Nothing But the Blood (2020)

Intentional or not, when you go in to “Nothing But the Blood” you’re bound to have flashbacks of “Red State,” as director Daniel Tucker seems to be sewing his narrative from the same cloth. Ideas about religious fanaticism, the deadly cost of religious institutions, and the hypocrisy of religious leaders are all here. Les Best even seems to spend most of his time on screen channeling Michael Parks. Daniel Tucker tries hard to establish him as a source of evil, even beginning the movie with a fourth wall breaking prologue as Best’s character reads a long sermon and angrily preaches to us.

Why this should set up the story I was never entirely clear but—it’s black and white, so it’s eerie…?

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Promare (2020) [Blu-Ray/DVD]

There’s nothing I hate more than a movie that has so much going for it, but has no idea how to deliver a great narrative. “Promare” is a movie that, by all accounts, should have blown me out of my seat. But by the middle of it, I was counting down the minutes, and waiting for it to get to the point. It’s so sad that a movie that looks so amazing could be so lacking in originality with government corruption, clandestine organizations, and an evil politician who has plans for the world, yadda, yadda. It’s all so old hat for such an epic looking animated movie.

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Angelfish (2019)

Peter Lee’s “Angelfish” is a very good drama romance about two people with varying obligations and turmoil finding love with one another. Often times when it hits, it hits hard, but when it fails, it tends to ruin the momentum of the narrative and drag on for quite a while. Shocking enough, “Angelfish” can sometimes feel long in the tooth, if only because it often feels like it’s padding the narrative rather than using those opportunities to add more dimension between our characters Brendan and Eva. That said, even in its imperfections, Peter Lee’s Bronx set drama is engaging and often times emotional.

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Raising Victor Vargas: If John Hughes Came to the Lower East Side of New York

I’m glad we’re living in a time where teen movies are becoming so much more diverse and open to various audiences. Once upon a time, teen movies were basically about upper middle class Caucasian teenagers living through something bad. And while I don’t begrudge John Hughes for tapping in to the zeitgeist, seeing someone like me on screen these days is so refreshing and allows a new generation to see themselves on-screen. Representation matters. And it counts for a lot.

Before the late aughts, there were a select few teen films about minorities. One of the best of their ilk was 2003’s “Raising Victor Vargas.” It’s a movie I’m shocked doesn’t get discussed very much these days, as it’s so much in line with John Hughes’ teen drama comedies.

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Elodie (2019)

There aren’t many good movies or movies at all, for that matter, about the writing experience, and it’s a shame. There’s so much to be mined in the realm of creating and how characters can take on their own lives. “Elodie” is an indie gem that deserves to be watched by just about everyone, as it’s not just a wonderful character piece, but a superb look at the creative experience and the concept of impostor syndrome.

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A Girl, A Guy, A Space Helmet (2012)

Director-Writer Mike Timm’s passion project is a movie that jumps back and forth between fantasy and reality. It’s a very avant garde work of art that takes on the typically broader spectrum of the romance comedy and adds some creativity to it. While “A Girl, A Guy, A Space Helmet” has every chance to be a trite tale of a man and a woman falling in love, Timm’s unique direction and self awareness make it a worthwhile cinematic experience.

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You Have to See This! Rad (1986)

Although I was born in ’83, I’m old enough to remember when BMX bikes of all kinds were the biggest thing in pop culture. I also recall them inevitably seeping their way in to television and movies. I’m old enough to recall my cousins bickering about BMX Bikes, (and girls, and video games) so much so that Hollywood inevitably made a few movies to capitalize on the popularity. Along with “BMX Bandits,” 1986’s “Rad” is a bland and utterly silly attempt to grab some money out of one of the biggest eighties crazes of the decade.

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Sixteen Candles (1984) [Blu-Ray]

John Hughes was considered the master of teen oriented cinema in the 1980’s, often depicting somewhat lower middle class kids on the verge of adult hood. While the movies were raunchy and funny, they were also intent on building characters centered on self reflection and facing potentially dead end adult hoods. While “Weird Science” has mostly been lambasted as Hughes’ worst, I think I’d choose his debut “Sixteen Candles” as the weakest of his eighties outputs.

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