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Happy Christmas [HD]
Happy Christmas [HD]
DVD
Price: $6.99

0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars A convincingly apathetic drama, August 8, 2014
By now, especially after "Drinking Buddies," a Joe Swanberg project should mean an easy to swallow film that is naturally improvised that also effortlessly presents genuine characters. But the issue that always seems to arise is the fact that a Joe Swanberg film fails to be entertaining despite featuring dialogue that feels very authentic.

"Happy Christmas" is easy to comprehend. The small family of Jeff, Kelly, and Jude are very content with their lives and have a system that works for the three of them, but then Kelly is suddenly injected into their everyday lives and shakes things up in ways no one could imagine. The film pushes the drama into your lap as the comedy has more of an independent kind of tingling sensation to it since the humor is more about making you feel uncomfortable than causing uproarious laughter.

As an only child, the comedic drama didn't really speak to me as much as it should have. If you have siblings and or a small family, then the film will likely speak to you differently. Jenny is obviously going through a rough patch and how she's dealing with it isn't exactly ideal. It's as if she knows what she wants to do with her life, but doesn't know how to go about doing it. So Jenny flails about haphazardly without logic or reason. She succumbs to giving in to the things that will make her forget her current situation rather than focusing on what can help her take that next step forward.

Life getting in the way of what you had planned seems to be the message "Happy Christmas" is trying to portray. You may have a plan to do what you love, but life may have something else in mind for you. Sometimes you have to learn to make time to schedule what makes you happy to actually be happy and that's a lesson everyone can learn from.

"Happy Christmas" illustrates what it's like to crack under the pressure of a normal life. The conversations are very real, the atmosphere is extremely relaxed the majority of the time, and the characters are some of the most authentic to ever be put to film. But the film's humor misses the mark aside from the conversation about rosebuds and how to approach genital terminology in a romantic novel. It's as if the film isn't able to properly blend a fictional reality with entertainment properly, which results in a film that fails to fully entice the viewer.


Guardians of the Galaxy
Guardians of the Galaxy
DVD ~ Chris Pratt

3 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Comedian rhapsody, July 30, 2014
This review is from: Guardians of the Galaxy (DVD)
"Guardians of the Galaxy" is unlike any other Marvel film before it. Its writer/director James Gunn was mostly known for a couple of bizarre yet amazing R-rated independent comedies until now. While there are several elements that allow the film to work, the importance of the film's soundtrack is the heart and soul of not only Peter Quill's inspiration but also what solidifies the film as one of the most unique superhero cinematic experiences thus far.

The humor in the film is also hilarious. Gunn is known for including quirky; off the cuff comedy in his works and "Guardians of the Galaxy" takes that bull by the horns and rides it for two straight hours. Sometimes it's a long running gag like Quill's devotion to educating the world on his alter ego of Star-Lord, but the film has a sarcastic, ironic, and smart-aleck atmosphere littered with schmucks who take pride in being A-holes. If witty and satirical comedy is your thing then "Guardians of the Galaxy" delivers in a monumental way.

The visuals of this eccentric space adventures are absolutely gorgeous. It's like a love affair between "Blade Runner" and "The Avengers" that literally just takes pride in kicking the crap out of you with undeniable awesome. Even with how vibrant and spectacular the special effects are you almost forget to realize that the characters are the one part of the film more colorful than the film itself.

The film seems to be trying to connect so many different side stories as an overabundance of individuals are searching for the orb. This hasn't even covered Benicio Del Toro's The Collector character or how he factors into all of this. The story is hectic and scattered just like the lives of Peter Quill and everyone else who's ever stepped onto the Milano; Quill’s ship. It's incredible that every character has an opportunity to shine whether the payoff is a fantastic action sequence, amusing strings of dialogue, or a combination of the two.

You might not recognize Bradley Cooper as the voice of Rocket. He apparently channeled Joe Pesci's Tommy DeVito character from "Goodfellas," but he sounds more like Rich Fulcher from "The Mighty Boosh." Dave Bautista deserves some accolades for his portrayal of Drax. Bautista is a WWE pro wrestler/superstar and is mostly known for playing big, meathead type of characters with no depth. Drax has a fairly large vocabulary, is extremely conflicted, and driven by grief. Bautista is surprisingly great in the role as he delivers the best performance of his career.

"Guardians of the Galaxy" begins as this intergalactic story told from the perspective of five individuals who only care about themselves and will never be able to co-exist with anyone else, but the film evolves into a heroic tale that really speaks to you filled with noble sacrifices and selfless acts.

James Gunn's latest film is a visually stunning achievement. The excessive yet welcome amount of humor keeps the film lighthearted despite billions of lives being at stake. The diverse cast of characters allows for a level of satisfying entertainment that surpasses even the likes of "The Avengers." Unconventionally comical and overflowing with sci-fi action, "Guardians of the Galaxy" is an extraordinary group of A-holes everyone can cheer for.


Dragonwolf [Blu-ray]
Dragonwolf [Blu-ray]
DVD ~ David Winters
Offered by abookhouse
Price: $15.95
37 used & new from $5.98

1.0 out of 5 stars Kill Bill meets The Room, July 29, 2014
This review is from: Dragonwolf [Blu-ray] (Blu-ray)
There are times when films are so bad no amount of harsh criticism, witty insults, or descriptive analyses of the excruciating chunk of willpower it took to finish such an appalling piece of cinematic garbage is ever enough; "Dragonwolf" is one of those films. It's the type of "action" film that leaves you scrambling for your sanity once it's finished. Watching "Dragonwolf" is like forcing yourself to stare at hot garbage as it melts, decays, and cooks in the blistering sun.

Kazu Patrick Tang is Mozart; a man who should have died but is on one last "Hail Mary" mission before he croaks. Mozart's appearance is laughable. He looks like an Asian version of Haley Joel Osment after he mugged a homeless man for the dirty hair extensions that reminded him of his better days and a purple suit that had to be on the same rack Harry and Lloyd found their orange and blue suits in "Dumb and Dumber."

Mozart and his best friend Julius (Johan Kirsten)are hitmen that work for a criminal organization that seems to be behind just about everything relating to the law, politics, shoddy drug dealers, or whatever else is random and vague enough to get the point across that they're basically the bouncers behind everyone and everything walking the streets. Mozart and Julius work for a man named Brutus (David Winters) who is paranoid that Mozart and Julius are getting too big for their law breaking britches, so he threatens them with impalement.

Childhood friends are then torn apart over the love of the same woman. Julius begins dating a woman named Mary (Macha Polivka) who Mozart confesses his admiration for. Julius and Mozart go to war because of it without thinking of the consequences.

Mary is just the worst female character you could possibly think of in a movie. Other than banging childhood friends without remorse, Mary has a dragon tattoo on her back. She has no characteristics otherwise other than the noticeable hair on her upper lip. Speaking of females, "Dragonwolf" throws bare chested women at you like rice at a wedding. You see six pairs of breasts in the first fifteen minutes alone. It's as if the film resorted to nudity when it couldn't come up with anything remotely logical to put in the story.

"Dragonwolf" tries so hard to tell its story in a nonlinear fashion similar to that of Quentin Tarantino. Unfortunately for the Raimund Huber directed film, it crashes under its own poor storytelling. The "wolf" portion of the title is explained in the most shortsighted way imaginable. It's one of those things that somebody thought sounded cool, but makes no sense whatsoever. Then there's "dragon" which is uttered once in the entire film. It's a nickname for somebody who doesn't ever use it.

This is one of those films that features foreign actors, but they're forced to speak English when they don't know it very well. This sort of thing should be inhumane. It's basically like tying paper bags to a cat's feet just to laugh at it.

And if the bad English doesn't get to you the horrible choreography will. Most of the actors throw very obvious ghost punches that never even come close to who they're fighting. Action scenes are overflowing with useless spin maneuvers and unnecessary flips. Julius even lectures Mozart at one point about women being like Nazis while sparring with real swords in a junk yard that flooded recently and apparently has tractors, tanks, and airplanes just lying about.

Line delivery is stiffer than anything you can possibly imagine. The dialogue was obviously written by someone who doesn't know proper English. Here are a few examples of the shudder-worthy dialogue:

"Everything is hunky dory. Soon things will be like peaches and moonshine."

"You'll be rosy cheeks and fighting fit in no time."

"Let's do something good for once in a while."

"She has something about her."

"You know what the doctor says; fresh veggies every day." *after seeing an attractive woman*

"Do you want some candy?" *repeated line*

Along his vengeful path, Mozart runs into three of the most stereotypical characters imaginable that all do a lousy job of representing their distinct backgrounds. One of them talks like Chris Tucker in "The Fifth Element" and repeatedly uses the term, "motherfo." The three men play rock paper scissors and flip a coin to see who will fight Mozart except none of them know how to play two of the simplest games in existence.

Mozart is left for dead and claims to have no memory and yet he keeps having flashbacks throughout the film of not only his childhood, but what Julius did to him to get him this far. Julius has a twitchy right hand man (Stephen Thomas) who is overly sleazy and one of the worst actors you've ever seen.

The homage to "Kill Bill" takes pride in leaping into the generic rip-off category. Mozart's journey is a cheap knockoff of The Bride's journey of revenge to find Bill. Julius shows up with a bunch of random guys in white masks and white gloves who have no introduction whatsoever and the only explanation of the scene is an attempt to try and mimic the awesome Crazy 88 sequence from "Kill Bill Vol. 1." Two Russian assassins, who spend more time making jokes and watching porn, attack Mozart and deliver the closest thing to a decent fight in the entire film. One of them uses the same weapon Gogo did in "Kill Bill."

Umiko (Guk Srisawat) is the woman holding a sword on the DVD/Blu-ray cover. She isn't even introduced in the film until the 90-minute mark, which is extremely bizarre since her reveal is kind of this huge revelation for Mozart even though no one (including the audience) has no idea who she is. The character is a gigantic waste.

"Dragonwolf" is this really clumsy fusion of "Kill Bill" and "The Room" with a hint of "Crank." The phonetic, absent minded English is unbearable as is the ridiculous fight choreography, spastic soundtrack, the outrageous acting which is either too much or too little with no in-between, and the absurd, impossible-to-swallow storyline. "Dragonwolf" is two miserable hours of absolute torment.


Premature
Premature
DVD
Price: $6.99

1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Masturbating through time and space, July 25, 2014
This review is from: Premature (Amazon Instant Video)
Rob Crabbe (John Karna) is a high school student on the brink of taking that next step forward of the rest of his life. He's carefully kept his academics aligned in a way that will make him a shoe-in for Georgetown, his college of choice, but is seen as a nerd because of it. On the day of Rob's Georgetown interview, Rob can't get past the idea of still being a virgin. His vulgar and sex hungry friend Stanley (Craig Roberts) just wants Rob to take Angela Yearwood's (Carlson Young), aka After School Special, offer to "tutor" her later while Rob's best friend Gabrielle (Katie Findlay) just wants what's best for him.

Rob soon realizes that his day keeps repeating itself every time he has an orgasm. He begins to believe something is seriously wrong with him after exploring every option he can think of throughout the repeating day. But there's a meaning behind his curse; a purpose he has to understand before he can move on.

You're first introduced to Rob while he's in the middle of a wet dream. A woman out of his league is riding him on a heart shaped bed with red leather sheets. It seems like the perfect fantasy until Rob points out his chemistry set and that the woman has three breasts. Rob wakes up in a puddle of his own goo right as his mom walks in. And thus begins what is one of the worst and most embarrassing days of Rob's life.

"Premature" is humorous at times, but its borrowed concept reminds you of at least half a dozen films that came before it. The comedy seems like a raunchy mimicry of "Groundhog Day" and R-rated comedies over the past 15 years including "Neighbors," "Hot Tub Time Machine," "Superbad," "Van Wilder," "She's Out of Your League," and "American Pie" all come to mind while watching "Premature." Homage doesn't always hurt a film, but when you lift material from well-known sources more often than offering original content of your own then it becomes an issue.

Dan Beers comedy introduces a couple phrases that are slightly amusing including Stanley's "ballocaust" from the ninth grade and Rob's rant about Stanley's girlfriend Lisa (Zoe Myers having the power of "jizzekinesis." Alan Tudyk's role as the Georgetown interviewer is a small one and yet his drunken, grief-stricken stupor is felt throughout the entire film. Tudyk's rambling and emotional breakdown during the interview is humorous in a pathetic kind of way.

The comedy in "Premature" is intertwined with this unsettling sensation of being a pervert that stalks unsuspecting women. Rob's orgasms become his reset button as he tends to masturbate in the worst of places. You will never look at little mayonnaise packets the same way again after the film. Stanley shouting ethnic female voices to Stanley as he touches himself in the girl's locker room is kind of disturbing. You never shake that feeling that your parents just caught you in the act. "Premature" is all of the embarrassing humiliation people who didn't lose their virginity fast enough felt and experienced throughout their entire lives packed into an hour and a half.

"Premature" is a very simple comedy that attempts to make you laugh through crude jabs of the teasing onslaught brought on by being a virgin for too long. Its familiarity is what hurts it the most, but it's also very predictable and extremely uncomfortable at times. Bloopers are a fun little bonus to throw in at the end of a film, but there's a lot to be said if those two minutes of outtakes are more enjoyable than the film itself.


Life Itself (Now In Theaters)
Life Itself (Now In Theaters)
DVD
Price: $6.99

3.0 out of 5 stars Roger Ebert's swan song, July 25, 2014
As far as film criticism goes, Roger Ebert and Gene Siskel were and still are the two most well-known film critics out there. Most critics working today give credit to Ebert for inspiring them to pursue what they love. "Life Itself" is not only a biographical documentary and retelling of Roger Ebert's past, but also a visual and auditory diary that records the final months of his life.

The film tends to take excerpts from Ebert's memoir Life Itself and constructs a 120-minute documentary around it including interviews with friends, family, other film critics, producers, and filmmakers like Martin Scorsese and Werner Herzog. Ebert's health issues during filming are not masked or hidden away in any form. Filming picks up in December of 2012 where Roger Ebert entered the hospital for a hip fracture and it's revealed that the thyroid cancer has returned.

Roger Ebert had worked in the newspaper industry all of his life. He says that he could always write even though he flunked French five times. It's interesting to note that he was able to write a finished, well thought out review in half an hour, which is fairly fast. "Life Itself" feels like a documentary that is just trying to portray the facts without trying to sway the viewer in one way or another on a certain issue. Roger Ebert seems like he was a very stubborn man who was extremely opinionated and massively talented. This is his story in his own words.

The documentary spends a lot of time narrating Ebert's home of Chicago; his social habits, where he spent most of his time, and how people hung on every word when he'd tell a story. His career as a writer was always remarkable. At the age of 21, he was the editor of his college newspaper. During the time of JFK's death, Ebert unbelievably stopped the presses and was respected for it. At the time it was awarded to him, Roger Ebert was the only film critic to ever win the Pulitzer prize.

While watching "Life Itself," you can't help but notice how open Roger Ebert was about everything in his life. He was a serious drinker at one time and would often be up all night drinking. He found solace in AA meetings. When thyroid cancer left him unable to eat or speak, he found comfort in his blog and his writing became known for being better than it had ever been in the past.

Ebert was known for being a single man on his way to the top. He was a fan of Russ Meyer films because of their inclusion of nude women and even wrote the screenplay for "Beyond the Valley of the Dolls." The film illustrates how important Chaz, Ebert's wife, was in his lifetime especially during that bumpy road once Ebert became unwell.

"Life Itself" obviously spends a lot of time on "Siskel & Ebert," as well. The film's nationwide success is a huge point of interest as was the bitter rivalry between the critics which eventually became a mutual form of respect for one another. One of the most interesting facts to take away from this section of the film is that Gene Siskel was adopted by Hue Hefner's clan at the Mansion.

The film does an excellent job of keeping your interest from beginning to end, but it's also somewhat bothersome at times. It's difficult to watch Ebert in the condition that he's in during the film, but witnessing his struggle and ability to be in good spirits during such a rough period is admirable.

Seeing the way Siskel and Ebert reenacted with one another for such an extended period of time is what's so hard to swallow. Their rivalry wasn't a secret, but seeing two grown individuals act like children and throw tantrums solely because the person they share a televised relationship with has a different opinion about something they're so passionate about is extremely immature.

That sense of entitlement, self-worth, and the unyielding argument that someone's thoughts and impressions are the only correct ones are elements of film criticism that come with the territory but are also aspects I've never understood and have tried to steer away from. You get to see movies for free sooner than the general public and, if you're big enough, you get to travel the world in order to sit down and tell people what you think of what they've spent so much time on the past few months or years. Your point of view is suddenly important and it makes an impact no matter how big or small your audience is. What's the point of being at each others throats for something like that? It sounds like something to be extremely grateful for where mutual respect can get you further than a long-lasting blood feud.

There will never be another Roger Ebert. The man's voice will be heard for generations to come and "Life Itself" brings that concept to life as it shows just how influential Ebert has been to the world of cinema. The film has this heart wrenching side to it that touches on reminiscing about better times while being broken and how memories seem more special since they're in the past. "Life Itself" ignites a spectrum of feelings within its audience, but the important thing is that it makes you feel something, which is all any film could ask for.


The Purge: Anarchy (Blu-ray + DVD + DIGITAL HD with UltraViolet)
The Purge: Anarchy (Blu-ray + DVD + DIGITAL HD with UltraViolet)
DVD ~ James DeMonaco
Price: $22.99

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars A diluted vindication, July 18, 2014
"The Purge" has a concept that is almost ingenious as long as you don't ponder the consequences for too long. All crime is legal for 12 consecutive hours starting at 7:00pm on March 21 and ending at 7:00am on March 22. In "The Purge: Anarchy," you follow a few different stories that eventually intersect.

Everything in the film revolves around a man named Leo Barnes (Frank Grillo). Leo is looking for retribution for his son's death and expects to get his much needed vengeance this very night.

Eva Sanchez (Carmen Ejogo) struggles to make ends meet working at a diner and attempting to pay for her father's medicine. She hopes to survive the annual Purge in order to provide for not only her father, but her daughter Cali (Zoe Soul) as well. Shane (Zach Gilford) and Liz (Kiele Sanchez) are a couple on the cusp of a separation attempting to make it somewhere safe for the night yet find themselves in an unreliable car at the worst possible time.

What brought the first film down so much were the downright idiotic decisions some of the characters (mostly Charlie) made. Similar decisions drag the overall enjoyment of the sequel down in to the gutter. Leo knows that it's a dumb idea to save Eva and Cali when it isn't his business, but he does so anyway. The trio then crosses paths with Shane and Liz and they basically stick together the rest of the film. It's amusing to think that all of them are scared stupid by the fact they were just saved by a man armed to the teeth wanting to Purge and yet he's practically their savior by the halfway point of the film.

All crime is legal during the annual Purge; that means not just murder. "The Purge: Anarchy" makes it seem like hanging out around banks is a safe haven during this dangerous night which seems to shove the franchise into a very limited corner. So people only want to kill during The Purge? Nobody is trying to pull off a heist to become rich? What about sex or drugs? Those acts of delinquency don't flourish to exceptional new heights this time of year? The Purge could be a very interesting franchise, but it refuses to try and is therefore completely dull.

The first film wasn't afraid to show a few deaths on screen. Ethan Hawke had that one brutally entertaining fight that was pretty fun. You don't see enough of that in the sequel to the action thriller. The film still relies on jump scares to entice its audience, but it's more about the hunt than anything else. Toying with your prey with little execution seems to be the running theme of "The Purge: Anarchy."

Frank Grillo does absolutely everything he can to not only deliver a fantastic performance, but make this film worthwhile. He is the main reason to watch the film and the sequel feels like it's almost built around the final few minutes where Grillo crams all of his talent into the delivery of a handful of lines. Auctioning off those unfortunate enough to be out during The Purge to the rich is also a unique twist, but it fails to go as far as you hope.

"The Purge: Anarchy" fails to give the sensation that an impending and violent death is just around the corner. The violence seems toned down in the sequel, especially when the only really gruesome death in the film is completely, noticeably, and poorly computer generated.

Frank Grillo is as remarkable as humanly possible and there are a few concepts that are unexpectedly enjoyable, but "The Purge: Anarchy" mostly flops thanks to its boring direction and failure to follow through with what the human brain anticipates during one eventful night with no rules. It's like being handed the keys to the kingdom and spending all your time in a broom closet.


Witching and Bitching
Witching and Bitching
DVD
Price: $6.99

2.0 out of 5 stars A nice steamy pile of outlandishness, July 18, 2014
If "Witching & Bitching" was anything like Alex de la Iglesia's last film "The Last Circus," then its audience would be in store for surreal visuals, an incredible score, and most importantly two hours of unpredictability. Unfortunately, "Witching & Bitching" decides to be much more absurd rather than an intriguing tragedy of horror.

The lighting is visually striking as soon as the film begins as Eva (Carolina Bang) rides her motorcycle through a forest during the day. The sun's light leaks through the holes in the branches of trees to create this optically pleasing opening scene. The colors and costumes during the heist sequence are also incredibly vibrant, but it's disappointing that the gore you see here is all you get in the entire film.

Jose's ex-wife Silvia (Macarena Gomez) overreacts to an extent that is mind boggling and completely frustrating. Not only is she the worst nurse in existence, but she outruns a couple of cops solely because she realizes her son is part of her husband's heist. Hellacious women and complaining about them in length are the bread and butter of the film, which leads one to believe that Mr. Iglesia has likely had it rough with the opposite sex over the years.

The horror-comedy is somewhat compelling at first with a shootout that sees someone dressed as Spongebob shot until their last breath and a car chase in a taxi culminating with one of its passengers being tied up and thrown in the trunk. Around the time Jose and Antonio start drooling over and competing over Eva's affection is where things go downhill. Witches begin crawling on ceilings, male characters make out with each other, and a giant, blind, obese woman with breasts that sag so low that it's a safety hazard for everyone within a three-mile distance stomps into the picture only to begin eating people.

"Witching & Bitching" is an overly bizarre film that does fit Alex de la Iglesia's repertoire, but at the same time pushes the boundaries of fun and outrageous which results in a ludicrous atmosphere. "Witching & Bitching" is essentially "The Wicker Man" if Sam Raimi got a hold of the rights and directed it.


Hellion
Hellion
DVD
Price: $6.99

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A gloomy, dazzling, and empathetic drama, July 4, 2014
This review is from: Hellion (Amazon Instant Video)
Relating to what Jacob and Wes are put through in "Hellion" was fairly easy. While something similar didn't happen to myself, I grew up with cousins who did; a pair of brothers three years apart who also had a thing about dirt bikes and probably got into way more trouble than they should have. The relationships in "Hellion" feel very genuine because of it. Even Jacob's friends tease each other in ways that seem like these kids legitimately know each other quite well.

The drama heavily relies on characters taking responsibility for their actions during a time when the grieving process is still in full effect. While the worst seems to be behind the Wilson family, they still have issues coping with not only their loss but picking up the pieces of what remains of their lives.

Aaron Paul portrays a character that is far from perfect. Try as he might to do what's best for his family, Haggis still slips up from time to time. Haggis is almost completely withdrawn from the world around him as he buries his emotions from everyone including himself. This has to be one of the (if not the) most wholesome roles Juliette Lewis has ever taken on. Pam seems to only want what's best for Wes, but at the same time doesn't really think twice about separating a young boy from his father and brother.

"Hellion" puts this really interesting spin on delinquent behavior. You can't just walk away from your demons as it takes time and a hell of a lot of effort to change not only your habits but something dark you've become over the years.

Personally speaking, "Hellion" hits closer to home than expected and that's what makes it worthwhile. With gorgeous cinematography and an exceptional cast, including a breakout performance from Josh Wiggins, "Hellion" allows its audience to travel the downward spiral of a broken family and is absolutely gripping thanks to its authentic feel.


Deliver Us From Evil
Deliver Us From Evil
DVD ~ Eric Bana
Price: $21.98

1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Grotesquely satisfying, July 3, 2014
This review is from: Deliver Us From Evil (DVD)
Writer and director Scott Derrickson was able to deliver something genuinely terrifying in 2012's "Sinister." Originality isn't something that horror is able to boast about very often, but "Sinister" is unique, riveting, and a horror film that was actually frightening in the month of October. Deliver Us from Evil" is his follow-up and it is mostly in the same frightening vein as its predecessor.

The biopic, crime, horror, thriller has a bit of a clunky start as you're shown the events of 2010 in the country of Iraq as three men raid a creepy underground lair in the middle of nowhere, come across every dark creature imaginable (spiders, snakes, and bats), and experience something terrifying that culminates in a found footage scene that seems to deliberately pay homage to "The Blair Witch Project."

Joel McHale plays Sarchie's partner Butler and the character seems to completely throw the film off track. While he is amusing, Butler seems to add this extremely awkward buddy cop dynamic to the film that really doesn't belong. Comedy and horror are often blended together, but the result isn't always satisfying. Butler is the goofy sidekick that represents comedic relief with a predictable fate.

The film doesn't really begin to pick up until Mendoza is introduced. This is a priest who drinks regularly, smokes heavily, and seems to enjoy the night life, so there's obviously something different about him. Not only is his back story intriguing, but the scenes Edgar Ramirez shares with Eric Bana are the best in the film. Pretty much the entire second half of the film is superb because of Bana and Ramirez.

Along with the inclusion of children in horror (something Derrickson played with in "Sinister"), another element that isn't always easy to swallow in the genre is exorcisms. Some of the most influential sequences in horror have been exorcisms, but they've become so common that they've lost their appeal and most of all their bite. "Deliver Us from Evil" is able to feature an exorcism that is not only as memorable as the one in "The Conjuring," but actually surpasses it.

"Deliver Us from Evil" is slightly clumsy at first as it flounders about in the dark and juggles comedy when it isn't necessary, but the film is intense, disturbing, and gruesomely clever once it finds its footing. "Deliver Us from Evil" is dirty and grungy like "Seven" and eerie and nerve-racking like "Sinister." At its peak, "Deliver Us from Evil" is a macabre, supernatural odyssey.


Snowpiercer [Blu-ray] (Region A)
Snowpiercer [Blu-ray] (Region A)
DVD ~ Chris Evans
Offered by Far East Flea Market
Price: $35.99
5 used & new from $29.79

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Wear a shoe as a hat and talk to your engine god, July 2, 2014
"Snowpiercer" was seemingly the coup de grace in what would otherwise be well-known South Korean directors taking over the American box office. 2013 was going to be the year that Park Chan-wook, Kim Jee-woon, and "Snowpiercer" director Bong Joon-ho all debuted their first English language films. While "Stoker" was a solid thriller, it didn't live up to some of Park Chan-wook's other works and "The Last Stand" was the biggest, dumbest, and most disappointing action film of the year revolving around the return of Arnold Schwarzenegger.

However, 2013 came and went without any sort of release scheduled for "Snowpiercer." The film debuted all over the world except for the United States throughout the second half of 2013. France has not only already released the film on Blu-ray, but has given it a magnificent ultimate edition release. Now that the film is finally being released in the US, is it worth the year long wait?

Much of "Snowpiercer" is devoted to Curtis building his revolution. He relies on the help of his best friend Edgar (Jamie Bell), his mentor Gilliam (John Hurt), and Tanya (Octavia Spencer) who is just a mother trying to find her son. Tilda Swinton appears as the groveling Mason who works for Wilford (Ed Harris) and only wants what's best for herself. Also appearing in the film is Song Kang-ho as Namgoong Minsu, the man who designed all of the technology on the ship. Nam's awakening is an interesting one and his addiction to the drug Kronol pays off in a big way.

The sci-fi action film is a social commentary on humanity remaining in its proper place in order to keep things running like clockwork. When somebody steps out of line or throws a monkey wrench into the works, utter chaos ensues. Humans are designed to desire what they can't have and to dream about accomplishing what will likely never be attained. The journey Curtis sets out on is equivalent to a hobo running for president. Morality becomes a factor on more than one occasion as characters in the film do unspeakable things in order to merely just survive. Chris Evans has one particular scene near the end of the film that is exceptionally bleak.

The concept of "Snowpiercer" isn't entirely unique as it does feel familiar, but its enthralling presentation surrounds the film with fascinating characters and exquisite performances. The story of Curtis is like a tragic rags to riches story without the character having any opportunity to enjoy the rich aspect of it. The film implies that without rules and without order, humanity is doomed even if that order comes with an unethical price. While the science fiction and action elements of the film do add a sense of theatrics to the overall experience, it's as if the message "Snowpiercer" is attempting to portray makes a deeper impact than anything else the film has to offer. Maybe there always is a light at the end of the tunnel with a metaphorical self-sufficient train to get you there.


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