• The Return of Dracula

    The Return of Dracula

    This review may contain spoilers. I can handle the truth.

    Hooptober 8: #4

    A Dracula film in the style of The Andy Griffith Show and Leave It To Beaver, and every bit as bad and boring as that sounds. Because The Return Of Dracula is rooted in deeply-conservative sensibilities, what we end up getting is a vampire movie with no bite - literally. Dracula never bites anyone, he doesn’t even have fangs, and the very few people he kills are dispatched offscreen. The “horror”, if it can even be called…

  • The Interview

    The Interview

    Randall Park absolutely kills it in this movie, and there’s at least a couple of chuckles here and there (mostly at the climax), but this really just feels like such low-quality comedic material made by people just trying to be as topically-charged as they can be at the moment. I feel like ten years from now, nobody will ever mention this movie again outside of “oh yeah, that was a thing”.

  • Chopping Mall

    Chopping Mall

    ★★★

    Hooptober 8: #3

    I’ve caught small pieces of this movie here and there, on late night TV broadcasts from channels like SciFi and Spike; but I’ve never watched the full thing because every time I saw its scenes, they looked like super low-grade trash. Watching it in its entirety for the first time, I have to admit that I was both correct and incorrect about this movie’s appeals. Its definitely of incredibly low quality, but fuck if Wynorski isn’t exactly…

  • Starsky & Hutch

    Starsky & Hutch

    ★★★

    Back when this first came out, in my more cynical high school days, I thought this was dull and uninspired and unfunny and just another product of Hollywood trending on older ideas thanks to lack of their own. Revisiting this now, it's still not exactly impressive, but it doesn't feel so egregious either. Maybe I'm just not as cynical as I was when I was a teenager, maybe it's aged decently. Either way, it's actually a pretty harmless way to…

  • One Missed Call 2

    One Missed Call 2

    ★★½

    Hooptober 8: #2

    Didn’t care for this one near as much as the original. It retreads a lot of the same idea threads and plot beats, and the cast this time around isn’t quite as good. The story also suffers from the combination of repetition and devolving. The new idea for the cursed child, particularly in it being a mostly innocent one, brings an interesting bend about trauma as a specter that haunts. Unfortunately, much like Friday The 13th Part…

  • Night Stalker: The Hunt for a Serial Killer

    Night Stalker: The Hunt for a Serial Killer

    ★★★

    Watching Crime Scene: The Vanishing At The Cecil Hotel prompted me to check this out, since they dedicate a fairly-sized segment in that to the Night Stalker. Overall, I think this Netflix doc miniseries is substantially better than that one, but still falls into its own problems.

    On the plus side, the strong focus here (especially compared to the previously-mentioned doc) really keeps you engaged in the narrative, and the intimate details of the investigation are still interesting to listen…

  • One Missed Call

    One Missed Call

    ★★★★

    My first entry for this year’s Hooptober! Somehow this movie has always slipped past me, despite my having a fondness for both Takashi Miike’s style and Japanese horror in general. Weird, since I’ve actually owned it for a long time - I grabbed the One Missed Call Collection put out by Tokyo Shock in 2006, and it’s always been one of those “I’ll get to it eventually” purchases. Now I’m kicking myself, because I really dig this after all.

    It’s definitely…

  • Crime Scene: The Vanishing at the Cecil Hotel

    Crime Scene: The Vanishing at the Cecil Hotel

    This starts out pretty good with the first episode, presenting a mysterious case that's both interesting and tragic, set in a place rife with the kind of unspoken and unknown crime that exist like a city's dark spot on the map. But Jesus, does it start to lose the plot in the second episode, going off on frequent tangents and touching on things that are barely related to the core case at hand.

    The third episode is where it goes…

  • Super Size Me 2: Holy Chicken!

    Super Size Me 2: Holy Chicken!

    ★★

    This is admittedly a pretty marked improvement over the original just in terms of its technical presentation. The editing and pacing are far better, and this looks like it was filmed with professional equipment as opposed to the cheapest home video camera available.

    But the central problem here is basically the same problem the original had. And that problem is that Morgan Spurlock isn't really a documentarian - he's an opportunist. To be fair, he and this movie do go…

  • Super Size Me

    Super Size Me

    Kind of surprising to recall just how huge this was when it first came out, because it's actually very subpar when you rewatch it. The cinematography is practically nonexistent, this thing looks like it was entirely shot on someone's cheap home video camera; the truth that a documentary that looks as deeply amateurish as this could get a theatrical release is honestly shocking (and, perhaps, the most harsh-light reflection of how low cinema was sinking during the 2000s). The editing…

  • WWE: The Triumph and Tragedy of World Class Championship Wrestling

    WWE: The Triumph and Tragedy of World Class Championship Wrestling

    Looks and feels like a lot of the WWE-produced documentaries of the era, characteristically comprised of cheaply-staged talking head segments and a sheer wealth of archival footage. The latter is usually what's most appealing about these docs; the footage itself is genuinely fascinating to watch, whether it be once-lost fuzzy recordings of local television matches or personal home movies of the subjects involved. There's an intimacy and awe to these things when it comes to wrestling that's hard to describe,…

  • Bronies: The Extremely Unexpected Adult Fans of My Little Pony

    Bronies: The Extremely Unexpected Adult Fans of My Little Pony

    ★★

    Feels just like Trekkies and Trekkies 2, in both its qualities and its flaws, but weaker that both in how it refuses to really dive into the nitty gritty of the community - and by that I mean the ugly aspects, instead of just the awkward. The Trekkies films weren't the greatest, but at least they didn't shy away from showing people and behavior within the Star Trek community that go just a little too beyond, a little too ingrained…