söndag 31 maj 2020

30 Years Anniversary Review Of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles

I don´t know about you, but i can easily buy myself a large pizza, with lots of cheese, and have a great meal. In all the years that i have travelled across the world, i like to try pizzas in different locations, because you never know if you might find a pizza restaurant that is fantastic. One of the cities i remember had really good pizza, is the city of Prague in Czech Republic. Speaking of pizza, how many of you are reminded of pizza when you hear the name Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles ? I know, it is hard not to think about a connection. The mutated turtles from New York really game my childhood a great start back in the late 80´s with their cartoon show. Rafael, Donatello, Michaelangelo and Leonardo, these ninja turtles delivered some fun moments in their classic cartoon TV series, and i must have seen a lot of episodes back in those days. It would not be long until we would see the first Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles own full feature film, released in 1990. I remember when this film came out, because me and my school friends used to play as Ninja Turtles, and we had their official toys. Of course i also had the Nintendo game as well, that i played every weekend when i was off from school. Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles became a hit worldwide in cinemas, and you could tell that these turtles are here to stay. And they did, bringing in more seasons of their cartoon show, and two more sequels to the original film. The sequel Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles II: The Secret Of Ooze was released just one year after the first film, and the third film was released in 1993. I always felt that this franchise was a fun part of my youth, since i grew up with their cartoon show. It would take 21 years until we had a remake, with the same name. But to be honest, this updated version from 2014 does not feel as charming as the classic films. This year the original film of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles turned 30 years, so i decided to do a 30 years anniversary review, to see if this film still holds up today. Are these turtles even more fun to watch after all these years, or should you watch the 2014 remake instead ?

As a crime wave rises in New York City, reporter April O´Neil ( Judith Hoag ) correctly theorizes that the mysterious ninja Foot Clan may be behind the rising chaos. The Shredder ( James Saito ), the Foot Clan leader, orders April silenced. She is attacked by the Foot Clan, but these soldiers are attacked soon by Raphael ( Josh Pais ), one of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, carry down April to their hideout. Here she meets the rest of the turtles known as Leonardo ( David Forman / Brian Tochi ( voice ) ), Donatello ( Leif Tilden / Corey Feldman ( voice ) ) and Michaelangelo ( Michelan Sisti / Robbie Rist ( voice ) ). Their leader and father figure Splinter ( Kevin Clash ) tells April the story of how they used to be ordinar animals, until they were mutated by toxic waste, and trained by Splinter in the art of ninjitsu. After the turtles escort April home, their hideout is ransacked by the Foot Clan as they kidnap Splinter. The turtles prepare to bring their master home, no matter what they have to do to complete their mission.

If you are a fan of these films from the past, i seriously doubt that you will change your mind about this film. This is a trip back to the days, before CGI effects took over and they were still using real actors in costumes. Watching a film like this today, does not only bring back a nostalgic feeling, but it also reminds me of how simple some of the 90´s films felt. You did not need a complicated plot, or serious acting. This was all about having fun, and you can still get that feeling today with this film. Let´s get into the characters. Actress Judith Hoag ( who have been in the TV series Nashville ) plays April O´Neal, the TV reporter. I have to say that Judith manage to bring her own version of April, and she does a good job portraying this character. One of my personal favourite characters in this film, is legendary actor Elias Koteas ( who you must see in the horror film The Haunting In Connecticut ) as the character Casey Jones. He is loud, confident, and he loves to kick ass, just about everything you need in a character to fit into this film. Then of course we have all the turtles, who are played by four different actors, but their voices are also from four other actors. Instead of presenting each one, let´s just get into their performances in costumes. I think that they actually work pretty well, considering they are fighting in pretty big costumes. Another thing that this film manage to do well with these four turtles, is giving them a lot of space with their comedy timing. If you are in the right mood, i guarantee you will have a good time when these four turtles bring on their fun personalities. I have to mention legendary actor James Saito ( who i will always remember from TV series Eli Stone ) as the evil character The Shredder. James manage to make Shredder exactly as bad as we wanted him to be. Does the martial art scenes still work in this film ? I would have to say yes, and there is plenty of fighting to enjoy. Sure, the dialogue can be cheesy at times, but that´s the whole meaing with a film like this, not to take itself too serious. Director Steve Barron manage to find the right tone for a film like this, and bring out the comic book feeling as well in a positive way. Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles is an action comedy that knows what kind of audience it wants to please, and that is why this film still works well. If you are planning a pizza night, why not do it while watching this film on DVD or Blu Ray ? In this combination, you are guaranteed to experience a nostalgic trip back to the 90´s. 

Rating: DDD

tisdag 26 maj 2020

The Podcast Everyone Should Be Listening To, Is Of Course The Rest Is Confetti

Cheers everyone!

Over the years that i have been writing reviews, i have had the chance to talk to people worldwide through social media. Most of the time it has been discussions with actors, including directors, but today i am proud to say that i have stepped into a new direction. I am always open to new contacts and help movie lovers that do their own social media projects.

I have been talking to one of the girls of the podcast known as The Rest Is Confetti, and her name is Macy. She and her friend Courtney are doing this podcast, and this is where they talk about independent films, and especially obscure horror films. One of the reasons i feel that this podcast is so important, is because we need a podcast that talk about independent films. I personally feel that this is the most interesting podcast in many years, and since summer is getting closer, i have a feeling that this will be the podcast that everyone will be talking about worldwide this summer. I will be listening to every episode, and i hope all of you will as well. You can listen to this podcast on Spotify, or choose a different way to listen through other choices as well. i will give you a link to where you can listen to The Rest Is Confetti:


Last review of this month will be posted any day soon, and i have a lot of good stuff coming in June. Actually, next month i will be focusing more on independent horror films, since it would be nice to enter summer by supporting films in this genre. Take care everyone, and remember, The Rest Is Confetti is the place to be during this summer.

Cheers from Daniel!

lördag 23 maj 2020

35 Years Anniversary Review Of Fright Night

Ah yes, the 80´s. What a wonderful time it was for us who were children during these times. We may not have had Facebook or Instagram, but we had something even better called VHS rental stores. This were where you spent your days, looking at the coolest movies on VHS covers, and dreaming away that you would get a chance to meet Melanie Griffith from the cult film Cherry 2000. I have no idea how many days i spent in VHS rental stores every week, but let´s just say i focused more on my time there than in school. And you know what, i actually learned more in some subjects there, thanks to the VHS covers. The 80´s had a lot of great horror releases, and even if i was too young to rent films in those days, i had connections that would bring me the some great titles. One thing you have to admit, is that in the 80´s you could tell that vampires were making a great comeback, after some cheesy releases in the 70´s. It was like film makers wanted to take this genre to another level, and update the classic concept into a more modern World. And one of the best examples of that is when director Joel Schumacher released his vampire film The Lost Boys in 1987. For those of you who are young today, i can tell you that The Lost Boys was one of the best films to grow up with, before we turned into teenagers. The Lost Boys have everything you could wish for, such as cool characters, a great soundtrack, great looking vampires and fun horror scenes as well. But let´s go back two years before The Lost Boys was released, and talk about a different horror film called Fright Night. Released in 1985, this is considered to be one of the true 80´s classic. I first saw Fright Night when i was about 1989, when i was 11 years old. At that time, i remember seeing this film on TV for the first time. I believe it was my aunt who rent this film on VHS. I remember that Fright Night felt like a tribute to old school vampire films, and was entertained. I finally picked up Fright Night on Blu Ray a couple of years go from the UK, and i realised that this film turns 35 years old this year. I just had to watch it again, to see how i feel about Fright Night in present day. Is this still a cult horror classic, or has this film lost some of the magic over the years ?

 17-year-old Charley Brewster ( William Ragsdale ) is a big fan of traditional horror films, and especially his favourite TV series known as Fright Night, hosted by former vampire hunter Peter Vincent ( Roddy McDowall ). One evening, Charley discover that his next door neighbor Jerry Dandridge ( Chris Sarandon ), is a vampire responsible for the disappearances of several victims. Charley tells his mother Judy Brewster ( Dorothy Fielding ) about his neighbor, and she have a hard time believing him. Charley also try and tell his friends, with no bigger luck. So he decide to take this into his own hands, and Contact authorities. Detective Lennox ( Art Evans ) go with Charley to visit his neighbor Jerry, as Charley is hoping to prove that he is a murdered. It does not go well, and they leave the house. Charley get a visit from Jerry, where he warns him that he should stop with his vampire hunt, or something serious will happen. Charley is not giving up, and Contact the TV host, movie star Peter Vincent ( Roddy McDowall ), hoping he can help him. At first he is not interested, but when Charleys girlfriend Amy Peterson ( Amanada Bearse ) offer to pay him then he accept the offer. At first Peter believe this is all fake, until he see some signs that something is terribly wrong. Maybe Charley is telling the truth after all ?

Back in the day when i first saw Fright Night, i enjoyed the film for a number of reasons. But perhaps i always felt closer to The Lost Boys and watched that film more times. Since time have passed and Fright Night have this year turned 35 years, i can actually appreciate this film more now than what i did in the end of the 80´s. I probably did not think too much about it back then, but do we have some really good characters in this film. Let´s begin with the character Charley Brewster, played by actor William Ragsdale ( who you have also seen in the horror film The Reaping ). Brewster is the typical teenager, who is clearly afraid of his creepy neighbor Jerry. I have to say that William gives his character a realistic portrait of an ordinary teenager, and how you might have reacted in his situaton. Im not saying this film is realistic in any way, but his performance does work well with the teenage portrait of Brewster. Actress Amanda Bearse ( who everyone knows from the classic TV comedy series Married With Children )plays Charley´s girlfriend Amy, and she does this really good. Amy is the kind of  natural teenage girl we have all met at some point, when we were in this age. One of the best characters in this film is Peter Vincent - The Vampire Killer, played by legendary actor Roddy McDowall. He is absolutely brilliant in this role, and he is in my opinion one of the reasons why Fright Night is such a classic. Roddy manage to make Peter Vincent into his own unique character, and i must say this may be his best acting performance in his career. Legendary actor Chris Sarandon ( who i remember from the classic crime drama film Dog Day Afternoon ) plays the vampire Jerry Dandrige. He goes full into his character, and i don´t think anyone whould have done it better than him. One of the other reasons why Fright Night work so well, a part from the great characters, is that this film actually manage to balance classic vampire ingredients with effective practical effects. We also have a great soundtrack that fits really well with this time period.  Director Tom Holland clearly knew how to make a vampire film in his own unique way, and still make it feel timeless. Fright Night will continue to be one of the true vampire classics of the 80´s, and Peter Vincent may be the greatest cult characters within the vampire killers in cinema history. I strongly suggest you pick up this film on DVD or Blu Ray and celebrate 35 years of Fright Night this summer, and share this experience with the whole world. A high rating to a true classic 80´s horror film.

Rating: DDDD

Coming This Summer Of 2020, Let´s Have A Lou Diamond Phillips Summer!

Cheers everyone!

Daniel here, your favourite Swedish movie reviewer of all eternity. Really ? Yes, i know it is amazing. So i have thought abbout something for this summer, that we should do something that will fit perfect with summer. And what fits better with summer than legendary actor Lou Diamond Phillips ? I know, it can´t get any better than that. 

Most of you know Lou Diamond Phillips from the 1987 film La Bamba, where he played Ritchie Valens, the rock and roll singer. But he have done a lot of films over the years, so my idea is to pick out three films in his career, that i have not seen, and review these films each between the months of June to August. I have no idea what films i will choose so far. But i guarantee i will try to review three very different films in his career, that are all in different categories. A summer with Lou Diamond Phillips must be the greatest idea so far that i have heard in a long time, and i am pretty sure The Kardashians will agree with me on that.

Working on the last two movie reviews for this month, so stay tuned and have a fantastic weekend. I hope you will enjoy the reviews i have posted so far this month.

Cheers from Daniel !

fredag 22 maj 2020

The Dawn

All over the world, a lot of people are visiting their church, mosque, temple, depending on what religion you believe in. And in these days when we have all seen what this pandemic can do, it is not hard to understand why people need to hold on to their faith. But what if your faith is tested by something evil, that will try and take you down for good ? That is of course the moment where you need something to hold on to, when you know that this could end bad. In the movie industry, we have seen a lot of horror films with religious themes. One of the best religious horror films in the last 20 years, has to be the 2001 film known as Frailty. This film looks great, but also have a fantastic cast including Bill Paxton, Matthew McConaughey, Powers Boothe and Luke Askew. Frailty is actually directed by Bill Paxton, and i have to say he did a really good job, telling the story of father Meiks, a hard working man who is trying to raise his young boys. But one day, Meiks claims that he was visited by an angel, who wants him to kill demons, who may look by humans but are actual demons. Meiks go out and find these people, as he kill them brutally. Meiks keeps getting more messages from this angel, as he is told to kill more demons. He finally reveal to his boys what he needs to do, and hope they will accept his mission. Frailty really shows you hos destructive religion can be, when you don´t know what is reality and fantasty. A must see on DVD or Blu Ray, that is actually worth buying to your movie collection. If you are one of those who enjoyed The Conjuring, i am sure you saw the creepy nun that terrified everyone. Nuns can be very effective in horror films, and we have seen several releases over the last few years with this theme. I recently came across one film that looked interesting, that is known as The Dawn. Since i like to pick up DVD horror films, i decided to get myself a copy and see if this film would be as interesting, as the cover of The Dawn seems to be. Is this one of the better horror films with nuns in recent years, or is this a film that fails to bring anything interesting to the table ?

During World War I, young child Rose live with her family in the countryside. Her father is suffering from his experiences of war, and he can´t provide everything with what this family needs. One night, he get up and murder everyone, except Rose who manage to escape from the house. Rose is taken to a convent, where the nuns welcome their new sister into a new life. 10 years later Rose ( Devanny Pinn ) is a big part of the sisterhood, and keep working on her faith. She is considering if she should take her " final vows " in the convent. Because of the aforementioned tragedy, she keeps having nightmares, flashback and visions. As her nightmares become even worse, she is questioning if she might be attacked by something extremely evil.

If you were hoping to see lots of blood, and lots of jump scares, then this film might disappoint you. On the other hand, if you enjoy a horror movie that takes it´s time to build up the atmosphere, then you might find The Dawn interesting. This is a film made on a low budget, but you can feel that this film team have tried to capture the time period of World War I, and how the main character grew into her new life as a nun. But we do have a major problem with this film, and that is that the horror scenes are unfortunately not very effective. The plot actually have a great setting for delivering some old school horror ingredients, but for some reason they don´t really use those tools correctly. Let me give you one example, as we see the main character Rose is experiencing an evil presence. Usually when we see someone being attacked by something evil, it can be very effective. In this film you don´t really feel that she is in a dangerous situation, as the film tries to push forward with the evil entity. And this is such a shame, because i do like the location of this film with the convent, and the sisterhood of the nuns. But when you don´t make the horror scenes effective enough to carry this movie forward, you loose some of the power that this film would have needed. Lead actress Devanny Pinn ( who you might remember from the Rolf Kanesky film Party Bus To Hell ) as Rose, is actually an interesting character. And i do feel that she is a good choice for this film. But, since she can´t deliver strong enough horror scenes on her own, you get a sense that this film does not take itself very serious. It is nice to see actress Stacey Dash ( who i guarantee you will recognize from the 1995 comedy Clueless ) as the character Sister Ella. Unfortunately, she is not given the chance to be seen in more scenes. Director Brandon Slagle ( who is releasing his new interesting sci fi film Attack Of The Unknown this summer ) do have some interesting ideas with this film, and he did start the film in a powerful way with the murder of an entire family. But for some reason he does not continue with the horror influences, on the same level as the beginning of the film. Too bad, because i do feel that this could have been an interesting horror film. I suggest you check out St. Agatha instead, and we will look forward to see Attack Of The Unkown this summer, i have a feeling that will be a tasteful treat.

Rating: DD

torsdag 21 maj 2020

Spenser Confidential

There is a rule in Hollywood, that we have seen in many years. Release the films that we don´t have high expectations of in the month of January, and we will see if anyone wants to see the film. There are a lot of examples of films that have been released exactly this month, such as horror action film known as I, Frankenstein, released in 2014 ( with Aaron Eckhart ). Or how about Vice in 2015 ( with actors such as Bruce Willis and Thomas Jane ) ? These are just two good examples of releases that people had no high expectations of in Janurary. I actually find it fun every year with the releases of this month, and there are actually a few films that have turned out to be better than expected. Especially one film in January of 2013, when director Peter Berg released his military action film Lone Survivor. This film turned out to be a box office success, pulling in over 154 million dollars, on a budget of 40 million dollars. Not bad for a January release. Lone Survivor is based on the eponymous 2007 non-fiction book by authors Marcus Luttrel and Patrick Robinson, that tells the story of what happened to Seal Team 10 in Afghanistan, in the summer of 2005. This was actually the first film where director Peter Berg and actor Mark Wahlberg worked together, and it turned out to be a great match. Lone Survivor manage to deliver a solid story, and some great acting performances as well. If you have not seen this film for any reason, you should check it out. Director Peter Berg continued making films together, such as Deepwater Horizon and Patriots Day. Both of these films are really good, and worth checking out You could tell that actor Mark Wahlberg could deliver great characters with the help of director Peter Berg, and i had high hopes for their next film Mile 22. That film turned out to be their worst film, that they have worked on together. Too bad, but i suppose it is hard to make everything right. When i heard the news that director Peter Berg would team up again with Mark Wahlberg in the Netflix film Spenser Confidential, i was happy. Could they finally be back on track again with something good this time ? Is this the best team work from both os these men since Patriots Day, or is Spenser Confidential not worth checking out at all ?

Detective Spenser ( Mark Wahlberg ) arrives with his partner Driscol ( Bokeem Woodbine ) to the home of Captain John Boylan ( Michael Gaston ). While questioning about the woman named Gloria Wiesnewski ( Alexandra Vino ), and the tape footage of Wiesnewski´s murder leaked by Wayne Cosgrove ( Marc Maron ), the confrontation gets heated after Spenser sees Mrs Boylan´s bloody face, and beats Captain John sensleess. Spenser is sent to prison for 5 years. After serving his time, Spenser is released and picked up by his friend Henry Cimoli ( Alan Arkin ). At night, Captain John is driving talking to his daughter over the phone. An S U V drives right into him at a school bus yard, drag him out and kill him. The next morning, a nurse named Letitia Graham ( Hope Olaide Wilson ) comes home to find her husband Terrence Graham ( Brandon Scales ) dead. Spenser is considered to be a suspect, while he knows he had nothing to do with these murders. But when Spenser begin to do his own investogation of what happened, he is about to find out another truth that was supposed to stay hidden.

I could be wrong about this, but i get a sense that director Peter Berg could have been inspired by the 1982 classic film 48 Hours. Not that these films have in lot in common, but the concept of of Spenser Confidental reminds me of the teamwork that Nick Nolte and Eddie Murphy had in 48 Hours. Because this film actually manage to deliver both good comedy timing, and great looking action scenes as well. If you have seen the previous films that Mark Wahlberg and director Peter Berg have made together before, i have to say that Spenser Confidential stands out from their catalogue. This is a much more simple film, that is made for fans of action films such as Lethal Weapon. Speaking of Mark Wahlberg, i don´t need to tell you in detail why he is good as the main character Spenser. He knows how to deliver a great character, especially in action films. One of the biggest susprises for me personally, is how good actor Winston Duke is as the character Hawk is. Imagine a combination of Mr T, and the friendly John Coffey in The Green Mile, and you have Hawk. He may seem like a soft guy, but once he gets his mood in the right place, we get that violent behavior that we all were hoping for. Comedian actress Iliza Schlesinger plays the rough, bad ass character Cissy Davis. And she is so good, that she may be one of the highlights in this film. Legendary actor Alan Arkin as Henry proves once more why he is so natural on screen, and how he manage to bring out characters in his own unique way. If you are looking for an intelligent film, with a lot of depth and intelligent conversations, then you are not going to find it here with Spenser Confidential. This is a film made for fans of action films, who just want to be entertained with fun characters, and great looking action scenes. Director Peter Berg have definetely stepped it up in the right direction since Mile 22, and i am happy to see him back on track. I am looking forward to see these guys work together again, perhaps even see a sequel to this film ? I guess we will have to wait and see. Spenser Confidential is a good choice on Netflix, that will entertain all ages.

Rating: DDD

måndag 18 maj 2020

Disappearance At Clifton Hill

We all experience trauma in many different ways. It might have been something we experienced as children, or if we lost someone close to us. Some might have gone through an abusive childhood, or a horrible marriage as an adult. Trauma can change our life completely, especially if you have experienced something horrible. When it comes to films that are dealing with trauma experiences, there are a lot of titles to choose between. And i could easily pick films that are not too old, but i decided to go in another direction. Let´s go back 19 years in time to the year of 2001, when the psychological thriller Don´t Say A Word was released. Directed by Gary Fleder ( who directed the wonderful crime film Things To Do In Denver When You´re Dead ), this film tells the stort of Dr. Nathan R. Conrad ( played by legendary actor Michael Douglas ) who is asked by Dr. Louis Sachs ( played by legendary actor Oliver Platt ) to examine a " disturbed " young girl named Elisabeth Burrows ( played by actress Brittany Murphy, who will always be remembered ). It turns out that Elisabeth may be the only one who can save a kidnapped girl, with a six-digit number that only she knows. Don´t Say A Word may not be a masterpiece in any way, but as an psychological thriller, i have to say that this film feels effective, especially thanks to the great cast. I suggest you pick this film up on DVD or Blu Ray, and please listen to the commentary track. You do get some interesting details about making this film, and the vision that director Gary Fleder had making this film. I recently came across a thriller film on VOD i have not seen called Disappearance At Clifton Hill. I noticed that this film is directed by Albert Shin, who directed the really good film In Her Place, released in 2014. Is this a thriller that could please a lot of fans of this genre, or is the Disappearance At Clifton Road a film that no one will notice at all ?

When Abby was a small girl, she witnessed a kidnapping while fishing with her family. Many years have gone by, and Abby ( Tuppence Middleton ) return to her hometown of Niagra Falls, to find out what happens with her mother´s motel, as she and her sister Laure ( Hannah Gross ) to find out about their heritage. Laurie is not interested in the motel at all, while Abby can´t imagine letting that place go. While Abby remember the kidnapping she witness as a child. She diecides to invetigate what really happened back then. The further she digs into the evidence, the more she realise what lies behind the real truth.

If you enjoy old school thrillers that takes it´s time to reveal the truth, then you should enjoy Disappearance At Clifton Hill. It is like going back to the 90´s, when you saw those thrillers that took place in a small town, where secrets have been hidden for many years. In these days when a lot of thrillers try to be more modern, while this film tries to go back to the roots of how thrillers used to be. And i appreciate the effort, since i think we need thrillers, that heads toward a more traditional concept. One of the things that especially make this film interesting, is that this film becomes an investigation of a child who witnessed a kidnapping, and she is now as an adult trying to find out the truth. When the main character Abby digs deeper into the case, the film manage to balance the story with a realistic portrait of a woman who have lived with trauma for a long time. Lead actress Tuppence Middleton ( who i am sure that most of you have seen in the Netflix TV series Sense 8 ), gives her character Abby a very interesting personality. You can sense that she is struggling with her past, knowing that she is sure that she did witness a kidnapping. One of the characters that i really feel give this film a lift up, is thanks to the performance of legendary actor / director David Lynch ( director of Scanners and A History Of Violence ). His character Walter have been searching for evidence on this case for a long time, so you do find out some interesting details through him. I will say that the only negative i can say, is that the film is a bit slow in some scenes, and you need to have patience to find out the truth. Director Albert Shin have clearly felt inspired to make a film, that brings back the thriller genre back on it´s feet, with a simpe but effective story. If you don´t want CGI effects, and no expolsions, then i have feeling that Disappearance Of Clifton Hill should probably be a good choice for you. 

Rating: DDD

söndag 17 maj 2020

True Fiction

There is something special about holding in a book, with your bare hands. To be able to read a story, that will capture your attention, from start to finish. There is nothing wrong about reading books digital, or listening to books, but there is something special about reading a real book. I have quite many that have been collecting dust for some time, and my plan is to read more in the future, and i hope i will get a chance. If there is one book i always loved, is the Stephen King novel Misery ( one of the few books i have read more than twice ). The story of author Paul Sheldon, who is seriously injured in a car accident, is taken to the home of Annie Wilkes. Annie turns out to be one of his biggest fans, who loves his books about character Misery. It becomes clear that there is something seriously wrong with Annie. This is a really good book, and i love the film adaptation as well from director Rob Reiner. The acting in this film is really good, especially from lead actors James Caan and Kathy Bates. This is one of the few films that really capture how fans of someone famous go way over the line, where they don´t understand that you can´t do anything you want, just because you are a fan of a famous person. Misery may be one of the better film adaptations from a Stephen King novel, and this film actually turns 30 years old this year. If you have not seen Misery, i suggest you pick it up on DVD or Blu Ray. Late last year i was hearing a lot about an independent film known as True Fiction. There were some really positive reviews coming out for this film, and i had a feeling that this might be something special. I finally got a chance to see True Fiction on VOD. Is this one of the biggest surprises of this spring, or is True Fiction doomed to fail from start to finish ?

Avery Malone ( Sara Garcia ) is a young writer, who adores her favourite author Caleb Conrad ( John Cassini ). Avery is given a chance to become Caleb´s assistant, to help him with his work in his cabin. This is a dream come true for Avery, and she is so excited about being a part of his life. But when Caleb begin to give Avery lie detector tests, she feels that something is not right. She was only supposed to help him, not to let him in to her personal life. What started so innocent, is about to take a different turn.

True Fiction is a really interesting film from a psychological perspective. You may think you know how the plot will turn out, but this film is actually more intelligent than you would expect. The plot takes a completeley different turn towards the end of the film, wich proves that there is still hope for psychological horror / thrillers. In the beginning of the film you sense that this film have been inspired by the Stephen King novel Misery. I could be wrong of course, but if you have read the novel, or seen the film adaptation of Misery, i believe you might feel that True Fiction might have been inspired by that story. One of the most important details of this film, is how good lead actress Sara Garcia ( who some of you might remember from TV series X Company ). She really goes into her character Avery with full power,and give us a very interesting personality. The thing about Avery is that she looks so innocent and sweet from the beginning of the film, but turns into a completely different person as the film goes on. We also get a really good performance from actor John Cassini, playing author Caleb Conrad. The one thing i really feel that John manage to do, is to make his character Caleb feel like a very disturbing personality. To be able to do that, you have to know how to bring out this personality with a strong performance. And he does this in a wonderful way. One of the things that makes True Fiction stand out from most thrillers i have seen recently, is that this film builds up a horrifying atmosphere in this cabin. This is something you don´t really see that often, at least not in this genre. Director Braden Croft ( who directed the horror film Feed The Gods ) have made a film that is not only clever constructed, but also gives you an image of the balance between reality and fantasy, and how we handle difficult situations. I also feel that director Braden Croft manage to show human behavior on a disturbing level in this film, that especially makes this story fascinating. True Fiction may be one of the best horror / thrillers i have seen this year. I suggest you give this film a chance, and i guarantee that you will be surprised.

Rating: DDDD

lördag 9 maj 2020

The Bravest ( Lie huo ying xiong ) 烈火英雄

There is nothing better than putting out the barbecue a beautiful spring day. and throw on some sausages, hamburgers or meat slices. To gather your family for a wonderful barbecue dinner, with some cold drinks and some good laughs. But it is important to make sure you do the barbecue without any risks, because if the ground is dry, there is a risk that a fire could start. 2 years ago we had one summer where the government ( here in Sweden ) decided that it was forbidden for anyone to barbecue, because it was the hottest summer in many years. You could even get fined if they discovered that you were having a barbecue. I have seen one big fire happen that i remember, that took place in the late 90´s when my grandfather had a fire close to his cabin, that could have ended bad. Luckily we managed to put it out, and the biggest fire damage was a mountain area close to the cabin, that burned down all the bushes, and some smaller trees. The forest area there have returned since then and new trees have grown , so you can still find burned ashes in the area, if you look around the mountain. Speaking about fires, since i mentioned the 90´s, there is a film that i still think is one of the best firefighter films made back in 1991, and that is of course director Ron Howards epic drama Backdraft. This film may be almost 30 years old, but still looks great even today with a really good cast, majestic fire scenes and manage to capture the dangers of being a firefighter. One important detail about Backdraft, is that you also get to see how important it is to have a steady friendship in this dangerous work. No matter what happens, you have to help each other, no matter what it takes. I recently got a chance to see a Chinese film known as The Bravest on VOD, that turned out to be a huge hit at the Chinese box office last year, pulling in 244 million US dollars in ticket sales. A film about firefighters in China, could this be better than i expected, or should you skip The Bravest and watch Backdraft instead ?

Captain Jiang Liwei ( Xiaoming Huang ) is a very respected firefighter, who will do anything to make sure that no one will be harmed. At a location of a burning building, he and his team manage to rescue a little girl. But as they think the fire has been finished, one of the men, is suddenly killed with a room full of gas tanks. The fire department see that Jiang should have been in control over this situation, as one of their men died. He is forced to leave his job. Struggling after the death of his friend, Jiang tries to deal with situation with the help of his wife and son. When a really big oil spill cause chaos, the fires and explosions are so enormous that they will need every firefighter to go in to help. Jiang is also contacted, and of course he is willing to do what he can. The biggest problem is that if this fire spreads further, the city may be in bigger danger than they expected.

Knowing that this film is based on real life events of the Xingang Port oil Spill, makes this film feel a bit more interesting. Because when you see a film based on a oil spill disaster, you know that this could happen anywhere in this world. In this case you can clearly see that this disaster caused chaos, not only to the fire fighters, but also to everyone who worked hard to make sure the city is safe. I have to say i am impressed by the fire scenes in this film, It feels like you are at the location, and feel the impact of the fire explosions. Especially when the biggest explosions strike, i can´t remember the last time i saw a firefighter film that did this so well, it must have been Backdraft. But that´s not the only thing positive about The Bravest. This film also manage to tell the story from a family perspective, how important it is to do the best you can in a very serious situation. When we get into the characters, there are some names i feel that should be mentioned. Let´s begin with lead actor Xiaoming Huang ( who some of you might remember from Ip Man 2 ), who plays the character Jiang. You can clearly see him suffer, after he is asked to leave his job as a firefighter. The job that he loved more than anything, and the passion he have for being a firefighter. Xiaoming manage to balance his character in a realistic way, who is struggling with his personal issues and trying to stay strong for his family. Hou Yong ( that you might recognize from the epic chinese film The Battle Of Red Cliff ) plays the character Wu Chenguang, who is the fire chief. He is actually great in this role, and clearly goes into his character with full power. There are some more actors who does a great job, especially in the action scenes. It has been a long time since i have seen a good action film with firefighters, and The Bravest may be the best in many years. Everything is not great about this film, but considering that this film does make an impact of how hard this job is, that is a positive sign. Director Tony Chan have proved that you can do a good action drama with firefighters, and he manage to balance this well in The Bravest. I guarantee, after watching this film, you will be more careful about handling fire.

Rating: DDD

onsdag 6 maj 2020

Foxtrot Six

I am an old school action fan of films from the 80´s and 90´s. There were so many good action films made during these years, and i could easily mention at least 20 titles that you have to see. But the thing is that after the year of 2000, and up until 2010, there were just a few really good action films released. Why is that ? To be honest i think that the action genre was in a crisis, with very few director´s who dared to make action films just like the old days, and focused too much on CGI effects. But all of that was about to change in the year of 2011, when director Gareth Evans brought us the fantastic Indonesian martial arts action film The Raid: Redemption. Now this is what i call a real action film. This might be one of the most violent films in modern day cinema, and there are so many fantastic martial art scenes to enjoy. Martial arts actor Iko Uwais proved that he is one of the best in making martial art action scenes, and he must have hurt himself a lot during the filming of The Raid. Some of the fighting choreography is so well made, that i guarantee you will be impressed. If you have not seen The Raid: Redemption, you should be ashamed of yourself. This is a film that you have to see, because this film shows you how you make a film look beautiful. 3 years later Uko Uwai returned with the sequel The Raid 2, and i have to say that this is a worthy sequel. Director Gary Evans returned to direct this sequel, and he managed to deliver another delightful action feast for everyone to enjoy. There are plenty of fighting scenes in The Raid 2 that look so good, that you will be applauding infront of the TV. If you think of other Indonesian films, there are some other great choices as well to check out. One of the titles that came to my mind is the 2012 Indoniesian horror film Modus Anomali ( also known as Ritual ). My advice is that you know as little as possible about this film, because that´s the best way to experience this film. This film is directed by Joko Anwar, who clearly wanted to give us a horror film that stood out from the ordinary releases. Earlier this year, i was hearing some positive reviews on an Indonesian action film called Foxtrot Six. A film that takes Place in the future, and includes martial arts, lots of guns, i just had to check this film out. Is this the best action film of this year, or is Foxtrot Six as forgettable as Victoria Beckham´s solo album back in 2001 ?

The world is suffering from overpopulation and have pushed the global food supply to the breaking point. In Indonesia, one of the few fertile regions left, the Piranas Party have used this to rise in power. But as things gets worse a rebel group known as The Reform has risen up. Angga ( Oka Antara ) an ex-special forces officer turned politician is captured by the rebels. It turns out that The Rebels are led by his presumed dead ex Sari ( Julie Estelle ). He also finds out that he have a daughter. Angga joins The Rebels and will do what it takes to help them. He put together his old team, Oggi ( Verdi Solaiman ), the slightly psycho Bara ( Rio Dewante ), Tino ( Arifin Putra ), hacker Ethan ( Mike Lewis ) and sniper Spec ( Chikko Jerikho ). When an operation goes wrong, Wisnu ( Edward Akbar ) and his soldiers threaten to kill his whole family. Angga have no other option, he and his team must infiltrate the government´s stronghold.

Have you been waiting for an action film that does not focus on acting, and rely more on great looking action scenes, including some nice fighting scenes as well ? Then i have some good news for you. Foxtrot Six is the film that will scare all the Sex And The City fans away, and make old school action fans feel like they have come home. This is an action feast that is clearly made of passion, for the action films we grew up to love. To be honest, in a film like this, you don´t really care about the acting. Because it is the action scenes that matters, and i have to say that this is a film in my taste. But let´s get into the characters that i do enjoy for a bit. Let us begin with the evil character Wisnu, played by actor Edward Akbar. Since there are not many strong villain characters in action films these days, i have to say that Edward surprised me with his character Wisnu. He is heartless, rough and do not give a shit about how many people will die. And as a villain in an action film like this, i have to say he did a really good job portraying such an asshole. The next character that comes to my mind is Spec, played by Chicco Jerikho. The thing about Spec is that he is not a big talker, but he will kick ass. And this is one of the reasons why i enjoy this character, because Spec is not here to be friendly, he just wants to empty his ammo and let the bullets talk instead. Oka Antara in the lead role as Angga, is actually not that bad either. One of the things that i appreciate with Foxtrot Six, is that this film is trying to combine martial arts with futuristic action. Everything may not be perfect, but i do enjoy the production of this film. The only negative i can say really, is that this film might be a bit too long, landing at almost 2 hours. Other than that, i have to say that Foxtrot Six gives hope, that we can still get films like this one made in the future. Director Randy Korompis have made his first full feature directorial debut film in a surprisingly good way. If he keeps doing more action films like this one, i know we will get something really special in the future. Foxtrot Six may turn out to be one of the better action films this year. I suggest you pick it up on DVD or Blu Ray and show your support to everyone who is involved in making this film, that we appreciate all the hard work they did to make this film become reality.

Rating: DDD