I love when people are so FANatical about something it becomes not only an obsession, but a deep passion. It doesn't matter if it's Jedi's or Jaws, we love our stuff. And no one loves sharks, blood and 'bigger boats' than my longtime friend Lou and his wife Yana.
'Lou and Yana's Jawsfest 4 - Revenge Of The Finatics' is their best and probably most personal of their 'fin' films. In the previous three (which are a riot and so much fun to watch), we are brought all over Amity Island and shown the sights and scenes made famous in the 'Jaws' films.
In 'Revenge Of The Finatics' we see more of the stuff behind the scenes and get to see Lou and Yana and their friends in their element; talking Jaws and networking with other finatics. Even if you're not into 'Jaws' you will appreciate the love, dedication and enthusiasm this couple have. They bring out the best in like minded people and celebrate big killer fish in a way that is contagious.
THE BAD NEWS! As you read this review, they may already be sold out of their initial printing of the DVD.
THE GOOD NEWS! As you read this review, Lou and Yana may already have more red ink and have a second order on the way!
So get out of the water right now, watch 'Jaws' and then 'Jaws II' and then check out this DVD. It will make the shark eating people on vacation experience that much more enjoyable.
To find out more about 'Jawsfest 4', just go to their Facebook home at https://www.facebook.com/jawsfestfilms.
by Brian LeTendreMy good pal and amazing artist Ron Leary just gave me a heads up on a new movie project he is involved with that is being partially funded through Indieigogo.
The project is called Penance Lane, a horror movie being produced by Mane entertainment, the production house started by Tyler Mane and Renae Geerlings. Comic fans probably know Mane best as Sabretooth from the X-Men films. He also a veteran of the horror industry, having played Michael Meyers in both of Rob Zombie's Halloween movies. In Penance Lane, Mane stars as Crimson Matthews, an ex-con who takes on a handyman job in a small mining town but finds the property he's working at has some very dark secrets.Some of the rewards foe helping fund the film range from taking home a prop to having a walk-on role in the film. You can check out the pitch below, and then head over to the Indiegogo page to see all the rewards and a bunch of production updates.
So--what do you think? Are you excited for this one?
by Brian LeTendre
That really sums up my feelings about Thor: the Dark World. I mean, I dug the first Thor movie, but I thought it was one of the weaker entries of Marvel’s “Phase One” movies leading up to The Avengers.
But Thor: The Dark World, is no such movie. It is the new bar by which Marvel movies will be measured in the post-Avengers world. Thor: TDW is equal parts Star Wars, Lord of the Rings and Superman. It has the heart of the original Sam Raimi Spider-Man and it’s humor is more genuine than the smart-alecky Iron Man movies. Loki’s Great, Thor’s great, Malekith is great, Odin is great--pretty much everyone is great.
It’s just a really well-made movie that is entertaining the whole way through and without spoiling anything, I can tell you that you should go and see it immediately.
Oh, and the mid-credits scene is awesome.
That’s it--I’m out. Go see the movie.
by Brian LeTendreThe World’s End is a perfect finale to the Cornetto trilogy , a movie that stands on its own while also paying tribute to the great sci-fi films us late thirty-somethings grew up loving.
The World’s End is really the story of Gary King (Simon Pegg), a guy who peaked in high school and has struggled to get his life together since. He gets it in his head that if he can reassemble his running crew from high school and complete a pub crawl left incomplete 20 years ago, he can recapture the magic of that night, things will change for him. Convincing his old (and now somewhat estranged) friends to participate isn’t easy, but Gary manages to cajole them all into heading back to their old hometown of Newton Haven and taking another shot at the crawl (dubbed the Golden Mile).
Of course, it doesn’t take the group long to figure out that something about Newton Haven is different. Like “people being replaced by robots” different. Gary convinces the group that the only way to save themselves is by continuing to complete the Golden Mile, so as not to arouse suspicion. Hijinks ensue.
From Invasion of the Body Snatchers to They Live, there are tons of nods and homages to sci-fi classics throughout The World’s End. But more than anything, I felt like the movie was a giant love letter to Doctor Who. Much like Shaun of the Dead and Hot Fuzz, this movie contains moments of absolute hilarity, gut-wrenching tragedy and a whole lot of heart. The ending is by far my favorite of all three films, and a fitting end for the trilogy.
Once again, Edgar Wright, Simon Pegg and Nick Frost have crafted a loving tribute to all of their influences while making a film that is more than worthy to stand among them. Go and see this movie.
5 out of 5 Return of the Kings
Our buddy Eugene Lehnert (Armageddon for Andy) created this hysterical web series a while back, which chronicles the strange things that keep happening to a couple of roommates in Queens. Our pal Chris Giarrusso plays Pete, and in this episode, he is brilliant. Give it a watch, and then check out the rest of The Outer Boroughs on Eugene's Vimeo page. NOTE: There is a tiny bit of adult language in this episode.
by Brian LeTendre
I think the highest praise I can give The Conjuring is that it reminded me of how long it’s been since I’ve seen a good, old fashioned horror movie. If you’re looking for gore and camp, this isn’t your movie. But The Conjuring is creepy, atmospheric and really captures the feel of some of the best 70s and 80s horror movies like The Exorcist and The Shining. Granted, the movie never rises to the level of those greats, but it’s a nice throwback to a time where storytelling took precedence over special effects, and building a sense of dread in the audience was more important that jump scares.
The movie is based on a haunting investigated by Ed and Lorraine Warren, arguably the most famous paranormal investigators in the country. I’ve always been fascinated by them, as they were from Connecticut, so as a kid growing up in the same state, I would often hear about cases they worked on that made the news, When I really started becoming a horror fan, the idea that a husband and wife team actually went and searched out the stuff of nightmares in real life was mind-blowing to me.
The case highlighted in the movie is the story of the Perrons, a family who purchases a farmhouse in Harrisville, Rhode Island, which happens to have a long history of murder, witchcraft and paranormal activity. Not long after they move in, the malevolent forces that inhabit the house start to terrorize the family, becoming more aggressive with each passing night. Mother Carolyn Perron (played by Lili Taylor) reaches out to the Warrens, who don’t have to investigate for long before uncovering the house’s history and seeing signs of a possession in the making.
As I mentioned before, this movie is a throwback in every sense of the word. The actual case took place in 1971, and the film does a nice job of capturing the feel of that time. Director James Wan and Cinematographer John Leonetti also do a lot of wide-angle shots and camera creeping as opposed to the quick cuts that more modern films are known for. All of this lends to the atmosphere of the film in a creepy way.
Patrick Wilson and Vera Farmiga as Ed and Lorraine Warren are great, and I really enjoyed Lili Taylor’s portrayal of Carolyn Perron. Everyone else in the movie is relegated to pretty minor roles, including Ron Livingston, who plays Carolyn’s husband Roger. The kids are pretty much interchangeable, and i can’t remember even one of their names. That’s a minor issue though, as the focal point of the movie pretty quickly becomes Taylor’s Carolyn. The subplot follow’s Lorraine Warren and how the investigations that she and her husband conduct have taken a toll on her as well as made her a target for the evil forces they come into contact with.
Like I said, while it never rises to the level of a “classic,” there is a lot to like about The Conjuring. I’m hoping the box office success of the film will bring us more films like it in the future. It’s definitely the best throwback film I’ve seen since 2009’s The House of the Devil.
4 out of 5 Another Reason I Hate Dolls
by Brian LeTendreMatt did a nice review of Man of Steel back when it first came out a while back. I finally had a chance to see the movie the other day, so I’ll be talking about it on the podcast that will air on the 29th. But, I wanted to put a few thoughts out there, as I’ve been thinking a lot about the movie, especially in the wake of seeing Pacific Rim days before Man of Steel.
I will be spoiling the heck out of the movie, so stop here if you care about that.
Overall, I enjoyed Man of Steel, and there are some genuinely great moments that I took away from the movie. Most of these were from the brief flashbacks we get of Clark growing up.
Like the scene where Clark starts manifesting his powers in the classroom and Martha has to come coax him out of a broom closet at school. When he looked at her and asked “What’s wrong with me?” I cried. As a parent, that cuts you deep, and Diane Lane nailed that scene (she was also my favorite performance in the movie by far).
Or the scene at the end of the movie where Clark tells his mom that he wishes his dad was there to see what he’d become, and we get a flashback to Jonathan Kent watching a young Clark running around with a makeshift cape pretending to be a superhero. Again, tears.
Those character moments, when they worked, were what I will take away most from Man of Steel. I also enjoyed the opening scene on Krypton. Russell Crow was great as Jor-El and his scenes aboard Zod’s ship with Lois were awesome as well.
But my main problem with Man of Steel is that those character moments I spoke of were way too few and far between. This was a grim movie from start to finish, and for me, that just does not match up with my understanding of Superman/Clark Kent as a character.
Outside of the first time he truly flies and then when he sees his mom at the end of the film, I cannot think of any other times that Clark smiles in this movie. His entire life has been about hiding who he is.
The idea that Jonathan Kent would make Clark watch him die, and that Clark would actually listen fundamentally broke this movie for me. I get what Snyder and company were trying to do, but it’s not the Superman I know. And it made me sad that with the exception of that final scene where Jonathan is watching Clark, every other scene with Jonathan Kent is just him telling Clark to hide who he is. It was a bummer.
The second issue I had with the film has been talked about to death already, and it’s a twofold issue--the collateral deaths Clark allows and his decision to kill Zod.
First, the collateral damage. It’s not just that thousands of people die in the destruction caused by Clark fighting Zod. It’s that those deaths don’t even register for Clark. Kevin Smith actually Tweeted something that perfectly encapsulates how I felt:
Watched AVENGERS again. Banner wakes after the Hulk falls through a roof and immediately asks if he's hurt anybody. Take note, MAN OF STEEL.
Outside of Lois, his mom and a few of the military guys he’s taken a shine to, it doesn't seem like Clark particularly cared about any of the humans he was supposedly saving. Again, that does not match up with my understanding of who Superman is.
As far as killing Zod, it’s inexcusable to me. Find another way to tell your story. What was worse about it was that outside of the immediate regret Clark has, the epilogue of the movie shows him having completely gotten over it. There’s no shame in it for him. He talks about wanting his dad to see who he’s become. Would Jonathan really want to see that Clark had become a murderer? Maybe Jonathan would feel guilty that he spent so many years holding Clark back that Clark was completely unprepared for life or death situations and handled the Kryptonian invasion in the worst way he possibly could have--by allowing tons of innocent people to die and then resorting to murder.
And that’s the real bummer for me. I feel like one of the main themes of the movie is that Jonathan Kent was a terrible dad who didn't prepare his son for what he might face down the road. His main message to Clark was “Someday you’ll figure it out, but that day isn't today.”
As an action movie, I thought Man of Steel was great. As a Superman movie, I thought it really missed the mark. The good news is that the movie ends on an up note, and there’s no reason the next movie couldn't establish a much more optimistic tone and recapture some of the humor, whimsy and hope that embody the Superman I grew up with.