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EPIC Comic Adaptation
Spawn was way ahead of it's time. I remember watching the original in the 90's on HBO and loving it. Here we are in 2014 and I'm rewatching it and just loving it...just loving it. Adult all the way, Spawn isn't for the kids. It's, of course, a Faustian tale and a superhero title but at it's core this is horror. The cartoon is very dark, chilling, and gritty. It's ultra-violent, suspenseful, animated beautifully, the voice-acting is precise and quietly subdued. It's as if all it's characters are speaking as shadows. Brilliant stuff here that outshines anything DC is doing currently and DC is the only one really doing anything worth a crud for American comic-book animation. Love Marvel but their animation is pathetic. If you're over 18 and want a good super-hero animation that lives and breathes in the dark...go buy Spawn. Mr. McFarland....please bring this back!
The Black Water Vampire (2014)
This is a snore fest. If you loved the Blair Witch (I didn't) then you'll probably be pretty mad that the guys who saw this said..."Say, let's remake the Blair Witch but rename it Blackwater Vampire or whatever the sodding title is. Chick decides to do a documentary about a murder she thinks is fishy, blah, blah, blah, blah, and then blah. The vampire was a pretty good design. The vampire screaming was okay but needed to be toned down a bit. The rest is rubbish. A slow, trek through a woodlands in search of an answer to something troubling the filmmaker...but this time with SNOW! The ending...oh my dear god...was just STUPID. There I said it. I'm sorry...but guys you gotta do better. Where's the originality?
Knights of Badassdom (2013)
Knights of Underwhelming and Lost Potential
I was excited to check this one out. I heard some good buzz...has a great cast, neat premise with the whole LARP aspect. Terrible. This movie is wack. Wack as HELL. There's no laughs. It doesn't know if it's a comedy, it tries hard...just no laughs. It wants to be a horror/fantasy...but the comedy attempt disembowels that attempt. A LOT of wasted talent. The cast is great....but the screenplay is underwhelming and the cinematography is PITIFUL. Obviously, we sadly have yet another movie's ratings on IMDb manipulated by "someone". If you go in expecting a 6...which has dropped about 1 and a half point in the last 2 weeks, you'll be super-underwhelmed. This is a dogbone...a 4 at best...and that's probably if you're under 25. Avoid this and save your redbox money.
Almost Human (2013)
The Sound of Crickets
Seriously, the last half of the movie is flooded with crickets...despite it obviously being winter, or at least cold outside. Okay. 10 star review? Dump that. Hilarious. If this is a 10 star movie, this is either the only movie you ever saw and it appeals specifically to you OR..you're buddies with the director...take your pick. Despite all of this..."Almost Human" is decent. It ain't horrible, but it's not great or even cult level acceptable. It's a low budget, gory, alien indie flick with mostly substandard acting and a pretty thin plot. Dude gets abducted. Dude returns. Dude is alien hybrid on a murder spree and wants to convert us all to aliens via a phallic mouth tube he spits into folks mouth AND he wants to get back with his old girlfriend. Dude's buddy knows it's going down and dog-gone-it he's gonna FIGHT BACK! Yeah! I'd be proud if I made this flick...but I have no experience in cinematography...so there's that. Watch if your in the mood to see that bearded dude kill some people but forget the plot. Why the aliens chose this country dude to take over the world and not a politician, celebrity, or even a prostitute...one can only wonder. I'm not hating...just sayin.
Saturday Morning Mystery (2012)
The Greatest Scooby Doo Movie Ever Made
So yeah, Hollywood has made a mess out of Scooby Doo. Honestly...and I'm just keeping it 100, the damned Scooby Doo cartoon wasn't that great to begin with.
Let's get it out of the way first; yes, this is a Scooby Doo homage/parody. The names have been changed and the archetypes updated but the influence is 100% Scooby Doo. Ironically, the Scooby character, the dog ( I can't recall it's name) is almost an after thought in the movie...and I'm pretty sure this was done intentionally. The focus is what and how would the Mystery Team from Scooby Doo actually act if the cartoon was a reality. In other words, why would they see the bizarre things they see, why would they come to some of their outlandish conclusions, why and how would the old gag involving everyone chasing the fiend through multiple doors work??? Clever stuff. The cast is eccentric and marvelous. They flesh themselves out through character acting and very little to no back story. The cinematography is ideal for the slasher movie breathing down the necks of our characters and slyly sets up tension and creates a slow burning doom that may or may not be awaiting our protagonists. The score is very well done but the sound effects are some of the best I've heard in some time. If you do check this great little flick out, listen for those sound effects...they're remarkable. There are a few small problems however... It might be a bit too long as some have suggested, but my theory is the movie kicks gears towards the end and it sort of guts any emotional investment we might have been brewing. It goes from a sort of edgy comedy to a survival/slasher movie much like "Behind the Mask : The Rise of Leslie Vernon" and I felt the same way as a viewer of that great little movie as I did with this one. Very interesting collection of talent involved with this one...I'll be following what they do in the future.
6 Degrees of Hell (2012)
A Smear Better then Average
So let's go ahead and address probably your biggest concern here...Feldman. Yeah, he's in it. He has his bit and it's minor and pretty much unnecessary. With that knowledge, you can kick back and allow yourself to watch a steady, somewhat slow burning story involving a demon's puzzling game of possessions to unlock the gates of hell. The major problem with this movie is that it's trying to tell too many stories and in the end you might find yourself wondering exactly what story was told. The acting is decent, I would say respectable for B movie standards. Film direction, cinematography, soundtrack, makeup...all professional. Question is...should you watch it and am I endorsing it? I say yes to both. I appreciate how the film makers haven't hoar'd themselves out on these boards and reviews with sweaty palm testimonies on how great the movie is like most shlock horror movie makers do these days. See : Orphan Maker, Smiley, Bunnyman, etc for examples. (Added bonus, this movie is better then all 3 of those crapfests) These guys put some sweat and talent into a movie and are allowing the fans to respond to it. Unfortunately, the Feldman hate, I fear, is crushing the score and will scare you away. Don't let it! This is a pretty original and again, solid effort from an independent movie maker. It's probably a little to ambitious in it's efforts to find it's own voice but I rather that then a majority of the recycled garbage we're watching these days.
Wrong Turn 5: Bloodlines (2012)
The Bellybutton Lint of Slasher Flicks...is back
The Wrong Turn "franchise" (is this REALLY a franchise already?) has taken, yes, another "wrong turn"...sigh. I know I wrote that and I'm sorry but inspiration is at an all time low after watching this smear of "cinema" last night. What is it? What's it all about, but more importantly...should YOU watch it. Last answer is easy. No. The other answers are pointless. There's nothing conventionally wise or deep about this sequel to a bad sequel that was a sequel to a crappy sequel that was a sequel to an "okay" sequel that was a sequel to an otherwise average inbred hillbilly mutant slasher movie. This is the vine that just keeps rotting away and people continue plucking from it and hoping the fruit has changed from feces flavor to at least starburst. Look in the mirror. Your teeth are brown. In a piece of toilet paper, this is about the hillbilly clan, yeah they have names, after 5 movies I don't even care what they are...who kill people and eat them or make them eat themselves sometimes or whatever. They muck about in the woods and make silly grunting and giggling noises...and young retarded people die vicious deaths. Ahhh...now we are on to something. This is for your Redbox dollar people. Don't see anything else? Well, there's always a cheap horror flick to get you and your gal or guy in the mood. Psyche. You'll probably both be so bored with it you'll fall asleep before any nookie is unveiled. Leave this pile of crud alone. It ain't worth it.
The Watch (2012)
Read a book. Take a college class. Play Mario Brothers. Take a deuce on your neighbor's lawn...whatever. But watching this movie should be low on your list of making lists about list making. In other words, this is not a good movie. It's not even an average movie. It's a lemon. The laughs? Yeah. There are no laughs. Is it a drama then? Well..no, it's not a drama because there are "comedians" all up in the cast. I mean...Ben Stiller is in it right? He's good for a few laughs correct? WRONG. Ah but then there's Vince Vaughn the fast talking man-child that he is...that's ALWAYS a funny role ain't it? Yeah, not so much...not so much. This is a steaming pile of cult of personality. Nothing more. The jokes are sterile. The deliveries are dialed in...from loooong distance. Everyone is sleep walking or aping themselves from past movies. So, in a sense it's a body snatcher movie. You've seen this before. Uninspired, unfunny, and unoriginal. Yes...there are people that enjoyed it fool! There are people that enjoy Beiber, Spears, and That's My Boy....this...is for them. Not you. Go "Watch" something else.
Killer Joe (2011)
Compensate for the knee jerk
Sometimes a performance in itself can boost a movies value and vault it into something spectacular, McConaughey provides the turbo to this otherwise solid but not groundbreaking vehicle of karmic retribution as Killer Joe. The movie itself has been said to be akin to Friedkin aping a Cohen crime caper and that description works. We have a crime masterminded by selfish, unintelligent and or quirky characters, we have the mid-west as our backdrop, and we have the metaphysical shadow of karma hovering over their every move throughout the film. Call it Cohen Brothers on whiskey. The characters themselves are all very stereotyped but I think Friedkin left that transparent enough. In other words, the stereotype was part of the wardrobe itself. The reason being is this is not about these characters in particular...this is about choices and consequences and Killer Joe is simply a vehicle of karmic arithmetic. All that aside, on any day, or in any movie, McConaughey's performance as Killer Joe is mesmerizing. He is the serpent...cold and dangerous but charming and in control, constantly. He weaves his restrained psychotic energy through the movie as if he was born to play this role. For as silly as this movie can be, this is a brutally adult movie. It is graphic and there is a barrel of bush in it. There is also an almost misogynistic undertone that I don't wish to defend one way or the other, but I will say that for the scenes to not play out as they did would be an injustice to the character that McConaughey plays. The cast all around is very solid. Thomas Haden Church is pretty terrific, Gershon is on point and I've never been happier to see her answer a door. Juno Temple is a lolita-ish young vixen who seems to be almost in a different plane of existence throughout the movie. This is a movie that will stick with you after it's over, the mark of a truly good movie. There's mechanics below the surface that have to be thought about and you have to discipline yourself for the eventual knee jerking that is bound to happen. Adults only. Would go well sandwiched between Blood Simple and No Country for Old Men.
The Day (2011)
A Day in the Life of an Average Apocalypse
"The Day" is by no means what I would define as a bad movie. It deserves a little love if only for the pretty solid acting all around. That being said, "The Day" isn't an excellent movie by any means either. The basic premises is a group of stragglers are trying their best to survive in a "post-apocalyptic" world. What the apocalypse was however is never determined. The "blood-thirsty predators" are actuality a small click of apparently murderous cannibals. This is a small budget movie with a medium budget feel. It's short, hits hard and fast, and leaves you with a hunger for something with a little more substance. Most of the movie entails the defense of a house as the "predators" launch perhaps one of the least imaginative, least tactical assaults on a building ever witnessed. They are led by Michael Eklund, who...is a sleepy kind of bad guy; not very imposing...not very wise...and not very tough. As the main antagonist his performance is paper thin, however he isn't given anything real to chew on until tragedy strikes his crew...and then he still can't emotionally summon any sort of menacing conviction. Dominic Monaghan is a HUGE boost to the casts morale and adds that special character touch he brings to everything I've seen him in. Shawn Ashmore does a fantastic job and helps me forget the travesty that was the X-Men franchise. Ashley Bell is brilliant in her "kick butt take names later" character and the movie hinges on whether she can pull it off...and she does. If Bell stinks this movie erodes to a 4.
This is a "rent it if there's really nothing else to watch" sort of movie. You would be hard pressed to rate this above a 6...so I'm very skeptical on how many of the earlier reviews were actually non-objective. This is AVERAGE....and that's not necessarily a bad thing.