October Horrorshow: The Eye (2002) & The Eye (2008)

I started out this review for a single film, and not two. But, about a half hour into watching The Eye (2008), I realized I couldn’t write a review without first watching The Eye (2002, original title Gin gwai), to see what the filmmakers of the newer version stole from the original. That’s because The Eye is not so much a remake of Gin gwai as it is another version. The only changes are on the surface.

Directed by the Pang Brothers (Danny and Oxide Chun), from a screenplay by the brothers and Yuet-Jan Hui, Gin gwai tells the story of Wong Kar Mun (Angelica Lee). When Mun was a toddler, an accident left her blinded. Now, as an adult, she undergoes cornea transplant surgery to restore her sight. Only, from the moment she first opens her eyes in a Hong Kong hospital, something isn’t right. There appears to be an extra person in the room when the bandages are removed. Her sight is very blurred, so she can’t make out more than a dark figure. It presages troubles to come. Continue readingOctober Horrorshow: The Eye (2002) & The Eye (2008)”

Empty Balcony: Undisputed

Monroe Hutchens (Wesley Snipes) is a hell of a boxer. In fact, he has never lost a fight. The big problem for Hutchens, though, is that all the boxing he’s done for the past ten years has been care of the California Department of Corrections. Once the California state champ for his weight class, Hutchens was poised to enter into a lucrative professional boxing career when he came home to find his woman in bed with another man. Hutchens beat the paramour to death and was sentenced to life without parole for the murder. While in prison, he continues to ply his trade, doing his time and beating up on the boxing champions from other prisons around the state. Continue readingEmpty Balcony: Undisputed”

Stallone Month: Eye See You, aka D-Tox

What in the world is this movie? If a viewer is like me, then they have never heard of Eye See You, or D-Tox, or The Outpost, or whatever title producers attached to this redheaded stepchild of a movie. From 2002, but filmed in 1999, Eye See You was a film beset by reshoots and plagued by unhappy men in suits, resulting in a film that trickled out into the public without fanfare or wide release. Continue readingStallone Month: Eye See You, aka D-Tox”

Shitty Movie Sundays: xXx

Finally, a film for the energy drink generation.

What a putrid mess. In truth, the only reason I watched xXx at all is because I noticed that there were no films under ‘X’ in the Empty Balcony database. Every other letter in the English alphabet is represented, but in the many years I’ve been pounding out these reviews I’ve never once reviewed a film whose title began with the letter X. Now that I’ve seen xXx, I never have to watch it again. Continue readingShitty Movie Sundays: xXx”

Empty Balcony: Rollerball (1975) & Rollerball (2002)

Alongside post-apocalyptic films, there exists another popular nihilistic genre of film — the dystopian tale. Civilization doesn’t have to have collapsed into a dense ball of suffering for the dystopian film to work. Rather, current mores and politics just need a little bit of tweaking and society becomes unrecognizable. Indeed, in some dystopian futures, it could be argued that humans are thriving. What is common in dystopian films is that some eroding of freedoms has occurred, brought on usually by technology, capitalism, communism, post-industrialism, or a conglomeration of every fear we have about the role of individuality in the future. Continue readingEmpty Balcony: Rollerball (1975) & Rollerball (2002)”

October Horrorshow: Halloween: Resurrection

I don’t know what I’m going to do. This is the eighth year that I’ve done the October Horrorshow, and at the end of every year, on Halloween, I’ve reviewed one of the Halloween movies. But, with Halloween: Resurrection, I’ve run out. This is it — the last of the movies from the original franchise. I already reviewed the Rob Zombie remakes before the Horrorshow existed, so those are out, as well. There is a new flick in the works, but apparently it’s stuck in development hell and won’t be in the can before next year’s Horrorshow. Oh, man. My hands are shaking and my heart is beating fast. This feels exactly like when I graduated college and the rest of my life was staring me in the face. I can see far but there’s nothing but blackness at the end. I’m…lost. Continue readingOctober Horrorshow: Halloween: Resurrection”

October Horrorshow: Eight Legged Freaks

Sometimes horror films can be a downer. In preparing for this month of reviews, I watch a lot of horror. For every film that makes it to the Horrorshow, I probably watch two others that didn’t interest me enough to write about. That means I spend a lot of evenings listening to young women scream in terror, watching grievous bodily injury, and living in a state of general anxiety brought about by all that scary stuff on the screen. Sleep is no respite, as we tend to dream about things that are on our minds. It’s not uncommon for me to watch yet another gory horror film followed up by a night of dreaming about the zombie apocalypse or a demonic presence in my home. Good grief. Continue readingOctober Horrorshow: Eight Legged Freaks”

October Horrorshow: Dog Soldiers

Horror is a blanket term that encompasses more subgenres of film than any other. It’s a taxonomy based on the types of threats protagonists must overcome. Aliens, slashers, zombies, vampires, ghosts, monsters and all their variations…The list goes on and on and on. Everyone has their favorites and their least favorites. For myself, nothing causes the heebie-jeebies better than a ghost flick, while zombies do a fine job of scratching my post-apocalyptic itch. But, one cannot live on a diet of specters and ghouls alone. Continue readingOctober Horrorshow: Dog Soldiers”

October Horrorshow: Below

A ghost story that takes place aboard a World War II submarine. Sometimes I think there are suggestion boxes mounted next to the water cooler at movie studios and once a month the big mogul dips has fat fingers inside to root around for a new idea. That’s the only explanation I can come up with for a movie like Below being greenlit. Luckily for us viewers, just because a movie has kind of a silly idea, that doesn’t mean it’s going to be a bad movie. Continue readingOctober Horrorshow: Below”

October Horrorshow: Ringu & The Ring

RinguIt’s the October Horrorshow! It’s no secret that I hate autumn. It’s a shit time to be alive here in the northern latitudes, where the air takes on a chill, the days become noticeably shorter, and every plant from here to Seattle looks like it’s dying. Thank goodness, then, for Halloween. The festival of death is a yearly finger in the eye to the fall season, when we, and by that, I mean me, watch lots and lots of horror flicks. I choose to embrace nature’s inexorable slide into hibernation by watching fake snuff films, paradoxical as that is, and I love every minute of it. Like last year, there’s a full slate of reviews this year. No gaps. And the first is a double billing.

Ringu is the king of J-Horror. It’s not an undisputed title, but, as of this October Horrorshow, Ringu ranks as the highest-grossing horror film in Japanese history. That’s a fairly good argument in the film’s favor.

From 1998, Ringu is an adaptation of a novel of the same name by Koji Suzuki. The film was directed by Hideo Nakata. Continue readingOctober Horrorshow: Ringu & The Ring”