to experience another Star Wars film in the cinema, to see if this film would deliver the quality that we all hoped for. Do we have another epic science fiction story in cinemas worldwide, or is the magic of Star Wars lost for all eternity with this film ?

Resistance fighters led by General Leia Organa ( Carrie Fischer ) evacuate when the First Order fleet arrives. In an effective counterattack led by Poe Dameron ( Oscar Isaac ), Resistance fighters manage to destroy a First Order dreadnought. The Resistance vessels jump into hyperspace but the First Order pursue them using a tracking device. Kylo Ren ( Adam Driver ) destroys the Resistance support fighters, but hesitates to fire at the lead resistance ship, knowing that his mother Leia is on board the ship. TIE fighters attack the Resistance ship anyway, killing several Resistance leaders. Leia manage to survive as she uses the force. Rey ( Daisy Ridley ) is on planet Arch-To, to try and recruit Luke Skywalker ( Mark Hamill ). When Luke finds out that Han Solo have been killed, and he refuse to go with Rey and help her fight against the dark side. Instead, Luke agree to help Rey teach the ways of the force. Rey finds out that Luke tried to kill Kylo Ren, but failed. Rey want to believe that Kylo Ren can be redeemed, that it is not too late for him. The Resistance is in great danger, as Supreme Leader Snoke ( Andy Serkis ) have plans to make sure that The Resistance will be destroyed, if Kylo Ren can prove that he have the powers to make the First Order proud. But Rey´s Jedi powers are growing stronger, and she could be the key to make sure The Resistance future is secured.

I know that Star Wars: The Last Jedi has divided Star Wars fans worldwide. And this is my personal opinion on this review. As a Star Wars film, i feel that this is a sequel that is good. However, i have some issues with this chapter. First of all, my biggest issue with this film is why Luke Skywalker ( as always played by wonderful actor Mark Hamill ) is not more active, as he just walks around the island. He should be training Rey ( played really good by actor Daisy Ridley ) in some epic Jedi training scenes, to make sure she is ready to fight against the dark side. There are a few training sequences, but they are so small, it does not feel worthy to call Jedi training, if you compare to when Master Yoda trained Luke Skywalker. Speaking of Yoda, he actually shows up late in this film. Another problem i have with this film, is the battle scenes between Kylo Ren ( played really well by actor Adam Driver ) and Luke Skywalker. With 2 such powerful characters, you would have hoped for some majestic laser sword scenes. It does not last very long, because there is more dialogue instead of actual laser sword fighting. I could understand if there is a point made by this, especially from Luke´s perspective. But i can´t help feeling this was made too light, and too soft for a Star Wars battle scene. Now, let´s get to the positive details This film has some really good looking cinematography by Steve Yedlin. He clearly have tried to capture the world of Star Wars in a very effective way. I do like the cast, and i have to say actor Daisey Ridley as Rey is still a fantastic choice. She feels worthy to be a Jedi, and perhaps we could see her in her own film in the future ? That would be interesting to see. Actor Oscar Isaac does another lovely performance as the X-Wing pilot fighter Poe Dameron. He kind of feels like a nostalgic 70´s character, with the right hair style, and the right look for this film. Of course this is the last film where legendary actor Carrie Fischer portrait Princess Leila, before she passed away last year. And she does another lovely performance, as our favourite princess of the galaxy. The action scenes looks great, especially when Rey and Kylo Ren fight the soldiers of  Supreme Leader Snoke. The bright red colors and the laser swords flying around, well done. I also enjoy the battle scene between Finn ( another lovely performance by actor John Boyega ) and Captain Phasma. This is the way it should have been in the battle scene between Kylo Ren and Luke Skywalker. Director Rian Johnson ( who directed the surprisingly good sci fi thriller Looper ), have done a pretty good job with Star Wars: The Last Jedi. But i am disappointed with certain details, no question about that. Still, as a Star Wars film, The Last Jedi is a science fiction adventure film that will be enjoyed by ( most ? ) Star Wars fans. I suggest you see the film, if you have seen all the other films. Another one is coming, let´s hope it is even better than this one.

Rating: DDD

måndag 15 januari 2018

40 Years Anniversary Of George A. Romero's Dawn Of The Dead

Hi there movie lovers!

As you might have noticed, i have started posting new movie reviews for this new year, and this is just the beginning. 

Now something struck me, while i was going through my dvd collection. In this new year 2018, it is 40 years ago since legendary director George A. Romero released his cult classic Dawn Of The Dead in 1978. And this is something we should celebrate, with a 40th Anniversary Review, that will be posted in February. Horror fans worldwide love this film, and i have not seen this film since....2005? I cant remember exactly, but i realise its time to take a look again. Hopefully you will be curious to see the film after my 40th Anniversary Review. More fresh reviews are also on the way, so stay tuned, and i will see you soon. 

Cheers from Daniel

The Sandman

As most of you readers know by now, i love B movies. I would have to say that B movies is one of the most important issues, that we should bring into the Swedish Election 2018 in September. Sweden needs to make more B movies with monsters, aliens, redneck ninjas, lesbian kung fu truck drivers, to make it clear that Sweden needs a bigger B movie industry. SyFy Channel is for me personally, what Swedish TV4 Channel should be like. You see, SyFy Channel actually knows what the audience wants, while Swedish TV4 Channel does a 16th Season Of Bonde Söker Fru, and Let´s Dance Season 24 ( because all the Swedish famous people wants to get a second chance to be famous again, not talking about you Anna Book....don´t worry ). So now you probably understand, why especially Sweden needs a TV channel like SyFy Channel. We need quality TV Series, and quality B movies, I have seen plenty of TV series from SyFy Channel, and even some movies also. And i have to say, you people who run this channel, we love you all. Please continue to make your lovely productions, we need this more than ever. Speaking of SyFy movies, most of you have probably seen the Sharknado films, or perhaps the wonderful SyFy movie Alien Apocalypse with legendary actor Bruce Campbell ? I would also like to recommend a film called Big Ass Spider!. This is a fun mix of horror comedy, and the special effects are actually not all terrible. Of course there are SyFy films that don´t really add anything to my personal taste, but i have to say, most films are actually fun to watch. When it comes to pure horror films made by SyFy, i have only seen a few. Since they produce mostly monster films, or disaster films with volcanoes or tsunamis, i like to check out some films that go in a different direction. And this is where i choose to watch The Sandman, a SyFy horror film that was first released during Halloween week in 2017. Since i have watched several other horror films during Christmas, i decided to save some titles for later, including The Sandman. And i discovered this film thanks to the awsome YouTube channel Geek Legion Of Doom, so please check their movie reviews out. Is this another high masterpiece from SyFy, or is this almost as bad as any of the Fifty Shades films ?

A young girl named Madison ( Shae Smolik ) have formidable powers, who can bring a monster from her nightmares, The Sandman to attack anyone who tries to hurt her. After her father dies from a heart attack, Claire ( Haylie Duff ) decides to take care of Madison, to make sure she have a home and a safe environment. But every time Madison have a nightmare, The Sandman is always close to her, as she brings him into our world. If anyone don´t show Madison respect, she brings back The Sandman to destroy anyone who dares to go against her.

The Sandman is a film that guarantee be appreciated if you watch a lot of straight to dvd releases, especially in the horror genre. This is a film that of course include cheesy lines, and acting that won´t win any Golden Globe Awards. But i have to say, the design of The Sandman actually works. There is something creepy about the look of The Sandman. One big difference with this film, if you think about the usual SyFy film, is that this film actually have characters that you can care about, especially the little girl Madison, played by child actor Shae Smolik. Her character made me think about the 1984 film Firestarter ( based on the novel by Stephen King ), with a very young Drew Barrymore as a child with telepathic powers. There are a few similarities between this film and Firestarter, but the biggest difference is that Madison can summon the demon known as The Sandman to attack anyone she feels is a threat to her. And i like this premise, this is a different approach than most horror films with children involved. The story is pretty simple, and nothing you really care about. For me personally, i care more about the story surrounding of Madison. We never really get much information on how she was chosen to let The Sandman find new victims, and this is one detail i think this film could have digged deeper into. I also like the character Claire, played by actor Haylie Duff ( who played Summer Wheatly in one of my favourite films, Napoleon Dynamite ). Director Peter Sullivan is perhaps known for directing ( a lot ) of Christmas TV movies. He should be in Guinness Book Of World Records of directing the most Christmas movies of all time, considering how many he have made. I have not seen any of these films, so for me to see him make a horror film like The Sandman is a nice surprise. I think he has done a pretty good job on this film, where i could only guess that he might be influenced by the 1984 film Firestarter. If this is true, then i would be pleased. Because it is not often you see a horror film these days with children having telepathic powers. I do think he could have improved some details, such as the origin story of where The Sandman comes from, and why Madison can bring him back to attack people. This is one of the SyFy Movies that actually have a different approach than their usual catalogue. If you enjoyed Firestarter with Drew Barrymore, give The Sandman a chance and you might be surprised. But i must warn you, if you say you love Fifty Shades Of Grey, there is a chance The Sandman might eat you alive....honestly.

Rating: DDD

torsdag 11 januari 2018

I, Tonya

I remember the year of 1994 for many reasons. First of all i remember 1994 because this was the year when British band Jamiroquai released their second album The Return Of The Space Cowboy, an album i played constantly at that time. This was also the year when Rollins Band released their best studio album caller Weight, an album that everyone should own. I also remember the year of 1994 because this was the year when director Luc Besson released his masterpiece movie Leon, a film i must have seen at least 15 times. Another thing i especially remember about the year of 1994, was the shocking news that Nirvana´s front man singer Kurt Cobain was found dead. Since i grew up with grunge music, or course i also listened to Nirvana during the 90´s. But let´s look back at something else that made history back in 1994. Norway was going to hold Winter Olympics in Lillehammer, and i remember how happy Scandinavia was over this. Especially Norway of course, and i did watch the Winter Olympics in Lillehammer on TV. But the one thing i think most people remember about this Olympic Games in 1994, is the scandal surrounding professional figure skater Tonya Harding. Former professional figure skater Nancy Kerrigan was attacked, and injured. This was an attempt to make sure that Tonya Harding would win over Nancy at the 1994 Winter Olympics in Lillehammer, but Nancy actually won the silver medal in figure skating, while Tonya´s figure skating career was destroyed. I remember the publicity and all the news papers who hunted down Tonya Harding, they wanted to show the world what an awful person she was. I was pretty shocked myself, how desperate Tonya must have been to make someone do this to Nancy. She says that she had nothing to do with this at all, i don´t know if i can believe that. Tonya could never return to the world of figure skating after this, so she decided to become a boxer instead. She did 6 boxing fights, won 3 matches and lost 3 matches, and after this her boxing career was over. Ever since the 1994 Winter Olympics, the name of Tonya Harding will always be known worldwide, and the story will always be known in the world of sports. I read an article online back in 2017, that actor Margot Robbie ( most of you have seen her as Harley Quinn in the film Sucide Squad ) was chosen to play Tonya Harding. This got me curious, because this would be a very different project for Margot Robbie, compared to her other films. With a world famous scandal, and a great cast included, is this one film everyone should see this beginning of 2018, or should they have left the project alone ?

As a little girl, Tonya Harding practise figure skating everyday, as her mother LaVona Fay Golden ( Allison Janney ) keep pushing her to become perfect, If she does not become the best at figure skating, she is worthless. Tonya ( Margot Robbie ) is now a teenager and is becoming noticed, for being a very talented figure skater. She meets Jeff Gillooly ( Sebastian Stan ) at the ice rink, and they become a couple. Jeff is not the nice guy that he seems to be, and Tonya is soon stuck in a relationship with violence. Her way out is to focus on her figure skating career, as she tries to win every competition. But one event will change everything, when figure skater Nancy Kerringan is attacked, and injured, where Tonya´s husband Jeff seems to be behind. This will be the start where Tonya´s figure skating career is slowly dying out.

Going into this film, basically knowing nothing more than the 1994 Winter Olympics, i was really surprised how the portrait of Tonya Harding feels very deep with this film. If this story is telling the truth, on how her childhood was, including her teenage years, i have to feel sorry for her. Having a mother, who verbally abused her, and mentally abused her everyday, must have been truly horrible. Just imagine having your own mother, telling you that nothing you do is any good, no matter how good you are at something you love to do ? Then of course, there is the story of the relationship between Tonya and Jeff. There seemed to be abuse in the relationship, and a relationship filled with personal problems. Was it Jeff´s idea to attack Nancy, or did Tonya have something to do with this as well ? This is one of the questions i would guess most people would want to know. This film does bring that subject up, and you will have to decide for yourself what the truth is. I, Tonya is a film that tell a fascinating story, both very tragic, but you will also laugh at some odd situations. Lead actor Margot Robbie, who does the performance as Tonya Harding, gives one of the strongest performances of her career so far. She have really digged deep into her character, and tries to portrait who Tonya was during her figure skating career. There are many different details that we find out during the film, about Tonya´s personality. I don´t know how much is realistic, or fiction, but i will admit the film is fascinating. Allison Janney who plays Tonya´s mother LaVona, does a fantastic performance. I would say that she deserved to win at the Golden Globe Awards for Best Supporting Actress. She is so good, that you feel so angry watching her stone cold personality. She have no heart at all, for anyone. There are other performances in the film that also works really well. Director Craig Gillespie have directed a number of films, and the most interesting film in his past has to be the really charming film Lars And The Real Girl. I would say that he have made I, Tonya into a very dramatic film, where comedy manage to work better than expected. Director Craig clearly have worked hard, to make sure the portrait of Tonya Harding is powerful. I, Tonya is a film that will divide people, where some might stand up for Tonya, and others will say she is a monster. No matter what side you are on, this is a really good start for the film year of 2018. Make sure you see I, Tonya, i guarantee you will be satisfied. 

Rating: DDDD

onsdag 10 januari 2018


Buddy cop movies have been around for a very long time. I could easily pick out a lot of films that have used this genre since the 70´s. But i suggest we stick to the 80´s right now, when actors Nick Nolte and Eddie Murphy teamed up in 48 Hours. An action comedy from 1982, that actually worked well, thanks to the chemistry between Nick Nolte and Eddie Murphy. There are some classic scenes in here, where loud mouth Eddie Murphy delivers some classic one liners. Even if the film is almost 36 years old, i still think the film is funny today. Of course there was a sequel made in 1990. It is not as good as the first film, but not all terrible either. It was mostly fun to see them team up again. Lethal Weapon is perhaps one of the most famous buddy cop movies that most people know of. And last year it was 30 years ago that Lethal Weapon was released in cinemas, back in 1987. To see Mel Gibson and Danny Glover as partners, felt a bit nostalgic. I heard in the end of 2017, that they are supposed to return in Leathal Weapon 5. Bad idea ? Yes, i think they might be old for this shit. Speaking of the 80´s, there was a film released in 1988 that actually made something different in the buddy cop genre, and mixed it with science fiction horror as well. How many of you remember the film Alien Nation, directed by Graham Baker ? This film have become a cult film for many sci fi fans, and actually no official sequel was ever made. A Tv series was made of Alien Nation, that only lasted one season, and some TV movies based on the TV series of Alien Nation. I personally have always enjoyed the feature film of Alien Nation. It is a very different approach on how humans and aliens, can work together in society. In this case, 2 police officers that become partners, one is a human, and the other one is one of the "Newcomers ". Lead actors James Caan and Roger Aaron Brown did a great job, portraying police officers from 2 very different cultures, fighting against the deadly drug Jabroka. Last year i read about a Netflix film called Bright was coming out in December on Netflix. The trailer looked like a different version of Alien Nation, but with a complete different story, set in Los Angeles. Since i have always enjoyed the concept of Alien Nation, i was curious to see if Bright would be a fun trip for VHS old school nerds like myself. Do we finally have a Netflix film that will please all you Fifty Shades fans worldwide, or is this a film made to make us suffer for all eternity ?

Present Day, Los Angeles. Humans, orcs, centaurs, dwarfs and elves all live in the same society. Veteran LAPD Officer Daryl Ward ( Will Smith ) is chosen to work with his new orc partner Nick Jakoby ( Joel Edgerton ). A criminal orc almost kills Daryl while on patrol, but manage to survive thanks to Nick. Daryl and Nick continue to work together on the streets of Los Angeles. While on patrol, they respond to a disturbance to a house, that turns out to be a Shield of Light safehouse. They found a number of dead bodies, and a still-living torso of an elf woman embedded in a wall. They apprehend a unhurt survivor, a young elf naked Tikka ( Lucy Fry ). She is carrying a magic wand, that according to Nick is like a nuclear weapon, that can only be commanded by a " Bright ", a rare person. If an ordinary human try and use the magic wand, they will die. Tikka warn Daryl and Nick that something evil is coming for them. At first, Daryl and Nick don´t know what she means, until they encounter Leilah ( Noomi Rapace ), an Infirni elf, who is seeking the magic wand. She is planning to cause chaos, and Daryl and Nick are not willing to let that happen, even if they risk their lives.

I know that a lot of critics have slammed Bright for many reasons. But you know what, i actually am one of those who enjoyed Bright. I would not say that this is an original film, or break many new grounds. But the film does manage to bring back the Alien Nation vibe, with some different adjustments. To see humans among orcs and elves in society, may sound pretty lame. But once you get into Bright with an open mind, i think you will have a good time, especially if you grew up watching VHS violence in the 80´s and 90´s, like i did. There is plenty of action scenes, and shoot outs, so you won´t get bored. In some ways i would call this film a throwback to action films of the 80´s, when acting was not the biggest issue, as long as you delivered a fun action film. There are science fiction elements in Bright as well, since society is very divided with different species. Will Smith does a performance that may not be one of his strongest, from an acting perspective. But i think he does make his character fun, and i have seen him do much worse performances than in Bright. Joel Edgerton as the partner of Will Smith, is in my opinion a good choice as the Orkish police officer Nick. The combination of these characters, reminded me of why i enjoyed Alien Nation from the 80´s. That 2 very different personalities, can work together, no matter where they are originally from. The CGI effects are ok for the most part ( except for a few details ). I also enjoy the brutality that this film go for, and that is a very good idea when you go for a mix up like this film does. Director David Ayes is perhaps known mostly for his films Harsh Times, Street Kings and End Of Watch, until he was offered to direct Suicide Squad. By the way, i actually enjoyed Suicide Squad ( even if i did have some issues with the film ). With his new film Bright, he have really tried to bring back the 90´s again, and i think he does a good job. The acting is not very good, but you want to see a film like this because of the brutal action scenes. And Bright is a popcorn moment, especially for you who enjoy action films from the 80´s and 90´s. I know a sequel is on the way, and i hope we could see a cameo of Dolph Lundgren in the sequel. He would be awsome to see in Bright 2, because Dolph is always awsome. I suggest you log in on Netflix and give Bright a chance. You might actually have a fun moment with this film, as i did watching the film.

Rating: DDD

söndag 7 januari 2018

Beyond Skyline

Science fiction films have always been a part of my childhood, starting of in my early years of the VHS era. Back then you could find a lot of bad sci fi films on VHS, that you never heard of. But there were some good releases, and those were the ones you would remember. Around the early 80´s, up until the late 90´s, i have seen quite a lot of releases, until dvd films started taking over. Let´s just mention some of the classics, how about the 1986 film Critters, or the greatest sci fi sequel of all time Aliens from 1986 ? I would also like to mention the 1987 classic The Hidden, a film that does not get mentioned a lot anymore these days. But if there is one sci fi film that should have been respected more in the 90´s, it has to be the 1993 film Fire In The Sky. A sci fi film that is based on a true story by Travis Walton´s book The Walton Experience. I have not read the book, but i have seen interviews with Travis Walton. Now, the film Fire In The Sky turned out to be a well made sci fi film, with a really nice cast included. How about Robert Patrick, Peter Berg, D.B. Sweeney, James Garner, Noble Willingham and many others ? What made Fire In The Sky so special, was that director Robert Lieberman managed to mix serious drama with science fiction, in a positive combination. The scenes on board the space ship, is still today ( almost 25 years later ), still creepy. Fire In The Sky did not get the big audience it deserved, at the time the film came out. Most people probably saw the film on VHS, when the film should had been screened worldwide. If you love sci fi films, you should see Fire In The Sky on dvd. You can find it online on different dvd stores, like Amazon. How many of you have seen the sci fi film Skyline from 2010 ? This was a sci fi film that divided sci fi fans. Some people enjoyed the film, while some really hated the film. Me personally enjoyed some of the special effects, but the acting was terrible. Also, the plot was not any good, so the only thing positive about the film were the CGI effects. For a long time, there did not seem to be any plans of a sequel, so i did not expect a sequel to be made. But then in early 2017, i was reading online that a sequel was coming out. This surprised me a lot, because it has been 7 years since the first film came out. When i read that actor Frank Grillo will be in the lead role, i was happy. He have done a great job in The Purge sequels. With a great lead actor, in an unexpected sequel, is this a sci fi film that deserves respect, or is this even worse than the original film ?

Los Angeles police detective Mark Corley ( Frank Grillo ) is visiting his estranged teenage son, Trent Corley ( Jonny Weston ) who have just landed in jail. Suddenly chaos emerge around Los Angeles, as it seems that humanity is under attack by aliens. Mark manage to escape underground with his son Trent, and with other survivors. They have no idea what these aliens want, or why they are attacking humans. Mark is determined to survive this, no matter what he has to do. 

I have to say, knowing this is a sequel to a film that was not appreciated by all sci fi fans, i think you are in for a surprise. This sequel is actually much better than the first film, and that is something you don´t see everyday. There are a couple of things that this sequel does better than the first film. The cast are actually acting, the action scenes looks more effective, and the battle between aliens and humans works more effective this time around. I would also like to say that the setting around Los Angeles is also a good idea, it makes the film feel more majestic than an apartment building that the first film took place in. I also like that you get a deeper look, inside the aliens spaceships, how they function and how they think. Speaking of battles between aliens and humans, there is a hell of a lot of action scenes in this film. Even martial arts fighting is included into the plot. And this combination actually works, even how strange this sounds. Frank Grillo in the lead role is a really good choice as the lead actor. He knows how to make action scenes, and he knows how to kick ass. To see him do a science fiction film like this, is a pleasant surprise. Perhaps he wanted to try something different, and i think he made the right choice. We even have an actor from The Purge: Election Year in here, that you have seen together with Frank Grillo. Remember the bad ass character Laney Rucker, played by actor Betty Gabriel ? She is still awsome as always, even if she is not in the film Beyond Skyline for a long time. I would love to see Laney Rucker and Frank Grillo do some film together again, because they are so cool on the big screen. There are a lot of CGI in this sequel, but i actually feel that most of it actually looks good. Some details are perhaps a bit over the top, but most of the special effects feel effective. Director Liam O´Donnell actually was one of the producers of the first Skyline film, but this time he is the director of the sequel. And i have to say, he have found a great way to mix the looks of Skyline, but make everything more majestic in this sequel. Everything is not perfect of course, but i have to say that this is one of the best sci fi B movies i have seen in a long time. Beyond Skyline could be one of the highlights in the sci fi genre this new year, and it is just the beginning of 2018. I suggest you buy yourself a dvd, or blu ray copy of the film, and support this film for all the work they put into making this film. Finally science fiction is back on track, i could even hope we have a third Skyline film on the way. 

Rating: DDD

lördag 6 januari 2018

The Tribes Of Palos Verdes

Every family have their own problems. No matter what kind of family you have, there is always some problems that hides beneath the surface. It could be a family member who feels mentally ill, or have an addiction to drugs, alcohol, or something else. No family is perfect, but that´s ok. Family will always be your ground point in life, so make sure you are close to your family ( unless it just don´t work for many reasons ). When i grew up, we used to have a good life. My dad owned his own construction business, and then suddenly one day, he left for a new woman. All hell breaks loose, and since this day it has been a roller coaster. Things are better now, in my adult life. And i have realised that you can´t change the past, you have to try and make the best out of the situation. Speaking of family problems, there are plenty of really good films that i could recommend. One of these films i am thinking about is the film The Squid And The Whale, released in 2005. A very strong, and solid drama comedy from director Noah Baumbach. I personally think that this film is one of the best performances i have seen actor Jeff Daniels do in his career so far. One of my absolutely favourite dysfunctional family drama films of all time, is of course Buffalo´66. Directed by Vincent Gallo, who also stars as the main character Billy, this is one of the most emotional drama films in cinema history. The acting in this film is fantastic, especially from Vincent Gallo and legendary actor Anjelica Huston. This is a film everyone should own on dvd, or blu ray. Buffalo´66 is a masterpiece of the late 90´s. In the category of dysfunctional family films, we can´t forget about The Coen Brothers wonderful weird film A Serious Man. Both very funny, and tragic, this film clearly shows you how anything can go wrong in your own family. Recently i started reading reviews about a drama film called The Tribes Of Palos Verdes, since i enjoy reading other movie reviewers web pages. I noticed that this could be a story that included a dysfunctional family, but from a different psychological perspective. I finally got a chance to see the film, hoping i would be pleasantly surprised. Is this a great start to the new film year of 2018, or should this film have been kept locked up instead ?

Medina Mason ( Maika Monroe ) is a young woman who loves to surf on the coast of California. She lives with her twin brother Jim ( Cody Fern ) and Medina´s mother Sandy Mason ( Jennifer Garner ). Medina´s father Phil Mason ( Justin Kirk ) is kicked out, after Sandy finds out he have had an affair. Sandy´s mental problems become even worse than before, and Jim also have his own mental issues. Medina tries to do the best she can out of this situation, but can she handle the situation, or is this family falling apart ?

It becomes very clear what The Tribes Of Palos Verdes manage to do very well. To tell a story of how it is to grow up with a mentally unstable mother, gives a strong impact of how important it is to handle family relationships. How do you handle your own mother, who clearly is not feeling mentally well ? Do you just leave her behind, and focus on your own life, or do you stick with her no matter how bad your day is ? This film also tell how difficult it is growing up, right before you are about to enter adult life. The performance from actor Jennifer Garner as the mentally unstable mother Sandy, gives a very solid performance. The scenes when she clearly feel lost, and go into a dream world of what her family needs, is very sad. No matter what she would buy, no matter what she would try to improve for her kids, maybe it would be better if she gets professional help instead ? Her anger, and anxiety shows very clear that she is having a hard time being a mother. Of course she wants the best for her children, but does she know how to do that ? The other actors Maika Monroe and Cody Fern ( who have the most screen time ), also manage to portrait strong characters. I especially enjoy the character Medina, played by Maika Monroe, a young woman struggling with her personal life, as well as the problems between her parents and her mother´s mental problems. I enjoy the soundtrack of this film, it really fits with the California locations, and capture the feeling of how you want to get away, and leave all the problems behind. Directors Brendan Malloy and Emmet Malloy have made a film that clearly wants to make you connect. That no matter if you have a family with many problems, or other issues, we can all see certain details that we can connect with. For me personally, i think the film works best when we find out more about Jennifer Garner´s character Sandy, while she is having her mental breakdowns. This is where the film becomes more solid, and feel more interesting. A few slow moments overall throughout the film, but over all i feel that The Tribes Of Palos Verdes is a solid drama film that manage to deliver an interesting view on family issues. A film worth your precious time, and perhaps a film that most people in your family could see, and might recognize themselves.

Rating: DDD