November 25, 2015

Blu-ray Review: No Escape (2015)

When I first saw the title No Escape pop up on an upcoming movie list, my mind flashed back to 1994 and wondered if they actually remade the Martin Campbell directed sci-fi/action film that came out that year. You don't remember it? It was pretty good, had a decent cast with Ray Liotta and Lance Henriksen, and reminded one of movies like Escape from New York. Well, obviously they didn't, it is just a coincidence. This No Escape is actually a modern day thriller featuring a family just trying to stay alive. In all honesty, this new film is probably the better of the two, but I think I want to revisit the older one now, see if it holds up.

November 24, 2015

Movie Review: The Night Before (2015)

I am not normally the kind of guy who likes Christmas movies before Thanksgiving, outside of the obvious year round exceptions (A Nightmare Before Christmas, Silent Night Deadly Night, Black Christmas, you get the idea). Still, sometimes theatrical release schedules make the decision for you when you start seeing them in any given year. This year The Night Before got me in front of a Yuletide themed film prior to turkey-day this year. And you know what? It was a blast. It is a buddy movie, a drug comedy, an awkward coming of age tale, and it is all wrapped up like A Christmas Carol. Yes, I liked it. Smart? Hardly, but certainly funny and surprisingly heartfelt.

November 20, 2015

Movie Review: The Hunger Games - Mockingjay: Part 2

Well, the series has come to close, not with a bang, but a whimper. This is not to say I did not enjoy the film, but it is certainly not without its flaws. I can say I was entertained, but considering how the series got off to a roaring success with its first two entries, the final two seem a little tired and worn out by comparison. I seriously think the franchise would have been better off, creatively, if the Mockingjay pair of films were just one film. The studio got greedy, and as they are wont to do with their high profile franchises, split the final book into two films (following Harry Potter, Twilight, and you could probably toss The Hobbit in there as well). Both final films felt stretched and padded with material to meet run time requirements.

November 14, 2015

Movie Review: Dangerous Men

Wow. I really don’t know where to begin with this one. Dangerous Men is being billed as a movie 26-years in the making. It is a no budget action film that appears to have begun shooting in the early 1980’s and had scenes finished sometime in the 1990’s. It is the brainchild of John S. Rad, an Iranian who fled his home country for California, leaving behind a multi-million dollar fortune and several finished features. An architect by trade, it seems he fancied himself more of a filmmaker. This action/thriller is his magnum opus and the only film the world will ever get to know. Should you see it? That depends on your capacity for cheese.

November 11, 2015

Movie Review: The Peanuts Movie

I am not sure The Peanuts Movie will be considered one of the classics, I will probably use the Halloween special as my go to Peanuts special, but that does not change the enjoyment I got from this film. Seriously, there is something about this movie that just really works. It is filled with callbacks to gags and stories from the strip and other shows, but it all adds to the charm contained within its frames (or what takes the place of frames in this digital age). All of the classic characters are there doing what those characters do and I sat there with a smile on my face the whole time. It is not a laugh out loud sort of film, and that is all right.

November 10, 2015

Movie Review: Specte

Few franchises can lay claim to more than fifty years of history and even fewer have twenty-four films under their belt. It wasn’t that long ago that I was talking about another franchise that got better with age, meaning the later sequels were actually better than the first few. Now, when it comes to James Bond, we have a whole new story to tell. When it comes to the best films in the franchise, you will likely get a mixture of old and new. Seriously, when I think about my favorites, titles such as From Russia with Love, Casino Royale (2006), Goldfinger, and Skyfall. Now, there is Spectre. I am not sure it will land in the top five, but it is certainly no slouch.

November 6, 2015

Blu-ray Review: Children of the Night

Children of the Night is an Argentinian horror film that tells a tale of vampires and is described on the case as Let the Right One In meets Twilight. Now, that is not entirely accurate. Well, not really accurate at all, so don’t let that description scare you off. I guess you could see some similarities between them. In any case, should you see this movie? the short answer is yes. It is interesting, well made, and seems to be pretty fresh considering the vampiric subject matter. It is not the bloodiest vampire film I have seen, but it also doesn’t pull any punches. This movie is not about romanticizing the blood suckers, but it does seek to provide a plausible reality.

November 2, 2015

Movie Review: Paranormal Activity - The Ghost Dimension

We have certainly come a long way, but it is finally over. Well, that could mean the end of the franchise or it could just mean the end of this story cycle. While I can be counted among the fans of this series, I honestly hope this is the end of it. Period. I always felt like the Paranormal Activity had a limited shelf life. I haven't even gone back and rewatched any of the series, never really felt the need to. Now it is over as Paranormal Activity: The Ghost Dimension has graced theater screens.

November 1, 2015

Screening Report: Brain Damage w/ Frank Henenlotter (Alamo Drafthouse, Yonkers, NY, 10/29/15)

So, this past week I made one of my frequent trips down to the Alamo Drafthouse in Yonkers, NY. It should really go without saying that I attend this theater pretty frequently. You can thank the selection of classic and cult films, with many screened from 35mm prints. There is no other theater remotely like this in my area. Sure, i wish they were a bit closer, but you can’t have everything. On top of the movie being screened, it had the bonus of having the writer/director in attendance. That is another cool thing about this theater, the bonuses like this.

October 28, 2015

Movie Review: Come Out and Play

In 1976 there was a movie released called Who Can Kill a Child?, it has had a few other names over the years, but this is the title that I saw it under. I saw it projected (digitally) about a year ago, it left me shaken and a little stirred. It was not a perfect movie, but it is an unsettling one that asks some tough questions and does not offer much in the way of answers. Now, this year I have come across a movie called Come Out and Play, which is as close as a shot for shot remake as you can get this side of Gus Van Sant's Psycho.

October 27, 2015

Blu-ray Review: Jurassic World

Well, a few months ago, Jurassic World took the world by storm and is one of the biggest box office smashes of all time. It is an entertaining movie that seemed to connect immediately with all audiences of all ages. Yes, I was entertained, yes I can saw that I liked it, but still, I find it surprising that it has done as well as it has. Is it the nostalgia factor? The Chris Pratt factor? I am not sure I can really tell. Sure, I loved Jurassic Park back in the day and the way it brought together CG and practical effects, but while I looked forward to this, I did not have the same anticipation as those around me.

October 26, 2015

Con Experience: Chiller Theatre - Halloween 2015

Over the past few years there have been a few events that I truly look forward to. At the top of the list would have to be the Hudson Horror Show marathons of horror and exploitation films. However, close behind them would be the conventions, mostly Monster Mania and Chiller. This past weekend was Chiller, which I always try to hit for a day. I was successful in this goal, spending Saturday there with my sister, meeting celebrities, seeing friends, buying stuff, you know the drill. It was a day of chaos, lines, creepy folks in costumes, celebrity meeting, and more. This show isn’t for everyone, but I always manage to have a blast.

October 23, 2015

Movie Review: The Last Witch Hunter

Well, it is 2015, that means we are due for another Breck Eisner movie. Why, you ask? It seems he is on a five year cycle. His first film was 2005’s Sahara, he followed that with 2010’s remake of The Crazies, and now, in 2015, we get The Last Witch Hunter. It is also notable for being Vin Diesel’s first new character since 2008’s Babylon A.D. (I don’t count Guardians of the Galaxy). Knowing the big two names involved will lead you to the next question: is it any good? This is where things get decidedly fuzzier. It is not a simple answer, at least not for me.

October 17, 2015

Movie Review: I Spit on Your Grave III - Vengeance is Mine

1978 was the year that the original I Spit on Your Grave was unleashed by writer/director Meir Zachi. The movie did not have much, well, any Hollywood polish. It is a rough, grimy, dirty movie that leaves you wanting to take a shower. It was famously shredded by Roger Ebert who claimed it had no artistic merit, should not be seen by anyone, and has no reason to exist. Of course, I disagree and it appears I am not alone as the film was remade, had a sequel to the remake and now a second sequel to the remake. I am pretty sure that no one ever predicted this kind of life for a grimy no budget film such as this.