Archive for the ‘Movies W-Z’ Category

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From the mists of time: “Wolfen”

August 3, 2015

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1981 was a banner year for werewolf movies. I’m sure there’s a perfectly fascinating thesis to be written about why this was the case—maybe it was a reaction to beard-friendly ‘70s, maybe it had something to do with cocaine or Vietnam or Reagan or something—whatever the case, 1981 gave us The Howling and An American Werewolf in London released within a few weeks of each other. Both films cannily married cutting-edge special effects and social commentary, and reinvigorated the werewolf genre like nothing else since Lon Chaney Jr. donned the yak-hair 40 years earlier. Also released that summer was Wolfen. You can’t hear things on a blog, but let me assure you, crickets are chirping right now.
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In Hollywood, even the ghosts are famous: “The Black Dahlia Haunting”

October 17, 2014

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The case of the Black Dahlia is one of the most famous unsolved murder cases in history, and it’s not difficult to understand why. The killing of Elizabeth Short, aka The Black Dahlia, was so savage, so sadistic,, so monstrous that it’s nearly impossible to understand what kind of a mind could inflict such horrors on another human being. Even such prolific serial killers as John Wayne Gacy, Jefferey Dahmer, and Ted Bundy didn’t do to their victims what was done to Elizabeth Short (well, not pre-mortem anyway). Surely, a crime this horrific must have some larger implications or hold some larger meaning. James Ellroy expertly crafted the former idea into a great novel about the birth of modern Los Angeles. The low-budget horror flick The Black Dahlia Haunting…uh, well, it has a girl/girl shower scene. Without nudity. (Sigh) okay, let’s just get on with this.
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Just don’t taunt the Bigfoot: “Willow Creek”

October 14, 2014

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Okay, this is going to be a brief one since Willow Creek is a pretty slight movie, clocking in at a measly 77 minutes. Wait, really? 77 minutes? There are episodes of Doctor Who that run longer than that. Okay, maybe that’s not best example, but still. 77 minutes? Is it even legal to make a feature film that short? Well, whatever, nothing I can do about it. Given the fact this is a Bigfoot movie, and a found-footage Bigfoot movie at that, it’s probably merciful the movie’s this short.
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From the Mists of Time: “Wanted Dead or Alive”

January 14, 2014

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Here’s a strange little number. It’s a movie that could just as easily fit in the “Criminally Overlooked” category as “From the Mists of Time,” since it’s actually quite a good movie, which never garnered the cult status it deserved. Even now I’m hesitant to wholeheartedly endorse it, since it’s the product of a more innocent time, which now takes on the dimension of a nightmare. Still, there’s no getting around the fact it’s a solidly-built thriller with more than ample amounts of ‘80s cheese, all served atop a hearty helping of Rutger Hauer. Okay, that metaphor went wrong, but you get the point: Rutger Hauer, sawed-off shotgun, terrorists in L.A. Need I say more? Of course not, but I will…
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An order of tea and WHOOP-ASS! “Welcome to the Punch”

January 12, 2014

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There is a lot to thank the UK for—James Bond, Doctor Who, Thandie Newton—but their most recent contribution to the Western world has to be the revival of the totally-unironic tough-cop genre. TV shows like Luther and movies like Welcome to the Punch feature totally absurd action setpieces and the hoariest of cop-movie clichés, all played totally straight. It’s as if the British crime thriller has finally caught up to Tango and Cash. These stories aren’t good by any stretch of the imagination, but they do have a retro charm—something on full display with Punch.
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Snikt-ing it up in the Land of the Rising Sun: “The Wolverine”

July 29, 2013

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After  X-Men Origins: Wolverine proved to be about as much fun as, say, The Deer Hunter, the prospect of another outing featuring the slicey-dicey, bedheaded Canuck held about as much appeal as attending a NAMBLA convention dressed like River Phoenix in the beginning of Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade. And yet, this is one of those rare times (such as G.I. Joe: Retaliation) when the very filmmakers themselves seem to say through their movie, “Yeah, I freaking hated the first one, too.” Because The Wolverine gets right everything the previous film whiffed. It’s not a great film, but it’s about as good as movie about an unkillable dude with metal claws deserves to be.
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The end of the world is really boring: “World War Z”

June 22, 2013

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Okay, so what’s up next this summer? World War Z? Wow, what a lousy movie. Crud! I’m supposed to  build to that. Goddamn, I’m a bad reviewer after four beers. Okay, let’s start this again: World War Z is the big-screen adaptation of Max Brooks’ well-regarded novel, starring Brad Pitt. The film (as with the book) posits the scenario of total global breakdown in the face of a zombie apocalypse. It takes us from a crumbling US to a darkened South Korea, through a heavily-barricaded Israel, and finally finds a glimmer of hope in Cardiff. And boy, is it a crappy movie. Damn! I did it again! This is why I switched to water? Ah, the hell with it, let’s just dive in…
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