Change Your Image
Upload An Image
Crop And Save
King Arthur (2004)
On second thought, let's not go to Camelot, it's a silly place
If there is any historical truth to the legend of king Arthur, it probably originates a romano-British warlord fighting the Saxons. Then we have to accept the centuries of exaggerations, mixing with other legends, re-writes to fit the times and so on. This is a still living tradition, because we continue to re-purpose and retell the story. Excalibur, for all it's faults, managed to get this point across pretty well. What the filmmakers set out to do here is to try to relocate de- myth the story and try to tell what might have actually happened. To bad they did not do that.
Instead we get an absurd and confused "historical" mess. Very well, at least it's sometimes necessary to salt history for the sake of a good story? Right?
I mean, the cast is great. We have Clive Owen, Stellan Skarsgård, Hugh Dancy, Ray Winstone, Joel Edgerton, Ray Winstone, Keira Knightley, Til Schweiger and Mad Mads Mikkelsen. What could go wrong? A lot. Sadly, these actor's has to work with a frightfully dull script. Clive Owen only has to stand around and hold speeches. Everybody keeps talking about what a great leader and warrior he is. He has no faults, makes no mistakes. He's just a flat character. Skarsgård walks around sounding like he just woke up and is bored by everything. The character of Cerdic comes off as a stupid evil character. Schweiger just snarls and glares. These villains are generic and duller than carpenter's thumb. As a supposedly historical film, it baffle one that the Saxon land in Scotland, north of Hadrian's Wall. Why? It's far from the closest part of the Saxon homeland and just plain dumb.
An why are the woads/picts/(scotsmen?) fight the heavily armored Saxons wearing leather bras? How is that a sustainable means of protection? Why are the Saxons not shooting back at the heroes when they are fired upon. They do have crossbows.
The cheesy music keeps pumping over the film, and is little more than noise in the background. It sounds like any other Hans Zimmer score. I could not tell which film it was from if I heard it on it's own. Through the cinematography is pretty competently done. And through many of the costumes are pretty unhistorical, they look pretty good for the most part. I liked Ray Winstone, even through gobbled the scenery I enjoyed him. At least he put some personality into his performance.
This is a dull, dull, dull and generic "retelling" of the story. Every other decade there is another Arthur-movie. Let's hope we get a better one. The characters are flat and dull, the story is unimpressive and boring, the music is forgettable and the script is dumb.
Viking Quest (2015)
Here comes the berserkers!
Through the vikings probably deserves some of the disgraceful film made about them, we as an audience do not. Well, to be honest, the film only has "viking" in it's name since there are no actual vikings in the film. Somewhere in (I assume) 8th century Scandinavia, two warring clans plan to unite through the marriage of the princess Tasya and the king Wolven. Tasya childhood friend Erick "the blessed" has the hots for Tasya, a feeling that is sort of answered, but not enough for Tasya to abandon her promised to be. Unfortunately, the dastardly Völsungs (no relation the mythological clan, but nice touch) frequently carries out sacrifices of princesses to the Midgard Serpent, Loki's dragon-seed. Since king Sigvat of the Völsungs has no children his soldiers nabs the princess in the process. Now it's up to Erick and Wolven to set their differences aside and rescue the princess.
It's the standard story. Nothing special, but can be a fun adventure for a Friday evening. To bad the film is so badly made. The fight scenes are under all standards for a film even of this budget. The editing does not even try to hide the baffling feeble choreography. Seeing that this is a low budget romp, some special effect failures are to be expected, but this film does not even try to work around that. We have a storm that is obviously shot in a studio. Guys, could you not even had intern splashing water with buckets? It's the driest storm ever! A little extra effort could have pushed it to an at least acceptable level. Is a little more effort to much to ask. Now, the acting is really uneven. But in the case of the leads I do blame it on the director and not the actors. Harry Lister Smith and Jenny Boyd are pretty convincing as childhood friends with a scent of romance. You can see that they do have some acting chops, they are just in a bad movie. Same goes for Oliver Walker as Wolven. Anya Taylor-Joy was in the sensation that was The Witch, but I have not seen that yet. But she is not very good in this film.
As stated above, the script is pretty standard, through there is a minor twist which is neat in it's own little way. Then the scenery is really nice. Mostly, the costumes seem to be roughly accurate. Most of the clothes, armors and helmets are pretty authentic to what I've seen in museums and books. That's not to say that this film is historically accurate. A high medieval castle is dropped in the middle of Scandinavia in the freaking 7th century and is painfully out of sync with the rest of the iconography of the film. Then, they have a male character called Hild. Talk about not doing the research...
If you are looking for a so bad that it's good viking film, Viking Quest is what you look for. Through not good at all, it's never boring. Like Troll 2 or Death Academy or any Ed Wood film, it's a charming bad movie. So grab your cowhorns, pass the mead and have a laugh.
La tête haute (2015)
Malony is Balony
It comes a time to take a stand. Not just for me, but for all of cinema. Malony is a horrible, cynical, opportunistic and dull affair. Malony is a trouble child an early age. At 16, he is shopped around different foster homes. His mother is in her 40's but played by a 28 year old actress, who looks like she is Malony's cougar girlfriend. Malony is failing school and sentenced to a youth camp after committing grand theft auto. His judge and his counselor does not want to give up on Malony and tries their best to get him some kind of education and possibility in life. Malony has skipped so much school that he will not be able to finish seventh grade - having already spent two years in every grade.
It's kind of hard to get a grip of the plot because it is more a series events than a story. Malony is a impatient, violent and completely unlikable character. Why people still wants to help him is beyond me. He is given tons of chances by the authorities and ends up messing them up every time. He flirts with a counselor's daughter and they end up in bed. But Malony ends up raping the girl. And for some reason, she falls in love with him. WHAT? The fact that so few critics have been bothered by this, deeply disturbs me.
A counselor get's Malony a job, but Malony just goes around and sneers and leers at the customers. He ends up kicking a table at a pregnant woman for no reason.
The acting from the lead actor is horrible. He overacts for president and country. Catherine Deneuve sleeps through her performance. I can honestly not remember anything about the other character's personality, except for the caricature that is the mother.
The message of the film is simple. Poor and stupid people should not reproduce, lest they will produce and even more hopeless generation. It's like a propaganda film by Dr Goebbles, mistaken by critics as a social awareness flick.
Trzecia czesc nocy (1971)
I have watched into the void and it's filled with lice.
I have watched into the void and it's filled with lice. The Third Part of the Night has been described as many things, but HORROR is the one word that makes justice to it. The one thing mostly remotely like it are the Silent Hills games and Come and See. At first I could not tell that the film was set in WWII, but when it became apparent to me, the riddle of the film also became apparent. Most of the film is actually a rather straightforward film, but the way the events are realized it becomes a surreal vision of the end of the world. I have trouble describing it other than a disturbing nightmare about the end of time. A furious debut of a filmmaker, possessed by the Gods of film, who summon a town beyond space, time and hope.
La cage aux zombies (1995)
Like John Waters directed Zombie 2
Like John Waters directed Zombie 2. Pierrot le fou remade by David Lynch as a april's fools days prank. Trash Humpers meets Burial Nights: Night of Terror. Does this seem interesting? Then this perhaps is a film for you. This is really hard film to review, since it's not supposed to be good. Now that is not an excuse someone can use to get out of jail card, but in this film it comes off like a surreal and really off-beat hodgepodge of voodoo, magic, transvestites and gangsters. Yeah, like John Waters directed Zombie 2. The acting is either wooden or over the top, and it it works for the context of the film. The music sounds a lot like the score of a 70's Italian zombieflick.
At times the film is really funny. There is a really clever visual gag at the start that spoof Carrie and made me laugh out loud. But most of the time it's plain weird. It's not good, but I can't accuse it of being boring.
Another WTF-film from the bowels of the internet.
To the Wonder (2012)
To the Wonder, but never getting there
There is a amazing film in here, somewhere. I love the music choices, the actors and the cinematography. There are some really interesting scenes in here. But the film falls on Malick's usual traps. The Thin Red Line was saved for me when we actually got to know the characters a bit better. But the fault of Malick is his love for voice over and character's running around in pretty pictures. In the scenes where the characters actually gets to act against one another are great. And do not think Malick should have thrown all voice over and all silent moments. They are especially effective in the first part of the film when Olga Kurylenko & Ben Affleck fall in love. But it simply gets tedious when that's the entire film. There are scenes like when Affleck throws Kurylenko out of a car which could have been amazing, but because the way the film is made it loses a bit of it's impact. The scene where Javier Bardem talks to the janitor in the church was amazing and it became even more apparent that Malick really can direct actors in the scene with the friend played by Romina Mondello. If only Terrence Malick did not edit all these moments away, his films would be much better.
Blinded by the Light
After making countless shorts, Henrik Möller has finally made a his first feature length film. It's both similar and different from his earlier work. It has all the stamps of Möller's earlier films, but they are more polished and developed than before. With the exception of "Inviting the Demon", the films of Möller and his various collaborators have had an extremely rough and raw quality. He has worked with both surrealism and social realism and absurd characters and situations. All of that is present in this film. It all plays out like a sort of mix of all of Möller's previous work. The film is in black and white, with a few tints and splats of color. Some would compare it to Sin City, but to me it seemed more like a silent film that had been colorized by hand. The soundtrack drones with creepy synth music by Testbild and a horrific soundscape by an entire company of different sound designers. A quartet of cleaners that seem to be a mix between the losers from Malmö = Råttkådd and the psychopaths from Möller's animated films like Spritfesten, lumbers around the hallways. They are cleaning up excess dust that draw in "pests"; eldritch shadow people. Lina Sundén's Sara stalks around the halls of the mysterious facility in search for her missing daughter whom she lost in a custody battle with her husband (Patrik Karlson). She finds her ex-husband aged several years and a broken man. He wanted to make a documentary about a mysterious light in his workplace, ending up losing both another worker and his daughter. He and the mysterious janitor (Martin Jirhamn) offers her help to get her back. The facility is filled with odd and deranged people. The boss (Jenny Lampa) keeps a naked man as a pet, a man is seen moaning with a towel on his head and an angry cleaner (Möller himself) rants about Sara having to protect her eyes.
What sets it really apart from Henrik Möller's earlier films is the acting and characters. Not that that has been bad in the earlier films, but they were certainly more of people playing exaggerated version of them self and not really challenging parts. This time around, the four main characters, played by Sundén, Jirhamn, Lampa & Karlson, are well rounded characters with more dept too them than any Möller has done before. He and Jirhamn has really done a fantastic work on the characters which, even through I seriously doubted their humanity, seem very human. I must really laud the acting of Lina Sundén and Jenny Lampa who perfectly nailed their parts. Sundén vulnerability and courage contrasted against Lampa's menacing eyes where a perfect contrast. Considering all the horror films Jenny Lampa has been involved in, is she Sweden's first real Scream Queen? I would say so! But I must also say I was blown away by Martin Jirhamn. I've seen him in several of Möller's other films. Unlike the other actors playing main characters, he is an amateur, but he came of as really believable as the morally ambiguous janitor. It was not an easy part, but Jirhamn did it so well I have a hard time imagining another actor in the part. More is implied than shown, but we don't need more. It's all about Sara's search for her child and all it brings about. The tempo is rapid not a single shot wasted. Certainly one of the best Swedish films in the last decade and a must see for lovers of HP Lovecraft and the Silent Hill games.
Cannibal Fog (2014)
Sex taste better than God
Well... Jonas Wolcher made another movie. His first outside the "Zombiejäger-verse". And how is it? It's different alright. Jonas Wolcer has returned to the style of his shortfilm "Zombienoid". The "jittercam" and "Micheal Bay-on-PCP-editing" is absent for the most part. The film is more slow paced, like "Zombienoid". There is the occasional random nudity and fornication (where does he get the people for those moments?), sloppy editing, regular Vargman Bjärsbo, bad use of music, b-movie effects, a deep-voiced dark magician with a skull-face (here a rip-off of Papa Emeritus II, not a fan but still) and the usual synth score.
This film is much more experimental than Wolcher's other works and follows a porn- and sex-addicted (through sex addiction is not real thing per see) catholic named Micheal who gets a new addiction: the addiction to human meat. Micheal hooks up with a woman named Lotta in a porn-esque scenario but can't stand his rising hunger. Micheal was having pasta in a cheap joint when a assassin shot a man and his blood splatted onto the pasta (Micheal does not notice a murder happening right beside him). It ends him Micheal starting to eat folks.
What to say about the script and acting? The actors are really, really stiff. Linus Karlgren as Micheal is dull dishwear. Ida Karolin Johansson who plays Lotta is only there to look sexy and be a body for Micheal to penetrate. Malte Aronsson plays Albin and is not much better. Dull and unconvincing. There are no good actors in this film to put it simply. Lars Lundgren in a small cameo is OK. To say he is the best actor in the film does not really hold up. The script is just as bad. The cinematography does not hold up for 5 cents. The film drags and drag. The pacing is... No there is no pacing. The film is 30 minutes to long and there are a ton of useless scenes or scenes that could have been cut down. Wolcher really needs to study how to build a scene, because he has no idea how to do it.
And there is apparently a real cannibal at the end of the film. Classy.
Now you might be inclined to wonder why I am knowledgeable enough to compare Wolcher's different movies. Am I an acquaintance to Wolcher. The answer is no. The closest thing I've come to any contact is some replies on forums. I am loosely acquainted with a friend(?) of him and said friend(?) did not have many nice things to say about him. But I digress. What I am is one of the few experts on Swedish horror (I can only think of two other people). There is a lot of s**t when it comes to Swedish horror but there is a lot more good stuff than most people give it credit for. I do have education as a filmschoolar and worked as a critic and I've made and am still making movies and I've made it my dubious area of expertise to map this part of Swedish film history. Why? Because there are gems that need to be put more up front and even if there is mostly mediocre and really bad films in this particular category, they at least tried. Unlike most of the people that complains. Wolcher, you are the worst director in Swedish history, but don't stop making films!
Have we saved the world now?
After several years of development hell "The Circle" has finally hit Swedish theaters. So, as soon as Moviezine posted their negative review people where starting to talk about how it was destined to suck because it was a Swedish film. Swedes can't make movies. Well, I know that is a load of ****. I have seen a load of great Swedish films in all genres. And guess what? This is one of them.
The plot is kind of a mix between F**king Åmol (which I honestly never liked), Sailor Moon (which I love), Paralax (plesant childhood memories) with a dash of Harry Potter (great books, botched film series). Orginiality for it's own sake is overrated, look at Ruben Östlund who kind of original but really can't make films. For me, it all comes down how well crafted a film is. If it is done well, I don't really care.
My principle for reviewing is that you should judge a film based on what is does, not what it did not do. So what did "The Circle" do? What did it right? What did it wrong. Let's start with the bad things. First things first the casting of a few characters. Asp and Vögeli where miscast I think. The film fell victim to the common trap of YA-films and cast two bland hunks that you could not tell apart. Marcus Vögeli as Erik did not work at all. He was not good in the part and felt to much like someone acting. Also, he and Vincent Grahl who played Gustaf looked to much alike and I got them confused at times. Hanna Asp as Ida felt very unnatural, but that could be how she was directed to behave. Anyway, it did not feel right. Also, the writing of the villain and the casting of said villain did not work. It was really obvious who was the bad guy. The red herring character got to few lines and to little screen time. It seemed the character was in the film to little to be a real suspect.
Another part that bugged me was the exposition. In a film like this, the exposition is a real mine-ground. Exposition of this kind need to be presented in words and that can not happen through images alone, which works against film as a visual medium. Here, it came off somewhat mechanic and even chaotic at times. Adriana Lopez became nothing more than Miss Exposition, which is never good. Other than that, some parts of the story feel really flat and could have been taken out completely such as Linnea's gun. Some dialog did not tick right with me and there is that really obvious cameraman reflection.
Then what did "The Circle" do right? Well, the casting of the other 6 "chosen ones", save Ida was great. Gustav Lindh is in the film for 5 minutes as Elias and he did a terrific job (got to love that he got Yu-Gi-Oh cards in his locker). Josefin Asplund as Rebecka was good, even if the character was underwritten and like Gustaf had to little time on screen. Helena Engström as Anna-Karin impressed me a lot. She got some hate for not looking "fat enough". Can you believe that. Anyway, those people will be silent when they see her performance. Leona Axelsen as Linnea and Miranda Frydman as Vanessa really sells it and Irma von Platen is a fantastic Minoo, even if she sometimes, I don't know... Sound strangely adult when she says her lines? The problems with the characters stems more from the script than the actors who are nearly flawless. I will be open with the fact that I do not like Sebastian Hiort af Ornäs as an actor at all. He was terrible in both Sebbe and Broken Hill Blues and came of as mentally challenged in the later. That works well for his character in this film on the other hand and he is simply better directed and allowed to behave like a real person. And that is what I like about this film, (most) of the characters seem like real teenagers. I can count on my left hand the number of Swedish films the last 15 years where the teenagers seemed like real teens. I enjoyed Christopher Wagelin's Nicke a lot. He was pitch perfect in the part. Per Svensson, Jimmy Lindström and Natalie Minnevik shows up in the film as well but are little more than extras really.
The cinematography was superb. There is a lot of riffs on the cinematography from David Fincher's films. However, it seemed the crew had run out of visual imagination towards the end. The special effects worked very well most of the time. There are a few that looks rather ugly, but most of the stuff is handled really competent, which is to expect from Kaj Steveman. The film is very well directed by Akin who relies on images to present the characters rather than dialog. I wish more people would do that.
I was going to give this film 7/10, but what the heck! It's a well shot, well acted and well directed film. I give it 8/10. Catch it at the cinema as soon as you can. I am looking forward to the continuation.
Best Swedish Film of the Decade
I must be honest with this one. This is the best Swedish film of the decade. Other critics and my old peers at film studies will not agree with me and mention You, the Living (which is awesome), Let the Right One In (slightly overrated) or something like Sebbe (crap). But Remake is a masterpiece. While Ruben Östlund films peoples feet and complains that people do not watch his movies, Öhman and Gavatin creates a gut-punch of a movie.
Remake is a found footage movie without the horror. At times there are moments when the illusion is broken and it seems like the characters has adjusted the camera just to get a better shot or make a better edit. That's the only fault I can find with the film actually. The film is presented through Lisa's point of view. She is obsessed with documenting everything she does with a camera, even fights with boyfriends and sexual acts. It's as if she wants to record everything about life to be able to revisit those emotion like one would with a movie. She is returning to New York with her new boyfriend Martin, but when friction in their relationship turns up, she meets and starts to see the American Lucas (who talks like the Joker).
Really, I don't want to talk to much about the movie because I don't want to give away anything. I can just tell you to go see the movie as soon as possible. The acting performances of Henni, Hazlett and Wallström are the strongest I've seen in a Swedish film in years. What are you waiting for? Go see it now!