The First Step (2014)

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Co-written and directed by Daniel Brown and Kate McMeans, “The First Step” displays what happens when you take simplicity and pair it with old fashioned scares. What you end up with is a damn good short horror film. I’d even venture to call “The First Step” terrifying but that’s mainly because I hate basements, attics, and old houses. But that’s my hang up.

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Teen Beach 2 (2015) (DVD)

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I’m still not sure I enjoyed the way the movie just took us in to a time bending twist in the finale of “Teen Beach 2.” Surely it’s more female driven and based around empowerment by reversing the previous roles, but other than that it brings about more questions than answers, and left me completely baffled. By the way the internet has sparked since the premiere of “Teen Beach 2” I’m not alone in the judgment of how the movie just completely takes us in to a completely new direction. If Mack and Brady’s relationship depended on “Wet Side Story” why didn’t anyone else’s relationships remold?

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The Tom and Jerry Show Season One Part Two: Funny Side Up (DVD)

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There will never be anyone who can top the original Tom and Jerry shorts, but I’m surprised that “The Tom and Jerry Show” comes shockingly close to the original successful formula. This time, rather than hand drawn animation, we’re forced to endure flash animation, and that’s what holds down an otherwise fun series. What’s the point of flash animation for a tried and true comedy duo? I don’t understand it.

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Haven (2014)

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Michael Gabriele is a powerful director, and it’s proven by “Haven” where he films a beautiful vision of the apocalypse. Surely, it’s one that’s wrought with violence, and a disgusting death, but it’s also one that’s utterly mesmerizing. Some of the shots within “Haven” are magnificent, and he uses a lot of the settings to depict a desolate world where starvation is the order of the day.

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Ted 2 (2015)

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Is it possible McFarlane must have handed the reins over to someone competent? Is it entirely possible McFarlane had someone with comic knowledge to guide him in to what it a superior sequel to an abysmal first film? “Ted 2″ is surprisingly good. Much better than the first, and I say that as someone who genuinely dislikes McFarlane’s cheap excuse for comedy. Sure, “Ted 2” is still very much a McFarlane film with his personal stamps all over it, but it also manages a competent story and interesting characters. Hell I even cared about Ted this time around. I had rock bottom expectations for “Ted 2,” especially considering I loathe almost everything Seth McFarlane puts his hands on.

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Teen Beach 2 (2015)

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As a Disney-phile, I have to admit that “Teen Beach Movie” was a great DCOM. It was also one of my favorite movies of 2013. It was fun, light, and had some genuinely great music. So it’s a shame to admit that “Teen Beach 2” is kind of a let down. Judged on its own merits it misses the point of its predecessor and rides off the rails in to its own new narrative. Not to mention it can be painfully convoluted, which doesn’t help when the original film was so simple. It’s been two months since the original movie, and Mack and Brady are going to school together. After enjoying the rest of the summer, they’re prepared for college but realize they’re on different wave lengths.

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It’s Here! (2014)

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Sinclair Obiora’s film “It’s Here!” is a well made little short that I quite enjoyed. It’s set after a massive alien attack where a lone mortician brings in the body of what I presume was one of the victims. “It’s Here!” is set after the fact where the big story has taken place, and what has happened after the event has unfolded. And therein lies its problem. It’s set after the fact.

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Bound to Vengeance (2015)

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José Manuel Cravioto’s “Bound to Vengeance” is exploitation in its ugliest form. I’d love to be one of the many to decry the film as misogynist, but exploitation is by nature misogynist. Truth be told, “Bound to Vengeance” is unpleasant but it’s also not the worst movie I’ve seen all year. In its rare moments it’s a fine revenge thriller about a woman getting her vengeance on her kidnapper. In its worst moments, it’s unpleasant and kind of stupid.

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Kids (1995)

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What’s the difference between kiddy porn and art?
The Lighting.

One of Larry Clark’s many infamous “Kids are Evil Monsters” movies, “Kids” is one of those films I’m proud to admit I despise with every inch of my being. And to this day I’m still trying to forget I ever saw it. In 1995, Larry Clark made the scene of indie and art house film by showing the world, the ecosystem of kids and what they do when adults aren’t looking. And while he was somewhat accurate in that regard concerning their penchant for sex and drinking, he forgot to include one crucial film detail: A narrative.

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Poltergeist (2015)

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They left the title but they moved the scares! They left the title but moved the scares! Why?! Why?! Now that I’ve had my little Craig T. Nelson outburst, I’m pretty surprised how ordinary “Poltergeist” is. It’s not the worst remake of all time, but it’s just ordinary. It’s bland, lifeless, vanilla, and feels like what the Lifetime Channel in America would do to a remake of the Tobe Spielberg classic haunting film. I think the only reason Gil Kenan was hired for this movie was because the movie is based around a monster house and he depicted a monster so well in his last film that the job only seemed like a no brainer. The problem is Kenan forgets to produce likable characters and interesting scares during the process of producing an evil possessed house.

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