fredag 30 oktober 2020

The Barge People

Halloween is here. The weekend that is mostly known for being a weekend of horror, for fans all across the world. It is that time of the year when you know it is ok to bring out your favourite torture tools, just in case you get to pull out some teeth, or perhaps an old classic such as opening up your stomache ? It always seems like it is never impossible to find ways to have fun on Halloween, no matter how you do it. One of the biggest traditions on Halloween, is to watch horror films in many different genres. There are so many wonderful titles we could talk about here, but i decided to pick out 2 films that are worth watching during Halloween weekend. Let us begin with the 1997 film known as Wishmaster, directed by Robert Kurtzman ( who have worked on a lot of horror film with special makeup effects, on classic films such as Tremors ). Wishmaster tells the story of a djinn, a wish-granting, evil genie who is released from a jewel and seeks to capture the woman who discovered him. Wishmaster is a fun B horror movie with some really nice practical effects. But that´s not all, the cast in this film have some really big legends in horror films, such as Robert Englund, Tony Todd and Kane Hodder among others. One of the reasons why Wishmaster is a great Halloween film, is because this is a brutal film, and there is also some funny references to genie stories. If you enjoy practical horror films, then Wishmaster is a film you should see. My next pick among horror films is John Carpenter´s film Vampires, released in 1998. This is one of those 90´s classics that has a bit of everything, that combines cool action scenes with vampires attacking, and legendary actor James Woods as the very cool character Jack Crow, who is the leader of the vampire hunters. Legendary director John Carpenter proved that you can combine action and horror with his film Vampires, and i suggest you pick up the Blu Ray release from Arrow Video. For a pretty long time i have heard about a horror film called The Barge People, especially after the trailer was released. This looked exactly like my kind of horror film, and i finally got my hands on a DVD copy. Is this one of the best horror releases of this year, or is The Barge People a really big disappointment ?

Sisters Kat ( Kate Davies-Speak ) and Sophie ( Natalie Martins ), and their polar opposite boyfriends: the outdoorsy Mark ( Mark McKirdy ) and the preppy businessman Ben ( Matt Swales ). They are travelling across the English canals on a barge, to enjoy a vacation together. But what they don´t know, is that in these canals, there is an old secret waiting for them to be revealed.

If you are a fan of Wes Craven´s classic The Hills Have Eyes, and you enjoy the first Wrong Turn film, then i have a feeling that The Barge People is exactly what you are looking for. This is a very brutal gory horror film, that does not hold back on slasher scenes or blood. In some ways you could probably say that this is one of the more brutal horror films that i have seen this year, since they don´t hold back on violence. And this is actually one of the biggest advantages with The Barge People, that they go all in to make this film really brutal. It makes this film more fun to watch, as this film feels like a throwback to old school slasher films. One detail that i was worried about, was if the masks would look silly. But i have to say that they actually do a pretty good job with the masks, and they actually fit in well with the background story of these fish creatures. The acting in this film is actually not that bad at all, at least from some of the characters. Actress Kate Davis-Speak ( who some of you will recognize from the independent horror film Escape From Cannibal Farm ) is one of those actors who do a good job with her character Kat, since she gives an impression that she has a great personality. Actress Makenna Guyler also give a solid performance as Jade. When it comes to the plot, this film does not make anything too complicated. It is a very easy told story, but that actually works for this type of film. The only thing i feel should have been told more, is more on the background on the fish people. We do find out some details, but i feel that a little bit more information would probably make these creatures even more interesting. Other than that, i have to say that The Barge People is a great slasher film, that will clearly be a great choice this Halloween weekend for horror fans out there. Director Charlie Steeds have managed to combine monsters with English canal boats in an unexpected pleasent way, and that is something i have to admire him for doing. He also proves to be good at this genre, using effective camera technique in the attack scenes. If you don´t know what to Watch this Halloween, pick up The Barge People on DVD, Blu Ray or VOD, and i guarantee you will have a good time among the pumpkins, and the decapitated heads of course.

Rating: DDD

torsdag 29 oktober 2020

Daniel´s Choice For Bad Films: Jungle 2 Jungle ( 1997 )

If you grew up with comedies like myself in the 90´s, you remember some films that were actually pretty funny. There were some films that actually managed to entertain you, but there were also some really bad comedies that were released in the 90´s. Some director´s decided to make some films that no one really asked for, and it turned out to prove that some ideas are not meant to be made into films. Since there are a couple of films that comes to my mind, let us pick out two films that i especially remember being bad. Let us begin with the 1997 comedy known as Father´s Day with legendary comedians Robin Williams and Billy Crystal. I remember the first time i saw this film on VHS, and i wondered what the hell did i just watch ? Considering you have 2 really good comedians in this film, and you can barely laugh anything at all, you know it is a very bad sign. Oh, this film is also directed by legendary director Ivan Reitman ( the director of Ghostbusters and Twins ), and considering that he have done some great comedies in the past, this has to be one of the worst films he have ever made. I am a big fan of both comedians Robin Williams and Billy Crystal, so to see them both in Father´s Day turned out to be a terrible choice for them. My next bad 90´s comedy choice is the 1993 film known as The Skateboard Kid. Imagine if you would do a skateboard version of the classic 80´s TV show Knight Rider more foused to entertain kids, with a talking skateboard instead and some really awful special effects, and you have this film. The Skateboard Kid probably entertained smaller children back in 1993 - 1994, but i was about 16 years old when i saw this film the first time, and it did not make me laugh. I actually rewatched the film again many years later, and found out that this film have turned out to be even more bad now. To hear legendary actor Dom Deluise as the speaking skateboard, just feels like a tragedy. Such a legend from the Cannonball Run films, decided to do such a bad film as The Skateboard Kid, must have been because he just got a good pay check. There are some 90´s comedies that i have not seen, since i have heard some bad things about certain titles. So i decided to pick out one title, and that title is the 1997 comedy known as Jungle 2 Jungle. I have seen some of comedian Tim Allen´s films from the 90´s, but i never felt interested in seeing this title back in the day when i saw it at VHS stores. But i decided to give this film on chance, since i got a good price on a DVD copy. Is this a Disney comedy that actually have entertainment value, or is Jungle 2 Jungle just as predictable as an Instagram video with schlager singer Anna Book ?

Michael Cromwell ( Tim Allen ) is a self-absorbed commodities broker living in New York City. Wanting to marry his new fiancée Charlotte ( Lolita Davidovich ), he needs to obtain a divorce from his first wife Dr. Patricia Cromwell ( Jobeth Williams ) who left him some years earlier. Patricia now lives with a semi-Westernised tribe in Canaima National Park, Venenzuela. Michael travels there to get her signature on divorce papers, but upon arriving, Patricia reveal that they have a son together named Mimi-Siku ( Sam Huntington ). Michael attempts to bond with Mimi-Siku in his brief stay with the tribe and promise him to take him to New York. That promise will turn out to be sooner that Michael expected.

I did not see Jungle 2 Jungle back in the 90´s because i have read some negative reviews in the newspapers ( i used to read a lot of movie reviews in news papers during this time ). Looking at Jungle 2 Jungle today, 23 years later, i can tell you that i don´t really know who this film was supposed to entertain. Was this film supposed to entertain children, or parents as well ? Because the comedy scenes feels forced, and Tim Allen does what he usually does, acting over the top. I know this is a remake of a french comedy called An Indian In The City ( a film i did not see, but i remember that some critics enjoyed this french film ), but it does not really matter. This is a lame attempt just to do a Disney comedy that does not deliver some really funny moments. I get it, they tried to make a film about cultural differences between the big city and the amazon jungle. But without any jokes that match with the story, it becomes clear that this film is more of a cash grab than an effective comedy. Comedian Tim Allen have a past of trying to make families laugh, and he probably have, especially in The Santa Clause films. His character Michael in this film, is someone you don´t really care much about. And this is supposed to be a part of a sweet story of a father, who is getting to know his unknown son. If only they could have focused on doing some funny scenes between the father and the son in different situations, that would have been more entertaining to see. The son played by actor Sam Humington ( who have done some good acting performances in his adult life ) does not really give much of an impact in this film. I realise that he was young when he made Jungle 2 Jungle, and everyone has to start somewhere. Unfortunately, this is not the film you will remember Sam for honestly. Director John Pasquin ( who directed The Santa Clause film with Tim Allen ) have made a Disney remake of a French film without any attempt to make this remake funny, charming or entertaining. It is almost like he thought that this would be the best way to do a remake, without seeing the mistakes he made. Jungle 2 Jungle is one of those Tim Allen films you probably won´t remember, and there is a good reason for it.

Rating: D

Daniel´s Choice For Bad Films: Camp Hell ( 2010 )

Bad films, what would life be without them ? Probably pretty boring, since there are atually bad films that can be fun to watch. It all depends on the director´s, the cast and of course the budget of the film. I have seen a lot of bad films, going back as far as back in the 80´s, when you could easily find bad films on VHS at the rental store. All you needed to see on the VHS cover was sexy bikini girls, machine guns, 80´s hair style and beer cans of course. If you were lucky you got some nudity as well, or even surfing nazis in the Troma classic Surf Nazis Must Die ( one of the greatest movie titles of all time ). The 90´s continued the legacy of bad films, and they made sure that we could still be entertained, in films such as the 1994 B action movie Cyber Tracker. This is one of those films you can watch, just to get some cheesy dialogue, bad special effects and action scenes that probably did not cost a lot, but is entertaining to look at. In the lead role you have Don " The Dragon " Wilson, who those of you who grew up in the 90´s probably remember as a martial arts action star, and in a film like this he actually managed to do better than in a lot of his B movies. There is a sequel as well, and actually not to bad. But if you want to watch a fun bad B movie, then Cyber Tracker is a great choice to pick up on DVD. Even if you can enjoy some bad movies for what they are, there are some bad films that you can´t enjoy, simply because they are not even entertaining. I could easily say a whole list of films that are terrible, but i came to think about one specific title. And that is the 2010 ( horror ? ) film known as Camp Hell, directed by George VanBuskirk. This is one of those films i decided to check out back when the film was released, knowing nothing about the film, other than the DVD cover had actor Jesse Eisenberg on it. I have not seen the film in quite some time, so i decided to see if it is still as bad as i thought it was on the DVD release, many years ago. Is it possible that Camp Hell have gotten better over the years, or is it still trash that should end up in the nearest trash can ?

Troubled teen Tommy Leary ( Will Denton ) is sent to a summer camp organized by his strict convenant Church, where he recieves advice from Father Phineas ( Bruce Davidson ) on the iportance of a sin-free Life. Unfortunately, he is tempted by cute fellow camper Melissa ( Valentina de Angelis ), and his actions incur the wrath of a demon to whom Father Phineas has already lost one soul.

One of the biggest issues i have with Camp Hell, is that this is supposed to be a horror film. There are very few scenes where you can feel that there was an attempt to make a horror film, but Camp Hell is not scary or works as a horror film. If this was their best attempt to make a horror film appreciated by the horror community, i can easily say that they failed big time. There is really nothing here that will leave a bigger impact on you from a horror perspective. One thing that this film at least manage to do, is having 2 characters that fit in well. Let us begin with the character Christian ( played by actor Christopher Denham ), who is a true asshole. Not only does he try and control the young men at this ( sort of a bible camp ), but he also need to tell them how to behave, the way he thinks it should be. And Christopher actually manage to do this character in a way, that makes him feel more interesting than many of the other characters, since he is such a douchebag. The second character that at least feels a bit more interesting is called Jack, played by actor Connor Paolo, who is a rebellion at this bible camp ( for good reasons ). I actually wish that this film would have been more focused on the character Jack instead, and it could have been more interesting. So what are we left with ? Well, a story that is supposed to make sure that we feel scared of doing any sins. And it does not work, because the horror elements does not match very well with the story itself. I suppose that this film is meant to be a bit friendly, especially for Christians, not to be too scary. But if the point was to make people with faith to feel scared, then this film does not really do this with any attempt to feel scary. Director George Van Buskik have only directed one film, and that is this one. Perhaps we will not see him direct again, and maybe it is better that way, considering what he brought us with this film. Camp Hell is about exciting to watch as seeing a teapot boiling water, and that should be enough of a warning sign, why you should not watch this film. I really hope Jesse Eisenberg regret being in this film, if i was him, i would regret it.

Rating: D

P.S. If you really want to see Camp Hell without getting the DVD, it is available on Amazon Prime. Maybe i should not have said that, i might actually have done my first big sin. 

A Request Review From Swedish TV Legend Dennis Magnusson: The Postman

I remember back in the 80´s when i used to get hand written letters sent to me. It was two girls ( who were actually both interested in me, is that even possible ? ) and sent me shampoo bottles and other shower products. I remember telling my mom:- Do i smell that bad ? My mom laughed and said:- No Daniel, they want to be nice to you, because they like you. Looking back today, i am not sure i believe that, i think i must have washed my hair too little. But i did enjoy getting the letters, especially because they smelled really nice. Moving into the 90´s i used to have a penpal from America, her name was Debbie and she lived in Ohio. I got to know her through a penpal magazine, where you could read people´s penpal requests. I had no idea if she would ever reply me back, but she did. And we probably talked through letters for at least 3 years. The reason why we stopped is because of her boyfriend who got jelaous, and he did not want her to have a penpal from Sweden. Too bad it had to end that way, but 3 years is still a pretty long time to write letters. And i might actually have one of the VHS tapes she bought me as a gift, because she knew i loved action films in the 90´s. When the 2000´s entered, it was beginning to change about writing letters. Internet was taking over everything, so i only sent hand written letters at special moments to family members. Nowdays, i have actually tried to bring back the hand writing letter, by sending each actor who pose with our tshirt for our Project The Golden Boys Of Sundsvall, a hand written letter each. And from what i understand, they really appreciate reading a letter like this. Speaking of letters and the 90´s, how many of you remember the Kevin Costner film The Postman, released in 1997 ? Swedish TV Icon Dennis Magnusson requested a review of this film from me, so of course i wanted to make sure his wish comes true. I have not seen this film since the 90´s on VHS, and to be honest i don´t remember much about the plot either. So this will be interesting to see, is The Postman a film that is actually better than i remember, or has this film aged more than Mike Pence´s wrinkles ?

In 2013, an unnamed enters the Oregan flatlands, trading Shakespearean performances for food and water. In one of the towns, the nomad ( Kevin Costner ) is forced into the ranks into the predominant neo-fascist militia in the area, known as the Holnists and run by General Betlehem ( Will Patton ), who schemes to take over the fallen United States with his regime. When the nomad escapes, he takes refuge in a long-deceased postman´s mail vehicle. The nomad dress into the postman´s uniform and mail bag, he arrives in Pineview claiming to be from the newly restored US government. Now known as The Postman, he brings hope in a world where General Betlehem wants to control everyone and everything.

Knowing that this film was released 2 years after Waterworld,( that i consider to be one of my personal favourite films from Kevin Costner ), you can tell that this film is also inspired by post apocalyptic stories, and in this case it is a story focused on a mail man. There is an interesting idea behind The Postman, where you realise that without a postman in society, the way to communicate would be lost forever. With that said, this film has a lot of other subjects thrown in here as well. You have the story of Kevin Costner´s character, who is struggling to find his way in society, and manage to get some respect as a postman. But you also have other stories in here, that are connected with the postman. My major problem with this film is that you can´t really feel how important it is to be a postman. This film clearly try and show how important the title is behind the occupation of being a postman, and i can understand why they wanted to bring this up in an apocalyptic future. But the main story gets lost with such a long playtime, almost 3 hours long. Some scenes feels drawn out to fill in some of the plot holes, and it does not really help the film become more interesting. A few details that this film manage to do, is have some interesting angles on an apocapyptic society. I also enjoy some of the costume designs, that are simple but effective for the story. And most of all, this film do have an evil and interesting character under the name of General Betlehem, played by actor Will Patton. He is actually one of the highlights of The Postman. Kevin Costner is not horrible in this film, but as a lead character he does not feel as strong as he did in Waterworld. The Postman do have some good ideas, and there are some scenes where we get a sense of a story that do have something important to say. But with a play time of almost 3 hours, it takes too long to tell this story, and this film does not leave the big impact you were hoping for. Director Kevin Costner probably had a great vision for this film, but gives this film way too much space until he reaches his goal. If you love Kevin Costner films, you might find some reasons why you would want to watch The Postman, i personally would recommend checking out Waterworld instead.

Rating: DD

tisdag 20 oktober 2020

Daniels Bug B Horror Movie Delight: Caved In - Prehistoric Terror ( 2006 )

Ever since i was a little kid, i love seeing horror films with different kinds of bugs attacking humans. Back in the days of VHS rental stores, it was very easy to find several titles that looked like fun B horror movies, with bugs included. The one thing i especially enjoyed about films in this genre, is that they did not take themselves seriously, and just focused on making cheesy B movie horror. You knew that the acting would be bad, and you knew that you would not get fantastic dialogue, but that´s a part of the charm around this genre. One of the bug horror films i especially remember watching is the 1993 film known as Ticks. This was one of those films i must have rented at least 8 times, because this film actually tried to do some practical effects with huge ticks attacking. Ticks manage to combine classic bug horror, and throw is some surprises as well for the 90´s generation. Director Tony Randel ( who is probably most known for directing the sequel to Hellraiser, known as Hellbound: Hellraiser II ) combined some classic B movie  ingredients with Ticks and managed to update the concept to fit with the early 90´s style of horror films. If you have not seen Ticks for some reason, i suggest you pick it up on DVD or Blu Ray. Another title that i was reminded of is the 2006 horror film Slither, when a small town is invaded by Alien parasites. This film has a lot of fun horror scenes, that reminded me of the 1986 horror classic Night Of The Creeps. I am not sure, but you can sense that Slither might have been inspired by Night Of The Creeps, and that is of course only a positive sign. It is not often i review bug horror movies, so i decided to do that in a segment called Daniels Bug B Horror Movie Delight, to see a bug horror film i have not seen so far. And i found Caved In: Prehistoric Terror on DVD for a pretty good price. Is this a fun B horror movie for all ages, or is this just as bad as Stephen Baldwin´s film The Least Of These ?

In Switzerland in 1948, a group of miners in a salt mine, discover giant prehestoric rhinoceros beetles. The beetles attack the miners, and swiftly kill them. In the present day, a cave tour guide John Palmer ( Christopher Atkins ) is requested by Vincent ( Colm Meaney ) and Sophia ( Monica Barladenau ), to take a group of explorers down the mine. What they don´t know is that there are high-profile thieves looking for minerals down there, but that´s not their biggest problem. The prehestoric rhinoceros are still down there, and they don´t say no to human flesh.

One of the first things i noticed with the film Caved In, is that this film must have been inspired by old school bug horror films. Even if the bug themselves don´t look fantastic with the CGI effects, you can tell that the film team clearly were inspired by films from the past, and this is something that i appreciate. So what does Caved In have to offer in this genre of B horror movies ? If you appreciate bad fun acting, hearing Romanian actors speak bad English, and bugs attacking people, then Caved In should probably be exactly what you are looking for. This is the kind of film you watch straight as popcorn entertainment, and just for some B movie fun. Even if the acting is not very good, we do have one legendary actor in this film. And that is Irish actor Colm Meaney ( who i especially remember from films such as The Commitments and The Last Of The Mohicans ), who plays the role of Vincent. From an acting perspective, Colm Meaney does at least try and give what you would call an acting performance. But we also have another actor that my generation of the 80´s know who he is, and that is actor Christopher Atkins from the 1980 film The Blue Lagoon. He is the lead character John Palmer in this film. I would not say he gives a good acting performance, but at least he knows how to act compared to some of the Romanian actors. The mine that this film takes place in, does not look too bad. You get a sense that they at least tried to make it look like a real mine, and that is of course a good effort. Considering the limited budget that this film have, i can say that i have seen a lot worse films in the B horror bug film catalogue. The bugs attacking is also pretty fun to watch, even if it´s not the best special effects. And for that reason, i actually had a good time with Caved In, because i knew it was going to be a fun bad film for all the right reasons. Better than all the Fifty Shades Of Grey films, and that has to be a sign that director Richard Pepin ( who directed the classic 1996  action sci fi film Dark Breed ) knew what he was doing with Caved In. Worth picking up on DVD for Christmas, especially if you have a family member who loves bugs.

Rating: DDD

You can find Caved In: Prehestoric Terror here on DVD, just in case you are preparing getting Christmas gifts, and my suggestion, get the used ones, for the best price:

The Blackout: Invasion Earth ( Аванпост )

Even if i have travelled a lot i have never been to Russia. There was a time i actually had a plan to go in the early 2000´s, but i ended up going to Scotland instead ( 3 times actually, within a period of 5 years ). But i am interested in Russian history and Russian culture, and i have seen a lot of documentaries about different historical periods of Russia. The one thing i do know, is that Russian vodka is great. I used to work with a woman from Russia, who travelled back to Russia when she could, and every time she came home to Sweden she let me taste different bottles of Russian vodka. I can tell you, none of the bottles i tried turned out to be bad. I also tried some Russian food as well, and that turned out to be great as well. When it comes to Russian films, i have to be honest and say that i have not seen a lot of them. A few, but only films that have been shown in cinemas across Sweden. One of the films that i do remember is the 2004 horror film Night Watch, a Russian vampire film from director. I remember i was planning seeing this film in Stockholm at the cinema, since the film did not screen in every city across Sweden. That did not happen, so i just waited for the DVD release. Night Watch turned out to be something in my taste. A vampire movie with a slightly different approach than most films in this genre. The sequel called Day Watch, i have not seen so far, even if i have thought about seeing this film for a long time. But i do recommend that you pick up Night Watch on DVD from the UK, and you get a 2 disc DVD with nice special features. Speaking of Russian films, for quite some time i have heard about a science fiction action film called The Blackout, a futuristic Russian action film. I finally got a chance to see this film, since i have been curious to see if this is any good. I finally managed to get myself a Blu Ray copy, and the question is, could it be possible that The Blackout is one of the best action films of 2020, or is this even worse than i expected ?

In Moscow, serviceman Oleg ( Aleksey Chadov ) is on a date with a woman named Alena. As they go to his home, they are about to find out that the entire world, expect for the area around Moscow, and parts of Belarus, Ukraine and Finland is plunged into darkness. The fate of billions is unknown. Communications is down throughout the rest of the world, and only a small number of people have surcived in the area as The Circle Of Life. A defensive perimeter is established and reconnaissance groups are sent out. They find out that Earth was attacked, killing almost everything. No one knows who did this, so to defend themselves from this unknown enemy, the humans mobilize an army.

If you are a fan of futuristic sci fi action films, then i have a feeling that The Blackout might be what you have been looking for. This is a film that is clearly inspired by classic films such as Blade Runner, and perhaps even inspired by Starship Troopers as well, especially in one big battle scene. The biggest surprise for me personally about The Blackout, is how professional this film looks like from a technical perspective. The settings looks great, and the CGI effects are actually better than i expected. I have to mention that the military scenes also looks great, that you can tell that they tried to make the operations look great on camera with the right weapons, and the right costumes. There is one problem with this film, that you will cleary notice. This film is dubbed from Russian to English, and the dubbing does not fit very well with the mouths talking. It is almost like watching a 70´s kung fu film, where the actor seems to be speaking, and the dubbed language comes later. It´s not annoying all the time, just in some scenes where it becomes very clear that the dubbing does not match well. I should probably watch the film with Russian language next time with English subtitles. But other than this, i can´t really complain. For an action sci fi film i am impressed of how well made this film is. It is like stepping into a big budget production, where they clearly wanted to bring back the military action films of the 80´s and the 90´s. The acting in this film is very divided, and to be honest i can ´t say that the whole cast does a fantastic job. I would say that you would probably enjoy this film more if you focus on the action scenes, and not think too much on the acting. I will mention though that Russian actor Aleksey Chadov ( who you can see in both Night Watch and the sequel Day Watch ) does a pretty good job with his character Oleg. Directors Egor Baranov and Nathalia Hencker delivers an action film that i had no expectations of, and they surprised me more than i expected. They have managed to make a sci fi film that feels more interesting than most action films released in these days. If you are a fan of futuristic action films, you got to pick up The Blackout on DVD or Blu ray. I can only imagine how many families would play this film on Christmas, and that is something i hope we can make reality.

Rating: DDD

10 Years Anniversary Review Of The Expendables

I am a big fan of action films of the 80´s. I remember one of the first times i saw The Terminator in the VHS stores shelves, and i would never forget that iconic cover. The 1984 film from director James Cameron became a huge VHS success, and i finally got to see the film through one of my friends parents, who rented the film. I was probably only 8 years old at the time i watched the film, and it was one of the coolest moments in my youth. Not far after i saw The Terminator on VHS, the family of my friend also rented Commando with Arnold Schwarzenegger. I realised at that moments that action films of the 80´s was my real holy moment. To see Schwarzenegger kicking ass and breaking bones, made my youth so much more fun. About a year after i saw Commando on VHS, a school friend of mine travelled to England with his family where he bought Cobra with Sylvester Stallone on VHS. I knew that the film was censored a lot on VHS in Sweden, so the UK release was much more uncut, and we watched the film together. Cobra showed why Stallone is such a great action actor, with fun dialogue and lots of violence. I remember borrowing that VHS tape many times, and i watched it probably more than i can remember. Stallone continued making entertaining action films, and during this time i did finally see the first two Rambo films. The first one is of course one of Stallone´s most iconic films, while the second one was pure violence entertainment. Since the late 80´s and during the 90´s both Stallone and Schwarzenegger have continued making fun action films. And it was expecially a special year in 2010, when Sylvester Stallone gathered some really big names in a new action project called The Expendables. With names such as Jason Statham, Dolph Lundgren, Jet Li, Steve Austin, and legendary actors such as Mickey Rourke, Eric Roberts and many more to join the cast, and i remember seeing the poster for the first time. It was like seeing heaven for real, because how often do you see Stallone, Dolph, Schwarzenegger and Jason Statham on the same poster? I saw the film in cinema when it came out, and fell in love. And i really love the sequels as well that followed. Since the first film of The Expendables turned 10 years this year, i thought it would be a good idea to revisit the film and see how i feel about it, 10 years later. Does the first film of this franchise still hold up today, or has the magic faded away a bit ?

The Expendables, a group of mercenaries based in New Orleans, deploy to the Gulf of Aden to save hostages to save hostages on a vessel from Somali pirates. The team consists of leader Barney Ross ( Sylvester Stallone ), blade specialist Christmas ( Jason Statham ), martial artist Yin Yang ( Jet Li ), military veteran Gunner Jensen ( Dolph Lundgren ), weapons specialist Hale Ceaser ( Terry Crews ), and demolitions expert Toll Road ( Randy Couture ). The mission does not go as planned, and Gunner loose control as he tries to hang a pirate, and this is something Barney can not accept. He is forced to fire Gunner off the team. Barney Ross and his rival Trench Mauser ( Arnold Schwarzenegger ) visit Mr Church ( Bruce Willis ) for a new mission. Trench passes the contract to Ross, wich is to overthrow General Garza ( David Zayas ) in Vilena, and Island in the gulf of Mexico. Ross and Barney fly over there to meet there contact Sandra ( Giselle Itié ), but are discovered. It is revealed that ex-CIA officer James Munroe ( Eric Roberts ) is keeping Garca in power as a figurehead for his own profiteering operations. To get this mission done, Barney have no other choice but to get help from the whole Expendables team.

Looking at the first The Expendables movie 10 years later, you can still get that feeling of returning to your roots, where you belong. Seeing so many action stars gathered in a film like this is like going straight back to the VHS era. You get lots of violence, fighting, explosions, guns, funny dialogue and some fun cameos, such as Arnorld Schwarzenegger and Bruce Willis. One of the biggest reasons why this film is such a fun ride, is that you get a lot of nostalgic feelings with these characters. They are all old school soldiers, who have survived in wars, and this is their own family where they still matter, even if they are getting older. Sylvester Stallone actually manage to bring back the nostalgic feeling of action films of the 80´s, and still make it feel like it is a classic action concept. The characters in this film are fun, and throw punchlines at each other all the time, that feels connected to these legendary actors past. One of the things i have to mention, is one of the best acting performances in this film, and that comes from legendary actor Eric Roberts ( who most people remember from Runaway Train and Best Of The Best ) as the character James Munroe. Not only does Eric Robert give one of the better evil characters of the 2000´s, he also give one of his best acting performances in many years. Sylvester Stallone as the main character Barney Ross, is a perfect match for this film. He is rough, and he is not afraid to take chances, while somehwere inside of him, there is a good heart for the people that he cares for. Stallone have no problem giving this character a charming personality, and knows how to please the audience. Jason Statham as the character Christmas is the comedy highlight of this film, and he impress us as always with his physique. Schwarzenegger and Bruce Willis are unfortunately not seen much in this film ( they get more screentime in The Expendables 2 ), but it is still fun to see them together. The action scenes are fast, hard and entertaining, just the way you want a film like this to be. And i think if you are going to do an action film like this, with so many Hollywood stars, you need to make it fun, and this is exactly what this film does well. Director Sylvester Stallone proves that he still knows what he is doing in the action genre after so many years in Hollywood, and he lands this film right into the right spot, with a very high entertaniment value. I have a feeling that this will be a cult classic in the future, because we will never see a better action franchise than The Expendables. A must have in your DVD or Blu Ray collection.

Rating: DDDD

onsdag 14 oktober 2020

The Source Of Shadows

Horror films have captured the heart of audiences worldwide, and director´s from a lot of countries have managed to deliver some really delightful horror ideas brought to the big screen. I personally prefer horror directors who dare to combine different horror genres, and bring us interesting stories. One way to do this is to make an anthology horror film, so you bring together different directors from all over the world, and they can all tell their story, in their own unique way. Anthology horror films are usually not predictable, since you never really know what each story will bring to the audience. One example of a great anthology horror film that managed to do this well, is the 2012 horror film The ABCs Of Death. This film is a little bit different from some other anthology horror films, since each story is based on a letter from the alphabet, where each story is also connected with a certain word. And let me tell you, there are some great stories in this film that actually work as a short horror story. Since there are so many directors here on board to this film, i could mention 2 stories that i especially remember. Let us begin with the story Exterminate, from director Angela Bettis ( who is an actress known for her performances in Lucky McGee´s films May and The Women ). This story surrounds a man who attempts to kill a spider, but it turns out that this spider is actually stalking him. The one thing i especially enjoy about Exterminate, is that the spider is actually creepy, even if it´s not big. It is like the spider is watching it´s prey, almost as if the man have been chosen. One of my favourite short stories in this film is called Libido from director Timo Tjahjanto, who tells the disturbing story of men being chained up to masturbate, no matter what they have to watch. If they don´t masturbate, they will be killed, even hos disturbing the show is. There are some fun practical effects as well, that i did not expect. If you have not seen The ABCs Of Death, pick it up on DVD for a good price, and pick up the sequel as well, both are worth watching. One anthology horror film i have had in mind to Watch for some time now, is the horror film The Source Of Shadows. It was thanks to YouTube movie reviewer Happywax TV i noticed this film, and since i am a fan of anthology horror films, i thought it would be interesting to check out. Is this a good choice for this Halloween, or is The Source Of Shadows a waste of your precious time ?

11 stories, from 11 different director´s, telling their story in their own unique way. Are you ready to experience each story, and find out what we really fear ?

If you are the kind of person who enjoy putting out your wonderful tea set, with some tasteful biscuits to enjoy, while putting out some cozy candle lights to light up your living room in the autumn rain, then i have a feeling that The Source Of Shadows is a perfect match for you. You see, this is the kind of film that will make you tea lovers feel right at home, as if you are experiencing one of the most wonderful tea moments, that you never would have expected. The Source Of Shadows have some very divided stories, that are not really connected in any way. But that´s ok, because an anthology horror film does not need to be connected to be interesting. In the case of The Source Of Shadows, you actually have some really interesting short stories, and let´s get into some of my favourites. Let us begin with the story Bestia from director Gigi Saul Guerrero. A very interesting story of a man who seems to be hunted by some kind of beast, or something evil. I especially love the way this short story is told, how we fear the unkown. Another really good short story is Banshee from director Adam O´ Brien, that tells the story of a little girl who is sure that there is something demonic in her bedroom, as her mother believe it is all just a dream. The demon you will see towards the end is really cool, and i love the simple but effective special effects. Don´t Look Into Their Eyes from director John Rhee reminded me of Japanese horror films, and this short story actually manage to pull this off in a positive way. Every short story may not be fantastic, but The Source Of Shadows is one of the better horror anthology films i have seen this year. If you are a fan of this genre, i think you should pick this film up on DVD and support independent films makers, so we can get other horror anthology films made ( maybe even a sequel to this film ). If you are planning to see an anthology horror film this Halloween, pick up The Source Of Shadows on DVD, and i can guarantee that you will have a good time, while carving your pumpkins.

Rating: DDD

You can find the DVD to buy on the following link:

The link to Happywax Tv review of The Source Of Shadows can be found here:

måndag 12 oktober 2020

The Iron Mask ( The Mystery Of Dragon Seal )

Most of us are interesting in hearing about history, how each country have experienced their past and even learn about the myths of history. If we would believe in every myth that history books tell us, we would probably doubt that everything is true. Do we really believe that everything in the Greek mythology actually existed ? Do we believe that Gods in India travelled through the sky what seems to be some kind of spaceship ? But there is more realistic pieces of history that we actually know is true, such as French Musketeer D'Artagnan, who served Louis XIV as captain of the Musketeers of the guard. The three novels written by Alexander Dumas, is based on the life of D´Artagnan. You might have read about the story of The Man In The Iron Mask, the unidentified prisoner who sat in different prisons for 34 years. There have been a number of films based on the story of this unidentified prisoner, and one of the films that people have probably seen but forgotten about, is the 1998 action drama film The Man In The Iron Mask from director Randall Wallace. The positive thing about this film is the cast, since you have Leonardo Di Caprio, John Malkovich, Jeremy Irons, Gabriel Byrne and many more. The negative about this film adaptation is that it is not a very well made film. You may have a lot of costumes in this film, but when the characters are not strong enough to carry the film forward, then it does not really matter how many good actors you have on board, unless it is done correctly. Perhaps it is possible that some of you have seen the Russian and Ukraine film known as Viy ( also known as Forbidden Kingdom in the UK ), relased in 2014. This film is a cheesy but fun film, filled with bad acting. So if you enjoy films from a historical perspective, combined with a lot of CGI effects, then Viy might be a good choice, especially if you are a fan of films in the genre of fantasy, science fiction and horror as well. After a few years a part from the film Viy, we got news that a sequel was going to be released. And this time the sequel would have some even bigger names included, such as Arnold Schwarzenegger and Jackie Chan. And i noticed that this film seems to have a connection to the classic story of The Man With The Iron Mask, but told in a different way than before. Is this a sequel that will help you get inspired for this upcoming Halloween weekend, or is this a disaster from start to finish that should be forgotten?

English cartographer Jonathan Green ( Jason Flemming ) must travel to China in search of a fabled " Dragon Seal ", that holds super powers. Jonathan is unaware that some very dangerous people are also looking for the same thing, and they are willing to do whatever it takes to get their hands on the Dragon Seal.

If you enjoyed the first film of Viy, then i know you want to see this sequel. Have this sequel improved on a technical level since the first film ? Not really, i would say this film have a very mixed bag of special effects. You would think that this sequel should have been more epic made, have more stunning action scenes than the first film, but that´s one of my issues with The Iron Mask. The action scenes that could have given us some really fun moments, just feels way too easily constructed for a film like this. There is much more fighting than the first film, but that does not really help The Iron Mask. The only scenes where The Iron Mask get some kind of botox lift, is the fighting scenes where Arnorld Schwarzenegger fights prisoners, and fight against Jackie Chan as well. If only they could have had more screen time together, this film would have been more fun. The lead character from the first film is back, known as Jonathan Green, played by actor Jason Flemyng ( who played Dr Jekyll / Mr Hyde in the 2003 sci fi action film The League Of Extrodinary Gentlemen, a film i actually enjoy, even if it is bad ). The character of Jonathan Green is pretty much the same as the first film, but i think he was better developed in the first film with a more solid story to tell. The charming thing about the first film is that it did not take itself too serious, but managed to be more entertaining with horror elements. This sequel tries to go in a different direction, and make it more like a Chinese martial art action film. I can´t say that the idea itself is bad, but it becomes clear that somewhere down the line they seemed to have had too many ideas, and brought them all together anyway. If they only would have focused more on making the action scenes more effective, and better CGI effects, this could have been a fun ride. As it stands now, The Iron Mask feels more like a Saturday TV movie, than a box office experience. Director Oleg Stepchenko probably had fun on set working with Schwarzenegger and Jackie Chan, but you can tell that when he is supposed to deliver an entertaining action film for 2 hours, he drags it out too long. If you are a big Jackie Chan fan, you will probably enjoy his scenes as long as they last. The rest of the film is a mixed mashup of different genres, that does not really connect very well towards the end. I suggest you see the first film Viy ( Forbidden Kingdom ) instead and skip this sequel. Too bad, i was kind of hoping The Iron Mask would be more entertaning.

Rating: DD                                                                  

tisdag 6 oktober 2020

Peninsula ( Train To Busan 2 )

There are moments in your life when you experience something that is hard to explain. A moment that you feel so connected with, that you will never forget that moment. For me personally, i have several of those moments that i will never forget. One of those moments is of course when Ronan Keating released his solo debut album Ronan back in the year of 2000. Now, i could easily mention at least 5 guys who felt the same way about the solo debut album, because we played this album everyday, and dreamed away that we all shared Ronan. I realise that this may sound silly to some people, but when ever i hear Ronan Keating, i travel back 20 years in my mind and feel at home, like i belong with Ronan. When it comes to film experiences that i will never forget, i have a list of films that i will always remember for a lot of different reasons. Instead of going through the list ( that would take too long ) i decided to pick out one film specifically. And that is the South Korean horror film Train To Busan, released in 2016. A zombie film with so much power, and strong characters, that you could not get out of the cinema seat. Train To Busan is one of the few zombie films that knows exactly how to combine a zombie invasion with strong characters included. But not only that, this film also managed to capture the iportance of keeping humanity alive, and not loosing hope when everything seems impossible. Director Sang-ho Yeun showed the world with this film that the zombie genre is still alive and can still deliver solid horror entertainment, by making sure that this film would reach a completely different level of quality than most films in this genre. When we got the news that a sequel was on the way, i was really happy. The only thing i was not sure about was if the sequel would be able to deliver the same level of quality as the first film did. And then i saw the poster, and got a really good feeling. Is this a sequel that is even better than anyone could have predicted, or should this sequel have been cancelled from the very first beginning ?

Marine Captain Jung-Seok ( Gang Dong-wan ) is driving his elder sister, her husband Chul-min ( Do-Yoon Kim ) and his nephew Dong-Whan to a ship leaving South Korea, wich is swept by a zombie outbreak. On the way to the ship, he encounters a family that is in need of help, and instead of stopping the car he drives by the family, leaving them behind. In the cabin of the ship, an infected man turns into a zombie and infects numerous people, including Dong-Whan. Jung-Seok then unwillingly decides to leave Dong-Whan and his mother behind. Four years later in Hong Kong, a guilt-ridden Jung-Seok, with Chul-Min and two other Koreans, have accepted a mission to retrieve an abandoned food truck wich contains bags of cash totaling 20 million US dollars. The four manage to escape with the truck. On their way back to Incheon Port, the four are ambushed by a rouge milita Unit 631, led by Sergeant Hwang ( Min-Jae Kim ). The truck, taken by Unit 631 arrives at the milita compound. Private Kim and Captain Seok discover the bags with cash, and realise that they need to be quiet at the milita compound, to make sure that none of the others who live in here knows about the money. Jung-Seok realise that he must get the truck back, or this evil milita group will cause a lot of problems for the world with that much money.

I had a feeling that Peninsula would be something in my taste as soon as i watched the trailer. And i can tell you, if you are a big fan of apocalyptic films, and zombie films as well, then you are going to have a really good time with this film. For a sequel, this film manage to bring on the legacy of the first Train To Busan, and bring on some other elements as well. The best way to describe this film is like going on your favourite roller coaster ride, you know you won´t be disappointed. If you remember the zombies of the 2013 film World War Z, then you know it´s not going to be slow action scenes. These zombies are extremely fast in Peninsula, and for some reason they love lights, such as car lights, neon lights and different sounds as well, so they clearly have no eye problems or hearing problems either. There are some other fun details as well, such as a camp with survivors that play a game of zombies against kidnapped people, where they constructed like a battle arena, where the game is about surviving a zombie hord. Sickening of course to play with human lives, but makes an interesting angle on how far humans are willing to go to entertain themselves. There are a lot of characters in this film, and the acting is actually really good from the whole cast, But let´s get into some of the interesting characters. Actor Dong-Won Gang ( who i have previously seen in Ma-seu-teo, a really good South Korean financial thriller ) plays the rough character Jung Seok. The thing about Jung Seok is that you can clearly see that he is suffering with his past, that he made some choices that he regret, and he is now trying to make things right. I have to say that actor Dong-Won Gang is a really good action actor, and he proves that with a lot of power in his performance. Actress Jung-hyun Lee ( who you must see in the action drama film Gunhamdo ) gives a strong acting performance as the character Min Jung, who shows why it is so important with strong female characters on the big screen. Peninsula is an action horror film that we may recognize from other similar post apocalyptic films, but this film has so much power that you will never be bored. Director Sang-ho Yeon returns with a sequel to the first Train To Busan, and knows exactly what fans of the first film wanted. He knows how to use camera technique in a very effective way through a massive zombie hord, and how to capture the dramatic survival instincts of humans through this powerful story. If you loved the first film then you have to see this sequel, and i guarantee you will feel right at home with us apocalyptic film fans.

Rating: DDDD

A Nun´s Curse

I have been in many countries across Europe, since i am very interested in other cultures and history of other countries. I usually try and go and listen to different tours of historical places, and you find out details that you might not know. And i remember one time, when i was in London back in 2012 ( i have been there 3 times, in different years ). I was going on a double decker with my wife, and listening to a guide on board the bus, and i remember when we passed a Catholic church, i saw a Nun standing there looking towards the bus. I don´t know why i felt a creepy feeling, but her staring at the bus did not give me a welcome feeling. I asked my wife is she noticed the Nun, and she did not really notice her. Maybe my wife was focused more on listening on the bus guide, but i did not forget that Nun. So, the next day as we went on another double decker bus, and the bus passed the same Catholic church, and i did not see that Nun there. But i just had to watch if i would see her again, because there was something unsettling about her. Maybe she is a great woman, who knows. But that day she stared at us on the bus, did not feel good. Nuns can be scary, and i think we all have seen that through The Conjuring franchise. There are a lot of Nun horror movies to choose between, and one film i feel should be mentioned in here, is the 2005 horror film known as The Nun ( not connected with the 2018 horror film with the same name ), where a Nun terrorizes her students. Even if this film have no surprising twists, i have to say that this film works thanks to some simple, but effective old school horror tricks. I have to mention that director Luis De La Madrid shows that you don´t need a really big budget to make a horror film about an evil Nun to work. Since the 2018 film The Nun came out, we have seen a lot of horror films that have borrowed the same concept of that film. Unfortunately, not many of those releases have turned out to be very interesting. But then i heard a review of A Nun´s Curse on the YouTube movie review channel Geek Legion Of Doom. This film did sound interesting, so i decided to pick up a DVD from Uncork´d Entertainment. Do we finally have a horror film with a Nun that works, or is A Nun´s Curse just as bad as you might have expected ?

Sisters Ashley-Kae ( Erika Edwards ) and Gabby ( Kristi Ray ) are travelling across the country with two friends, while Ashley-Kae wants to take photos of old places, who have a historical meaning. Especially one location, where Ashley knows the story of Sister Monday ( Felissa Rose ), the Nun who murdered prisoners. The group experience a storm coming and decide to go to the abandoned prison where Sister Monday used to live and practise her evil deeds. They are about to see that Sister Monday, never really left this prison.

This film does not start off good, with a fake storm. But once we pass the fake storm, things turn to the better. Of all the Nun horror B movies that have been released over the last 4 years, A Nun´s Curse is actually one of the better releases. What this film actually manage to do, is take it´s time to build up tensions, through the creepy location of an old prison. It may take some time before we do see the Nun known as Sister Monday, but when her demonic spirit show up, she does look creepy. And this is one detail we have to be pleased about, that this film actually have an evil Nun that works with the plot. Sister Monday is actually played by legendary actress Felissa Rose ( who horror fans remember mostly from Sleepaway Camp ), and she is actually one of the most interesting characters in this film. But i have to say, the chemistry between characters Ashley-Kae ( played by actress Erika Edwards ) and Michael ( played by actor Gunner Willis ) may be the highligt of this film. Their dialogue scenes clearly shows that they made an attempt to bring us characters that are easy to like. Actress Kristi Ray plays Ashely´s sister Gabby, and considering what a bitch this character is, i feel that Kristi Nails this through her performance. I will have to admit that the ending is a bit cheesy, but overall i would have to say that A Nun´s Curse at least tries to make an effort to give us a Nun horror movie, that is made for fans of old school horror. There are flaws, and there are also some details that could have been polished. But considering the limited budget, this film looks pretty good. Director Tommy Faircloth clearly felt inspired by old school horror Nun films, and manage to bring out that feeling through the right locations and effective colorful scenes. Does this film have flaws ? Of course, there are details that could have been done better, especially the ending scene that should have been more effective. But overall, i would have to say A Nun´s Curse is at least a better attempt than a lot of Nun horror films in recent years, and that´s good enough for me.

Rating: DDD

torsdag 1 oktober 2020

An Hour To Kill ( A Request Review From Joe Williamson )

Sometimes when you hear the name of one actor, you respond in different ways. Some might not be sure who the person is, while some people know exactly who that person is. I could easily name a lot of great actors, and most of you would be sure wat films the actor have been in. So let´s talk about one actor, that i am sure that most of you people worldwide know who he is. If i say the name Mel Novak, i know a lot of you remember some of his greatest classics right away. There is no doubt that he have been in some wonderful films such as Game Of Death with Bruce Lee, and of course An Eye For An Eye with Chuck Norris. Mel have continued working in the movie industry for a very long time, and i have seen him in several DVD releases over the years. One of the films that i do remember, is the 2004 action film SWAT Warhead One. What i especially remember about this film ( a part from that Mel Novak is in this film ) is that legendary action star Oliver Gruner is also in this film. There are some hard hitting fighting scenes in this film, gun battles, and the special effects does look pretty old today, even if this film was released in 2004. The one thing i will say about this film, is that legendary actor Mel Novak did at least make an attempt to make his character fit in with the story. This is actually a film that is hard to find today, and if you do you will have to pay more than the ordinary DVD prize. When ever i get a request to Review a film, i try and make my wishes come true for my readers. And film producer Joe Willamson reached out to me, and asked if i could review the film An Hour To Kill, where legendary actor Mel Novak is also included in the film. I have not seen this film before, so i finally got a chance to sit down and watch it. Is this a film that people should be checking out, or An Hour To kill a film that will most likely be forgotten ?

Assassins Frankie ( Frankie Pozos ) and Gio ( Aaron Guererro ) have an hour to kill before they are supposed to take out their next hit. To help pass the time, they entertain themselves by sharing horror stories to each other. 

I had no idea that An Hour To Kill is an anthology film, divided into different stories. I usually enjoy anthology films, if the film have some interesting stories. My biggest problem with An Hour To Kill is that i only enjoy the main characters in the story An Hour To Kill, and that is the assassins Gio and Frankie. They actually have a good chemistry on screen, and actors Frankie Pozos and Aaron Guererro are the ones who help this film carry through all the way. Legendary actor Mel Novak does of course bring something special to the table, in the few minutes he is in. While the other stories have different characters, and completely different stories to tell, none of them work as good as the main story of An Hour To Kill. I understand that this film was planned to be an anthology film, and i have no problem with that as long as we get some good stories. But without any story as good as the main story An Hour To Kill, this anthology film have a hard time carrying out something more than just stories, that does not really leave any big impact. I am happy to say though that actors Frankie Pozos and Aaron Guererro match with their characters, and if only this film was focused just on them, i believe this would be a better film. One problem with this film is that the gun shootings are clearly fake, and you can see it clearly. If you have gun shootings scenes, you are hoping to at least see the gun fire off, and not pretending to shoot. An Hour To Kill does have a story that should have been the main story, instead of an anthology film. It´s not a horrible film, but it feels like they decided to play around a little bit too much when they had a great story and great characters that should have been the main characters in the whole film. Director Aaron K. Carter does have a good idea behind the assassin story of An Hour To Kill, but for some reason decided to go in too many different directions. If you are a big fan of Mel Novak, i suggest you check this film out. Otherwise, only see this film for the best segment known as An Hour To Kill. Maybe we can see Frankie Pozos and Aaron Guererro in their own film in the future, i have a feeling that would be interesting to see.

Rating: DD