tisdag 28 april 2020

The Hunt

If someone would ask me, what film company have made our lives better, i would say Cannon Films is one of the few movie companies that dared to cross limits. Cannon Films made a lot of real classic action films back in the 80´s, and i used to rent their films all the time on VHS. One of the first films i remember seeing is American Ninja, directed by Sam Firstenberg. This was the first film i saw action star Michael Dudikoff as Joe Armstrong, a real American bad ass character. American Ninja mixed traditional action scenes with ninja influences, and is one of the real 80´s action classics you should see. There are sequels to American Ninja, that are worth checking out as well, but the first film is the best. Speaking of Michael Dudikoff, just a year after American Ninja was released, he returned with a different action film that became a cult classic known as Avenging Force ( also directed by Sam Firstenberg ). What made Avenging Force different from the American Ninja franchise, is that this film is actually about a hunting club, an organization known as the Pentagle, who hunt humans as a hunting game, in the swamps of the Lousiana bayou. This is actually one of the few films that have brought up the human hunting idea, before the 1994 film Surviving The Game took it to another level. One of the biggest reasons why you should see Avenging Force, is to see Michael Dudikoff doing a different kind of action film than we are used to see. There is a deeper story here, with another  approach than an ordinary hunting story. Speaking of hunting humans, some of you might have read in newspapers last year about an American film called The Hunt was delayed because of the Dayton and El Paso mass shootings. This was not very popular by some people, such as Rick Wiles, who blamed the jews for cancelling the premiere of The Hunt ( i have no idea where he gets this information from, but i am pretty sure it´s not true ). Either way, The Hunt did get a theatre release and was even released earlier this year on VOD. Is this a better film than we all expected, or is The Hunt a film that should have been cancelled forever ?

Eleven captives wake up gagged in a forest for a hunt ( a hunting humans game arranged by wealthy people ). A group of people seems to be chosen for this hunt, as they discover a cache of weapons, as they arm themselves. They soon find out that they need to find a way to survive in this forest, or they will be killed. One of the few survivors named Crystal Creasey ( Betty Gilpin ), find her way to a gas station, where she meet the gas station owners Miranda " Ma " ( Amy Madigan and Julius " Pop " ( Reed Birney ). Crystal have no idea why she ended up here, and have no idea of what´s going on. But she senses that something is wrong, and kill the older couple, as she understand that they are not as kind as they might seem. She soon realise that she is being hunted, as she tries to survive and find out who is behind this hunting game.

Since my expectations of this film were not very high, i have to say that The Hunt is more fun than i expected. This is a crazy mix of action, comedy and horror, all thrown together in a clever way. Imagine if you mixed the 1993 classic Van Damme film Hard Target with the 1994 film Surviving The Game, and you pretty much have the concept of The Hunt, but with some differences of course. And one of the biggest surprises for me, is that you really don´t know who is going to die, since there are some very unexpected deaths ( especially in the beginning of this film ) The basic story also reminded me of other films as well, such as the 2007 horror film Hostel, directed by Eli Roth. But i also feel some influences here from the horror comedy Ready Or Not. And when you use human hunting in a horror film, it is important to bring in some comedy elements . And this is actually something that works well in this film. For me personally, i feel that the biggest highlight of The Hunt ( outisde all the wonderful violence ) is the character Crystal Creasy, played by actress Betty Gilpin ( who some of you might remember from the TV series Nurse Jackie ) She is like a combination of Ripley in Alien, and one of the craziest characters from Desperate Housewives. She is absolutely bad ass in this role, and Betty clearly knew how she wanted to give this woman a portrait that matches so well with the storyline. Another actor i have to mention, is Ethan Suplee ( who is brilliant in the TV comedy series My Name Is Earl ). His character Gary in The Hunt, is the perfect example of how you want a true American to be, and not afraid to speak out how he thinks. There are some other great performances as well, but let´s talk about what works more with this film. The violence is actually much more effective than i expected. All the brutality is here for a good reason, that lifts up the subject of gun rights. Director Craig Zobel ( who directed the interesting independent film Compliance ) have managed to make a film that both brings up political issues, and humanitarian issues with a clever twist. The Hunt may not be appreciated by the extreme feminists of Sweden, but if you do love guns and violence, and can accept a good sense of humour, then this is the film for you. 

Rating: DDD

söndag 26 april 2020

15 Years Anniversary Review Of The Descent

Going back in time can actually be funny sometimes. You bring out some memories that meant something personal to you, a certain year. And as i started thinking about the year of 2005, i did remember some moments that made 2005 memorable. This was the tragic year of the London bombings, where 50 people died and over 200 people were injured. On a more positive note, this year did have some good music. Let´s begin with the music album, or should i say EP album The Unquestionable Truth Part 1, released by American metal band Limp Bizkit. This was the return of fantastic guitarist Wes Borland, and Limp Bizkit returned with a much heavier metal sound that the previous album Results May Vary. The Unquestionable Truth Part 1 turned out to be their best work for years, with some really heavy guitar riffs. If you have not heard this EP album, you should check it out. This was also the year when British rock/pop band Doves released their best studio album ( in my opinion ) known as Some Cities. Some of the songs of this album are really powerful, and a perfect example of that is especially the single Snowden. I also love the dark undertone that a song such as The Storm delivers, with a sad but powerful message. This year had some really good films as well, and i could probably mention at least 5 films that you should see. But there is especially one film that made 2005 special, when it comes to horror films. And that was the British horror film known as The Descent. I remember this film for a number of reasons. First was the make up effects, that were surprisingly good. And the story of a group of women fighting against strange creatures, who are living inside a cave system, turned out to be very effective as well. Since this film is turning 15 years this year, and i have not seen this film since this film came out, i decided to pick up a 2 Disc DVD release of The Descent ( i still do buy DVD sometimes, it is nostalgic ). Has this film aged better than i expected, or has The Descent lost some of the power that you felt 15 years ago ?

A group of friends, Juno Kaplan ( Natalie Mendoza ), Elisabeth " Beth " O´Brien ( Alex Reid ) and Sarah Carter ( Shauna Macdonald ) have just finished whitewater rafting, and are preparing to drive to their hotel. Sarah go with her husband Paul Carter ( Oliver Milburn ) and their daughter Jessica Carter ( Molly Kayll ), but on the way to the hotel they end up in a very serious car accident. Sarah is the only survivor, and her life will never be the same again. One year later, Sarah, Juno and Beth, with some more female friends, decide to go to a cabin in the Appalachian Mountains of North Carolina for a spelunking adventure. The next day, they hike up to a cave and descend. The idea is that this will be a good way for Sarah to focus on something positive, and for the whole team to help each other reach their goal. But inside the cave system, they are forced to make some changes. When one of the ways out collapses, they need to find another way out. As they go further inside the cave system, they are about to find out that they are not alone.

I am happy to say that The Descent is still a very effective horror film, for a number of reasons. One of the biggest reasons is that this film manage to balance monster horror influences with a claustrophopic atmosphere. When you see these caves, and how many tunnels there are, you can feel the fear that these women are experiencing. But we have to talk about the biggest highlight of this film, and that is the creatures known as " crawlers ". If you loved watching monster films of the 70´s and the 80´s, then you are going to feel right at home with The Descent. These creatures are blind, and look like a mixture of human shaped beasts and Gollum from Lord Of The Rings. When they move around the cave walls, you can feel the fear in the air. Special make-up & effects designer Paul Hyett have done a wonderful job on creating these crawlers. They don´t only look creepy, they fit perfect into the cave system. I love the fact that this film has a very good female cast. Actress Shauna Macdonald as the main character Sarah, is a really strong character. It is hard to imagine the suffering she must be feeling, loosing both her husband and daughter in a car accident, and then she has to face these creatures as well. Shauna delivers a performance that match so well with her character. One of my favourite characters in this film is without a doubt Holly, played by actress Nora-Jane Noone. She is loud, confident and the wild one in this group. The rest of the female cast does a wonderful job as well. The Descent is one of the few horror films that actually have found a way to tell a very effective story, combining the claustrophobic feeling of being trapped inside a cave. Director Neil Marshall ( who directed the classic werewolf film Dog Soldiers ) knows how build up tensions of fear, and how we might react in very complicated situations. The Descent is without a doubt one of the best horror films from 2005, and will continue the legacy to capture new audiences worldwide for many generations ahead. A must have on DVD or Blu Ray, if you are a true horror fan such as myself.

Rating: DDDD

lördag 18 april 2020

The Jack In The Box

I remember in the late 80´s, my little sister used to watch The Children´s Channel, a British TV channel filled with cartoons, children programs with very different content. And especially one children´s program that she used to watch was Jack In The Box, where a female TV host presented different cartoons with her dolls. But it was not the show itself that was creepy, it was the introduction of the show, with the cartoon clown puppet Jack jumping out from the box, with a big smile. I don´t think my sister thought that Jack looked creepy, but i did. You knew that this guy is trouble, right from the start. The concept of Jack in the box toys, originally started back in the 1500´s in Germany, where the first jack-in-the-box was made by a German clockmaker known as Claus. Over the years, the box toy developed with different material and different puppets inside. When it comes to films where you can see Jack in the box, we can find one in the B horror movie known as Demonic Toys, Released in 1992, this film is directed by Peter Manoogian. If you have seen the Puppet Master films from the 80´s and 90´s, then you could say that Demonic Toys borrow some of the concept of that franchise and add some other parts as well. But the one detail that should be mentioned, is that there is actually a Jack In The Box toy in this film, that loves human flesh. This is a fun film, where you see different toys attack humans in many different ways. You can find Demonic Toys on a 3 disc Blu Ray release in Germany, a wonderful release for B movie horror fans. Speaking of Jack In The Box, i was suprised to see that a low budget horror film, have been released with the title The Jack In The Box, with influences from the toy box we are all familiar with. And when i noticed that the puppet turns into a demonic clown, i knew this is a film for me. But the biggest question is, could The Jack In The Box be the best puppet horror film in a long time, or is this a big disappointment ?

Casey Reynolds ( Ethan Taylor ) begins to work at Hawthorne Museum, where he begin a friendship with museum worker Lisa Cartwright ( Lucy-Jane Quinlan ). A very old vintage Jack-In-The-Box toy was donated to the museum, and Casey is very curious to find out where this is originally from. With the help of Lisa, he begins to find out more information about this box. But no one would expect, that inside this box there is an evil, that no one is prepared for.

The Jack In The Box feels like a heart warming mixture of Midsomer Murders and Puppet Master, but with a murdering demon clown instead. It´s like having a wonderful English tea afternoon, you get a piece of all the cookies you want, with a traditional British atmosphere. With that said, i have to mention that this film does not focus on jump scares. This is a very good idea, since i prefer more traditional old school horror films. Another detail that this film does well, is trying to build up creepy tensions in some scenes, where you don´t see the clown stepping out of the box, but a smaller puppet version of him staring, with his evil eyes. Simple, but effective. The design of this clown is actually better than i expected, both as a puppet and in the full size version. When it comes to the acting, this film does have a few interesting characters. The best character, and also the most interesting character in this film is without a doubt, Jack the demonic clown. He looks really creepy, and the way he moves around works so well with the creepy atmosphere around him. Actor Robert Nairne ( who have worked on a number of horror films including Star Wars, who i especially rememember from the werewolf British horror film Howl ) does a really good job, portraying this evil clown. You can tell he knows how to portrait a very evil character, in his own unique way. Actress Lucy-Jane Quinlan ( who did a wonderful performance in the British drama film Tucked ) gives her character Lisa a personality that you feel a connection with. It is the first time i see actor Ethan Taylor in this film, and as a lead actor he does ok. The design of the box itself reminded me of the box in Hellraiser, with a different approach. And this is a detail that helps Jack in the box toy become more interesting. Director Lawrence Fowler have found a way to tell a story of a classic toy, and combine it with horror influences of the 80´s that is a great match. Maybe this film is a bit slow in some scenes, but when Jack shows up we are back on the right track. The Jack In The Box is a fun low budget horror film, that will surely be appreciated by Puppet Master fans. If you are looking for something to watch on VOD or on DVD, then i suggest you give The Jack In The Box a chance. Who kows, you might want to get your own box, just in case your complaining neighbors needs a lesson in manners.

Rating: DDD

fredag 17 april 2020

Fantasy Island

I am one of those who can not say no to tropical islands. White beaches, clear blue water, palm trees and drinks at the beach, these are all the reasons why i don´t travel to any snow mountains. Another reason why i love going to these beautiful locations is so i can show people how to dress properly, with Ron De Jeremy Rum tshirts. It is the most beautiful way to dress, especially in these locations. If you have been to beautiful places, it is hard not to miss going back. So i try to travel every year, since i need my 270 degrees sun on my chest. When it comes to films that takes place on beautiful locations, i am always reminded of the 2005 film known as Into The Blue. An action thriller with beautiful actress Jessica Alba, and with Paul Walker ( formaly known from the Fast And The Furious franchise ). This is a pretty dumb film in many ways, but have some entertainment value. The story is very simple, and is basically about divers who discover artifacts in the sea, from a ship wreckage. They also discover a crashed airplane with cargo of cocaine, that criminals are looking for. And this is where the fun kicks in, when these divers are forced to try and survive against the cocaine criminals out in the sea. Jessica Alba is not known for her acting performance, but i got to say that in this film her character works well with the story. It is a very simple action thriller, but works thanks to the beautiful ocean scenes. This film is actually directed by John Stockwell, who have been an actor in a number of films, such as Stephen King´s horror film Christine. Early this year i was listening to reviews of new films, and came across a review of the horror film Fantasy Island. The review was not positive, but the idea behind this film sounded like fun, so i decided to check out this film on VOD. Is this one of the horror surprises of this year so far, or should they have buried Fantasy Island deep underneath the sand for good ?

Businesswoman Gwen Olsen ( Maggie Q), former police officer Patrick Sullivan ( Austin Stowell ), step-brothers J.D. Weaver ( Ryan Hansen ) with Brax Weaver ( Jimmy O. Yang ), and Melanie Cole ( Lucy Hale ) win a contest to visit Fantasy Island, a tropical resort where fantasies apparently come true. Upon arrival, they meet the island´s keeper Mr Roarke ( Michael Pena ). He will make sure that each of the winner´s fantasies will come true, no matter what fantasy they have. Everything seems good from the start, until some sectrets are revealed, that will change everything.

What do you get if you mix the 2006 horror film Turistas with the 2009 film Couple´s Retreat ? There you have the basic ingredients for Fantasy Island. There are other influences here as well from Hostel and The Purge, so there are a lot of ideas brought together. But it does not really help this film to become a good horror film. No matter how many ideas they have tried to combine together, this becomes a horror film that does not bring much to the table. You can´t really feel the atmosphere, that is supposed to be frightening. Instead, what we get is a film that you won´t remember, for any specific reason. The cast does not have a lot of interesting characters, and this is such a shame. Because look at actors such as Michael Pena ( who is especially really good in the 2004 drama film Crash ), plays the character Mr Roarke. Since this character is such a big part of the story behind this island, he would have needed a stronger character. But for some reason, he does not feel very interested in being a part of the island´s secrets. Actress Maggie Q ( who did a great job on the TV series Nikita ), plays the character Gwen, i was hoping she would deliver a performance that would make this film more interesting. Unfortunately, she can´t save this film from feeling so generic. The acting performance that does feel more interesting, comes from legendary actor Michael Rooker ( who i loved in the cult classic Henry: Portrait Of A Serial Killer )  as private investigator Damon. He may not deliver one of his strongest acting performances in this film, but at least he has a character that does have an interesting background. Director Jeff Wadlow ( who directed the good sequel Kick-Ass 2 ) probably thought that this film have a clever concept. It could have been interesting, if the film did have a story that worked. But with so many influences from different horror films, Fantasy Island becomes a perfect example when you use too many ideas and mix them together. Not the worst movie this year, but a film you might as well skip, and check out the 2005 film Into The Blue instead.

Rating: DD

måndag 13 april 2020

Tiger King: Murder, Mayhem And Madness

I have had Netflix for many years, but it takes time for me to watch a lot of series. Why ? Well, when you watch films and review them, it takes time to write, figure out how i want the review to look like, and of course pick out the films i will review for the month. So, when i do get some time over to watch a TV series on Netflix, i only see a couple of episodes and save the rest for later. I have seen some good ones that i could recommend, depending on what kind of TV series you enjoy. But one of them is of course Narcos, surrounding the insane story of drug lord Pablo Escobar. Narcos has been out for a while, but this is in my opinion one of the best Netflix TV series ever made, and actor Wagner Moura is brilliant as Pablo Escobar. Just the idea of how big his empire was in the 80´s, is incredible. But you also see how many people´s lives he ended in horror, with no respect and no sympathy. I also think that this TV series give you a glimpse of all the hard work that came along, to try and stop the drug lord Pablo, and all the suffering that came along with these years for everyone involved in this case. If you have not seen Narcos on Netflix, you should check it out. I don´t review TV series or documentary films on my movie review blog. I probably could have reviewed some documentary films in the past, but it just never happened. But earlier this year i was starting to hear a lot of buzz online, about an upcoming documentary mini series called Tiger King: Murder, Mayhem And Madness. When i first saw the trailer, i thought that this looks insane. Could all of this really have happened ? I never heard about Tiger King before, until i started reading some information. His real name is Joseph Maldonado-Passage, and he is also known as Exotic Joe. He was the owner of an animal park, who got himself into some serious trouble. I just had to see this mini series, since it looked like something in my taste. Is this mini series as good as i hoped, or is Tiger King a big disappointment ?

In Wynnewood, Oklahoma, Joe Exotic is the eccentric owner of the Greater Wynnewood Exotic Animal Park, and he has his own TV series known as Joe Exotic TV, created by producer Rick Kirkham. Joe had a lot of feud years with Carol Baskin, CEO of Big Cat Rescue in Florida. Joe is so mad at Carol that he is willing to do anything to embarrass her. But is he going too far, and don´t know when to stop ?

If you have been looking for some of the craziest American personalities in a long time, you are going to find them here in Tiger King. Joe Exotic for example, imagine a combination of Joe Dirt combined with Poison singer Bret Michaels, and you have Joe Exotic. With his blonde mullet hair, guns and tight pants, you know he would get laid at any gay party, anywhere in this world. It is quite fascinating to see that he sees himself as a good choice for a president candidate, but i guess if Trump could win, then everyone has a chance right ? You might think that Joe Exotic is the only one who is odd, but the rest of the animal parks have some of the crazy personalities as well. Just look at Bhagvan Antle, who is living with a lot of women ( almost like the Playboy Mansion, done into an animal park instead ). Every woman have her own house, clearly so he can have fun with each one of them whenever he feels like it. I will say though that he seems to know what he is doing, since everything surrounding his animal park, he has a theme that clearly makes people want to come. Who does not want to see hot women with tigers right ? And then we have Carole Baskin, the biggest enemy for Exotic Joe. At first i thought she seemed to be the most normal animal park owner, but as the documentary goes on you see some warning signals. Such as her strange music videos of a woman singing balads with tigers in the background, and the fact that a lot of people suspect her of killing her husband. Did she do it ? I think you´re gonna have to make up your own mind. There are a lot of events that you might react to, when you see the issues that all of these animal parks dealt with, but at the end of the day i have to say that Tiger King: Murder, Mayhem And Madness is one hell of a good time. It´s hard to believe all of this is true, but if it is then no reality show in the world can beat these guys. There is no doubt, Tiger King is a must see on Netflix for everyone.

Rating: DDDD

onsdag 8 april 2020

Deadly Skies ( Force Of Impact ) - A Quarantine Pick For B Movie Lovers

All over the world, we are seeing how the Corona virus strike against every country. And in a diffucult time like this, a lot of people have to stay home. So i decided to do something, that might cheer some people up while they are looking for something to read, and that is to give you a B movie review of actor Antonio Sabato, Jr´s film catalogue. You may ask yourself, who is this guy ? Well, if you were young during the 90´s ( like i was at that time ), then you might remember a popular TV series known as Melrose Place. I did not see many episodes of Melrose Place, simply because it was not really good. But i do remember actor Antonio Sabato Jr, since he was in a couple of episodes in the TV series. He was not the best actor, but he clearly could charm the ladies underwear off. My next encounter with him was in the 1997 TV movie High Voltage. Not an action classic in any way, but as an action actor he did know how to deliver some action scenes. Director Isaac Florentine, must have been inspired by John Woo when he made High Voltage, since you can sense that there are influences from his films. If you love 90´s B movie action films, High Voltage is worth checking out. Since i have not seen a lot of Antonio Sabato, Jr´s films, and he have made a lot over the years, i went through a list of the films he have been in since the late 90´s up until now. And trust me, he seems to have worked really hard to deliver us  some real quality films. After going through a lot of titles, i decided to pick out a film known as Deadly Skies, released in 2006. This film does not only have Sabato Jr, but you also find actress Rae Dawn Chong here ( who was in the classic Schwarzenegger film Commando ). Is this film better than most TV films that i have seen in a long time, or is Deadly Skies so bad that you could possibly start crying out of frustration ?

Madison ( Rae Dawn Chong ) and her assistant Hockstetter ( Dominic Zamprogna ) are astronomers who track near-Earth objects in space. They are not taken serious by the scientific community. When they locate and track a massive asteroid on a collision course for Earth, Madison takes her finding to government scientist Dr. Michael Covington ( Rob LaBelle ). Intially he pays her some attention but, under pressure from Air Force General Dutton ( Michael Moriarty ), dismisses her. In desperation she takes her research to Richard Donovan ( Antonio Sabato, Jr. ), a former Air Force officer who was discharged under Don´t ask, don´t tell ( DADT ). Joining  with Donovan´s active duty-lover, Mark ( Michael Boisvert ), the four hatch a plan to infiltrate an Air Force base that houses a massive laser weapon to destroy the asteroid.

Have you been wondering what DVD film you should have in your living room, to make your home look a bit more modern ? Then look no further, because Deadly Skies ( Force Of Impact ) is the DVD that will make all your wishes come true. This is that kind of TV film that has everything you need, such as big special effects on asteroids, very serious dialogue and of course acting on a very proffessional level. Sounds good right ? I would say that this is the kind of film that falls in the category so bad that it is fun to watch. I am sure Antono Sabato, Jr. have done even worse films than Deadly Skies ( i did seee some films on his list that looked really bad ), but if you wanted a massive asteroid disaster film, then you might be disappointed. There are some scenes where you get a sense that there will be some big disaster scenes, but they don´t really kick off the way you would expect. I have seen a lot of disaster B movies in the past. Some are actually fun to watch, and some are just horrible. I would not say that Deadly Skies is one of the worst disaster films i have seen, since this film takes itself too serious and becomes funny to watch instead. So in that sense there is entertainment value here to be found. Is this a good film in any way ? No, and the biggest problem for me are the asteroid scenes. They look really bad, so i guarantee you will laugh. If this was the best they could do with the design of an asteroid coming towards Earth, you understand that they must have had a very limited budget. How about the acting ? Antonio Sabato, Jr. does what he knows best, look very serious and bring out the acting level that only he knows how to do, Sabato style. So you know it is going to be bad. Actress Rae Dawn Chong brings at least some kind of acting level into this film. But she can´t save this film either way, since there are too many problems to be found with the source material. I will say though that legendary actor Michael Moriarty ( who i remember from the Clint Eastwood western classic Pale Rider ) is pretty cool as the character General Dutton, the bad ass character we should have had in the Swedish musical action film Dyke Hard. Director San Irwin probably wanted to make a cool disaster film, but without the budget and CGI effects that seems to have been stuck since 1992, it does not matter what cast he has, unless he fixed a lot of the problems first. Deadly Skies is one of those films you should own on DVD, to reward yourself with a unintentionally funny film. This is one of those films you will remember, that cheer you up on any bad day. I don´t think i need to explain anymore why you should see Deadly Skies, it is the perfect film to watch during these Corona days. 

Rating: D

If you want a physical DVD of the film, you can find the film here both on Region 2 and Region 1 DVD releases, for a good price as well, if you want a bargain. Especially now during quarantine worldwide.

UK DVD release known as Ultimate Limit:


American DVD release:


Guns Akimbo

I remember one of the first time when i really fell in love with a film. It was in the year of 1993 when director John Woo released his first American action film, known as Hard Target. For those of you who don´t know who John Woo is, he have directed several fantastic Hong Kong action films such as The Killer and Hard Boiled. What made his first American action film so wonderful, was to see Jean-Claude Van Damme in a very different action film from his previous films. The violence was so over the top, with 6570 bullets flying through the air within 15 minutes, and special kicks done so many times, that it became like the most beautiful ballet show you have ever seen. Van Damme delivered a really good performance as Chance Bordeaux, who fight against a group of ruthless businessmen who arrange hunting homeless people as a sport, with the intention of killing the chosen one. Hard Target is an absolute action delight with more violence than you could imagine. I would have to say that this is the perfect film to show at a wedding, because nothing saves marriages more than Hard Target does, and trust me ladies, nothing will turn you on more than seeing Van Damme with his mullet redneck hair. Have some of you seen the techno thriller Nerve, released in 2016 ? Directed by Henry Joost and Ariel Schulman, this film actually managed to combine a clever story of how to play a game with million of watchers online to the game Nerve. The idea behind the game is that you must do what the game tells you what do to, no matter how dangerous the mission is. Actress Emma Roberts as the character Vee, was a really good choice for this film. Imagine if you would combine Hard Target, Death Race with Jason Statham and Nerve, what would you get ? It is possible that it would be this film called Guns Akimbo, a film that looks like one insane ride with both technology and gaming influences. I have only seen a trailer of this film quite long ago, but it looked like fun. With a great cast and an interesting concept for a story, is this the action feast we have all been waiting for, or is Guns Akimbo as bad as Max Steel was, the sci fi action film i would love to forget about ?

In an alternate near future, an underground fight club and criminal organization known as Skizm achieved massive popularity by live-streaming real death matches between criminals and psychos. Ordinary computer programmer Miles Lee Harris ( Daniel Radcliffe ), who gets his kick by trolling online trolls, log into Skizm´s forum to insult viewers who turn murder into entertainment. Riktor ( Ned Dennehy ), the criminal kingpin and psychopath who runs Skizm, breaks into Miles appartment with the henchmen Dane ( Mark Rowley ), Effie ( Racheal Ofori ) and Fuckface ( Set Sjöstrand ). After being beaten and drugged, Miles wakes up to find guns bloodily bolted into his both hands. Miles learns that he has been forced to participate in Skizm by being pitted against Nix ( Samara Weaving ), the game´s deadliest and craziest killer. Nix wants out of Skizm, but not until she finish her last opponent, Miles. This day may have started really bad for Miles, and it´s just about to get even worse.

If you have missed a film that would bring Hard Target into a more modern world, then Guns Akimbo might be the film you have been looking for. This film is filled with shootings, violence, and game influences, that you will be cheering for yourself for quite some time in your living room. It almost feels like this film has been inspired by Hard Target, since you see the actual film playing on a TV screen in the appartment of lead character Miles, played by English actor Daniel Radcliffe. It is nice to see Harry Potter actor Radcliffe do a completely different movie than we are used to see him in. He have done a lot of different kinds of films over the years, since Harry Potter. But i will say that this is the first time i see him do an action comedy like this with much more violence. I have to say that Radcliffe handle his performance well and becomes something of a nerd hero, who clearly don´t feel comfortable having 2 guns drilled into his hands ( must be hard to have something to eat ). Australian actress Samara Weaving ( who is really good in the horror comedy Ready Or Not ) plays the bad ass character Nix, the woman you want to take on a date, and i guarantee you will have a great time. She loves big guns, kicking ass and explosions as well, so this is the perfect example of how a great date should look like. Samara manage to balance her character with a great sense of humour, and also make her look very rough, and i love her sexy look as well. Actor Ned Dennehy as the insane character Riktor, is the perfect mix of Mad Max 2: The Road Warrior character Wez and Bullseye in the Daredevil film from 2003. Director Rhys Darby have found a way to combine video game influences with a pure action feast, in a very good looking way that we are not used to see these days.  If you love video games, and Jean-Claude Van Damme´s classic Hard Target, then you are going to have a hell of a good time with Guns Akimbo. Pick up a DVD or Blu Ray of this film, and you can´t get a better pocorn night than this at home. 

Rating: DDDD

måndag 6 april 2020

Charlie´s Angels

Female empowerment is important. I believe that all women should have the same rights as men and be treated with respect. I know that a lot of women are fighting for their lives, and i feel it is important to support this. Since i started working in health care over 20 years ago, i have worked with almost only women for many years. And i have to say, i have had a really good time in their company. In some ways, i feel that it is easier to work with women, because they always find ways to solve problems ( maybe not every single one, but most of them ). Female empowerment in films and TV shows can be found in many different formats. But one of the most well known TV shows ( that i remember watching back in the early 80´s ) is of course Charlie´s Angels. This TV show started in 1976 and ended in 1981 with legendary female actors Kate Jackson, Farrah Fawcett and Jaclyn Smith. The plot is basically about three crime fighting women working for a private detective agency in Los Angeles, run by their boss Charlie Townsend. Charlie´s Angels is a fun, action packed TV show with a lot of fun dialogue, and the female characters are also fun to watch as they kick ass. Let´s move forward to the year of 2000, when Hollywood released a film, based on the TV series with the female cast of Cameron Diaz, Lucy Liu and Drew Barrymore, portraying Charlie´s Angels. This is a fun film, that may have cheesy dialogue, but if you enjoy female empowerment with lots of action scenes, this is the film to see. It is also nice to see legendary actor Bill Murray as John Bosley, a perfect choice for this character. The sequel Charlie´s Angels: Full Throttle, released 3 years later, had some fun moments, but i prefer the first film to be honest. So when i heard that Hollywood would do another remake of Charlie´s Angels i was hoping this would be entertaining. Is this remake better than i expected, or should Charlie´s Angels be left alone with no more remakes or sequels ?

A team of angels, led by senior John Bosley ( Patrick Stewart ), capture international embezzler Jonny Smith ( Chris Pang ) in Rio De Janeiro and turn him over to the American authorities. A year later, the European division of Townsend Agency is informed that Elena Houghlin ( Naomi Scott ), an engineer and programmer employed by entrepreneur Alexander Brok ( Sam Claflin ), wants to expose her superiors, namely Brok´s head of development, Peter Flemming ( Nat Faxon ), for covering up a discovery about how an energy conservation device that she helped invent, named Calisto, has the potential to trigger fatal seizures when used. She meets with operative Edgar " Bosley " Dessange ( Djimon Hounsou ) to turn over her findings, but an assassin named Hodak ( Jonathan Tucker ) ambushes the meeting and kill Edgar and leaves Elena to drown. Thanks to angel angents Sabina Wilson ( Kristin Stewart ) and Jane Kano ( Ella Balinska ), Elena is saved and taken to a safe location. She is informed that they will be working together, through the Townsend Agency known as angels, where Rebekah " Bosley " ( Elisabeth Banks ) will be their guide and informer. Someone wanted Elena killed, and it seems that the assassin Hodak is working for some very important people, that needs to be stopped. 

I always have a certain way to look at remakes. Either do them better than the original, or at least make them good enough for the audience to enjoy them. In the case of this new Charlie´s Angels remake, we do have some problems. First of all the casting of Charlie´s Angels feels odd. I have no problem with actors Kristen Stewart, Naomi Scott and Ella Balinska in other films that they have been in. My problem with this formation of Charlie´s Angels, is that you don´t feel the same chemistry between the angels, like you did with Cameron Diaz, Lucy Liu and Drew Barrymore. They knew exactly how to portrait a modern version of Charlie´s Angels, and still throw in some surprises as well, that felt like a connection to the TV series. I understand that this film is trying to show a more updated version of Charlie´s Angels, and i am ok with that, as long as it works with the casting. One odd thing about this film, is the song Don´t Call Me Angel, that singers Ariana Grande, Miley Cyrus and Lana Del Rey perform together. Since this film is about Charlie´s Angels, and we have a song playing that says Don´t Call Me Angel, you start to wonder if they don´t want to be connected to Charlie´s Angels, having a song like that in this remake. Very strange choice, but who knows, i might have missed the point with the song. The comedy scenes falls pretty flat, and i think this is also a mistake. Since the previous Charlie´s Angels films had good comedy timing, this remake does not really deliver any really funny moments. One of the few positive things is that there are a few action scenes that works, and legendary actor Patrick Stewart is good as the bad guy. Director Elizabth Banks ( loved her performance in the drama film Love & Mercy ) have tried bringing back Charlie´s Angels to a modern world. If she only could have made the angels chemistry more powerful, this could have been entertaining. I suggest you see the film from the year 2000 instead, and i guarantee you will have a much more fun moment.

Rating: DD

söndag 5 april 2020

The Assent

Exorcism films comes in many different shapes with different plots, and some films actually try to mix in different ideas into the exorcism genre. We could probably discsuss what films have managed to bring the exorcism genre back on its feet, and what films failed to give this genre respect. But there is one film that was released 10 years ago, that i feel gave the exorcism genre new life in a very powerful way. The film i am thinking about is The Last Exorcism, directed by Daniel Stamm. This found footage supernatural horror film not only managed to bring back the classic concept of exorcism cases, but also managed to do it very effective with the amazing performance from actress Ashley Bell. The Last Exorcism may be one of the last really good exorcism films that i remember in the last 10 years, and director Daniel Stamm clearly worked really hard to make sure that the fans of this genre would be pleased with his vision. This film tells the story of Reverend Cotton Marcus ( played really good by actor Patrick Fabian ), who has lost faith and is performing fake exorcisms. When he is asked to help farmer Louis, who believe his daughter is possessed by a demon, he agree to go there and film the whole encounter with documentary directors Iris and Daniel. At first Reverend Cotton believe this is all fake, but while seeing the behavior of Louis daughter Neil, he realise that this may be the first real case he have ever encountered. The Last Exorcism is a must see if you love exorcism films, and if you get the Blu Ray you will get a lot of very interesting special features. Last week i was going through some horror released on DVD and Blu Ray, and picked up a title called The Assent. One of the reasons was because of the really gorgeous cover, and also because this film is said to be an exorcism film. Is this a horror film that is actually much better than you might expect, or is The Assent doomed to end up in the nearest garbage can ?

Joel ( Robert kazinsky ) is struggling to survive as a mechanic, as he tries to give his son Mason ( Caden Dragomer ) a good childhood. But when Mason´s babysitter Cassie ( Hannah Ward ) tells Joel she is thinking about going to college, Joel is upset. He has to work, and if she leaves he needs a new babysitter. It becomes clear to Joel is schizophrenic. He takes his medication, but his medication is not very effective. Joel see that Mason´s behavior is changing, and seems to be possessed by something evil. Joel gets help from Father Lambert ( Peter Jason ) who have dealed with exorcism in the past. Father Lambert have a team with him, to help Mason return to become a normal boy. Sometimes, Joel can see an evil entity that looks like a creature, as he Believe this entity is connected to Mason. What is going on in Joel´s home, is there an evil entity trying to control Mason, or is there another explantation ?

There is especially one thing that makes The Assent stand out from the ordinary exorcism film. And that is that this is a story about a single father, struggling to survive with very little money, to make his son´s life as good as possible. In most single parents films, we see mostly single mothers struggling, but not from a father´s perspective. This does not mean that i am trying to say that father´s have bigger problems than mother´s, not at all. But i think it is important to remember that there are father´s out there who are struggling, to make their children´s life good. The exorcism scenes in this film are actually quite effective, without going over the top. But the biggest highlight in this film ( for mer personally ) is the evil entity. It actually looks like a bigger version of the monster in the 1982 cult cassic Basket Case ( a must see if you have not seen this one ). And i have to say that the design of this creature is better than i expected. Acting wise i would say that this film does manage to bring some interesting characters, especially lead actor Robert Kazinsky ( who you might recognize from Pacific Rim ). Robert give his character Joel both depth and a realistic portrait of a struggling father. Legendary actor Peter Jason ( who i blieve most of you remember from the 1988 cult film They Live ) gives a performance that works with his character Father Lambert. I would have liked to know more about Father Lambert´s background, since it feels like he could have an interesting past. There are moments in the film where i feel that The Assent loose some of the power it builds up through long dialogue scenes. When it would have been a good idea to bring out a horror surprise instead. But overall, i would say that The Assent is a nice return to the classic exorcism genre, with a different approach than most films in this genre. Director Pearry Reginald Teo is clearly inspired by exorcism films, but manage to balance the story with some different ideas. And that he brings in the subject of a patient, suffering from schizophrenia, give this film an interesting turn, especially when you know that this mental disorder can cause chaos. The Assent is a horror film that may not break any new grounds, but certainly give this genre a fresh wind of inspiration. Worth checking out on VOD, DVD or Blu ray.

Rating: DDD

Dark Waters

When you have legal problems, or need help with legal issues, who do you turn to ? A law firm of course. You can´t guarantee you will win the case, it all depends on what the case is about, and if your lawyer can manage to help you in court. But if there is no other way out, i think most people would go to court if they have to, especially if there is a serious issue behind the case. I have watched a lot of court TV, that takes on smaller subjects such as money issues, marriage issues, and business issues. It is interesting hearing two sides from each storiy, and you have to figure out who you believe is telling the truth. When it comes to films with lawyers, we have a lot of titles to choose between. I could probably pick out at least 5 really good films, but i decided to go with only one film instead. And the reason is because this is a film you don´t hear much about anymore, and deserves to be noticed. I am thinking about the 1998 legal drama A Civil Action with legendary actor John Travolta. This film is based on the book ( with the same name ) by author Jonathan Harr. The story takes place in the city of Woburn, Massachusetts, where local children are dying through toxic water. It seems that two giant corporations, Beatrice Foods and W.R. Grace and Company are responsible of these children´s death by letting out toxic contamination. Boston attourney Jan Schlichtmann ( John Travolta ) and his small firm of injury lawyers, are asked by Woburn resident Anne Anderson ( Kathleen Quinlan ) to take legal action against those responsible. Knowing that this film is actually based on a true story, makes this film interesting. Especially when you know that children actually died becuase of these companies, and they could have stopped this from happening. I suggest you Watch the film on Netflix, or on DVD, it is a good film. Since Christmas last year, i have heard about a film called Dark Waters, that is based on Robert Bilott´s case against the chemical manufacturing corporation DuPont. And the cast of Mark Ruffalo, Anne Hathaway, Tim Robbins and Bill Pullman, i just could not turn down a wonderful cast like this. Is this one of the better legal drama films in many years, or is Dark Water more likely to be forgotten on the DVD shelf ?

Robert Bilott ( Mark Ruffalo ) is a corporate defense lawyer from Cincinatti, Ohio working for law firm Taft Stettinius & Hollister. Farmer Willbur Tennant ( Bill Camp ), who knows Robert´s grandmother, asks Robert to investigate a number of unexplained deaths in Parkesburg, West Virginia. Tennant connects the deaths to chemical manufacturing corporation  DuPont, and give Robert a large case of videotapes. Robert visits Willbur´s farm, where he learns that 190 cattle have died with unusual medical conditions such as bloated organs, blackened teeth, and tumors. DuPont attourney Phil Donnely ( Victor Graber ) tells Robert that he is not aware of of the case but will help any way he can. As Robert begins to dig deeper into this case, he realize that the corporation DuPont have done even more damage than he would have imagined, with human lives in danger as well.

If you are not a fan of legal drama thrillers, then i doubt you will change your mind about Dark Waters. But this is a really good film, for a number of reasons. This is a very interesting case, surrounding American environmental attourney Robert Bilott. What he did to fight against the corporation DuPont, is absolutely incredible. Knowing that they have caused a lot of people´s deaths, because of the pollution in water, shows you how corprations like that Think more about making money than destroying people´s lives. And it will always be like this, Money matters more than human lives for many corporations. What this film manage to do really well, is telling this story in a very simple but effective way, without making the information too complicated to understand. Most of all, i have to admit that the cast does a fantastic performance in this film. Mark Ruffalo ( who i especially enjoy in the film The Kids Are All Right ) plays the lead character Robert Bilott. This may be the best acting performance i have seen Ruffalo do since….. The Kids Are All Right ? And that was 10 years, so i am very pleased to see him do such a powerful performance in this film. Actress Anne Hathaway also deliver a strong performance as Roberts wife Sarah. There is especially one hospital scene where Hathaway show her power as an actress, that will affect you emotionally. Legendary actors Tim Robbins and Bill Pullman both go into their characters with a lot of power. This film looks really good, with dark colors and manage to capture the different parts of society, where the poor people always have to fight to be heard. This film also shows how hated you can become, if you go against the people that do have money. But this is a very important message in this film, if you have caused people´s deaths, you have to take responsibility for your actions. Director Todd Haynes ( who directed the wonderful film Carol ) have made a very strong film with Dark Waters, with a very important story that needs to be told. He is clearly driven with passion to tell this story, and he capture that feeling through his fantastic camera work. I can easily say that this is one of the better films i have seen this year. Dark Waters may be one of the best legal drama thrillers in recent years.

Rating: DDDD

fredag 3 april 2020

Looking For A Funny Bad Film To Watch In Corona Times ? Then Look No Further.....

Cheers everyone!

It´s me Daniel, the best movie review writer in Swedish history. Really ? Yes, i know it is hard to believe but it´s true. Oh boy, we are having a rough time worldwide. This Corona virus is casuing chaos everywhere, and i know a lot of people are stuck at home during quarantine.

So, you might want to have a movie suggestion that is both bad, but funny as well for being a bad film. And one of the films that came to my mind is the 2016 film known as Devil´s Domain, directed by Jared Cohen ( who have directed a lot of low budget films in the past ). So why did i pick this film? First of all, not many people have heard about this film. Maybe some B movie horror fans have in America, but i guarantee here in Sweden you won´t find many people who have seen this film. I actually picked up this film on DVD after it was released, just because i am a fan of legendary actor Michael Madsen. Let´s be honest here, he does not have a lot to do in this film, and it feels like he did this film for money only. One of the positive things in this film is the evil make up effects. Devil´s Domain tries to bring up the subject of school bullying. I don´t mind the idea behind this story, because this is a big problem worldwide. But when you mix a bully story with selling your soul to Satan, you should probably do it in a effective way. Devil´s Domain is a very strange mixture of a horror film, and tries to bring in a serious bullying story that does not work very well. I will say though that actress Linda Bell as the character Destiny may be this film´s biggest highlight. If you have planned to watch a bad film, so you can laugh as well, then Devil´s Domain should be what you are looking for. I will leave a link where you can pick it up on DVD online, so you make sure you surprise the family. New movie reviews are on the way, so stay tuned and i will see you soon.

Cheers from Daniel