August 31, 2014

Movie Review: Calvary (2014)

I find it funny, the first time I heard of this movie was a couple of months back from my mother. It is rare that she hears about a film before me, but she did. It was being reviewed on the news and she told me it was very well reviewed. Now some time has passed and the small, traveling release has made its way to my neck of the woods and I decided to give it a go. Pretty much all I knew going in was that it was well reviewed, it featured a strong performance from Brendan Gleeson, and was about a priest. I am rather glad I only knew that, the movie reveals itself to be rather engrossing, and not more than a little depressing.

Movie Review: As Above, So Below

I remember first seeing the trailer for As Above, So Below and thinking it actually looked pretty good. The catacombs under Paris seem like a great location to set a horror film. Just thinking about it conjures up all manner of crazy ideas and imagery. Just think about being underneath an old city like Paris and being surrounded by the skeletons of millions of people, add in the patterns made with the bones and just the creepy idea of bone lined tunnels and you cannot help but get a little shiver. So, the fact that we got a movie set there is interesting in and of itself. Now, while I do not completely hate the movie, I so wish that it were better.

August 28, 2014

Cinema by the Letter: B

Everybody loves lists, right? People make lists for everything. Best of something, worst of something, forgotten somethings, and overlooked somethings. Why should I be any different? I already do best and worst movies, so why not do some other types of lists? This list based column will see me pick a letter and then list ten movies I like that begin with said letter. They may not be my favorite, they may not be the best, but they will always be movies I like starting with that letter. Use it as a jumping off point and add other movies you like with that letter. Keep it positive, this is not a time to judge, just share the love.

August 26, 2014

Movie Review: Let's Be Cops

I have to wonder if anyone else thinks it is weird that I was really looking forward to Let's Be Cops? I suspect if any of you know me, you do not find this weird (perhaps odd or questionable), whereas if you do not know me, you likely find this to be very weird. I will admit to finding the trailer humorous and the leads a couple of likable fellows. Combine that with the lack of good comedies this year (Neighbors? Please. A Million Ways to Die in the West? No. Sex Tape? Try again.) and you just don't have much to go on and a desire to laugh at the movies. Don't ask me why I thought this would succeed, but I am glad it does.

Movie Review: Sin City - A Dame to Kill For

Nine years ago writer/director Robert Rodriguez teamed up with writer/artist Frank Miller to adapt Miller's Sin City tales to the big screen. The hihly stylized film went on to become my favorite film of 2005. It also resulted in Rodriguez quitting the DGA, as they would not allow him to share directorial credit with Miller. So, rather than leave Miller out, he left the guild and kept Miller at his side. It was a standup choice that paid off with a great film. Since then fans have been clamoring for a followup. Unfortunately, it took nine years to get it made. Frankly, I am unsure why it took so long, but I am glad it finally arrived, even if many seem lukewarm to its arrival. My recommendation is get out there and show it some love.

August 23, 2014

Monster Mania XXVIII - Another Weekend in the Books.

Twice a year there is an event held in Cherry Hill, NJ, that has become something like a second home to me. The Monster Mania Convention is a gathering of horror and pop culture celebrities, vendors, and fans that becomes a family over the course of three days. This latest edition of the convention was no different. I was there for all three days and met old friends, made new friends, hung out with folks, got some cool merchandise, got a bunch of autographs and generally speaking had an absolute blast What you will see below are a whole mess of pictures from the event.

August 12, 2014

Reviews in Retrograde: Black Dog

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.

August 10, 2014

Movie Review: Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (2014)

So, I went out to see the new Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles reboot. The movie was produced by Michael Bay through his Platinum Dunes company (the same company that has given use the remakes of Texas Chainsaw Massacre, A Nightmare on Elm Street, and Friday the 13th). If you look at their track record and think they may be taking the Iback to their dark and violent roots, let me just squash that thought. The movie is also being produced in conjunction with Nickelodeon films and the finished product is definitely geared towards the younger set. This is probably the best direction as most incarnations have had the younger generation in mind, this is decidedly not for the nostalgia seekers hoping the characters of their youth have matured with them.

Show Review: Hudson Horror Show IX - The Lady Maniac is Burning Max (it's a Double Mystery!)

They said it couldn't happen, they said it would never occur again, they were confident in their victory, but they were so, so wrong. Yes, things were touch and go for a little while, but things are back on track and stronger than ever. Even with a shorter window for promotion, the Hudson Horror team pulled it off, delivering another sold out show. It is starting to become rather commonplace to report on a sold out Hudson Horror show, but it really is somethng special. The show brings together the Northeast horror family, hailing from multiple states, but all bonded by that special love that cannot be taken away, cannot be written off, and will not be denied.

August 6, 2014

Movie Review: Return of the Living Dead 3

After spending an evening revisiting the classic Return of the Living Dead and discovering that I had never seen Return of the Living Dead Part II, I decided to complete the trifecta and watch Return of the Living Dead 3 (which I know I had seen before). There is nothing like spending some time with some zombies, sure they are pretty much everywhere these days, but that has not diminished their effectiveness, it just might take a touch longer to uncover the good ones. In any case, the third return film is my second favorite of the three (we won't bother with those two that were on TV later on). This one also changes the formula, while remaining a recognizable part of the series.

August 5, 2014

Movie Review: Return of the Living Dead Part II

So, the other night I decided to spend some time with old friends and popped in my Blu-ray of Return of the Living Dead. This movie, from Dan O'Bannon (Alien), John Russo (Night of the Living Dead), and others, is an absolute classic. The zombie comedy comes out firing on all cylinders, delivering laughs and scares alongside some of the most recognizable characters in all of horror. It was a great start to the darkening evening. I decided to follow it up with the 1988 sequel, Return of the Living Dead Part II. Then something happened that I did not expect, I did not recognize anything. I don't think I've ever seen the movie before! I know, right?

August 3, 2014

Movie Review: Guardians of the Galaxy

It seemed like it was just yesterday that Marvel was launching their movie studio with the first Iron Man movie. Who could have predicted how high they would fly? Certainly not I. On top of that, I never would have guessed that they would have taken their cinematic universe to the cosmic level that they have. Well, we got a taste of it with the Chitauri in The Avengers. Now we have Marvel going full throttle into deep space with Guardians of the Galaxy. This movie may not be the best of the bunch, but it has a lot going for it and it is one of the most fun movies I have seen this year. Seriously, it is a lot of fun.

Movie Review: The No Mercy Man

The post-Vietnam War/PTSD/revenge flick is not a mix that I am all that intimately familiar with. With that said, my limited experience puts Rolling Thunder at the top of the heap, that is a seriously awesome movie. By comparison, The No Mercy Man, which predates Rolling Thunder by a number of years, feels like the lite version. It is much like the relationship between Man from Deep River and Jungle Holocaust. This is not to speaking of any of these films, it just shows the development of early exercises in a style compared to the lengths that others take it to a little later. A progression in extreme, if you will.

Movie Review: FleshEater

FleshEater is a movie I have been aware of for many years now, but had never gotten around to seeing. Frankly, it was never really that high on my must see list. Granted, I have never really investigated it that deeply, but I never ears that much positive,stuff about it. Even this day, watching it in the midst of a 35mm marathon (under the title Revenge of the Living Zombies), I heard some mixed word on it. One friend loves it and said it was the best of he day, while another quickly dismisses it as trash. Personally, I think the answer falls somewhere in the middle, although it does lean towards the rash end of the spectrum in my estimation.

Movie Review: The Night of a Thousand Cats

The Night of a Thousand Cats is a weird movie, there really is no questioning that. The film is virtually plotless and moves along like an art house film. It can be seen as an existential rumination on the nature of sanity, or the dangerous art of seduction, or how eclectic collections can be the result of mental disorder. Or you can just watch it as a oddball movie about a psycho with a helicopter, a castle, and a lot of cats. It is not a move with a lot of middling feelings on, you will have a reaction to it. In most cases the reaction is distaste, or perhaps boredom. I think I like it, but it is certainly a trying film.