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44 reviews in total 
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"Slasher" (2016)
0 out of 3 people found the following review useful:
Well, it's better than "Scream" and miles above "Scream Queens"...still..., 6 June 2016

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

This Canadian-American venture had enough solid chills to get me through a binge-watch on Netflix. And some of the supporting roles feature some very good acting. However, to truly enjoy this horror series you have to put up with some seriously bad actors and script holes.

Maybe it is not just that McGrath in the lead is that bad. I think it is possible she was just directed that way, because the leads who play her husband and gay best friend have the same exact issue. None of them ever reacts to the violence that happens to them and those close to them. It's actually rather surreal. After awhile, a total lack of their ever having a connection to what has happened before, tends to make you not care at all about what happens to them next.

And killings based on the 7 deadly sins?? Yeah, that hasn't been done before.

It is really a shame, because this series actually had some chilling plot twists and turns and does have some well-shot scenes that made it worth sitting through. Some of the supporting cast is terrific, but there are just way too many unbelievable moments, totally lacking in any emotion.

"Scream Queens" and, to a lesser extent "Scream," tried to be too clever about their villains and it frankly got really tedious, really quick. I am still amazed that I put up with "Scream Queens," in retrospect. The self-parody of that series was headache-inducing.

"Slasher" sticks with some effective horror and gore, and even has an entertainingly creative last moment. I do think a flaw in the costume design (eye holes a little too big) made it easier to identify the executioner, but at least the killer's identity wasn't convoluted.

If they only had lead characters that actually were able to relate to events that were happening to them, at least as much as some of the supporting cast, maybe we'd care a little more.

10 out of 17 people found the following review useful:
Film for straight audiences who want to feel good about watching an apparent gay-themed film, 19 September 2014

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

My partner and I just saw this. Dental visits are less painful.

Let me get to the good first. I will keep it brief. The actors were competent. Performances were good, if not especially outstanding.

Now, getting to the header, how do I know this movie was for straight audiences? Because the big payoff is all about the son and his end-of- film endless crying jag....after which he skateboards off into the sunset with (drumroll please)...a girl! See, he's not gay, after all. Whew...what a relief for the parents.

Seriously, who cared if the son was gay or straight? Gay people certainly don't. Yet, this was the big surprise ending?

There are so many undeveloped characters and the movie is so incredibly slow. How slow? Well, even before his injury it took John Lithgow forever to eat anything. He was so glacially slow and disoriented throughout, I was beginning to think that they were going to allude to the development of Alzheimer's. But no, the character was just very slow. And boring. And again...that crying scene?! Well, the kid now has something for his acting reel.

One more thing, they introduce Lithgow's apparent serial infidelity in a closing scene. I still do not get what the point of that revelation was. Gay couples are capable of monogamy. It added nothing to this film. Nada.

Sorry, but this was possibly the most annoying end to an alleged glbt- themed flick that I have ever seen. And it's not as if it was especially wonderful up to that point, anyway.

Flight (2012/I)
1 out of 3 people found the following review useful:
A film with no one to root for, 8 September 2013

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

"Flight" was one of those movies that, the more you watch it, the worse it gets.

Sorry, but Denzel's character was so absurdly self-destructive, it was like watching a cartoon character. The sad part is, once you stop rooting for him (and he is so annoyingly narcissistic, how can you after the umpteenth grab for the bottle), the tension saps out of the movie quicker than the plane nosedived.

The gratuitous breast shots in the beginning were pointless (no pun intended). The relationship with the red-haired heroin addict was ultimately pointless. But he does ultimately develop a painful-to-watch artificial relationship with his son.

Sadly, there was not a single relationship in this movie that seemed anything remotely realistic. Worst was the ridiculous John Goodman caricature, and the co-pilot and his stepford wife in the hospital.

Ultimately, after the initial crash footage, there was no reason to watch. One of the worst screenplays I have seen in awhile. How Denzel got an Oscar nomination is beyond me.

6 out of 13 people found the following review useful:
Based on true files?, 23 July 2013

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

Watching "The Conjuring" was like going to a Halloween fun house, where all the scares are delivered by people jumping out from dark places. It happened so many times in this film (with accompanying jolts from the soundtrack) that you eventually started anticipating them. Take them out of the movie and the scare factor fades like a ghost.

Look, some of the acting was excellent, especially Lili Taylor (who got a bit more of a workout than she did in "The Haunting").

What really ruined this flick for me was the 'based on the true case files of the Warrens." Hey, I am interested in paranormal investigations and would never discount them out of hand, but when Patrick Wilson, playing Ed Warren, starts to introduce the religious mumbo jumbo it was cringe-worthy. Not only was his acting entirely wooden, but his dialogue seemed to have been written by Pat Robertson. "True?" Like "The Amityville Horror?" Ask anyone from Long Island how legitimate THAT one was.

Also, hasn't anybody seen "Scream?" One should never go into dark, spooky basements alone, or stop in the middle of reciting your exorcism to see what's going to happen next. There are horror movie rules. This one just piled on the clichés. When they added an extraneous scene reminiscent of "The Birds" it passed the point of no return.

As of this writing an 8.1? Really? And I thought my '6' was generous.

6 out of 11 people found the following review useful:
Well acted, slice of gay life movie, but a bit flawed., 14 December 2012

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

I saw this movie at the LIGLFF Out at the Movies event last night. As it happened, I liked it better than most. I thought it was a nice mood piece, with good acting, and an involving story, for the most part. I definitely would recommend it.

There were some flaws, though. The biggest one was the time changes. For very little apparent reason, we flash though about 9 years of the main character's lives, and yet they look exactly the same from beginning to end. They have the same hairstyles and have not seemed to age at all. It just seemed non-sensical to make a big deal about the passing of years and not have it impact at all on the appearance of the actors.

Also, other issues pop up that seem to have no relevance to the movie at all in the end, like the results of an HIV test.

While I did like it, I thought it was definitely way too long. It was not as if each yearly segment had some significant action attached to it. Sometimes they didn't. The movie sometimes lurched jarringly ahead a few years, seemingly without valid reason. Since the movie's outcome was obvious in the first half hour, it played out way too long. Still, I did find the characters involving.

As for the person who commented that they had never seen a gay crack addict, this film begins in the 90's. There were gay men who did crack. And not every gay man in this movie did drugs. In fact, the movie made that point quite clear. One of the 2 main characters tried it but did not like it. There was a definite validity to some of the drug culture the movie was referring to. I think more surprising to me was that the person in the movie who was very addicted still managed to hold his high-level job, without repercussions.

One more thing, I did love the soundtrack in this film. It totally matched the movie.

This film was not especially deep, however it was a bit of a melancholic art film that was an interesting look at the decade in the lives of 2 gay men.

It is what it is, and not all that much more.

4 out of 6 people found the following review useful:
Delightful sleeper, 10 November 2012

This film opened the Long Island Gay and Lesbian Film Festival and because of the early start, did not have near the turnout of the opening night's other 2 films.

Too bad, because this film was exceptionally good.

I, for the life of me, cannot understand the average rating of under 5 (as of this post). Were some of the principals not attractive enough? I mean, seriously, this was a quality production.

It is always a treat to find a glbt-themed film as well-written and acted as this. The pacing, acting and dialogue had such a nice, natural rhythm to it.

This was not so much a gay film as much as it was a film where a good percentage of the characters just happened to be gay. It dealt with certain gay characters that you do not get to see on film, except in caricature...such as the large-framed butch lesbian. In this movie, the actress who played her had a warmth and sweetness to her. It was refreshing.

This film captured a slice of life and presented it in an honest way that never made you feel you were watching something derivative. It was not an earth-shattering adventure, but rather, an examination of a path to self-awareness, with lessons learned along the way.

It deserves a wider audience.

The One (2011/II)
12 out of 13 people found the following review useful:
Most cringe-worthy movie since "Hostel", 28 June 2012

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

I just watched this at a monthly gay film fest and I have to admit, I haven't turned away from the screen this much since the brutal scenes in "Hostel." I spent much of the movie watching through my spread fingers. I didn't feel too out of place, because my partner was with me and he actually thought it was worse than I did. Not quite as bad as some glbt-themed movies can be, like, say, the entire 'Eating Out' series. At least, in those cases, the films oozed so much superficiality you never expected much. This film actually has higher production values. Some of the performances are even borderline decent.

The problem is with the script and all the clichés and the fact that these characters are so creepy that they are entirely unlikable...and then the film leaves you with an ending that makes you feel you just gave up 90 minutes of your life...for what?

This one was a cross between the "Eating Out" movies and "Making Love," so we dubbed it "Making Out," which certainly sounds better than "Eating Love."

I guess I don't understand why one of the protagonists that we are supposed to sympathize with is a creepy stalker/pathological liar, who preaches true love and then just uses someone he cares nothing about to propose marriage to, simply as a revenge ploy. And the other guy is not only cheating on his bride with another man, but the scriptwriter gives wifey a back story of a woman with abandonment issues whose father walked out on her. And then....let's her get pregnant! You are kidding me, right? Torture, I tell you.

And forget that the wife is as clueless as a bag of rocks and has a clairvoyant girlfriend who can spot a gay man a mile away and then even sleep with them, is theatre and a woman has to have sex with someone! Arrrrrggggggghhhhh.

But the really torturous scenes involved a bachelor party and scenes with mom and dad and cigars and....oh it's too painful to relive it all.

I will say certainly had us talking. Just not in the way the filmmaker intended.

ps.....afterward, consider how well Jon Prescott's acting resembled a plank of wood. He captures being an inanimate object as well as just about anyone I have ever seen.

2 out of 3 people found the following review useful:
God has lots of plot holes, 4 April 2012

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

What a disappointment this movie was.

It was bad enough that both blu-ray rentals we got were defective, but I could not get over the ludicrous plot.

There were just so many ridiculous things wrong with the premise of the movie. As just one example, falling in love would stop someone from wanting to be president...but God was considering wiping that person's brain clean so that they would not fall in love, yet the personality that would cause them to become president would be gone, too. There were just so many nonsensical moments that we lost count.

I will say this, if there really is an adjustment bureau it would account for how many people actually gave this film high marks. Fortunately, I am posting my '3' before they get to me.

Scream 4 (2011)
1 out of 16 people found the following review useful:
Wanted to like this but...uggh, 23 August 2011

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

I have to say that just getting through the final 20 minutes of Scream 4 was pure torture.

We get that the Scream franchise is all about self-reverential humor, but the phone device was so overdone that it just became annoying. And even with a filter, there is NO WAY that voice was produced by either of the 2 killers.

But what really makes this film bad was the combination of having to watch Neve Campbell do this entire film in agony-face (she always appears to be having cramps) and, even worse, listening to her niece explain why she chose to kill. It was thoroughly unbelievable.

I won't bother rehashing that message here, but it is a sorry, cynical statement about the state of youth that Wes Craven is making. After the recent Norway slaughter it's not especially amusing.

Additionally, knowing about the real-life breakup of Cox and Arquette made their scenes especially painful to watch. Yet, they seemed to be referencing it.

Oh, one more thing. The killings are quite prolonged and violent. What it doesn't show in explicit gore, is more than made up for by extremely loud shredding and ripping sounds.

Not a great night of movie-watching.

The Tunnel (2011/I)
11 out of 18 people found the following review useful:
Good effort, but a couple of major flaws, 8 June 2011

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

I respect the film-makers for putting out a well-crafted film. The acting was uniformly competent and, outside of a setup that took a little too long, was directed fairly well.

If there had been no "Blair Witch Project" and the other, similarly 'real' movies, than this would have been rated higher. But all this pseudo-reality stuff has been done before, so there is no novelty to the approach.

Add to that, the fact that the actors are all credited at the end of the movie and one of the primary intentions for this film (to make you believe it actually happened)goes out the window.

After showing at least one actual murder, that this should not have launched some sort of official investigation is just absurd. It may be implied that the government has covered this up, yet it still is highly implausible.

The biggest flaw, for me, is the storytelling device of showing the 2 survivors from the beginning. Also, when one includes the emergency call played at the start, it is very clear early on who the dying person is. Why do something that will telegraph who will live and who will die? It just saps a big chunk of suspense from the movie.

So, again, nice effort and creative marketing, but...ultimately...not something I would watch twice.

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