Last Sunday the brilliant Bill Paxton passed and the world lost one amazing actor who had made our movie hearts soar for decades. With such memorable and quirky character roles as the bully brother Chet in John Hughes Weird Science, blowhard Private Hudson in James Cameron’s flawless Aliens and the cocky killer vampire Severen in Kathryn Bigelow’s Near Dark, Paxton created some of the most iconic on-screen roles during one very long and lush career that I was so proud to be able to grow up with and witness. (Plus for stunning standout stuff check out Carl Franklin’s One False Move and Sam Raimi’s A Simple Plan – five-star Paxton work!) From Trespass (a Walter Hill hidden gem) to Tombstone, True Lies to Apollo 13 and Twister to Titanic (and a little Edge of Tomorrow too!), Paxton was a movie man whose contribution to the cinema will indeed be missed. So I’m dedicated this week’s column to a Hitchcockian horror hidden gem that the late, great Paxton not only starred in, but also impressively made his feature film directing debut. A five-star terror tale that sends chills up the spine known as…Frailty. Continue reading ‘Forgotten Friday Flick – “Frailty” (Bill Paxton Tribute)’
Archive for the 'Movie Reviews' Category
This is quite a wonderful week for indie flicks indeed. Not only are there films across all genres, but there are TWO five-star films on the list that are also in full contention for my Top Ten Films of 2017. (Viva the lush The Lure and cool Catfight!) Mermaids with mayhem in mind, gals with a grudge, body hoping demons, odd homecomings, tales of the undressed, coming to terms with the past and being trapped in a sandy prison are the subjects dissected in the seven films that make up this weeks Encapsulated Movie Reviews. Check out the skinny on The Lure, Catfight, Don’t Kill It, Donald Cried, Burlesque: Heart of the Glitter Tribe, Lavender and Deserted below!
I found myself facing an interesting conundrum with Before I Fall, a film depicting the most extreme version of a conundrum. Given the use of a time loop as the film’s hook, would it be possible for me to see around this familiar concept to find something deeper? As the film circled around the same day over and over, it turns out it had more ideas to develop, the more the film reset itself. The results allow for a film that could surely work well for a younger audience less familiar with this gimmick, as well as those who appreciate the mood and eventual character revelations more than overall construction and clear logic.
With Logan serving as a final X-Men film for the Wolverine we all know and enjoy, Hugh Jackman has to be feeling pretty good about going out on top. After having played the role for 17 years, the prospect of not getting into insane shape every couple of years allows Jackman some peace. Not that he has much to complain about to begin with, but it fits with the cinematic persona he’s portrayed, as this character also reaches a conclusion plenty fit for him. I’m getting ahead of myself, but just know that Logan is a fine accomplishment in many respects, as the Wolverine’s story comes to an exciting, violent and poignant close.
With the great Shane Black (he of The Nice Guys and Kiss Kiss Bang Bang!) debuting a cast pic for his new outing The Predator this week, why not go back to a flick that he and The Predator co-writer Fred Dekker previously penned together that kicks serious 80’s ass? Welcome to Forgotten Friday Flick! Today we’re grabbing the gear and prepping for a little cool creature fight via a horror comedy that was way ahead of its time. It pits a gaggle of mean monsters including Dracula, The Wolf Man, The Mummy, The Gill-Man and Frankenstein against a gang of elementary school kids in a fight to the death – or at least until someone’s parents show up! Who’s in charge of this tiny tot mission – The Monster Squad!
I missed all things Encapsulated last week so this time out I’m cinematically super sizing it! That’s right film fans, I’m checking out a record twelve flicks and from genre to ratings it’s a big old mixed bag. Gals with deadly gifts, romance amidst tragedy, proms and being shielded from the sun, stand up dissections, possession pictures, trailers galore, inspiring docs, creepy cabins, bad guys meeting badder guys and hell hath no fury all grace the myriad of movies covered this week. Check out the Encapsulated Movie Reviews for The Girl With All The Gifts, 1 Night, Dying Laughing, The Covenant, Fists Of Fury, Do You Dream In Color?, Bitter Harvest, Hunting Grounds, Comfort, Bornless Ones, Drifter and VooDoo below!
Those familiar with the work of Jordan Peele (of Comedy Central’s Key & Peele) may not be too surprised by the effectiveness of his horror debut Get Out. His television series juggled laughs with socially conscious material and cinematic flair, no different than how effective horror films mask their deeper and relevant social themes with scares and style. Dubbed by Peele as a social thriller, this latest Blumhouse Production mines plenty of familiar ideas and areas for creepiness, uncomfortable scenarios, frights and comedy. As a result, Get Out works as a simply-structured horror film as well as a pointed social commentary on race.
Logan is a film that really needs no elaborate setup to whet your appetite for. If you’re not already, you should be practically dying to see this one. The mere fact that this even got made with an R-rating is no doubt thanks to the brilliance and success of last year’s Deadpool. Had it not been for that film, which proved in a world of failed Kick-Ass movies R-rated comic book films can indeed thrive, I’m quite sure Logan would have been slapped with that dread PG-13 rating. Luckily for us that’s not the case in our present scenario. So let the bloodshed ensue with glorious reveal and the F-bombs roll off tongues like spit flies when yelling because we’re gathered here to talk all things Logan. Hell yeah! Continue reading ‘The Legend of Old Man ‘Logan’ (Movie Review)’
Since this week saw the arrival of the lovers holiday known as Valentine’s Day, it felt appropriate to steer our 80’s past movie time in a more romantic direction (albeit a dark one!) – welcome to Forgotten Friday Flick! Today we’re heading into more somber territory for a black comedy filled with plenty of laughs, romance and guys with guns. Taking all high school movie conventions and turning them upside down and inside out, it’s a teen tale of lunch polls, cow tipping and a little murder before recess. Geeks, punks, brains and jocks look out for the ever popular…Heathers!
I remember reading about The Great Wall over a year ago when I put together my list of most anticipated films for 2016. The concept of dropping Matt Damon and Andy Lau, among others, into a Zhang Yimou (Hero) film about soldiers fighting off monsters at the Great Wall of China sounded pretty amazing. The concept is inherently goofy, but the film would no doubt look amazing. It turns out I was right. While not all that deep from a story level, The Great Wall has plenty of visual delights and enough consciously silly choices to make this Chinese production feel like a near parody of similar Hollywood fair, despite mostly playing it straight. The result is a colorful monster movie with little depth.
I would like to propose something. Many will argue how A Cure for Wellness has few tricks up its sleeves that audiences have not seen before. What if director Gore Verbinski knows that as well? Fitting in the same league as gorgeously designed, but narratively challenged films such as Shutter Island and Crimson Peak, A Cure for Wellness plays like a film where the destination is perhaps clear, but the journey is so cinematically interesting. Like those other films, it may be overlong and overstuffed, but the fact that a major studio funded such an odd project feels like a triumph for film in general. It doesn’t hurt to note just how disturbing some of the visuals are, which does play well to the genre fans looking for strange jolts.
To keep the totally rad 80’s movies kick going, this week sees a special edition of my regular column of all things five-star film past – welcome to Forgotten Friday Flick! Since the good folks over at Mill Creek Entertainment decided to finally release the film I’ve chosen here on a more lush than VHS Blu-ray format I thought why not kill two birds with one critical stone. The result – a film review and Blu-ray review rolled into one for your reading convenience! That’s right folks! Not only do you get the full review of my favorite produced by Michael Mann 80’s misfit flick for Forgotten Friday Flick time, but you also get a bird’s eye view into the Blu-ray specs on the latest release ala Mill Creek to boot. So let’s get the team together, form a bond and become one of the five fingers ala…Band Of The Hand!
A good thing happened back in 2014. Not only did the assassin world learn John Wick was back, but audiences found out Keanu Reeves was back as well. While not exactly slumming (Reeves has starred, produced and directed many films over the last decade alone), John Wick became the first notable action film for the former Matrix star in a while. Solid reviews and good word-of-mouth turned that film from stuntmen-turned-directors Chad Stahelski and David Leitch into a modest hit. That was enough to give audiences John Wick: Chapter 2, a film that delves further into the colorful world of assassins introduced in the first film, with a whole lot of crazy action that delivers stylish, violent fun.
In another world, it would not be too surprising to say this latest cinematic Batman adventure is a homerun. However, given how troubling things have been for the Dark Knight just last year, I am even happier to say just how enjoyable The LEGO Batman Movie really is. Given how awesome and surprisingly insightful 2014’s The LEGO Movie managed to be, I could point to how this spin-off is a bit of a downgrade as far as what it really accomplishes. At the same time though, this is a film that has a surprising amount of depth as far as examining the Bruce Wayne/Batman persona. The film is also a laugh-a-minute joke fest, with tons of clever references and visual joy to entertain anyone looking to have some colorful fun in the DC universe via LEGOs.
With recent fests ending and tons of reviews needing to be wrapped up, I fell slightly behind on my regular week-to-week movie skinnies. So to get back up to speed here are some flicks that have come out and are coming out to help fill in the indie gaps for those who need to know. Family dramas, important docs, horror flicks and romances in space all grace this week’s gaggle of Encapsulated Movie Reviews. Check out the skinny on Youth In Oregon, I Am Not Your Negro, Havenhurst and The Space Between Us below!
We’re keeping 80’s hilarity going this week to keep smiles on anyone and everyone’s face at a time when laughs are needed most – welcome to Forgotten Friday Flick! Today it’s time to check out a flick that has every color of the comedy rainbow present and accounted for. Slapstick, outlandish characters and witty humor all wrapped up in a salacious and vivacious flick that begins with a simple – or perhaps not so simple – heist. Ready to dive into farcical infested waters? Do it with….A Fish Called Wanda!
Given the successful (non-superhero or animated) movies that have come out over the past few years, it would seem audiences have a thing for space-based adventures and romantic dramas. The Space Between Us combines these ideas into one film, which fits well for distributor STX Entertainment. This is the studio that has tried to match high concepts with moderate budgets, making The Space Between Us (a co-production with H. Brothers pictures, originally acquired from Relativity Media) something of an ambitious venture. Still, while the science of putting a film like this together is sound, the results are a little less than stellar.
The 2017 Sundance Film Festival has come to a close and it was interesting to actually be in Park City to experience an event I’ve only heard about all these years. So to finish off all things Sundance related below are seven final feature film reviews including Bitch, XX, Where Is Kyra?, The New Radical, Nobody Speak: Hulk Hogan, Gawker And Trials Of A Free Press, Axolotl Overkill and Gook, a short review with the apt title F@cking Bunnies, plus a Sundance Thoughts section where I get honest about everything from venues to the films that played. (Candid commentary alert!) Plus as an extra bonus I’m doing a retro-review on a Slamdance 2017 documentary that took both the Audience and Jury prize titled Strad Style. So slap on your snow boots and follow me into movie review territory for a final gander at all things Sundance 2017!