Before the internet and skyping became the norm, Playboy marketed on the phone sex craze of the decade by launching one of the most popular adult talk shows of the decade. “Night Calls” was, for a long time, a mainstay on the Playboy Channel in America and targeted a lot of the fantasies of their callers. Hosts Doria Rone and Juli Ashton were very ahead of their time, as broadcasting live and taking requests from various callers has become routine entertainment for literally every adult website on the internet these days.
Director Shant Hamassian’s short horror film is a rather excellent meta-tale that takes the classic horror slasher movie tropes and places them in to a new light. What if you could control the idea of the slasher coming to your door attacking with you a set of rules a la “Scream”? That’s the case for a young beautiful girl who is home alone at night. When we first see her, she’s this insanely sexy girl dancing in her lacy skivvies, but upon fully glancing at her person are a witness to the stitched wound she wears on her throat. The scar and silence says all, as she was clearly the victim of a vicious attack by a killer meant to end her life, but somehow survived.
Yes, primarily Hallmark have used the “Northpole” movies to sell whatever kitschy Christmas ornament they’re touting for the year, but they’ve accidentally built a neat Christmas movie series I want to see more of. Years ago, I would have really loved the adventures of Clementine the Elf, and her quest to restore the Christmas spirit in one unhappy soul. Right now, she’s still a charming Christmas heroine played by the always adorable Bailee Madison. Madison doesn’t even have to do much to look like an Elf, as she’s given pointy ears, and achieves the rest with her wide smile, and large saucer eyes.
I’m surprised at how much I enjoyed “Naomi and Ely’s No Kiss List”; it begins as an insufferable Diablo Cody hipster fest, but manages to redeem itself quite well by the second act. My initial draw to the film is Victoria Justice (who I’ll watch in anything), but through her basic name recognition is a pretty charming and complex tale about co-dependency and realizing that nothing is forever. Not even friendship. Naomi and Ely are best friends and neighbors inflicted with some rather immense and damaging psychoses and unresolved issues. After Ely came out of the closet as a young man, his mom also came out and married a woman. Naomi’s father happened to cheat on her mother with Ely’s mom, prompting a terrible conflict.
After his girlfriend Nina dies in a car crash, Rob attempts suicide he is so grief stricken. Following his failed attempt, as he’s working at a grocery store, Rob meets Holly and falls for her. As their love blossoms, Nina comes back to life to mess with their minds and taunt them.
The film was written and directed by Ben Blaine and Chris Blaine who create characters the audience cares about even through the mounting stress and non-sense of the dead coming back to life while they have sex. The characters feel human; their emotions being appropriate to their situation if one can believe that they would not simply run far from each other as soon as Nina shows up.
I honestly don’t want to dislike anything with an association with George Romero, but when sub-par independent filmmakers unleash a sub-par remake of Romero’s 1968 “Night of the Living Dead,” you just have to call a spade a spade. It’s irritating that there are still filmmakers that think they can perfect the formula better than Romero did. The rush of “Night” remakes doesn’t seem to be stopping any time soon, either. Which is unfortunate, because time can be better spent on films that aren’t glorified fan fiction. “Darkest Dawn” is essentially “Night of the Living Dead” all over again. Except this time, “Night” is set in modern times, and in a city.
“Night of the Wild” is a lot like those terrible seventies nature run amok movies. It’s badly directed, horribly edited, has terrible continuity issues, and garners some inadvertent camp. All that’s missing is an obligatory nude scene. “Night of the Wild” is brimming with potential, beginning with a premise that could have amounted to a great movie. A mysterious green meteor crash lands on a small farm town spreading its meteorites. Suddenly the local animal population begin turning on their masters, becoming violent murderous monsters. Without explanation or warning, now the humans must fight to survive and figure out a way to make it out of their town. “Night of the Wild” pretty much dips in quality after the first ten minutes, creating a story that the budget and resources couldn’t possibly afford.
Director Nicholas Stoll’s comedy at least has entertainment value going for it. It may not be the most consistent or tonally even film of the year, but it’s kind of fun when you get down to it. That’s mainly thanks to Zac Efron and Dave Franco that save the movie from being another self indulgent Seth Rogen improv-athon. Rogen literally can’t play anyone but Rogen anymore, even when playing an alien from outer space, but the supporting cast for “Neighbors” really keeps the film from diving in to abysmal depths and keeps it a notch above mediocre. That also includes Rose Byrne, and the hilarious Carla Gallo.