February 25, 2015

Movie Review: The Turnpike Killer

There seem to be a lot of filmmakers out there intent on recapturing past glories. And by past glories, I mean stuff us genre fans have come to love about the past. Examples would be Tarantino's Death Proof as an ode to the grindhouse, and Adam Green's Hatchet series, paying homage to slashers. The problem is that horror, at least mainstream horror, is full of ironic touches and references. To make a true grindhouse type film is a chore, the classics were made with genuine earnestness, not made as a joke or to be funny. Now along comes The Turnpike Killer. It is not mainstream, it's not ironic, and it is not nice. This is grindhouse era exploitation.

February 24, 2015

Movie Review: Hot Tub Time Machine 2

Nearly five years ago a little, unassuming movie arrived in theaters with the absolutely ridiculous title of Hot Tub Time Machine. It still sounds silly. Right? It does, doesn't it? It sounds really goofy and probably really bad. Surprisingly, that movie was really quite good. I guess it had a decent enough of a theatrical run and a solid DVD market that Paramount figured a sequel would be a safe bet. The problem is that it took five years to come out and also that it arrives missing one of its stars. John Cusack did not return for this trip, in his place we have Adam Scott. So, was a sequel really needed? Is it worth checking out?

February 18, 2015

Movie Review: Mr. Jones

I am actually a little surprised to say this, but I am getting a bit tired of foud footage movies. Sure, I still like the good ones and I am still willing to give them the benefit of the doubt, but I think some fatigue is starting to settle in. The gimmick can be an effective format, but, I don't know, it is becoming a bit predictable. Even with those thoughts in the back of my mind, I took a stab at Mr. Jones. The movie proved to be interesting, to a degree, but sort of reinforced some of the things that are pushing me away from the style. Still, I think it is a movie worth giving a shot to, it is a blend of good and bad, resulting in a compelling mediocrity.

February 16, 2015

Movie Review: Rape Squad (1974)

The 1970's were a wild and crazy time. While I do not remember much of the decade do to my youth, but reliving it through the movies, well dang, it was a free for all. You could pretty much make a movie about anything you wanted, make it as sleazy and over the top as you want, make it gritty, unsavory, disgusting, anything. You would likely be able to find a home in the grindhouse/drive-in scene at the time. Think about it, what are the chances of getting a movie made called Rape Squad these days? Nevermind what it is about, the title alone would be enough to get you black listed. Of course, it did get re-released as Act of Vengeance, but still...

February 15, 2015

Movie Review: Kingsman - The Secret Service

When I first saw a trailer for Kingsman: The Secret Service, I was not sure what it was going for; however, seeing that Matthew Vaughn was listed as director, I was certainly interested. The guy has a solid track record, with movies like Layer Cake, Stardust, Kick-Ass, and X-Men: First Class on his resume. The big question going in was what he would bring to this. No, I was not aware of the comic book origins, but it seems to make sense with the over top nature of the tale. It strikes me as a blending of movies like Layer Cake and Kick-Ass, with the result being a spy movie and superhero movie being rammed into each other.

Movie Review: The Spongebob Movie - Sponge Out of Water

Let me say, right up front, that my exposure to the Spongebob Squarepants phenomenon is limited to the two movies (and I really do not remember much of the first) and a few clips here and there. I have never seen a full episode of the show. Something tells me that I would probably get a kick out of it if I were to watch it. With that said, The Spongebob Movie: Sponge Out of Water was pretty brilliant. Seriously, this movie is a genius piece of demented stream of consciousness. It has the great lesson of teamwork towards a positive conclusion, but is just crazy enough to entertain all age groups and never feels like it is preaching. Of course, it may induce some ADHD-like symptoms, but I found they wore off quickly enough.

Movie Review: Cut! (2014)

Snuff films, legend or reality? I don't know, I only hope they remain in the realm of legend. I would never want to know, definitively, that things like that actually exist. Now, on the other hand, films that simulate them or pretend to be making them are a different thing altogether. Things like 8mm (you remember that Nicolas Cage movie, right?) and Mute Witness (underrated thriller that it is) are examples of this. Now we have Cut!, a movie that devolves into snuff film making and brings together a couple of recent trends in horror, torture porn (hate that term, but you know what I am talking about) and found footage. The end result is interesting, although it takes a little while to get going.

February 10, 2015

Movie Review: Violets Bloom at an Empty Grave

Over the past few years I have come to the realization that there is nothing quite like Italian horror of the 1970's and 1980's. In particular, I have become a big fan of Lucio Fulci. Granted, I have only seen a handful of his films, but his horror output is second to none, delivering some of the move surreal nightmares ever put to the screen. With that in mind, I approached watching this short, Violets Bloom at an Empty Grave. It is a short horror film written and directed by Chris Milewski (under the name Luciano Imperoli), and it delivers a nicely surreal tale that brings Fulci to mind.

February 9, 2015

Movie Review: Jupiter Ascending

You know, every once in awhile I watch a movie that I do not feel like writing about. Well, it is probably more than once in awhile, but you get the point. Still, there are times when I feel a little obligated to put some words down on it. This is one of those times.

February 8, 2015

Movie Review; Seventh Son

Today is born the seventh one, Born of woman the seventh son, And he in turn of a seventh son, He has the power to heal, He has the gift of the second sight, He is the chosen one, So it shall be written, So it shall be done, Seventh son of a seventh son, Seventh son of a seventh son, Seventh son of a seventh son, Seventh son of a seventh son. Oh, wait, what? This isn't an Iron Maiden concert? That explains why Julianne Moore is here. It is a shame, I suspect that a concert would have been more fun. I guess I really should say something about this big medieval fantasy tale of knights, swords, witches and monsters. Hey, that sounds like fun.

Movie Review: Don't Go in the Woods

Before really getting into this, I think we should thank Vinegar Syndrome for unearthing, restoring, and releasing some long forgotten films. Without them, I do not think we would ever be talking about a screening, much less a Blu-ray release, of a movie like Don't Go in the Woods. It is not the sort of film that a widespread mainstream audience is going to be clamoring for, but it has a certain audience, an audience that may not be aware of just how much they need this movie. I have to be honest, I did not think that I needed this movie until I saw it projected on the big screen. I need this movie in my life.

February 6, 2015

Movie Review: The Town that Dreaded Sundown (2014)

The Town that Dreaded Sundown, The Town that Dreaded Sundown. Has a ring to it, doesn't it? It is one of those titles that stuck in my head the first time I heard it. That is sat, every once in awhile floating to the surface to remind me that it was there. It was a long time before I got to see it, yes, it was released back in 1976, but it took awhile for a release to find its way into my possession and longer still until I got to watch. As it turns out, I did not like it as much as I thought I was going to, but it had some really good stuff. Now we are faced with a remake, which bypassed a big theatrical release. That cannot be good, can it?

February 5, 2015

Blu-ray Review: The Zero Theorem

Terry Gilliam is an interesting filmmaker. I have not seen all of his films, fewer still on the big screen, but given the opportunity, you should check them out in any fashion that you can. His latest release is not is best, but it is still an entertaining excursion. It is called The Zero Theorem and it is rather fascinating. 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.

February 4, 2015

Blu-ray Review: Horns

Looking for something a little bit different? Something that dances on the fringe of the mainstream? Horns may be just the movie for you. Sound like a commercial, don't I? I really do not mean to, it is just that this movie is a little strange, a little odd, certainly experimental, and yet it remains wholly accessible. It is the kind of movie that should be championed on the big screen, but because it is different and not like everything else, it is left behind to find an audience on home video. This is a good film with an interesting central character and an execution that keeps the audience involved to the end.

February 3, 2015

Movie Review: Faces (2014)

You have got to admit, when approaching a low to no budget horror movie, you have got to at least be a little bit scared. It is true that talent has to come from somewhere and also that talented individuals can shine with little around to pick up the slack. Still, there is so much junk out there that it might be a daunting task, one which will scare even the heartiest of cinema junkies away, or at the least, leave them twitching from one too many no-budget zombie farces. On the other hand, all it takes is one good movie to make it all worthwhile. Is Faces that one good movie? Perhaps...

February 2, 2015

Movie Review: Supremacy (2015)

So, while I was perusing the local theater listings for the then in the future weekend, I came across a movie I had not heard of before opening at the local second-run theater. The movie is called Supremacy and it was set to have it's theatrical debut at a second-run theater. I have to admit to being a little bit confused. It is not often you find a first-run movie there. Anyway, I went and saw it opening night and found I was the only person in the theater. On one hand, private showings like that are great, but on the other hand, it was a new movie and no one was there!

Movie Review: The Loft (2015)

When a movie sits on a shelf for a few years before being released to theaters, it is not usually a good sign. Sometimes it is due to a movie caught up in politics, or is a difficult one to market, or sometimes it really just isn't a good movie. I suspect that this one crosses a few lines. The Loft finished shooting way back in 2011 and has sat around until now, picked up by Open Road (a distributor backed by Regal Entertainment Group) for distribution. To be sure, this is not a great film, but it is certainly entertaining. The Loft is a sorta erotic thriller that is light on the erotic and built on the twist of mistrust that builds between friends.

Movie Review: Phase IV (1974)

I love discovering awesome movies by accident, and that is just how I stumbled across Phase IV. At some point I added it to my Netflix queue, and there is sat until I noticed it was about to expire. So, with nothing else planned to watch, I selected it, pressed play, and sat back. What I experienced was nothing like what I expected and pretty much everything I liked. All I really knew about the film was that it was from 1974 and was a man versus nature film, specifically ants. I mistakenly thought the film was going to be more along the lines of Them!, but was pleasantly surprised to find something wholly different.