The Curse of La Llorona (2019)

“The Conjuring” movie universe has been a horror lovers dream, but sadly a mixed bag of movies that all interconnect in some form. The core movies that started it all are fantastic, while the rest have been either abysmal or mediocre. Thankfully, there was still some momentum in the popularity of Annabelle to allow for “Annabelle: Creation” to restore the missed opportunity that was her spin off. “The Curse of La Llorona” is a nice departure from Ed and Lorraine Warren that digs deep in to the roots of “The Conjuring” universe. It’s a horror drama about parenting, grief, revenge, and a vicious maternal villain like the previous films, but this time the producers dig in to Latin folklore.

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Soul Team Six – 6 Blaxploitation Film Collection (DVD/Digital)

Mill Creek Entertainment is getting the jump on the massive library of blaxploitation action and crime thrillers with a six pack collection of some of the finest and most notorious. With many of the titles from the sub-genre being re-released, it’s only fitting that “Soul Team Six” could act as a discount basic course for the sub-genre that managed to convey a unique voice in the sixties and seventies.

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Hellboy (2019)

Like a lot of previous efforts to reboot a property, Neil Marshall’s handling of “Hellboy” was the apparent product of studio interference and clashing ideas that resulted in a hectic shoot for just about everyone. That’s a shame since when Neil Marshall is allowed to unfold his own ideas and monsters, he gives us “The Descent,” and “Dog Soldiers.” It’s not to say that “Hellboy” is a bad movie, it’s just one half of a very good reboot that’s fun, and action packed, and one half of a sloppy studio film that’s boring, over explained, and sloppily tailored for sequels, prequels, and spin offs.

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Shorts Round Up of the Week – 4/15/19

For this week’s edition of “Shorts Round Up of the Week” I check out some rich dramas, a few ambitious fantasy films one of which involves bullying, and a pitch black revenge movie co-starring M. Emmet Walsh.

If you’d like to submit your short film for review consideration, submissions are always opened to filmmakers and producers.  

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Leprechaun Returns (2018)

Seven movies later, and the “Leprechaun” movie series is still alive and kicking. I fondly remember watching the original movie on a VHS rental back in 1995, and studios have found it a necessity to keep the saga of our demonic little person going. After the horrendous re-imagining of the series from 2014 that tried to turn the Leprechaun in to a faceless beast, “Leprechaun Returns” gets back to what made the original movie series so entertaining and deliciously silly. Sans Warwick Davis, the original Leprechaun, of course (he declined to star in horror films for a little while).

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Creed II (2018) [Blu-Ray/DVD/Digital]

Ryan Coogler came storming out of the gate with “Creed,” a spiritual sequel to “Rocky” that was so good, it stood side by side comfortably with the original “Rocky.” As all things in Hollywood, despite Stallone’s attempted justification for re-visiting old story lines, “Creed” made money, so we have “Creed II.” I mean, there is room here for the writers to explore the whole dynamic between Adonis confronting the man who murdered his father, but much of that is sidestepped in favor of usual “Rocky” movie tropes, boiling down to a sequel that’s pretty damn—erm, okay. It’s not a bad movie, but it’s not “Creed.”

It’s not even “Rocky II.”

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The Return of the Vampire (1943) [Blu-Ray]

Although Universal eventually did follow up Tod Browning’s “Dracula” from 1931 with their own “Dracula’s Daughter” and “Son of Dracula,” the unofficial sequel has always been 1943’s “The Return of the Vampire.” When Columbia Pictures sough to revive Dracula for the big screener, Universal halted their efforts, prompting Columbia to basically deliver the follow up to Dracula but under a variety of different names and different circumstances. With “The Return of the Vampire” we have a great spiritual sequel that stars Lugosi returning as Dracula, but–not Dracula.

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Into the Dark: Treehouse

I’m surprised “Treehouse” ends up being the best episode of Blumhouse and Hulu’s ambitious anthology “Into the Dark,” yet. I have to admit that I hated James Roday’s “Gravy,” so to see him approach “Treehouse” with a very relevant message, an inherent tone of terror, and some darkly comic undertones, was a welcome surprise. “Into the Dark” has been more hit than miss since its introduction in October, but with “Treehouse” it hits right out of the park as an ode to spring that explores hell having no fury like a woman scorned.

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