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  • The Pyramid

    The Pyramid 2014

    Watched 25 Apr, 2015

    Ugh, no.

    The Pyramid is nothing more than a collection of tired cliches and scares that cannot even commit entirely to its found footage framing device, let alone attempt to do anything other than the bare minimum that is expected from a horror film these days.

    Right from the start, with an opening crawl telling you that the film will document events that took place after the discovery of an ancient underground pyramid, the film breaks its device by featuring…

  • Killer Legends

    Killer Legends 2014

    Watched 25 Apr, 2015

    I didn't have an issue with the way the filmmakers involved themselves with Cropsey, as I felt that film held interest throughout - but the way they force themselves into this film (walking around, performing reactions and discoveries directly for the camera) really irked me here in Killer Legends.

    Shame, because I would definitely be interested in a full-on in-depth documentary on some of these cases. Maybe I'll circle back on this one, but I had to turn it off for now (not something I do all that often).

  • Unfriended

    Unfriended 2015

    ★★★ Watched 24 Apr, 2015

    While Unfriended isn't entirely successful, it does manage to pack in some well-executed moments and offers a very direct message within its genre-thrills.

    Moments like ghost-related disappearing x's on Mac windows and websites about internet-ghosts play a little goofy, but otherwise the film wears its gimmick well - with story beats teased out through the writing and re-writing of messages, and more.

    It's unfortunate when the film turns into little more than an abrasive shouting match in the second half, but there are enough moments here that make Unfriended a worthy attempt to tell this anti-bullying story with a high-tech spin.

  • Testament

    Testament 1983

    ★★★★ Watched 22 Apr, 2015

    Oof.

    This drama has a tight lens on the emotionally raw moments of one town (and specifically one family) in the wake of a nuclear bomb drop. Jane Alexander plays the mother - and was nominated for her performance - with skill.

    Some moments don't land just the way you want them to, but the ones that do are haunting, bleak and unsettling; there are a few key scenes that will be burned into my brain for a while.

    It…

  • Ex Machina

    Ex Machina 2015

    ★★★★ Watched 20 Apr, 2015 1

    Props to Garland for giving one of the better post-screening Q&A sessions I've seen - his straight and to the point discussion of the inner workings of Ex Machina really helped me work through my feelings on the piece.

    He could have very easily taken the "Well what do YOU think it means" angle, but he didn't and the session was all the better for it.

    I don't even know how to describe my feelings about this film in such…

  • The Beastmaster

    The Beastmaster 1982

    ★★ Watched 15 Apr, 2015

    Can't really rate this, as I fell asleep half-way through. I both loved and hated it, though. Some great stick-dance-fight moves, and the little ferret dudes were cute as heck.

  • House of Wax

    House of Wax 2005

    ★★★ Watched 19 Apr, 2015

    You know, this isn't all that bad.

    House of Wax contains all the awful acting, banal script, and horrific dialogue that comes with the territory, but once the film gets going (and it does take a while to get going,) it really kicks into gear with some solid effects and set-pieces.

    The finale, which features the main characters trying to escape the titular building as it oozes and gooily melts around them, is actually quite fantastic. There's other good ideas…

  • Video Nasties: Moral Panic, Censorship & Videotape

    Video Nasties: Moral Panic, Censorship & Videotape 2010

    ★★★ Watched 19 Apr, 2015

    If not for the bevvy of special features and trailer-packed discs two and three, this fairly short (72 minutes) documentary on the "Video Nasties" feels a little light-weight.

    It's not bad at all, and features some great interviews, but just don't expect it to be thoroughly engrossing or presented in any way other than workmanlike. Coming from Jake West, I would have expected a bit more pizazz to the documentary, but there's still a lot here of interest.

    If you've…

  • While We're Young

    While We're Young 2014

    ★★★★ Watched 19 Apr, 2015

    While We're Young definitely takes a shift in the final act that, while I was slightly unsure of, doesn't completely de-rail the film's oft-hilarious re-tooling of classic age-gap jokery.

    The film begins with pretty standard, but still quite funny, age-gap material and works through to the truths that drive these behaviors - which results in an extremely successful two-thirds. Once the focus shifts onto Stiller's character and documentary ethics in general, it seems to get a little rocky but fortunately…

  • The Conjuring

    The Conjuring 2013

    ★★½ Watched 18 Apr, 2015

    A combination of every single haunted house cliche ever, pretty much, wrapped up in a style that is at once momentarily refreshing and at odds with the '70s aesthetic the film is reaching for.

    Listen, there are a fair amount of good moments in there, but I couldn't help but be let down overall. Also: little kids in fancy-lad outfits are still just not scary, much to Wan's chagrin, I'm sure.

    The clapping game made for some nice spooky moments, but overall this felt like a film in need of a more fleshed out plot outside of its barrage of scares.

  • Going Clear: Scientology and the Prison of Belief

    Going Clear: Scientology and the Prison of Belief 2015

    ★★★½ Watched 18 Apr, 2015

    Very good, if at times unfocused. Very well-worth seeing as a general overview of the kind of ridiculous and outrageous things the 'church' has gotten away with - especially eye-opening towards the end.

  • The Longest Night

    The Longest Night

    ★★★★ Watched 16 Apr, 2015

    1972 ABC Movie of the Week stars Sallie Shockley as Karen Chambers, who is kidnapped and held at ransom from her wealthy father. James Farentino plays the kidnapper, who tricked out a coffin-esque box for Karen underground - complete with air ventilation, light and food.

    The kicker is, the box runs on a battery with just enough juice for one week (depending on light and fan usage.) If they don't come up with the ransom money, she'll be left for…