Black Christmas (2019)

At the end of the day you can’t even call “Black Christmas” a remake. It’s not even a re-imagining when you get down to it. At first it bears a slight resemblance to the original film’s themes, but once it shows all of its cards, it’s just aping the title for brand familiarity. And it fails, big time. “Black Christmas” has good intentions with a very relevant message, but it forgets story, suspense, and inherent terror, in exchange for a silly, preachy, and convoluted premise.

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How “The Crow” Changed My Life [Fantasia Festival 2019]

This year, Fantasia International Film Festival is screening a nice collection of vintage titles and anniversary screenings. One of these is The Crow coming up on the 30th of July at 7pm and it’s one screening I hate to miss.

The Crow turned 25 this year and it has been just about as long since it became my favorite film, hence why this is one of the hardest films for me to write about. There is no being objective, this film is entwined in my teen years and my adulthood. It’s one of those films that had such a big impact, it’s almost impossible to separate the emotional from the reality of the film. So, as it’s playing, I wanted to write a deeply personal piece, a piece that it nowhere near objective, a piece that is about my history with The Crow.

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Revenge (2018)

Corealie Fargeat’s “Revenge” is kind a new chapter in the rape revenge sub-genre of thrillers and horror films. It deconstructs an often very controversial and polarizing sub-genre to make it less about the exploitation of women and more about the empowerment of a woman who even views herself as a sex object when we meet her. “Revenge” is a grueling film to endure, but one that is also quite fantastic in its imagery and depiction of men as less cunning sexual predators and more slimy snakes that prey on a woman who proves she is a pure force of vengeance to be reckoned with.

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Red Sonja (1985)

RedSonjaI’m not ashamed to admit that “Red Sonja” is a childhood favorite. As a TV junkie, I spent a lot of my childhood watching movies on network TV and I constantly tuned in to “Red Sonja.” It was such a departure from the normal movies I watched as it sported a female heroine, Ernie Reyes Jr. trying his best to kick ass, and an unusual narrative that feels like a mix of “Barbarella” and “Wizard of Oz.” Of course this being 1985, you can sense Dino DiLaurentiis also trying to build his own movie series a la “Star Wars,” even featuring a battle with an underwater monster in a cave. I never caught on to it before, but this is also one of the rare action movies from the eighties where there is a heavily implied sexual affair between heroine Sonja and villainous Queen Gedren.

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Batman: The Killing Joke (2016)

batman-killingjokeDC And Warner have at their hands one of the most iconic Batman narratives of all time, a narrative that asks the question if the Joker is truly someone too weak to endure a really awful life, or if he can submit someone to so much pain they can become exactly like him. All it takes is one bad day, he insists. “The Killing Joke” is surprisingly only seventy six minutes in length and still manages to feel way too long. For an iconic story with such a meaty premise, DC and Warner obviously have absolutely no idea how to put it to screen, and manage to botch this adaptation big time. With “The Killing Joke” we have to endure what is one long winded and dull prologue that leads literally to nowhere, just to allow the viewer to connect to heroine Batgirl.

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Bedeviled [Kim Bok-nam salinsageonui jeonmal] (2010)

bedevilledI’ve never seen such a soul sucking and soul crushing film as “Bedeviled” in my life. That’s not at all a negative remark about Jang Cheol-soo’s drama thriller. It’s just my warning that if you go in to “Bedeviled,” be prepared for a film with absolutely no silver lining or hopeful plot twist. Like “Martyrs,” it’s a trip down the darkside of humanity, but you know, unlike “Martyrs,” this is a great film from beginning to end. It’s not often that Asian revenge pictures are given a sensationalist tone, but Cheol-soo’s drama is gut wrenching and really offers a glimpse at a small chunk of the world where sadness is pretty much a way of life.

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