February 14, 2018

Movie Review: Pick-Up

There are some movies that you pick up to watch that you have absolutely no idea what to expect. Pick-Up is one of those movies. It is a movie that defies logic, sense, and in some cases attention span. I found, while being somewhat intrigued by the happenings in the movie, I had to stop and back it up a few times as I found myself dozing off. It is the first movie in a 32 movie box set of Drive-In Classics that I have watched since getting the set a long time ago. It was also released in a Grindhouse Classics branded double feature some years ago.

February 9, 2018

Critical Capsule: Best Friends

If you want to remain best friends with someone, do not watch the movie Best Friends with them, no matter how much they tell you they love Richard Hatch. Also, no matter how many times marketing folks call a movie a Grindhouse or Drive-in cult classic, chances are if you've never heard mere mention of it before, there is probably a reason. Best Friends follows two buds and their respective lady friends, reunited and heading out on cross-country trek in an RV. It has some gratuitous nudity, but for the most part, this is Lifetime theater circa 1974. Bad acting and a story that goes nowhere and ends when it should be interesting. This is what happens when you make a coming of age movie and neglect to give it a point. Boredom ensues.

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February 7, 2018

Movie Review: The Devil's Honey

For as wildly inconsistent as Lucio Fulci can be, almost all of his films (at least the ones that I have seen) have something of interest about them. Granted, as much as love and enjoy many of his outings, I realize I have only seen a small slice of his filmography. With that said, when I saw Severin Films announce the release of a Fulci film called The Devil’s Honey, I was immediately intrigued. Besides the opportunity to get more Fulci on Blu-ray, it was a movie I had never even heard of. What is this mysterious Devil’s Honey? Turns out it is an erotic thriller that eschews in your face blood and gore and turns it's attention to in your face, melodramatic, sleaze.

January 26, 2018

Critical Capsule: Jumanji - Welcome to the Jungle

I know a lot of people had very strong feelings about the prospect of a Jumanji remake. I was not one of them, sure I enjoyed the movie, but I cannot say I had any particular attachment to it. That said, I initially thought this new edition looked pretty bad. I was wrong. No, it is not a great movie by any stretch, but it is a lot of fun and I liked the use of the video game elements throughout. Beyond that, the cast had great chemistry and Jack Black, in particular was quite well cast and had a rather strong character arc. Likewise, I actually didn’t mind Kevin Hart here, I am not usually a fan of his. Then we have the Rock, who was great as usual. Finally what can be said about Karen Gillan? Overall, this was a fun addition to the Jumanji-verse, not sure I need anymore but this is an easy one to recommend for a little fun in the theater.

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January 25, 2018

Critical Capsule: Justice League

Justice league, what else is left to be said? Probably nothing. I did enjoy the film, but I did not love. I felt that Steppenwolf was a weak villain and the plot felt like a mash of Avengers and Lord of the Rings. A lot of the comedic moments fell flat, especially when they were centered on Batman; however, Flash was pretty fantastic. I thought most of the heroes were handled well, Wonder Woman continues to shine and Cyborg was a lot better than I was expecting. I would :d[ watch this one again and feel it currently is the second best of the DCEU, behind Wonder Woman. I do feel this universe has been rushed but there is always time to save, unlike Universal’s Dark Universe debacle.

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January 23, 2018

Movie Review: The Disaster Artist

The Room is, hands down, one of the worst movies ever made. The funny thing is that we are here talking about it years after its release, which was really no more than a blip. Why? Why are we still talking about this awful movie? Let’s take that a step further, why are theaters having midnight screenings? Why do these screenings sell out? Why? Why? Why? The only thing that I can surmise is that we, as a collective, are attracted to crap. Seriously. I admit it, I have seen The Room and would likely watch it again. I must be some sort of masochist. Now, we have reached the ultimate in our collective love for bad filmmaking, a movie made by bi Hollywood names attempting to find the source of enjoyment of this terrible movie and deeper than that, an understanding the enigmatic figure at the center of it all.

January 22, 2018

Critical Capsule: A Bad Moms Christmas

Last year, Bad Moms proved to be a bit of a surprise hit. You know what that means! Let's rush out a sequel! That brings us A Bad Moms Christmas. The main cast returns and adds a number of notable names to play the mom’s moms. Well, I am happy to report that while this has very little plot, it still maintains the vulgar charms of the first and is quite enjoyable. It is by no means great, but is a fun R rated holiday romp and the additions of the mom's worked out quite well. I wonder what could be next? I don't really see this as a long running franchise, but I would not be against another go around with these put upon mom's just trying to do the best they can for their families. Perhaps unrealistic, but certainly relatable.

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January 16, 2018

Critical Capsule: Transformers - The Last Knight

So, I was watching the latest Transformers movie and I think it has finally happened, I just don't care about these movies anymore. This outing is just another incomprehensible mess filled with pretty explosions, lame jokes, and devoid of anything resembling a soul. I had no idea what was going on, nor did I care. It was also pretty clear that Anthony Hopkins was just there for a paycheck. I will admit, it looks real slick and no one sets off an explosion like Michael Bay. I just wish there was something to home onto, some sort of emotional investment. I guess it is a plus that we don't have to listen to Shia Lebeouf whine. I actually would not mind a complete reboot of the franchise, hopefully creating the mythology first, not messing with it every time out. I will also say that it has more energy than the last Pirates of the Caribbean debacle, but that's not saying much. If another in this series comes along it will be too soon. Sadly, I will probably find myself watching that to. Avoid this mess if you can.

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January 15, 2018

Movie Review: Leatherface (2017)

Is there a movie series with as convoluted a timeline as The Texas Chainsaw Massacre? I am not sure there is. You have the original film, two sequels that are not directly connected to the original, a fourth that is just sort of there, a remake, a prequel to the remake, a direct sequel to the original, and now this, a supposed prequel to the original. For the most part, it is probably better not to think of any supposed connection between them, especially when it comes to this movie. Coming into my viewing, I had heard everything from it being pretty good to avoid it like the plague. Now, clearly being me, I was no going to pass this movie up. The only question that really remained was going to be what my reaction was.

January 14, 2018

Critical Capsule: Coco

It is nice to see Pixar back in form. I have to be honest, with films like the Cars trilogy and Monsters University, I was beginning to lose faith. Then Coco comes around, I swear, by the end I was doing all I could to keep from sobbing. The movie is funny, intelligent, with a huge heart and one back of an emotional investment. It also gives an interesting look into the Mexican tradition of the Day of the Dead. The story of Miguel going against his family to follow his dream only to find that dream to be the one thing that can bring his family together is very sweet. This is a beautifully told tale of family and discovery, that is jaw droppingly gorgeous to look at, the animation is incredible. This is not a movie to be missed.

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January 13, 2018

Movie Review: The Commuter

What is it about Liam Neeson that makes him such an effective badass/everyman? Is it that voice? His imposing stature? Maybe it’s the way he can go from being a kind fatherly type, to a cold blooded killer, to a rage filled man out for justice in the blink of an eye? Whatever it is, it doesn’t really matter how familiar the movie feels, he always brings a certain class and charisma to the screen. It should come as no surprise, then, to find The Commuter is an easy to watch and entertaining film, even being as predictable and flawed as it is. I just seem to really like him in these increasingly familiar. Something akin to a manufactured Bronson type, aging star appearing in crazy action films. No, he is no Bronson, but you can see where the comparison comes from, right?

January 9, 2018

Trailer Park: Paddington 2

Three years ago a live action adaptation of Paddington Bear reached the big screen, and despite a rather rocky ad campaign, it became a modest success and, as it turns out, it was enough to spawn a sequel. I remember those early commercials and trailers and how they focused on the stupid and the slapstick. I remember actually dreading sitting through it. Fortunately, the movie turned out to be really good and really sweet and just what family entertainment needed. Now, here I am hoping that this second go around delivers the goods and lives up to its predecessor. Get ready for Paddington 2.

2017: Favorite First-Timers, Non-New Release

I watched a lot of movies in 2017. For reasons I am not going to go into here, I had a lot of time on my hands to watch movies. I watched more in this calendar year than I ever have before. Of course, I also saw my writing output drop, my percentage of first time watches drop, and probably the overall quality of movie watched drop. So, I had a lot of us and downs. Fortunately, I still managed to make some good choices and many of my first time watches were quite good. Below, I highlight the top five watches from that list. They do not include any 2017 narrative features.

January 8, 2018

Trailer Park: The Commuter

It is amazing to see how an actor seems to completely reinvent themselves. Liam Neeson, I always looked at as that respectable drama actor type, but then something changed. Liam became the ultimate cinematic badass, the likes we haven’t seen since Charles Bronson’s heyday. Well, that may take it a bit too far, Neeson is no Bronson, but there is no denying the string of action/thrillers that he has put out over the past decade or so and the entertainment they have delivered. Yes, the Taken films have run out of steam, but now we have another Taken-style thriller. Will it deliver the goods? One can hope.