Archive | TV & Movies

Flames

9 Movie Review

Posted on September 14, 2009 by

When I went out to see one of this weekend’s newest box office’s offerings “9”, I knew a scarce few details about it. I knew from the trailers it was CG animated, it has robots covered in burlap bags, I knew it had something to do with a post-apocalyptic setting, I knew that the #1 fan of darkness and the macabre himself Tim Burton produced it and I knew it carried a PG-13 rating. With these details I was eager to see it, and to make sure I was covering more bases since I planned to review this flick, I brought along my fourteen year old daughter with me to get her thoughts and insights. I assumed the film might have been more aimed at an audience more her age level than my own. To a point I was right on in my assumption, but in others points I was way off.

Doing some homework after paying 9 a visit, I’ve since learned that it was based off of an 11 minute silent short from new director Shane Acker as his thesis project from his grad school days at UCLA. The short film gave the world a 3-D setting, by that I mean Dark, Desolate & Destroyed.

Review by Steven Dawes

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Jason Thorson

Halloween 2 Movie Review

Posted on August 31, 2009 by

My experience watching Rob Zombie’s Halloween 2 was similar to how I imagine it must have been when George Foreman discovered he was as adept at selling grills as he was putting people to sleep with his fists. In other words, it was not what I expected. In fact I expected to hate it. I was so disgusted with Zombie’s unfortunate stab at remaking, re-imagining, and regurgitating John Carpenter’s 1978 seminal slasher that for a while I became the elderly curmudgeon of horror movie journalism. I may have even yelled at some kids to stay the hell off my lawn.

However, this time it wasn’t long before I came to the slightly confusing realization that I wasn’t hating this dreaded sequel, an emotion I felt specifically entitled to given the majority of films I’ve suffered through lately, but rather I was riveted by Rob Zombie’s brutal, gritty, and most importantly, original chapter in one of horror’s most important and longest running series.

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Flames

District 9 Mini-Review

Posted on August 22, 2009 by

Rocky Joe Shields dives in to District 9 for Flames Rising.

Based on the short film Alive in Joburg, District 9 is more than just a mere science fiction summer action movie. Director Neill Blomkamp has created an exciting new world; the basis for this world is an alien-landing. Called “prawns,” the aliens landed 20 years ago over the South African city of Johannesburg. In District 9, we learn what has transpired over the next 20 years through interviews filmed in a documentary style. The people of Johannesburg have had enough, and want the aliens out of their city.

The movie begins with geeky bureaucrat Wikus van der Merwe, played wonderfully by newcomer Sharlto Copley, who has been assigned the task of getting the aliens to leave for District 10. Unfortunately, when Wikus comes into contact with an alien cylinder and sprays himself with the fluid inside, his DNA mutates, then turns him into one of the alien prawns.

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Bertrand

Primer Movie Review

Posted on August 11, 2009 by

Be it in the real world or the fiction realm there aren’t that many themes that manage to give me the creeps: it’s not that I am a particularly brave (nor picky) individual, it’s more that I am rather rational and find it difficult to empathize with other people’s irrational feelings: say Carpenter, for example, if immensely enjoyable, isn’t going to give me cold sweats. Of course, there are exceptions like social, psychedelic or metaphysical horror, especially subjects that fiddle with the notion of paradox.

I grabbed Primer in the room of my friend during an afternoon of boredom. After reading the phrase “Donnie Darko for Grown Ups” on the DVD cover, I slipped it in the DVD player. Donnie Darko has always been a mystery for me, as my opinion has conflicted with the opinion of most of my friends.

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Jason Thorson

Thicker than Water: The Vampire Diaries Part 1 Review

Posted on July 27, 2009 by

Life-hating Goth girl Lara Baxter just turned 16. Her birthday party mojo never materializes after her more popular sister, Helen, steals her thunder. Shunned by her secret crush and neglected by her own mother, Lara retreats to the sanctuary of her altar to Ann Rice where she casts a spell on Helen. The next day Helen wakes up bleeding profusely from her nose and dies a short time later.

Just as the family begins to mourn, Helen comes back from the morgue delirious and with an insatiable thirst for blood. Older brother Raymond, a cross between Re-Animator’s Dr. Herbert West and Milwaukee’s own Jeff Dahmer, performs some tests on Helen’s blood in his bedroom/laboratory and determines that she’s a vampire.

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Jason Thorson

Cheerbleeders Movie Review

Posted on June 9, 2009 by

Cheerbleeders is a short horror film by Peter Podgursky, the proud owner of a MFA in Film Production from USC. In fact, these eleven minutes of cinematic fun comprised his thesis project and it has since made the rounds at several horror film fests winning best short at the Phoenix Fear Film festival 2008.

Here’s the dirt: Best friends, Penny and Devon (Laurel Vail and Wyatt Fenner), are high school misfits in Blackfoot, Idaho – a tiny and isolated burg. When Penny brings an ancient urn to class, it accidentally spills its black slimy contents on Devon. This black sludge is essentially a gnarly love potion, turning him into…gasp…the most popular kid at school! Drunk with power, Devon holds sway over everyone, including the cheerleading squad, which he commands to massacre the football team, midgame. Can Penny stop the insidious evil known as unrestrained adolescent popularity?

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Jason Thorson

Raimi Returns: Drag Me to Hell Review

Posted on June 5, 2009 by

Not too long ago I would’ve decorated my kitchen with Evil Dead wallpaper had such a product been available. I was fully prepared to name my first born child Ash and the thought of having a chainsaw-enhanced appendage didn’t seem all that bad to me.

Then Sam Raimi made three underwhelming Spiderman movies and I managed to get married. These events ushered in a new, more restrained era in my life and I agreed to relinquish both the home decorating and child naming duties. I also grew bored with Sam Raimi as a filmmaker. I got through it mainly by buying approximately 17 versions of each Evil Dead movie on VHS, DVD, and Blu-ray. It’s obvious that those in the Home Video racket understand there are suckers out there like me, so why not release these movies incessantly and with slightly different packaging? I’ll buy them. But I digress.

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Flames

Drag Me To Hell Movie Review

Posted on May 29, 2009 by

Always treat others how you like to be treated, or else you will get a sinister Gypsy curse placed upon you. Within 3 days your life turns to hell, and then you go to there.

The movie tells the story of Christine (Lohman), a young loan officer who is struggling to get a promotion at her bank. She faces stiff competition from Stu (Reggie Lee), a conniving trainee who wants the same assistant manager position Christine wants. When the opportunity comes to make a decision that will help her career, she decides to foreclose on Mrs. Ganush’s house. Mrs. Ganush (Lorna Raver) believes Christine has shamed her by refusing to help her keep her home, and stalks Christine to her car. After an over the top fight scene involving car crashes, a fist fight involving office equipment, and a vicious gumming at the hands of Mrs. Ganush (you read that right), she places a curse upon Christine, calling on the Lamia to exact her revenge.

Review by John D. Kennedy

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Monica Valentinelli

Angel Of Death Brings Blood to Your Door at Crackle.com

Posted on March 18, 2009 by

It’s no secret I’m a fan of the Hellboy franchise, so when I found out that Doug Jones (Abe Sapien) was acting in a new series called Angel Of Death, I was pretty excited about it. Then I found out that the series is not your full-length, standard fare — they’re webisodes offered for free on www.crackle.com, a venture by entertainment giant Sony.

Created by comic industry veteran Ed Brubaker, Angel Of Death is a series starring Zoe Bell. Zoe plays a character named “Eve,” a brutal assassin who starts off the series with very little humanity. The first episode introduces us to her deadly world — a world so messed up that she accidentally kills a little girl. The series explores Zoe’s character in full detail, to explore whether or not she’s truly an assassin without a conscious. Instead of following orders from her boss “aka lover” Graham, she’s gone renegade to do the bidding of a very unhappy ghost. Does her victim haunt her? Or did the knife that was stuck in Zoe’s brain have some kind of an effect on her?

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Flames

Ergo Proxy Anime Review

Posted on March 18, 2009 by

Anime has come a long way since Astroboy and Voltron, as is evidenced by even the merest glimpse of Ergo Proxy. This visual delight, though perhaps not the latest, is – in this reviewer’s opinion – one of the greatest anime series to come out in recent history.

Delightfully dark, Ergo Proxy revolves around two main characters: Re-l Mayer and Vincent Law. Re-l, privileged Citizen and Security Bureau member of the post-apocalyptic eden-dome of Romdo, becomes rapidly obsessed with a bizarre series of murders committed by AutoReiv androids.

Review by Aly Condon

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Jason Thorson

Watchmen Movie Review

Posted on March 11, 2009 by

In 1986-87 Alan Moore and Dave Gibbons created a twelve part comic book series called Watchmen that was released by DC Comics. The series garnered immediate critical praise and sales success. These twelve issues were quickly reprinted together and released as the first graphic novel. Much like the super heroes by which it was inspired, Watchmen slammed through the boundaries of what comic books were thought to be, redefining the form and permanently changing the ambitions of the comic book industry.

After years of starts and stops Watchmen has finally found its way to the big screen. Directed by Zack Snyder (300, Dawn of the Dead remake) and starring Malin Akerman, Billy Crudup, Jackie Earle Haley, and Patrick Wilson, the film version adheres to the book much more closely than I thought possible. And as crazy as this may sound, I’m not convinced that’s an entirely good thing.

Review by Jason Thorson

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Jason Thorson

Diary of the Dead Movie Review

Posted on March 2, 2009 by

George Romero’s Diary of the Dead (2007) is a lot like Jell-o to my cinematic palette; that’s to say there’s always room for more zombie flicks from the man who invented them.

Diary tells the tale of a group of film students and their professor from the University of Pittsburg as they shoot a “mummy” movie in rural Pennsylvania. Meanwhile, a zombie plague breaks out, quickly spreading around the world. The cadre of survivors packs up their film equipment and hits the road in search of sanctuary from the pending apocalypse. They soon turn their equipment toward the unfolding catastrophe, documenting it on the fly and posting it online.

Review by Jason Thorson

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Billzilla

Cthulhu Goes to the Movies

Posted on February 24, 2009 by

Once in a while a movie comes along so epic, so terrifying, that its review requires two authors. Call of Cthulhu (2005) is just such a movie. Produced by the H. P. Lovecraft Historical Society, this modern silent film treatment of the classic Lovecraft tale is remarkably effective: creepy but not gory, atmospheric but well-paced. The film is in black and white “Mythoscope,” meaning it’s artificially aged so as to seem vintage, and the soundtrack may be played in “Mythophone”, so that the music seems aged to match the film. Bill and Tracy offer their views below; Bill is a longtime Lovecraft aficionado, while Tracy prefers monsters of the Universal or Japanese vintage.

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Jason Thorson

Friday the 13th (2009) Movie Review

Posted on February 16, 2009 by

Friday the 13th opens with a flashback to Crystal Lake in 1980 as Alice beheads Pamela Voorhees with a machete. Then we’re introduced to a cadre of modern day horn dogs as they trek through the deep woods somewhere near the now abandoned Camp Crystal Lake. The coordinates of their marijuana crop have been programmed into their GPS unit, but they can’t seem to find anything. Sensing they’re close they decide to make camp and resume searching come morning. Hot casual sex ensues as well as some pot smoking followed by a cavalcade of brutal butchering courtesy of Jason Voorhees. And that’s just the prologue, ladies and gentlemen.

Review by Jason Thorson

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Jason Thorson

Hurts so Good: A Friday the 13th Retrospective Part 2

Posted on February 11, 2009 by

Hurts so Good: A Friday the 13th Retrospective Part 1 wrapped up with Friday the 13th Part VI: Jason Lives. Be sure to check out Retrospective Part 1 before continuing here.

There are so many Friday the 13th movies, even this retrospective gets a sequel. So let’s continue with our bloody stalk down memory lane as we try to answer the question: Despite these movies being so bad, why do I and millions of others love them?

Jason Thorson

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Jason Thorson

Hurts so Good: A Friday the 13th Retrospective Part 1

Posted on February 8, 2009 by

On February 13th, 2009 a new installment of horror cinema’s most prolific series opens, unlocking Camp Crystal Lake and unleashing Jason Voorhees on yet another generation of horror fans. By way of Michael Bay and Platinum Dunes, Marcus Nispel’s (Texas Chainsaw Massacre remake 2003) Friday the 13th re-imagining/remake will mark the twelfth time in the last 29 years that we’ve been given the opportunity to spend an hour and a half at Camp blood.

The Friday the 13th films are guilty pleasures one and all. They’ve contributed as much to the global pop cultural make up as any other film or film series made. The iconography in these movies is among the most recognizable, comparable to The Wizard of Oz and Star Wars. The hockey mask-wearing, machete-wielding maniac is now considered cliché. Harry Manfredini’s musical score has been imitated arguably more than any other. And we all know what happens to those morally bankrupt youngsters who have sex, do drugs, and decide the investigate strange noises – rules that have become permanent fixtures in the horror genre.

Jason Thorson

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Flames

Last House on the Left Movie Review

Posted on January 28, 2009 by

Last house on the Left is director’s Wes Craven’s (Nightmare on Elm Street, Scream) first movie. It’s a low budget exploitation movie about two teenagers that head to the big city to attend a BloodLust concert. On the way they get kidnapped by a gang of escaped convicts that torture and rape them.Then the movie takes a turn into revenge tale territory where bad guys get their comeuppance. I thought the movie was OK, certainly not the masterpiece I expected to see, judging from the hype surrounding it. The plot is pretty standard fare, the characters rarely have any kind of motive or reasoning behind their actions and there are plot holes in most of the film.

Review by George Cotronis

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Jason Thorson

Quarantine Movie Review

Posted on October 14, 2008 by

It’s Halloween season and until this weekend the movie theatres had offered horror fans zero tricks or treats. On October 10th director John Erick Dowdle’s Quarantine became this season’s first theatrically released genre movie and by default it vaulted to the top of my must-see list.

Quarantine, the American remake of last year’s well-received Spanish genre offering, [REC], opens with TV reporter Angela Vidal (Jennifer Carpenter) and her cameraman Scott (Steve Harris) filming an episode of their soft news program in which they profile the firemen at a Los Angeles fire station.

Review by Jason Thorson

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Monica Valentinelli

The Beckoning Movie Review

Posted on August 12, 2008 by

Filmed on location in gorgeous Marin County, California, The Beckoning is an independent horror film based on the legend of Sir Francis Drake. In 1579, Sir Drake landed in California, claiming the land as “Nova Albion” or “New White.” The story of the film is a look at a legend surrounding this historical figure; Drake’s burning of a Native American woman at the stake for setting a pox upon Natives and English alike.

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Monica Valentinelli

Hellboy II: the Golden Army Movie Review

Posted on August 7, 2008 by

As a fan of Big Red, I was eagerly anticipating seeing this sequel to Hellboy after watching the Hellboy and the Golden Army trailer and hearing about Guillermo del Toro’s involvement with the film. Impressed with del Toro’s work on Pan’s Labyrinth and Christopher Golden‘s novelization of Hellboy with artist Mike Mignola, I went into the movie with certain expectations.

Like other films and content within the Hellboy franchise–you do not need to be familiar with the characters or the setting to watch this film.

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11 Tales of Ghostly Horror

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