Tuesday, October 30, 2018

Let's Not Meet (2018) Movie Review


Very ambitious attempt from a small studio, Shady Dawn Pictures, and Director Ryan Callaway. 'Let's Not Meet' starts off as a typical young people go camping and end up fighting for survival film. Turns with a few twists into something with depth and a story to tell. Aya is a loner pizza delivery girl (how come the fat guy who delivers my pizza doesn't look like this!) that gets thrown in with the girls that bullied her in high school to fight the creepy thing in the woods. Early money says they're all dead by dawn!


Several things have this movie punching above its weight class. First is the cinematography provided by Marcel Brown. Most low budget films (and some big ones) fall into making the screen too dark for night time shots. Visuals are crisp and well lit here. Watch 'Everly' (2014) for an example of a horribly shot movie. Second is CFX Composite Effects providing a badass monster. Most low budget movies should do everything possible to not really show the monster. Third, there is a number of wonderful scenes. One that stands out the most is Aya Skyping her niece. These scenes show we will see many more movies from Callaway. Peter Jackson started out with 'Bad Taste' (1987) and James Cameron started out with 'Piranha 2' (1981). Callaway started out with Let's Not Meet!


One thing that drags the story down is 'mansplaining' everything, like George Lucas needing to dive deeper into Midi-Chlorians. No one cares George! By trying to put everything on a silver platter for the viewer not only does it slow the film down to a crawl multiple times but makes the holes even bigger. When it sticks to being a creepy thing in the woods, it's great. But through trying to explain the creepiness, it just kills the pace, not to mention weakens the reveal. It's a visual medium, show the viewer the story. If I wanted words I'd read a book!

YouTube Let's Not Meet Trailer

Another is by having too many characters, most seem cardboard, just like their deaths. Anytime someone shows a little emotion or starts having fun, they provide a huge spark for the movie. The overly somber tone leaves one praying for a girl to freak out, run off naked through the woods to her over-the-top bloody death. Good actors like Donald Sutherland, Anthony Hopkins, or Mel Gibson can read the telephone book and be interesting. Most actors in low budget movies aren't quite on this level. Breanna Engle gives a great performance with the somber tone working well for her character Aya. Along with Carmine Giordano who plays man-child Nate, gives the movie most of its spark. Mr. Callaway needed to find ways to make give the other characters personalities. It's a great seventy-minute movie, unfortunately, it's longer than that.....


Wednesday, October 24, 2018

Who's Watching Oliver? (2017) Movie Review



A wonderfully demented look at a mother and son's special relationship. Oliver has 99 problems and Mama is the cause of all of them! Even though Oliver is halfway around the world from Mama, she holds an ironclad grip over his mental stability. When Mama is horny, no one is safe!


It would be easy to lump this film in with Psycho (1960). Try and make a connection as an updated version for this generation. But that would be a disservice to everyone involved in making this movie. Director Richie Moore does nothing to copy or emulate Alfred Hitchcock's work. The story bares no resemblance, except for a mentally unstable man who loves his mother. The film isn't suspenseful or trying to make audience members jump out of their seats. Who's Watching Oliver is just telling the story of a horrific tale. The horror are the events unfolding on the screen.

YouTube Who's Watching Oliver (2017) Trailer

Mr. Moore doesn't leave one boring second on the screen. The story unfolds quickly. The plot set up and character development are smoothly rolled out. Russell Geoffrey Banks as Oliver is uneasy to watch. But that is the point, an awkward, loner, who has obvious mental development issues, makes most people uncomfortable. Mr. Banks plays the character very well, not too much (Never go full retard!), and is unrecognizable in this role. Sara Malakul Lane plays the damaged Sophia, the girl who disparately needs to seek anyone to save her from the life she's trapped in.


This film deserves better ratings, IMDB 5.6/10. Beware of gratuitous nudity and sexual content. It goes to some sexually deprived places. They did use many buckets of blood without ever wandering into grindhouse territory. I would not recommend watching this with your kids or going upstairs to watch it with your mom. Shut the curtains tight, make sure the door is locked, and put on the headphones. Guaranteed to make you feel funny, kinda like climbing the rope in gym class.......




Sunday, September 30, 2018

Mandy (2018) Movie Review



Red lives in the middle of nowhere with his bookworm girlfriend, the perfect place for a little mayhem. A chance encounter on a dirt road causes a cult leader to unleash the spawns of hell on the unsuspecting couple. Just for an opportunity to drop acid with Reds girlfriend. Normally this would be a very short movie but Red isn't just a country bumpkin lumberjack. Oh no, he's secretly a billy-bad-ass. Evil hellions don't stand a chance!


It's so cliche that critics love this movie. Actors starring blankly off into the abyss, full frontal flaccid male nudity, weird lighting, low quality grainy film, symbolism driven flashbacks that are open to interpretation, a painfully slow story that makes little sense, which runs for an hour longer than it should, all the things critics love but have nothing to do with enjoyable entertainment for the rest of us.


YouTube Mandy Trailer

One the best things about this movie is Cage stays away from playing an over the top parody of himself for most of the film. The character of Red never really develops, he gets introduced as a simple lumberjack. Then after they take his girl, he goes to an old friend to get his crossbow. Which is never explained. It's not like its a fully automatic assault rifle with a rocket launcher that you have to hide from the government, girlfriend, and mother. Even weirder his friend, after learning a cult with demon spawned bikers from hell for muscle, killed Reds girlfriend, does nothing. But Red goes home and forges a wicked battleax in only a couple hours, should have at least taken a couple weeks, good thing he has a mold laying around for it, and just so it looks cool for his revenge-vigilante-murder spree, he gives it a chrome finish. When he starts taking demons and cult member out one by one he also is suddenly an expert in close quarters hand to hand combat.


This movie is bad, boring and tedious. All the monsters/demons/hell spawns stay in the dark with only their outlines visible. Which the outlines make no sense or convey little to no evil or terror. The characters, for the most part, are just there. The viewer feels nothing during the initial attack. No attachment either way for anyone. The only feeling I had was relief when the credit finally started rolling. The best thing about this movie is Red's wicked cool retro Tiger jersey!



Sunday, September 16, 2018

Puppet Master: The Littlest Reich (2018) Movie Review


Another Puppet Master movie dropped this year. If you're keeping count at home that is a total of 13 PM movies. Finding out it was released made me realize how much I miss the bonus features on dvds or end content on VHS tapes. There was a time I couldn't wait for the next Full Moon movie to come out. VideoZone always had me begging for more. It was cool to see the 'making of' and interviews with the cast. With so many ways to reach fans today, nothing can really replace the ease of pushing out all that extra content on the same DVD as the movie.


Charles Band has created some good horror series under Full Moon for over thirty years. The creative artist being able to hold onto the rights of their creation has led to long-running franchises. Under the studio system, someone was lucky to hold on to their creation for one movie. The only way to get a movie made was to give up the rights. Sam Peckinpah ('Wild Bunch 1969', 'Straw Dogs 1971', 'The Getaway 1972') had a long history of having his movies taken away in post-production, getting an edit that audiences couldn't follow. Friday the 13th series quickly became under the control of someone who rapidly shifted to cheap gimmicks and into a TV series that made no sense. The Xtro movie the writer/director was able to keep control of the name but not the story. There has been far to many movies, fans want to see, but rights issues make it improbable. The Saw Series quickly became the high grossing horror franchise of all time due to having the person who created it, retaining control.

YouTube Puppet Master 2018 Trailer

Full Moon movies tend to stick to a common formula that works well for horror films, babes, boobs, blood and beasts without taking themselves to seriously. Without ever getting too crazy in any one area. Not 'Dead Alive' (1993) gory, not 'Slave Girls Beyond Infinity' (1987) boobies, and not overusing the big-bad. With the Muppet Master series, they rotate in different puppets each movie. Every fan has his favorite. Not only does this allow them to show off new puppets but leaves fans wanting to see the next movie to see old crowd pleasers but also what devilish new creations will be rolled out next.


Unfortunately, Full Moon movies always tend to have slow spots. The first ten minutes is painfully slow. There is nothing interesting. The dialog, especially between father and son, falls completely flat. These early minutes have a dated feel to them. But, the latest installment of the long-running series quickly picks up when Ashley the girl next door (Jenny Pellicer) shows up and doesn't slow back down. Scream Queen Barbara Crampton had a small role in the first one returns for a bigger part here. Very cool how after thirty years they can bring back one of the original actors. Also, starring is Michael Pare, who was incredible in some early 80's cult movies, 'Streets of Fire' (1984) is a must see. This newest installment does a good job of standing on its own. So if you haven't seen any of the others or have missed a few it's not a big deal. It's a puppet gone wild, kind of movie.


Tuesday, August 28, 2018

Machine Gun Baby (2018) Movie Review


A throwback to a time before the rise of the current PC culture. Everything in this movie should be banned. The rape jokes, abortion jokes, Cosby jokes, gun culture glorification, obscene depraved and corrupt all of it, male-dominated chauvinistic frat boy workplace quackery, it should all be banned! The Director of Public Prosecutions needs to reform and place this piece of trash on the Video Nasty list. Jesse Helms needs to rise from the dead to condemn this film. The Catholic church needs to save the souls of every deprived pervert that even thinks about watching this gross monstrosity. There is something seriously wrong with the low life vermin that would find even the littlest enjoyment out of all the blood, guts, dark humor, and gratuitous nudity.


Ok, now that is out of the way. This is an awesome grindhouse movie (just don't watch it with your mother)! A beautifully told story about a poor Oildale debutante with the unfortunate condition of being nine months late for her meeting with Aunt Flow. The kindly Dr. Spurlock (D.T. Carney) realizes she needs the help, that only he can provide. With patronage from some generous benefactors (Brinke Stevens and George the Giant), looking for some sweet sweet baby steaks. And a very vivacious, commando going (at least in my mind), secretary (Erica Rey), that is a me-too hashtag waiting to happen. Along with an all-sleaze cast of deplorables with odds-on, they all end up in hell or shot by pro-lifers.

This movie reminds me of one of my favorite movie that I watched repeatedly in the early 90's called Terror Within (1989). Where they have to abort a baby to save mom, but the baby ain't going down like a little punk. The babes, bloody mayhem and multiple stolen scenes from Aliens (1979) makes this movie worth watching. Starring George Kennedy and Andrew Stevens, wonder if there's any relations to Brinke? It had an enough of a cult following it got a sequel Terror Within 2 (1991) that had R. Lee Ermey and Stella Stevens in it. If they are related, this ramble would make a lot more sense.

It's always fun to see Scream Queens or character actors show up in new movies. Quentin Tarantino has resurrected many careers from the dead. My favorite one recently was E.G. (Elizabeth) Daily in Rob Zombie's 31 (2016) also had Meg Foster. Ms. Daily was seemingly in every mid 80's movie, Valley Girl (1983), Streets of Fire (1984), Pee-wee's Big Adventure (1985), Better off Dead (1985) and then she kind of disappeared into voice work. But Brinke never disappeared, she has been steadily making movies (writing, directing, producing, and acting) since screaming onto the screen in the 80's. The number of list of movies is too long to list here. If you don't know who Brinke Stevens is, I'm done talking to you. She also has a ton of movies coming out this year and next.


YouTube Machine Gun Baby Trailer

Waiting for a link to the Trailer, I ended up reading another review. A HORROR movie reviewer for a HORROR dedicated website criticized a low-budget, grindhouse, short for its production values, acting, and audio! Let me repeat that last part, 'criticized a low-budget, grindhouse, short for its production values, acting, and audio!'.... Even calling out Brinke Stevens acting? Really, let's say it one more time, 'criticized a low-budget, grindhouse, short for its production values, acting, and audio!' I'm all for ripping a movie to shreds, the greater the budget the more I trash 'em! My reviews aren't great, a fifth grader could write a more comprehensive review. And I've seen the show, a fifth grader is smarter than me. But this Roger Ebert wannabe needs to go back to running his Titanic (1997) fan page from his mommy's basement. If I did rate movies like the webmaster wants me to do, I would give this low-budget, grindhouse, short a 10 out of 10!


YouTube Behind the Scenes of Machine Gun Baby

The worst thing about this movie is there isn't really a tagline. Maybe 'Don't worry, it's just a baby, with an NRA membership'. Or say it out loud, 'Don't worry, it's just a wee tiny baby (in a Fat Bastard voice)....... With an NRA membership (Charlton Heston voice)'! If anyone thinks of something better add it to the comments below.

Premiere Tickets and presale DVD link

 Picture of director Rickey Bird, trying to get in touch with his character, and find its motivation.

Monday, August 13, 2018

Patient Zero (2018) Movie Review


The long-awaited movie has finally seen the light of day, and no, I'm not talking about Machine Gun Baby (2018). Patient Zero had been whispered and dangled about for far too long. Being on 2013's Blacklist for best scripts not made. Finished filming in early 2015, only to collect dust while the release date had been pushed back to August 14th, 2018.


A great line from Boondock Saints (1999) Willem Dafoe's character Paul Smecker "Television. Television is the explanation for this - you see this in bad television. Little assault guys creeping through the vents, coming in through the ceiling - that James Bond shit never happens in real life!". Unfortunately, there are far too many moments in this movie that screams 'bad television'. Survive the Zombie Apocalypse where everyone else only has the clothes on their backs, cramped on cots in a missile silo, but the main charter somehow has bought a couple cases of rare wine and his vinyl record collection. Bad TV always has that scene towards the end where the one person sacrifices themselves for no reason, 'Oh great, we made it to the six-inch thick steel door, you guys go on. I'll stay here to hold off the huge horde of infected, which they will rip through me in ten seconds because obviously, we can't have everyone survive!'


This is a B-movie, with an A-list supporting cast, and a tv actor cast in the lead role. Maybe that's unfair to Matt Smith, who isn't bad in the role of Morgan. But everyone else just shines in this movie. Stanley Tucci is an award-winning actor, who has been in a ton of underappreciated movies, Wild Card (2015) to name one. Both Natalie Dormer and John Bradley of Games of Thrones fame stand out. While GoT is on "tv", it's such an epic show that is so much more than a normal "tv show". Neither one of them comes across as a "television actor". Particularly Natalie, normally when a beautiful actress plays a doctor it's hard to believe. Think Denise Richards in 'The World is Not Enough' (1999).


Patient Zero Trailer YouTube

Another problem is after 'World War Z' (2013) the story told by Patient Zero just doesn't seem like anything new or interesting. My guess is it was placed on the Blacklist before anyone saw WWZ. That's why this was dropped from theatrical release. Studios and streaming services are still trying to quantify movie releases via streaming. The good is they don't get a black eye from releasing a bomb. Also, it's an enjoyable movie to watch and make fun of. It's perfect for a streaming platform that needs decent new content for all us binge watchers with no lives. This movie and 'Bright' (2017) would have died a horrible death at the box office. They both have a place in a world that it takes an hour to find anything new to watch on Netflix.


Sunday, July 8, 2018

Tarnation (2017) Movie Review



A movie can lose it's way, rambling on for eternity till the cast, crew, director, and audience just in one way or another (either the film ending or mass suicide) wants the horror to end (horror as in nails on a chalkboard or mind splitting headaches, not the blood and guts we want to see). Seems like, they only wrote the first twenty or so minutes then winged the rest without regard for anything in the first part of the film. Ozploitation films are awesome in their own retarded redheaded incest baby with extra fingers, Michael Berryman lookalike, short bus kid of the future, kind of way. The director, Daniel Armstrong, coined his own term 'Neo Pulp', which he should spend more time in script development and less time on trying to make 'Neo Pulp' happen.


In all fairness, the first twenty minutes are really good. Evil unicorn, bad-ass celestial virgin, kung fu monks, cute actress getting dumped on, drunken ex-boyfriend damnation party all at a fast clip. Then the brick wall, hear the brakes, tires screeching, loud crash of metal and an explosion. The movie till the end is small skits and random acts, with the cute actress looking like an alcoholic trailer trash housewife who hasn't showered in a week. It really seemed that they were trying to film Daisy Masterman (Oscar) in the most unflattering ways possible. Didn't help she seemed to be taking on and off her push up bra between scenes.


Low budget movies can be great, this one is not. Rule one when working with a minimal budget or less than spectacular special effects, Less is more! Think Jaws (1975) or Terminator (1984) the shark is seldom seen as is Arnold cutting out his eye. Everything is implied and creative angles. This movie is like a bad old slow magician where the audience can tell how the trick is performed. Close up, long shots, with good lighting, doesn't make anything scary. The evil unicorn becomes less scary and more weird as the movie rolls. Bluecifer, the public artwork outside of DIA, is scarier than the unicorn. And the classic 80's toy Boglins is way scarier than the weird ball with eyes that came out of nowhere for one scene.
Bluesifer
Boglin
Apologetically a fan of The Evil Dead (1981) with many Deadesque nods. But these guys learned nothing from watching the Evil Dead. Bruce Campbell and Sam Raimi have talked about the market research they did, finding once the action starts it can't stop. But also the evil/terror/monster has to have rules. In this film, things are just happening randomly, not connected seemingly to anything else. The whole movie is random characters dying and coming back to life. The whole second and third act are sorely missing motivation for the main character, leaving Oscar to do her worst Ash impression.


Tarnation YouTube Trailer

If you happen to be in the dark corners of the interweb, where light is the enemy and lemon parties happen, and you happen to come across 'Tarnation' or aka 'Cabin of the Damned' or 'Die Damonen Sind Los' only watch the first twenty minutes. Mister fast forward button does nothing after this mark.