Reviews written by registered user
MrGKB

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461 reviews in total 
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1 out of 1 people found the following review useful:
Sociopathetic is more like it.., 31 January 2017
2/10

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

...and even that may be too generous for this ill-conceived, shameless ripoff of/homage to the 80s exploitation classic, "Maniac," never mind that pointless 2012 reboot with Elijah Wood. "Sociopathia" evinces nothing worthy of its sleazy slasher inspiration; tyro co-writer/director Ruby Larocca would be well-advised to stick to being a Scream Queen. I was tempted to slag this off with a "1" vote, but there is at least a small modicum of talent on display besides naked breasts. I'm hard-pressed to say where or what, though. The lead actress makes no significant effort to match Joe Spinell's conflicted psycho; only co-star Asta "Return to Nuke 'Em High" Paredes shows any real screen chops, and the entire pedestrian cast, strewn though it is with multiple nubiles, is pretty much sunk from the get-go by its truly wretched script. From the pedestrian acting to the no-fi production quality, "Sociopathia" simply fails again and again. Small wonder actors reportedly bailed on this nonsense. Absolutely not worth your time or money. You've been warned; Spinell's grave must be blazing hot from uncontrollable rotation.

2 out of 2 people found the following review useful:
This one's an easier target..., 23 January 2017
3/10

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

...than the enemy redshirts the father of this film's director (and I use both those terms lightly) once disposed of by the hundreds throughout his own cinema career. But Chuck Norris was never in a movie quite this ham-handedly inept. Although much of the acting is actually passable, despite detractors elsewhere on this site, enough of it stands out like Sofia Coppola in "The Godfather: Part III" to detract, and even the more accomplished thespians involved in this lifeless misfire (I'm looking at you, Diane Ladd) are hampered by info-dump dialogue, broad-brush characters, and a plot structure that would make Syd Field wince if he was still alive. That Alex "InfoWars" Jones was cast in a cameo role should tell you all you need to know about this production. Strictly for insomniacs, there's virtually nothing in this lo-fi paranoid vision to hold your attention.

Put it this way: when you've got that DVD case in your hot little "Hot dog! This has got to be better than that 'Red Dawn' remake!" hands, give the plot summary on the back cover a once-over, and then put the DVD back where you found it. That is all you need, I guarantee, to get your money's worth of prepper entertainment from "Amerigeddon".

Giving Ed Wood a run for his money..., 9 December 2016
2/10

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

...and then some, "Lazarus: Apocalypse" aka "Lazarus: Day of the Living Dead" easily vies for worst film I've seen in quite a long time. The lack of a single external review is utterly unsurprising; this cinematic misfire hasn't got a single thing going for it, by any stretch of the imagination. Stiff and/or non-existent acting, risible dialog, misguided production design, you name it; "Lazarus..." is mediocre at best and a stultifying bore otherwise. Ostensibly the first of an intended trilogy, "Lazarus..." attempts to...well, it's damn hard to tell exactly what this poor, crippled thing is attempting. Even the auteur writer/director's self-important and hilariously oblivious DVD commentary sheds no discernible light on the nearly incomprehensible script beyond its obvious illustration of Sturgeon's Revelation. A footnote appearance by Stephen "Fright Night" Geoffreys remains the barest of reasons this piece will ever be historically noted. Recommended only to fans of wretched cinema, and even then be prepared to bitterly regret the waste of your time.

Safelight (2015)
Needed a fresh set of batteries..., 5 December 2016
6/10

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

...which is to say, a better script. "Safelight" is by no means a terrible film, but despite honest efforts from a talented ensemble headed up by Evan "American Horror Story" Peters and Juno "Killer Joe" Temple, the story fails to truly engage. The characters are a little too stock, their situations a little too bland and cliché to be memorable. Sadly, we've pretty much seen this all before. Impaired youth befriends broken flower, who inspires his special talent while inspiring herself to break her own bondage. The end. Ms. Temple makes the best of her mistaken choice of scripts, and it's always fun to see solid actors like Jason "Monkey Shines" Beghe and Christine "Ladies and Gentlemen, the Fabulous Stains" Lahti get work on the big screen, but it's just not enough. I suppose "Safelight" is a reasonably competent calling card for auteur Tony Aloupis, but he still needs to step up his game. I followed this one up with another under-the-radar indie of a very similar nature, "Spring," which I would have to rate as at least marginally better than this one; neither one is essential viewing by any means, but if you can catch them for free, you'll do okay.

Re-Kill (2015)
More like road re-kill..., 28 November 2016

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

...this brainless action/horror product apparently gave a number of solid B-movie actors the opportunity to tour beautiful Sofia, Hungary. Oh, and make a shaky-cam movie. The results are mixed, and mostly forgettable, despite a veneer of $9.5mil in production quality. The gimmick is a reality show in the near future after an 85% fatal zombie apocalypse. Manhattan is a quarantine zone into which a camera- embedded SWAT team is inserted in search of some nefarious secret project. The story borrows tropes from across the spectrum, mashing them together into nothing special. The acting is okay, the pace is mostly good, but the plotting and dialog are routine and disengaging. This is video game level material. Fine entertainment for the indiscriminate zombie junkie, but otherwise pure make work.

Isolated (2015/II)
An intriguing intro..., 11 November 2016
8/10

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

...to an apparently up-and-coming Chilean animation team as well as a potential long-form tale, "Isolated" runs through its paces with all cylinders firing. It feels very much like a cut-scene prelude to a video game. The storytelling is sparse. A taxi driver regains consciousness from an accident to find himself in the middle of an infectious "World War Z"-style apocalypse. He runs, only to finally discover the full measure of his situation. What comes next is anyone's guess, but it's not likely to be good. The graphics fall short of top-rank Marvel Universe stuff, but are nonetheless seamless and convincing within the short's reality. Easily accessible on YouTube, "Isolated" is easily worth the 5-minute watch. I look forward to whatever these unknown folks do next.

1 out of 1 people found the following review useful:
Admirable Twilight Zone-ish time travel tale..., 29 October 2016
6/10

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

...serves as a nice springboard for auteur Michael "A Handful of Pennies" Peake's burgeoning career, although I have to agree with the first commentator here that it could have benefited from some tightening up for effect. Its production values belie its meager budget, certainly, and the acting is mostly up to snuff, primarily that of Peake, along with the camera work, lighting, etc. What nags at me after several viewings is what feels like an attempt to stretch things out a bit too far. Cases in point: both the scene with the protagonist's boss and the one with his concerned sister feel too much like padding. Likewise, the suggested relationship between the lovelorn lead and the co-worker who serves as Igor to his mad professor feels undeveloped; this is an "idea" tale that really only needs one character to focus on. The lady's arc comes off as inessential, if not outright distracting. I may be missing some thematic undertones, but if so, I wish they'd been made stronger.

Spoiler alert: I'm going to talk about the core paradox presented in the film.

Scripting faults to the side (and this is, of course, all highly subjective), "Jacob's Paradox" still presents a thought-provoking tale. Guy goes back in time to save the wife who died when he was late getting home. He shanghais his earlier self just before the delaying incident that meant his wife's death, but when he manages to defeat the intruder who would have killed her, he ends up shot to death by her. Thus, a paradox: his earlier self, once freed, will presumably continue on in life with his wife by his side, thereby having no reason to build a time machine to come back to save her. If that's true, then where did his later self who saved her come from? Or will he find himself somehow forced into a loop of forever coming back to save her? Now there's a fate worse than death to contemplate, and perhaps a tack "Jacob's Paradox" might have explored to better effect than the one it took.

Regardless, Peake's maiden directorial effort is an auspicious one, and I look forward to the feature-length he and his crew are soon to release. I commend "Jacob's Paradox" to your attention as a solid introduction to this talented company.

A movie like this..., 29 October 2016
5/10

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

...would work better if it didn't try so hard. Ostensibly based on a true-life case, neophyte auteur Amy S. Weber's screenplay suffers from a heavy-handed and overly simplistic message: bullying is bad (no kidding!), which it then betrays with an unusual sympathy for the devil--sorry, I mean bully. Simply put, it's a twist that doesn't pay off with any great satisfaction, falling just short of shooting the film right in the foot. I can understand the impulse to humanize the antagonist, but it's just not handled in a way that respects the victim, at least in my opinion.

The acting's good from an ensemble of relative unknowns, led by Hunter "The Young and the Restless" King and Lexi "General Hospital" Ainsworth, with notable support from the likes of Jimmy "Star Trek (2009)" Bennett and tyro Christy Engle. Obviously, Ms. Weber casts well and handles actors with aplomb, but the storytelling still leaves much to be desired.

If the subject matter interests you, then "A Girl Like Her" is worth a watch. Otherwise, you can safely give this one a pass.

The Harvest (2013/I)
Tyro script needed more cultivation before reaping..., 27 August 2016
6/10

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

..."The Harvest," John "I made Michael Rooker a star" McNaughton's first feature film in over a decade (not counting a smattering of TV work), and even pros like Michael "Bug" Shannon and Samantha "Control" Morton can't save it from itself. It's the sort of thriller that fades from memory within a few days; even the twist isn't that interesting in the long run. It's a stylistic choice that only accentuates the rickety structure of coincidence that moves the plot along to its Wagnerian conclusion.

Nonetheless, I didn't dislike "The Harvest" so much as wished it had somehow been better. Rachel "Fruitvale Station" Morrison's DP work is solid, George S. "Austin Powers" Clinton's score works well, and Bill "Body Double" Pankow's editing is on the ball, and the acting is acceptably convincing from all concerned. No, the nuts and bolts of the film are all reasonably solid; it's that doggone script.

Ultimately, "The Harvest" doesn't provide much in the way of emotional nutrition, but at least it's not another McHollywood CGI burger. Notch another up for Sturgeon's Revelation. Your life won't be made better watching it, but it won't be made worse, either. I know that's damning with faint praise, but so be it.

Lyle (2014)
Lo-fi effort commendable to an extent, but..., 3 August 2016
5/10

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

...that's not enough to necessarily prompt a recommendation, if that makes any sense. Gaby "Field of Dreams" Hoffman, portrays her protagonist role with reasonable credibility, but truthfully she's still a pale shadow compared to obvious predecessors like Mia "Rosemary's Baby" Farrow and Lee "The Omen" Remick. The rest of the cast doesn't register terribly well, either, and I'll not comment further about that on the basis of discretion being the better part of criticism.

No, as is almost always the case, "Lyle"'s problems boil down to the script, in this instance by its tyro director. The plot is little more than a secularized retelling of the above-mentioned films cloaked in a meaningless lesbian domesticity, involving characters so sparsely sketched as to be virtual ciphers, mere placeholders. In short, there's little to make us care about them, to draw us into Leah's increasingly paranoiac situation. We've seen all this before, and "Lyle" offers nothing new to entertain us, or frighten us, or illuminate us in any way. An extra twenty minutes of backstory and/or character development might have helped; I really don't know. Conversely, twenty minutes trimmed might have produced a tighter, tauter story with some genuine tension, tension that "Lyle" lacks almost completely.

I have to look at this one as a vanity project, a learning exercise that never really shook off its developmental shackles and fully breathed, a premature birth, perhaps, in service to some greater, yet frustratingly ambiguous goal.

Unless you're a fan of one of the actors or the production crew, "Lyle" is regrettably dispensable.


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