Princess Mononoke (Mononoke-hime) (1997): Collector’s Edition [Blu-Ray/CD/Book]

Twenty years ago, Studio Ghibli and the master Hayao Miyazaki opened my mind up to a new dimension of animation and storytelling that pretty much changed my life. It also inspired me to look toward telling bigger tales with richer characters, because Miyazaki is very much about rich characterization and brilliant metaphor. Much of his films revolve around the love of nature, the vastness of the open sky, and the effect humans can have on the environment and the world around us.

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Long Shot (2019)

Charlize Theron is a woman who can play almost any role at this point and come out looking golden. She’s been able to portray so many interesting characters, and in “Long Shot” she is a beautiful politician fighting for the role of president. “Long Shot” would be a good movie if it weren’t mired in all that Judd Apatow nonsense that was very popular in the early aughts that reduces her to a cliché. There’s the frumpy man child winning the love of the ideal gorgeous woman, and there’s even the snide BFF of said woman who hates the frumpy man child at first, but then eventually learns to love him. And of course, there’s Seth Rogen who’s made a career of playing Seth Rogen once again playing Seth Rogen.

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El Chicano (2019)

During the first half of “El Chicano” main character Diego is going through his brother’s belongings remembering him before he died, and flips through a couple of “Daredevil” comic books. That’s basically the head space that Director Ben Hernandez Bray is in during his crime thriller superhero movie “El Chicano.” Essentially, “El Chicano” is an urban superhero with heaps of potential to be the next big avenger against drug dealers and gangsters. A mix of “Daredevil,” “The Phantom,” and “Batman,” Ben Hernandez Bray’s action thriller is admirably ambitious and fun.

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Shorts Round Up of the Week – 5/2/2019

For this week’s Shorts Round Up, we check out some great shorts including two animated experimental films one of which by film students, a thought provoking science fiction drama, and a riveting human drama.

If you’d like to submit your short film for review consideration, submissions are always opened to filmmakers and producers. 

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“Black Summer” Can Be the Next Great Horror Series

It’s tough to believe that The Asylum is behind “Black Summer.” It’s definitely one of the biggest surprises of 2019 as I’ve made it no secret about my disdain toward the company and “Z Nation.” I thought the show was insanely dumb and boring, but I was very much open to “Black Summer.” Keeping my expectations rock bottom (because The Asylum has done horribly with zombie entertainment consistently) I was stunned to very much enjoy “Black Summer.” In fact if it continues its course and settles down a bit in season two, it might end up being one of the great zombie TV series.

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I Trapped the Devil (2019)

It’s shocking how “I Trapped the Devil” is Josh Lobo’s feature film debut, because this is a man who is obviously not content with just delivering a horror film, but has put very meticulous care in to how he frames just about every single shot in his own horror tale. “I Trapped The Devil” is a single setting film that comes to life thanks to director Josh Lobo’s amazing ability to make every corner of character Steve’s small house seem menacing, sinister, and teeming with potential to destroy every character that enters in to the threshold of this cursed abode.

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Shorts Round Up of the Week – Festival Bound

This week we have a trio of shorts premiering at film festivals, one of which stars Brianna Hildebrand, while another explores a common turning point in a woman’s life. There’s also a review for a nail biting horror film, and I re-visit one of my favorite short films of all time starring Eric Bogosian.

If you’d like to submit your short film for review consideration, submissions are always opened to filmmakers and producers.  

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The Curse of La Llorona (2019)

“The Conjuring” movie universe has been a horror lovers dream, but sadly a mixed bag of movies that all interconnect in some form. The core movies that started it all are fantastic, while the rest have been either abysmal or mediocre. Thankfully, there was still some momentum in the popularity of Annabelle to allow for “Annabelle: Creation” to restore the missed opportunity that was her spin off. “The Curse of La Llorona” is a nice departure from Ed and Lorraine Warren that digs deep in to the roots of “The Conjuring” universe. It’s a horror drama about parenting, grief, revenge, and a vicious maternal villain like the previous films, but this time the producers dig in to Latin folklore.

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