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Archive for November, 2019

New essay on Polygon: The brilliance of Wesley Snipes as Blade

Friday, November 29th, 2019

I don’t know if I’ve ever mentioned this to you guys before, but I think Wesley Snipes is really good as the character of “Blade” in the movie BLADE and also the movie BLADE II and even the movie BLADE’S TRINITY. On the occasion of the character’s impending arrival in the MCU (Marvel’s Cinematical Universe), but now played by a different guy, the websight Polygon recruited me to put into words why Wesley’s version will be hard to match.

CLICK THIS FUCKER

Patreon bonus shit: Thanksgiving with The A-Team

Wednesday, November 27th, 2019

As a special giving of thank-you to Patreon supporters, I have posted a look at the Thanksgiving-themed season 5 A-Team episode “Family Reunion.” It doesn’t have enough B.A. in it for my tastes, but it does have a random bear attack and an exploding dummy that looks like John Bolton.

As always, thank you for your support that helps me cut down on day job hours and spend more time on writing the good shit. You can donate as little as one buck/clam/bone a month to have access to this and the entire archive of bonus posts, including my glittery reviews of the TWILIGHT saga. Let me know if you’re enjoying these occasional bonus posts and/or what other non-movie-review type extras might be fun.

THE A-TEAM: “FAMILY REUNION”

Flesh & Blood (Into the Dark)

Wednesday, November 27th, 2019

Into the Dark is a series of low budget holiday-themed horror movies that Blumhouse produced for Hulu. IMDb and Wikipedia classify them as an anthology TV series like Masters of Horror, but Hulu presents them as individual movies, and they’re feature length. (For some reason I assumed they’d be shorts.) I decided to try out last year’s FLESH & BLOOD, one of the two Thanksgiving movies in the series so far.

Kimberly Tooms (Diana Silvers before BOOKSMART and GLASS) has just turned 17 in early November of 2018. Some time after Thanksgiving the year before her mother (Meredeth Salenger, EDGE OF HONOR) was murdered, and the case has not been solved. Since then she’s developed agoraphobia. She has a bit of a support group online, but Dr. Saunders (Tembi Locke, STEEL), the therapist who comes to the house to work with her, doesn’t think she’s making enough progress. When she follows her dad (Dermot Mulroney, COPYCAT – also about agoraphobia)’s encouragement to try to get an Amazon package off the porch she fails. The world turns blurry, dizzying, loud. She can’t function. (read the rest of this shit…)

In the Shadow of the Moon

Tuesday, November 26th, 2019

IN THE SHADOW OF THE MOON is the latest from director Jim Mickle, whose work I really dig – my favorites are the Joe Lansdale crime story COLD IN JULY and the horror remake WE ARE WHAT WE ARE, but also check out MULBERRY ST., STAKE LAND and Hap & Leonard. This is a little different for him – it seems much more expensive than all his other movies, it has some science fiction involved, and it’s credited to other writers (Gregory Weidman & Geoffrey Tock of the tv shows Limitless and Zoo). It’s a Netflix production that played Fantastic Fest in September, then went straight to streaming.

It opens five years from now in the aftermath of what looks like a massive terrorist attack. We just get a glimpse of the damage before it skips back to 1988 (the year DIE HARD came out) and intercuts between a few different Philadelphians – a bus driver, a fry cook, a concert pianist – all of whom get sudden nosebleeds, then bleed from the ears and eyes, then fall dead.

(read the rest of this shit…)

Furie

Monday, November 25th, 2019

I sorta knew of Veronica Ngô Thanh Vân, a.k.a. Veronica Ngo, from CROUCHING TIGER, HIDDEN DRAGON: SWORD OF DESTINY (she played Mantis) and STAR WARS: THE LAST JEDI (she played Paige Tico, Rose’s sister who dies heroically at the beginning). But now that I’ve seen her star in FURIE… holy shit. I’ll have to see more.

This is a really good action vehicle because it introduces her as a cool, morally ambiguous anti-hero, then reveals her vulnerability, then throws her into a classical action scenario (kidnapped daughter, like COMMANDO or TAKEN) that leads to a whole lot of asskicking and stunt work but also inspires a layered, emotional acting performance. I’m completely ignorant of Vietnamese cinema and have no idea if this is representative at all, but it’s like some of the action and some of the melodrama of a Thai martial arts movie, but much more organically fused into one thing. (read the rest of this shit…)

American Mary

Thursday, November 21st, 2019

AMERICAN MARY (2012) is a unique horror movie that’s arguably more of a seedy-underbelly crime movie. The protagonist, broke medical student Mary Mason (Katharine Isabelle, DISTURBING BEHAVIOR, GINGER SNAPS, CARRIE [2002], FREDDY VS. JASON), definitely follows more of a noir arc than a normal horror heroine one. She falls into a strange subculture, finds herself doing things she never could’ve imagined, crosses lines she shouldn’t, gets deeper and deeper into trouble. And she’s crazy and scary and you sort of root for her. Or at least you like her.

It’s all a big accident. She’s running low on tuition money and too ashamed to let her grandma give her money. Out of desperation she applies for a stripper job. The boss, Billy Barker (Antonio Cupo, A CHRISTMAS TAIL), teases her about bringing a normal resume, amused at her medical background. But when his guys interrupt the interview about something nasty going on in the basement and their usual underworld doctor is unavailable he pays her $5,000 to go down (still in her audition lingerie) and sew up some guy’s slashed neck. (read the rest of this shit…)

The Dentist 2

Wednesday, November 20th, 2019

THE DENTIST must’ve done well on video, because they had a sequel ready in two years, with director Brian Yuzna and star Corbin Bernsen both returning. Part 1 screenwriters Stuart Gordon & Dennis Paoli handed the reins to newcomer Richard Dana Smith, who went on to write thrillers (mostly for TV) with the following titles: THE STEPDAUGHTER, THE PERFECT WIFE, ALONE WITH A STRANGER, STRANGER AT THE DOOR, THE PERFECT NEIGHBOR and FRAMED FOR MURDER. THE DENTIST 2 is kind of the weirdo horror movie loving cousin of those types of movies.

The sequel opens with Dr. Feinstone’s dream about practicing dentistry on his ex Brooke (a returning Linda Hoffman, BLACK SCORPION II: AFTERSHOCK) in an all white office. Closeups fetishize her lipstick and nylons – this might be the only movie in cinematic history to cause discomfort by equating dentistry with sexiness. He accidentally makes her bleed, and things get way worse from there.

This is one of the things that haunts him in prison, where he tells his psychiatrist (Rende Rae Norman, TRUE COLORS, The Young & the Restless) that he’s a good person and it was a “stranger” who did all those horrible things in part 1. It’s not like he’s trying to put on a front, though, because he won’t pretend he’s not still violently angry when she asks about his wife cheating on him. (read the rest of this shit…)

The Dentist

Tuesday, November 19th, 2019

THE DENTIST is a unique little horror movie about a couple of days where a guy’s life totally unravels. Dr. Alan Feinstone (Corbin Bernsen, TALES FROM THE HOOD) is an asshole from the word go – we see him berating his wife Brooke (Linda Hoffman, FACE/OFF) over a stain not coming out of one of his shirts, then forgiving her because she bought him expensive cuff links. When he catches her blowing the pool cleaner (Michael Stadvec, SOMETIMES THEY COME BACK… AGAIN, SOMETIMES THEY COME BACK… FOR MORE, SOMETIMES THEY COME BACK… TO APOLOGIZE BECAUSE THEY’VE REALLY CHANGED) he fantasizes about screaming at her and forcing her at gunpoint to bite down with her “perfect teeth.” Instead he doesn’t confront her and then completely loses his shit.

I like the messy, accidental piling up of events. There’s almost a true crime feel to it. He tries to sneak up on the homewrecker and shoot him, ends up instead shooting a neighbor’s dog that attacks him for trespassing. Ken Foree (FROM BEYOND) and Tony Noakes (BREAKAWAY) play the police detectives who circle around with the potential to catch him, but they’re investigating the killing of a pet, not a person. They’re investigating a weird, creepy thing, not knowing it’s more serious than that. (read the rest of this shit…)

Dr. Giggles

Monday, November 18th, 2019

DR. GIGGLES is not the best kind of horror movie, but it’s a kind I like: the kind that knowingly, shamelessly embraces absurdity and formula. It says okay, I am a slasher movie, my theme is “a killer doctor,” step aside and I will do my thing. So you kinda know what it’s gonna be, and you get a laugh from some of the specific choices or smile with satisfaction when that thing you were assuming had to happen does happen.

We first see the good doctor (Larry Drake in his feature film followup to DARKMAN) demonstrating an experimental surgery to his colleagues in the observation deck. But then we realize that he’s not supposed to be doing this – he’s escaped his cell in a mental institution, he’s cutting up one of the doctors, and the “colleagues” are other patients. Security there nicknamed him Dr. Giggles because he’s a John Doe and he does indeed giggle alot. Drake is so good at the creepy giggling I wonder if he brought it to the character and they rebuilt the movie around it. (read the rest of this shit…)

Ad Astra

Thursday, November 14th, 2019

I’d heard that AD ASTRA might be one of those movies like THE AMERICAN or SOLARIS that is a little slow or arty or whatever but since it’s a big release with a big movie star from OCEAN’S ELEVEN a bunch of people who aren’t comfortable with that type of movie see it and either get real disappointed or fall asleep about ten minutes in. That might’ve been a myth, because it got a B- Cinemascore, which is the same as HUSTLERS. But I guess hearing that got me primed because it was alot more exciting than I expected!

This is the first movie I’ve seen by James Gray (LITTLE ODESSA, THE YARDS, WE OWN THE NIGHT, TWO LOVERS, THE IMMIGRANT, THE LOST CITY OF Z), but I know he has a reputation for quiet and thoughtful dramas. And honestly I didn’t expect as much sci-fi as we get – it’s a little further into the near future than I thought. From the trailer it looked more like a straight astronaut drama. And I got nothing against astronauts, there are many fine astronauts, but I think I was born without that gene many guys have that makes them involuntarily swell up with patriotism any time they think about a person or object that has been to the moon. Or maybe I just didn’t see THE RIGHT STUFF at an impressionable age. (read the rest of this shit…)