Saturday, July 30, 2016

Scanners


   As a huge fan of director David Cronenberg's movies, Scanners is one of the few that I'd only seen once and then never again. Well, I was dead set to change that, snatching the movie up on Criterion Blu Ray not too long ago, and it was a damn good purchase. The movie is much livelier than I remember, and that's a good thing. It would clearly go on to inspire such genre mainstays like The Terminator, X-Men and The Matrix. Yet not nearly enough people cite Scanners as a 'great' of the 80's, or even of it's genre. When it is brought up, people immediately say, "Yeah! The one with exploding head!" and that's the beginning and end of their fascination with the movie, which is unfortunate because Scanners has so much more to offer.

Soylent Green


   Soylent Green is still a movie about the future. Set in 2022, it paints a grim and depressing picture of a dystopian world that hits way too close to home. The movie opens on a montage of the United States' evolution over the years, from pastureland and pioneers, to concrete jungles and riot police. The latter seems less like science fiction and more like the evening news. In every way but it's vernacular and it's visual aesthetic, Soylent Green was ahead of it's time. For every beat that was socially relevant in the 70's, it's probably doubly so now- and that's scary. Nevertheless, it speaks volumes about the longevity of the movie that not only is it still relevant and timely, it's still damn entertaining to boot.

Thursday, July 28, 2016

Criminal


   Criminal feels like it's a DTVoD (direct-to-video on demand) movie. When things are neatly categorized and put on sale, Criminal would be lumped in with the likes of Marauders, Extraction, I Am Wrath, and whatever underwhelming madness Nicholas Cage has been in lately. But, that is an unfair and unbalanced grouping. John Travolta, Nic Cage, and Bruce Willis are certifiable has-beens. Kevin Costner is, surprisingly, not. From his great turn as Jonathan Kent in Man of Steel, (a role he reprised to great effect in the extremely divisive Batman V Superman) to crowd pleasing flicks like McFarland USA, Draft Day, and Three Days To Kill- Kevin is nothing if not reliable. And, for that matter, so is this movie.

Sunday, July 24, 2016

From Dusk Till Dawn: The Series, Season 2


   Season 2 of this show was set to explore virgin territory, seeing as how the first season was a really extended remake of the movie. The first season ended with a new take on things, but it felt familiar in it's own right to people who'd seen the movie. It perfectly set up a new season that would explore an entirely new direction for the property. See, Richie Gecko died in the movie, but with such a perfect duo starring in a TV show, it'd have been retarded to kill him off so early. So, in the show, he became nothing if not essential to the ongoing story, as did Santanico Pandemonium. These two characters, married to the expanded lore of the show, promised a riveting second season. And, boy did it deliver.

Thursday, July 21, 2016

Demolition Man


   Demolition Man isn't a great movie, but it's a fun one. In fact, it's almost meta at this point. Watching it in 2016 was a bit surreal to me. The brand of reckless over-the-top action on display in this movie and it's ilk is long gone, replaced by shiny, sleek and safe franchise properties that dole out most of their thrills with CGI. When the movie opens with Stallone's character, John Spartan, rappelling out of a helicopter over an urban warzone, it's stunning. It's a real stunt. Some bona fide Tom Cruise shit.  Whether it's actually Stallone or a stuntman is irrelevant, someone was falling out of that helicopter. I miss those days.

Sunday, July 17, 2016

The Purge: Election Year


   Frank Grillo is back and so are the freaks. The Purge: Election Year is more of the same stuff we got from Anarchy, and I'm not disappointed. A bit underwhelmed maybe, but c'est la vie. If you're expecting a movie that improves on it's predecessor as much as The Purge: Anarchy did, you're fresh out of luck. Election Year has the same shortcomings as Anarchy, but they feel slightly more prominent. The movie's concept, it's core idea, and it's entire marketing scheme promises widespread chaos and carnage. Where's it at? Election Year is less concerned with delivering on it's promise of insanity and violence and more about sending a message.

Saturday, July 16, 2016

Stranger Things


   Stranger Things is the TV show that Steven Spielberg, Steven King, Tobe Hooper, and John Carpenter never made, all together. Yet... here it is. It's apparently created by The Duffer Brothers... guys who at this moment have no wikipedia page. Just to give you an idea of how intensely this show blindsided me. I'd seen the ads and the banner for the show on Netflix, and out of the corner of my eye I made a mental note to check it out when it eventually came out. If I had known how much I was gonna love this show, I would've been counting down the seconds til it was available to me. To put this as plain and as simple as I can... This. Show. Is. Awesome.

Thursday, July 14, 2016

My Science Project


   I feel sorry for people who never experienced this movie as a kid. There's a very small fan base for this movie, and the people who like it- love it. Born a decade on either side of this small window of time, and you're in the wrong demographic. Too young, and the movie is a string of pop culture references so dated it might as well be as dry as a high school history class. If you're too old, the movie is nothing more than one of many off-brand attempts to cash in on the success of Back to the Future. Even back in the 80's it was a second tier teen sci-fi/comedy, trying hard to be on par with the likes of Weird Science and again... Back to the Future. So why in the hell do I love it so much?

Wednesday, July 13, 2016

Turok: Son of Stone


   I didn't have an N64 when I was younger, so I didn't play much Turok: Dinosaur Hunter, and I'm not old enough to be overly familiar with the Gold Key Turok comics, but regardless I've been peripherally familiar with the character enough to get excited about this little-known gem. Before I watched it, I actually sat down with a bunch of the comics, and the remastered version of the original game. I read up on the different takes on the character, and found each to be pretty interesting. This animated movie seeks to strike a satisfying balance between the old, and the not-so-old. I'd say it does a damn fine job.

Sunday, July 10, 2016

Green Room


   I'd heard great things about Green Room, the hype was intense. Almost as intense as the movie itself. It's been a long time since I've seen a movie as white knuckled and as gut wrenching as this one. It's also one of Anton Yelchin's last movies, and his death looms over the material like Brandon Lee and The Crow. According to his IMDb filmography, he has a handful of other roles in movies that are currently in post production, but Green Room is now. It feels fresh, current, and the subject matter is bleak as hell. Coupled with the fairly recent news of Yelchin's death, Green Room is a grim watch, but still a fantastic one. Still, everything is a bit sadder now, regardless.

Friday, July 8, 2016

The Purge: Anarchy


   It's no big secret that I disliked The Purge, my feelings about which grew into hatred over time. Yeah, I hate that movie. It was such a criminal waste of such an epic concept that just thinking about that movie pisses me off. Apparently it was a major complaint all across the board because the makers of The Purge: Anarchy got the message. If the title alone wasn't telling of a much bigger tale being told, then give the trailers a look-see, or the posters. This one was promising chaos, carnage and violence- and not confined to a single family house either. It sounded promising even when it came out, but I wasn't keen to cave and watch a sequel to a movie that I hated- though now I'm glad I did. It should say a lot that this sequel doesn't have a '2' in the title anywhere.

Thursday, July 7, 2016

Marauders


   Marauders is stylish right out of the gate, ramping up mood and atmosphere, promising to be more than just a cops and robbers thriller. If not more, per se, then at least... deeper. I was pretty hooked throughout the movie, but I found my attention drifting every so often- facebook, snacks, et cetera. Why? Because in this movie with a needlessly complicated plot, there's so much junk in it that simply doesn't matter. It's telling that I had low expectations simply because it's a Direct-to-VOD release, and Bruce Willis is in it. People love to whine about DeNiro no longer doing powerful films, but can we talk about Bruce Willis for a second? Dude is setting records for most DTV junk ever. Is the term 'has been' a bit too harsh?

Wednesday, July 6, 2016

From Dusk Till Dawn: The Series


   I always liked the original From Dusk till Dawn. I wasn't a rabid fan, but it was a neat little movie that was always fun to put on when friends were over. It's one half a hostage/thriller, with two bank robber brothers making a break for the border... and one half an insane, over-the-top, vampire blood-fest. It was off-kilter in the best way, and sporting a great cast nonetheless. So just how in the ever-loving hell was a TV show about it going to be any good? A TV show that not only remakes the movie over the span of it's first season, but lays groundwork to continue from there? How this had any potential to be better than an ill-conceived SyFy channel yuck-fest is beyond me. Yet here we frickin' are, and this show... is real damn good.

Saturday, July 2, 2016

Captain America: Civil War


   It's funny to me that complaints like "It relies too much on knowledge of previous entries" orbits Civil War while complaints like "It tries to do too much world building in one outing" orbits Batman V Superman. Strictly speaking, the former complaint is bull. If you haven't been watching the Marvel movies so far, why would you pick this movie as your entry point? Get real. Besides, most of the need-to-know stuff is cleverly recapped in the movie anyways. Batman V Superman on the other hand, while the more interesting movie, is also the clunkier one. Where Dawn of Justice stumbles, Civil War soars.