My Laserdisc Collection: Gallery Two

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Hi, Gang! Here is another Gallery of some movie titles from my Laserdisc Collection. Enjoy!

PULP FICTION

PULP FICTION

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Pulp Fiction

Directed by Quentin Tarantino

3 Sides

BACK TO THE FUTURE

BACK TO THE FUTURE

Back to the Future

Directed by Robert Zemeckis

2 Sides

THE FOG

THE FOG

The Fog

Directed by John Carpenter

2 Sides

MISERY

MISERY

Misery

Directed by Rob Reiner

2 Sides

 

Hope you liked the Gallery, everyone. There will be more to come soon!

Thanks for stopping by!

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My Laserdisc Collection: Gallery One

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HI, GANG! JUST A QUICK FILLER POST FOR YOU ALL!

THE FIRST GALLERY OF THE CURRENT LASERDISCS THAT I OWN. THERE WILL BE OTHERS POSTED THROUGH-OUT 2017

ENJOY!

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ESCAPE FROM LA

DIRECTED BY JOHN CARPENTER

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PREDATOR 2

DIRECTED BY STEPHEN HOPKINS

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IN THE MOUTH OF MADNESS

DIRECTED BY JOHN CARPENTER

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WOLFEN

DIRECTED BY MICHAEL WADLEIGH

 

HOPE YOU ENJOYED THE GALLERY, GANG. THERE ARE MORE TO COME IN THE NEAR FUTURE. THANKS FOR STOPPING BY ‘THE DEN!

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Star Trek Movies Ranked: The Next Generation (1994-2002)

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4 – STAR TREK: INSURRECTION

DIRECTED BY JONATHAN FRAKES

7 OUT 10

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3 – STAR TREK: NEMESIS

(NO, I DIDN’T HATE IT)

DIRECTED BY STUART BAIRD

7 OUT OF 10

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2 – STAR TREK: GENERATIONS

DIRECTED BY DAVID CARSON

7 OUT OF 10

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1 – STAR TREK: FIRST CONTACT

DIRECTED BY JONATHAN FRAKES

9 OUT OF 10

 

HOPE YOU LIKED THE RANKINGS AND I’M SURE THERE ARE MANY OF YOU OUT THERE THAT RANK THEM DIFFERENTLY, SO PLEASE, SOUND OFF BELOW AND THANKS FOR CHECKING IN!

– VIC

POSTERS BY MATT FERGUSON

PRINTS  

AVAILABLE

HERE

The Star Wars Movies Ranked (Updated)

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Hi everyone! As of the New Year, I’ve re-watched the entirety of the Star Wars Films (both trilogies) and I have Updated my previous post to include Star Wars: The Force Awakens and Rogue One: A Star Wars Story. Hope you enjoy the update and thanks for checking into ‘The Den!

Vic

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The “Star Wars” Movies Ranked

By Vic

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8) Star Wars: Attack of the Clones”

Directed by George Lucas

7 out of 10

 

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7) Star Wars: The Phantom Menace”

Directed by George Lucas

7 out of 10

 

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6) “Star Wars: Revenge of the Sith 

Directed by George Lucas

8 out of 10

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5) Rogue One: A Star Wars Story

Directed by Gareth Edwards

8 out of 10

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4) “Star Wars: The Force Awakens”

Directed by J.J. Abrams

8 out of 10

 

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3) “Star Wars: Return of the Jedi”

Directed by Richard Marquand

8 out of 10

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2) “Star Wars: A New Hope”

Directed by George Lucas

10 out of 10

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1) “Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back”

Directed by Irvin Kershner

10 out of 10

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Thanks, everyone, for stopping by and reading my ranking of the “Star Wars” Movies. I hope you liked it. Let me know your own personal rankings in the comments section. Thanks!

Vic

Enjoy the gallery of Fan Art Posters Below!

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Vic’s Review – “Train to Busan” (2016)

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Train to Busan”

What’s it About?

While a zombie-virus breaks out in South Korea, a couple of passengers struggle to survive on the train from Seoul to Busan.

Directed by  Sang-ho Yeon

Damn. This film is crazy. No really, it’s crazy. Pretty damn nuts. It’s been a long while, probably since Zack Snyder’s DotD remake, have I watched an unpretentious, lightning speed work of modern horror zombie art like Train to Busan from South Korea and from director Sang-ho Yeon. Taking it’s que from Danny Boyle and suspending the more conventional slow zombie trope and making the antogonists “infected,” Yeon’s film takes on the same frenetic momentum that 28 Days Later, and even to an extent, World War Z, demonstrated. What Yeon does differently, here, is add a dynamic array of characters, a straight narrative with answers to questions and, of course, the most important thing: Confines the horror to a speeding train. Zombies on a Train? Yeah, sounds like a bad SyFy channel flick, right? Wrong, kiddies.

Yeon’s film is a train ride you must catch on time and enjoy simply because even when setting up important things like working and corporate class division, familial strife, melodrama, and precarious social and environmental issues, the movie is a relentless shot out of a horror cannon. Yeon’s messages never get too deeply rooted or profound, making way instead for close calls and hazardously loaded exchanges between characters. Stereotypes do abound, though, don’t get me wrong, but it’s done here for the sake of “set em up and knock em down” terror antics. Some of the messages and gimmicky social commentary may induce an eye roll here and there, but it isn’t always expedient. What Yeon does best is providing breakneck action sequences that are staged appropriately and tirelessly shot with the utmost attention to the claustrophobia, tension and horror that permeates aboard the train.

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Actor Yoo Gong (Silenced) sympathetically portrays Seok Woo, a troubled Investment Executive, who handles a lucrative industrial company, which appears to be tied in, if not directly responsible for the environmental calamity that has befallen South Korea. Yeon establishes early on in the film that this incident affects not only humans but animals, too, in a very alarming scene involving a deer struck down by a truck driven by one of the company’s employees. Woo is expected to deliver his young 9 year old daughter, played by the wonderful and emotive Soo-an Kim, to her Mother, estranged from Woo, in Busan after her visit with him and her grandmother ends. Woo’s work troubles spill over into his personal life when his relationship with Soo-an grinds to a halt by his non-presence in her life (He even missed a recital which is a big daddy no-no). She astutely picks up on his shortcomings as a dad and her absence from her mother causes her to anxiously await the train trip back. Woo, who is trying hard to be a good father to Soo-an, can’t seem to get out of his own way and cannot seem to patch things up straight with his daughter.

Yeon propels the story very quickly and establishes all the characters on the train that are going to flesh out the gruesome canvas that the film paints on. Yeon, by introducing enigmatic passengers with bite afflictions boarding the train, catapults the movies into familiar, but still exciting territory. Also added in is a homeless stranger who makes it onto the train and hides in a bathroom. The stranger, though, appears to not be bitten or harmed, but just scared and in an iffy state of mind. Needless to say the ball is in Yeon’s court now and the fun begins. TtB is stylishly shot within the tight confines of the train and even the generous open-ness of the accompanying train stations, where the quickly depleting motley crew aboard the train, struggle to survive.

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The excitement is relentless, as is the suspense, and the interactions between the characters feel real and their plight and panic never feel shoe-horned or trivial. Yeon makes sure that when things don’t appear to be able to get worse, they actually do and the mayhem and un-expected dispatches of many established characters is a testament to the reality the characters face, on and off the train.

Actor Dong-Seok Ma plays the love-able, scrappy and big Sang Hwa, who is initially introduced as a cheeky, insult slinging bad ass. Hwa’s only concern is to his pregnant newlywed and he’ll fight legions of un-dead in any way he can to protect her. Even if that means making Woo look inside himself to help her and his own daughter. Woo, who is apathetic and uncaring of others at first is called out numerous times by his daughter, who is the most conscientious character of the whole movie. Even Hwa sees it when Woo does not.

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That is another reason that TtB really works. It’s the father / daughter dynamic that changes Woo and the creatures hunting them down extracts the person that Woo once was. It only takes a fiesty stranger and his daughter to bring it all out into the open, only to face the dangers more confidently and with more endurance than they ever thought they would ever need.

TtB is a film of relationships and exchanges, but we also get a corporate bad guy that is as sleazy and self serving as we can get, along with a team of brave baseball players, a love lorn young man, a pair of elderly sisters who begin to cherish each other in the face of certain death, and a heroic train conductor who only thinks of the safety of his passengers. It all almost harkens back to the pastiche of the great disasters films of the 1970’s. Granted, many of these people don’t make it to Busan but they fulfill a purpose, and that is for Yeon to show us how fragile life is and how much we usually take for granted before it’s too late.

The horror action is insanely paced and never lets up. There are chases, close calls, blood, bone cracking zombie transformations and even derailments and explosions, to boot. The film takes very small respites to further some character development before crashing back into mayhem and commotion.

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The film is inventive in it’s depiction of the survival tactics the characters in peril use in order to prevent themselves from becoming infected. Everything from cell phones to bats to bathrooms. It’s all here, gang. The infected themselves are relentless and never let up, like it should be. They run, jump, growl, distort and even create crazy zombie body ramps, all in order to get to their prey. They are raw, menacing contortionists that are indeed very scary and the energy the actors put into the parts explodes from the screen.

Train to Busan is a smart film that is about humanity albeit with a flair for melodrama in parts. It’s enjoyable not only for it’s mayhem but for how the actors portray the hapless victims caught up in the nightmare, fighting for their lives. It’s a very approachable dynamic that works, here. The movie is clean but gory. (not by any means a gorefest, though). Efficient but untidy and blood curdling. It’s bold, brashy and impetuous in parts and the occasional self indulgence is tolerated.

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Yeon directs a sleek horror film that goes from terrifying you to making you choke up in the span of two hours. It’s a deep film in parts and the melodrama doesn’t keep it from bogging down into slushy hysterics. Yeon’s tight and intense handling of yet another entry in the zombie genre is quite refreshing and actually redeems the genre somewhat. As long as more un-recycled, altruistic, observational horror films like Train to Busan come out then Z flick lovers should be good to go into double dipping in movies as well put together as this one. I highly recommend this one, gang. Enjoy!

Vic’s Top 10 Roy Scheider Movies

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Roy Richard Scheider (November 10, 1932 – February 10, 2008) was an American actor and amateur boxer. He gained fame for his leading and supporting roles in several iconic films from the 1970s, playing Police Chief Martin C. Brody in Jaws (1975) and Jaws 2 (1978), NYPD Detective Buddy “Cloudy” Russo in The French Connection (1971), NYPD Detective Buddy Manucci in The Seven Ups (1973), Doc in Marathon Man (1976), and choreographer and film director Joe Gideon (whose character was based on Bob Fosse) in All That Jazz (which was written and directed by Fosse) (1979). He is also known for playing Captain Nathan Bridger in the science fiction television seriesseaQuest DSV (1993-1996). Described by AllMovie as “one of the most unique and distinguished of all Hollywood actors”, Scheider was nominated for two Academy Awards, a Golden Globe Award and a BAFTA Award.

Source : Wikipedia

Vic’s Top 10 Roy Scheider Movies

10 – 52 Pick Up

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9 – Cohen and Tate

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8 – Sorcerer

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7 – The Seven Ups

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6 – The French Connection

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5 – Blue Thunder

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4 – All That Jazz

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3 – 2010

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2 – Jaws 2

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1 – Jaws

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Honorable Mentions –

Romeo is Bleeding

Last Embrace

Still of the Night

Marathon Man

The Rainmaker

Netflix, Hulu and Amazon Prime Alert for October 2016

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COMING SOON TO AMAZON PRIME, HULU PLUS AND NETFLIX!

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American Horror Story – Hotel (AP, Netflix)

Smallville Seasons 1 – 10 (Hulu)

Bowling for Columbine (Ap, Netflix)

The Devil’s Advocate (AP)

Spectre (AP, Hulu)

Alice (AP, Hulu)

Amityville Horror (Hulu)

Married to the Mob (AP, Hulu)

Pride and Prejudice (AP)

Zombie Nation (AP, Hulu)

The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 2 (AP, Hulu)

The Mr Peabody and Sherman Show Season 3 (Netflix)

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Ferris Bueller’s Day Off (Netflix)

The Flash Season 2 (Netflix)

Training Day (AP)

Happy Gilmore (AP)

Breakfast at Tiffany’s (Netflix)

Kung Fu Panda 3 (Netflix)

Arrow Season 4 (Netflix)

Air Force One (Hulu)

Black Mirror Season 3 (Netflix)

The Falcon and the Snowman (AP, Hulu)

Lethal Weapon (AP)

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“Jaws” Quadrilogy Now Available On Netflix

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You Read right folks! Jaws, Jaws 2, Jaws 3 and even the 4th and most maligned of the series, Jaws the Revenge are all available to stream on Netflix in high definition. Let’s hope for a long stay so everyone can catch them all over and over again!

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Vic’s Review – “Batman: The Killing Joke” (2016)

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Batman: The Killing Joke

What’s it About?

As Batman hunts for the escaped Joker, the Clown Prince of Crime attacks the Gordon family to prove a diabolical point mirroring his own fall into madness.

Directed by  Sam Liu

By Vic

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DCU’s mainstay animation director, Sam Liu (Batman Year One, All Star Superman, JL v Teen Titans) brings Alan Moore’s and Brian Bolland’s (who was inspired by the classic silent film “The Man Who Laughs” with Conrad Veidt) “The Killing Joke” to life along with comic book scribe Brian (Wonder Woman) Azzarello. The films marks the return of Mark Hamill (Star Wars: The Force Awakens, Village of the Damned) voicing The Joker and Kevin Conroy (Batman: The Animated Series) returning as Batman. The Eisner winning graphic novel, which was released way back in 1988, was a seminal one shot book that set the bar really high and is considered to be one of the best Batman / Joker stories ever published. It includes a uniquely dynamic and visceral backstory in which Moore explores, in parallels, how The Joker came to be and how he still remains in the present, trying criminally to show Batman how they are actually so much alike as a result of “one bad day.”

The book also is very important for having a singular incident befall a beloved character in the DC universe, resulting in said character to absorb a completely new identity as hero in Gotham. Having re-read TKJ a year or so ago and trying to retain all the material, I must say that the book remains very relevant and completely absorbing psychologically and artistically. In other words, it still hold up.

Unfortunately, over 25 years later, as a adaptation to the little screen (Or big screen depending where you may have seen it), by Liu, DC and company, the film falls way off the mark and is surprisingly flat, boring, outdated and uninspired. A disappointing effort that, given the source material, is rendered practically inert by a distracting and protracted prologue at the film’s beginning that feels like fluff in order to whet our appetite for the actual meat and potatoes, which ironically, in turn seems rushed and expedited. The start of the “The Killing Joke,” AKA “Batgirl Gets Horny,” begins innocuous enough with a VO of Barbara Gordon (Tara Strong) as Batgirl.

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She take us into her world of Gotham while expounding on the trials and expectations of looming dangers living in Batman’s world. Strangely, Batgirl comes across reckless, perpetually cocky, emotional and just plain amateur-ish at times as she tries to bring down an impetuous young mafioso in Gotham who has an Uncle in the way of his obtaining his empire in Gotham’s underworld. Within this story, Liu displays enough truck chases, fisticuffs, shots to the head and explosions to whet our palette, but I couldn’t help but feel like this whole affair was tacked on and just padding to fill out the running time. If it was the intent to add more depth to Barbara and Batgirl then it didn’t work and it just came off hokey and transparent. We already know and like Batgirl and have an emotional investment so why this prologue at all? Was it to set something up? If that was the case, then we’ve been played Batgirl fans.

What I think really annoyed me was the sexually driven narrative. I know better than anyone else that sex sells, but come on! Please, don’t insult my intelligence, DC. I won’t go any further than that, gang. Just be warmed. And in my opinion, it was all just unnecessary and comes across pretty trite. If Liu and Azzarello wanted to make a Batgirl flick then they should have made a Batgirl flick. Batgirl here, just comes across as a whiny, sexually frustrated and really immature hero that plays into the opposite of her also being a bad ass girl dark knight that can still kick your ass. Batman, here, only serves to swoop in occasionally and be broody and disapproving of Batgirl’s antics.

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What is quite frustrating is that this intro leaves nothing to the imagination or provokes thought regarding the dangers and psychology of living as a dark hero in Gotham (Batman is kind of a moody version of a big brother scolding his carefree little sister trying to school her in being a better hero) and only serves as a disconnect to what come after.

And getting to that…when the film becomes the “Killing Joke” in true form, the first thing we notice is that the animation style stands out quite nicely but then eventually becomes a bit inconsistent. In some scenes, (Batman’s attempt to talk to The Joker in AA for example) it looks pretty well rendered in shadow and color while others look underdeveloped and thick, like Joker’s facial expressions (his eyes looking tiny and weird) and some backgrounds like those at the abandoned carnival grounds.

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Liu and company try valiantly to replicate some fine moments from the Bolland’s art style in the book and succeed for the most part only in the animation but in the narrative and style in is sorely lacking in any real tension and build up. Do look for the great “pulled from the pages” shot of the Joker going mad after the botched robbery at the chemical plant, though! My only gripe with Bats here was his suit, bat emblem, ears and cowl. It all seemed a bit off to me but I am nitpicking and in the end is not such a distracting point. Perhaps it all was an attempt to emulate Bolland’s vision of Batman as a whole.

The film competently tries to follow Moore and Bolland’s book narrative regarding The Joker’s escape from Arkham, Joker’s flashbacks to his family and career woes, Batman trailing the Joker to the carnival including Gordon’s abduction and the almost demise of Barbara Gordon. I just wish they could have delved more into these story points with more depth and exposure perhaps using more dialog or even more visual explorations. Which brings me back to the forced rom com intro that needn’t have been thrust upon us in this particular DC animated outing (It also serves to sully and debase the character of Barbara Gordon imo). All it succeeded in doing was sucking the time that could have directed to more of the true Moore / Bolland story.

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Hamill and Conroy slip right back into their character’s warm slippers and do a commendable job as the voices of the Joker and Batman. I knew, for obvious reasons, that this was the only real saving grace to be had from this convoluted mess. Hamill and Conroy are just barely enough of an excuse to watch “The Killing Joke” in my opinion. They elevated it to perhaps an “episode of the week” entry with strong interaction and dynamic voice ranges as their prospectative characters. It is just pretty cool listening to these two again but I would have wished it could have been as another story or adaptation or an original story for the screen. Any other circumstance but this film. Shit, I could listen to those two do radio car insurance commercials.

None of the real impact of the the book is on display here and any of the psychological manipulations the characters go through are made minimal here by an uneven pace and vapid deflections. None of the explored themes jump out at you and because of the lack of exploration there does not seem to be any real danger or connection felt between Batman and The Joker.

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The fact that they do not fit in the real outside world but are so much alike is never really explored except through a lame musical number by The Joker which is just embarrassing to watch. Everything just reeks of average-ness in The Killing Joke which is a shame since this was a highly anticipated feature. Perhaps the book was kept shelved too long before being made into a movie, who knows? It could have been served better as a late 80’s or early 90’s live action adaptation made by Tim Burton or someone of his ilk at the time.

Liu and Azzarello just do not keep the focus on any one thing that made the book a stand out and as a DC animated film, it is only just a curiosity piece and nothing more. The high standards, with the exception of some of the animation and of course Hamill and Conroy, are not displayed here and I cannot fully recommend “The Killing Joke” to anyone who is a true fan of the Moore and Bolland collab. But it you must indulge, and are a completist and enormous Batman fan, since the film does have some neat action and mayhem in parts, then consider “The Killing Joke” only as a rental.

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Vic’s Review – “They Look Like People” (2015)

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They Look Like People”

What’s it About?

Suspecting that people around him are turning into evil creatures, a troubled man questions whether to protect his only friend from an impending war, or from himself.

Directed by Perry Blackshear

Wyatt, in They Look Like People, hears voices. He hears them through his cell phone. Ominous, deep and disembodied voices tell, Wyatt, a singularly troubled and isolated individual, that he is one of the “blessed.” To Wyatt, this means that he is a warrior, and one of a chosen few that can really see demonic and other-worldly entities that can assimilate humans around us, to eventually bring on the apocalypse. For all intent and purposes, Wyatt has been recruited to follow instructions and figure out who is who among those around him, even if it means taking matters into his own hands. Wyatt, played by MacLeod Andrews, enters New York City and it is apparent right away, that he is lost and seems to be running or avoiding something in his past. He looks very displaced and absolutely needy.

One day, he randomly runs into an old friend, named Christian (Evan Dumouchel), on the streets of NYC, not too far from Christian’s home. Christian, very surprised and at a loss, to see his friend, eventually has mercy on Wyatt and with astute sensibility, asks Wyatt to stay with him.

Writer and Director Perry Blackshear directs this indie thriller, with help from a grant, made through New York University and Tisch School of the Arts, with these two characters very much at the center of everything. Through their re-introduction to each other, begins an intriguing journey. Christian himself, thanks to Perry’s astute script, also hears voices and the film explores parallels between the two good friends. Christian’s past saw him as a submissive, weak person lacking confidence and drive. Blackshear’s small film takes us on a trip through a world of machismo and manly conventions in the dog eat dog world of young, yuppie corporate New York City.

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All this is through Christian’s eyes, as he tries to man up and do himself some good by working up the nerve to ask his boss out on a date. The voices that Christian hears are those of positive affirmations through his headphones whenever he works out, takes the train and rests at home. TLLP explores this duality in painting him as the classic alpha male and gym rat, while still having to reconcile his past which included his friend Wyatt prominently. Christian simply is trying to re-invent himself while listening to voices telling him that he “is a mountain.”

TLLP showcases the 2 actors that play Wyatt and Christian very well. As actors they connect, feel sincere, act natural and seem very much at ease with each other. I can almost hear Blackshear’s direction: Just be yourselves, fellas! And they are. They drink, act out Lord of the Rings, play sock games and take trips down memory lane. But as they grow comfortable together and Christian’s life seems to take a cool upswing with his boss Mara (Played brilliantly by the sweet Margaret Ying Drake), Wyatt takes a turn for the worse as he continues to hear the unnerving demonic voice which now sounds like Mara herself. Blackshear, in his wisdom here, shows very little, creating a tight atmosphere which he builds suspense with. Before all of this, though, we are treated to nice moments of calm before the storm as Mara and Christian bond in nice little segments of the two interacting before a bombshell goes off for Christian at his workplace.

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Blackshear brilliantly uses sound (incredibly creepy sounds at that), tight shots and quick cuts of character interaction to incrementally build dread and despair. He also gives us a ringside seat to Wyatt’s slow decline into paranoia and despondency. Wyatt tries to seek out help but shoots it down as he suspects the worse. He also takes matters into his own hand as he begins to take more orders from those voices and prepares for war with dangerous supplies bought in a hardware (sulfuric acid included) store. Christian, otherwise, suspects nothing as Wyatt hides axes and nail guns in his basement.

One night, though, Christian begins to notice a change in Wyatt and Blackshear ramps up the whole affair in the last half hour of this incredbly succinct indie. Christian is awoken by Wyatt having a severe episode and his paranoia begins to scare Christian into a standstill. But being a quick thinker, Christian offers to help. Things get worse as Wyatt suspects Mara of being an “other.”

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There is enough subtext in Blackshear’s film for two other movies. What Blackshear does really well here, is give us likeable and real characters, and what lies beneath the skin and in their hearts first, as he also challenges us to look into ourselves and what we would do for friends in need struggling with mental illness. The film is indeed a thriller and some may package it as a horror indie but it is much more than that. TLLP is an exploration. A drama about reconnected friends with emotional baggage that need each other in a dire stretch of their friendship.

What the actors convincingly portray are 2 men that are much stronger together than individually and when real monsters appear (or are they?) the strength of trust and love endures all of that. Films about mental illness, especially in the horror genre, don’t really take the time to show us this side of things and by the very end, the movie lets us know that there is much more to this side of the issue.

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TTLP is not an overt horror film and does not use any of the more conventional tropes associated with more big budgeted films of it’s type. It is a film of impressions and implications and hits home more in a psychological aspect. It is a film to be very patient with and it is not for everyone. But Blackshear, who also served as editor and cinematographer, serves up a very unique film about people and by the end, you will look back and see what his intent was from the way he wraps the film up.

Blackshear is to be very commended for making a film that is wholly and truly his. It is beautifully shot, edited and not at any time do you see the film’s budgetary limitations bleed through. Every dollar is put up on the screen and it is a good looking production that makes NYC a character all it’s own and gives our protagonists and characters a stunning backdrop to share the story in. But be warned, if slow burn films are not your flavor of the month, then look elsewhere. If you can tolerate an 80 minute excursion into a character’s slow madness and compelling psychological neuro-drama, then They Look Like People is well worth it. The ending, while open to interpretation, is a knock out, in my opinion, solidifying both Blackshear as a storyteller and the film as a intriguing piece of original work.

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They Look Like People” is currently available to stream in high definition on Netflix.

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Vic’s Review – “Feast” (2005)

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Feast”

What’s it About?

Patrons and workers at a desolate town bar try to ward off murderous and ravenous alien beasts

Directed by John Gulager

By Vic

It’s road kill revenge”

Feast,” directed by John Gulager, is one batshit crazy movie, in the most tried and true grindhouse tradition. Let me get this out of the way now, and just admit that it attempts to provide lo fi, low brow, hokey b movie schlock, and it does it well, if at times it borders on eye rolling parody instead of admiration, respect and reverance. To do this right, the film, at the expense of any real story, decides to just administer the right combination of gory monster action, explicit situations, bar humor, vulgarities, banal dialog and plenty of “I didn’t see THAT coming” moments. Gulager’s film revels in psyching the viewer out with how the main characters (All hilariously introduced by freeze frames that include off the cuff bios with life expectancies) are randomly dispatched, leaving us to wonder if any of them are safe, who’s next, and who is going to make it out alive.

It seems that some nasty alien creatures have it in for us humans and where better to come after us (they do have a reason, I suppose) than a red neck dive bar in the middle of nowhere, or rather the Californian desert…well yeah, nowhere. After the intros and obligatory set up’s are over, we get the “hero,” (Eric Dane) barging into said dive bar, all bloody and screaming to everyone that there are murderous and ravenous creatures right behind him and that they better get ready to confront them. It’s a brief respite, then all gory hell breaks loose. The scene where a macho hero tries to save the day is something we’ve all seen countless times before (especially in horror and sci fi films) and Feast is happy to break with convention and press the reset button on how the rules hold up in these situations, and with that being said, Feast becomes an otherwise cracking fun time.

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It’s all an unpredictable, and honestly, a sometimes cliched affair, but, fortunately, between the monstrous excitement we are treated to some pretty funny bits of character interaction in the bar and some laugh out loud dialog. During a quiet moment, one character approaches an old bar hag asking about aliens and insults her by saying that: “Old people know shit!” It’s little bits of juvenile humor and tasteless-ness like this that makes this film hard to hate on some levels much like “Slither” from James Gunn.

The bar inhabitants in Feast are indeed a motley crew and I won’t go into who is who (though Balthazar Getty is pretty comical as an abhorrent pool hustler named “Bozo”) or what, since in the end, it doesn’t really matter, but we are reminded of many other films where people are all stuck together in one place fighting for their lives when an evil external force is trying to get in (Night of the Living Dead, Assault on Precinct 13, anyone?). Don’t even begin to think allegorically or metaphorically here, though, Feast IS NOT that type of flick. What it is, is a corny amalgam of sleazy alien attack flicks that permeated the late 70’s and 80’s in grindhouse theaters and of course, the already afore-mentioned films of Romero and Carpenter.

The movie does in fact feel like a sort of twisted black sheep sibling of Tarantino’s and Rodriguez’s ode to grind from a several years back. Gulager’s Feast seems to humorously take pride in the fact that almost none of it’s main characters have any redeeming values whatsoever and the story holds them in no esteem at all. They are very overtly un-likeable with most being crass, ugly, immature, boorish, blundering and cowardly. All the better, though, since we can’t wait to see who is eaten next, right?

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By the 3rd act, when the numbers of the questionable bar patrons dwindle even more, the film gains even more gusto and gets even more gross and enters really wacky territory with an unexpected turn of events. Feast writers, Marcus Dunstan and Patrick Melton, excel in keeping us guessing and they are indeed students of all that has come before in this particular genre. No one is safe in Feast, and even if this is very familiar territory, Dunstan and Patrick know that they are out to entertain us with schlocky aplomb. They also whip up some very facetious dialog between the characters as they try to outsmart the aliens and even themselves. Director Gulager outdoes himself with the casual gore and gross proceedings showing us everything in harsh reds without batting an eye. Feast is a fun and rollicking flick but you have to be looking to have some fun indulging in this kind of affair. In the end it’s all empty calories and the cinematic equivalent of a Snickers bar.

The cast here are all enjoyable, the gore front and center, the action cliched, the monster mayhem all shaky and what not, and did I mention the gore? Oh yeah, I did. Anyway, Feast is indeed a Feast of crude, odious and off color alien monster goodness that knows what it’s meant to consent to even if that wink and nod is really a self aware dose of parody (but there is yet another funny as hell freeze frame late in the game that I didn’t see coming). Technically, Feast is a solid grindhouse fit and it’s shot and composed capably.

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The make up FX are unexpectedly well done and well rendered and it appears that it’s all done practically with no CGI to be had anywhere. Feast isn’t a smart film in any way, but it is astute in playing the conventions that have made countless grindhouse movies so much fun back in the day. Like I said, it’s frenzied analog film-making in the breakneck style of Raimi’s “Evil Dead” and it serves up basic and elemental horror film tropes that are quite comical and dreadfully low brow, distasteful and offensively gross. Yep, batshit crazy. What gets better than that?

The Late Wes Craven, Matt Damon and Ben Affleck served as Executive Producers on “Feast.” Also, look for vet actor Clu Gulager as “Bartender.” He is the father of the Director.

 

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Drive it like you stole it!”

– Bozo