July 30, 2013

Movie Review: Fruitvale Station

Fruitvale Station is a pretty interesting film. It s a movie based on the true story of a shooting of a young man in the early hours of New Year's Day in 2009. It is a movie that probably would not exist if not for the viral nature the incident took on with the proliferation of cell phone cameras and footage recorded during the shooting. It also points towards changing society. Still, when you strip it all down, this is a movie about someone struggling with his place in life and a man who loves his family, his mother, his girlfriend, his daughter, but is still a victim of his own impulses and fate.

July 29, 2013

Movie Review: Doom Asylum

I am sure you are all familiar with the phrase "so bad it's good", right? It is pretty common among movie fans. I think you could make an argument that if a movie can be perceived as good in any fashion that would then make it a good movie. Most movies are intended to entertain, correct? So, of it entertains, it did its job and is by default good. Right? Then, I guess you could then discuss whether the reason the movie was good on purpose, or of the film makers lucked into it. That brings us to the movie at hand, Doom Asylum.

July 28, 2013

Movie Review: The Wolverine

There was a time when the prospect of a Wolverine movie really excited me, but after three X-Men movies with Wolverine as a central character and the X-Men Origins: Wolverine movie, well, let's say that our wild man was close to overstaying his welcome. I had a suspicion we may have seen the last of the clawed anti-hero. Then word came down that Darren Aronofsky (The Wrestler, The Fountain) was coming on to helm the follow up. That got my attention and hope for a strong film returned, and then dashed when he dropped off the project.

July 25, 2013

Critical Capsule Two-fer: RED 2 meets R.I.P.D.

A few years ago an adaptation of the DC Comics title RED (standing for Retired Extremely Dangerous) arrived in theaters. It boasted a strong cast that included Bruce Willis, John Malkovich, Helen Mirren, Mary Louise-Parker, as Karl Urban (as well as a cameo by the late Ernest Borgnine). It was well received and proved to be really entertaining, much more so than I was expecting it to be, anyway. Now, we are faced with a pair of films that feel somewhat connected, fighting each other with the same opening weekend.

July 22, 2013

Movie Review: Zombi 3

Note: I originally reviewed this film back in 2007, a recent viewing encouraged me to go back and make some revisions...
Producer Franco Gaudenzi, after the success of Fulci's Zombi 2 (unofficial sequel to Romero's Dawn of the Dead), wanted to get another zombie movie into theaters. He approached Lucio Fulci about making Zombi 3. He agreed. The end result is a film that is only partially Fulci's and one that he has said that he does not particularly like. Now, if the director doesn't like the film, why should we? The answer is we probably shouldn't, and it really isn't all that good. Still, there is something about it that holds an unexplained attraction.

July 21, 2013

Movie Review: The Conjuring

It has to be difficult for a director working within a specific genre. There are some types of films whose formulas and tropes have been so ingrained in pop culture and people so familiar with how they work that it has to be incredibly difficult to work within them and create something effective. It is not always easy to break from the chains of familiarity and transcend what we think a genre film can be. Some people are willing to accept mediocrity. Fortunately we have some filmmakers willing to play in the genres and try things, some new, some old.

July 18, 2013

Movie Review: Burial Ground - The Nights of Terror

Have I ever told you that there is nothing quite like Italian horror from the 1970s and 1980s? Yeah, I know. I probably sound like a broken record. Still, it nears repeating if it gets the word out about these uniquely exceptional films. They stand apart, instantly recognizable, taking outside inspiration and filtering it through their singular subconscious. The latest one to cross my hollow eye sockets is Andrea Bianchi's Burial Ground: The Nights of Terror. It may not be the best example of the genre, but it is one that is certainly worthy of your time.

My Gateway to Italian Horror at DocTerror.com

This week is Italian Horror Week over at DocTerror.com and yours truly was invited to contribute. So, make sure you head over there and read my piece on the movies that got me into Italian Horror. Here is the link. - My Gateway to Italian Horror -, and while you are there, be sure to check out some of the other great columns.

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July 17, 2013

Movie Review: Nightmare City

The more movies I watch, the more I realize I have left to see. It is something that I always know, it is always there, gnawing at the back of my cranium. The good thin about it is that is what leads me to the next movie, and the next and, the one after that. The other day I was looking for Shocking Dark and ended up with Hell of the Living Dead. Hat made me think about another movie I needed to watch, the Umberto Lenzi's classic, Nightmare City.

July 15, 2013

Movie Review: Hell of the Living Dead

As I had a little time to kill last night before going to bed and not wanting to watch anything particularly serious, I set out to watch something from the horror family of Italian lineage. My first thought was to watch the Bruno Mattei/Claudio Fragasso collaboration Shocking Dark. This was mainly because I had watched the James Cameron classic Terminator 2 earlier in the day and Shocking Dark is also known as Terminator 2 (and was out prior to the Cameron film). Sadly, I was unable to find a copy, so ended up with another Mattei/Fragasso team up, Hell of the Living Dead.

July 14, 2013

Movie Review: Pacific Rim

When the year started, there were a few movies I was really looking forward to. These movies included Lords of Salem, Evil Dead, Star Trek: Into Darkness, and the upcoming Elysium. However, there was one movie I kept forgetting about and I do not know why. That movie was, of course, Pacific Rim. How this big robots versus monster movie kept escaping my memory, I will never know. Fortunately, the trailers and promos over the past month or so have made sure that my mind did not forget for long.

July 12, 2013

DVD Review: The Phantom of the Opera - Unmasking the Masterpiece


Every movie fan has a list of shame. There are always some movies that we should have seen considering our chosen hobby, that we have for one reason or another not gotten around to. Among my yet to be seen shamefuls is the Lon Chaney, Sr. version of The Phantom of the Opera. As well as the Jimmy Cagney version, the Robert Englund version, the Dario Argento version..... You get the picture. I have seen it on broadway and the Gerard Butler/Emmy Rossum movie. Does that count for anything?

July 11, 2013

Plugging Doc Terror's Italian Horror Week...

Just a little plug... Dr. Terror is about to embark on his annual Italian Horror Week at DocTerror.com. Below is a promo poster. And you see that little bit that mentions guest writers? Well, I am one of them!




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July 10, 2013

Trailer Park: Oldboy (2013)

To be honest, I never thought it would actually happen. As you know, I am not against remakes, but there are some movies that would appear to be more difficult than others. I figured Oldboy was one of those movies. Then word got out that it was up to be remade. All right, I'm game. Now, the trailer has arrived and I have to say it looks pretty darn good. I am not sure it will be able to top the Park Chan Wook classic.

July 9, 2013

Music Review: Witchcraft - Witchcraft


I am not sure I adequately explain just what it is about this band that hypnotizes me. There are times when I put their discography on a loop and just let it play for hours. I am not always listening to it attentively, but the rhythm and groove is always there. The band was formed back in 2000 and released this self titled debut in 2004. As soon as you hot play and the titular track begins to play, you will transported away from the mundane, into a melding of past and present powered by fuzzy guitar grooves and soaring vocals.

July 8, 2013

Music Review: Black Sabbath - 13

I don't remember just how old I was, but I know I was young. I was not much of a music fan yet, but I had inherited an old receiver and turntable from my father and was listening to some of his old records. Among the stacks I uncovered Black Sabbath's Paranoid. It was unlike anything I had ever heard before and I listened to it over and over again. I remember listening to "Electric Funeral" incessantly. I would later learn the importance of this band and these early recordings. Now, we have new music from these legendary creators of doom.

July 7, 2013

Movie Review: The Lone Ranger (2013)

The Lone Ranger is not a movie I can say I was all that excited for. Sure, some bits from the trailer looked kind of fun and I am generally a fan of Johnny Depp, but there was something about this that just felt off. It seemed as if they were banking too hard on the connections to the Pirates of the Caribbean trilogy (not including that last one). It also seemed like Disney would have been much happier to push this as a Tonto/Johnny Depp movie rather than a Lone Ranger movie. Who is Armie Hammer anyway?

Movie Review: World War Z

Now, it has been a few weeks since I have seen it, but thought I would step back and offer up a few words about it. This isn't exactly going to be a review, with the time that has passed and my terrible inability to take notes that would be doing a disservice to everyone. Still, I thought I would be worthwhile to take a brief moment to go back a spell. Let's begin with simply stating World War Z is a surprisingly good movie. Inventive in some aspects, familiar on others, all while ending as something better than I had anticipated.

July 3, 2013

2013, the First Half: My Favorite Movies

While there have been a lot of movies I have liked this year, I cannot say I have seen a whole lot that cry out to me as potential classics. Still. There are a number of movies that I will gladly sit down and watch over and over. There are also a few that completely caught me off guard. Movies I was not expecting to like as much as I did. I think that is something that we movie lovers always hope for, discovering that over achieving movie, the one that surprises is with its excellence. Hopefully, I will see more of these as we head into the second half of the year.

2013, the First Half: Least Favorites

Where does the time go? Seriously, it seems like just yesterday we were at the dawn of the year with all those potentially awesome movies lay out before us, begging for our attention. Now, 2013 has reached middle age. It is time to take a quick look back at my least favorite movies so far of the year. I have tried to avoid movies I know I won't like, easy targets like Scary Movie 5 and A Haunted House. Still. I do end up seeing movies that are almost destined to appear on lists like these. Without further adieu, let's count down my least favorites from 10 on down to one.