139 ReviewsOrdered By: Date
36 Saints (2013)
Just plain awful
25 October 2014
Warning: Spoilers
A pretty ridiculous film in which the faith of the world resides in the hands of thirty-six (36) unsuspecting / unknowing souls.

A gravely serious introductory voice-over lays out the convoluted plot: Every generation is protected from evil by 36 individuals who "carry the suffering of the world." If they're wiped out, it's apocalypse now.

As the film begins, an unfortunate plane crash (the year prior) has whittled the current number from thirty-six to nine, and they inexplicably all reside in Washington Heights. Yes, you heard right, six billion people in the world and the nine (9) remaining people who control the faith of the world over evil... and not only do they reside in the same place, but attend the same prep school and all hang-out with one another. Let's just say that "Lilith" and her hoards of the unholy, have no problems systematically wiping out our totally clueless teenage saviors.

Two New York City cops (Franky G, Jeffrey De Serrano) are warned that an age-old demon is on a killing spree, but their lackluster detective work does little to stem director Eddy Duran's slapdash pileup of strangely coy kill scenes (each mimicking the demise of the victim's namesake saint). The audience knows the culprit (though not her appearance): introductory narration informs us that Lilith, Eve's outcast predecessor in the Garden of Eden, is after God's "36" chosen. But before the police can determine her agenda, people must die by hanging, stabbing, shooting, bludgeoning and crucifixion. And we must witness a succession of scenes trying, but often failing, to tease us with tense buildups before thwarting our expectations.

For whatever reason, obligatory final girl Eve (Britne Oldford) is an aspiring actress trapped in a terrible indie horror movie. Whether that's meta or moronic isn't really worth the debate. Both are equally bad and neither are worth your time or attention.

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Mall (2014)
Tarantino WANNABE
23 August 2014
Warning: Spoilers
UGGGHHHhhhhhh!!! If you have never had the experience of sitting through a 90-minute feature film and as the final credits start to roll, you ask yourself, "WTF, over???" Then boy do I have a film for you....

Director / Musician Joe Hahn braved his first Comic-Con when he was 14 years old. Now 37, the Linkin Park beat maker is making his directorial film debut with "Mall", a movie about a horrific shooting at a shopping mall.

Hahn had 18 days to shoot Mall, which focuses on five "disgruntled suburbanites" inside the mall separately, but the narrative is driven by a single person. The movie follows a group of suburbanites who find themselves at a shopping mall in the wake of a random shooting and how their outlooks on life are transformed as a result.

"Mall" is based on Eric Bogosian's 2001 novel of the same name, and it was slightly altered for the big screen by Sam Bisbee, Joe Vinciguerra and Vincent D'Onofrio. The latter two, respectively, also produced and and acted in the film.

Paragon Pictures acquired the North American rights to the film, which comes from a screenplay penned by Vincent D'Onofrio, Joe Vinciguerra and Sam Bisbee, adapted from a 2001 novel from Eric Bogosian. D'Onofrio, best known for his roles in "Full Metal Jacket," "Men in Black," "Ed Wood" and TV's "Law & Order: Criminal Intent," will also star in the thriller along with Gina Gershon, Cameron Monaghan, Peter Stormare and James Frecheville.

"The script needed a main voice to lead you through the film; Jeff (played by Cameron Monaghan) was chosen as the one because of his character arc in his personal growth and realizations about life." There is a quote in the film where Jeff says, 'I am not stuck, I am unstuck.' In that moment, Jeff chooses his own destiny to not take the easy way out like the other characters in the film."

However as the film progresses, it becomes a complete mishmash of ridiculous story lines that may or may not intertwine as the night unfolds. It's almost like "The Breakfast Club" except the five (5) lead characters are as follows: the pervert, the whore, the loser, the killer, and the token black guy. None of whom know each other before the day begins. Throw in four more high school rejects to add mayhem to the story line and "PESTO!"...what you have here is a low-budget Tarantino knockoff-wannabe!!!! And not in a good way either.... Do not waste your time and / or money on this one.

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18 May 2014
Warning: Spoilers
TV producer Leslie Grief has rarely ventured onto the big screen since working on Walker: Texas Ranger. His last experience, directing and cowriting the 2006 Chevy Chase bomb "Funny Money", might have convinced a more cautious man to stick to exec-producing generic reality-TV fare. Instead, Grief returns with "10 Rules for Sleeping Around", which should hammer the last nail into the coffin of his theatrical aspirations. Inept in just about every way, the farce about two pairs of would-be philanderers may well prove to be 2014's most unenjoyable comedy, provided Adam Sandler doesn't have a third Grown Ups planned for this summer. Unlike Grown Ups, this picture will make only a brief flicker in theaters before reaching "Video-On-Demmand" purgatory.

Jesse Bradford plays Vince, the numbskull who sets the story in motion by convincing his wife, Cami (Virginia Williams), that they should have an open relationship governed by a douchebag decalogue of his own design; things go predictably awry when Cami decides to exercise this freedom with a cougar-hunting Hamptons horndog. At the same time, Vince has sold his dim-bulb bro, Matt (Chris Marquette), on proposing a similar sexual arrangement to his easily flustered girlfriend, Kate (Tammin Sursok), who's soon chasing Cami out to the Hamptons to join in the misbehavior. Mistaken identities and misinterpreted clues pile up as the four characters separately try to crash a party-of-the- season thrown by a notorious Hollywood hedonist (Michael McKean).

These leads have scores of credits among them, but as directed by Grief most would have a hard time landing a gig in a deodorant commercial. Dialogue spills out indiscriminately, its lack of comic timing not helped by Richard Nord's editing.

Failing at banter, Grief tries to score laughs with some faux-naughty outrageousness, most of which involves a teenage boy running around naked, with feathers stuck to him, with an amorous dog in hot pursuit. A funnier film might have gotten away with having this desperate kid fend off his canine pursuer with campus anti-rape slogans like "My body, my choice!"; this one simply begs to be found offensive in addition to stupid and desperately unfunny.

So to some this all up, bad writing, bad acting, bad direction, a horrendous script, and a all too familiar plot adds up to one disastrous film... If I was force to have to watch this film while in flight, I would seriously consider using the emergency exit; yes, it's that bad!!!!
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Extraction (II) (2013)
Poor Poor Danny Glover...
18 May 2014
Warning: Spoilers
They say in Hollywood that there is no such thing as a small role, only small actors... However, Danny Glover's appearance in this low-budget $1.1 Million dollar production is just plain embarrassing. When actor Vinnie Jones ("Euro-trip" and "Lock, Stock, and Two Smoking Barrels") is getting higher billing than you, it just may be time to turn in your SAG card.

The film stars Jon Foo as Mercy Callo, a member of a black-ops team who moves in on a brothel to catch a wanted suspect holding a mysterious flash drive. Mercy captures the target, but hesitates to follow orders to terminate him when he is convinced his captive knows more than what flash drive holds.

"EXTRACTION" goes on to follow Mercy as the only survivor of a botched prisoner extraction mission. To save the lives of thousands of innocent civilians, he has to catch a terrorist arms-dealer with the help of a criminal—who may have information about a pending large-scale attack.

It's "The Raid" meets "24" and totally feels like a made for TV action thriller; "Extraction" has quasi-entertaining fight scenes and a plot that's been regurgitated time and time again. "Extraction" marks the first feature film by the website Crackle and the film is written and directed by Tony Giglio (Chaos).

In all honesty, despite the film's formulaic alignment with select contained-action classics, the film is a huge disappointment for any hardcore fans of Jon Foo who are used to seeing more lively work illustrated previously in films like "House Of Fury" and "Tom Yum Goong". The stunt coordination by seasoned veteran stuntman, actor and action director James Lew and co-fight choreographer Lin Oeding was pretty lame while watching both Foo and Hentschel trading blows with the film's screenfighting extras. But it's only at the biggest fight scene at the cusp of the film's third act between Foo, and actor Paul Duke, where Foo gets to flex his muscles a little more, but only a little.

All in all, "Extraction" isn't Jon Foo's best work. Some of the action seems to play it safe, and isn't really worthy of viewing if you're a Jon Foo fan or an action movie fan in general. Even worse, the film sets itself up for a possible sequel. At any rate, the film can be seen for free viewing at Crackle's official website.

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Die Hard - LITE
12 May 2014
Warning: Spoilers
Director Joe Johnston has built a career on big adventure movies like "The Rocketeer", "Jurassic Park III" and "Captain America: The First Avenger", but he opted for something a little different with his latest film, "Not Safe for Work". A low budget indie thriller produced by Jason Blum (Paranormal Activity), the story revolves around an office worker (Max Minghella) who is trapped inside an office building after hours with a killer on the loose.

Tom Miller (Max Minghella) is a paralegal for a huge law firm who stumbles upon incriminating evidence while researching information for an upcoming trial. His discovery of evidence leads to his immediate termination. However, while leaving his office building for the last time, Tom witnesses a very suspicious occurrence which forces him to return to his work space.

The events that follow unfurl much like a "Die Hard" film; however, with only 1/100th the budget, and 1/1000th the "Bruce Willis" factor ... But still completely captivating nonetheless.

Tom becomes trapped in his office building with a demented killer (J.J. Field). As Tom rushes to protect those employees working late, he soon discovers that his legal firm has been hiding sinister secrets that could put thousands of lives at risk. This film comes from the same producers of "Paranormal Activity" and "Insidious". A really nice psychological thriller where an ordinary office becomes the twisted killing ground for a psychopathic killer.

This movie was quietly moved from a theatrical release to a direct-to-DVD / VOD title, which usually proves to be a bad sign. However, I found this low-budget indie film to be totally riveting, and quite entertaining. Definitely worth seeking out, and definitely worth the cost of renting.

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An homage to the second-bill double feature film
13 August 2013
Warning: Spoilers
If you were ever curious to know what would happen if Silent Bob (Jason Mewes) was to become totally infatuated with barnyard nannies, so much so, that their harm would lead to your demise... then boy do I have a film for you!!!

"Silent But Deadly" is a quasi-decent Slasher-Comedy. The start is wonderful with goat loving Thomas being hunted by his hick of a father, who is not just angry that his son was spying on his two wives but also that his two Russian brides are actually only interested in each other rather than him. William Sadler comes out with the fantastic line "Goddamn Russian lesbos , worst money I ever spent". Just after those immortal lines are uttered then Capper kills the kid goat and Thomas takes his revenge.

"Silent But Deadly" keeps the laughs coming with a wise cracking 3 feet tall Sheriff and his able but often put down deputy. Sheriff Shelby is a riot and his one-liners are great , he is a small man with small man's syndrome and poor Deputy Jimbo is often the butt of the Sheriff's jokes and wrath.

There are many things to like about "Silent But Deadly" including Mewes performance as Thomas, he is almost entirely mute apart from just before he kills someone he speaks the name of the implement he will use for the murder "Delicatessen Meat Slicer" for example ! This is genius. Also the performances of Prentice and Antoine as the Napoleonic Sheriff and his long suffering Deputy are brilliant. They play off each other really well and have many laugh out loud moments and great scenes together.

The one bad thing (and for me it is horrendous) is the appalling CGI . Other than the first kill the rest are completely unbelievable; however, highly entertaining. There are so many talented FX guys out there and CGI is just used out of pure laziness . Though the total budget on this film was a mere $500k, cost difference between FX vs CGI is non existent and it just really made me dislike a film... that on the whole I was really enjoying.

"Silent But Deadly" was first screened in Canada in 2011, and is now scheduled for release in the US in September 2013. "Silent But Deadly" is a fun Slasher film, that would be best enjoyed with friends over a few beers (okay, maybe a lot of beers). It's no "Scream" or "Scary Movie" but it is still an amusing "B" movie slasher/comedy film that could have easily been so much more. The film actually really reminded me of the "second-bill" film of a drive-in Double Feature, complete with blatant random nudity and a cast mostly composed of misfit idiots.
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Dark Skies (2013)
Refreshing, and surprisingly thrilling
24 May 2013
Warning: Spoilers
I have to admit that I am not an avid fan of PG-13 horror films. To me they are just a watered down semblance of the real thing, and a Hollywood ploy to garner a larger marketable audience base (i.e. - teen males 13-17). However, I was shockingly surprised by how much I truly enjoyed this film. Writer / Director Scott Stewart (Priest / Legion) did a phenomenal job with what limited resources ($3.5 Million budget) that he had, to bring to the screen a well written, well acted, and highly intense horror / alien abduction genre film.

This film was a combination "Poltergeist" meets "Close Encounters of the Third Kind". The Barret family is feeling the tolls of a struggling economy. Daniel Barret (Josh Hamilton) has been laid off from his job for several months as the film opens, while his wife Lacy (Keri Russell) is trying to keep the family afloat selling real estate. TIMES ARE TOUGH!!!! This family is truly on borrowed time. Matters only get worse as mysterious unexplained occurrences start to manifest in their home during the late hours of the night.

Again, I cannot champion Scott Stewart's abilities to draw the audience into this family's dire circumstances enough; I was really feeling their pain with every unfortunate situation that was thrown at them. However, where this film truly shines is in its editing!!!! YES, I SAID EDITING!!!! Director Scott Stewart had a very, very limited budget; so the special effects used in this film were pretty much nonexistent!!! The alien creatures in this film were little more than "black stick figure entities with faceless lollipop heads". If these creatures would have spent any face-time on the scene, the audience would have laughed its way out of the theater; however, what Direct Scott Stewart elected to do was splice them into "flash" sequences (one second you see them, the next second you don't), and the effect was AMAZINGLY ominous, intensely frightening, and edge-of-your-seat spellbinding!!!!

Perhaps my favorite character in the whole film had to be J.K. Simmons as Edwin Pollard, the alien expert. I only wished this character would have had more screen time. As Daniel and Lacy finally accept that they might actually be dealing with something more than just some "bad karma", Lacy resorts to the internet and finds Edwin Pollard. However, unlike Zelda Rubinstein (Psychic Extraordinaire from "Poltergeist"), Pollard (Simmons) has pretty much accepted the alien existence on Earth and his inability to do anything else but track their global activities / abductions. When the Barret's ask why they were "selected" or "targeted" by the aliens, Pollard responds "That would be like the rats in science labs inquiring why they are being injected with cancer!!!" A fantastic analogy that pretty much sums up this whole entire film!!

All in all, a really incredible film that highly recommend and encourage that you to seek out!!! Further proof that good cinema does not require 100 million dollar budgets to entertain the masses. I'm actually becoming quite the Scott Stewart enthusiast; I have yet to see a bad film made by him. If you are in the mood for some really nice film-making, with plenty of boom for the buck; then "Dark Skies" just might be what you are seeking.

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Stand Up Guys (2012)
Pure Genius!!!!
24 April 2013
Warning: Spoilers
Movie Review: "Stand Up Guys" (*** 1/2 out of 5) - What do you get when you put Al Pacino, Christopher Walken, and Alan Arkin all together into one motion picture.... Pure Genius!!!

Al Pacino is Valentino (Val), an old-school, small time, two bit crook. Val took the fall for a botched robbery 28 years prior. Being a "Stand up guy", Val did his time and kept his mouth shut, and never revealed any information with regards to the crime; he didn't cop a plea, rat out his friends, and he was tried and sentenced to the full extent of the law. Val's best friend and cohort in crime is Doc (Christopher Walken). While in prison and even now as Val prepares to be reintegrated back into society, Doc has always been there for Val. However, Doc has a heavy burden weighing on his conscious. It seems that during all the gunfire shot amid the botched robbery, Val inadvertently shot and killed the only son of the crime syndicates Boss, Claphands (played by Mark Margolis). Claphands has waited 28 long years for retribution; and Doc has been ordered to execute the hit on Val, and he only has 24 hours to complete the task or suffer repercussions himself for noncompliance.

Great acting is like a fine wine, it only improves with age. What Pacino and Walken do on screen is absolutely mesmerizing. The heart-felt camaraderie between these veterans of the silver screen (and silver hair) is amazing to witness; even more so is the agonizing guilt and torment that Doc (Walken) is internalizing. Doc's only mission this night is to ensure that his oldest and closest friend, has the best 'last night' of his life. The kicker to this whole situation, is that Val (Pacino) is no idiot. Val realized that having survived prison was all in the grand scheme of Claphands' plan, for Val to experience every single pitiful day to the full extent of his prison sentence, only to have Claphands' vindication be exacted upon his release. Val's only question is, "Who is going to pull the trigger?"

Director Fisher Stevens and writer Noah Haidle do a great job bringing debt, warmth, and compassion to these (should be) highly unlikeable characters. However, Pacino and Walken are in their element. Though the years are starting to definitely show in these icons of the Hollywood stage and screen, their talent can not or will not be denied. This is never more prevalent than in my favorite scene of the whole movie when Val decides to go to confession to atoll for his sins (of that day)... As the priest is pretty much godsmacked by what he has just heard, and Val departs the confessional. Doc looks to Val and asks, "Are you good to go, have you been absolved your sins???" Val retorts,"Close enough." I highly recommend this film. This film has so much more happening below the surface than being presented on screen; the depth and skill possessed by this cast is something special to behold, and more so to enjoy.

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Gambit (I) (2012)
It's NOT you typical Coen Brother Production
18 April 2013
Warning: Spoilers
Webster's defines a gambit as a chess opening in which a player risks one of his pawns or a minor piece in order to gain an advantage of securing a larger more valuable piece or position. This British import re-make of the 1966 Michael Caine / Shirley MacLaine comedy caper is devilishly delightful and features the ensemble cast of Colin Firth, Cameron Diaz and Alan Rickman. Written by the Coen brothers Joel and Ethan, this films lacks the laugh out loud comedic antics that you have come to expect with a typical Coen Brothers production; however, this film is an engaging movie to sit through and effortlessly hits all the sweet spots that a heist comedy should hit.

Colin Firth (The King's Speech) plays Harry Deane, an art curator working for Lionel Shahbandar (Alan Rickman), a maniacal businessman who possesses little or no concern to the employees that work for him. Deane, who despises his boss, devises an elaborate scheme to swindle his boss using Shahbandar's biggest weakness, his fondness of art, more specifically Monet artwork. Shahbandar paid $11 Million Pounds (British Sterling) for Monet's 'Haystacks at Dawn'. Deane hopes to entice his boss into buying a forged Monet's 'Haystacks at Dusk' replica companion piece for $12 Million Pounds (British Sterling) in which Deane will authenticate as the real genuine article.

Prior to putting this genius plan into action, Deane shares his complex connivery with the audience in a dream sequence of how exactly this diabolical plan of action would/should fall into place. In order for this whole plan to work, Deane needs to secure the services of one more very essential person to his plot, P.J. Puznowski (Cameron Diaz). It seems that PJ is the great, granddaughter, of SGT Puznowski, who lead the raid on the Nazi stronghold of European stolen artwork which so happen to include, Monet's 'Haystacks at Dusk'. Deane is adamant that if Shahbandar is so obsessed and blind to Monet's artwork that he will do or pay any amount of money to complete his collection. However, nothing seems go as Henry Deane planned, it's a total debacle from the beginning.

The true star of this film is Alan Rickman!!! He's funny, arrogant, chauvinistic, evil, belittling, in other words, MAGNIFICENT!!! He steals every scene that he is in. Seriously underestimated by Deane (Firth), Shahbandar (Rickman) is a cut-throat businessman; Rickman (doing his best Alan Sugar, British magnate, impersonation) isn't as eagerly venerable to the dangling bait Deane has to offer.

A very cute movie nonetheless; I am actually now very interested in seeing the Michael Caine / Shirley MacLaine 1966 original. This film is definitely worth seeking out on DVD, Cable, or On Demand. Again this is not your typical Coen Brother's slapstick, in-your-face comedy, but instead a more adult refined sort of comedy. British in nature; however, be warned that some of the disturbing images of Alan Rickman from this film may resonate in your memories for a long time to come.

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Oblivion (I) (2013)
A very average SCI Fi film
17 April 2013
Warning: Spoilers
Even from the opening monologue of this film, you can tell that there is something just not quite right with the information that is being presented to the audience. The year is 2077. Fifty (50) years prior an alien invasion force known simply as "The Scavengers" or just plain "Scavs" destroyed the Earth's moon causing catastrophic global nature disasters (i.e. – earthquakes, tidal waves, tsunamis, etc.). Cities were toppled, worldwide panic and chaos followed, then the alien invasion commenced. In order to fight off the alien attackers, the world nuclear arsenal was dispatched. The War was won, but the planet was lost due to nuclear contamination leaving most of the planet uninhabitable. What was let of humanity was forced to leave the planet, and colonized on Titan, Saturn's largest moon.

Jack Harper (Tom Cruise) is Tech 49, one of the last few humans stationed on the planet. He lives in a tower thousands of feet above the Earth where he and his communications officer and lover Victoria (Andrea Riseborough) are part of an operation to extract the planet's remaining resources, especially water. Jack and Victoria maintain contact with civilization via a video link with their commander, Sally (Melissa Leo), and are due to join the rest of humanity on Titan in two weeks. Assisting Jack in his work are weaponized 'drones', airborne machines that scour the landscape to destroy the remaining alien resistance.

Five years prior the government mandated mandatory memory wipes; however, Jack is suffering from recurring dreams and flashbacks of New York before the invasion and an unknown woman. This is quite peculiar given that New York was destroyed some fifty (50) years prior, and in the dreams Jack is an adult. Even more strange is this highly expansive and elaborate drone system that was erected to defend a devastated and abandoned planet. However, things really start to get interesting when 'the scavs' activate a homing beacon and a spaceship containing human bodies in stasis crash lands on the planet.

I have nothing negative to say with regards to "Oblivion". The film was fine. However, is 'fine' what you are looking for when you are going to see a Sci Fi film??? I THINK NOT!!! There is nothing (forgive the pun) "EARTH-SCATTERING" about this film. The story is fine, the plot twist works, the acting and on screen chemistry are okay. But I did not leave this film thinking to myself, "OMG, THAT WAS AWESOME!!!!" It was more like "Oh, okay, yeah that seems to explain everything." I'm sure this weekend this film will do stellar business; however, I believe word-of-mouth will bring sharp declines in the following week's receipts. For those of you planning to see this film regardless of this review, do yourself a favor and see it during the Matinée Bargain showings. I would actually suggest waiting for its release to DVD or On DEMAND. Again, this is not a HORRENDOUS film; but it is a quite AVERAGE film.
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