One of the things I really like about Russ Emanuel’s direction is that he’s able to conceive a true crime movie that feels respectful and not at all exploitative. That’s a tough feat to accomplish especially in a time where a lot of indie studios are inexplicably anxious to exploit actual horrible crimes. “American Wisper” (formerly “Wisper”) is a true crime thriller that actually managed to engage me, and that’s saying a lot for someone that almost never cares to dive in to this kind of material.
Tara Johnson-Medinger’s “My Summer as a Goth” is a lot like “Edge of Seventeen” but with so much less insight and charm than its predecessor. That’s not to say that “My Summer as a Goth” is terrible, but it’s a mostly unpleasant and surface level teen coming of age film that doesn’t re-invent the wheel. It definitely doesn’t seem to want to re-invent the wheel, spending a lot of its time trying to work in the inexplicable, often clumsy plot elements in to the narrative.
Director Jamie Insalaco’s movie has a lot going for it as a comedy about adults relying on one big score to adjust their lives once again. But once everything came to a close, “Will Reading” ends up being a cinematic experience that’s hindered by so many of its flaws, in spite of so much it brings to the table. I wouldn’t say that I’d recommend it, but if you’re in the market for a movie that feels like a zany send up of “The Big Chill.”
Sadly, yet another cult icon has left us. Julie Strain, on January 10th, the one and only Heavy Metal model died at the young age of 58 after complications from Dementia. Strain went in to star in a hundred movies, and was well known by pop culture fans. With her tall stature, and incredibly sexy good looks, not to mention her enthusiasm for pop culture, Strain was well known for her charisma, bright smile, and affable sense of humor.
Superman’s legend is constantly being re-invented for a new generation and it’s always retrofitted for a new sensibility and new crowd of potential comic book buffs. Thankfully while DC has rebooted Superman a few times in their animated universe they’ve managed to stick to what makes the man and the myth so exciting and awe inspiring. Even in the rare misfires, Superman is almost always Superman and it’s great to see him return yet again in this re-invention of the character’s lore.
You have to appreciate the giant balls on Gravitas Ventures and their release of (long thought lost, but now completed) 1983’s “Grizzly II: Revenge” (aka “Grizzly II: The Concert”). Not only have they centered their marketing on the fact that the movie features a very young George Clooney, Charlie Sheen, and Laura Dern, but the aforementioned trio even get top billing in the opening (and closing) credits. As expected, the trio is in the movie, sure. But for about four minutes, tops, and then we’re thrown in to the silly narrative.
Director Jason Axinn’s animated gore fest is “Funny Games,” meets “Saw” meets Twilight Zone’s “The Masks” wrapped up in one sick sadistic mutant. It’s gory, and vicious and mean spirited and occasionally baffling, but damned if I didn’t have a good time with it. There’s just something about watching the wealthy tear each other apart that hits a nerve, and “To Your Last Death” is a movie that has fun with its own concept. Not only does Jason Axinn break the conventional narrative, but he uses it as a means of bringing the ugliest sides out of his characters.