People are often surprised when they learn that “Tag” was one of my most anticipated movies of 2018, mainly because the premise looked so creative. The comedy genre is pretty much a wasteland as it is, but the movie seemed to have a ton of potential. Plus the fact that it was inspired by a true story is also a plus that kept me anticipating its release. “Tag” ends up being a fun comedy about friendship, tradition, and life, and while it doesn’t fully realize the concept, I had a good time with it, and I don’t mind adding it to my collection. “Tag” brings with it a pretty stellar ensemble cast, all of whom manages to bring their A game and also seem to be having a good time.
Somehow in the age of studios reviving remnants of the eighties and destroying them with convoluted mythology and narratives, “Predator” has been somewhat spared. Sure, it was involved with the “Alien” series for a bit, but it’s primarily stayed simplistic and true to the original film–unlike the “Terminator” and “Alien” movie series. “The Predator” is a movie that will likely divide fans of the original film and series as a whole; it’s filled with a ton of plot, an array of characters and is somewhat the antithesis of the original film’s more straight forward machismo based narrative. It also dares to expand on the mythos, should Shane Black be given another shot with a sequel.
Over the years, Hollywood has been trying to increase the demand for more female oriented movies by re-conditioning franchises that have been gestating or thought long dead. After the disastrous “Ghostbusters” retread I was very worried about a female oriented version of “Ocean’s Eleven.” After barely finishing “Ocean’s Twelve,” and skipping “Ocean’s Thirteen” altogether, I had no confidence in “Ocean’s 8,” no matter how many fine actresses were assembled. Thankfully “Ocean’s 8” is proof that these series can be altered to fit the female dynamic and reach a brand new section of movie goers without feeling like pointless pandering, a la (sigh) 2016’s“Ghostbusters.”
An ex US soldier visiting his niece in the UK goes to a soccer (football) game with her in the hopes of connecting with the teen. Once there, a terrorist group looms over the game and threatens his niece’s life as well as that of thousands of people. As he works to prevent the worse, reasons for the attack are made clearer and things get more complicated.
In the early 1980s, a man’s goes on a rampage to find his loved one’s killers after dealing with loss, grief and its many stages most definitely including anger. His love for her was all encompassing and nothing will come in the way of his revenge, not even demons.
Based on a story by Panos Cosmatos who co-wrote with Aaron Stewart-Ahn and directed, Mandy is a mayhem-y film that starts mellow and filled with love. It takes its time setting up the relationship and care between Red and Mandy before Mandy gets dispatched, making her someone the viewer can care about and can be attached to before she gets killed. This does also mean that it feels a bit long in the first part before Red gets through his grief and to his revenge. That being said, when the revenge begins, it goes full force, balls to the wall, insane. The film’s last third or so is blood-soaked violent goodness where every and all tools can become a murder weapon that makes a ton of damage.
Panos Cosmatos’ “Mandy” will be a film that not everyone will click in to. What could be a typical revenge thriller about a man avenging his wife is transformed in to a brilliant and mesmerizing trip in to insanity and literal hell. We know so little about Nicolas Cage’s character, but once he’s lost everything in his life, he descends in to a madness and hellfire that’s both horrifying and awe inspiring. Every single frame of “Mandy” is a mind blowing moving painting, one filled with vast colors and shades. The world Red and Mandy share is so vast, but is set just for them and them alone.
It’s never been more popular than to be an anime fan, as now it’s been widely accepted and has become pretty much a mainstream fixture. What was once a niche genre on the fringes, is now something everyone can get in on. Whether it’s PG rated fun, or more complex adult entertainment, it’s there for the taking. Mill Creek repackages some of their anime titles from Sony’s library from 2012 for a 3 DVD series collection of some of the more notable anime series to come out of the gates.
I admire the cut of “Blood Feast’s” jib. It aspires to be an all out horror comedy gore fest that celebrates horror movies, and in many respects, it succeeds. I even forgave it for ripping off “Cabin in the Woods.” It’s just even when you shut off your brain, “Blood Feast” is bogged down, and ultimately defeated, by its insanely far fetched climax, and abundance of plot holes. I suspect audiences will leave this movie trying to connect the gaps in logic, more than celebrating its odes to “Saw,” “Night of the Living Dead,” and the fun cameo by Zachary Levi. Seriously, what was up with that? “Blood Fest” has a good idea in its corner it just has no idea how to cleverly deal it out for the movie audience.