Friday, June 22, 2018

Screenings in the Bay (Friday to Sunday): The Lair of the White Worm, Mrs. Hyde, Upgrade



Happy Pride Weekend from San Francisco!

The pride parade is this Sunday, and while that means that the city will full of floats and characters, it also means that the city will be much more packed than usual. Remember to give yourself extra time to get wherever you're going, and avoid that stress educing rush. (This advice is honestly more for me than you LOL)

There are not a ton of titles I want to talk about playing in the city this weekend but if you're looking for something to watch, there are still some interest ticklers out there... Russian sci-fi action film Attraction opens at the 4 Star today, and the Roxie Theatre will be presenting The Lair of the White Worm on Sunday evening. But if you're looking to get out of the city, while also catching up on some must see films, the New Parkway will be screening both Upgrade and A Quiet Place several times over the weekend!




Opens Friday 22nd (1hr 57min)
International/ Sci-Fi/ Romance (Rotten Tomatoes)
An unidentified falling object from space changes our view of humanity and life beyond Earth. As local residents of Moscow residential district gather to see the fallen object, it forces mankind to question existing civilization and the potential for learning more...




Midnight Madness

Friday 22nd & Saturday 23rd @ 11:55pm (1hr 43min)
Adventure/ Fantasy (Rotten Tomatoes)
Veteran animator Hayao Miyazaki directs this buoyant children's adventure yarn about a young witch striking out on her own. At her mother's behest, 13-year-old Kiki sets out on a year-long apprenticeship with her black cat in tow. With a shaky command of her broom, she ends up in a charming little coastal town that looks like a cross between the French provincial and San Francisco. Unfortunately, the local hotels have a strict "no witches" policy and the police have taken a dim view of her recent aerial mischief-making. She's saved from the street by a kindly baker's wife, who offers her room and board in exchange for her delivering by broom the baker's wares. Soon she befriends a college-aged artist, an old women who fusses over her, and a boy her same age who is nursing a massive crush. All is well until she wakes up one day and realizes that she can't make her broom levitate nor can she talk to her cat. What will Kiki do? ~ Jonathan Crow, Rovi






A Quiet Place (2018)
Friday 22nd @ 8:25pm (1hr 30min)
Satuday 23rd @ 8pm
In the modern horror thriller A QUIET PLACE, a family of four must navigate their lives in silence after mysterious creatures that hunt by sound threaten their survival. If they hear you, they hunt you.



Upgrade (2018)
Friday 22nd & Saturday 23rd @ 10pm (1hr 35min)
Action/ Horror/ Sci-Fi (Rotten Tomatoes)
After his wife is killed during a brutal mugging that also leaves him paralyzed, Grey Trace (Logan Marshall Green, SPIDER-MAN: HOMECOMING, PROMETHEUS) is approached by a billionaire inventor with an experimental cure that will "upgrade" his body. The cure - an Artificial Intelligence implant called STEM - gives Grey physical abilities beyond anything experienced and the ability to relentlessly claim vengeance against those who murdered his wife and left him for dead.





Friday 22nd & Saturday 23rd @ 9pm (1hr 35min)
Sunday 24th @ 8:30pm
Comedy/ Drama/ Sci-Fi (Rotten Tomatoes)
High school science teacher Mrs. Géquil is struck by lightning on the night of a harvest moon. The woman begins to embody a powerful alter ego, Mrs. Hyde, that instills a newfound confidence in her. However, the new persona is dangerous and must be controlled.


Staff Pick

Sunday 24th @ 7pm (1hr 33min)
Horror (IMDB)
Taken from Bram Stoker's last novel, Ken Russell adds his artistic flair to this campy horror comedy. While staying at the ancestral home of sisters Mary (Sammi Davis) and Eve Trent (Catherine Oxenberg), a Scottish archaeology student uncovers a skull of unknown origin. Angus Flint (Peter Capaldi) reveals his findings to the neighboring nobleman Lord James (Hugh Grant). The two connect the ancient legends of a dragon to a strange cult that worships a giant, ravenous subterranean white worm. The property of the Trent sisters is later revealed to have been built on the sight where ancient pagan rituals took place. Vampire vixen and cult-member Lady Silvia Marsh (Amanda Donohoe) lures victims to the white worm to feed on.



VOD


Limited Theatres/ VOD Friday 22nd (1hr 31min)
Horror / International (Rotten Tomatoes)
Following her aunt's death, Colleen and her daughters inherit her house. However, during their first night in their new home, murderers enter the home, putting Colleen in a situation where she must fight to save her daughters' lives. When the girls suffer a terrible trauma during the night, their disparate personalities diverge even further. The eldest daughter, Beth, is said to become a famous horror author with a perfect family and life in Los Angeles, while her sister, Vera, can't cope and loses her mind faced with an unshakable sense of paranoia. Sixteen years later the daughters and mother reunite at the house where Colleen and Vera continue to reside. It is then that strange events begin to take place.



-Huntress

Tuesday, June 19, 2018

Bluray Tuesday Featuring: Unsane, Alien Predators & Pacific Rim Uprising

June 19th 2018


Our favorite day of the week returns once more! This week is a bit lighter on releases, but there's something for everyone being released today. First up is psychological thriller Unsane hitting both on Bluray and 4K today. I enjoyed this film in theaters, it's definitely one I'd recommend checking out. Scream Factory releases two films I haven't heard of but that seem pretty interesting, Alien Predators and Night of the Lepus. Both are released for the first time on Bluray. Pacific Rim was great and I had anticipated a sequel for some time. The sequel was finally released in theaters but the trailer didn't sell me on it, so I decided to wait for the Bluray. Pacific Rim: Uprising now hits shelves today with a few retailer exclusives. Target will carry a steelbook packaging and Best Buy will carry a 4K/3D combo pack if you want to own all discs in one set. Bella Thorne lead remake Midnight Sun is also released today if you are in the mood for a dramatic romance film. So what will you buy, rent or skip this week? Let us know in the comments. Until next week!

Unsane: Amazon - $19.99
4K: Amazon - $22.99

Sawyer Valentini relocates from Boston to Pennsylvania to escape from the man who's been stalking her for the last two years. While consulting with a therapist, Valentini unwittingly signs in for a voluntary 24-hour commitment to the Highland Creek Behavioral Center. Her stay at the facility soon gets extended when doctors and nurses begin to question her sanity. Sawyer now believes that one of the staffers is her stalker -- and she'll do whatever it takes to stay alive and fight her way out.

Unsane (Blu-ray) 

Unsane 4K (Blu-ray) 

Alien Predators (1985): Amazon - $19.99

Teens (Dennis Christopher, Lynn-Holly Johnson, Martin Hewitt) tour Spain in an RV and see the outgrowth of microbes brought back from the moon.

Alien Predators (Blu-ray) 

Pacific Rim: Uprising: Amazon - $19.99
3D: Amazon - $30.99
4K: Amazon - $22.99

Jake Pentecost is a once-promising Jaeger pilot whose legendary father gave his life to secure humanity's victory against the monstrous Kaiju. Jake has since abandoned his training only to become caught up in a criminal underworld. But when an even more unstoppable threat is unleashed to tear through cities and bring the world to its knees, Jake is given one last chance by his estranged sister, Mako Mori, to live up to his father's legacy.

Pacific Rim: Uprising (Blu-ray) 

Pacific Rim: Uprising 3D (Blu-ray) 

Pacific Rim: Uprising 4K (Blu-ray) 

Steelbook: Target - $22.99

Pacific Rim: Uprising (Blu-ray) 

3D/4K Exclusive: Best Buy - $27.99

Pacific Rim: Uprising 4K + 3D (Blu-ray) 

The Woman in The Window: Amazon - $19.99

Gotham College professor Wanley and his friends become obsessed with the portrait of a woman in the window next to the men's club. Wanley happens to meet the woman while admiring her portrait, and ends up in her apartment for talk and a bit of champagne. Her boyfriend bursts in and misinterprets Wanley's presence, whereupon a scuffle ensues and the boyfriend gets killed. In order to protect his reputation, the professor agrees to dump the body and help cover up the killing, but becomes increasingly suspect as the police uncover more and more clues and a blackmailer begins leaning on the woman.

 The Woman in the Window (Blu-ray) 

Night of the Lepus (1972): Amazon - $20.99

Arizona rancher Cole Hillman, dealing with massive rabbit overpopulation on his land, calls on a local college president, Elgin Clark, to help him. In order to humanely resolve the matter, Elgin brings in researchers Roy and Gerry Bennett, who inject the rabbits with chemicals. However, they fail to anticipate the consequences of their actions.

Night of the Lepus (Blu-ray) 

Midnight Sun: Amazon - $19.99

Based on the Japanese film, Midnight Sun centers on Katie, a 17-year-old sheltered since childhood and confined to her house during the day by a rare disease that makes even the smallest amount of sunlight deadly. Fate intervenes when she meets Charlie and they embark on a summer romance.
 
Midnight Sun (Blu-ray) 

Furious: Amazon - $17.99

A story of a legendary battle, where seventeen fearless warriors defend their land against an army of thousands well-trained soldiers. In 13th-century Mongol warrior hordes and their leader, Batu Khan, control most of the known world. As the Mongols move towards Europe they invade the last Russian principality standing in their way. Little do they know, their plans are about to be ruined by a small detachment of heroic strong men led by a mysterious brave warrior. This is a story about courage, endurance and self-sacrifice for the sake of one's country. This is the story of Evpaty the Furious.

Furious (Blu-ray) 


-The Impostor

Monday, June 18, 2018

Screenings in the Bay (Monday to Friday): Attraction, [REC] 3: Genesis, Incident in a Ghostland



It's relatively quiet in the bay area's theatres this week, but we do have two Studio Ghibli films starting and ending the week, Russian sci-fi film Attraction, opening at the 4 Star this Friday, and Isabelle Huppert (Elle, Happy End) starring in a new film, which will be opening at the Roxie this Friday. A new title also hits VOD and limited theatres this week: Incident in a Ghostland, which I'm personally pretty interested in. 




Opens Friday 22nd (1hr 57min)
International/ Sci-Fi/ Romance (Rotten Tomatoes)
An unidentified falling object from space changes our view of humanity and life beyond Earth. As local residents of Moscow residential district gather to see the fallen object, it forces mankind to question existing civilization and the potential for learning more...




Kids Camp

Tuesday 19th @ 12:55pm (1hr 31min)
Wednesday 20th @ 12:45pm
Thursday 21st @ 1:45pm
Horror/ Family/ Sci-fi (Rotten Tomatoes)
A little boy and his kindly grandmother thwart the efforts of a coven of witches to rid Britain of children by turning them into mice.


Terror Tuesday

Tuesday 19th @ 10:05pm (1he 20min)
Drama/ Horror/ Mystery (Rotten Tomatoes)
Koldo and Clara are about to celebrate the most important day of their lives: their wedding. Everything appears to be running smoothly and the bride and groom and their families are enjoying a wonderful day; that is until some of the guests start showing signs of a strange illness. Before they know what's happening, the bride and groom find themselves in the middle of a hellish ordeal, as an uncontrollable torrent of violence is unleashed on the wedding. Amidst the chaos, Koldo and Clara become separated and begin a desperate search for one another. What started off as an idyllic day quickly descends into a nightmare of the worst kind... -- (C) Magnet



Weird Wednesday

Wednesday 21st @ 10pm (2hrs 7min)
Action/ Biography/ Crime (IMDB)
The daughter of respected actor and matinee idol Lawrence Harvey, and model-turned-socialite Sophie Wynn, Domino Harvey was born into a life of wealth and privilege -- a lifestyle that did not interest her. Even from her earliest years, Domino rebelled against convention and the jet set. When Domino was only eight, her beloved father passed away and her mother looked to the stability of boarding school in a misguided attempt to tame her wild child. But nothing could repress Domino's fiery nature -- not friendships, not school, not her mother's high society. Even the extraordinary excesses paraded before her during a brief stint at modeling paled in comparison to her own escapades. Not until she stumbled upon a job seminar recruiting aspiring bounty hunters was her thirst for excitement at long last quenched. To Sophie's horror, Domino not only fell in love with the job but also with her fellow adventurers, who over the years would become her family.




AniMonday

Monday 18h @ 7:30pm (2hrs 13min)
Action/ Fantasy/ Scifi (Rotten Tomatoes)
On a journey to find the cure for a Tatarigami's curse, Ashitaka finds himself in the middle of a war between the forest gods and Tatara, a mining colony. In this quest he also meets San, the Mononoke Hime.




Midnight Madness

Friday 18th @ 11:55pm (1hr 43min)
Adventure/ Fantasy (Rotten Tomatoes)
Veteran animator Hayao Miyazaki directs this buoyant children's adventure yarn about a young witch striking out on her own. At her mother's behest, 13-year-old Kiki sets out on a year-long apprenticeship with her black cat in tow. With a shaky command of her broom, she ends up in a charming little coastal town that looks like a cross between the French provincial and San Francisco. Unfortunately, the local hotels have a strict "no witches" policy and the police have taken a dim view of her recent aerial mischief-making. She's saved from the street by a kindly baker's wife, who offers her room and board in exchange for her delivering by broom the baker's wares. Soon she befriends a college-aged artist, an old women who fusses over her, and a boy her same age who is nursing a massive crush. All is well until she wakes up one day and realizes that she can't make her broom levitate nor can she talk to her cat. What will Kiki do? ~ Jonathan Crow, Rovi

Also Screening Saturday 23rd





Friday 22nd @ 9pm (1hr 35min)
Comedy/ Drama/ Sci-Fi (Rotten Tomatoes)
High school science teacher Mrs. Géquil is struck by lightning on the night of a harvest moon. The woman begins to embody a powerful alter ego, Mrs. Hyde, that instills a newfound confidence in her. However, the new persona is dangerous and must be controlled.

Screening All Weekend



VOD


Limited Theatres/ VOD Friday 22nd (1hr 31min)
Horror / International (Rotten Tomatoes)
Following her aunt's death, Colleen and her daughters inherit her house. However, during their first night in their new home, murderers enter the home, putting Colleen in a situation where she must fight to save her daughters' lives. When the girls suffer a terrible trauma during the night, their disparate personalities diverge even further. The eldest daughter, Beth, is said to become a famous horror author with a perfect family and life in Los Angeles, while her sister, Vera, can't cope and loses her mind faced with an unshakable sense of paranoia. Sixteen years later the daughters and mother reunite at the house where Colleen and Vera continue to reside. It is then that strange events begin to take place.

-Huntress

Saturday, June 16, 2018

The Overlook Theatre Reviews: The Fear Footage

8 of 8 viewers "Liked" "The Fear Footage" (2018, USA)
Creature reviews have been minimally altered in an attempt to maintain their voice:

Lord Battle - "The Fear Footage is a found footage anthology film that's kicked off through the badge camera of an officer as he investigates a mysterious residence and watches a VHS tape. Do not be dissuaded by the opening POV segment as the following 3 stories are all traditional found footage. I don't want to spoil too much here, but one short follows a group of storm chasers speeding towards a storm. They hit a pedestrian out in the middle of nowhere and while checking to see if the victim is alright are attack by a cult. We're clearly not reinventing the wheel here, but simple setups, relentless scares, and the unpredictability of indie filmmaking charge The Fear Footage with an exciting and fun energy." - 3.5 Stars

Eddie the Gamer Ghoul (R) - "Fuck'n clowns..... Dat cop sat der an watched dem videos even as dat crazy stuff was go'n down. Da monsters were sub-par at best, though da clown was fucked up man. Da stories were interest'n but almost forced. All in all dis movie was so bad it made it kinda good. I in fact had fun watch'n it." - 3.5 Stars

Huntress - "The Fear Footage is a creeper! There's no way to foresee the depths this low budget anthology will reach when you hit play and that's the best way to go into it. What starts off almost disarmingly indie gradually spirals into monster infused madness and ends in outright haunted insanity. Watching The Fear Footage with the intention of tearing it apart because of its CG fopauxs or budgetary restraints would be a waste of a fun horror movie." - 4 Stars

Math Mage - "The scariest 70 minutes I've seen. I could nitpick (use 9-1-1 recordings instead of text scroll), but it was enjoyably terrifying. I recommend without reservations." - 5 Stars

The Impostor - "I'm always excited to check out found footage horror films, and while The Fear Footage may not be my favorite film from this subgenre it's definitely thrilling. I jumped out of my skin more than I have in a long time. The "tapes" are all full of very familiar scenes we've seen before but with a few unexpected twists. Overall The Fear Footage did work in a dark, loud room filled with friends but I feel I wouldn't have enjoyed it at home alone." - 3 Stars

The Great Hornito - "The Fear Footage is a found footage anthology that has some really great stories. The ideas for the 3 stories are all unique and scary as well. The jump scares were a little excessive and the CGI was bad at times but overall the movie was very interesting and scary." - 3.5 Stars

Book Wyrm (R) - "This movie really scared me and I'm not sure if it was because I haven't watched a horror movie in a while but one of the jump scares actually made me yell. I watched this by myself at midnight and when I went to give the DVD back, I was scared to walk down the hallway and stairs to put it back. When I saw someone coming toward me on the way, I yelled again. I hate panning camera movements and that's how a lot of this movie was shot. They make me so anxious I can't stand it! The shorts were really good and they really creeped me out so much so that I watched most of them from behind a potato chip bag so I wouldn't be as scared by the monsters." - 4 Stars

Wandering Panda - "Intense, loud, effective. I hate jump scares, but here there's more to them in this movie and they work. I was tense for most of its runtime. The characters are generic but not hateable, and they're weirdly interesting, especially the "I'm not on drugs" guy. All in all The Fear Footage is worth a watch, just follow the creator's steps; no lights, volume up, and don't look away." - 4 Stars



The Overlook Theatre Final Rating*
(Below is for after you've seen the film)

Jump Scares. What comes to mind when you hear someone mention the phrase "Jump Scare"? This is what I asked the creatures in attendance after screening The Fear Footage since it seemed to be the only thing everyone was commenting on. I also noticed that when most people refer to a moment as a jump scare, it usually means a moment that scared them in a negative light. I personally had always used the term to describe a cat running out of anything suddenly. So I asked the question:

Which would you prefer, an effective or earned scare?

My biases of this argument was that The Fear Footage contained a lot of jump scares, with around 90% of them landing. So even though you saw it coming, thought it was dumb, or essentially were scared out of your seat by an overly loud phone ringing, it didn't matter as long as you're engaging with the film and or having fun. I mean most people honestly become upset because they are embarrassed...
And just to be clear, jump scares can serve the purpose of relieving an audiences building anxiety to avoid the same audience creating unintentionally funny moments to the same effect.


- Lord Battle

The Overlook Theatre materialized in a Residence for a screening on 6/7/2018
*Based on the star ratings turned in by character reviewers, others viewed and got to "Dislike" or "Like" but that does not affect the rating.

Friday, June 15, 2018

Screenings in the Bay Friday to Sunday): Sinister Creature Con, A Clockwork Orange, Nancy



We're looking at a criminally uneventful weekend in the city, you guys. Which makes for the perfect conditions to take a road trip out to Sacramento for one of Northern California's few horror conventions, Sinister Creature Con! This two day celebration of all aspects of the genre will include panels with both Lisa Wilcox (A Nightmare on Elm Street 4 & 5, Freddy's Dead), Tyler Mane (Halloween 2007), and Steve Dash (Friday the 13th 2). There will also be several makeup and special effects workshops and the always exciting vendor room. 




There are still some cool events in the city though, just not too many of them. Tonight the director of psychological thriller Nancy will be at the Opere Plaza theatre to do a Q&A after the 7pm screening. Midnight Madness will include a Friday and Saturday night with A Clockwork Orange, and the Roxie Theatre presents The Texture of Falling every day of the weekend. 




Midnight Madness

Friday 15th & Saturday 16th @ 11:55pm (2hrs 16min)
Crime/ Drama/ Sci-fi (IMDB)
"In an England of the future, Alex (Malcolm McDowell) and his "Droogs" spend their nights getting high at the Korova Milkbar before embarking on "a little of the old ultraviolence," while jauntily warbling "Singin' in the Rain." After he's jailed for bludgeoning the Cat Lady to death, Alex submits to behavior modification technique to earn his freedom; he's conditioned to abhor violence. Returned to the world defenseless, Alex becomes the victim of his prior victims."





Screening All Weekend (1hr 27min)
Drama/ Mystery/ Thriller (IMDB)
NANCY is a provocative psychological thriller about love, intimacy, and trust - and what happens when lies become truth. Craving connection with others, Nancy creates elaborate identities and hoaxes under pseudonyms on the internet. When she meets a couple whose daughter went missing thirty years ago, fact and fiction begin to blur in Nancy's mind, and she becomes increasingly convinced these strangers are her real parents. As their bond deepens, reasonable doubts give way to willful belief - and the power of emotion threatens to overcome all rationality.







Friday 15th @ 9:45pm (1hr 15min)
Saturday 16th @ 9:15pm
Sunday 17th @ 8:45pm
Drama/ Thriller (IMDB)
Set against the lush landscape of the Pacific Northwest, it’s a film that transcends genre and defies classification – part psychological drama and part sexual thriller. The Texture of Falling is unlike any film that you’ve ever seen. It follows Louisa (Julie Webb) as a filmmaker reeling from a recent professional dejection, who meets Luke (Patrick Green). But as Louisa and Luke’s romance blooms, a simultaneous story arises as Michael (Benjamin Farmer), a wayward architect estranged from his wife, meets Sylvia (Maria Allred), an enigmatic painter. But are these parallels merely a coincidence? Soon Michael and Sylvia embark on a verboten journey of pleasure and pain.



-Huntress

Wednesday, June 13, 2018

The Overlook Theatre Reviews: King of Thorn

4 of 7 viewers "Liked" "King of Thorn" (2009, Japan)
Creature reviews have been minimally altered in an attempt to maintain their voice:

Lord Battle - "I love animation. I enjoy specific anime. I always thought this was because I mostly dislike the Betty Boop inspired style or the high energy drama of the Japanese. After watching King of Thorn I realized exactly why I dislike most anime: its the narrative tropes. Visual tropes like a casual shot from beneath a skirt, a teardrop embodying embarrassment, or the blunt and racist depiction of people from different countries with an execution that would make Ralph Bakshi blush is fine (I actually enjoy these as they appear in even the most absurd situations, i.e. in space, medieval fantasy), but when King of Thorn drops its horror/mystery atmosphere two thirds in and becomes an emotionally charged metaphor about the strength of family... it completely loses me. I still don't understand why Japan likes retelling the same story over and over but insists that its characters come packaged for a specific genre and armed with a new mascot. I should say the first two acts are captivating and atmospheric, a great set up for what could have been a strong Scifi/Horror anime." - 2.5 Stars

The Berkeley Blazer - "King of Thorn has some spectacularly brutal moments, some majestic visuals, and brilliantly crafted set pieces. While it can feel gimmicky in how it sets these moments up, I never felt like getting off the ride. The reason I can’t go for the full 4 stars is the story and pacing start to become muddled, like they tried to fit too much in and I did nod off a little at one point when they started getting into “here’s random nouns to explain stuff” territory. Nonetheless, if you enjoy horror anime this one is worth a look. The manga might be the best way to digest this story if you’re really looking to be invested." - 3.5 Stars

Math Mage - "I remembered liking this movie a lot more, but that was 6 years ago. Perhaps my standards have changed." - 3.5 Stars

Wandering Panda - "King of Thorn had so much potential and I had a lot of fun watching it but the final act started feeling like Inception and became hard to follow." - 3 Stars

Matte Black Cat - "Well... It definitely brought the thorns." - 3 Stars

Huntress -  Fell Asleep - Default 2 Stars

Eddie the Gamer Ghoul - Fell Asleep - Default 2 Stars



The Overlook Theatre Final Rating*
(Below is for after you've seen the film)


All stories need conflict, it can take many forms but there has to be some element of struggle or there won’t be anything to talk about. Most stories take a decidedly humanistic approach to this; bad things happen because bad people cause them. Even stories where the conflict centers on some disaster usually have a villain; someone whose negligence or malice caused or exacerbated the disaster in the first place, or someone whose greed or cowardice makes a bad situation worse. King of Thorn* inverts this trope to great effect. 

The starting point of our story is after a disease appears that turns people into stone. The transformation is sudden and there are no other symptoms during the incubation period, which can be days, weeks or months. As is also explained via news clips during the opening credits (remember this technique for later) a test to find infected people is quickly found; but there is no treatment and no information about how it spreads. The terror of an incurable fatal disease with an unknown transmission method, and a wildly inconsistent incubation period inspires some questionable decisions. 

An ominously named pharmaceutical company offers to freeze victims of the disease until a cure is found, “reassuring” everyone that the process is overseen by an AI with one red eye that can control dreams (because this is a technology that exists, apparently). An unspecified branch of government suspects the company of creating the disease and sends spies to infiltrate the creepy castle where the freezing will take place. And here’s where that inversion begins; the government doesn’t have any evidence supporting their theory. It just seems natural that this suspicious company is responsible, and somebody has to be responsible. Even better, since the company is obviously responsible, they must have a vaccine or cure. So this government sends in commandos to attack a private, humanitarian institution and they’re completely justified in doing so. They have to obtain the cure this clearly evil organization is holding back, because if they don’t then the government will have to admit it’s powerless against the disease. 

In most films that attitude would be vindicated by the government's assumptions being correct; in this case they are not. The company does know more than they’re saying (or at least they think they do), but the disease is a more or less natural phenomena. There’s no grand conspiracy, no mad scientist, no alien intelligence. It’s just a virus, and the inability of those involved to accept that leads to a tragedy of errors. 

The commando attack (because spies weren’t enough) interrupts an arcane ritual, causing monsters. Late in the film, there is an extended sequence where the pharmaceutical company's president explains the plot. In a manner that provides too much information and yet also not enough, he explains the disease is from space, it brings dreams to life (sort of), also evolution. Maybe, and little girl’s dreams are the cure or something. My tone becomes sarcastic here because of the organic presentation of information at the beginning of the film is at odds with this scene telling you what the movie is about. This is especially problematic because of who’s giving us this info. We believe him because we see events in flashbacks, but we have no evidence that his conclusions are correct. He’s adamant that the interrupted ritual would have helped but is unclear how. It may have just been making things worse. 

Rather than having an unreliable character just tell us the plot 90 minutes in, a more organic method of storytelling should have been used. Like log files perhaps, that we could read at our leisure as we play. Because this movie is totally a video game. 

For all the praise it deserves for subverting tropes, King of Thorn is a survival horror game. After that cut scene like intro, it’s easy to imagine the (already too long) runtime being padded with another 8-15 hours of key hunting, ammo conserving, escort questing, backtracking game play. Insert an hour or two more between the fake climax and the final boss fight(s), stick on some tank controls and you’ve got yourself a game. With that extra space the creators might find time to be subtle, instead of wasting good mysteries by having everything explained. (“You’re a traitor because of your necklace!” not because you’re suspiciously well informed, or wearing the wrong pants or wearing a bloody shirt but there’s no blood on your face or generally being suspicious). 

In all: King of Thorn* is a video-gamey, survival-horror style location-based action-drama with too many good ideas and poor execution. A film based on mysteries that can’t think of a way to resolve them except by having characters explain them. And an animated gore-fest where (due to poor CG) the various horrors are more believable and often less scary than the clumsy marionettes that are our human characters.

*the asterisk is for every time I wrote King of Thorns instead


-Math Mage

The Overlook Theatre materialized in a residence for a screening on 5/10/2018
*Based on the star ratings turned in by character reviewers, others viewed and got to "Dislike" or "Like" but that does not affect the rating.

Tuesday, June 12, 2018

Bluray Tuesday Featuring: The Strangers 2, Abominable & Tomb Raider

June 12th 2018


Bluray Tuesday returns once again, and this week is filled with many cool releases both, new and older, for the first time on Bluray. The long awaited Strangers sequel finally hits shelves today in a new unrated edition titled The Strangers: Prey at Night. This sequel is a bit more fast paced and slasher-like compared to the home invasion slow burn the first was. I enjoyed seeing the slasher genre make a big screen comeback this year. MVD Visual releases a collector's edition of Abominable. This was released in 2006 and I personally haven't heard of it, so this one will be a blind buy for me this week. The 2018 reboot of Tomb Raider hits stores today in both standard Bluray and 4k. I was hoping for a steelbook edition for this release to go with the previous Tomb Raider films but no such luck. Next title is from Scream Factory, which releases Ninja III: The Domination as a part of their collector's edition line. Next on my list is 80's erotic drama Spetters which is being released for the first time on Bluray from Kino Lorber. With Jurassic World 2 hitting theaters next weekend, we get a zombie dinosaur crossbreed film hitting stores titled The Jurassic Dead. Looks like a fun drinking movie! So what will you buy, rent or skip this week! Let us know in the comments. Until next week.

The Strangers 2: Prey at Night: Amazon - $19.99

A vacation turns macabre when three masked strangers return to menace a family visiting a trailer park in this sequel to the disquieting horror shocker.

The Strangers: Prey at Night (Blu-ray) 

Abominable: Amazon - $21.99

With 42,000 sightings in 68 countries, the elusive woodland creature known as Sasquatch, Yeti, and Bigfoot is one of the most enduring natural mysteries ever known to man. Hunted by humans for hundreds of years, the formerly reclusive man-like beast strikes out against his would-be captors in a mountain-based tale of survival and horror.
Abominable (Blu-ray) 

Tomb Raider (2018): Amazon - $24.99
4K: Amazon - $29.99

Lara Croft is the fiercely independent daughter of an eccentric adventurer who vanished when she was scarcely a teen. Now 21, and working as a London bike courier, Lara is driven to solve the puzzle of her father's mysterious death. Leaving behind everything she knows, she searches for her father’s last-known destination: a fabled tomb on a mythical island that might be somewhere off the coast of Japan.

Tomb Raider (Blu-ray) 

Tomb Raider 4K (Blu-ray) 

Ninja 3: The Domination: Amazon - $19.99

The body of a sexy aerobics instructor is invaded by the evil spirit of a dying ninja. At first, changes in her behavior is limited to having strange interactions with an arcade game, doing sexy things with V8 juice, and being attracted to an unusually hairy police officer. But soon enough, she's systematically killing, ninja-style, the officers responsible for the ninja's death, and can only be stopped by another ninja!

Ninja III: The Domination (Blu-ray) 

Spetters: Amazon - $19.99

Rien, Eef and Hans are three young working-class guys stuck in an industrial town on the outskirts of Rotterdam. They couldn't be more different except for one thing: their shared passion for motorcycle racing, which each sees as his ticket to a better life. But a deeper passion will soon rule each of their lives, when a sexy, ambitious blonde comes between them and provokes unforeseen events that will rock their worlds.

Spetters (Blu-ray) 

Love, Simon: Amazon - $19.99
4K: Amazon - $24.99

Everyone deserves a great love story, but for 17-year-old Simon Spier, it's a little more complicated. He hasn't told his family or friends that he's gay, and he doesn't know the identity of the anonymous classmate that he's fallen for online. Resolving both issues proves hilarious, terrifying and life-changing.

Love, Simon 4K (Blu-ray)
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Love, Simon (Blu-ray) 

Darkman Trilogy: Amazon - $14.99

Darkman:  When thugs employed by a crime boss lead a vicious assault on Dr. Peyton Wilder (Liam Neeson), leaving him literally and psychologically scarred, an emergency procedure allows him to survive. Upon his recovery, Wilder can find solace only by returning to his scientific work developing synthetic skin, and seeking revenge against the crime boss. He assumes a phantom avenger persona called Darkman, who, with malleable facial qualities, is able to infiltrate and sow terror in the criminal community.
Darkman 2:Scientist Peyton Westlake (Arnold Vosloo) returns to his lab believing he has disposed of his nemesis, mobster Robert G. Durant (Larry Drake), who gave him the hideous burns that transformed him into his alter ego, Darkman. While Darkman is perfecting an artificial skin that will restore his old appearance, Durant inexplicably returns to torment him. Overcome by rage, Darkman disguises himself with the artificial skin, setting out to infiltrate Durant's world and bring him to justice.
Darkman 3:  Burn-scarred scientist Peyton Westlake (Arnold Vosloo) roams the night as his alter ego, the cloaked Darkman. When Darkman, who often steals from the corrupt, crosses drug kingpin Peter Rooker (Jeff Fahey), he finds a worthy adversary. Rooker tricks Darkman into an operation, implanting a remote-control device in his mind. To free himself from his enemy, Darkman must now take down Rooker or die -- a job that will draw the recluse unexpectedly close to his target's family.  

Darkman Trilogy (Blu-ray) 

Spinning Man: Amazon - $14.99

 A happily married professor, known for having many affairs with students, becomes the prime suspect when a young woman has gone missing.

Spinning Man (Blu-ray) 

The Sleeper: Amazon - $34.99

It's 1981 and the girls of Alpha Gamma Theta sorority are having a party. As the new pledges arrive, so does an uninvited guest. Little do the sisters know someone is watching them in the shadows. As the girls shower, study, eat and sleep the stalker studies the girls. One by one he finds the girls at their most vulnerable and murders them. The police hunt for the missing girls and their killer, but will they find them in time? Or will the girls be forced to fight for their lives.

The Sleeper (Blu-ray) 

The Mimic: Amazon - $17.99

The Jangsan Tiger, who mimics human voices to lure them close, encounters a family affected by the creature.
 
The Mimic (Blu-ray)
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The Jurassic Dead:  Amazon - $12.99

An insane scientist working with the Axis of Evil tries to bring down the United States with EMP blasts, a zombification gas and an undead Z-Rex.

The Jurassic Dead (Blu-ray) 

Sherlock Gnomes: Amazon - $19.99

Gnomeo & Juliet recruit detective Sherlock Gnomes to help investigate the mysterious disappearance of other garden gnomes.

Sherlock Gnomes (Blu-ray) 


-The Impostor