Nuevo Rico (2020) [SXSW 2021]

Director Kristian Mercado Figueroa’s short musical is a brilliant and excellent look at the end of the potential creeping end of the American territory known as Puerto Rico. Though fiction, Mercado brings to light the very troubling developments that could change how Puerto Ricans connect to their homeland. In the near future, the raw land of Puerto Rico has been destroyed in favor of a futuristic dystopia now known as Nuevo Rico.

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Tom and Jerry (2021)

Warner Animation props up the long rotted corpse of “Tom and Jerry” long enough to produce what I’m sure they hoped would be a blockbuster big screen adaptation. For a series that’s been languishing on video store shelves with cheaply made, watered down animated movies for years, it’s not a surprise that “Tom and Jerry” is about as bland as ever. It’s also not at all surprising that Tim Story is the man called on to deliver such an inoffensive, forgettable, mishmash of weird ideas and concepts.

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Will Reading (2020)

Director Jamie Insalaco’s movie has a lot going for it as a comedy about adults relying on one big score to adjust their lives once again. But once everything came to a close, “Will Reading” ends up being a cinematic experience that’s hindered by so many of its flaws, in spite of so much it brings to the table. I wouldn’t say that I’d recommend it, but if you’re in the market for a movie that feels like a zany send up of “The Big Chill.”

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Bill and Ted Face the Music (2020)

Yet another year, yet another legacy sequel from a movie franchise that we all thought was dead for so many years. It’s a cynical approach but so many of these decades later sequels have stunk—which is probably why it’s shocking to see that “Bill and Ted Face the Music” doesn’t actually suck. In all fairness while it’s not a laugh riot, I appreciated its genuine message about love, the power of music, and appreciating what we have while we have it.

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Uncle Peckerhead (2020)

Director Matthew John Lawrence’s horror rock comedy is probably one of the best films about the punk rock experience since “The Green Room.” While nowhere near as dark as the aforementioned film, it’s a movie with a silly title that is shockingly complex, heartfelt and injected with a sharp message about how if you’re willing to do “anything” to make it big, it can come back to haunt you. While the title might be something of a turn off to some, “Uncle Peckerhead” really packs in so much heart and genuine characterization.

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KISS Meets the Phantom of the Park (1978)

I think even during my days when I was all about KISS (1997-2003), I would have probably found “Phantom of the Park” kind of banal and run of the mill. It’s not so much that it’s a bad movie, but it’s kind of monotonous and tedious, even for the most forgiving fanatic. I mean forgiving as in you even accept their lame attempt at disco: “I Was Made for Loving You.” It’s so void of narrative or substance that not even the great rock music and theatrics from the band at the height of their fame can save what is a ton of filler and about twenty minutes of actual narrative.

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Slumber Party Massacre II (1987)

The “Slumber Party Massacre” movie series has never really been too much of a straight faced horror movie franchise. The original film is a dark, silly bit of slasher fodder that is famous mainly for its title. The sequel from Deborah Brock basically takes the whole series in a direction that’s bizarre, completely unusual, and borrows very much from 1985’s “Freddy’s Revenge” with its strong and blatant LGBTQ overtones.

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