Charles Bands’ “Unlucky Charms” is entertaining only in the way that modern Full Moon films are. They’re trashy and don’t even seem to try anymore, but at least there’s always a highlight or two that salvages the experience. Plus, “Unlucky Charms” is not even eighty minutes long. Factor in the opening credits, and closing credits, it’s a little over an hour of a goofy horror comedy with really hot women.
Director Steven C. Miller offers horror fans something of an extension of “Little Monster” where he sets the entire film around two brothers battling the monster under their bed. When older brother Paulie’s brother is kidnapped by the monster, he takes on the beast and torn limbs begin to fall every which way. “Under the Bed” thankfully garners something of an interesting exploration of the monster under the bed, and how it’s not only alive thanks to the children, but because of the inherent anger from familial tensions.
Even during his days on Second City, John Candy was one of the most restrained and brilliant comedy personalities of his time, a man who had genuine wit and charisma, and garnered laughs by his quick timing alone. Before Chris Farley presented the assumption that in order for a large man to be funny he had to take falls and be the butt of violent physical gags, John Candy had a class to his humor that showed the heavy guy didn’t have to always be the subject of vicious antics and mean spirited humor. Sure, in “Uncle Buck,” Candy does take his hits and falls, but the entire movie is based more around his charm, razor sharp wit, and ability to improvise at the drop of a hat. Not that Chris Farley wasn’t a laugh riot, but heavy men could do more than provide laughs for the more attractive people in the movies.
In the year 2000, after M. Night Shyamalan premiered his innate storytelling ability with the surprise supernatural thriller “The Sixth Sense,” he pretty much dashed expectations with a follow-up film that no one was expecting. Initially considered a poor follow-up, M. Night Shyamalan really approached a film that could well within his storytelling parameters, and he did so with a subtlety and humility that’s finally being appreciated. “Unbreakable” is a rather underrated masterpiece, and one that really does pay homage to the comic book mythology that society generally looks down upon. By approaching the comic book mythos with a straight face and a somewhat surprising dramatic dignity, M. Night Shyamalan adds a realism to the superhero origin story that’s deliberately paced and absolutely compelling to witness.
What cruel irony that the latest subtitle for the mediocre “Underworld” series is called “Awakening” since for the most part I found myself incapable of staying awake through the majority of it. If you’re looking for a cure for insomnia and don’t want medication, put on “Underworld: Awakening” and you’ll definitely be out like a light within ten minutes. After writing off the series and expanding her horizons, Kate Beckinsale comes crawling back to her husband’s film series that made her a star and reprises the role of Selene. Still one of the most one-dimensional and cardboard action heroines of contemporary genre cinema, Selene is back yet again this time on the run from pretty much everyone. After years of the war between the vampires and the lycans (ugh), the human race has finally caught on.
If you’re ever wondering what pure untapped “Weird Al” would look like onscreen, you need look no further than “UHF.” As a kid I spent many a years encountering this movie in small doses but never actually sat down to watch it whole. “UHF” is one of the most creative and original outputs of the eighties featuring Weird Al Yankovic who not only becomes an every man hero, but also manages to show off his own brand of off the wall comedy. “UHF” is still a head trip to this day as a film that stands on its own in comic delivery and just outright surreal storytelling.
The key to a great mystery is the lead in, the ultimate catch and macguffin that will bring us in to the cusp of a surprise. “Unknown” has the surprise, there’s no doubting that, it’s jut the problem that the lead in provides that makes it an entirely mediocre piece of thriller that’s almost about a nonsensical as you can imagine. The writers literally write themselves in to conundrums throughout the movie as plot points go unexplained, only for them to completely undermine their previous direction, and you can sense them almost trying not to destroy the narrative from minute one.
Actor Phil Hall is something of a perfectionist, a man who really fancies himself an improvisational artist. It’s not too often we see actors in films who are willing to improvise, and Phil Hall is a man who has co-starred in many independent films and is an individual who believes in the ability to improvise to give us moments in film that scripts can’t conceive. “Uncorked” is a thirty minute experimental short featuring actor Phil Hall basically staging his own one man show where he shows the audience what he’s capable of in the realm of improv and playing it by ear.