Thursday, December 1, 2016

Spectre


   I love revisiting James Bond movies, and buying a box set containing the entire 24 movie franchise is a perfect excuse to do just that. I watched The Living Daylights the other day, and came away feeling exactly how I did last year- it's a supremely fun and highly underrated spy adventure. How would Spectre fare upon second viewing? Well, I liked it well enough the first time. It might've been a cut under Casino Royale and Skyfall, but still a full hack above Quantum of Shitness. Watching it now, I think a few things clicked for me that simply didn't the last time. Spectre was a necessary movie, and that is something to seriously consider.

Sunday, November 13, 2016

Antibirth


   Only at around 43 minutes into director Danny Perez's nasty little flick does the body horror start to show up. I'd love to say it was worth the wait, but I'm just not sure. Antibirth has so much potential, and I really dug the story, but even as I'm writing this I'm struggling with whether or not it's worth recommending, because I'm still wondering whether or not it was worth watching in the first place. Antibirth is about a woman named Lou, a total party animal- drugs, alcohol, hangovers, repeat. None of this is glamorized in the slightest, mind you. It's all super trashy and dirty-looking. I guess that's emblematic of the movie itself, but hey, what do I know?

Saturday, November 12, 2016

The Greasy Strangler


   "What the fuck did I just watch?" so said myself and every single other person who ever watched this movie. I've never seen anything quite like this, and I've seen a movie where a one eyed ex priest went to hell to kill a super rapist, but ended up sexing his hot sister giving precisely zero fucks. This movie however, is about a father and a son who live together, and run a walking Disco tour. But, when a sexy woman shows up on the tour, a weird semi-oedipal competition breaks out between the father and son, as they both vie for her affection. Oh and as the title plainly states, there's a grease-covered serial killer going around who strangles his victims to death.

Don't Breathe


   Director Fede Alvarez knocks it out of the ballpark with this nerve-shredding horror flick. He's probably still best known for his Evil Dead non-remake, and while it may have left a fair chunk of it's audiences cold, it's a movie that I found absolutely amazing upon second viewing. So I was deeply interested in this movie when I found out about it. I knew just the basics going in, that it was about a trio of young adults who break into a blind man's home, searching for the massive cash settlement he supposedly has stashed away. Big mistake.

Thursday, November 10, 2016

Blood Simple


   Some thrillers have characters who make massive assumptions, huge leaps of logic... and by cinematic good will, they just happen to be right. Characters suddenly and inexplicably figure out who the killer is only when it's ultimately crucial, or they remember they had a knife in their pocket that's been there for such a long time you'd think they'd have at least accidentally figured it out before that perfect moment. Blood Simple is not that kind of thriller. It's the kind of thriller where characters make extreme assumptions, as people do, and invariably... they're wrong. This is just part of why Blood Simple is a great movie.

Tuesday, November 8, 2016

Doctor Strange


   If you took the virtuoso effects of Inception, the trippiness of Altered States, and the heroics and style of Batman Begins... and deftly blended them together, you'd have Doctor Strange. I can't even say all that aloud without smiling. Maybe Doctor Strange isn't perfect, and maybe it's a bit formulaic, and maybe the superhero bubble is destined to burst soon, and maybe... maybe none of that matters. Maybe Doctor Strange is so much fun and filled with so much spectacle, that it's an irresistible time at the cinema.

Sunday, November 6, 2016

Mighty Morphin Power Rangers: BOOM! Studios comic


   This may very well be the first time I've ever reviewed a comic series on my blog. Nevertheless, I've never felt so compelled to spread the word about one either. I'm a huge Mighty Morphin' Power Rangers fan. I have the whole show on DVD, I still have a bunch of MMPR VHS tapes even. Growing up, I had the trading cards, the pogs, the Sega Genesis games, the action figures, the picture books, the flash cards, the lunch box, the t-shirts, boxers, pool gear, happy meal toys, party napkins, and yes... even the comic books. Point is, if the Mighty Morphin Power Rangers logo was on it- I owned it.

Saturday, November 5, 2016

Cronos


   "He is not some kind of all-powerful Lestat vampire, he's also not the kind of vampire who can sparkle and stop cars- he's the saddest character in the movie." said Del Toro in one of the interviews I watched from the bonus features on the Criterion Blu Ray release of the movie. It's very plain that Del Toro has a penchant for subverting the standard approach to monsters, villains, and the supernatural. The main protagonist in Cronos is a kindly old antique dealer named Jesus Gris, so obviously he's not gonna fare too well in a Del Toro movie. Senor Gris is in for a very nasty time.

Sunday, October 23, 2016

Batman: Arkham Knight


   I've played every Batman Arkham game from the debut title, and each one has been an overall solid experience. We're at a point in gaming consumerism where almost all games are good. That's the absolute baseline here. Go ahead and look up a list of the most disappointing games of the PS3/X-Box 360 generation. Most of the games on the list are at worst, mediocre. They aren't disappointing because they're terrible games (usually), they're disappointing because, well, they didn't meet the overhyped expectations. My point is, the Batman Arkham series has a general standard of quality, and comparing a new title to previous ones is usually just a moot point- picking nits, and such.

Wednesday, October 19, 2016

Mortal Kombat X


   When I buy a new game, I decide within just a couple hours whether it's going to be one I can't put down, or if it's going to be one I never pick up again. Games like Crysis 3, Vanquish, Resident Evil 6, and Dark Void are just a handful of games like this. Point being, I don't wait til I've beaten a game to review it. It should be apparent whether or not it's worth playing and is good or not, within five or so hours of gameplay. At this point, I've sunk at least ten hours into Mortal Kombat X, with little doubt it was going to be anything but excellent, and still my expectations were exceeded.

Tuesday, October 18, 2016

Kite


   To someone who hasn't seen over two thousand movies, Kite might seem groundbreaking and innovative. Unfortunately, I'm not that guy. I'm the guy who has seen over two thousand movies. Kite feels like the bastard child produced from a marriage of Leon The Professional, Dredd, and some cut-rate Neill Blomkamp flick. Except, it's not as fun as any of those movies, and this is coming from a guy who doesn't really even like Neill Blomkamp's movies. Kite has a young girl who's been brainwashed into her current state as a stone cold assassin, who's out to kill the man who murdered her father. Real original, right?

Tuesday, October 11, 2016

Ju-On: The Grudge


   Ju-On is a J-Horror flick with two restless fingers on the piano keys, trying to add spooky atmosphere to a movie that is chronically un-scary. How this movie ever got popular enough to be remade in America is well beyond me. I don't like movies that rely solely on jump scares, but I have a little bit more respect for them now. A good jump scare has to at least... you know, make you jump. The "jump scares" in Ju-On are mind numbingly anti-climactic to the point where they're not startling or creepy or scary. Even worse? This is the kind of scare tactic the movie is hopelessly married to.

Sunday, October 9, 2016

Dark Water


   Returning to my J-Horror binge, I decided to pop in Dark Water, a movie I'd heard excellent things about. Ultimately, I don't feel like this is a horror movie, and that's my biggest beef with it. It's occasionally creepy, and the climax is spooky, but if anything it's more of a psychological drama. I was tempted to say 'thriller' instead of 'drama', but Dark Water is entirely unconcerned with delivering thrills of any kind. It's a drama, and an exceptionally well made one, but I can't really imagine thing movie scaring anyone outside of the most sensitive of viewers, and even then only in one or two moments. Does this mean Dark Water is a bad movie? Certainly not.

Saturday, October 8, 2016

The Darkness


   You know, I was on board with this movie until the last act. And, not that it was a bad last act, but once it arrived, I realized something. EVERYTHING this movie does, the original Poltergeist did better. When a movie contributes virtually nothing to it's genre, and never rises above 'adequate', what do we do with it? Even it's unique imagery feels like something that's been done before, although I can't quite place my finger on where. The Darkness isn't a bad movie by any means, but it's a stale entry in a genre that's been flooded by safe, predictable, formulaic and ultimately tame fare. The Darkness should've been so much better.

The Monster Squad


   Taking a break from the bizarre and grisly stylings of the J-horror genre for more conventional spookiness, I decided to finally pop in The Monster Squad. A movie that, by all means, I should've seen ages ago. It's right up my alley, halfway between The Lost Boys and The Goonies, and a massive love letter to the classic Universal monster movies. I've also had the movie on blu ray for two years and never watched it. Tsk tsk. Bad Joseph. Get it together, man. As I expected, I really liked the movie, but even more enjoyable was seeing my little brothers' reactions to it. That's what really made The Monster Squad a blast.

Hair Extensions


   You know that any movie that starts with a line like "My nose hair has been growing so fast lately!" is going to be memorable, for better or worse. In the case of Hair Extensions, or "Exte", it's definitely for the better. Director Sion Sono is a name I'm becoming quite familiar with, not realizing at first that at least three more movies on my immediate to-watch list were directed by him as well, I'm well on my way to being a sold-out fan. Exte shows the right way to do absurdist, over-the-top, horror. Unlike Uzumaki, Exte takes a strange and unlikely premise and runs with it, all the way. Whereas Uzumaki was about a town haunted by spirals, Exte- like it's name implies, is very much about... hair.

Thursday, October 6, 2016

Noroi: The Curse


   I sat in stunned silence for at least a full minute after this movie was over. I had to collect my thoughts, and calm down. Noroi: The Curse is one of the most effective and affecting horror movies I've ever seen. As simple as that. It's easily the best J-horror movie I've seen to date, and probably the best horror movie I've seen in years. One of surprisingly few that not only lives up to it's hype, but surpasses it. The movie was made in the style of a documentary, like something you're likely to see as a Sunday night special on a cable channel dedicated to mysteries and the like. Make no mistake though... this movie is anything but pedestrian.

Uzumaki


   On the heels of Pulse, I decided to dig into more J-horror. This weird flick was just one of many I have lined up, I do hope the others are better than this one though. While I liked Pulse for it's atmosphere and using loneliness and technology as it's fundamental themes, I feel like Uzumaki doesn't have any of that going on under the hood. It's an absurdist flick about a small town that's plagued by... spirals. I didn't mean for that to sound so cynical, but there's really no way to describe this movie with a straight face. It's spirals! Not 'strange symbols', 'spiral-like ghosts', or a 'spiral cult'- the main thing in this movie is literally just spirals. I'm not kidding.

Pulse


   I love J-horror movies. In general I've always found foreign horror flicks to be uniquely interesting. They provide insight into the commonly accessible fears prevalent in a country or of a specific time in that country. Japan, for instance, certainly has a long standing relationship with ghosts. Whether they're crawling out of a TV, or embodying a small white-skinned child, it's a pretty common and popular theme. This 2001 thriller is no exception. Pulse is another entry into this genre, but instead of VHS tapes, or missed phone calls, the inciting object in question is... the internet.

Wednesday, October 5, 2016

Murder Party


   According to IMDb, this little gem of a movie was filmed with no money. I realize that's probably not entirely accurate, someone had to have cash here and there, but to make something like this without a significant budget whatsoever? That's the real feat here! Murder Party hums on the kind of energy you'd find in a Tarantino movie, but has the guts and creativity of an original Evil Dead flick. Many comparisons can be drawn between Murder Party and The Evil Dead, but none more important than the shining testament of what a bunch of friends can do when they set their hearts on making a movie. Murder Party is a crazy good time.

Tuesday, October 4, 2016

Kickboxer: Vengeance


   Not even October and all it's required horror movie watching could keep me away from some good old fashioned DTV action trash. Kickboxer: Vengeance as a cut rate remake of the 80's 'classic', Kickboxer, might be easy to dismiss out of hand, or would've been if not for the pedigree of the talent involved. First of all Jean Claude Van Damme the man himself is back, but in the role of the trainer. The obligatory Miyagi type. I'm cool with this. As Tong Po we've got Dave Bautista. An actor/role match made in heaven (or hell in this case) if I ever saw one. And, in the lead role is Alain Moussi, who has been in- wait... who? Yeah, my thoughts exactly.

31


   This has a lot of abysmal reviews online, and I mean... I get it, but I don't agree. People just love their hyperbole. That, and I'm a pretty undemanding and open-minded moviegoer. 31 is Rob Zombie's latest film, and despite popular opinion it's not his worst. Nor is it his best. It just is what it is. Zombie has his own style, and I respect that. Not everyone's going to like his style, but he sticks to it. I like it, personally, even if don't always like his movies. I liked House of 1000 Corpses, and The Devil's Rejects. I was rather indifferent about The Lords of Salem, but I guess I can say I liked 31. Which is somewhat disappointing because I really wanted to love it.

Drag Me to Hell


   I realize I'm already about four days late into the October horror movie fest that the universe is currently in the throes of, but fear not, I'll catch up soon enough. And, what better way to start than with a Sam Raimi flick? Granted, it's a PG-13, post-Evil Dead trilogy, horror flick made in 2009 but still. Raimi and Co. go for broke with this movie, making it as gross and as spooky as possible. Moreover, the story's unwavering (and obvious) commitment to it's initial promise is respectable. Drag Me to Hell isn't a great movie, but it's a fun one. It has enough over the top shlock and classic jump scares to warrant a look if you haven't by now.

Monday, October 3, 2016

Ratchet & Clank


   Yet another movie with a mixed to weak reception that should honestly be wholeheartedly embraced, not just by gamers, or fans, but by any audience who loves a good space faring romp. I've been a fan of Ratchet & Clank since their debut title on the PS2. Admittedly, I've only played about four of their games, but each one was excellent. I just finished a revisit of Up Your Arsenal today, so I was in the perfect mood to finally pop this in and see how it was. And, you know what? I really liked it. Ratchet & Clank isn't perfect, but few films are and this one hits all the right notes.

Tale of Tales


   Tale of Tales lives up to it's name, providing audiences with a series of three fresh fairy tales of the ultra grim variety. The concept of a fairy tale has certainly evolved over the past hundred years. Nowadays, and for a long time now, the term 'fairy tale' has been synonymous with Disney movies like Peter Pan, Cinderella, and Sleeping Beauty. Simplistic stories of good vs. evil, light vs. dark- and so on. But, this movie reminds viewers that fairy tales used to be dark, complex, and challenging stories that might not always have a happy ending.