January 2019

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Apartment 1303 [2007]


            
Rotten Tomatoes = - / 19
Personal = 3.4

Links Updated 7/24/19
Young women keep dying in Apt.1303 ...which begs the obvious question, "Why do they keep letting the apartment?" This glaring plot point, as well as a couple others, made me wonder if the rest of the film was going to be enough for me to ignore these blatant issues. It did not. Ponderously slow, they tell us the reason why the apartment is cursed then present us with a 10 min flashback detailing the same thing ...like we needed a visual aid. No scares at all and the entire film, especially the ending, was flat and dumb.

Possum [2018]


       
Rotten Tomatoes = 89 / 52
Personal = 7.6

Links Updated 7/29/19
Philip is a disconnected man who carries a bag around with a giant spider puppet thing in it. Is he autistic? a killer? insane? or is this just a fantasy? and what's behind that door? Slow but hypnotic, like being in a bad dream, with a surprise twist ending that was completely unexpected. Matthew Holness' (writer/director) unique vision is beautiful, haunting, and maliciously surreal rivaling anything David Lynch has made. Sean Harris, as Philip, and Alun Armstrong, the cryptic housemate, were bizarrely brilliant.

The Eye [2002]

aka Gin gwai

       
Rotten Tomatoes = 64 / 72
Personal = 4.5

Updated Dec 11, 2019
A young woman sees for the first time since she was 2 due to a corneal transplant. Then she begins seeing dead people. Overly melodramatic with dreadful pacing, once the film establishes she can see dead people, the viewer is trapped into watching her misery for more than 30 mins with no progression to the story. When things finally do start moving forward again, it got more interesting but still dragged out ad nauseum and the ending was a downer. Would have been much more exciting as a half hour Twilight Zone episode.

The Punisher [2004]


          
Rotten Tomatoes = 29 / 63
Personal = 7.9

Updated Dec 11, 2019
After the family of an ex-special forces op and undercover cop is slaughtered, and he's left for dead, he decides to take down the entire criminal organization single-handedly. Thomas Jane is great, as usual, as the Punisher. He really gives you an anti-hero to cheer for and John Trivolta does a pretty good job of giving you someone to hate. All the characters are quite colorful and overall, equal parts violent, equal parts humor and a really good, exciting ride.

Soldier [1998]


               
Rotten Tomatoes = 12 / 43
Personal = 5.7

Updated Dec 11, 2019
An early Paul Anderson effort (Event Horizon, Resident Evil, Death Race), a man who's been raised as a supreme killing machine since birth and is now replaced and discarded by new, genetically enhanced soldiers. The first half, where the soldier is trying to grasp what it means to be human while living in a settlement, goes on for far too long. Once things get moving, it picks up but the action is just a couple notches above mediocre. Credit to Kurt Russell for going through the entire film without once changing his expression.

Hannibal Rising [2007]


       
Rotten Tomatoes = 15 / 55
Personal = 7.4

Links Updated Oct 3, 2019

A somewhat long-winded but excellent character study of Hannibal's life from a child during the war in Lithuania (and the horrible events he experienced) and his hunt for all the men responsible for said horrific events. The acting was exceptional from everyone and, even though we can clearly see the man he was to become, I found myself rooting for him anyway. Good start to the series.

Ayla [2017]


                   
Rotten Tomatoes = - / 17
Personal = 2.2

Links Updated 8/24/19
A man suffering the deep childhood loss of a sister finds a way to bring her back ...as a adult ...out of a tree. As ridiculous as that sounds, it doesn't come close to the absolute absurdity of this film. In fact, that was the interesting part. The main characters are completely hollow and unrealistic, attempts to make colorful and quirky extras was an abysmal failure that was painful to watch, the story's weird and makes no sense, and an ambiguous ending that elicits a response of WTF! ...if you manage to stay awake.

Manhunter [1986]


               
Rotten Tomatoes = 94 / 77
Personal = 8.3

Updated Dec 11, 2019
Most people think of the first film featuring Hannibal Lecter was The Silence of the Lambs. 5 years prior to that film, was this one ...which is an early version of Red Dragon. This Michael Mann version is more stylish and a bit on the surreal side while Red Dragon is more dramatic and organic. Both are excellent and even though Brian Cox is not Anthony Hopkins, his Lecter was quite competent and insidious. Will Peterson, Tom Noonan, excellent. See them both and compare. "In-a-Gadda-da-Vida" in the soundtrack? ...gotta love that!

Domain [2017]


                  
Rotten Tomatoes = - / 44
Personal = 7.4

Updated Dec 4, 2019
A flu strain is wiping out mankind and 500k people are selected to live in specialized bunkers until it's safe to come out. This story concerns 7 of those individuals and what happens when the machines begin to fail. This low-budget, indie, sci fi, psychological, character study was quite a surprise. For a modest budget, the acting is exceptional and believable, it never looked cheap, the dialogue and interactions were intelligent and mature, topped off with a profound surprise ending that changed everything. What a treat!

Ravenous [2017]

aka Les affames

               
Rotten Tomatoes = 87 / 60
Personal = 5.5

Links Updated 10/2/19
A group of people travel through the wooded countryside as they try to survive the zombie apocalypse. Starting out as 1 or 2 individuals, here and there, eventually they come together as a group. Their stories are extremely personal and if you're looking for emotional realism, this movie's got it in spades. Unfortunately, that's all it has. Very little in the way of any sort of proactive progress ...they basically just wander around. Their actions in the last 15 minutes were foolish and mystifying ...and zombies building towers?? What's that all about?

Shutter [2004]


               
Rotten Tomatoes = 58 / 78
Personal = 5.9

Links Updated Oct 3, 2019
A photographer and his girlfriend are haunted after hitting a girl in a hit-and-run. This movie had a lot going for it but the pacing was terrible. The first 30 mins were slow but they held my attention quite thoroughly Then there's about 40 mins that nearly put me to sleep ...found myself going, "Let's move this along, please." The final 15 mins were great. If they could have found a way to make a 97 min movie not feel like 2 and half hours, I would have enjoyed it much more.

The Silence of the Lambs [1991]


          
Rotten Tomatoes = 96 / 95
Personal = 9.1

Updated Nov 7, 2019
For those few who don't know, an FBI trainee is sent to talk to Hannibal the Cannibal to see is she can get info out of him concerning a new killer known as Buffalo Bill. Best Picture of the Year Oscar and awards for several actors and well deserving of every one of them ...an opinion I don't usually share with the Academy. Tense, complex, with two major story lines, Anthony Hopkins, Jodie Foster and Ted Levine are all phenomenal. If you haven't seen it, what are you waiting for?

Basket Case [1982]


            
Rotten Tomatoes = 75 / 53
Personal = 6.3

Updated Dec 11, 2019
A young man, and his now detached Siamese twin brother that he keeps in a basket, travel to NYC to exact revenge on the doctors that separated them. This comedy, gore fest has low budget written all over it. The acting is abysmal but the more you watch it, the more you realize it's like that by design. The filmmakers knew exactly what they were doing and had absolutely no illusions about what they were making. As a result, this goofy, gory, hilarious farce is super entertaining with few really good laughs.

Fahrenheit 11/9 [2018]


            
Rotten Tomatoes = 82 / 60
Personal = 8.8

Updated Dec 11, 2019
Michael Moore's latest documentary is basically asking the question, if we are supposed to be a democracy, when are we going to become democratic and are we ever going to be a true democracy. Whether you believe in his personal political views or not, there's some real eye-opening information in this film concerning the elections in 2016, school shootings, the political corruption and poisoning of Flint, MI., the rising teen movement and the teacher's strike that nearly started a revolution. Good information.

Viking Destiny [2018]

aka Of Gods and Warriors

               
Rotten Tomatoes = 13 / 32
Personal = 5.4

Links Updated Oct 3, 2019
A Viking king has a daughter and switches it with the son of his brother. Now that the siblings are grown, he realizes his error too late. Can you say 'silly'. I bet you can. Sure. First of all, the queen-to-be has full make up; lipstick, mascara, blush, etc. and nothing and nobody looked Viking making it all very anachronistic. And every time I started to take the film seriously, it got silly again like it had an almost adolescent quality about it. It wasn't a particularly bad film - I was generally entertained - it's just, well ...sorta silly.

Hannibal [2001]


               
Rotten Tomatoes = 39 / 62
Personal = 7.5

Updated Dec 11, 2019
Ten years after the Buffalo Bill case, Clarice is struggling to save her carrier with the FBI when she gets a lead on Hannibal. Let the cat & mouse game begin. Julianne Moore is a fine actress but I simply could not see her as Clarice Starling. In turn, attempting to fully connect the previous events to the current ones was just distracting. Luckily, the film isn't really about Clarice. It's about Lecter and his exploits which drives the story and that was just plain fun. More a psycho's playtime than a police procedural, it's good.

I Think We're Alone Now [2018]


      
Rotten Tomatoes = 64 / 44
Personal = 5.0

Updated Dec 11, 2019
After everyone in the world appears to have simply dropped dead, a librarian takes it upon himself to bury the bodies and clean up the town. When a girl suddenly shows up, his world changes. A very personal and painfully slow character study of a man who wants to be alone and a woman who slowly withdraws him from his shell. Also has a strange and unexplained twist. Acting was excellent but I would have enjoyed this more if their relationship was more interesting and less pathetic. As it is, I couldn't wait for it to get over with.

Rust Creek [2018]


         
       
Rotten Tomatoes = 84 / 66
Personal = 6.6

Updated Dec 11, 2019
Due to a GPS error, a college student, on her way to a job interview in DC, gets lost in the woods of Kentucky when a couple of the locals try to abduct her. She's likable and the bad guys aren't which is exactly the way it should be. After the initial confrontation, however, the film slowed way down into pretty familiar territory with really nothing new to offer. It's not a bad film by any means but it's far more a drama and far less a thriller than expected with a pretty ho hum climax.

The Dark [2018]


           
Rotten Tomatoes = 87 / 55
Personal = 5.4

Links Updated 9/6/19
First off, it has nothing to do with 'The Dark'. It's about Mina, a girl stuck somewhere between life and death (without any explanation as to why) who befriends Alex, an abused and blinded kidnap victim ...and they wander around as they hide from people. That's about the extent of it. Moving at a snail's pace, practically every scene is dragged out extensively to the point of frustration. The premise is original and it is interesting but make sure you watch it with a suitcase full of patience ...you're going to need it.

Close [2019]


            
Rotten Tomatoes = 37 / 36
Personal = 6.8

Updated Dec 7, 2019
Noomi Rapace is, once again, excellent as Sam, an emotionally tortured counter-terrorism and security expert hired to be a bodyguard for a young woman who's just inherited a huge mining corporation making her a huge target. Let the race for survival begin. The film has a couple plot holes and the twists in the story became more confusing than intriguing. But, it's intended to be an action film and, on that, they deliver. Never over-the-top, the action was realistic, tense, exciting with a few cool gags thrown in. Not bad!

The Axe Murders of Villisca [2016]


   
Rotten Tomatoes = 20 / 11
Personal = 6.2

Updated 7/24/19
Three high school outcasts break into a house where a brutal mass murder took place back in 1912. Although the main actors playing high school seniors are about 30-years-old, they were pretty convincing ...I didn't know their real age till after watching. This was actually much better than the ratings indicate. The pacing was good, the 'kids' were likable, albeit irritating at times, and they weren't stupid. The events that take place in the house were pretty good. Not a great film but thoroughly entertaining for me.

Our House [2018]


               
Rotten Tomatoes = 58 / 27
Personal = 6.3

Updated Dec 11, 2019
Attempting to create a machine that can send electricity wirelessly, an inventor inadvertently energizes spirits ...and some aren't too friendly. This film could easily be broadcast as a TV movie - bloodless, light on scares and language, no real violence to speak of. It is well put together and well performed, though. A bit on the slow side, it managed to keep me engaged and the climax was pretty good. Kate Moyer, who plays the young girl, has got a great career in front of her ...very impressive!

The Vanishing [2018]

aka Keepers

           
Rotten Tomatoes = 86 / 46
Personal = 6.7

Links Updated Oct 3, 2019
A fictional possibility of a mysterious actual historical event where 3 lighthouse keepers disappeared from Flannan Isle off the coast of Scotland without a trace. This comprehensive character study, with phenomenal performances, chronicles how grief, greed and guilt can slowly descend into madness. Really, really slow, in fact. That must be the style today but it's getting increasingly hard for me to enjoy a movie when I'm spending half my time waiting for the next scene. It's really good but, once again, requires lots of patience.

Jonathan [2018]


                   
Rotten Tomatoes = 65 / 55
Personal = 6.7

Updated Oct 19, 2019
An extremely unique story of two brothers, John and Jonathan, living inside of one body. Each lives half a day and they record videos for each other to keep each other up-to-date. This appears to work rather well until one falls in love. Then things get complicated. Another very slow film that could have been told in an hour but at least in this one, Ansel Elgort's impressive performance made for a very compelling character and the fact that, as a viewer, we only experience the world as Jonathan made for a interesting journey.

The Sisters Brothers [2018]


       
Rotten Tomatoes = 87 / 68
Personal = 7.3

Links Updated 7/24/19
An 1850's travelogue, from Oregon Territory into California, of two gunslingers, Eli & Charles Sisters, hired to hunt down and kill a Mr. Warm. Once again, slow and about a half hour too long, this was still a quite a wonderful meandering western adventure with some exceptional performances depicting some colorful and, oftentimes, quite humorous characters. Few unexpected turns and there's a supremely torturous scene involving a spider that had me cringing and laughing out loud at the same time. Very nice!

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