Shitty Movie Sundays: Next

Thank goodness for Nicolas Cage. He could have been like so many other best actor Oscar-winners and gone on to a lifetime of prestige roles and special appearances, but Cage decided to zig instead of zag. He’s a prolific worker, but a casual movie fan can be forgiven should they be unable to name anything he’s been in for the past ten years. He has fully, and without reservation it seems, given his life over to shitty movies. Just this year he has starred in a film about a former government assassin who runs a fleabag hotel in South America, another film about zoo animals running loose on a cargo ship, a neo-noir thriller, a drug wars action flick, an H.P. Lovecraft adaptation, and a second neo-noir thriller. Six movies! And not one of them has been good enough to advertise during sporting events or primetime TV. But, I bet they’re all entertaining flicks. Continue readingShitty Movie Sundays: Next”

Shitty Movie Sundays: Bone Dry

We all have egos, right? There’s no use in pretending that we don’t. Personal and professional relationships can be thought of as a constant battle between our egos and our desire for successful interactions. In other words, not being a dick is learned behavior. I thought of this at the end of Bone Dry, a neo-noir flick released in 2007. That’s because right after the final shot of the film, the credits begin, and they read, “A Brett A. Hart Vision.” Oh, please. Continue readingShitty Movie Sundays: Bone Dry”

October Horrorshow: Alien vs. Predator: Requiem

In the canon of the Alien franchise, it’s always been assumed that if the aliens made their way to civilization, they would be an unstoppable force, toppling everything we’ve built. Such was the case among the small pocket of colonists in Aliens. But that film took place in the future, far away in time and place from contemporary earth. The first Alien vs. Predator film took place in modern times, but writer/director Paul W.S. Anderson went to some lengths to ensure there was no plausible chance the aliens could threaten civilization, placing the action in his film on a remote Antarctic island under 2,000 feet of ice. Why such reluctance to show aliens tearing up Times Square, say, or climbing the towers of the Golden Gate Bridge? Continue readingOctober Horrorshow: Alien vs. Predator: Requiem”

October Horrorshow: Trick ‘r Treat, or, Charlie Brown’s an Asshole!

Despite its association with horror, few horror movies are Halloween themed. This might be a good thing, or it might be a missed opportunity. I don’t know. What I do know is that in seven years of doing the Horrorshow, comprising over 150 reviews, only the six movies from the Halloween franchise that I’ve reviewed so far have taken place during the annual celebration of all things morbid. So, today’s film is a nice change of pace, and an acknowledgment of a time of year that so many of us enjoy. Continue readingOctober Horrorshow: Trick ‘r Treat, or, Charlie Brown’s an Asshole!”

October Horrorshow: Hannibal Rising

Some movies just don’t need to be made. Did we really need a reboot of the Spider-Man franchise this past year? Or another Texas Chainsaw Massacre remake so soon after the last one? Do we need any of the reboots, remakes, sequels, rethinkings, reimaginings, spinoffs, etc., that we get every year? Of course not. But as long as we keep paying to see them, Hollywood will keep making them.

Case in point, Hannibal Rising, from 2007. Continue readingOctober Horrorshow: Hannibal Rising”

October Horrorshow: The Orphanage

I love the American movie business sometimes. If there’s a trailer where cast members have no dialogue other than shouting someone’s name, it’s a dead giveaway the film has subtitles. Can’t show any in the trailer, because movie companies think we’re stupid.

I have to be honest. Sometimes when watching films, it feels as if there is nothing new happening onscreen. Action films, drama, thillers, sci-fi, horror, etc. It can all take on a distinct sheen of sameness. Take ghost films. I’ve seen more than a few of them, and if the plot involves a wife, husband, and a child or children, then there are a few things a viewer can expect. First, the child will all of a sudden have a couple of ‘imaginary’ friends to play with. This causes looks of concern from the parents, but little more. Of course, out here on the other side of the screen, we know the little tyke’s imagination hasn’t just been running wild. Rather, they’ve been seeing ghosts. Continue readingOctober Horrorshow: The Orphanage”

October Horrorshow: 28 Days Later & 28 Weeks Later

So much horror is garbage that every occasion that sees a thoughtful and intelligent entry to the genre is a welcome reminder that a film that tries to scare the viewer to death is not automatically bad, or packed to the gills with cliché. While slasher flicks and the endless variations of SCREWED scenarios (see the review of Quarantine for a definition) are good fodder for the bloodthirsty moviegoer, the need for true quality is still there. All the camp, all the gore, all the outlandishness that gives the horror genre its identity is, unfortunately, as full of as much grace and depth as a carnival funhouse. Enjoyable as that can be, and as much as it keeps bloody murder from being weighed down by too much realism, a well-handled production with a talented cast, a talented director at the helm, and a good story can always be applauded as something that is, my goodness, actually worth seeing. Continue readingOctober Horrorshow: 28 Days Later & 28 Weeks Later”

October Horrorshow: 1408

For about half the film, Mikael Håfström’s 1408, based on the Stephen King short story of the same name, is creepy and frightening. By then, the viewer has grown used to Mike Enslin’s (John Cusack) predicament, and the film has no other alternative than to fall into convention. That’s unfortunate, because if Håfström had been able to sustain the atmosphere of the first half throughout the film, it would rank among the best ghost films of all time. A lot can be said for a film with potential like that. Continue readingOctober Horrorshow: 1408″

October Horrorshow, Retroactive: 30 Days of Night

The film 30 Days of Night, adapted from the popular graphic novel, was marketed as a modern update on classical vampires. A break from pattern, these creatures of the night were more fearsome, more violent, more bloodthirsty, than any that had been onscreen before. Indeed, the vampires of 30 Days of Night are not Anne Rice’s cultured charmers, nor are they the stealthy apparitions of Bram Stoker, although their physical appearance pays homage to the Dracula of the classic film Nosferatu. Continue readingOctober Horrorshow, Retroactive: 30 Days of Night”