Podcast of the Day : A Black Fantastic Four?!? FLAME-ON!

PODCAST OF THE DAY : House To Astonish 120 – Nice discussion of comic and movie news. A Black actor playing one of the Fantastic Four in the upcoming movie? FLAME-ON! :).

Possibly not the choice that would have come to me, but the actor, script, and director will determine if its a great, inspired idea, or a mediocre one. I give them the benefit of the doubt. Idris Elba in Thor was a great decision, as was Samuel Jackson as Nick Fury, so this could be a great idea too.

Listen HERE!

Netflix Movie of the Day : Andrew Goth’s GALLOWWALKERS!

Andrew Goth’s GALLOWWALKERS is an odd but effective mating of Sergio Leone’s ONCE UPON A TIME IN THE WEST and Alejandro Jordorowsky’s EL TOPO with a bit of Raimi and Fulci tossed in, but for all its influences, there is a lyric mania to this film that is all its own.

GALLOWWALKERS is a decidedly new and lurid and grand guinol take on one of the oldest of film genres. Plus it is just a beautifully shot film, with some of the best end-credits I’ve seen; a film that deserves to be owned, and will only grow more favored with repeat viewings. Grade: B+.

Netflix Movie of the Day : FORCE OF EXECUTION

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Keoni Waxman’s latest Steven Seagal vehicle, FORCE OF EXECUTION is an odd duck.

It suffers from confusing, even muddy story telling, but despite that there is an uncomfortable but riveting modern gangster story being told. With an awkward unnerving schizophrenic melange of violence, martial arts, gun-play, sexuality, histrionics, and even a bit of humor, and sporting surprisingly solid performances; the film transcends its initial shortcomings to be an enjoyable and entertaining and purchase worthy film.

Joining the short (but growing) list of films I saw free on NetFlix, and thought enough of to own in a quality DVD or Bluray format.

FORCE OF EXECUTION is a film you will return to. Grade: B. Purchase your copy Here!

The Best & Worst of FOUND FOOTAGE films

Got the idea for this post from the excellent HORROR ETC podcast. So without further ado the best and worst of found footage films.

ENJOYABLE
REC
PARANORMAL ACTIVITY 1,3
EUROPA REPORT
FRANKENSTEIN THEORY
CHRONICLE
TROLL HUNTER
GRAVE ENCOUNTERS
APARTMENT 143

GOOD
THE BAY – Starts off well, but the third act/ending is a disappointment
LAKE MUNGO – Movie never really takes off, or lives up to the hype, but it was well done for what it was

MEDIOCRE/POOR
PARANORMAL ACTIVITY 2
REC 2
BLAIR WITCH PROJECT
DIARY OF THE DEAD

Movie Review : Kevin Smith’s RED STATE

Today’s FAVORITE Direct on Demand Movie!

RED STATE – Who would believe that the director who brought us the justifiably derided COP OUT could make something as surprisingly masterful and powerful and thought provoking and challenging as RED STATE. The premise of high-school kids and internet sex and cults, seemingly sounds like expoitation in all the cringeworthy ways or sophomoric humor ways that most of us would choose to avoid. The Kevin Smith slacker humor/films… not my cup of tea.

However the hope of RED STATE being Kevin Smith trying something a bit different and darker inticed me to give this film a try. Glad I did. From an easy beginning it goes to places that are surprisingly and jaw droppingly harrowing and inexplicable.

It is not a highschool, or slacker, or juvenile film. It is primarily a film about messed up adults, faith, anger, and the places dire and dark that belief in our own rightousness, can take us. The dialog and performances, the writing and direction, the feast and the famine… marks this film as something… new under the sun.

It is a fantastic film all the way to that great ending. Grade : Excellent. Not just a must watch, a must own. Highly Recommended!

Favorite Films discovered on Streaming On-Demand in 2013!

Favorite Films discovered on Streaming On-Demand in 2013!

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2013′s most interesting films for me weren’t found in the theater, or backed by major studios. They were small, even intimate, Independent films found courtesy of the new distribution opportunities that venues such as Amazon Prime and Netflix have opened up.

HALO 4 FORWARD ONTO DAWN, BOY WONDER, ANOTHER ZERO IN THE SYSTEM, and HOUSE OF THE RISING SUN are films seen in 2013, that here in 2014 still stand tall as memorable and commanding viewing experiences. The last three being some of the most haunting examples of existential angst meets neo noir meets anti-hero you are likely to find. And HALO 4 FORWARD ONTO DAWN on a shoestring budget, creates a scifi epic with more heart and style than any ten STARSHIP TROOPERS.

These are films so good that having seen them for free courtesy of streaming, I had to purchase them on DVD/Blu-Ray. After viewing them you may agree. You can price them at the links below.

Boy Wonder

Another Zero in the System

Halo 4: Forward Unto Dawn [Blu-ray]

House of the Rising Sun

Director Spotlight : The Films of Kasi Lemmons

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With the perhaps unnecessarily color titled BLACK NATIVITY headed to theaters this November, I thought now was the perfect time to take a pictorial gander at the films of its director Kasi Lemmons; a director who unfortunately like too many directors, particularly directors of color, does not get a chance to work enough.

Her 1997 debut film EVE’S BAYOU remains a personal and perennial favorite, being equal parts coming of age story and southern gothic tinged horror and magical realism. In the nearly 20 years since that film’s debut she has managed to make 4 feature films and one short, which is good to have at least that much work from a unique and talented director, and is also a tragedy to only have had that much work from a talented and unique director.

I do think the economics of making a theatrically viable film in Hollywood has kept her from truly exploring the promise of her first film; as I would have loved to see a dozen movies from Kasi Lemmon’s in her unique and dangerous southern gothic magic realism vibe. In the directorial genes of Kasi Lemmons, you had the promise of a director with the unique output of a David Fincher or Nicolas Winding Refn.

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However the films we do get from her, even hampered by the constraints of producing more accessible and conventional movies, still are never completely… conventional. There are stylistic choices and decisions that in places, take your breath away. Particularly she has never shied away from strong Black protagonists, and Black male protagonists as heroes, leading men, rather than comedy relief or the sexless partner.

Kasi Lemmon’s cinematic viewpoint of Black Masculinity, even when that masculinity is dangerous or flawed, is never less than riveting and dignified and hopeful, and as such is a viewpoint that is virtually forbidden/extinct in Hollywood films. I doubt BLACK NATIVITY will be likewise blessed, but I will still support the film and go see it, in the hopes a respectable opening gets Lemmons back to making films, that transcend… convention.

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Eve’s Bayou

The Caveman’s Valentine

Talk to Me

365 Days of Roku: Day 1 – Amazon Prime’s HEADSHOT

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HEADSHOT-Needlessly convoluted with a purposely fragmented and confusing structure, no doubt aping such films as MEMENTO, there’s room for frustration and dislike when watching director Pen-Ek Ratanaruang’s HEADSHOT. However it is, for much of its running time, done and played well; and the central conceit such an intriguing idea, that it transcends mimicry and suspect storytelling, to be an involving film in spite of itself.

Stylish and existential, this is a very different crime thriller, that has a voice over (a film noir trope for this new age film noir) that is compelling.

The movie does lose momentum mid-way through, forgetting to use in any meaningful way or examine the interesting idea of the title character’s affiction, and becomes a rather ordinary and plodding man on the run film.

So a film not without its failings but one that has enough intriguing moments to transcend those failings, and have you interested in the end. Grade: C+.

TECH TIPS: Today’s CRACKLE ON-DEMAND TV Guide Watch List

Go back and see previous lists for more great recommendations.

Okay onto today’s list:

Review of movies/programs to catch on the on-demand Roku channel CRACKLE today:

CRACKLE the premier channel for free on-demand movies is showing the following flicks:

The ‘it will do if you have nothing better to watch’ pile:
EMPIRE OF THE WOLVES- a horrific premise, graphic scenes, and an intriguing if convoluted and dubious premise makes this french thriller worth a cursory look

THE CUTTER- This 2007 flick shows Chuck Norris still capable of mixing it up. The premise of this film about Nazis and diamonds doesn’t really hold one’s attention nor do the performances, but there are a couple decent and surprising fight scenes that are worth a look.

WIND CHILL- Starts off generally very effective and intriguing, but comes apart completely in the 3rd act.

The ‘Awful or trust me you really should avoid’ pile:
THE DEVILS TOMB
THE ORDER
SCREAMERS:THE HUNTING- Starts off intriguing, but once we get to the obligatory Noble Black who has to buy it in the first act of the movie, we’re in complete hack mode. Couldn’t finish it. Awful.

The Great or Very Good:
HERO WANTED- This 2008 flick is yet another fantastic Cuba Gooding Jr film (something that I thought for a long time was an oxymoron). Following up on my recent watch of HIT LIST. This and HIT LIST both are good enough that you’ll probably want to add them to your DVD collection.

LEGENDARY ASSASSIN- An action/martial arts movie, but what sells this one is really the touching story at its heart. Tender performances enliven what otherwise would be a routine actioner.

RUSSIAN SPECIALIST- An example of a great Dolph Lundgren film

SILENT RAGE- An example of a great Chuck Norris Film

HARRY BROWN- Michael Caine is mesmerizing in this tale of generational warfare and geriatric vengeance