Movies

Movies

Mon
21
Oct

How Can a Serial Killer Be in Two Places at One Time? We Review Night Hunter on Blu-ray

Night Hunter

HENRY CAVILL (MAN OF STEEL) is Marshall, a law officer gone terminally cynical from the job, which makes relating with his daughter particularly difficult. Concerned about protecting his daughter from anything and anyone, he finds himself suddenly embroiled in a case of a serial killer who preys on young girls. He catches a break on the case when a former judge turned vigilante, Cooper (BEN KINGSLEY) loses his literal jailbait partner, Lara (ELIANA JONES), to the killer, thinking him merely another predator for them to take off the board. Fortunately for Lara, she wears a tracking device, leading both Cooper and Marshall to her and Simon (BRENDAN FLETCHER), a mentally handicapped man holding Lara and several other girls hostage and putting them through torture.

But while Simon is in custody and being profiled, his captors are targeted for murder and extorted into effecting his escape. Begging the question: Do they have the right man, or does he have an accomplice.

Sat
19
Oct

Cinderella Story Franchise Gets Christmas Wish Installment

A Cinderella Story: Christmas Wish

A CINDERELLA STORY has blossomed into a successful storytelling franchise, with so sign of the stroke of midnight anywhere in sight. A CINDERELLA STORY: CHRISTMAS WISH continues the streak, setting the familiar Cinderella trope against a holiday backdrop.

Thu
17
Oct

The Current War Fails to Electrify Audiences

The Current War 2019

The Current War is a film with an interesting subject, great visuals and fine cinematography, and a star-packed cast. Unfortunately it doesn’t provide anything close to an electrifying movie experience. It’s a shame, too, because a more through character study of Thomas Edison, George Westinghouse, Nikolai Tesla and Samuel Insull should be a fascinating look at a Mount Rushmore of minds that helped shape the next century-plus of American history. Director Alfonso Gomez-Rejon manages only to craft a superficial and seemingly sanitized examination of the battle for America’s fledgling electrical grid during the Industrial Revolution from Michael Mitnick’s screenplay.

Sun
13
Oct

Wonder Woman: Bloodlines Resets Origin Told in Previous Animated WW Flick

Wonder Woman Bloodlines

WONDER WOMAN: BLOODLINES is a callback to the DC Universe crossover event of several years back. It has nothing to do with that event however, so don't get excited if you were a fan. Rather, this new release from the DCAU represents the origin of Wonder Woman (ROSARIO DAWSON), with Steve Trevor (JEFFREY DONOVAN) crashing near Themyscira after attempting to shoot down an incursion of Apokoliptian parademons. This serves to tie the story in better to JUSTICE LEAGUE: WAR, to cement Diana into the mythos.

Diana sacrifices her life on Themyscira, defying her mother, Hippolyta (CREE SUMMER), and losing her life on Themyscira for good in choosing to help Trevor and defend Man's World.

Thu
10
Oct

Gators Attack in Alejandre Aja's "Crawl"

Crawl

During a devastating hurricane, a young woman finds herself trapped in the crawlspace of a house with two enormous alligators. Cue the terror.

Haley (MAZE RUNNER's KAYA SCODELARIO) is a professional swimmer who gets a call to check on her estranged father as a hurricane barrels down on the state. Defying evacuation orders, she drives through a roadblock to ensure her father (BARRY PEPPER) is safe.

He's not.

While making a repair in the crawlspace of the family home, he got mauled by an enormous alligator. Fearing him dead, Haley barely escapes the maw of one alligator, but her luck runs slimmer the longer she's forced to find a way out of the crawlspace as the floodwaters rise, threatening to drown them both.

Wed
09
Oct

Death and Return of Superman Releases as Single Movie Experience

Death and Return of Superman Bluray

Previously released in two parts, THE DEATH OF SUPERMAN and REIGN OF THE SUPERMEN have now been edited together into a seamless, single movie experience.

Superman (JERRY O'CONNELL) is struggling. As Clark Kent, his relationship with Lois Lane (REBECCA ROMIJN) is difficult to commit to as he has been keeping a huge secret from her. He becomes particularly nervous about this when his parents come to town and meet Lois for the first time. The advice of his fellow Justice League members is that he should open up to her if he wants her to be a larger part of his life.

Tue
08
Oct

Joker and the Myth of Media-Inspired Mayhem

Joker, Dr. Susan Lewis

It's the movie "they" didn't want you to see -- the film that glorified killing to such an extent, it was expected the easily influenced would take it as a training manual and copy the techniques to commit mass acts of violence.

But, thus far, the only reported incident requiring police intervention involved two men arrested for smoking during the film. (No word if the film was at midnight, or if the two smokers watching JOKER were using marijuana. Thank the Steve Miller Band for my going the long way around for that pun.)

So was all the media hysteria for nothing, or was there a predictable risk that JOKER could set in motion a wave of violence among those already suffering mental illness?

Sun
29
Sep

X-Men: Dark Phoenix Hardly Rise from Ashes for Marvel/Fox Franchise

X-Men Dark Phoenix BD

Back in the day when the UNCANNY X-MEN were jumping from one classic arc to the next classic arc, the House of Ideas threw a huge curveball at us when it was revealed Jean Grey had been possessed by a cosmic entity so powerful that it could -- and did -- destroy planets. And even though she was supposedly cured of this, there was still a need to balance the scales of justice. She couldn't just walk away from a genocide unscathed. The death of Jean Grey for the actions of the Phoenix Force was more than just a classic story -- it was a pivotal milestone in the history of the X-Men.

Getting an accurate retelling in a movie was a hopeless case from the beginning. To do it even the slightest justice would have required a season of a live-action X-Men series.

So what we get with X-MEN: DARK PHOENIX is pretty much a standalone film that uses some of those ideas and character names, to tell a completely different story.

Sat
28
Sep

"Awake" a Sleepy Thriller

Awake DVD

When a car is forced off the road and the driver awakens with head trauma and amnesia, he arouses the curiosity of the nurse taking care of him. But this John Doe (JONATHAN RHYS MEYERS) may just be a hunted serial killer who's been leaving a trail of dead young women throughout the Midwest. The lead FBI investigator (MALIK YOBA) thinks they've got their man, but Nurse Diana (FRANCESCA EASTWOOD) sees something in the injured amnesiac that leads her to believe he's innocent -- even if he did have the latest victim trussed up in the trunk of the car he wrecked.

When Karen helps John escape the clutches of the law to prove his innocence, flashes of his lost memories begin to return, making it quite possible he really is the serial killer everyone claims him to be.

Thu
26
Sep

Abominable Transports Audiences to Magical Adventure

Abominable from DreamWorks Animation

Take the family on an exquisite, imaginative tour of Asia courtesy of Dreamworks' newest animated feature, ABOMINABLE.

Yi (CHLOE BENNET, AGENTS OF S.H.I.E.L.D.) is a young girl with a driving ambition. Her day is spent sprinting from job to job, scrounging up cash and grunging up her appearance. Her mother (MICHELLE WONG) and grandmother (TSAI CHIN) are unaware of how she spends her time, or why she's gone all day long. We quickly learn that Yi is saving up to travel the world, so see all the places her recently departed father wanted to take her. 

While spending some quiet time in the hideout she has built on her rooftop, Yi has an unexpected encounter -- with a Yeti! She names the big fuzzy creature Everest, after the mountain she believes to be his home. But Everest didn't just wander onto Yi's roof by accident. He's an escapee from what was to be a major zoological exhibit, and the man behind his capture, Mr. Burnish (EDDIE IZZARD), wants him back at all costs.

Thu
26
Sep

TCM Brings Margaret O'Brien, "Meet Me In St. Louis" to St. Louis

Ben Mankiewicz and Margaret O'Brien for TCM in St. Louis

It's the third year that Turner Classic Movies has held their "Bring TCM to Your Hometown" contest, and for the Gateway to the Midwest, the third time was the charm. After what the network termed an "overwhelming response" from St. Louis residents, TCM prepared to bring the classic MGM film, MEET ME IN ST. LOUIS" for a free screening at the historic Tivoli Theatre.

But it wasn't just a free movie the town was getting. TCM host Ben Mankiewicz escorted film star Margaret O'Brien for the event, to make the screening all the more special for fans.

Wed
18
Sep

Missouri Monster Gets Retro Grindhouse from Small Town Monsters

Momo The Missouri Monster

Cryptid films were a drive-in staple during the 1970s. None were going to win any Oscars, but the audiences weren't there for that. They wanted cheap chills and theatrical thrills from creatures that haunted the woods like those near their home towns.

Capitalizing on the nostalgia for this genre, Small Town Monsters has faithfully recreated the look and feel of this grindhouse-style of storytelling with MOMO: THE MISSOURI MONSTER.

The film is presented inside the framework of a modern-day television show, with your cryptid-hunting host, Lyle Blackburn, who takes the audience to the town of Louisiana, Missouri, where sightings of a hairy hominid made the papers in the early 1970s. He then takes viewers back to this film, presenting it as the only copy of an unearthed and unreleased treasure loosely based on encounters with the creature and simultaneous reports of UFO sightings.

Thu
12
Sep

Lost Lovechild of Kubrick and Hitchcock: Empathy, Inc.

Empathy Inc

Director Yedidya Gorsetman and Screenwriter Mark Leidner have put together a sleeper hit of masterpiece proportions.

EMPATHY, INC. starts out simply enough. Joel (ZACK ROBIDAS) is a successful silicon valley executive, about to make a fortune with the release of a new technology. But his partner has been falsifying the results of the tests, with devastating financial results for Joel and the company he worked for. He is scapegoated into ruin, and he and his wife Jessica (KATHY SEARLE) are forced to move in with her retired parents.

Sun
08
Sep

Kafka and Nabokov Walk Into a Horror: Seeds by Owen Long

Seeds by Owen Long

Owen Long's indy project, SEEDS, is an art film with a horror angle; a blend of Kafka's METAMORPHOSIS and Nabokov's LOLITA, with a subtle hint of H.P Lovecraft peppered throughout.

The focus of the film is on Marcus (TREVOR LONG), a man who lives a hermit-like existence in his parents' old home. For reasons we never quite understand, he's forever rewiring the place in ways that are clearly not up to code. Marcus is haunted by the death of a woman he had a fling with once, in a hotel, and which he paid to have covered up by a man who continues to show up in his life delivering pills. What the pills are for is never quite clear, as Marcus seems deranged before taking them, and just as deranged afterward.

Mon
02
Sep

Godzilla May Not Be King of the Box Office, But Reigns Supreme Among Monster Fans

Godzilla King of the Monsters Bluray

The King of the Monsters doesn't get much respect these days. Attempts to bring the giant radioactive lizard to the big screen have largely succeeded in special effects, pleasing the hardcore Godzilla fans, but plotlines haven't been enough to draw in wider audiences.

Thu
29
Aug

Octavia Spencer Disturbs in Ma

Ma on Blu-ray

The scariest horror stories are the ones that feature real monsters: humans.

OCTAVIA SPENCER impresses in every role I've seen her, but MA is the first time I've ever seen her in a horror/suspense role. She doesn't disappoint. In fact, she downright disturbs.

The character of Sue Ann is a mixture of psychoses, springing from a traumatic event in her adolescence. Arrested development, kleptomania, Munchausen's -- all these and more bubble in the cauldron of Sue Ann's plan for vengeance.

MA opens when Erica (JULIETTE LEWIS) returns to her home town with her teenaged daughter Maggie (DIANA SILVERS) in tow. Maggie makes some new friends, who like to party it up. When they try to get an adult to buy them some booze, they meet up with Sue Ann, who agrees to make the purchase. Expressing concern for the teens' safety, she also offers them her basement as a place for their revels. Her catering to them soon has them calling her "Ma," which she encourages.

Mon
26
Aug

Rocketman Gloriously Magical, Brutally Real

Rocketman Bluray

In terms of sheer visual spectacle, ROCKETMAN is without peer. Brilliantly mixing magical metaphor with raw reality, this film straddles the boundaries between musical and biopic.

From the very first scene and the very first note, ROCKETMAN is riveting. The film opens with the adult Elton John (played superbly by TARON EGERTON) strutting into an addiction support group in full sequined regalia. It doesn't feel like it could be real, and it's the most subtle part of the film, as it's used as a storytelling device throughout the movie. As we progress, we return to this device, each time with more of the costuming stripped away--a metaphor for deconstructing the mythical Elton John and getting down to the man himself.

Thu
22
Aug

One Banana, Two Banana, Three Banana, Gore!

The Banana Splits Movie

There have been several efforts to destroy my childhood by revamping and modernizing classic characters. But I have to give props for someone who goes all-out to in-your-face do it.

The Banana Splits were the hosts of a Saturday morning kids show. They were a rock and roll group comprised of Fleegle, Bingo, Drooper and Snorky--an anthropomorphic dog, gorilla, lion and elephant. It was silly, it was slapstick, and it was a bit psychedelic (although my tolerance had already been set high thanks to LIDSVILLE and THE BUGALOOS).

This film from Director Danishka Esterhazy takes a decidedly different course with these beloved and/or forgotten (take your pic) children's icons, turning them into animatronic actors who go on an unexpected crusade of slaughter, answering the age-old question: What if the Terminator had been a furry?

Sun
11
Aug

Jacob Cooney's The Assault an Assault on Heist Films

The Assault

The tagline for the film reads, "Every Heist Needs a Getaway."

This film is a good excuse to exercise the getaway before getting into the heist.

The action, such as it is, happens in a small town town where Detective Tom Broza (TOM SIZEMORE) has just relocated from the big city of New York. Why he left, we don't know, but we can surmise that Bruza was too incompetent to be kept on the force given the way he handles this case.

Mon
05
Aug

Gotham's Worst All Involved in Batman: Hush, on Blu-ray and DVD

Batman Hush

The iconic Batman tour-de-force that served as a vehicle for Jim Lee's introduction to the DC Comics stable, HUSH, is the latest storyline to be adapted into the DCAU straight-to-DVD library, and scene omissions and straight-up plot changes, it's a largely enjoyable way to pass 90 minutes.

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