Tag: Indie

Movie Review: The Whole Damn Phantasm Franchise

Phantasm is both one of the most enduring and one of the oddest horror franchises. Or is it sci-fi? Fantasy, maybe? The first film was released 38 years ago and the fifth – and reportedly last in the sporadically produced series- released late in 2016. Last month, the entire saga was released as a deluxe Blu-Ray Box Set [Amazon] making it a great time to revisit this often overlooked gem.

The films are the passion project of writer/director Don Coscarelli [IMDB], who also gave us the cult classic “The Beastmaster” [IMDB] and the wonderfully mind-bending “John Dies at the End” [My Review]. He once described Phantasm as “barely linear”, a characterization that some might call generous. The films are a loose mixture of original ideas, interesting imagery and budget-induced compromise.

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Movie Review: After the Dark

IMDB, After the Dark“After the Dark” on IMDB

Drama, 104 Minutes, 2013

The purpose of some films is to make the audience think; to provide discussion topics. They lay out rules, set up pressures and obstacles then examine the reactions of their ridiculously verbose characters. Success might be measured by the time the audience spends discussing the problems posed. It might also result in a violent argument with dear friends!

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Movie Review: The Autopsy of Jane Doe

imdb-the-autopsy-of-jane-doe“The Autopsy of Jane Doe” on IMDB

Horror, 86 Minutes, 2016

Tommy Tilden (Brian Cox [IMDB]) is thrilled that his son, Austin (Emile Hirsch [IMDB]) is following in his footsteps. He’s been the county coroner for many years and has earned his reputation as a perfectionist. When the local sheriff finds a perfectly preserved corpse with no outward signs of trauma lying serenely among the tattered victims of a multiple… homocide? Suicide? Accident? – he goes to Tommy for answers.

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Movie Review: Infini

imdb-infini“Infini” on IMDB

Sci-fi/Horror, 110 Minutes, 2015

In the future nearly everybody on Earth lives below the poverty level, forcing people to take dangerous work. Mankind has implemented faster-than-light travel via a technology called “slipstreaming”. Matter is broadcast, somehow, to a specific point in the universe, where it’s reconstituted. It can then be called back at any time. This process is rife with danger and is extraordinarily error-prone, often leading to “data corruption”.

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Movie Review: Norman

IMDB, Norman“Norman” on IMDB

Comedy/Drama, 99 Minutes, 2010

Similar to 2011’s excellent “The Lie” [My Review], this explores how the pressures of life can sometimes force good people to make poor choices and, ultimately, how they deal with the consequences. Here, snarky, unpopular high-schooler Norman (Dan Byrd [IMDB]), has recently dealt with the death of his mother and is now watching his father (Richard Jenkins [IMDB]) succumb painfully to stomach cancer. When berated by a schoolmate about his recent flakiness, he blurts out that he has cancer.

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Movie Review: Hardcore Henry

IMDB, Hardcore Henry“Hardcore Henry” on IMDB

Action/Sci-Fi, 96 Minutes, 2015

Films have toyed with first person perspectives for decades, usually only in small doses. Thrillers show us what the killer sees while horror and sci-fi let us stalk the heroes through heavily filtered monster-vision. Heat-vision, night-vision, x-ray-vision, robot-vision and whatever-vision have all been simulated time and again. It’s an effective gimmick, but can it carry an entire film?

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Movie Review: The Boy

IMDB, The Boy“The Boy” on IMDB

Thriller/Horror, 104 Minutes, 2015

Motels are creepy. Alfred Hitchcock knew that in 1960 when he set his classic thriller Psycho [IMDB] in one. By their very nature they’re nowhere. After all, if you were somewhere, there would be a hotel, right? Motels are where people end up when they can’t get where they’re going. Motels are awkward, uncomfortable, and far from people or the hope of help.

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