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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!
I love this movie!
Terror In Rock 'n' Roll Önsjön is Swedens first feature length zombie flick and I love it! In the 1940's, some Nazis try to create a super-soldier but end up creating zombies. They decide to hide the secret chemical in a Swedish lake but ends up in a firefight with Swedsih soldiers which ends with the death of the Swedes and the only surviving Nazi drowning while exposed to the chemical. In the 1970's, a bunch of teens decide to have a party at the very lake very the chemical was dumped. The rock music awakens the drowned Nazi who has become a zombie and the predictable mayhem ensues. In the middle of this is a sweet romance between a brat-girl and a raggare.
The film has a rich gallery of characters. Most of them, and most importantly the leads, are well played by the actors, most of which are complete newcomers. The film is filled with references to 1970's and 1980's films: the Nazi plot is a homage to the original Nazi-zombie flick Shock Waves. The script is not a masterpiece but it's pretty well written. The film's budget is low and it shows, but there has but there has also been a lot of effort put into this film and it shows as well! The film is funny charming and very entertaining. Warmly recommended!
A hilarious documentary short made for the DVD-release of the film Blodspår/Bloodtracks/Heavy Metal. We meet two members of easy action who tells us about the making of the film. One seems embarrassed over the whole deal while the other is very enthusiastic. We get to know that the actors where severed beer and performed drunk, how the band got involved with the production and stuff like that. The reactions of one of the band members while the other brags about his experiences on the film is simply hilarious.
At the end they thank Hard Rock Café for being able to shot the short there or else they would have to shot
This film truly is a underrated masterpiece. Here Åhlin has created a wonderful little mystery movie for all ages. This not a kids film. Kids can watch it but it's aimed at adults as much as it is for children. Sadly, animation is considered a children's medium in the west and I see no reason for it to be so. But that does not mean children won't be able to enjoy this film.
The story is simple, yet very mysterious. Sture (and the audience) has no idea what is going on. It's basically a surreal comedy. It is funny as hell. The animation is cozy, the acting is fantastic and the script is great. No less than a masterpiece and a must see.
And you got to love the fact that a film that was marketed to children takes influence from and references Kubrick's The Shining and Polanski's The Tenant.
Unoriginal but furiously entertaining
There is certainly both pros and cons about this film. First and first there are really some problems with the script. It's very unoriginal; it's Evil Dead in Swedish. It tries to do little new with the concept and shares it's basic premise with a dozen other horror films. The one original thing about it is that the villain is a Vittra, a creature from Swedish folklore also known as "vätte", that turns it's victims into zombies that it uses to kill and maim any person who intrudes on it's domain. There is also a old man who warns the protagonists and tells them about the monsters.
Another weird thing about the film is that the filmmakers seems to don't know how to film and direct a normal dialog scene. The film also has a scene where a character says "I feel so f**king bad", when there is not a single person around. Who is she talking to? The audience? You are bleeding from every cavity, it's not like we get it.
Then there are the pros. And boy the pros are good! In the first part of the film the acting is off, but once the real drama starts and the Wither attacks the acting gets really good (The film also has the advantage of having killed off the bad actors by then). Lisa Henni is the one that stands out the most, but Saxe, Almkvist and Wallmo are really, really good too. They have to work with big and difficult emotions like fear, sorrow and brutality and does it amazingly. I really like a brief scene at the end where one of the characters is almost unable to fight any more after the loss of so many loved ones. That is really the theme of the film. Lot's of characters loose their close and loved ones. Johnnes Brost is in the film for about 10 minutes but those are ten minutes you will remember. Especially when he draws his knife.
The effects are really good, with a few exceptions that fortunately does not take the edge of the film. The film is really, really violent. Heads are mashed with rocks, there is a really messy decapitation and early on a really disgusting scene where a lip is torn off. The wonderful sound design is the best I've ever heard in a Swedish film. The last part of the film is a real furious roller coaster and the last 15 minutes will have be sitting on the edge of your seat. The film goes on a bit to long but that is sort of nitpicking. Some character does some stupid things but when you think about it, they kind of makes sense from an emotional stand point.
In the end, Vittra/Wither is a real thrill ride that demands to be seen in a cinema with a good surround-system. You need Vittra. You need to see it in a cinema and be swept away by it.
I hope there will be a Vittra 2.
205 - Zimmer der Angst (2011)
What is real?
I had the pleasure of seeing this film at German Films Go North in Stockholm 2011 in 35 mm.
Some of the scares in the film are pretty tame, some clishé, some effective. The effects are not much to hang in a Christmas tree and the ghost looks terrible. The two things that make this film worthwhile is 1; the screenplay and 2: Jennifer Ulrich. Jennifer Ulrich is freaking amazing in this film and after seeing this film, Die Welle and Wir Sind Die Nacht she is now my favorite actress. She give everything to her role and it pays of. She is the force that keeps the film going.
That said I must comment on the other actors. Tino Mewes was OK, not the greatest actor around and his part was not too interesting but he was not bad in any way. Daniel Roesner was pretty terrible, it does not help that he looks and behaves like a douche. Marleen Lohse was just annoying. I found Inez Bjørg David as being pretty good and André Hennicke extraordinary sympathetic as the cop Urban. Julia Dietze of Iron Sky plays the ghost but is only in the movie for a limited amount of time in the film when she is not a special effect but she is almost as good as Jennifer Ulrich in her few scenes.
The script is pretty clever and sets up twists and turns but makes sure to set them up and that they perfect sense when we come closer to the end of the film. The ending is amazing
I don't know if this film will ever come to Sweden again but I will sure watch it in cinema again and buy the DVD.
Die vierte Macht (2012)
"Your bird can't sing anymore"
Dennis Gansel has become one of my favorite directors, giving us multi layered masterpieces like Die Welle(The Wave) and Wir Sind Die Nach(We are the Night). Die Vierte Macht or The Fourth State disappoints a bit, but is far from a bad film.
Paul(Moritz Bleibtreu) gets a job on a Russian paper where his late father worked. The two where not on the best of terms by the time of his death. Paul and the young photographer Dima(Max Riemelt) goes around and attends shallow parities in the obliviously globalised Moscow(in a interesting wink to the club-scene in Wir sind die nacht). Paul soon meets with the radical reporter Katja(Kasia Smutniak) and the two soon fall in love. Dima warns Paul not to have longer relationships with Russian women(strange as he is Russian himself...), and soon Paul is framed for a terror bombing.
The acting and writing was pretty good. The relationship between Paul and Katja feel genuine, an improvement over the not so well fleshed out relationship in Wir Sind Die Nacht. On the other hand the acting and writing is not as good as in Die Welle and Wir Sind Die Nacht, Gansel has a lot of good ideas going on but I think he needs a co-writer who can help him write. That said some of the characters are really well fleshed out.
Mark Ivanir(who looks like he is Peter Stormare's brother) as Alsan, a Chechen terrorist, steals the show completely and is by far the most interesting character. Rade Serbedzija also gets some interesting stuff to say at the end.
The cinematography is a bit bland and seems to have been color corrected a bit to much but the music is pretty good. There is some interesting visuals like the contrast between the modern, globalised club and the small, traditional Russian bar.
The story seems very realistic, it is much like all the news we get from Russia these days. The plot seems all to plausible.
In the end, I think people should see Die Vierte Macht if they get the chance but Gansel can do better than this.
Plot? What plot?
Watching "The Girls" at film school it struck me how confused and disorganized this film is. There is nothing wrong with confusing the audience, something Davind Lynch has showed us over and over again, but in combination with this film lacking plot, the characters being 2 dimensional and lacking any sort of characteristics and the all out confused nature of the "narrative" this film comes of as little less than a drug fueled, surreal mess.
Which is fine if the film is interesting. This film is not interesting. I have heard a lot of people calling it feminist. Maybe people call it that because the main characters are female and the director/writer is a woman. Well feminism is "the advocacy of women's rights on the grounds of political, social, and economic equality to men". In this aspect the film is not feminist as the women say they won't to break free, but in reality are quite dependent on the men. At the end one of the actresses say she wants a divorce but this does not come off as she does it to liberate herself and be equal to the men.