RSS feed for Dan
  • Whiplash 2014

    ★★★★ Watched 15 Oct, 2014

    I've put off reviewing Whiplash here, as it has been one to ponder on, for sure. I briefly discuss it on the latest episode of See You Next Wednesday though, if you'd like more.

    Definitely one to discuss as you're leaving the theater - and again over drinks. And again a few days later.

    I think the complicated nature of the teacher/student relationship is played almost perfectly here.

    The caustic, toxic and infectious nature of J.K. Simmons' character leaving a…

  • Extraterrestrial 2014

    ★½ Watched 18 Oct, 2014

    All the direction, special effects, and over-stylistic flourishes in the world won't change the fact that this film is trekking through nothing but derivative, been-there-done-that territory - with no scares in sight, groan-worthy sense of humor, and character development that amounts to nothing more than shoving fuck in-between every other fucking word the fucking characters say.

    Sorry-not-sorry, Vicious Brothers.

    Actually, as a final note, I'll say that I did enjoy the UFO-in-the-rain scene - probably the only effective moment in the film, even though they drag it out more than need be.

  • Tuck Me In 2014

    ★★★ Watched 20 Oct, 2014

    A well executed micro-short that plays eerie when it could have been creepy. Nice to see the less-is-more approach to a short, though.

  • Dragon Hunt 1990

    ★★½ Watched 18 Oct, 2014

    Somewhere between Miami Connection (sans-concerts), Deadly Prey and Sledgehammer lies... Dragon Hunt!.

    The Brothers McNamara spend almost the entirety of the film dialogue-less. The plot concerns the mohawked villain Jake (returning from their previous film) capturing them and releasing them on an island, to hunt them down The Most Dangerous Game style.

    The scene with the brothers on their party-boat goofing off and clay-shooting for fun is one for the books. The villain's narration is probably some of the funniest…

  • Death Wish Club 1984

    ★★★ Watched 18 Oct, 2014

    Uhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh, what.

  • Housebound 2014

    ★★★★½ Watched 16 Oct, 2014

    First of all, did someone release Carpenter's font-package this year, or something? There's been a glut of films using the seminal font treatment, from Cold In July to The Guest and now Housebound. And actually, Housebound might just be the best of the bunch - though it's a close call with The Guest.

    Similar to that film, Housebound, well, bounds from genre to genre as the film barrels along. It starts with a classically gothic-supernatural hook for a film (main…

  • Drinking Buddies 2013

    ★★★★ Watched 11 Oct, 2014

    Joe Swanberg's boozy-buddy drama for me was incredibly hard to watch at moments - though not in a bad way.

    The casting, performances and direction are all top notch, which is to say they're about perfect for these kind of I'm-trying-not-to-say-the-dreaded-M-word-but-you-know-what-I-mean films.

    But above all else, there's an intangible element to this movie - these many unsaid moments and feelings floating in-between all of the characters - that made for an entirely uncomfortable experience for me. Regardless, the emotions here…

  • The Serpent and the Rainbow 1988

    ★★★½ Watched 07 Oct, 2014

    I was torn between rating this 3 and 3.5 stars - in terms of quote-unquote lesser Craven, this is definitely a nice surprise.

    I'm definitely a critic of Craven's when it comes to terms like "Master of Horror" being tossed around, as he's certainly got far more duds than he does hits, in my opinion.

    But The Serpent and the Rainbow nails a lot of really key elements: atmosphere, dread, and a handful of true creep-out moments. It's not all perfect when rolled up into a whole, but overall, I dug it.

  • A Nightmare on Elm Street 5: The Dream Child 1989

    ★★½ Watched 04 Oct, 2014

    Viewed for an upcoming Time Bandits Podcast episode.

    I will say for now that this time around I didn't hate it as much as I remembered, but it's still a confusing mess, plot-wise. The joke-kills are pretty overly goofy at times - comic book kill especially.

    There's a real decent attempt at injecting some Gothic gravitas into the mix here, alongside some heavy themes, and it almost works when paired with the amazing visual landscape and language of the film.

    But still, being sandwiched in-between #4 and Freddy's Dead does this film no justice, as these three in a row are easily the series' overall low-point.

  • The Skeleton Twins 2014

    ★★★½ Watched 29 Sep, 2014

    The Skeleton Twins might not be the most inventive sad-funny movie of the year, but it's certainly one of the better ones.

    Bill Hader and Kristen Wiig put in amazing performances that make the film, and Luke Wilson is perfect in his role as Wiig's husband. You forget that when Luke is as well-cast as he is here, that he can be absolutely brilliant. I feel like he doesn't get the credit he oft-deserves, and here he proves worthy of…

  • Punchline 1988

    ★★½ Watched 27 Sep, 2014

    Not as bad as its reputation may have you believe (it was featured on Siskel & Ebert's Worst of 1988), but I'm struggling with the rating here. I can't decide between two-and-a-half or three. It's uneven and maybe even fatally flawed in some respects, but there are glimpses of greatness in there, actually.

    All of the best stuff - to me - in Punchline happens off-stage. The stand-up segments just don't work very well - aside from some moments - and…

  • Burning Bright 2010

    ★★½ Watched 28 Sep, 2014

    I bet this movie tore up the festival circuit when it came out. It has the kind of unbelievable-I've-gotta-see-that plot that grabbed me, even just seeing it listed on Netflix: A woman is trapped in a house, with hurricane raging outside, and a tiger snarling within.

    Okay, yes, I'm pressing play now.

    Anyway, as I said I can imagine crowds really ate this up in the moment, as these crowds tend to do. Watching this on the small screen, I…