Friday, July 29, 2016

Film Review: Madman (1982)

Madman (Review)
United States/1982
Format Viewed For Review: Amazon Instant
Netflix Streaming: No
Amazon Prime: Yes

"It almost feels like a copy-and-paste of other movies in the genre."

A group of campers are stalked and murdered after awakening an ax-wielding killer...

Is there anything else to say about the plot? No, not really. There are some interesting tidbits here and there, but that's really most of the plot. The story follows a group of generic campers and counselors at a forgettable camp. An urban legend is told about Madman Marz, a man who killed his entire family with an ax. It's said, if you say Madman Marz's name above a whisper, he'll come and get you. Of course, someone yells his name out and the killings begin. I liked the urban legend, the folk song was good, but it really did nothing to differentiate itself from the rest of the slasher herd.

Wednesday, July 27, 2016

Film Review: Flight 7500 (2012)

Flight 7500 (Review)
United States/2012
Format Viewed For Review: VUDU Rental
Netflix Instant: No
Amazon Prime: No

"It falls short quite often, but I was engaged from beginning to end."

When a man dies on Flight 7500 en route to Tokyo, the other passengers encounter a supernatural force in the cabin...

Flight 7500 is a very simple film. The movie has a fairly large set of characters, which I won't bother to name. These characters conveniently have severe relationship issues – all of them are dysfunctional for different reasons, which felt a bit unnatural. Anyway, an enigmatic man flying by his lonesome dies on the plane. The pilots decide not to make an emergency landing and instead opt to store the deceased in first-class – of course, they had to move first-class to economy first. So, the group hit a bit of turbulence, suffer from oxygen loss, then everything goes back to normal – except it really doesn't. People start vanishing, apparitions appear, and a group of passengers try to unravel the mystery. The plot really isn't rich with detail or character. It all leads to a decent but predictable ending. (The last minute or so was very weak, though.)

Monday, July 25, 2016

Film Review: The Vatican Tapes (2015)

The Vatican Tapes (Review)
United States/2015
Format Viewed For Review: Amazon Instant
Netflix Streaming: No
Amazon Prime: Yes

"It offers some unique elements to the possession genre, but it never fully embraces any of its ideas."

After slicing her finger at a birthday party, Angela Holmes (Olivia Taylor Dudley) begins to exhibit symptoms of possession...

The Vatican Tapes is another possession horror film. The film follows Angela, a young woman who is reunited with her father (Dougray Scott) on her birthday. She slices her finger while cutting the cake, which forces her to visit the hospital. Oh! And, this is where we meet Father Lozano (Michael Pena). Anyway, Angela begins to exhibit erratic behavior. Apparently, when you're possessed, you begin to act like a dehydrated teenage girl with bipolar disorder. The plot continues to follow the basics of the possession formula – mental evaluations, strange happenings, and, of course, an exorcism. The ending was certainly interesting and different, but it did feel a bit cheesy.

Friday, July 22, 2016

Film Review: Gozu (2003)

Gozu (Review)
Japan/2003
Format Viewed For Review: Amazon Instant
Netflix Streaming: No
Amazon Prime: Yes

"It's quirky, it's original, and it's entertaining."

Yakuza enforcer Minami (Hideki Sone) is ordered to drive his colleague, Ozaki (Show Aikawa), to a small town to be assassinated. His plans derail when Ozaki mysteriously disappears...

Gozu is an insane film, so I'll try my best to be brief with the story details. The film begins with Ozaki brutally killing a chihuahua he suspects to be a Yakuza killing dog. So, considering Ozaki's questionable sanity, Minami is ordered to drive his Yakuza brother to a small town so he can be killed. Unfortunately, Ozaki vanishes during a stop and Minami is hurled into a tailspin of madness. Minami tries his best to track his brother, but he always finds himself hindered by the enigmatic residents and the ominous atmosphere of the town. Whether it's an innkeeper who sells her breast milk or visions of a man with a cow head, the man can't seem to catch a break. It leads to a surprising ending, too.

Wednesday, July 20, 2016

Film Review: Dementia (2015)

Dementia (Review)
United States/2015
Format Viewed For Review: Netflix Instant
Netflix Streaming: Yes
Amazon Prime: No

"It started off promising, but it slowly crumbled before it reached its weak ending."

George Lockhart (Gene Jones), an elderly war veteran, is forced to live with a peculiar live-in nurse after he's diagnosed with dementia.

Dementia is a horror-drama film with a basic narrative. After defending a bullied child, George has a stroke on his lawn. His estranged son and granddaughter, Shelby (Hassie Harrison), rush to his side. George is diagnosed with dementia and his son begins to look for a nursery home. But, wait! Michelle (Kristina Klebe), a nurse from the hospital, drops by to offer her support. So, she's hired to take care of George. All is well for about a minute, then Michelle's shows her true colors. Unfortunately, it doesn't really pack any surprises because it's very blatant about Michelle's intentions, which means the ending was predictable from the beginning. And, as for the ending, it felt underwhelming. I know it was trying to hide hard, but it felt rather weak.

Monday, July 18, 2016

Film Review: Ip Man 3 (2015)

Ip Man 3 (Review)
China/2015
Format Viewed For Review: Netflix Instant
Netflix Streaming: Yes
Amazon Prime: No

"If you're simply looking for more Donnie Yen/Ip Man action, you'll love this."

Ip Man (Donnie Yen), his wife, and his youngest son continue to live a peaceful life in Hong Kong until a foreigner arrives with a few plans and some violent methods.

Ip Man 3 is more of the same from the series. So, of course, the film follows Ip Man. His son's school runs into trouble when a foreigner, Frank (Mike Tyson), tries to take over the property. The principal refuses to sell the school, so Frank commands his underlings to take it by any means necessary. Being the neighborhood hero he is, Ip Man decides to lend a helping hand. The story also follows Cheung Tin-chi (Zhang Jin), a rickshaw puller looking to start his own martial arts school. Since it essentially tries to balance two stories, the plot can be a bit underwhelming. There are some things that are very effective, then there are those elements that feel sloppy. It leads to a great final fight, though, and a good ending.

Friday, July 15, 2016

Film Review: Southbound (2015)

Southbound (Review)
United States/2015
Format Viewed For Review: Microsoft Movies & TV
Netflix Streaming: No
Amazon Prime: Yes

"...each story initially captured my attention, but it always went south."

Five interlinking tales following travelers on a desolate road, surrounded by nothing but dirt and their darkest secrets...

Southbound is a horror anthology. I won't go into detail for each story because that would create a long review and I'd rather not spoil them, so I'll just give you the gist. The Way Out follows Mitch and Jack as they speed down a desolate road, running from bizarre floating creatures. Siren follows a Sadie, Ava, and Kim – who happen to be part of a band. Their car breaks down on the way to a show and they end up in the clutches of an enigmatic couple. The Accident follows Lucas, who runs over a young woman. He calls 911 and he's given peculiar instructions to save the woman. Jailbreak follows Danny as he attempts to find and save his sister from a group of demons. (Monsters? Werewolves? I don't know.) Finally, the film comes full circle with The Way In. The final story, like the rest, does not leave an impression. In fact, I would say it was fairly predictable.

Wednesday, July 13, 2016

Film Review: Pound of Flesh (2015)

Pound of Flesh (Review)
Canada/2015
Format Viewed For Review: Netflix Instant
Netflix Streaming: Yes
Amazon Prime: No

"It has some severe problems as well as some minor issues, but it does manage to entertain throughout most of its runtime."

In Manila, Philippines, Deacon (Jean-Claude Van Damme) awakens in a bathtub full of ice with his kidney missing... and he wants it back.

Pound of Flesh is an interesting film. I don't know if it meets the B-movie criteria, but it certainly has some cheese sprinkled throughout. The story follows Deacon, your clich̩ former special ops super killer. After saving a woman from a violent man and drinking with her at a club, Deacon awakens in a bathtub full of ice without his kidney Рahh, yes, the classic 'kidney theft' story. The thieves were even nice enough to leave some medication and money for his trouble. Unfortunately for them, Deacon needs that kidney for his dying niece. So, he goes out there and beats the crap out of everyone until he finds out who took his kidney. That's your story. Sure, there are other characters and there are some interesting scenes, but there really isn't much to discuss here. The ending was... It was okay, I guess, but it was a bit strange.

Monday, July 11, 2016

Film Review: San Andreas (2015)

San Andreas (Review)
United States/2015
Format Viewed For Review: HBO Now
Netflix Streaming: No
Amazon Prime: No

"This is a thrilling disaster movie, even when some of its pieces aren't working."

When a devastating earthquake strikes in the San Andreas Fault, Raymond "Ray" Gaines (Dwayne Johnson) of the Los Angeles Department Air Rescue races to save his loved ones.

In terms of narrative, San Andreas is your run-of-the-mill disaster movie. Ray is in the middle of a divorce from his estranged wife, Emma (Carla Gugino). Their daughter, Blake (Alexandra Daddario), is also in San Francisco for a trip with her father. Ray has to delay said trip when an earthquake hits Hoover Dam and he's called into work. Unfortunately, that quake was just the beginning. And so, Ray's quest to save his family begins, causing him to travel from Los Angeles to San Francisco. Oh, and Dr. Hayes (Paul Giamatti) runs around warning everyone. That's your plot, really. It all leads to a predictable ending. It wasn't horrible, but it could have been better.

Friday, July 8, 2016

Film Review: Get Hard (2015)

Get Hard (Review)
United States/2015
Format Viewed For Review: HBO Now
Netflix Streaming: No
Amazon Prime: No

"It occasionally gets stale and repetitive, especially towards the generic ending, but I left entertained."

James King (Will Ferrell), a wealthy hedge fund manager, recruits his car washer, Darnell (Kevin Hart), to help him transition from his rich life to prison life when he's convicted of fraud and embezzlement.

There isn't much to say about Get Hard in terms of plot. It's a buddy comedy that follows James and Darnell. James is an extremely wealthy and ignorant man who is convicted of several crimes and sentenced to 10 years in a maximum security prison. Darnell is a car washer who hopes to buy a new house and take his family out of a bad neighborhood. So, James, in his ignorance, assumes Darnell is an ex-convict due to the color of his skin and offers to pay him for his assistance. Darnell is happy to accept. It doesn't really experiment much with the formula and it is very predictable by the end. I mean, you can see the ending from the beginning. Still, the story wasn't exactly bad.

Wednesday, July 6, 2016

Film Review: Clown (2014)

Clown (Review)
United States/Canada/2014
Format Viewed For Review: VUDU Rental
Netflix Streaming: No
Amazon Prime: No

"...if you're looking to get out of the haunted house, you should check this one out."

When a clown doesn't show up to his son's birthday party, Kent McCoy (Andy Powers) dresses himself in an old clown costume, which he has trouble removing afterward...

Clown is an interesting horror film. The story follows the McCoy family: Kent, a loving father and real estate agent, Meg (Laura Allen), the loving wife, and their son, Jack. At his birthday party, Jack anxiously waits for the clown – he doesn't show up. So, Kent takes a clown costume he finds in the basement of a house he's selling and tosses it on. All is well until he wakes up the next morning and finds he can't remove the costume. Things get worse when he discovers the costume's supposed origins: demon hair and skin. Oh, and, yeah, things continue to get worse as Kent finds himself with a sudden hunger for children. It all leads to a fairly decent ending.

Friday, July 1, 2016

Film Review: The House on Sorority Row (1983)

The House on Sorority Row (Review)
United States/1983
Format Viewed For Review: Amazon Prime
Netflix Streaming: No
Amazon Prime: Yes

"...a film worth watching for slasher fans."

On the day of their graduation party, a group of sorority sisters pull a prank on their house mother, Mrs. Slater, which leads to unexpected mayhem...

The House on Sorority Row is a by-the-books slasher. The film follows seven sorority sisters. Tired of the strict rules, these young women pull an "innocent" prank on their house mother, Mrs. Slater. The prank, however, leaves Slater dead. So, the girls hide the body in a filthy pool and reluctantly proceed with their party. All is well until the sisters start to go missing. One-by-one, the girls suffer violent deaths with Mrs. Slater's handy walking stick. But, is Mrs. Slater responsible? You'll have to watch the movie to find out, but you can probably guess the correct answer. Regardless, it leads to a great final act and a decent ending.