Fast Convoy (Le Convoi) (2016)

A convoy carrying drug to Spain hits a few issues on the road and must make due with what they can.

Written by Yann Brion and Frédéric Schoendoerffer and directed by the latter, Fast Convoy is a road movie and a drug movie while it also kinda feels like a heist movie in that these guys, in multiple cars, are basically trying to make it to a destination with illicit merchandize.  The film is rather character-based with each character traveling with a co-pilot and taking orders from an unseen man.  The story builds around them as they drive.  While the title is a bit misleading, the film does have a few car-chase-ish scenes which have occasional nods to different car films and may or may not be influenced by the Luc Besson way of shooting cars on the road (low to the ground, front car pov).  The car stuff is really one of the main appeals to this film and the scenes are well done and shot.

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The Belko Experiment (2017)

Like most of Greg McLean’s films, “The Belko Experiment” is just a big excuse to be as sadistic and inexplicably cruel as humanly possible, while taking pages from Koushun Takami’s “Battle Royale.” Coincidentally, another film in the same vein as “The Belko Experiment” came to theaters in 2017, in the form of Joe Lynch’s “Mayhem,” and while both films are insanely violent, at least the latter film had something to say about office culture and corporate politics. There’s a certain point in “The Belko Experiment” where it’s clear that McLean and writer James Gunn have no commentary on office culture and are by no means exploring the idea of fighting for a job through over the top violence, clearly just going for cruel unnecessary violence.

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The Shape of Water (2017)

What “The Shape of Water” ultimately amounts to is Guillermo Del Toro’s own adoration for monster and romance cinema. Del Toro constantly evokes shades of “The Creature Walks Among Us,” and “Beauty and the Beast,” while also channeling Woody Allen’s “Purple Rose of Cairo.” Much like the latter, “The Shape of Water” depicts a somewhat whimsical romance in a world filled with misery and darkness at every corner. Del Toro has a lot to say about the ugliness of humanity and the ideas of what monsters truly are in this world and others.

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The Autopsy of Jane Doe (2016) [Blu-Ray/DVD]

What a lot of horror directors fail to understand about filmmaking is that sometimes what we don’t see can be more terrifying than what we can. That’s why Robert Wise’s “The Haunting” is still so impeccably terrifying, while the remake is such a lemon. There’s no room for imagination or perhaps the concept that what is menacing these characters is too horrendous for our minds to comprehend. The main reason why “The Autopsy of Jane Doe” is so incredible is because director André Ovredal is brilliant about restraint and time and time again introduces us to a villain who remains a specter in our imagination. “The Autopsy of Jane Doe” genuinely spooked me, and that’s because director André Ovredal combines all the strongest elements of a horror tale and creates one of the most unlikely horror villains of all time.

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Misery (1990): Collector’s Edition [Blu-Ray]

It’s been a banner year for Stephen King fans everywhere, and Shout Factory sweetens the pot by giving Rob Reiner’s horror masterpiece “Misery” a collector’s edition. Based on the classic Stephen King novel, Rob Reiner who is no stranger to adapting King’s work, brings to screen a work of terror, dark comedy, and a demented commentary about the fans behind our work that also control our work. It’s a very volatile and sharp edged polemic about fandom when you get right down to it, and it’s never been more relevant than in the day and age where fandoms from all corners of the world have the loudest voices and sometimes can break the very thing they love.

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Hey Arnold! The Jungle Movie (2017)

Nickelodeon’s “Hey Arnold!” was one of the banner animated series from the heyday of the 1990’s. It was a subtle, sweet, and often funny coming of age show with a lot of heart and some brilliantly memorable moments that evoked pure emotion from its audience. Despite ending in 2004, Nickelodeon gave the series a final send off in 2002 with a flimsy and absolutely wretched big screen film that did nothing to close the world we’d come to love. Most of all, it did nothing for the story arc of main character Arnold, who spent a majority of the series under the care of his elderly eccentric grandparents.

Mid-way through the series, we learned that Arnold’s parents were explorers who spent their days traveling, and the last they ever saw of him was before they left for one last adventure to help a village suffering from a mysterious illness.

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The Child Remains (2017) [Blood In The Snow 2017]

Inspired by the Butterbox Babies case, The Child Remains follows a couple as they stay in an inn with a dark past and an uncertain future.

From writer/director Michael Melski, The Child Remains is a haunting story of sorts that crosses with investigative story and a few other things. This leads to a film that is a slow burn but an interesting one. Those who are familiar with the Butterbox Babies case will see connections which are of course a bit stretched here but still make some sense. The characters built for the modern day people who stumble into this dark past are well developed. They are a basically just one couple who get haunted in one way or another and slowly work towards making sense of things for themselves with a few side moments into level of insanity or madness or something that actually makes sense in the film. These characters are very human, even frustrating like real people are at times.

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