October 16, 2018

Movie Review: Venom (2018)

It has been a long time since I have really followed Venom in the comics. That really goes for pretty much all comic books, these days I get my superheroes on the big screen rather than the printed page. With that said, there is likely a good portion of you out there that have now discounted anything that I have to say about a Venom movie. So be it. Even without an extensive knowledge, I still have some thoughts of this as a movie, with, perhaps, a bit of what I do know tossed in. Now, would it surprise you to know that I actually liked the movie? Granted, it could be because my expectations were on the low side, or it may be that I don’t expect greatness from every movie.

October 13, 2018

A Haunting Experience at The Terrordome

I love this time of year. The changing of the leaves, the chill in the are, the appearance of Halloween decorations in stores, not to mention the increased focus on horror movies. In addition to all of that, there is the annual return of haunted attractions. Granted, I do not take advantage of them all that often, but I do enjoy them. This year I had the opportunity to go to an attraction I never knew was there, despite existing for something like 20 years, and it is walking distance from where I work! How I had never heard of it before, I will never know. The attraction is called The Terrordome, and while there is no dome involved, there certainly is plenty of terror to go around!

September 24, 2018

Movie Music: Halloween - "The Shape Returns"

Any new take on a classic is usually met with a cacophony of derision. It’s true, most of them do fail to live up to expectations. I also find that many just can’t in no matter what, before they get made people clamor for something new, when that happens they wail for something familiar, or vice versa. In any case, I am trying not to get overly excited for this new Halloween, but I do like what I have seen so far. Now, I can add what I hear to the list, as this first unveiled track for the new film is pretty great.

September 23, 2018

Event Recap: The 5th Exhumed Guilty Pleasures Marathon (Alamo Drafthouse, Yonkers, NY, 9/22/18)

There are a few cinematic events that are well worth looking forward to. This goes beyond your anticipated new releases. This goes beyond what shows on the screen (although that does matter), it is about the people who run the event and the people that attend the event. For me, Hudson Horror Show will forever sit at the top of the list, but another that is among the best is Exhumed Films Guilty Pleasures Marathon. This is the Exhumed show that sees the Philadelphia collective travel away from their home city and travel to Yonkers to screen some well received titles from their other events at the Alamo Drafthouse. The guys behind Exhumed are a great bunch of people and their collection of 35mm prints has proven to be a great resource to other shows, such as Hudson Horror, not to mention being an inspiration. Also, the friends that go to the event are my extended family and bring another level of life and energy to the day.

September 20, 2018

Movie Review: Peppermint

When people ask me what I thought of Peppermint, my answer is always the same. I tell them that the movie is nothing but a collection of missed opportunities. On some levels I liked it, but on other, more, levels, I just did not. I was relatively excited to see it, too. There are things to like about it, but when you watch it you will notice things, things they should have done, beats they should have taken, moments of genuine character they should have let happen. After awhile it just becomes annoying. However, anecdotal evidence proves that the people around me enjoyed it considerably more than I did.

September 19, 2018

Movie Review: Dr. Butcher, M.D. (aka Zombie Holocaust)

What is it about Italian genre film making of the 70’s and 80’s that makes it so attractive? There is just something about those movies that I find irresistible. Yes, they run the gamut in terms of quality from all-time classics to utterly atrocious, but they have a distinct look and feel to them. They also seemed to have cornered the market on ripping off other movies, from blatant remakes to unofficial sequels, whose connection to their predecessors is tenuous at best. Then there are the times where they rip themselves off. There are the likes of Zombi 2 (made as a sequel to Dawn of the Dead), Alien 2: On Earth (somehow this is supposed to be connected to Alien), and Star Crash (a clear attempt to cash in on Star Wars), then you have Dr. Butcher, MD, aka Zombie Holocaust.

September 18, 2018

Movie Review: Revenge (2018)

Rape/Revenge movies have a long and grimy tradition in the cinema world. These movies don’t glorify the prior act, while putting the latter on a pedestal. This is the way it should be, rape is in no way shape or form a defensible act; however, in the form of a rape/revenge movie it can become quite exhilarating to watch the woman overcome and have her revenge on her attackers, thus destroying the male gaze. The films in this genre can be as grimy as they come, like House on the Edge of the Park and I Spit on Your Grave, they can be unsettlingly artistic like Ms. 45 and Irreversible, they can even be popular mainstream films like Death Wish and Kill Bill, Vol. 1. Of late, there have not been all that many that I have been aware of. Now, I have Revenge to fill that hole.

August 11, 2018

Critical Capsule: Slender Man (2018)

Using Moviepass of late has turned into a sad game of Whack-A-Mole. I had intended to see The BlackkKlansman, but since those showtimes disappeared from the app, I turned towards the next available film. I was sent down the rabbit hole of Slender Man. I guess it should be said that I never cared about Slender Man, never looked into the modern viral phenomenon that gave birth to the guy, I also feel like the golden time for a movie is long since passed. In any case, I went to the movie and swear I found a cure for insomnia.

Slender Man crawls at a snail’s pace, relies on jump scares, and aside from a couple of neat camera tricks feels like a crappy version of The Ring mixed with a touch of Sinister. I never felt interested in the creature or the characters, the characters never really felt genuine. I think I would have been better served reading on the spawning of modern legend. The movie has nothing to say and gives the characters very little to do other than go through the motions of a mainstream, teen-targeted horror film. I would love to see more theatrical horror films let go and not be afraid af getting truly bizarre and scary. I think that might be asking too much. Slender Man is a hard pass.

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August 6, 2018

Movie Review: The Tortured (2010)

While looking for movies featuring Bill Moseley, I stumbled across The Tortured on Netflix. I read the description and must admit to being intrigued, if not exactly wowed. I decided to give it a shot, being less than 90 minutes, it wasn’t exactly going to be a complete time suck. So hit play an settled in. The first thing to great me was the familiar Twisted Pictures logo, that I have ingrained in my mind as the start of a Saw movie (like Village Roadshow with The Matrix and the Fox fanfare with Star Wars). In any case, this movie doesn’t really need this much of a preamble, if you couldn’t guess from the title, this is your standard torture porn feature.

August 1, 2018

Movie Review: Beyond the 7th Door

Beyond the 7th Door is a movie that almost defies explanation. It is a movie that was made on the tiniest of budgets, with the tiniest of casts, and once it was made it seemed to pass directly into legend. It did not pass Go and I am pretty sure it did not collect it’s $200 dollars as it passed from completed film into Canuxploitation obscurity. An oddball puzzle movie with the most fascinating of leads, likely passed around the underground on worsening generations of VHS tape, confounding ll who watched it. It is a movie that on one hand fascinated me and on the other hand made me question my own cinematic tastes.

Critical Capsule: Skyscraper (2018)

Skyscraper would likely be more entertaining in a world where Die Hard didn’t exist. Unfortunately, this is not that world. Perhaps if you are just getting into movies, are young, and don’t know of the great Die Hard yet, you may like this. If you couldn’t figure it out, this is like a copy of a copy of Die Hard, the more layers of separation, the more generic and bland the replications get. On the other hand, Skyscraper does star the Rock, and he has large enough personality to actually carry this and keep me somewhat involved. This is fun enough. The story follows Rock, hobbled by having one leg, work his way through a burning tower to save his family and stop the bad guys from getting to the building’s owner. This is hardly must see cinema, but you could do worse if you stumble across it one night on cable.

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July 28, 2018

Movie Review: Blindspotting (2018)

The first time I saw the trailer for Blindspotting, I was a little confused as to what it was. The trailer begins by making you think it is some sort of comedy and ends looking more like a drama on race relations and perceptions. As it turns out, the movie is both. We follow a young man whose parol is nearly up, navigating the complicated relations and his own changing perceptions in the wake of witnessing a police shooting. Now, I do not have the words for a full review, but I at least wanted to share some of my immediate reaction in the wake of seeing it.

July 22, 2018

Movie Review: The Equalizer 2

Four years ago, director Antoine Fuqua re-teamed with his Training Day star, Denzel Washington, to reinvent a 1980’s crime drama series as a big screen action thriller. That film was The Equalizer. That movie proved to be a hit, making more than $100 million at the box office. I liked it, I thought it could have been more, but there was something about how Denzel portrayed this character that I liked. I never thought it was going to be the sort of film that would get a sequel. Goes to show what I know, right? Anyway, the sequel is here and I went to see it, not expecting all that much. I am here now to tell you that this sequel surpasses the original by a long shot. This movie floored me and I can do nothing but recommend it.

July 18, 2018

Movie Review: The Black Hole (1979)

Recently, I decided to revisit a movie I remember loving as a child. I was curious to see how it held up, if it held up, and if my opinion of it has changed in the intervening years. The movie is none other than Disney’s 1979 science fiction epic, The Black Hole. Burned into my memory since my youth are the robots, the floating VINCENT, the malevolent Maximilian, the swirling of the black hole, and, of course, that rolling, flaming meteor that threatened to eliminate our intrepid heroes as we steamed towards the climax. Now, I have seen the film a few times over the years, but I cannot recall the last time i saw it. I was also sad to discover that I did not have it in my collection (thankful for the local library).