The Curse of La Llorona (2019)

“The Conjuring” movie universe has been a horror lovers dream, but sadly a mixed bag of movies that all interconnect in some form. The core movies that started it all are fantastic, while the rest have been either abysmal or mediocre. Thankfully, there was still some momentum in the popularity of Annabelle to allow for “Annabelle: Creation” to restore the missed opportunity that was her spin off. “The Curse of La Llorona” is a nice departure from Ed and Lorraine Warren that digs deep in to the roots of “The Conjuring” universe. It’s a horror drama about parenting, grief, revenge, and a vicious maternal villain like the previous films, but this time the producers dig in to Latin folklore.

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Justice League vs. The Fatal Five (2019) [Blu-Ray/DVD/Digital]

After years of delivering a new style of animation for a new generation of DC and Warner fans, the DC animation department is going back to the well and reviving the classic Bruce Timm animation style for some brand new films. While they all haven’t been slam dunks, “Justice League vs. The Fatal Five” is a fine return to form for a part of DC Comics Entertainment that almost always delivers. It’s certainly better than the junky 2017 “Batman and Harley Quinn” movie, and even takes the time out to delve in to important overtones about PTSD, Mental illness, and overcoming our fears.

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Arctic (2018)

It says a lot about an actor’s abilities and skill to compel an audience in a movie that’s based almost solely around them and on them. Mads Mikkelsen has always been one of the most underrated actors of my generation and in “Arctic” he proves why. Much in the realm of “Castaway,” and “All Is Lost,” director Joe Penna sets down on a man who has lost just about everything and bases much of the dramatic and emotional weight on how he responds non-verbally. Mikkelsen is up to the challenge, suffice to say, and that’s what helps make “Arctic” a worthwhile outing for fans of survival thrillers. “Arctic” surely doesn’t re-invent the wheel, but it’s compelling enough to warrant at least one viewing.

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Into the Dark: I’m Just Fucking With You

Adam Mason’s “I’m Just Fucking With You” is about business as usual for Hulu’s “Into the Dark,” the anthology horror series that’s given viewers a new episode every month. Like all episodes before this April entry, there’s a slow build up, a very good hour, and a final twenty minutes that drag in to a luke warm climax. All in all it’s another mediocre episode that never quite recovers once the second act is introduced. I think it’s time worth spent, don’t get me wrong, as one of the fun things about anthology films is the ability of the authors to convey social commentary. “Into the Dark” has covered social commentary in droves, whether it’s rabid consumerism (“Pooka!”) or the Me Too movement (“The Treehouse”), they’ve covered some interesting bases for the modern generation.

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Hard Ticket to Hawaii (1987) [Blu-Ray/Digital]

After years on the market being pretty hard to find Mill Creek Entertainment are making many of the films from director Andy Sidaris available on Blu-Ray. That may be a good thing to some, and an awful thing to others. I’m right there in the middle, as Andy Sidaris’ films are somewhat similar to Russ Meyer’s. They’re cheaply made, exploitative, and pretty much just softcore porn, all with the vaguest facsimiles of a narrative that unfolds somewhere. And there’s an escaped killer snake, for some reason.

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Hellboy (2019)

Like a lot of previous efforts to reboot a property, Neil Marshall’s handling of “Hellboy” was the apparent product of studio interference and clashing ideas that resulted in a hectic shoot for just about everyone. That’s a shame since when Neil Marshall is allowed to unfold his own ideas and monsters, he gives us “The Descent,” and “Dog Soldiers.” It’s not to say that “Hellboy” is a bad movie, it’s just one half of a very good reboot that’s fun, and action packed, and one half of a sloppy studio film that’s boring, over explained, and sloppily tailored for sequels, prequels, and spin offs.

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Shorts Round Up of the Week – 4/15/19

For this week’s edition of “Shorts Round Up of the Week” I check out some rich dramas, a few ambitious fantasy films one of which involves bullying, and a pitch black revenge movie co-starring M. Emmet Walsh.

If you’d like to submit your short film for review consideration, submissions are always opened to filmmakers and producers.  

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The Silence (2019)

It was only a matter of time until studios would come along and start trying to duplicate the formula that “A Quiet Place” perfected. Hoping to strike lightning twice after the shocking pop culture success of “The Birdbox,” Netflix adapts yet another novel in to an apocalyptic thriller featuring monsters working on human senses, and a family trying to stick together, doggone it. And it stinks. Director John R. Leonetti’s horror drama has a good idea somewhere buried beneath this hacky often mean spirited mess, but damned if I could find out how to salvage it.

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