April 20, 2014

Movie Review: Zombie Holocaust

I am learning more and more about how a movie can change from country to country. Different titles, different cuts, different languages, even different footage shot or integrated from other sources. The latest movie to show this is Zombie Holocaust. It is another movie that has had a host of different titles and a number of different cuts over the years. I have now seen two versions of the film, the American cut and the original uncut Italian version (at least what I believe is the uncut Italian version). There is not a lot of difference between them. They are easily identifiable as the same movie, and in both cases it is pretty silly. But a good, fun silly.

April 19, 2014

Movie Review: Oculus

Here is a movie that seems to have split the horror community (well, what movie doesn't, really?). I have seen posts saying just how good it is alongside requests to unfriend yourself if you like it. The latter I took as a personal challenge, although I would never go so far as to be ingenuous in my like or dislike of a given film (who would that benefit anyway?). As it stands, I have seen Oculus and I am happy to report that the movie is really quite good. I would not go so far as to call it a classic by any stretch, but it was entertaining, well constructed, and just a wee bit different.

Movie Review: Transcendence

Transcendence has arrived, ready to transport you into the great beyond, a world of knowledge, power, and the thought of a never ending existence, an end to pain, sickness, loneliness. That is a movie I might like to see. Instead, Transcendence has arrived to bore you into a coma with two-hours of incoherence. I was looking forward to this movie, I wanted to like this movie, but alas it was not to be. Instead of an interesting look into the war between nature and technology and the question of what makes you, well, you, we get a formless lump that is content to sit and through some special effects at you with the illusion of depth.

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.