“Warlock” Collection [Vestron Video Collector’s Series] [Blu-Ray]

It’s ironic, and perhaps not incidental, that Vestron would release the entire movie series for “Wishmaster” and “Warlock.” They’re two weak attempts at movie maniacs in a pretty stale decade for horror, and deep down while they have potential to be menacing and terrifying horror villains, they’re poorly realized, and potentially trail off in to absolute nothingness. “Warlock” is not as bad a slope as “Wishmaster,” as it managed to gain some momentum in the nineties, even sporting a Sega Genesis video game in 1995 which involved platforming, and fighting off zombies and demonic beasts with magic spells. 1989’s “Warlock” is a tonally confused movie that wants sorely to be a horror film, but ends up sliding in to dark fantasy territory by the time it draws to a close.

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Leatherface (2017)

This is the story of Leatherface. Again. No, “The Beginning” was not his origin, “Leatherface” is. I’m not sure what “The Beginning” was supposed to be. “Leatherface” is the official prequel to the iconic movie maniac, they promise. And once again, like “The Beginning,” 2017’s “Leatherface” is really just a tired, nasty, unpleasant road film following a group of psychopaths. Leatherface’s actual origin is reserved for the final ten minutes where he just reverts to Leatherface mode because—um—it’s familiar! Familiar is good, right? Once again, no one seems to be interested in actually dissecting the madness of Leatherface, or why and how his persona of wearing human skin and carrying a chainsaw relates to him. In the original Tobe Hooper masterpiece,

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Downrange (2017) [Toronto International Film Festival 2017]

A group of students sharing a car to various destinations has a tire blow-out that leaves them stranded.  Soon they discover that this was not an accident and they are now in grave danger.

Written by Joey O’Bryan and Ryûhei Kitamura with the latter also directing, Downrange is a tense, one location thriller that grabs the viewer early on and doesn’t let go until the end credits roll.  For fans of Kitamura, this is a return to sources, to his earlier style of having a story set in one location and making it a tense experience for all involved.  This, here, is very successful and works like a charm in the desolate location on a road in the middle of nowhere.  This setting works really well here and the collection of characters and how they came to be together adds to the tension and mystery.  The film uses the fact that there are many unknowns to work in its favor.  The situation is tense enough on its own but the way the characters interact and are portrayed make it work even better.

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The Hitman’s Bodyguard (2017)

“The Hitman’s Bodyguard” is the type of middling, mediocre nonsense that you’re likely going to find playing on basic cable in three years. It’s such an unremarkable, silly action comedy going through the motions and capitalizing on two men and what they’re famous for. Stars Samuel L. Jackson and Ryan Reynolds never break out of their comfort zones, and you can almost sense director Patrick Hughes asked both men to just be who everyone knows them for, and really nothing else. “The Hitman’s Bodyguard” is everything you think a movie starring Jackson and Reynolds will be like. Nothing ever really skirts the edges or thinks outside the box, and the violence seems just tacked on to what was probably a bland PG-13 action comedy in development.

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Payback Time – Triple Feature [Blu-Ray]

Mill Creek Entertainment is looking to make your summer as action packed as possible with a three bill economy blu-ray of some pretty nifty action pictures. Allowing a bang for your bucks, “Payback Time Triple Feature” garners action movie essentials that should allow for a great afternoon with popcorn and some beer. First up there’s the very good (and my personal favorite) “Blind Fury,” a solid remake of a classic “Zatoichi” movie starring Rutger Hauer as a blind Vietnam Veteran Nick Parker, who is taught the art of the sword after being rendered disabled.

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Over the Top (1987)

I always respected how Sylvester Stallone tries to make a lot of his big screen action heroes something of blue collared, under appreciated men who are just working to get by. There was “Rocky” that helped boost how interesting boxing can be, and while arm wrestling never took off in the eighties, “Over the Top” is a decent action film about an estranged father and son making amends. “Over the Top” is admittedly a childhood favorite, and a movie I watched over a thousand times as a kid. Stallone is great, Robert Loggia is great, and director Menahem Globan charismatically films every single instance of arm wrestling as an epic moment of pride, and manhood.

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Logan (2017)

Logan, the public’s beloved Wolverine, has aged and isn’t doing so great.  As he holds onto life for some reason and is looking for a reason to be.  His later life is not filled with action, something he seems to have settled into.  That is until a woman comes asking for his help and a chain of events leads to him having to help a young girl in desperate need of guidance and assistance.

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Logan (2017)

Loganis a terrible X-Men movie, but a very good Wolverine movie. I say that because director James Mangold holds about as much contempt for X-Men and its concept as Bryan Singer does. Mangold offers a vision of the team that is none too flattering. Set in an undetermined timeline of the movie series, we’re met with Logan in the distant future where he’s one of the only surviving mutants left on Earth. The dream has died, Professor X is now suffering from a brain disease that has turned him in to a burden, and everything the X-Men strived for has been forgotten and passed off as a joke. Now faced with nothing but a dark ending, he is confronted by a Hispanic woman who pays him to help her. Logan, at the behest of Charles Xavier, is tasked with caring for a small girl named Laura who is much more like Logan than even Charles Xavier realizes.

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