Unicorn Store (2019)

Hoping to market off of the momentum of “Captain Marvel,” Netflix releases Brie Larson’s 2017 directed film “Unicorn Store,” a movie I can describe as a delightfully cute, drama comedy for the dreamers and artists, but it suffers from a hazy message to its audience. I’m one of Larson’s biggest admirers and fans, but “Unicorn Store” is a filled with so much quirk that it forgets to come full circle and fill us in on what it’s trying to say. Is it best to sometimes abandon your dreams for better dreams? Is it fine to have dreams but embrace adult responsibility? Are dreams for some people, but not for others?

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Into the Dark: I’m Just Fucking With You

Adam Mason’s “I’m Just Fucking With You” is about business as usual for Hulu’s “Into the Dark,” the anthology horror series that’s given viewers a new episode every month. Like all episodes before this April entry, there’s a slow build up, a very good hour, and a final twenty minutes that drag in to a luke warm climax. All in all it’s another mediocre episode that never quite recovers once the second act is introduced. I think it’s time worth spent, don’t get me wrong, as one of the fun things about anthology films is the ability of the authors to convey social commentary. “Into the Dark” has covered social commentary in droves, whether it’s rabid consumerism (“Pooka!”) or the Me Too movement (“The Treehouse”), they’ve covered some interesting bases for the modern generation.

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Hard Ticket to Hawaii (1987) [Blu-Ray/Digital]

After years on the market being pretty hard to find Mill Creek Entertainment are making many of the films from director Andy Sidaris available on Blu-Ray. That may be a good thing to some, and an awful thing to others. I’m right there in the middle, as Andy Sidaris’ films are somewhat similar to Russ Meyer’s. They’re cheaply made, exploitative, and pretty much just softcore porn, all with the vaguest facsimiles of a narrative that unfolds somewhere. And there’s an escaped killer snake, for some reason.

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Hellboy (2019)

Like a lot of previous efforts to reboot a property, Neil Marshall’s handling of “Hellboy” was the apparent product of studio interference and clashing ideas that resulted in a hectic shoot for just about everyone. That’s a shame since when Neil Marshall is allowed to unfold his own ideas and monsters, he gives us “The Descent,” and “Dog Soldiers.” It’s not to say that “Hellboy” is a bad movie, it’s just one half of a very good reboot that’s fun, and action packed, and one half of a sloppy studio film that’s boring, over explained, and sloppily tailored for sequels, prequels, and spin offs.

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Basil Rathbone: Anything But Elementary

Basil Rathbone was the ultimate movie hero as Sherlock Holmes, but he was also the ultimate movie villain (think of “David Copperfield,” “Romeo and Juliet,” “The Adventures of Robin Hood” and “The Mark of Zorro”). On this episode of “The Online Movie Show,” film historian and Rondo Award-nominated writer Troy Howarth considers Rathbone’s versatile cinematic output.

The episode can be heard here.

Shorts Round Up of the Week – 4/15/19

For this week’s edition of “Shorts Round Up of the Week” I check out some rich dramas, a few ambitious fantasy films one of which involves bullying, and a pitch black revenge movie co-starring M. Emmet Walsh.

If you’d like to submit your short film for review consideration, submissions are always opened to filmmakers and producers.  

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Scary Stories (2019)

“The worms crawl in, the worms crawl out, the worms play pinochle on your snout…”

If you’re looking for a wonderful companion piece to the upcoming feature film adaptation of the infamous book trilogy “Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark,” Cody Meirick’s documentary “Scary Stories” is a great refresher course for fans. It’s also a wonderful look at how history repeats itself, with the elementary school touted horror anthology nearly suffering the same amount of censorship and hysterical panic that EC Comics endured decades before its release. It’s a fascinating but nasty bit of history repeating itself, but history also learning from itself, as well.

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The Bootleg Files: Keeping Fit

BOOTLEG FILES 680: “Keeping Fit” (1942 all-star short film).

LAST SEEN: On YouTube.

AMERICAN HOME VIDEO: Not to my knowledge.

REASON FOR BOOTLEG STATUS: Rare World War II-era film that had no postwar reissue value.

Maybe in an anthology of wartime shorts or as a special feature on a DVD.

After the United States entered World War II, the Hollywood studios churned out a series of morale-building films were created to keep civilian audiences engaged in supporting the war effort. The studios often put their biggest names into these films to add a level of star wattage to the messaging.
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