June 2019

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The Dark Tapes [2016]


               
Rotten Tomatoes = 89 / 57
Personal = 4.9

Links Updated 9/17/19
Low-budget, amateur horror anthology that, unfortunately, really looks to part. Weak dialogue and unconvincing acting was a big part of it. Much of it was supposed to be taking place through computer chat but it was just people on camera. The sound mixing was just awful ...I spent the entire movie turning up the volume so I could hear what they were saying only to have to drop it back down as I was assaulted with bursts of static loud enough to wake the dead. Interesting ideas, poorly expressed. One story was OK and a few good moments but that's it.

All the Devil's Men [2018]


            
Rotten Tomatoes = 23 / 17
Personal = 6.8

Links Updated Oct 9, 2019
Ex-Special Forces, now mercenaries, are hired by the CIA to track down and kill a terrorist. The trick to enjoying this one is to simply not expect it to be anything other than what it is ...a high-action, militaristic, shoot 'em up with several players, all with their own agendas that constantly force the story to twist and turn in various directions. The characters are well defined caricatures, which are exactly what they're supposed to be in this unrealistic world of "who's the bad guy". If you take as it is, it's really an exciting popcorn movie with nary a dull moment.

1408 [2007]


           
Rotten Tomatoes = 79 / 61
Personal = 6.4

Links Updated 8/30/19
An author, who writes books on presumably haunted locations, spends the night in room 1408 at the Dolphin Hotel ...a room that's been described as f**king evil. This film is very effective at terrorizing our poor author with an endless barrage of paranormal craziness. That's also the film's problem in that there's just too much. It really began to lose it's effectiveness after a while and I found myself wondering when it was going to end. John Cusack did a great job but, for some reason, I never felt he was right for the part. Overall, entertaining but should have been shorter.

Know Your Enemy [2018]


                   
Rotten Tomatoes = - / -
Personal = 3.2

Links Updated 8/30/19
A man invades the house of a young couple because the woman cut him off in traffic. Yes, you heard right, that's exactly what happens ...and it goes downhill from there. Endless philosophical conversations about prejudice, the truth, etc,. with the filmmakers showing us various flashbacks of this man's life in an attempt, I guess, to understand his motivations and to draw sympathy from us by the time it's over. Bottom line is, the guy is a mentally unstable sadist who's decided this couple's a convenient target for his rage. Pathetic film subject, poorly executed.

Alligator [1980]


       
Rotten Tomatoes = 75 / 47
Personal = 6.2


Flush a baby alligator down the toilet, mix it with some dead dogs used in a hormone experiment, let it stew for 12 years and you end up with one big ass alligator. This movie was actually far better than I expected it to be. There were some characters, some dialogue and a few gags that were downright silly but, being as it was made in 1980, I'll give it some slack. The alligator effects, although obviously not state-of-the-art, were sufficiently gnarly and messy enough to make the whole thing rather entertaining. Get the popcorn!

The Perfection [2018]


            
Rotten Tomatoes = 73 / 57
Personal = 6.9

Links Updated Oct 13, 2019
A cello master, forced to leave a special school to care for her mother, returns 10 years later and befriends the current protege. What happens next is a totally unique and seriously bizarre, sick and twisted journey that takes you firmly down one path to an obvious conclusion only to jerk around. I wasn't quite sure how to take it - some scenes seemed to drag on and I wasn't sure where it was going - but the final payoff was well worth the trip and brought everything together ...although not in a way you'd ever expect. I've included it in my Doc's Profoundly Twisted list.

John Wick: Chapter 3 - Parabellum [2019]


   
Rotten Tomatoes = 90 / 87
Personal = 8.9

Updated 8/7/19
With a $14mil open contract over his head, John is trying to stay alive, if only to respect the memory of his wife, by running and killing... well, everyone! Full throttle action that is both hypnotic and exhausting. After all the movie fight sequences I've seen, I'm still impressed at the amazing choreography that's as much a dance as it is hyper-violent. Halle Berry was an awesome addition and the constant nods to other films was a delight. My one complaint, shorten the fight sequences a bit. As amazing as they are, they can become quite overwhelming. Good stuff, though.

Leatherface [2017]


                  
Rotten Tomatoes = 31 / 24
Personal = 5.1

Links Updated Oct 9, 2019
A rather simple and sad story about how Jed, the most normal and likable kid of the insane family, is turned into leatherface through the influences of his family, a sadistic operator of an asylum, a vengeful and corrupt sheriff, as well as a few other things. Thus making the efforts of this good soul surrounded by vultures rather futile. There were also moments in the film that struck me as unnecessarily gross and disgusting. It's mildly entertaining and they didn't make it campy, which definitely would not have worked so, that's a plus.

The Golem [2018]


         
Rotten Tomatoes = 91 / 39
Personal = 7.0

Links Updated Oct 9, 2019
A slow buy extremely compelling film taking place in the mid 17th century in a small Jewish village. A woman who, by sacred law is not allowed spiritual study, takes it upon herself to create a Golem to protect her village. Chaos ensues. With the same time period in both, it didn't come off quite as authentic as The Witch (few films are) but it was very well presented with excellent, personal and emotional acting, a totally believable society, and a story that has us cheering, empathizing, and despising the woman and her Golem all at the same time. Nice job!

Feral [2017]


            
Rotten Tomatoes = 36 / -
Personal = 3.4

Links Updated Oct 9, 2019
6 young adults enter woodland that features infected, flesh-hungry humans. No one was capable of making a logical decision in this contrived mess that gave us absolutely nothing new to the genre. The girl that's supposed to be the film's hero basically gets everyone killed. Also, I certainly have no issues with same sex partnerships but this film goes out of it's way to show us the lead two girls are lesbian to the point of , "OK, I get it!" and it doesn't add anything to the story. You can even see it in the trailer. Total lack of imagination on this one.

Glass [2019]


         
Rotten Tomatoes = 37 / 71
Personal = 6.5

Links Updated Oct 9, 2019
The characters, David Dunn (Bruce Willis), Elijah Price (Samuel L. Jackson) from Unbreakable and Kevin Wendell Crumb (James McAvoy) from Split, are locked in a psychiatric hospital to be treated by a doctor who's trying to convince them they are not the least bit extraordinary. Best described as wholly original and incredibly strange, this film's a great showpiece for the actors who did a fantastic job, especially McAvoy, who was basically allowed free reign on his personalities. Good climax but the final reveal fell a bit too hopeful for me. Overall, good entertainment.

The Secret Life of Pets 2 [2019]


       
Rotten Tomatoes = 56 / 91
Personal = 7.9

Links Updated 8/30/19
Unlike the first film, which was basically one grand adventure, this one is broken down into 3 mini-adventures, led by the dogs, Max & Duke, the dog, Gidget, and the dog, Daisy & the rabbit, Snowball. These stories then converge for the big finale. But just like the first one, it is laugh-out-loud funny. Not as intricate but still obviously written for those that have spent their lives living with animals. The scenes with the cow imitating a dog and Chloe the cat on catnip had my wife and I rolling with laughter. Excellent entertainment.

Fermat's Room [2007]

aka La habitacion de Fermat

   
Rotten Tomatoes = 70 / 53
Personal = 6.9


Four mathematicians are invited to a gathering to figure out a master puzzle. They find themselves locked in a room and must answer various mind twisters and logic problems to keep the room from shrinking while trying to figure out who wants them dead. Quite an interesting tale with complicated characters and quite few twists and turns. Most of the puzzles are quite common among folks who like mind twisters - I knew three of them - so having new ones would have been nice but, overall, I had a lot of fun watching four confused people puzzle out their survival.

Out of Blue [2018]


       
Rotten Tomatoes = 36 / 40
Personal = 5.0

Links Updated 8/30/19
Superb writing and excellent acting highlight this otherwise dull and long winded murder investigation. Lead Det. Mike Hoolihan (Patricia Clarkson) is quite a compelling character who can intimately read people and crime scenes like a book while being equally inept at reading herself. In fact, all the characters draw and hold the viewers attention throughout. But, in the end, it was a completely actionless, tenseless, suspenseless, drawn out investigation with unsatisfying conclusions that left me wondering what else I could have done with my time.

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