July 28, 2015

Movie Review: Southpaw (2015)

I am having a hard time writing about Southpaw. I have tried writing this opening paragraph fifteen times already. I think the problem is that it is one of those movies designed to appeal to the mainstream audience, deliver a solid time, but not stretch any boundaries. It feels a bit more like a product than an artistic endeavor. I walked out of it without feeling all that attached to it. I was surrounded by people who seemed to love it, and on on hand I wish I saw what they saw, then I thought if I saw what they saw, it would have been a different movie altogether.

July 27, 2015

Movie Review: Angst (1983)

Some movies you can prepare for, some you can't. The majority of mainstream type movies that target the wide audience, the summer blockbuster, are easy to get ready for. They may be big, brash, and entertaining, but they are not necessarily going to be challenging. Obviously, this is not always the case, but I think you know what I am saying. On the other hand, there are movies that challenge you, not necessarily intellectually, but your emotions, your sanity, perhaps even good taste. They leave you in a dark mood, perhaps disgusted, horrified, unsettled, even if you have seen it before. The movie I just saw is this latter type.

July 26, 2015

Movie Review: The Vatican Tapes

A few weeks ago I saw a trailer for something called The Vatican Tapes. I had not heard of it before, but it looked like another found footage type movie. I filed the information away in the back if my brain and figured I would check it out if/when it came around. As luck would have it, the movie did come to the local multiplex, so off I went as a good little horror fan. Opening night, I sat in that theater with two other people. That was not a good sign. I mean, I know there was not a lot of advertising, but usually horror fans find out about these things and at least make some sort of showing. Anecdotal evidence, but I suspect the results were similar elsewhere.

July 22, 2015

Movie Review: Trainwreck (2015)

I like Judd Apatow. There is something about the films he directs, writes, and/or produces that find a way to hit home. He has a knack for combining the believable with the absurd, the vulgar with the sublime. He crafts relationships (or helps guide their creation) that feel genuine and are entertaining. With his latest directorial effort, he teams with Amy Schumer, the rising star of comedy, whom I know next to nothing about. She wrote the script, he directed the film, and Trainwreck was the result. Frankly, I had no idea what to expect, basically I was just hoping it wouldn't live up to its title.

July 21, 2015

Movie Review: Ant-Man

Tell me, and be honest, are you getting a little sick of superhero movies? I feel like I am on the cusp of falling into the abyss of writing them off. I do not think I will ever actually go over, but there is always that possibility. I feel like they (Marvel, mostly) map out their universe too far in advance and while the movies may entertain, they are starting to hit a level of diminishing returns for me. The map sucks some of the drama and danger many of the characters are in. Sure, we may know the hero isn't going to die, but knowing the actors are under contract for X more movies sort of hurts it. Enter Ant-Man.

July 20, 2015

Screening Report: The Jaws of Death (7/19/15 Alamo Drafthouse, Yonkers, NY)

Here I am again with another one of those “for the love of 35mm and the horror community” opens that you have all come to love from me. All right, perhaps not, but that does not make it any less accurate. There really is something special about getting to see some of these crazy old movies in a theater from these scratched up prints. There is history there, these are not movies that had thousands of prints struck. It was mentioned during the introduction that this might have had 50 prints that were played regionally and traveled around. I doubt there were any new ones made, so this is very likely one of those original traveling prints. How's that for history?

July 18, 2015

Movie Review: House with 100 Eyes

Found footage. The horror style du jour that has finally been losing some steam in recent years. It is not that it is a bad tool to use, it is just that you need to apply some sort of creativity to it. Just look at the recent movie The Gallows, that was a bad implementation of the found footage idea. Now, look at House with 100 Eyes, it is not exactly a good movie, but it makes good use of the found footage style. That should also tell you if you are interested in this, some people just don't like this style of film making. That's not a bad thing, just a choice.

July 16, 2015

Screening Report: Terminator 2 - Shocking Dark (7/15/15 Alamo Drafthouse, Yonkers, NY)

I am sure you are getting tired of me talking about how great it is to find 35mm screenings of cult, classic, and forgotten films. Please, do not hold it against me, but there is a good possibility you will be hearing it from me again, and likely many more times beyond that. There is just something about discovering these movies or revisiting old favorites that just gets the blood pumping. Now, this screening was just as much fun, but it was not a film screening, oh no, this was something altogether different. This was a projection of a VHS tape. Yes, you read that correctly. VHS.

July 13, 2015

Movie Review: The Tribe (Plemya)

There are some movie experiences that defy explanation or even description. I remember going to a Bollywood movie (I believe it was Bbuddha Hoga Terra Baap) and realizing a few minutes in that it was not subtitled. I had a moment of panic and then a decision, should I stay or should I go? I decided to stay. No, I did not understand the language, but it was told broadly enough that I could get what was happening. I also recall when Mel Gibson wanted to release the The Passion of the Christ without subtitles, and the outcry that led to. Now we have a movie that is almost designed not to be understood. The movie is The Tribe and it is unlike anything I have seen before.

Movie Review: Self/Less

Here is a movie that does not appear to be going anywhere at the box office. Despite having a decent hook and cast, the advertising has been non-existent, and despite a top ten opening weekend, it seems likely that it will fade into obscurity with relative ease and quickness. Now, is Self/Less deserving of that fate? Not really, at least not that quickly. The movie is moderately entertaining, moves at a good pace and is just a decent time at the theater. It does not really have legs for any long term success, but that doesn't make it any less entertaining.

July 10, 2015

Movie Review: The Gallows (2015)

The next great horror icon is here, his name is Charlie. What makes Charlie so scary? Well, he waits for you to stage a high school play, locks you inside, and proceeds to hang you with his noose. Or something like that. This is what they would like you to believe. You know, I had some hope for this one, I'm not sure why. I saw the trailer and it looked relatively interesting, perhaps even a little scary. Of course, I was wrong. I am not usually quite this straightforward so early in a review, but I suspect this is not going to go all that long. If I was watching this on Netflix, I would have turned it off quite early.

July 9, 2015

Hudson Horror Show Invades the Alamo! (Again!!)

If you know me, you have probably heard me talk about the Hudson Horror Show. There really is no doubt about this. Over the past five years, this biannual show has become one of my most anticipated events of the year. I have become friends with the great guys who run the show, as well as seemingly everybody else who goes to or vends there. I am hard pressed to think of a better event for horror and exploitation fans than these. Movies and trailers projected on the big screen from 35mm film in a theater full of like-minded fools. err, folks? What's not to love?

July 8, 2015

Movie Review: Splinter (2008)

There was this movie I wanted to see a few years back, but never did. I remember seeing trailers for it in theaters, but it never came. Not around my neck of the woods, anyway. Over time I forgot about it and the desire to see it all but disappeared, since I did not remember anything about it. Well, it turns out the movie was Splinter and my chance and desire to see it returned as I found it streaming on a new horror movie service. So, I clicked on the play button and watched this little horror movie, and guess what? I liked it! No, it is nothing particularly revolutionary, but it is quite entertaining and nicely executed.

July 6, 2015

Movie Review: Terminator - Genisys

The Terminator was a franchise that once held a world of promise, and before that it was a bad ass science fiction/action film that took cues from the horror realm to make an involving and terrifying film that thrilled you at the same time it scared the wits out of you. Seriously, that first film was a legitimate horror movie. The sequel arrived seven years later and delivered a hugely satisfying action film that expanded the universe while remaining true to the toy box opened in the first. Now, thirty-one years after that first film, the Terminator is back and ready to thrill audiences once again. Sadly, it is not to be.

July 5, 2015

Blu-ray Review: It Follows

Do you ever feel like someone is following you? Get that creepy feeling up the back of your spine? I would be really surprised if you haven't. After watching It Follows, you will likely experience that sensation. It is not really a pleasant one, a sense of dread that you cannot shake. It is not unlike the spectre of death. It is inevitable, there is no escaping it, no talking to it, no bargaining, it just keeps coming. With It Follows, you get a visual representation of death, a metaphor for STDs. It is creepy and you have no escape. That creepy feeling has followed it right out of the theater and into your home.

The Ranker: Megadeth

I am not sure why, but the other day I got in my head that I should rank Megadeth’s albums. Not all of them, just the studio albums. They are the most prolific of the so-called “Big Four” with 14 studio albums (they also have four live albums and a couple greatest hits type packages). The next most prolific is Slayer, who are about to release their twelfth album, then Anthrax with ten, and lastly Metallica with nine. Megadeth does have their fifteenth release coming in the not too distant future. In any case, I really like the band and their consistency of releasing records, despite the revolving door of musicians.

July 3, 2015

2015: Best First Time Viewings of Non-New Release Movies

In addition to all the new movies I go to, I watch that many more at home. With so many Blu-rays, DVDs, Netflix, and theatrical screenings of older films, I have a lot of different avenues to go down to see movies. Some of these are great, some are terrible,but they all have one thing in common, me. Below is my list of favorite/best films I have seen for the first time this year that are not new releases. I am happy to say I have knocked a few off of my list of shame, which will likely always be a mile long. Anyway…..

July 2, 2015

2015: Worst "Films" of the First Half

Now, you can’t have the good without the bad and I have seen some bad movies inside the theater walls this year. Still, I feel like I have done a pretty good job avoiding some obvious clunkers. Among those I managed to avoid this year are 50 Shades of Grey, The Longest Ride, The Wedding Ringer, The Boy Next Door, Hot Pursuit, Child 44, and The D Train. Of course, maybe I am wrong and those are all amazing movies. Maybe one day I will find out. In any case, here are the current five movies residing at the bottom of my list:

2015: Best Movies of the First Half

The first half of 2015 is over with. Can you believe it? I have to say, it brought some really good films with it, including a number of surprises. One of the surprises is that the new Avengers movie didn’t came near the top ten. I thought for sure that was going to be a great one. On the other hand, I was surprised by some movies rating as highly as they did. Spy, for example, and Age of Adaline. Neither top ten worthy, but both surprisingly good. Anyway, this list is based on my favorite movies that I saw in a theater since January 1, 2015 that were also 2015 releases. So, what made the list? Read on, you may be surprised by what you find..….