Following a death in his father’s family, a young boy is dropped off at his maternal grandfather so that his parents can go to the funeral. Once there, grandpa puts him to work and shows him a few things about baseball. As this happens, the odd neighbor comes and goes on the property. As things advance, young Henry has to go get this neighbor for assistance and things go from bad to worse, forcing him to fend for himself and fight for his life.
It’s disheartening when you’re watching a very good movie from a group of people you love, and then as the film reaches its home stretch you can see the wheels slowly coming off. That’s what “Knuckleball” was like. It’s a great idea, and a twisted premise with some great performances, but by the final twenty minutes it gets unnecessarily weird with a twist that feels tacked on and absolutely out of left field. Which is not to say “Knuckleball” is a bad movie, since right up until the final twenty minutes, I’d highly recommend it as a wrenching of the “Home Alone” formula that also kind of feels like a spiritual companion piece to M. Night Shyamalan’s “The Visit.”
I’ve come around on “The Purge” movies in 2018. What I once thought of as goofy exploitation movies, are now goofy exploitation movies with a point. They’re exploitation we need right now, they’re kind of angry diatribes about society that I’ve come to respect. Stuff about the white privileged banking off of the purge, the purge becoming an industry on to itself, “The Purge” posing as an alternate universe tale where the female candidate for president reigned supreme, and now where “The First Purge” begins as an “experiment.”
Zombie movies have become the superhero movies of modern age where not a lot of people think there can be much original material to mined from it anymore. This year has proven those skeptics wrong with the haunting “Cargo,” and the incredibly complex “The Night Eats The World.” A healthy mix of “I Am Legend,” “Dawn of the Dead,” and “Castaway,” it’s ten minutes too long, but manages to come out in the end as a scary zombie movie with insight about the horrifying world that can linger outside of our doors.
Albert Pyun’s “Cyborg” is a lot more famous for its back story and production woes than it is for the actual movie. There’s even the famous tale of how much of the sets and outfits for the characters were re-used from the cancelled “Spider-Man” movie, and sequel to “He-Man” that Golan Globus failed to finish. It’s a shame, because in the eighties when a whole sub-genre sprang from the success of “Mad Max,” we got a whole library of post apocalyptic action films with gritty warriors charged with saving mankind or something like a child or village. In a massive sub-genre of B grade copycats, “Cyborg” is one of the best.
It’s the end of the world as we know it, and every single surviving human has broken up in to fractions, mini-societies, and tribes that delight in murder of others, and survival of the fittest. “The Domestics” is “The Purge,” meets “Red Dawn,” meets “Mad Max,” meets “The Warriors,” with a dash of “It’s a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World” for good measure. Let’s face it, at the end of the day its pure blissful, loony post apocalyptic movie porn and hot damn if I didn’t love every single minute of it from beginning to end.
It’s a shame that we’ve reached this milestone, but it warrants noting that “Jurassic World” is the first “Jurassic Park” movie to ever put me to sleep. I’m not saying “Fallen Kingdom” is an awful movie, it’s just that it’s not a very good one. If “Jurassic World” became a Saturday morning cartoon to entertain kids between bowls of cereal and bathroom breaks, “Fallen Kingdom” would be the pilot episode. It’s thin on narrative, but crowded with a ton of half baked, under developed characters, all of whom are so paper thin we barely get to know them, or engage ourselves with them all over again.