September 2018

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Beast of Burden [2018]

Rotten Tomatoes = 25 / 10
Personal = 3.0

Links Updated 8/19/19
A drug smuggler is making his last flight over the border to finance a cure for his wife's cancer. Practically the entire film takes place inside the cockpit of the small plane as our pilot is harassed by drug dealers in one ear and the DEA in the other ...which struck me as counterproductive, actually. May have been a nice gimmick if handled properly but in this case, the guy is totally unlikable and a self-proclaimed loser ...which is true. So why would we care if he succeeds or not? This makes for one long, boring plane ride.

Stratton [2017]

Rotten Tomatoes = 0 / 20
Personal = 6.0

Updated Jan 11, 2020
A terrorist plans to launch an airborne weapon using drones and must be stopped by Sergeant Stratton and the British Special Boat Service. Exactly what you'd expect for an action oriented film of this type. This film adds nothing new or original to the genre but it moves at a very quick pace and kept my attention. The characters were likable, albeit somewhat shallow and non-engrossing. Pretty much your basic shoot 'em up that was fun and entertaining as long as you don't expect too much from it.

Agenda: Payback [2018]

aka Unhinged

Rotten Tomatoes = - / 60
Personal = 7.2

Updated Dec 19, 2019
A hustler, who's great at getting people to invest money in schemes that never pan out, is kidnapped by one of his victims who, in turn, invites other victims, one by one, to come by for a visit. This is a highly intense, sometimes painful, thriller that seems pretty straight forward to start but suddenly, when things go wrong, becomes an incredibly complicated game of wits and survival. Unlike the ratings seem to indicate, I found this film to be well written, well performed, and highly engaging. Good fun.

Battleship [2012]

Rotten Tomatoes = 34 / 54
Personal = 8.6

Updated Feb 3, 2020
Earth is invaded by an alien race and the only thing in their way is 3 destroyers. This is a major guilty favorite of mine. It's exciting, fun, full of colorful characters, simplistic but snappy dialogue, and some eye-popping special effects and battle scenes that will keep you firmly on the edge of your seat. Based on the board game, it's in no way scientifically accurate or logical but it doesn't matter. This film intentionally wants you to sit down, strap in, shut up, and hang on. If that's all you expect, you'll love it!

The Black Room [2017]

Rotten Tomatoes = - / 14
Personal = 1.2

Updated Dec 19, 2019
A happy couple gets a good deal on a new house; nicely located, pleasant neighborhood, furnished and even has a demon living in a room in the basement. That's a pretty good premise regardless whether you want to make a horror, comedy or campy sex movie. Unfortunately, our completely unimaginative filmmakers thought they had the talent to go for all three and none of them work. This film is utter nonsense and total garbage. Should have had the folks that made the trailer make the film's much better.

November [2017]

Rotten Tomatoes = 96 / 76
Personal = 7.4

Updated Thanksgiving, 2019
Taking place in medieval Estonia, this surreal, black & white story of unrequited love comes from a similar universe as Eraserhead. A girl in a village, with some of the most bizarre witchery you could imagine (including imbuing inanimate objects with human souls), falls in love with a young man who, in turn, is in love with a baroness. The atmosphere, photography, characters and the overall macabre nature of the film kept me totally hooked from start to finish. Visually stunning. Never seen anything like it.

Killers [2014]

Rotten Tomatoes = 75 / 65
Personal = 5.1

Updated Dec 7, 2019
A frustrated journalist / estranged husband and father, begins corresponding with a serial killer and begins to kill, as well. They managed to make a movie that is both extremely savage and boring at the same time. This movie definitely could have used some trimming from its 137 mins as it spent far too much time on the emotional turmoil of its antagonists - which weren't that interesting to begin with - and on some sort of philosophical reason for everything that's happening that, in the end, for me, it just didn't work.

Gandahar [1988]

aka Light Years

Rotten Tomatoes = - / 73
Personal = 7.3

Updated Jan 24, 2020
An animated film, presented by Isaac Asimov, about a war that's brewing between the peaceful people of Gandahar and a totalitarian race of metal men seemingly controlled by the Metamorphe. I was quite pleasantly surprised on how much I enjoyed it. The animation is simplistic but wildly imaginative drawing me quite easily into a completely alien world. It really makes you think about the concepts of time, as well. Very enjoyable.

Caught [2017]

Rotten Tomatoes = 67 / 29
Personal = 4.1

Updated Dec 7, 2019
I have a great idea for a movie. These two aliens, inhabiting human bodies, terrorize a family because they saw something in the moors even though they don't know what. That sounds great! What happens then? I don't know. What do the aliens look like? We don't have a budget for that. How does it end? I don't know. And there you have it. Great premise, great beginning, April Pearson and Cian Barry's performance was authentically alien but the film really went nowhere beyond it's premise and the ending was just horrible!

A Girl Walks Home Alone at Night [2014]

Rotten Tomatoes = 96 / 75
Personal = 7.3

Updated Dec 7, 2019
Another surreal, black & white art film that I didn't like quite as much as November - probably due to some scenes dragging on too long - but still a fascinating and visually entrancing story. The girl in question is a vampire and the setting is an Iranian oil town, which is as populated as a ghost town with a soundtrack that's a mix of spaghetti western and rave. The performances are extraordinary and deeply felt and I have never seen a more mellow cat in my life. And what's with all the bodies in the riverbed? Exceptional film making!

The Odd Couple [1968]

Rotten Tomatoes = 100 / 89
Personal = 8.3

Updated Dec 7, 2019
Two divorcees, one with an extreme case of OCD and the other, a total slob, try to make a go of living together with the expected results. This classic comedy by one of the best comedic playwrights of the 60's & 70's, Neil Simon, still holds up today as an exercise in sharp wit and outrageous scenarios that come off as very real and very funny. IMO, no other version, including the TV series, came close to this original version.

The In-Laws [1979]

Rotten Tomatoes = 90 / 83
Personal = 9.2

Updated 6/22/19
Another classic comedy that's never been remade well, IMO. A dentist unwittingly gets mixed up in an international conspiracy to undermine the world economy by a man who's due to be his in-law when their kids get married. Is the man a criminal, a real CIA agent or just completely insane? The absolutely perfect comedy timing between the exquisitely cast Alan Arkin (the dentist) and Peter Falk (the ???) is hilariously funny. The story is complex with a lot of stuff going on. It works on all levels and one of the best comedies ever.

The Endless [2017]

Rotten Tomatoes = 93 / 66
Personal = 7.0

Updated Nov 3, 2019
After leaving a cult 10 years ago, two brothers receive a mysterious old video from said cult and it prompts one of them to insist they go back for a visit. Thus begins a film that starts normally enough and moves along at a slow pace (in fact, I almost turned it off) but then is subtly begins to mess with reality until you're not quite sure what's going on just know it's bad, malevolent, and never ending. Twisting time and reality, no explanations or solutions are ever provided, which makes it all the more compelling and horrific. Good film.

Marrowbone [2017]

aka The Secret of Marrowbone

Rotten Tomatoes = 46 / 57
Personal = 7.2

Updated Dec 7, 2019
A mother, 3 sons and a daughter are starting a new life after a tragic past with a cruel father. When the mother dies, the eldest son tries to hide and protect the family until he's 21. And why is the attic bricked up? This was an eerie slow burn that doled out the story in tiny pieces that simultaneously frustrated and dared you to stop watching. I figured out the twist about half-way through but it doesn't matter. It was still a very well developed, mysterious and compelling story. Anya Taylor-Joy was, once again, fantastic.

The ABCs of Death [2012]

Rotten Tomatoes = 37 / 23
Personal = 4.2

Updated Jan 22, 2020
26 stories, each representing a letter of the alphabet, by 26 different writers/directors. Unfortunately, it didn't work very well. Less than half dozen of the stories were any good. Of the rest, some were incomprehensible or full of abstract imagery that made no sense. Many seemed to be centered around toilets. Some were extremely revolting for the pure sake of being revolting ..especially the last few that I found to be very unpleasant to sit through. Better luck with the sequels.

The Incredibles [2004]

Rotten Tomatoes = 97 / 75
Personal = 7.4

Updated Jan 9, 2020
After a superhero family is forced into a suburban lifestyle due to lawsuits, the father is secretly called up for a special mission but things don't quite work out as expected. Everything works very well in this animated film, though. The characters and their interpersonal relationships are genuine and heartfelt, the action is amazing and the scenarios and story line are quite entertaining. I don't recall any laugh-out-load moments but I was thoroughly amused and had a smile on my face throughout. Well done.

Mystery Road [2013]

Rotten Tomatoes = 91 / 64
Personal = 5.0

Updated Jan 11, 2020
A cop, whose just completed detective training, returns to his hometown in the outback just in time to deal with a young girl found murdered on a country road. I liked the main character who played the role of a novice detective trying to keep his head above water and it had an excellent and extremely realistic gun fight near the end. But, I could imagine this film being on many 'Top 10 Movies to Fall Asleep By' lists. Up until the last 10 minutes, this movie is ungodly slow and largely uneventful with a whole lot of talking ...slowly.

10x10 [2018]

Rotten Tomatoes = 75 / 18
Personal = 7.0

Updated Nov 3, 2019
A man kidnaps a woman and locks her in a 10x10 padded room until she tells him the truth about her history. It took a while to get to the gist of the issue, with a lot of padding (pun intentional), but once certain things began being revealed, it became a rather interesting story with a very intense ending. Basically, though, the film is a show piece for Luke Evans and Kelly Reilly, as they're practically the only two people in the film, and they do a wonderful job. Unlike the general ratings it's gotten, I actually agree with RT this time.

The Keep [1983]

Rotten Tomatoes = 40 / 43
Personal = 4.6

Updated Nov 3, 2019
In Romania, 1941, a group of German soldiers stay in a keep that was built to hold an ancient evil imprisoned ...and it wants out. I read the book around the same time the movie came out but didn't see it until now. I don't remember much from the book but I remember the book being really good and this film, with its bad editing, bad acting, cheap special fx and a soundtrack by Tangerine Dream that seemed completely out of place, came off as a really cheesy b-movie with large gaps in the story. Didn't work for me.

Enter the Void [2009]

Rotten Tomatoes = 71 / 71
Personal = 2.2

Updated Jan 24, 2020
Nearly the entire film is presented as the astral journey of the soul of a young man who's killed by the police and shows us his life story and see what affects his death is having on everyone he knows. It's presented in a surrealistic psychedelic assault on the senses that had me wondering if I was going to have a seizure or throw up. Bleak and tragic, the people were completely uninteresting whose lives were ruled by drugs, sex, psychological problems and abject misery. And it went on for 160 mins!! God, what an abysmal waste of time.

Genesis [2018]

aka Genesis: The Fall of Eden

Rotten Tomatoes = - / 14
Personal = 7.1

Updated Dec 7, 2019
Several years after a biological agent was released causing an extinction event, a small group of survivors huddle in a scientific research shelter complete with dwindling supplies, an oppressive bureaucratic leadership, and a project to develop an artificial intelligent robot that can go outside. So, why the bad ratings? I loved this film. Yeah, it's low budget and looks the part and the story didn't flow well at times but I thought the philosophical angle was real strong and, overall, nicely played out.

Cult [2013]

aka Karuto

Rotten Tomatoes = - / -
Personal = 5.3

Updated Dec 17, 2019
A mockumentary that starts out as a pretty typical exorcism film, Japanese style, but slowly drifts into something far more Lovecraftian. Nice nightmarish visuals and it maintained a certain level of tension. Had a few prime moments, as well. However, some of the scenes dragged on why too long. The pace was slow but fine as it appeared to be preparing us for a big exciting and climactic finish which never materialized. In fact, the ending was about as ambiguous as it gets. Entertaining but not much beyond that.

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