Tuesday, February 16, 2016

What I Watched - January 31-February 6 2016


Sinister 2 (2015) AVI
 - I quite enjoyed the first Sinister. It wasn't anything great, but the storyline was interesting enough and the villain Bughuul has a cool look (albeit very much a ripoff of Slipknot guitarist Mick Thompson). This sequel covers similar ground, except for obvious reasons Ethan Hawke isn't in it. Instead, Deputy So-and-So (the returning James Ransone) takes over the task of trying to defeat Bughuul, who has his sights set on a new family. The best part is the home movies showing Bughuul's past handywork. There are a few too many jump scares (mainstream horror to a T), but if you enjoyed the first Sinister you should enjoy this.

The Bridge (2006) Netflix
- I find myself following a similar pattern a lot these days. I take my iPad to bed with me and watch something on Netflix before going to sleep. I usually choose a documentary over a movie because they're usually shorter. This was one such choice - a doco about people who commit suicide by jumping off the Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco. Morbid subject matter for sure. There are interviews with those close to the jumpers, which is interesting, but what makes this stand out is the footage of the actual people jumping. I guess so many people jump off that bridge that it was worth the gamble for these film-makers to have a cameraman film the scene for a few months, knowing they would capture what they needed with enough patience. It's extremely unsettling and the images stuck in my mind for a long while after watching this.

Safelight (2015) Netflix
- Indy drama about a disabled young man (Evan Peters from American Horror Story) and a truck stop hooker (Juno Temple) who strike up an unlikely friendship as they photograph a series of lighthouses on the California coast. I watches this mainly because I liked Peters' work on AHS and wanted to see how he would handle a feature film. He did fine, in fact his acting is probably the highpoint of the movie. If you like indy movies about quirky characters, this is pretty good.

Jack Be Nimble (1993) DVD
- The last of a handful of New Zealand films I purchased on DVD recently, Jack Be Nimble is the best of the bunch. It tells the story of young siblings torn apart at a young age, who come back together as adults. But while Dora (NZ actress Sarah Smuts-Kennedy) was brought up in a good family and is well-adjusted aside from some psychic abilities, Jack (Alexis Arquette) was raised in a violent, hate-filled foster home and is severely unhinged. This movie has a dark, almost dream-like quality to it, aided by a great job from Arquette (born Robert, now a woman, sibling of Patricia, Rosanna and David). The late Bruno Lawrence also shines in a support role as Dora's manipulative older boyfriend.

Capital C (2014) Netflix
- Another late-night doco in bed, this one is about crowdfunding and follows a few entrepeneurs in their experiences using Kickstarter and the like. Interesting time-filler.

Scouts Guide to the Zombie Apocalypse (2015) AVI
- When I saw the trailer to this I thought it looked funny (especially the zombie cats) but I'm burned out on zombie movies so it's taken me a while to get around to watching it. If you've seen the trailer you know what to expect - essentially a teen sex comedy mixed with a zombie flick. If that sounds like your cup of tea, it's actually quite funny. One scene involving a character falling out a window and grabbing hold of... well, I won't spoil it, but it had me rolling on the floor. Good stuff.

Batman: Bad Blood (2016) AVI
- My son and I, being huge Batman fans, sat down to watch this, the latest animated Batman DC offering. In hindsight it's probably not ideal for a six-year-old, as it has some mild swearing and violence, but the movie itself is awesome. I enjoyed the fact it takes the emphasis off of Bruce Wayne for a bit and lets the B Team (Dick Grayson aka Nightwing, Robin aka Damien Wayne, Batwoman aka Katherine Kane and Batwing aka Luke Fox) take the lead. As always the animation is incredible and the plot was simple but fun.

Sucker (2013) DVD
- I didn't know what to expect from this, a low-budget scifi/action flick about a guy who gets infused with a toxin and becomes a half-man, half-mosquito superhero. If that synopsis sounds dumb to you, you're probably better off skipping this one. Director Michael Manaserri (who doubles as lead actor) does an admirable job with a $1.5 million budget of creating a live action comic book. Sure, some of it's pretty goofy, but it's a lot of fun. The settings and overall look remind me of a more-polished Troma movie. Also known as Mosquito Man.

30th anniversary low-budget slasher Double Feature:

As the name suggests, a pair of slasher flicks that were released 30 years ago, in 1986.

Blood Hook (1986) AVI
- How could you not love an 80s slasher about a killer who literally hooks his victims using a fishing pole and an oversized hook/lure? Director Jim Mallon clearly had an eye for the campy - this was his only directing gig for 10 years, then he became a director/producer/executive producer for Mystery Science Theater 3000. On its own merits, this is one of the many, many slashers that came out following the success of the Friday the 13th movies, and this one is more derivative than most, being set at a lake and having some very Jason-esque music cues. Some of it is actually quite well shot, with some fun camera angles, and while a portion of proceedings fall into the unintentionally-hilarious territory, this is a good time for anyone who has a hankering for good ol' 80s slashers.

Dreamaniac (1986) AVI
- Where Blood Hook was thoroughly entertaining, sadly Dreamaniac is a bore. Directed by the prolific David DeCoteau (Sorority Babes in the Slimeball Bowlarama, three Puppetmaster movies among many others), this plays like a soft-porn movie with some attempts at horror thrown into the mix. Not surprisingly DeCoteau had made a few porn films before this, his feature film debut, and one of the lead actresses, Ashlyn Gere, became a pornstar after this. There are a couple of alright moments of gore involving a power drill, but otherwise this is a yawnfest - people arrive at a party, a succubus kills someone, rinse and repeat. Best avoided.

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