Sunday, January 9, 2011

#12: THE LOVED ONES (2009)

Format watched on: DVD
Time watched: 00:00 CST
New or Rewatch: New


Synopsis: When Brent turns down his classmate Lola's invitation to the prom, she concocts a wildly violent plan for revenge.

After a few beers and a crappy movie on the list, Michael & I decided to throw this in. I remember this playing at TIFF back in 2009 and I loved the image that Midnight Madness used on the flyer that I got when I went to Rue Morgue's Festival of Fear that year. Coincidentally enough, we started this film at midnight.

This Australian film is amazing! It's vicious, unapologetic and raw. THE LOVED ONES is the total opposite of a teen geared US horror flick. To really go into it more would ruin the film. Go into this film with very little knowledge for a bigger payoff.

The film is not available in the US but is available on R2 DVD & Region B Blu Ray in the UK. IMPORT IT (if in US)!

Grade: A

Saturday, January 8, 2011


Format watched on: Instant/OnDemand (XBOX)
Time watched: 21:45 CST
New or Rewatch: New
IMDB Amazon

Synopsis: When a massive power outage plunges the city of Detroit into total darkness, a disparate group of individuals find themselves alone.

After the failure of surround sound from DEVIL via Amazon On Demand, I decided to spend $5 extra bucks to watch this in 5.1 by renting it via XBOX. This was my first time ordering off of XBOX and I really hate that it was more money and that I can't just pay for it outright. You have to buy points. It worked out because I combined the $10 & $5 package.

My friend and writer for my site (DESTROY THE BRAIN) came over and we had a couple of brews. After blabbing for a couple of hours, we decided to fire this one up. I'm always pulling for Brad Anderson. I like him as a director and he made one of the most recent films that genuinely freaked me out (SESSION 9).

Sadly, this film just was slow. There was no interest with the characters except for the kid. The film just lacks the emotional ties to characters to make this film work. Structurally, the film is a character piece. It has some scary imagery, but it loses its potency because it keeps getting repeated. This film only confirms that Hayden Christensen should never be a main character.

I'll still watch whatever you come up with though Mr. Anderson.

Check out my writer's review that he posted after watching the flick with me here.

Grade: D (or Zzzzzzz)

#10: THE MONEY PIT (1986)

Format watched on: Instant/OnDemand (Netflix)
Time watched: 13:43 CST
New or Rewatch: Rewatch
IMDB Amazon

Synopsis: A young couple struggles to repair a hopelessly dilapidated house.

I have seen this flick countless times. At my parent's household, we taped it off Channel 11. So, of course it was edited for content & time - not much though from what I just watched.

It's still a pretty funny movie even though some of the sequences just haven't aged well. Tom Hanks is in top form here. Shelley Long bounces off of him pretty well as well. I think one of my favorite scenes is when Hanks cannot stop laughing at one point. This couple just goes through hell trying to live in this house and it is pretty damn hilarious.

Grade: B

#9: DEVIL (2010)

Format watched on: Amazon On-Demand

Time watched: 11:00 CST
New or Rewatch: New
IMDB Amazon

Synopsis: A group of people trapped in an elevator realize that the devil is amongst them.

I saw this film pop up on some Top Horror Flicks of 2010 and felt like testing out Amazon On-Demand on my Blu-Ray player. Plus, Nicci wanted to watch it and it was still waiting on its 28 day delay, so it was either wait, buy or rent on XBOX or Amazon.

I liked the flick and thought it was above your average thriller. I think the script could have used some work. I mean, I understand why the cop was there but it all just seemed forced and silly at times - along with the superstitious rent-a-cop.

The reason why this flopped or didn't do well in the theatres is everyone is sick of M. Night Shyamalan. The name is tainted now. Studios, don't rely on it any longer.

It was worth the rental however, I'm not a fan of Amazon On-Demand for any film that really benefits from a 5.1 sound - which in my opinion is every film after 1990. I could only get Dolby 2.0 and I have a very high speed internet connection. I tried everything under the sun and couldn't get 5.1. Fail Amazon. Fail.

Grade: B-

Friday, January 7, 2011


Format watched on: Cable
Time watched: 20:35 CST
New or Rewatch: Rewatch
IMDB Amazon

Synopsis: When they took the wrong turn, it lead them to witnessing a murder, which left them running for their lives from the perpetrators.

Of note, these synopsis that I am pulling are straight from IMDB.

I remember watching this a few times off a VHS dub as a teen and really enjoying the flick. I haven't seen this flick for at least a good 10 years. I still remember the opening and closing song "Fallin'" by Teenage Fanclub & De La Soul like it was yesterday (now that I type this, I fired it up on Grooveshark).

You have Emilio Estevez, Cuba Gooding, Jr. , Stephen Dorff & Jeremy Piven (who isn't pictured on the poster - more proof that the 90's hate fatties) all gathering up in a borrowed RV to go to a Chicago fight. To avoid traffic, they try and do a cut through in a bad neighborhood and come upon a kid who has been shot. In trying to help this kid, the dudes get entangled with a group of drug dealers & thugs lead by Denis Leary.

Featuring a semi lazy score from Alan Silvestri who seems to recycle some of his PREDATOR score in here, JUDGMENT NIGHT suffers from a lot of mediocrity. Cuba has his moments, but then he usually fucks it up with overacting. On the opposite spectrum, Estevez is really phoning it in. His eyes and actions are empty and emotionless - too bad he is the main character. It's great to see Dorff in this and even more memorable is Piven's character who has echoes of a later character by the name of Ari. Leary, while somewhat intimidating in some scenes, is really here to cash in on his heyday. It's like you can hear the Universal reps saying "Let's get that Leary guy - his fast talking foulmouthed dialog will seem like 'project speak'." That last thought seems to be the whole problem with the film. The projects portrayed in the film seem like a safe version of the projects. The only threat is that these boys are out of suburbia, out of a vehicle and communication, lost and have a group of 4 dudes chasing after them. The projects aren't the threat, if it were - I think it would have made more of an interesting flick.

However, Stephen Hopkins does his best with a crappy script and actors that really don't fit. The lighting in this film is also something to take note. Technically, the film is very well done. Peter Greene also turns out a forgettable character into a memorable one. I actually think that Greene would have been a bit better for Leary's role as far as intimidation. Also, Everlast from House of Pain is in the thug group with Green & Leary.

I didn't mind watching this one, but it really makes me want to have someone with Hopkins' technical precision meet up with a good cast and try this story again.

This film's biggest notoriety is probably the soundtrack where they mixed hip hop/rap artists with metal and alternative rock.

Grade: C

Thursday, January 6, 2011

#7: THE DEPARTED (2006)

Format watched on: DVD
Time watched: 19:00 CST
New or Rewatch: Rewatch
IMDB Amazon

Synopsis: Two men from opposite sides of the law are undercover within the Massachusetts State Police and the Irish mafia, but violence and bloodshed boil when discoveries are made, and the moles are dispatched to find out their enemy's identities.

Sometimes sick days are great to just chill out and watch some movies you haven't seen in awhile. Granted, I know I'm sure I watched this sometime in 2010.

I think this is one of Scorsese's best flicks of his career. THE DEPARTED is a smooth, well oiled machine that doesn't skip a beat. Even though I dug INFERNAL AFFAIRS, Scorsese's version seems to have more fun with the environment the story is set in and seems to be not as heavy handed as its original.

Grade: A+


Format watched on: DVD (Redbox)
Time watched: 17:00 CST
New or Rewatch: New

Synopsis: A troubled evangelical minister agrees to let his last exorcism be filmed by a documentary crew.

I'm quite surprised I never did check this out in the theater. I really try to make it a point to check out every theatrical horror flick. For some reason, I didn't get a chance to see this, nor did I get to check it out in 2010. A writer for my site reviewed it early and gave it high praise. I saw it on plenty of horror critics/blogger's lists of Best of 2010, so my interest was piqued a little higher. Today, I wasn't feeling well and sometimes, that is the best mood to be in to watch a horror flick. I drove down to the local Redbox and tried to get the Blu of THE LAST EXORCISM, but they didn't have it so I settled with the DVD.

What I liked about the film is that the main character, Rev. Cotton, exposes that he is a man that has lost his faith - if he ever even had it. His main purpose in this "documentary" is to expose the fraud of exorcisms. These types of setups are great because it establishes with the viewer the illegitimacy of a belief which is way easier than having the viewer try and believe in something. You have to prove to the audience that belief of whatever subject or theory.

While some complain about the end of this film, I felt that the actions felt appropriate even if I felt that the technical execution was a bit lazy.

Grade B+