If “Batman v Superman” was Zack Snyder’s own way of exploring how antiquated Superman is, “Justice League” is the proof by Joss Whedon that Superman is actually a bad ass with the right mind behind him. I won’t pretend that “Justice League” is a masterpiece of the comic cinema boom, but I can’t claim it to be one of the worst movies of the year, either. With some spit and polish, it could have risen to be a fantastic film, but in its final form, it’s a neat diversion with a manic energy, and the return of a modern cinematic Superman who presents an iota of positivity, charm, and hope. Finally.
Widescreen and Uncut for movie buffs everywhere, “Satan’s Cheerleaders” is a wonderful piece of crap that mixes all of the seventies hallmarks in a ninety two minute piece of junk food. There’s your disco soundtrack, your scantily clad cheerleaders (Kerry Sherman is a stonecold babe), and of course what would the decade be without Satanic cults and women in the buff praising an altar of some kind? “Satan’s Cheerleaders” is a delightfully campy bit of nonsense that felt like someone had a script for a horror movie and a teen sports movie and put them together for the sake of getting a movie funded.
Bob Clark’s “Deathdream” is one of the most sought after horror films ever made, one of those films that has been inexplicably out of print constantly and very much prized as a genuine horror gem. I’m one of those people that having seen “Deathdream” twice just can’t like what Bob Clark brings his audience. One of the reasons why is because “Deathdream” is so relentlessly bleak and dark. It’s an immensely depressing and viciously grim movie. And while that’s one of the main elements it’s been propelled it in to cult status, for me it’s just a major hindrance. I remember watching Bob Clark’s horror film the first time and just leaving it in a state of sadness.
“Brawl in Cell Block 99” is the second feature from director S. Craig Zahler, the man behind “Bone Tomahawk,” the acclaimed horror western that sent critics buzzing. I, for one, didn’t enjoy the movie, so imagine my surprise when I tuned in to “Brawl in Cell Block 99,” a movie that is essentially a throwback to prison brawlers and a compelling drama. Not since “Raze” have I seen a movie so raw and vicious in its depiction of humanity. Vince Vaughn gives an enormous turn as Bradley, a man at the end of his rope who literally has to dive in to hell to save his wife and unborn child. And what’s surprising is not how far he goes, but how easy it is for a good man to sink in to hell so rapidly.
2017’s been the year of Stephen King, and it’s been a great bit of fortune that fans have been given mostly great cinematic adaptations of his work. “1922” is a deliberately paced and ingeniously calculated drama that hearkens back to the classic Victorian era murder thrillers. King invokes the style of Edgar Allan Poe for “1922,” a Southern Gothic drama that’s heavily steeped in horror. While it’s been lumped in to the Stephen King horror category, “1922” is more an examination on the concept of greed, and how it can rot us from inside out. It’s more tragedy with a tinge of horror more than horror, despite how menacing director Zak Hilditch paints the twisted albeit beautiful aesthetic.
There’s a reason why sometimes a one off joke is used just once. It’s because stretching it out destroys the momentum of the joke. Someone behind “Cute Little Buggers” loved the scene in “The Holy Grail” involving the man eating cute rabbit and decided to turn it in to a horrendous horror comedy. Not that I have anything against movies that take inspiration from Monty Python, but when they have a rhyme or reason, and an actual good idea, I’m all for it. But “Cute Little Buggers” seems centered on the premise of one joke that one joke that gets boring after being used repeatedly mainly since the joke just isn’t that funny in the beginning, anyway.