Joy Ride: Postcards From A Thriller’s Edge

joy_rideJoy Ride (2001)

Genre: Thriller | Horror
Country: US
Director: John Dahl
Stars: Paul Walker, Steve Zahn, Leelee Sobieski

I have always been captivated by travel. The whine and hum of spinning tires, like a siren’s song the open road seduces me to dance upon her weathered blacktop. Alone or with friends, for a weekend or two weeks, there is nothing like the adventure and promise of a road trip. Even my taste in literature tends to center around tales of travel. Jack Kerouac’s classic, On the Road, and Will Ferguson’s Hitching Rides with Buddha are two of my favorite books. So it’s no surprise that a movie such as Joy Ride has found its way into my list of offerings. Continue reading

Bound – And Determined to Become a Cult Noir Classic

boundBound (1996)

Genre: Thriller | Crime
Country: US
Director: Andy and Lana Wachowski
Stars: Jennifer Tilly, Gina Gershon, Joe Pantoliano

Bound is the brilliant directorial debut of Andy and Lana (formerly Larry) Wachowski (The Matrix, V for Vendetta, Cloud Atlas), the writing/directing duo more affectionately known as The Wachowski Brothers, but who are now professionally identified as simply, The Wachowskis. Presented as neo-noir, Bound is a suspenseful thriller that follows the classic noir outline of sex, violence, and betrayal, only with a twist. Our two star-crossed lovers are both…women [gasp]. Holy leaping lesbians Batman! Don’t panic 1966’s Robin. Although lesbian relationships in modern cinema have become quite mainstream, in 1996 this was still pretty taboo. Continue reading

M – Is For Masterpiece

M3M (1931)

Genre: Thriller | Crime
Country: Germany
Director: Fritz Lang
Stars: Peter Lorre, Ellen Widmann, Inge Landgut

“Just you wait, it won’t be long,

The man in black will soon be here.

With his cleaver’s blade so true,

He’ll make mincemeat out of you!”

A serial killer is on the loose in Berlin. His crimes, so unfathomably heinous, have become the talk (and paranoia) of the town. Even his targeted prey, the city’s children, play a macabre elimination game, chanting a chilling limerick and pretending to identify potential victims. Apparently this is before parents taught their children about “Stranger Danger”. Continue reading

Behind The Mask: The Rise of Leslie Vernon – Yeah it’s a girls name, wanna make something of it?

behind_the_maskBehind The Mask: The Rise of Leslie Vernon (2006)

Genre: Comedy | Horror
Country: US
Director: Scott Glosserman
Stars: Nathan Baesel, Angela Goethals, Scott Wilson, Robert Englund

Imagine if you will a world where all the maniac psycho killers from your favorite horror flicks, are real. Where places and towns such as Crystal Lake, Springwood, and Haddonfield all exist, permanently scarred by horrific catastrophe and loss from the likes of Jason, Freddy, and Michael respectively. And now Glenn Echo appears to be earmarked to earn its membership in the growing list of tragedy towns by up-and-coming serial slasher, Leslie Vernon (Nathan Baesel).  Continue reading

The Kentucky Fried Movie: Toy Robot! And other random acts of silliness

kentucky_fried_movieThe Kentucky Fried Movie (1977)

Genre: Comedy
Country: USA
Director: John Landis
Stars: Evan C. Kim, Bill Bixby, Henry Gibson

Before this film was released, the creators considered two alternative titles, Free Popcorn, and Closed For Remodeling. I’ve chosen to start this review with this fun fact, just so you have a clear understanding of what you’re getting yourself into. This film is pure, unadulterated silliness. Continue reading

The Raid: Redemption – Or How to Put a Beat down on the Action Film Genre

the_raidThe Raid: Redemption (2011)

Genre: Action | Crime
Country: Indonesia
Director: Gareth Evans
Stars: Iko Uwais, Ananda George, Ray Sahetapy

I love over-the-top violence in films. I can’t help it. It literally makes me giddy. Now, before you start worrying about my psychopathic tendencies, let’s be clear that it’s only movie violence that brings me to exuberant bliss. If I actually saw someone get shot in the face in real life, I would consider it to be extremely traumatic. But as long as I can watch a film through the veil of understanding that what I’m seeing is pure movie-magic fakery, then I say the more katana swords and corn syrup blood the better. Continue reading

Les Diaboliques: The Hitchcock film that never was

Les DiaboliquesLes Diaboliques (1955)

Genre: Mystery | Thriller
Country: France
Director: Henri-George Clouzot
Stars: Simone Signoret, Véra Clouzot, Paul Meurisse

I begin this review with a disclaimer of sorts. This is a foreign film. This film is subtitled. Some people tend to shy away from subtitled films, claiming that it’s too difficult to read subtitles and pay attention to the action on the screen at the same time.

Well, suck it up my fellow cinephiles. By restricting your movie choices to only English language films you are denying yourself some amazing, cinematic experiences. You will find that very rarely will I ever recommend a dubbed version. Even if you don’t understand the language the actors are speaking, the subtle nuances in their inflection and delivery are based on emotions that are universally understood. With a dubbed version you miss out on part of the original intention of the film. So give subtitles a chance. As with anything, the more you do it, the easier it gets. And now back to your regularly scheduled review. Continue reading

Eraserhead: Who hurt you David Lynch?


Genre: Horror | Fantasy
Country: US
Director: David Lynch
Stars: Jack Nance, Charlotte Stewart, Allen Joseph

This film arrived at the threshold of my mind in a flaming brown paper bag, the remnants of which I am still trying to scrape off the bottom of my shoe. Its metaphorical, visual stench permeated my clothing and hair and left a burning trace of bile in the back of my throat. Eraserhead is the most appalling film I will ever encourage everyone to see. Except my Mother. I love my Mother and would never subject her to such things. Continue reading

Waking Life (Essay): Drugs, Dreams, and The Cinematic Epiphany – Warning! Spoilers Ahead!

A Holy Moment

I am always amazed at the juxtaposition in conversations shared between groups of intellects and groups of stoners. Comparatively, the subject matter in both factions generally consists of mind bending concepts and theories, with the participants engaging in hideous displays of grandiloquence (for instance; juxtaposition, comparatively, and grandiloquence). Where the two parties deviate is in the presentation. Continue reading

Waking Life: A visual and mental kaleidoscope of surrealism

Waking Life

Waking Life (2001)
Genre: Animation | Drama
Country: US
Director: Richard Linklater
Stars: Wiley Wiggins, Ethan Hawke, Julie Delpy

Richard Linklater (Slackers, Dazed and Confused, A Scanner Darkly) teams up with Producer Tommy Pallotta and Art Director Bob Sabiston to ambitiously create a feature length film implementing the 21st century’s version of rotoscoping (overlaying live action footage with animation). Waking Life is an exercise in both visual and mental stimulation, daring viewers to accept the surreal realities of dreams and what they may teach us about traversing our waking lives. Continue reading