Saturday, September 24, 2016

Crying Freeman


   As I was messaging my friend, telling them I was watching Crying Freeman their first response was "Huh? What's that?" so I explained that it's a 90's action-thriller starring Mark Dacascos. "Who?" Sigh. Mark Dacascos is a national treasure that too many people don't know exist. He never got the fame of Jean Claude Van Damme, or even Dolph Lundgren, but to the action junkies like me, he's a reliable ass-kicker with charisma and good looks. When he lands a leading role, like this one in Crying Freeman... I pay attention.

Thursday, September 22, 2016

He Never Died


   He Never Died is the slow burn, low key, dramady, noir-thriller with a supernatural twist you never knew you always wanted. Starring the always epic Henry Rollins, this flick is pretty great. The whole thing rides on his shoulders, and what shoulders they are. Without Rollins I don't think this movie would even be good. Let alone watchable. All the other characters have to play off of him and it's his interactions with them that are just golden. He's fantastic. He Never Died is not one to miss, and you're in luck, it's currently on Netflix instant streaming.

The Tournament


   Imagine one of the craziest action movies you've never seen, with enough shootouts, kung-fu, and parkour to fill at least a few Bourne outings, and give Daniel Craig's Bond a run for his money. But, you've never seen it because the movie doesn't have a Matt Damon, or a Daniel Craig. It's full of character actors who're usually only ever playing supporting roles. Ving Rhames (Pulp Fiction, Con Air), Kelly Hu (X2: X-Men United), and S├ębastien Foucan (Casino Royale). Why this movie hasn't picked up a massive cult following within the action subset of movie nerds is absolutely baffling. It's bloody awesome.

Tuesday, September 20, 2016

Highway to Hell


   "Abandon all hope, ye who enter here." You might be familiar with the ominous phrase from Dante's Inferno, said to be inscribed above the gates to hell. I bet you never pictured it scrolling across an electronic marquee though. Highway to Hell is full of clever little sight gags like that. It's humor isn't sophisticated, and the movie is rife with hell-centric puns, but this little gem from 1991 is a blast from start to finish. I cannot believe I hadn't seen this sooner. It's one of those movies that's so deep inside my wheelhouse that I feel like I should've watched it years ago. It's so much fun.

The Conjuring 2


   I really liked the first Conjuring. I'm a pretty big fan of James Wan. He and Leigh Whannell have cranked out some absolute horror hits. I was nuts about the first few Saw movies, and I'll leap to their defense at the drop of a hat, any hat. I also loved the first two Insidious movies (haven't seen the newest one yet), and despite the fact that nothing was actually conjured (a fact my friend loves to point out)... I seriously enjoyed The Conjuring as well. So how did this sequel fare with this fan? Pretty damn well to be honest. I think Wan and company have outdone themselves.

Switchblade Sisters


   Director Jack Hill said that a realistic portrayal of teenage gang issues wouldn't have worked if all the girls were pretty and wearing hot pants. So, instead, he opted to make the movie as a fast, lurid, fantasy. The movie is melodramatic and more than a bit absurd, but it's all in good fun with tongue planted firmly in cheek. Despite coming out in 1975, Switchblade Sisters feels like a stylized parable about gang violence in the 50's. It's easy to spot gang members, because obviously they all wear all-black and leather jackets. That's just the kind of movie this is, love it or don't.

Monday, September 19, 2016

Kill Zone 2


   Tony Jaa never fails to impress with his skill and onscreen presence. Kill Zone 2 is no exception. Jaa and costar Jing Wu tear up the screen with ferocity, delivering some fantastic action scenes. For this fact alone, Kill Zone 2 is well worth watching. For anyone who's jonesing for another hit after getting hooked on genre fair like Ong Bak, The Raid, and The Raid 2, Kill Zone 2 will mellow your ass out for a while. Is it actually a good movie though? That... is largely debatable. The more complex the filmmakers make these plots, the more opportunities the movie has to stumble, and Kill Zone 2 has an obstacle course to run.

Friday, September 16, 2016

Turkey Shoot


   Few words bring a smile to my face as immediately as the word "Ozploitation" does. The genre's more action packed offerings are properly insane. There's just a crazy flavor to Australian exploitation that regular exploitation doesn't have. Look at Fair Game, or Razorback. The movies are just... insane. I'm already sounding like a broken record. Anyways, I finally got around to seeing Turkey Shoot, and it's one of the titans of the Ozploitation genre. I cannot believe I didn't sit myself down and watch this sooner. It's bloody amazing.

The One I Love


   I don't remember who recommended this movie to me, but I owe them a big thanks, and I owe myself a kick in the butt for not getting around to it sooner. The One I Love is pretty fantastic. I gotta be real careful what I say about it here too because I went into the movie with only the most basic, fundamental concept of what I was going to see, and anything more would've cheated me out of part of the surprise. This is just one of those movies you have to see for yourself.

Kristy


   The slasher/thriller genre can get pretty stale every now and then, but then a movie like Kristy comes along and reminds everyone why the genre just fucking works. First surprise, the heroine's name isn't Kristy. It's actually Justine. I know right? That's not really a spoiler by the way, but make no mistake, the name Kristy does very much come into play. The title might be a bit misleading, but in a fun way. The movie is a treat for genre fans, and a decent thriller for moviegoers in the mood for this sort of thing.

Thursday, September 15, 2016

The Forbidden Room


   We've all had late nights that had us convinced we were certifiable insomniacs. You know the kind of night I'm talking about. You're crashed on the couch, the TV is on, and it's helping you drift. You're not really paying attention to what you're watching, but the combination of moving images and background noise is... helping, somehow. Fast forward to the next morning, and you can recall a smattering of shows and/or movies, at about five minutes apiece. You remember stuff you saw, but there's virtually no context to any of it. Cannibals and intergalactic war one minute, an infomercial on bath mats the next. That... is what The Forbidden Room feels like.

Wednesday, September 14, 2016

The Wicked City


   Here's another movie that's hard to believe even exists. I first reviewed this strange-ass little gem back in 2013, but I had watched an English dubbed version of the movie... on VHS. Now, I love VHS. As a format I think it's really cool, and I collect movies on VHS. It's a hobby for me. But, the English dub of this movie is a complete travesty. I get a headache just thinking about it, and I'm not really one to complain about dubs in general. Of what little anime I do watch, I watch most of it dubbed. If I had an option though, with most foreign movies, I will choose subs over dubs by default. But, with The Wicked City it should be a fundamental necessity. Luckily... I found a decent copy online, and even put it up on my YouTube channel here.

Tuesday, September 13, 2016

Dreamcatcher


   Okay so, like, this movie is real apparently. I'm still kind of in shock after watching it. It's like an M. Night Shayamalan movie... but... not. Because his bad movies are just... bad. Dreamcatcher certainly isn't good either, but it's so frickin' entertaining. Like, wow. It's based on a Stephen King book, which I've never read, just putting that out there. I know some fans of the book were pissed about the movie, but really... is that news or something? Fans of books will always be pissed at the movie adaptations. My opinion is of that of a moviegoer, nothing more, nothing less.

The Nice Guys


   Shane Black is carving out a very respectable niche for himself in the vast landscape of all that is 'movies'. Whether you know him as 'the guy with the pussy jokes' from Predator, or the writer of Lethal Weapon, Last Action Hero, The Last Boy Scout, and The Long Kiss Goodnight, OR... the writer/director of Kiss Kiss, Bang Bang and Iron Man 3... there's no denying that the guy does good work. The Nice Guys is no exception. It's a sequel, in spirit only, to Kiss Kiss, Bang Bang, and as such, it's perfect. He's approaching something that could rival Edgar Wright's Cornetto Trilogy, if only he made a third one.

Sunday, September 11, 2016

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles 2: Out of the Shadows


   The 2014 Ninja Turtles was kind of a big deal for me, not that I gave a crap about it when it came out. It looked ugly and excessive in every imaginable way, but I eventually had a change of heart and decided to at least give it a shot. If it sucked, it sucked, but at least I found out for myself. Lo and behold, it didn't suck. It was deeply flawed, sure, but it didn't suck. It was fun! Much to my surprise, I really, genuinely enjoyed it. It was stupid and silly, but it also managed to capture what I loved best about the franchise. So how would it's sequel fare? Well, to be honest, it fared a bit better.

Monday, September 5, 2016

Rise to Honor


   Should I have like a specific day where I review random crap? If Throwback Thursday is a thing, can't Random Crap Monday be a thing too? In this case, Random Classic might be more apt. Despite the deceptive art above, this is not a movie. Rise to Honor is in fact a video game from 2004, exclusive to the PlayStation 2. I had this game for a hot minute when I was younger, and I really enjoyed it. I bought it again last year on a nostalgia binge when I decided to just buy a bunch of old game systems and games. It was probably one of my better buys at that point...

Saturday, September 3, 2016

The Neon Demon


   I'm a massive fan of Danish director Nicolas Winding Refn's work. Drive is one of my absolute favorite movies, and Bronson is completely fantastic. I've seen most of his stuff, including Valhalla Rising, Only God Forgives and a couple of the Pusher movies. Even when I strongly dislike one of his movies (i.e. Only God Forgives) it's still an interesting experience and one worth discussing with other movie nerds. I feel like this is where The Neon Demon is at. It's never more than the sum of it's parts, but holy hell what parts it has.

Monday, August 29, 2016

Watchmen: The Ultimate Cut


   As with many movies these days, when they hit home video, there always seems to be an unrated cut, or an alternate cut, an extended cut, but rarely are these versions so important as they are when it comes to comic book movies. Most recently, the highly divisive Batman V Superman: Dawn of Justice got an 'ultimate cut' on home video, but lets go back a ways to one of director Zack Snyder's earlier efforts. An almost equally divisive comic book movie from 2009 called Watchmen. It was praised by most critics upon it's release, and it's reception from fans was fairly split, but the general public seemed to be very lost- and understandably so.

Sunday, August 28, 2016

Blood Father


   I was holding off on reviewing stuff like this because I really wanted to dig into more animated DC stuff, but cest la vie. Here we are. Mel's back, baby! I mean, it's not like he's been gone that long, or even long at all, considering he's made a movie almost every year since 2010, with the sole exception of 2015. And, with the exception of Get the Gringo, none of those other movies... really did anything for me. But this is Old Testament Mel! This is lean, mean, gritty, Payback Mel Gibson. Blood Father has enough rage and emotion for two movies, but this one will have to do.

Friday, August 12, 2016

Justice League: Gods and Monsters


   This is, for all intents and purposes, the ultimate Elseworlds animated movie. Sure, it's about Superman, Batman, and Wonder Woman... but these aren't the characters you know. Hell, it's not even Clark, Bruce and Diana. In this world it's Hernan, Kirk, and Bekka- respectively. Superman was not raised by Ma and Pa Kent, but instead by two Mexican migrant workers. In point of fact, Jor El isn't even his father. I won't spoil who is, or how, but it's fascinating. And all that is just Superman. Wonder Woman and Batman have completely original origin tales as well. But what's really cool about this movie, beyond all that, is that it tells a story that doesn't hinge on these differences. Let me explain...

Batman: Assault on Arkham


   Despite the fact this is just an elaborate tie-in to the Arkham games, dropping right after Arkham Origins more or less,  it's honestly not even a Batman movie. Sure, he's in it, but this is a Suicide Squad flick. Obviously they couldn't just call it that though. Where's the brand recognition in that? And, without stars like Will Smith and Margot Robbie in it, people would've been like Suicide What? Squad. Suicide Squad. By now most people have already seen the new movie, and despite the amazingly negative critical reception... the secret is out! People actually really like the movie. A lot. So if you're one of them (I definitely am) then you could do worse than this little animated feature to tide you over until we get more on the big screen. 

Justice League: The Flashpoint Paradox


   I guess I'm starting to get the appeal of these one-off animated movies. For the longest time I just had no interest in them. Either the animation was off-putting or the story was just not one I felt drawn to. But between Batman: The Dark Knight Returns, and this one, The Flashpoint Paradox, I might be a fan. Once I got past the style of the animation they used here, I found the story pretty engrossing. I'll admit right now that I've never read much of The Flash comics. I like the character, I've read stuff with him in it, and I'm a big fan of both the old and the new TV show, so I figured- what the hell? With a positive recommendation from a friend, I decided to check out The Flashpoint Paradox.

Thursday, August 11, 2016

Batman: The Dark Knight Returns


   This animated offering from DC was originally released in two parts, and then released again in a 'deluxe edition' which combined both 75 minute long parts into one long two and a half hour movie... the way it was meant to be seen. Personally, I'm not nuts about the DC animated movies. My favorites are like... almost 20 years old at this point. Mask of the Phantasm, Sub Zero, Return of the Joker, et cetera. I mean, I've seen quite a few of their subsequent animated flicks, but they never do too much for me. This is the one movie though that's made me consider giving most, if not all of them a second chance. This movie is... simply put, fantastic.

10 Cloverfield Lane


   I'd like to thank the entire internet right now for not spoiling this movie for me. 10 Cloverfield Lane is a thriller with a bag full of twists, turns, and plenty of good old fashioned tension. It's been a while since a movie made me squirm in my seat so badly, but 10 Cloverfield Lane did the trick. I was already down for this movie when I found out it starred Mary Elizabeth Winstead, beyond the fact she's a fantastic actress, I've had a crush on her since 2007's Live Free or Die Hard. I've been watching pretty much whatever she's been in ever since, for better (Scott Pilgrim Vs. The World) and worse (The Thing). Thus, I'm a bit disappointed in myself that I didn't see 10 Cloverfield Lane a bit sooner.

Tuesday, August 9, 2016

Hardcore Henry


   I don't get the Call of Duty comparisons. I mean, beyond the basic concept of the first person point of view, and shooting stuff... there's no similarities. I mean, I realize that basic concept was probably the entire point of comparison, but still. Hardcore Henry has more originality and personality than that comparison gives it credit for. I should put it out there right now that I really don't like Call of Duty. There's so many better first person shooter games out there, and if Hardcore Henry was a game, it'd be one of those better games. It's so mercilessly energetic and relentlessly fun. It gets quite a lot of mileage out of it's core gimmick, and at a breezy 96 minutes it's smart enough to not outstay it's welcome.