Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Going With Lovely

With this month being October, you would think I would be watching more movies than I have been. Other than what I have watched on TV, which are all movies I have watched before so far, I haven't watched any new films. The reviews I'm doing are still from films I watched last month. I don't mind doing reviews of movies that I have watched some time ago, but I find it hard to write about them after so long. It isn't so much that I have forgotten what happened in them, it's just that I find it less interesting to write about. I just have this review for Lovely Molly (2011), and one other one before I break into something new. Hopefully it won't take me long.

Molly (Gretchen Lodge) and her new husband Tim (Johnny Lewis) have decided to move into Molly's family home to help save some money. It isn't long before things start to happen though, like the alarm going on because a door opens seemingly by itself. Tim is a truck driver so isn't home a lot, but he comes home one day to find Molly staring at the closet in her old room. Molly's sister Hannah (Alexandra Holden) starts to worry about Molly as well. Some bad things once happened to Molly and Hannah in that house. While Hannah seems to have dealt with it in her own way, Molly hasn't worked passed it just yet. Is that the reason Molly is having a hard time living there now, or is there some other reason for her acting so strangely?

Lovely Molly was co-written and directed by Eduardo Sánchez, one of the guys that was behind The Blair Witch Project film. Sánchez is the most active of the two directors behind Blair Witch. While I have watched most of his movies now, they have been a bit of hit and miss for me. I have liked them more than not at least. Lovely Molly is one of his best films I think. It has a slow build to the story, but not all of it made a lot of sense to me at times. It was easy to over look that though, and actually makes me want to watch the movie again sometime to see if I can work it out. The story has two sides to it. There is a paranormal side to it, and it is all in Molly's mind side to it. I felt the story was strongly on the side of it is in her mind, but others disagree with that. Interesting enough is that the interviews from Sánchez and the extras side with both. I thought this was interesting since it is pretty clear that Sánchez wants us to decide which side happened. Sánchez doesn't stray real far from the found footage genre, For the most part Lovely Molly is filmed in the normal way, but there is footage that Molly films herself as well placed here and there through out the film. It actually tells a story in itself that is a little hard to figure out at first, but it eventually includes itself into the main plot. I didn't think this side plot was really needed though, except it might help you to decide which side of the fence to fall on.

I wouldn't call Lovely Molly a gory film, although there is a scene with a dead deer that is somewhat gory. I didn't really feel that this movie needed to be gory though. It wasn't really that kind of story, and didn't need to be. The acting was very good. This was actually Gretchen Lodge's first acting job, but you can't really tell it. There was some scenes I thought she could have been better in, but overall she does a wonderful job. Johnny Lewis wasn't too bad either, but I thought could have been in more scenes.

I think I really enjoyed Lovely Molly mostly because it made me think about what was going on a lot. I love a film that gets my mind going, and this one certainly did just that. I'm interested in watching again sometime, mostly to see if I missed anything, and to see if things make a little more sense not that I know for sure what was going on. Plus I enjoy films that leave things up to me to decide what happened in the film. If you are looking for a good film that will make you thing, you really should give Lovely Molly a try. It is an under rated film if you ask me, only has a 5.3 rating on IMDb as of this writing. I watched it on Netflix's instant watch, which I don't think it is there anymore. Well worth searching for it though.
4 out of 5 Stabbing a dead deer to death

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Reasons To Hate Summer Jobs

I haven't been off to a good start this month. After all, it did take me 6 days to get a review in that I started well before that. I should have finished it the night before, but I decided to get some sleep instead. Oh well, I will hopefully make things up now that I'm back to writing again. I decided to do a book review for The Summer Job by Adam Cesare next. I just finished it this week, so thought I would get the review in while my thoughts are still somewhat fresh. A friend of mine bought the book, and after he was finished it, I swiped it. I still have one of his books to get through, but hey, he didn't seem mind.

Claire is a waitress working in Boston who is getting fed up with life. Just out of college and in her early 20's, she is starting to want to find more with her life. Her boyfriend since high school is someone she is looking to breakup with because she feels he isn't trying to improve. He also works at the same dinner as Claire as the cook. One day, after not answering his calls and texts, she goes to work and finds the place on fire. The police suspect it is Claire's boyfriend who did it, although he is still drunk when they find him. Claire's best friend Allison spots a job at a motel that is outside of the Boston area, basically the country as far as there is one in that part. Claire decides to try for the job, if for no other reason than get away from everything for the summer. Allison drives her out to the motel, where they almost run over a group of teens/young adults as they cross the road into the woods. The owner of the hotel likes Claire enough to give her the job, so all is well in Claire land. Except, she doesn't know it, but there are two cults about to do battle.

This is the first book I have come across by Adam Cesare, but it isn't his first novel. This is his fifth novel, and has a few others published or about to be published. I have to say that for a first read, I was pretty impressed with it. I really liked the different characters. Very few have the same feel to them. Cesare takes the time to let his readers get to know Claire. We also get to know Allison, though not as well. The description of the book on the book is a little misleading though. "Caught between two worlds, Claire has to plot her escape while spiraling deeper into a nightmare of ritual sacrifice and killer parties." I was expecting a lot of sacrifices to be going on, but that isn't really what the story is about. There are some to be found, just not the large amount I was expecting. This wasn't really reason for the rating below though. It isn't the first time I've come across a book that doesn't fit completely with the way it describes itself.

The Summer Job is broken up in three parts. The first part of the book is mostly what I described above. It follows mostly Claire, along with Allison for part of it as well. It also introduces most of the players in the book. The second part steps away from Claire and centers more on the rest of the characters. It still advances the plot, just in a different way. The third part switches back to Claire as the story comes to a somewhat shocking ending. While I enjoyed the second part of the book, it was also disappointing in some ways. The first part of the book gets us invested in Claire, and then leaves her behind in the second part. We find out what she is up here and there because of the other characters she happens to interact with, but it really isn't the same. The story was still interesting, and I did enjoy the different point of views and getting into the heads of the other characters for a bit. I just found leaving the main character more or less completely out for a good chunk of the book, and then picking back up with her for the last part of the story, a bit odd.

The Summer Job sets the pace early, and for the most part it doesn't let up. I enjoyed the way it started, and was surprised a certain character makes a return later on. The ending is also pretty good, with some nice surprises to be found during it. It takes a good while before we find out what the two cults are about, which was pretty cool I thought. A couple of things that I wished Cesare had done though. It would have been nice if the split between the cults had been better explored a bit more than it was. There was enough there to understand the split, but I was still looking for more. It would have also been nice to have gotten into the head of Allison more once into the second part of the story. Claire doesn't know it, but she is in the same place as Allison at times, so it made me wonder why Allison isn't seen or bothers to approach Claire. I didn't think this was explained to well considering they are supposed to be best friends.

Despite my complaints, Adam Cesare does put together a good story here. The Summer Job ended up being a fairly quick read for me since it was easy to get into. Even though I never had a punk side to me, it was still easy to side with the lead character. I found that side of Claire to be pretty cool actually. The Summer Job is a good read. If you are looking for a book to read, I would suggest giving this book a try if you haven't heard of Adam Cesare before. I'm looking forward to checking out his other novels now, that is for sure.
3 out of 5 Party in the woods!!

Monday, October 06, 2014

Witching It Up

It has only taken me three weeks to get all my reviews in from the films I watched over the one weekend. I will not see ten reviews this month, but I'm fine with that. It wasn't from a lack of trying really, I just sure didn't feel like writing for a while there with my cold in full force. I will just have to try to make up for it in the coming months. I did get another review done elsewhere. The next to last movie I watched, Cold In July. A very good film, so make sure you check out the review. The last film that I watched was called Witching And Bitching (2013). Maybe not my favorite film overall, but it was for the horror films that was shown.

Jose (Hugo Silva) has come up with a plan for a robbery. He has recently met a lot of people who have fallen on hard times, and together they are going to rob a big pawn store. Dressed as street performers, with Jose being a silver Jesus, they hit the place during a transfer. Of course it does go completely as planned, but Jose gets away with Antonio (Mario Casas) and Jose's young son who is also part of the robbery group, until Antonio's girlfriend gets into the getaway car and drives off. They stop a taxi and take the driver and passenger hostage. They manage to get away from the police, and the plan is now to get to Paris. Unknown to them, two detectives and the boy's mother is hot on their trial. On their way to Paris, they drive into a town that is rumored to be a town of witches. The rumors are completely true and the witches have their own plans for the guys and their loot.

Co-writer and director Alex la Iglesia gives us a film that is squarely in the horror comedy genre. It is something that he seems to like, as his film before this one is in the same genre. Most of the time the jokes had to do with the situation that the people find themselves in. While seeing a silver Jesus and various other street performers pulling out guns is funny, I found the argument about why Jose's son was also there at the holdup to be an even bigger laugh. Up until we discover the witches, I found Witching And Bitching to be a really good film. There are some areas I was a little worried people might not find funny at all just because the guys were taking some shots at women in general. Of course, later in film, the women take their turn at guys. Either way, I've always said that if you can't laugh at yourself, don't laugh at others. I didn't find anything offensive in what was joked about, and the film sets a good example that it isn't trying to pick on just one side. Once the witches come into play, I still thought the film was funny, but the comedy was starting to wear thin by then. This is especially true towards the end of the film. I didn't find it as funny, and I was hearing fewer people laughing at things as well.

I wouldn't call this film a gory one, but there are times when it is. Body parts get cut off one guy, which was a little gory at least. The big effect was the CGI for a very large witch. There are some other effects here and there, but this one seems to be the big one. It looks good. It got some laughs at the absurdity of it all and some ewws. The acting was very well done by all involved. Hugo Silva was probably my favorite, but everyone did an equally good job with their roles as well.

I really enjoyed Witching And Bitching, even if the comedy was getting old towards the end. For me, and I'm assuming for others there as well, it started to feel like the comedy was being forced more and more. Even so, it was one of the better films that was screened. It was also the only subtitled film screened. The film is listed as being from Spain and France, with the language being Spanish. The subtitles weren't too hard to follow, thou there was times I missed some of them from not being able to read them fast enough. If you are looking for a fun film, then Witching And Bitching should be one for you to check out.
4 out of 5 Maybe I should be a witch later this month

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

A New Ghostman On The Block

Even though I intended to get a couple of reviews in this last weekend, in the end I didn't get a single review in. Hopefully I can make up for that this week. I have three other reviews planned for here, I just need to get busy writing them. Over at my other blog, I managed to get another review done there. The last film, the late night feature, from a couple of Friday's ago: Call Girl Of Cthulhu. An interesting title to be sure. Saturday opened with a film called Son Of Ghostman (2013). I said in my last review that not all films screened were really horror films. This was another one like that. It isn't a horror film, but has to do with the horror genre in a way at least.

Denny (Devin Ordoyne) has recently lost his job and is unsure what to do with his life now. He does have a bit of an obsession with an old horror TV show that features his favorite horror host, Ghostman. Recently a new horror host is taking hold, Count Dracool, who Denny has a strong dislike for. For one thing, he has known Rick (Kurt Larson) since high school, and he feels that Rick has no respect for those that came before him. The fact that Count Dracool is also trying to sell his own brand of sun screen isn't going over too well with Denny either. Denny goes to a live shoot for Count Dracool's show, where the guy who once played Ghostman is to make an appearance. Rick doesn't treat the guy to well, which of course makes Denny mad, but Denny does meet Claire (Angela Gulner). Once home, Denny gets drunk and put on makeup like his idol Ghostman. He sets up a video camera and goes on a rant about Count Dracool. Denny is awakened by Zack (Matthew Boehm) the next day. After finding out what happened, Zack takes the video and uploads it the internet, which becomes a popular video. After a lot of talking by Zack, Denny decides to do his own show as the Son of Ghostman. He enlists the help of his best friend Carlo (Marlon Correa) to help with everything. Is this something that Denny really wants to do though?

Son Of Ghostman was written/directed by Kurt Larson. The film is more of a romance than anything else. There is a good healthy dose of comedy as well, but more of the smart ass type of comedy. As I said above, nothing about Son Of Ghostman gives it a horror movie feel. There is a lot about the horror hosts we see on TV, which is a common theme at horror conventions anymore. Even though I was disappointed that this wasn't a horror film, at least Apocalypse Kiss had murders in it, I still have to give Son Of Ghostman its due. For a film I wasn't expecting much out of, it was really a nice surprise. The main story is Denny trying to figure out what he wants out of life, and coming to terms with himself as well. The possible romance between Denny and Claire isn't forced and doesn't take away from the rest of the story. Things do get a little slow here and there. My only other complaint is that we don't get to see Denny's show enough. That is really too bad since I thought that is when the movie really shined.

The acting and the interaction between the different actors was great. I ended up being really impressed by Devin Ordoyne. He was charming and often funny. The way he plays up being Son of Ghostman was a little surprising to me, but it works very well. The constant bickering between Zack and Carlo was also funny. The romance between Denny and Claire builds slowly, which was nice because it wasn't love at first sight type thing. Matthew Boehm was the only actor that I thought could have been better. I only say that because he mostly only had one facial expression it seemed like.

I was surprised at how well Son Of Ghostman worked for me. I think it was a nice surprise for everyone that was there as well. There was a lot of laughter at times, and there was a nice applause for it at the end of the film as well. It would have been nice to have seen an entire episode of Denny's show, besides the one we do see towards the end that is. I hope that other horror fans will give Son Of Ghostman a chance. It is a fun movie that is a joy to watch.
4 out of 5 I will the horror hosting to someone else

Friday, September 19, 2014

Kissing The End Of The World

I think I'm about over my cold now, at least I sure hope so. I've been feeling a lot better, especially compared from a week ago. Anyway, a couple of weekends ago I went to see a bunch of movies. While I was excited to be able to bring some news of upcoming films, being sick quickly put a damper on that. I'm not sure if I can reach my goal of ten reviews in a month now because of that, but it is what it is. I have already written a review for the first film I went to seem, which was called The Hanover House. Be sure to check out that review. The second film that I watched was called Apocalypse Kiss (2014).

Set sometime in the future, Jerry Hipple (Tom Detrik) is an agent trying to track down a serial killer. The Red Harvest Killer, also known as Adrian (D.C. Douglas), has been killing people for some time now. When Katia (Carmela Hayslett) and Gladys (Tammy Jean) come to town and also start killing people, for their own reasons, they get the credit for the other killings as well. This of course doesn't go over to well with Adrian, who starts leaving clues to prove there are different killers in town. That could just be what Hipple wants though.

I was a bit confused as to why Apocalypse Kiss was being shown with horror films. It is sci-fi of course, along with some crime noir thrown in for good measure as well. I'm assuming this was one of the films the sponsor wanted screened because horror film would have been one of the last thing I would have used to describe this movie. This wasn't why I ended up not liking this one though. I kept thinking that there had to be more to the plot, but there never was. Because of that, I couldn't really get into the story too much. Writer/director Christian Grillo provides an interesting world to look at. Not sure how futuristic it was, but Grillo at least gave us some interesting characters. I really liked Gladys for some reason, and I thought a character that Katia ends up killing (I think it was a character called The Wizard, but I could be wrong) along with a girl on the screens around him were also interesting. I guess I just couldn't get into the main characters of Hipple and Adrian. Although Adrian did have some funny lines, he was a little too weird for me. As things come to a head, with mostly all the main character converging, I did find the plot a bit more interesting, but it just wasn't enough really. On top of that, right after the main plot comes to a close, we find out none of it mattered at all since the world is about to end.

As I said above, the world created was interesting to look at. I'm sure this is where the special effects budget went towards, as there wasn't much for horror effects to be found. People are killed, but there was nothing all that gory about it. The acting was pretty good. Even though I couldn't get into some of the characters, it had nothing to do with the acting. In truth, I had more fun finding actors that would show up here and there that were known to me. Tom Atkins has a few scenes and plays another agent that is helping with the investigation. Michael Berryman also shows up, but as far as I know was just a talking head on a blimp as can be seen in the poster above. Lloyd Kaufman also shows up, as the President no less.

I could be wrong, but I don't think Apocalypse Kiss was well received. It did get some laughs here and there, but I didn't notice anyone really getting into the film. This wasn't the only film that was screened that didn't really fit into the horror genre, but the other one was much better. I will be reviewing that one in the next few days hopefully. There was a surprise when it came to nudity in the film. Tammy Jean has some nude scenes as well as some guy. That was the surprise, as there isn't many films that has nudity from a guy in it. I'm pretty sure that Apocalypse Kiss is out on DVD, as Netflix has it where you can save it to your DVD queue. If this type of film sounds like something you would get into, then I do encourage you to check it out. It wasn't a bad film really, just not one I got into.
2 out of 5 It's the end of the world as we know it....

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Showers For The Baby

I'm a bit behind on doing reviews. I had a busy weekend and then Sunday night I started to get a sore throat. My throat isn't sore anymore, but it has turned into a full blown head cold. I have plenty to write about, it is just a matter of staying awake to write, which I haven't been doing a very good job of. The movie I skipped over to write about Hypothermia was Baby Shower (2011). This film sounded interesting to me, as was filmed in Chile, so I decided to check it out.

Angela (Ingrid Isensee) will be having her baby soon. She has been living in a cabin in the forest. There is a bit of a cult that lives near by, mostly lead by Soledad (Patricia Lopez). Angela has invited her four friends in order to have a baby shower for her twins. As it turns out, Angela has another reason to have them all there. While the friends are, or were, close, Angela suspects that one of them has stolen away her husband, who is ready to leave on a trip with someone. Angela is going to find out which of her friends has stabbed her in the back. But, the cult also has plans for everyone, but what could those be?

Baby Shower surprised me is some ways. I didn't notice it at the time, but another review compared the characters of the movie to those of Sex In The City. Even though the characters in Baby Shower aren't as close, I could see the comparison easily. Not that I watched that show. I gave it a try seeing how popular it was getting, didn't see it and gave up on it fairly quickly. Some attribute the whole who slept with/stealing my husband away plot to soup operas that are popular in Chile. Either way, I thought it was a nice way to keep things interesting before the horror part of the story kicks in. While writer director Pablo Illanes tries to throw us off at first with who is doing what to the guests, it isn't hard at all to figure out who is really behind it. I liked the turn once it is made though. The viciousness boarders on "torture porn" at times. This was something that I enjoyed though since it elevated the film, in my view at least. The violence didn't always make sense, but whatever. However, this is also when some problems started to creep in. Baby Shower is very guilty of making it look like someone has died, only to have them not so dead later on. I had to admit that it was something that was getting pretty old quickly. Another problem was that characters were turning on each other for no real reason at times, that I could understand at least. This didn't happen with the friends so much as it did with the cult members. I understood the backstabbing at times with the cult members, but most of the time I was just confused by it. If you can't trust someone stupid enough to be in a cult with you, who can you trust??

The effects get pretty gory in places. People get shot, caught in bear traps and a foot gets knocked off. There is more as well to be found. The effects were all well done. The foot coming off was probably the best one to be found. The acting was also pretty good. I didn't really care for Ingrid Isensee in the lead role, but I think that had more to do with the character than her. I liked the acting by the friends of the lead character as well, but I really thought that Patricia Lopez stole the movie. She was great and had some scary looking crazy faces to go with her acting. Not that anyone here probably knows the actors, but you can also find Claudia Burr, Kiki Rojo, Francisca Merino, Sofia Garcia, Alvaro Gomez and Pablo Krogh.

Do we ever find out if anyone is stealing Angela's husband? Yes and no. While the questions she wants answered, there seems to be more to the answer than we get to find out. By then, the question no longer really matters, except to Angela still for some reason. A lot of people put down Baby Shower and I was surprised by this when I started reading others thoughts. It doesn't have the best rating on IMDb either, currently at 4.3 stars. I had a very good time with it, despite the problems which didn't bug me that bad. I was just surprised at how mean spirited the film is. There is even a rape scene that felt pretty real. Not the most graphic, but showed enough. If this one shows up again on instant watch, don't think it can be had by DVD on Netflix, I would highly recommend giving it a watch.
4 out of 5 You can now join the cult of Heather

Friday, September 05, 2014

Fishing In The Cold

It has been a little while since I last got a review in. I haven't felt like writing too much lately, partly because I have just felt so tired. I did manage to watch a couple of movies though. There was two right at the start of the month that was being taken out of my instant watch queue that I couldn't get on DVD, so I decided to go ahead and watch them both. I will get to the first movie later on, but I wanted to write about the second one first which was Hypothermia (2010). I don't know why I want to write about it first, but just go with it, right?

Ray (Michael Rooker) is all set for his vacation with his family. They are at their favorite spot where Ray has been ice fishing for a long time. He is with his wife Helen (Blanche Baker) and his son David (Benjamin Forster), along with David's girlfriend Gina (Amy Chang). Things don't start well though when Ray is out checking the ice and falls through without anyone knowing it. David finds him though, and Ray lives to fish another day. The next day they pick a spot to fish at and settle in. Things are very quiet because David and Gina have something to tell his parents that may not go over to well. Before they know it, Cote (Don Wood) and his son Steve (Greg Finely) show up not too far away with all kinds of stuff that makes plenty of noise. Even though Cote is the type of guy to get on most people's nerves, Ray does his best to keep things nice and civil. Meanwhile, we know something is under the ice, as we see it from its point of view at times. As it turns out, whatever it is, isn't very nice.

Hypothermia is a film that was never all that bad, until you reach the end of it. Writer/director James Felix McKenney gives us a film that is a short 73 minutes, but still manages to tell its story in an unhurried fashion. The pacing for the film isn't bad at all, and we get a pretty good idea of who everyone is. The contrast between the two families is interesting. While I don't really think that Cote means to come off as abrasive as he does, one can tell that his son knows full well who people see his dad. Ray and his family are the quiet types that seem to keep to themselves. Cote and Steve love their toys, the louder the better at times. It keeps things interesting even if we know this isn't the true conflict that is going to play out. The creature laying in wait is where things will get into horror movie turf. Even when the creature makes itself fully known, Hypothermia is still about the two families and having them butt heads even when they know they shouldn't be. It keeps things interesting and moving along even when the action has slowed down. The creature can poison a person in some way as well, which I don't think actually kills (though we never find out for sure), but makes a person weak enough that the creature doesn't have to work for its prey anymore. The characters assume the creature is after them as food. This is never shown, but is a good of a guess as anything else. It was all well and good, nothing great but still very enjoyable, until we get to the end of the film. While that last few try to make it off the lake, they head right towards a hole in the ice. Even if they had forgotten it was there from the day before, they should have been able to see it all the same. What happens next is perhaps one of the silliest endings I have seen in a long while.

The creature isn't the best man in a rubber suit design out there, but I didn't find it as bad as a lot of people seem to. We don't see it all that much anyway, so I didn't see the big deal about it. The other effects were nicely done. The film actually gets somewhat gory in places. There are some nasty looking cuts at times with lots of blood for the one you would really expect that there would be. We also get a body ripped in half. While we don't get to see it a lot, it was still a good effect. The acting was also well done. Michael Rooker more the proved he can play something other than the tough guy that is expected from him. I though Blanche Baker did a fine job with her role, it did get a little old seeing her play everything out in the same manner. Don Wood was also very good. His character reminded me of a neighbor I had once. Not as out going as Cote seemed to be, but the guy sure loved his toys.

One odd thing that happened is even though Cote has a couple of rifles ready to go, he never goes for them. He always uses his pistol instead. I know a pistol is probably better for something up close, but it wouldn't have hurt to have someone else there with one of the rifles either. Hypothermia is a tough call to make. While I enjoyed the film up until the end of it, I still have a hard time letting all of you know to check it out because of the ending. I would still watch Hypothermia again though. If I ever do, I will probably just tune out the ending while doing something else. I guess I will just say to watch at your own risk because of the poor ending.
3 out of 5 I'm glad it don't get that cold here