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Today:  01/21/2021

Review: 'Toys of Terror' is the gift you can't wait to return

Posted January 19,2021 - 03:41 PM

Toys

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 was a kid, there was one toy that simply gave me the creeps whenever I would see it. In fact, it got so bad that my parents would hide it in a closet, but every so often this toy would rear its ugly head and the nightmares would begin anew.

This toy in question was the monkey that would bang together little brass cymbals. I'm sure the intent behind the toy was to elicit fun in kids, but it was a nightmare-making machine that left me with countless sleepless nights.

Yes, it's the toy on the artwork for 1988's Monkey Shines, but is it really a toy? I'm convinced it was a torture tool invented by parents to keep their kids in line and it...

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Review: Spongebob brings fun for the whole family in Season 12

Posted January 12,2021 - 04:44 PM

Sponge12

Guess what kids? This week brings new SpongeBob SquarePants content to home entertainment!

No, it's not the highly anticipated release of The SpongeBob Movie: Sponge on the Run, sadly. It's the complete twelfth season of SpongeBob SquarePants debuting on DVD.

I know it's not what you were hoping for, but it's precisely what the doctor ordered to get us through the doldrums of a pandemic and continued political unrest. I don't know about you, but I'll take any excuse to float away to Bikini Bottom and escape my troubles with SpongeBob, Patrick, Sandy, and all the colorful characters under the sea.

Everyone's favorite Bikini Bottom buddies bubble up in the Complete Twelfth Season of SpongeBob SquarePants! See what happens when SpongeBob and Patrick work on Old Man Jenkins's farm for a...

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Review: 'Spell' will capture you in its horrific delights

Posted January 12,2021 - 03:59 PM

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There is just something inherently unsettling about the unknown. While numerous successful comedies use the fish-out-of-water template to rousing acclaim, it's the horror films that really tap into our fear of the unknown.

Take Deliverance. This film is perhaps the gold standard when it comes to veering off from the familiar and finding yourself in over your head. Deliverance, with its Appalachia setting and backwood locals, is as much an ancestor to Spell as Misery or Get Out.

Taken together, all three films provide a familiar but less-traveled path to cinematic brilliance. Spell learns from this history and blazes a brave new trail that will resonate deep within its audience long after the credits roll.

A big-city lawyer flies his family back to his Appalachian roots to attend his...

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Review: 'American Dream' is a violent waste of talent

Posted January 12,2021 - 02:21 PM

Amer dream

Timing is an unfortunate side effect of circumstance sometimes but I'm not sure if a different release date would help American Dream much. To be fair, it's just rotten luck that last week's violence at the U.S. Capitol will be fresh on the minds of the audience when they sit down to watch this movie.

There's something extra jarring about the film's many violent scenes that certainly add a realistic feel to the story's plot, but might trigger PTSD in people still coming to grips with the real violence playing out around them. Of course, the violence in the film turns out to be the high point, so maybe it won't matter much in the end.

A pair of contractors get caught up in a surefire success scheme before running out of money to finish the job. With nowhere else to turn, they approach...

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Review: 'Love and Monsters' shines a romantic light on the apocalypse

Posted January 05,2021 - 03:36 PM

Love monsters

Given that we have lived under the auspices of a global pandemic for the last year, dystopian post-apocalyptic films suddenly gain a newfound resonance. Take Contagion, for example. The realistic film about an airborne virus that rapidly shakes the very foundation of society before an eleventh-hour vaccine saves the day was almost verbatim to the rollout of COVID-19.

Suddenly films such as World War Z and Warm Bodies feel more like Science-Fact instead of Science-Fiction. Enter the lastest post-Apocalyptic romantic comedy Love and Monsters.

It's been seven years since a successful defeat of a massive asteroid resulted in chemical residue falling back to Earth that created the Monsterpocalypse. Now the remnants of the human race live in underground bunkers hiding from massive ants,...

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Review: Get 'Total Recall' on 4K UHD, NOW!

Posted December 08,2020 - 04:43 PM

Recall

Paul Verhoeven is an enigma. He directed such genre masterpieces as RoboCop, Starship Troopers and Basic Instinct. But he's perhaps best known for his biggest flop, Showgirls.

Beyond his erotic peccadilloes, he's best known for his over-the-top, gratuitous violence and no film, in my opinion, personifies Verhoeven more than Total Recall. This week, the sci-fi â90s exploitation film gets the 4K UHD treatment and we couldn't be happier to check it out.

Arnold Schwarzenegger stars as Douglas Quaid, a bored construction worker who has bizarre dreams of Mars. His obsession drives him to the Rekall company where he can take a vacation to Mars virtually without leaving earth. The memory implantation fails and Quaid comes to learn that his current life is a false memory and those that...

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Review: 'Smiley Face Killers' misses its mark

Posted December 08,2020 - 03:33 PM

Sfk

As a nation, we are obsessed with true crime and serial killers. Don't believe me? Simply glance at a list of top podcasts or TV shows and the subject matter will seem familiar.

I wish I could say that I was above such frivolity, but I'm guilty as charged. I grew up in the heyday of Bundy, Gacy, and the Green River and BTK killers. I also misspent my youth watching more horror films than could ever possibly be healthy for a budding pre-teen. So, you would wager that Smiley Face Killers would be right up my alley, right?

Well, yes and no. Sadly, there is potential in the story, but the film opts for shortcuts and a quick buck over delivering a satisfying plot.

Based on a "true story," Smiley Face Killers follows a college soccer player who may or may not be the latest target of a band...

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Review: 'Peninsula' broadens the 'Train to Busan' universe

Posted November 24,2020 - 05:44 PM

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There are very few horror films that can reduce me to tears. There are even fewer zombie films capable of this feat of magic.

Train to Busan is the exception to the rule.

In fact, Train to Busan is the exception to so many rules. If you haven't had the opportunity to check it out yet, you really need to do so. Yeon Sang-Ho's visionary tale of a zombie outbreak terrorizing people on a bullet train brought elements of Speed and the obvious comparison to fellow South Korean film Snowpiercer with glorious results.

While there are some innate horror porn enjoyment from your typical zombie films, these days it takes more than meandering rotting corpses yelling "Brains!" to flick my Bic as it were. See Zombieland, World War Z, Shaun of the Dead, etc.

No, in today's overcrowded, zombified...

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Review: 'Schitt's Creek' is a trailblazer in modern television

Posted November 10,2020 - 06:10 PM

Schitts

My wife first discovered the hilarious show Schitt's Creek and she begged me to watch it. I gave it a shot for a couple of episodes, but I just didn't get it. While I love Eugene Levy and Catherine O'Hara normally, I really wasn't feeling it.

Contrary to what my wife thinks, I can admit when I was wrong.

Having recently discovered an abundance of free time thanks to surgery, I decided to give Schitt's Creek a second chance. It was an astute move if I do say so myself. I'm not sure if it was the drugs in my system or not, but I found myself in a much better disposition for the show and it resonated with me in a big way.

I finally got what seemingly everyone else in the world already knew, Schitt's Creek was a hilarious show and a defining piece of entertainment in the...

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Review: 'The Doorman' cashes in on action nostalgia

Posted October 13,2020 - 06:38 PM

Doorman

You know what they say, imitation is the highest form of flattery.

Back when Die Hard debuted in theaters in 1988, it didn't take long for every movie studio in town to try and rip off that highly successful formula. During the 1990s, it felt like a Die Hard clone came out every month.

Naturally, the fad went away, and new films rose up to take its place. These days everyone wants to make the next 165540{John Wick} and so the cycle continues over and over again.

With The Doorman, the filmmakers decided to take a page out of John McClane's playbook instead of the latest flavor du jour. And it was a great decision.

Ruby Rose stars as a former marine with baggage who returns to the states to try and get a fresh start. When that new beginning crosses paths with art thieves intent on...

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