tisdag 29 juni 2021
I still remember the end of September in 1998, when my high school friend Patrik was coming home over the weekend from his military service. We have talked for a long time that we needed to go and see the new Godzilla film that was coming out in theatres across Sweden, and we bought tickets on that premiere weekend. We were both big fans of director Roland Emerich´s previous films Stargate, and Independence Day of course, and our expectations were actually pretty high. I remember as we walked into the theatre, there was a big Godzilla figure in cardboard material, and we both got really hyped. We did get the Godzilla popcorn meny, becuase who would not want to hold the Godzilla meny while watching the film? We saw the film in 3D, and we had a really good time. Remember, this was 1998 and the CGI effects at that time was completely different than today. I used to enjoy the 1998 version of Godzilla, when the film came out. But times changed, and CGI effects got a lot better, and the 1998 version of Godzilla did not age very well. I actually did a 20 years anniversary review of Godzilla, the 1998 film in 2018, and i talked about why this film does not feel very entertaining. There are a few fun scenes in the film, but the 1998 version of Godzilla is a perfect example of why some 90´s films does not feel as entertaining as the film did at the release. And it was in 2014 when we really got the Godzilla film we all have been waiting for, when director Gareth Edwards ( who also directed the very interesting sci fi horror film Monsters, released in 2010 ) released his version of Godzilla in theatres. Still to this day, this is still my favourite Godzilla film. I did enjoy the 2019 film Godzilla II: King Of The Monsters as well, but still felt that the 2014 film told a more interesting story. And here we are with the latest Godzilla film in 2021, where Godzilla get to face another legendary beast known as Kong. Having these 2 iconic film characters on screen, fighting each other does sound like fun. The question is, does Godzilla Vs. Kong deliver more than we expected, or is this just a desperate cash grab just to fool the audience?
Five years after Godzilla defeated King Ghidorah, Kong is monitored by Monarch within a giant dome on Skull Island. Kong is visited by Jia ( Kaylee Hottle ), the last Iwi native, who is deaf and communicates with sign language to Kong. Kong expert Dr. Ilene Andrews ( Rebecca Hall ) had no idea that Kong understood sign language, but realise that Jia might be useful, through the communication between Kong and humans. Godzilla have been attacking humans for an unknown reason, and Apex Cybernetics needs Kong to help them stop Godzilla´s mysterious rampage´s.
I was a bit concerned going into this film that we would not get the epic fights, that you would expect from a film like this. Because when you mix both of these monsters together, you want to see some really powerful action scenes. And the good news is, we do get some fun scenes between Godzilla and Kong, but also seeing Kong fight other monsters as well ( as he did in Kong: Skull Island ). The strength of Godzilla Vs. Kong are the action scenes, no doubt about that. And the CGI effects also deliver some fun moments, that we were hoping for. So what is the weakness of this film? Unfortunately, there are not many characters here that you really care about. Some of the actors don´t really give a performance that match the level of quality as Kong and Godzilla does. And in a film like this to become even more fun, you also need human characters to match with the plot. I will say though that there are especially two characters that do a good job, and that is actors Rebecca Hall and Kaylee Hottle. Their scenes together, especially when they are communicating with sign language, as the character Jia ( played by Kaylee Hottle ) is deaf, definetely give this story a different approach in this genre. And when it turns out that Kong understands Jia´s sign language, i feel that they actually managed to give this film a more dramatic depth than i expected. I would not say the rest of the cast is awful ( Alexander Skarsgård is definetely ok ), but you get a sense that some of the characters are not very well developed. So it all comes down to what makes this film work, and that is basically the action scenes. And that´s ok, since in a film like this you don´t really need a complicated plot. Director Adam Wingard ( who directed one of my favourite home invasion horror films called You´re Next, a must see ), knows how to make an action film like this both fun and entertaining, and there is no doubt, he was the right guy to take on this project. If he only would have given some of the characters a stronger impact, my rating would have climbed even higher. I still feel that Godzilla Vs. Kong is a must see for fans, who appreciate all Godzilla and King Kong films. This is definetely a summer blockbuster for all ages to enjoy, definetely much more fun than the 1998 version of Godzilla ( i guarantee you will admit to that ).
söndag 20 juni 2021
I don´t watch a lot of TV series on TV, except on a few occations on Netflix or Viasat. I can honestly say, i might be one of the few people in this world that see one season within 5 - 7 months. I will give you a perfect example of that, when i watched the first season of the Netflix TV series Luke Cage. It took me at least 4 months before i finished the first season, why? I always focus more on seeing films, that i am planning to review. So that means a lot of TV series that i don´t even know exist. One good thing is that i have a lot to choose between, when i feel it is time to pick a TV series. Speaking of TV series, there is actually one that i have seen quite many episodes of on TV, and that is the Animal Planet TV series known as Hunting Bigfoot. This TV series lasted for 9 seasons between 2011 - 2017, and this TV series is about four researchers and explorers known as Matt Moneymaker, Cliff Barackman, James "Bobo" Fay and Ranae Holland, who all look for evidende after Biggfoot sighting, as they interview witnesses who claims that they have seen Bigfoot, all over America, but also in other countries. If you just want to be entertained by local Americans who have seen Bigfoot, who also remind you of hillbilly territory, i suggest you check this TV series out. There are a lot of films that bring up the subject of Bigfoot, especially in independent horror films. Without mentioning some of the films that i easily can remember, let´s focus on one specific independent horror film called Primal Rage, from director Patrick Magee. This is a fun Bigfoot creature horror film, that actually was better than i expected. I reviewed this film when it came out, so if you want to find out what i specifically enjoyed about this film, i suggest you read the review. I have been hearing of a Bigfoot horror film called Dawn Of The Beast, released by the distribution company Uncork´d Entertainment, who also released the great Robert Bronzi film Death Kiss. I enjoy a lot of their releases, and i barely ever say no to watch a Bigfoot horror film ( except for a few occations, if the reviews are very negative ). Is this one of the films you should pick up on DVD this summer, or is Dawn Of The Beast just as horrible as Gene Simmons 2004 solo album Asshole ( one of the few albums i could barely listen to from start to finish )?
A group of graduate students go out to search for the legendary beast known as Bigfoot. They first believe that he is the only mysterious creature, but will soon find out that something more is waiting for them out there.
Dawn Of The Beast is a film that will divide fans of Bigfoot horror, since there is not only one Bigfoot monster here, but other monsters as well. But this is actually what i am thankful for, that this film tries to do something different in this specific Bigfoot genre. It has been done before, in films such as Bigfoot Vs. Zombies ( a film i have not seen, since i have not seen one single positive review so far, not a good sign ). But i do feel it is good that they tried to do something else, since the traditional Bigfoot film does not have a lot to offer these days, since most films in this genre have run out of ideas. Let´s talk about some of the best parts of this film. The creature design is actually the most positive surprise to me about Dawn Of The Beast. I do enjoy the effort that they put down to create these monsters, especially the ones that look like a combination of the sea creatures from the film Cold Skin, combined with the creatures from the 2005 film The Descent. There are some nice practical makeup effects as well, especially when the character Isabella ( played by actress Ariella Mastroianni ) becomes demon possessed. Reminds me of the good days of demon possessed people of the 70´s and 80´s horror films, so they really pulled this off in this film. The acting in general is ok, but i would not say that all the characters are very interesting. Some of them just show up for a few scenes, and are easy to forget. But i do think actress Ariella Mastroianni is one of the actors who put some effort into her acting. I do like the book that they find, reminded me of the Book Of The Dead in Evil Dead, a nice surprise. If you love monster films of the 80´s, then Dawn Of The Beast is a film you need to see. This is a tasteful throwback to the days when CGI effects did not exist, and you actually made monsters with costumes, and makeup effects combined. There is a little bit of CGI effects, but not much to complain about, Director Bruce Wemple have directed several films, and this is the first one i have seen from his catalogue. I think he have done a great job by bringing back classic independent monster horror films, back to fans of old school horror. I am actually hoping for a sequel, since i do believe the concept of this film could work again. If you are planning to go for a Bigfoot hunt, you should learn how to handle the forest visit by watching Dawn Of The Beast. There are actually some good advices in this film to be learned, even how to make a relationship better, isn´t that wonderful?
lördag 19 juni 2021
I have a lot of respect for makeup artitsts in Hollywood, for everything that they create in everything from sci fi to horror films. Just the idea that they can create monsters, aliens, mutated animals and much more, through makeup effects is pretty incredible. It takes a lot of work to create different characters, and the costumes as well. And i especially love original characters, that combines different ideas. One of my personal favourite personalities in makeup effects, is without a doubt American prosthetic make-up artist ( he is also an actor, stunt performer and director ) Tom Savini. He have been an actor in a lot of films, but what i especially appreciate is all his work that he have done as a makeup artist in classic films such as George A. Romero´s Dawn Of The Dead ( where he is also acting as the character Blades ), Friday The 13:th, Maniac, Creepshow, Day Of The Dead, The Texas Chainsaw Massacre 2, Creepshow 2, Monkey Shines and many more titles. He is incredible talented and have given us a lot of wonderful characters for over 40 years. One of the characters that you may not hear a lot about, that i think he did a really good job with, is the character The Creep, a very creepy looking old man in the anthology horror film Creepshow 2, directed by Michael Gornick. The Creep character works quite effective to the storyline, as he introduce each story ( with the voice of legendary actor Joe Silver, who i especially remember from director David Cronenber´s cult film Rabid ). Tom Savini also showed up in the 2004 remake of Dawn Of The Dead ( one of the best horror remake´s in my opinion ) as the character County Sherriff Cahill. One very interesting detail about Dawn Of The Dead ( 2004 remake ), is that this is the film where prosphetic makeup artist Barney Burman worked on, and he have done a lot of make-up on many films. I have heard about a film that he actually directed called Barney Burman´s Wild Boar who seemed to have a very cool poster. I finally got a chance to check this film out on VOD. Is this one of the best summer horror films to pick out right now, or is Barney Burman´s Wild Boar not as good as it may look like through the poster?
A small group of treasure seekers, also known as "Geocachers", trek into the desert to conquer a Geocache Challenge. Out in the wild, they stumble upon a forbidden world flooded with radiation and inhabitated by a race of bloodthristy mutants who have evolved from pigs.
If you are a fan of low budget independent horror films, then this is a film that should please you. Especially when this film turn towards the desert and becomes a different version of Wes Craven´s cult classic The Hills Have Eyes, that´s where this film finds the right spot. And i have to say that the pig mutants in this film, bring some extra tasteful moments for fans of creature horror. They are exactly the visitors you would want to have close, if you are fed up with a loud and disrespectful neighbor. Just send the pig mutants over to his house, and they will take care of the situation. The costume design of these pig mutants feel very apocalyptic, and they match very well into the desert atmosphere. What about the makeup effects of the pig mutants? The makeup effects on the pig masks and the body looks really good, you can tell that they made an effort to make these characters look cool in this environment. The practical makeup effects also look great, especially when you see a human body getting carved up and one of the pig mutants pull out guts, and other parts. I get a feeling that this film have influences from The Texas Chainsaw Massacre as well, since the house location almost feels like a place that Leatherface would love to live, with humans trapped inside for them to feed on. What about the acting? For a low budget film like this, i have to say that most of the actors does a pretty good job, especially actress Aguie Duke ( who i especially remember from the 2014 film Spring, worth checking out ) as the character Scarlett Lamb. The strongest characters in this film are actually the pig mutants, because they feel more interesting than some of the human characters. The story may not be anything original, but works for the most part. Director Barney Burman have made a fun throwback to grindhouse horror of the 70´s with this film, and he really knows how to make practical horror work well, on a limited budget. Barney Burman´s Wild Boar may not please all of The Real Housevives Of New Jersey, but for me that is a sign that this film is exactly what we need, since those wives should learn what quality really means. Definetely worth checking out this summer, i might have to get my own pig mutants to my birthday party. I am pretty sure they can fix me the best birthday cake ever.
måndag 14 juni 2021
Summer of 1985, i was only 8 years old. My little sister was just a few months old, and i remember listening to Twisted Sister´s album Stay Hungry on cassette. Most kids in my class knew the songs I Wanna Rock and of course We´re Not Gonna Take It. But i especially remember going into a friend´s room ( his name was Johan ), and he showed me the W.A.S.P. LP album known as W.A.S.P, released in 1984. He turned it on, and this was the first time i heard W.A.S.P. I would try to headbang, but realised i needed to practise more. I am sure it looked pretty lame. The album cover was the coolest i have ever seen, and thier band costumes was exactly what you wanted to wear to school. I remember Johan had a W.A.S.P. poster on his wall as well, as he talked about how much he wanted to see the band live. I don´t remember if he ever got any tickets to any of their concerts, but he was definetely the biggest W.A.S.P. fan of the West Coast of Sweden. During the summer of 1985, my dad and i was down at the VHS rental store, and one of the most rented films at that time was the 1984 film The Karate Kid, directed by John G. Avildsen ( who directed the cult classic 1976 film Rocky ). We did rent this film, and it turned out to be pretty cool. The Karate Kid tells the story of teenager Daniel LaRusso ( played by actor Ralph Macchio ) move to Reseda, Los Angeles, California, after living in Newmark, New Jersey. Daniel end up in trouble with bully Johnny Lawrence ( William Zabka ), a black belt student from the Cobra Kai dojo. To deal with this situation, Daniel gets a chance to learn karate from Okinawan immigrant named Mr. Miyagi ( played by legendary actor Pat Morita ). The Karate Kid is a classic 80´s film that definetely inspired a lot of teenagers at that time. We did get 2 more sequels with the same cast, and they are all pretty good. There was one more sequel, that was connected with the Karate Kid franchise called The Next Karate Kid, released in 1994. Ralph was no longer Daniel in this film, instead they bringed in a new character called Julie Pierce ( played by actress Hilary Swank ). It was only ok, but mostly thanks to Pat Morita´s character Mr. Miyagi. The Karate Kid franchise have been resurrected through the TV series Cobra Kai ( that you can watch on Netflix ). I have heard about a documentary film for a while that tells the story of legendary actor Pat Morita, so i just had to see this film ( since i have been a Karate Kid fan since the 80´s ). Is this the best documentary film of 2021, or does this film fail to tell the legacy of Pat Morita?
Pat Morita was a young man who worked his way into showbusiness, and became a stand up comedian. After getting praise for his performances, he worked his way into TV series such as Happy Days. But it was one film that would change his life forever, when he in 1984 portrayed the character known as Mr. Miyagi in the film The Karate Kid, that would make him a superstar. In this documentary film, you get to hear the stories from the people who knew Pat, and why he was such a unique personality.
This documenatry film does a really good job, showing us that actor ( and family man ) Pat Morita, was more than just one specific character. He worked on so many TV series, TV shows, and he really proved that he was more than just a talent. Seeing his stand up comedy performances, you realise that he had no problem doing all kinds of characters. I do believe that most fans of Pat Morita want to hear stories from the cast of the original The Karate Kid film. And we do get stories from the cast, especially from lead actor Ralph Macchio, who clearly have a lot of respect for Pat, not only for who he was in his personal life, but also as an actor. You understand the character of Mr. Miyagi even more, as you watch this documentary film. That there were some things that Pat actually had in common with the character, and that is especially sadness from his past. Pat Morita was an alcoholic, and the documentary film digs deeper into this towards the end. I think it is very good that they decided to show this side of Pat, that everything was not always perfect, and he struggled with his inner demons as many other people do in their life. The sad part of this, is that he never really could defeat his alcohol addiction. But this is what a disease does, it could happen to anyone, no matter who you are. But the legacy of Pat Morita shines very clear in this film, how much loved he was by both actors, his wife, and people all over the world who knew him as Mr. Miyagi. The interviews with the people who knew him are all very interesting, and you do get to smile over certain stories, that shows the true charming personality of Pat. Direrctor Kevin Derek have made a documentary film that does not only show what a talented actor Pat Morita was, but he also shows that he was a very beautiful soul who had a good heart, and cared for others. The legacy of Pat Morita will never go away, and no matter how many years that goes by, we all need the knowledge of Mr. Miyagi in our lives, to stand up against yourself, no matter how hard life is. More Than Miyagi - The Pat Morita Story is definetely a must watch, not only for fans of The Karate Kids films and Cobra Kai, but also to see what a disease can do with anyone, no matter what our background is. There is no doubt, this is one of the best documentary films of this year.
torsdag 10 juni 2021
I will never forget the summer of 1995. My school friend Björn was the first to get a driver license, of the guys in our class. Björn loved Jean-Claude Van Damme, and he did train a lot to try and make the same kicks as Van Damme did. I especially remember one time in his parents garage, where he showed off some kicks. I was impressed, and another friend of ours André was a bit jelaous. Why? Because Björn could make the kicks look almost like Van Damme, but he trained really hard also to be able to do this. During the summer of 1995, we all knew that a film based on the video game Mortal Kombat was coming out. Basically all of my friends back then have played the video game, and Björn was especially pumped up for the Mortal Kombat film. We went to see the film in cinema in October that year, and i still remember how happy Björn was after the cinema visit, he would be doing special kicks on the streets downtown. But it did not stop there, because he would drive his parents Toyota car everywhere, playing the Mortal Kombat movie soundtrack, everyday and everywhere, that the whole neighborhood complained to his parents. There was not one single day where you would not hear him play that CD, at least not every day i met him picking me up. I will agree with him that the soundtrack was pretty cool, at least for that time period of the 90´s. I personally loved the film Mortal Kombat when the film came out, it had so many fun fighting scenes, so many fun characters and it also managed to capture the feeling of the video game. Maybe not very brutal, but still a really fun film adaptation of the classic game. Director Paul W.S. Anderson ( yes the same guy who directed most of the Resident Evil film ) gave us the best film based on a video game of the 90´s, because no other film at that time managed to be as good as Mortal Kombat. In 1997, we got a sequel called Mortal Kombat: Annihilation. Now, if you enjoyed the first film, i can tell you right now that this sequel is really bad. It has no great fighting scenes, lots of bad CGI effects, and the acting is beyond bad. My advice, skip this sequel at all cost. I have been playing several video games of Mortal Kombat since the 90´s, and the Mortal Kombat universe have grown incredible big. I have heard about a new Mortal Kombat film for a long time, and here we are in 2021, as we finally get a new film in cinemas, on HBO Max and VOD. Is this the best video game adaptation in a film in a very long time, or is Mortal Kombat a complete disaster?
In 17th-century Japan, Lin Kuei assassins led by Bi-Han ( Joe Taslim ) kill the warriors of the rival Shirai Ryu ninja clan led by Hanzo Hashashi ( Hiroyki Sanada ), including Hanzo´s wife and son. Hanzo kills the attackers befoe being killed by Bi-Han, resulting in his soul being condemned to Netherrealm. Lord Raiden ( Tadanobu Asano ), god of thunder, arrives and takes Hanzo´s surviving infant daughter to safety. In the present, the realm of Outworld have defeated Earthrealm in nine of ten tournaments known as "Mortal Kombat". If Earthrealm loose the tenth tournament, the rule state it will be conquered by Outworld. However, an ancient prophecy states that the "blood of Hanzo Hashashi" will unite a new generation of Earthrealm´s champions to prevent Outworld´s victory.
If you are a fan of the video games of Mortal Kombat, and you enjoyed the first original film based on the video game, i do have some good news for you. Mortal Kombat manage to capture some of the atmosphere of the game, especially through certain characters. Now, i want to make one thing perfectly clear. This is not a film for those who are looking for an intelligent story, or fantastic acting. This is a film, especially made for fans of martial arts, and fans of Mortal Kombat. And to be honest, in a film like this you don´t really need a strong plot, since it is all about the fighting and action scenes. And this is why we need a film like this to be in cinemas and on digital, so a new generation of people can discover the importance of martial arts films. Everything is not perfect with this film, there are some problems. But let´s get into the positive for a moment. And let us begin talking about some of the characters. Two of the coolest characters in this film, is without a doubt Sub-Zero ( played by actor Joe Taslim ) and Scorpion ( played by actor Hiroyki Sanada ). The fight scene between these characters is just pure nostalgia. And they actually manage to do their fighting scenes good enough, to feel like a Mortal Kombat battle. Lord Raiden ( played by actor Tadanobu Asano ) honestly feels more like Lord Raiden than what Christopher Lambert did in the 1995 film version. Actress Sisi Stringer who plays the character Mileena, i am suprised over how well she managed to play this character, because she is not easy to portrait. There are a couple of fun characters more i could mention, but i have to mention what character does not work. Lead character Cole Young ( played by actor Lewis Tan ) is not the great lead character you would expect in a film like this. He´s ok, but he should have worked harder on his character. I have to mention that the brutal kills in this film, is definetely worth waiting for, especially one scene where Jax smash a head into pieces. Some of the brutal fights does feel like coming home, to the old school martial art scene that we don´t get to see often in these days. Mortal Kombat shows that there is still hope for martial art in today´s cinema. There may be details that could have been fixed, but i had fun with this film. Director Simon McQuoid deliver a Mortal Kombat film that will be enjoyed by both old school fans, and younger ones as well. Definetely worth seeing in cinema ( if you can ) or at digital at home, for a fun nostalgia trip to the 90´s. Anyone want to join me in the ring? I promise i won´t use my razor blade gloves ( i only use them to trim the grass, trust me ).
tisdag 8 juni 2021
Society may change, with new technology, new buildings, and we face new challenges. But some things will never change, and that is especially how split society is between the rich and the poor. If you look at cities across the world, poverty is a problem that causes a lot of damage such as drug addiction, abusive relationships, mental problems and so much more. And when you have no other choice but to survive, you will do anything to make sure you have the money you need. But not all criminals hurt people just for money, but actually have fun doing it. And this is the perfect example of why a film such as the cult classic Death Wish needs to be seen. Released in 1974 from director Michael Winner, this is one of those films i can watch again, without being bored. So why is this film such as classic? It was a very controversial film at the time it was released, and i believe we needed to see an ordinary man take justice into his own hands, when police is not doing what they should be doing. Legendary actor Charles Bronson plays the character Paul Kersey, who is a New York architect, who finds out that his wife have been killed and his daughter was raped by criminals. When no one is arrested, Paul decide to take justice into his own hands. Death Wish is a film that is not only a revenge film, but this is also a story of a man who is struggling to move on with his life. How can he go on after his wife is killed, and his daughter is damaged for the rest of his life? There are several sequels to Death Wish, but the first one is still the best and worth checking out on DVD. Speaking of seeking vengeance, we have one man who have done that for quite many years now, and that is of course legendary actor Liam Neeson. Especially after his action classic Taken released in 2008, he have kept on making similar films. Some of his action films have turned out to be good, while some of the others have been average at most. But here we are in 2021, and he is back with another action film, while this film seems to go in a different direction from his previous action films. Is this one of the films you need to see this summer, or is The Marksman a proof that the action career for Liam Neeson is all over by now?
Former United States Marine Corps Scout Sniper and Vietnam War veteran Jim Hansen ( Liam Neeson) lives along the Arizona-Mexico border, reporting attempted illegal crossings. One day, while on patrol, he encounters Rosa ( Teresa Ruiz ) and her son Miguel ( Jacob Peréz ), Mexican citizens on the run from the cartel. Hansen call border patrol to report them for trying to cross the border, but is forced to end the call when Mexican cartel members begin a shootout. Rose is shot, and her last wish is for Jim to take care of her son, and get him to Chicago, where her family lives. Jim give her his word, but knows the danger of the cartel, as he bring Miguel with him across the country.
I know that The Marksman have had some bad reviews from earlier this year, for a number of reasons. I can understand why in certain details, that could have been improved to make this film better. But you know what? Sometimes i appreciate to see a Liam Neeson film, knowing what he will offer, and it does not have to have any big surprises. I can actually accept seeing him do an ordinary action film, as long as i feel that the story works. And in the case of The Marksman, it´s actually a bit different from the Taken franchise, as well as some other films that he have made. The fact that this film takes place at the Arizona border, gives the plot a little bit more to work with. Especially when you see his character take care of a young boy, who watched his mother die at the border. Just imagine being a kid and seeing this in real life, no child should watch their parent die from a bullet wound. I have to say that the road trip that these main characters do, becomes a little bit charming. Seeing grumpy Liam Neeson and a kid, become friends, shows that it´s never too late to make new friends in life. Liam Neeson´s character Jim Hanson, is really struggling with his life since his wife passed away. And anyone of us could be in his situation, if we have someone really close to us, who pass away in a disease. So this young boy do bring a new sparkle into Jim´s life, a reason to continue his life by doing something good. And that message actually work in this film. But let´s get to one of the biggest problems with The Marksman, and that is that some of the characters in this film are not really interesting, or works very well. Look at the bad guys for example. They are a whole gang, and only one of them come across as any dangerous. You would think that members of the Mexican cartel would be really rough, and have no remorse. Well, i tried to get into their characters, but had a hard time doing so. The main evil character Mauricio ( played by actor Juan Pablo Raba, who you definetely will recognize from the Netflix series Narcos ), is the only cartel character that actually makes any impact. Director Robert Lorentz ( who have produced a lot of Clint Eastwood in the past ) deliver a film that will be appreciated by fans of Liam Neeson, but should have given us a stronger cartel portrait. If you don´t know what to watch this summer on VOD, then The Marksman should work, if you just want a simple action film, without any twists or turns. I hope one day to see Liam in an apocalyptic zombie film, something tells me he would be the perfect choice to wipe out a zombie army.
måndag 7 juni 2021
There is something special about summer films, when you can go into a cinema and watch blockbusters in all categories, have your popcorn and feel the summer vibe on screen. I have especially seen a lot of summer blockbusters in cinema since the early 90´s. Back then i used to go to the cinema at least 3 weekends every month. It was a bit cheaper to go watch films in cinema then, compared to today, and i had enough money saved from working summer jobs. Let´s give you a perfect example of a great year, when summer releases delivered a lot of great films. In the summer of 1993 i watched Hot Shots! 2, Cliffhanger, The Fugitive, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles III, The Vanishing, Army Of Darkness, Falling Down, Sniper, and many more titles in cinema. Every summer i always visit the cinema ( except for last year ), since i love seeing the latest films on a big screen. And there was especially one summer release that i will never forget, back in 2004. It was a film that a lot of people were curious to see, but was not sure if it would be good. And that was director Zack Snyder´s remake of George A. Romero´s cult zombie film Dawn Of The Dead. Considering how many people who love the original film from 1978, it seemed impossible to make a remake that fans of George A. Romero would approve. But all the people who doubted director Zack Snyder, would soon find out that he actually made one of the best horror remakes ever. The 2004 film version of Dawn Of The Dead, is not only one of my favourite zombie films, but maybe the best in this genre for the last 17 years. The plot is pretty similar to the original film ( with a few changes made ), but it is the action in this film that is so much fun to watch. Lots of violence, lots of gory attacks, and the zombies looks really good. With a great cast included, Dawn Of The Dead is a must see for zombie fans. Director Zack Snyder have continued to make great films, and as you probably know he released his version of Justice League this spring, worth checking out. When i found out that director Zack Snyder returned into the zombie genre with his latest film Army Of The Dead, i was very happy to hear the news. And now Netflix released the film just a few weeks ago, i finally got a chance to see this film. Is this the best zombie film since the 2004 version of Dawn Of The Dead, or have Zack lost his way with Army Of The Dead ?
A United States military convoy travelling from Area 51 collides with a car on the highway outside Las Vegas. The covoy´s cargo, a zombie, escapes, killing and infecting before heading into the city. Most of the population in Las Vegas become infected, and after a military intervation fails, the government quarantine the city. Casino owner Bly Tanaka ( Hiroyuki Sanada ) and his associate Martin ( Garrett Dillahunt ) approach former mercenary Scott Ward ( Dave Bautista ) about a job to recover 200 million dollars, from his casino vault in Vegas before the military deploys a tactical nuclear strike on the city. Scott needs to put together a team who can pull this mission off.
If you are a big fan of Zack Snyder´s film version of Dawn Of The Dead, i do believe you will find yourself having a good time with Army Of The Dead. This is definetely a film that is made for fans of the zombie genre, and there is plenty to be happy about. Let´s begin with the most positive details of this film. The zombie makeup looks absolutely gorgeous, compared to a lot of zombie film releases in the last 7 years. You can tell that they really took the time to make an effort to make the zombies look cool, and we do get some different zombie versions ( not giving away any big spoilers ), who definetely fit in with the lifestyle of Las Vegas. Especially the zombie leader Zeus ( played by actor Richard Cetrone, who some of you might remember from the Underworld franchise with Kate Beckinsale ). The thing about Zeus is that he is can actually make decisions that makes sense, compared to other zombies. He can also control them as well, and this is definetely something we don´t see very often in zombie films, that one specific leader controls the horde. Richard Cetrone definetely deliver a performance that works well with the zombie character. Retired professional wrestler Dave Bautista knows how to work well in action scenes, and he does this in Army Of The Dead. It is more his dialogue scenes that works less good, simply because he is better at delivering action than acting. I especially enjoy the performances of actors Nora Arnezeder ( who did a really good performance in the 2012 remake of Maniac ) and Ana De La Reguera ( who plays Vida in one of my favourite comedy TV series Eastbound & Down ). So what else does Army Of The Dead offer? This is pretty much a film that does not rely on a strong story, but focuses more on being entertaining, and i think this is actually a good idea for a film like this. My biggest issue with this film is the length. 2 hours and 30 minutes is a long time for a zombie film, and you need a lot of good scenes to work, to match with this playtime. There are a few dialogue scenes that feels drawn out, but overall i had a good time with Army Of The Dead. Not as good as the 2004 remake Dawn Of The Dead, but still a fun ride. Director Zack Snyder could be the new zombie king in the future, if he continue on this path. He knows how to make zombie films, and deliver some new surprises, in a genre that needs to take some risks. I hope he have another film planned, that might be even more brutal than this one. How about an apocalyptic zombie lockdown in Stockholm, and seeing zombies with Swedish folk dresses and viking armour? I think that could be the masterpiece we all have been waiting for.
torsdag 3 juni 2021
I remember a very unique VHS store outside the city of Trollhättan, pretty close to the West Coast of Sweden. It was right outside of the city centre, next to a big furniture store. This was in the year of 1989, and it was early summer. I did not know at that time that this VHS store was located there, but i remember walking in. There were so many shelves with VHS films, in all genres from action, horror, thriller, sci fi, comedy, adult films, they really loved VHS. And i especially remember the action section, with a lot of ninja films, and military action films. If i could have bought them all, i probably would. Because i have never been to a VHS store with such a big selection of films, it was a VHS paradise. At the horror section, i remember seeing a lot of B movies that i have never heard of. Especially two titles called Humanoids From The Deep and C.H.U.D, who both had a very cool VHS covers. Further up on one of the shelves with horror, i also found a horror film called Rattlers. This was a film i knew nothing about, but it did look like fun, with snakes included. I did not buy Rattlers at that time, and i ended up buying C.H.U.D, Prey For Death ( a classic Ninja film with legend Sho Kosugi ), The Return Of The Living Dead and Red Scorpion. Let´s move many years ahead to the year of 2004, when i was doing some DVD shopping from America. And this is where i came across that film i mentioned earlier, called Rattlers. There was a Special Edition of Rattlers on DVD, so of course i had to take a look at this film. A snake horror film from director John McCauley, that includes legendary actor Sam Chew Jr. ( who you might remember from TV series The Bionic Woman ). The story takes place in a small California desert town, where two young boys are killed by a legion of rattlesnakes. Local Sherrif Gates ( Tony Ballen ) but together a team of Los Angeles herpetologist professor Dr. Tom Parkinson ( Sam Chew Jr. ) and war photographer Ann Bradley ( Elisabeth Chauvet ), to try and find answers to this abnormal agression that these rattlesnakes are showing. Rattlers is a cult classic 70´s horror movie, and especially thanks to the cast. The snakes themselves add some fun scenes in this film, especially for those who enjoy animal / insect horror films. I have known about a sequel to Rattlers since late last year, but i finally got a chance to get myself a DVD copy. Considering what a cult classic the first Rattlers film is, does this sequel manage to respect the original film and work as a sequel as well, or is this a sequel that disappointed me?
45 years ago, a series of rattle snake attacks caused chaos in the California desert. Now, 45 years later, the rattle snakes have returned. Unless they are stopped, no one knows how many victims they could kill.
Making a sequel to a cult film like Rattlers, is of course a big challenge. You have to respect the source material of the first film, and also bring in new characters, as well as add something different than the original 1976 film. Rattlers 2 do manage to handle this in a positive way. But let´s talk about the best part of Rattlers 2 ( a part from the snake attacks ), and that is without a doubt the screen presence of legendary actor Mel Novak ( who most of you definetely remember from classics such as Game Of Death and Chuck Norris cult film An Eye For An Eye ) as the character Commissioner Lewis. The scenes where we get to hear Commisioner Lewis talk, proves once more why Mel Novak have no problem with delivering dialogue, in his own unique way, I would have liked to see more of him in this film, since he is one of the most interesting characters in Rattlers 2. Actress Dawna Lee Helsing ( who can forget her wonderful performance in the 2015 film Ballet Of Blood, a must see ) is also here, in some short scenes. I was hoping to see her a bit longer as well, since i know she is good at portraying characters, in her own uniqe way. I have to mention actor D.T. Carney ( who fans of the romantic horror comedy April Apocalypse will recognize ) as Sheriff Wilson, he is a great choice for this role. What else is positive about Rattlers 2 a part from these performances? I would say some of the red snake visions looks pretty cool, as they sneak up on their victims. I would also say that some of the snake attacks are cheesy fun as well. We do get some flashbacks to to the original film in certain scenes, that connects this film closer to the original. Anything negative? The runtime is about 1 hour and 10 minutes, and it feels like we could have had at least one more snake attack scene added, just for the fans of Rattlers. Director Dustin Ferguson is a well known low budget director, with a lot of films in his backpack. He is clearly a fan of the original film, and he manage to capture that through the desert scenes, and the rattle snakes that we see looking for their next victim. I do think he did the right thing, adding some scenes from the original film, to make the connection between these films feel closer to each other. As a sequel, Rattlers 2 will most likely be enjoyed by fans of the first film. If you love snakes attacking, then give this film a chance. I have a feeling you will dig this one, especially if you appreciate independent low budget horror films.
There is a lot of people who love to watch real estate TV shows. That is the moment you can dream away as you see houses, that you probably could never afford, but would love to live in. Just imagine having a massive swimming pool in your backyard, with water falls, a personal waitress in bikini, who would say no to this combination? I know one person who would, and that would of course be Christian Tru News TV host Rick Wiles. If he can call vegetarian burgers for Satan Burgers, and say that cell phones are demonic, i don´t think he would want a waitress in a bikini. It would probably be satanic for him as well, since everything seems to be demonic in his world. Speaking of real estate TV shows, one of the few that i have seen ( maybe 3 episodes ), is the TV show Property Brothers with twin brothers Drew Scott and Jonathan Scott. I noticed that this TV series have been going on for 7 seasons, so you can clearly tell that a lot of ladies would do anything to get their hands on these twin brothers. So i thought of another idea, what if you would sell the worst looking real estate on TV, and see who agrees to pay anything for it at all? I actually think this could be fun, considering there are real estates that definetely have gone through some rough times. Of course we would have to make sure that the people looking for these real estates would be nice local folks, hopefully from hillbilly locations, where anything is possible. But what if you enter a house that may not be so nice? That is exactly what character Samantha Hughes ( played by wonderful actress Jocelin Donahue ) does, as she agree to take a job as a babysitter. She talks to Mr. Ulman ( played really well by legendary actor Tom Noonan ) by phone, and get the job. But this babysitting job is not quite what she was expecting. The film is called The House Of The Devil, and is directed by Ti West. This is a very well made independent horror film, that brings back the satanic films of the 60´s and 70´s, with solid performances. If you ask me, this is one of those films you should pick up on DVD or Blu Ray, if you are a fan of this genre. As i was going through different VOD horror releases, i came across a film called The House Of Hobbes House. The poster did look interesting, so i decided to give this film a chance, knowing nothing about the plot. Is this one of the independent horror films you should see this summer, or is The House Of Hobbles House so bad that you will definetely forget about it?
Jane Dormant ( Mhairi Calvey ) have lost it all. Nowhere to go, sleeping in her car, it seems that her life could not get any worse than this. She gets a phone call about a diseased relative that she have not met in many years, and it seems that her relative leaves the property and the mansion to Jane. She decides to go over to the mansion, to hear what the will says. Her sister Jennifer Dormant ( Makgenna Guyler ) and her partner Nigel Thatcher ( Kevin Leslie ). The family members begin to argue, but they soon find out that they will need to cooperate, when a bigger danger is waiting outside at night.
The Curse Of Hobbes House is an independent film in my taste, because who can resist seeing zombies with glowing blue eyes on an English mansion? If you can accept some of the bad acting from certain characters, and just appreciate the effort of this zombie flick ( considering the low budget ), i think you might find some fun with this film. I do like the fact that this film brought up a family argument, over a relative´s property of a mansion, and who get the property according to the will. In a family situation like this, anything could go wrong, unless you come to an agreement. And to throw in a zombie invasion into this, is actually the best part of this film. We have to talk about the lead character Jane Dorment ( played by actress Mhairi Calvey ). At first she may not seem to be a tough woman, but as the film goes on, she actually prove that she is a survivor. Mhairi definetely give the best acting performance, and i really appreciate that she plays a character that a lot of people will recognize themselves with, a person who is struggling everyday. She lost her job and is homeless, this is the reality for a lot of people worldwide. So to bring this into a zombie film, is definetely an interesting idea. Actress Makenna Guyler who plays the character Jennifer Dormant, may seem annoying and selfish from the beginning, but you can tell that she cares for her sister, especially towards the end. The make up effects of the zombies are not too bad, and i do think that their glowing eyes was a nice touch, to try and do something different with this genre. So any problems with this film? Actor Kevin Leslie who plays the character Nigel Thatcher is not as good as i was hoping. I enjoyed his acting performances in films such as The Rise Of The Krays and The Fall Of The Krays. For some reason, he does not seem to give a lot of effort with his character in The Curse Of Hobbes House. I would have liked a little bit more background story of the two sisters, since they seem to have a lot of issues from their past. Other than that, i can´t complain much. Director Juliane Block deliver a zombie film with both traditional ingredients, but add some other interesting details in there as well. I would like to see what she could do with another film in the zombie genre, it feels like she have more to give, in this specific area. The Curse Of Hobbes House is definetely not a film for everyone, that focuses more on pleasing fans of zombie horror. If you just want an independent horror film to watch, give this one a chance. Who knows, you might get inspired to get an English mansion, to do some gardening with....an axe?
It is quite amazing how fast time flies by. One day you suddenly realise that you are getting closer to 50 years old ( not there quite yet, only 6 years left ). I have no problem with getting older, because i am happy that i have experienced the 80´s and 90´s, that today´s young generation did not get to experience. If they could, i can imagine that they would have had fun, as we did back in those days. It was magical times, for many different reasons. When the year 2000 entered, we got a very mixed bag, especially in the film and music industry. Nu Metal was still very popular, and even Grunge rock band Puddle Of Mudd managed to sell over 5 million copies, of their major-label debut album Come Clean, back in 2001. Speaking of Nu Metal, that same year American band P.O.D released their second major label album Satellite. This is one of those albums you can still play, 20 years later and it feels like time stands still, that you are back to youth. The early 2000´s had a lot of horror films to offer, in very different qualites. Some were good, while some were.....not good. But there were some unexpected surprised, one of those titles i am especially thinking about, is the 2003 horror film Wrong Turn, from director Rob Schmidt ( who also directed the good crime thriller The Alphabet Killer, with a great cast included ). Wrong Turn turned out to be a fun mixture of the 70´s classics Deliverance and The Hills Have Eyes. The cannibal inbred hillbillies in this film, manage to bring out some fun gory moments. Wrong Turn may not be an original film in any way, but as a gory horror film, i would still say that this film have entertainment value for fans of horror. A lot of sequels have been made, and i gave up on this franchise after seeing the 4th film. But then we got the news that a remake was coming, and it sounded like it would be different from the original film. Not having any high expectations, i decided to give this film a chance. Is this remake even better than the original film, or should they have left the Wrong Turn franchise alone, a long time ago?
A group of friends from New Jersey, Jen Shaw ( Charlotte Vega ), her boyfriend Darius Adian Bradley ), including 2 more couples, travel to a small town in rural Virginia before hiking the Appalachian Trail. Several local residents, including a man named Nate Roades ( Tim DeZarn ), warn them against venturing off the marked trail. The group decide to go anyway, not knowing anything about the past of this location.
I am actually quite shocked. Why? This remake is actually better than the original Wrong Turn film from 2003. That does not mean i don´t enjoy the original film anymore, i do. But this remake actually manage to combine old school horror with some nice surprises. I have to mention that there are no cannibal hillbillies here, as is the previous Wrong Turn films. There are cannibals, but their portrait here is very different from the original film. And i actually appreciate that they decided to take this film on a complete different path, since the hillbilly theme felt worn out. This film focus more on a society where they survive on what the forest can provide them, as if they live in a society that have never changed. Where they don´t want people near them, and they don´t need any help from anyone. The acting in this film is actually better than i expected as well. Most of the actors seems to go in to their characters, and this helps Wrong Turn in a positive direction. This is usually a problem in some some horror films, that the characters don´t match well with the story. Not here though, and i appreciate that the actors take their characters seriously. If you love brutal kills, there are some nice scenes here that will most likely please you. The difference between this remake and the Wrong Turn franchise, is that this film feels more serious than the previous films, and don´t rely on gory effects. This film actually focuses more on telling a deeper story, that actually makes this film more interesting. I also appreciate the subject of the laws of the society, where they are very clear about what they accept or not. Director Mike P. Nelson ( who also directed the interesting action horror film The Domestics, worth checking out ) have made a reboot that is not only better than the original film, but he also manage to give us a story that have a lot to say about human behavior, how we make decisions in certain situations, no matter what the consequences are. If you are planning to watch a summer horror film, i think you should go for this film. Definetely better than i expected, Wrong Turn proves that there is still hope for good remakes.
tisdag 1 juni 2021
One of the happy memories i have of my childhood in the 80´s, is the comic book store we had down at a street called Trädgårdsgatan in my hometown. The comic book store was owned by a young guy, who also worked for his parents in their super market store. So he only had the comic book store opened certain days in certain hours, because otherwise he could not have 2 jobs and make it work. Every time we went down there to the comic book store, we would spend hours there going through comics. We always ended up buying some comic books, and even some music CD´s as well ( i remember that this is where i bought the Queen album Innuendo ). The comic book store owner knew i had 2 favourite comic book characters, and that was The Hulk and Conan The Barbarian. Since i have already read some of the comics of The Hulk that i have bought there before, i decided to look for other comics instead. One of them i remember finding was the 1987 comic book version of Wonder Woman. I know that i have heard of Wonder Woman in the 80´s, but i was more into Marvel comics at that time. But as i had a look at a comic book of Wonder Woman, i could see why she was beloved. I never bought any of these comic books, because i was collecting Conan The Barbarian instead. As the early 90´s entered i did get to see the 70´s TV series Wonder Woman with actress Lynda Carter, playing the comic book character. I don´t remember how many episodes i watched, but i enjoyed the show for what it was. DC Comics have since then brought on several comic book characters to the big screen, and there is especially one film that surprised a lot of people, and that is the 2017 film version of Wonder Woman. This was definetely the best film adaptation from a DC comic book character we have seen made into a film, and actress Gal Gadot was absolutely fantastic as Wonder Woman. I saw this film in cinema three times ( that does not happen very often ) because i enjoyed this film so much. So when i heard that Gal Gadot would return in a sequel called Wonder Woman 1984, i was beyond excited. Wonder Woman in the 80´s sounded like the greatest idea in a very long time. After this film was delayed in cinemas, i finally watched this film at HBO Nordic. Is this the Wonder Woman sequel that we all have waited for, or is this even worse than anyone expected?
A young Diana participates in the athletic event on Themyscira against older Amazons. After falling from her horse, Diana sheet by taking a shortcut, but misses a checkpoint. Antiope ( Robin Wright ) removes her from the competition, explaining that cheating is not allowed, you must be honest in everything you do in life. In 1984, Diana Prince ( Gal Gadot ) works at the Smithsonian Intitution in Washington D.C. while secretely performing as Wonder Woman, to help people in need. New museum employee Barbara Ann Minerva ( Kristin Wiig ), a shy geologist and cryptozoologist, is barely seen by her co-workers, and she envy Diana. FBI asks the museum to identify stolen antiques from a robbery that Wonder Woman recently foiled. Barbara and Diana notice one of them, later identified as Dreamstone, contain a Latin inscription claiming to grant the holder one wish. But they have no idea, what powers this stone has, until it is taken by failing businessman Maxwell " Max Lord " Lorenzano ( Pedro Pascal ).
I think a lot of people worldwide have been excited to see the result of this sequel, considering how good the first film turned out to be. Now, i know it is difficult making a sequel become as good as the first film. I would be happy if the sequel would be good enough to be entertaining at least. Unfortunately, Wonder Woman 1984 is not the sequel i was hoping for, and there are several reasons why this sequel does not hold up to the same level as the first film. Let us begin with the story set in the 80´s. Considering that they could have done so much with 80´s influences, we only get bright colors, some funny hair styles and colorful sets. And this is one of those things that i feel could have been taken to a higher 80´s level, with real 80´s nostalgia instead of just colorful clothes. There are a few funny 80´s details, such as the breakdance scene. But there could have been so much more added here, considering how long this film is, at a playtime of over 2 hours and 20 minutes. I also feel that the superhero image of Wonder Woman is much more pale in this film, compared to the first film. Actress Gal Gadot is not to blame for this, she is as always wonderful as Wonder Woman, but she is not given a lot to do here for such a long film. I can honestly say that she at least bring some highlights when we get to see her kick ass, just as we are used to see Wonder Woman do. Another problem is the evil character Max Lord, played by actor Pedro Pascal. He is funny in some scenes as a sleasy business guy, but as a threat towards Wonder Woman, you would need a much more powerful villain than him in a film like this. Actress Kristin Wiig is actually a highlight in this film as Barbara Minerva, she knows how to do a nerd character in a charming way. She should have been the main villain, in the whole film. What about the action scenes? There are a few good moments, but when you watch a Wonder Woman sequel you want some epic action scenes, and we don´t get that here, unfortunately. I would not say this is an awful film, there are a few fun moments to be pleased about. But with so many great actors involved in this project, and a talented director such as Patty Jenkins, it feels like this film lost it´s way during production. If you loved the first film, just watch this sequel if you are a fan of the franchise. Otherwise i would suggest that you skip this one.