Movie Review: US – Jordan Peele’s follow up to Get Out is doing big business, but I found little to like.

The review title says it all, doesn’t it?  Consider that a tl:dr, if you don’t want to read a dissenting opinion, but if you’re curious as to why I seem to be in the overwhelming minority when it comes to this movie, plough your way through.

I’ll say at the top that I wasn’t a great fan of Get Out either.  I thought the hype and critical praise for a mostly just good movie was startling.  My own daughter, whose opinion generally aligns with mine on horror movies, was one of those people who thought Get Out was fantastic, and I approached it with some excitement, as someone who generally feels let down by most movies in the genre.  It happened with Get Out, and to an even greater degree with Peele’s sophomore work, Us. Continue reading “Movie Review: US – Jordan Peele’s follow up to Get Out is doing big business, but I found little to like.”

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Movie Review: THE ENDLESS – an ambitious story hamstrung by budget and self-indulgence

Right off the bat, I’ll start by saying that not only am I a fan of the writing/directing team of Justin Benson and Aaron Moorhead, I also predict they’re going to be big in the near future, whether that’s by continuing to make a name for themselves in the world of weird horror, or by succumbing to big money studio deals – and regardless of what I think of their newest movie The Endless.  I urge you to seek out their previous two features, Resolution and Spring, and feel free to check out my spoiler free reviews before or after if you do.  You’ll definitely want to see Resolution before The Endless, however.

Continue reading “Movie Review: THE ENDLESS – an ambitious story hamstrung by budget and self-indulgence”

Movie Review: AMERICAN MADE – this highly glossed over version of the Barry Seal story is Tom Cruise’s best film – and performance – in years.

I’m not ashamed to admit, I’m a fan of Tom Cruise movies.  Not a fan of Tom Cruise the person, I should add, having never met him, but I have enjoyed his screen presence for about thirty years now.  I think he’s a pretty decent actor too, when he tries – something he hasn’t done a lot of in a long time.  Having watched his last offering The Mummy fall on the critics’ sword, and mostly fail to capture the imaginations of the paying public, his career badly needed a shot in the arm.  It so happens that American Made, his second cinematic release of 2017, does exactly that.

Continue reading “Movie Review: AMERICAN MADE – this highly glossed over version of the Barry Seal story is Tom Cruise’s best film – and performance – in years.”

Movie Review: FROM A HOUSE ON WILLOW STREET – what starts off as a reasonable genre fusion, devolves into a silly, underwritten mess by the end.

Watching From A House On Willow Street last night, I was reminded of The Atticus institute in a number of ways, but what went through my mind was not so much the end result, but of the premise itself, and how the filmmakers completely failed to exploit it.  In The Atticus Institute, the premise is: what if demonic possession was a real thing, and could it be weaponized?  Of course, that’s not what the actual movie was about, but to me the real story should have been that laid out in the premise.  In From A House On Willow Street, the premise actually is the actual plot, but it’s handled badly: a group of would-be kidnappers abduct the adult daughter of a wealthy family, only to discover that she is possessed by a demon.  Ransom meets The Exorcist.

Continue reading “Movie Review: FROM A HOUSE ON WILLOW STREET – what starts off as a reasonable genre fusion, devolves into a silly, underwritten mess by the end.”

Movie Review: DIG TWO GRAVES – half-baked, would-be supernatural “gothic” revenge plot with a grossly uncommitted script

The title of Dig Two Graves comes reportedly from the writings of Chinese philosopher Confucius, who emphasized the cultivation of character virtues and wisdom above action.  It’s debatable whether or not he’s actually responsible for the phrase, which essentially is a warning to those seeking vengeance.  Of the two graves, one is for the quarry, but the other is, metaphorically, for the death of the soul of person seeking that vengenance.  In effect, it’s saying that the cost of vengeance on those seeking it is greater than the sense of justice one expects to come from achieving it.  Upon watching the movie, I mostly disagree with using the phrase as the title.

Continue reading “Movie Review: DIG TWO GRAVES – half-baked, would-be supernatural “gothic” revenge plot with a grossly uncommitted script”

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.

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

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.

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