REALIVE Movie Review (Sci-Fi Drama)

REALIVE MovieREALIVE Synopsis: Marc (Tom Hughes) is diagnosed with a disease and is given one year left to live. Unable to accept his own end, he decides to freeze his body. Sixty years later, in the year 2084, he becomes the first man to be revived in history. It is then he discovers that the love of his life, Naomi (Oona Chaplin), has accompanied him this entire time in a way that he’d never expected.

Starring: Tom HughesCharlotte Le BonOona Chaplin

Tagline: Immortality is only a matter of time.

Release Date: September 29th, 2017 | Runtime: 1 hour 52 Minutes | Coolthulhus Earned: 5

 

 

 


REALIVE Review

REALIVE was thought-provoking, deeply moving, and delicately handles sensitive subjects with a deftness one doesn’t typically expect from a Syfy film. I was hooked basically from the very beginning. The conversation between the doctor and Marc/Lazarus was so very well done. It was grave and serious without being overly dramatic. I like how the guy asks “Why?” and the doctor is just kind of flatly states “It’s cancer.” Not to be morbid, but that was probably one of my favorite scenes in the movie. The expression on the doctor’s face says so much even as he just says “It’s cancer.” Actually, the whole way they portray Marc dealing with this diagnosis in the beginning all feels very real and true as well. Enough so that it put a hitch in my throat watching it.

The cinematography in REALIVE was nice. The movie is filmed in two timelines. Before re-animation and after re-animation. The ‘before’ is done in soft, warm colors with movement and laughter and light. The ‘after’ in cold blues and sharp lines. The facility in the future is conveyed as state of the art and, er, ‘futuristic’ without being over the top. Its crisp, stark, and rather effective even without a bunch of wires and monitoring equipment everywhere.

To be honest, I had no real desire to watch REALIVE. From the stills and the trailer, I thought ‘eh, not my type of movie’ and didn’t give it a second thought. But then I was offered a chance to do an interview with one of the actors, so I decided to give it a go. REALIVE really isn’t my type of movie. I prefer blood, guts, and shoot-em-ups. Spaceships, aliens, and planetary exploration. I don’t do feels or thought-provoking flicks as a general rule of thumb. I appreciate that they’re around for the people who like ’em, but they just don’t get my motor running. This is, I thought as I was starting it up, the type of movie where I’m going to end up picking a book up halfway through it. Sweet baby Cthulhu, I was wrong.

One of my favorite things about the movie was how it handled the subject of cryogenics and reanimation. This isn’t one of those movies where it’s like “Yes, you are alive again and everything is perfect” It was one that actually looked seriously at how reanimation would actually work. While I don’t want to give anything away, let’s just say that this is the most believable approach to reviving someone from cryostasis that I’ve ever read or seen. From the actual reanimation itself to the body’s adjustments afterwards.

The love story is also well-handled in REALIVE. It isn’t typical, and it isn’t super-mushy. It’s got an element of star-crossed lovers to it, but not quite that bad. It was there, but it wasn’t what the story was all about (to me, at least.)

The ending of the movie was deftly handled as well. It was one of those deals where you were pretty sure you knew how things were going to end up once you were past the halfway point, but you still couldn’t look away.

Overall, REALIVE was a fantastically done movie. It put tears in my eyes. That’s a fairly difficult thing to do. From the script to the editing, there’s very little I would have changed. (Literally, there’s like one scene involving two of the doctors that was a bit much. That’s it.) I’m happy that I decided to watch it, and definitely highly recommend it to all my fellow sci-fi lovers out there.

 

IT Movie 2017 #MovieReview ( Horror )

Movie poster for IT

IT Synopsis: A group of bullied kids band together when a monster, taking the appearance of a clown, begins hunting children.

Starring: Bill SkarsgårdJaeden LieberherFinn WolfhardSophia Lillis, etc

Tagline: You’ll Float Too.

Release Date: September 8th, 2017 | Runtime: 2 hrs 15 min | Coolthulhus Earned: 4

 

 

Small Sci-Fi and Scary Divider

IT Review

IT is one of the best horror movies I’ve seen this year. The only other one that stands up with it is Get Out. It was extremely well-done, from the directing to the acting. It was a perfect mix of moments that make you laugh, and scenes that make you cringe. They did a great job on not relying on jump scares for every little thing like almost every other horror film released recently. It is dark and sad and hopeful and fierce all at once.

Really, there were only a few things in IT that I didn’t care for. Some of them can just be attributed to the fact that in comparison to the original IT, they come up lacking. Mostly, the actors. The main one being Pennywise himself. Bill Skarsgård had his own version of Pennywise, and I thoroughly approve of that. He did not try to imitate Tim Curry’s version. His Pennywise was much darker, and rang true as an insane evil. However, I honestly believe Curry’s version was scarier. (My partner commented that if they would have had a guy dress up in the suit and let Tim Curry be a voice-over, it would have been perfect.) Curry’s Pennywise was all the scarier because he could appear so weirdly evil and funny one moment, and be deadlighting you the next. Also, the Richie character seriously lacked Seth Green’s charisma. I know Richie is supposed to be an obnoxious snot, but Seth Green made Richie a funny obnoxious snot, and therein lies the difference!

On the other hand, I absolutely loved Sophia Lillis as Beverly. She did an amazing job. Lillis practically glows on the screen, and is completely believable. I couldn’t take my eyes away from her when she was on screen. I cheered (mentally, because movie theater!) for her on more than one occasion. I also applaud the choice to not overly sexualize her. Even the scenes where the boys were ogling her were very tame. This was a fantastic move in an age where people feel the need to push the envelope with sexuality in young girls. Whereas in the original IT movie, Bill was my favorite, Beverly definitely shines brightest this time around.

Speaking of Bill, Jaeden Libeberher does a great job. His performance is on par with Jonathan Landis’ in the original. The acting is spot on, and when Bill is openly hurting, I hurt with him. Likewise, Jeremy Ray Taylor did a great job as Ben. He was as believable as Sophia Lillis was. You just knew that Ben was a sweet kid with a good heart. This version of Eddie was better, as well. Mouthy little hypochondriac.

One of the only other things I didn’t like about IT was the way they shot Pennywise. The rapid-jerky-fast forward movements are overdone. Every flipping horror movie with a ghost/demon/evil does them lately. It wasn’t a deal-breaker, obviously, but the movie would have been great without it.

Overall, I really liked IT. It was considerably darker than the TV version, with far less camp, and left me curled up in my chair. At one point I had to consciously take my fingers away from my face because I was afraid I’d walk out of the theater with big fingerprints on my cheeks! I went into the movie trying to be open minded, but still fairly biased towards the original version. By the time I came out of the theater, I realized that this IT was just as good as the original, but not in the same way. I think fans will be able to appreciate both versions for what they bring to the table. 

 

Purchase now on Amazon.

Demons (2017) Movie Review ( #Horror Thriller)

The devil comes to town this October when Demons, written, directed and starring Miles Doleac, hits theaters and VOD from Uncork’d Entertainment.

A psychological thriller that marries elements of The Exorcist, The Shining and The Big Chill, Demons tells of a celebrated fiction writer and former priest (Doleac, “American Horror Story”, The Hollow) who, along with his wife, are tormented by the ghost of her late sister, as the details of her grisly death are slowly uncovered.

Andrew Divoff (Wishmaster), John Schneider (‘’Smallville’’), Lindsay Anne Willams (The Hollow), Steven Brand (Hellraiser : Revelations), Kristina Emerson (“NCIS : New Orleans”), and Gary Grubbs (Free State of Jones) co-star star in a powerful goosebump-stirring new spookfest from Historia Films, the makers of The Hollow and The Historian.

Eight years ago, Father Colin Hampstead oversaw an aborted exorcism that resulted in the gruesome death of seventeen-year-old Jewel Grant, in rural Louisiana. The deceased girl’s older sister, Kayleigh, grew immediately attached to Hampstead and sought him out, at first for grief counseling and then, for much more.

Eight years later, Hampstead has left the priesthood and become a celebrated fiction writer, specializing in stories about the occult, and he and Kayleigh, now his wife, have a beautiful daughter and run a well-known bed and breakfast in Savannah, GA. When the couple agrees to host a wedding for one of Colin’s college friends, what begins as a Big Chill-type reunion turns into something much more macabre, as the seemingly omnipresent  ghost of her dead sister Jewel compels Kayleigh to engage in bizarre, destructive behaviors that endanger the lives of both her friends and herself.

Demons Cover

Demons Review

Demons is not your typical possession film. No head-spinning, crab-walking, excessive gore or grisly murders to be found. It lulls you into expecting certain things, and then delivers a twist that piques your interest. It does this enough that even though the movie is not exactly breath-taking, you can’t help but pay attention to it. This is a movie focused more on the story itself than the special effects.

Miles Doleac is a sheer pleasure to watch in Demons. I’m not particularly familiar with the man, but he immediately won me over within minutes. Fans of Supernatural will be drawn to Colin’s (Doleac) smooth voice and gentle but strong demeanor. Its also amazing how easily transitioning from clean shaven to a beard transforms the man in terms of apparent age. Good lord. Andrew Divoff (Jasper Grant) and Steven Brand (Eddie) are equally charismastic on screen.

Demons Picture - Miles Doleac
Miles Doleac as Colin in Demons – Still provided by October Coast Media

Jessica Harthcock, who stars as Colin’s wife and the deceased’s sister, gives one of the weakest performances in Demons. I think part of this may just be that she doesn’t have as much experience behind her as the other actors. Either that, or she lacks the charisma the others have. Caroline Baggerly, mother to the sisters, is just awkward to watch. Her performance was cringe-worthy at times and definitely ratcheted back the general quality. Luckily, she’s not on screen in Demons that much.

The directing is solid, but not particularly exceptional. However, there is one thing that speaks very strongly in it’s favor. The almost total lack of jump scares. It’s a lovely thing. You will jump a few times during this movie, but not with loud suspenseful music and bangs to make you do so. This is rare enough to make the movie stand out from most of the fare that’s been put forth recently.

The pacing of Demons is good. The cinematography is, like the directing, solid but not outstanding. The special effects make up on one of the characters desperately needed some work. Doleac’s education shows in some of the conversations between the characters. The dialogue is mostly appropriate, occasionally insightful, and on occasion a bit awkward. 

Demons Picture - Wishmaster
Recognize this man? Andrew Divoff (Wishmaster) looks almost unrecognizable as Jasper Grant in Demons. – Still provided by October Coast Media

Overall, Demons is a movie that’s refreshingly different. It truly is a psychological thriller movie with just enough horror elements for me to want to review it on Sci-Fi & Scary.  It’s not perfect, but it’s offbeat and unexpected enough to make me want to tell you to give it a try.


Title: Demons | Release Date: October 6th, 2017 | Coolthulhus Earned: 4 | Disclaimer: I received a copy of this film from October Coast Media for review consideration.

 

 

Bad Movie Recap and Review: Deep Blue Sea

J.B. Rockwell is at it again. This time, she’s taking on a movie that I – Lilyn – absolutely love. However, I know she’ll treat it with all the respect (heh) it deserves. Enjoy this bad movie recap and review of Deep Blue Sea. And, afterwards, take a gander at my review of her book Serengeti, and then go buy it because you needs it.

Deep Blue Sea

(or, as I like to call it)

3-Way Shark Attack!

By J.B. Rockwell

Sharks. You know ‘em, you love ‘em, especially when they go all psycho and start munching people. If you follow Lilyn’s book reviews, you’ll know she’s been on something of a chomping monsters bender lately, which got me thinking about my next movie. I mean, when it comes to toothsome monsters, there are many, right? So, so many. But when it comes to bad-good movies, well you just can’t go wrong with a shark attack flick. There was just one problem: which movie to choose.

I’ll be honest, this is a rather enjoyable problem to have. The pantheon of shark attack movies is many and, well, not exactly varied (mostly its chomp, blood, death, repeat) but certainly many. The big daddy of them all is Jaws, of course—a movie I 100% love and stop to watch pretty much every time I run across it—but Jaws is a straight up good movie, not a bad-good movie. Granted, Jaws 3D and Jaws 4 are of questionable quality, but Jaws 2 was still passably decent and…well, none of that really matters. Jaws and its sequels didn’t quite fit the spirit of a bad-good movie review in my opinion, and since it’s my gig, my opinion’s the only one that matters. So there.

Okay, so we ruled out Jaws. What next? Hmm…SyFy has a ton of shark-based movies on offer: Ghost Shark, Hammerhead: Shark Frenzy, 2-Headed Shark Attack, 3-Headed Shark Attack, Sharktopus vs. Whalewolf, all those Sharknado and Mega Shark movies…nah, none of those felt quite right either. I wanted a shark movie that was a little less cheese and a little more desperately trying to be legit.

The Shallows? No, too much ‘ooooh! Isn’t Kate Hudson hot’ for my tastes. I passed on Open Water because it’s based on a true story and Dark Tide with Halle Berry for looking totally and utterly lame. That’s pretty much how things went for a while—nope, nope, and definitely nope—until I tripped over an old chestnut from the late 90s that was just dripping with bad-goodness. And that, ladies and gentlemen, is how I ended up rewatching Deep Blue Sea.Movie cover for Deep Blue Sea

So, right about now, some of you are wondering about my mental health and why anyone on God’s green earth would consider anything about this movie to be good. Well, first off, it acknowledges its progenitors. Watch Deep Blue Sea closely (or not, it’s pretty blatant) and you’ll spot nods to Jaws and its sequels all over the place. I may just be imagining it, but I also noted several scenes that also reminded me of Jurassic Park, but just may be me getting my toothy-mawed movies confused.

Either way, I loved the homage to King Munch. Mostly, though, it’s the cast that makes this movie for me. In keeping with its budget, and scThomas Jane Versus Aaron Eckhart for Deep Blue Searipts, and pretty much everything else about this film, the producers blew their wad on one big actor (Samuel L. Jackson) and dug down into the B-List to fill out the rest of the cast:

  • The ‘Almost but Not Quite Buff and Hotsy-Totsy’ male lead played by Thomas Jane…or is it Aaron Eckhart? I can never tell those two guys apart. Seriously, they’re some kind of weird twinsies or something. I mean, you tell me which is which. Can’t, can you? No one can!
  • The ‘Smart Girl Who’s Kind of a Baddy but Also Hotsy-Totsy for Realsies’ female lead played by Saffron Burrows and her long, long legs. Surprisingly, she makes it quite a ways into the movie before stripping down to her bra and panties, but yeah, eventually it goes there.
  • The ‘Bad Boy Who’s a Good Boy and Loves his Bible’ comic relief character featuring LL Cool J. To his credit, Mr. Cool dials the macho tough guy routine pretty far back for this movie. Points to Double L for that.
  • The Nerd Collective comprised of Stellan Skarsgard (as the older, respectable nerd), Michael Rapaport (as the younger, whinier, and far more useless nerd), and Jacqueline McKensie (as the token female nerd).

All that aside, this movie’s all about the sharks. Three of them in total, because just one people stalking shark? Pffft. Wimps. One shark ain’t got nuthin’ on three chomper monsters.

The Plot:

Searching for a cure to Alzheimer’s disease, a group of scientists on an isolated research facility become the bait, as a trio of intelligent sharks fight back.

The Cast:

Thomas Jane (Known for looking like Aaron Eckhart, also The Mist and Dreamcatcher) as Carter Blake: Snake Wrangler and ex con. The nice kind, who just…smuggles things. Because he needs to. More of a gentleman pirate, really, than a true ex con.

Saffron Burrows (Star of Troy and Wing Commander. Yes, that’s right. I referenced Wing Commander) as Dr. Susan McAlester: The Hooty McBoobity of our story. Also a shark/brain scientist desperate to find a cure for Alzeihemer’s and kinda sorta the second/alternate baddy in this movie she spends most of it trying to not kill the sharks.

Samuel L. Jackson (Known for being Samuel Motherfucking L. Jackson, also Pulp Fiction and Snakes on a Plane) as Russell Franklin: The de facto bad guy whom everyone immediately hates because he’s rich. And funds all the super secret research on this isolated research facility. How dare he?!

Michael Rapaport (Who got his big break with Woody Allen’s Mighty Aphrodite) as Tom Scoggins: The token engineer kept around to periodically spit out doom and gloom and timely factoids about the research facility. And be whiny and scared, as needed.

Stellan Skarsgard (Father to all those other Skarsgards, also Erik Selvig from Thor and the Avengers) as Jim Whitlock: A ‘brilliant’ shark researcher and scientist who likes to piss of watch towers in his free time and smoke at entirely inappropriate moments.

LL Cool J (Rapper turned actor, stills wants to go back to Cali) as Preacher (seriously, they couldn’t come up with a better name than that): A Bible loving, bird-loving professionally trained eggs and hash man. Because every super secret shark research facility has a chef, right?

Jacqueline McKenzie (Umm…she’s done stuff but the only thing I recognize is The 4400) as Janice Higgins: the other female scientist on this middle of nowhere rig. I want to say more about this character but she’s essentially the throwaway girl that is so obviously going to get munched that there’s absolutely no shock value when it actually happens.

Budget & Box Office Info:

Release Date: 30 July 1999

Budget: $60M

Box Office Sales: $73M US

Sequels, Crossovers, Tie-Ins & Other Good Stuff:

Uhhh, not much. This is the first time I came up mostly blank in this area, and I’m frankly disappointed. Supposedly Warner Premier has a sequel planned and rumor has it that they even started filming something this past June with plans to release the movie on the SyFy channel, but we’ll see if the projects makes it through to completion and distribution. I supposed a sequel makes sense. After all, there are a lot of sharks out there and someone (probably Russian, maybe North Korean is bound to have another super secret shark research facility lying around, right? Right??!!)

The Story of Deep Blue Sea (in a Nutshell):

Warning: Spoilers. Proceed with caution.

The Set-Up:

Businessman Russell Franklin (AKA Action Jackson) sinks $200 million into a super secret, open ocean research facility and a special project to help fight Alzheimer’s disease.

Using sharks. This is a shark movie, after all, and there are sharks. So…why not?

His partner in crime is the dead sexy and eternally duck-facing Dr. Susan McAlester—a medical biologist and hobbyist shark stabber who gets her jollies sticking oversized needles into shark’s brains in order to suck out special enzymes that can help cure Alzheimer’s.

Naughty, naughty, naughty, Dr. Hotty. Sharkies no like the brain pan sticky-wicky.

In her free time, Bad Girl also enjoys sunsets, flouncing around in wetsuits, and breaking all the science rules, or at least the ones involving genetically enlarging shark brains to make them produce even more disease-battling mind juice.

Apparently, that’s illegal. Or at least highly frowned upon. And, as we come to find out later, not really in humanity’s best interests.

Seems all that gene juggling has an unexpected side effect: the shark subjects become super smart and, sick of being cooped up and periodically stuck with needles, band together to try and figure a way out…

…Ya know, on second thought, this is not at all unexpected. They made the sharks’ brains bigger, for God’s sake! What did they think was gonna happen??!!

The Rest of It:

A huge tropical storm is barreling down on Action Jackson’s research station and shark prison out in the middle of nowhere. Most of the crew of said station are departing for the weekend, leaving just a skeleton crew behind to keep an eye on the sharks.

Remind you of the Jurassic Park set-up? Yeah, me too.

Surprisingly, despite the size and purported ferocity of the approaching storm, no one seems all that worried about staying behind. ‘Cause what could go wrong, right? I mean, everyone knows that big storm + shark experiments + underwater lab and empty ocean = good times.

Anyway, blithely ignorant of their impending doom, Action Jackson and Dr. McLegester set off on a quick tour of the facility. Through a serious of rapid-fire introductions to the shark bait, er, I mean, nerds (a whole colony of them who might as well be decked out in red shirts with the words ‘I Am Chum’ emblazoned on the chest) and cool guys (Aaron Janehart the Shark Wrangler, who actually calls himself a shark wrangler, and Chef Preacher, whom we’ve already established as having the worst and laziest movie character name ever), we clearly establish that:

  1. Everyone hates Action Jackson for no apparent reason other than he’s rich and dresses like a Yale polo player,
  2. Her Leggyness is both a snob and a stone-cold bitch, and
  3. The sharks here are not nice. I’m not sure why they would be considering they’re prison sharks, but—How not nice, you ask? Well, apparently they eat each other. And only each other. Except when they’re eating people. But that comes later. Well, sooner than later, but you get the point.

Ahem. Right. So, the storm closes in and things start to go bad. Seems the sharks get testy when the weather turns. Either that or they’re sick of Shark Boy Janehart swimming around their prison pens all the time.

Which he does. Frequently. Because he’s a manly man, and ain’t no shark nowhere gonna tell Jane Wrangler where to swim. Also, one of the sharks requires some impromptu dentistry to remove a license plate stuck in its teeth (that’s another Jaws reference, in case you missed it), so of course he just has to jump in with it, ‘cause how the hell else are ya gonna do it, right?

Once Bathing Beauty’s done showing off, he dopes a shark down and places it on a special underwater freighter elevator kinda thing so Mistress Saffron can haul it in for a quick brain pick and snatch some protein goo. Unfortunately, Sharky’s not quite under and decides to separate Dr. Whitlock (AKA, Skarsgard the Wind Pisser) from one of his arms. I like to think it’s because the good doctor is smoking and SharkyKins was just looking out for his health.

What? It’s plausible.

Good intentions or not, Jane Wrangler gets pissed—I’m guessing because all that blood really messed up the lab’s floors—and grabs an elephant gun to shoot SharkyKins and teach it a lesson about manners. Unfortunately, Dr. HotPants intervenes before he can pull the trigger, dumping Sharky back in the water.

Evidently she’s one of those new wave parents that believes in free range child rearing. Either that or she just wants to preserve its precious, precious brain.

Oh, did I mention her father has Alzheimer’s? Yeah. He does. So maybe that’s it. Or maybe she just doesn’t like people? Well, people other than her dad, of course, since she just—

But I digress…

Despite the storm, the research station crew call in a chopper to haul Doc OneArm out, loading him onto a litter the helicopter slowly hauls up.

You can see where this is going, right? Sure you do. You’re smart.

Halfway up, the winching mechanism suffers a ‘mysterious mechanical malfunction’ and suddenly lets go. Skarsgard the One Armed Bandit plummets to the water—still strapped in his litter, conveniently with a little air canister plugged into his mouth—and disappears into the depths of the shark pen.

No big deal, right? They hooked Wind Pisser up with that air bottle so he’ll be fine for the few seconds it takes to haul him back out?

Nope. Snagged by a shark. Better yet, hauled around by a shark like some kind of chew toy, which means that, since the cable attached to the litter is still attached to the helicopter, the chopper gets hauled around as well.

Right into the research station, exploding in dramatic fashion when it slams into a metal prison tower thingy sticking up above the surface.

Uh-oh, folks. Shit just got real.

Despite the above-water flambé-orie, and being munched by a prison shark, and being used as a helicopter towing hitch, Old Doc OneArm is somehow magically alive. Well, alive enough to do that underwater bubble screaming thing when SharkyKins launches him toward an underwater viewing window to break the glass.

For the record, I am extremely dubious about the potentiality of this outcome. I mean, I’m not physics major, but seven eights of a doctor strapped to a litter thrown underwater against a heavily reinforced pane of glass? Seriously? I’m supposed to believe that would actually break it? Yeah, that’s either some really crap manufacturing or an extremely long stretch of the imagination.

Bad physics or not, SharkyKins deploys his flesh rammer and busts out the station’s glass. In rushes an entire ocean—okay, maybe not an entire ocean, but a crap ton of really cold water—that quickly fills the experimentation room on the other side. A room where everyone we just saw up on the surface (except for Chef Preacher, he mostly doesn’t leave his kitchen) just happens to be gathered.

Convenient, huh?

Okay, so blah-blah-blah, water pouring in, everyone flees screaming, seal the room up after them to save the station.

Probably. Maybe. Okay, they’re totally screwed because the research station was designed to sit in water, not be filled with water. (Nerd Rapaport explains this to us at some point because—uh-duh!—none of us would otherwise be able to figure out that flooding is a bad thing.) Plans to climb up to the surface an escape the probably, maybe, totally sinking station are foiled by flooded stairwells (another casually tossed out declaration), but Nerd Rapaport reminds them they have a mini sub on the lowest level, so they all decided to blithely go deeper into this probably, maybe, totally sinking science station and hop a ride on the Magical Mystery Sub.

Simple, right? Down is easy, up is hard? Well, yeah actually. But when our hopeless troupe of intrepid heroes finally hits rock bottom, they find to their dismay that someone or something (The explosion? A shake? Who the hell knows) beat them there and wrecked their ride.

Darn shuckers. What to do, what to do?

Well, if you’re a shark, you pop out of the water all unexpected like (well, except for the fact that Jane Wrangler specifically warned people not to get too close to the water) and make yourself a Sam sandwich (RIP Action Jackson). If you’re everyone else, you basically freak out.

With water pouring in and the lab structure even more probably, maybe, definitely starting to fail, the survivors decide to make a run for it, using a ladderway in a partially flooded maintenance shaft to climb their way to the surface.

By the way, I have no idea why they didn’t do this earlier. I think Nerd Engineer Rapaport provides some lame explanation for the obvious plot hole before they all pile and there was something about blah-blah-blah, danger, we all might die before we reach the surface, but whatever. Sloppy. Oh, and did I mention there’s a shark trying to bust in the door to the maintenance shaft and swim after them?

Yeah, there is one. They do that in this movie. A lot. Evidently a shark ram is stronger than reinforced steel. Or reinforced windows. Or pretty much everything on this station that’s reinforced because, apparently, the engineers that designed the place didn’t spec it out to survive a shark pounding.

<Mind out of the gutter, Lilyn.>

Right, back to the maintenance shaft. The shark, being invincible and a real pro at ramming, eventually busts down the door and (through a series of nonsensical mishaps) chomps down one of the red-shirted ensigns.

I mean, nerds. Scientists. Whatever.

Jane Wrangler, Dr. Hotness, and LL Cool Chef aren’t dead yet, and Nerd Engineer Rapaport is somehow managing to hang on, but after an impressive run and making it over an hour into the movie, it’s finally time for Janice Higgins (AKA, token less attractive female) to go to the big shark tank in the sky. Their female quota now reduced by 50% (resulting in a proportional increase in sausage-fest density), everyone pauses for a brief—very brief, extremely brief—moment of mourning before moving on.

Finally, finally our (not quite) heroes are finally reunited with ChefChef Cool J—a badass pancake flipped who’s been running around on his own chasing his beloved parrot.

Named Bird…yeah…

Anywho, despite being on his own, LL Chef J actually managed to kill a shark (not the helicopter dragging shark, another one—all three of them are loose inside the research station, apparently) using nothing but a lighter and the propane from an oven.

Sound familiar? Yeah, pretty sure one of the Jaws sharks went out in similar fashion. Also there’s a scene where LL’s trapped in an oven that reminds me of the kitchen scene in Jurassic Park. Also, also, Chef J actually came up with the idea of using the oven as an incendiary bomb while trapped inside it with the shark trying to get in.

Unsuccessfully, I might add. Not for lack of trying, mind you. Forget poking, forget a polite little love tap. That shark pounded at that hit box. Pounded, and pounded, and pounded searching for some way, any way into LL’s bun baker, and yet somehow never managed to get. Weird, huh? Considering that same shark (or one just like it) managed plow it’s way through those reinforced doors earlier.

Oven engineers accounted for shark ramming in their schematics, I guess. Unlike those crap research station designers. Probably wouldn’t recognize a good pounding if it jumped up and—

What’s that? Oh. Right.

Erstwhile, something-something-something, and Jane Wrangler and Nerd Rapaport head off to power up some system, for some reason, mostly as an opportunity to pare down the cast a little more. In an (un)surprising twist everyone saw coming, SharkyKins (or maybe its SharkyKins Junior) turns RapaNerd into a manwich, leaving JaneHart to swim for his life.Bra Scene from Deep Blue Sea

Elsewhere, Dr. Hotness is on the hunt for her precious, precious brain data, because of course she can’t leave without that. Drawn by boobies, SharkyKins (the other SharkyKins, the one not snackin’ on RapaNerd) corners her in a half-flooded room, leaving the long-legged doctor no choice but to strip down to her bra and panties and electrocute it.

To death!

(Sound familiar? Yeah, the shark in Jaws II went down that way).

So, two sharks down, one to go, and just three lab people left: Saffron, LL, and Jane Wrangler.

Finally far enough up in the underwater lab to, I guess, actually do something, they flood a compartment, escape through a hatch, launch a couple of rigged-up fire extinguishers to confuse the pursuing shark, and make their escape to the surface. But the shark is on to them, and after a brief bit of play time with the fire extinguisher, nips in and grabs LL by the leg.

RIP Cheffy, right? Hell no! He’s got Bravest-Brave Jane Wrangler looking out for him, and ain’t no one gonna die on his watch.

Except Dr. Wind Pisser. And Nerd Rapaport. Action Jackson, that chick in the maintenance shaft who no one really got to know…

Okay, so a few people died on his watch, but not LL Cool Chef. This brutha-man’s gonna make it! While Dr. Hotness makes a swim for it (selfishly thinking only of her hot, hot self), Jane Wrangler stabby-stabs the shark, drags Chef J free, and hauls him up onto the sinking surface of the collapsing rig.

Finally they’re safe. Everyone can breathe easy and—crap! The shark’s still there, circling round and round like some kind of…of…well trained porpoise or something, waiting patiently for the station to sink enough that it can hop on up and get itself a snack. Or three.

So, they’re doomed, obviously. Game over. Time to just curl up in a ball and—what’s this??!! Jane Wrangler’s got a gun??!!

Harpoon scene deep blue sea

Hell yeah! Now we’re talkin’! And not just any gun—a harpoon, spear rifle thingy backed up with a high school equivalency degree’s understanding of The Science, which he’s just smart enough to know that if he attaches the trailing end of the harpoon’s cable to a conveniently handy battery (amazing how both hun and battery just happen to be lying around), that shark out there will somehow go boom.

Only one problem: Sharky’s not clued into the plan. It’s also smart enough to recognize a gun when it sees it and decides to make a run for the border rather than risk getting shot.

Curses! Foiled again!

Or not! In a stroke of deluded lunacy, Dr. Hotness foregoes the time tested bra and panties booty call shark attraction method (which we saw her use so effectively earlier) and go with a little blood.

Her own blood, dripping saltily from her slashed open palm.

Why do people always cut their hands open in movies? There are much better places to get blood from…

Okay, so Legs is bleeding like a stuck pig and, despite being a supposedly brilliant scientist and cold as ice-ice baby bitch, decides the smart thing to do is jump in the water and use herself as bait to lure the shark close.

Her plan works perfectly. Sort of. Considering Boobity gets well and truly munched for her trouble.

Unexpected, right?! The hot girl always makes it through.

Evidently, that’s what Jane Wrangler’s thinking as well, because the dumbass ditches his gun to jump in after her, leaving LL (who’s amazingly still alive) to light that harpoon cannon and do a little shark tappin’. Chef style.

Predictably, it all goes wrong and Chef J ends up shooting both Shark and Wrangler, pinning man to beast. Fortunately, the shark makes a run for the fence and knocks Wrangler loose in the process, so when LL attaches the harpoon wire to the battery, Shark #3 blows up in a mushroom cloud of fountaining death and fish-flavored slurry without so much as mussing Aaron Janehart’s hair.

Huh. Guess Momma really did say knock you out…

Overall Rating:

  • Bad Moving Rating: 4 (out of 5)
  • Regular Movie Rating: 3 (out of 5)

Bonus Material:

Quotes!

[Regarding the last shark]

Dr. Susan McCallister: We have to kill her.

Carter Blake: That’s the smartest thing you’ve said all day.

 

Russell Franklin: Was that a goddamn shark broke through that door?

Carter Blake: I expect so.

Russell Franklin: You expect so? Huh. Well, well, well. Am I the only asshole down here who thinks that a tad bit odd?

Russell Franklin: It can do that? Bust through a steel door?

Wrangler: Exactly how many sticks of dynamite do you have to set off in your ears before your brain clears?

Saffron: You wouldn’t understand.

 

Preacher: You’re the guy that got caught in that avalanche, right?

Russell Franklin: Yeah, I’m the one.

Preacher: Like black men don’t have enough ways to get killed without climbing up some stupid ass mountain in the middle of God’s nowhere! You leave that to the white folks! Brother!

 

The Dark Tower Film Review

Movie cover for The Dark TowerThe Dark Tower Synopsis: The last Gunslinger, Roland Deschain, has been locked in an eternal battle with Walter O’Dim, also known as the Man in Black, determined to prevent him from toppling the Dark Tower, which holds the universe together. With the fate of the worlds at stake, good and evil will collide in the ultimate battle as only Roland can defend the Tower from the Man in Black.

Tagline: There are other worlds than these.

Starring: Idris ElbaMatthew McConaugheyTom Taylor

Release Date: Aug 24th, 2017 | Runtime: 1 hr 35 min | Coolthulhus Earned: 5

 

 

The Dark Tower Review

I’m surprised at how much I enjoyed The Dark Tower. I should have remembered that I normally love film adaptations of Stephen King’s works. I think I let the fact that I’ve been paying a bit more attention to movie reviews and stuff lately lower my expectations unfairly. The Dark Tower was a fun movie that I really enjoyed.

To clarify the lens through which I viewed the movie: I read the first (and only the first) The Dark Tower book. I remembered ‘gunslinger’ ‘man in black’ and a moderate amount of trippiness. I remember thinking that I enjoyed it a lot more than I thought I would, given that it’s a Stephen King book. There might have been a mental note to try to pick up the second one in the series at some point as well. But, that’s it. So, when I watched the movie, I wasn’t comparing it against the book so I could do mental screams about what they changed and whatnot.

The casting for The Dark Tower was on point. I was happy to hear that they cast an African American to play Roland. It was an easy changeup (at least I think Roland was white in the book??) that made absolutely no difference to the story line. Yet, what it does do is give young African American men a positive example of an on-screen presence that doesn’t feed into stereotypes. I’d be saying something completely different if they’d cast an African American male to play The Man in Black. So, good choice!

Idris Elba, the aforementioned actor, who I can’t really say offhand has starred in anything I was a big fan of, had me rooting for him almost instantly. The man pulls off The Gunslinger very, very well in The Dark Tower. He was cool, calm, tortured, and good. The fight scene in the village where he’s, er, not at his best was believable through nothing more than his acting I believe. One of my favorite scenes involving him is where he just smiles, though. He smiles at one of the other characters and communicates so much goodness and happiness with that smile that you can’t help but smile back at him.

I’m not a huge Matthew McConaughey fan (his voice drives me nuts), but I laughed the moment he appeared on screen in this movie. He plays a taller version of Christopher Walken. The haircut, the outfit, etc. It was like he was channeling Walken in all aspects. That, combined with the unrelenting evil of a man named Walter, made his presence actually enjoyable for once.

Tom Taylor, who plays Jake, was the least memorable, but his acting was solid nonetheless. Give him a few years and we might be very surprised.

The sets, cinematography, etc, were all decent. It was definitely the characters that took center stage (as it should be). There was a little bit of cheese in the dialogue with Roland and Jake, but they didn’t go as overboard as they could have, so I’m willing to let it slide.

The Dark Tower hooked me almost immediately. I was practically sitting on my hands to keep from swiping at the air at parts.  It’s a fun popcorn flick. However, that’s really all it is. Unlike other King adaptations that have a strong rewatchability factor, The Dark Tower feels like a one time show. Not that I’m not interested in checking out the potential television series, mind you. I just can’t see buying this one to watch again in the future.

Annabelle: Creation Film Review (Horror)

Movie poster for Annabelle Creation

Annabelle: Creation synopsis: Twelve years after the tragic death of their little girl, a dollmaker and his wife welcome a nun and several girls from a shuttered orphanage into their home, soon becoming the target of the dollmaker’s possessed creation, Annabelle.

Starring: Anthony LaPagliaSamara LeeMiranda Otto

Release Date: August 11th, 2017 | Runtime: 1 hr 49 minutes | Coolthulhus Earned: 3

 

 

 

Small Sci-Fi and Scary Divider

Annabelle: Creation Review

Annabelle: Creation was significantly better than it’s predecessor. Yet, it still somehow managed to be completely unoriginal and almost completely reliant on jump scares. That doesn’t really seem like it should be possible, but…

Lulu Wilson, who stole the show in Ouija: Origin of Evil, is likely a big part of what makes Annabelle: Creation a decent film. Her role in this movie is a bit different than in Ouija (which I’m glad of). She’s a charismatic little girl, and can communicate quite a bit with just the widening of her big blue eyes. She’s almost completely believable in her role. I hope she avoids being typecast as she grows up, because I’m looking forward to seeing her refine her skills. I have a feeling she’s an actress worth paying attention to. Talitha Bateman’s performance wasn’t as captivating as Wilson’s, but she still did a decent job.

It was directed by David F. Sandberg, who gave us Lights Out in 2016. I didn’t recognize his name going in or I would have had higher expectations. Lights Out wasn’t exactly groundbreaking film-making, but it did give us a very powerful ending and an intense atmosphere. Both of which are absent in Annabelle: Creation. The director of photography was Maxime Alexandre, whose work we’ve seen in Silent Hill: Revelation, The Crazies, and the Hills Have Eyes. And if you’ve seen any of those films and can’t remember anything special about the cinematography in them, you won’t be surprised by the lack of any memorable work in Annabelle: Creation.

One of the things I did like about the movie was the reveal of the couple’s story. It’s sad, but touching, and I definitely empathized with them. It would be very easy to do what they did. I can’t blame them at all, even if it was extremely stupid. And I do like the way they tried to fix things. But, once that type of evil has made itself known, I’m pretty sure you can’t permanently fix it. I should note, though, that yet again there was nothing original here. I guess that means extra kudos to the actors for still making me feel for them. 

Annabelle: Creation ties very neatly to the beginning of the first Annabelle film. Not as well done as Insidious 2 to the first Insidious film, but it works. It also includes a nod to the original Annabelle doll (hint: Looks nothing like the movie Annabelle).

Overall, Annabelle: Creation is forgettable, but not horrible. The most fun I had out of it was the fact that I took a Grade A wimp to watch it with me. It was fun watching her react to the movie. I’d say you should give it a shot, if for nothing else than to finally wash the bad taste of the first one out of your mouth. However, I wouldn’t pay full price to see it in theatres. This is definitely a movie better reserved for Redbox at Halloween.

 

A Cure for Wellness Film Review (Dark Fantasy / Mystery)

Movie poster for A Cure for Wellness Title: A Cure for Wellness

Synopsis: An ambitious young executive is sent to retrieve his company’s CEO from an idyllic but mysterious “wellness center” at a remote location in the Swiss Alps, but soon suspects that the spa’s treatments are not what they seem.

Release Date: February 17th, 2017 | Runtime: 2 hrs 26 min | Coolthulhus Earned: 3

Starring: Dane DeHaanJason IsaacsMia Goth

 

 

A Cure for Wellness Review

I’d resisted watching A Cure for Wellness for a while now. I think it’s because I knew that it wasn’t going to be my type of movie. Well, I was right. It definitely wasn’t my type of movie. But it was also one that was hard to stop watching from about the halfway point on. (I have to clarify that, because for the first half of the movie my attention was everywhere but on the movie most of the time. I was able to focus just enough to get the gist of things.)

The last half of the movie is mostly fantastic. I really felt like things were building up towards an epic ending. The pacing is perfect, the dialogue on point, and the action scenes were satisfying.  And then… Alas, A Cure for Wellness is not a movie that ends with the bang it deserves. Instead, while still being gorgeous to watch, it does a side step to the right and merges from the road less traveled onto the main thoroughfare.  Sigh. It would be nice if filmmakers with decent budgets could suck it up and give us movies that don’t wimp out in the end occasionally.

Torture is mentioned whenever you look up A Cure for Wellness.  For the most part, the movie relies more on a creepy atmosphere than anything else. However, there definitely are torture scenes in it, albeit not nearly as many as I expected.  Some of them are kind of run of the mill that play upon fears of certain types of doctors. Others are a bit more just…gross. Gross enough that my stomach turned a bit, and that’s rather a hard job to accomplish.

 Gross is a very good word for a man being trapped and force fed certain slimy items, right?

The casting for A Cure for Wellness was pretty good. Jason Isaacs is, as usual, excellent at bringing charismatic toe-rags to life on the big screen. Dane DeHaan, whose face I recognized only from the Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets ads that were everywhere for a while, does a solid – if not exactly thrilling – job as the main character. Mia Goth does creepy mysterious girl well.

My favorite part of the movie was probably the cinematography. A Cure for Wellness had some absolutely breathtaking shots in it. There were several moments where I wished I could simply own a still of one particular frame. Bojan Bazelli, who has been director of photography on everything from Body Snatchers to The Ring, nailed it on pretty much every frame in this movie.

In short, A Cure for Wellness was a beautifully shot pile of “WTF?” that unexpectedly disappoints with a dose of the mundane at the very end.

Alien: Reign of Man (Science Fiction Film Review)

Movie cover for Alien Reign of Man

Alien: Reign of Man Synopsis: Stranded on a distant planet, a team must fight aliens and activate a machine meant to restore Earth to a time before its downfall.

Release Date: August 1st, 2017 | Runtime: 1 hr 24 min | Coolthulhus Earned: 3

Starring: KhuTorrei HartDeanna Grace Congo

 

 

 

 

Small Sci-Fi and Scary Divider

Alien: Reign of Man

Alien: Reign of Man was a suspenseful science fiction movie that would have benefited greatly from a bigger budget and a few different casting choices.

The cinematography of Alien: Reign of Man was solid. Khu, who plays the heroine, served as one of the producers and was responsible for the cinematography. Her performance was mostly solid.  Deanna Grace Congo has a very familiar face. I was surprised to see she had nothing listed on her resume that I had seen. Samantha R. Garcia, though having few lines and little screen time, had the most convincing performance. Torrei Hart’s performance felt completely flat, with her dialogue delivered in a nearly emotionless tone that felt like she was reading straight from the script. Justin Price, who wrote and directed Alien: Reign of Man, also plays a small role in it.

The costumes for the women were a poor choice. Most of the outfit wasn’t too bad, but there were cutouts in the thick protective armor for the women’s uniform-covered bouncy bits to poke through. It was a weird costuming decision because it wasn’t even aesthetically pleasing. You have these big, bulky pieces of chest armor with the chest cut-out, allowing any enemy a squishy target to aim straight for. Besides the costuming, the only other real complaint i have is the audio. The audio was uneven. I frequently had to turn the volume all the way up to clearly hear what the characters were saying, and then quickly turn it down when the score started in because it was suddenly ear-splitting loud.

I liked the alien’s appearance in Alien: Reign of Man. It wasn’t exactly believable CGI all the time, but whoever designed the alien did a great job. It was very interesting, actually strangely beautiful in some shots, and I kind of wish we had seen more of it.

Overall, while Alien: Reign of Man definitely had it’s problems, they were mostly surface issues that would have been solved with a bit more money. The plot of Alien: Reign of Man was interesting, the pacing was good, and it was well directed. For a movie with a handful of actors and just a few sets, they did a good job of keeping the viewers attention. And as a final note, I was pleased with the diversity of the cast. This diversity is one of the reasons I like independent films. You just don’t see enough big budget movies that are brave enough to do more than the token attempt at diversity.

 

Circus Kane Film Press Release and Review

From Uncork’d Entertainment and DeInstitutionalized comes the it horror movie of fall, Circus Kane premiering on VOD 9/8.

The notorious and disgraced circus master, Balthazar Kane, invites an unsuspecting group of social media stars to the revival of his CIRCUS KANE by promising $250,000 to any of them who can make it through the night. Kane’s true plan quickly proves to be far more sinister as the contestants realize more than money is on the line. The group must fight for their lives to escape Kane’s demented house of horrors.

Jonathan Lipnicki (Jerry Maguire) and Mark Christopher Lawrence (Cooties) head up the cast of Christopher Douglas-Olen Ray’s fantastic frighthouse Circus Kane, on VOD this September.

James Cullen Bressack and Zack Ward scripted, based on a story by Sean Sellars. Gerald Webb, Christopher Ray and James Cullen Bressack produce.

Studio: Uncork’d Entertainment
Director: Christopher Douglas-Olen Ray
Cast : Jonathan Lipnicki, Mark Christopher Lawrence, Nicole Fox, Jonathan Nation, Mike Jerome Putnam, Scott Thomas Reynolds, Bill Voorhees

Circus Kane

Circus Kane Review

 

I’ll admit, I was curious about Circus Kane as soon as I saw the name “Jonathan Lipnicki” attached to it. I knew he had been a child star at one point, and I also knew that I couldn’t point at a single thing he’d done in recent years. So, that, combined with a trailer that looked suitably fun meant I was willing to give Circus Kane a go. Well, there was also this particular still, as well. Not gonna deny that it had a lot to do with it.

CIrcus Kane movie still

Is it wrong of me that this image made me giggle and instantly need to see this movie?

Circus Kane was a near perfect mix of giggles and gore. It’s hard to get me to laugh during a movie, but this one got me on several occasions. Sadly, several of the actors weren’t named in the casting list,but there were a few that did a solid job. Mark Christopher Lawrence had a great on-screen presence, and sold me on the film early on. There was one guy who did a lot of impressions that also cracked me up. Jonathan Lipnicki had moments where he did a solid job, but sometimes his performance definitely wavered a bit. (Some of it could just have been the character he was playing, to be fair. His was one of the less likable ones.)

Circus Kane movie still

The clowns were also rather fun in this film. If you are a fan of Killer Klownz from Outer Space, you’ll have a giggle or two. At one point I kind of yelled at the screen “Just bop his nose off!!” Then I remembered that wasn’t the movie I was watching.

And if you like nods to other movies, there’s several in Circus Kane. I’m sure there were less obvious ones that I didn’t catch, but the ones I saw were: Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, Killer Klownz, Poltergeist, Saw, and a ‘the final girl’ reference.  Plus, I think Balthazar himself (below) has a serious vampire-face going on, doesn’t he?
Circus Kane movie still

I liked the idea integrating the social media aspect in Circus Kane. Early on one of the characters made a remark about still having cell service, which was atypical for the situation they had found themselves in. The fact that each person that was chosen had something to do with the horror genre (having their own fan base) was cool.

Overall, Circus Kane was an entertaining low-budget horror comedy that’s definitely worth watching. It wasn’t perfect – the timing was a bit off at times, and the monologue could get a bit tedious. However, they were also good about poking fun at the horror genre in general, and that’s always fun to watch. If you like cheesy horror movies, I think you’ve got to give Circus Kane a try!

And yes, the misdirection totally worked on me.

 

**Press release and stills provided by October Coast, review is – obviously – my own**

I received a screener of this film for review consideration.

It Comes At Night Film Review

Movie cover for It Comes at Night

It Comes at Night Synopsis: Secure within a desolate home as an unnatural threat terrorizes the world, a man has established a tenuous domestic order with his wife and son, but this will soon be put to test when a desperate young family arrives seeking refuge.

Release Date: June 9th, 2017 | Runtime: 1 hr 31 minutes |  Coolthulhus Earned: 4

Starring: Joel EdgertonChristopher AbbottCarmen Ejogo

 

 

 

 

 

It Comes at Night Review

It Comes At Night was a great post-apocalyptic drama that tried too hard to give itself a false-horror feel. It was that trying to add horror that wasn’t already there portion that made it fizzle a bit. The movie just outright felt like it didn’t know what it wanted to be.

It Comes at Night was well-acted. The cinematography was fantastic.  The dialogue was sparse and fitting. There were moments of quiet that really set the atmosphere. While there were a few lulls, it was for the most part paced well. I will note, however, that part about the pacing is from my partner. I, personally, was bored to near tears frequently, but as that’s more because I have the attention span of a flea, I’m not going to take it out on the movie.

Basically, if it had promised what it actually was, instead of trying to be something it wasn’t, I think the reception would have been a lot more positive.  It Comes at Night had so much going for it.  From the aforementioned cinematography to the excellent actors, it scored a lot of high points. I loved the fact, too, that the family was multiracial and… well, the family was simply multiracial. The husband was white, the wife and son were not. It was simply there, and it never played into the story. Not even one tiny bit.

It Comes at Night had moments of delicious ambiguity. We left the theatre with a lot of questions, and no good answers for them. It wasn’t really clear how long the problem had been going on. I initially thought months or years. But then it made it sound like it had only been weeks. I liked that. And, for once, I can’t even gripe about the ending! It was pretty much perfect. It didn’t spell things out, but you knew what was going to happen. Lovely, really.

I loved the red door in It Comes at Night. It wasn’t subtle, it wasn’t even necessary, but it made for very striking imagery. Especially since  one would think they didn’t paint the door red just when the shit hit the fan, but that it was probably already that color. And it says so much. You know when the danger comes, wherever it comes from, that door is how it will get in. 

I felt like this movie was set up to fail, though. From the misleading marketing of It Comes at Night, clear to the fact that it was only receiving extremely limited screenings at the theatres. Our local theatres only showed it once a day at 4:55 pm. Who exactly rushes to see a ‘horror’ movie at 4:55 pm? Nobody! We had to arrange our schedule specially just to go see it!

Overall, It Comes at Night is a great movie for drama-lovers, but hardcore horror enthusiasts might want to stay away from it.