A Night of Horror: Nightmare Radio (2019)

“On this stormy night, we are going to tell horror stories, because horror stories never end.”

I’m a big fan of the concept where studios or a collective of directors take various short films from indie directors and create anthology horror films in the vein of “Tales from the Darkside” or “V/H/S/.” The idea is a great one and opens up a broader audience, and allows them some great exposure. “A Night of Horror: Nightmare Radio,” is one of the many that’s come along, mixing seven stellar horror shorts told by a lone radio DJ in the middle of the night.

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Nothing But the Blood (2020)

Intentional or not, when you go in to “Nothing But the Blood” you’re bound to have flashbacks of “Red State,” as director Daniel Tucker seems to be sewing his narrative from the same cloth. Ideas about religious fanaticism, the deadly cost of religious institutions, and the hypocrisy of religious leaders are all here. Les Best even seems to spend most of his time on screen channeling Michael Parks. Daniel Tucker tries hard to establish him as a source of evil, even beginning the movie with a fourth wall breaking prologue as Best’s character reads a long sermon and angrily preaches to us.

Why this should set up the story I was never entirely clear but—it’s black and white, so it’s eerie…?

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Promare (2020) [Blu-Ray/DVD]

There’s nothing I hate more than a movie that has so much going for it, but has no idea how to deliver a great narrative. “Promare” is a movie that, by all accounts, should have blown me out of my seat. But by the middle of it, I was counting down the minutes, and waiting for it to get to the point. It’s so sad that a movie that looks so amazing could be so lacking in originality with government corruption, clandestine organizations, and an evil politician who has plans for the world, yadda, yadda. It’s all so old hat for such an epic looking animated movie.

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Deep Blue Sea 3 (2020) [Digital]

The “Deep Blue Sea” movie series seems to be veering slowly away from the campy nonsense that was the original and headed more in to Peter Benchley lite fare. For a movie that followed the silly shark fest with Sam Jackson, this is a surprisingly straight faced and dull second sequel. There’s nothing really here, save for the usual riffs on “The Deep,” “Aliens,” “The Abyss,” and only a very small connection to the sequel, which had a very small thread tied to the original Renny Harlin cult classic. It’s all fairly standard killer shark fare.

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Angelfish (2019)

Peter Lee’s “Angelfish” is a very good drama romance about two people with varying obligations and turmoil finding love with one another. Often times when it hits, it hits hard, but when it fails, it tends to ruin the momentum of the narrative and drag on for quite a while. Shocking enough, “Angelfish” can sometimes feel long in the tooth, if only because it often feels like it’s padding the narrative rather than using those opportunities to add more dimension between our characters Brendan and Eva. That said, even in its imperfections, Peter Lee’s Bronx set drama is engaging and often times emotional.

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Perfect (2018)

I’m all for psychologically challenging genre fare, especially in a time where most directors and actors are convinced that many modern audiences aren’t interested in that kind of entertainment anymore. With “Perfect,” Eddie Alcazar taps in to the type of dark science fiction that can be placed beside “2001” and “Waking Life” as just pure utter mind fucks that will leave your head spinning. Alcazar’s sheer visual brilliance sadly tends to mask a narrative that otherwise has no real direction or pretty much anything of real merit to say.

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Five Films for Fantasia Film Fest 2020 I Am Excited For [Fantasia Fest 2020]

For yet another year and another summer, Cinema Crazed is honored to be covering the Fantasia International Film Festival, the new edition now running from August 20th to September 2nd will screen films and various cinematic features virtually with all attendees and press being able to access the vast library of films online, thanks to COVID concerns and the continuing pandemic.

The festival is famous for featuring some of the most acclaimed and highly anticipated genre films from around the world, and this year is featuring a great and vast array of films. It’s no small feat considering the festival had to switch formats and entire platforms practically overnight. Nevertheless, here are five films premiering this year that I just can’t wait to check out.

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Raising Victor Vargas: If John Hughes Came to the Lower East Side of New York

I’m glad we’re living in a time where teen movies are becoming so much more diverse and open to various audiences. Once upon a time, teen movies were basically about upper middle class Caucasian teenagers living through something bad. And while I don’t begrudge John Hughes for tapping in to the zeitgeist, seeing someone like me on screen these days is so refreshing and allows a new generation to see themselves on-screen. Representation matters. And it counts for a lot.

Before the late aughts, there were a select few teen films about minorities. One of the best of their ilk was 2003’s “Raising Victor Vargas.” It’s a movie I’m shocked doesn’t get discussed very much these days, as it’s so much in line with John Hughes’ teen drama comedies.

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