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.”
You have to appreciate the giant balls on Gravitas Ventures and their release of (long thought lost, but now completed) 1983’s “Grizzly II: Revenge” (aka “Grizzly II: The Concert”). Not only have they centered their marketing on the fact that the movie features a very young George Clooney, Charlie Sheen, and Laura Dern, but the aforementioned trio even get top billing in the opening (and closing) credits. As expected, the trio is in the movie, sure. But for about four minutes, tops, and then we’re thrown in to the silly narrative.
Director Jason Axinn’s animated gore fest is “Funny Games,” meets “Saw” meets Twilight Zone’s “The Masks” wrapped up in one sick sadistic mutant. It’s gory, and vicious and mean spirited and occasionally baffling, but damned if I didn’t have a good time with it. There’s just something about watching the wealthy tear each other apart that hits a nerve, and “To Your Last Death” is a movie that has fun with its own concept. Not only does Jason Axinn break the conventional narrative, but he uses it as a means of bringing the ugliest sides out of his characters.
If you want to know how much of a tedious experience “Giant from the Unknown” is, it clocks in at barely an hour and twenty minutes, and the monster doesn’t show up until forty minutes in (!). Before that it’s an absolute slog to sit through. When the monster is not on screen there’s the vapid romance between characters Janet (Sally Fraser is absolutely wooden) and Wayne, one of whom is always a damsel in distress. For a movie that advertises a giant, it’s disappointing when it does rear its head, as it tends to look a lot more like a muscle bound Bela Lugosi from “Son of Frankenstein.”
When Robert Rodriguez is in kids movie mode, he tends to create some of the most syrupy sweet, loud, tepid movies for his intended audience that though they have a lot of the good intention behind them are pretty much destroyed by the climax. That’s the case with “We Can Be Heroes,” a movie so derivative and tired that it destroys a lot of the charming characters and conflicts in the process.
“Stoned” recalls the life of Brian Jones from his forming of The Rolling Stones (With some rather shocking body doubles), his rivalry with his band mates, his weariness towards fame, and his inevitable downfall which led to his early death. “Stoned” is a typical, just passable enough, chronicle of yet another man’s downfall in the black hole that is fame through rock and roll, and the enabling of his friends and family.