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Showing posts from October, 2015

Ash Vs Evil Dead - S01E01 'El Jefe' (2015) ***1/2

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I rarely write about or review television on my blog, but felt that I should make an exception with AvED. This first episode was directed by Sam Raimi and it certainly shows, though I wonder to what degree the future episodes/directors will emulate his style.

The episode has everything you'd expect from the EVIL DEADfranchise: shotguns, chainsaws, hammy dialogue, blood splatters, deadites, and of course the one and only Bruce Campbellas Ash. ARMY OF DARKNESS is treated as if it doesn't exist in this series, even though the Ash portrayed here is most like the AOD Ash. The action and tone is most akin to EVIL DEAD II- a strong balance of horror and comedy. I do feel that this first episode was a bit of a retread in some regards but not enough to detract from the overall experience. I like Ray Santiago as Pablo; he finds a good balance of nerdy and trying-to-be-cool. Less than stellar isDana DeLorenzo's Kelly, who is given a "sassy" (and humorous) moment early on b…

Dressed To Kill (1980) ****

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What Have You Done To Solange? (1972) ***1/2

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Mark Of The Devil (1970) **1/2

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Army Of Darkness - International Cut (1992) ****

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The Black Belly Of The Tarantula (1971) ***1/2

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Return Of The Fly (1959) *** [The Fly Double Feature Pt. 2]

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The Fly (1958) **** [The Fly Double Feature Pt. 1]

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Focus On Film: Episode 34 – January 2016 Criterion Titles

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Focus On FilmEpisode 34 is up!
Download the MP3 HERE In this episode: January 2016 Criterion CollectionTitles AnnouncementBest & Worst Of The Month – LAID TO REST (2009), THE IRON GIANT- Signature Edition (1999), THE GREEN INFERNO(2013), THE MARTIAN(2015)Criterion Most Wanted
"Focus On Film Theme" & commercial music: Daniel Sardella

Steve Jobs (2015) ****

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Danny Boyleis a director that I'm largely hot and cold about - I love SHALLOW GRAVE, very much enjoy TRAINSPOTTING, hated SUNSHINE, was lukewarm for SLUMDOG MILLIONAIRE, I used to really like 28 DAYS LATER and now I'm lukewarm for that as well. I wasn't dying to see STEVE JOBS but ended up enjoying it much more than expected.

The dialogue by Aaron Sorkinis what shines and we've come to expect that. Boyle does some interesting things with the camera and his images and that's expected as well, though I don't feel that every choice works. All the actors inhabit their roles well, particularly Fassbender, who was inspired casting, portraying a man who truly was an innovator, yet was a flawed human being, as we all are. The film is very humorous and largely avoids falling into "feel-good" territory. Definitely recommended.

Zombi 'Shape Shift' (2015) ****

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Evil Dead II (1987) ****1/2

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The Go! Team 'The Scene Between' (2015) ****

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Black Sunday - AIP Cut (1960) ****

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Edward Scissorhands (1990) ****1/2

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Bridge Of Spies (2015) ****

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An excellent blend of courtroom drama and humor, BRIDGE finds Hanks inhabiting the same territory as James Stewart and Gregory Peck before him. Spielbergcreates a superb mashup of his previous films such as CATCH ME IF YOU CAN, MUNICH, LINCOLN and SCHINDLER'S LIST, with touches of John le Carréand Jean-Pierre Melville. Overall, the Coens' screenplay doesn't bear their typical stamp but is fully engaging throughout. 
Of note: this is one of the very few films that John Williams did not score for Spielberg. Thomas Newman takes his place and does a great job, evoking ROAD TO PERDITION(which Newman also scored, Hanks also starred in, and which some scenes in BRIDGE reminded me of).
If you're in the mood for some Spielberg-speak, check out the episode of Movie Matters Podcastthat I guested on recently here.

Crimson Peak (2015) ***1/2

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Absolutely gorgeous cinematography, lighting, costumes, and production design. del Toro goes full-on gothic and I'm quite pleased. Solid acting all around. An appropriate but undistracting score. The CGI wasn't the best but didn't bother me enough to detract too much. Not a perfect film by any means, but extremely entertaining. This one reminded me a lot of DRACULA (1992) (though nowhere near as good).

The Evil Dead (1981) ****1/2

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Laid To Rest - Unrated Director's Cut (2009) *1/2

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Red Dragon (2002) ***1/2

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Thomas Harris 'Red Dragon' (1981) ****

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Eagles Of Death Metal 'Zipper Down' (2015) ***1/2

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Movie Matters #34 - Steven Spielberg Special

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Once again I had the distinct pleasure of being a guest co-host on the Movie Matters Podcast. Download the episode at the link below and please follow Movie Matters on Facebook and iTunes!



Love him or loathe him, Steven Spielberg is arguably the most influential filmmaker working today. Who else commands such clout in Tinseltown, and what other director’s very name serves as a guaranteed box office draw, even among non-cinephiles? We’re proud to finally turn our attention to this most esteemed of filmmakers, subjecting three of what are arguably his most unfairly overlooked films of the previous decade to the traditional Movie Matters treatment: MINORITY REPORT and CATCH ME IF YOU CAN, both from 2002, and 2005’s MUNICH. Joining regular hosts Lee Howard and Michael Mackenzie is Focus On Film co-host Daniel Sardella, along with a specially recorded appreciation of DUEL by Black Hole Cinema’s Tony Black. The music in this episode is sampled from RAIDERS OF THE LOST ARKMINORITY REPORTCA…

Versus - Ultimate Edition (Dubbed) (2000) ***

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A Snake Of June (2002) ***1/2

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The Haunting (1963) ****1/2

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Christine (1983) ****

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The Martian (2015) ****

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Sicario (2015) ****

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Everest (2015) ***1/2

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Kingsman: The Secret Service (2014) ***

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The Tomb Of Ligeia (1964) ***

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The Last Man On Earth (1964) ***1/2

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