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V/H/S/2

Rewind of the living dead.


Horror

Rod Lott

I get why last year's found-footage anthology, V/H/S, proved so divisive to horror audiences. I don't agree with it, but hey, it makes my job reviewing the sequel so much easier: If you liked V/H/S, just press play on V/H/S/2; if you didn't, don't even start.

 
Monday, September 23, 2013

Psycho II / Psycho III / Bates Motel

We all still go a little made sometimes for Norman.


Horror

Rod Lott
Let's all acknowledge something right away: No matter who was involved creatively, no follow-up ever was going to match the greatness of Alfred Hitchcock's Psycho. When a film proves as revolutionary as that 1960 shocker was, the bar is set impossibly high.
 
Monday, September 23, 2013

Prince of Darkness / Halloween: 35th Anniversary Edition

For horror, Carpenter build 'em best.


Horror

Rod Lott
So in John Carpenter's Prince of Darkness, a priest (Donald Pleasence, Halloween) calls up a professor (Victor Wong, Big Trouble in Little China) and says, "Hey, I've got this 2,000-year-old jar in the basement of this Catholic church downtown. Get this: It has the devil inside! Whaddaya say you round up some physics students to spend the weekend here and see if they can't figure out whassup?"
 
Monday, September 23, 2013

Scenic Route

Take it!


Thriller

Rod Lott

Never say never, because here's something I've now said twice this year: Josh Duhamel is really good in this! He was the best thing in the much-maligned sketch comedy Movie 43, and now he dominates Scenic Route.

 
Friday, September 20, 2013

Lady in a Cage

Histrionics, bar none.


Thriller

Rod Lott
Unleashed to home video enthusiasts again — this time courtesy of Warner Archive — 1964's Lady in a Cage traps the elderly Cornelia (the legendary Olivia de Havilland, Gone with the Wind) in an elevator. The lift isn't in an office building or department store, but in her own home; the cane-leaning Cornelia's been using it to bypass stairs after breaking her hip.
 
Friday, September 20, 2013

The Fugitive: 20th Anniversary Edition

Still runs like a charm.


Action

Rod Lott

Although The Fugitive was a monster hit in the summer of 1993, it seems to have been lost to the ages. It shouldn't. Perhaps Warner Home Video's 20th-anniversary Blu-ray will help see to that. Remember, folks, this movie was up for Best Picture at the Academy Awards — an action film!

 
Tuesday, September 17, 2013

The Bling Ring

Kids do the darndest things.


Drama

Rod Lott

Even my children's worst moments are still above the best moments of the snotty, self-absorbed, home-schooled brats of The Bling Ring, Oscar winner Sofia Coppola's follow-up to 2010's snooze-worthy Somewhere.

 
Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Targets

A dead-on classic.


Thriller

Rod Lott

Inspired by the dirty doings of mass murderer Charles Whitman, 1968's once-controversial Targets is the first true film directed by Peter Bogdanovich and also — I think, despite Oscar love for his '70s work — his best. It's also one of Warner Archive's finest rescues from out-of-print oblivion yet.

 
Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Wish You Were Here

Why I'll never go to Cambodia


Thriller

Rod Lott
Bearing an ironic title, the Australian film Wish You Were Here tells the story of four people who vacation together to Cambodia (of all places), yet only three return home. Jeremy (Antony Starr, TV's Banshee) goes missing after an Ecstasy-fueled party; foul play is feared, although his passport and bank account remain untouched. 
 
Tuesday, September 17, 2013

An American Hippie in Israel

Psyche-dull-ic.


Drama

Rod Lott

If you don't already hate hippies, An American Hippie in Israel just might shove you into that corner. The 1972 oddity by first- and last-time filmmaker Amos Sefer is as odd as it is unsubtle; this is a film that runs its lone point into the ground with the weight of … well, the steamroller that flattens the flowers in the opening credits. Get it?

 
Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Bloody Homecoming

It's 'Bloody' stool.


Horror

Rod Lott
Bloody Homecoming would like to be the next Halloween — a given, per the soundalike score kicking in upon first frame. It'd also like to be the next Prom Night. Realistically, the movie isn't even Arbor Day; it is, however, an utter waste of your time.
 
Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Évocateur: The Morton Downey Jr. Movie

Mort! Mort! Mort! Mort!


Documentary

Rod Lott
In 1987, The Morton Downey Jr. Show burst out of nowhere — New Jersey, to be precise — and became a near-instant phenomenon, turning its loud-mouthed, chain-smoking host into the titan of trash TV. Less than two years later, ratings plummeted along with Downey's career. 
 
Tuesday, September 10, 2013

The Mole Man of Belmont Avenue

Didn't dig it.


Comedy

Rod Lott
Tenants of a low-rent apartment building have some problems: The electricity has been shut off; their pets are disappearing under mysterious circumstances; and worst of all, they're stuck in a horror comedy that's not the least bit amusing: The Mole Man of Belmont Avenue.
 
Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Let's Scare Jessica to Death

Let's not.


Horror

Rod Lott

After hearing about Let's Scare Jessica to Death for years, I'm thankful I finally got to see it, newly rescued from out-of-print oblivion by Warner Archive. I only wish the 1971 shocker had proven worthy of its hype.

 
Tuesday, September 10, 2013

The Haunting of Helena

Lotsa teeth, no bite.


Horror

Rod Lott
One cannot discuss The Haunting of Helena without bringing 2003's Darkness Falls into the conversation. Both horror movies are about an über-evil Tooth Fairy (really a malevolent spirit of a female killed ages ago), and Helena's heroine looks not unlike the earlier film's Emma Caulfield. I'd go so far as to call this one an unofficial remake, with the setting transplanted to Italy.
 
Tuesday, September 10, 2013
 
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