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Wednesday, 10 April 2019 20:58

Digging into What Works and Failed in Pet Sematary (2019)

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* Spoiler Alert

This year has two Stephen King films gracing the big screen.
Pet Sematary is a remake of the classic with a few changes done to the plot and It: Chapter Two will pick up where the last film left off. After seeing the former, I feel the latter will be the one to appreciate.

The problem with trying to update a familiar product is that not every director and writing team involved has the intention to add something new. There's a few changes in the direction of, and I did not find them as enjoyable. The movie is faithful to the source material in teasing at what's to come, but the connections to the past need to be more pronounced before viewers can notice.

Thursday, 24 January 2019 00:00

Desolation Center, The Documentary

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Update:Plays next at San Francisco Indie Fest, Feb 9th.

Way before open air concerts like Burning Man became a thing, nobody knew how to organize it. Shows like Coachella and Lollapalooza owe a debt to the people who organized impromptu gatherings in the Californian desert back in the early 80's that combined punk rock, crazy pyrotechnics and performance art. All that happened gets nicely chronicled in Desolation Center, a documentary by Stuart Swezey. He serves as both the director, organizer of these shows and is one of the protagonists who bore witness to this movement.

This work is set to debut on January 25-31, at the Slamdance Film Festival in Park City, Utah. It will no doubt see screenings at other events as words spreads, much like how those impromptu concerts from long ago started. It will no doubt hit other film festivals, and keeping an eye on https://www.desolationcenter.com/festivals for other dates will be important.

In the 80's, Los Angeles was a time for new bands to experiment. Other historians may argue the decade prior more influential, but as for when the punk movement was born, its subject to debate. At least this period of time was hailed as the Silver Age. No matter what the decade, youths and new musical talents always had hard time to find venues express themselves. They can gather at the Whisky a Go Go but when a movie documentary needs to cast a villain, the foe chosen disliked everything that did not meet up to his standards.

Tuesday, 11 December 2018 21:58

David Kajganich's Suspiria Comes to Home Video January 2019!

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* Spoiler Alert
* Revised & Updated from the print edition.

To recall everything I loved from the Dario Argento’s Suspiria ruined my expectations when I saw the remake by writer David Kajganich and director Luca Guadagnino. They tried very hard to condense key points from Argento's trilogy into one product, and the result is a very bloated film. The update of the mythology was good, but to toss in the extra subplots to make it relevant in a historical context made the runtime longer than it should have been. The fact the screenplay divides the movie into five parts is the first failing. Traditionally, cinematic narratives are fashioned into three to stay simple. With the home video release coming in January (digital release on the 15th and a physical release on the 29th), hitting the pause button will be very welcomed!

Thursday, 04 October 2018 15:52

The First Purge on Home Video!

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Bonus features can make or break a home video release of a film. I love the depth that can be explored, and the best set to own is with The Lord of the Rings trilogy. With The First Purge (the fourth film in the series), some might expect a compendium of reports and found footage to detail first hand experiences of this event. This title released October 2nd.

Instead, the bonus material offered is short and sweet. It gets to the point and certainly satisfies introducing me to the world and explaining who the New Founding Fathers of America are, the allusions to the current "state of affairs" in this country, and what those masks mean.

For anyone coming into this franchise new, like me, the contents work. More could have been said, but I feel a series bible is not needed in this case. Die-hard fans created a Purge Wikipedia to provide the rest of the answers and back history needed to get up to speed. I feel prepared to watch the television series which is (at time of writing than publication) now four episodes in. They are saved on my PVR to binge watch as I am going to view in chronological order than in where the story takes place in Purge Time.

Monday, 01 October 2018 19:34

Panos Cosmatos' Mandy, A Movie Review

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* Spoiler Alert

It's not too late to go see Panos Cosmatos' Mandy. This film should stay in theatres till at least mid-October, and will keep most horror film enthusiasts looking for a visceral experience sated. When Mandy Bloom (Andrea Riseborough) is critical to the plot, the sequence of events that happen will no doubt leave one particular lumberjack (not Paul Bunyan) to a brink of madness. He's a nobody about to become a somebody (more on this later). This woman is a very forlorn soul. Riseborough is the perfect choice in the role, offering pathos to a very troubled character. Because of events that occurred in the past, she prefers to live a life in isolation; her feelings for Red (Nicolas Cage) runs deep. The two are soul mates. One day, on her walk home, a priest of sorts takes a liking to her and orders his minions to her kidnap her.

Monday, 20 June 2016 00:14

The Damned: Don't You Wish We Were Dead Review

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The Damned: Don’t You Wish That We Were Dead is a fascinating documentary that looks at the rise, decline and resurrection of the United Kingdom’s seminary lords of the punk rock scene. They helped give rise to it mid to late 70’s, and the people they influenced included Chrissie Hynde of The Pretenders — who played with The Damned albeit briefly before finding her own road to success. Although I would have liked to hear more from her brief stint, many well-known names were interviewed about the influence this band had back then. They were very introspective. Appearances from Billy Idol, Lemmy, Son Letts, Nick Mason of Pink Floyd, Mick Jones of The Clash and Clem Burke of Blondie are just some of the names who lend their insights to what this group represented. Although they never attained the global success that bands like the Sex Pistols attained, that may be in part to the image the founding members — Dave Vanian, Brian James, Captain Sensible and Rat Scabies — wanted to project. They seemed rather schizophrenic early in their inception.

2016 Victoria Film Festival 

Fri, Feb 12th 8:45pm

The Vic Theatre

808 Douglas St,
Victoria, BC

The movie Girl in the Photographs fondly recalls films like Halloween in its no holds barred approach to possibly reigniting the slasher genre. This detail makes this film worth noting. It’s directed by Nick Simon, a relative newcomer to the scene and it was the last movie that Wes Craven (Last House on the Left, A Nightmare on Elm Street) had his hands on as an executive producer. Most of his films have a trademark style to them and while it’s sad he’s passed on, the lessons Simon learned will most likely carry on in the next projects he works on within the horror film genre.

2016 Victoria Film Festival 

Fri, Feb 12, 6pm
Sun, Feb 14, 4pm

The Vic Theatre
808 Douglas St,
Victoria, BC

In 2014, the Albertan punk-metal-country band The Smalls reunited for a true farewell tour and for directors Trevor Smith and John Kerr, they nicely captured the rawness and love Western Canada has for this group in their documentary The Smalls: Forever is a Long Time. Through candid interviews with the band and industry observers, viewers come to understand where each member has come from, where are they now, and why they decided to perform one last time. Whatever the reason was behind the break-up, the explanations are alluded to instead of spelling it out point-blank.

Tuesday, 27 October 2015 14:24

Wacken 3D is coming Oct 29th, 2015 - A Preview

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Please check local listings for which Cineplex Theatre is playing this film near you.
Opening for a one week run at Mayfair - Ottawa

Wacken 3D is a very nicely made and introspective look at one of the biggest heavy metal open air festivals held in Europe. The story is told from the point of view of visitors from outside of Europe (from America to Thailand to India) and it's getting a special Cineplex-wide shout out in theatres in a limited engagement on Thurs, October 29, 2015.

Thursday, 15 October 2015 18:05

Explaining the Tense Sicario to Nerds, A Review

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There’s a nerdy connection in the movie Sicario that fans of Marvel Entertainment will like. They will get to see just how wonderfully talented Josh Brolin and Benicio Del Toro are. In the Marvel Cinematic Universe, they play Thanos and The Collector. In the movie made universe of the Sicario, where the cartel wars in Mexico are explored, they are special agents Matt Graver and Alejandro attempting to control the situation. But just how well will they succeed? Both of whom have secret motives that's subtly explored, and these actors are not alone in this tiny club. Jon Bernthal plays The Punisher in Netflix’s Daredevil.

Sunday, 11 October 2015 10:56

Achieving Deathgasm!

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Metalheads will certainly love the pointed stab at which bands truly belong to this musical subgenre in the movie Deathgasm. This film is now out on Video on Demand (VOD) in select markets like iTunes USA, and it’s worth checking out for the absurdities that goes on. I had to laugh when Poison‘s Look What the Cat Dragged In is hurriedly put back in the record stacks in favour of one of Autopsy‘s albums when this film’s hero Brodie (Milo Cawthorne) meets Zakk (James Blake) for the first time. From bashing glam metal to loving death metal, that’s a detail few will pick up on and I have to praise that kind of attention to detail by writer/director Jason Lei Howden in a movie that’s truly dedicated to the music. From its Frank Frazetta-style cut scenes of the heroes posing powerfully atop a mountain to the anime-inspired gore-fest that goes on, this movie is a gem coming out of Kiwi-land that also unleashed the vampire mockumentary What We Do In Shadows last year. I suppose more tentacles could be used, but I’m glad this film did not go down that vein.

Wednesday, 19 August 2015 22:39

Turbo Kid to Race Into Theatres August 28th!

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Coming to select theatres in Canada starting August 27th.

Also Arriving on VOD on August 28th on Bell, iTunes, Rogers, Shaw and Vimeo.

Back in the 70's, bicycle motocross racing became very popular and it's become the only mode of transporation in an aptly created post-apocalyptic world in Turbo Kid. This realm looks like it belongs in the 80's, and that's part of this film's charm. It waxes tribute all the way and wanes with a cinemagraphic style to make it belong to the low budget category to make it a class of its own.

In this world, there's no gas to move vehicles along. Everything depends on people using their own feet to get anywhere either in life or to destinations unknown. In this Mad Max inspired world, a lone boy simply known as The Kid (Munro Chambers) wants to survive. He trades junk — vestiges of a ruined world and perhaps also his youth — to survive. In what doesn't get traded are his comic books, as they represent a dream world for him that he hopes to become part of.

 

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