Showing posts with label movies. Show all posts
Showing posts with label movies. Show all posts

Thursday, November 4, 2021

{4K Ultra HD Review) - Snake Eyes: G.I. Joe Origins (2021)


I knew Hasbro and Paramount Pictures were working on a G.I. Joe prequel reboot, but I must be living under the rock because I didn't realize the film got a theatrical release this year. From what I've read, Snake Eyes: G.I. Joe Origins didn't go over well with the critics and moviegoers. Depending on the source, the budget is between $88 - 110 million and only brought in $37 at the worldwide box office. In other words - it was a major flop.

Thursday, August 26, 2021

[DVD Review] - V.C. Andrews' Landry Family


I'm getting to where I dislike almost every book-to-film adaptation that Hollywood cranks out for us poor souls to devour. Instead of going by the book, studios like to water down the story, revamp characters, dumbify the dialogue, and ignore plot points. Why do they do this? Budgetary issues and runtime restraints have something to do with it. Sometimes there are too many cooks in the kitchen - aka too many studio-heads inferring with production. Made-for-television movies and miniseries tend to be the worse (with the expectation of a few Stephen King adaptations and the North and South miniseries from the 1980s).  

Thursday, August 19, 2021

[4K Ultra HD Review] - A Quiet Place Part II (2020)


Did anyone else besides me forget about A Quite Place Part II even existed? 2018's A Quiet Place was a slick and suspenseful science fiction horror hybrid that I thoroughly enjoyed, except for the sudden cliffhanger ending. At one point in time, I was excited about John Krasinski's follow-up. Then the Covid-19 pandemic hit, and the sequel's theatrical release date got tossed around from March 2020 to September 2020. Then it got postponed to April 2021, pushed back to September 2021, and bumped up to May 28, 2021. Considering the world we currently live in, the sequel did alright at the box office, taking in over $290 million worldwide.

Friday, August 13, 2021

{The Midnight Horror} - SEANCE is 'The Craft' Meets 'The House on Sorority Row'



Let's start things off with a quote from COMINGSOON.NET about the new horror flick SEANCE - "Scream Meets Black Christmas." The first thought that pops into my mind is, "Which Black Christmas are they talking about?" Is it the classic 1974 film that everyone seems to love? Or is it the underrated 2006 gorefest remake? (Yes, I said underrated!) Or is it the in-name-only, godawful 2019 remake? As for Scream, are they referring to the 1995 film or its lackluster sequels? Even after viewing the film, I'm still not sure what they meant. It's more like a magicless version of The Craft meets The House on Sorority Row.

Thursday, August 5, 2021

[Review & Giveaway] - When We Last Spoke (2019)


The 2019 family-friendly drama, When We Last Spoke, scored big ICVM wins at the Crown Awards at the National Religious Broadcasters 2021 Christian Media Convention, held on June 23rd in Grapevine, Texas. Inspired by the novel of the same name by Marci Henna, the heartwarming film received awards in each of the five categories, including Best Narrative and Best Picture. The late Cloris Leachman won Best Supporting Actress, Melissa Gilbert (Little House on the Prairie) won the Silver Award for Best Actress, and Corbin Bernsen won the Bronze Award for Best Actor.  

Friday, July 30, 2021

{The Midnight Horror} - Jakob's Wife (2021)


Why do I waste my time reading reviews written by the mainstream media? I rarely read other reviews before writing my own, but tonight I found myself reading a few for the vampire-flick Jakob's Wife. I usually don't care what a critic thinks of a horror film, but a specific Variety review from March ticked me off. The critic, who I won't name, stated Jakob's Wife is nothing more but "a cheap and cheerless vampire movie knock-off." Why does a vampire movie have to be cheerful? I take it this so-called critic has never watched a vampire movie? And, no, the Twilight Saga doesn't count. Cheap? It's a low-budget, B-grade horror film, enough said. A knock-off? Of what? Sure, the vampire looks a hell of a lot like Count Orlok from Nosferatu and Kurt Barlow from Salem's Lot, but I would never call it a knock-off. Good grief! Ever heard of a homage?!

Wednesday, July 21, 2021

[Blu-ray Review] - Spiral: From the Book of Saw (2021)


Yesterday, Lionsgate Home Entertainment released Spiral: From the Book of Saw (R; 93 minutes) on 4K Ultra HD Combo Pack, Blu-ray Combo Pack, and DVD. It's also available on Digital and Demand.


The Saw film series is one of the slickest and sickest horror franchises in recent years. I've been a fan of these films ever since I rented Saw on VHS in early 2005. (Yes, I know I'm old.) While there have been a few half-ass sequels (Saw V and Saw 3D), I've continued to watch each new film, even 2007's reboot sequel Jigsaw. I was skeptical when I first heard that Chris Rock would produce and star in the spinoff Spiral: From the Book of Saw. Sure, he's good at comedy, but I had my doubts he could carry a horror film.

Tuesday, June 1, 2021

[Blu-ray Review] - THE MARKSMAN (2021)



Movie theaters are nearly dead here in the United States. While the COVID-19 pandemic is taking the blame, I believe it has more to do with Hollywood running out of ideas. All they have been pumping out for the last decade is bad remakes or CGI bloated superhero tales. Yes, I understand the latter makes money, but only a handful of these films are actually good. Then there are the artsy dramas that receive awards and get high praise from mainstream critics. Nobody in Hollywood will admit it, but these artsy movies are downright horrible. If a film isn't trending or doesn't contain a political message, the critics will more than likely give it a negative review. This is what happened with this year's action-thriller, THE MARKSMAN.

Saturday, May 22, 2021

[The Midnight Horror] - SON (2021)


The horror genre has changed significantly throughout the last decade. Minus a few supernatural flops, like this year's The Unholy, only studio-proven IPs (Halloween, The Conjuring, Saw, etc.) receive the red carpet rollout in theaters. The rest typically head straight to VOD or the $5 DVD bin at Walmart. With so many new low-budget horror films, it can difficult for me to keep up with all the release dates. RLJE Films released the occult-thriller SON (Not Rated; 98 minutes) to DVD and Blu-ray on May 18th. If I hadn't received a press release, I wouldn't have even known about this movie, which stars Andi Matichak, who co-starred in 2018's Halloween and will appear in its sequel Halloween Kill later this year.

Thursday, April 1, 2021

[The Midnight Horror] - PG: Psycho Goreman (2020)



For many months there has been a lot of talk & hype around the Canadian indie horror-comedy PG: PSYCHO GOREMAN (Not Rated; 94 minutes) from writer/director Steven Kostanski (The Void, Leprechaun Returns). The film was to debut at the South by Southwest film festival last Spring, but the premiere got canceled because of the COVID-19 pandemic. Later in 2020, the film was screened at the Beyond Fest, Monster Fest, and the Sitges Film Festival. RLJE Films and Shudder (owned by AMC Networks) bought the distribution rights and released the film to theaters and VOD in January 2021. The film landed on DVD and Blu-ray on March 16th, 2021.

Monday, March 22, 2021

[DVD Review] - DON'T TELL A SOUL (2020)

A few nights ago, I watched a disturbing but entertaining thriller DONT TELL A SOUL (R; 96 minutes) from writer and director Alex McAulay. Like many films from 2020, its planned film festival premiere got delayed to the Fall of 2020. Saban Films snatched up the North American distribution rights and released the film to theaters and VOD in January 2021. Lionsgate Home Entertainment released it on DVD and Blu-ray last week.  

Tuesday, March 16, 2021

[Blu-ray Review] - VANGUARD (2020)

The action-adventure film VANGUARD (PG-13; 107 minutes) landed on Blu-ray, DVD, and Digital last week from Lionsgate Home Entertainment. It's written and directed by Stanley Tong and stars the legendary Jackie Chan.  


The plot is cliched and confusing at the same time. Qin Guoli is a Chinese accountant living in Great Britain. He tips off Scotland Yard that the terrorist organization Brothers of Vengeance is forcing him to finance a project by their leader, Maasym. SPOILER WARNING: United States forces kill Maasym during a raid. His son, Omar, survives and wants to get his greedy hands on his father's money, so he hires a mercenary gang to kidnap Qin and his wife, Meiwei.  

Monday, March 8, 2021

[DVD Review] - CHEER! RALLY! KILL! 5-Film Collection


It's time to grab your pom-poms, pop some popcorn, and binge-watch CHEER! RALLY! KILL! 5-Film Collection, which is now available to own on DVD from Lionsgate Home Entertainment. 


After reading that, you're probably wondering what the hell is wrong with me because everyone knows I'm a horror movie fanatic. Don't worry. There's nothing clinically wrong with me. Why would I want to review five made-for-Lifetime cheerleader-themed movies? That's a question only my shrink could answer. What I can tell you is my noggin thought these five cheesy-fest flicks would be either entertaining or downright cringe. And I was kinda-sorta right to some degree.

Let's begin with the bad and move our way up to the not-so-bad. 


The Wrong Cheerleader (also titled The Wrong Cheerleader: Back In Action) centers on teenager Becky (played by Cristine Prosperi) starting her Senior year at a brand-new school. She quickly makes the cheer squad and lands a handsome boyfriend, Rob (played by David Meza). Sadly, the good luck stops there because it turns out that Rob is a psychopath. Vivica A. Fox costars as the cheerleader coach. (Rating - 1 out of 5)

The Secret Lives of Cheerleaders
is a poorly-acted dramedy centering around Ava Scott (played by Savannah May) starting a new life at a new school. (Yep, there's a recurring theme in these movies.) She joins the cheer squad and instantly bunts heads with the cheer captain and Homecoming Queen Katrina (played by Allie DeBerry), who will do anything to stay at the top. Denise Richards costars as Ava's mother. (Rating - 2 out of 5)

Undercover Cheerleader centers on transfer high school student Autumn Bailey (played by Kayla Wallace) joining the cheer squad, but there's a twist - she's an undercover journalist for the school's newspaper. After her first article comes out, a psychopath starts targeting the squad. Maddie Phillips (Netflix's Teenage Bounty Hunters) costars as Autumn's friend Kara. (Rating - 2.5 out of 5)

The Cheerleader Escort
is the only one of the five movies to take place in college. The plot involves a freshman student, Cassie (played by Alexandra Beaton), joining the cheer squad. After her mother (played by Cynthia Preston) doesn't have enough money for her tuition, a fellow cheerleader, Gaby (played by Joelle Farrow), helps her to make some extra cash by becoming an escort for rich men. Awful things happen, which leads Cassie to expose the escort ring. (Rating - 2.5 out of 5)

Identity Theft Of A Cheerleader is the dumbest title as it doesn't make any sense. The plot involves a 30-year-old woman, Vicky Patterson (played by Mairara Walsh), losing her retail job. She ends up stealing the photo id of her teenage coworker, signs up for unemployment, and enrolls herself in high school, so she can join the cheerleader squad in an attempt to make her cold-hearted mother proud. (Rating - 3.5 out of 5)



Final Thoughts

I don't watch very many made-for-TV movies because most of them are cheaply produced with bad acting and horrible directing. Honestly, I don't know why I requested a review copy for CHEER! RALLY! KILL!, as obviously I'm not the right audience for these types of films. Nevertheless, I watched each movie with an open mind and was entertained for the most part.

The Wrong Cheerleader
is the only movie I didn't like. Hollywood has done the boyfriend stalker plot to death. The script plays out like a corny soap opera plot from the 1990s, and the acting from the entire cast is hideous, though the latter might have something more to do with the directing.

The other films are more or less the same for me, except for Identity Theft of A Cheerleader, which is the best of the five movies. Cheesy? Hell, yes! But in a fun way.

The picture and sound qualities are decent for the two-disc set. There are no special features or bonus extras.

Overall, if you're into cheesy low-budget cheerleader movies, then you might find some enjoyment watching the CHEER! RALLY! KILL! 5-Film Collection.


Friday, February 26, 2021

[Blu-ray Review] - HORIZON LINE (2020) - A Thriller With No Direction


Now available on Blu-ray is the low-budget thriller HORIZON LINE (PG-13; 92 minutes) from Universal Pictures Home Entertainment. If you have never heard of it before, well, the good news is that you're not the only one, as neither had I until recently. STXfilms released the movie to theaters in Sweden in November 2020. It went straight to VOD here in the USA on January 12, 2020, with little to zero buzz. As of this writing, there are only three critic reviews on Rotten Tomatoes, and you probably guessed - they're all negative. The audience score is currently at 25%, with zero written reviews.

The plot centers on ex-lovers Jackson and Sara (played by Alexander Dreymon and Allison Williams) traveling on a single-engine plane en route to their friend's wedding on a tropical island. Shortly after takeoff, the pilot (played by Keith David) has a fatal heart attack, leaving the former couple alone on a plane with a broken autopilot that's heading into the path of a terrifying storm.  

 

 

Final Thoughts

How the hell did this movie get the green-light? 

 

HORIZON LINE is one of the stupidest movies ever made. Sure, the overall premise of a pilot suddenly dying inflight and leaving the passengers in a desperate attempt to survive sounds intriguing. However, the filmmakers, should've done their research before attempting such a story. Even though I have never stepped foot on a plane, I know more about flying than them.  


The first twenty minutes is a snoozefest, where we're introduced to Sara and Jackson and learn about their past relationship. It's pretty obvious why these two lovebirds broke up - they have zero chemistry! The characters are one-dimensional at best, with some of the dumbest dialogue ever penned. Allison Williams and Alexander Dreymon both give wooden performances. I'm not saying Dreymon is a bad actor because this is the first time I've seen him in anything. So, maybe it was more of the director's fault, or he's just a bad actor. However, I cannot say the same for Williams. I've seen her in two other films, and she's a godawful actress with no emotional depth.  


The cinematography was alright in some scenes and horrible in others. The musical score sounded like it was a rip-off from every other movie. 

 

For those who need to know, the picture and sound quality on the Blu-ray are exceptional. Besides a few deleted scenes, there are no special features or commentaries. The included digital code is only valid for iTunes (Apple TV). 

 

Overall, HORIZON LINE is the most empty-headed and lackluster film put to screen in recent memory.


Saturday, February 20, 2021

[Blu-ray Review] - Let Him Go (2020)


For those who don't know, the neo-western drama LET HIM GO (R; 114 minutes) recently landed on Blu-ray, DVD, and Digital from Universal Pictures Home Entertainment. Director and producer Thomas Bezucha (The Family Stone; Monte Carlo) adapted the script from the 2013 novel of the same name by Larry Watson. Focus Features released the film to theaters in November 2020 and grossed just over $10 million. 

Friday, February 5, 2021

[Blu-ray Review] - Ammonite (2020)


A few days ago, I received a screener from Universal Pictures Home Entertainment for the drama AMMONITE (R; 117 minutes) starring Kate Winslet and Saoirse Ronan. Directed and written by Francis Lee, the film premiered at last year's Toronto International Film Festival. Thanks to the COVID-19 pandemic, the festival had to go the digital route. The movie debuted in United States theaters last November, and mainstream critics complained about the film's historical inaccuracies and the lack of chemistry between the two leads.

Set in 1840s England, AMMONITE is loosely based on British paleontologist Mary Anning (played by Kate Winslet) and her relationship with geologist Charlotte Murchison (played by Saoirse Ronan). Mary is a poor fossil hunter living with her ailing mother near the Southern coastline, where she spends her days searching for fossils. Her life is turned upside down when she meets Roderick Murchison, who entrusts her to look after Charlotte, his wife. The last thing Mary wants to do is babysit this man's wife, but she needs the money and takes the offer.

To make a long story short, Mary and Charlotte become lovers. Remember, the setting is in the 1800s, so it doesn't have a happy ending.

AMMONITE is only available on MOD (Manufactured-on-Demand) DVD and Blu-ray. I don't know about the DVD, but the Blu-ray only has one extra, "The Making of Ammonite," and it's only 5 minutes. The film is also available on Digital.



Final Thoughts

At first glance, AMMONITE looks like the kind of movie the critics would be drooling over. It's has a historical setting, a LGBTQ theme, and stars award-winning actresses. So, in other words, it's a movie I probably would have never watched if I hadn't received a screener.

There are two ways to watch this film - view it for what it is or nitpick the hell out of it for all the historical inaccuracies.

There's no proof of the real Mary Anning's sexuality. Yes, she never married. Yes, she had a friendship with the real Charlotte Murchison. Do these two facts make her a lesbian? According to historians, there's no evidence to prove they were nothing more than friends. The film's director/writer, Francis Lee, has a different opinion. He said on Twitter, "After seeing queer history be routinely 'straightened' throughout culture, and given a historical figure where there is no evidence whatsoever of a heterosexual relationship, is it not permissible to view that person within another context?"

If you take the historical aspects away from the film, then you might like it. However, there are many issues with the storytelling. For starters, it's dull as dishwater. No, I'm not referring to the dialogue. For whatever reason, Francis Lee decided his film doesn't need meaningful conversations between the characters, just long silent pauses.

While the film itself received mixed reviews, critics seemed to love Kate Winslet, and I couldn't disagree more. She gave an emotionless performance, except for the graphic sex scenes with Saorise Ronan. While these actresses are lovely, they have zero chemistry together.

Overall, AMMONITE is a long-drawn-out romantic drama with questionable writing and directing. Instead of focusing on Mary Anning's fictional love life, the director should have told the story about her contribution to science. It's far from being the worst movie from 2020, but I wouldn't recommend it to anyone.




Tuesday, February 2, 2021

[DVD Review] - Wild Mountain Thyme (2020)


Last Tuesday, I received a press release about the Wild Mountain Thyme, which comes out on DVD today from Universal Pictures Home Entertainment. Despite knowing very little about the film, I went ahead and requested a screener on the sheer fact that the lovely and talented Emily Blunt was in it. Whenever I sign up to review a movie, it doesn't necessarily mean I will get anything. So, to my surprise, I received the DVD three days later, which is the fastest I have ever received a screener.

Tuesday, January 26, 2021

[Blu-ray Review] - Come Play (2020)


Arriving today on Blu-ray and DVD from Universal Pictures Home Entertainment is creepy PG-13 thriller COME PLAY from director/writer Jacob Chase. It's based on the director's short film LARRY (2017). Produced by Amblin Partners, The Picture Company, and Reliance Entertainment, and distributed by Focus Features, the film was scheduled to be released theatrically on July 24, 2020, but was rescheduled to October 30, 2020 because of the COVID-19 pandemic. During its worldwide run in theaters, it managed to bring in over $12 million on a $9 million budget. Yeah, that amount might not sound like much, but considering the world we currently live in, the movie did pretty decent against low odds.

Tuesday, January 12, 2021

[Blu-ray Review] - Love and Monsters (2020)


I spent the early Tuesday morning hours watching the science-fiction romance Love and Monsters (PG-13; 108 minutes), which landed on Blu-ray last week from Paramount Home Entertainment. The film had a wide theatrical release set for February 2021, but because of the COVID-19 pandemic, the studio released it to video on demand and select theaters in October 2020. It received a "Certified Fresh" from Rotten Tomatoes.

Thursday, December 31, 2020

DVD Review - Fatima (2020)


Universal Pictures Home Entertainment sent me a review copy of Fatima (PG-13; 113 minutes) towards the tail end of October, and I didn't have to watch the DVD until recently. Originally, Picturehouse planned on releasing the film to theaters on April 24th, but thanks to the COVID-19 pandemic, the film got canceled. Later, it got a limited release in theaters and went to VOD on August 28th, before landing on DVD on October 27th.