Missing in Action for the #84athon


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This blog post is part of the tremendeous #84athon hosted by Todd over at Forgotten Filmz.


I have vague memories of seeing Missing in Action as a kid. However, when revisiting it now I realized that I probably saw the sequel/prequel instead of this film. My main general impression was meehish. It felt lika a lowbudget version of First Blood Part 2 (released a year later) without focusing to much on the break-out part of the film. The film is not good enough to surprise you and its not bad enough for entertainments sake. It just feels bland.

I’m not super versed in the Chuck Norris filmography but to me he always plays the same kind of low key hero with very little dialogue. The plot of the film is that Norris character is brought back to Vietnam for a vague investigation about missing american POWs in Vietnam. Chuck is the living proof of such thing since we in the beginning of the film get a flashback from when he escaped a similiar prison camp himself.

As I understand it Missing in Action 1 and 2 was shot back to back and they were originally intended to be distributed chronologically but they switched the order around when they felt that the sequel was the better film. So I assume the opening flashback scene is from the ending of Missing in Action 2.

I find it strange that the film isn’t more to the point since the POW conflict is spelled out in the opening scenes. It feels like the film would have benefitted from a more straight on storytelling than having s much be based on build-up which I like in many cases. As for the story sctructure the ending felt pretty anticlicmatic since the final break-out take up pretty little screen time. I was actually worried for a while that it was gonna be omitted in the film.

To me the highlight of the film was Chucks undercover mission during the night in the beginning of the film where he obtained the information about the prison camp. That entire lenghty scene had tension and was filmed and edited just right.

With that said I still gonna re-visit the sequel/prequel since I have a gut feeling its structured a lot more like First Blood Part 2 which is a film I enjoy quite a bit. Make sure to follow the rest of the #84athon that is going on throughout August!1984_blogathon

Tracks and Two Modes of Crying to Films




Lately I’ve come to a realization that I have a very strong emotional connection to the movie watching experience. This post will mostly be about my crying (I’m also an avid loud-laugher, awkward when enjoying a great over-the-top murder scene in a packed cinema, but more on that in a future post) and what I think triggers those emotions in me. Now I’m not a total cry baby I’ve got two (I believe) crying modes and I’m gonna try to explain them here in an attempt to answer the question how I literally cried myself through the entire feature film Tracks at the cinema. Continue reading

X-men Days of Future Past: Comic vs Film


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Disclaimer: This might be one of the most biased blog posts I’m ever gonna write about a film that I’m not involved in myself.

Also beware of spoilers for Days of Future Past (both comic book and film) after the jump.

The comic book version of Days of Future Past was originally released 1981 in Uncanny X-men 141-142. In Sweden it was released through a Marvel Special called Marvels Universe (it featured different Marvel Characters in every issue) in April 1987. I was nine years old and I still remember seeing the haunting artwork for the first time and how it called for me to get my hands on it.

Even before Days of Future Past comics had been a huge part of my life. It had mainly evolved around the Swedish Donald Duck magazine or the Swedish army comic 91:an (very Beetle Bailey:esque comic book).

Around 1987 I’d been starting to read the Amazing Spiderman and it had opened up my eyes to a completely new way of storytelling. It was more mature and used a challenging narrative through subplots that were referenced for years without resolution.

With that as a background Days of Future Past still blew me away.

Continue reading

Viasat Infomercial



Here is another of the small productions I’ve been involved during the fall. 

Maria Montazami is a well known Swedish celebrity. Her fame comes from being on a Swedish version of the Real Housewives mainly about Swedish women that have emigrated to the US.

Maria Montazami is a well known Swedish celebrity. Her fame comes from being on a Swedish version of the Real Housewives mainly about Swedish women that have emigrated to the US. The clip below is the final product an infomercial for a smart TV solution for Viasat.

We shot it during one hectic day on location, a funny note is that the TV that is used in the film is mine. 

Director: Jimmy Olsson
DOP: Frida Wendel
Producer: Måns Lorentzen
Production Company: Lillasyster Produktion

The Hunt for Christmas Gifts – Tre Commercial


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Its been a busy fall for me work wise and I thought I’d share some of the stuff I’ve been working on.

Tre (three in english) is a swedish cell phone operator and this is their 2013 Christmas commercial. All recent “Tre” commercials feature a setup with a Johnny English-esque hero called Man from Tre that has to face off against three villains called the Others (as I’ve understood it, they are supposed to represent the three other big cell phone operators in Sweden)*.

It may not seem to be the biggest of productions but I dare saying that I haven’t worked on such a complicated shoot since the Girl with the Dragon Tattoo (I was on board a couple of days on the US version).

We had two shooting days. Day one was on location at Riddarholmen for the exteriors, it was a night shoot were we brought on 70 extras (including two boys choirs in different ages). All the snow is artificial (practical not CGI).
Day two we spent in a green screen studio to do the warehouse interior that Man from Tre and the Others are running through, so the interior is a mixture of CGI and practical effects.

Director: Raunio Tiukanen
DOP: Jean-Noel Mustonen
Producer: Josefin Kollberg
Production Company: Standart

*Probably Telia, Tele 2 and Comviq

Quick rant about the Amazing Spiderman 2 trailer


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I’m a huge fanboy of the Spiderman comics from childhood. In a sense I think I was introduced to complex(er) storytelling from reading it and other Marvel Comics. With that said as a brief intro for my love of the character of Spiderman/Peter Parker I’m sad to admit that I’ve given up on this franchise ages ago.

I did enjoy the Raimi films (especially the second one) but they never elevated to the levels of the comic books. The re-boot of the franchise was the first one I didn’t see in the cinema and its safe to say I won’t be going to this one either.

There’s so much in this that I don’t like. The main thing is probably the casting! Sorry but I’m gonna go total crazy fanboy now! I hate Andrew Garfield as Parker/Spiderman!!!! One of the things Raimi did well was casting Tobey, he played the character as I read him in the comics. I don’t get attached to Garfield at all. As I see it he gives Daniel Craig a serious run for his money to be considered the most dull and  uncharismatic actor working today.

It might be something personal though, because I get all aggrevated by his smug smile when Emma Stone asks him if his delay might have to do with the shoot-out seen seconds earlier in the trailer.

As for the rest of the cast I think they are totally off too. Jamie Foxx looks like he ran of a secret “Watchmen re-boot” set onto the wrong shoot. The problem with him hopefully lies mostly in costume and make-up since he is a great actor (can someone please green-light a Any Given Sunday sequel????). Never really cared for Electro though so thats something of a bum choice as well.

Finally I still think Sally Fields looks way too young to play Aunt May and she hasn’t white hair!!!! What the hell happened Marc didn’t you get the memo from Stan???

As for the content of the trailer its just so uninteresting. Damn someone really screwed up this one.

Its good when a trailer doesn’t spoil but this one manages to reveal plenty and still don’t give a good sense of what the film gonna be about. Normally its not a problem with this type of franchise (or James Bond to mention another example) but then you are relying on sequences or shots being spectacular. Unfortunately this trailer doesn’t have anything with those qualities. I guess one reason might be that a lot of the effects work isn’t finished (I believe I read that somewhere) so they can’t show off that stuff.

I’m not a trailer editor myself but I really feel like someone just phoned it in on this one. It might be that the material sucks and this is what they are stuck with for now. Normally I’d recommend that they would have released a vague teaser instead but that doesn’t sell any tickets when it comes to sequels so I guess they didn’t have that much of a choice.

Why I’m blogging on here right now…

As people may know I’m a very on and offish (most) blogger. The last six months have been both heaven and hell for me. I’ve finally found myself a decent work situation working full time with a production company. It helps out quite a bit to know that I have a monthly paycheck coming in instead of chasing day to day production work. I’m employed here until at least the last of november.

However, the last eight weeks have been insane workload wise. Tomorrow (2nd of october) I’ll be wrapping a ten weeks shooting period consisting of five documentaries, one fiction short film, a TV vignette for Sweden’s biggest comedy show (our equivalent of Saturday Night Live I’d say) Partaj, one infomercial and an underwear commercial.

Doing all these shorter productions in the same time as I normally film an feature has been incredible fun but also very exhausting. Hence why my blogging duties (mainly over at the LAMB) has been seriously slacking. I’m not super proud about it and if I would do a do-over I’ve would have delegated out my LAMB duties during this time period. Now its to late though and I aim towards a fresher start (with some changes though).

So lets get back on topic. Why this domain and not the now dormant joelburman.com? During this period I have gotten dual reminders about my domain is about to expire. I got one reminder from my host Binero but also one in english that I don’t know where its coming from but because it more or less was timed with the Binero one I was kind of sure it was valid too.

To make it a shorter story I can re-cap by saying that I was gonna solve this domain mess after a ten day trip to Laponia to shoot Laplanders and rain deers. It wasn’t really an option to try to solve it up there since we were staying at a very remote mountain camping 200 miles north of the nearest city Jokkmokk without wifi or cell phone signal.

Unfortunately when I got home I’ve gotten a mail from a friend of mine asking if I’ve finally (my emphasis since I hadn’t updated since May) abandoned my blog.

The not so fun answer I got from my host Binero was that my domain has entered a quarantine stage. The good part with that is that no one else can obtain the domain but me. Unfortunately the amount that will secure it for me again without an auction is quite staggering. They want me to cough up 500 bucks for it. The annoying thing is that there is two other Joel Burman’s out there that wouldn’t hesitate a second to grab it from me so thats probably what I’ll have to end up doing. I still can’t help to think its a bit extreme to pay that kind of amount up front to keep the domain but at least I’m glad it wasn’t auctioned off while i was away off the radar for ten days. Always look on the bright side right?

So for the time being I’ll use this little blog instead. Hopefully it won’t be to long. I also want to give my apologizes to Lindsay and Fogs’ about being off the radar about some common business, I’ll really try to get things rolling again.

Thanks for your time!