Thursday, October 8, 2015

Shelter- Official Trailer (2014) UR

Years ago (If you’d like to know more), I worked on a film called Brother To Brother (2004) as an Art Production Assistant (fancy, huh). Starring in that film was a young man named Anthony Mackie. Now, when one works on a picture, that does not necessarily mean that one get to see the making of every part of said film. While the actors are off doing their job, one might be off building the next set. So, to say I have met the man would be a lie. But to say that every person who spoke of Mackie during the production had nothing but praise for his skill as an actor, that is the truth. Many on set speculating that he would be the next big thing. I for one have had the privilege to see this come to fruition.

Now that the narcissistic rant of the day is out of the way, let’s get back to the matter at hand. Shelter (2014) written and directed by Paul Bettany (yes, Jarvis/The Vision), stars Anthony Mackie and the always engaging Jennifer Connelly in a film, that I am sorry to say, had slipped past my radar. A darker, more serious film for the previous two stars, but the engaging preview can explain in more elegant terms what the film is all about. Enjoy.


Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Steve McQueen, The Man And Le Mans- Official Trailer (2015) NR

I want to make it known that I have soured on documentary film making in the past few years. Why? I do not know. Maybe they got too political and one sided. Perhaps I have grown tired of how “real” the world has become. It could be because they are about silly topics which get fan boys excited. Or to add to my second reason, I’ve become too cinema cynical. Whatever the reason for my fall off from this important genre I’ve found one that made my skin plant a crop of goosebumps up and down my arms. Steve McQueen, The Man And Le Mans (2015) made me examine what cool in Hollywood truly is. Steve McQueen owns that title hands down. I just hope this documentary does the man justice. Want to know how to be a man, he’s a good place to start. Check out the trailer and decide for yourself, just beware, you may overdose on testosterone:

Sunday, September 20, 2015

A Christmas Horror Story- Official Trailer (2015) NR

Zombie elves, Santa death battling Krampus and William freaking Shatner. I might have found an early entry for this year’s Decebextravaganza. Watch the craziest trailer I’ve seen in a quite a while. Ho, Ho, Holy Sh*t!

Tuesday, September 15, 2015

The Jungle Book- Official Trailer (2016) (NR)

It’s Disney. It will be big. It will be loud. It will be a spectacle. These don’t always equal quality. Then again, Jon Favreau is steering the ship. Might have to peel my peepers at The Jungle Book (2016). 

Saturday, September 12, 2015

Cooties- Featurette (2015) (R)

Here’s an snippet from a flick I have been following for a while, Cooties. Elijah Wood has been picking some weird roles as of late. I hope he keeps it up.

Cooties (2015)- Official Trailer

Tuesday, September 8, 2015

Montana- Featurette (2014) (R)

Just buzzin’ around the sites and found this “Making Of” for the new film Montana (2015). I posted a trailer for it not long ago and after watching this I’m even more in. Give it a look for yourself. Montana Featurette

Saturday, September 5, 2015

It Follows (2014) (R)

Director: David Robert Mitchell
Starring: Maika Monroe, Keir Gilchrist, Olivia Luccardi, Jake Weary, Lili Sepe

Horror, like may genres, seems to go through trends. What was once classic monsters films such as Dracula (1931) and Frankenstein (1931) became unkillable maniacs chasing teens (played by 28 year olds) to their inevitable and, might I add, creatively gory demises (Freddy and Jason, you scamps, you). Found Footage movies resembling the Youtube Generation’s preferred method of receiving media spawned from the trend setting The Blair Witch Project back in 1999 (if you don’t feel old, lucky you). Or the Torture Porn crassness of everyday characters tortured for the pleasure of another everyday character (not a fan myself). Occasionally, a movie will come out which breaks the mold of convention, standing out from the the status quo. John Carpenter’s The Thing (1982) and Alien (1979) are examples of pictures that took common conventions and integrated them into a new style. Using Sci-Fi, Horror, desolate locals, and a unknown entity bent on chaos, as well as the greatest plot device, “Who can you trust?” they allowed us to be there with the characters and learn along with them. To sympathize with the plight as our own worst fear boiled in our bellies. It Follows (2014) is now a part of that mold breaking pantheon.

Using the old trope of “Sex leads to Death,” It Follows balances story and scares in a way not seen in sometime. When Jay, played by Maika Monroe of The Guest (2014), sleeps with her boyfriend, he passes a curse onto her. An unknown entity with the ability to look like whomever it chooses will walk towards Jay, no matter where she goes, until it kills her. Rules: Only she can see It and to stop the curse she must “pass it along.” Unfortunately, that is a terrible explanation of this film. To elaborate anymore would do the viewer a disservice. Let me explain.

It Follows mirrors 80’s horror in many aspects. The clothes are dated, yet modern convinces are present in the form of cell phones and such. Out of place, yet oddly works. Shot in Detroit, the neighborhood has an unease which hangs over the characters throughout. Ease is brushed aside early on. The characters are genuine and act with an unknowing subtlety as the events unfold, grounding them to the audience.

Let’s talk about the story for a sec. I know that on paper this is a wacky idea and in unskilled hands could have been a disaster. Director Davis Robert Mitchell crafts an unassuming world where nothing ever happens. A perfect backdrop for a protagonist that never breaks a brisk stroll. Yet, as in the Mummy movies of yesteryear, Mitchell finds a way to make the "slow bad guy" terrifying again.  I feel as though I’m saying too much so I’ll wrap it up.

Run, don’t walk, to see It Follows.
If Follow was one of the most innovative Horror films I’ve watched in years. The scares come out of nowhere, questions keep you guessing, everything you want in a scary movie. Not for the kids and grannies (unless they are badass grannies), It Follows is a solid watch. You can find it everywhere, so seek it out. And remember, always bring protection.

P.S. Read a review of The Guest. A nice sidecar to It Follows.


Monday, August 31, 2015

Montana- Official Trailer (2014) (R)

At first impression, Montana (2014) resembles Luc Besson’s Leon: The Professional (1994) minus the Lolita-ish subplot. Suddenly, it gets all John Wick (2014) up in that piece. I’m all in.

Watch the Trailer:

Saturday, August 22, 2015

Into The Storm (2014) (PG-13)

Director: Steven Quale
Starring: Richard Armitage, Sara Wayne Callies, Matt Walsh, Max Deacon, Nathan Kress, Alicia Dabnam-Carey

Into The Storm (2014), from the trailer, seemed like nothing more than a Twister (1996) ripoff with a found footage chaser. And it sort of is. But that does not mean this a bad film by any means. In fact, it picks up where Twister has dated itself (still a kick ass flick).

The story revolves around a group of storm chasers who needs to find the big tornado to film for a documentary before funding is pulled. Meanwhile, an assistant principal (Armitage (The Hobbit films)) and his two sons are at odds on graduation day, while two redneck amateur stuntmen act like fools on YouTube (just go with me on this). As the graduation commences, a system of tornadoes begins to wreck havoc on this small community. Oh, did I mention that one of the sons (Max Deacon) has skipped the graduation to help his dream girl (Alicia Dabnam-Carey) film project in an abandoned factory (see where they went with it?). Yes, they are all filming and the footage has been spliced together to make this movie. Sounds dumb, but it works. Don’t ask me how. It just does.

You can plan a pretty picnic, but you can’t predict the weather.
The cast is likable (great to see The Walking Dead alum Sara Wayne-Callies) . The camera doesn’t make you sea sick. And most importantly, the special effects are tight. The writer (John Swetnam)  creates scenarios which, as silly as they may seem, deliver that bang you remember from the movies of the mid-90’s. Cheesy but intense, including one of the most insane “HOLY CRAP" deaths I’ve seen in a disaster flick since Deep Blue Sea (1999) (No spoilers. When it happens, you’ll know. Dear, lord. you’ll know.) The rest is mostly tense drama, so don’t get too squeamish. It’s only a movie. And did I mention Titus, the storm chaser truck. I want one.

I had a lot of fun time watching Into The Storm. This is exactly what you want in a disaster picture (although, a cameo from Bill Paxton would have been nice). It won’t win any Oscars but that’s not it’s purpose. Movies of this ilk are here to make us remember how cool movies can be when logic gives way to suspension of disbelief. Shut off your brain for a near perfect 1 hour 29 min runtime and have yourself some fun. But remember, in real life, PUT DOWN THE CAMERA AND RUN! Enjoy.

This is Titus. Nuff’ said.

Wednesday, August 12, 2015

The Hateful Eight- Official Trailer (2015) (NR)

Since the beginning of his career I have been a fan of one Mr. Quentin Tarantino and the work that he has put out into the ethos of cinema history. Now, before this becomes what you think might be a glorification of the man and his work, let me state this, I need to re-watch Jackie Brown (1997), which I was not that big a fan of when I saw it in theaters (a well aged mind may find that picture more appealing. Time will tell.),  and I do believe that I may well be one of the few exceptions that really didn’t dig on Django Unchained (2013) for many reasons (I tried to like it, but sometimes it just doesn’t pan out). Other than those two pictures, I’m all in for a big slice of homage pie when it comes to his flicks. So, here’s it is kiddies, the latest slick written film by writer/director Quentin Tarantino, the official trailer for The Hateful Eight (2015):

Saturday, August 8, 2015

Goodnight Mommy- Official Trailer (2014) (R)

I viewed this trailer in my darkened office while everyone was asleep. Now, I’m gonna go make some coffee and sit facing the door ’till sun up (twins in horror, always a creepfest). If you’d like to not sleep or trust children ever again, enjoy the trailer for Goodnight Mommy (2014):

Wednesday, August 5, 2015

Deadpool- Official Trailer (2016) (NR)

Ryan Reynolds is back as Deadpool (2016). Naysayers of Mr. Reynolds' past role faux pas should fear not. This ain’t Green Lantern (2011) or that Wolverine (2009) monstrosity, which butchered (literally and figuratively) Deadpool the first go around. This time it’s blood, booms and belly laughs a plenty. Going back to the roots, the merc with a mouth seems headed in the right direction. But don’t take my word for it.

Monday, August 3, 2015

Chappie (2015) (R)

Director: Neill Blomkamp
Starring: Sharlto Copley, Dev Patel, Ninja, Yo-Landi Visser, Jose Pablo Cantillo, Hugh Jackman, Sigourney Weaver

Chappie. Chappie, Chappie, Chappie. What to say about Chappie? I’ve been trying to form an opinion since watching the film and so far I’m more up than down (despite it’s rough go at the box office and poor critic response). Oh, how rude of me, for those of out there wondering what in the heck is a Chappie, here’s a trailer:

Director Neill Blomkamp’s (District 9 (2009)) latest, tells the story of a robotics genius Deon (Patel), who has revolutionized the police force of South Africa with the creation of robot officers. On the verge of a bigger breakthrough in Artificial Intelligence tech, Deon steals a bot ready for the junk heap, to test out the new software. Enter a group of hooligans who have bigger plans of using the robot (affectionally named Chappie) in a robbery. Finding that the robot’s personality is that of a developing child, Chappie is torn between what is right and wrong when the conflicting influences of his creator and his captors begin to contradict one another.

This review is a weird one. Let’s start with the easy part first, then shall we, the special effects. The design of Chappie was extremely believable. Played in Mo-Cap by Sharlto Copley (a staple of Blomkamps acting crop), Chappie felt real. His movements, lighting, reactions (and hilarious imitations of street slag) all came across as there in the room with the other actors. Something that could have further driven people to dislike this picture if not done correctly. The story (although seen in other iterations before) is well imagined and executed sharply. You feel for Chappie the way you would a scared  and confused child. Blomkamp knows just the right strings to pull on the creatures he envisions and never gets too outlandish or cartoony. Now, not to go too far into spoiler country, I will share one waring, the plot does a slight rope-a-dope towards the end that will either make or break your opinion on the film (that is all).

The casting was a tough pill to swallow at first (and one of the louder complaints by many). Casting non-actors (musicians, in fact) as the lead gang members was tricky. Personally, I’ve seen worse acting in other flicks where funky street thugs are concerned, but these two can grow on you (kinda). And for those whining about the accents being hard to understand, we said the same thing about Trainspotting (1996) at the time and we got over it (put on the subtitles. Reading is fundamental). And finally, if you've ever wanted to see Hugh Jackman really go big, in this, he could make Pacino blush. His turn as the heel made the whole watch that much better. Jackman goes berserker towards the end and is having the time of his life in the process.

As a movie I really enjoyed Chappie. As something to think about, I’m still forming an opinion (almost tripped over a couple plot holes). There are flaws, yes, but there’s so much to like as well. The characters all grown in odd ways winding the story down some interesting paths that I didn’t expect. If you have been on the fence about watching Chappie or never heard of it to begin with, I would give it a recommend. And if you don’t like it, well, at least it had crazy looking robots doing crazy looking robot things. Which is nice.

Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Alien Outpost (2014) (NR)

Director: Jabbar Raisani
Starring: Brandon Auret, Adrian Paul, Douglas Tait, Riley McClendon, Rick Ravenello

Full disclosure, I thought the following trailer seemed interesting when I viewed it a while back in the wee hours of the morning on very little (no) sleep. Feeling frisky, I slapped it up on the blog.

Alien Outpost (2014) (NR)- Official Trailer 

Then, six months later, in wee hours of the morning, Alien Outpost (2014) graces my Netflix browser. It was kismet.

Alien Outpost at it’s core is a faux-documentary military film. Taking place after the human race has defeated an armada of alien invaders, the action follows a group of young soldiers being transferred to a remote outpost to eradicate the leftover aliens (Heavies in the film) who were abandoned on Earth.

Easy. Starship Troopers (1997) with a dab of District 9 (2009), right? Kinda. Minus a steady barrage of special effects, which some might see as boring, but don’t forget, it worked in Jaws (1975). Now, to compare this film to so many others may be excessive, but the reason is not without point. In feel, it has the earmarks of other alien/action flicks. Though the message may have been missed by the spectacle.

Sgt. Badass
Starship Troopers, for it’s pretty faces and big effects, was based on a book with a deeper plot, a warning of becoming too jingoistic. Prawns and lazer guns tend to shadow the apartheid allegory laced throughout District 9. Alien Outpost, underneath it all, becomes a look at our own military conflicts throughout the world (deftly pointed out to me by my neighbor). Enough political talk, let’s rate this thing.

I enjoyed Alien Outpost for what it was. The acting can be spotty at times and the effects sparse, but they were trying something on a budget. Would I give it a second viewing? Not right away, but maybe. Rainy Sunday,  take a break from your binge re-watch of X-Files and pop this on. The truth will still be out there when you go back.

Spectre- Official Trailer (2015) (UR)

007. Spectre. Christoph Waltz. Need I say Moore? (Get it? And, no, he’s not in this movie.)

Monday, July 27, 2015

The Babadook (2014) (R)

Director: Jennifer Kent
Starring: Essie Davis, Noah Wiseman, Hayley McElhinney, Daniel Henshall,  Barbara West

Every now and again we stumble across a new and innovative looking film trailer that pricks up our senses, giving us hope that there are still original ideas left in the over troped world of cinema. Trailers, which bring us that feeling which my lucky generation had during the Indie era of filmmaking. Where a story didn’t fit a mold that was set years before by the cookie cutter flicks which became the standard. New concepts tackling bigger issues than man saves damsel in distress or god forbid another B.S. horror villain that will spews out the next big franchise. Many moons ago I came across one such trailer (as many on the internet did) called The Babadook (2014). "What the hell is a Babdook?” was an utterance heard anytime I recommended it to family or friends. “Just watch,” was always my reply. And with that, let’s hop in the Wayback machine and check out a trailer posted many months ago: All caught up. Wonderful. Let’s get into it then.

The Babadook, directed by first time feature writer/director Jennifer Kent, tells the story of a single mother named Amelia (played disconcertingly perfect by Essie Davis) who is coming to grips with both the death of her husband as well as the trying needs of her only son Samuel (Noah Wiseman in an unnervingly strong performance), who, after finding a strange pop-up book, believes an evil entity named The Babadook has become more than just a character from the macabre bedtime tale. After strange occurrences around her home coupled with Samuel’s increasingly erratic behavior continue, Amelia begins to break.  Disturbed by her Samuel's obsession with protecting her from the (possibly) imaginary being, Amelia lapses into a mental state which questions whether there is something wrong with her weapon building son or have her own limit of stress driven her over the edge of sanity.

The Babadook takes the viewer on a ride through more than just the typical monster movie. Rather, the film is a deeper study of what a family goes through after a tragedy. The honesty of the writer in terms of how she deals the mother and her struggle to find some hold on such a tough situation is beautifully handled with both moments of sympathy as well as a sense of terror where one never knows what Amelia's true feelings are. Deftly built as well, is the role of Samuel. Again, the audience is never given a road map to these two psyches, keeping the viewer guessing to what’s real and what’s not.

Have fun sleeping.
I’m going to give The Babadook a strong recommend with that stipulation that this is not your typical Boogieman movie. The layers go deeper than the sum of it’s parts. To be honest, there aren’t enough female writer/directors in the genre of horror. The days of the virginal heroine who stops the "big bad” was mapped out in Scream (1996), pulling the curtain back on how to make a successful scare flick. That clich├ęd way of writing needs a kick in the ass and to see one come from a female point of view was a welcomed change. This is not the usual fair the general public may used to in it’s horror films, but just take the ride, if at least to try something new.


Monday, July 20, 2015

Ant-Man (2015) (PG-13)

Director: Peyton Reed
Starring: Paul Rudd, Michael Douglas, Evangeline Lilly, Corey Stoll, Bobby Cannavale, Judy Greer, Michael Pena, David Dastmalchian, T.I.

In the final stage of Phase 2, Marvel comes out swinging with the hero least likely: Ant-Man. This title made the general population not in the comics-know snicker at how silly a hero called Ant-Man (2015) sounded. But to the naysayers, I must protest. Least you forget the laughter bellowed through the internet as we were told that Vin Diesel would play a sentient tree or that Bradley Cooper would be voicing an anthropomorphized raccoon (which Rocket denies being, of course)? “Marvel has lost it!” we cried as our beloved heroes were becoming ridiculous. But in retrospect, it was a genius play by the filmmakers and our hearts were Marvel’s once more. And Ant-Man is no exception.

When a newly paroled burglar Scott Lang (Rudd being unknowingly charming as hell) needs money to gain visitation rights to see his daughter, reclusive scientist Dr. Hank Pym (Douglas, having
a blast on screen) hires Scott for a heist that could save the world. Given a top secret suit, capable of shrinking the wearer to the size of an insect while retaining the strength of a full grown person. Oh yeah, and he controls ants. Ok. It’s a bit much to take in.

Like most all Marvel releases, Ant-Man keeps that tradition of page to screen sharpness and awe with both it’s brilliant cast and tight link to the rest of the MCU (Marvel Cinematic Universe. You’re welcome.). Paul Rudd brings a lightness to the character that is hard not to like. Evangeline Lilly (Lost) does a nice job bringing the tough female lead front and center even in a boys club. And Michael Douglas, need I say more. He is playing the role whole hog and going with it. The supporting cast is strong. Corey Stoll (The Strain) as Yellow Jacket was not the best written antagonist, I’ll admit. Though Stoll creates a character that shows an inner hurt with his relationship to Pym that is peppered subtly amongst the blatant atrocities he commits. Scott’s sidekicks (Pena, Dastmalchian, and T.I.) brought a goofy charm that’s become a callback of the MCU. Finally, I’d be remiss if I didn't credit little Abby Ryder Fortson who played Cassie Lang, Rudd’s daughter in the film. She has the strongest timing I’ve seen from a child actor in a while. She held her own with the adults.

The look of the picture is brilliant. Mixing the real world with shrunken POV of the titular hero brought back memories of watching Honey I Shrunk The Kids (1989) as a youth. With the advantage of modern effects, the big to small transitions are smooth, blending lightning fast fight choreography with well rendered CGI. One of the more tough plot devices to work out, had to have been the ants. They were handled perfectly, making their time on screen worth while and important to the story. Peyton Reed's (Bring It On (2000)) direction is everything an audience would want in a hero movie. Although, I still imagine where Edgar Wright might have taken the project if he had stayed on (he did get a writing credit, however. Best not to dwell.) But again, praise to Reed for created a great film.

Best. Ant Farm. Ever.
Ant-Man rides that tightrope of serious and silly which keeps the viewer entertained until the final scene after the credits (now you know to wait around). The action is inventive, the characters are memorable and the movie as a whole works on all levels. As summer blockbusters go, Ant-Man succeeds. Is it weird, implausible and straight out of left field? Yes! Of course it is. That’s what we keep getting in line for. Go beat the heat Pay to be A/C’ed and be entertained. That’s what the summer’s about. Just remember, it’s only a (comic book) movie.

This Kid = Comedy Gold