Movie Review: GET OUT – an above average, well directed thriller that actually says less about race than you think it will.

I was reminded of two other pieces of entertainment when watching Get Out last night – one was the Southern Gothic horror/thriller Skeleton Key, a movie that I quite enjoyed, and Dan Simmons’s horror novel Carrion Comfort, the audiobook of which I’m currently finishing up.  If you haven’t watched or read either of these, to tell you what they’re about would give away the key plot point of Get Out, but chances are you’ll figure it out around the same time I did, which was round about the time the black cars start arriving at the Armitage estate.  This doesn’t mean the movie isn’t worth watching: it is.  Is it horror, though?  For me, that’s highly debatable.

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AT HOME WITH MONSTERS – Guillermo Del Toro’s traveling exhibition of personal memorabilia is a treat for horror buffs.

For those who don’t know, Mexican writer/director Guillermo Del Toro isn’t just active in the horror and fantasy genres, he’s also a fan of them like you and me, and has spent years assembling an enviable collection of props, personal drawing, note, and sketches, and other assorted memorabilia, at his home in the LA burbs, which he calls “Bleak House”.  The exhibition is scheduled to only make three stops in the US, before heading to Mexico for the final setup.  Here I’m fortunate to live in the Minneapolis/St Paul, where the exhibition is on display at the Minneapolis Institute of Arts until the end of May, and went to see it last Friday with my wife and daughter.  Del Toro is a real hit and miss director for me.  Of all his work, the only movies of his I’ve truly loved are The Devil’s Backbone, and Pan’s Labyrinth.  His Hollywood movies, such as the Hellboy movies, and Pacific Rim leave me utterly cold.  A professed fan of H.P. Lovecraft (my own personal idol when it comes to writing), he’s long expressed a desire to film an adaptation of arguably Lovecraft’s greatest work, At The Mountains Of Madness – a project that had, at one point, Tom Cruise attached to star.  I still hope Del Toro can get it made – he may be the only name filmmaker out there who can do justice to the material.

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Movie Review: CAPTURE KILL RELEASE – insultingly dumb, “shocking” found-footage indie horror that annoys more than it disturbs.

Ugh, expectation … it’s a cruel mistress.  Sometimes you get what you wanted, but most times once the thing you’re waiting for finally arrives, you think, “Man, I really hoped it would be better.”  And sometimes the reality is so badly out of sync with expectations, it’s almost wondrous.  My expectations for Trainspotting 2 were tempered by the fact that 21 years had passed since the beloved original movie, and that period encompassed a fair bit of change for me.  Capture Kill Release, on the other hand, showed up on my radar around early December 2016, and I finally got around to viewing it last night.  Talk about badly out of sync! This turned out to be one of the worst movies I’ve watched in recent years.  Knockout poster, though.

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Movie Review: THE VOID – successfully blends its many obvious influences into an entertaining piece of indie horror.

An old school friend of mine shares much the same interest in indie horror as me, so when he recommended The Void, I didn’t waste any time in requesting a copy.  As soon as I started watching it, I realized that I heard about this way back in the distant past of 2016, when it debuted to a strong critical reception at Fantastic Fest, the Texas film festival co-founded by Ain’t It Cool’s Harry Knowles.  The Canadian movie has already garnered a cult following, and it’s not hard to see why.

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Movie Review: FOR THE LOVE OF SPOCK is a touching tribute to one of pop culture’s most enduring and beloved figures. A must-see for Trek fans.

For The Love Of Spock, as director and interviewer Adam Nimoy explains early on, is not the movie that would have been made if his father Leonard had not died in 2015.  Originally, the documentary was supposed to be a full on exploration of Star Trek’s beloved Mr. Spock, but Nimoy’s death turned it into more of a biopic about the man, rather than the character.  Of course, a documentary solely about Spock would inevitably have focused a lot on Nimoy himself and may not have turned out too different from the work that eventually came to be, but the differences would have been notable, I think.

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Movie Review: THE SHALLOWS – Blake Lively fails to stand out in a frustratingly annoying shark-attack movie.

I can’t understand some people’s definition of horror.  Having watched The Love Witch, and found almost nothing horrifying about it, in either execution or intent, I watched The Shallows, which is described in various places as a horror-thriller, or survival-horror.  I admit, I’m a horror purist, but I just cannot imagine a definition of the horror genre so elastic it stretches far enough to encapsulate either of these two movies.  Especially The Shallows.  And I’m not talking about scary movies, because there are plenty of non-scary movies that are clearly horror.  The Shallows is NOT horror, it’s never even close to being horror, and I’m going to put words in the mouths of the writer (Anthony Jaswinski) and director (Jaume Collet-Serra) when I say this was never intended to be a horror movie.

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Movie Review: THE LOVE WITCH – extremely faithful homage to the camp horror of the 60s and 70s, with a great performance from its star.

I’ve seen some bizarre movies in my time, and I have to say, The Love Witch is up there.  If you haven’t heard of it, you’re not alone.  Released in November of 2016 it ended up with a domestic box office of less than a quarter million, but I feel it’s going to have an extended streaming shelf life through word of mouth.  Billed by many sites as a horror movie, I’ll tell you that it barely rises to meet that definition.  The witchcraft driven plot isn’t strong enough for it to be considered horror – it’s more of an occult thriller than anything else.

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