May 2015


Paul Kersey (Charles Bronson) is once again forced to become a vigilante after his girlfriend Karen Sheldon´s (Kay Lenz) daughter dies of a drug overdose. He is recruited by tabloid owner Nathan White (John P. Ryan) to take down various crime figures of the Los Angeles drug trade…

“Death Wish 4: The Crackdown” is the fourth installment in the Death Wish film series and it was directed by J. Lee Thompson. What can you say, this is a classic 80´s splatter violent B-action movie with some sort of social political agenda against drugs in America. The original idea from the first “Death Wish” has been so diluted here it has lost its flavour and the same goes for a stale and old Bronson. Bronson´s Kersey makes so many hasty decisions in his hunt for the bad guys it makes no sense at all at times. And it´s so funny to see how every bloody action movie from the 80s used MAC 10s or mini UZIs, making “Death Wish 4: The Crackdown” no exception. (2 and a half out of 5)

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In the fifties upstate New York, Legs (Raven Adamson) is an athletic, charismatic girl with feminist ideals about female pride and solidarity who eventually leads a street gang of girls from troubled backgrounds. The girls see themselves as feminists and every man as a potential enemy. Maddy (Katie Coseni), a wannabe writer, chronicles the gang’s exploits on a battered typewriter, drawn to the charismatic Legs. After serving a stint in a juvenile detention center, Legs pays the first three months on a rundown house and moves the rest of the gang in to the premises, forming a radical commune. To fund their lifestyle, the girls seduce and rob men of their wallets. Legs, however, has bigger ideas and begins to formulate a plan to kidnap a wealthy businessman…

Joyce Carol Oates’ 1993 novel has previously been adapted in a 1996 version, notable only for providing an early leading role for Angelina Jolie. The film differs from the novel in many ways, most notably the change of setting from 1950s upstate New York to the Pacific Northwest in the 1990s. In the film, most of the Foxfire members come from comfortable suburban families; in the novel, they are working class girls from the “wrong side of the tracks” whose families suffer from domestic problems such as child abuse and alcoholism. The novel also covers a period of about three and a half years, while the film’s action takes place during the course of a few weeks.
Laurent Cantet (The Class) crosses the Atlantic for his version of “Foxfire”. Re-appropriating a traditionally male genre, the film’s female perspective highlights the inequality between the sexes during the period, whilst also trying to show the girls to be worthy adversaries to their male counterparts with a hint at Francis Ford Coppola´s “The Outsiders”. I was hoping for an emotional journey and strong performances in “Foxfire”, but this way too long coming of age story suffers first of all from theatrical and not very convincing acting from all involved. Cantet leaves us with a cold, objective look upon all characters committing all sorts of horrible acts and when every male character is portrayed as sleazy would-be rapists I simply can´t buy into the story that becomes so overbalanced on one side it´s ridiculous. The girls themselves are not very likeable either, which creates even further problems in the protagonist/ antagonist structure within the film. And a small detail such as Adamson spending half of the movie with a seriously bad wig on her head, doesn´t help either. Cantet´s direction takes the film not even close to where it should´ve gone. “Foxfire” is a disappointing one. (2 and a half out of 5)

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A joint Anglo-American plot is devised to steal a highly advanced Soviet fighter aircraft (MiG-31, NATO code name “Firefox”) which is capable of Mach 6, is invisible to radar, and carries weapons controlled by thought. Former United States Air Force Major Mitchell Gant (Clint Eastwood), a Vietnam veteran and former POW, infiltrates the Soviet Union, aided by his ability to speak Russian (due to his having had a Russian mother) and a network of Jewish dissidents and sympathizers, three of whom are key scientists working on the fighter itself. His goal is to steal the Firefox and fly it back to friendly territory for analysis. However, the KGB has got wind of the operation and is already hot on Gant’s tail…

I am surprised to say that I haven´t seen “Firefox” before, which is kind of strange since I have seen so many Clint Eastwood movies throughout the years. Initially there´s some sort of suspense in “Firefox”, but with a classic sort of 80s suspense that worked well in 1982 and maybe not so well in 2014. However, Eastwood´s adaptation of Craig Thomas cold war espionage thriller is quite blend, clichéd, way too long, filled with several plot holes and hardly Eastwood´s finest hour as an actor or director. (3 out of 5)

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In the late 1800’s, a beautiful former prostitute, Sarah Ramírez (January Jones), is trying to build an honest life with her husband Miguel (Eduardo Noriega) in the rugged plains of New Mexico. The nearby society is in the hands of the sadistic and powerful religious leader and prophet Josiah (Jason Isaacs) who will stop at nothing to keep his control over land and people. When his sheeps are eating the crops on Sarah´s and Miguel´s land, they confront him which in return turns their lives violenty upside down. At the same time the renegade and eccentric Sheriff Jackson is on the search for the missing sons of the state Governor and the trail is leading him towards Josiah…

I haven´t heard or red anything about “Sweetwater” as far as I can remember, but I have such a sweet spot for western movies, so it was impossible to not see this one and I was positively surprised of this bleak and violent western. Nice to see the lovely January Jones stepping yet again outside of her Betty Draper persona and with her cool and no bullshit approach she makes Sarah come alive. Jason Isaacs is great as the evil Josiah, but the biggest treat is to see Ed Harris having the time of his life as Sheriff Jackson. He has so many great scenes and his character is such a breath of air. It makes me think of Marlon Brando´s Robert E. Lee Clayton in “The Missouri Breaks”. Love the scene when he literally kicks the shit out of the local corrupt lawman. The cast is good, the cinematography is solid and the story has a good balance between good and evil within the revenge scenario. Good one. (3 and a half out of 5)

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A team of scientists are trying to raise a sunken Russian nuclear submarine off the coast of Miami, Florida. When finding an ancient relic from the sea they bring in an expert to make some sense of it. But, while attempting to raise the sub, radioactive leakage from its missles triggers the re-emergence of Atlantis, and the resulting tidal wave destroys the platform and leaves only a small group of survivors. They are rescued by two Vietnamvets-turned-heavies, Mike Ross (Christopher Connelly) and Washington (Tony King) relaxing after their latest job on their boat, which eventually runs aground on a Carribean island nearby. When entering the island, Mike and the others discover that everything has been destroyed and everybody has been killed. The culprits, a vicious group of well-armed raiders called “Interceptors”, and their leader, Crystal Skull, are descendants of Atlantis’ original race who set about reclaiming the world and adding the survivors to the list of victims. Mike, Washington and the rest of the survivors have to uncover the secret behind the “Interceptors” existence and use it against them in order to stop their apocalyptic rampage…

“The Atlantis Interceptors” (also known as “Raiders of Atlantis” and “Atlantis Inferno”; original title “I predatori di Atlantide”) is a 1983 Italian B-movie science fiction film starring Christopher Connelly and directed by Ruggero Deodato. The film was heavily influenced by George Miller’s 1979 vision of outback hell, “Mad Max”, and its sequel, “Mad Max 2: The Road Warrior” (1982), and John Carpenter’s dystopian view of a future New York, “Escape From New York” (1981) and was only one of seemingly countless imitations, such as “Bronx Warriors”, “Rome”, “The New Gladiators”, and “The New Barbarians”. “The Atlantis Interceptors” is one of those dodgy italian productions from the early 80s that stole as much as they could from George Miller and his dystopian universe. This is a blooddripping B-action movie deluxe with dodgy dialogue, dubbing of most actors and a plot line that makes hardly any sense. You just wonder how they came up with this. Nevertheless, there´s some sort of entertainment value in something that so bad it almost becomes good. (2 out of 5)

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