Rings (2017)

Remember that thing we learned about Samara from “The Ring” and “The Ring Two”? There’s a bit more of the story we didn’t learn about her and we have to sit through a hundred minutes to find it out. Why? All for the sake of a surprise ending that apes James Wan, but packs none of his usual flare. Like, you know… an actual surprise. Truthfully, I saw the surprise twist coming for “Rings” about twenty minutes in to the actual film, and while I appreciate wanting to reboot the series for a new generation that only knows what a VHS or VCR is through history books or novelty articles on Buzzfeed, “Rings” just isn’t a good movie.

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Jack Frost (1997)

In 1997, we really needed a movie like Michael Cooney’s “Jack Frost.” The decade was so serious and bereft of horror that “Jack Frost” was such a wacky and demented shot of horror comedy that baffled horror fans then and has rightfully become something of a cult classic. What’s unusual about “Jack Frost,” (a cocktail of “Child’s Play,” “The Blob” and “Sleepstalker”) is that something this ridiculous obviously had a lot of deliberate construction of its awfulness. Every shot is pointed from a weird angle, the odd color scheme for most shots are off, and a lot of the snow is so obviously fake or Styrofoam, and director Cooney doesn’t even try to hide that apparent fact.

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Buried Alive (1990)

“Buried Alive” is one of the earliest Frank Darabont movies that indicates a lot of what Darabont would have coming for fans of his cinematic outputs. While it’s very much a TV movie, and feels a lot more like an episode of an anthology series than a movie, it’s still a pretty strong revenge thriller overall. “Buried Alive” is dark and bleak from minute one where Tim Matheson is great as an everyday working man and contractor who is a victim of a devious and greedy woman. There’s nothing particularly wrong with his character, he’s just so set in his ways and can’t notice that his wife is a gold digger who has sinister plans for him.

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Message Received (2016)

Stephen Herman and David Chin’s “Message Received” is one of the sharpest and slickest revenge shorts I’ve seen all years, bar none. Herman’s knack for storytelling is evident in a short film that relies very much on pacing and deliberate twists in what is only a ten minute long narrative. Director/Writer Herman and Director/Star Chin thankfully manage to set up and deliver the gut punch of their film within a ten minute time span and I never felt like time was wasted at all.

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The Lion King (1994): Signature Collection [Blu-ray/DVD/Digital]

“The Lion King” is still one of the most entertaining movie going experiences of my life and one of the most moving animated films I’ve ever seen. With the anticipation of the live action remake growing, Disney has granted fans a new release with their Signature Edition. This new edition packs in the DVD, a Digital copy, and of course the new Blu-Ray with changes that are interesting and more geared toward meticulous hardcore fans of the film more than anything. It’s certainly worth a double or triple dip, especially if it’s your favorite of the Disney animated library (and on your top ten), as it is mine.

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Savage Dog (2017) [Fantasia International Film Festival 2017]

In 1959 Indochina, a legend is born.  A man fights his way out of jail and to make money until he is forced to fight for revenge.  Through this, he learns a lot about himself and what he is ready to do.

Written and directed by Jesse V. Johnson, Savage Dog is a decent fight film with a bit of story created with the purpose of setting up fights for star Scott Adkins and co-star Marko Zaror.  The story is decent enough but not exactly fascinating, something that should not bother fans of fight films as this one has a few very good fights and some side ones that are also interesting.  The dialogue is decent while the setting is interesting, but not used to its full potential.  The characters are almost all created with a purpose relating to Adkins’ character, making him the center of just about everything.  The story is not bad as it develops in ways that keep the attention and introduces fights in a manner that makes sense.

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Blade of the Immortal (2017) [Fantasia International Film Festival 2017]

A talented samurai is cursed by a witch to live forever following a battle for the ages.  Haunted by the past, he accepts to assist a young girl with her quest for revenge.  As he goes through with his mission, he discovers a few things about the world and himself.

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