Tuesday, July 28, 2020

Review – Bornless Ones

This could have been a much better movie. They’ve got some good ideas – particularly the demons that heal physical infirmities – and a few solid scares here and there. But it gets lost under a pile of horror movie clich├ęs and other bad creative decisions. Even the name is awkward, vaguely reminiscent of Witchiepoo’s attempts to invent rhymes for “oranges.” See if desperate

Thursday, July 23, 2020

Review – Supervan

I found myself genuinely in awe of the sheer plotlessness of this movie. They seem to have some kind of story in mind about a solar-powered, laser-shooting van that defeats an oil exec’s scheme to flood the market with gas-guzzling vehicles, a subject that must have been timely in 1977. The movie was shot in and around Kansas City, so I started watching it hoping for some familiar scenery. But I found myself drawn in and greatly entertained by the bewildering mishmash of story threads and sight gags loosely centered around a “freak out” for custom van owners. Appropriately enough, the star of the show is Vandora, the title vehicle designed by legendary movie vehicle customizer George Barris (who makes brief appearance toward the end of the movie). Mildly amusing

Review – 1917

Director Sam Mendes’s technique is as brilliant as it is distracting. He plays out two hours’ worth of life on a World War One battlefield in what appears to be two takes separated only by a brief period when the protagonist is unconscious. Watching for the micro edits as the camera winds through the scenes was fascinating, but in some parts it took attention away from a story that would have stood perfectly well on its own. Overall, however, the movie does a great job of creating a sense of urgency and tension that fits the subject perfectly. Worth seeing

Wednesday, July 15, 2020

Review – Midway (2019)

This is pretty much exactly what you’d expect from a World War Two movie directed by Roland Emmerich: Independence Day relocated to the Pacific Theater. The effects and epic battle scenes are impressive, the storytelling less so. This is better than Pearl Harbor, but it’s a nearer thing than it should have been. Mildly amusing

Review – West of Hell

In an old Saturday Night Live skit, the ghost of John Lennon replied to everything said to him with its exact opposite. If someone said, “Later, man,” he responded, “Sooner, woman.” I can only suppose that this movie began life as a similar Opposite Day reaction to a Steinbeck novel. Set aboard a train (despite obviously being shot in a room that looked almost nothing like a train car), this is what you’d get if you assigned a group of people who’d never even seen a movie to make as big a wreck as possible out of Dr. Terror’s House of Horrors. Tony Todd and Lance Henriksen both desperately need to find better agents. Wish I’d skipped it

Sunday, July 12, 2020

Review – Disclosure (2020)

This is a fascinating look at the roles transgender people have played in movies and television. The production focuses on interviews with actors and other media professionals, sharing their reactions to how transgender people are portrayed in the media and their experiences working in the industry. Worth seeing

Review – Wish Upon

The old be-careful-what-you-wish-for story gets yet another rehash that adds little to its long line of predecessors. This time around a Chinese music box grants wishes with inevitable Faustian consequences. See if desperate

Friday, July 10, 2020

Review – Malicious

Young married couple Adam and Lisa have it made. With a baby on the way, they’ve just moved into a huge house supplied to them for free by his new employer (math teachers being in such high demand at small liberal arts colleges that they merit such royal treatment, apparently). That makes it extra sad that opening an innocent-looking box unleashes a baby-murdering, marriage-destroying evil spirit. Not even the parapsychologist head of the husband’s department at work can do much to stop the horror or end the movie any faster. See if desperate

Thursday, July 9, 2020

Review – The Assent

The trailer made this look like it was going to be way better than it was. A father faces losing custody because 1. he can’t hold down a steady job, 2. he’s a mentally ill artist who specializes in really creepy art, and 3. his son’s possessed by a demon. There’s no help for the first two, but a pair of rogue exorcists step in to intervene with number three. See if desperate

Review – Crawl

During a hurricane, a congregation of alligators escape from a swamp or gator farm and relocate to the suburbs. Doubtless intrigued to have uncovered the only house in Florida with a basement, they settle in and start menacing a college student and her estranged dad. The effects are good enough to make the gator attacks entertaining, even though the movie doesn’t have much else going for it (other than the dog, who appears in the beginning and makes it to the end without being killed or even seriously threatened). Mildly amusing