Botched (2007)

“In and out, what could go wrong?” has been the famous last words of every man in existence, and it’s basically the last words of our hapless hostages and their inept captors in “Botched.” While the premise is creaky with much of the narrative reminiscent of “From Dusk Til Dawn,” Kit Parker’s “Botched” is a horror comedy up there in lunacy with fare like “Severance” and “The Cottage.” While “Botched” begins clumsily with a poorly edited rushed sequence of events extrapolating Ritchie’s predicament, it’s a movie you’ll want to stick with. Once the blood begins to pour, the raucous comedy and gruesome horror ensure a worthy experience deserving of an audience.

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3 From Hell (2019)

I don’t know what you can chalk it up to. Maybe it was the unfortunate illness of the late great Sid Haig that caused Rob Zombie to re-write a lot of “3 From Hell.” Or maybe he just didn’t know where to take his characters next. For a movie that takes great pains to explaining in detail how and why the Firefly Clan survived, it’s disappointing when “3 From Hell” does absolutely nothing new with them. Rob Zombie has a lot of windows to basically re-invent his characters and present some kind of social commentary, but in the end it’s just Zombie treading water with middling results.

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

In 2000, the late great John Singleton’s mediocre reboot of “Shaft” seemed like a great vehicle franchise for Samuel L. Jackson to bring to life one of the most popular anti-heroes of the seventies. Then suddenly nothing. And there was nothing for a long time, no sequels, or follow ups, or even a TV show. Twenty years later, the fans finally get a follow up, but nothing more than a cheap, lazy, and ridiculous legacy sequel/soft reboot by Tim Story that completely undoes a lot of what we saw in the 2000 Singleton version, right down to the gritty crime atmosphere.

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3 From Hell (2019)

The third installment in the Devil’s Reject trilogy (or the House of 1000 Corpses trilogy?), 3 From Hell picks up from where The Devil’s Rejects left off and makes sense of connecting that ending with making a third film. Here the Rejects escape jail and go on the run until bad people catch up with them. Who’s the worst bad guy and best killer? It’s up the audience to decide.

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Batman: Hush (2019) [4K Ultra HD/Blu-Ray/Digital]

It’s not often I sit down to watch a DCAU movie and want to immediately desire the original source material instead. I’ve never read “Batman Hush” but from what I originally gathered it was an iconic storyline that made waves in the aughts. The movie however is a disappointing, half baked and painfully boring Batman adventure that never really goes anywhere. Rather than treading new ground or giving us something completely different, “Batman Hush” just feels forced and never quite rises above the anemic energy.

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TV on DVD: Arrow: The Complete Seventh Season [Blu-Ray/Digital]/The Flash: The Complete Fifth Season [Blu-Ray/Digital]

The “Arrow” series finally comes to its natural peak as season seven loosely adapts Green Arrow’s iconic comic storyline “Super Max.” Once optioned for a movie and basically in development hell for years, “Arrow” realizes the narrative for a full season arc. After Oliver Queen is finally pushed in to a corner in season six he’s forced to out himself as the Arrow for all of Star city. In season seven he’s jailed in Maximum Security and forced to confront all of the criminals he’s put away since he arrived, prompting some tense unfolding of events.

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The Tough Ones (Rome Armed to the Teeth/Roma a Mano Armata): Deluxe Edition (1976) [2 Blu-Ray/CD]

“The Tough Ones” is one of the pair of films that Umberto Lenzi directed that spotlighted the character Tanzi, a man almost driven mad by his need to thwart crime at every corner.  Tanzi is something of a great scale anti-hero who spends a lot of his time tracking down a petty thug who is very much a creep and noting very spectacular. Tanzi inspects this crime and chases the criminals like his life depends on it. He spends a majority of the film talking through gritted teeth and shouting at just about everyone and he almost always is on the verge of hurting someone. Tanzi is not meant to be a hero or even a heroic vigilante so much as he’s the corrupt law that’s hell bent on taking down the larger criminal element including Tony Parenzo (Ivan Rassimov) and his efforts to create an underground criminal network.

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How “The Crow” Changed My Life [Fantasia Festival 2019]

This year, Fantasia International Film Festival is screening a nice collection of vintage titles and anniversary screenings. One of these is The Crow coming up on the 30th of July at 7pm and it’s one screening I hate to miss.

The Crow turned 25 this year and it has been just about as long since it became my favorite film, hence why this is one of the hardest films for me to write about. There is no being objective, this film is entwined in my teen years and my adulthood. It’s one of those films that had such a big impact, it’s almost impossible to separate the emotional from the reality of the film. So, as it’s playing, I wanted to write a deeply personal piece, a piece that it nowhere near objective, a piece that is about my history with The Crow.

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