“Annabelle: Creation” Avoid the Doll

Review by Brent Lorentson

 

Following the success of The Conjuring, it’s no surprise that sequels would follow, but I have to admit seeing an Annabelle film as one of them is a bit unexpected. While The Conjuring was based on true events (as true as one may or may not wish to believe in the paranormal) Annabelle’s mostly a work of fiction. I’ll admit I’m a bit of the fan of The Warrens and have read plenty about their investigations and I certainly feel their life is ripe for the Hollywood treatment along with the hundreds of case files they developed over the years. Read more

“War for the Planet of the Apes” the Resolution

Review by Gino Sassani

“All of human history has led to this moment. The irony is we created you. And nature has been punishing us ever since. This is our last stand. And if we lose… it will be a Planet of Apes.”

I was always a fan of the original Planet of the Apes series of films. While they often flirted with a camp style, I was impressed with John Chambers’ makeup effects and the performances of Roddy McDowall as both Cornelius and Caesar. Then came the television show and I remained just as enchanted because of McDowall’s appearance as a third ape, Galen. The show didn’t last a season however, and before long the Apes franchise was left in some kind of limbo. Read more

“Baby Driver” a High Speed Thriller

High energy Baby Driver takes audiences on the roller coaster bank heist ride with a cast that turns this indie into a major film. The wild and crazy adventure lays rubber from its opening scene to a finale that will blow you away. Dealing with an unpaid debt, a little romance and an out of control gang, director Edgar Wright puts all the elements together and adds a nonstop rocking soundtrack for something completely different. Read more

“Prisoner X” Tracking a Terrorist Plot

It’s always good to find a gem or at least a hint of one like Prisoner X that has just been released on DVD and VOD. Much like the cat and mouse game films The Ipcress File and Tinker Taylor Soldier, this psychological thriller contains mystery and misperception within its tantalizing script. The movie has very dark overtones like today’s news that deals with terrorism and punctuates the reasons for the interrogation process. While the film has been made with a low budget, you would never know it from the clever use of sets and borrowed current event film footage. Read more

“Aaron’s Blood” a Twist on a Vampire Story

Now here’s a scriptwriter that came up with a pretty cool idea and he ran with it directing his own movie. Aaron’s Blood actually has a plot that I’ve not seen and he handles the subject pretty well. Although you can tell it’s an indie with a small budget, I’m guessing under $500 thousand, it has some very good camera work and the acting’s not half bad. If there isn’t a horror flick available on the big screen, it wouldn’t be a bad thing to check this one out. Read more

“King Arthur: Legend of the Sword” Fighting for a Kingdom

In the film King Arthur: Legend of the Sword the world of wizards, mages, knights, and kings form the legend of the sword Excalibur. With a different perspective than I had originally thought, Guy Ritchie’s world has Mordred as the enemy wizard in the midst of destroying King Uther Pendragon’s kingdom and his brother in-law Vortigern waiting for his chance at the crown. The film has merit and a strong supposition, but be forewarned it’s not consistent with early legends.

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“The Wall” A Crushing Psychological War Drama

 

A mesmerizing true story that makes you cringe, wince and shudder, The Wall takes you into the backyard of Iraq at the end of the war. Well-acted and directed the movie keeps you on the edge of your seat from the opening sequence to the gut wrenching ending. Much like the film The American Sniper you’ll be holding your breath and squirming in your seat during the tense nearly an hour and a half. Read more

“The Dinner” a Family Divided

 

The interesting drama The Dinner puts you in the middle of a meeting that turns a family upside down over a cruel incident that will affect their lives forever. Nicely directed by Oren Moverman the film turns a contentious situation into a battle between brothers that sickens as the predictable story plays out. Sometime tough to contemplate, The Dinner gives the audience a full four course meal in destroying relationships. Read more

“The Shadow Effect” an Assassin Cocktail with a Twist

 

Putting a twist on an assassin thriller, the movie The Shadow Effect comes to DVD and I found the story a bit incredible yet entertaining. It’s a cross between The Bourne Identity and the The Edge of Tomorrow with a bit of originality added to make it different. This film takes the ideas from the two films and turns it into an assassination plot with shades of The Manchurian Candidate. While the filmmakers do a good job with their set up, their finale leaves you cold. Read more

“The Fate of the Furious” Continues to Burn Rubber

 

Marriage, mayhem and a baby drive Toretto’s gang to save the world in The Fate of the Furious a “squeal-quel” for the ages. The film has the energy to drive its followers in to theater seats several times. Keeping the formula of fast cars, hot women and rowdy men the franchise continues to be alive and well. The only question comes with how do you top this one without being repetitive? You can’t! It’s what the fans want and it will survive for another time around. Read more

“The Bye Bye Man” Demonic Possession Runs Rampant

 

What saves The Bye Bye Man from being a complete ho hum horror flick is the special effects/makeup and the acting. It’s too bad because the movie, especially the beginning, promises to really knock your socks off. Many possessed stories have circulated via movies with some of the most famous being The Amityville Horror (1979), The Exorcist (1973), The Shinning (1980), and The Ring (2002). Those being dated and sometimes hard to find, opens the door to movies like this one that goes after some cheap thrills and chills, but never being truly original. Still however, if they make it horror film fans will seek it out as with this one that has made over $22 million theatrically on an $8 million budget. The film has been released in a Blu-ray/DVD + Digital HD combo pack for the first time since its original theatrical release in January.

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“Going in Style” a Modern Twist on an Old Favorite

Putting a twist on the original movie Going in Style, director Zach Braff does a good job of reviving the comedy for modern day audiences. He turns up the laughter with memorable situation comedy and actors who can deliver some of the best one liners. It’s a lot of fun for a date night or just a chance to get away from the hum drum to laugh a little. Read more

“I, Olga Hepnarova” Powerfully Poignant and Tragic

 

 

One of the strangest biographies ever to be made into a film, I, Olga (Já, Olga Hepnarová) tells the true tale of revenge. Nicely paced and presented, the movie plays out like a diary told from Olga’s letters and notes. Sometimes humans are calling for help and no one is listening. This is a story of one of those times. Not to be missed, it powerfully poignant.

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