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Real name: Joe Wawrzyniak
Hair: Rapidly receding, but what's still left is dirty blonde & often uncombed
Eyes: Piercing blue. Not exactly Meg Fosterish, but leaning in that striking direction
Favorite hat: Fedora, a man's hat
Favorite shirt: loud Hawaiian shirts, the uglier the better
Favorite pants: Khaki, usually rumpled
Date of birth: June 1st, 1972
Homestate: New Jersey, where both myself and the drive-in were born
Height: 6 feet, 4 inches, very tall
Weight: 215 pounds, really thin
Nicknames: The Woodman, The Woodster,
The Woodmeister, Awesome Anders
Mr. Wood, Woody A, Good Ol' WA, Woods,
Woody Baby (ladies only, please)
Persona: Film nerd and damn proud of it
Voice: Deep, oily, soothing pus ooze late night disc jockey tenor
Favorite song: "Una Paloma Blanca" 2005 remix by George Baker
Motto: "If you wanna be the s**t, you gotta know your s**t. Otherwise, you ain't s**t."
Religion: Godless heathen atheist and proud of it, too
I'm especially fond of horror and exploitation movies. I think the 70's was the best-ever decade for film. Watch a lot of cult movies and drive-in films; the sleazier and/or weirder they are, the more I dig 'em. Enjoy out of the mainstream independent films, rock pics, sci-fi end-of-the-world items and made-for-TV movies as well.
Just to stop my life from being too dull I have a little sideline hobby singing downhome Southern-fried country and western music. I'm the lead singer/songwriter in a funky band called Hillbilly Joe and the Jersey Bumpkins. We're a bunch of s**t-kickin', fiddle-pickin', banjo-pluckin' rowdy rednecks who love to spit, chew, screw and drink Mountain Dew (and I ain't talkin' 'bout the soda). We perform at truckstops, greasy spoons, swap meets, flea markets, seedy honkytonk dives, trailer parks, weddings, bar mitzvahs, and especially church social gatherings every Sunday afternoon. Songs we perform include such good, clean, wholesome family numbers as "Thank God I'm A Country *beep* "On the Floor Again," "I *beep* Your Sister and She's A Lousy Lay," and "The Wife Beating Song." The latter charming ditty I wrote in fifteen minutes at the tail end of a severe weekend whiskey bender. The lyrics are as follows:
I punch the dawg
I kick the cat
I beat the wife
With a bat
She called the cops
I'm in jail
Spendin' the night
Can't pay bail
While I'm here
I really hope
My hairy cellmate Bubba
Don't drop the soap
Now, isn't that a truly special song just ripe to bursting with wit, warmth, tasteful humor and a teeming surplus of poignant heartfelt humanity? Your darn totin' it sure is. Keep watching "American Idol" because I'm gonna be on it any day now.
I also act in hard-core porno films under the alias IGiveYouMyWood. Among the hard-core movies I've starred in are "Layin' the Ladies," "Stickin' It to Your Sister," "Lovin' My Cousin" (a Hillbilly Joe favorite), and the sentimental yuletide classic "Santa's Special Sausage." All these films and many more can be ordered from the following website: www.getmywood.com.
Moreover, I'm a shameless hack writer who does numerous film reviews and articles for such underground publications as "Vex," "Cult Movies" (my article on Bigfoot films was nominated for a Rondo Award in 2003, but alas I didn't win), "The Exploitation Journal," "Screem," and "Shock Cinema." I also write album reviews for a local Garden State rock zine called "Jersey Beat."
I average at one film comment a day on the IMDb and even write snappy little bios on such lesser known actors and actresses as Vic Diaz, Victor Israel, Joy Bang, Michael Ironside, Michelle Stacy, James Whitworth, Frances Raines, Roberta Collins, Rick Dean, Candice Rialson, Monica Gayle, Harley Cross, Bill Thurman, Michael Sopkiw, Nicholas Worth, Jennifer Ashley, Sondra Currie, Bruno VeSota, Sharon Kelly, Tim Thomerson, Tony Musante, Lina Romay, Pamela Franklin, Kelli Maroney, Jewel Shepard, Starr Andreeff, and Patty Shepard. I've also written bios for such directors as Richard Compton (R.I.P.), my good friend Keith Crocker, William Lustig, Jeff Lieberman, Jeff Burr, Fred Dekker, Kevin S. Tenney, Lewis Teague, Jack Arnold, Lee Frost, Don Edmonds, and Gary Sherman. In a pitiful attempt at displaying range and versatility, I've whipped up bios for longtime favorite singer/songwriters Kim Carnes, Carol Connors, Jackie DeShannon, John Prine, Joe South and Tony Joe White, country singers Dave Dudley and Eddie Rabbitt, blues singer/guitarist T-Model Ford, rock'n'roll guitarists Davie Allan and Link Wray, and crime novelist Charles Willeford. In fact, I have over 1,000 mini-bios posted all over the IMDb and am currently listed as #3 in the IMDb statistics top twenty list of writers on mini-bios. Plus I add pieces of trivia and quotes for folks all over the IMDb (one of the folks I've added several quotes for is none other than Fred Astaire!). Hell, I even add magazine interviews, pictorials and cover photos, too. And TV commercials, too. I'm not a prolific writer; I'm just a guy who writes a lot.
I would love to hear from film fans the world over. I hope you enjoy my writing and comments.
I own more DVDs than I care to list and have seen more movies than I would care to admit to. I average three or fours DVDs a week, so my collection gets bigger and bigger all the time. Before you ask, I store my DVDs in a very large basement. I also store the bodies of stray drifters I pick on the way home from work in my basement as well. Wait a minute; forget that last sentence. I actually eat as much of the bodies as I can (thus saving money on food so I can buy more DVDs) and burn what I can't eat in my incinerator (thus saving money on heating as well). When in Jersey be sure to stop by my house. I'd be glad to have you over for diner. However, you wouldn't be a guest in my house; you would be the main course instead. Cheers!
Assassination Nation (2018)
A savage satire on modern America
Spunky and sassy teenager Lily (an excellent and appealing portrayal by Odessa Young) and her three gal pals are forced to fight for their lives against the angry population of the conservative small town of Salem after Lily winds up being accused of a malicious computer data hack that reveals the dirty secret private lives of many people in the town.
Writer/director Sam Levinson paints a fiercely damning and scathing portrait of a puritanical judgmental society that's unable to live by its own strict morals and hence finds itself ripped asunder by said morals while also making a pertinent satirical point on the perils of how stuff posted on the internet can ruin people's lives and turn folks against one another. Better still, the appropriately edgy tone and often wickedly funny sense of no-holds-barred pitch-black humor both possess quite a bitter sting.
Moreover, it's acted with zest by an enthusiastic cast: Abra as the brash Em, Suki Waterhouse as the saucy Sarah, Hari Nef as brassy trans Bex, Coleman Domingo as the well-meaning Principal Turrell, Danny Ramirez as decent dude Diamond, Joel McCale as the creepy Nick Mathers, Maude Apatow as the vengeful Grace, Bill Skarsgard as insecure jerk Mark, Bella Thorne as vain cheerleader Reagan, and Kathryn Erbe as Lily's disapproving mom Rebecca. The startling outbursts of bloody'n'brutal violence pack a ferocious punch. A deliciously nasty blast.
Shark Zone (2003)
Sharks going on a feeding frenzy once again
Shark attack survivor Jimmy Wagner (a solid and engaging performance by Dean Cochran) is forced to face a bunch of lethal and hungry great white sharks ten years later when they show up to terrorize a beach resort community.
Director Danny Lerner relates the enjoyably asinine story at a snappy pace, delivers a handy helping of graphic gore along with hot babes in bikinis and even a little tasty gratuitous female nudity for trashy good measure, maintains an admirably serious tone throughout, and stages the bloody shark attacks with aplomb. The game cast treat the silly material with commendable sincerity: Alan Austen as greedy jerk Mayor Cordell, Brandi Sherwood as Jimmy's spunky wife Carrie, Velizar Binev as evil and corrupt businessman Volkoff, and Luke Leavitt as Jimmy's sweet son Danny. Moreover, the assorted hilariously implausible things like sharks that growl and people being able to talk clearly underwater while scuba diving (!) add immensely to this flick's considerable campy charm. A total schlocky hoot and a half.
Shark Attack (1999)
Sharks on the attack due to ill-advised experiments once again
Marine Biologist Steven McKray (a sturdy and likeable performance by Casper Van Dien) uncovers a big sinister and nefarious plot while investigating a series of shark attacks in a small South African village.
Director Bob Misiorowski relates the enjoyable and engrossing story at a brisk pace, stages the bloody shark attacks and exciting action sequences with considerable go-for-it gusto, maintains an admirably sincere tone throughout, and delivers a satisfying serving of gruesome gore. The sound acting from the capable cast keeps this movie humming: Bentley Mitchum as unscrupulous scientist Dr. Miles Craven, Ernie Hudson as suave hotel owner Lawrence Rhodes, Jenny McShane as the foxy'n'feisty Corine DeSantis, and Tony Caprari as helpful and easygoing cab driver/fisherman Mani. Moreover, the filmmakers deserve extra praise for using stock footage of actual sharks instead of the usual cruddy CGI. A cool little movie.
Really cute cartoon short
A master swordsman gets reincarnated in the modern age as a coffee vending machine. The swordsman vending machine must fend off would-be assassins and falls in love with a young gal.
Besides the delightfully oddball story, this kooky 30-minute animated short further benefits from an amusing sense of offbeat humor, lively and exciting swordfights, and beautifully fluid animation. Moreover, the romance between the vending machine and the young gal gives this short a certain sweet charm.
Shark Exorcist (2015)
A gloriously ghastly marvel
An evil nun summons up the spirit of Satan to possess a great white shark so it can terrorize a small fishing village. It's up to Father Michael to stop it.
Boy, does this hilariously horrendous honey possess all the right wrong stuff to qualify as a real four-star stinkeroonie: We've got ham-fisted (non)direction from Donald Farmer (who also wrote the nonsensical script), ineptly staged shark attacks, crummy acting from a lame no-name cast, a hokey-looking shark, a meandering story that unfolds at a plodding pace, an absurd exorcism set piece, lots of silly padding, hot babes in bikinis, and even a ridiculous "it ain't over yet!" sequel set-up non-ending. A total schlocky hoot and a half.
Uribyeol Ilho-wa Eollukso (2014)
An offbeat treat
Spunky satellite girl Il-ho and shy cow musician Ko Gyeong-cheon form an unlikely friendship that gets threatened by a giant all-consuming incinerator.
This animated feature benefits tremendously from a wonderfully wacky array of characters that include a helpful wizard who just happens to be a roll of toilet paper (!), a snippy pig witch lady, and a deranged guy with a plunger who's bound and determined to take Ko Gyeong-cheon's liver. Moreover, this movie possesses a sweet goofy charm that's impossible to either dislike or resist. Best of all, the relationship between the satellite girl and the milk cow gives this film a winning surplus of humor and heart.
Raiders of the Lost Shark (2015)
Beware of the obviously fake shark in the lake
A prehistoric flying shark goggles up various folks who go into the water of a small lake.
Boy, does this gloriously ghastly Grade Z bilge possess all the wright wrong stuff to qualify as a real four-star stinkeroonie: We've got hopelessly ham-fisted (mis)direction from Brett Kelly (who also co-wrote the flimsy script), a hilariously hokey-looking shark, ineptly staged shark attacks, rank amateur acting from a no-name cast, a head-bangin' hard-rock soundtrack, hot babes in bikinis (one of whom bares her cute little breasts), and an amusing sense of self-mocking humor. A deliciously cheesy hoot and a half.
Malibu Shark Attack (2009)
Watch out for the killer goblin sharks!
Prehistoric deep water goblin sharks are unleashed by a tsunami wave so they can terrorize a motley assortment of lifeguards and construction workers down by the shore in Malibu, California.
Director David Lister relates the enjoyably inane story at a zippy pace, treats the gloriously ludicrous premise with jaw-dropping seriousness, and stages the gory shark attacks with aplomb. Moreover, the cruddy (markedly less than) special CGI shark f/x further add to this flick's abundant unintentional hilarity while the pleasing plethora of hot babes in bikinis provide tasty eye candy.
The game cast play the silly material with admirably straight faces: Peta Wilson as no-nonsense veteran lifeguard Heather, Warren Christie as macho take-charge dude Chavez, Jeff Gannon as tough construction boss Colin, Remi Bradley as the amiable Doug, Chelan Summers as perky bimbo Jenny, Sonya Salomaa as the sweet Barb, Nicholas Cooper as nice guy Bryan, and Mungo McKay as the rugged George. A total kitschy hoot and a half.
The Survivalist (2021)
Fighting for a final glimmer of hope
Former FBI agent Ben (an excellent performance from Jonathan Rhys Meyers) must protect the immune Sarah (a strong and sympathetic portrayal by Ruby Modine) from crazed cult leader Aaron (John Malkovich in fine villainous form) and his dangerous followers in a harsh and hostile world that's been ravaged by a deadly pandemic.
Director Jon Keeyes relates the familiar, but still enjoyable and engrossing story at a steady pace, maintains an appropriately bleak and somber tone throughout, generates a good deal of tension, makes nice use of a desolate rural landscape, and stages the exciting action with flair and skill. Moreover, Jenna Leigh Green has a field day as Aaron's fiercely loyal disciple Marley, Julian Sands does well as Ben's wayward gambler father Heath, and Lori Petty contributes a spirited voice turn as a sarcastic ham radio operator with only gloomy news to report. A neat little movie.
The Guest (2014)
David just wants to help. Or does he?
Handsome, but mysterious ex-soldier David (smoothly played with devilishly charismatic conviction by Dan Stevens) shows up at the home of the Peterson family claiming he's a friend of their deceased son who was killed in action. David at first seems to be a decent dude, but it turns out he's harboring a few dark secrets about his actual identity.
Director Adam Wingard relates the gripping story at a quick pace, takes time to develop the characters, generates a good deal of tension, and stages the exciting action with rip-roaring aplomb. Simon Barrett's clever script not only offers a few deliciously daft plot twists along with a wickedly funny sense of self-mocking humor, but also provides ingeniously warped takes on the themes of loyalty and betrayal.
The excellent acting from the tip-top cast rates as another substantial asset: Maika Monroe as perky and sassy daughter Anna, Sheila Kelley as sweet mother Laura, Brendan Meyer as bullied son Luke, Leland Orser as meek dad Spencer, Joel David Moore as zonked-out stoner Craig, Lance Reddick as the hard-nosed Major Carver, and Tabatha Shaun as the foxy Kristen. An on the money wild thriller.
Atomic shark will burn you up!
A radioactive shark terrorizes the San Diego coast by causing swimmers and sunbathers to burst into flames. It's up to a few heroic lifeguards to kill the atomic shark.
Director A. B. Stone relates the enjoyably inane story at a zippy pace, stages the fiery attack scenes with aplomb, and maintains an engaging tongue-in-cheek tone throughout. Moreover, the sturdy cast play the silly material with commendably straight faces: Rachele Brooke Smith as the foxy and feisty Gina, Bobby Campo as the amiable Kaplan, Jeff Fahey as crusty boat captain Rottger, Adam Ambruso as antagonistic jerk superior Reese, David Faustino as skeevy pervert Fletcher, and Jessica Kemejuk as the vain and vapid Kylie. The tacky (far from) special CGI effects further add to this flick's considerable campy charm. A deliciously cheesy hoot and a half.
Shark in Venice (2008)
Sharks and mobsters too
Archeologist and diver David Franks (likeable Stephen Baldwin) travels to Venice, Italy to investigate the mysterious death of his dad. David not only uncovers a trail to a legendary lost fortune, but also runs afoul of both deadly sharks and equally lethal mobsters who want the treasure for themselves.
Director Danny Lerner relates the enjoyably asinine story at a snappy pace, treats the gloriously ludicrous premise with jaw-dropping seriousness, and stages both the rousing action and bloody shark attacks with go-for-it aplomb. Moreover, the game cast have a ball with the insane material: Vanessa Johansson as David's foxy fiance Laura, Hilda van der Meulen as pesky detective Sofia Totti, Giacomo Gonnella as fearsome gangster Vito Clemenza, and Ivaylo Geraskov as mean flunky Rossi. A deliciously cheesy hoot and a half.
Girl in the Bunker (2018)
Superior TV movie
Teenager Elizabeth Shoaf (a fine and appealing portrayal by Julia Lalonde) gets abducted by sexual predator Vinson Filyaw (a creepy and convincing performance by Henry Thomas), who keeps Elizabeth hostage in an underground bunker located deep in the woods.
Writer/director Stephen Kemp relates the absorbing story at a steady pace, makes nice use of the beautiful verdant countryside, maintains a serious tone throughout, generates a good deal of claustrophobic tension, and wisely avoids lurid sensationalism. The sound acting from the capable cast helps a lot: Lalonde and especially Thomas do sterling work in their roles, with sturdy support from Moira Kelly as worried mother Madeline, Stephen Park as concerned father Don, and Neil Napier as by-the-book Sheriff Thompson. Well worth a watch.
We Had It Coming (2019)
Doesn't add up to much
Anna (a sturdy performance by Natalie Krill) and her girlfriend Olivia (an excellent portrayal by Alexia Fast) go to Montreal, Canada to get revenge on a pimp and a female recruiter for said pimp who are responsible for the suicide death of Anna's sister Katja.
While the basic premise has potential, writer/director Paul Barbeau alas lets the meandering story unfold at a sluggish pace, thereby negating any essential tension or sense of narrative thrust that the story needs to really work. Moreover, the chilly bleak tone proves to be quite off-putting as well. This film further suffers from the pimp being a vaguely drawn and shadowy figure. Fortunately, Krill and Fast both do sound work while Erin Agostino does well as the browbeaten recruiter. A simply passable time-killer.
Chaos Walking (2021)
No escape from the Noise
2257. Decent dude Todd Hewitt (a solid and likeable performance by Tom Holland) lives on a desolate planet that's not only bereft of women, but also where a strange force called the Noise puts all the men's thoughts on display for everyone to know. Todd must protect the feisty Viola (a fine and appealing portrayal by Daisy Ridley) from the other men after her spaceship crash lands on the planet.
Director Doug Liman relates the enjoyable and engrossing story at a quick pace, offers a vivid evocation of a hostile Wild West-style world that's primarily populated by rough'n'ready men, maintains an admirably serious tone throughout, brings an impressive sense of scale and scope to the inspired fantastic premise, and stages the exciting action with skill and gusto. Moreover, the warm relationship between Todd and Viola gives this film a charming feeling of real heart while the smart script nicely explores such strong themes as abuse of power and religion, the evils of colonialism, and the ongoing war between the sexes.
The sturdy acting from the excellent cast rates as another substantial asset: Mads Mikkelsen as the charismatic, but tyrannical and deceitful Mayor Prentiss, Nick Jonas as the eager to please Davy, David Oyelowo as angry and dangerous religious fanatic Aaron, Demian Bichir as Todd's kindly father Ben, Bethany Anne Lind as Todd's deceased mother Karyssa, and Cynthia Erivo as the hard-nosed Hildy. A super cool and praiseworthy winner.
Dark Whispers: Volume 1 (2019)
Nifty horror anthology from Down Under
Young lass Clara (well played by Andrea Demetriades) inherits a strange book of macabre stories called the Book of Dark Secrets. Clara's life depends on reading each and every last story in said book.
"Birthday Girl" - A strong and poignant tale of a mother talking to the sweet ghost of her deceased little girl in an elevator.
"The Man Who Caught a Mermaid" - Excellent, with a strikingly hideous mermaid and a disturbing twist.
"Gloomy Valentine" - Cool animated pip with lots of strikingly grotesque imagery.
"Watch Me" - Middling tale of a vain actress who thrives on attention.
"Storytime" - This one benefits substantially from a flavorsome Aussie outback setting and a gnarly and original monster.
"The Ride" - Very amusing and engaging affair with a great performance from Anthony LaPaglia as a blithely unhinged motorist.
"White Song" - Incredibly grim and depressing stuff.
"Grillz" - Funny vignette about a fetching female vampire who uses a dating website to find victims.
"Little Share House of Horrors" - Another quite funny comic outing about killer vegetation.
"The Intruder" - Sharp and tense little thriller.
The wraparound segment ends on a pleasing positive note. Recommended for fans of omnibus horror films.
The Bye Bye Man (2017)
The Bye Bye Man is going to get you
Three college friends find themselves in considerable jeopardy after a local boogeyman figure known as the Bye Bye Man (Doug Jones in full-on spooky mode) begins stalking and tormenting them.
Director Stacy Title relates the enjoyable and engrossing story at a quick pace, ably crafts a creepy and unsettling mood, generates a good deal of tension, takes time to develop the characters, and maintains a fairly grim'n'gritty tone throughout. The solid acting from a capable cast helps a lot: Douglas Smith as nice guy Elliot, Lucien Laviscount as the easygoing John, Cressida Bonas as the perky Sasha, Michael Trucco as Elliot's concerned older brother Virgil, Jennal Kanell as foxy psychic Kim, Carrie-Anne Moss as the hard-nosed Detective Shaw, and Faye Dunaway as the reclusive Widow Redman. A neat little movie.
Girl in the Box (2016)
Very strong TV movie
1977. Sweet young lass Colleen Stan (a fine and appealing portrayal by Addison Timlin) gets abducted by monstrously abusive control freak Cameron Hooker (a supremely creepy performance by Zane Holtz) and his timid wife Janice (well played by Zelda Williams) while hitchhiking from Oregon to California. Cameron imprisons Colleen in a box in the basement and forces her to be his sex slave.
Writer/director Stephen Kemp relates the sordidly compelling story at a steady pace, maintains a grimly serious tone throughout, generates a good deal of claustrophobic tension, handles the seamy premise with admirable taste and restraint, and offers an intelligent and interesting exploration on the themes of faith and perverting religion. Moreover, the kinky bondage angle gives this TV movie a surprisingly potent and twisted extra punch. Worth a watch.
The La Llorona Curse (2019)
One of the better found footage horror movies
A television crew find their lives in danger after they decide to investigate a home where paranormal sightings of La Llorona the crying woman have been reported.
Director/co-writer Damir Catic relates the absorbing story at a steady pace, takes time to develop the characters, ably crafts a creepy mood, and pulls out all the harrowing stops in the last ten minutes. The no-name cast do competent work, with Gabrielle Santamauro a particular stand-out throughout as the sassy and spunky Andrea. A neat little flick.
Dead Don't Die in Dallas (2019)
Zombies don't care what you are
Gay folks and religious fanatics in a small Texas town must set aside their differences and work together in order to survive a zombie outbreak caused by a miracle pill that was supposed to cure all viral infections.
Writer/director Israel Luna relates the enjoyably off-the-wall story at a quick pace, maintains an engaging tongue-in-cheek tone throughout, delivers a handy helping of bloody gore, generates some real tension, elicits plenty of laughs from a wickedly funny sense of no-holds-barred campy humor, and even tosses in a few surprisingly poignant moments.
The game cast have a ball with the zany material: Willam Belli as the brash Beth-Anne Fetterman, Richard D. Curtin as hateful rightwing preacherman Samuel Jeffress, Krystal Summers as Samuel's sweet wife Janice, Dillon Vineyard as Samuel's nice guy son Ethan, Angelo Martinez as tough ex-boxer "Phil" Philomena, Tom Zembrod as loopy survivalist Cooter, and Allyn Carrell as the feisty Ma. A total hoot.
Fun adventure romp
Brash and dashing young archeologist Jack Hunter (a solid and likeable performance by Ivan Sergei) embarks on a perilous quest to find a lost treasure. He's assisted by feisty colleague Nadia Ramadan (a lively and appealing portrayal by the extremely fetching Joanne Kelly).
Director Terry Cunningham relates the enjoyable story at a snappy pace, stages the exciting action with aplomb, maintains an engaging sincere tone throughout, and makes good use of the exotic Middle East locations. Moreover, it's acted with zest by an enthusiastic cast: Thure Riefenstein as evil jerk Albert Littman, Susan Ward as the spunky Liz, Sean Lawlor as ill-fated mentor Frederic Shaffer, Mario Naim Bassil as amiable goofball Tariq, Muhammed Cangoren as the shrewd Ali, and Hakan Silahsizoglu as the helpful Hakim. A cool flick.
Human nature run amuck in space
2063. The young and eager, but docile and ingenuous crew of a spaceship on a lengthy decades long mission to save the human race by traveling to a new planet succumb to such basic, primal, and potentially lethal human emotions as lust, paranoia, and the hunger for power, thereby putting both their mission and their own lives at considerable risk.
Writer/director Neil Burger relates the gripping story at a constant pace, astutely captures the suffocatingly sterile and controlled nature of life on a spaceship, maintains a starkly serious tone throughout, generates a good deal of claustrophobic tension, and offers a strong and provocative exploration of the danger inherent in giving in completely to one's id impulses.
The sturdy acting from the able cast rates as another significant asset: Colin Farrell as doting and fatherly chief officer Richard, Tye Sheridan as the sensible Christopher, Lily-Rose Depp as the sweet and sensitive Sela, Fionn Whitehead as brash troublemaker Zac, Chante Adams as the rigidly by-the-book Phoebe, Quintessa Swindell as the saucy Julie, Isaac Hempstead Wright as the wimpy Edward, and Archie Madekwe as Zac's loyal flunky Kai. A neat movie.
Girl in the Basement (2021)
Pretty unnerving for a TV movie
Free-spirited teenager Sarah Cody (a fine and appealing portrayal by Stefanie Scott) gets imprisoned in a basement by her monstrously abusive and overbearing control freak dad Don (a supremely creepy and convincing performance by Judd Nelson).
Director Elisabeth Rohm relates the bleakly absorbing story at a steady pace, grounds the seedy premise in a believable everyday reality, generates a good deal of claustrophobic tension, and maintains a grimly serious tone throughout. Moreover, this made-for-TV movie goes to some surprisingly dark and upsetting places (for example, Don rapes Sarah and she has several kids from him).
The sturdy acting from the capable cast helps a lot: Nelson and Scott do sterling work in their difficult roles, with sound support from Joely Fisher as worried mother Irene, Emma Myers as the scared and sickly Marie, Braxton Bjerken as the sweet Michael, Jake Nuttall as the kindly Thomas, Emily Topper as perky sister Amy, and Jake Etheridge as meddlesome boyfriend Chris. A really potent teleflick.
Desperate and determined single mother Karla Dyson (a strong and sympathetic portrayal by Halle Berry) will stop at nothing to get her beloved son Frankie (adorable Sage Correa) back after the boy is kidnapped in a public park.
Director Luis Prieto keeps the tight and gripping story zipping along at a breathless breakneck pace, stages the exciting vehicular action with rip-roaring aplomb, and generates a considerable amount of tension. Chris McGinn and Lew Temple are appropriately hateful as the vicious abductors. The lean 82 minute running time ensures that this film never gets dull or overstays its welcome. An on the money nail-biter.
Film Adventurer Karel Zeman (2015)
A loving portrait of a revolutionary cinematic artist
Karel Zeman was a Czech filmmaker, animator, and special effects artist who made short and feature length fantasy movies that were done in a highly distinctive style and often boasted highly charming hand-crafted special effects. This documentary on Zeman does a fine job of capturing the boundless creativity, ingenuity, and imagination that were huge parts of Zeman's personality and filmography along with his overall optimistic nature. Zeman's daughter Ludmila provides plenty of useful insights and information on her father while directors Terry Gilliam and Tim Burton cite Zeman as major influences on their work. Moreover, the various techniques Zeman used to realize the special effects in his motion pictures are covered in fascinatingly thorough detail. It's also nice to see three of the boys from Zeman's first feature length movie "Journey to the Beginning of Time" reunited as older men. Highly recommended viewing to both Zeman fans and film buffs alike.