Movie Review: EXISTS – A sasquatch tale from Blair Witch Project’s Eduardo Sanchez that’s better than you might expect.

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Being as The Blair Witch Project is my favourite horror movie, and I decided to Watch The Objective last week because it was directed by Daniel Myrick, half of the team who made that movie, it seemed to be the right time to watch Exists, a 2014 found-footage horror movie directed by the other half of the duo, Eduardo Sanchez.

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Movie Review: THE NICE GUYS – Shane Black is back with his buddy comedy formula, but it peters out towards the end.

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The Nice Guys, writer/director Shane Black’s first movie since Iron Man 3, is a throwback to his 2005 movie Kiss Kiss Bang Bang, which featured a pre-career resurgence Robert Downey Jr, and Val Kilmer’s arguably last “big” role as a thief and a private eye respectively, thrown together by circumstances to ultimately investigate a criminal case.  Flash forward 10 years and now it’s Russell Crowe, enforcer-with-a-heart (kind of like Wade Wilson before he became Deadpool), teaming up with the private eye, played by Ryan Gosling.  Black is a sharp writer, but the biggest hits of his career, Iron Man notwithstanding, are buddy movies – he also created Lethal Weapon, and Bruce Willis and Damon Wayans had the same dynamic in 1991’s The Last Boy Scout.

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Movie Review: WHAT WE DO IN THE SHADOWS – brilliant. does for vampires what Shaun of the Dead did for zombies

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I fully admit I put off watching this movie for quite some time.  Not that I wasn’t a fan of Flight of the Conchords, the HBO series starring Jemaine Clement, with some episodes written and directed by Taikia Waititi (the upcoming Thor: Ragnarok) – no, it was a wholly illogical and unreasonable devotion to certain kinds of vampire movies that put me off this movie.  If you want to pop over to my reviews for A Girl Walks Home Alone At Night and Only Lovers Left Alive, that’ll give you the reasons why in better detail, but to sum it up: I’m a purist.

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Movie Review: THE LEGEND OF TARZAN is a joyless drudge of a movie, for the cast, as well as the audience. If they don’t bother, you shouldn’t either.

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While I only ever read one of Edgar Rice Burroughs’s Tarzan books, I did grow up watching the Johnny Weismuller movies when they would run on BBC2, and I watched quite a bit of the TV show that starred Ron Ely, back in the 70s, and I think I saw the Disney animated movie a few years back.  I even had an idea for a Tarzan screenplay at one point, that would play up a mythical take on the character, removing him somewhat from the action/adventure pulp origins of the character.  Fast forward a couple of decades later, and 2016 sees the release of The Legend Of Tarzan.  I’m curious as to why they bothered.

Continue reading “Movie Review: THE LEGEND OF TARZAN is a joyless drudge of a movie, for the cast, as well as the audience. If they don’t bother, you shouldn’t either.”

Movie Review: THE QUATERMASS XPERIMENT – classic piece of scifi cinema that holds up well thanks to a dark, Lovecraftian tone.

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No great secret here: I am a fan of the work of HP Lovecraft.  That’s an easy thing to say these days I guess, if you want to get some kind of credibility in the horror genre, but I find it easy to weed out the real fans.  The Fake Ones are all about tossing the name of Cthulhu around, while qualifying his work with a disclaimer that distances themselves from him.  “I really love his stuff, but he was so racist …”.  It’s the kind of surface-level thinking that shows in “Lovecraftian” fiction peppered throughout the Amazon .99c specials.  Throw in The Elder Gods, some tentacles, Cthulhu, and hey presto, a Lovecraft pastiche.  Very few people actually get the work of Lovecraft, they only get the pop culture tropes, then hit a brick wall.  Fewer still moviemakers get it, but there have been some.  There’s an article in me someday that will list my top 5 Lovecraftian movies, but this is a review of 1955’s The Quatermass Xperiment, renamed The Creeping Unknown for the US market, a much more fitting title, I feel.

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Movie Review: THE OBJECTIVE – A disappointing ending, but the bulk of this X-Files-meets-Zero-Dark-Thirty is pretty good.

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2008’s The Objective is by now an “old” movie, at least in terms of reviews, and I normally wouldn’t bother, but it’s notable because I think it’s relatively obscure, AND it was directed by Daniel Myrick, who co-directed my number one horror movie, The Blair Witch Project.  I literally had never heard of this movie at its time of release, and might have gone a long way without hearing of it if I hadn’t just finished the revised Danse Macabre, by Stephen King, in which he mentions it in his new foreword to that book.  King isn’t the greatest of critics, but my first reading of Danse Macabre in the late 80s provided a giant reading list, which I plowed through, and since he was complimentary about The Blair Witch Project, maybe The Objective wouldn’t be so bad.  Turns out, it isn’t.

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Movie Review: BLACK MOUNTAIN SIDE – some miniscule-budget indie horror movies can be great, but this isn’t one of them.

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The world of indie horror is something I’ve been championing for a while now, as any readers will recall, but like the macro universe of moviemaking, the indie horror scene is full of duds.  For every Darling or Southbound, there are at least a hundred genuine pieces of crap.  All you have to do is look at the horror listings on Netflix to see that.  Now, I understand that many people watch bad movies (of any genre) with their MST3K hats on and blithely rip the bad writing, the cheap FX, the amateur-hour acting – I’ve never been that kind of viewer.  Not that I’m taking the high road here – bad movies offend me, sometimes anger me when I realize I invested my time in something that just wasn’t worth it.

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