Cannibal Apocalypse

“In early 1980,” says the opening card to Cannibal Apocalypse Redux, “director Antonio Margheriti and his crew arrived in Atlanta, Georgia, to film an action/horror film, tentatively titled Tough City in the shooting script…Even today, this successful but widely retitled and censored film – best known as Cannibal Apocalypse – remains a controversial subject.” That is all correct. This documentary… Continue reading Cannibal Apocalypse

Miss Fisher and the Crypt of Tears

This is the kind of oddity – deceptive title and all – that used to show up in the final hours of all-night marathons at Southern drive-ins. Today, we get Miss Fisher and the Crypt of Tears playing Atlanta in the hope that someone here has seen the popular Miss Fisher’s Murder Mysteries TV series from Australia. Essie Davis has… Continue reading Miss Fisher and the Crypt of Tears

Bloodshot

At first, it might seem clever for Bloodshot to feature Guy Pearce flipping his role from Memento in this tale of an innocent assassin getting his memory reprogrammed for nefarious purposes. Then – if you’ve been watching too many movies – you’ll remember that plenty of trashy films have swiped Memento’s plot over the past two decades. Bloodshot is worthy of Pearce’s… Continue reading Bloodshot

The Hunt

You have to respect how hard The Hunt works to keep viewers guessing. The audience should go in knowing the bare minimum, except for one important spoiler about the controversial thriller where liberal elites go hunting for Trump supporters – that being how the deplorables are pretty much all portrayed as good people. There are only two really… Continue reading The Hunt

The Banker

Apple+ TV originally developed The Banker as their Oscars bid, but the Atlanta-lensed film was derailed after the family of pioneering black businessman Bernard Garrett unloaded some problematics on the son with a co-producer credit. The movie was yanked from the festival circuit, and initial plans for a theatrical release were quickly postponed – which is… Continue reading The Banker

Guns Akimbo

The simmering resentment of keyboard warriors has become office warfare in fun movies like Mayhem and The Belko Experiment. Now the big metaphor is sent into the wild with Guns Akimbo, starring Daniel Radcliffe as Miles – a trollish “trollhunter” who probably deserves to die just for making computer games designed to rip off little kids. Instead, Miles learns… Continue reading Guns Akimbo

Seberg

Kristen Stewart stars in SEBERG

“You’re America’s sweetheart,” declares Jean Seberg’s agent at the start of the Seberg biopic. That wasn’t true back in 1968. Seberg was a struggling actress who’d survived bad reviews to finally find fame in France as the star of Jean-Luc Godard’s Breathless. The film has her getting ready to make a new bid for American stardom in Paint… Continue reading Seberg

Emma.

Hollywood will never be so woke that it’ll give up pursuing certain titles in the public domain. That’s how we get music video director Autumn de Wilde recruiting a beautiful young cast for yet another take on Jane Austen’s Emma. The pointedly unrepentant period piece doesn’t have the lush abandon of Sofia Coppola’s Marie Antoinette, or the knowingness… Continue reading Emma.

Brahms: The Boy II

The Boy played a pretty great prank on the public back in 2016. The trailers made a pitch for just another irritating possessed-doll movie. Then the actual plot literally busted out with a great twist that put The Boy up there with The Witch and The Invitation as the year’s best horror films. (It wasn’t a particularly great year for horror film… Continue reading Brahms: The Boy II

Ordinary Love

The plot synopsis comes early in Ordinary Love, as worried wife Joan (Lesley Manville) asks her husband Tom (Liam Neeson) what they would do if the lump in her breast was found to be cancerous. “We would do whatever has to be done to cure it,” Tom responds. That’s exactly what’s happening for the next 85… Continue reading Ordinary Love

The Lodge

The writing and directing team behind 2014’s Goodnight Mommy step up to actual Hammer Horror with The Lodge – where Severin Fiala and Veronika Franz continue their cold Austrian dissection of fatal family matters. Never mind Riley Keough’s fragile turn as single gal Grace, who’s struggling with being squirreled away in a remote location with two children traumatized by their… Continue reading The Lodge

Barry Gordon – The World is Mine/The Pop Recordings 1964-1971

There’s a long history of important songs being tucked away in weird reissues. The best Sex Pistols compilation is a Netherlands release that looks more like another bootleg full of live tracks. There was a long stretch when the only decent Archies collection was a German import with painfully inept and unauthorized artwork. Two brilliant… Continue reading Barry Gordon – The World is Mine/The Pop Recordings 1964-1971

Fantasy Island

People of a certain age will recall that the ABC show Fantasy Island was much darker when the two pilots premiered in the late ’70s as Movies of the Week. Guest stars would unearth traumatic secrets at a magical resort while host Mr. Roarke (and his diminutive sidekick Tattoo) enjoyed the cruel turns. Then the series got… Continue reading Fantasy Island

The Photograph

There is no specific photograph of note involved in the plot of The Photograph. That still isn’t the weirdest thing about this perfectly lighthearted drama following two romances set in the ’80s and (probably) 2019. For example, The Photograph is the biggest Wealth Porn extravaganza to come along since Crazy Rich Asians. Modern-day reporter Michael (played by LaKeith Stanfield)… Continue reading The Photograph

Downhill

The biggest flaw to 2014’s Force Majeure is properly addressed in the Hollywood remake, retitled Downhill. Will Ferrell is shown looking properly panicked as his character abandons his family while fleeing the threat of an avalanche on a skiing vacation. The original Swedish production gave the dad too much room to get away with the embarrassing display… Continue reading Downhill

The Assistant

The trailer for The Assistant is a triumph in marketing. Julia Garner looks properly frazzled as the singularly named Jane, who apparently stumbles upon an evil and exploitive plot while working for an indie studio. The trailer ends with Jane facing a Human Resources head, bravely asking: “What can we do?” – only for the HR guy… Continue reading The Assistant

The Last Black Man in San Francisco

No movie was more unjustly ignored by the Oscars this year than The Last Black Man in San Francisco – which couldn’t get attention as an honestly indie film using innovative techniques to tell a heartbreaking story. The script, however, doesn’t follow an indie template. Jimmie Fails (who co-wrote with director Joe Talbot) even commits to playing himself… Continue reading The Last Black Man in San Francisco

Gretel & Hansel

The girl finally gets top billing in Gretel & Hansel, but the true star here is director Osgood Perkins – who’s already written and directed two minor horror classics that have been unfairly buried under a streaming quagmire of small-screen content. Unfortunately, Perkins is just hired help for Orion Pictures in this latest updating of the… Continue reading Gretel & Hansel

The 2020 Oscar Nominated Short Films: Animated

It’s a somber cartoon cavalcade with this year’s selection of Oscar-nominated shorts, but there’s also plenty of beauty amidst some emotional bombshells. The crude rendering of Dcera (Daughter) adds to the chaotic sadness of a woman recalling a childhood trauma during her father’s final hours. Hair Love isn’t a particularly ambitious production, but the colors flow fast and furious… Continue reading The 2020 Oscar Nominated Short Films: Animated

Color Out of Space

Hollywood exiles unite for a proper Nicolas Cage comeback – with Richard Stanley recruiting the overblown star for the director’s own return after being famously fired a week into filming 1996’s The Island of Dr. Moreau. Stanley had previously made some excellently disturbing thrillers, but went back to documentaries after his own showbiz tale of terror. Now… Continue reading Color Out of Space

The Last Full Measure

There are two quagmires captured in The Last Full Measure: covering both the Vietnam War and the desperate battle to make a movie about politics that will please everybody. Writer and director Todd Robinson works really hard (and rewrites some history) in trying to make an official Quality Film out of the struggle to award real-life war… Continue reading The Last Full Measure

The Turning

DreamWorks has already screwed up a remake of 1963’s The Haunting, so now the studio turns to updating The Innocents in a bid to cash in on elevated horror. The classic 1961 thriller remains the best of several adaptations of Henry James’ Turn of the Screw. This latest one is kind of wobbly as a tale of a governess… Continue reading The Turning

Clemency

The opening of Clemency features a prison execution where Warden Bernadine Williams – played by Alfre Woodard – oversees a lethal injection where the killer has to endure several seconds of discomfort. The scene isn’t particularly interesting. It’s a surprise to learn later on that Warden Williams and her staff are considered to have “botched [that] last execution.”… Continue reading Clemency

The Babys – Silver Dreams

Nobody was expecting The Babys back in 1976 – except maybe for a few fans in England who were looking for a newly perverse act while Sparks was floundering. The four fine lads of John Waite, Mike Corby, Tony Brock and Wally Stocker were weird enough to defiantly embrace a band name that everybody hated.… Continue reading The Babys – Silver Dreams

Les Misérables

Ladj Ly's 2019 film Les Misérables opens on an ecstatic scene — France has just won the World Cup and happy Parisians are celebrating in the streets.

The original Mad Max was set in the late 1990s, but Les Misérables – filmed in the same Parisian district where Victor Hugo set his novel – won’t need to adjust its timeline if there are any sequels to France’s latest Oscar contender for Best Foreign Film. Sadly, modern times allow this grim crime drama to bring in all… Continue reading Les Misérables

Bad Boys for Life

As a fitful franchise’s third entry over 25 years, there’s every reason to suspect that Bad Boys for Life will match the continuing quality of, say, the Crocodile Dundee series. Will Smith’s own recent career problems clearly mark this reunion with Martin Lawrence as a project with all the potential of Beverly Hills Cop III or Another 48 Hours. Bad Boys II determinedly improved on the… Continue reading Bad Boys for Life

Skafish – Skafish (Remastered 2019 Reissue)

Pop music has probably created more sicko incels than the internet ever will. That might be a necessary evil, though. Consider this lost album from 1980 that’s come back to life just in time to serve as a better origin story than we got with Todd Phillips’ Joker – although the film has a sturdier connection to… Continue reading Skafish – Skafish (Remastered 2019 Reissue)