July 31, 2012

Blu-ray Review: The Butterfly Effect

The Butterfly Effect is a movie that arrived at something of a critical point in Ashton Kutcher's career. I don't think anyone would argue that he is a good actor, but given the right material he can be serviceable. Looking over his filmography, this was the first project to push him. Before this movie he was best known as the resident idiot Kelso on That 70s Show. He parlayed his sensibilities to big screen comedies like Dude, Where's My Car? and Just Married, but he had not had a project that allowed him to stretch his range. This movie, released back in 2004, gave us the first glimpse of what Kutcher could do. To tell the truth, he isn't that bad.

July 29, 2012

Movie Review: Lord of Illusions

I remember seeing Lord of Illusions in the theater way back in 1995. What I don't remember is anything specific about my experience. I seem to recall that I sort of liked it, but did not get that much out of it. Between then and now I have seen it a couple of times, but it has always been one of those movies I ever paid much mind to. Seeing it now, really for the first time I probably a decade, is like seeing it with new eyes. I like what I see, but I do not love it. So far as Clive Barker's directorial efforts go, this is no Hellraiser.

July 28, 2012

Movie Review: The Watch (2012)

The Watch is an interesting failure of a movie. It is not a complete waste, but it certainly suffers from poor pacing, being underwritten, and suffering from a poor promotional campaign brought about by that unfortunate incident in Florida (we all know what it is and I would like to avoid talking about it). Yes, those promotional issues began early in its promotion cycle when the movie's title was changed from The Neighborhood Watch to simply The Watch. Not a drastic change, but a necessary one under the circumstances. If only to had stopped there.

July 26, 2012

Blu-ray Review: Spawn (1997)

I was a fan of Spawn from the moment the comic hit the shelves way back in 1992. The 1990's were my heyday when it came to comic books. I had become a fan of Todd McFarlane from his work on Spider-Man and followed him when he split with Marvel, with a group of other comic creators, and helped form Image Comics. So, when his creation, Spawn, arrived, I was hooked. This dark tale of a hero spawned from Hell with limited energy and a destiny to lead Hell's army was just fascinating. It was that and much more, there is a lot of emotion to be found as well. It makes me wish I kept up with the series.

July 25, 2012

Blu-ray Review: Cellular

Cellular has an interesting pedigree. The taut, simple thriller was written by none other than Larry Cohen (well, the story anyway, screenplay credit goes to Chris Morgan who would go on to pen movies like Wanted and Fast Five). You don't know who that is? Cohen is well known among the cult and horror crowds with films such as It's Alive, Q, The Stuff, and Maniac Cop. He occasionally makes forays into more mainstream fare, and this 2004 feature is one of those times. It does not have the gore quotient or cult aspect of much of his earlier work, but it does feature an energetic, if simple, story, that believes in the kindness of strangers.

July 23, 2012

Blu-ray Review: Star Trek: The Next Generation - Season One

Among the fond memories of my childhood are watching reruns of he original Star Trek series with my father. When it came to movies, music, and television, I was generally left on my own to discover what I liked, but Star Trek was a different story. I may not have the encyclopedic knowledge of the die hards, but that makes my fandom no less valid. When 1987 rolled around and I came to learn that a new series of Star Trek was being developed, I was rightfully excited. Star Trek: The Next Generation was a welcome addition to the television landscape.

July 22, 2012

Movie Review: The Dark Knight Rises

Well, it as finally arrived. Let the crying, wailing, and gnashing of teeth commence. The Nolan Batman cycle has reached an end. Of there is one thing we can be happy about, it is that Christopher Nolan did not let the franchise go awry on his watch. Unlike what happened to the Schumacher films on the back end of what Tim Burton began, we will not find nipples on the batsuits or any overly corny dialogue. Nolan approached the character with a specific idea, and now that his tale has been told, it is time for it to end. And what an end it is.

July 15, 2012

In Search of Friday the 13th: A Location Visit (with Pictures!)

In the late 1970's Sean S. Cunningham was looking to make a movie to essentially save his company and hopefully make a little money. He, along with Victor Miller, Ron Kurz, and Steve Miner (among others), ended up changing the face of horror in the process, although the surely did not realize at the time. While movies like Black Christmas and Halloween helped set the formula (not to mention Bava's Twitch of the Death Nerve), it was Friday the 13th and the backing of Paramount that took slasher cinema to the forefront. One of the things that helped the low budget feature work as well as it did was the location shooting, it certainly helped with feeling authenticity.

Friday the 13th: Photo Gallery

Below you will find a selection of photos from the Friday the 13th shooting location trip that my friend, Brian, and I went on. Please see my full report with scene comparisons.

July 11, 2012

Movie Review: Android (1982)

Here is a movie that I just happened to stumble across. I cannot say I had ever heard of it before, but the title seems to be right up my alley, plus it has Klaus Kinski in it. Hard to go wrong there, right? Well, maybe, but fortunately not this time. It turns out, Android was a production of New World Pictures, a company founded by B-movie legend Roger Corman and was made on repurposed sets from other movies. The reason for this was to gain the maximum value out of said sets. Seems to make sense when you make movies on small budgets. It is hardly a new phenomenon, but it is one that makes sense. If you have the sets, use them!

July 10, 2012

Movie Review: The Premature Burial (1962)

Edgar Allan Poe and Roger Corman were a formidable combination back in the 1960's. It is interesting to think what they could have made had they been contemporaries. With the said, I have found I need to brush up on the adaptations that Corman brought to the big screen. I like to say that I am a fan of both artists, but I also freely admit that I need to see a few more of them. The first one I came across is 1962's The Premature Burial. Surprisingly, one that does not star Vincent Price, this time around it is Ray Milland. Let me tell you, Milland turns in one fantastic performance.

July 9, 2012

Movie Review: The Manster (1959)

I am trying to figure out just when I first heard of The Manster (aka The Split). I know I had heard of it some time ago, but I may just be thinking of a joke. You have to admit, it is a bit of an odd title. It is one of those little monster movies that tried to feed off of the waning years of the Universal Monsters era. The film plays little like a mash up of The Wolfman and Dr. Jekyll & Mr. Hyde, but with some more exploitive elements tossed in to spice it up a little bit.

July 8, 2012

Movie Review: Death Trance (2005)

I have to admit, as I watched Death Trance I was never fully invested in it. It is one of those movies I had been meaning to watch for some time (meaning it has been languishing in my Netflix Instant queue). The only reason I actually watched it is because I noticed it was going to be expiring soon. I figured I should just go ahead and get it out of the way. This is not to say it is not worthy of your attention, it is more a way of saying I didn't really get what everyone was doing half the time and just let myself float along the barest surface of plot by the action sequences.

Movie Review: Journey to the Seventh Planet (1962)

As much as I enjoy old B-grade science fiction movies from the 1950's and 1960's, I have realized I have really not seen all that many of them. As a fest step in rectifying that, I stumbled across the 1962 entry Journey to the Seventh Planet. The Sidney Pink (Angry Red Planet, Reptilicus) directed feature stars B-sci fi stalwart (and one time Mr. Shirley Temple) John Agar. With that going for it, the movie turned out to be more than a little dull.

CritCast #21: Quick Takes and Site Changes

July 7, 2012

Movie Review: Frankenhooker (1990)

Every so often, perhaps even more often, I come across a movie that I should have seen a long time ago. It is partially my fault for having found my love for movies relatively late and trying to play catch up on a number of fronts. However, I also blame all of you out there. Well, those of you who are into this sort of thing and are sitting on the secret. I understand it can be cool to know about something that no one else does, but please help me out once in a while. If you could not guess, Frankenhooker is one of those movies that you have all kept secret from me. Shame on you, I say, shame on you.

July 6, 2012

Movie Review: Warrior of the Lost World (1983)

Warrior of the Lost World is one of those movies that will frustrate you to the point of turning it off within five minutes, or those five minutes will have you hooked right through to the finish. I am glad to say I am in the latter category. This is one of those ridiculous 1980-era post apocalyptic movies that is so ridiculous and incomprehensible that you cannot help but be dragged along. I will not defend it as a good movie, but I will defend it as an entertaining one.

July 5, 2012

Movie Review: T.N.T. Jackson (1974)

The letters T.N.T. will always bring AC/DC to mind. It is that rocker in me that always associates those letters with that band. Well, now my mind may ave some choices to make when those letters come up now. You see, I have just experienced T.N.T. Jackson, an exploitation mash up from 1974. It brings blaxploitation, sexploitation, Kung fu, and the Philippines crashing into each other with low budget producer extraordinaire Roger Corman guiding the way.

July 4, 2012

Blu-ray Review: Intruders (2011)

Director Juan Carlos Fresnadillo first came to my attention when he directed the sequel to Danny Boyle's excellent pseudo-zombie film 28 Days Later, the movie was cleverly titled 28 Weeks Later. The sequel was impressive in how it built on the first, felt like it was in the same universe, but also stood on its own as a strong film. When it was announced that his follow up was going to be a psychological thriller, I was certainly interested. It also did not hurt that he was able to attract Clive Owen to play the lead role. It has been four years since he appeared on my radar, was the wait worth it?

Single Minded: Impending Doom - "Deceiver"

It was a few years ago that I first experienced the music of Impending Doom. I would not say it was great, but it was good. It is heavy, punishing, screaming style metal. It is interesting to note that they are Christian deathcore. Yes, you read that right. There are just some combinations I never thought I would come across.

Single Minded: As I Lay Dying "Cauterize"

As I Lay Dying is one of those bands I never thought I would like. Many years ago I wrote them off as just another screamo act. Things began to change when I saw them on one of the Sounds of the Underground tours. I had missed the first few opening acts and found these guys just about to take the stage. All I can say is wow! They were pretty impressive and I have been a fan ever since.

Music DVD Review: Gojira - The Flesh Alive

If you like hard hitting metal to groove to that blends extreme with groove and melody and you aren't listening to Gojira, you are in for a treat. These guys deliver pure, unencumbered, heavy metal. The music they produce is a force of nature. Heavy, unrelenting, skull shattering metal. With The Flesh Alive, they have captured their live set in a few different venues and takes us behind the curtain to he writing process and the touring cycle.

July 3, 2012

Movie Review: The Amazing Spider-Man

It was only ten years ago that director Sam Raimi and star Tobey Maguire brought everyone's favorite wall crawler to the big screen for the first time. The movie was a huge success and spawned two sequels, one regarded as being among the best comic book adaptations ever and one that would be better off forgotten. There was a planned fourth film but creative differences flared up and both Raimi and Maguire left the project. It was then announced that the ex film would be a reboot. Odd for a series that was still so young with its last film barely five years ago.

Movie Review: People Like Us

I remember when I first saw the trailer for People Like Us and thinking that it just looked stupid. I watched what was in the trailer and felt like I saw the whole movie save for the big reveal. If you have seen the trailer you know that the Chris Pine character learns he is the brother (half) to the Elizabeth Banks character but cannot tell her the truth. Blah, blah, blah.

July 2, 2012

Movie Review: Ted

Seth McFarlane makes the leap from the small screen to the large and from the animated to the living and breathing with Ted. The comedy is certainly funny, however it is a little reliant on McFarlane's television formula of going for the outrageous and peppering with pop culture references. There are moments where the heart actually seeps through and it is in these moments that the movie is saved, but it is far from a great film. It is also ironic that it takes a shot at Adam Sandler films while insisting on playing at the same level. Interesting.