• Paranormal Activity 4

    Paranormal Activity 4
    probably won't drive you deep into slack-jawed boredom. This latest foray into found-footage, home-movie horror is far less annoying than the jumping-jack "edginess" of Sinister. Still, this particular style of storytelling has run out of juice.
     
  • Sinister

     

    Writer-director Scott Derrickson (The Exorcism of Emily Rose) and co-scripter C. Robert Cargill (the Ain't It Cool News staffer who pitched the story) clearly hoped to make Sinister an old-school horror movie, mining terror from classic haunted house scenarios designed to drive a desperate writer to Shining-style madness. Juice that formula with ancient deviltry laced with contemporary tech-paranoia and Sinister ought to look and play like lethal nightmare, in the tradition of John Carpenter's Halloween. It doesn't.

     
  • Overland Stage Raiders

    Olive Films has just released DVDs and Blu-rays of four films in the fondly remembered "Three Mesquiteers" series from the late Thirties/early Forties. When they were about 20 years old and I was 14-15, I thought they were swell. An old Amazon review of one of them follows. 
  • Girls who hook up with superheroes

    Kathleen Murphy writes:

    Give a listen to "Don't Fall in Love with a Superhero," a witty little dirge warbled by Khavn dela Cruz in A(ngst)-minor, before reading my ruminations about the weird, wonderful and often fatal hookups between misguided girls—from ordinary Mary Janes to exotics like Catwoman—and sexy superhunks. Khavn warns that such love may be "as uncanny as the X-men, as amazing as Spider-Man, as daring as Daredevil, but it will only break your heart ... your little human heart. Don't forget [he's] a superhero ... and you're nothing but a human being." And there's the rub.

     
  • Baseball movies


    They're playing baseball again, aren't they? Between games, maybe folks would enjoy dipping into this 1989 feature for Pacific Northwest magazine. 
  • Django, Kill ... or not

    Quentin Tarantino is wrapping up his new movie Django Unchained, inspired by the 1966 spaghetti Western Django and its myriad successors (much as Inglourious Basterds was inspired by the cartoonish 1978 Italian war movie The Inglorious Bastards). This is probably a big reason why an eccentric 1967 Italian item named Django, Kill is being accorded a Blu-ray release. Still, there are other reasons why it should be seen to be disbelieved. 
  • Mars Attacks!
     
    Another Tim Burton oldie, resurrected as a footnote to the May Framing Pictures discussion of the director's style and career. This was written for the website Mr. Showbiz, a sharper operation than the name suggests. 
  • The Woman in Black


    Kathleen Murphy writes:

    The Woman in Black has scared the bejayzus out of audiences since first materializing in Susan Hill's 1983 faux-gothic novel. Subsequently, this Victorian ghost story's been adapted for British radio and television, and even for the stage. (The play opened in 1989 and is still selling tickets—the second-longest run in London history.) Now this durable haunt pops up in a mainstream scary movie, notable for being the first Hammer Productions release in 35 years and Daniel Radcliffe's first post-Potter showcase.
          Sadly, despite the dogged conjurings of helmer James Watkins (Eden Lake) and screenwriter Jane Goldman (Kick-Ass), this iteration of The Woman in Black is a slog through a dismal slough, jolted every 10 minutes or so by jack-in-the-box scares accompanied by loud, annoying blasts of sound. One or two moments of genuinely unsettling horror fail to keep this 95-minute ghost story alive and moving.


    Slog on at http://movies.msn.com/movies/movie-critic-reviews/the-woman-in-black.3/

     
  • A modest compendium of fearsome flicks
    Kathleen Murphy: "As long as I can remember, I’ve loved horror movies, delighted in stories about monsters getting loose in the dark, scaring complacent squares to death. Scared me, too, but deep down I confess I've always been primally tickled when vampires, blobs, giant bugs, werewolves, and aliens broke all the rules. What liberating joy when some long-faced mayor/military officer/scientist/minister, confronted by nightmare, had to eat his platitudes!"
          And further remarks to put you in a Halloween mood......
     
  • Zombies according to Lucio Fulci

    Lucio Fulci's best-known title Zombie has been having midnight shows at the Egyptian this weekend, in anticipation of the movie's release on Blu-ray. In 1979, under the movie's influence at a south-of-Seattle drive-in, we tore a Styrofoam ice chest to pieces ... but that's another story. Kathleen Murphy wrote a bit about the goremeister in a "Zombie Jamboree" feature a few years ago. Click "Read More" to partake of that. And if you simply must have the disc, here's a commercial contact:
    http://www.amazon.com/Zombie-2-Disc-Ultimate-Blu-ray-Farrow/dp/B005CU5OEU/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1318925855&sr=8-1

     
  • Legends of the fall, 2011
    Autumn has always been my favorite season, and Greg Olson's annual film noir series does nothing to undercut that preference. This year's edition looks especially tasty. 
  • Fright Night  (1985)

    In a couple of weeks a new version of Fright Night will be released, with Colin Farrell in the vampire-next-door role and David (Doctor Who) Tennant as the has-been horror movie star reduced to hosting the local spook show. Those are two good reasons to give it a look, yet really, was it necessary to do a remake of the 1985 picture? Not quite a classic, but a film of considerable wit, creepiness, and—yes—charm. Here's a review I wrote in The Weekly back in the day.

     
  • Insidious

    The guys who started the Saw franchise—which was a good thing to do, till it did become a franchise—are back with an oft-grabby horror concoction, Insidious. Kathleen Murphy welcomes it, up to a point: http://movies.msn.com/movies/movie-critic-reviews/insidious.3/#Review_0 —RTJ

     
  • Running with the (Were)Wolves

    Anticipating Kathleen Murphy's MSN.com review of Red Riding Hood, here's the link to an MSN feature Murphy did a while back on horror's werewolf subgenre: http://entertainment.msn.com/news/article.aspx?news=248401

     
  • Son of Noir
    This was the final installment in Parallax View's participation in the "For the Love of Film (Noir) Blogathon" that ran from Feb. 14 through Feb. 21 on sites across the Interwebs. It was written at the invitation of Film Comment magazine editor Richard Corliss for an all-film-noir issue (Nov.-Dec. 1974). Corliss also supplied the marvelous title. And how quaint: At that point in time we still found it necessary to italicize film noir. 
  • The Ghost Writer

    Roman Polanski's The Ghost Writer was thrilling when first seen back in February, and with the end of 2010 in sight it remains my favorite first-time movie encounter of the year. Polanski and his picture have been honored in Europe, though I doubt whether Hollywood has been paying attention. With one minor factual tweak (I just watched it again), here's what I said back then about the film ... which, by the way, is available on DVD and Blu-ray and from the usual download suspects.

     
  • 'AMER' - coming soon to a nightmare near you
    Abandon hope, all who enter here in search of plot, conventional storytelling or a clear indication of exactly what's going on. Which is not necessarily a bad thing. 
  • MARY REILLY

    Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, Robert Louis Stevenson's classic novella on the duality of human personality, has been retold so often that we watch any new adaptation through layers of memory and expectation - rather like Fredric March's subliminal makeup in the 1932 version that became visible, and effected the onscreen transformation of the handsome doctor into his coarser counterpart, when the cameraman slipped the right filter in front of the lens.

     
  • Soft for Digging

    Soft for Digging announces the arrival of a major talent. A reclusive old man leaves his shack in a damp Maryland woods and hobbles deeper into the backcountry to see what became of his cat....

     
  • FRIDAY THE 13TH and PROM NIGHT

    You don't review movies like these, you step on them.

     
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