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The Snowman [2017] Snowpiercer [2013]
The Snowtown Murders [2011] Soldier [1998] Soldiers of Fortune [2012]
Solis [2018] Solo: A Star Wars Story [2018] Somebody Help Me [2007]
Sorcerer [1977] Southbound [2015] Spider-Man: Far from Home [2019]
Spider-Man: Homecoming [2017] Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse [2018] Spinning Man [2018]
Split [2016] Spy Game [2001] Stage Fright [1980]
Stake Land [2010] Stalker [1979] Stand Off [2011]
The Standoff at Sparrow Creek [2018] Star Trek [2009] Star Wars VIII: The Last Jedi [2017]
Starve [2014] Stash House [2012] The Stepfather [1987]
The Stepfather [2009] Stepfather II [1989] Still/Born [2017]
Stitches [2012]
Storm [2005] The Stranger Within [2013] The Strangers [2008]
The Strangers 2: Prey at Night [2018] Stratton [2017] Stray [2019]
Strigoi [2009] The Stuff [1985] The Suffering [2016]
Suicide Club [2001] Sukiyaki Western Django [2007] Summer Camp [2015]
Summer of 84 [2018] Sunshine [2007] The Super [2017]
Survival of the Dead [2009] Survive the Night [2020] The Suspect [2013]
Suspiria [2018] The Sweeney [2012]

Summer of 84 [2018]


         

Teenagers doing some Hardy Boys snooping when one of them is convinced the neighboring cop is a serial killer. The characters were portrayed well making them very likable compelling one to want to tag along on this hunt for the truth. However, the mystery was dragged out far too long with the first hour going from suspense to annoyance to frustration before things finally got going. Then, contrary to the tone of the film up till now, it got really dark and rather depressing. Good but I expected more tension and an upbeat ending ...not the opposite.

Survive the Night [2020]


         

Basically a home invasion film about two brothers on-the-run - one psychotic one minute and overcome with grief the next - force their way into a doctor's house to mend a bullet wound. About as cliche as you can get, there's absolutely nothing original here. Cookie cutter characters with no real personality, a contrived back story that doesn't serve any meaningful purpose as well as a daughter (played by a terrible actress) who doesn't even need to be there. No real tension, suspense or excitement to be found. Just a story that plays out exactly as you'd expect.

Still/Born [2017]


         

A couple deals with the tragic loss of a twin that was still born. The mother begins to believe there's a demonic entity trying to take the other twin. Initially, I didn't really like the main characters much so those subtle moments of spookiness weren't really doing much for me. But, along the way, things slowly begin to shift into that gray area somewhere between monsters and madness and grew to an intensity that I did not expect. I thought the ending was perfect ..although it will tick some people off. Properly done slow burn and an overall good film.

Somebody Help Me [2007]


         


A story about incredibly stupid people doing incredibly stupid things. Even the officials, the psychos, and the trailer are stupid. What a stupid movie! ...and they made a sequel!! (walks away shaking his head)

The Stepfather [1987]


         

A stepfather has a pathological need to have the perfect American family. When it doesn't work out, he slaughters them and tries somewhere else. If you haven't taken the time to catch one of the best subtle psychological thrillers of the 80's, you've missed out. Terry O'Quinn is masterful at switching between the perfect family man and a complete psycho. The pacing is perfect as the movie slowly builds with an uneasy tension from what appears to be the perfect family to a brutal and shocking finale.

Soldier [1998]


         

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.

The Super [2017]


         

An ex-cop, now straddled with taking care of two daughters due to the death of his wife, takes a job as a super in a major hotel just as guests are mysteriously disappearing. The characters in this film really don't have much charisma. As such, it's awfully hard to generate any concern of empathy. That, and a complete lack of any humor in the film, makes the whole thing rather dark and lifeless. Its saving grace is a great twist that really got things going ...although in retrospect, I probably should have seen it coming. Generally entertaining but nothing special.

The Snowman [2017]


         

An alcoholic investigator and a newcomer to the department investigate a number of disappearances; all of which have a snowman on site. Once again, far too much time spent on the people in the story and far too little time spent on the actual crimes. Add the fact that the movie's plot is disjointed, wastes time on characters and subplots that make no difference to the story and I didn't understand anyone's motivation for the things they do. The ending was just silly. Too bad the movie is nowhere near as good as the trailer.

The Sweeney [2012]


         

An elite police unit, The Flying Squad, aka, The Sweeney, battles master thieves in London while trying to keep the squad from being shut down by Internal Affairs for their procedures. The characters are awesome, the dialogue is crisp in both the dramatic moments and general banter, the action is well constructed and tense. My only gripes are a lack of attention paid to unimportant members of the squad making them nothing more than warm bodies. Also, things get wrapped up far too clean and neat but still a good shoot 'em up.

Stalker [1979]


         

In this case, the term stalker refers to a tour guide, of sorts, that leads two men into an area known as "The Zone" to take them to a room that is supposed to grant your innermost wishes. Sounds interesting, doesn't it? In a nutshell, it lasted 161 mins and NOTHING happened. The stalker kept preaching dangers. Where? Are there any? Is he nuts? Who knows? Nothing happens. I don't even know if the wish room works. Camera work was awesome and it is very artistic but over 2 1/2 hours with no pay off? That's just wrong! And the final scene was a big what-the-hell?

The Stepfather [2009]


         

A man dreams of the perfect family ...and kills the ones that don't work out. This re-boot of the original 1987 version wasn't really necessary. It's not a bad film in its own right but attempting to upstage Terry O'Quinn in the original is too tall an order to accomplish. That aside, this one had some good, tense moments but overall, it felt like a TV movie and there was far too much attention paid to people not wanting to believe he may be a bad guy when someone suspects something. This stubbornness got ridiculous.

The Strangers [2008]


         

A couple in a secluded ranch home are terrorized by strangers for no apparent reason. The story is that simple. However... many movies used the term terror quite loosely in titles, trailers, and ads but there's very few movies that truly terrorize. This is one of them. The slow pace, rather than bore the viewer, builds a tension of unease that continually increases to horrific levels making the entire film an uncomfortable view even for the veteran horror buff. This is ready heady stuff. Looking forward to the sequel.

Sukiyaki Western Django [2007]


         

The film centers around 2 clans' uneasy relationship in their control of a town and a stranger who comes in to stir things up. This is basically a spaghetti western in Japanese that is quite exaggerated almost to the point of parody ...sort of a cross between Sergio Leone films and Kill Bill (in fact, Quentin Tarantino has a small role in this). Having the Japanese actors speak English, when it's obviously not what they're used to, makes the dialogue pleasantly lyrical. Great action and shootouts. Extremely enjoyable.

The Strangers 2: Prey at Night [2018]


         

Doll face, Pin-up Girl and the Scarecrow are back to terrorize some more folks "because they are home". First, I'll say I really liked the movie but there's a lot I'm forgiving to get there. It didn't have the insidious tension of the first film, the "let's present and establish the dysfunctional family" setup took a bit too long, I didn't like the girl, and the last half of the film began to enter the realm of silly with an absolute final scene that I'd rather forget. Strangely, despite all that, I was thoroughly entertained ...probably because I like the villains so much.

Sorcerer [1977]


         

4 men, with nothing to lose, agree to drive two trucks with 6 crates of nitroglycerin soaked TNT through 218 miles of jungle. Having nothing to do with sorcery, the title refers to the name of one of the trucks. An old favorite, I hadn't seen in some time, still grabs ones attention in the first 2 minutes and never lets go. Extremely tense throughout, the photography and practical effects are awesome ...including the 'trucks on the river bridge in a storm' sequence which is still one of the most nail-biting, edge-of-your-seat thrill rides you'll ever see in your life! Super!!

Stray [2019]


         

Reminiscent of Scanners, this film features a young girl, with a ancient power, whose family is being killed by someone with similar powers. Following the trend, the supernatural elements of the film are, once again, the backdrop for a character study ...mostly about a police detective, who's just returned to the force after trauma, and the complicated relationship she has with her ex-husband / boss. It's slow but the characters are likable, personable and kept me interested. I felt too much time was spent on somewhat irrelevant stuff, but overall, I liked it.

Suspiria [2018]


         

An American girl gains entry into an extremely exclusive dance school in 1977. But perhaps its far more than a school and what is it hiding in its hidden corridors? You have to work pretty hard to figure this out. With a length of 2 1/2 hours, I was impressed that it kept me engaged enough to where it seemed much shorter and I did like the unique style and look of it. I felt the photography of the ritual was terrible, though; dark red, flashing with the cameras over-cranked ...I may have liked it if it wasn't so nauseating. More clarification would have been nice, as well.

Snowpiercer [2013]


         

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 move to the front. Stunning, violent action, surreal and bizarre characters, intriguing social dynamics, and a philosophy about man's place in the order of things (revealed at the end) that is intrinsically disturbing yet wholly necessary. Fantastic film!!

Stash House [2012]


         


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 come 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, thriller. Don't take it too seriously and enjoy the ride.

Survival of the Dead [2009]


         
  
Romero's last "Dead" film once again involves completely different settings and scenarios and totally unique characters. 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. Certainly weakest of the entries in the series but if you just take it for what it is, it's still good Romero zombie fun. We miss you, George.

Solo: A Star Wars Story [2018]


         

The origins of Han Solo depicts his escape from a slave world and establishing his life as a pirate. Tens of millions of dollars spent to visually create the stunning Star Wars universe we've come to love and appreciate and someone forgot to turn on a light! 80% of this film is just simply dark ...hard to see any details at all. Beyond that, much more character driven (way beyond what's necessary) and far less spectacle. I didn't like the ending, either. The train heist was the high point, the rest was unoriginal and entertainingly ho hum.

The Stranger Within [2013]

aka The Stranger Inside

         

After being abducted by a madman for a few days, an actress and her psychologist husband go on a vacation to sort things out. Then a girl shows up and causes problems. This movie was about as contrived and cliche as you can possibly get. All movies are scripted but the trick is to not make it feel that way. In this, every scene was done exactly right and placed in just its proper place making the whole thing terribly unrealistic. And the ending was a complete and total non-surprise. I've seen this story before ...and so much better.

Stepfather II [1989]

SPOILER WARNING: the trailer is literally the whole movie, including climax, in 2 mins.

         

After surviving his wounds, our Stepfather is committed to an asylum which he soon escapes and is now trying to establish a new family ...and deals harshly with those who interfere. If you liked the first film, you should like this one. It doesn't have the same level of intensity or uneasiness, the story is simpler and focused directly on the principals involved, and Terry O'Quinn doesn't have the quality of material he had before but still manages to make a convincing sociopathic nice guy. Make room for daddy!

Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse [2018]


         

Miles Morales, student and graffiti artist, gets caught up in a battle involving Spider-man, Kingpin and a rip in space-time resulting in Spider-man-like heroes from several parallel universes ...and Miles must save the day. Truly outstanding fun and exciting animated feature with some genuine laugh-out-loud moments. They did a wonderful job of making the characters very human and totally outrageous at the same time. The extended battle around the collider was a bit much, making my wife and I a little nauseous, but otherwise, no complaints.

The Standoff at Sparrow Creek [2018]


         

The six members of a small militia group hideout in their HQ, a lumber warehouse, when there's reports that a militia member shot up a cop's funeral. Then the group figures out it's one of them. Let the finger pointing begin. This is an exceptionally well-written, psychological thriller that had me totally absorbed the entire time. It's rare to have a film that's this intense, and intelligent, when it's basically all dialogue. It keeps the viewer constantly guessing until the surprise ending that changes everything. Found a new entry for Doc's Profoundly Twisted list.

The Suspect [2013]

aka Yong-eui-ja

         

An ex N. Korean special ops mercenary, now a defector into S. Korea and driver for a high-ranking politico, is framed for murder. Let the chase begin. Way too long but certainly not for being slow. Too many characters, plot points, back story, interrupted by extremely long action sequences, with very few exceptional moments, all delivered at a break neck pace by folks who can't hold a camera still and editors with chainsaws. It felt like someone running around my house, frantically screaming, and waving their hands in the air. Geez, guys... relax!

The Stuff [1985]


         

A primordial ooze makes its way to the earth's surface and it's delicious! However, the new treat that's taking consumers by a storm is also controlling their minds. Any film with a very unique albeit goofy premise such as this should be an absolute riot. Unfortunately, they figured the premise alone would make up for boring characters, bland storytelling, humorless writing (nary a joke to be found in the entire film) and deplorable editing. What a complete waste of a great idea.

Strigoi [2009]

aka The Undead

         

Good God, this was torturous. Romanian village kills a man and his wife and buries them. The couple comes back and, while he messes with various people in the village, she does nothing but eat. Sounds like it'd be humorous ...but it's not. Excruciatingly slow, making no sense, with uninteresting and unlikeable characters, no humor, action or dramatic moments. I would imagine there's someone out there that can appreciate this film but as for me? I just don't get it.

Southbound [2015]


         

An anthology of overlapping stories presented as a series of bizarre, supernatural events along a remote desert highway (presumed to represent purgatory) over a 24 hour period. This one plays out fairly well with excellent pacing and some very creepy stuff ...especially the creatures. I have no idea what these reaper like things are supposed to represent but they were very cool! Fitting quite snuggly somewhere between The Twilight Zone and the V/H/S series, there was something quite primal and disturbing about this twisted experience. Nice ending, too!

Stand Off [2011]

aka Whole Lotta Sole

         

Taking place in Ireland, a simple hold-up to pay off gambling debts turns into a major mess involving the police, the SAS, the mob, gypsies, and a host of others. The problem with this film is that it's too farcical to be taken seriously and too serious to be a comedy. However, the highly complex story is loaded with misunderstandings and one thing after another making the whole situation worse by the minute. That, and the performances, were plenty enough to entertain me and I liked it.

Stake Land [2010]


         

Follows the travels of a vampire hunter, known only as Mister, and a teen named Martin as they try to outrun the zombie/vampire plague and large groups of religious fanatics. Sort of reminded me of Zombieland but completely devoid of any humor. They pick up and lose several people along the way making this a very personal and emotional ride that relies heavily on the heartstrings. Nothing new here but it has good action, good tension, some very good personal moments, and an ambiguous albeit uplifting ending. Pretty good.

Stitches [2012]


         

Six years after a clown is accidentally killed at a kid's birthday party as the result of a prank by the kids, the clown comes back for revenge. This Irish, very tongue-in-cheek, gore, comedy is humorous and rather entertaining. Several outrageous gags; some of them worked very well (especially the umbrella gag) but most just missed the spot and came off as silly and over indulgent. And the constant use of puns really started to irritate me. Everyone did a good job though and it certainly didn't bore me.

The Suffering [2016]


         

A appraiser finds himself stuck on an estate with a strange owner, a creepy house maid, and what appears to be a number of transients and bodies around the property. The premise and the magnetism of the protagonist compelled me to stick around despite this being an extremely slow burn. I wish I'd left, though. The second half had one silly and bizarre occurrence after another with no context and ultimately, the ending was predictable, long-winded, poorly executed and certainly not worth the time invested.

Soldiers of Fortune [2012]


         


A bunch of ultra-rich men supply arms to an island resistance group in exchange for being part of the action. Lot of familiar faces in this one and they all do an adequate job. Nothing new or remarkable about the film. It's enjoyable (certainly better than the ratings seem to indicate if you aren't too critical) but pretty much everything about it is average.

Star Trek [2009]


         

This reboot of the franchise presents Kirk, Spock, Bones, and many other USS Enterprise alumni boarding the ship for the first time under Captain Pike as they hunt down a psycho Romulan from the future who threatens to destroy planets. This is really nicely done with a super complex multiple timeline story that'll make your head hurt if you think about it too much but it's presented in an understandable way. The character dynamics were great and the spec fx are just awesome. Bravo!

Suicide Club [2001]

aka Jisatsu sakuru

         

Japan is suffering an epidemic of suicides for unknown reasons and someone is presenting the death count on a website before they happen. It's almost like the movie was made backwards with the opening of 54 school students leaping in front of a train as its most auspicious moment. The longer it went, the more surreal and disjointed it became with a lot of philosophy and symbolism that wasn't making any sense to me ...perhaps lost in translation? Then it just fizzled out leaving me scratching my head.

Summer Camp [2015]


         

Four American counselors are setting up a summer camp in Spain when they inexplicably become psychotic killers. (heavy sigh) Ok... The agent that inflicts them and how it works is very good and quite unique. That alone had a huge potential to make a great movie. However, once again, the filmmakers decided to make all the principals morons. By the time the first one was inflicted, I was so frustrated in their behavior, I didn't care what happened to them. And it never improved. What a waste of a good idea.

Stratton [2017]


         

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.

The Snowtown Murders [2011]

aka Snowtown

         

Based on real events in the 90's centering around John Bunting, one of Australia's most notorious serial killers, and his unquestioning control and dominance of those around him. Filmed amidst the poverty and squalor of Snowtown, this dark, disturbing, and depressing film is shot in an unnerving documentary style that makes you feel like you're a party to all of this. Well made and effective, my personal score is wholly subjective as it's slow pacing and nearly total focus on horrible people (with little emphasis on the crimes) left me feeling lousy.

Spider-Man: Homecoming [2017]


         
  
After the events of the Avenger Civil War, Spider-Man has been relegated to protecting his own neighborhood. As he tries to balance school life and being a hero, he discovers an underground arms manufacturer who's developing monstrous and deadly weapons using alien technology. Excellent characters and story, and, of course, state-of-the art spec fx and action. My only real gripe is some of the action is shot up-close with a shaky camera ...couldn't tell what was happening much of the time. Michael Keaton was perfectly cast as the Vulture.

Split [2016]


         

A man with 23 personalities kidnaps 3 girls that he believes he must give to 'the beast'. Once again, M. Night Shyamalan, has underwhelmed me. I keep hoping for another piece of brilliance like The Sixth Sense but it has yet to happen. Although interesting as a character study and exceptional acting, it's ponderously slow and the events are forced upon you in order to make the story work ...I was constantly questioning what would logically happen and then realized it wouldn't fit the script.

Starve [2014]


         

A psycho and his Igor style helper hold several people prisoner in an old abandoned school and force them to kill each other with food as their reward. This is a pretty middle-of-the-road horror film with a modicum of violence. However, it's depiction of what people are willing to do when they're starving is probably pretty accurate and quite disturbing. Not a great film but it did keep me engaged and there certainly wasn't anything I really disliked about it.

Spinning Man [2018]


         

A girl goes missing and a dedicated detective believes a somewhat absent-minded professor is responsible. The film does an excellent job at never making it clear if the professor is guilty or not while presenting an excellent and seriously intense character study of all those involved. Unfortunately, it becomes a one-trick pony as that's all it does until the resolution ...which is, um, strange. The film never clearly defines many issues it brings up. Add an ambiguous ending and this viewer was left with a lot of questions.

Storm [2005]


         

A Swedish film about ...well ...I don't know, really. Something to do with comic characters come to life and a cube. They drag some guy into the situation who's supposed to find out what's in this all-so-important cube and basically lives through a version of A Christmas Carol re-discovering some ugly moments in his past. When the cube is opened, it was like, "Really? That's it? I don't get it." With no explanation, this film is a pointless mish mash of story lines with one story line left completely unresolved. Bizarre!

Solis [2018]


         

An engineer is stuck in a mining pod headed straight for the sun after an explosion while a command ship tries to catch up and save him. Boy, this film was cruel and agonizing to both the central character and me, the viewer. It's just him and a voice on the radio for the whole film while he goes about trying to find ways to stay alive and that gets pretty trying after a while. The guy's a pessimistic jerk at first and then, when they finally did make me care about him, they slap an ending on it that just ticked me off. What a pathetically downbeat film.

Spider-Man: Far from Home [2019]


         
  
On a school trip to Europe, Peter Parker is reluctantly forced into his Spider-man role as he finds himself in a war between Mysterio and the Elementals ...and all he wants to do is woo a classmate. Taking place after Endgame, this one centers on Peter's character and his circle of acquaintances far too much, imo. Although certainly likable and fun, it didn't leave as much room for an overly simple story as MCU films go. However, it was, humorous, exciting, full of action, eye candy and colorful characters, introduces the 'Peter-tingle', and is quite enjoyable.

Stage Fright [1980]

aka Nightmares

         

This slasher exploitation film, with considerable sex and violence, features a girl who accidentally kills her mother in a car accident and then kills people in a theater production when she grows up. That's not a spoiler ...that's obvious from the start. In fact, I was expecting some sort of twist to show it wasn't her but, no. This simple premise is simply an excuse to kill a lot of people with broken glass in bloody fashion and proving that any form of sexual thought or activity insures your doom. It was mildly entertaining in its no-budget audacity but that's about it.

Spy Game [2001]


         

A retiring CIA handler has to plead his case on rescuing an operative captured by the Chinese. Very intriguing and well written spy thriller with an excellent performance by Robert Redford as a handler who knows exactly what he's doing against all odds. Both my wife and myself found the film very compelling and, now that we know what happens, certainly worth a second watch to spot all the tricks. Good fun!

Star Wars VIII: The Last Jedi [2017]


         

Rey tries to bring back a severely reluctant Luke Skywalker to help in the war. Meanwhile, the First Order is attempting to destroy the last of the resistance. Well, it's a Star Wars movie so fans of Star Wars will probably find it a quite satisfying edition to the franchise and those who are not big fans will probably like it anyway. I've always followed the movies but I've never been a die hard fan. Yet, I found this film to be probably the best of the bunch. There's a lot going on here, it's exciting, and it's very well made.

Sunshine [2007]


         

The sun is dying and the Icarus II is sent with a massive bomb to kick it back on 7 years after an apparent failure of Icarus I to do the same. This sounds like one of those totally implausible scenarios used to create a spec fx heavy adventure without any real science to back it up. But this film took great care to make it scientifically plausible and the human drama was as fantastic as the story. This is really good, hardcore sci fi and my only gripe is much of the action was blurry and shaky and was making me nauseous.

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