Tag Archives: Movies

Special Features presents: A new hope??

For those of you know that know me, you probably also know that I am a huge Star Wars fan (okay and a fan of maybe a hundred or more other things, but that’s besides the point right now). When Star Wars Episode VIII: The Last Jedi came out in 2017 I was devastated. The movie completely ruined everything that I had ever liked about Star Wars. I hated the film with a vengeance and I did something that was completely out of character for me: I wrote a review in complete anger. In hindsight, that was something I should not have done. The post did become my most viewed one in the history of my blog and at the same time it gathered a huge amount of comments. Some people agreed with me, some did not. In the end it’s just a movie though. On the other hand the only reason why I was so passionate about it, is the fact that Star Wars films are MORE than movies for me. I have been a fan for over 30 years now and the saga of that galaxy far, far away has been a big part of my life. After the dust settled, and the fan base was divided, a lot of fans just wrote off Star Wars completely. The Solo movie for instance was a box office bomb because fans just didn’t believe in the Disney side of Star Wars anymore.

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I have a…..good…..feeling about this!

But…that’s not me. One bad movie doesn’t mean that I have all of a sudden stopped loving Star Wars. What I have become when it comes to this, is cautious. I don’t want to have another huge disappointment by becoming too enthusiastic about anything related to the continuation of the current trilogy. That said: HOLY FREAKING MOLY HAVE YOU GUYS SEEN THIS NEW TRAILER YET?!!? Erm…sorry…just my old enthusiasm creeping up on me. It won’t happen again. Seriously though, this teaser trailer that was released last night, certainly made me cautiously optimistic about the future, or should I say the end of this saga. Because Episode IX will be the final installment of the Skywalker story. It was a trailer that was made for fans, to restore the faith that some of them might have lost. And I say, already seeing some of the responses online to people that have watched the trailer, that they really managed to achieve their goal. So, let’s talk about it a bit. And if you don’t want to know anything for the upcoming film just skip the next paragraph.

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Be still my heart……

*Spoilers Begin* First off there is of course the title of the movie: The rise of Skywalker. But with Luke gone from the universe, there really is (at least so far as we know) only one Skywalker left: Kylo Ren. So, will this movie be about his redemption? Or is there something else going on? As far as nostalgia goes, it was of course great to see Lando in the cockpit of his old ship again. If you ask me he was only added to the film to bring back some of that old magic feeling, but hey I’m certainly not complaining about it. Leia hugging Rey was of course another of those goosebump inducing moments, especially considering the fact that the wonderful Carrie Fisher isn’t amongst us anymore. But the true surprise comes at the very end of the trailer where Luke in an overhead voice says: “ No one is ever really gone” and we hear the maniacal laugh of Emperor Palpatine. That was simply put, mindblowing, and one has to wonder what in blazes this will mean. Because really all bets are off now. *Spoilers End*

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That’s no moon, it’s a………

With this teaser trailer having now been released of course the fans are unleashing all their theories again on what they have seen, and what they predict may or may not happen. But, let’s not forget that the trailers for Episode VIII also looked amazing, and everyone was speculating wildly then as well. Until the film came out, and pretty much everything we had hoped for was thrown out the window. The Rise of Skywalker will be a very important movie. It will either reunite the fans again, or let a rift as big as the Sith and the Jedi rivalry forever stand between them. Episode IX has one huge advantage though: it has J.J. Abrams. I know some people really don’t like the guy. I do. Pretty much everything I have seen of him, whether it’s one of his tv shows, or his movies, I have enjoyed. I hope he can undo the damage that has been done with the previous film, and fix Star Wars again. And for those of you that loved The Last Jedi, as I said last time: no disrespect intended, I honestly think that’s great. Now of course down below, for your viewing pleasure a link to the trailer. May the Force be with you all: have a great weekend!

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Duel, American movie (1971)

When it comes to movies one often overlooked fact is the director. Sure, a movie can’t be made without good actors, and hell it also helps to of course have a bit of a decent script. But a truly skilled director can really turn a film into something legendary. Now the name Steven Spielberg should be familiar to almost anyone who at the very least has a rudimentary knowledge of movies. He was responsible for such classic films as Jaws, Saving Private Ryan, Schindler’s List, E.T. and Jurassic Park to name but a few. The man is simply put a juggernaut in Hollywood, and although not everyone might be a fan of all of his movies, one can’t deny that he certainly is one of the most succesful directors in movie history. A little known fact though is that before he really broke through in Hollywood with Jaws, he made his debut with a movie that was originally made for television. Later, because of the film’s succes it also appeared in movie theatres. Perceptive readers have already seen the title of the movie and the year in which this movie was made.

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And we still wonder why the environment is doing so bad…..

Yes, Duel was made in 1971. Yes, this movie is now 47 years old. Does that mean that this movie is now so dated, that it is probably considered by current standards a film that can’t hold the attention of the modern moviegoing audience? You will probably be very surprised by the answer: no, it totally isn’t. If this movie would be released in theatres today, and you had no knowledge of the fact that this film was made in 1971, you probably would not even notice it. Duel is a film that I saw for the first time when I was still a teenager. (Yes I know, don’t remind me of the fact that is now decades ago). And I was not prepared for the impact it would have on me. I was totally blown away by it, and I honestly lost count of how many times I have seen it after that. So what is it about this film that has me so spellbound? And why is it, that I still get that same adrenaline rush every time I see this film. Perhaps I should first start with telling you what this movie is about, before I get to the answers of those questions. You know me when I get enthusiastic about something, I can’t stop talking about it.

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Some people are just in a rush to get somewhere.

Right, okay. So Duel then. The title itself ofcourse is already giving a way a little bit of what this film is about: a duel. We are however not talking about a duel between knights, or two men that need to walk a few paces and then start shooting each other. No, this is an altogether entirely different duel. David Mann is an ordinary guy who has a job as a salesman. Eager to close a deal, he heads for the road in his car for a business trip. Once he enters the Mojave desert he comes across a tank truck that seems like it missed a trip to the scrap yard. David quickly passes the truck without even giving it a second thought. Because really, what could go wrong right? A few seconds later though, much to his surprise, the truck speeds up and overtakes him.  What at first starts off like a seemingly innocent game, soon turns into something very sinister and deadly. The truck driver is a psychopath that seems determined to end the life of David. A terrifying road duel between car and truck is about to begin……

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Yep, anyone would get a headache if something like this were to happen to them.

This is one of those films that has an incredibly simple premise, but still manages to glue you to the edge of your seat for the entire duration of the film. I have always loved films that feature a lone and ordinary guy or girl, who is put into a situation that soon grows beyond their control. It also takes an incredible amount of skill on the part of the actor who portrays that kind of character. In this case that actor is Dennis Weaver who plays David. Now for most of you that name probably won’t ring a bell, but some of you readers out there might recognise him from the highly succesful tv series McCloud. Suffice it to say that Weaver just knocks this role right out of the ball park. His character isn’t some kind of macho superhero. He is a normal guy just like you or me, who is thrust into a very deadly situation, that could happen to anyone. And simply put, you want him to win. His adversary though, except for shots of his arms and legs, is never shown. And that makes it only all the more creepy, because he could be anyone.

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One of the reasons we don’t have telephone booths anymore.

The truck this guy drives though is almost a character itself. As soon as you lay eyes on the rust bucket, a sense of dread enters your body. And this is only made more sinister by the way the movie is directed. Some truly terrific camera angles and shots, especially during some of the chase sequences, are absolutely breathtaking. Duel might be Spielbergs first movie, but I also still consider it one of his best films. This movie is a true nailbiter, with some incredible edge of your seat and very memorable scenes. Rest assured this is not a horror movie, that contains buckets of blood or something like that. It is a thriller in every sense of the word, and one that is completely timeless. If you have become interested in seeing this film, and are wondering where you can find it, I suggest you try YouTube. Just search for: “Duel full movie”, and you will find an incredibly high quality version of the movie there. It’s one and half hours of time very well spent, trust me on that. And it will also make you think twice the next time you pass a truck on the road….just saying….

I give Duel a 9 out of 10 score.

 

Halloween, American movie (2018)

We have a new kind of trend that has been going around in Hollywood for the past few years. It seems that a lof of older actors are going back to the past to revisit some of the roles that made them famous. We have Arnold Schwarzenegger once again creeping into the role of the “ It absolutely will not stop….ever…until you are dead” Terminator. Sly Stallone is playing Rocky Balboa in Creed 2, and after that he will play his other iconic character John “ my war is over” Rambo. And of course we had Harrison Ford reprising his role as Han Solo in Star Wars Episode 7 as well as Rick Deckard in Bladerunner 2049. I have seen online arguments where people were asking the question if this is a good thing. If these actors are just not simply past their prime and should stop acting. I for one am not one of them. I loved Creed for instance and Stallone did an amazing job in reprising his role which even gave him an Oscar nomination. Blade Runner 2049 ended up becoming my favorite movie of last year. So no, as long as they keep making movies that are as good as these, they can keep making them in my opinion.

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The mask apparently hasn’t aged well either…..

Jamie Lee Curtis was 19 years old when she played the role of Laurie Strode in the classic John Carpenter movie Halloween. It immediately made her famous, and the movie itself was of course a huge succes. Now exactly 40 years later, Jamie again plays the role of Laurie and as such she is also going down the road of the aforementioned trend. Now Halloween has been a franchise that has had it’s ups and downs. A lot of the sequels that were made weren’t very good (although there were a few that I did like like Halloween H20 for instance), and this new version just pretty much resets the timeline. Meaning it dismisses all the events from the previous installments, and just acts as the true sequel to the original movie. After the events from Halloween it appears that Michael Myers has been living out his life in a rehabilitation hospital for the last forty years. Laurie herself has not been doing well. She has had two failed marriages, a daughter that she hardly speaks to, and she has become kind of a recluse preparing for the potential day that Michael returns. Her daughter Karen ridicules her for that, and tries to keep her own family away from her mother as much as she can.

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Fight night!

However when Michael is about to be transferred to a new facility the proverbial crap hits the fan. The bus he was being transferred on crashes, and the serial killer escapes heading for Haddonfield. The unsuspecting town has no idea what’s coming. Because on Halloween night, Michael comes home. But this time, Michael himself might also not really know what’s coming for him…..I was quite excited for this movie, especially since the film so far has been gathering mostly positive reviews. But at the same time, there is always this small warning voice in my head that tells me to not get too excited. And guess what, the voice was right. While I would not call this one a bad movie, that would really be taking it too far, I also don’t quite understand why there are so many positive reviews for this film. In keeping with the positive things first, I like the fact that there are quite a few nods to the original. Some of them are very subtle, and easy to miss if you have are not very familiar with the original. But for fans, it’s definitely fun to see those.

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This gives a whole new meaning to the term walk in closet.

Another positive is Jamie Lee Curtis herself. She pulled a, what I would like to call Ellen Ripley in this movie. Meaning that she was just being a very tough bad ass chick, just like Sigourney Weaver was in Aliens. First being dismissed as a bit of a loon by most people (and something that I honestly don’t really blame them for) when the threat of Michael becomes real, she is the one that people turn to. Despite the fact that Laurie appears not to have all her marbles in working order, she definitely knows what she is doing. Jamie really seems like she has been having a lot of fun playing this part, and it’s definitely the one thing that keeps this movie just on the side of a positive score. What this movie really lacks though is the nailbiting tension. Except for maybe one scene, this film just never really got thrilling. And with a horrormovie that is always a bad thing in my opinion. We see Michael killing people but it never gets tense. Because we can see the kill coming from a mile away, and most of the people getting killed are just very stupid.

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Hard to tell when you look at this picture who is the crazy one.

Which is another thing that is not done well in this film: the people. Except for Laurie herself, most of the characters in this film just lack any real substance. Even Laurie’s daughter and grand daughter hardly have any background to them, and just aren’t really persons that you can form any attachment too. You just don’t care about them, like at all.  Which is also important in a movie like this. You want to be able to feel something for them, anything, when Michael is doing his hunting. It just never happened. Halloween felt like an empty movie to me. While not everything in it was bad, without Jamie Lee Curtis this film definitely would have gotten a negative grade from me. I have to say that I honestly liked Halloween H20 a whole lot more. Made 20 years after the original, it also featured Jamie Lee, but that one really had some good tense scenes, and very fun characters as well. As always though, don’t take my word for this. For the most part Halloween has so far been received very positively, and you know that means we will undoubtedly get yet another sequel. Probably won’t even have to wait another 40 years for it either.

I give Halloween a 6 out of 10 score.

Joy Ride, American movie (2001)

Who among you have ever pulled a prank on someone? Come on….don’t be shy now and speak up. I think it’s pretty much rather safe to say that we all have at some point, right? Whether it’s as a kid ringing the doorbell at a house and then quickly running away, or it’s as an adult thinking up something more elaborate. We all sometimes like to play a joke on someone. Sometimes when I have a lazy day, I like to go to YouTube and watch some truly crazy prank videos of people trying to scare the living daylights out of others. Some of them are really stupid, but there are also some that are amazingly brilliant. It’s always nice to see the response that people have to these pranks. A lot of people just laugh at the jokes, but there are also a few that really turn angry. For me those are the funniest ones to watch, but you also have to wonder at what point a joke isn’t really funny anymore. I draw the line at jokes that intentionally hurt people. I mean fun and games are all good, but if it ends up truly hurting someone, that for me isn’t a joke. But what if a prank gets turned around completely…and turns into something deadly? Funny (see what I did there) you should mention that….

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You are in my parking space!!

Lewis Thomas is a university student who is on his summer break and is preparing to drive home on a cross country road trip. But before he heads home he has to make a stop to pick up his friend and crush Vena who has just ended her relationship. And of course this is a perfect time for Lewis to maybe make his move. However when he calls his mum announcing his plans he learns that his older brother Fuller has been arrested yet again. Not being happy about it, but having very little choice in the matter, Lewis bails Fuller out and he comes along for the ride. While at a gas station Fuller decides to install an old CB radio on the car of his brother. On the road the two of them listen in to truckers conversing with each other and eventually the two of them decide to do some talking as well. Fuller has always been a prankster and he wants his brother to impersonate a sultry woman on the radio waves. Lewis goes along and introducing himself as Candy Cane he seduces a truck driver called Rusty Nail that totally falls for it. However, the joke will soon be on them as Rusty Nail turns out to be a complete psychopath. Lewis and Fuller will soon be in for the ride of their lives….literally….

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That moment where you think you are dreaming, but it ends up being real.

Halloween is almost upon us, and while I would not call this movie a horror movie, it’s certainly one that comes close to that genre. Joy Ride is erm a fun ride (okay enough with the puns  already) that doesn’t takes itself to seriously but is still a joy to watch (okay…seriously quit now!). It’s always strange to see Paul Walker in a film knowing that he sadly isn’t alive anymore. He is definitely an actor that really went way before his time. In this film he plays the role of Lewis and as always he pulls it off with his natural charm. His character is just your typical highschool student, that you may have seen in countless other films. Still, it’s hard not to like him, as he is just someone that has been unwillingly put into a very dangerous situation and tries to make things right. Steve Zahn is the actor that was cast in the role of the older brother, and his character was the complete opposite of Paul’s. Fuller is a total prankster, and certainly serves as the comic relief in this film. Zahn simply excells in roles such as these, and this one was no exception.

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Breaker, breaker…ten four….out and over…or was it over and out??

The love interest, Vena, was played by actress Leelee Sobieski. Once hailed to be a very promising young actress she pretty much disappeared from the big screen. Which is a real shame as not only was she very pretty, she was also someone who could really act. Which she proves in this film. While she hasn’t a huge part in this movie, I still liked her role a lot. But it’s not the acting that you want to watch this movie for, it’s the thrills, and for the most part the film definitely succeeds in that. I like the way the tension is cranked up in this movie beginning almost as a bit of a comedy, and then, with every passing minute it becomes darker. For people who might be squeamish when it comes to blood, you will happy to know that this movie doesn’t contain any scenes like that. This is a pure thriller with some heartpounding and nailbiting scenes, especially in the later parts of the film. About halfway through the movie it does have a few moments where the tension slows down, and while I would not necessarily call this a bad thing, it occasionally slowed down a bit too much.

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I wonder what the punchline of this joke was. All three of them seem to struggle with it.

The truck driver who is voiced by an uncredited Ted Levine, is never seen fully which of course only makes it more enjoyable. For me at least. It’s the unseen terror that usually is just way more effective and that’s certainly achieved with this film. All in all there is very little not to like about this film. I do have to give you a small warning though. Joy Ride was followed by two sequels that went straight to video. If you were maybe thinking of giving them a watch after this one, just know that they are totally different movies. Instead of thrills, they rely more on blood and gore, and are simply a pale shadow of this one. The original though is just a great thriller, with some very decent performances, a whiff of humor thrown into the mix, and enough thrills to make your heart pump faster. It’s the perfect film to watch on Halloween, when you like your horror/thriller movies without blood. Just go along with the ride…..

I give Joy Ride a 8 out of 10 score.

Apostle, American/UK movie (2018)

It’s October and that means all around it’s the season to be creepy. Erm, wait that isn’t how that song goes? Oh well, I guess I always get some things mixed up, so my apologies. Now in case you are wondering exactly what I am talking about here, it is of course nearly Halloween. Unless you haven’t really been paying attention lately on wordpress, a lot of bloggers are having fun writing posts that in some form or another that are related to this event. Well, as you know (or don’t know in case you have just started following me, in that case let me enlighten you), I have always held a soft spot for horror films. In fact it’s one of my favorite movie genres so to speak. So why haven’t I had a single horror movie post out this month? I seriously haven’t got a clue. I could either do two things right now: I could spent my time looking for the answer to that question, or I could finally write one. I chose to do the latter. So people buckle up, put on your favorite Halloween costume, grab some popcorn and let’s see if this film is worth checking out.

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I told you before: Stop looking at me! 

For a change we have a horrormovie that isn’t situated in modern times but we travel back in time to the year 1905. Thomas Richardson is on desperate mission to save his sister who has been kidnapped by a mysterious religious cult. She has been taken to a remote island, far from civilisation, and the people that have taken her are demanding a ransom for her release. Thomas arrives on the island pretending to be a believer in the self proclaimed prophet that is the leader of the cult, a man named Malcolm Howe. Malcolm is a former prisoner that escaped with two other convicts. He claims to speak for “The Goddess“ that supposedly inhabits the island and through her powers provides food for the cult. Lately though his people are dying of starvation, which is why he has resorted to kidnapping. Thomas slowly begins to infiltrate the cult and befriends a young teenager called Jeremy. While trying to find out the whereabouts of his sister he begins to encounter more and more terrifying things that are happening on the island. The true horror though, has yet to be revealed…..

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Yep, this would make a great Halloween costume.

Apostle was directed by Gareth Evans. Now for people who are familiar with martial arts movies, you might recall he directed the Raid and the Raid 2. Both of these were absolutely amazing and a true highlight when it comes to the world of action movies. It’s all the more interesting that this is an entirely different film he has sunk his teeth in. I honestly have to admit that I genuinely enjoyed this film. It’s fun to see a movie again that is not set in the present but in the past, and at times it reminded me of The Witch. But the only comparison I can make to that film is the atmosphere. Right from the very first scene you can feel this foreboding sense of doom come over you. It’s probably the remote location of a Welsh island that really contributes to this. The cinematograpy for this film is terrific, and some of the camera angles that were featured in this movie only made the movie even more creepy. As I said though, this is the only comparison I have to the Witch, because this movie could not be more different.

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A little shaving never hurt anyone….

For one thing it’s incredibly gory at times. Just like in The Raid, we get some very bloody scenes shown, especially when the film goes into it’s second half. Some of these were truly unsettling. I’m not one to be very squeamish when it comes down to this, so it didn’t disturb me in the least. (Yes I guess that can be unsettling too when I think about it lol). It also features some heavy underlying religious themes, something that might put some people off. The film’s story is pretty good, and has some nice twists and turns. It gradually reveals it’s secrets, and there were a few moments in the middle of the film, where one might call it maybe a bit slow. I think if the movie would have been somewhat shorter, I might have added a point to the overall final score. But it never became boring in the least, and that is also due to the fact that the movie had some very good performances. Cult leader Malcolm was played by veteran actor Michael Sheen. He plays a truly troubled man, that even while he was downright creepy still managed to create sympathy for his character. Now there is a contradiction if you ever saw one.

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This is what a cinema looked like in 1905. 

Dan Stevens played the role of Thomas and he pretty much carries the movie on his shoulders. He creates an instant liking to his character, because he is very human. Being a former missionary that has lost hist faith and now has an addiction, Thomas certainly has his flaws. But that only makes you relate to him more. I always like it when someone isn’t one of those perfect heroes, but a real flesh and blood person. Next to these two actors, there are a lot of other high caliber performances in the film as well. So if you are a fan of good acting, this is another reason to go and see this movie. Apostle has turned out to be a very pleasant surprise. I knew next to nothing about this one, but this really is a very tense, well made, and at times truly thrilling and horrifying movie. The film is now available on Netflix and it’s the perfect month to go and check this one out. If you dare that is…..

I give Apostle a 8 out of 10 score.

Venom, American movie (2018)

I think it’s a safe bet to say that even if you don’t like comic books, everyone has probably heard of the name Spiderman. One of the most popular comic book characters ever created, he has been webslinging his way throughout hundreds of comics as far back as 1962. Every superhero of course also needs some foes to fight, and Spiderman is definitely not an exception to that rule. Green Goblin, Dr. Octopus, Vulture are just a few of the names that our friendly neighbourhood spider has had to face over the years. However, there will always be an enemy that is just a little bit more memorable than all of the others combined. And for Spiderman that foe was introduced way back in 1988: Venom. This horrific looking character became an instant fan favorite, and fans were overjoyed to hear that he would be making an appearance in the Spiderman 3 movie from 2007 starring Tobey Maguire. Sadly the movie wasn’t very good and Venom himself was woefully underused. Okay, enough with the history lessons. This year Venom has finally gotten his own movie, weirdly enough with his nemesis Spiderman being absent. So can a movie like this work like that? Well, the short answer is: yes, it most certainly can.

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Sometimes you just need to have a civilised talk to work things out.

Eddie Brock is an investigative journalist that seems to have it made. He is soon to marry the love of his life Anne Weying, and he has a job that seems to be going very well for him. As is usally the case when things go well, it’s all about to come crashing down on him. The Life Foundation, a bio-engineering corporation that Anne works for, has been conducting experiments with something they have found in outer space. It’s CEO, a man named Carlton Drake seems to be a very benovelent man, but this is all a front. Eddie has become very suspicious of him especially when he is approached by one of the employees of the company, Dora Skirth. She tells Eddie about the experiments that have been going on and helps him enter the building one evening to find proof. However, while investigating, the hapless journalist inadvertently becomes infected by a parasitic lifeform. Not just any lifeform though, but one that gives him powers that have never before been seen on Earth. It has yet to be determined if the entity that calls itself Venom is a friend or a foe though. Meanwhile Carlton Drake will stop at nothing to get his lifeform back, no matter who will die in the process….

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This is exactly the reason why you should always wait for your turn at the counter.

I’m seriously beginning to hate the critics these days. This movie has been torn to shreds by pretty much every single one of them and I have to wonder if some of them have even seen the movie. I said it quite recently in a review for Skyscraper I think that in general the critics have made it a sport to trash films that only offer fun. The problem is though that when people start to read those “reviews” their mindset is already influenced and some might even avoid going to the film altogether. Which would be a real shame as Venom is simply put a really fun film.While it’s certainly not perfect, it doesn’t deserve all the bashing that is currently directed at it by the so called experts. Eddie Brock is played by one of my favorite actors from the current era, Tom Hardy. He is a man who can pretty much handle every role they throw at him. In this film, he plays a character that is a bit of a loser for lack of a better word, but still comes out on top by becoming a (anti-) hero. I wouldn’t say it’s his best performance if I’m honest, but still he looks like he had a lot of fun in playing the role.

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Honestly he really is a nice guy once you get to know him.

But besides playing the role of Eddie, he also performs the voice of the alien symbiote Venom. The scenes where he is having discussions with himself and his alien alter ego provided some of the funniest moments in this movie. I love it when Venom just wants to go all out and eat people, but Brock tries to reason with this monster. It was surprising to me that this film contained a lot of (dark) humor. I honestly did not expect to find that in this movie, but it really worked. The rest of the actors in this film just simply don’t have very memorable parts. Michelle Williams who is always an accomplished actress plays the love interest of Eddie. But her role was to small for her to be able to really shine. The relatively unknown actor Riz Ahmed was cast as the villain Carlton Drake but I honestly didn’t find his role very impressive. It was too flat to really have that evil edge so to speak. Then again that also could have something to do with the script which wasn’t one of the strongest ones I have seen in these type of films.

24-4-2018
Talk to the hand…..

However the action and CGI sequences more than made up for this. When you first see the full Venom suit make an appearance it is really an extraordinary sight. It serves as a welcome reminder to see how much computer generated special effects have really progressed. The film was a bit slow in the first half hour or so, but then kicks into full gear, and I really found myself entertained for most of it’s runtime. Another complaint I have heard a number of times is that this movie didn’t get an R-rating. Granted Venom’s character certainly is violent, and the film had most of that violence shown off screen, but that didn’t mean that the movie was any worse because of that. So in the end Venom is another example of how the critics again rather unfairly treated this film as total garbage. It’s not the best superhero movie ever made, nor is it perfect, but it’s still a thoroughly enjoyable film that’s well worth seeing in the theatres. In other words, don’t always believe everything people write (including this post). Just go and see it with an open mind, and form your own opinion on it. You might be very surprised…

I give Venom a 8 out of 10 score.

Hold the Dark, American Movie (2018)

I love this time of year. The days are getting shorter again, which means the sun is beginning to set earlier and it becomes darker more quickly in the evening. Yes, I know many of you are probably disagreeing with me at this point, but I love it. It’s perfect for watching horror movies, or just cozying up in bed with a good book. One would almost think that I am a vampire or something, however as far as I know that is not the case. But at certain points in the world the sun is hardly seen at all during winter time. Now that might be taking things a little bit too far I guess. Alaska for instance has some places where the darkness settles in after barely three to five hours of sunlight. Now just imagine that if you will. I think a lot of people might simply go nuts as it takes some getting used to. That said though, those barren winter landscapes makes for some amazing imagery. It also serves as a perfect backdrop for some great movies as we have seen for instance in The Revenant starring Leonardo DiCaprio. Last week a new movie came out over on Netflix which also utilises this cold and harsh environment. Is it a good film though? Well, let me talk you through it.

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Hi honey, sorry I’m stuck in traffic. I will be late again….

Hold the Dark takes places in the year 2004 in a very small village called Keelut deep in the Alaskan wilderness. Something truly dreadful has been happening there lately. Three small children have disappeared and are presumably dead, as their captors seemed to have been a pack of wolves. Medora Slone, the mother of the last child that has gone missing, calls in the help of a retired naturalist called Russell Core. This man who is an expert in wolves heeds the call of the grieving mother and soon arrives in the village. Meanwhile Medora’s husband, Vernon, is serving a tour in Iraq and is having his own share of troubles. He is as yet unaware of his son’s disappearence and his wife has so far not been able to share the horrible news with him. Russell has set off in search of the boy and to track down the wolves that are responsible for his capture. However not all is at seems. Darker and more sinister secrets are about to be revealed, and Russel finds himself in the middle of something that he simply did not expect to find…

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Trick or treat came early this year.

Did you ever watch a movie and when it ended you did not quite know how you felt about it? This was one of those films. Well, at least for me it was. I’m not saying this was a bad film, because really it wasn’t. But it’s also a movie that I felt could have been more, although I can’t quite put a finger on it what that more might just be. But let’s first get into the positives. One of the main selling points of this movie is once again the majestic and very cold landscape. It’s all shot beautifully, and adds to the sense of dread that this film is trying to achieve, and at which it also partially succeeds. You can’t help but feel very uneasy during most of the run time of this two hour movie. Hauntingly bleak visuals combined with a melancholic score certainly seem to capture the effect of what this movie was aiming for. The pacing of the film though was uneven. It was at times a rather slow film, and setting the tone for a creepy atmosphere can only get you so far.

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Awwwwwwwwwwww.

The performances in this film though were also definitely worth seeing. Jeffrey Wright who played the role of the aging Russel managed to create a very sympathetic character. It’s nice to see someone who really isn’t this macho superhero, but a more subdued and normal guy, who gets caught in something that is way above his head. I always like the underdog types, and Russel could definitely be classified as such. The role of Vernon was fulfilled by Alexander Skarsgård, and he made that role into a very chilling and sinister man. It’s definitely clear that the war in Iraq hasn’t left him without a few mental scars, as Vernon was an emotionless and very, very dangerous individual. It was a terrific part, and Skarsgård played it to perfection. Lastly James Badge Dale, who had a relatively minor role as a police officer also left a lasting impression. Even though he isn’t a very well known actor, he really rises above himself with an impressive performance.

Jeffrey Wright in the new film Hold the Dark. Photo credit: Netflix
I don’t know but shouldn’t those goggles be on your face?

Hold the Dark is a bit of a strange movie which is also pretty hard to classify. The story certainly has a number of shocking twists, and for lack of a better term WTF moments. But at the same time it also has trouble in finding out where exactly it wants to go. Is it a thriller? Is it an action film? Or even a drama? It’s pretty hard to say to be honest. Some of the scenes, especially in the beginning of the film just dragged on for too long. And I feel that if the film would have had a bit of a shorter runtime it might have been a better movie. That said though, there is still enough in this dark film (pun intended) for me to recommend it to you. The story is very interesting and has some pretty gruesome moments. Add to this some great actors, a tense and foreboding atmosphere and the beautiful landscape and it’s a movie that I feel is still worth your time. If you are not a fan of slow movies though, you might want to skip this.

I give Hold the Dark a 7 out of 10 score.

 

Final Score, UK movie (2018)

“So, did you see the soccer game last night?” I can’t remember the number of times I have heard that line said in the place where I work. I have never understood the appeal of running around on a big green field chasing a ball. (But then again, I hate sports altogether, so I am probably not the best person to talk about this). It becomes even more “fun” for me when grown men and women go into these lengthy discussions about what their favorite teams did right or wrong in a particular match and they become all emotional about it as well. “That referee should let his eyes get checked out” or “ Jeez, that goal so and so made was so incredible”. Uggh, fun times indeed. Well, people probably think the same about me when I get emotional about a great movie or anime that I saw, so yeah it’s probably best that I just stop talking about how much I hate soccer and get to the real point of all this. Namely a review of this fun new action flick starring Dave “ Guardians of the Galaxy” Bautista. And yep, you might have guessed it from both the title and this little intro, it has something to do with soccer. But not in the way you might think though.

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My name is Bond, James Bond. Erm…no I guess it isn’t.

Michael Knox is a former soldier who still tries to come to terms with the loss of his brother in Afghanistan. He cares very much for his young niece, a rebellious teenager called Danni who has had her own struggles with accepting the death of her father. Michael decides to take her to a big soccer match in order for the both of them to spend some time together. Which would have been a very good idea, were it not for the fact that a bunch of Russian terrorists have targeted the match. An enormous amount of explosives are set to go off in the stadium, unless their demands are met. Michael soon finds himself right in the middle of this, and matters are not really helped when his niece disappears on him. With the aid of a nervous venue staffer called Faisal, the ex-soldier begins the search for his niece. But time is running out for Michael, as the clock ticks down to the end of the match and possibly the end of all the lives in the stadium….

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I love the fashion sense that these girls have.

Do you remember the 80’s action flicks? Where we had good old Stallone and Schwarzenegger lead the charge in over the top, totally not credible but oh so much fun action flicks? This one pretty much almost feels like it was made in that era. It has a B-movie vibe, but one that at least for me did not fail to really conjure up some stupid grins on my face during a couple of great action sequences. Yes it’s a cheesy movie and sometimes has some horrible lines in it too. One that especially made me cringe was when Michael was fighting with the lead terrorist in trying to obtain the trigger to the explosives. A police officer was shouting to him to not let him trigger the detonator. No, really? That’s so helpful indeed! Sorry, for my sarcasm but trust me when I say that I really did enjoy this movie a lot. It doesn’t try to pretend to be anything else but an action film and pretty much has all the cliches in it that we have seen before. Yes, it’s yet another Die Hard clone, but even so, it’s a very enjoyable one.

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He hates soccer so much that he decided to turn the match into a dirtbike event!

Dave Bautista carries this movie starring as the reluctant hero Michael. What he lacks in acting skills, he makes up for in charm. You can’t help but form a bond with this guy and you want nothing more than seeing him administer his own form of justice on the lowlife thugs. Speaking of them, they are just your basic stereotype villains. Ray Stevenson plays the role of the main terrorist, and does a good enough job in portraying a pretty loathsome individual. It’s interesting to see that it seems we are almost getting back to the time of the cold war. So many movies have Americans pitted against Russians  that it almost seems to me that World War III is imminent again. Let’s hope not, but it is a sign of the times we seem to be living in. One would almost forget that Pierce Brosnan is in this films as well. The former Bond actor, has a relatively minor role, but a very important one. And it seems that he had fun playing it too, not withholding the terrible Russian accent he has. (One often has to wonder why they bother with doing those accents in the first place).

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Don’t tell me: I’m late for dinner?

The script not surprisingly isn’t a highly original one. It borrows heavily from another similar action movie that you might recall, called Sudden Death starring the “ Muscles from Brussels”. But I wasn’t really bothered by that in the least. As a lover of action films, I just had a great time with this movie. My taste in films is very diverse, but sometimes I just need something simple and fun to reset my brain. This film pretty much served that purpose. Some nice fistfights, chase scenes and shoot-outs combined with a likeable lead, made this into an entertaining ride from start to finish. It would almost get me to like soccer. Well, no I didn’t believe that last one either. Anyways, this certainly won’t be a movie for everyone, but if you like simple but fun action movies, I highly recommend checking this one out. It won’t blow your mind, but it will in all likelyhood give you a great night off after a long hard day’s work. So, let’s see now, what’s my final score?

I give Final Score a 8 out of 10 score.

Suicide Squad, American movie (2016)

I don’t think that I am the only one when I say that I sometimes like a good bad guy even more than a hero. And if I am the only one that says that, well then I guess I must be weirder than I thought. Anyways all crazyness aside, I just love a good villain. And in comics we certainly have a host of those. Even better, we don’t just call them villains, some we even call SUPER-villains. But are all of these so called bad guys, really bad? While some certainly are pure evil and have no real redeeming qualities, there are also those that have a moral code that we might even identify with. Let’s also not forget those that are, pardon my french, just bat shit crazy. As I tend to sometimes be a little bit crazy myself, I usually enjoy those the most. So, at some point someone thought it would be a good idea to make a comic that teams up some of the major bad hombres in the DC comics universe and let them save the world. In the history of terrible ideas, that one really seems to be at the number one spot right? Well…no. Because it worked and of course it’s no surprise that at some point a movie was made too.

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I could make a really bad caption here, but I guess I’d better not.

Suicide Squad takes place after the events of Batman v Superman. The world is left without it’s greatest hero, and humans try to do what humans do best: they try to find a suitable replacement. Because really what if the next Superman/woman, turns out to be not such a benevolent being? Intelligence officer Amanda Waller has an idea that at first seems totally nuts, but might just be the key to protecting the Earth from new threats. Codenamed Task Force X, it’s a team comprised of some of the worst criminals that are contained in the Belle Reve Special Security Barracks. Chief amongst these are hitman Floyd Lawton also known as Deadshot and the totally insane Harley Quinn. But of course it wil not really come as a surprise that they are not jumping at a chance to become heroes. Nonetheless when an ancient threat appears in the form of the evil witch known as the Enchantress, the team is sent on it’s first mission. A mission where the stakes are very high. How high you say? Well how about the continued survival of the entire human race?

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I’ve been thinking of dying my hair green as well. It seems to be all the rage these days.

This movie is already almost two years old, and I have only just seen it. Yup. I know, that is just crazy, really what am I doing with my life. Okay enough jokers, erm jokes. Let’s dive into my thoughts on this film. It’s hard not to compare a movie like this to The Avengers. The only difference being that in this film we don’t have superheroes teaming up, but a bunch of bad guys. That we don’t know much about. And that is one of the biggest problems this movie has. When the first Avengers film came out, we already were introduced to the likes of Iron Man, Captain America and Thor. Here though, we get  a bunch of characters that people who like comics might certainly be familiar with. But the regular audience probably doesn’t know much about them. And they are thrown at you with an incredible speed in the beginning of the film. That in itself would not necessarily be a bad thing. But some just had too little back story to really form an attachment to them. Sure, they look cool, but still it wouldn’t have hurt to maybe find out a little bit more about them.

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Why are you looking at me like that girl?

Luckily though, there are two characters that really carry the movie. It has to be said, Will Smith playing Deadshot does a phenomenal job with this role. He really steps up to the plate in bringing to life a character that is supposedly evil, but honestly really isn’t. It’s one of those truly anti-hero type of characters, who does everything for his daughter, and that you just want to see come out on top. And then there is Harley Quinn, played by Margot Robbie. She is absolutely amazing. Harley is portrayed as a seductive, sexy, complete whackjob of a woman. However she is probably the most human character out of this entire ensemble. Her love for the Joker (In this film played by a criminally underused Jared Leto), drives her forward. Don’t underestimate her though, because she is lethal as hell as she shows in many of the films most badass scenes. The rest of the squad is comprised out of a lot of cool characters that I would loved to have getten to know better, but alas, that was not to be.

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Yep…she is looking at you. Best not look back, that might not end well for ya.

Suicide Squad doesn’t really feel like a movie to me. It has some great ideas, and there are definitely a couple of scenes that were fun to see, but it just almost felt like I was watching a bunch of clips woven together. The storyline, such as it is, is just really thin. We have a threat that just doesn’t feel like much of one, simply because it lacks enough background to really feel dangerous. The film is mostly comprised of a two hour long, cgi filled, shoot-em up. The saving grace of this movie really are the terrific performances by Smith and Robbie. Those two alone make the movie still worthwhile to watch. This film really could have been gold. It has a great premise, with a bunch of fun characters, but it ultimately falls short. So, once again DC unfortunately fails to really go to war with their biggest rival Marvel. But then again, who is keeping score anyway. Ultimately, it’s still a movie worth seeing at least once. Just don’t expect to see anything earthshattering here.

I give Suicide Squad a 6 out of 10 score.

The Void, Canadian/American movie (2016)

God, I hate hospitals. I don’t know if I have ever said this to you all, but really I do. Then again I don’t think that there are many people out there that like hospitals in the first place. But seriously, the smell alone once you enter the place, is enough to make me turn on my feet and walk on out of there. I have so far had to experience a hospital only twice in my life, both times for nothing serious. But, that did mean I also had to stay there at night. And really things are even worse then you know? Honestly, I think they are some of the creepiest buildings created by men. Tell me that I am wrong? So why all this talk of hospitals? Am I making plans to go there soon? Hell to the no! Interesting that I should mention hell though. With Halloween creeping up on our doorsteps soon, I thought it was nice to once again turn back to one of my favorite moviegenres: horror. And after the rather gloomy review I wrote yesterday , it’s time for something a bit more lighthearted. Well, at least something a bit more uplifting? Though come to think of it, this film is anything but uplifting. Unless you can find comfort in a descent straight down into the bowels of hell….

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Some people really can’t read signs. Caution stand back? Duh…..

Police Deputy Daniel Carter is enjoying a nice and quiet night in his patrol car when a man comes stumbling out of the woods he is parked next to. Daniel at first thinks it’s some drunken teenager, but soon finds out that the man is covered in blood. Rushing the wounded man to his car, he screeches off intending to take the man to a hospital. The only one available is one that is a largely abandoned due to a fire. It also happens to be the place where his estranged wife works, Allison Fraser. Once he arrives there the man is quickly taken away to be helped by one of the doctors on duty a man called Richard. But it’s then when strange things are beginning to happen. A nurse brutally kills one of the patients and attacks Daniel. He barely manages to defend himself and escape the sudden attack. But when white robed people are beginning to surround the hospital, the true nightmare begins. It’s going to be a night that Daniel will never forget. A darkness, oh so evil has been awakened and the deputy soon finds himself in what can only be called a place taken straight from the most foulest places of hell itself….

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SOMEbody woke up on the wrong side of the bed this morning. 

It is no real secret that I am huge fan of The Thing, and if there is one movie that this one reminded me of, it’s that classic. This is one of those great, gory, a little bit gross, but oh so fun creature movies. It’s low budget, but it certainly doesn’t show that at all. Right from the very start of this film, the movie sets a very creepy and chilling tone and builds up the pace. I loved the way that this film did that. At first you don’t quite know yet what is going on. It seems there’s some kind of cult, maybe even something drugrelated things, but then when the first totally disgusting creature makes it’s appearance, the film goes into full on horror mode. The movie is gory, no hiding that fact. A lof of sickening, oozing and dripping fluids are spent in this movie but it gets nowhere near as bad as for instance Evil Dead. A creature feature stands or falls with the way the monsters are shown, and in this the movie doesn’t disappoint. A lot of designs are very unique (and suitably horrifying), and it also isn’t one of those films where you only see them as shadows in darkness. Still, this isn’t a blockbuster so don’t expect to see state of the art effects. But they are effective, no question about that.

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Nope…not creepy at all….

Another thing this movie has going for it, is it’s setting. As I mentioned, a hospital is a pretty scary place to begin with. But it has to be said that the sets in this film are really wonderfully created. As it’s a rundown building, it only adds to the atmosphere this film has. Most of the actors in this film are relatively unknowns, but I have to admit that the acting in this film is quite decent. The main hero of the movie, Daniel, is played by actor Aaron Poole. He manages to create a likeable character that tries to make the most out of a totally abnormal situation. He really carries most of the movie on his own, though his fellow supporting cast members do some admirable jobs themselves. None of the characters are very well worked out though, so don’t expect to grow really attached to them. That’s a little bit of a missed opportunity I think, as it would have made the film just a little bit better in my opinion. But honestly it doesn’t ruin the movie in any way for me, as there are enough scares and intense scenes that make this film very enjoyable.

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You know that things are bad when they start bringing out the axe!

I do think the film loses a little bit of momentum near the end. It’s luckily not enough to undo everything that came before it, but I do feel the ending could have been a little bit better. All in all though The Void was a very pleasant surprise. If you love low budget horror movies, or are a fan of the old Carpenter flicks, I urge you to try this one out. I think it’s one of the better horror movies that I have seen in a while. If you don’t like your horrormovies in the gory way though, this one is best avoided. So I guess this is it for this erm, did I mention in the beginning “uplifting” review? Okay, guess it didn’t really pan out that way after all. Well, can’t win them all I guess. Hope you still enjoyed reading this one though, and I will see you on the next one! Thanks for reading!

I give The Void a 8 out of 10 score.