The Lost Men Series : Four GREAT films currently available on Streaming!

The Lost Men Series : Four GREAT films currently available on Streaming!

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These four films, which did not get theatrical releases, are far better than the vast majority of films that do reach the theaters. Disappointing films such as DEAD MAN DOWN and SPRING BREAKERS get screen time, when visually and thematically superior films such as Tim McCann’s brilliant ANOTHER ZERO IN THE SYSTEM and Dan Eberle’s enthralling, nearly wordless PRAYER TO A VENGEFUL GOD go unheralded.

And Michael Morrissey’s impressive BOY WONDER is the myth of masked vengeance done better than most big budget super-hero movies. Rounding out the quartet, director Brian A. Miller’s HOUSE OF THE RISING SUN is one of the best neo-noirs seen since the Coen Brother’s BLOOD SIMPLE or Craig Ross Jr’s frenetic and fantastic CAPPUCCINO. Dave Bautista delivering a surprisingly elegant and understated performance.

One of the common threads these four movies share is understated but brilliant performances, as well as a thematic conceit of men either at odds or abandoned by the judicial system, who must themselves find justice for those around them.

From Mike Simmons memorable turn as the protagonist in ANOTHER ZERO IN THE SYSTEM (A great film unfairly lambasted by the short-sighted crowd, there’s rumors of director Tim McCann and star Mike Simmons in talk to helm the new Luke Cage/Power-Man series from Marvel/Netflix — to which I say… heck yes!) to Director/Writer Dan Eberle, also doing triple duty as star in his PRAYER TO A VENGEFUL GOD. Together these four films create a new and refreshing phase of American cinema, a new wave if you will.

Sample them for yourself while they last on streaming services, and when you find yourself smitten with them… purchase your copies here:

Another Zero in the System

Prayer to a Vengeful God

Boy Wonder

House of the Rising Sun

Roku Streaming Movie Oddity of the Day : THE HIKE

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Roku Streaming Movie Oddity of the Day is THE HIKE – This one got my interest, not because of quality, but scarcity. To get the Region 1 DVD of this film on Amazon would cost you (as of the date of this posting) over $40.

However through the magic of the Roku device (or your device of choice), and the channel POPCORNFLIX, you can watch this film for free and see if it’s remotely worth purchasing.

It sounds like a poor man’s DESCENT to me, and the reviews are lukewarm at best, but for the price of free I’m willing to check it out.

You can view it online here!
Or add the POPCORNFLIX channel to your Roku or other device by using the handy instructions found here to view it on your tv.


Addendum- The first 40 minutes of this film, you can be forgiven for wanting to turn off the movie, the acting is not good, the writing cringe worthy in places, however that said, it’s not completely without interest, and by the 42 minute mark, it actually becomes something of a more compelling movie than I thought it was going to be.

No one is going to confuse this with a great film, but for the genre it is a more thought out, and arguably impressive effort than you would expect. Let’s put it this way, it is far better than over-hyped films such as A LONELY PLACE TO DIE(2011) and TRIANGLE(2009). And whatever acting issues you have with the first half of the movie, are not there with the last half. Plus it boasts a throbbing, addictive score.

All in all, and while I just said no one is going to confuse this movie with a great film, I do think the 2nd half of this movie is pretty darn impressive. And I personally thought the ending was exceedingly good and lifts the whole movie up. Grade: B.

Plus this movie is available in a nice multi-region Blu-Ray for less than the price of the DVD that originally started this post. So if you determine after viewing, that this is a film you want to add to your collection, grab your copy here: The Hike [Blu-ray]. They have about 5 copies left as of this writing.

Graphic Novel Review : Hickman and Pitarra’s MANHATTAN PROJECTS VOL 2!

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“The World has rules, created by those who consider themselves above them. So we became radicals, who accepted neither.” — Jonathan Hickman’s THE MANHATTAN PROJECTS VOL 2



THE MANHATTAN PROJECTS VOL 2- I find writer Jonathan Hickman’s work very hit and miss. Quite frankly more miss than hit, while always filled with elaborate and imaginative ideas, his work generally lacks an emotional quotient, an emotional core, to make it worth reading.

His writing then becomes simple extrapolations of the head, that lack heart. Cold and off-putting works. I find this of almost all of his mainstream work that I have tried, SECRET AVENGERS, FANTASTIC FOUR, his current AVENGERS work I find unreadable dreck, with nothing to keep anyone emotionally interested or invested.

His Indie work can be likewise a gamble. Volume 1 of his Image series THE MANHATTAN PROJECTS was okay, if unremarkable. However I’m glad to say Volume 2 is much better, as Hickman is finally starting to pull taut the threads of his story.

The art by Nick Pitarra does a lot of the heavy lifting, with fun sight gags and panels that makes this far more entertaining than arguably the words or script alone would convey. I point you to the panel of the oval office orgy (say that three times fast :) )for proof of that.

So lifted up on Pitarra’s visuals Hickman’s MANHATTAN PROJECTS VOL 2 is finally starting to hit its stride. And while Volume 1 is okay to read, it is not necessary, you could just pick up Volume 2, as it brings you up to speed pretty quickly. Grade: B. Worth a Purchase.

The Manhattan Projects, Vol. 2 – Price your copy here


Movie Review : CAPTAIN AMERICA THE WINTER SOLDIER in 3D

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Helmed by relative directorial unknowns, Anthony and Joe Russo, there is a deft, assured hand steering this latest entry in the Marvel Studios movies franchise. CAPTAIN AMERICA THE WINTER SOLDIER from title to end credit exudes an easy confidence in this universe, these characters, this path.

It’s an easy relaxed pace that begins the film, a film that is not afraid to have you wear these characters for a while, rest in their lives. But when the action sequences hit, they are stellar set-pieces of jaw dropping scale. The post-conversion RealD 3D is nothing to write home about, but neither is it a liability.

And the action and character moments are tied together by a strong script, and rich performances by Chris Evans, Samuel L. Jackson, Sebastian Stan, Anthony Mackie, and Scarlett Johansson.

However particularly Scarlet Johansson I find stellar in her role as Natasha Romanoff, the Black Widow. She brings a combination of strength and vulnerability to her performance, that can be felt. Here as in the AVENGERS she brings an emotional core, a thread of consequence and fear and reality, that is surely needed in this fantasy of men and supermen. She brings a dramatic level of truth, to the lie, which completes it.

It’s a role that uses her beauty and considerable assets, but it is also a role that lets her give a more impressive performance than any number of dramas.

CAPTAIN AMERICA THE WINTER SOLDIER offers blistering action, enjoyable camaraderie, espionage, larger than life villains and heroes, diabolical world conquering schemes, humor, and even a bit of pathos and sacrifice, in short everything you want your ticket price to buy you. Add to that a brilliant end credit sequence and you have a film that earns its accolades. Grade: B+

What I’m Reading : GRAPHIC NOVEL TPB Round Up : PROPHET, EARTH 2, REVIVAL

revival2REVIVAL – Two volumes in and this graphic novel series by Tim Seeley and Mike Norton continues to be a fresh and interesting take on the typically overused ‘zombie’ motif. In a small town in Wisconsin the dead are returning to life, and that is the least of the mysteries that this series explores. RATING: B+. OWN – This is a series worth adding to your collection.

prophetvol2PROPHET VOL 2 : BROTHERS – Not a fan of the art in this volume, and I find myself unable to get into the stories collected in this tome. Issues collected are #27-31, originally published in single magazine form. Issue # 29, sports a different artist, and that is the only part of this volume I find compelling. So unable to recommend this Graphic Novel, instead buy issue #29 by itself. RATING: BORROW – If you liked the first volume and can read this for free go for it, otherwise AVOID.

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earth2vol1EARTH 2 VOL 1 and VOL 2 – The art is hit and miss, some good character redesigns of the big 3, however the other characters redesigns are pretty 1990s image bad. And the story/writing is likewise pedestrian and uninteresting, and very 90s feeling, in a bad way. RATING: AVOID.

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+.

Keoni Waxman’s MAXIMUM CONVICTION Netflix Movie Review

The first 30 minutes of MAXIMUM CONVICTION, another Keoni Waxman Steven Seagal vehicle, are interminable. As a rule I give a movie 20 minutes, if a filmmaker doesn’t care enough, or is incapable of making the first 20 minutes of his movie interesting, then I don’t care enough to finish the movie.

MAXIMUM CONVICTION falls into this category, which makes me actually finishing it, more happenstance than quality. After I had written it off, and was about to remove it from my Netflix rotation, some quirk, on a slow movie morning, spurred me to fast forward it past that boring first half hour, and doing so I found myself in a decent, engaging film.

Michael Pare is always a solid screen presence, and the other actors sell their various roles. And the procedural aspects, the detail paid to how soldiers move and soldier in the 21st century, also make this film better than its initial 30 minutes would lead you to believe. This story of an attempt by trained forces to extract a prisoner from a blackops prison, becomes by the end, a journey worth taking. Grade: Fast Forward the first 30 minutes and it is worth a watch.

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!