lördag 30 oktober 2021

Halloween Kills

Every year, all over the world, peole love to celebrate Halloween. It is that time of the year when especially horror fans can dress up as their favourite horror character, and embrace the power of horror icons. This is a massive industry, especially in America, where they sell costumes, Halloween candy, Halloween comic books, horror films and much more, for a lot of money. You could basically say that this weekend is like Jim Bakker´s Miracle Blanket, you can never get enough of it. As well all know, Halloween is the weekend of horror films, and a lot of people watch their classics, or try some new films as well. No matter what horror film you are into, this weekend is the perfect moment to enjoy a moment of fear. Since we are speaking about Halloween weekend, there is of course one specific film that a lot of people connect this weekend with. Is it Notting Hill with Hugh Grant? Perhaps that is the film that they prefer in England, since i hear it´s still quite popular there during Halloween. But here in Sweden, i think most of us think about the 1978 film Halloween from director John Carpenter. Most of you are probably familiar with this film. Just in case you have not seen it, let me tell you a little bit about the story of Halloween. On Halloween night 1963, in Haddonfield, Illinois, 6 year old Michael Myers stabs his sister Judith Margaret Myers ( Sandy Johnson ) to death with a kitchen knife. For the next 15 years, Michael is incacerated at Smith´s Grove Sanitarium. On October 30, 1978, Michael´s psychiatrist, Dr. Samuel Loomis ( Donald Pleasence and his colleague, Marion Chambers ( Nancy Stephens ), arrive at the sanitarium to escort Michael Myers to the court hearing. Michael escape and steal their car, steal a white mask and head to his home. Halloween is one of those slasher films from the 70´s that still works really well, no matter how many years go by. Director John Carpenter knew exactly how to deal with this genre, and especially managed to create his own unique horror icon Michael Myers. The sequels have been ok ( at least some of them ), while we also had Halloween: Ressurection, the desperate attempt to make Michael Myers more modern through a live interenet show ( it´s really bad ). I really enjoyed the 2007 Halloween remake from director Rob Zombie, and i can still defend that film today since i know this film have been critisized by some fans. It´s a hell of a lot better than both Halloween 6 and Halloween: Resurrection. 3 years ago we got a new film simply known as Halloween, with Jamie Lee Curtis returning as the iconic character Laurie Strode. I actually enjoyed the film, for trying to move the Halloween franchise in a different direction, with a clever twist. So here we are, with the sequel to the 2018 film called Halloween Kills, where Laurie Strode once again return to face Michael Myers. Is this sequel surprisingly effective, or should they leave this franchise alone for good ?

Tommy Doyle ( Anthony Michael Hall ) celebrates the 40th anniversary of Michael Myers imprisonment along with fellow survivors Marion Chambers ( Nancy Stephens ), Lindsey Wallace ( Kyle Richards ), and Lonnie Elam ( Robert Longstreet ), all having encountered Michael in 1978. Firefighter´s responding to Laurie Straude´s ( Jamie Lee Curtis ) burning house, where they find out that Michael Myers ( James Jude Courtney / Nick Castle ) is still alive. Michael kill all of them and continue his killing spree through town. But the citizens of Haddonfields have decided to gather as many people as possible, to make sure that Michael will be killed.

I was hoping that Halloween Kills would be a good sequel to the 2018 film Halloween. Unfortunately, this is the kind of sequel that deliver no surprises, or take the Halloween franchise in a positive direction. Halloween Kills feels more like a sequel made to cash in on horror fans, that does not really feel necessary to see. There are some issues that i have with this film, and let us start with when the film takes place in 1978. The scenes when Michal Myers attack inside his home ( at this specific year ), are not very impressive. I have seen all the Halloween films made so far, and there are sequels that are bad ( who remember Halloween: Resurrection ? ), and even if Halloween Kills is not one of the worst films, i don´t feel like this film use all the right tools to be an effective horror film. This film does become a little bit better when we go forward into present day ( or should i say where the 2018 film ended ), as we find out what happened after Michael was trapped in Laurie´s house. But there are still issues here as well, that i could easily discuss. In the Halloween film from 2018, it felt like they at least made an attempt to take the story of Lorie Strode ( Jamie Lee Curtis ) forward, instead of going back to too much traditional ground. Sure, the classic elements of Halloween was still there, but they also managed to bring in a different interesting perspective of how Lorie Strode have tried to move forward, while she is stuck in her past. In Halloween Kills, it feels more like a revenge horror film, where the basic plot is just to see Laurie Strode and the whole town to attack Michael, and that´s pretty much it. A slasher film does not have to be intelligent, but if you want it to be effective, you better make it look good. Now to the positive sides of this film. The brutal kills of this film have some fun moments ( not every single one, but most of them ). I do like the idea that the whole town goes after Michael. But here we come to one problem with this idea, that some of the characters hunting Michael is not very good. You can´t really connect with their characters, and it would have been better if they would have developed them more, before finishing the scenes. Jamie Lee Curtis as Laurie Strode is of course the highlight of this film, and she saves this film from falling apart. Director David Gordon Greene ( who directed the 2018 version of Halloween ) have made a brutal Halloween film, and that´s good. But he also lost some of the power that the 2018 film had, and replaced it with some forgettable characters, that was supposed to feel connected to the past of Michael Myers. This is not a horrible horror film ( there are certain details i do enjoy about this sequel ), but it is definetely weaker than i expected. Halloween Kills is just for really big fans of the Halloween franchise, while the rest of you might as well enjoy the original film instead. I really hope the next sequel Halloween Ends deliver something more than Halloween Kills does. Sometimes, it´s better to leave certain horror franchises alone, and let classics age with dignity. 

Rating: DD

torsdag 28 oktober 2021

Bad Influencer: The Great Insta Con ( Influencern Som Fejkade Cancer )

Social media can help us do amazing things online. We can connect with people worldwide, no matter where we are. We can share our travelling photos, tell people different stories, or share a special moment such as a wedding. I am a positive person when it comes to social media, since in these days it´s just a part of our lives. I do one social media project with a very good friend of mine, that is a very small social media project. It´s mostly to do something positive in a hobby project called The Golden Boys Of Sundsvall, where me and my friend Tony try and share positivity worldwide, and support independent actors, independent directors, and music bands as well in everything that they do. So we created a t shirt with our hobby project name, and the people who wear the t shirt work in the film industry, or music business. By wearing the tshirt, they support us for trying to share a positive vibe worldwide. We also have some other odd personalities as well that will be coming up next year. but it´s all for a good cause. We don´t ask anyone for any gifts, or money, this is just a hobby project to show that if you want to make something positive in this world, you can do it. And everyone who knows us, knows that we would never ask anyone to pay us for this, it´s not about any money. We are just trying to do something positive. So if you want, you can check us out on The Golden Boys Of Sundsvall on Facebook or Instagram, and i promise that we are just honest people, not trying to scam anyone or use anyone. Social media do have a lot of positive ways to help people connect to get help, no matter if it´s about health, exercise, to find the right diet and much more. As long as serious, and professional people who know what they are talking about do this on social media, i think this is a great way to help people. But what if a person, turn out to be a con artist, using people´s trust just to make money? Some of you might remember the Australian girl known as Belle Gibson. She was a huge success on Instagram, and through her app The Whole Pantry, where she claimed that her healthy lifestyle was helping her battling very serious cancer diagnoses. It later turned out that all of this was a complete lie, and she was making a lot of money out of her lies, to followers who really believed her. I decided to take a look at the BBC documentary called Bad Influencer: The Great Insta Con, that tells the story from the beginning, how she started to get famous, and when her lies was revealed. Since there are a lot of con artists out there online, is this a documentary everyone should see, or is it not as good as i was hoping for?

In 2013, an app calld The Whole Pantry, created by Australian woman Belle Gibson become a huge success online. The idea of the app was to help people eat more healthy, and make people feel better. Belle Gibson quickly become a big superstar on instagram, and start releasing books as well. She even claims she have healed herself from different cancer diagnoses through her healthy lifestyle. But when certain people begin to investigate about Belle´s background, and find out that everything she have said so far are pure lies, her famous lifestyle is suddenly falling apart.

When you watch a documentary such as Bad Influencer: The Great Insta Con, you realise how easy it is for a person such as Belle Gibson to make people believe her. She knows how to manipulate people, to believe in everything that she says. The sad part about this is that she is playing with human lives, when women actually thought they could get more healthy through Belle Gibson´s health recommendations. When i watched this documentary, i was really upset at certain moments. To lie about several different cancer diagnoses, and pretending to help other sick people is absolutely disgusting. I have been in surgery for cancer myself, wich i removed from my face, It was not a lethal at that time, thanks to the discovery was made in good time. But as the surgeon told me:- If we don´t remove it, it could grow and spread. So of course i decided to do the surgery, even if i have a big scar in my face. I would rather have a scar in my face and survive, than take the risk and have the cancer spread. So, being a cancer patient myself, i could not understand how someone can be as evil as Belle Gibson. She clearly have no emotions, or understand the seriousness in all that she did. I find some of the interviews very interesting, especially with some of her biggest social media followers who felt betrayed by her, that they actually tried to live the way that she did, to feel better. When you later on hear the background story of Belle Gibson, and her true identity, the pieces of the puzzle start to explain why she is the way that she is. It is easy to say:- Why did not anyone stop her? When a person like Belle Gibson found her way on social media, she knew that she could build a platform, and she managed to do it for quite a long time. This is clear proof that anyone who wants to, can find their own way to scam people by using social media, as long as they get the attention, and the lifestyle they want. Bad Influencer: The Great Insta Con is a perfect example of how easy it is for people worldwide to fall for a con artist, and this documentary is a well made documentary that should be seen by all ages. We need to make people aware that there are bad people out there on social media, that should not get attention. Definetely worth checking out, especially if you are curious about this case. This is a documentary that clearly shows that evil actually does exists, and Belle Gibson is definetely a part of that.

Rating: DDD

If you live in Sweden, you can see this documentary on SVT Play, where this documentary is called Influencern Som Fejkade Cancer. 

torsdag 21 oktober 2021

Backwoods Bubba

I remember the summer of 1991 so well, wonderful times. Me and my friends Björn, André, Marcus, we would all go on our bicycles to a local trash yard. Björn have brought with him his father´s axe, so we would have some fun. You see, in this trash yard, they had thrown away some old manequin dolls. So we removed one of them, to a different location, and we tried using the axe on the manequin doll, wearing a Jason Vorhees mask. It was kind of like our way to show tribute to Friday The 13th, since we grew up with the franchise in the 80´s. An old man ( who worked there at the trash yard ) suddenly saw us, and started screaming. So we ran to our bikes, and got out of there. Looking back now, it may not sound very normal to hear a bunch of 13 year olds striking a manequin doll with an axe, but i suppose you can look at this from a different perspective. We did not do drugs, or alcohol at that time, so striking a manequin doll with an axe, does sound like a more normal option. Speaking of Friday The 13th and Jason Vorhees, this was a big part of my teenage years. I watched several of the films in this franchise. Unfortunately, if we rented the films on VHS on Swedish releases, they were cut ( back in those days, they cut out a lot of violence on VHS films here in Sweden, all the way to 1993, when they finally started to release uncut films ). Luckily, a friend of mine named Jonas, had connections to England, and managed to get a lot of violence films from his trips there, so we could see the Friday The 13th films uncut. You can imagine how happy we were to see the kills of Jason Voorhees, uncut and bloody. It was like the greatest Christmas ever, or perhaps even better than that. Since i am a big fan of slasher horror films, especially made on a low budget, i have been looking forward to see a slasher film called Backwoods Bubba with wonderful actors such as Dilynn Fawn Harvey ( Clownado ), Rebecca Rinehart ( The Embalmers ) and Crystal Cleveland ( well known from Gruesome Magazine horror movie reviews, who is also in the short horror film Backward Creep ). The plot sounded like my cup of tea, a lot of kills and blood as well, the perfect Hallmark Channel moment that we all have been waiting for. I got my hands on a signed Blu Ray copy, but the version i am reviewing of Backwoods Bubba, is actually a different cut of the film. So is this a future classic in this genre, or is this film just as bad as Jim Bakker´s Miracle Blanket ?

A group of people wake up in a cabin in the countryside, chained to the wall. No one knows where they are, or why they are here. But they are about to find out, that a killer named Bubba ( Sammie Cassell ) have kidnapped them all, for a special reason. 

If you thought that we would not get a film in 2021, that would show how Swedish Christmas should be celebrated, i can tell you right now, Backwoods Bubba nails every single point in this subject. It is like director James B. Thompsson knew, that the audience have been waiting for a film that would show you, how we wish Christmas should look like in Sweden, and for that i am very thankful. You see, here in Sweden we are a bit dull at Christmas, and director James B. Thompsson realised that he could be the first one, to capture that image, and give us a more honest portrait of how we wish things could be instead. I have no idea if he have known about this for a long time, but he clearly knew that the timing for Backwoods Bubba would be a perfect release in 2021. Backwoods Bubba feels like a throwback to the slasher genre of the 80´s, where you can sense that the film crew were definetely inspired by the Friday The 13th franchise. With that said, this film does not copy the style of iconic character Jason Vorhees, since the killer Bubba is a complete different kind of personality than Jason. One detail that i noticed in this film, is that the forest locations have been chosen with a lot of passion. The majestic trees, and the beautiful landscapes, everything is clearly chosen to make this film look good. And i seriously doubt you will find many films this year, with so many beautiful women as this film have in the cast. Not only do they all look fantastic, but they give acting performances that will touch a lot of hearts as well, and some good laughs. A perfect example of this is wonderful actress Dilynn Fawn Harvey as the character Jesse, a perfect match. The thing that makes Dilynn such a unique actor, is that it does not matter what character she takes on, she knows within seconds what the character should look like. To be able to do that, you have to be a professional actor, and she shines like a bright star on the big screen. I would love to see her do an action film in the future, since i have a feeling that she would be perfect in the lead role in an old school American action film, especially with grindhouse influences. Wonderful actress Rebecca Rinehart makes an entrance in Backwoods Bubba, in her own unique way as the character Shannon. I have noticed that Rebecca is not afraid to take on any challenge, and she clearly shows that in this film as well. I especially enjoy the cabin scenes with all the ladies chained up, we get some fun dialogue in here. The design of Bubba´s mask is definetely different than most masks i have seen in slasher films, so it´s nice to see that they tried something else with a serial killer mask. The slasher scenes are pretty much what i was expecting, pretty simple but still fun. Director James B. Thompsson deliver a slasher film that will most likely please fans of this genre, and perhaps inspire people to visit the countryside a bit more. Backwoods Bubba is a fun old school horror film, that does not take itself too seriously, and that´s the best way to go. Don´t know how to plan a perfect New Years Eve party? Just invite slasher killer Bubba to decorate your party, and i promise it will be the best party you always dreamed of.

Rating: DDD

onsdag 20 oktober 2021

H.P. Lovecraft´s The Deep Ones

I still remember back in early 1990, when i was in Gran Canaria with my grandparents on vacation. I was 12 years old and we were on my first holiday vacation in a country far away. I have vistited our neighbor country Denmark a lot in the 80´s, but Gran Canaria was my first sun vacation, and i still remember seeing the palm trees, the banana plants, orange trees, it was magical indeed. We stayed in Las Palmas, and we used to go in to town to look at historical buildings, try different restaurants, and shop clothes. But it was in one store i really felt at home, and it was a store that sold a lot of different products. It was here i stumbled upon a lot of Spanish VHS releases. Since i did not know any Spanish, i just looked at the VHS covers, and especially one title caught my attention. It was a VHS cover of a film called Re-Animator. I did not buy the VHS tape at that time, but i will never forget the cover. A couple of years later, specifically in 1994, i came across a UK VHS release of Re-Animator in a video store, and i was beyond pleased. Finally i was going to check out the film i discovered in the store 4 years earlier in Las Palmas. Re-Animator is loosely based on 1922 H.P. Lovecraft serial novellette "Herbert West-Reanimator", and was released in 1985 from director Stuart Gordon. This is a really fun horror comedy that tells the story of medical studet Herbert West ( Jeffrey Combs ), who studies at the University of Zurich Institute of Medicine in Switzerland. He brings Dr. Hans Gruber ( Al Berry ) back to life through a serum. To finish his studies, Herbert begin at the Miskatonic University in Arkansas, Massachussets, where his experimentations go terribly wrong. If you love 80´s horror film, Re-Animator is a must have on DVD or Blu Ray. Speaking of H.P. Lovercraft, i also enjoy the 2001 film called Dagon, based on H.P. Lovercraft´s novella The Shadow Of Innsmouth. Dagon takes place in a small coast town in Spain, where a couple on vacation will soon discover that this is not an ordinary coast town. Dagon is a fun horror film from director Stuart Gordon, who proved once again that he knows how to tell stories from H.P. Lovecraft, and bring them back to life in cinema. If you enjoy the style of H.P. Lovecraft, you should pick up Dagon on DVD. It´s definetely a different film than Re-Animator, but still worth checking out. Since this summer i have been hearing about a film called The Deep Ones, a film that is based on the novel The Shadow Of Innsmouth ( just like Dagon, cool right? ). I just had to pick up this film on DVD to see if this would be in my taste. Is this a surprisingly good H.P. Lovecraft inspried film, or is The Deep Ones just as forgettable as Sisqó´s ( very boring ) album Return Of Dragon from 2001?

Married couple Alex ( Gina La Piana ) and Petri ( Johann Urb ) rent a house in a beachside community. They meet Russel Marsh ( Robert Miano ) at the beachouse, who welcomes them with his better half Ingrid Krauer ( Silvia Spross ). They start spending time together while Alex and Petri enjoy their holiday, but Alex gets a sense that everything is not what it seems to be in this beachside community.

I rewatched Dagon just before i took a look at The Deep Ones, just to remind myself of the atmposhere of H.P. Lovecraft. Even if that film is now 20 years old, it still works well today. When it comes to The Deep Ones, it´s a film that´s definetely different than Dagon. Sure, both films takes place close to the ocean ( while Dagon use this atmosphere much more than The Deep Ones ), but the stories are quite different. Let us begin what i enjoyed with this film, and i have to say that legendary actor Robert Miano ( who played the character Sonny Red in the Al Pacino classic Donnie Brasco ) is definetely the one who gives the best acting performance in this film. He just feel so natural as the character Russel Marsh, and deliver some charming dialogue. I find it a bit amusing that actor Johann Urb plays the character Petri, who is from Finland. He actually reference Finland in a few scenes, wich makes it fun, since i am a Scandinavian myself. Thimoty Muskatell as Dr. Gene Rayborn is the British doctor we would all want to check our health, and i enjoy this odd character. You get a sense that Dr. Gene should not be running her own clinic, so that´s probably tells you that she might do things quite differently. Since this is a film inspired by H.P. Lovercraft, there are a few scenes where you can sense that they tried captured the feeling of his stories. I especially enjoy the beast scenes, even though we only get to see the beast in a very limited time. Now, to my biggest issue with this film. As a horror film it´s not very scary, wich is unfortunate. There is a fun religious cult scene towards the end, but up until then they don´t really do a lot, and this was a missed oppurtunity. If they could have made the religious cult more brutal and brainwashed, i have a feeling it would have given the horror elements something more solid to build on. Overall, i do enjoy The Deep Ones somehow, and maybe it´s the bizarre tone of this film that makes it fun to watch. Especially with some of the odd characters, that somehow match well with the plot. Director Chad Ferrin ( director of everyone´s favourite film Exorcism At 60.000 Feet, ask any Norwegian citizen and they will confirm this ) have actually managed to bring out a H.P. Lovecraft inspired film that is surprisingly charming, something i never thought i would say. If you don´t take this film too seriously, you might actually have some fun with this film. The 2001 film Dagon will always be a personal favourite of mine, and The Deep Ones can´t reach to that level. I still enjoyed this film for what it is, a low budget horror film with the right entertainment tone. If you are a fan of H.P. Lovecraft, give this film a chance, you might actually see something that you appreciate.

Rating: DDD

Don´t Breathe 2

I love films that surprise me, who i had no high expectations of. Films that comes unexpected, and turns out to be surprisingly good. That´s something that does not happen very often, so when a film actually manage to do this, i am always positive. Since a lot of releases usually follow a certain pattern that we all recognize, we need a fresh wind once in a while to stir things up. There is nothing wrong with making a traditional film, it´s just nice to see that a director want to make an effort to try something different. To be able to see a film that actually tries to make an attempt to borrow ideas from certain classic films, but still manage to put it together in an intelligent way. And that is exactly what we noticed back in 2016, when director Fede Álvarez ( the director of the very well made Evil Dead remake ) released his film known as Don´t Breathe. I remember going into the theatre to this film, since i tried to avoid reading reviews and articles about the film, to get my own opinion. And i am glad that i did, because Don´t Breathe turned out to be one of the best horror thrillers of 2016. Not just because the plot was clever constructed, but this film also managed to deliver strong characters, and really good horror elements as well. Don´t Breathe tells the story of Rocky ( Jane Levy ), Alex ( Dylan Minnette ) and Money ( Daniel Zovatto ) who make a living on breaking in to people´s homes, by stealing valuables. Money recieve a tip that a Gulf War veteran named Norman Nordstrom ( Stephen Lang ) has 300.000 U.S. dollars in his house in an abandoned Detroit neighborhood. They think it will be easy to get the money, since Norman is completely blind. But they are about to find out, Norman is more prepared than they expected. Don´t Breathe is still today one of those films i could easily recommend if you want to see a really well made horror thriller. The acting is really good, and the horror elements works really well. If you get the Blu Ray, i suggest that you listen to the commentary track and find out some very interesting details about the making of this film, and about the characters. I actually did not expect to see a sequel, but here we are in 2021 with another film with the main character Norman Nordstrom back. Since i really enjoyed the first film, i was a bit worried they would mess things up with a sequel, but decided to give this film a chance. Is this a worthy sequel to a really good film, or is Don´t Breathe 2 a sequel that never should have been made at all?

Eight years have passed, and blind Army veteran Norman Nordstrom ( Stephen Lang ) lives with 11-year-old Phoenix ( Madelyn Grace ) and his Rottweiler, Shadow, in a Detroit suburb. Norman tells Phoenix that her mother died in the fire of their old house. Hernandez ( Stephanie Arcila ), Norman´s only connection with society and a veteran army ranger, convinces Norman to let Phoenix go with her to spend some time with her, instead of staying at the house all the time. While Phoenix visits a bathroom, a biker tries to abduct her. She gets away thanks to her friend Shadow. It turns out, that this gang is actually out for Phoenix for a reason, as they head over to the home of Norman.

I knew that there is a chance that Don´t Breathe 2 would not reach the same quality level that the first film did. And that is true, this sequel is not as good as the first film. However, this is still a solid sequel for a completely different reasons. I feel that this film tries to give us a completely different view on the life of the main character Norman, wich was definetely needed to make a sequel. I also feel that this film also does a great job by showing us the life of his young adopted daughter Phoenix. I have to mention what a wonderful performance child actor Madelyn Grace gives in this film as Phoenix. To be able to play her character so professional as she does, and show the emotions that she manage to do at her young age, tells me that she can be quite a unique actor in the future. I really wish her all the best on her career, looking forward to see what she will do next. Legendary actor Stephen Lang ( who i especially remember from the 1993 war film Gettysburg ) deliver once more a solid performance as Norman. Another detail that i think makes this film interesting as well, is that Norman get to fight against another war veteran, compared to the first film. This is definetely an interesting twist in this sequel, since they have both been in wars, and they both suffer from their traumatic memories. I think this was a good choice, instead of just doing the same thing as the first film, with the same kind of characters. So how does the horror elements work in this film as well? It´s not as effective as the first film was, i will be honest about that. I still feel that this sequel does a good job with the source material, by using other ways to tell a different story, and add some surprising details into the plot. Director Rodo Sayagues ( who was the writer on the Evil Dead remake ) have done a pretty good job with this sequel, and deliver a solid film, especially for those who enjoyed the first film. Don´t Breathe 2 may not find a big new audience, but it will definetely be appreciated by those who want a brutal horror thriller. Definetely worth picking up on Blu Ray, this is my kind of Saturday night treat.

Rating: DDD

lördag 16 oktober 2021

The Curse Of Humpty Dumpty

When i was a young boy, i remember being in the home of a neighbor girl. I used to play with her brother, and she wanted to spend time with us. So, one spring day we were out on their parents back porch. Me and her brother were reading comic books, as his sister drove around her doll wagon. In this doll wagon, she had 2 dolls. One looked pretty similar to most dolls, but then she had another one that looked strange. It was like the doll have been in an accident, it just did not look good. She seemed to like the doll, and just kept playing. But i will never forget the face of this doll, since it felt like there was something wrong with it. I will be honest and say i love creepy dolls in horror films, that is if they make them work well on film. I have seen quite a few over the years, with all the Child´s Play films, all the Puppet Master films, and then you have classics such as Demonic Toys. Since we are talking about horror films with dolls, let us talk about one specific title that i feel is a bit of a classic. The film i have on my mind is called Dolly Dearest, a 1991 horror film from director Maria Lease ( who is one of the actors from the 1971 cult film Dracula Vs. Frankenstein ). Dolly Dearest tells the story of the Wade family, who are moving to Mexico for a new start. Elliot Wade ( Sam Bottoms ) obtains ownership of the Dolly Dearest factory in Mexico, but Elliot is upset when he sees how structurally unstable the factory is. Elliot´s daughter Jessica ( Candace Hutson ) discover many well-preserved dolls on a shelf, and her father allow her to take one: Dolly Dearest. The family will soon discover that this specifi doll is not an ordinary doll, but is actually captured by something very evil. Dolly Dearest may not be the best doll horror film i have seen, but i feel that this is one of the films that actually dared to do something different than the Chucky franchise, by bringing in a Mayan malevolent spirit into the plot. Definetely worth checking out, especially on the Blu Ray release from Vinegar Syndrome. Speaking of dolls, i came across a VOD release of a British independent horror film called The Curse Of Humpty Dumpty, that looked interesting. Since i am a fan of doll horror films, is this one of the better titles this year in this genre, or should you avoid The Curse Of Humpty Dumpty at all cost?

Wendy Loomas ( Nicola Wright ) is suffering from an early stage of dementia, as she finds out the news through a doctor visit, together with her daughter Liz Loomas ( Sian Altman ). Liz and her sister Hazel Loomas ( Antonia Whillans ) realise that they need to make sure their mother is safe, and decides to take her to their coutry side cabin, away from the big city. While out shopping with her daughters, Wendy notice a Humpty Dumpty doll that she recognizes, and take it to her home. Her daughters have no memories of this doll, but it clearly means a lot to Wendy. They will soon discover, that there are several secrets connected with this doll.

In British independent horror films such as The Curse Of Humpty Dumpty, you know that they only have a limited budget to work on. And i have to say, this film actually surprised me. First of all the design of the Humpty Dumpty doll looks great. It is creepy, and the eyes are especially effective. Imagine having a creepy doll made to look something similar to legendary comedian, and actor Marty Feldman, and you probably know what i am talking about. The scenes where Humpty Dumpty stand up and attack, are simple but quite effective. The transformation scenes of his face may be limited, but i do enjoy the idea. One very important detail about this film is that it brings up the subject of dementia. The lead character Wendy ( played by actress Nicola Wright ) is suffering with dementia, so to see her transform into another person is definetely interesting idea for a doll horror movie. The location of the house that Wendy lives in fits in well with the plot, since it is connected to her dark past. What about the characters in this film? I personally feel that the best acting performance comes from lead actress Nicola Wright. To be able to play a woman suffering from dementia, is not easy. You have to be able to capture the facial expressions, and the confusion of a person who is living with this disease. And this is something that Nicola clearly show in her performance, that she knows what kind of character she was getting into. I have to mention female actors Liz Loomas and Antonia Whillans as Nicolas´s daughters. I feel that their characters feel realistic, since they try to portrait two sisters who are dealing with the fact that their mother have dementia, and they both deal with this as good as they can. So how does this film work from a horror perspective? I have to say pretty good, considering that the doll itself works better than i expected. And there is a suprising twist towards the end, that actually helps the plot become more interesting. The Curse Of Humpty Dumpty proves that British independent horror films strikes again in a pleasent way by delivering a horror film that will especially please fans of the doll horror genre. Director Scott Jeffrey have definetely made his best film so far with The Curse Of Humpty Dumpty, and i hope we will get a sequel . If you love dolls in horror films, you should definetely check out this film.

Rating: DDD

fredag 15 oktober 2021

An Unknown Compelling Force

Mysteries can be found all over the world, in many different cultures. Some mysteries can be explained, while some mysteries are still looking for answers. I have always been fascinated by mysteries in history, and especially cases that have been brought up in books, documentary films, or even in podcasts. There are so many unsolved cases out there, and yet there are a lot of people who are devoted to find out the truth. Investigations are important to do, since you may discover new answers to mysteries, that no one thought could be solved. Just to give you a good example of a mystery that i have read a lot about, we need to travel back to the year of 1966, in Point Pleasant, West Virgina. It was here where there were sightings of a large winged creature call Mothman. Author John Keel wrote about this in his 1975 book The Mothman Prophecies. I actually bought this book last year, and it is quite a fascinating book. Author John Keel give us some very interesting details about what happened in Point Pleasant. If you are curious about this case, you should also pick up the book The Mothman Prophecies. It was in the year of 2002, that we actually got a film based on this case, with the same title as the book. One of the interesting detail about this film was to see legendary actor Richard Geere doing a supernatural horror film, that´s definetely different from the usual releases of Geere´s film catalogue. The Mothman Prophecies tells the story of Washigton Post reporter John Klein ( Richard Geere ), who is doing research on the legend of the Mothman. Still shaken by the death of his wife two years earlier, John is sent to Point Pleasent, West Virginia, where there have been sightings of an unusual creature. I have seen this film several times, and i still think this is one of the best film in Richard Geere´s career, he actually did a good job for trying the horror genre. Director Mark Pellington ( who also directed the good 1999 thriller Arlington Road ) managed to tell a story, based on the Mothman case in a suprisingly effective way. It´s definetely a film worth checking out, and if you get the Imprint Limited Edition of The Mothman Prophecies on Blu Ray, you get some really interesting special feautures. I am always curious to see documentary films on mysterious cases, and i have seen quite a few over the years. And there was one documentary film i have heard of since this summer called An Unknown Compelling Force, that was bringing up the famous mysterious case of the Dyatlov Pass incident in Russia, back in 1959. I have read about this case years ago in mystery books, and i believe i also saw some documentary as well. But this latest documentary film about this case, seemed to dig deeper into what happened than what i have heard before. Is this one of the more interesting documentary films of this year, or is it just a cheap attempt to make money of a famous mysterious case?

Early February of 1959, nine Russian hikers died in the nothern Ural Mountains. The experienced trekking group from the Ural Polytechnical Institute, were found on different locations, without all winter clothes that they would have needed to survive. What happened to them on this mountain? 

I only knew a little bit about the mysterious case of the Dyatlov Pass incident, so going into a documentary film like this that tries to show the evidence, it is not hard to feel intrigued by this case. The fact that each member of this expidition team was found in different locations, with very brutal injuries, and without all the clothes that they would have needed in the freezing cold, is very strange. The cuttings in one of the tents, that they left the tents without supplies or even properly winter clothes is very strange. Did someone force them out of the tent? Were they attacked by someone? There are a lot of questions you could ask about this case, and i think this documentary film does a great job going through details of the victims, and what happened to them. Then we have all the different theories of what might have casued them to run, was it a Soviet Yeti, was it aliens, or perhaps a military cover-up? In mysterious cases such as the Dyatlov Pass incident, it´s not strange that a lot of people will have different theories, since there are details that are difficult to explain. An Unknown Compelling Force is definetely a well made documentary film from director Liam Le Guillou, and you can clearly tell that he have a passion for this particular case. His investigation takes us all the way to Russia, at the exactly same location where this happened, and he have a lot of interesting interviews with both locals who lives there, people who worked on criminal cases and give their opinions about the evidence, but we especially get to hear some very interesting details from Russians who have worked to solve this case for many year. We do get to hear about the theory about a Yeti possibly could have done this, and i still feel that they left this part without any particular evidence, ecxept for the world famous photo. I would have liked to hear more about this, since i feel that this is one detail that´s been discussed for many years. Other than that, i have to say that An Uknown Compelling Force is a interesting documentary film, especially for those who like to find answers to mysteries. Definetely worth checking out, if you want to find out more about this specific case. One thing is for sure, i wont be skiing near the Dyatlov Pass any time soon, i think i prefer the After Ski cabins instead.

Rating: DDD

tisdag 12 oktober 2021

God´s Not Dead: We The People

Ah yes, evangelical American christian films, what would life be without them? I can imagine life would be pretty boring. Imagine having films without bad acting, bad cinematography, horrible dialogue, who would say no to that? Not me at least, and that´s probably why i have seen quite of few of these kinds of films over the years. Not that i actually enjoy them, but i just happen to enjoy suffering for a moment. Why? Well, if im going to confess i am a sinner, i might as well do it correctly by watching bad evangelical films. I never really understood why there are so many American evangelical films that are so bad. It´s like these directors went into the studio meeting and said the following:

Director:- Hey man, listen i have this idea for a film
Film studio:- Really? What is the film about?
Director:- Well its a film about faith, but there is no real plot
Film studio:- Wow, sounds fantastic, we want to make it
Director:- Really? But there is no real script?
Film studio:- Who cares, as long as the bible is mentioned, that´s all we care about
Director:- Oh wow, thanks man, but what actors will want to make it?
Film studio:- Don´t worry about it, we only choose the best actors
Director:- Are you sure they will accept the offer?
Film studio:- Of course, they make any film we want, you know....in case Jesus returns
Director:- Right on, i guess we should do this then?
Film studio:- Sure, now you need to go, we are heading to the local strip club, it´s Taco Tuesday
Director:- Can i come as well?
Film studio:- It depends, will you tell your Pastor?
Director:- No way, i take my faith seriously
Film studio:- Well, you convinced us, so yeah, let´s get out of here

Of course i can´t prove that this is how a meeting is made for evangelical christian films, but it does make perfect sense. I can imagine that this could be what it would sound like, since they clearly know how to choose the right scripts. I wonder if film companies like Pure Flix have ever considered writing a really good script, because the films i have seen them make, have not had solid scripts. And when you add some bad acting to that, does not make it much better. Now, one of the most successfull evangelical films has to be the the 2014 film God´s Not Dead from director Harold Cronk. On a budget of 2 million, it made over 60 million dollars at the box office. Not bad numbers, but i can´t say it´s a good film. I have seen God´s Not Dead, and the best thing i can say is that Kevin Sorbo in the lead role was the best part of the film. I reviewed the sequel God´s Not Dead 2, wich is even worse than the first film, wich clearly showed that they could not make a sequel. I did not see the third film God´s Not Dead: A Light In Darkness, even if i thought about reviewing the film. Perhaps it´s better that way, since i had no high expectations. So here we are in 2021 with a 4th film in the God´s Not Dead franchise. I still remember when i first saw the trailer of this film, i had a really good laugh. Not because this film is supposed to be a comedy, but the serious tone of this film looked way too serious. So i decided to sit down and actually give this film a chance, because you never know, maybe i will love this 4th film? Is this the best evangelical film ever made, or is God´s Not Dead: We The People even worse than i expected?

Homeschooling mother Rebecca McKinnon ( Fransesca Battistelli ) is helping children wih education, in her own home. Her husband Mike McKinnon ( Antonio Sabato Jr ) is very supportive to this, since this is the best way to educate children. Each week Rev. David Hill ( David A.R. White ) spends time teaching children Bible lessons, in the home of Rebecca and Mike, who are also homeschooling their two children, Brandon McKinnon ( Matt Anspach ) and Shannon McKinnon ( Tatum Hatfield ). One day at the McKinnon´s home, while Rev. David is teaching about Noah´s Ark, a social worker visits to see if the homeschool lesson is approved to help children with education. She is not impressed, and the family soon recieve a letter where they have to let their children go into a public school, and if they don´t do this within 10 days, there will be legal problems, where they could be incarcerated. Rev. David is willing to help this family fight against the legal system, to prove that American freedom is everyone´s right to choose.

I really tried giving this film a chance, just to see if i could find something positive to say, after all i am a nice guy ( i promise ). After watching God´s Not Dead: We The People i especially realise why i have a problem with films like these. They are not very realistic, and let me explain why. I can not imagine that a case of homeschooling would get this much attention in court, as this case does. It´s like it´s the biggest court case in history, and this film really tries to lift this up as if this is about ( all ) christians, and that everyone is a victim. If you are going to make a court drama, you should probably bring up a realistic case, that would actually go up in court for a very serious reason. After all, there are a lot of court cases that are actually very serious, such as abuse, murder, accidents, drunk driving and many other subjects. I know, christians will say that homeschooling is a very serious issue, and perhaps it is for them. But if they expect me to believe that it would be chaos in court over a case of homeschooling as this film tries to portrait, i just can´t buy it. It´s possible that there have been court cases of homeschooling ( i´m not even going to try and google it, that´s how much i care ), but the way it is portrayed in God´s Not Dead: We The People, it´s like this is the Apocalypse that we all have been waiting for. Public school is Satan basically, we can no have children going to public school, they will become demonic. So what about the characters of this film, are they any good? Well, let us begin with actor David A.R. White ( who you all remember from the classic Jerusalem Countdown ) as the character Reverend Dave Hill. He looks like a combination of Nirvana singer Kurt Cobain and Nickelback singer Chad Kroeger, with his 90´s hair style, and that´s actually the best part about him. When it comes to acting, he does exactly the same thing he did in God´s Not Dead and God´s Not Dead 2, and that is he does not act professionally. No facial expressions, and no emotions, and maybe this is the way he prefers to act. General Hospital actor Antoio Sabato Jr shows once again that he is not a solid actor, delivering a dull performance as the character Mike. Legendary actor William Forsythe is in this film ( i have no idea why, maybe he got paid well? ) and he might actually be the best part of this film. Not that he really act that powerful ( compared to a lot of his classics ), but you can sense that he´s at least acting, compared to a lot of the other actors in the film. Anything positive to say about the film in general? Perhaps certain scenes where they are trying to be dead serious about the subject of home schooling, that it almost feels like a Saturday Night Live sketch. And when you are trying to be serious and fail, you know it´s good comedy material. Director Vance Null ( who is actually the editor of the first God´s Not Dead film ) tries to deliver a very patriotic evangelical film, that´s supposed to make you feel sorry for evnagelical Trump supporters. I don´t feel sorry for any of them, because this film does exactly the same thing that God´s Not Dead 2 did, try and force your beliefs on others, and don´t disagree, since they are the ones who are right. If i don´t find any good comedy this Christmas, i know i can always go back to God´s Not Dead: We The People and get some good laughs. There is not much else to find in this film, honestly.

Rating: D

söndag 10 oktober 2021

Potter´s Ground

In my hometown, i used to go to the home of a school friend called Nicklas. He was the biggest VHS collector i knew, and i had several friends who had VHS shelves. But Nicklas was definetely the biggest collector, and everytime i visited his home, i used to go through his VHS shelves. He was actually the one who introduced me to the Police Academy films, since he collected every film. Since i knew that his parents used to buy VHS films every month ( they subscribed to a VHS distrubution company who released VHS films ), they would get a lot of titles that i have never heard of before. It was everything from action films, to thrillers, comedies, horror, and western films as well. It was here i discovered a VHS release of the 1966 film known as Django, with legendary actor Franco Nero. Django turned out to be something quite different from the western films i had seen from legendary western director Sergio Leone. Especially the character of Django, he was quite different from most characters in this genre, since he is dragging a coffin, wherever he goes. The film tells the story of a drifter known as Django ( Franco Nero ), who travels through the Mexico - United States border. As he makes a stops and witnesses Mexican bandits tying a Mexican prostitute known as Maria ( Loredana Nusciak ), The ex-Confederate officer Major Jackson ( Eduardo Fajardo ) prepare to kill Maria, but is stopped by Django, as he kill the men. From this point on, Django is now seen as a problem, that must be killed. Django is a really good western film from director Sergio Corbucci, where lead actor Franco Nero really gives a powerful performance as the lonesome, and mysterious Django. This is a must see on DVD or Blu Ray, especially for old school western fans. Speaking of western, i just love it when a director combine horror and western together. And this is exactly what director J.T. Petty did in his 2008 film The Burrowers, a well made western horror film where mysterious creatures attack people in year of 1879. Not only does this film have great characters, but the creature design is pretty cool. Pick it up on DVD, it´s definetely worth checking out. For a while i have been reading some positive reviews of a western horror called Potter´s Ground, and since i love this combination, i just had to check this film out on DVD. Is this one of the best western films of this year, or is Potter´s Ground just as bad as Anna Book´s 2007 studio album Samba Sambero?

A team of former Confederate outlaws during the final stage of the civil war, is lead by soon-to-be father, Sully ( Isaiah Newton ), that includes the team of Lex ( Scott Crain ), and Native-American Ninekiller ( Loren Anthony ), who are commanded to take part in a dangerous retrieval mission to find a three piece ancient treasure. On their journey, they will soon discover that

To combine horror and western you have to be able to tell an interesting story, and this is actually something that Potter´s Ground manage to do. Not that this film is original in any way, but the story does work better than i expected. And one of the reasons to that is that the characters in this film are actually pretty good, and match well with the story. There are especially two characters that i think helps the plot, and let us begin with the character known as Lex, played by actor Scott Crain. Lex is exactly the kind of character you need in a film like this. He is confident, he knows how to be sarcastic, and he also knows how to talk to ladies. He is basically everything you would want in a host at a Las Vegas event, except he happens to be a cowboy. I can actually see the character of Lex have his own western film, with a completely different plot. That would actually be interesting to see, since he does have a strong personality. The next character i need to mention is Sully, played by actor Isaiah Stratton ( who played the character Officer Jeffries in TV series Homeland ). Sully is a very traditional cowboy, who brings his charming personality to the table. He is also very serious about finishing the mission, and Isaiah manage to give Sully a portrait that feels like a good match to the character. The cinematography by Joshua Shreve looks really good, so he really did a good job on this film. So how does Potter´s Ground work as a horror film? If you can be patient, and wait for the secrets to be revealed, this film manage to head in a direction that i actually enjoy. Especially when we find out what´s waiting out there, and we do get to have some fun. Let me just say this, if you enjoyed the independent western horror 2014 film Blood Moon, you will definetely enjoy Potter´s Ground. You will see what i mean, once you have seen Potter´s Ground. The practical make up effects is also a highlight, i enjoy the look of the creatures ( reminds me of the 80´s ), especially in the graveyard scene. There is not anything negative that needs to be said about Potter´s Ground, perhaps that i wish this film was a bit more brutal, and that i would have liked to see more of the beasts. Other than that, i think this is actually a film that horror fans should pick up on DVD. Director Michael Butts ( who also directed the short film called Potter´s Ground ) have definetely made one of the more interesting western films this year, and he proves that you can make a good horror film in this genre. Potter´s Ground should be in your bookshelf, showing that you also appreciate good independent horror films, wich is exactly what i do.

Rating: DDD

lördag 9 oktober 2021

Boys From County Hell

I love Ireland, for a number of different reasons. I really enjoy their whiskey, their beautiful landscape, and their whiskey as well. Did i say whiskey twice? That must be correct then, you have to be able to express what you appreciate. I remember especially while i was in Dublin, when i would go down to some really old pubs. As you entered you could feel the irish atmosphere in the air, with the irish folk music playing in speakers, you could smell the whiskey barrels, and the wonderful people working there welcomed each guest, some of the most friendly bar people i have ever met. I remembering asking the bartender if i could try a very tasteful whiskey that he could recommend, and he picked a perfect choice. As i was sipping on that whiskey glass, it felt like time was standing still. Everything felt perfect, just enjoying the whiskey in a cozy old Irish bar, could it get any better than this? I suppose it could have been perfect if pop singer Ronan Keating ( who have never made one bad album, trust me on that ) would join me for a drink, than i would be in heaven. Since we are talking about Ireland, there are a lot of really good film productions that have been film in Ireland, in a lot of different categories. Instead of talking about classics such as The Commitments and In The Name Of The Father ( both definetely worth checking out ), i would like to talk about an independent horror film known as The Hallow, released in 2015. Directed by Cordin Hardy ( who directed The Nun, from The Conjuring franchise ), this film tells the story of Adam Hitchens ( Joseph Mawle ), a British conservationist specializing in plant and fungal life, who settle down in a remote Irish village with his wife Claire Hitchens ( Bojana Novakovic ) and their baby son Finn. Adam discover a strange fungal substance on an animal carcass. What he does not know, is that this comes from a very strange creature. The Hallow is a great practical effect horror film in the creature feautre section, and i love the look of these creatures in this film. Definetely worth picking up on DVD or Blu Ray. Since late spring this year, i heard about a horror comedy called Boys From County Hell, that is filmed on Northern Ireland. Since i love vampires, and Irish whiskey, i just had to take a look at this film. Is this one of the bigger susprises of this year, or is Boys From County Hell a big disappointment?

Eugene Moffat ( Jack Rowan ) and William Bogue ( Fra Fee ) are best buddies, always hanging around the pub, and occasionaly working when they have to. When Eugene and William end up in a fight out in a well known grave site, William gets hurt through a fall and dies. Mourning his best friend, Euguene have a lot of regret of what happened. Since the grave site is said to have the body of an ancient vampire, during the construction of a bypass led by Francie Moffat ( Nigel O´Neill ) and his son Eugene, they remove the grave just to see if the legend is true. At first they don´t seem to see anything, but as people begin to become victims of something unknown, it seems that the legend might be true.

2021 have turned out to be a great vampire year so far, especially with the really good horror comedy Jakob´s Wife, and i did enjoy the Netflix horror film Blood Red Sky as well. Boys From County Hell is a bit different than both the films i mentioned, but that is actually a good thing, if you ask me. This film manage to capture the beautiful landscape of Ireland, and the Irish people´s friendly personalities, just the way we like them. Lots of beer is included of course, but that is what you would expect, since the Irish are known for loving beer ( and not only whiskey ). To mix a vampire story into the beautiful Irish landscape, is something i really appreciate. It is not often you see this combination, at least not in horror films that takes place on Ireland. It takes a little while before this film finds it´s right tone, but when it does, it knows exactly what kind of audience that will appreciate this film. There is no doubt that this is a horror comedy, and you will see that loud and clear. There are some scenes where you definetely will be entertained, where over the top humour helps the plot. So what about the vampire design in this film, is it any good? It actually works pretty well, so they did a good job on the make up effects. Especially on the vampire leader, looks really cool. How are the characters in this film? For the most part i think the characters work pretty good, i can´t complain about the acting. And i especially enjoy the chemistry between actors Jack Rowan ( who i guarantee fans of TV series Peak Blinders will recognize ) and Louisa Hardland ( kown from the TV series Derry Girls ) as the characters Eugene and Claire. Their scenes together are wonderful, and you get a sense that they matched really good on the set. Any blood and gore? Of course, and we actually get some fun bloody scenes, just the way we like it. Especially one insane scene, that i promise will make you laugh. Director Chris Baugh ( who also directed the short film of the same name, that this film is based on ) knows exactly how to combine horror and comedy, and throw in some fun Irish ingredients, that helps the film become more entertaining. Definetely worth picking up on DVD or Blu Ray, if you plan to gather the family for a fun evening. Boys From County Hell is a fun ride, and show you why the Irish are such a friendly people, and not always drunk ( well, not always, just most of the time ).

Rating: DDD

tisdag 5 oktober 2021

Jungle Cruise

I used to be a big fan of wrestling back in the 80´s. Seeing legendary wrestlers such as Hulk Hogan, The Ultimate Warrior, The Bushwackers, The Million Dollar Man, André The Giant, Bret Hart, "Macho Man" Randy Savage and many more, was so much fun back in those days. Every Saturday, i would turn on Super Channel, just to see what the latest WWE matches would be. Remember, back in those days there were no internet, and you did not find out everything right away, so you would have to turn in to the TV show, to see if there were any surprises. Wrestlers have proved that they can have a career, outside of their wrestling careers. Just look at legendary wrestler Hulk Hogan, who made several films, and TV shows such as Thunder In Paradise. But in the early 2000´s, we were about to get a brand new action star in Hollywood, that would become the biggest wrestling action star of Hollywood films, and i am of course talking about Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson. He became a huge wrestling star in the 90´s, and his career would soon give him a role as Scorpion King in the 2001 action adventure The Mummy Returns. The Rock would just one year later get his first lead role in the prequel The Scorpion King. Dwayne still continued with his wrestling career, and kept on working with different film projects. In the year of 2005, he actually surprised me by taking on the role as the character Sergeant Asher in the film adaptation of the video game Doom. This film takes place on the planet of Mars, in the year of 2026. A wormhole portal known as The Ark, is discovered deep below the Nevada desert. 25 years later, the 85 personell at the Union Aerospace Corporation ( UAC ) research facility on Mars are attacked by an unknown assailant. Following a distress call sent by Dr. Carmack ( Robert Russell ) a squad of eight marines led by Sergeant Asher "Sarge" Mahonin, are sent to the research facility. Doom may have been a big box office flop at that time, but i actually enjoy this film. I can not tell you how many times i have watched this film on Blu Ray, it´s just a fun B action horror movie, and i suggest you look at the film on Netflix. Speaking of Dwayne, i have enjoyed several of his films in recent years, and i was looking forward to see his latest film Jungle Cruise. Is this film another enjoyable adventure with Dwayne, or is Jungle Cruise just as bad as Vince Neil´s latest solo shows across America?

In 1556, Don Aguirre ( Edgar Ramirez ) leads Spanish conquistadors to South America to search for Lagrimas de Cristal Tree, whose flowers cures illness, heal injuries, and lift curses. The Puka Michana tribe´s chief curse the conquistadors, making them immortal and unable to leave sight of the Amazon river. In 1916, Dr. Lily Houghton´s ( Emily Blunt ) Tears Of The Moon research is presented by her brother McGregor Houghton ( Jack Whitehall ), to the Royal Society. claiming that the Tree´s flowers could revolutionize medizine and aid the British war effort. The Houghtons request access to a recently acquired arrowhead artifact, but the society denies the request. So Lily take matters into her own hands and steal the arrowhead, while being followed by German Prince Joachim ( Jesse Plemons ). She and her brother manage to escape from London and travel to Brazil, where she needs help to find the Tree, as she meet skipper Frank Wolff ( Dwayne Johnson ). He is in desperate need of money, and when he finds out she needs a boat, he agree to take her and her brother into his ship. He knows that trying to find this Tree is dangerous, but he have no other way out of this right now. German Prince Joachim and his team are hunting for the artifact, and will do anything to stop them.

I don´t think there is any surprise that Jungle Cruise is inspired by the Indiana Jones films, and even have some charming elements from the 1998 action adventure The Mummy. Not that there are a lot of similarities between these films, but the atmposphere is there, with the right dose of comedy, and adventure vibe as well. This is one of those films you don´t see very often these days, that tries to go back to the old school cinema films, with a much bigger budget of course. And that´s ok, since this is supposed to be a film that includes a lot of CGI effects. To enjoy a film such as Jungle Cruise, you definetely have to be a Indiana Jones fan. There are several scenes that reminds us of the Indiana Jones films, especially a waterfall scene. I have absolutely no problem with this, since this just shows that they respect the classic franchise, and just borrow some ideas. The main characters Frank Wolf and Dr. Lily Houghton have great chemistry on screen. Both actors Dwayne Johnson and Emily Blunt, clearly had fun making this film. And when you are making an action adventure such as this film, great chemistry between the main characters is very important. I do enjoy the performance of actor Jesse Plemons, who plays the German royal Prince Joachim, he deliver some fun moments. So how does Jungle Cruise work as an adventure film? I would say that this film does a pretty good job, when it comes to telling a story in a very old school traditional way. Anything negative to say? Perhaps it would be that some of the CGI effects on the Spanish conquistadors could have been done better. The CGI effects on these men are definetely better than in The Mummy Returns ( remember the CGI version of Dwayne Johnson in that film ? ), but that was 20 years ago. I get the feeling that they thought that the dead Spanish conquistadors would look cool in Jugle Cruise, but only 2 of them actually looks ( ok ). Director Jaume Collet-Serra ( who directed the very good psychological horror film Orphan ) gives us an adventure that is both entertaining, and hopefully inspire film makers to make more films like this one, bringing back the old school adventures to the big screen. If you are not a fan of Dwayne Johnson, that´s ok, but give this film a chance. I have a feeling you might enjoy this film either way, as long as you are open minded. Jugle Cruise is definetely a film for the whole family to enjoy.

Rating: DDD

måndag 4 oktober 2021

The Suicide Squad

Let´s go back 5 years ago, to the year of 2016. This was the year when legendary English musician David Bowie released his 25th, and final studio album Blackstar. If you are a David Bowie fan, this is a very emotional last farwell, where David wrote some very personal lyrics. I have listened to David Bowie for many years ( i believe the first time i remember hearing one of his earlier albums was the 1983 album Let´s Dance, on cassette in my dads car, in the summer of 1983 ), and i picked up the album Blackstar on CD, knowing that it was his final work, it was emotional. You don´t get artists like him anymore, wich made him such a unique human being. 2016 was also the year when the 2015 film The Revenant from director Alejandro G. Inarritu, was nominated for 12 Academy Awards, and won 4 Academy awards on February 28, 2016, in the categories Best Director for Alejandro G. Inarritu, Best Actor for Leonardo Di Caprio, Best Supporting actor for Tom Hardy and Best Cinematography for Emanuel Lubezki. The Renevant takes place during the late 1823, where Hugh Glass Captain Andrew Henry ( Leonordo Di Caprio ) guides trappers through the territory of present-day Dakotas. Along the way, they are attacked by the Native American tribe Arikara. Several men are killed in battle, and the remaining survivors try to reach to Fort Kiowa. The Renevant is not only a damn good film, this film also have some of the best cinematography i have seen in many years from Emmanuel Lubezi ( who also did the cinematography on the masterpiece Birdman ). And the acting in The Renevant is absolutely amazing from the whole cast, so you should watch it on Netflix, Amazon Prime, or anywhere else you can see the film. Speaking of 2016, this was the year when director David Ayer ( director of crime thriller End Of Watch ), released his film version of the DC comic book characters of Suicide Squad, This film turned out to have a really good cast that included Will Smith, Margot Robbie, Jared Leto, Jay Hernandez and many more. Back in 2016, i did enjoy this film ( you can find my review of this film if you go back to 2016 reviews ), and i still enjoy parts of the film. but Jared Leto as The Joker is even more worse than i remembered. I will say that Margot Robbie is still the best part of Suicide Squad as the comic book character Harley Quinn, and its still a film you can check out, just for fun. The film was a big box office hit in 2016, so here we are in 2021 with a standalone sequel, simply called The Suicide Squad. With a brand new cast, except for Margot Robbie, Joel Kinnaman and Viola Davis of course, is this a better Suicide Squad film than the 2016 version, or is this even worse than we expected?

Intelligence officer Amanda Waller ( Viola Davis ) assembles two Task Force X teams. One of the teams is sent to the South American island nation of Corto Maltese, with Colonel Rick Flag ( Joel Kinnaman ) leading the team. But almost all the members of the team are killed on the island by the Corto Maltese millitary. Amanda Waller have no other choice, she needs to send in another team. This time it has to be people with unique personalities, that she knows can finish the misson.

It is such a shame that this film became a box office bomb in cinemas, since i feel that this version is actually better than the 2016 version. There are several reasons why The Suicide Squad works better, and let us begin with the characters. In the 2016 film, only a few of the characters worked well with the plot. In the 2021 version, we definetely have stronger portraits of the comic book characters. You get a sense that director James Gunn really took the time to work on the characters, to make sure that they would get the portrait that they deserve in this film. I would not say every character is fatastic, but this film is definetely an improvment. Since we are speaking about characters, let´s get into the actors. I think it comes to no surprise that Margot Robbie have no problem, delivering her amazing charm as Harley Quinn. To be able to do a comic book character like Harley Quinn, you need to understand her personality, and Margot knows exactly how to do this. The funiest character in The Suicide Squad is without a doubt wrestling legend John Cena, as the comic book character Peacemaker. There are several scenes where i found myself laughing, and he clearly have good comedy timing. Actor Idris Elba as Bloodsport, is one of the coolest character in this film. He is not only really brutal, but he also deliver some really good dialogue. Seeing Swedish actor Joel Kinnaman as Colonel Rick Flag again, add some fun into the plot. He may not deliver strong acting, but his charming personality add something tasteful to the table. Sylvester Stallone deliver a wonderful voice to the funny character King Shark, who i guarantee will make you laugh. The action scenes in The Suicide Squad definetely works better in this film. The violence is much more brutal, where even body parts gets ripped into pieces. And i really appreciate this, considering i was hoping for a more violent Suicide Squad film. Anything negative? Not much really, i just had a good time with this film, for what it is. As a superhero movie, The Suicide Squad knows what kind of audience that it was made for, and does it well. Director James Gunn have no problem handling this comic book material better, compared to the 2016 film, and he also prove that he knows how to make a great action film. If you just want a good time, pick up The Suicide Squad on Blu Ray, and i promise you won´t regret it.

Rating: DDD