For me, “Sparks” was an easy sell. I’m someone who loves serials, and classic pulp heroes that used their fists and fell for dames while fighting crime. Though “Sparks” is obviously an indie production, it garners the spirit of classic pulp heroes through and through. From a murder mystery, hard boiled cops, masked heroes, and the like, “Sparks” is an entertaining throwback to pulp heroes that, while flawed, is still worth a watch. If only for the great cast. Directors Todd Burrows and Christopher Folino leave no stone unturned in their ode to classic forties comic books, even featuring characters that smoke like it’s going out of style.
If there’s anything really good I can say about “Nurse 3D” is that you certainly won’t be bored. Will you be entertained? Well, that’s debatable, but bored? Likely not. I certainly wasn’t bored through “Nurse 3D.” Granted, it’s one of those so bad it’s good exploitation horror movies, but it’s definitely a good time, and kept me watching from minute one. It also has its fair share of gorgeous women including Paz De La Huerta, and Katrina Bowden. Broken down objectively, director Douglas Aarniokoski’s “Nurse 3D” is simply just another obsession horror film, but takes the formula and completely drops it on its head. Director Douglas Aarniokoski films the story in a pulpy glossy lens, that makes the film feel like a neo-noir horror comedy very detracted from reality.
Director Justin Baird’s “The Big Kiss Off” is a very charming movie with a lot of good intent behind it. Often times good intentions count for much, but they don’t always turn around a good movie. The good news is that “The Big Kiss Off” strives to be a new age PI crime comedy, and works because it really does present within it a tight narrative that is interesting, even when it falters every now and then.
Director Christopher L. Golon’s short film “Hollywood” is a decent effort, with a keen idea of what it wants out of its short run time. It’s rough around the edges, and definitely could use a larger length, but as it stands it’s a solid attempt at a short neo-noir about the damnation of living in Hollywood.
There aren’t many films in the ilk as Ernest Hemingway’s “The Killers.” Though I’ve yet to see the Burt Lancaster original from 1946, “The Killers” is never without its assortment of merits and high points. You want cool? You turn to Clu Galagher. You want power, you turn to Lee Marvin, and lo and behold, “The Killers” teams both actors together to form a B grade thriller that’s stylish and entertaining. The duo Siegel’s film centers on are a searing team of hit men. Clu Galagher is bad ass, and Lee Marvin is just great. I can see why Quentin Tarantino would be inspired by this for his own characters Vinnie Vega and Jules Winfield.
Director Ruben Fleischer’s “Gangster Squad” is allegedly based on a true story, but I imagine the true story was filtered through the Hollywood drain at least five times. And then completely turned in to a comic book for audiences that appreciate goofy action movies over stern dramatic crime thrillers. “Gangster Squad” is a ridiculous and often times unwatchable take off on the gangster picture that is so above and beyond moronic that it makes 1991’s “Mobsters” look like “The Godfather” in comparison. A dunderheaded mixture of “Lethal Weapon” and “The Untouchables,” Ruben Fleischer bases his crime action film around the dumbest and most incompetent crime fighting squad in Los Angeles. This is a top secret squad assembled to bring down crime boss Mickey Cohen, and they keep their operations top secret by having barbecues in the backyard of their leader’s house. This is a group we’re supposed to take seriously, but actually identify themselves by “Gangster Squad” at one point. Can you imagine them going through a check list? “Mob Marauders”? No. The… “Crime Capers”? No. The “Gangster Squad”! Get that letter head printed!
If you’d like to see how far Patrick Rea has come as both a visual storyteller, a creative storyteller and a filmmaker, than you really should look no further than “Time’s Up, Eve” a masterfully well told noir yarn that meshes genres to spin a rather creepy and compelling story. Rea has always been a very sharp and skilled director with a keen eye for the gritty and morbid, but “Time’s Up, Eve” is so far his best film with a sheer sense of atmosphere and dread mixed with a noir tone that is stunning.
Instantly I knew that “Rock Slyde” was nothing but a wasted effort when main character Rock Slyde declares “Keep and eye on Bart, he’s up to something fishy… kind of like fish.” To where we’re reduced to a scene of Rock and his secretary literally comparing fish to crab. Hey you have to give them credit for trying, but every single person in and behind “Rock Slyde” is a lot like that spider in the tub struggling to keep its head above water and you just know it won’t survive. “Rock Slyde” is basically just a string of nonsensical vastly unfunny jokes, gags, and one-liners all of which seems to have been written from comedy class 101 at the local community center. When in doubt, point out the joke we’ve just seen. When in doubt, drive a pun in to the ground as much as possible until it gets sickening.