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Here we go again..
Rob Zombie dips back into his same old over-stylized bag of tricks to bring us his newest production. While Rob has certainly honed his skill behind the camera, once again his amateur writing ability and failure to explore original ideas leave '31' tasting like a bottle of soda someone left the cap off of overnight. The plot is best described as 'Hostel'/'Saw' meets 'The Running Man' wrapped in Zombie's own special brand of disgustingly low brow levity. The dialogue is so much the same as Rob's usual fodder that you'll often forget Bill Moseley and Sid Haig sat this one out. Every underdeveloped character takes their turn at spouting out pathetic attempts at pretentious thought soaked in hillbilly mop water. It's supposed to remind of us the restroom in a 5 star restaurant ..but sadly, it often comes off more like a port-a-potty outside a Taco Bell. That being said, it's fun, shot well and probably better than 75% of everything else that horror can claim on it's 2016 charter. My predictions, Zombie fans will hail it as a new instant classic, old school horror hounds will trash it, and most of us will just accept it for what it is.. Another almost good film from an aging rock star director with a horrible actress for a wife. 6 out of 10 for me.
The Ridiculous 6 (2015)
The Good, The Bad, & The Sub-par
Ah, "The Ridiculous 6" ..Adam Sandler's Netflix Western. Sony, Paramount & Warner Bros. all passed on it, Problems with Native American extra's walking off the set and Adam's recent flops made the film hard to sell and it was eventually basically given over to Netflix as part 1 of Sandler's four film contractual obligation with the streaming giant. ..Gotta say, it really wasn't good. There are moments where the movie succeeds however, most of the gags are telegraphed worse than a Rhonda Rousey straight right. I'll admit it has a huge cast of comedians and known actors that are fun to watch but, sadly, it quickly becomes a bad SNL skit that somehow drags in to 2 hour territory. Probably the last Sandler movie I'll venture to watch for a bit. Too bad there's 3 more coming to Netflix soon. 4/10
Avengers: Age of Ultron (2015)
Age of Ultron hits it's mark!
Age of Ultron gets hurried here and there but seems to unite at all the right moments. James Spader is truly amazing, even if he's really just playing himself/Red. I felt his character succeeded in challenging our super group this time out. Plus,against RDJ who comes better e"quip"ed There often seems little for the Captain to do this time around, but Hawkeye finally gets some love and most of our other heroes have connections to the overall story (just don't pull at too many plot strings. Another well-done Marvel film. I will add this, the end of this film rivals the first, even if the sum seems unequal at times. Good Movie 8/10.
Give it a rest. This was pretty good.
This movie is definitely not terrible. It's not as classy as The Strangers or as fun as some other recent home invasion flix but, I honestly thought it was good enough to watch twice. Katharine Isabelle always demands my attention and this time I think the film worked for her. At the very least the film adds positively to her standing as one of our favorite new age scream queens.. The film is shot well, the acting's not terrible, there's some genuine suspense here and a fairly scary bad guy with a little twist or two along the way. As an avid horror fan who wades through piles of crappy movie weekly looking for the hidden gems, I'd say this film will please most genre fans. I don't know just good a sequel would be though. Might have to steer clear of that one...lol.
The Marsh (2006)
Better than Expected
I found myself on a cold and lonesome Missouri morning flipping through streams on Justin TV via my Roku box. Upon finding a film that was just beginning I began to become enthralled in "The Marsh." I must say that in reading several other reviews of this film I became a bit aggravated and even somewhat confused by the harsh tone which many reviewers attacked the film. This isn't a great film but it is a very good film, especially for horror fans that spend so much time searching for something that qualifies as decent. Yes, "The Marsh" does seem to rehash some common horror themes and at time the film is a bit predictable, that being said, I found enough originality in this little gem to appreciate it. The best thing "The Marsh" has going for it are the it's solid performances and it's stylistic and heartfelt directing. These things alone seem to elevate the film far above many other straight to DVD horror releases. I honestly felt compelled to write a positive review for this film after reading so many negative ones. The film deserves a better wrap than what it's been given by overly pretentious movie goers, the kind only pleased with over hyped and over produced piles of Hollywood crap-fest. I think many of these reviewers should have just watched their copy of "Forrest Gump" again. In conclusion it is my sincerest hope that the true horror fans out there will give "The Marsh" a look and a fair trial.(looking at you in shame DVD Verdict.)
Among Friends (2012)
"Among Friends" - film review by Jamie DeCourley moviepilot.com
"Among Friends" is the directorial debut of scream queen Danielle Harris and if that isn't enough to spark your interest take a look at some of the other super talented people involved. Alyssa Lobit penned this little gem and is slowly proving that she's a rock star screen writer headed for the top. Lobit also stars in the film and carries herself well amongst a troop of indie horror veterans. The film also stars horror genre icon Kane Hodder, Christopher Backus, Jennifer Blanc, Dana Daurey, Brianne Davis, Chris Meyer, and of course the great A.J. Bowen. A.J. Bowen is swiftly becoming a horror genre icon himself. I can't believe how many truly awesome films Bowen has starred in over the last five years or so. "Among Friends" is probably best described as "Misery" meets "The Breakfast Club." The film kicks off with what appears to be a tight knit group of friends attending a retro eighties party. The group is taken hostage by an insane and apparently jilted Bernadette that wants to show them the error of their ways. It doesn't take long before the secrets and lies binding the group together begin to tear it apart (literally).
I really liked this film for a lot of different reasons but the truth is there's not much here that we haven't seen before. Harris does a very solid job in her first time behind the camera. There are several instances in the film where one of the characters has drug induced delusions. Harris is especially impressive in these moments as she is able to set those scenes apart from the story we're watching and then pull us back at just the right moment. Although the film is decent in all aspects it never really seems to decide where it wants to go or even how far. This is very evident in the films last twenty minutes which make little sense and almost completely stomp out any fire we had burning here. The production value here is unfavorable and I say that having just had a similar retro eighties party for my daughters sweet sixteen. Honestly the party cost us a couple thousand dollars and would have made twice the set produced in this film. I have to nitpick a little bit that's just my nature but let me counter that by saying my two girl's ages 16 and 11 absolutely loved this film, so what do I know. Through it all the film tries hard to stay interesting, bloody, and pure fun. It's not a great film but it's a great start and hopefully we'll get more of Harris behind and in front of the camera. I give this film 6/10 and recommend it to all off-beat horror fans. Let me know what you thought about this group of friends and there dirty little secrets.
All Hallows' Eve (2013)
"All Hallows' Eve" - review by Jamie DeCourley Moviepilot.com
To be honest I sat down to watch this film about a week ago, and have been trying to decide if I liked it or not ever since. Finally, I realized the problem. I really didn't like the film at all, but the whole time I was watching it I could see all the reasons that someone else would. "All Hallows Eve" is best described as a horror anthology that is somewhat derivative of "VHS." The problem with that is some of the footage in Damien Leone's "All Hallows Eve" was shot as far back as 2004. The movie starts out with a babysitter (Katie Maguire) and the two kids. (Sydney Freihofer and Cole Mathewson) After returning home from trick 'r treating they discover an unlabeled video tape has been treated to one of the kids. After some pleading from the kids the reluctant babysitter allows them to view the first part of the spooky tape. There are three fairly basic horror stories on the tape and each one of them ties in somehow with a very disturbing clown who pops up occasionally to have a laugh or two.
The individual stories are a little less than well thought out and really seem to exist only to fill the required criteria of an anthology treatment. The acting is sub-par and annoying this is especially true in the performances given by the kids in the wrap-around story. "All Hallows Eve" is a decent attempt that never really gets going in the right direction. That being said, it does deliver in the gore department, and every time that damn clown pops up the movie does seem genuinely creepy. I give this movie 5/10 and recommend it to true fans of B horror films, especially those who don't get hung up on things like production value. I can see some enjoying it far more than others. What's your opinion of this Halloween movie? Trick or Treat.
Martyrs, after watching this film we all are.
This film is truly incredible. It is the most violent, horrifying and simultaneously brilliant and beautiful film I have seen in a decade or so. If you can make it through the first 40 minutes of this film you'll be hooked. Unfortunately for the weak stomached the ride only gets crazier from there. The film changes in the third act and is in fact hard to finish, but that being said, finishing the film becomes a sort of sacrifice in itself. A sacrifice offered up from the viewer to an almost perfect first 2/3rd's of an awesome horror film. Every once in a while a film comes along that defies any genre, any explanation, and any definition. If you consider yourself to be a horror fan or a film in general, and are a mature adult then this film is an absolute must see. Watch it alone first, let it be yours before you share with your friends
We Are What We Are (2013)
We are what we eat...is more like it.
I admit it, I love the cannibal exploitation flicks of the Seventies. This film however does not fit into that genre or any other genre for that matter. I remember watching the Mexican version of this film a few years ago and as much as I'd love to be pretentious and tell you how much better the original foreign language film was, I really can't. The exception to the rule my movie fan friends. This film was far superior to the even slower moving foreign original. Yes, the first forty minutes are agonizingly slow but, sometimes that's OK as long as the performances are engaging. Special mention to film legend Micheal Parks who adds credibility to A largely unknown cast. Even with the first half of the film being horribly slow moving there is fascinating story building in the silence and the melancholy rain that bears down relentlessly. Plus, this film has one of my all time favorite endings. As for my love of the cannibal genre, guess I'll keep waiting for Eli Roth's "Green Inferno" to feed that monster. I think it's still coming out sometime this decade.
Only God Forgives (2013)
"Only God Forgives"
Some artists tend to reach too far. There are many times as a film lover when I would love to manipulate the art of another to satisfy my own need, or to fulfill my own expectation. However, "Only God Forgives" did not push me to that belief. Let me first say that this film is beyond polarizing, definitely not for everyone or truthfully, not even most. Look, it is what it is. It's over stylized, it's very pretentious and at times it's frustratingly slow. It also has some truly great lead performances, master crafted direction, and a brutally violent story that burns slowly, but deliberate. "Only God Forgives" is a monster, an explosive red neoned nightmare that both compliments and equals the slick blue dream scape of "Drive", its hero themed sibling.
Home Sweet Home (2013)
A decent attempt
Let me say first off that I did think the movie was A solid little home invasion thriller. However the direction style is extremely contrived. What you have here is a director that wants to show us just how good he can be but in truth the film looks and feels like someone rented Halloween and The Shining and basically said "Hey, I could do that." (I mean come on,that ominous shot of the front door before the couple arrive home is just so Kubrick that it comes off a little hacky) What's sad is that just minutes into the film you can tell that the writer and director are one in the same because if it wasn't then either a few of his brutally long and over indulgent shots or some of the inept dialogue would have been left on the floor(seriously how bad were those phone messages). The acting is on par with the budget, with some lines tasting like cardboard and others doing just enough to move us along at a grueling, not suspenseful, irregular pace. The slight twist at the end was OK but honestly, all the best things about this film have been done before and much better. Carpenter and his generation are sometimes accused of going too Hitchcock and if that's true then this film maker proves that when you make a copy of a copy ..it's never as bright as the copy.