Nathan Juran’s “The Deadly Mantis” is the antithesis of every single monster movie ever made. It’s aggressively boring, tedious, and doesn’t even have any kind of camp to compensate for the obvious lack of the monster. Even worse, at almost eighty minutes in length, the monster never actually rears its face on camera until about twenty five minutes in. The rest is stock footage, stock footage, and even more stock footage!
I’ve always been and will continue to be a staunch defender of John Carpenter. He’s one of my all time favorite filmmakers and even his weakest outputs have some great creativity to them. “Vampires” is fun in all its schlocky nonsense, and “Ghosts of Mars” is a fun remake of “Assault on Precinct 13” for a contemporary audience. Eighteen years later, “Ghosts of Mars” is fine C grade science fiction redeemed by Carpenter’s sharp direction, and the absolutely gorgeous Natasha Henstridge.
For this week’s Shorts Round Up, we check out some great shorts including two animated experimental films one of which by film students, a thought provoking science fiction drama, and a riveting human drama.
If you’d like to submit your short film for review consideration, submissions are always opened to filmmakers and producers.
I remember not enjoying “Man’s Best Friend” too much back in 1993, and in 2019, it hasn’t aged very well at all. Unless you have a fancy for nineties horror with rock bottom expectations, John Lafia’s killer dog movie is a movie that’s confused in both tone and genre, quite often. I had a tough time developing the emotions during this experience, because nothing is ever really clarified for the audience. Is this a dark comedy or a horror film? Should we loathe Max or sympathize with Max? Is he the film’s villain, an anti-hero, or the victim of circumstances like Cujo?
It’s tough to believe that The Asylum is behind “Black Summer.” It’s definitely one of the biggest surprises of 2019 as I’ve made it no secret about my disdain toward the company and “Z Nation.” I thought the show was insanely dumb and boring, but I was very much open to “Black Summer.” Keeping my expectations rock bottom (because The Asylum has done horribly with zombie entertainment consistently) I was stunned to very much enjoy “Black Summer.” In fact if it continues its course and settles down a bit in season two, it might end up being one of the great zombie TV series.
Ranking has become a fun, new tradition I do with all the other fellow geeks whenever a new movie from a series is released. While Kevin Feige of Marvel Studios has declared the upcoming “Spider-Man: Far from Home” to be the official end of Marvel Phase 4, it’s safe to say that I can list this ranking (inspired by “Birth.Movies.Death”) without altering much once the film is released in theaters. I think “Far from Home” will be great, but my top five MCU movies still remain basically the same, even after “Endgame.”
What is your ranking?
With “Avengers: Endgame” and the Mighty Marvel Cinematic Universe winning the box office and grabbing rave reviews, geeks of all walks of life are currently trying to deal with the emotional level of what unfolded in to the epic finale of the Infinity Gems arc. Now that you’ve seen “Endgame,” here are five animated Marvel movies that will keep the Mighty Marvel high going a little longer.
“Endgame” accomplishes a grand feat. It’s not only a sequel that resolves just about every question we had with “Infinity War,” but it also acts as a wonderful book end to the first ten years of Marvel movies. This movie is a kind of “What If?” if you will, and I loved how the Russo Brothers don’t just make good on closing the epic saga of the infinity stones, but also have some fun tinkering in the Marvel Cinematic Universe established by folks like Joss Whedon, and Jon Favreau prior. It’s a marvelous and brilliant compilation of everything we love about this cinematic universe, plus a dramatic pay off for folks that have come to fall in love with these heroes and villains for of all these years.