May 2017

X-Men Origins: Wolverine [2009]

IMDb = 6.7
Rotten Tomatoes = 38 / 58
Personal = 6.8


Does a good job detailing Logan's life from the time he was a child in 1845 to after getting loaded with adamantium. The movie tends to get lost in its own action near the end but we are introduced to the concept of Deadpool and how the wolverine loses his memory. Overall, good, escapist fun ...just don't expect too much more than that.



Mine Games (aka The Evil Within) [2012]

IMDb = 5.3
Rotten Tomatoes = - / 26
Personal = 7.0


I enjoy movies with parallel time lines overlapping each other. Is there really a time loop going on here? ...or is Michael hallucinating the whole thing because he went off his meds? Did the ambiguous ending mean the cycle is broken? Not as good as Triangle but better than Timecrimes and it's fun to try and spot all the clues on a second viewing.



1-Ichi [2003]

IMDb = 5.4
Rotten Tomatoes = - / 41
Personal = 6.3


The prequel to the excessively brutal and controversial Ichi the Killer, is quite tame in comparison. Somewhat campy and very low budget, there's something appealing to the rise of Ichi, a wimp who becomes a killer as it sexually excites him. I'm not sure what that appeal is but I quite enjoyed it.



X-Men: First Class [2011]

IMDb = 7.8
Rotten Tomatoes = 86 / 87
Personal = 8.3


Now that Bryan Singer is involved again, things are looking up. A very thorough and entertaining story detailing much of the history and establishment of the X-men, and eventually the split between the X-men and the Brotherhood. Full, complex, and very well structured story and, of course, phenomenal eye candy. This is one to see.



The Wolverine [2013]

IMDb = 6.7
Rotten Tomatoes = 69 / 69
Personal = 6.3


The story is really simple and not particularly interesting. It deals far too much with Wolverine's personal issues and the action sequences - of which there were fewer in this one - although entertaining, felt as if they were being forced on you. Not bad but not my favorite X-Men movie.



X-Men: Days of Future Past [2014]

IMDb = 8.0
Rotten Tomatoes = 91 / 91
Personal = 8.6


Bryan Singer is back at the helm as director and co-writer and it shows. The X-Men of a desolate, war-torn future send Wolverine back into the past to change the future. This could have been a absolute mess but Singer pulled it off brilliantly. Great performances and the spec fx are jaw dropping. Cheers ...(clink).



Re-Kill [2015]

IMDb = 5.0
Rotten Tomatoes = - / 23
Personal = 5.7


Presented as a "Cops" style reality show (complete with commercials and stories of survival), a camera crew follows around R-Division 8, a military group of re-animate (zombie) killers. With the low ratings it got, I wasn't expecting much but I found it to be a nice little low budget gem. Militarily realistic, well made, exciting, lots of zombie action, and a lot of fun.



Deadpool [2016]

IMDb = 8.0
Rotten Tomatoes = 84 / 90
Personal = 3.0


Unnecessarily profane and extremely obnoxious, this film featured totally unlikable characters – including two so-called X-Men – and the few action scenes it did have, which weren't bad, wasn't nearly enough to counteract the writer's incessant need to include various iterations of “shit” and “fuck” in practically every line of the movie. It would've been fun if it wasn't so vulgar. I really disliked this film.



The VVitch (A New-England Folktale) [2015]

IMDb = 6.8
Rotten Tomatoes = 91 / 56
Personal = 8.0


Quite a surprise for a random pick. In 1630's New England, a family has been exiled and attempts to live off the land ...next to a forest wherein lives a witch. The photography, settings, acting, dialogue, are all very authentic. The story depicts the slowly building tension of how a family may be destroyed by their own superstitions and religious beliefs as well as by a real witch. Fascinating.



Deadtime Stories: Volume 1 [2009]

IMDb = 4.1
Rotten Tomatoes = - / -
Personal = 6.1


George A. Romero presents 3 very low budget horror stories that weren't too shabby. The first story was amusingly gory and goofy while not making much sense. The second story was creepy and predictable but quirky. The third story, directed by make up extraordinaire, Tom Savini, was the gem of the set. Dark, atmospheric and a great twist ending. Good late night B-movie.



X-Men: Apocalypse [2016]

IMDb = 7.1
Rotten Tomatoes = 48 / 67
Personal = 8.4


Another excellent entry in the X-Men universe. Whereas X-Men: First Class brought a few of the first X-Men together, this one brings in a lot of characters that we know and love and pits them against probably the most ancient and dangerous mutant ever: Apolcalypse. Once again, Bryan Singer tells a complex story masterfully and the spec fx never cease to amaze.



Unnatural (aka Man Eater) [2015]

IMDb = 4.0
Rotten Tomatoes = - / 8
Personal = 3.4


Typical, low budget monster movie which, in this case, is a genetically mutated bear who stalks and kills folks at a lodge in Alaska, one by one. Apparently, the bear was as frustrated with the bad acting, bad dialogue, and about 45 minutes of padding, as I was ...and you rarely ever get a clear view of anything. Go pick a different monster movie. Chances are, it'll be better.



Logan [2017]

IMDb = 8.4
Rotten Tomatoes = 92 / 92
Personal = 8.8


What a great swan song for the old and ailing Wolverine. Taking place in 2029, this is far more a drama than an action picture - although it is loaded with some awesome action. The relationships between Charles, Laura (Wolverine's genetic daughter) and the reluctant Logan (who would rather everyone just left him alone), is complex, heartfelt and, at times, heartbreaking. Excellent film!



Night of the Living Dead [1968]

IMDb = 7.9
Rotten Tomatoes = 96 / 87
Personal = 8.8


Although extremely tame by today's standards, this movie shocked and mortified audiences and created both the zombie and gore horror genres at the same time. The mix of amateur actors and low budget but masterful photography gives the film a level of reality that many films can't capture, even today. It certainly has withstood the test of time.



Sanatorium [2013]

IMDb = 5.0
Rotten Tomatoes = - / 28
Personal = 5.9


Basically, a Grave Encounters clone with a pinch of Blair Witch mythos about a paranormal research group investigating an old, deserted sanatorium. Found footage format which is like watching an episode of "Ghost Hunters", except the ghosts bite back in a big way. Well made with some good scares and a lot of stuff "out-of-the-corner-of-your-eye" but nothing really new to add to the genre.



Dawn of the Dead [1978]

IMDb = 8.0
Rotten Tomatoes = 92 / 90
Personal = 9.1


Whereas Night of the Living Dead introduced us to the zombie genre, this movie became the standard for the quintessential zombie film that everyone else tries to aspire to ...and very few have. Four survivors of the zombie apocalypse take over a indoor shopping mall and make it their own. Is this paradise or have they built their own prison? Personal, intelligent, and oh, so gory.



Critters [1986]

IMDb = 6.0
Rotten Tomatoes = 53 / 45
Personal = 6.2


I'm surprised I've never heard of this film until recently. Basically, a Gremlins from outer space, the movie is about a farm that is terrorized by small porcupine creatures with a whole lot of teeth. Then the intergalactic bounty hunters show up. It's not a great movie but it is quite a fun, tongue-in-cheek, thriller that's worth a watch.



Day of the Dead [1985]

IMDb = 7.2
Rotten Tomatoes = 82 / 75
Personal = 7.7


Moving from a shopping mall to an underground research facility, this entry in the Living Dead series is more about the destructiveness of humans against each other and the zombies are left to clean up the wreckage. Plenty of gory zombie action we've come to know and love included.



Grave Encounters 2 [2012]

IMDb = 5.2
Rotten Tomatoes = 14 / 27
Personal = 6.0


A documentary maker grabs some friends and goes to find out if the original Grave Encounters was real or fake. It ain't fake. Whereas the first film used subtlety and suspense to keep you unnerved until the chaos begins, this one hits you early and repeatedly throughout ...which makes one somewhat immune to the scares after awhile. Despite it's faults - and its twisted ending - I liked it.



Land of the Dead [2005]

IMDb = 6.2
Rotten Tomatoes = 73 / 51
Personal = 8.3


The world may be overrun with zombies but the class war between the elite and the unfortunate is worse than ever ...and the zombies are getting smarter. Romero continues to deliver in this non-stop action, zombie thrill ride with the usual amazing and disturbing make-up fx.



Punisher: War Zone [2008]

IMDb = 6.0
Rotten Tomatoes = 27 / 42
Personal = 7.6


Some films don't succeed for a reason. In this case, I don't know what that reason could possibly be. Well made, violent, high-action, comic book movie with a rather good story and enjoyable, albeit not very deep, characters. Kudos to Ray Stevenson (Punisher), Dominic West (Jigsaw) and, especially, Doug Hutchinson (Looney Bin Jim) for great, twisted performances.



Diary of the Dead [2007]

IMDb = 5.7
Rotten Tomatoes = 62 / 41
Personal = 7.5


Unlike the high action, gore fest of Land of the Dead, this one if far more personal featuring an amateur film maker who documents the zombie apocalypse from the beginning (with hand held cameras) while traveling with other college students, and a teacher, trying to find family, sanctuary, and meaning. Although this is different than the others, Romero continues to deliver a top notch zombie film.



Contagion [2011]

IMDb = 6.6
Rotten Tomatoes = 84 / 62
Personal = 7.5


Details the outbreak of a new virus and how it becomes a worldwide epidemic. The film just lays out the events as they occur with no action to speak of, little suspense, nothing overly dramatic, and yet the cold clinical style of it makes it more terrifying than a lot of horror movies I've seen. Excellent performances by everyone.



Survival of the Dead [2009]

IMDb = 4.9
Rotten Tomatoes = 29 / 19
Personal = 6.9


Romero continues to create completely different scenarios and totally unique characters for each of his "Dead" films. This one takes place on an island inhabited by two rival clans ...think Hatfield and McCoy. Throw in some renegade national guardsmen and a few zombies and you have a party. Weaker than other "Dead" films but still far more fun than it's ratings seem to indicate.



Stash House [2012]

IMDb = 4.8
Rotten Tomatoes = - / 21
Personal = 6.5


A man surprises his wife with a new house ...built like a fortress. They soon discover the place is full of drugs and a couple of mercenaries have dropped by to collect a package. Although there were scenes that were a bit contrived, silly, and/or slowly paced, overall, the film was a highly exciting, what-happens-next, thrill ride. Don't be too nitpicky and you'll have fun.



The Lincoln Lawyer [2011]

IMDb = 7.3
Rotten Tomatoes = 83 / 82
Personal = 8.3


I've seen few films that are not only just like the novel, but John Romano (screenplay) manages to capture the multitude of events in the book and masterly present them all in a comprehensible fashion without rushing it. Movie or book, take your pick. They're both a tense, complex, and insidious legal thriller you're not likely to forget. Matthew McConaughey “IS” the Lincoln Lawyer, heart and soul.



Oblivion (aka Horizon) [2013]

IMDb = 7.0
Rotten Tomatoes = 53 / 61
Personal = 8.1


The year is 2077. An alien war has destroyed the moon and left the earth in shambles. The human population has migrated to Titan and all that's left is a couple, Jack and Victoria, left behind for drone repairs. This is a cool movie with lots of great "Star Wars" style action, a complex story, awe inspiring visuals and quite a few surprises. If you like sci fi, don't miss this one.



Devil's Pass (aka The Dyatlov Pass Incident) [2013]

IMDb = 5.7
Rotten Tomatoes = 53 / 29
Personal = 7.5


This "found footage" film features 5 students going to the Ural Mountains in an attempt to find out what happened to 9 hikers in 1959. The first half of the film was basically The Blair Witch Project in the Urals with a bunch of irritating people. However, they find a door in the mountains. From that point on this movie was a roller coaster ride with events you couldn't possibly see coming. Bravo!



The Librarian: Quest for the Spear [2004]

IMDb = 6.2
Rotten Tomatoes = - / 57
Personal = 6.5


TNT produced 3 Librarian TV movies before launching the series, which is still running. This first entry features a professional student - recruited to become the new “Librarian” - who's first assignment is to retrieve the Spear of Destiny. Characters are quite likable (Bob Newhart and Jane Curtin were great) and it was adventurous, entertaining, and often humorous. Good family viewing.



Snowpiercer [2013]

IMDb = 7.0
Rotten Tomatoes = 95 / 72
Personal = 9.3


Mankind has turned the earth into a giant snowball and the last of humanity is stuck in a train that never stops ...and the poverty stricken people in the back decide it's time to take over for he who controls the engine, controls the world. Stunning, violent action, surreal characters, intriguing social dynamics, and a philosophy (revealed at the end) that is intrinsically disturbing yet wholly necessary. Fantastic film!!


The Librarian: Return to King Solomon's Mines [2006]

IMDb = 6.2
Rotten Tomatoes = - / 49
Personal = 6.1


Second in the TNT series of movies before the “Librarian” TV show. This one seemed to lack something but it's hard to say what. It just seemed sloppier than the first and felt like there was a lot of roaming around with not much to do but talk about each other. This exposition came into play later but is was still somewhat laborious. Overall, it was fun ...just not as lively.



< April 2017   ||  Index   ||  June 2017 >