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  • Video Games: The Movie 2014

    ★★ Watched 30 Sep, 2014

    I'm not sure what Jeremy Snead set out to do with this... Is it a digestible cliff's notes overview on the cultural impact of video games? Or does it aspire to something more?

    In any case, there's not much you can really get out of it outside very general terms because it's a bit all over the place. I mean, sure it's cute and everything to see Wil Wheaton and Donald Faison and Max Landis sit around and talk about…

  • Shelter 2010

    ★★ Watched 25 Sep, 2014

    Can good performances elevate a shit film?

    And so, I present for your consideration this barely released and mostly unheard of little chiller from a couple of years ago that can answer that question with a resounding "maybe."

    Because, all things considered, the first hour of this is kind of intriguing. It is during the film's second hour - as things eventually sink into a river of spiritual gobbledygook - that the eyes ever so assuredly begin to roll.

    But,…

  • Body Bags 1993

    ★★ Rewatched 24 Sep, 2014

    Anthologies tend to be a mixed bag... And this one is no exception. Mainly because the project was originally intended as a series for Showtime to compete with HBO's Tales From the Crypt.

    Had that happened, we might have had an interesting precursor to Masters Of Horror... With up and comers, plus the occasional heavyweight genre master bringing us 25-minute tales of gore every week for a couple of years.

    Might have worked. Who knows?

    Since they didn't go to…

  • Lisa 1990

    ★★★★ Rewatched 23 Sep, 2014

    This 90s cable staple is probably a lot better than you remember. After all, there had to be a reason why you felt compelled, as a teenager, to watch it whenever it came on.

    Or was that just me?

    In any case, a potentially trashy, disposable programmer is given a classy treatment and surprising amount of heft by underrated thriller maker Gary Sherman.

    It turns the standard stalker formula on its head in an ingenious and effective way: What if,…

  • The Breakfast Club 1985

    ★★★★ Watched 22 Sep, 2014

    So, is this due for a remake yet? Have there been...talks?

    In any case, it's surprisingly undated.

    I mean, sure, some things like fashion and music cues are hard to overlook in how they speak to a very specific time - a very specific generation.

    But what makes this film resonant even today is how John Hughes' screenplay taps into very real and I'd say pretty universal feelings of teen angst.

    You do have to ignore the surface details, of…

  • Interview with the Assassin 2002

    ★★★ Watched 20 Sep, 2014

    Raymond J. Barry is one of our great character actors and this is his tour de force: A showcase in which he very believably inhabits the person who supposedly killed Kennedy. As a result, there are moments in which this movie is positively chilling.

    It's an early entry in the modern found footage/pseudo documentary style launched by Blair Witch. It's been a go to staple for horror and hasn't worked very well there. As the aesthetic for a character driven…

  • Break Up 1998

    ★★ Watched 20 Sep, 2014

    This cheap, late period 90s potboiler is really two movies in one...

    On the one hand, you have a standard issue domestic abuse thriller starring Bridget Fonda... In which 80s sleazeball turned poor man's heartthrob Hart Bochner kicks the shit out of her, throws her down some stairs and disappears, presumably dead...with her the prime suspect in his "murder." So now she must go on the lam to prove her innocence.

    The other side of this coin is a buddy…

  • The Paperboy 2012

    ★★★ Watched 20 Sep, 2014

    Oh, it's a Lee Daniels movie through and through... An overabundance of stylistic flourishes from the word go, over-the-top characterizations charged with flamboyance; and plenty of eye-popping weird scenes.

    And, in this particular case, the excess suits the material. An adaptation of Pete Dexter's Florida backwoods thriller, this actually has the look, feel and texture...hell...even the SMELL of a pulp novel.

    With Macy Gray's narration and a strangely lush musical score it even sounds like some sort of bizarre fever…

  • Twisted 2004

    ★★ Watched 20 Sep, 2014

    There are stylish details and good performances in Philip Kaufman's very slick, mainstream thriller...

    ...but the movie is still, pretty much, garbage.

    I think Kaufman is one of the best of American filmmakers, but he seems to trip over himself whenever he does a "studio picture" and this is one of those times.

    It's a strange situation. Maybe because of its pedigree, it feels like the American remake of a European thriller.

    This could have easily been a French film,…

  • The Babysitter 1995

    Watched 19 Sep, 2014

    Maybe writer/director Guy Ferland has a point about men and their one track minds. And about a woman's insecurity as she grows older in this modern age of ageism and sexism. And the impetuousness and hedonism of youth. And middle aged men not ever wanting to lose that youth.

    Because this movie is about all those things. And maybe it's valid subject matter for an incisive, dramatic film made by an intelligent, subtle filmmaker.

    But this is not that film.…

  • A Million Ways to Die in the West 2014

    ★★★ Watched 14 Sep, 2014

    It's a Western comedy from Seth MacFarlane. That's what the trailers promised, and that's exactly what the movie is.

    And it's funny.

    Not every gag connects like it should. But the ones that do...do. And that's it.

    That is to say: I laughed. Quite a bit in fact... Which means the movie did its job, so what else can I tell you?

    There's no beating around the bush here. If MacFarlane's brand of humor doesn't appeal to you, this is…

  • Sin City: A Dame to Kill For 2014

    ★★★ Watched 12 Sep, 2014

    Not unpredictably, what we have here is a contrived sequel that doesn't have much juice.

    The centerpiece, in every way, is the title story. You get Josh Brolin taking over from Clive Owen and a much better fit for the role, even as some off putting, disconcerting as all hell makeup is employed at one point to actually make him resemble Owen. The fact is, Brolin is such a cool actor and forceful screen presence, I'd say he makes a…