• Woodlands Dark and Days Bewitched: A History of Folk Horror

    Woodlands Dark and Days Bewitched: A History of Folk Horror

    ★★★★

    In depth, well-researched documentary on folk horror. A good selections of interviews with people who are intelligent, insightful, knowledgeable and engaging. Tons of film clips although not all are identified so sometimes you get a glimpse of something fascinating but then have no idea which film it is from so that's frustrating. Most films clips are identified and some films are included in the Severin box set or are streaming on Shudder. After to watch this you will want to…

  • American Revolution 2

    American Revolution 2

    ★★★½

    Part of the Chicago Film Archives collection of documentaries from The Film Group that highlight the civil rights movement of the 1960s with a focus on the unrest in Chicago. It's essentially raw footage of events, including the Democratic National Convention and the protests as well as Black Panthers, assembled to paint a portrait of America at a moment of unrest, violence and social upheaval. It offers historical context to more recent protests and lets us see that while some things have changed others remain maddeningly the same.

  • The House

    The House

    ★★★½

    I am easily seduced by stop motion animation. There is something magical about the result of such meticulous, labor intensive work. The animation here was divine. The film serves up three stories all tied together by a strange house that seems to promise good things but then turns dark. The first deals with a human family that moves from poverty to the elegant house but then the parent become consumed by it. In the second we enter a world of…

  • The Criminal Code

    The Criminal Code

    ★★★½

    Great early Boris Karloff performance. A scene of him lying in a prison cell with only his eyes illuminated as he thinks about getting revenge on a snitch is spectacular as is a scene of him menacing another prisoner but the whole time he has his back to the camera. Commanding the scene like that is brilliant from both the directing and acting. Early Howard Hawks and reveals his sense of pace especially with dialogue. Young Walter Huston as well and James Wong Howe as DP.

  • No Time to Die

    No Time to Die

    ★★★★★

    Watching for the fifth time since my son had not yet seen it. Still love it even though Rami Malik's villain is weakest link in the film. It still delivers all the action I want but with a real emotional weight. Sad to see this cycle of Daniel Craig Bonds end. Hope we see more of Paloma and Nomi.

  • Shadow in the Cloud

    Shadow in the Cloud

    ★★

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

    I recently watched Blood Red Sky and a friend told me that this was another vampire in the skies film. It was... sort of. This started well with a kind of confined setting on a plane and a mysterious creature referred to only as a "gremlin" lurking amidst the clouds. The setting is WWII so there are also enemy planes posing a threat. It's all good until we discover that a mysterious package being transported on the plane is an…

  • Parallel Mothers

    Parallel Mothers

    ★★★★

    The film may not have been Spain’s choice for its entry into this year’s International Film Oscar race but it was one of the better offerings of 2021.

    Although I do miss Almodovar's wackier days with films like Women on the Verge of Nervous Breakdown, this more mature and contemplative Almodovar is also brilliant.

    The core of the film involves two single mothers meet in a maternity ward. Their tangled relationship is only one layer in Almodovar's
    richly rewarding new…

  • Boris Karloff: The Man Behind the Monster

    Boris Karloff: The Man Behind the Monster

    Review embargo in effect till Jan. 24 but will have a review up then. Film will be available on Shudder.

  • The Zero Boys

    The Zero Boys

    OMG! Another one of those bad films that still entertains. Joe Estevez knew in advance how bad it would be and used a different name, Joe Phelan. He plays the most unthreatening killer.

    So a group of "kids" (they look in their 30s) go for a romp in the wilderness, get spooked, and break into a cabin where they bake a cake (ok maybe they brought it with them), celebrate a birthday, and then get stalked by the guy whose…

  • Castle in the Sky

    Castle in the Sky

    ★★★★★

    Revisiting with my son. Miyazaki is just divine. I remember reading a book where someone said he shouldn't be called the Japanese Disney but rather the Kurosawa of animation. Can't remember the author.

    I used to run an anime club at my son's middle school and Miyazaki could always win the class over.

    Totoro, Nausicaa and Princess Mononoke are my favorites but I love them all.

  • Don't Breathe 2

    Don't Breathe 2

    ★½

    So here's the elevator pitch: Forget what happened in Don't Breathe 1 and pay no attention to the stinger at the end, we're gonna take that nasty, perverted, rapist villain and make him the hero of the sequel.

    Seriously, I just can't believe that the first film had such a built in draw that this seemed a smarter marketing move than just taking Stephen Lang, creating a new badass character, and marketing the new film as from the makers of…

  • Bad Luck Banging or Loony Porn

    Bad Luck Banging or Loony Porn

    ★★★★

    When the Soviets invaded Czechoslovakia to crush the Prague Spring in 1968, citizens came up with a unique form of protest: they removed or painted over road signs —except for those indicating the way to Moscow-- to confuse the troops and cause chaos. When I heard about that I then felt I better understood the tone of many films coming from that region. Films fueled by a very particular kind of humor and rebellion.

    Bad Luck Banging or Loony Porn…