Sunday, October 15, 2017

The Power of Christ Compels You to Watch The Exorcist


In spite of positive critical acclaim for it’s first season, The Exorcist was not very likely to be renewed due to low ratings on Friday nights. But miraculously, Fox tapped the series created by Jeremy Slater for a second season pretty early.

Saturday, October 14, 2017

Random Movie: Bedeviled (2016)


A movie about a killer app? That was the gist of the plot synopsis I read on the Redbox kiosk so I picked it up. I figured it would either be a) really, really bad or b) surprisingly good. In reality, it’s option c, for kind of competent.

Friday, October 13, 2017

Jason Lives is the Best Friday the 13th Sequel: Here's the Opening to Prove It


Everytime someone does a ranking of Friday the 13th sequels is wrong. The reason: I have never seen Part VI, Jason Lives, at the top.

Thursday, October 12, 2017

John Carpenter Returns to Halloween


With the recent news of Jamie Lee Curtis returning to the new Halloween film in 2018, another exciting franchise vet is coming back: creator John Carpenter.

Killer Fever! Top 9 Slashers I Need to See Right Away


As of this writing, Wikipedia lists 456 American films classified as slashers. Sprinkled among the well-known franchises like Friday the 13th and semi-famous one-offs like Dr. Giggles are a hodgepodge of lesser-known titles. Here is a sampling of films that I want to see based solely on their titles.

Wednesday, October 11, 2017

Make Giant Bug Movies Great Again!


As I was revisiting my Eight Legged Freaks review after rescuing it from the obscurity of my old site archive, I began to ponder: why don’t we get giant killer bug movies anymore?

Theater Scum: Death Day & Marshall


We could have had a brand-new Jason Voorhees film this weekend had Paramount not pulled the plug in what I hope turns out to be a daily ass-kicking around there. So in return, we get a new-ish? horror film and a prestigious biopic.

Friday, October 6, 2017

Watch Death Final Destination Some People!


It’s Happy Hour! Let’s see some highly questionable kills from everyone’s favorite series featuring the unseen force of death.

Monday, October 2, 2017

That Flatliners Remake is Hot Garbage Apparently


I don’t think there was really any demand for a remake of Joel Schumacher’s Flatliners. Yet, Sony went ahead anyway and boy does it look like a bad investment.

Friday, September 15, 2017

Halloween: The Return of Laurie Strode


Information has been slowly trickling out about David Gordon Green’s untitled Halloween continuation coming in 2018. Now, we know who Michael will be facing ... again.

Thursday, September 14, 2017

'It' Gets Supersized


After shattering box office records this weekend, in less than a week, Andy Muschietti’s adaptation of Stephen King’s It has become a legitimate phenomenon.

While other corners of the internet debate over whether It is a horror movie or not (spoiler: it totally is), production of the story’s second half is gearing up as Muschietti and writer Gary Dauberman are hard at work on the script. Chapter 2 is presumed to be released sometime in 2019.

In the meantime though, for the home release on Blu-ray and Digital later this year, Muschietti tells Yahoo Movies that he is working on a director’s cut to add back approximately 15 minutes to the film. Given the original novel ran over 1000 pages, one would suspect there was quite a bit on the cutting room floor.

More and more movies recently have included “Director’s Cuts” on home video release and this is certainly not a new development in home media. But most of these titles reek more of justifying a purchase to a film that viewers didn’t really like to start with (cough, BvS or Suicide Squad). But any chance to see more of the Loser’s Club battling Pennywise or even just shooting the shit is more than welcome. In this case, Warner Brothers and New Line could release the film with nary a special feature and I’d preorder anyway so kudos on giving the fans what they want.

And I’m sure the extra 15 minutes will not be the sewer sex scene.

Wednesday, September 13, 2017

Theater Scum: Mother's Assassin

Creepy husbands or John Wick Jr.? Who will will this round?

Mother


Darren Aronofsky has plenty of acclaimed films on his resume including the Oscar-nominated Black Swan and the oh-my-god-so-depressing Requiem for a Dream. His movies generally aren’t the standard Hollywood type which makes it all the better that he continues to get the big projects and attract the big stars that normally would be relegated to the single screen Indie theater.

I can’t tell you much about Mother! other than Jennifer Lawrence and Javier Bardem have the seemingly perfect life until he goes a little whacky (shocker). Ed Harris and Michelle Pfeiffer round out the top-notch cast in what looks to be a potential mind-fuck of a movie. I, for one, can’t wait.



American Assassin


Based on a novel by Vince Flynn, American Assassin looks to be a greatest hits of the past fifteen years’ worth of action and espionage. Dylan O’Brien, who is definitely an actor I haven’t heard of, is going after a terrorist group after his puppy, err... I mean girlfriend, is killed.

Along the way, he meets up with grizzled old Michael Keaton for some training and presumably some life lessons along the way. It looks pretty entertaining but nothing that I couldn’t get watching any of the Bourne or Taken movies on my shelf. 

Why JJ Abrams Directing Star Wars IX is Just Fine


As it turns out, making a successful Star Wars film is hard.

Fans were excited for new chapters in their favorite franchise among the stars when Disney announced it was purchasing Lucasfilm and the rights to further films in 2012. But it has not all been smooth sailing since then.

The first new Star Wars film in over a decade, The Force Awakens, made close to a billion dollars worldwide and was received favorably, even if the tide of fandom has turned on JJ Abrams and his over-reliance on elements from previous films. In December 2015, any Star Wars fan likely would have been gushing over the film. Now, it’s met more with a shrug.

Since The Force Awakens though, most of the other announced properties have gone through an upheaval. Josh Trank was fired from his spinoff. Gareth Edwards was forced to do massive retooling on Rogue One. Chris Lord and Phil Miller were let go during production of the upcoming Han Solo film. And just last week, Colin Trevorrow, who was in pre-production on 2019's Episode IX, was let go.

A common component for these departures and story changes is Lucasfilm President Kathleen Kennedy. Lord & Miller and Trevorrow were reportedly let go because of disagreements in style or substance in the universe Kennedy is overseeing, as is her charge. Rogue One did well enough that we can forgive the film that could have been. Only time will tell if Ron Howard can step into Lord & Miller’s shoes to make a cohesive movie.

But the news that Abrams is stepping back into the director’s chair for Episode IX is good news. For all the (valid) criticisms you can throw at TFA, Abrams is a self-proclaimed huge Star Wars fan who did more right than wrong in the film. Yes, having another Death Star stand-in is tiresome and structuring the third act almost beat-for-beat like that in Episode IV is just lazy.

But Star Wars is back, thanks in part to Abrams easing audiences back into this fanciful world. Great new characters in Rey and Finn have been introduced, Kylo Ren, a villain that could match Darth Vader’s ferocity is lurking about, and we have most of our old friends back for new adventures. But most of all, Abrams knows the system and knows the expectations Kennedy has for this series. We may not ever get a Star Wars film that completely breaks the mold, but our desires will be satiated. JJ will do just fine on Episode IX, you guys.

Besides, would you really rather have George Lucas take over?

Tuesday, September 12, 2017

Random Movie: Return of the Living Dead (1985)


Send... more... paramedics.

For all the zombie movies I’ve seen, including the worst of George Romero’s output, I never got around to Dan O’Bannon’s Return of the Living Dead for one reason or another. Considering I wrote a senior-year high school paper on the original Night of the Living Dead, I knew of the existence of co-writer John Russo’s offshoot to the seminal zombie flick but never had much interest. But when one come across a pristine Blu-ray special edition to a highly-regarded film, what choice does one really have?

Dear James Cameron: Please Do Something Other Than Avatar


I do not care for these Avatar movies. I have made that case before.

In between stepping on a deserved landmine about feminism and over-promising a return to greatness for his signature series, James Cameron has apparently been spending the past eight years honing his talents for not one, nor two, but FOUR sequels to his CGI Dances with Wolves property. Granted, Avatar is somehow the highest grossing worldwide film but the demand for these additional sequels is ... what’s the opposite of palpable?

The Dissolve had a great piece back in the day about the disposable nature of Avatar and it’s legacy only a few years after its release. For such a huge movie-going experience, no one talks about Avatar except for the promised forthcoming sequels. Have you seen any Avatar cosplay recently? Any Halloween costumes since Obama was elected a second time? Avatar is currently at its nadir of pop-culture relevance.

And yet, we still supposedly have four ... more ... sequels coming sometime in the next five years.

But Jim Cameron, as much as I love your earlier work including the good Terminator films and Aliens, I could not give less of a damn about any more Avatar movies. To this day, I still have not seen the first ... and I plan on sticking to that.

In the meantime, Terminator is changing hands (again) to producers who promise a return to form (again) albeit with you in the producer’s chair to steer the ship. While I am over the substandard Terminator films we’ve gotten since 2003, that is a franchise that has remained in the public conscience, even if the stories have long since run out.

But what about your existing projects? The Abyss has not had a proper video release in the past 17 years (although one is rumored to be coming). One of my favorite of yours, True Lies, hasn’t even gotten that much attention. Clearly, you are a hands-on guy with video releases and making sure they are on-par with your original vision. So, can you divert some resources to these?

Given the creative talent you have, how about tackling a new property or unleashing some new technological breakthrough like you did with Avatar’s 3D? Instead of going back to the same boring well of white men saving inter-dimensional species, surely there is another story or genre that you can lend your abilities to.

At the very least, I guarantee that Avatar 2, 3, 4, or 5 will not match the box-office gross or the cultural impact of the original. So please James, free yourself. Team up with Arnold again and knock our socks off. I bet it will be more fulfilling in the long run other than the Scrooge McDuck-style vault of money you undoubtedly have.

Love,

Puck

Saturday, May 27, 2017

It's New-ish! Top 9 Movies from the 80s Still Waiting on a Reboot


On the heels of Tom Cruise’s announcement of a forthcoming Top Gun sequel, MarketWatch published an article this weekend titled ‘Hollywood is running out of hit ’80s movies to reboot.’ A sequel to the Tony Scott-helmed 1987 film is just the latest in a long line of film properties from the 1980s that have been updated for “modern” audiences like RoboCop, Friday the 13th, and Ghostbusters to varying degrees of success.

The main point of the MarketWatch piece was not necessarily decrying reboots and long-gestating sequels for the sake of art (although that does come up), but more that studios reaching in their vaults to refurbish existing properties no longer provides the financial benefit it once did. Recent reboots of popular film or TV series such as Rings, CHiPs, or this weekend’s Baywatch haven’t really connected with critics or audiences, leading many to barely break even.

Many decry Hollywood’s reluctance toward new properties as artistically bankrupt and chasing the easy dollar even though of last year’s highest grossing films, six were sequels, remakes, or adaptations of existing properties. As such, it’s easy to see why studios keep greenlighting these films as trips down memory lane appear to be more financially lucrative than untested ideas.

That said, MarketWatch’s article is dead wrong about a lack of 80s nostalgia to mine. Below are nine movies or series that I am surprised haven’t been brought back into movie theaters.


Almost any John Hughes movie

Yeah, it’s a cheat but so what? John Hughes definitely had his pulse on the teenage scene in the 80s and while I doubt there is someone today as talented, I’m surprised it hasn’t been tried. Ferris Bueller? The Breakfast Club? Weird Science? With the exception of the doomed Uncle Buck series from last year, most of Hughes’ output is languishing in relative 80s obscurity. A remake of a John Hughes film will bring about some sort of publicity as such.

Note: I do not think this will be a good idea.


Weekend at Bernie’s (1989)
While Weekend at Bernie’s is no classic, the ridiculous premise of two guys carting around their boss’ corpse was popular enough to garner a sequel and a lifetime in the mainstream vernacular, even if ironically. An absurd one-note comedy can make its mark (just ask Adam Sandler) so why not bring Bernie into the 21st century? Bonus points if it incorporates Bernie Sanders.


Hellraiser (1987)
Even though the Hellraiser series has spawned about a thousand direct-to-video sequels that are presumably canon, with another apparently coming this year, the real Hellraiser series died sometime in the late 90s or early 2000s. Dimension Films keeps chugging out badly received sequels presumably to keep the rights but a well-thought-out Hellraiser reboot could inject life into the struggling franchise.


Police Academy (1984)
Misfits-in-X-profession movies were all the rage in the 80s like Stripes or Major League but none had the shamelessness of the Police Academy series. With six sequels of rapidly declining quality, nearly all coming in yearly installments, the outcasts of the Metropolitan Police force were a regular staple for any kid like me who had HBO in this time. Unlike the recent reboots/remakes/whatever like 21 Jump Street or Baywatch, Police Academy never took itself seriously giving us a perfect opportunity to revisit what intentional wackiness is really like.


Beverly Hills Cop (1984)
What stands the test of time other than a fish-out-of-water story? Eddie Murphy has been threatening another sequel to this series for years and was sidetracked for a while by a TV pilot that failed to get picked up. But Murphy is no spring chicken so why not pass the baton to another talented black comedian like Donald Glover or Kevin Hart? Laughing at stuck-up elite types rarely gets old so I would not be surprised for this one to actually come back.


WarGames (1983)
WarGames apparently had a direct-to-video sequel come out in 2008. Who knew? Since I didn’t, it stays. Both Russia and computer hacking are popular topics these days, so why not shift the focus to politics rather than nuclear war as depicted in this film? Cybersecurity is probably more important now than when this film came out and a remake has more than enough fodder to make the Cold War seem obsolete.


Revenge of the Nerds (1984)
Nerd culture is way more accepted now than it was 30 years ago, considering the frequency comic book films and fantasy TV series come up around the water cooler. But the titular nerds in this film aren’t necessarily on the avant garde of pop culture but those with hobbies and interests outside of the norm. Perhaps the ‘nerds’ of today shun Game of Thrones as too mainstream or cling to even more obscure media but there are always outliers. And seeing the retaliation of the put-upon is always entertaining.


Maniac Cop (1988)
In a year from now, this entry may be no longer relevant as Nicolas Winding Refn is reportedly producing a remake of this very film. However, this has been in the works for several years so I will wait to count my hatched chickens. While I’m not sure that a film about a rogue police officer murdering innocents will be escapist fun, there is a lot of room for social commentary given the current state of affairs between police and civilians.


Runaway (1984)
Even with the combined star power of Tom Selleck and Gene Simmons (!), Runaway made less than $7 million in its release in December 1984. While likely a disappointment to the studio, Runaway stands out today as pretty decent and also a film ahead of its time.

While automation wasn’t really a thing in 1984 except for large manufacturing jobs, Runaway posited a future filled with robots taking menial jobs in construction or security. It’s not that crazy for a sci-fi concept but semi-sentient robots involved in everyday life is much easier for a 2017 crowd to get behind. Gene Simmons could even come back as an evil hacker if needed.


Bonus:

Fletch (1985)
From Jason Lee to Zach Braff to Jason Sudekis, a Fletch remake has been bandied about for years at the hands of many different creative forces. Maybe this will come to fruition one day.