As one who has let his teenage fandom of Kevin Smith grow into continual admiration, as the New Jerseyan writer/director has forged a new career centered around podcasting and various forms of public speaking, in addition to occasionally making films, Yoga Hosers feels like another test. Following the walrus-themed horror-comedy Tusk, his latest features finds Smith directing his focus on his daughter and her best friend (Johnny Depp’s daughter). One can respect a parent for going to such lengths, but the resulting film is still just not very good.
Archive for the 'Movie Reviews' Category
Having kept the love of all things De Palma going again this week (me and my kid were first and second in line winning free meals for a year from Raising Cane’s Chicken Fingers – Lithgow’s multiple personalities would be proud!) in anticipation of the soon to be released doc on Blu-ray, I’m keeping the cinematic retrospective going too – welcome to Forgotten Friday Flick! This time out we’re going with a film that gave plenty of movie ammunition to naysayer fans of previous master of suspense Alfred Hitchcock. Chocked with everything from a famous female icon used as a big part of the plot twists to the sexuality of characters being called into question, some say this was De Palma’s artistic ode to Psycho, some say a carbon copy. But for the fans who love the film it’s simply called…Dressed to Kill!
There’s no shortage of lessor known film fare this week, though not all the movie news is good. But frankly scouring the smaller cinema is a lot like gambling – even though the house has the advantage there’s always hope for that rare big payday. (Aka gems and duds will get reviewed!) Going from high school to college, dying to live again, forced relationships, fetching teens with feathers and Muay Thai mayhem – we cover all movie bases. Check out the Encapsulated Movie Reviews of Summer of 8, The 9th Life of Louis Drax, Skiptrace, Maximum Ride and Kickboxer: Vengeance below!
Director Derek Cianfrance has explored romance to great degrees before with his acclaimed film Blue Valentine. He followed that up with the multi-generational crime drama The Place Beyond the Pines. With his latest feature, The Light Between Oceans, Cianfrance finds himself back in romance territory, but from a new direction. The story, adapted from a novel by M.L. Stedman, is more in line with something Thomas Hardy could have come up with. With lush locations and a strong cast and score, the film overcomes its melodramatic weight and tear-jerker sensibilities to work overall.
We’re so close to the Sept. 13 release date of the five-star doc De Palma on Blu-ray that there’s already a distinctive smell of candid cinema chatter in the air. (Just look to Brandon Peters’ very cool recent Raising Cain Blu-ray review for firm evidence!) And speaking of honest talk about films, let’s hop onto yet another dissection of past picture perfection paying tribute to all things Brian De Palma – welcome to Forgotten Friday Flick! Today’s selection is a damn fine film about loyalty, redemption and overcoming the past that is by far one of De Palma’s best. A tale of a man with a notorious criminal past looking to go straight – but will the world let him? Their way, the law’s way, no matter what he’s doing it…Carlito’s Way.
It is one thing to write about awful Jason Statham films (War, Parker, In the Name of the King) or the terrific ones (Crank, Safe, The Bank Job), but how about the middle-of-the-road ones? Mechanic: Resurrection falls decidedly in the middle of the Brit action star’s best efforts and there is really nothing wrong or great about that. The bigger question may be just how many people remember 2011’s The Mechanic to begin with. Don’t worry though, as this film is far too generic to be all that concerned with intense continuity.
A little less film fare dissection for me this week, but if you count the previous article on the works of four Steve Balderson flicks I’m way ahead of the movie review race this week. In any case we’re going into more somber territory dealing with everything from revenge seeking fathers to loveless marriages all in the name of finding great film. So check out the Encapsulated Movie Reviews of In Order of Disappearance, The Intervention and Blood In The Water below!
Don’t Breathe is one of those titles that lives up to its name. Let me tell you why. I can kid about this now because I’m out of the screening. We had the luxury of seeing a private screening of Don’t Breathe at the Alamo Drafthouse. What do you do when you’re at an Alamo Drafthouse? Well, you watch a movie, but you also eat and drink. Therein lies the problem with Don’t Breathe. It’s suspenseful, it’s edge of your seat sometimes, but mainly it’s quiet for tension and shock. Who wants some num nuts chowing down next to them and ruining the movie with each and every crunch? Not I! You see my conundrum here? Not only did I watch Don’t Breathe, but I felt like I couldn’t “breathe” either. Ha! Continue reading ‘Don’t Breathe Redefines Suspense With Silence (Movie Review)’
Even though some in the cinematic scene may not have heard of filmmaker Steve Balderson (yes, that includes yours truly and I’m appropriately ashamed!), they’re certainly about to. As a multi-genre award winning writer/director from Wamego, Kansas with over sixteen feature films under his belt, Balderson is literally a driven one-man movie-making machine and shows no signs of stopping. Not only does he have three diversely different films opening at the end of August/September on TV, VOD and even theatrically, but the indie auteur has also made the move to Hollywood and if his past work is any indication it’s gonna be an interesting ride. We were recently contacted about his new film hitting theaters Sept. 9 titled El Ganzo, but we decided to go big or go home and immerse ourselves in all things Balderson. So in a single review article we’re checking out four of his features to give both ourselves (meaning me!) and the uninitiated out there, a crash course in the savvy of Steve. From stories fit for a king to soap operas with a killer cast, check out the Encapsulated Movie Reviews (listed from ratings high to low) of El Ganzo, Firecracker, Hell Town and Elvis Lives below. Continue reading ‘Four Features By Filmmaker Steve Balderson (Movie Reviews)’
Stripped down to the basics, Don’t Breathe is a mean and lean thriller, focused entirely on things literally going bump in the night. Director Fede Alvarez follows up his solid Evil Dead remake with a frightful home invasion tale where the home owner quickly turns the tables on the robbers. The results allow for edge-of-your-seat entertainment, begging the audience to be just as quiet as the potential victims, lest they be discovered and beaten down.
This week in our continued Friday dissection of past De Palma ditties I’m heading down a controversial road with a film that even the man himself has distanced himself from – welcome to Forgotten Friday Flick! Destined to be one of the most discussed and disagreed with selections to date (it was after all nominated for five prestigious Razzie Awards!), my choice this week is a film I (and my movie loving father!) consider to be one of the most notable in the areas of black comedy. Though short on signature style, there’s a distinctively devious and delicious over-the-top humor that cannot be ignored. And for those who claim “it’s not like the book” remember this is a movie – a movie called…The Bonfire of the Vanities.
Anchor Bay Entertainment is proud to present another season of The Walking Dead on Blu-ray. The hit zombie-drama series has been previously reviewed by Why So Blu’s Brian White (seasons 1, 2, 3, 4 and 5), but he has handed the duty over to me this time around. Fortunately for me, season six offered plenty of big shakeups for the series, complete with big twists, cliffhangers, controversy and at least one of the series’ best episodes. Now you can dig in to see just how well this Blu-ray set stacks up.
While big movies seem to be scraping the bottom of the low expectations barrel this week, there’s no shortage of surprising smaller film fare. (How about that?!) In any case we’re braving lawmen after SS officers, bodyguards with mental issues, disenchanted Jewish moms and even Harry Potter as an undercover skinhead to bring you the skinny on all things indie. Check out the Encapsulated Movie Reviews of The People vs. Fritz Bauer, Imperium, Disorder and A Tale of Love and Darkness below!
The neo-western has been an interesting genre to keep an eye on. Many of these films take the staples of classic westerns, but are heavily informed by so much that has come before. Brilliant films such as No Country For Old Men or (a personal favorite) The Way of the Gun even get away with cleverly-staged gunplay, but these scenes come at a cost not forgotten. Hell or High Water is one such film. It plays up its contemporary setting and sets us up with well-rounded characters more interested in dialogue dynamics than shootouts. The film is also an effective heist drama with tangible stakes.
Director Todd Phillips (The Hangover, Old School) has been angling for a film like War Dogs the same way Oscar winner Adam McKay (Anchorman, Step Brothers) angled for The Big Short. Both have not been above making goofy bro comedies, but they obviously have other ideas. McKay was met with plenty of acclaim for tackling the financial crisis, which was an undercurrent in his film The Other Guys. Phillips has shown a liking for much darker comedy/drama and getting great cinematography in films you wouldn’t necessarily expect that from. This story of two young guys that became successful arms dealers fulfills those needs.
Laika is currently the studio I have the utmost respect for. Just knowing this stop-animation studio has more films coming down the line to be distributed by Focus Features makes their next project one of my most anticipated films of that year. There latest film, Kubo and the Two Strings, is another amazing accomplishment. It combines breathtakingly beautiful (and ridiculously complicated) animation with a well-thought out adventure tale. True to form, Laika has also layered the story with some complex themes and elements that make the film rewarding for younger and older audiences.
THE STRAY, the debut feature from director Cam Clark and the 2nd feature from Open Sign Productions, is a Post-Apocalyptic tale of survival set in an alternate version of 1966 where nuclear war has destroyed civilization and has transformed the world into a mutant infested wasteland. Starring Joe Leatherman, the story follows Tracy Arnold who struggles to survive all the while being forced to face his tortured past and the stray that refuses to let him forget. Open Sign Productions is following up their successful feature film Phantom of the Woods (Winner of the ‘Best Director’ award at the 2014 Indie Horror Film Festival) with another jaunt into the horror genre which they are seemingly so eager to conquer. You can order the DVD or stream the film by clicking HERE.
Continue reading ‘THE STRAY Leaves No Zombie Behind (Movie Review)’
Keeping the love of past picture pleasure alive and well it’s the continuation of all De Palma all the time – welcome to Forgotten Friday Flick! Today we’re heading back to an early De Palma stab (pun intended!) at the psychological game that also includes some sensational storytelling style that would go on to become signature. Voyeurism, murder, mystery and the dark connection between conjoined twins – its Sisters!