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peterp
Mar 10, 2020
In Film Reviews
Go ahead and take her. She’s all yours. But I’ll tell you this. She got a dark side… Darker than hell. I admire the phenomenon called Nicolas Cage enormously. Every film with him (and nowadays it’s a lot every year) is a mandatory watch for me. I really can’t let a single Cage movie pass by. Even though I know that more than half of them are of a dubious level. And some downright bad. And yet there are sometimes gems in between. Now, “Grand Isle” certainly isn’t the pinnacle of his film oeuvre. It’s rather mediocre. The run-up is promising. The concept had potential. And Cage is having a blast with his role that fits him like a glove. Add to that a bitter Milf, a young handyman whose hormones are going berzerk and “Frasier” as a biased, god-fearing detective who would prefer to put the suspect on a stake, and you still have enough material to make something out of it. It all looks reasonable. Until halfway somewhere. And then the movie transforms to the level of an average C film. Unfortunately, the presence of such a cult figure as Cage couldn’t change that. Alcohol and a Nam past. Bad combination. And to think that a white fence is the beginning of all the misery for Buddy (Luke Benward). Such an innocent item with far-reaching consequences. The way in which this fence was damaged, on the other hand, is not so innocent. Not difficult when the owner of the house is an ex-marine with a serious drinking problem. Walter (Nicolas Cage) is a bitter, fatalistic persona. A bit of a crazy person who still can’t get over the fact that he got wounded in Vietnam in a ridiculous way and returned home while his platoon went on a mission the next day. The disappointment was immense. Even knowing that the entire platoon got eliminated completely a few weeks later, the disappointment about a missed opportunity remains. This pent-up anger in combination with excessive alcohol consumption makes him an unguided projectile. His mood, grumpy reactions, and downright aggressive attitude make him an unpleasant person. Let’s seduce the handyman. Walter also doesn’t treat his other half kindly. She’s a mature diva whose body shapes are extremely well preserved and whose libido clearly hasn’t disappeared yet. And let that be exactly what Walter fails to deliver. He won’t even budge when she shows up in a transparent nightgown with erotic underwear underneath it. A disinterested look and another sip of a glass of whiskey are the only reactions. It’s not without reason that this hot woman sets her sights on the young, muscular handyman. A handyman with a sex life on the back burner since his lovely wife gave birth to a cuddly daughter. And just when you think it’s going to be about a dangerous triangular relationship where the psychopathic-looking husband wants to initiate a lynch party, the young handyman sits at the police station, face bloodied, trying to prove his innocence in a murder case. Perfect part for Cage. Indeed, Walter is really the kind of character that has Nicolas Cage written all over it. The manic mood. Maniacal laughter. Medium length, greasy hair, and a rough stubble beard. The constant drinking and the half-awake state he’s in practically all the time. And it’s not the first time Cage played such a person. In short, it feels familiar to see him that way. The most interesting interpretation, however, is that of Kadee Strickland as the voluptuous Fancy. Every time she’s in the shot, you simply feel the erotic tension increase. Her sultry voice and sensuous appearance ensure she demands all the attention. Unfortunately, Luke Benward could not compete with these two heavyweights. And although he actually plays the main character, it felt like his part was less important. A half-decent, half-finished flick. As I said before, the format of the film is only half successful. It seemed to be heading in the direction of a “Basic Instinct” -like, erotic thriller. Only the eroticism and the thriller section remains below par. And you get a rather absurd conclusion. Also, the dark secret of this demonic couple is presented so casually that its impact is negligible. And let’s not forget about the intervention of the police. You really can call this part quite ridiculous. Furthermore, the movie is peppered with improbabilities. Such as that small detail from the testimony that cannot even be verified immediately. But still, it ensures that the biased inspector makes a 180-degree turn immediately. It’s amazing how someone’s beliefs can change so quickly. And the end of the film is simply terrible. Apparently even the marine uniform Cage was wearing, was also completely wrong. Again proof that quantity and quality aren’t related. If you are an immense Cage fan, you should watch it of course. Unfortunately, “Grand Isle” isn’t really grand after all. My rating 4/10 Links: IMDB
Film Review : Grand Isle (2019) content media
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peterp
Mar 10, 2020
In Film Reviews
All that time with Anton, the practice, the performances, the pressure to be perfect. Whenever I read newsflashes about films that make people suffer from migraine attacks and even make them sick, my curiosity is immediately awakened. The final verdict can go two ways. Or the film indeed has an ingeniously elaborated story and is provided with images the average stomach can’t bear. Or it’s the umpteenth overrated movie of which you ask yourself afterward “Who on earth made such statements?“. Are those people who’ve never seen a similar film as “The Perfection“? Are they film lovers who limit themselves to innocent rom-coms? Or supporters of superficial films such as “The Sound of Music“? No idea. In any case, I couldn’t find any nauseating fragments or rancid footage in this Netflix Original. But that doesn’t mean I thought it was a terrible movie. On the contrary. “The Perfection” contains a cleverly put together story, some successful acting, and a surprising denouement. So, highly recommended. A bit suspense. A bit erotism. I myself thought that “The Perfection” was nothing more than a psychological thriller with a bit of erotism and a few lurid events. Admittedly, the denouement will look pretty disturbing for some. But I assure you that this film will mislead you from the start. The goal that Charlotte (Allison “Get out” Williams) has in mind and the reasons for this are of a very different nature than you would expect. If you realize what a dark secret the Bachoff Institute is hiding, where Charlotte has taken lessons for years as a gifted cellist, it will give you more chills than the bus ride through rural China. The film fits in perfectly with our modern zeitgeist where there’s a “Me too” movement that explicitly tries to draw attention to sexual harassment and sexual assault. How the renowned academy Bachoff can be associated with this is something that you have to discover for yourself in this original film. A mixed bag of different genres. It’s quite clear that this film is difficult to catalog when it comes to the genre. It’s actually a mixed bag of different genres. It’s a light-erotic thriller with a dash of horror. For experienced horror enthusiasts, the horror part will be slightly disappointing. You could describe it as an ultra-light version of “I spit on your grave“. But without explicit visual material and a wide variety of horrifying revenge actions. And from the beginning of the film till roughly halfway, it’s a mild drama where you are introduced to the most important protagonists. Charlotte, a talented cellist who, after years of absence (taking care of her sick mother), seeks contact again with her former music teacher Anton (Steven Weber) and his wife Paloma (Alaina Huffman). But especially the meeting with the new star of the academy, cellist Lizzie (Logan Browning), is causing some stir. First of all, you can feel the competition between the two cellists whose finger-fastness and sensitive handling of the fiddlestick create magical sounds the moment they squeeze a cello between their knees. As these two, not bad-looking classical musicians spend more time together, the sexual tension between them increases. And before they know it, they make use of the skills they use while playing the cello, when they are all over each other when lying naked under the sheets. It’s not perfect but still. Once this introduction took place and the two lovebirds are sitting on a local bus on their way to some small town in China, the film goes in a higher gear. The frivolous atmosphere makes way for exciting situations and horror elements. It feels rather mysterious. Even the rewind moments won’t really clarify it. On the one hand, I thought this technique was kind of an original approach. On the other hand, it seemed rather pedantic. Let’s say something about acting. There’s actually nothing negative to announce. You can safely state that the two main characters almost reach perfection when it’s about that. The chemistry between the two girls is realistic. The different moods that they struggle through are convincing. Steven Weber and Alaina Huffman also fit perfectly into their role. An illustrious couple consisting of dark personalities. Perhaps it seems as if they have mixed a number of different genres and it feels as if they didn’t know which direction to go. But it never gets boring. No, “The Perfection” is certainly not perfect. But it wasn’t very far from perfection. You can watch “The Perfection” on Netflix now. My rating 7/10 Links: IMDB
Film Review : The Perfection (2018) content media
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peterp
Mar 10, 2020
In Film Reviews
The thing about getting older is looking back, it doesn’t matter how old you are, life always feels the same length. Like both forever and not very long. You’ve just seen “Uncut Gems” and you feel the nerves raging through your body after watching this ultra-nervous film? Well, I recommend you to watch the film “Colewell“. Believe me. After watching this film, you’ll feel completely relaxed again. There are no situations full of agitated behavior. No feverish activity. Everything is calm and peaceful. This cozy and pleasant film progresses at a leisurely pace. Like the gently rippling water in a quiet stream. Just about the pace of someone in old age who performs the same ritual every day and eagerly awaits his well-deserved retirement. Only Nora (Karen Allen) was not yet ready for that well-deserved rest that is now being forced upon her. The same routine every morning. Nora is an older lady who runs a local post office in the small village of Colewell, somewhere in Pennsylvania. And trust me on this, when I say you can admire her morning routine several times. A morning where she will check the chicken coop for freshly laid eggs. And every time she checks the state of one of the laying hens because it’s upset because of newly added fellow hens and thus refuses to squeeze such a fragile object through her poopybutthole. Then it’s time for breakfast (with a firm omelet made with fresh eggs) and a getting dressed ritual before she opens the door of the post office (located at her place) to welcome the villagers. Everything is performed dutifully and meticulously. And I’m sure she did this from day one. A changing world. “Colewell” is about aging and the preservation of certain values of life. At the same time, it’s also about the fear of losing these certain values. And the rapidly changing world around us. When a decision is made to forget about certain post offices and integrate them into the larger whole, Nora sees those values disappearing like snow in the sun. The day after she’s being confronted with this terrible decision at the US Postal Service headquarters, she sinks into an emotional pit and consciously skips her daily rituals. As if it all no longer matters. The choices that were proposed to her are both not adequate solutions for her. Relocating to a larger city to work there at the post office. Or retire. Both are alternatives that Nora disregards. The post office has a social function. The post office in Colewell has an additional function. It’s the meeting place for the local population. There’s gossiping, stockings are knitted, food is exchanged and life stories shared. In short, it’s the heart of a community. And the members of this community are heartbroken when they are told that their beloved assembly point is about to disappear. Initiatives are being taken to turn the tide and efforts are being made to safeguard Nora’s workplace. But as soon as they realize that this is a futile effort, everyone accepts the situation and the social contacts move to other locations. To the dismay of Nora. Do you want an action-rich movie? Skip this one. “Colewell” is endearing, serene and melancholic at the same time. A subdued drama about how it feels to grow older and then suddenly realize that your functional role has been played out and two arrogant younger people say this without hesitation in your face. Or you’ll be flexible or you pack it up and make room for the future generation. A realistic character study, without frills. But not entirely. The moment Ella (Hannah Gross) shows up at Nora’s place, realism turns into vagueness. It’s not really clear whether this is Nora’s free-spirited daughter or a figment of Nora’s imagination representing the younger Nora. Anyway. Do you like action-rich movies that are nervewracking exciting? Well, I suggest skipping this one. The easy-going nature of the film may well get on your nerves. My rating 5/10 Links: IMDB
Film Review : Colewell (2019) content media
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peterp
Mar 10, 2020
In Film Reviews
I would have shot you in the dick, if the target wasn’t so small. “Guns Akimbo” is simply too absurd for words. It’s absolute nonsense and you shouldn’t take it too seriously. It’s simply “over the top” pulp and looks as if it’s based on some Asian comic strip. But believe me. This film is simply top-notch entertainment. A roller coaster that slowly takes a very steep run-up and then crashes into the depth with a breakneck-speed, shaking you back and forth. And this crazy, hyperkinetic ride lasts until the end. The action scenes with Nix (Samara Weaving) are equivalent to those in “John Wick“. Flashy editing. Blood splattering when bullets rip apart human flesh in slow motion. And all this under the guidance of an energetic soundtrack where you will hear amongst other “The Ballroom Blitz” from The Sweet. In short, I greatly enjoyed this film for an hour and a half. Once again respect for the actor Radcliffe. I have infinite respect for the actor Daniel Radcliffe. This guy could have benefited all his life from the “Harry Potter” stamp that they have tattooed on his forehead. It would have been possible to come up with a few sequels without any problems and without hesitation they could have exploited the success formula of the book series and film versions. He could also have demanded to be part of the “Fantastic Beasts and where to find them” franchise. But no. Instead, Radcliffe opted for not so obvious projects such as “Kill your Darlings“, “Horns” and “Swiss Army Man“. A homosexual-tinted film, full of literary blabbering on the one hand. And on the other hand a film about a friendship between a castaway and a corpse. It’s hard to say that these were commercially safe films that suit the fantasy-loving Harry Potter fans. And to avoid any misunderstanding. I was also enchanted by the Potter films (at least the first four anyway). Where did these freaking guns come from? So no magic formulas, mythological creatures and a Radcliffe with a wizard hat showing a boyish, shy smile. Nope, he’s a nobody in this flick. A nobody with a futureless job, who empties one beer bottle after the other while playing violent video games at home. And as a notorious online troll hunter, Miles (Daniel Radcliffe) cannot resist posting derogatory comments on the “Skizm” website and provoking supporters of this obscure platform. “Skizm” is an illegal website that organizes duels in real life where opponents try to eliminate each other. And this is thrown on the internet and followed by hundreds of thousands of fanatic fans and bettors. Obviously, the first movie that came to mind was “Death Match“. The organizer of all this is an ugly tattooed guy called Riktor (Ned Dennehy) who’s obviously completely nuts and is accompanied by a gang of weirdos whose muscle mass is noticeably heavier than the weight of their brains. And Riktor isn’t happy with the muscular language Miles places on his forum. And before the latter realizes it, he lies in bed with two automatic guns bolted to both his hands. And furthermore, he himself is a candidate for a duel between him and Nix. Over-the-top action. With this film, Daniel Radcliffe leaves his comfort zone for the umpteenth time and tries to show that he’s more than just Harry Potter. A bushy beard, constantly covered in blood and using a portion of self-mockery and humor, ensure that. Not to mention his clothing: a checkered dressing gown, boxer shorts, and fluffy giant slippers in the shape of tiger claws. For Samara Weaving, this is a little bit an extension of her role in “Ready or Not“. The same bloody and over-the-top situations. But here she got more of a Harley Quinn attitude. A disturbed, fearless person who’s extremely effective in terms of eliminating opponents. That her insane behavior was caused by an incident in her youth is briefly mentioned, but in fact, has no impact or significance. This mindless action film has only one goal in mind and that’s to show chaotic and limitless action. And all this topped with a sauce of humor à la “Deadpool“. There are quite a few hilarious moments in this film. The hand-mounted guns that cause problems for Miles to accomplish daily routines. Like for instance opening a door. Or making a phone call. And peeing is even a hazardous thing to do. The Australian-sounding hobo (Rhys Darby) was simply hilarious with his advice on suicide techniques and his Cypress Hill imitation. How he got Miles in that coat, however, remains a mystery to me. Wtf is Akimbo? If you can’t stand a chaotic storyline and you get annoyed when it’s a movie that’s plain predictable and that looks more like an exaggerated comic, then I recommend you avoid this one. Or you don’t take a too critical attitude and you simply undergo the film. Perhaps then you can appreciate the vibrant pace, the screamy images, the creative camera techniques and the complete insane undertone of this movie with a limited budget. “Guns Akimbo” is certainly not a film for everyone because of the video game-like mood and the raw sense of humor. And for those who want to know what the film title actually means: Akimbo is a combat technique in which two weapons are used, with one in each hand. Well, I had to look it up myself. My rating 7/10 Links: IMDB
Film Review : Guns Akimbo (2019) content media
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peterp
Mar 13, 2019
In Film Reviews
So, what does that tell us? That the only truly reliable narrator is life itself. But life itself is also a completely unreliable narrator because it is constantly misdirecting and misleading us and taking us on this journey where it is literally impossible to predict where it’s gonna go next. Occasionally I come across such a film that knows how to surprise me. At first, I wondered what it was all about. Usually, I take a wait-and-see approach and see where it’s going. If there’s no improvement in terms of story and it remains quite uninteresting, I’ll give up. Fortunately, this rarely happens. And certainly not in the case of “Life itself“. As the film progressed, it became (at least for me) more fascinating. Before I knew it, I was looking at the credits with astonishment and I thought to myself: “Wow, what the hell was this”. A film that succeeds in making me quiet and paralyzed. That’s quite an achievement. Hate campaign? In retrospect, I was somewhat surprised at the negative comments regarding this film. I do understand there are people who are allergic to tragedy, drama, and sadness in films. But the bursts of tirades being fired at this movie, are rather exaggerated in my opinion. Or is it my anarchist nature that is rebelling? Calling “Life itself” the “Worst movie of the year“, is a bit shortsighted and slightly simplistic. I suppose those who did, only watched the crème de la crème of films that year. I dare to admit that I’ve seen much worse last year. Again it looks like a snowball effect after the appearing of some reviews of prominent film critics. And expressions such as “semi-intellectual”, “philosophical ramblings” and “overly melodramatic” are copied excessively so that it resembles a we-against-them situation. Or is it an acute case of navel-gazing? Or are they all male critics who, just like Dan Fogelman said in an interview, hate films with emotions? Maybe a defense mechanism so nobody would say that their tough torso contains too many female hormones. Oh well. If you focus on the correctness of timelines and the correct layout of the different time sections only, you may lose sight of the larger picture. Holier-than-thou? I am convinced that among those notorious critics, there are some who unknowingly believe in certain things that would fit perfectly into the context of this film. Isn’t it so that people speak of a soul mate who exists somewhere on this planet? That there’s this one special person somewhere who’s a good fit for you? And isn’t the term karma used all the time? Does coincidence exist? Or coincidentally not? And then the pinnacle of mysterious power that millions believe in. The divine power that watches over us and directs our lives. I bet some of those opinion writers have used these terms before? Or that they want to save their soul every week by solemnly entering a church somewhere? Well, not me. Am I too realistic? Too suspicious? Could be. But I believe that a combination of circumstances and destiny can form the basis of a story such as “Life itself“. The first chapter is phenomenal. Without a doubt, the first chapter is the one with the most impact. A chapter full of confusion, psychological distress, and trauma. But also a chapter about eternal love. Finding that one specific person who fits you unconditionally. Will (Oscar Isaac) and Abby (Olivia Wilde) are such a couple. The living proof of the well-known saying about the pot and the lid. Until one day Abby leaves Will, and Will’s life immediately becomes a mess. A ruin that needs to be restored with the help of a psychologist. It’s a chapter in which the storyline wraps itself ingeniously around Will’s past and present. With and without Abby. With and without the will to live. A chapter full of flashbacks. A chapter introduced by Samuel L. Jackson who represents the “unreliable storyteller”. The subject of Abby’s thesis. But at the same time, he plays a character from a script that Abby and Will wanted to write together. “A husband and wife Tarantino”. That’s why Samuel L. Jackson uses his “Pulp Fiction” intonation. And then there are some who claim that his contribution adds little to the story. well, you just have to want to see it, I guess. Two different family trees. The chapter ends shockingly. A blow of a sledgehammer, as it were. And from then on the story begins to spread intercontinental. From the rebellious Dylan (Olivia “Me and Earl and the Dying Girl” Cooke), the end result of the wonderful love between Abby and Will, whose life is dominated by death. To Spain, where the rich olive oil manufacturer Mr. Saccione (Antonio Banderas) tells his life story to one of his workers, Javier Gonzalez (Sergio Peris-Mencheta). And although these two different family trees initially have nothing in common with each other, the two storylines melt together in a bewildering manner. But you have to discover for yourself how it all gets connected. The unreliable narrator. The only flaw I could think of is the predictability at a certain moment. At first, you don’t have a clue what’s going on. Once you’ve passed that point, you can already see where it’s going. If I were a nitpicker, I would use this to criticize “Life itself” harshly. But the inventive story and the sometimes excellent acting of a group of well-known actors make this a side issue. Perhaps it all seems doom and gloom. As if real life only produces sorrow and misery. Where you experience one setback after the other. Everyone has bad periods in their lives and emotionally difficult experiences. But perhaps the message is also that there is always light at the end of the tunnel. I don’t believe in coincidence or destiny. I don’t believe in a heavenly power that determines our lives and sets out the route in our lives. But admit it. The way the story developed here could actually also occur in real life. Unfortunately, sometimes life is indeed an unreliable narrator. My rating 8/10 Links: IMDB
Life Itself (2018) - I know the critics say it's crap. I love a movie filled with emotions. Sue me. I'm an emotional guy. content media
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peterp
Mar 13, 2019
In Film Reviews
He’s no longer dormant. He only knows how to keep moving and to keep killing. And he will kill again unless he’s captured. Exactly 40 years ago the film “Halloween“, directed by John Carpenter, was released. A milestone in the slasher genre. It was in this film that Laurie Strode (a very young Jamie Lee Curtis) escaped from the psychopath Michael Myers in the nick of time. And so the legend about Myers arose. And now, 40 years later, the follow-up appears. To my surprise, this is already the 11th movie in the “Halloween” universe. No idea what happened in the other episodes, because I never bothered to watch them. And even though I feared this would simply be a continuation of the same concept (and it sure is) and that I would have a “haven’t-I-seen-this-before” feeling, I have to admit it. I kind of liked this movie. Old skool horror. Maybe this has to do with the nostalgic value of this film. Everything feels like the original film. The same creepy soundtrack is used. Even the font used in the credits has a nice old-fashioned look. Jamie Lee Curtis is also back again. Again it takes place in the Halloween period. And the masked Michael Myers bumps into fresh meat once more. And he’s eager to plant his butcher’s knife in their body. It feels like old-fashioned, old skool horror, as they appeared in the 70s. He’s coming back for sure. I only wondered about one thing. Was it really necessary to make a sequel to the famous first film? After all, you’ll know in advance that they are going to continue on the same thing and you can already predict which direction it will take. What gives new impetus is the older Laurie who has withdrawn into a house in the forest, protected by ingeniously invented systems and strategically placed spotlights. A kind of fort equipped with all sorts of gadgets to keep unwanted intruders out. There’s even a panic-room with a food supply enough to survive a 3rd world war plus an arsenal of weapons with which you can eradicate a whole flock of zombies. The reason why Laurie has installed herself in this way is of course Myers. Her paranoia about this figure hasn’t disappeared over the years and she expects that he’ll show up again someday. Extremely dangerous. Minimum security is enough. Films of this genre are usually richly filled with illogical reasoning and stupid behavior. For example, the extremely dangerous Michael Myers has been locked up in a highly secure establishment for 40 years. And during all those years, this psychopath hasn’t uttered a single word. The fact that a bunch of amateur journalists can talk to him for a moment, wouldn’t be admitted without additional measures in reality. They would be thoroughly searched so they couldn’t smuggle prohibited articles inside (like a mask for instance). But especially the fact that this notorious murderer is treated as an average patient during a transfer, could be called hilarious. An ordinary orange school bus with a few other detainees is used for this purpose. If it were me, he’d be captured in a block of concrete and he’d be guarded by a whole battalion of guards. I wouldn’t take the risk. As always, you as a viewer know what is about to happen. Not them apparently. A nerve-racking slasher. Well, fortunately, because otherwise, the movie “Halloween” wouldn’t be what we expected. A nerve-racking slasher in which Myers scares everyone by standing motionless and emotionless somewhere in a dark corner while observing. And everyone who crosses his path gets acquainted with the razor-sharp knife he carries with him. And as always, housewives, babysitters, and teenagers will be the victims. Unfortunately, all this didn’t have the desired effect on me. It wasn’t scary. Only the inevitable final fight provides the necessary tension for a moment. 10 More sequels? Needless to say that only Jamie Lee Curtis excels here as the stressed out grandmother who has been preparing for this confrontation for 40 years. The rest of the cast is secondary and the only reason why they are present is to raise the total number of casualties. Some characters are even annoying. And actually, it makes you happy that they are being murdered (like the bickering policemen who discussing their sandwiches). Apparently, Jason Blum wants to make 10 sequels of “Halloween“. I guess Jamie Lee Curtis won’t be in it. Because even though she still has the perfect feminine curves, she starts to look like a painting by Rembrandt. She’s slightly cracked and a cultural heritage. My rating 7/10 Links: IMDB
Halloween (2018) - It's old skool, predictable but worth a watch. content media
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peterp
Mar 13, 2019
In Film Reviews
If something happens to my daughter I’ll kill you. You and your boss. Just when you think that an icon such as Jean-Claude Van Damme is becoming a caricature of himself and in danger of sinking into oblivion, he surprises you with such a part as in this film. The “Muscles from Brussels” got under my skin with his integer and sensitive acting. No bulging muscles and a long stretched primal cry accompanied by a grimace. He already demonstrated this in the 90s extensively. The years he peaked with classics such as “Bloodsport“, “Double Impact” and “Sudden death“. In those days you couldn’t come in a video store without a combative JCVD staring at you threateningly from the shelves. Unfortunately it went from bad to worse. And he hit rock bottom with the film “Alien Uprising“. What a crap movie this was. Unworthy of Jean-Claude Van Damme. Jean-Claude really acts magisterially. Van Damme proves in “The Bouncer” (original title “Lukas“) he’s capable of doing more than just effortlessly cracking coconuts between his two muscular buttocks. Verily, he even shows here some acting talent. Not that he has to grasp deeply in his box of tricks. All he has to do is stare gloomy and tired. And occasionally he needs to handle a situation emotionlessly as the bouncer in less kosher establishments of Belgium’s nightlife. Well, someone who hates Van Damme would say that. I thought it was magisterial what he demonstrated here. He plays an old man who knows the ropes. Such an individual who doesn’t shy away from a brawl with other mean-looking fellows, as a job application. Someone who carelessly licks his wounds and puts a firm bandage over his wounds and then moves on to the order of the day. In short, a tough guy. A tough guy living a tough life. And yet this bad-boy has a golden heart. The way this single father takes care of his 8-year-old daughter Sarah (Alice Verset) is endearing. Lukas experienced some major setbacks in his life. Things he still hasn’t recovered from. And the fact that it doesn’t go smoothly financially, only makes it more difficult. A regrettable accident in the club where he’s working as a bouncer causes additional problems. In such a way that he also takes up a job at a nightclub where it’s not only dark for the clientele (so they can discretely do their thing). But also they carry out activities which shouldn’t be noticed by the authorities. French, Flemish and English. Well, it’s Belgium. “The Bouncer” is not an action-packed film. In the end, it’s rather depressing. Grayish back streets, dark clubs, and brutal crime. That’s what you get served. I myself am not so familiar with the region where this all takes place. The Brussels region isn’t a known area for me. Because of the mix of languages (Dutch, French, and English), the film also got a more international character. And the recruitment of Kevin “Revenge” Janssens and Sam Louwyck, the two companions who hire Lukas as a bodyguard, gave it a Flemish cachet. I myself am not such a big fan of home-grown films. But cinematographically this was of a completely different level. A gritty movie with no splits. “The Bouncer” is a straightforward film in which clichés aren’t avoided. Jean-Claude Van Damme shines in this film. He’s constantly in the picture and carries this movie effortlessly. No, don’t expect him to demonstrate that he’s a master in combat techniques. Lukas is a sturdy, tough guy who can throw punches and can take punches effortlessly, but he won’t do splits in this gritty film. The acting of the two criminals is also far from bad. Especially Sam Louwyck is pretty intimidating. The conversations between him and Lukas are extremely successful. Kevin Janssens’ hairstyle stands out most. Could you talk about a rebirth of Van Damme? Who knows. Maybe I should give “Black Water” a chance, even though I’m sure I’ll be disappointed. My rating 6/10 Links: IMDB More reviews here
The Bouncer (2018) - A gritty movie with JC Van Damme. But without him doing a split. content media
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peterp
Mar 13, 2019
In Film Reviews
Even if you never had to learn police work like the rest of us plebs, anybody with a TV knows that it takes three bodies to make a serial killer. You know what I’m saying, you’re just being pedantic. Take the brilliant movie “Se7en” and replace the two inspectors Somerset and Mills with a duo that can’t get along and where one of them is female, then you get something similar as “Charismata“. Only it’s far from brilliant in terms of acting and the narrative. And even though Mills was a bit cocky and a wiseass in “Se7en,” there was also mutual respect. That doesn’t really apply to Rebecca (Sarah Beck Mather) and Eli (Andonis Anthony). Eli is an arrogant and obnoxious guy who always sees an opportunity to belittle his partner. The movie is filled with unfriendly people. But honestly, most people in this film are blessed with an ugly personality. The two inspectors, who assist in the investigation, constantly spit sexist statements and never take Rebecca seriously. She’s the daughter of the commissioner. So remarks about her job being dropped in her lap, are commonplace. Even the pharmacists are terribly unfriendly and snippy. I’m starting to believe the U.K. is inhabited with bad-tempered and unfriendly people. But believe me, the constantly unfriendly atmosphere started to annoy me. First, it’s a genuine war-movie Also in “Charismata“, they have to deal with an insane serial killer. The victims follow each other rapidly. The one murder even more horrifying than the other. Unfortunately, the first one shown, is the only one that’s off the same level as those in “Se7en“. A dark room in a dilapidated building where the rats have feasted on a half-decayed corpse. This looked fairly realistic and horrifying. The satanic images and carved numbers in the wall make it mysterious. Unfortunately, the design of the following victims wasn’t so successful. They were just stand-ins covered with lots of fake blood. Probably the budget for special effects was already exhausted after the first corpse. Michael Sweet. Such a charming person. What are the most successful aspects of “Charismata“? First, there’s Jamie Satterthwaite, who plays the snobbish Michael Sweet. A yuppie and partner of a company trading in real estates. And their estates are mostly the location where a victim is discovered. Michael Sweet is for me the most sublime appearance in this movie. His charisma and mysterious smile. He’s as innocent as a lamb and laughs off every accusation. A character who could easily play the role of Bateman in “American Psycho“. Hallucinations? Or not? The next positive point in this movie is the way in which Rebecca’s mental instability is portrayed. The reason why she has a psychological problem is solidly substantiated. A messy divorce. A brutal ex. Selling her apartment goes awry. Unfriendly colleagues who treat her disrespectfully. And then also a stressful case with a serial killer with nauseating crime scenes as a result. Then there’s the fact that she takes antidepressant medication with a lot of alcohol. So it’s no surprise she’s having hallucinations. And those hallucinations are worked out magnificently. No exaggerated effects and some adequately executed scare moments. Or aren’t these hallucinations? It had potential. Is “Charismata” a decent film you should definitely watch? Looking at the plus and the negative points, you’d say that it’s well balanced. Such that it can be called an average film. Indeed. Even though the acting is sometimes of a “Coronation Street” level and the story is rather superficial, you can’t say it’s extremely bad. But that feeling is completely undermined by the terrible, meaningless ending. It’s flat n’inane beyond belief. The run-up to this wasn’t bad. It even became gross at a certain moment. But the denouement creates some forehead-frowning, after which you wonder why on earth you’ve watched it. It seemed as if the makers realized they needed an end and there was no creative inspiration left. Too bad, because the film surely had potential. My rating 4/10 Links: IMDB
Charisata (2017) - It had potential but the denouement ruined it all. content media
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peterp
Mar 13, 2019
In Film Reviews
The German doctor, he believes the tar in the ground has some kind of a power. He calls it his science. But it’s just an excuse to kill us. When I watched the movie “Trench 11” at the end of last year, I already said this might be the cheaper version of “Overlord“. The starting point was identical. In “Trench 11” it’s a group of soldiers who had to search an abandoned bunker of the Germans. There were rumors the Germans conducted experiments there. The Germans tried to fabricate a chemical product so they could create invincible storm troops and thus conquer the rest of the non-German-Friendly world. The biggest difference between “Overlord” and “Trench 11” is the choice of world war. In “Trench 11” they were wallowing in the trenches during World War I. “Overlord” takes place during the 2nd World War. That means a lot of raised hands and loud clacking of heels. But the rest is actually similar. A film that shows the madness of a filthy war and mixes this with non-human creatures with the madness flowing through their veins. It’s D-Day all over again. Operation Overlord was the code name for the invasion by the Allies in German-occupied Western Europe. Obviously, that’s where the film got its title from. And that’s also where this film begins. A swarm of flying fortresses on their way to France to drop a load of paratroopers. It seemed as if I was watching “The Longest Day” back again. Even the ritual with the agreed code words “Flash” and “Thunder” is used in this movie (I missed the clicking though). The opening scene is still impressive and reminds you of legendary WWII films such as “Saving Privat Ryan” (although the first 15 minutes of the latter were obviously more impressive). First, it’s a genuine war-movie The first part is therefore entirely devoted to the mission of a few American paratroopers. The task they need to complete is disabling a radio tower somewhere in a French village. An extremely important assignment, it seems, It sounds far-fetched but the success of the entire invasion depends on it apparently. From the group of soldiers Boyce (Jovan Adepo), Ford (Wyatt Russell, son of) and Tibbet (John Magaro) take center stage. Boyce is the wimp. An inexperienced soldier who’s regarded by the others as useless. Ford is the leading officer who has to make sure the operation succeeds. A gut-eater avant la lettre. And Tibbet is the bigmouth of them all who brags about his sniper qualities. Something that he wants to put into practice in Berlin. He’ll put a bullet through Hitler’s head and thus end this world war rapidly. And then the horror kicks in. Their path crosses that of Chloe (Mathilde Olivier), a French resistance fighter who wants to take revenge on the German occupiers of her village. Understandable, since those Germans systematically use the inhabitants of the village as test animals. Including Chloe’s parents. From here, the film gradually transforms into a horror/zombie film. Not that it’s all so scary or nerve-racking. In my opinion “Overlord” is nothing more than a typical war film in which a commando, with a specific mission, not only battles German troops but also non-human opponents. So be prepared for lots of veined bloodthirsty creatures, blown away or crushed body parts and gallons of blood. Pulp War/Horror Movie. I wasn’t really impressed by this film. For me, it’s just a more expensive, slick version of “Trench 11“. Maybe I was misled by the trailer. The trailer suggested it would be a blood-curdling zombie movie. Ultimately, the film shows the horror of this world war in a proper way. And there are also a bunch of crazy Nazi doctors who try to create an Übermensch. Something similar as when General Ludendorff sniffs some kind of chemical stuff in “Wonder Woman“, after which he suddenly has superhuman powers. In short, “Overlord” is a pulp war/horror movie. It’s great material to create some kind of videogame from. It isn’t very original and certainly disappointing for the seasoned horror fanatic. But this much I can say. It isn’t boring. On the contrary. It’s entertaining enough. And it’s been expertly put together. It’s worth a look for sure. My rating 6/10 Links: IMDB
Overlord (2018) - Entertaining but not what I expected after seeing the trailer. content media
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peterp
Mar 13, 2019
In Film Reviews
Jesus Christ. It’s Rob Zombie’s house. They came up with the following slogans for “Hereditary“: “The scariest film ever” and “A highlight in horror in the last 50 years“. Well, I wonder what they would say about “Incident in a Ghostland“? I won’t say this is the most masterful horror of all time. And no, it’s not as frightening as “The Exorcist“. That one scared me to death in those days. “Incident in a Ghostland” uses the same concept as in “The seasoning house” and “I spit on your grave“. The sexual abuse of innocent girls and the psychological damage these desperate victims suffer from. It’s not trembling and shaking all the time, but the whole movie you’ll have that uncomfortable feeling. An eye for an eye. Now, the concept of such movies is actually quite simple. In the first instance, they try to shock you with confrontational images so you’ll feel sick with disgust and anger. In such a way that the second part feels like a relief. Just like Jean-Claude Van Damme in his old movies where he fights back and wins, after being beaten up real bad. Or when an almost defeated underdog in a football match can turn the tide. That’s how the second part feels. You are a member of a fan club for the victims who fight back and avenge the injustice done to them. As in “I spit on your grave” where I couldn’t suppress a heartfelt, loud “Yes” with every execution of one of the perpetrators. And the way the victims take revenge should be ruthless and merciless. The more pain, the better. In short, a film that contrasts two opposing feelings frontally. The feeling of destruction, despair and physical pain, versus relief, liberation and a victory. The twist was a surprise. In a way, “Incident in a Ghostland” tries to break this pattern. Yes, there’s that moment of extreme violence and that moment the situation looks desperate. And just when you think it’s going smooth, the film takes a completely new path and the struggle for survival begins again. Further revealing only leads to spoiling the fun for those who haven’t seen the film yet. But the twist in the story also surprised me. To be honest, it’s not often that a film does this to me. Usually, I see it coming a mile away. But not now. Is it something like “Martyrs”? The film was directed by Pascal Laugier who’s best known for his controversial film “Martyrs“. A film that was proclaimed as the mother of all “torture-porn” and apparently rolls over you like a steamroller. An extremely brutal film many found disgusting. I never watched it myself. Deep inside I would like to see this movie but something tells me that the extreme violence will hit me too deeply. That’s why I avoid it. Had I known that Laugier directed this movie as well, I might have ignored it too. And now I’m on the horns of a dilemma. Is this a film where Laugier went soft? Or should I try to watch “Martyrs” anyway? Thumbs-up for the make-up department. Is it worth to watch this movie? Actually yes. And that because it’s beyond simply a brutal “home-invasion movie” with the torture, abuse, and humiliation of young girls. Here Laugier also brings the psychological impact of such a traumatic experience in the picture. He shows how the human psyche works from an individual who experiences something such as this barbaric invasion by two murderous maniacs. It’s not a film for sensitive souls even though the violence isn’t explicitly shown. However, the consequences of these brutal assaults are clearly visible. That’s why I give a thumbs-up for the make-up department. Dark and oppressive. The set-up as a whole is very successful. The house where Pauline (Mylène Farmer) and her two daughters Beth (Emilia Jones \ Crystal Reed) and Vera (Taylor Hickson \ Anastasia Phillips) move in, is a real junk house full of rarities and old dolls. Not that it plays a prominent role in the film, but it contributes to the entire oppressive and dark atmosphere. The acting of the two girls is mainly limited to screaming and anxiously waiting for the two halfwits to show up again. Except for Beth who became a successful writer of horror stories. Until she returns to the hell-house and is being confronted with the suffering. Mother Pauline behaves as a soothing and encouraging character. And then finally you have the two assailants. One crazier than the other, in terms of appearance. One is a goth-like person who you’ll only get to see briefly most of the time. The second a colossal, moronic monster who’s inhumanly strong. A drooling and groaning primate who prefers to play with dolls. And he likes it even better when those dolls are alive. More frightening because of the realism. All in all, “Incident in a Ghostland” is fascinating in a way. Even though the level of sadism is quite high and you can’t shake off the feeling of fear and panic during the whole movie. The entire film is an avalanche of hysteria with that constant sense of helplessness. It’s not a horror movie about possessed houses or paranormal phenomena with the familiar jump scares and creepy moments. This is a frightening film about something that can happen in reality and that we see on the news on a regular basis. The story itself seems rather simple, but Beth’s condition creates an extra dimension. In any case, it’s a lot more frightening than “Hereditary“, THE horror from 2018 (sarcastic tone). My rating 7/10 Links: IMDB
Incident in a Ghostland (2018) - More disturbing than Hereditary? I'm sure it is. content media
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