Forget "Chappie", "Ex Machina" is the Film About Artificial Intelligence You Wanted Review

A lot of noise has been made this year over how fans of Science Fiction should go see some of the larger studio-produced Sci-Fi flicks like Jupiter Ascending and Chappie if they want to see more "original" science fiction films in theaters in the future. The idea was that it didn’t matter if Jupiter Ascending and Chappie were quite disappointing efforts, and they were, they deserved your money if you ever wanted more films like them. It’s an argument equivalent to a hostage situation, and it was ridiculous. You shouldn’t support bad films in the hopes that the studio will throw some good ones your way down the road. Instead, you should pay to see excellent movies like Alex Garland’s Ex Machina, because doing so will be rewarding for you - and it will be. Plus, you get to see one of the more beautifully filmed sci-fi movies in a while that boasts both great acting (by Alicia Vikander, Domhnall Gleeson, and Oscar Isaac), and a stimulating take on the classic premise of the inherent unknowns of artificial intelligence.

Apr
26
2015
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Even Sondheim Fans Might Choose to Avoid Venturing "Into the Woods" Review

Behold! A great smorgasbord of genre-specific characters packed into a single narrative! No, not the ABC (i.e. Disney) fairy tale mashup show Once Upon A Time. And not the Gothic mosaic that is Penny Dreadful. Or the superhero ensembles of the Justice League and Avengers. Nor even the upcoming villainous cadre of Suicide Squad. This is “art:” Stephen Sondheim and James Lapine’s 1986 Broadway triumph, Into the Woods, that managed to eek out three Tony Awards in a year mostly ruined for all other contenders by the arrival of Broadway’s now longest running show, The Phantom of the Opera. Ever since that first Broadway run, and every subsequent tour, restaging, and revival, Into the Woods has been a favorite of Drama Departments in liberal arts schools across the country. Sondheim aficionados can’t stop singing his praises, but, unfortunately, very few of them sang anything other than, “Get me out of these woods,” when Rob Marshall’s film adaptation arrived over Christmas 2014.

Apr
26
2015
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Believe It Or Not, You Shouldn't Trust A "Gnome" Review

Kind-hearted Zoe (Kerry Knuppe) is having a tough time. Her mother is heavily medicated. Her step-father is a molester. She works at a convenience store to put herself through college, where she is receiving unwanted attention from a professor, and one of the store’s regulars, a homeless woman nicknamed Ms. Mae (Willow Hae), is killed in a hit-and-run accident. Before Ms. Mae dies, she passes along a curse to Zoe which gives her a witch’s mark on her skin and the unwanted protection of a murderous gnome (Verne Troyer).

Apr
20
2015
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Damici Makes "Late Phases" Howl Review

Late Phases: Night of the Lone Wolf stars an appropriately gruff, grizzled and grumpy Nick Damici as Ambrose McKinley, a blind Vietnam War vet who has just moved to the picturesque retirement community of Crescent Bay following the death of his wife. Accompanied by his trusty seeing eye dog, Shadow--the only living thing that he seems to approve of--McKinley proceeds to settle down and wait for death to come for him, even going so far as to ask his son to drive him to shop for tombstones. However, after the one neighbor to greet him kindly dies in a gruesome late-night attack, and brave Shadow meets a similar, tragic fate, McKinley is forced to come out of retirement and be the one thing he was ever truly good at: a soldier.

Apr
20
2015
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"Nightbreed" Emerges From The Grave Review

Clive Barker ranted and raved; then he hoped and prayed. Finally, some enterprising horror devotees hunted and found, giving him the chance to deliver on a promise 25-years in the making. In 1990, Morgan Creek slashed Clive Barker’s adaptation of his own novella, Cabal, into a flimsy pseudo-slasher, in that there was almost no violence in the actual movie but they wanted to cut a trailer catering to the least common denominator schlock fan. The marketing completely avoided the monster elements and more nuanced dark romantic fairy tale. The result was a box office misfire and one really unhappy Mr. Barker. For over two decades, he spoke at conventions and in interviews about the real Nightbreed, a monster mash love story, lost on the cutting room floor. Finally, it has arrived, but its story to final release is as surreal as the fantastical creature world of Midian.

Apr
20
2015
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Stop! "Adventure Time" Review

With a spoonful of Dungeons & Dragons, a pinch of Game of Thrones, and a whole lot of hand-drawn escapades, Cartoon Network’s prolific Adventure Time returns to DVD, picking up in the post-apocalyptic Land of Ooo with Episode 30 of Season 5: Frost & Fire. Young Finn wakes from a pleasurable dream wherein Flame Princess and Ice King, voiced by Jeremy Shada, Jessica DiCicco, and Tom Kenny respectively, do battle. Waking before the resolution, Finn orchestrates an epic confrontation of fireballs and ice lighting, until Flame Princess realizes Finn has betrayed her trust to antagonize the fight and leaves him to learn an important lesson about friendship and betrayal. So begins the 16-episode collection that juggles puberty with comedy.

Apr
20
2015
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"Kink" Puts Your Inhibitions Under The Whip Review

Kink is a documentary about daily life and work at Kink.com, a BDSM erotica site, from the perspective of performers, directors, casting directors, and crew members. Director Christina Voros follows a wide variety of porn film shoots and allow these performers and directors explains the different aspects of BDSM in their own words. They also get into the trickier aspects of consent when money is involved and why feminists are so divided when it comes to pornography in general.

Apr
15
2015
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"Nazi Mega Weapons" Makes Learning Go Kapow! Review

Our insatiable fascination with World War II shows no signs of abating, nor should it. Never again will such a clear-cut conflict of good and evil start a global war of continents in pitched combat behind leaders who stood among titans; all for the preservation of mankind in the face of fiery annihilation. In an era of guerrilla wars and ever-increasing reliance on the surgical precision of Special Operations over the heavy footprint of Big Army, it’s almost inconceivable to fathom a time when armies of millions were deciding the fate of the humanity in open fields and muddy trenches. PBS feeds the hobbyist historian’s curiosity with its second season of the shocking show Nazi Mega Weapons. Out of the horrors of Nazi fascism, came the seeds of some of the most radical discoveries of the 20th century.

Apr
15
2015
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Duplication Is No "Vice" Review

Considering Hollywood’s ever-increasing fear of making anything groundbreaking and original, preferring instead to rely on unnecessary sequels and remakes of proven material, I was dismayed but not terribly shocked. when I heard that Ridley Scott was planning to produce a sequel to Blade Runner. One of the greatest science-fiction films ever made, the film has truly earned the label of cult classic; why sully its legacy by creating what is guaranteed to be a lesser imitator? Especially when so many films that fall under that umbrella already exist?

Apr
14
2015
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"Aaliyah": Don't, Just Don't Review

Woof. As Mel Brooks would say, ‘This movie is revolting!’ ‘You’re telling me, it stinks on ice!’ To call this movie garbage is to do a disservice to the artistry of landfills. Starring relative newcomer Alexandra Shipp, perhaps known by Nickelodeon fans who follow the British import House of Anubis and who will be more known when she takes over as Ororo Munroe/Storm in the upcoming X-Men: Apocalypse, Aaliyah: The Princes of R&B certainly does not herald the birth of a new starlet. Made-for-TV by those connoisseurs of crud over at Lifetime, the film went into production with the adamant disapproval of Aaliyah’s family and, laughably, did not even get rights to any of her hit music. The result, therefore, is a mismanaged, cumbersome exercise in flatfooted biopic film-making without any real connection to the life, times, and work of the titular subject. Good luck getting through 88-minutes. Finding 88 words to write about this failure is hard enough.

Apr
14
2015
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