Fences (2016)

That’s the peculiar aspect about adapting a minimalist period piece for film. If you decide to stretch it to a bigger scope, you can ruin its integrity. But if you keep it small scale, its intended purpose seems redundant. For all things considered, Director Denzel Washington’s drama, adapted from the August Wilson stage play, is a great display of powerhouse performances from an ensemble cast. But it’s mainly that, and really not much else when all is said and done..

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You Have to See This! Akeelah and the Bee (2006)

My love affair with writing began with competitive spelling in grade school and evolved right in to middle school where I built my obsession with telling stories. I was always fond of the Scripps spelling bee and I always sought to maybe make it there someday. But you know… puberty happened. In either case, it‘s refreshing to see films in contemporary and modern that portray spelling bees as pure sport. There are more and more movies spotlighting the mental demand of spelling from 2002’s “Spellbound” to “Bee Season,” to “Spelling the Dream.”

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Tales from the Darkside: The Movie (1990): Collector’s Edition [Blu-Ray]

1990’s “Tales from the Darkside: The Movie” has a lot in its corner with me. It’s a childhood favorite, has a ton of sentimental value, and it’s a damn good anthology horror film. It almost feels like the lost “Creepshow” movie that we never got in theaters, which is a shame as the movie is very well produced and directed. It’s creepy, darkly humorous, and has a great pair of wraparound segments that hearkens back to the vicious violence of the Brothers Grimm.

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Erasing Eden (2016)

It’s easy to see where director Beth Dewey draws her influences from as “Erasing Eden” is very much a modern successor to “Five Easy Pieces.” Rather than the story of a well off young man, “Erasing Eden” centers on a young woman with everything who is prepared to destroy it all. For what reason? Even she doesn’t know, as she spends so much of “Erasing Eden” setting off a series of catastrophic events and reluctantly trying to reverse them in order to make it to her own wedding.

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The Hills Run Red (2009) [Blu-Ray]

Recently, Scream Factory put out a filled to the gills Blu-Ray of “The Hills Run Red” which felt like a “finally” on this film as it’s one that seems under-seen and under-appreciated. This slasher is one that came and seemingly went with the general public, but that slasher fans and many horror fans have been loving its release. It’s a brutal, meta slasher film that is a fun watch for fans of the genre and is a bit much for casual horror fans, which is exactly why it’s so great. The film itself is greatly entertaining and the kills are violent and bloody. It’s what a slasher fan wants and it’s what a horror fan in general wants. The story itself is strong enough to support the film without the blood, but there is more than that to this film. There is a lot here to unpack and it’s definitely a must see.

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Scoob! (2020)

I’d be lying if I said that I’m the biggest Scooby Doo fan around. Hell, I’m still stunned that Hanna Barbera has placed so much stock in the franchise for so many decades, but I digress. I had high hopes going in to “Scoob!” as every generation is introduced to Scooby Doo once again in some new form, and “Scoob!” seemed like the right avenue. Not only does it give us a new vision of Scooby Doo, but it makes tweaks to the mythos that I liked, while also establishing a shared Hanna Barbera universe. And yet, at the end of it all, I’d still rather have seen “Scooby Doo on Zombie Island” or “Scooby Doo and the Witch’s Ghost,” again.

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Fantasy Island (2020)

Director Jeff Wadlow’s (“Truth or Dare”) big screen adaptation “Fantasy Island” is a mess of a genre picture that easily one of the most tonally confused movies I’ve seen in years. Its prologue sets it up as a horror movie, then it becomes a goofy comedy about wish fulfillment, then it’s a character study about a son reconnecting with his father, the next minute it’s a torture revenge thriller, and the next it’s a movie about looking back at what could have been. None of it is remotely creepy, none of it is remotely spooky, and to top it all off, it’s all so painfully boring from beginning to end.

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