September 30, 2014

Movie Review: The Maze Runner

If there is one genre I am beginning to grow weary of, it is the Young Adult Dystopian Future Novel Adaptations. All right, maybe that isn't a genre, but I think you get what I am getting at. I have not seen all of them, but lately it seems I have not been picking them all that well. It seems that outside of the Hunger Games films, they just don't work for me. One of the recent releases I took in turned out to be a disaster of blandness, that being The Giver. Well, for some reason I decided to brave the darkened theater and went to see The Maze Runner. I left thinking I had made a decent choice; however, the more I think about it, the more I realize it was another bad decision.

September 29, 2014

Movie Marathon that will leave you: Dead til Dawn! (2014)

This past weekend was the third annual Dead til Dawn Drive-In event at the Hi-Way Drive-In in Coxsackie, NY. It was the second time I was able to attend, and just like last year, it was an amazing experience. While, if given a choice I would target an indoor event like Hudson Horror Show, but attending both style events is just a fantastic way to go. There is something about sitting through the night under the stars in the crisp air of early Autumn that just feels right. This two night event boasted 11 films under the night sky, plenty of crazy fun for everyone in attendance.

September 28, 2014

Movie Review: This is Where I Leave You

There are many who would question my decision to go and see This is Where I Leave You. By and large they would be right to raise the question. While at times I do a pretty good job of avoiding certain movies, other times I am sitting through it before I even realize what is happening. I am pretty sure that is what happened here, or I was blinded by a cast that includes Tina Fey and Jason Bateman. You have to admit, that would seem to be a great pairing, plus, add in a supporting cast that has Rose Byrne, Timothy Olyphant, Adam Driver, and Kathryn Hahn, and you are looking pretty good. Just set aside whatever your feelings are for Jane Fonda.

Movie Review: The Zero Theorem

So, last week I had the opportunity to see Terry Gilliam's latest feature on the big screen. Before going any further, I have to recommend that whenever you have the opportunity to see a Gilliam feature in a theater, you should jump at it. Even when he is not at the top of his game, his films are pretty fascinating, either thematically or visually. No matter whether you like it or not, you will have a reaction to it, even if your reaction does not reveal itself in logical fashion. With The Zero Theorem, Terry Gilliam has crafted a film that is as newly Gilliam as it is reminiscent of his past successes. To that end, I enjoyed this, even as I do not love it.

September 24, 2014

DVD Review: The Calling (2014)

A few weeks ago, I was perusing the upcoming weekend movie schedule. I was plotting what movies to see, what order, and if there were any interesting small releases to potentially check out. One of the movies I came across was The Calling. It was playing at a theater about an hour drive away and was the only one that I was potentially interested in driving that far for. It looked interesting, had a good cast, and the trailer seemed to be hiding something. Ultimately, I chose not to make the drive, and now, watching the movie on DVD, I think I made the right decision. This is not a movie worth driving fifteen minutes for, much less an hour.

September 21, 2014

Movie Review: Revenge from Planet Ape (aka Tombs of the Blind Dead)

If you are familiar with Armando de Ossorio's Tombs of the Blind Dead, you know just how slow that movie is. You also know how nicely atmospheric it is, as well as how beautifully designed the blind dead creatures are. What you may not know is that in the late 70's (I believe), it was thought to be a good idea that it receive a new edit, a new title, and be transformed into a Planet of the Apes sequel. It is true. If you are not familiar with either, just know that films (foreign and domestic) were often retitled, re-edited, and made to be something it is not all the time. Often at the discretion of money hungry drive in owners, or “creative” distributors.

Movie Review: Tusk (2014)

It is interesting to watch Kevin Smith attempt to recreate himself as some sort of quasi-horror director. Through his first two attempts he has not been successful; however, this does not make his output bad by any stretch. There is certainly something of interest to be found in these films, if not the films themselves in their entirety. His latest, Tusk, brings to mind such body horror films as Human Centipede, American Mary, and perhaps even May, Frankenhooker, and Videodrome. While I prefer all of those to this, there is something to be said about Smith's take on body and surgical horror. Of course, the first word to enter my mind leaving the theater was: “meh.”

September 18, 2014

Movie Review: Red State

Well, I finally got around to watching Red State and while I give credit to Kevin Smith for reaching and trying for something a little ambitious and drastically different than his career so far has delivered, I cannot help but respond with a resounding: “meh.” I know, that doesn't sound all that good, but the movie is not great either. It is certainly a step up from Cop Out, but it feels lacking in many areas. It is kind of like taking a couple of different films and smashing them together in an effort to shuffle them (similar to Green Lantern). The end result is a movie that has no consistent tone or interesting character. It is certainly watchable, but for how long?

September 17, 2014

Movie Review: American Ninja

In the 1980's ninja flicks were big business. It did not matter if you were a legit martial artist or not, if you looked like someone who could do it, someone would put you in a movie. The Cannon Group took advantage of this fact and churned out a series of ninja movies throughout the 80's. After making a pair of Sho Kosugi classics (Enter the Ninja and Revenge of the Ninja), they shifted gears and turned State-side for their lead. This resulted in the original “classic” in American Ninja starring Michael Dudikoff. A movie with a star featuring little actual martial arts experience, but able to fake it well enough for a mainstream film. Dudikoff has since trained in a number of martial arts.

September 13, 2014

Movie Review: The Drop (2014)

The Drop is an interesting movie. It is not a great one, nor is it one that is likely to be remembered by hordes of cinema fans in years to come, but it is also not one that is likely to ever fade away. It will be first notable in a way similar to The Imaginarium of Dr. Panassus as the final film from a good actor who passed before his time. Heath Ledger for Parnassus and James Gandolfini for The Drop. Fortunately, both films are good and benefit from their respective late actors presence. Now, while I did enjoy the movie, it still feels like a movie with the masquerade of depth rather than actual depth.

September 10, 2014

Movie Review: Hitch-Hike (1977)

The world of cult, exploitation, and horror cinema holds a wealth of treasures. These movies have no limits, know no bounds, well, except for budgetary ones, but so what? It is fascinating to watch what a writer and director do to try and make interesting, involving, and boundary pushing films. Now, I am not sure that this particular film exactly qualifies as boundary pushing, but it is one that reminded me that you never know where you are going to uncover a gem. It is a movie that peels the rug back on ugliness, it shows its grimy underbelly to the world, and it could care less if you approve.

September 8, 2014

Con Review: Mr. Hush Weekend of Fear II

It seems that there are new conventions popping up all the time. In my area it is getting a little hard to keep up with them, picking and choosing where to spend my hard earned dollars. I admit that I love going to these, I love collecting autographs, I love getting a moment or two to spend chatting with the guests, I love the friends who go with me, or whom I have made going to these shows, and I love the atmosphere. I also know that there has been a lot of talk about the changing culture, escalating costs, and the like. I see where you are coming from, and I wish I was going to shows in the glory days. Still, I love conventions.

September 5, 2014

Movie Review: Anguish (1986)

So, the other night I was in the mood to watch a movie. Not just any movie, mind you. I was looking for something a little bit older, something I hadn't seen before, and something with the potential to be a little weird. My search stumbled across a little movie from 1986 that I had never heard of that might fit the bill. The movie is called Anguish, seems like a winner based on the name alone, right? It is a thriller/horror oddity that features Zelda Rubenstein (Poltergeist) and was written and directed by Spanish director Bigas Luna. It is one of those movies that probably would not get a theatrical release today, and one that makes me wish I saw more like this theatrically.

September 1, 2014

Movie Review: The Giver

I admit that the current trend of YA novel adaptations has done little to capture my imagination. I think the Hunger Games has done a fine job at adapting the ideas and stories into the visual medium of the movies. This is not something that translates across the board. Frankly, many of the movies all look like the same thing to me. Anyway, I did go out and see The Giver, against my better judgment, and I was surprised to discover a movie with some interesting ideas. However, I was not surprised to find a boring and bland film. It is not something I can easily explain, but I will give it a little bit of a shot.