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Today:  06/24/2021

Review: 'Siberia' is a psychedelic trip through one man's mind

Posted June 22,2021 - 05:37 PM

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I have been a fan of Abel Ferrara since I saw King of New York when I used to manage a Hollywood Video store. The store was located in a rough part of town and this film was one of our most stolen movies, the other was Teach Me Tonight - but for far different reasons.

So, I was curious as to why so many people were intent on owning this movie illegally and I quickly fell in love with Ferrara's gritty style and fatalistic outlook on life. His movies were raw and gritty and didn't shy away from nudity and violence - traits that I would later learn translated from his adult film beginning - in other words, they were in line with the societal expectations of a young male in his early 20s.

I quickly outgrew that phase, although I'm still a sucker for a gritty crime-thriller. It seems, too,...

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Review: 'Night Walk' shows promise, but fails to deliver

Posted June 15,2021 - 05:59 PM

Nightwalk

It's been a while since I've given a scathing review.

I don't think Night Walk will quite reach that level of distaste, but much like the film itself, it's just full of unreached potential. As you know, I detest the "bait-and-switch" tactics used by companies on these B-movies that swing heavily into acting talent whose contributions end up as nothing more than glorified cameos.

This is the case with Night Walk, where if one were to simply just take the artwork, would think that Mickey Rourke and Eric Roberts feature predominantly in the movie. In fact, this deception is further perpetrated by the trailer where I would say 90% of their collective screen time is included.

In other words, these actors collected a paycheck and the studio gained their image for the artwork in the hopes...

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Review: Lovecraft's 'The Deep Ones' dredges up old horror tropes

Posted June 15,2021 - 11:39 AM

Deep ones

As a bonafide horror aficionado, I've seen my fair share of films based on H.P. Lovecraft's work. For me, the better ones tend to be the ones inspired by Lovecraft as opposed to those more faithful to Lovecraft's original stories.

Don't get me wrong, Dagon and Re-Animator are some of the best films in this horror niche, but for my money The Void and Stranger Things use and expand upon Lovecraftian themes in ways that the master would have greatly enjoyed. Enter H.P. Lovecraft's The Deep Ones that is both a faithful and a modern interpretation of his Cthulhu Mythos.

A married couple that has recently suffered a miscarriage retreat to a seaside Airbnb for some much-needed recovery, only to stumble upon a community of peculiar neighbors and supernatural happenings. What they...

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Review: 'City of Lies' reflects the sloppy crimes it showcases

Posted June 08,2021 - 05:57 PM

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When a film sits on the shelf for three years, there's usually a pretty good reason for it.

When a film sits on the shelf for the duration of a content-starved pandemic, that good reason isn't hard to guess.

While City of Lies won't be getting nominated for any Academy Awards anytime soon, that doesn't mean you should dismiss it out of hand. There are many rumors circulating as to why this film was shelved for so long, but the end result doesn't speak to quality being one of those reasons.

City of Lies is based on the book, LAbyrinth, by Randall Sullivan and it follows the investigation into the murder of iconic rap artist Christopher Wallace, aka The Notorious B.I.G. Johnny Depp and Forest Whitaker star as a detective and journalist respectively trying to add heat to the trail that...

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Review: 'Flashback' delivers a warped-reality winner

Posted June 08,2021 - 05:22 PM

Flashback

Every once in a while a film comes along that almost defied explanation.

Almost.

Such films that meet this distinction that immediately come to mind include Donnie Darko, Under the Silver Lake and Dark Web: Cicada 3301. Flashback is the latest film to join the club.

There has been a real trend lately where entertainment bends the rules of reality, perception, and participation. Think of last year's Dispatches from Elsewhere where the content of the show encouraged the audience to actively participate in the show and the results were both thrilling and satisfying.

Some films elevate themselves over others and the little pandemic pause has really underscored how important it is for these type of films to reach an audience. Not every film can be a massive comic book blockbuster or an...

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Review: 'Primal' arises from the primordial ooze with compelling drama

Posted June 02,2021 - 04:27 PM

Primal

Warner Bros. Home Entertainment provided me with a free copy of the Blu-ray I reviewed in this news story. The opinions I share are my own.

My first exposure to Genndy Tartakovsky's Primal was when I cracked open this review copy. I didn't know anything about it other than the fact that the artwork of a caveman on a dinosaur was quite intriguing.

Despite what we were "taught" with The Flintstones, humans and dinosaurs didn't co-exist in the past. And if Jurassic Worlds warnings are given the proper credence, we won't try and force it in the future.

And yet, Primal does give some small hope of humans and dinosaurs getting along, although strictly in a "survive or die" set of circumstances only. What can we say, sometimes necessity creates the most bizarre bedfellows.

Part...

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Review: The Smiths and nostalgia uplift 'Shoplifters of the World'

Posted June 01,2021 - 03:40 PM

Shoplifters

Despite transitioning from a pre-teen to a teen during the five years that The Smiths were a band, I never truly got into them during their heyday. I suppose I was just a few years too young. Had I been born in, say, 1971 instead of 1974, I'm pretty sure that this review would be much different.

You see, I was in the midst of pop music and the likes of Michael Jackson and Madonna. It would be a few years before I started to cut my musical teeth in the realm of punk and rap. And still a few years after that in which I would find my own personal Smiths in grunge band Pearl Jam.

I fell in love (and still am) with Pearl Jam as mush writer-director Stephen Kijak became infatuated with The Smiths. So, I can understand his devout commitment to the music that helped to shape the soul of an...

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Review: 'Supernatural' ends on a perfect note in 'Season 15'

Posted May 25,2021 - 04:13 PM

Supernatural

Warner Bros. Home Entertainment provided me with a free copy of the Blu-ray I reviewed in this news story. The opinions I share are my own.

On September 13, 2005, a little unsuspecting TV series debuted on the WB and an obsession was born. Supernatural is one of those shows that caught lightning in a bottle and the series took off to new heights even after its channel was absorbed by the upstart The CW network.

For every fan the story is different. I was coming off my second divorce and spending more time in front of the TV than I was used to. As a fan of The X-Files and the recent debut of Lost the year before, Supernatural was a show right in my wheelhouse at a time when I was very open to beginning a new long-term relationship.

Fifteen years later, it came to an end late last year...

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Review: 'Infinity Train: Book Two' is an existential hit for the whole family

Posted May 24,2021 - 04:15 PM

Infinity

Warner Bros. Home Entertainment provided me with a free copy of the Blu-ray I reviewed in this news story. The opinions I share are my own.

When I discovered Infinity Train last year, it was a revelation for our family. We were a little late to the party so to speak, but we were more than ready to jump on the bandwagon. With so many dangling threads from Book One, it was a foregone conclusion that there would be more installments, but we didn't know just how much we needed Infinity Train in our life until we watched Book Two.

The series picks up just about where it left off in Book One. Tulip, the main protagonist from Book One is home safe, but the Infinity Train continues in its sole purpose of teaching and correcting children in their miscreant ways. This time, it's Mirror Tulip,...

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Review: 'Minari' is the American dream that resonates with us all

Posted May 18,2021 - 05:07 PM

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While this year's Academy Awards didn't leave too many lasting impressions on people, there's one moment that blew me away. It was when Steven Yeun talked about his childhood in Taylor, Michigan, and going to see Terminator 2: Judgment Day at the local theater.

Having grown up in Taylor, Michigan, I never realized that Glenn from The Walking Dead was also from the Downriver area of Detroit. And heck, I knew exactly which theater he was talking about and there's a chance that we were in the same screening.

Much like his film Minari, this momentary connection forced me to think about my childhood and upbringing. And while my story doesn't mirror that of writer-director Lee Isaac Chung, we are all raised with the powerful identity of the American dream and its attainment.

Minari follows...

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