söndag 29 mars 2020

The Grudge

I have always appreciated Japanese horror films, as long as i can remember. There was something special about Japanese horror, since they could build up creepy tentions that American horror films failed doing on the same professional level as Japanese horror films. Back in the late 90´s, one of my school friends would buy Japanese horror films on VHS from the UK, since it was hard to find horror films from Japan here in Sweden, at least not the titles that i was interested in. I only remember a bunch of the titles that he bought, and i am pretty sure we saw quite many films in just one weekend ( we probably only slept 4 hours, and tried to stay awake with lots of coffee ) . Some were good, while some were ok. When the DVD market started expanding in early 2000, we could see some more Japanese horror films coming our way, with better video quality and better sound. But it was in the year of 2004, i remember picking up one film on DVD, that i have been waiting for a long time to see. I read about this film in movie magazines, and even read about it in Swedish newspapers. The title of the film is Ju-on, also known as The Grudge, directed by Takashi Shimizu. I have to be honest, the first time i saw this film i thought it was really creepy. I must have seen it at least 7 times on DVD, and then we got the American remake, released in the year of 2004. Now, say what you want about the remake, but i thought it was good. Not as good as the original film, but still a solid horror film. Of course there were sequels released, both from Japan and an American sequel as well. Since you don´t hear much about Japanese horror films these days ( there are films released, but maybe not so often in Swedish cinemas ), it is Always a pleasure to see that Japan keeps making horror films. So here we are with a side-sequel ( an American sequel ) to The Grudge franchise, that i did not expect. I know they have talked about a sequel in the past, but that did not happen. Considering it has been a long time since we have seen a Grudge film, is this side-sequel better than i expected, or should they have left The Grudge to rest for eternity instead ?

In 2004, live-in Fiona Landers ( Tara Westwood ) leaves a house in Tokyo, disturbed by events she has witnessed inside. Fiona informs her co-worker that she is returning to America Before encountering the ghost of Kayako Saeki. Fiona arrives at her home at 44 Reyburn Drive in a small town in Pennsylvania, reuniting with her husband Sam Landers ( David Lawrence Brown ) and their daughter Melinda Sanders ( Zoe Fish ). Kayako´s curse, however, possesses Fiona, causing her to kill Sam and her daughter as well. Detectives Muldoon ( Andrea Riseborough ) and Goodman ( Demián Bichir ) investigate these murders, as they are about to find out the real truth behind this case.

Going into this film i was worried that they would not be able to bring back any of the tension, or the creepy atmosphere that the previous Grudge films managed to do. And i would have to say that i feel a bit dissappointed. You see, there are moments in this film where you don´t feel any of the creepy atmosphere that you did in the original Grudge film, and this is more of a traditional horror film instead with jump scares, and using the same horror ingredients we have seen so many times before. If you are going to make a Grudge film, you need to find the right balance to make it feel like a worthy sequel. And this is something that this film is missing which is too bad, Let´s get into something positive though. This film looks good, with great colors and good looking cinematography from Zachary Galler. I also enjoy the performance from English actress Andrea Riseborough ( who i guarantee you will recognice from the fantastic film Birdman, a must buy on DVD or Blu Ray ). She plays Detective Muldoon, and she is actually one of the most interesting characters in this film. Legendary actress Lin Shaye ( most known from the Insidious franchise ) also gives a good solid performance as the character Faith. I would have liked to see her more in this film, and the story might have been more interesting. The investigation that you follow in this film, could have been told in a much more mysterious way. Once you understand what is going on, you don´t really feel interested in the case, and this is of course not good. Director Nicolas Pesce ( who directed the critically acclaimed horror film The Eyes Of My Mother ) have done two great films in the past, but he seems to be missing the point with this side-sequel of The Grudge. It is not enough to make a film look good, unless you have something more to offer to the audience. The Grudge ( side-sequel ) is not the sequel we needed, and i think they should leave this franchise alone. See the original film instead, and i guarantee you will have a much more pleasent time.

Rating: DD

tisdag 24 mars 2020

30 Years Anniversary Review Of Robocop 2

I am one of those who miss the early days of the 90´s, because there were some really good films made back then ( especially if you were a teenager during this time, like i was ). Just look at this list of films released in the year of 1990 and you will see what i mean:

* Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles
* Blue Steel
* The Gods Must Be Crazy II
* Back To The Future Part III
* Total Recall
* Another 48 Hours
* The Exorcist III
* Jacob´s Ladder

There are a lot of other titles i could mention, but i think it becomes clear from the list above that 1990 was a really good film year. But let´s talk about one film that you don´t hear much about these days, that i consider to be a 1990 classic. And that is the film known as The Rookie, directed by Clint Eastwood. If you appreciate the humour of Clint Eastwood, and lots of action scenes, then you will guaranteed have a good time with The Rookie. This film also have actors such as Charlie Sheen, legendary actor Raul Julia, Lara Flynn Boyle and Tom Skerritt. I suggest you pick up this film on DVD or Blu Ray, and have a nostalgic 90´s evening with your family. Speaking of 1990, this was the year of sequels. I mentioned some of the titles above, and there are still some more sequels that i did not mention, such as Child´s Play 2. Now that´s one of those wonderful films that helped me become the wonderful man i am today. All you needed was to see Chucky, the possessed doll kill some victims, and everything would feel fantastic. If there was two sequels that i especially remember from 1990, it is Predator 2 and... Robocop 2. Let´s talk about Robocop for a while. The 1987 film is one of the true classic action films of the 80´s, and if you have not seen this film, you have broken of of the most important rules of The Ten Commandments in the Bible that says :- You shall see Robocop. I suggest you pick up the Arrow Video Limited Edition of Robocop on Blu Ray, and experience a fantastic release of this classic. Since the sequel Robocop 2 had a lot of pressure from fans of the first film, you know it would be hard to make a sequel. I enjoyed Robocop 2 back in the days, but i decided to go back and see this film again, if this film is still enjoyable 30 years later. Is it possible that Robocop 2 is entertaining 30 years later, or has this sequel aged too much over the years ?

In the near future, Detroit is on the verge of bankruptcy after failing to pay of its debt to Omni Consumer Products ( OCP ). The OCP chairman intends to have the city default on its debt, then foreclose on all public property, effectively taking over it´s government and allowing for a radical urban redevelopment plan. OCP sparks an increase in street crime by terminating Detroit Police Department´s pension plans and cutting salaries, triggering a police strike. Robocop, also known as Alex Murphy ( Peter Weller ) and his partner Anne Lewis ( Nancy Allen ), raid a manufacturing plant where the biggest street drug Nuke is made, that is causing chaos in Detroit. The cartel´s leader Cain ( Tom Noonan ) and adolescent accomplice Hob ( Gabriel Damon ) escape. Hob managed to hit Robocop in the head with a bullet. that causing him to have technical issues. Robocop manage to locate Cain again at an abandoned construction site, but is caught in a trap. Cain and his men destroy Robocop´s body, leaving him to suffer. OCP manage to put him back together, but the spirit of Robocop has changed. It is like OCP have messed with his mind, and Anne Lewis knows that they did something to him. Meanwhile, OCP are working hard to make Robocop 2, a different model than the first Robocop to take over his job. But inside of Robocop 2 is the mind of Cain, that OCP decided to use after he is killed, hoping he will fight crimes instead, by using forbidden methods. Nothing goes as OCP planned, and the original Robocop may be their only hope to clean up the streets once more.

I must say, going back to Robocop 2 today is like going into a bar and finding Ron De Jeremy Rum on the meny. It feels like coming home, and you know that you are getting something that you have missed. Robocop 2 is an action film that has a lot to offer, especially when it comes to action scenes. You get plenty of shootings, violence, and funny dialogue as well. I would not say that this film is as good as the first film, but as a sequel i have to say i still find entertainment value in Robocop 2. Lead actor Peter Weller knows exactly how to portrait Robocop in his own unique way, and in this film he show a different side of Robocop that we have not seen before,  and i find that interesting. Speaking of characters, i really enjoy seeing actress Nancy Allen back as police officer Anne Lewis. Nancy gives her character the right kind of roughness that this character needs, but she also have a good heart. One of the funniest characters in Robocop 2 has to be Mayor Marvin Kuzak ( played by actor Willard E. Pugh ), and i could not think of anyone who would have done this character better than Willard does in this film. Mayor Marvin has to be the only mayor who had 47 cups of coffee in one day, overdosed on caffeine and have so much energy that he have no idea what to do with it. And this comes out in the acting performance of Willard E. Pugh, and is without a doubt one of the highlights of this film. Main evil character Cain, played by legendary actor Tom Noonan ( who is especially good in the independent horror film The House Of The Devil ), is actually a good match for this film. Cain is clearly a disturbing personality with no sympathy for anyone, and Noonan manage to bring this out in his performance. I have to mention Gabriel Damon, who was a child actor during this time as the character Hob, the coolest kid ever in an action film. The CGI effects may have aged, but i still feel that they still work, considering this film was made 30 years ago. The violence in this film may be very brutal, but this is actually the biggest strength of this sequel since the plot does not feel very deep. Director Irvin Kershner have made a sequel that may not reach the same level of quality as the first film, but he clearly tried to bring back Robocop in his own way, and deliver a solid action film. With great characters, and a lot of fun action scenes, Robocop 2 has a lot to offer fans of the first film. I think this sequel proves that it is possible to do a good sequel, if you know what the audience wants. Worth being in your DVD or Blu Ray collection, so you can show the next generation of kids why the films of the 90´s made us more intelligent.

Rating: DDD

fredag 20 mars 2020

Daniel Isn´t Real

Every child wants to have a friend. Someone you can share your thoughts with, play with and learn new things. But having good friends is not always a guarantee, since a lot of things can change during school years. There are parents out there who have seen their kids have imaginary friends. It might be just a phase for some kids, while other kids really believe that they have real friends that no one can see. If a child that is odd, and don´t have any real friends experience this, it could be a warning sign that this child needs help. When it comes to films with the subject of imaginary friends, we do have some titles to choose between. And i would especially like to talk about the film known as Donnie Darko. Released in 2001 and directed by Richard Kelly, this film tells the story of troubled teenager Donnie Darko ( played really good by actor Jake Gyllenhaal ) who sleeps outside and meets a man in a rabbit costume, who calls himself Frank. He informs Donnie that the world will end in 28 days, 6 hours, 42 minutes and 12 seconds. The next day Donnie wakes up in a golf course. not knowing how he got there. As he heads home he discover that a jet engine crashed into his bedroom. A lot of strange things are about to happen, as he continue to meet Frank at different locations. Donnie Darko is a really well made sci fi psychological thriller, that looks like nothing you have ever seen before. I conisder this to be one of the best films made during the early 2000´s. As you see this film, you might ask yourself :- Is Frank just imaginary, or is he real ? I strongly recommend that everyone should get the Blu Ray of Donnie Darko from Arrow Video. Late last year i was hearing a lot of buzz surrounding a film called Daniel Isn´t Real. A film that looked a lot different from most releases, with a very interesting trailer. I decided to pick this film up on a Blu Ray Release from Arrow Video ( they have a lovely selection of Blu Ray releases ). Is this one of the more original films i have seen in a long time, or is Daniel Isn´t Real a film that no one will remember at all ?

As a child, shy and troubled Luke witnessed the aftermath of a mass shooting at a neighborhood coffee shop. He meets anothet young boy among the people who is watching the crime scene, his name is Daniel. Luke and Daniel become best friends, and Luke´s mother Claire ( Mary Stuart Masterson ) don´t see Daniel at all, but let Luke play with Daniel, since she believe that ther is no harm for him to have an imaginary friend. Until one day when Daniel tell Luke to throw in medicines in a drink for his mother. She is very ill for a moment, and Claire realise that something is terribly wrong. Luke orders Daniel to go inside the doll house he have, left from his grandmother. He locks Daniel inside, and leave him behind. Many years later Luke ( Miles Robbins ) is now going to college, and is still very shy. He have no real friends, and is more worried about his mentally ill mother Claire. While visiting his mother´s home, he unlocks the dollhouse and let Daniel ( Patrick Schwarzenegger ) out, now an adult just as him. Luke realise that with Daniel´s help, he can be more daring, and feel like a man of his age. But with all this freedom with Daniel by his side, does he really know what the consequences are ?

I am so pleased to say that we finally have a film that should be experienced by everyone in the spring of 2020. Daniel Isn´t Real is like an explosion in your mouth of flavors, just like being at your favourite restaurant. You get the right ingredients, the right spicy flavors and a really elegant look as well, all combined with a very interesting story included. This is a film that takes you on a very psychological ride in insanity, imagination and reality, and you have to figure out what is real, and what is not real. If you have seen the 1990 cult classic film Jacob´s Ladder, then you are going to enjoy Daniel Isn´t Real. The plots of these films are totally different, but it feels like this film might have been inspired by Jacob´s Ladder. The story of young Luke who is struggling with personal issues, and helping his mentally ill mother, is told in a very powerful way. You can clearly see that Luke really believe that his imaginary friend Daniel is real, and what if he is ?This film have some really strong performances from the cast, and let us start with the main character Luke, played by actor Miles Robbins ( who you might recognize from the latest Halloween film ). Miles gives an acting performance that you will feel, emotionally and mentally. To be able to do that, you have to be able to dig deep into your character, and this is exactly what Miles manage to do. Chukwudi Iwuji  ( who i personally remember from the thriller film Exam ) as the therapist Dr. Braun, is another example of really good acting. Actress Sasha Lane ( who should be seen in American Honey ), proves once again why she is such a fantastic actor, and i am so pleased to see her here as the character Cassie. I could mention more actors in here, but we need to talk about the cinematography from Lyle Vincent. This film looks gorgeous, with all the colors and insanity lurking around the corner. Director Adam Egypt Mortimer have managed to make a horror film that feels original, mysterious and very unpredicted. A film that takes you on a very unique journey of insanity, and mental illness. I would have to say that Daniel Isn´t Real is the best horror film you can see right now this spring. I guarantee you will not find any better title than this in your Blu Ray shop, so pick up a copy and see how a true horror film should look like.

Rating: DDDD

onsdag 18 mars 2020


Let´s go back to the early 80´s. I was watching horror films, thanks to my grandmother from a very early age. Her daughter used to rent VHS horror films down at the local rental store, where we watched a lot of gory films ( unfortunately some of them were censored, so the blood and gore could not be seen in a delightful way ). It was during this time i started discovering western films, and especially thanks to a school friend of mine called Nicklas. He have started collecting Sergio Leone films on VHS. I remember borrowing some of the big classics such as A Fistful Of Dollars and For A Few Dollars more with legendary actor Clint Eastwood. This was a fantastic way to discover western films, since director Sergio Leone was a master at doing western films in a very epic way. But i especially rememember one of the films from Sergio Leone, that i would not forget. And that is the cult classic known as Once Upon A Time In The West. Released in 1968, this film is a very well made western film with an amazing cast. Just look at names such as Henry Fonda, Charles Bronson, Jason Robards, Jack Elam, Claudia Cardinale, Woody Strode and many more. Even if this film is really long ( going around 165 minutes ), Once Upon A Time In The West manage to tell a story from different peoples perspective, in a very powerful way. Speaking of actor Woody Strode i mentioned earlier, he was also in the 1995 cult classic western film The Quick And The Dead. This was actually his last film role, so it was a true honor to see him do one last performance in the genre he was fantastic in. If you love the crazy style of Raimi´s classic Evil Dead franchise, you will find some of the crazy camera technique that Sam Raimi is known for in The Quick And The Dead as well. If you have not seen The Quick And The Dead, you should. Seeing actress Sharon Stone as a bad as gun slinger is so much fun, and knowing this film is directed by legendary director Sam Raimi is of course a wonderful detail. As i always try and keep a lookout for western films released on DVD and Blu Ray, i came across a film called Badland on DVD. The cast looked great, and the story sounded interesting as well. Not kowing much about this film, i decided to buy a copy and give this film a chance. Is this an unexpected powerful return to the western genre, or is Badland a film that no one will remember ?

Detective Mathias Breecher ( Kevin Makely ) travels around to make sure that criminals will die for their crimes. As he is ready to visit his next victim known as Reginald Cooke ( Bruce Dern ), he sees that he is very ill and will die pretty soon. Reginald decide to stay at Reginalds home, until he has passed away and let him die without any violence. In this cabin Reginald´s daughter Sarah Cooke ( Mira Sorvino ) lives here as well, helping her father and taking care of their land. Mathias is about to find out, that his past might be catching up with him.

If you have been looking for a western film that reminds you of the old school films in this genre, then you might be pleased to know that Badland falls right into your category. The thing about westerns are that you can go a traditional way, or you can mix in another genre to make it more updated. But in the case of Badland, this film is made for the traditional western audience, who appreciate this classic genre. But instead of focusing on violence, this film is much more deeper than the ordinary western films. You could say that this is a film that digs deeper into the characters, than what we are used to see in this genre. There are some violence and shooting scenes as well, but these scenes never take away the depth of the story. This film has a great cast, and we have to talk about the characters for a bit. Actor Kevin Makely ( you might recognize him from the horror film Big Legend ) is a great choice as the main character Detective Mathias. You can tell that Mathias is carrying a lot of personal issues inside of him. He knows his job is to finish the lives of criminals, but with this burdon he also realise that he can not live an ordinary life unless he decides to change. Legendary actress Mira Sorvino ( she have been so good in a lot of films, and i still adore her in the classic comedy Romy & Michele High School Reunion ) give a heart warming performance as the lovely character Sarah. She is clearly a strong woman, who wants to help her very ill father Reginald ( played really well by legendary actor Bruce Dern ). The thing about Mira is that she is able to do every character in her own unique way, and she manage to do so in this film as well. I have to mention legendary actor Jeff Fahey, he really gives a solid performance as Huxley, maybe his best performance in many years. The locations are beautiful and the costume design feels realistic to the time period of the story. The only thing i can say that is negative, is that this film might be a little bit too long, almost 2 hours. Other than that i feel that this is a western film worth checking out. Director Justin Lee ( who also directed Big Legend that i mentioned earlier ) have made a western film that actually have a deep message about life, and how important it is to deal with your past. Badland is without a doubt one of the better western films i have seen in recent years, so there is no reason not to check it out.

Rating: DDD

Jojo Rabbit

Comedy is a very hard genre, especially if you are joking about subjects that may cause strong reactions. But i personally believe we need to be able to laugh, at all kinds of subjects. It can help us get through hard times in life, and make any day more fun. There are a lot of great comedies i could mention in here, but i decided to bring up 2 titles that are considered to be classics. Let us begin with the 2004 film known as Anchorman - The Legend Of Ron Burgundy. This is without a doubt one of the best acting performances comedian Will Ferrell have given us so far, as the crazy news anchor Ron Burgundy who does the news in his own unique way. Anchorman makes fun of the news industry, political issues, society issues as well as news anchors in general in a brilliant way. If you have not seen it, let me just tell you a little bit about the story. News anchor Ron Burgundy is the anchorman for the local San Diego television station KVWN channel 4. Here he works together with his friends lead field reporter Brian Fantana ( Paul Rudd ), sportcaster Champ Kind ( David Koechner ) and meteorologist Brick Tamaland ( Steve Carell ). Station director Ed Harken ( Fred Willards ) informs the news team that they have retained their long-held status as the highest-rated news program in San Diego. The team celebrate with a big party, where Ron tries to pick up the beautiful girl Veronica Corningstone ( Christina Applegate ) without any luck. But the news team is not happy, when it is announced that Veronica will be a part of their newsteam. Anchorman is filled with crazy, hillarious moments with wild personalities who act like spoiled children. A must see on DVD or Blu Ray. The next film i have in mind is the 1996 comedy Happy Gilmore. One of the true 90´s classic comedys with comedian Adam Sandler, who plays the character Happy Gilmore, a rejected hockey player who turns out to strike very long shots with a golf ball. He becomes so popular that he is invited to real competitions, but not without problems, He has a bad temper and don´t like following rules. If you did not think a comedy with golf could be fun, then i guarantee you will laugh with this film. I still consider this film to be one of the best comedies that Adam Sandler has ever made. Since last year i was hearing a lot of buzz on the new nazi comedy Jojo Rabbit, that looked like a really good time from the trailer. Making fun of Nazi Germany, is it possible to do so ? I just had to watch Jojo Rabbit to find out. Is this the funniest film in many years, or does Jojo Rabbit fail to deliver a good solid comedy ?

Johannes " Jojo " Betzler ( Thomas Griffin David ) is a young boy living in Nazi Germany during the later stages of World War II with his mother Rosie ( Scarlett Johansson ). His absent father is supposedly serving on the Italian Front but has lost all contact, and his older sister Inge has died of influenza. Since Jojo does not have any real Close friends, he talks with his imaginary nazi friend Adolf ( Taika Waititi ) who gives Jojo advices, and support him through rough times. After being a part of an incident at Hitler youth training camp, Jojo is given a task of spreading propaganda leaflets throughout the town, and collecting scrap for the war effort. Alone at home one day, Jojo discovers Elsa Korrs ( Thomasin McKenzie ), a teenage Jewish girl and his late sister´s former classmate, hiding upstairs. Jojo threaten to turn her over to the Gestapo, but Elsa warns that his mother Rosie would be killed for hiding her. At first Jojo can´t understand why his mother is hiding a jew in their home, but as time goes by he is beginning to get to know Elsa, and that she may not be as dangerous as he was taught to think about jews. Jojo begins to realise, that maybe he is not the nazi he thought he was, and he is especially worried about the safety of Elsa.

If you have been looking for a comedy that is not afraid to joke about sensitive subjects, then look no further. Jojo Rabbit knows what kind of audience this film was made for, and that is an audience who appreciate dark humour with a touch of political satire as well. I realise that some people might consider this an insult to certain people, but i feel that we must be able to joke about history. If we can´t use comedy in different time periods, why joke about anything at all ? So it is great that we can still get comedies that dare to bring up historical subjects. I never thought i could laugh a lot at Adolf Hitler, but the performance in this film as the dictator from actor Taika Waititi ( who also directed this film ) is absolutely brilliant. He is the funniest Hitler character ever in a comedy, and his crazy body language, including his hillarious dialogue is fantastic. I never thought i would say this, but if Adolf was as fun as this version to hang out with, i would party with him any day ( a bit of irony, not serious ). Child actor Roman Griffin Davis as the young nazi boy Jojo, does a wonderful performance. It becomes clear that Jojo who loves nazis more than anything. Of course he will learn after a while, that jews are not bad people at all. Speaking of jews, young actress Thomasin McKenzie ( who you might recognize from the Netflix film The King ) gives a really good performance as the hiding jew Elsa. Thomasin manage to bring out a personality in Elsa, that anyone would fall in love with. Actress Scarlett Johansson as Jojo´s mother Rosie, gives us of another wonderful performance, as she always does. I have to mention child actor Archie Yates as nazi boy Yorki. He is so funny, and charming, that i guarantee you won´t stop laughing. Director Taika Waititi ( who directed the wonderful New Zeeland film Boy ) have found a way to make fun of nazis and World War II, without trying to hurt anyone ). Jojo Rabbit is a comedy that manage to balance satire and war issues in a very clever way. This is one of those films that stands out from the ordinary releases, and i must say i had a really good time with this film.

Rating: DDDD

lördag 14 mars 2020

The Reliant

There was something magical about TV shows during the 90´s. You had Walker Texas Ranger with Chuck Norris kicking ass, and of course you had Renegade with Lorenzo Lamas, who also knew how to use his fighting skills. Let´s not forget the greatest 90´s western TV series known as Brisco County, Jr with legendary actor Bruce Campbell. I also have to mention the crime drama TV series Nash Bridges, with legendary actors Don Johnson and Cheech Marin. A great combination of actors combined, and a pretty good TV show if you appreciate Don Johnson. For a younger generation today, these shows are probably not in their taste ( of course there are exceptions, because these actors have a large fan base worldwide ). But during the 90´s we also had Hercules, with Kevin Sorbo as the legendary greek culture hero. This was one of those shows you would watch, especially on weekends when TV3 showed every episode for years. Kevin was charming as Hercules, and he had a certain way to play this character, in his own unique way. Kevin Sorbo did a lot of TV movies for Hercules as well, and the TV series lasted for 6 seasons between 1995 - 1999. Of course this would be the biggest success of his career, but Kevin continued working hard. And in the year of 2000 he was casted as Captian Dylan Hunt in the science fiction TV series Andromeda. I have seen a couple of episodes of this TV series, and i have to say it is ok. If you are a fan of Stargate, the TV series, then you might enjoy Andromeda as well. I have seen Sorbo in a number of TV films as well over the years, and it was fun seeing him in Walking Tall: The Payback ( a sequel to the 2004 film Walking Tall with Dwayne " The Rock Johnson ). I know there is a third film in this franchise with Kevin Sorbo as well, but i have not seen that one. I recently came across a film known as The Reliant on VOD, a film that seems to bring up the issue of the right to wear guns in America. The perfect time to see a film like this, considering that the election in America is all over the news. Since i appreciate political films, i decided to check this film out. Is this one of the best political films in recent years, or is The Reliant ready to end up in a trash can ?

Rick ( Kevin Sorbo ) is a very dedicated family man, who wants to make sure that everything is working well in his family. But one day while visiting a store, everything is about to change when a riot has broken out in town, forcing everyone to escape their homes and protect themselves with firearms. A financial collapse is one of the reasons why things are out of control, and society is turning into a post-apocalypse. One of the men leading this riot is Jack ( Brian Bosworth ), who has a faud with Rick. Young Sophie ( Mollee Gray ) and her siblings will have to do everything they can to survive, and find a way to go back home.

The Reliant is clearly a film made for patriotic Donald Trump supporters. You should shoot anyone you want, and wear a gun anywhere you want, because that is the American way. Now, i understand that this film is especially made for patriotic Americans. The problem is for us who believe that wearing guns does not solve all your problems, don´t find much too appreciate with this film. I can also imagine that some people who are Christians will appreciate this film, since this film is made for that audience as well. The family that we follow feels like the Hallmark Channel family we have seen so many times before. Maybe more violent than the ordinary Hallmark family, but the same image of the great American family. They should have shown a more realistic view on the ordinary family instead, since the image they portrait here does not feel realistic. The acting is one of the things we need to talk about. Kevin Sorbo ( who dies way too early in this film ) is one of the few actors who deliver some kind of acting performance. I will say this though, actress Mollee Gray may be one of the highlights in this film. Other than this we don´t have any powerful acting performances. My biggest problem with The Reliant is that the plot is so focused on the right to wear weapons, that everything else feels forced into the story. You can´t take this film seriously, because as soon as the chaos begins, it feels like they already have chosen that people who don´t wear guns are the enemies. With a mentality like that, it is very hard to appreciate a film like this that basically tells you that you need weapons in your family, or you are stupid. The Reliant is a waste of time if you are looking for a good political drama. Director Paul Munger clearly wanted to give the audience a film that stand up for the American rights. And this is why he fails to deliver a good story, since he is so addicted into your rights that he has nothing more to say that matters. If you want a good political film, i suggest you watch the 2008 film Frost / Nixon instead, that includes really good acting and some very important political issues. Do yourself a favor, leave The Reliant alone, and i can guarantee that you will be pleased that you did.

Rating: D

Kill Mode

Everywhere i switch over on our TV, on almost every channel ( except our movie channels ) you hear about the Corona virus. It is frightening how many people who have become infected so far, and how many people have died. But there is also news about how many who are actually well now, who have survived. I have a feeling we will hear about new infected soon, and that they will do everything they can to make the virus stop spreading, and help infected people as well. When it comes to virus ( or diseases ) in films, i could probably mention some titles that most movie lovers have seen. But there is one film that you don´t really hear many talking about, that combines science fiction with a disease, action scenes and martial art scenes combined. If you are a B movie fan i am pretty sure you know what film i have in mind, but let me tell you anyway. It is the 1989 sci fi action film Cyborg, with legendary actor Jean-Claude Van Damme. Cyborg tells the story of mercenary Gibson ( played by Van Damme ) who tries to help a cyborg to get a cure to the plague, that has killed millions of lives. Directed by Albert Pyun, this is a true 80´s classic, and has one of the greatest bad guys ever in a B movie known as Fender ( actor Vincent Klyn did an acting performance you will never forget ). Cyborg is a film that will live on for many generations ahead, for the joyful fighting scenes, the fun dialogue and the way they managed to combine the apocalypse with costume designs that fits better than you would expect. Buy the Blu Ray release of Cyborg from Shout! Factory, and get some nice special features included ( that can only be found in this release ). B movies that take on the subject of the apocalypse can be found every year, in many different combinations. 2 years ago i came across a film from the Netherlands known as Molly. This film felt inspired by Mad Max and other apocalypse films, and turned out to be a cheesy fun B movie moment. And here we are with a sequel, that brings back some of the characters from the first film. Is this an even better film than Molly, or is Kill Mode a disaster from start to finish ?

It is the year 2027, eight years after the first outbreak of The Sickness, a highly contagious, adaptive and lethal virus. The world is now run by pharmaceutical corporation called The Company, which distributes a treatment for the virus but charges a high price for it, putting the majority of people in a state of poverty and dependence. David Oscar ( Dave Mantel ) has had enough fighting. He has lost all hope and hides in a small illegal clinic. David is a former member of The Flux, a rebel movement depicted as a terrorist organisation in the media. The Flux believes The Company itself is responsible for The Sickness. After years of hiding from his past, David is found by members of The Flux, who pursuade him to take part in an important mission that they will lead to the cure for The Sickness. What they discover, when they break into a secure facility of The Company, is not the cure to The Sickness, but a young girl named Molly ( Julia Batelaan ) She have been held captive and subjected to The Company experiments...

If you ever wondered if you would see a film like American Cyborg again ( the 1993 cult classic ) then i got some good news for you. Kill Mode is like a throwback to the glory days of VHS violence, with science fiction and B action combined. And trust me, this film is filled with action. You get plenty of gun battles, and some future inspired themes as well. When ever i see a film like Kill Mode being released in these days, i feel joy. Because if there is one thing we need in times like these, with the coronavirus causing trouble, we need a film like this to make us entertained. Even if the acting is cheesy, and the special effects may not be very impressive, there are other reasons why you should see Kill Mode. It is not often you see a Dutch made sci fi action films ( from the Netherlands, where i have visited, wonderful country ), and i feel that this is something we should show appreciation for. Not that it matters what country a film is made in, but you don´t see that many films made in this genre from Netherlands, so this is one of the reasons why Kill Mode is a positive surprise. The other thing i appreciate with this film is that there is a lot of violence. In a film like Kill Mode, the main story needs to have action scenes included to work properly. And this is actually the strength of Kill Mode, that they do a lot of action scenes instead of focusing too much on the plot. When it comes to characters i actually have one favourite performance in this film, and that is from actress Yasmin Blake who plays the bad ass character Alex. A tough female character, not afraid in going into battles with guns, exactly what a film like this needs. Some of the acting from other characters are not as strong, so don´t expect any surprises. One negative detail about Kill Mode is the shaky camera work, that can be a bit annoying at times. Director Thijs Meuwese ( who was one of the directors on the sci fi action film Molly ) have made a film that takes us back to the VHS stores. He knows what kind of audience he made this film for, and that becomes clear while you watch this film. If you appreciated Molly, then you should check out Kill Mode as well. You see sometimes, B movies is the answer to all  of our problems.

Rating: DDD

söndag 8 mars 2020

Stay Out Stay Alive

Spring is finally here in Sweden. Well, maybe not exatcly where i live, since we still have lots of snow and ice. But i am hoping that we will get there soon, because i love to feel warmer days. Spring time is that time of year when you know, that you may finally get you chest out in the sun, and feel at home. When we have spring in Sweden, i love to pick out films that i feel give us a spring feeling, that better days are coming. Titles that gives us hope that snow will hopefully stop existing, because we don´t need it. I decided to pick out two films that gives me spring feelings, so let us begin with the first one called We Are Still Here. Directed by Ted Geoghegan and released in 2015, this film tells the story of Anne ( played by wonderful actress Barbara Crampton ) and Paul ( played by actor Andrew Sensenig ) move to a new home in New England. But in this new home, there is something evil within the walls. We Are Still here is a really well made low budget horror film, that brings back the 70´s nostalgia feeling, and feels like a tribute to old school horror films from this time period. Director Ted Geoghegan uses some really nice camera technique, that captures the feeling of demonic films from the past. If you have not pickep up We Are Still Here on DVD or Blu ray, you should on your online store. The next film that came to my mind as a wonderful spring film, is the 2014 found footage horror film Creep, directed by Patrick Brice. This film tells the story of videographer Anthony, who answers an online add for a man named Josef ( really good acting from Mark Duplass ), who needs someone to film his last days alive since he is suffering from cancer. He is about to become a father, so he wants his child to get to know who daddy really is. Anthony is about to find out that Josef is not who he claims to be. Creep is a really disturbing horror film, that shows how dangerous some people can be. This is a film you should see, if you love disturbing personalities. While buying some DVD´s lately i found a film called Stay Out Stay Alive, that i never heard of. The front cover looked great, so i decided to check it out. Is this a film that should be on your list of wonderful spring films to see, or is Stay Out Stay Alive a film you don´t need to waste your precisous time on ?

Five young hikers discover an abandoned goldmine dating back to the gold rush in the redwood forest. But what they do not kow, is that this mine is cursed by the native American indian Chief Tenaya. One of the hikers injure herself pretty bad in a fall accident inside the mine, while the others look for gold. But if they don´t stop stealing, this curse will make sure they will suffer a horrible destiny.

I did not know anything at all about this film really, Before checking it out on DVD. And i am glad i did not see any trailer, because this film is better than i expected. If you are expecting a typical slasher film, then i got good news for you. Stay Out Stay Alive is more of a mysterious horror film, about the curse of native American indian Chief Tenaya. Since most of the film takes place in the forest and inside the mine, you get a lot of beautiful scenes filmed at a very beautiful location. One of the biggest surprises of this film, is that the female cast is actually the highlight of this film. Actors such as Brie Matson ( who some of you will recognize in the monster horror film D-Railed ), Sage Mears, Christina July Kim and legendary actress Barbara Crampton all give their characters a worthy performance. I would not say that all actors give a good performance, but since this is an independent horror film i am pleasantly surprised. I have to say that Barbara Crampton proves once more why she is one of the true legends in horror films, and she is the perfect choice for the character Ranger Susanna. One of the things i appreciate with this film, is that it does not focus on showing the curse through a lot of ghost scenes, or evil spirits. This film is more focused on showing how people handle themselves, stuck in a situation they did not expect to experience. Would you be able to control yourself, if you found gold in a mine, or would you do anything it takes to make sure you get the gold out of there ? There are some supernatural moments in the film, but those scenes actually feels like a part of the story in a positive way. Director Dean Yurke ( who has worked on a lot of big budget films with visual effects, such as Transformers and Super 8 ) have made a directorial debut film that looks good, have an interesting historical background, and also manage to give us a surprising throwback to the 80´s in a positive way. I am curious to see what he will do next in his career. Stay Out Stay Alive is a horror film that will be appreciated, if you enjoy a project made with a passion for old school horror films. Support this film and pick up a DVD copy, so we can get more indepenent horror films made in the future.

Rating: DDD

onsdag 4 mars 2020


In Hollywood we have a lot of Swedish actors. And here in Sweden we are very proud about this, that there are so many wonderful actors that started their career in Swedish films and got a chance to be a part of some big Hollywood films. Just look at Swedish actor Stellan Skarsgård and his amazing movie career. My earliest memory of seeing him for the first time was in the Hans Alfredsson film Den Engfaldige Mördaren ( The Simple Minded Killer ), released in 1982. This is a very deep film, that tells the story of  Sven, who is har-lipped and speak in his own unique way. Most people consider him stupid, and call him an idiot. But a life changing moment for Sven will change everything. Stellan Skarsgård gives a really good performance as Sven, and this is one of those Swedish classics that will be discovered by many generations ahead of us. Stellan has done a lot of other great films as well outside Sweden, such as the Norwegian thriller Insomnia, released in 1997. Directed by Erik Skoldbjaerg, this film tells the story of police officers Jonas Engström ( Stellan Skarsgård ) and Erik Vik ( Sverre Anker Ousdal ) who investigate the murder of 17 year old girl Tanja, found murdered in Tromsö. Insomnia is a very well made thriller, and Stellan brings us an acting performance on a high quality level. There is a really good remake of Insomnia, released in 2002 with Al Pacino and Robin Williams, that you should see as well. Stellan have 6 Children, and some of them are actors such as Alexander Skarsgård, Gustaf Skarsgård, Bill Skarsgård and Valter Skarsgård. All of them have been in some really good films in the past, and they keep on working hard in the movie industry. Let´s take a moment and talk about actor Bill Skarsgård ( who most people recognize as Pennywise The Dancing Clown in IT ) I saw him for the first time in the Swedish romantic drama comedy I Rymden Finns Inga Känslor( also known as Simple Simon ), where he plays a young man with Aspergers Syndrome. I recently came across a DVD copy of Villains ( from America, no DVD release in Sweden yet for some reason ), since i was curious to see Bill Skarsgrd in a different type of film than his previous releases. Is this film a positive surprise in the career of Bill Skarsgård, or should he do other types on film instead of Villains ?

The two lovebirds Mickey ( Bill Skarsgård ) and Jules ( Maika Monroe ) rob a gas station wearing animal masks. They manage to get away with cash, in their brown Caprice Classic. This was their last sting to get enough cash to make it to Florida, but on their journey they run out of gas. Stuck on the highway, with no cars seen anywhere, Jules notice a mail box further down the road. They find a house that seems to have no one at home. But things are about to become very strange, when they find a small girl called Sweetiepie ( Blake Baumgartner ) chained in the cellar. Mickey just want to leave, while Jules want to help the girl out of there. Suddenly upstairs they meet the couple George ( Jeffrey Donovan ) and Gloria ( Kyra Sedgwick ) who offer them money if they leave. Mickey and Jules are about to find out, in this home you won´t get out unless you follow the rules of George and Gloria.

Villains is like a strange mixture of a home invasion film and the 2004 film The Stepford Wives. What do i mean with this ? Well imagine if you were to take those perfect women in The Stepford Wives, throw in a psycophath couple that takes 2 people prisoners who break into their home, and you have Villains. The world that this psychopath couple is living in inside their house, is like stepping back in time as if they still believe they are living in the 50´s or 60´s. And this is a great idea for a film, that mix very different ideas into each other, and this film manage to pull this off in a clever way. With that said, we have to talk about the characters, and especially the strongerst performance in this film. Legendary actress Kyra Sedgwick as the mentally insane wife Gloria ( who believe she is a mother of a porcelain doll ) is definetely something you won´t forget. I can tell you right now, if you have been looking for a really insane personality then Gloria is just as insane as Kathy Bates was in Misery, back in 1990. Kyra gives such a great performance that she is the main reason why you should see Villains. Jeffrey Donovan ( who some of you might have seen in the great TV series Burn Notice ) plays the insane husband George. The interesting thing about George is that he feels like a throwback to the glory days of gentlemen, one of those well dressed family fathers, but he is actually living in a dream with no remorse, no sympathy for anyone but his insane wife. Bill Skarsgård and actress Maika Monroe ( who i especially remember from the independent thriller The Guest ) both give great performances. Villains is said to be a horror comedy, but i think i would rather call it a thriller comedy, with some horror influences included. The black dark humour fits with the plot, while you get some surprises along the way. Directors Dan Berk and Robert Olsen have made a film that feels different from many other releases since last year, and that is something i appreciate. If you enjoy odd films, than Villains is definetely worth checking out. Now excuse me, i have a dinner to serve. I hope my uninvited guests don´t mind i have an axe near by, i do like to show my good sides of my personality.

Rating: DDD