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All reviews - Movies (33) - TV Shows (1)

Swiss Army Man (2016) review

Posted : 1 year, 9 months ago on 6 October 2016 09:23 (A review of Swiss Army Man (2016))

Judging by the ratings this seems like one of those films that you either love or hate, there's not much in between. It really depends on how much you can tolerate gross slapstick humor bathed in arthouse aesthetics. Usually the two do not blend well, more like oil and water. But in the case of Swiss Army Man, I think the Daniels have crafted a truly unique (yes, it has flourishes of Cast Away and Weekend At Bernie's) experience on the arthouse, B-movie front. The film is endlessly creative and innovative, making great use of Radcliffe's corpse. It's crazy enough to take you out of your comfort zone, but directed so impeccably that you know you're in good hands. Dano and Radcliffe deliver the wackiest buddy comedy we've seen in ages, sure to become a cult classic if it hasn't reached that already. Highly recommended for fans of artsy B-movies peppered with gross humor and endless fart jokes.

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The Paperboy review

Posted : 1 year, 9 months ago on 28 September 2016 02:16 (A review of The Paperboy)

See this cult trash pic for the acting and the fearless audacity of director Lee Daniels. Not an easy movie to watch, very disturbing at times but ultimately a rewardingly ballsy piece of cinema. Nicole Kidman and John Cusack turn in tour de force peformances, as well as an impressive Zac Efron. It's sweaty, it's dirty, it never shies away from the material and delivers probably the most intense non-contact sex scene in cinematic history. The beach scene will also induce cringes and laughs in equal measure. Daniels peppers the proceedings with pure 1970's B-movie bravado, right down to the grainy film stock and off-kilter camera angles. In terms of retro-style, it made me think of Rob Zombie's The Devil's Rejects, in terms of story and setting I was reminded of Deliverance, Southern Comfort, and even Wild At Heart. All in all, kudos to Lee Daniels for pushing the envelope and giving us one hell of an experience.

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Sinbad and the Eye of the Tiger (1977) review

Posted : 1 year, 9 months ago on 28 September 2016 02:09 (A review of Sinbad and the Eye of the Tiger (1977))

This was the movie that Harryhausen was like "screw it, I'm gonna put every possible mutant/animal creature I can think of into this movie, regardless of how ridiculous it is." I mean he throws everything in here but the kitchen sink, actually by the end I was expecting to see a stop-motion kitchen sink attack Sinbad and his crew. This movie has it all: it's got alien skeletons, a young Jane Seymour running around in little belly dancer outfits, acting and line delivery that's so bad it's funny, and a stop-motion baboon that will kick your ass in chess. I never really noticed this before but poor Minoton, after being brought to life the guy spends half the movie rowing a boat and then gets crushed by a huge block. Kudos to Harryhausen for his amazing work here, fans of Clash Of The Titans take note, this makes for a great companion piece.

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Fortress review

Posted : 1 year, 9 months ago on 28 September 2016 02:05 (A review of Fortress)

HBO has a long history of producing some amazing films and this post-Ozploitation piece is no exception. I can remember first watching it with my cousin while sleeping over my grandmother's house and being scared shitless. Because this story could happen anywhere, any time. And apparently it did. For real. It remains one the most visceral, haunting, and at the same time empowering movies ever made about teachers and students. Rachel Ward is excellent as the maternal teacher doing whatever she can to protect her cubs against the evil Father Christmas and his cartoon-masked cronies. Screenwriter Everett De Roche has a certain panache for Outback mayhem (see: Razorback, The Quest) and here he weaves a tale that takes the viewer along for a harrowing ride that you won't soon forget. Part survival adventure, part Lord Of The Flies descent, it really is a one of a kind experience. My only criticism is for the awkward music score which at times is quite off-putting, nonetheless an 80's Ozploitation classic that definitely deserves a proper updated DVD release.

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Casino (1995) review

Posted : 1 year, 9 months ago on 28 September 2016 01:50 (A review of Casino (1995))

Here's 10 reasons why Casino is a criminally overlooked Mob Epic and is to Goodfellas as The Godfather II is to the original:

1) Joe Pesci playing yet another Napoleon-like maniac complete with blue eyes and a midwest accent that makes the f-bombs and m-and-f-ers that much more enjoyable.

2) Robert Richardson's cinematography. It beautifully captures the glitz and sparkle of 1970's Las Vegas.

3) The at times whirlwind narrative that takes us through the inner workings of the casino and it's many players. "The shift boss is watching the pit boss..."

4) Lester Diamond. Nobody portrays scumbags better than James Woods. His back and forth banter with Ginger and Amy is pure gold.

5) A plethora of pre-CGI gore effects that would satisfy even the most hardcore of horror fans. The pen-neck, head-vise, cheater's justice, and cornfield scenes set a new standard for mob-flick brutality.

6) Ace & Ginger's doomed trainwreck of a relationship. Deniro's battle scenes with her are his true shining moments in the film.

7) The soundtrack. Scorsese throwing music at us like some crazy drug-addled DJ. It's one of the oft-overlooked keys to his craft.

8) Scorcese's mother in her last cameo and perhaps one of the funniest moments in the film. Here we have a character telling her son not to curse in a film that broke records for cursing. Classic!

9) Frank Vincent's revenge. Here's a guy who at the hands of Joe Pesci was beaten to a bloody mess in Raging Bull, and then again in Goodfellas while also being stabbed, shot, and buried, finally gives it back to Pesci in a big way.

10) The House Of The Rising Sun by The Animals. Scorcese trumps his Layla body count montage in Goodfellas with an even more powerful and haunting montage of death scenes.

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Vice Versa review

Posted : 2 years ago on 7 July 2016 08:35 (A review of Vice Versa)

I recently watched Vice Versa after not seeing it since my childhood and I gotta say, for the most part it holds up pretty well today. It belongs to that beloved 80's sub-genre "Yuppies In Peril," as mentioned in my review of Funny Farm. It also attempts to cash in on a typical Yuppy malady, the mid-life crisis that can also be seen with Dudley Moore and Kirk Cameron in Like Father Like Son. Hell, even George Burns got in on the action with 18 Again. For the uninitiated, these films feature a younger and older person switching bodies, reaping the benefits and suffering the consequences leading to some funny moments and self-realizations.

I feel like Vice Versa is probably the best of the bunch, mainly because the two leads really embody their counterparts. Judge Reinhold with his dopey, immature antics is perfectly matched by Fred Savage's smarmy, pissed off adult. The early scenes of their switcheroo are pure Comedy gold from Marshall/Savage telling his ride to school that he's had better days and being called a Raccoon turd by the man's son to Charlie/Reinhold jamming out in the middle of a department store.

The biggest problem I have with this movie is that it coasts along on this father-son switcheroo for a while and then in the final act completely derails and becomes a typical cheesy 80's action flick. Once "real ballbuster" Swoosie Kurtz and her bumbling henchman David Proval show up the cozy comedy ends and the dumb action begins.

If you can forgive the ending, then Vice Versa deserves it's place among 80's Comedy gems. It also has a great message about Yuppy fathers not paying enough attention to their kids. And it's got Corinne Bohrer, an underappreciated 80's babe. Plus an early cameo by Jane Lynch.

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Maximum Overdrive (1986) review

Posted : 2 years, 3 months ago on 22 March 2016 07:59 (A review of Maximum Overdrive (1986))

Alright, dammit. I'm stepping up to the plate and taking one for the team. The team is made up of the 13 year olds that live in all of us, no matter how old we get. And Maximum Overdrive is the kind of movie tailor made for adolescent males to marvel at whilst chugging caffeine laced sodas and overindulging in sugary junk food. It's a midnight movie masterpiece, a mid-80s drive-in classic. Stephen King should be proud of it, some of the best movies were made by coked-out directors! I mean the movie is called MAXIMUM F'IN OVERDRIVE!!! Apropos, it's got Maximum Overkill. It's got Maximum Overacting. And it's got Maximum Overtures (care of AC/DC!)

It is so insanely over the top and endlessly bloody that you would have sworn it was made by the Italians. This movie really has it all, I mean it starts off with an ATM machine calling a guy an asshole (Stephen King's cameo), then you have a soda machine taking out an entire little league team, a kid gets run over by a steam roller, people getting smacked in the face with the front end of a big rig, machine gun deaths that rival Scarface and The Wild Bunch, the list goes on.

The level of extremes even carries over to the cast, Pat Hingle is pissed off at everybody, Emilio Estevez is pissed off at the world, Laura Harrington's hair gets progressively bigger and bigger, and Yeardley Smith's voice can shatter glass and make dog's ears bleed. They make up the motley crew of survivors, doing whatever they can to avoid the machines' deadly warpath. The camaraderie among them being trapped indoors has since been seen in everything from Tremors to The Walking Dead.

Maximum Overdrive needs to be celebrated and appreciated for what it is, pure B-movie popcorn fun. It also needs to be mentioned that it's beautifully shot with great production values. The hard rock AC/DC soundtrack also adds to the experience. So sit back, tune into your 13 year old self, and enjoy a wacky, blood drenched Action/Sci-Fi extravaganza!

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Mother Lode review

Posted : 2 years, 6 months ago on 31 December 2015 03:29 (A review of Mother Lode)

"It's the MOTHER LOOOOODE!!!" Hey, want to see a maniac Charlton Heston in dual roles mumbling his way through a half ass Irish accent? Want to see a young, statuesque Kim Basinger scream and scream some more? Want to see Nick Mancuso get pissed off and then get pissed off some more? Lassie, you've come to the right place. Mother Lode is a typical backwoods baddies flick that can't decide whether it wants to be a rough and tumble survival adventure or a cat and mouse type slasher horror flick. The result is that it's never as compelling as either of those, the suspense and scares suffer greatly at the expense of poor pacing, and worse of all the leads are not very likeable. Nick Mancuso's Jean is kind of a dick and Kim Basinger's Andrea is your typical boring blond. So when they get into trouble we don't really care what happens to them.

The few high points:
1) There's a hilarious plane crash during a water landing that looked too real to be planned (turns out it was!).
2) Charlton Heston is actually pretty darn scary and menacing as Silas McGee even if we can't understand what the hell he is saying.
3) The scares are unexpected and very effective which gave it that slasher feel at times.

Bottom line:
Mother Lode is bottom shelf backwoods baddies fair (see Southern Comfort, Deliverance, etc to see how it's done right) that's only worth seeing for Charlton Heston, playing such an awesomely effective villain. Now stay outta my mine!!!

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Funny Farm (1988) review

Posted : 2 years, 7 months ago on 7 December 2015 03:34 (A review of Funny Farm (1988))

Funny Farm remains somewhat of a forgotten 80's Chevy Chase flick, mainly due to its odd mix of slapstick comedy and straight-faced approach to marital problems. It also belongs to that beloved Yuppies-out-of-their-element sub-genre that also includes The Money Pit, Crocodile Dundee, Romancing The Stone, and countless others. Today, we would refer to the woes depicted in these movies as "First World Problems."

So Andy and Elizabeth are your typical Yuppie couple who move out to the country so Andy can focus on writing his novel. Classic Chevy Chase bits abound (more like Chevy Chaplin!), such as hitting his nuts on a door knob, fishing a huge snake out of a pond, or attempting to knock a guy out to remove the fishing hook from his neck. The timing of the bits along with Chevy's signature aloof reactions really remind us what a great talent he once was.

But then in the third act, the film takes a serious turn when the Farmer's relationship deteriorates causing Elizabeth to want a divorce. Now this could have been played up for comedic effect (see The Money Pit), but instead it goes to a dark place that almost cancels all the laughs earned in the first half.

Luckily the final act brings things back to focus, as the townsfolk all come together to help sell the Farmer home to another typical Yuppie couple. The lengths they go to sell the house (in hopes of earning some cash) including an Xmas Winter Wonderland makes for a rewarding finale.

While Funny Farm is definitely not up there on the list of Chevy Chase classics (i.e., Christmas Vacation, Three Amigos, Spies Like Us, Fletch, etc) it still offers some great signature gags that we love the man for, and for that I think it's worth checking out.

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Crimson Peak (2015) review

Posted : 2 years, 9 months ago on 19 October 2015 05:57 (A review of Crimson Peak (2015))

Guillermo del Toro returns to his roots (see The Devil's Backbone) to tell a colorful, frightening, and bloody ghost story. But as was the case with The Devil's Backbone, the ghosts are merely a side note, a tool to solve a much darker mystery. And with that, the film gives us so much more than a simple ghost story. It's more of a gothic horror, an adult fairy tale of sorts. Tom Hiddleston and a brilliantly against type Jessica Chastain are the aforementioned fairy tale Hansel and Gretal. Mysterious, sinister, conflicted, the slow burn of their relationship and past is the real heart of the story.

After the brutal murder of her father, a young writer (played with impeccable subtlety by Mia Wasikowska) is whisked away to a grotesque mansion by Hiddleston and Chastain where she soon learns their dark past and true intentions. The house is like a decaying body, a nightmare funhouse, as cozy and decadent as it is surreal and treacherous. It provides the perfect setting for the films white-knuckled second half as the cold and snow enhance the ultimate climax.

The film is a real treat for fans of vintage Euro-style horror. A wild pastiche of Mario Bava colors, Dario Argento violence, and touches of Jean Rollin and Stanley Kubrick atmosphere. Bottom line: it's a great atmospheric period story punctuated by some real wtf scares and violence.

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