Knives Out (2019)

By all accounts, Rian Johnson’s “Knives Out” should not have been such a stunning success. It’s an original murder mystery with an eye toward paying tribute to Sherlock Holmes, Hercule Poirot and Agatha Christie, and yet it’s such a brilliant work of cinema through and through. “Knives Out” is a traditionalist murder mystery ensemble piece but one that also evokes modern sensibility without resorting to pandering to a younger audience. You’re either in for the ride with “Knives Out,” or you’re not as it takes its time unfolding what is a sly, slick and fantastic crime thriller that kept me grinning from ear to ear from beginning to end. 

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When a Stranger Calls Back (1993) [Blu-Ray]

Fred Walton returns for what is such a ridiculous sequel to an already abysmal thriller that I’m stunned there was any demand for it. Walton already spent ninety minutes stretching a five minute campfire tale in to a full fledged crime thriller, but this TV movie sequel watches like a ludicrous episode of a mediocre crime series. This is a premise so absurd and void of real tension or suspense. It seems like the writers spent so much time looking for a concept to resuscitate this concept and they fail with a tedious piece of genre claptrap.

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When A Stranger Calls (1979) – Retro VHS Style [Blu-Ray]

Fred Walton’s “When a Stranger Calls” is what happens when you take a quick but creepy, classic urban legend and pad it out in to a dull, tedious “Halloween” knock off that’s more drama than anything else. Where as John Carpenter’s slasher chiller was about babysitters being stalked by a masked maniac, “When a Stranger Calls” attempts a horror thriller centered on an actual depraved maniac and the babysitter that he is inexplicably obsessed with.

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Shorts Round Up of the Week: Final Girls Berlin Film Festival 2020 Shorts Block 4: #MeToo [Final Girls Berlin Festival]

This year we were once again lucky enough to cover the Final Girls Berlin Film Festival, and though we came on a bit late, we were able to catch a shorts film block from the festival as well as some features! This year the shorts block was solid, and I took on the #MeToo shorts block. This list of short films covers the topics of sexual assault, rape, toxic masculinity the like.

The gallery of genre entries was great once again and I loved the substance these directors brought to film.

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Bad Boys For Life (2020)

As Disney soaks up just about every viable property and franchise in Hollywood, studios have sought out some of the more vacant properties, and here comes the long dormant “Bad Boys” series. With the nineties as popular as ever, “Bad Boys For Life” is a great property to revive. The new sequel acts as a soft reboot that could potentially help it live past Will Smith and Martin Lawrence and in to the “Fast and the Furious” long road. “Bad Boys For Life” is a shockingly good restart for a new series, and I like how the producers take the titular heroes and allow them to grow in a world that’s becoming harder to keep up with.

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Joker (2019) [Blu-Ray/DVD/Digital]

I think that when the smoke clears, director Todd Phillips’ “Joker” is going to be a lesson to Hollywood that—people want dark, violent comic book movies… which shouldn’t be what’s learned, if you ask me. “Joker” lends credence to the long held opinion that comic books are art and not just pop fodder for adults that refuse to grow up. Comic book movies, much like comic books, can be compelling art, and “Joker” proves that, even in spite of its inherent flaws. “Joker” is a shockingly good movie, even though it really wants to be a Scorsese film.

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The 5 Choice Indie Shorts of 2019

As with every single year, we try to cover as much indies as possible, but we just never have the time to see them all, sadly. As with previous years, this top five comprises five of the best indies I saw all year. It’s not to say the films that didn’t make the list are terrible films, or that the films the other writers on Cinema Crazed enjoyed aren’t good, either. This is merely my own subjective list of five independent film shorts I highly recommend to you that I saw this year. It’s good to remember this is opinion, and not gospel.

If you want to see what films the Cinema Crazed collective consider A+ Indies, visit the link included!

Also, be sure to let us know some of the best indie films you saw all year!

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