If you’re disheartened by the overly commercial movies being put out by Hollywood and you like horror, I’ve got a movie for you. “The Autopsy of Jane Doe,” starring Emile Hirsch and Brian (Hannibal Lector in “Manhunter”) Cox, is a small-scale but very frightening experience. It is about a farther (Cox) and son (Hirsch) who work at a mortuary, and their new patron, “Jane Doe,” has died a very unusual death, and they can’t figure out what killed her. Is she even dead
This film has two things going for it: great acting and an incredible sense of mystery, atmosphere, and dread. Brian Cox delivers his best performance in years as the father, a decent man with dark secrets. The director, who made “Trollhunter,” has a field day with the possibly haunted mortuary. Not only do we get jump scares galore, but also some truly disgusting and disturbing scenes. It all builds to a satisfying, dark conclusion.
In short, “The Autopsy of Jane Doe” is a good sleeper horror film. Rent or stream it and turn off all the lights. You will definitely be scared!
I assumed I would never like a movie with a talking raccoon, but “Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2” is a blast. The secret, I think, is in the casting. I am not a big fan of Chris Pratt, but he is perfect as Starlord in both films. Zoe Saldana is also good, but the show is continually stolen by Bradley Cooper as a foul-mouthed talking raccoon. Throw in Dave Bautista and Vin Diesel as the voice of Baby Groot and you have a cast of outcast heroes worth cheering.
I liked this film better than the first because of the cast being so much fun to watch. Not only do we get Sylvester Stallone and (in a memorable role) Kurt Russell, but Michael Rooker gets to be the hero. The 3-D, surprisingly, is very good, and the film never seems stuck in Marvel Movie Formula. In short, the film is a hoot and will probably make a gazillion dollars. And, yes, Stan Lee and Howard T. Duck make brief appearances.
The new movie “The Circle” has the unearned reputation from critics and audiences of being a bomb. It’s a smart thriller that plays against audience expectations. Going in, we know that Emma Watson has to be the heroine and Tom Hanks, as a Steve Jobs-type guru, must be the villain. However, neither character behaves according to type, which has caused many people to say the film makes no sense. I urge people to reconsider. This movie is about people who are in the public limelight 24/7. Because the main characters are in the limelight all the time, there is no way they can tip off that their modus operandi may be masking deeper motivations and secrets. As a result, it is a genuine surprise when the characters are unmasked at the end as not being what they seem. If the director had played everything straight and square, with characters behaving in a more understandable way, the point of the movie would have been lost. The film is about how technology forces us to react in unnatural ways.
That established, this is a good movie, much better than “Fate of the Furious” and “Beauty and the Beast.” It asks important questions about technology, privacy, and where we are today and where we are headed. The music, directing, performances, and cinematography are first-rate. Most importantly, it tells you that if a company asks you to be monitored by millions 24 hours a day without big pay, just say no. See “The Circle” to see that the future is now.
Currently showing on HBO and available on Blu-Ray and DVD, “Cop Car” is a terrific thriller that you probably haven’t heard about or seen. It’s about two child runaways who find an abandoned cop car in a remote location. They decide to break into it, explore, and take it on a joy ride. Little do they know that someone’s in the trunk, and that corrupt cop Kevin Bacon will do anything to get his car back.
The first thing I noticed about this film is how well it portrays children; the kids seem like real kids. Between saying swear words for the first time and being totally unaware of the danger of driving an apparently empty car, their naivety is stunning and believable. Secondly, Kevin Bacon’s performance is one of his very best. He doesn’t overact. and so he creates suspense about how dangerous he is. The third thing is how well-crafted this film is; it takes a simple scenario and creates a Hitchcockian level of suspense around it.
In short, “Cop Car” is a great thriller that is well worth your time. The performances are great and the suspense is real. Don’t miss it! –CoolAC
How do you feel about 3D? For me, it’s a decided “meh.” Some films, such as “Prometheus” and “Tron: Legacy,” benefit from the process, while others, like “Pete’s Dragon,” just use it as a gimmick. Forget about “Avatar,” which had great 3D effects but an uninvolving story. If you want to have real fun, go to one of the granddaddys of 3D films, 1981’s “Comin’ At Ya!”
The film, which is available on DVD and Blu-ray in 2D and 3D, is a Spanish take on the spaghetti western starring Tony Anthony, a very poor man’s Clint Eastwood, and Victoria Abril, who went on to star in several Almodovar films. The plot is simple: Anthony’s fiancée (Abril) is kidnapped by a no0good villain (Gene Quintano) on their wedding day. To get her back and get revenge our hero must spring into action. Although this is a thin plot, I find it superior to other 3D films that followed in the ’80’s like “Jaws 3D.” However, the excellent music score and the inventive action really make the film stand out.
Although I do not have access to the 3D version, I was charmed by all the objects thrown at the screen (often in slow motion) such as snakes, rats, bullets confetti, other weapons, explosions, etc. The acting is pretty decent too and the film delivers non-stop action. Is this a great film? No, but it’s better than a lot of Hollywood’s westerns like last year’s “The Magnificent Seven.” It’s not terribly expensive to buy, so I’m recommending a purchase. It’s a good film to sit back and watch with friends, beer, and weed. If you want to have a good time, check out “Comin’ At Ya!” It’s a unique experience! –CoolAC
Love him or hate him, Donald Trump has irrevocably altered the American political landscape. That can clearly be seen in two new low-budget horror films, Roger Corman’s “Death Race 2050” and Greg McLean’s “The Belko Experiment.” Although neither of these films is a cinematic masterpiece, they are both worth seeing because they perfectly show the fractured political landscape America is in right now.
“Death Race 2050” shows how we live in a very violent society presided over by a very strange man (Malcolm McDowell at his most outrisageous) who resembles Donald Trump. In the society portrayed in the film, nothing seems to matter except getting good kills. The film brings back the Frankenstein driver character from “Death Race 2000” as well as the dystopian future where nothing matters except hedonism and violence. The film attempts to make its low budget a virtue with deliberately cheesy special FX, but the concept of a deadly car chase is what works particularly well here. The point seems to be that our society is headed in a more nihilistic direction, and it is a point I do not disagree with. The film is new to DVD and Blu ray and is streaming on Netflix.
“The Belko Experiment,” which just opened in theaters., is written and produced by James Gunn, who gave us “Guardians of the Galaxy” and “Slither.” The director gave us the “Wolf Creek” films. This film is about American employees at a corporation in Colombia who get locked into their workplace and forced into the ultimate corundum: kill or die. The film is about how the previously friendly employees at the corporation deal with the fact that to survive, they will apparently have to kill each other. This film is more disturbing than most horror films because:
1. The reasons for this deadly corporate psychological experiment are never explained.
2. The most likeable characters generally die first. I particularly felt bad for the black security guard who ends up getting killed for doing his job of holding onto the keys to the armory. Rarely have I seen a more likeable character bite the dust in a horror film.
This film will be criticized for being too cynical and having no apparent point, but in fact it shows the arbitrary divisions that are springing up between us in America right now, and how violence is being shown as a solution to our problems in some parts of our society. If you doubt this, look at the vitriol on both sides of the political aisle right now. This film shows us that we need to be careful before signing our rights away to a corporation (or, for that matter, the government) because the people in charge cannot be trusted.
These films will be regarded as exploitative trash by most people, but I found them to be well worth watching. They both show the consequences of a violence-obsessed society. I recommend them as good beer-drinking drive-in movies and as food for thought. Until next time… –CoolAC
Ok, let’s get this out of the way… most video game movies suck. “Assassin’s Creed” is terrible. Both “Hitman” movies are disappointing. The “Street Fighter” movies are bad. This is all the more reason to give a small expression of gratitude to the “Resident Evil” series since, while they are perhaps not the best movies, are consistently entertaining.
We here at the Groin.com staff did not watch the Super Bowl because we can’t stand the New England Patriots and overhyped media events. In protest, we went to see “Resident Evil: The Final Chapter” instead. How is it? Well, I actually really liked it. The film is non-stop action and gore and there is at least an attempt at a coherent plot. Basically, Milla Jovovich as Alice has 48 hours to save what’s left of the world. In order to accomplish this goal, she will have to overcome zombies, demons, dragons, monsters, mutants, clones, evil computers, and lasers, The production values are really high and the pace is brutal. The biggest argument in favor of this series though is Milla’s ability to convince us she can kick serious ass, coupled with director Paul W.S. Anderson’s sense of humor. He knows this isn’t Shakespeare, so he keeps the schlock coming with a wink and a smile. It’s really a blessed relief to the audience as opposed to, say, the awfulness of Uwe Boll’s films or the inflated, dim seriousness of “Assassin’s Creed.”
The series also deserves credit for starting out (in 2002) before zombies became popular, and for introducing the concept of the fast-moving zombie. Will this be the final chapter? Hard to say, but this has been a surprisingly cool series, much better than “Underworld.” Be sure to catch this flick before it leaves theaters; it’s bloody good! –CoolAC
Inspired by the heights of our New Years’ Eve VHS Marathon featuring such classics as “Wheels of Terror,” Deplorable Steve and I decided to continue our VHS marathon with “Massive Retaliation,” a 1984 movie about the dangers of nuclear war. As a fan of such films as “Threads,” “Testament,” and “The Day After,” this film was impossible for me to resist. Comparing this film to the other three, how does it stack up?
Well, the setup for all four films is much the same. In all of these films, a nuclear war is imminent, and people prepare. In this one, a group of survivalist families retreat to their bunkers while waiting for other family members, such as Jason Gedrick (from “Iron Eagle” and “The Heavenly Kid”) to arrive. Because of the seriousness of the situation and the graphic nature of the similar TV movies, we anticipate mass nuclear carnage but this flick goes in a different direction. It’s about how nuclear tensions lead to violence. We know we are in heady territory when Bobcat Golthwait, in his first “serious” role, appears and gets in a violent standoff with the other survivalists.
Another memorable thing about this movie is how it shows 1980’s nuclear tensions. But this film’s main strength and weakness are the same: because the nuclear crisis is evaded, the film is to be commended for avoiding cliché but called to the carpet for not being serious or gory enough. It’s not a bad little movie, but it doesn’t live up to the video box. Then again, what could?
After the success of “Westworld” I was intrigued to see where HBO would go next. “The Young Pope” is probably less commercial but may end up being even better. The show is about a very flamboyant new American Pope who may be bisexual and agnostic. Jude Law is outstanding in this role in the first episode. Diane Keaton is promising as the nun and his most trusted advisor who brought him up after his parents died in his youth. The viewer is left wondering why his character was chosen to be pope, as well as what role and motivation Keaton’s character had in actualizing Law’s ascent to the papacy.
This show has some very memorable moments such as imagined speeches that the Pope gives where he tells the crowds who came to see him to do whatever the hell they want. He appears to be conflicted about what message he wants to give his followers. The director has a sly way of showing that the personal interest of the ruler pope is not what is similarly in the best interest of his followers.
What makes the Young Pope so interesting is that it is very unpredictable. The viewer has no way of knowing his intentions. What is clear is that he is highly ambitious, cunning, and ruthless. He smokes cigarettes, and crosses over taboo subjects in his conversations and in his daydreams. There are hints of a dark past.
It will be fascinating to see if this show generates controversy in America. Will this show’s cynical take on the Pope amuse or repel audiences? Well, it amused me and held me in thrall. I think this kind of intelligent entertainment is what we need right now in the wake of our political landscape being so dumbed-down and partisan. “The Young Pope” is not for everyone, but it is a must for the thoughtful viewer. This show airs new episodes Sunday and Monday nights on HBO.
I went to check out this flick because the trailer made it look like a cool rip-off of the 90’s classic Candyman. Knew there was a chance that there would be a bunch of annoying teens at the theatre because this film is only PG-13. So while standing in line there were a bunch of 14 year olds buying tickets in big groups ahead of us, one after the next. The film was pretty basic, a boogieman of sorts exists, who shows up and kills you when you become aware of his existence. Well actually he gets you to kill yourself and anyone else who knows by causing hallucinations. The Bye Bye Man appears as a tall skinny mute albino demon looking type thing and he has a burley hell-dog that munches on you after you perish. That part is pretty effective, and the visuals are good.
And a lot of people die in this film (for a PG-13).
The down side of this film are that there is no character development. The main character’s only personality is that he wears different punk rock t-shirts everyday. The Bye Bye Man is killing teen after teen, and for better or worse, the viewer is indifferent to their plight since they are just another pretty face. Another minus is that the crowd of pubescent teens are talking over this film about the various 9th grade parties going on later that night, complete with their puberty fantasies , while the movie is playing. I would recommend going to see this film after curfew so that you don’t have to deal with annoying teens. The lady from the Matrix has a small part as detective, which is well acted. The acting in the flashback scenes was a bit weak though.
Some might say that the film fails to give an explanation for the Bye Bye Man’s origin. I think its good that it avoids that cliché. The film is from a pretty acclaimed director. And its pretty good overall for a teeny bopper film. It could have been better had it been rated R and took more time with character development and took itself more seriously, because the villain is horrific.