Last Update 6/18/15

 

Nightlight (2015)

Five teens, some of whom have suicidal tendencies, decide to play a spooky flashlight game in spooky bit of woods with a bad reputation. They wake something up. Unfortunately, it's not the audience that they waken. Stupid lines, incompetently delivered, bad special effects, no real story, poor lighting, and a chunk of it is miserable found footage. I have nothing at all good to say about this one. It was a complete waste of time. 6/22/15

Jurassic World (2015)

This was basically a remake of the first in the series. Two kids are alone in the park and have to be rescued. An evil man is plotting to make money off genetically altered embryos. A giant predator escapes and is foiled at the end when it is attacked by raptors. The acting is okay but there's not much opportunity for it to be demonstrated. The special effects are bigger but not necessarily better. I watched this in 3D and not only did it not add anything to the film but it made everything look darker and slightly fuzzy. The body count is higher, obviously. I also wondered where the 20,000 people disappeared in the couple of hours that elapsed before the final battle. Since the ferry only comes every forty minutes, and it's not that large a ferry, there must have been 15,000 plus still on the island, but the main building area is deserted except for our heroes. I also doubt that their insurance company would have allowed such a poor security system. And while I am willing to accept that the genetically engineered predator might be very intelligent, it could not know the purpose of the implant it removes, it could not have known that it was being monitored by infrared, etc. All that said, it was fun to watch. I just wish they'd paid more attention to details and plausibility. 6/18/15

See You in Valhalla (2015)

I was told this was a comedy so I came to it with the wrong set of expectations. It's a drama about a very dysfunctional family coming to terms with itself after one of the sons dies while attacking a drug dealer with a sword. Some of it is very predictable, some of it is amusing, and some of it is boring. The acting is all first rate but I think it would have worked a lot better if it had been considerably shorter. The characters just aren't interesting enough to support a full length film. 6/17/15

Taken 3 (2015)

The third in this series feels like it's just going through the motions. Liam Neeson is framed for his wife's murder and is on the run, although it would have been a lot simpler if he had just let them arrest him since there was plenty of evidence that he wasn't responsible. He fights his way through a Russian mob and disables a lot of policemen along the way - there is a disturbing lack of concern for collateral damage to innocent bystanders. The big surprise ending is very obvious very early. Forrest Whitaker does a good job as the policeman trying to track him down and there are a few good moments scattered about, but not very many of them. Hopefully this will end as a trilogy. 6/14/15

Redemption (2013)

A mentally disturbed soldier - Jason Statham - returns to the US and becomes involved with organized crime in London and with the murder of an old friend. This was rather a change from the other movies I've seen with Statham - despite the plot there's not an awful lot of action. It was interesting to see him in a more dramatic role and he does a pretty good job, but I suspect a lot of people are going to be expecting something else entirely. And I confess that after a while I was hoping for a good fight because the story just dragged along. 6/10/15

San Andreas (2015)

There's not much to say about the plot of this one. Rescue pilot has to get his wife and daughter out of California just as the greatest earthquake in history strikes. The characters are so standardized that they might as well not have tried acting. The special effects are quite nice but not notably better than, say, those in 2012. The ease with which the characters steal things - a truck, an airplane, a boat, a telephone, a radio, etc. - were a bit offputting, and their eventual reunion is such an incredible coincidence that my bad writing alarm siren went off at that point. I did like the cargo container hitting the Golden Gate Bridge and the tsunami was nicely done. It will keep you watching, but you probably won't remember details after a few days. 6/9/15

San Andreas Quake (2015)

A quick ripoff timed to coincide with the relief of San Andreas. This is boring rather than actively awful for a change. Some bad dialogue and logic, e.g. ďit canít be doneĒ and this is because ďitís impossible.Ē Our protagonist is a female scientist who is trying to develop a means to predict earthquakes. Needless to say the CGI effects look like a bad cartoon. The hippo is particularly silly. There are also continuity problems. The characters refer to widespread fires and destruction after the mild earthquake which we are told did minimal damage, but before the bigger ones. The hotel that has been retrofitted for an 8.0 quake is seriously damaged by a tremor less than 4.0?  The total evacuation of Los Angeles in less than 90 minutes is a laughable joke. 6/3/15

Robot Revolution (2015)

Despite a catchy soundtrack, this didn't get off to a very good start. The writers confuse robots and androids, the actors are flatter than the dialogue when they're not aggressively bad, the robots are obviously humans in plastic costumes, and the sets look like most of the early scenes were shot in the basement of a college dorm. The color is washed out as well. The female cop, who is supposed to be the good guy, is a jackbooted thug. The photography is not only inept but sometimes the picture is distorted. The plot is about the release of nanobots which take over not just machines but turn living people into zombielike killers. This attempt at the best of both worlds delivers the worst of either. I've seen better acting and production values at high school plays. 6/2/15

The Babadook (2014)

Following the death of her husband, a woman struggles to raise her son by herself.  The boy is troubled by nightmares and insists that there is a monster around, and she is worried that it is becoming an obsession. A mysterious book shows up in the house and begins to influence their lives. This is a psychological thriller and probably wonít appeal to a lot of people because (1) itís rather depressing, and (2) itís not your typical slasher type film with scantily clad young women running away from the killer/monster. Although I thought most of the film was very effective, and the final revelations are suitably surprising, the motherís character is so lifeless and ineffective most of the time that I lost patience with her at times, and therefore with the film as a whole. 5/28/15

Echoes (2014)

A writer who has been experiencing sleep paralysis and nightmarish villains goes to a remote house owned by her boyfriend to rest, and things start to get creepy. The story takes longer to get going than it should. She begins to have visions of an odd looking man and when she wakes up one morning, numbers are scrawled all over the windows. The tension picks up dramatically at this point. The protagonist is not the most sympathetic character Iíve seen, but the acting is competent. She reviews surveillance footage and sees herself killing a neighbor who tried to help her. Her subsequent actions didnít always make sense to me. Thereís a continuity error. The boyfriend explains that he didnít tell the woman about the significance of a particular date because she was going to be in the desert alone, but at the time she asked him, he had returned and she was not going to be alone. Flawed, but shows signs of promise. 5/27/15

Zombeavers (2014)

Toxic waste affects a colony of beavers turning them into flesh eating zombies. This is actually a not awful spoof with only a few jokes, some of which are obvious but some of which are clever. Sort of like Troma with better taste and better writers. Three sorority sisters come to a remote country getaway for a weekend away from their boyfriends. The boyfriends show up after all, along with peculiar neighbor with a gun. The beavers are silly looking, intentionally, and the three guys are absolute idiots, also probably intentionally. On at least one occasion I could see the hand operating the puppet. The six characters are besieged in the house by a pack of beavers, who have eaten through the phone lines. Needless to say, no cell coverage. It does drag a little after the initial attacks. Then the story takes an entirely different turn, which caught me by surprise, and things get much more violent and much less funny. Cute ending. 5/26/15

Hell Swarm (2000) 

Boy is this mess. Aliens who once ruled the Earth but became nearly extinct are posing as humans as part of their plot to resume control. The hero is a police officer who killed his partner, who was an alien, and who is executed, only to be brought back to life by a secret government agency that wants him to help them thwart an alien plot to use killer bees against the human race. Got all that? It takes a while to get that far because the movie moves from scene to scene so randomly that I thought something was wrong with the dvd, It might have made more sense if that had been the case. There is absolutely no reason in the world why anyone should watch this, and even less reason why it should have been made in the first place. 5/25/15

Survival Island (2006) 

This was a Showtime original movie so I was hoping for at least a competent project. It even has Billy Zane, whom I always like. Unfortunately, this story of shipwrecked people fighting one another must have been put together by failed film students. At one point a woman goes into the water naked and comes out wearing a bikini bottom. During a sex scene, a womanís underwear comes and goes at random. In facts, odd bits of clothing seem to create themselves spontaneously throughout the movie. A fishing party goes to sea but one of their number has pissed off a local witch who puts a curse on them. Stunningly boring and incompetent.  5/24/15

The Roost (2005) 

The opening credit and framing sequence are, unfortunately, the high points of this film. Once weíre past that, itís pure amateur film making, with grainy pictures, bad lighting, bad sound, bad acting, bad dialogue, bad special effects, and just bad. There were times when I couldnít even follow the plot but itís more or less about a bunch of people caught in a rural region when a swarm of vampire bats starts killing people. Hereís the ďcleverĒ part. If youíre bitten by a vampire bat, you turn into a zombie. Bet you didnít know that. See, horror films can be educational. 5/23/15

Spring Break Shark Attack (2005) 

Another title that almost makes a plot summary superfluous, although this is tamer than you might expect because it was made for television. A bunch of young men and women who are too old for the parts they are playing Ė I wonít call them actors although the silly script might be at fault here Ė are trying to enjoy themselves at the beach in Florida, but there are hungry sharks in the water. No one seems to have noticed that four women were killed by sharks in the area a short time earlier. Most of the males are such incredible dorks that I canít imagine them getting a date and the females tend to be more intelligent, but even less sensible. This is basically a T&A movie without the T&A, which doesnít leave much content at all. And since when are there mountains in Florida? The scene where one actress changes hairstyles in mid-conversation is also a winner. They didnít even dig deep into the bag of clichťs for this one. Date rape drugs, jealous girlfriends, the nerd scientist with a new anti-shark invention, true love after thirty seconds of conversation, the motor that won't start at the crucial moment, the poor local boy, etc. Some of the shark "attacks" are just silly. The experienced boat man fails to keep enough fuel for the return trip so that he and his passengers have to shelter on an island because coincidentally the radio breaks and no one has a cell phone! And I seriously doubt that sharks can attack people in two feet of water while submerged except for their fin. 5/22/15

Extraterrestrial (2014)

A distraught woman calls 911 from a telephone booth, which is promptly lifted into the air, then dropped - without its human occupant - to shatter on the ground. I don't mind the formulaic plot - a bunch of young adults go to a remote cabin and get menaced by aliens - but why does the dialogue have to be so dreadful? Do the writers never actually listen to people talking? Not to mention that they are there to take pictures for a real estate listing to avoid the expense of having the realtor do it. Realtors don't charge for taking pictures. And as usual the characters are almost without exception awful people. I suspect the writers were trying for a blend of humor and horror, but they ended up with neither. Some of the actors seemed to have some actual skills, completely wasted here. Michael Ironside is entertaining but he can't buck the tide of the movie, which even includes an anal probe. Lousy effects. Forgettable. 5/18/15

Dinosaur Island (2014)  

This is for kids, so itís about what youíd expect dramatically. Two kids are transported to another world where dinosaurs are still alive Ė which is why I was watching this in the first place Ė and things from our world show up periodically. They have various adventures as they try to find the way back home. The adult characters are all more or less idiots and the kids are very bright. The dinosaurs are decently done but this is not Jurassic Park by any means. The kids arenít tremendously appealing either although they do a mostly competent job. Should go over well with the 7-12 year old audience. 5/17/15

Icetastrophe (2014)   

Hollywood must have a silly words department. This really bad catastrophe movie is about a meteorite that crashes and unleashes waves of flash freezing coldness. Thereís not even an attempt to make the science realistic in this one. Cardboard villains who can only speak in clichťs, laughable special effects, a complete misunderstanding of how emergency management works, plus mediocre acting and dialogue. This one is so silly that itís occasionally amusing. The freeze wave moves very fast except when the heroes need to do something that takes time, then it conveniently slows down. An amusing paradox: two cars leave and follow the same route. The second one arrives all right, but the first finds the road blocked. 5/16/15

The Drownsman (2014)

There's a slightly unusual twist to this otherwise standard horror movie. After nearly drowning in an accident, a young woman has visions of a supernatural serial killer and an abnormal fear of water. Her friends decide to intervene, so they take her to a sťance. This really doesn't make any sense but let's move on. The acting isn't bad, most of the time, and the dialogue is only slightly clunky, most of the time. I didn't have much sympathy for this group of amateur psychologists who mix a medium into their therapy session - which only makes sense if you're a screenwriter. If they want to convince her that there are no spirits in the water, why would they bring in a medium to contact them?  Once past the dreadful opening, there are some good sequences - some of them genuinely suspenseful if not particularly original. The killer uses water as an interface to draw them into whatever realm it is that he now inhabits, having been drowned by one of his victims. Lousy ending. 5/14/15

Age of Ultron (2015)

The second Avengers movie adds the Vision, Quicksilver, and the Scarlet Witch to the list of comic book heroes brought to the screen. I've never cared for the Scarlet Witch; her powers are too undefined and mutable. This one never slows down. Stark uses Loki's staff to create an artificial intelligence that reinterprets its purpose to be the extinction of the human race. Ultron, who can occupy multiple bodies, has a sinister plot that they don't suspect until it is almost too late. The Black Widow and Bruce Banner flirt with love. Hawkeye's secret family is revealed. Nick Fury shows that Shield isn't entirely gone. And one of the super heroes seems to have died, although in comic book land that's never the last line of the song. Probably not quite as good as the first, but a close second. There are plot holes, but there always are in comic book stories. 5/9/15

House of the Long Shadows (1983)

I just reread Seven Keys to Baldpate by Earl Derr Biggers. This was one of the movie versions and it has a great cast - Vincent Price, Peter Cushing, John Carradine, Christopher Lee - but the idiot writers get it off to a dreadful start when the writer protagonist Ė Desi Arnaz Jr. -  takes a bet that he can write a successful literary novel in 24 hours. I doubt he could even type it that quickly. The premise of the novel was a writer whose retreat to a closed inn is interrupted by a number of often shady characters who are all trying to gain possession of a large packet of money.  The first part of this alleged movie version is dismally acted, dimly lit, illogical, and varies so much from the book that I didnít recognize the story. They even introduce a curse, a mysterious station master, and of course a dark and stormy night. The subsequent plot bears only the faintest resemblance to the original, and several scenes make no sense and are clearly designed just to make things seem mysterious Ė like the young woman wearing a mask when she goes to warn the hero that he is in danger. Instead of political corruption, we have an Old Dark House mystery of no particular merit, and the witty dialogue in the book is replacedwith inanity and confusion.  And the sets are so dark that often I couldnít tell what was going on. It makes less sense as it goes. Lee insists he will throw them out as trespassers, but he has no authority to do so since he has no connection to the property. Then the others say that they locked one of their family in a room upstairs for forty years, but if that's the case, how has he stayed alive for so long, and how did he avoid being detected by the owners?  What a waste.5/8/15

House of Cards Season One (2013)

This political drama stars Kevin Spacey and that's enough to make it worth watching all by itself. He is the House Majority Whip, recently disappointed in his bid to become Secretary of State under the newly elected President. He initiates a clandestine campaign of chicanery, intimidation, misrepresentation, and other tactics - including murder - and by the end of the season has been selected to replace the Vice President, who is resigning to pursue another political career. There are a host of subplots involving his wife, his mistress, and various other characters. Virtually no one in the show is even remotely appealing as a person. Although there are some clever twists and turns, I was never able to see it as more than remotely similar to how our own government functions - and I'm as cynical as they come in that regard. Spacey is too slick, his opponents either collapse almost willingly or are thwarted by coincidences, and sometimes events portrayed struck me as virtually impossible in the real world. But it has Kevin Spacey. I'll probably watch more. 5/7/15

The Burning Dead (2014)

A slightly different take on the zombie apocalypse. Unfortunately, done with such completely amateur acting and vividly awful special effects that it is funnier than it is suspenseful. A group of cannibals are swallowed up when a volcano overflows decades ago, and as the result of a curse they are brought to...um...unlife again in the present, except now they are filled with lava. I watched this is stunned disbelief rather than active interest. I doubt the actors even tried to put in a professional performance. Much of the dialogue is almost painful to listen to. The science - such as it is - is mindless. No one can predict the approximate time of a volcanic eruption just because of an earthquake. And if they know when it's going to erupt, why are they in a panic a week beforehand? Chunks of the non-zombie plot are lifted wholesale from Dante's Peak, without any of the skill required. There's a subplot about a sexy photographer than is beyond ludicrous. Although the volcano never actually erupts, lava flows down the roads trapping the cast inside the zombie zone. The CGI looks like it was done by a high school student - and not a very bright one. Even though there is supposed to be a violent eruption going on, almost every scene takes place in a sunny day with not a breath of wind. I've seen better college films.3/5/15

Jinn (2014)

The Jinn are an ancient race who wish to displace humanity, but there is a human society dedicated to protecting the world from their influence. The hero is descended from one of these occult warriors, although he doesn't know it. He receives a tape from his father that suggests all of this without stating anything specific, which seems like a waste of time. Strange things start to happen but he is understandably reluctant to believe a priest and another man who try to tell him the truth. Reasonably good acting and some interesting special effects help this otherwise pedestrian plot to move along, although there is a long section in which not much of anything happens except that people talk a lot. The Jinn can apparently possess humans, but we never are told why they don't then just possess our hero. The slow motion battle sequence is unfortunately funny rather than frightening. Then we discover that the Jinn can imitate specific humans as well. The rationale for all of this frays steadily and by the end of the movie it is in tatters. Not a disaster, but it should have been a lot better than it is. 4/30/15

Deep in the Darkness (2013)

This one is a variation on the small town secret story. It starts out all right with the new doctor and his family moving to town, but then we are told that the town has an eight o'clock curfew for everyone, which is nonsense. Then he gets a shipment of Ebola, bubonic plague, etc. by UPS, which he keeps in his house. There are humanoid creatures living in the woods and the townspeople are afraid of them. Given how vulnerable they are, the creatures aren't all that scary and it's implausible that the town would keep them secret and live in fear of their lives rather than do something about it. The protagonist does and while his success is limited, that's only because he is acting alone.  The acting is good, the setup isn't bad, but the execution, special effects, and most of all the plot just don't work. Among the logical problems, the doctor comments that he's bothered by the racist actions of the locals, but in fact every single interaction he has with them is respectful or friendly or both. At another point, one of the characters remarks that the doctor doesn't trust one of the other locals, but he has never even met her by then, and only heard her name ten seconds earlier. And what is the point of the curfew when the creatures move around during the day as easily as at night? And why is he sleeping on the couch when he and his wife are getting along fine? And with the lights on? This gets progressively worse as it goes and the creatures themselves are just silly.  4/26/15

The Walking Deceased (2015)

It is a perhaps unfortunate that most of the better zombie movies have been spoofs. This one is a spoof of the television show, Walking Dead, and we see much of the story through the eyes of one of the zombies - who are slowly regaining traces of their old humanity and are generally smarter than the live characters. Some of the jokes are pretty obvious; some are reasonably clever, but it gets rather repetitious very quickly, and silliness replaces genuine wit. The encounter with the role playing zombies is worth a chuckle. There is also a clever allusion to the opening of the television show - Rick's survival for weeks in a hospital bed without dying of dehydration bothered me when I saw it. There are also pokes at Zombieland and Warm Bodies and probably other movies that I didn't recognize or haven't seen.  A shorter version would have been more effective but it's still reasonably entertaining. 4/24/15.

The Outing (1987)

I remember this under its original title, although it has been re-released as The Lamp. Thugs break into an old woman's house and inadvertently free a genie from a lamp, which promptly kills them. The old woman dies as well, so the lamp ends up in a museum - inexplicably a museum of natural science rather than archaeology or art  - where the genie possesses the daughter of a curator and forces her to lure a bunch of her friends for an overnight outing. There is a very silly classroom scene in which we learn all about the origins (imaginary) of the genie legend. The acting varies in quality from stiff to moderately competent and the special effects aren't remotely convincing - the genie is mostly invisible, but the end product is considerably better than most of the made for video horror movies of recent years. The story isn't anything new but it's done well and with some interesting details. 4/23/15

Beware (2010)

Nothing new in this one. A small town hosts the legend of a boy who was tortured and nearly killed, but who escaped and now lives in the woods waiting for victims. There has never been any proof that the legend is true, but there wouldn't be much of a story if something evil wasn't going on. This had a very low budget and there are lots of rough edges - the acting and dialogue are very uneven - and the plot is simple and predictable. The sound is either dubbed or slightly out of sync and the color is washed out of the picture most of the time. Despite a few good touches early on, the story takes too long to get going and once it does, it rarely leaves the rut. We don't empathize with the prospective victims and the gore scenes are no substitute for genuine suspense. 4/23/15

Dark Touch (2013)

A young girl is the only survivor when her family is massacred. She is convinced that inanimate objects move on their own, but unaware that she may be the cause. She appears to be afraid of her temporary foster parents and convinced that an evil force is following her, which suggests early on the course the story is going to take. There are hints of child abuse and it's obvious that the girl is striking out against those around her, unwittingly, and that she reacts violently to anything she even interprets as being similar - including children playing roughly with dolls. This is quite well done, but it moves very slowly at times, there are a few instances when it is not entirely clear what is going on, and the secret is so obvious so early that there is very little suspense. A nice effort that never rises above the mediocre. 4/19/15

Avengers Grimm (2015)

This looked like it might be amusing. I should have known better. Rumpelstiltskin, who is a normal human played by Casper Van Diem, has led a revolt against a magical kingdom entirely inhabited by bad actors. Snow White, who has  jet black hair and a dark complexion, is the displaced ruler, probably having achieved that role by being an even worse actor than her subjects. Rumpel and his evil minions use a magic mirror to come to our world, where they figure their magic will make them invincible. Cinderella, Sleeping Beauty, and Rapunzel follow through the portal to thwart the villain and display their lack of acting ability. This is appallingly bad,  essentially an amateur production that makes the Sci-Fi Channel's stuff look brilliant. I managed to get half way through, but only because I was too stunned by its inanity to get up sooner. 4/18/15

Come Back to Me (2014)

This is based on The Resurrectionist by Wrath James White, which was a better than average horror novel. A young couple clearly have secrets from one another. The husband is nervous about something and resists the idea of their having a baby. Then a rather creepy new neighbor moves in nearby and the wife begins to experience night terrors and possibly black outs. Then she notices that her "permanent" scar from an automobile accident has disappeared. I blinked a bit when the woman sneaks into the oddball's house; it didn't seem a realistic outcome of the incidents leading up to it. Her "illusions" unfortunately confuse the viewer about what's going on, intentionally, but it still makes the story hard to follow. She also turns up pregnant, although supposedly her husband is sterile. This is quite well done but my dislike of dream sequences kept  me from enjoying it as much as I probably should have. The explanation is clever and original. This one was a very pleasant surprise and there's a great twist at the end. 4/17/15

The Incredible Petrified World (1957)   

John Carradine is featured in this low budget, badly conceived movie about an effort to explore the ocean bottom. The writers knew nothing about how pressure works because the characters use scuba gear to explore after their bathyscape falls to the deep ocean floor. They find a previously unsuspected world and explore it. The first twenty minutes or so are very boring, but unfortunately this is the best part of the movie. This one was not distributed for a long time after it was made, and I can understand why. I probably have more money in my wallet than they had for a budget. And how do you exit from a bathyscape underwater without getting any water inside? Hardly a lost classic. 4/14/15

Girls Gone Dead (2012) 

Third and last of a package of three I picked up. The first was unwatchable, the second not bad. This one lies somewhere in between, watchable but just barely. A nice girl has a lot of friends who like to go topless at every opportunity.  They all go on spring break and find themselves stalked by an axe wielding killer. The acting ranges from marginally competent to really dreadful. The first few minutes arenít awful, but it gets excessively talky and silly as it goes along. The sexploitation scenes are pretty boring and some of the college ďfreshmenĒ look like theyíre in their thirties. A good deal of this is meant to be funny, but it isnít. There is never any real suspense or tension and the plot is almost nonexistent. Completely forgettable, and the last fifteen minutes or so are ludicrous.  4/13/15

Killer Mermaid (2014)

The title pretty much tells it all. The mermaid has an hypnotic song that lures men to their death. A group of people visit a mysterious island where the mermaid - and her human protector - lurks near an abandoned military installation. They do so despite the warning by a local that the island is cursed. The acting is actually pretty good but the story takes quite a while to get moving. Once they finally reach the island, they are chased by a man with a shotgun through a labyrinth of abandoned buildings. It's pretty much a slasher movie after that with the mermaid virtually unseen, her minion performing all the carnage. When we finally get to see her, the effects are nicely done if not overwhelming. More watchable than most direct to video horror, although the plot could have been less derivative. 4/12/15

Zombie Isle (2014) 

A movie so inept, badly filmed, badly acted, and badly produced that buyers ought to be able to demand their money back. The sound track doesnít sync with the action, it appears to have been dubbed with slightly different dialogue than what the actors actually said, there are weird jumps that suggest bits of the film were lost, the soundtrack rises and falls unpredictably, the camera work is atrocious, the acting is actually more like a cold reading, and the occasional effort at humor is embarrassing. A group of college students are sent to a remote island whose wildlife supposedly has been isolated from the rest of the world for generations. Itís in the middle of a river. How isolated could it be?As the title suggests, the island is inhabited by zombies. The soundtrack pops and crackles, the color is washed out, and there are times when the sound disappears entirely.  An amateur film would have been better than this. Anything this bad has to have been intentional. Iíd nominate this as one of the worst movies ever made, but this really isnít a movie. Itís a succession of badly filmed scenes designed to make money and pretend to follow a plot. First of a three pack I bought. I don't have high hopes for the others. 4/11/15

Wolfcop (2014)

This looked like it might be fun. Lou Garou (get it) is a werewolf and a policeman. He has been changed into a shapeshifter by a band of sorcerers who have to kill a werewolf periodically to extend their lives. Lou is also lazy, an alcoholic, and a womanizer. This is played for laughs, mostly, with over the top gore and a plot that doesn't stand up to much examination, but that doesn't matter in this case. And the acting is, mercifully, fairly decent. His first transformation is pretty well done. It turns out he's a bit too much for the drug gang that tries to kill him. Even when transformed, he still has a craving for donuts. There's a band of thieves working the town who wear pig masks, naturally. It's a trifle too silly and there are only a couple of genuinely funny scenes, but it's not bad and it's certainly not your run of the mill horror movie. 4/10/15

Teeth & Blood (2015)

This is a vampire movie that opens like Kung Fu Kid meets Buffy the Vampire Slayer, except with spectacularly bad acting and dialogue that pretends to be filled with clever aphorisms - but they're not . One of the actors in a horror movie is murdered during filming and meanwhile the city's supply of stored blood has been mysteriously disappearing. When the dead woman's body disappears, the police decide to investigate it undercover - which naturally makes no sense at all.  The blood shortage has been going on so long that it was a major issue in the previous election! I only made it halfway through before I couldn't take any more. 4/9/15

Digging Up the Marrow (2014)  1156 

Ray Wise lends some class to this found footage movie. I rarely like found footage movies. One of my major objections is exemplified in the opening sequences here. In order to look authentic, there are pointless scenes designed to mimic the boredom involved in really filming a reality show. Anyway, Wise believes that the kn ows how to reach an underground world where all the monsters and biological sports have a private community accessible from all over the world. He talks a small film producer into bringing a cameraman and going along to investigate. The crew persists even after it is obvious that Wise is a nut and a liar (although it turns out that he isnít a liar but he is a nut). Things dragon endlessly with little happening. Lots of cameos by big name horror movie people do nothing to salvage the situation.  The ending isnít an ending. A waste of time despite Ray Wise's performance. 4/5/15

Percy Jackson: Sea of Monsters (2013)   

The follow up to the inane The Lightning Thief is only slightly better. The lack of attention to detail continues to be frustrating. A Confederate warship, for example, would not be equipped with radar, which wasnít invented until the next century. Anyway, Percy and his friends have to retrieve the Golden Fleece in order to protect the camp with the half human, half godlike sons and daughters of the Olympians gods are being trained to fight the bad guys Ė except that they are taught to fight with swords and arrows rather than guns, which makes no sense in a contemporary context. The acting is competent but uninspired. The special effects are pretty good but wasted. A few individual scenes are worth watching but as a whole it doesnít hold together. There were five books in the series but I doubt the movies will advance beyond this one. 4/4/15

Dark Haul (2014) 

Another pretty low quality horror movie from the Sci-Fi Channel. A secret society has been guarding a demonic creature and its half human sister for generations. Their current mission is to move it to a new location via a large trailer truck. Despite the presence of Tom Sizemore, this is really quite bad. Some of the camera work can charitably be described as amateurish. For that matter the secret society is pretty amateurish as well and itís hard to believe they were successful in the first place. The plot, needless to say, is ridiculous and the special effects donít even hold up to Sci-Fiís usual low standards (even the blood is CGI). Supposedly the sister can control her brother. Thereís a cryptic prophecy that the guardians misinterpret and the creature nearly causes evil (the beast brother) to triumph over good (the sister).  A repulsive movie with repulsive characters, with no indications of any actual talent.  Awful soundtrack.  And despite the melodrama, itís boring. Also known as Monster Truck. 4/3/15

Penny Dreadful Season 1 (2014) 

The first season of this Showtime production ran only eight episodes. It is set in Victorian England and in the opener an American gunfighter Ė Josh Hartnett - is recruited by two enigmatic people to accompany them into the lair of a powerful vampire, although not a conventional one. The creature has an exoskeleton under which its real skin is covered by hieroglyphics. They are intent upon rescuing Timothy Daltonís daughter, Mina Harker, but they donít succeed because they are tracking the wrong pack of vampires.  The second episode is a bit slow, establishing more background and introducing Victor Frankenstein and Dorian Gray as characters.  The focus is further blurred in episode three with the monsterís back story taking up a large chunk of the time.  The action continues to be ponderous at times, and the efforts to show how debauched everyone is becomes self conscious and almost silly. I suspect the writers had no distinct goal in mind because we wander off into side issues and lengthy flashbacks with very little forward progress. The show also errs in giving the evil force such enormous and varied powers that there is no conceivable way that the heroes could prevail except through excessive contrivance. The long possession sequence paired with the character dying of consumption both use up large chunks of time in relatively uninteresting scenes, and how does the uneducated westerner manager to successfully perform an exorcism? There are some interesting surprises in the finale however.. 4/2/15

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