April 16, 2014

DVD Review: Bad Asses

Two years ago a little movie came out based on an internet video of a bus fight. This little nugget of fact was taken by writer/director Craig Moss and fleshed out into an entire feature. The movie was called Bad Ass and it did not seem at all interested in being realistic. It was used as an excuse to turn an elderly man into a B-movie action hero. You know what? It worked. The movie was a lot more entertaining than it had any right to be. The low budget film proved to be successful enough to warrant a sequel, the cleverly titled Bad Asses.

April 14, 2014

Movie Review: Under the Skin

Every once in awhile a movie comes along that defies explanation. A movie that does not seem to make much narrative sense. A movie whose story dances around the edge of the frame. A movie that is light on details. A movie that is challenging, if you allow it to be. A movie that is easy to make a snap judgment against it. A movie that does not make any compromises. A movie that gets under your skin, lingers there like an itch you can't scratch. A movie that draws you in before clamping down like a vise. A movie that tempts you with danger and mystery. That is Under the Skin.

Movie Review: The Raid 2

Two years ago The Raid: Redemption popped onto my radar seemingly out of nowhere. The movie was light on plot and heavy on the action. It was a combination that worked extraordinarily well. Sometimes. A tag line that sums up the movie is a good thing. In this case it told is: "1 Ruthless Crime Lord, 20 Elite Cops, 30 Floors of Chaos." That is all you need. It was essentially one big action scene, and it did not disappoint. Now, we are faced with The Raid 2. Is it possible for this to live up to the original? Can we be fortunate enough to not see a rehash of what we have already seen? The answer is an emphatic yes!

April 13, 2014

Movie Review: Cuban Fury

Do you ever see a movie trailer for a film that you can just tell is not trying terribly hard or covers a lot of familiar ground, but feel compelled to see it anyway? I know you have, I have to. Although, I have to admit that I am getting a little better at skipping some, there are some that slip past the guard. One of those to get though the defenses is Cuban Fury. I am sure most of you have never heard of this one before. Before a few days ago I hadn't either, it is just sneaking into a few theaters and I suspect that it will fade away just as quickly. By now, you have to be wondering if it is worth seeing. The answer is a little complicated, but not really.

April 7, 2014

Movie Review: The Possessor

The Possessor is a movie that has gone by many names over the years. It's original title is Un urlo dalle tenebre, it has also been called Return of the Exorcist, Naked Exorcism, Cries and Shadows, Exorcist 3: Cries and Shadows, and even Exorcist 2. Based on those names, you can probably guess that this is an Italian rip off of The Exorcist. This is also one of the things that I love about the Italian film industry (especially in the 1970s and 1980s), they are shameless in ripping off movies. It is fantastic, they don't try to hide it, they flaunt it, it becomes their marketing. So, it goes without saying that when you watch The Possessor, it is going to feel a little familiar, just sleazier.

April 6, 2014

Movie Review: Bad Words

A comedy about competitive spelling sounds like a good idea, on paper anyway. Sounds like a biting satire waiting to happen and in the hands of a more skilled creative team, that may be what we would get. However, what we have is a pairing of first time writer and first time director, both of whom seem to play it safe, leaving us with a tepid film with few genuine laughs. It seems like material better suited for the likes of Christopher Guest. The film, cleverly titled Bad Words, appears to use Bad Santa as its template with a foul mouthed adult striking up a friendship with an outsider youngster.

Movie Review: Jinn

Before last week I had never heard of this movie. Now, having seen the film, I can only wish it had found a way to bypass my eyes. Jinn is not a good movie, at least by cinematic standards. It would likely have played fine had it been a SyFy Original. As it stands, this is a movie rife with spotty effects, poor acting, bad dialogue, and no genuine need for involvement. It is a movie I do not wish to spend a lot of time on, but wanted to at least share a few words on it.

Movie Review: Captain America - The Winter Soldier

Captain America has never been much of a favorite of mine. The character was too much of a boy scout, the costume always seemed goofy, and it just never really did much for me. Now, it has been a long time since I have been a comic reader/collector, maybe he has changed over the years. Anyway, back when The First Avenger came out, I was curious how they adapt the boy scout in the red, white, and blue and somehow make him appealing as a cinematic hero. I was happy to see the movie was a solid introduction and I particularly liked the way it spent a lot of time as a WWII film. The Avengers helped the character a bit more, but it is only now, with The Winter Soldier, that I am sold on him as a cinematic marvel.

April 3, 2014

Reviews in Retrograde: Autumn in New York

Critical Outcast isn't my first attempt at a website, I had a few stutter steps in the late 1990's and early 2000's. These attempts generated a whole bunch of poorly written, often very short and spoilerific reviews. I recently stumbled upon them in my archives and thought you may be interested in seeing some of these early attempts at writing. They are as they were then, I make no apologies for how bad or how short they are. Feel free to have at them with reckless abandon! I present to you: Reviews in Retrograde.

March 30, 2014

Movie Review: Maniac (2013)

The film Maniac is a grimy, gritty, unsettling slice of horror that came out back in 1980. The story was developed by the star, Joe Spinell, and directed by William Lustig (Maniac Cop, Uncle Sam). The movie has stood the test of time, garnering itself something of a cult following. The film stands out from the slasher films it is usually lumped together with, as it centers on the killer, forcing you to follow him down his path of madness, murder, and self destruction. I find it curious that such a dark film was targeted by the remake machine as it never had mainstream appeal and an unsavory approach, unlike the Friday the 13th or A Nightmare on Elm Street series.

Critical Capsule: Sabotage (2014)

Arnold Schwarzenegger returned to movies with a bit part in 2012's The Expendables. Since then he has appeared in that film's sequel as well as starring in The Last Stand and co-starring, with Sylvester Stallone, in Escape Plan. He is back once more in the driver's seat of a new action thriller, and it is probably the best starring role he has had since he left the Governor's mansion. This is not to say it is a great movie, but it is certainly entertaining and almost gleefully violent. It is called Sabotage.

March 29, 2014

Movie Review: Noah (2014)

So, Noah has arrived and it can now stand, or attempt to stand, on its own merits. It is a movie that does not seem to have a precise target audience. It seems to be going after a cross section of the movie-going public. Action aficionados have something there, there are the disaster elements, the obvious religious connection, fans of Crowe/Connelly/Hopkins/Watson, and those who like the director, Darren Aronofsky. I have to be honest, my interest was sealed by Aronofsky. The guy makes interesting films that exist on the fringe of Hollywood. He can attract stars but seems uninterested in playing by Hollywood rules. It made me curious.

Critical Capsule: Wrong

I am not exactly the smartest guy on the block, far from it. This being the case, it is not uncommon for me to be unable to pick up on certain messages and meanings in some movies. In some ways I have found this to be rather freeing. For example, Wrong is a movie that comes across to me as being from way out in left field, a movie that makes little sense, yet flows perfectly well. What is writer/director Quentin Dupieux trying to say? I am really not sure, maybe give it another ten watches and I might get something.

March 26, 2014

Movie Review: Contracted (2013)

Do you have any idea how hard it can be to pick a movie to watch? If you over think it, you may end up not watching anything. Sometimes it is just better to close your eyes and point. That is pretty much how I cam to watch Contracted, a low budget indie tale of body horror that is plenty gooey and initially offers some social commentary before devolving into straight up grossness. It is not a perfect film, but it is one that will get under your skin, as it begins to rot away, that is.