July 2014


When ordinary citizen Jack DeVries (Chris Mulkey) suddenly robs banks and goes on a killing spree, the LAPD struggles to find the answer to DeVries actions. Eventually DeVries ends up in a high speed chase leaving him seriously wounded in the hospital. LAPD detective Sgt. Thomas Beck (Michael Nouri) is put on the case and before he knows it the slightly odd Special Agent Lloyd Gallagher (Kyle MacLachlan) from the FBI is assigned to work with Beck on the case. Gallagher states he has been trailing DeVries for the past month all the way from Seattle. At the hospital, DeVries suddenly awakes, disconnects his life-support equipment and walks over to the comatose man in the next bed, Jonathan P. Miller (William Boyett). DeVries rips off Miller’s breathing mask, then a slug-like Alien emerges from DeVries’ mouth and transfers itself into Miller’s body; DeVries then drops dead. When a doctor and nurse defibrillate Miller, Miller amazes the staff by awakening and calmly walking out. Beck and Gallagher arrives in the hospital, finding DeVries dead body and a missing Jonathan P. Miller. The hunt for something dangerous and not from this world has just begun…

What a hidden (he he) gem “The Hidden” is. I bought this on a vhs tape abroad back in 1988ish due to what I had red about the movie. This was during the time of the heyday for the Swedish Board of Censorship and of course “The Hidden” was censored due to the graphic violence. So getting hold of a vhs tape from England without any cuts was of course a highlight for me. This is a fast paced layered action flick with a base in extra terrestials and shape shifters. There´s a bit of “The Thing”, “Dark Angel” (the 1990 Dolph Lundgren movie) and “Alien Nation” in it and I love that quirkiness of the evil alien, who likes fast cars, guns, heavy music and is set on taking over earth. Michael Nouri and Kyle MacLachlan works well as odd cop colleagues. Gotta love Claudia Christian, a major stunner for sure. “The Hidden” is violent, but I reckon it fits with the storyline. And yes, the FX is a bit wobbly, but that´s ok, there´s not that much in it so it doesn´t disturb the pattern of movie. I like as well the ending with Gallagher giving life to Beck and thus becoming Beck and in the process has a wife and daughter yet again. (4 out of 5)

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In 2259, the starship USS Enterprise is on a survey mission to the planet Nibiru, studying a primitive culture. Captain James T. Kirk (Chris Pine) and First Officer Spock (Zachary Quinto) attempt to save the planet’s inhabitants from a volcanic eruption. When Spock’s life is endangered, Kirk violates the Prime Directive in order to save him, exposing the Enterprise to the native inhabitants, a decision with which Spock disagrees. Returning to Earth, Kirk loses command of the Enterprise and Admiral Christopher Pike (Bruce Greenwood) is reinstated as its commanding officer. Pike manages to convince Admiral Marcus to allow Kirk to continue as his first officer on the Enterprise, rather than being sent back to the Academy. Meanwhile, a secret Section 31 installation in London is bombed by a renegade Starfleet officer, Commander John Harrison (Benedict Cumberbatch). During a meeting of Starfleet commanders to discuss the situation, Harrison attacks in a jumpship, killing Pike. Kirk disables the jumpship, but Harrison uses a prototype portable transwarp transporter device to escape to Kronos, the Klingon homeworld, knowing Starfleet would be unable to follow. Fleet Admiral Alexander Marcus (Peter Weller) orders the Enterprise to hunt and kill Harrison, arming them with 72 prototype photon torpedoes, shielded and untraceable to sensors…

“Star Trek – Into Darkness” is the second movie in the reboot franchise and this is even a notch better than the first one in my eyes. It´s simply a great action-adventure in space mixing humour, emotional aspects, action, love, death and friendship. I do love what JJ. Abrams have done with the Star Trek universe, most likely to the dismay of Trekkies. I think the casting is near perfect for all the major roles as it was in the first as well and it´s such great ensemble piece. However, I feel that Cumberbatch is a bit too theatrical in his performance at times, but at the same time he manages to add several layers to Khan. You can´t get away from the fact that there´s a solid connection to modern day terrorism in Khan and his actions plus with visuals closely connected to 9/11, it´s even more apparent. It´s a visually stunning film and I found myself jumping in my seat of joy due to this. I can´t bloody wait for the third one… (4 out of 5)

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After a dying Voodoo queen, Mama Loa, chooses an adopted apprentice, Lisa Fortier (Pam Grier) as her successor, her arrogant son and true heir, Willis, (Richard Lawson) is outraged. Seeking revenge, he buys the bones of Mamuwalde the vampire from the former shaman of the voodoo cult, and uses voodoo to resurrect the vampire to do his bidding. However, while it brings Mamuwalde (William Marshall) back to life, he quickly bites Willis upon awakening. Willis now finds himself in a curse of his own doing: made into a vampire hungering for blood and, ironically, a slave to the very creature he sought to control. Meanwhile, Justin Carter (Don Mitchell), an ex-police officer with a large collection of acquired African antiquities and an interest in the occult, begins to investigate the murders caused by Mamuwalde and his growing vampire horde. Justin meets Mamuwalde at a party Justin hosts to display the African collection pieces before being moved to the University’s museum. They discuss the artifacts, unbeknown to anyone else, that were from the region of Africa Mamuwalde hails from, including pieces of jewelry once worn by his late wife Luva. Mamuwalde also meets Justin’s girlfriend, Lisa Fortier, at the party and he discovers that Lisa is naturally adept at voodoo. Lisa discovers Mamuwalde´s true nature after a friend of hers, Gloria, falls victim to his bite and resurrected as a vampire who nearly feeds on her if not for Mamuwalde’s intervention. He later asks her for help to cure him of his vampire curse…

I have never seen this 1973 blaxploitation horror film, but I wanted to due to Pam Grier´s participation as Lisa. I reckon this suits the genre with an afroamerican Dracula, despite the fact that the pace is slow, the action is sparse and the acting is slightly wobbly and so are the effects. I reckon we are used to see Pam Grier as a bad ass on revenge, but here she has a much softer role and she shows her acting skills from that angle as well. And she´s stunning as always. “Scream Blacula Scream” is intriguing if you are into blaxploitation. (3 out of 5)

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Ronald Miller (Patrick Dempsey) is a typical high school nerd living in Arizona. He has spent all summer mowing lawns to save up for a telescope. However, at a moment of opportunity he makes a deal with the popular cheerleader Cynthia “Cindy” Mancini (Amanda Peterson) to “rent” her for $1,000. She agrees so that she can afford to replace a suede outfit she got red wine all over at a party. It belonged to her mother and she hadn’t received permission to borrow it. Having few options except telling her mom the truth, she reluctantly agrees to help him look “cool” by pretending to be his girlfriend for a month even though she already has a boyfriend named Bobby who is away at college. Both agree never to reveal the pact.Ronald then trades his nerdy-but-loyal friends for the shallow popular students and undergoes a complete clothing and hair makeover at Cindy’s direction. Over the month the two discover each other’s individuality and are drawn closely together. Cindy soon starts to genuinely like Ronald. However, Ronald is deep into the pact and can´t see that he actually has a chance with Cindy. By the end of the month they dramatically “break up” in front of a crowd at school but Ronald takes things too far and says some hurtful things about Cindy in front of their friends. Ronald is out on thin ice with his new act, dismissing his old friends and doing whatever it takes to continue to be part of the cool high school crowd…

“Can’t Buy Me Love” belongs to list of good 80s high school movies, presenting a great mix of comedy, recognition factor and emotional depth in my eyes. We can all relate to Ronald in one way or another and those years in your life can be hard without no doubt. The wish to belong, the wish to be loved and the wish to be seen did lurk constantly in the back of your mind back then. Patrick Dempsey aces the role as Ronald and Amanda Peterson is doing a great job as well. “Can’t Buy Me Love” is also one of those high school movies you can see again and again, due to the fact it´s well made and believable. Thumbs up. (4 out of 5)

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Alex (Nikolaj Lie Kaas), a Danish photographer has a relationship with a Stockholm-bred girlfriend, Simone (Maria Bonnevie). Late one evening Alex suddenly abandons his girlfriend, Simone, to pursue the beautiful Aimee (Maria Bonnevie) whom he meets at a subway station. In his encounter with Aimee time and place dissolve for him and he becomes a stranger to Simone, to whom he cannot return. “It’s all a film. It’s all a construction,” announces the narrator, who is soon revealed to be a noted Swedish author, August (Krister Henriksson), as well as the tale’s apparent inventor. Alex forgets about his past and must put his faith in love, in order to gain a future…

“Reconstruction” is the psychological romantic drama film and the debut of Christoffer Boe, who also wrote the screenplay. It was filmed in Copenhagen and won the Camera D’Or at the Cannes Film Festival in 2003 Golden Plaque for Manuel Alberto Claro’s luminous wide-screen cinematography. The focus of “Reconstruction” is the constructed and artificial play around love. And I reckon the pillar is the fact that time and place can be forgotten when in love and Boe has taken that literally in his debut film. The characters are needy of love and understands the importance of it during the development of the story. The screenplay raises many questions, there´s a lack of explanation and the story is open to interpretation. Boe has approached the movie via the “Dogme 95” manifest and that works. The cinematography is up close and personal, forcing the actors to really use their faces in the scenes. I do like that. I like both Maria Bonnevie and Nikolaj Lie Kaas, but Krister Henriksson feels a little off centre. There´s a great atmosphere of melancholy and metaphysical anxiety that lingers around the scenes and its environments, but “Reconstruction” never really manages to convince you fully on. It confuses you more than it intrigues you. (3 out of 5)

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Scanners are people with the ability to “scan” other people. This include the ability to involuntarily hear people’s thoughts (telepathy) and control other functions (heart beat). Most scanners are unhappy people, condemned to “hearing” an unstoppable flood of strangers’ thoughts. Cameron Vale (Stephen Lack) has uncommonly powerful scanning abilities but cannot handle the pressure and has withdrawn completely from society. A homeless derelict, he lives in a shopping mall. When he psychically overhears two women denigrating him he inadvertently induces violent convulsions in one, which in turn attracts the attention of some other people in the mall whom tranquilize and abduct him. Dr. Paul Ruth (Patrik McGoohan), head of ConSec’s Scanner Research Section, is on the hunt for Darryl Revok (Michael Ironside) a renegade scanner with formidable telepathic powers who has declared war on ConSec and all scanners who voluntarily work for it. Revok is also the mastermind behind a scanner underground movement which Dr. Ruth wants to infiltrate and destroy. With the capture of Vale, Dr. Ruth sees him as the ultimate weapon to use against Revok and his cohorts. But, he also needs to convince Vale that this is his destiny to do so…

David Cronenberg once called this the most frustrating film he’d ever made. The film was rushed through production – filming had to begin without a finished script and end within roughly two months so the financing would qualify as a tax write-off, forcing Cronenberg to write and shoot at the same time. Cronenberg also cited difficulty with and antagonism between the leads, particularly Patrick McGoohan and Jennifer O’Neill. “Scanners” has been on my to see list since the days of the VHS cassette, meaning it was bloody time to see it. This is classic Cronenberg material in many ways, with a good mix of sci-fi, suspense and horror that works well. The metaphor of the film is based on birth defects and how a drug can mutate a child into something dangerous or lethal. I reckon it also carries resemblance to the X-Men world, on how another race of being can be accepted or discriminated in our society. Strong performances from Michael Ironside (always creepy) and Patrik McGoohan, while Stephen Lack is way too wobbly in his acting. Gotta love the head exploding scene and the final “battle” scene. The story is there, but rushed as said and not completely coherent at times. If Cronenberg would have had a better time schedule and not being forced to write and shoot at the same time, “Scanners” would have been even better for sure. (3 and a half out of 5)

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The political and social turmoil of Great Britain at the dawn of the Margaret Thatcher Era provides a backdrop for this improvisational drama featuring extensive live footage of punk trailblazers The Clash. Ray (Ray Gange) is a layabout punk rock fan whose interests appear to be beer, The Clash, picking up girls and avoiding a real job — in that order. Ray works part time behind the counter at an adult bookstore to supplement his dole payments, but he’d like to become a roadie for The Clash, though his pal Joe Strummer, the group’s singer and rhythm guitarist, doesn’t have an opening for him; the fact Ray is openly suspicious of the band’s leftist political stance probably doesn’t help matters much. After Ray steps up to help the band during some trouble at a Rock Against Racism rally, Johnny Green, The Clash’s road manager, invites him to join their road crew for some upcoming dates in the North of England. While Ray’s enthusiasm for the band is unquestioned, he doesn’t have much of a taste for the hard work that goes into putting on The Clash’s live show, and lead guitarist Mick Jones makes it clear he doesn’t trust Ray. As The Clash steadily climb from the punk underground into mainstream success, the band has less use for Ray’s drunken antics, and eventually he’s let go…

“Rude Boy” was shot over the course of the Clash’s two British tours of 1978 and during the sessions for their second album “Give ‘Em Enough Rope” and the film was named after the rude boy subculture. The Clash became so disenchanted with the film, that by its release, they had Better Badges make badges stating ‘I don’t want Rude Boy Clash Film’. I have wanted to see “Rude Boy” since 1980 more or less, but it was hardly worth the wait. With a sort of improvised cinéma vérité feel, “Rude Boy” has a total lack of tension and carries obvious marks of a amateurish film style including little knowledge of editing and narrative that captures the viewer. The focus on the annoying hang around Ray ruins the movie more or less as he lacks acting skills and The Clash looks like a bunch of courthouse jailbirds with an arrogant lifestyle and not the great rock n roll band they were. “Rude Boy” is a mess and I understand that the band disowned the movie when it came out. (2 out of 5)

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Love the cover for Fibes Oh Fibes “1987” album.

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http://twistedsifter.com/2014/07/the-ultimate-banksy-gallery/

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Magic.

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