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House of Games (1987)
A Good Film Plagued By Bad Acting
"House of Games" is a story about a psychiatrist (Lindsay Crouse) whose patient threatens suicide because he owes a bookie named Mike (Joe Mantegna). Maggie meets Mike at a poker game and falls for him and his cons.
"House of Games" is a superb story but it is sadly dragged down by poor acting. I assume the reason for the wooden acting is because this is a film written and directed by playwright David Mamet. The acting feels more like it belongs in a amateur play than a feature film. Joe Mantegna is good but almost everyone else delivers their lines like they are reading straight from the script, especially lead actress Crouse.
I think the film, although plagued by mostly emotionless delivery, is worth watching because it really is a great story and has a classic film noir feel to it that almost makes up for its flaws.
I am genuinely surprised that this film was a hit for critics, even appearing on both Gene Siskel's and Roger Ebert's Best of the Year lists. The story is intriguing but still so poorly acted.
Lords of Dogtown (2005)
Lords of Dogtown focuses on the skateboarding scene of the 1970s when a group of young skaters known as the Z Boys made a name for themselves. This film really captures the time period well with a great soundtrack and great acting by its cast. I highly recommend this film.
Breakdown is the story of a married couple (Kurt Russell, Kathleen Quinlan) who breakdown on the side of the road and is offered help by a trucker (JT Walsh). What happens next is a nonstop thrill ride. This film is very well done and will leave you on the edge of your seat.
The Last Blockbuster (2020)
Poorly Executed Documentary
Who here doesn't miss the days of the video store? It was so nice to be able to walk in and see all the wonderful VHS covers and pick out a movie or two to watch. Blockbuster wasn't necessarily my favorite because I liked the little mom and pop video stores, but I would love to be able to step inside a Blockbuster now. I really think it's cool that there is still a Blockbuster in Bend, Oregon.
This could have been a much more interesting documentary. I liked the story of the woman who is running this Blockbuster and is called the "Blockbuster Mom" but the documentary itself is poorly made.
A Great Film to Revitalize The Franchise
This film is a direct sequel to the 1978 classic 'Halloween', so the events of Halloween 2 through Resurrection haven't taken place in this timeline, and neither has anything from Rob Zombie's remake or it's sequel, obviously. Jamie Lee Curtis returns as Laurie Strode, the final girl from the first film. Curtis gives a great performance as a traumatized older version of Laurie. I think this film captures the spirit of the original film perfectly and it will leave you feeling ready for the two sequels to follow.
Halloween 5 Is Possibly The Worst Of The Series
Halloween 4 was a decent sequel to the first two films and was a great film to reintroduce Michael Myers. Halloween 5 should have been a good film in the franchise, but sadly it was not. Halloween 5 suffered mostly from having a clueless director who wanted to take the film in a different direction and started an idea that was never finished and was left for the makers of Halloween: The Curse of Michael Myers (1995) to finish.
I know the films are not based in reality but are we really supposed to believe that Myers spends one entire year in a hobo's cabin in the same spot asleep and then all of a sudden wakes up and kills the old man? It makes no sense whatsoever.
Jamie is in a hospital where she is mute and is now experiencing a psychic connection to her uncle. Dr. Loomis is full on crazy at this point. Rachel's character isn't used at all the way she should have been and now has an annoying friend named Tina. The film, in my opinion, is a mess. I liked it when I was younger but now see that it makes no sense at all.
The Film That Started The Horror Boom of The Eighties
John Carpenter's masterpiece 'Halloween' is the film that started the slasher craze of the eighties. This movie, however, isn't filled with blood or a high body count like the films it influenced, instead we have an atmospheric slow burner that never loses the audience's attention.
The legendary Donald Pleasance is perfect as Dr. Loomis, the doctor who knows what the villain, Michael Myers, is capable of and follows his trail to the small town of Haddonfield, Illinois.
Jamie Lee Curtis is also perfectly cast as Laurie Strode, a teenager who is in charge of babysitting a little boy named Tommy Doyle. Tommy keeps seeing "the boogeyman" but Laurie thinks he is just spooked.
'Halloween' owes a lot to films like 'Psycho' and 'Black Christmas' but nearly every horror film that followed owes a lot to 'Halloween'.
I feel that this film is a must watch for those who like horror but also for those who don't necessarily like horror as well, because it does not rely on gore or jump scares and it is very suspenseful and intriguing.
Death Spa (1989)
An Extremely Eighties Horror Flick
Death Spa is a movie that was filmed a couple of years before it was released in 1989, so it definitely has that mid eighties cheesy horror vibe. The film takes place at a health club because exercise was all the rage in the eighties. Odd occurrences and deaths are happening at the club and Michael Evans (no not the father from Good Times) is suspicious of his dead wife's brother who runs the control center for the exercise machines.
It seems like the club could be haunted as there is a scene where shower tiles go flying around. This movie is definitely not a masterpiece, and I actually like Killer Workout (1988) better but I really like the style of Death Spa and it is a much better looking film. If you love eighties horror, it is definitely worth a watch.
Halloween: Resurrection (2002)
Not a Good Halloween Movie But....
Halloween Resurrection is without a doubt one of the worst movies in the Halloween series. I do find it to be an entertaining film despite its flaws. Yes, Busta Rhymes is terrible, but he's also kind of awesome. It's more or less a "so bad it's good" kind of film. I think Halloween 5 is the worst of the series and if this wasn't a Halloween film, it would be considered an enjoyable film. It's outdated now of course, but I've come around to it.
Halloween: Curse of Michael Myers
Many fans of the Halloween films were disappointed after Halloween 5 (1989) and rightly so. Towards the end of that film, we saw a mysterious man in black that helped Michael escape from his cell, so the writers of Halloween 6 had to come up with a way to tie up the loose ends of the previous film. They came up with a whole backstory on why Michael Myers is a murderer, and it's not great, but I guess they had to do what they had to do.
The Curse of Michael Myers is actually a decent film despite the backstory because it has the creepy feel of the first two films and Michael's mask looks better than in did in the last two films. This film marks the film debut of Paul Rudd. In this film, Rudd plays Tommy Doyle, the little boy Laurie babysat in the original film.
I think The Curse of Michael Myers is a decent entry in the series overall.
Teenage Exorcist (1991)
Started Off Okay but Then Not So Much
This movie started off kind of interesting. Brinke Stevens, who always wrote the screenplay, is a young lady who moves into a new place, but she is quickly possessed and then things get really wacky. Her sister and brother in law come to check on her and she tries to seduce the brother in law and kill her sister with a chainsaw. The film gets really tacky and uninteresting as it goes along.
Manos: The Hands of Fate (1966)
A film that lives up to its reputation
I have seen quite a few bad films in my time but this one is up there with the worst of them. I wasn't even really entertained personally and I am glad MST3K made it more entertaining because by itself it is dreadful.
I do have to say that John Reynolds, the actor who played Torgo, gave the most interesting performance. From what I've read, he reportedly spent a good deal of his time on the film high, and I think you could see that was probably true. But let's be honest, how could anyone agree to and then go through with appearing in this stinker without a little help from their friends? I don't do drugs myself, but I felt like I must've been on something to be able to sit through this snoozer for that long. This only became a classic due to the MST3K episode and there is no way this would have ever gotten a sequel without it. Yes, that's right, there's a sequel. Pick your jaw up from off the floor and either watch the MST3K version or don't bother.
Warlock is a Somewhat Decent Film
Warlock isn't a jawdroppingly great film but it is still an entertaining one with good performances from the cast. I especially like the interactions between Lori Singer and Richard E. Grant's characters. This film is a decent enough way to pass the time.
I Scratch My Head Wondering Why Warlock Needed Sequels
Sequels were all the rage in the horror world for years, and I do enjoy most, but I cannot understand why we needed two horrible sequels to a decent film like Warlock. This third outing doesn't even have the same warlock from the first two films. When I saw Ashley Laurence's name I felt like maybe this would be better than the second film, oh boy was I wrong. This is a waste of time.
Warlock: The Armageddon (1993)
I would rather #2 than watch Warlock 2
Warlock 2 started off half way decent but then to me it seemed as though someone with ADD may have written this one. I felt like the story was all over the place and there wasn't enough effort in making a truly good sequel to an interesting film. This movie, in a word, blows. Sorry.
Mad About You: The Kid Leaves (2019)
Still Mad About The Buchmans
Mad About You is one of my all time favorite sitcoms. It's good to see Paul and Jamie after all these years. The first episode of the reboot is funny and it's interesting to Paul and Jamie try to find themselves again after their daughter leaves for college.
Crystal Lake Memories: A Nearly Perfect Documentary
Crystal Lake Memories is a lengthy six and a half hour documentary on the popular Friday The 13th horror franchise. This documentary was made after the documentary on the Nightmare On Elm Street franchise and features several cast and crew members from all twelve films of the series. This is a very well made and interesting documentary, although it is hard to watch anything that's nearly seven hours long in one sitting, but this is interesting enough that is might be possible to do.
The only real complaint is there is a moment when an actress from the seventh Friday film is said to have died, and it turns out she might not be dead. The people who made the doc reportedly had the obituary of the wrong woman. I'm not sure if that's true, but it's the story going around on the internet. Other than the possible misinformation, this is a great documentary for fans of horror. Those films were really entertaining and it seems like the people who worked on them had a wonderful time. It is important to note that Kevin Bacon and a few other beloved Friday stars are not present in this documentary, but that really doesn't take away from its greatness.
Despite the Hate, It Is A Great Movie
Friday the 13th: A New Beginning wasn't supposed to happen. The previous film was titled "The Final Chapter", but the series was so successful and popular the inevitable happened. A New Beginning starts off with little Tommy Jarvis (Corey Feldman) being terrorized by the maniac Jason, but we see that it was just a dream and Tommy is now older and played by actor John Sheppard. Jason is dead. You know once a killer in a popular horror film dies, they can't come back, right?
Anyway, Tommy is put into a home for mentally ill youngsters and is obviously scarred by his past trauma. A mentally challenged boy is axed to death, not by Jason, while two girls from the home are watching. People are being offed one by one now and it looks as though Jason is back. But he's dead, remember?
This film is hard to explain without giving too much away, which is an odd thing to say about a Friday the 13th film, but this one has a twist. It's obvious, to me anyway, who the killer is pretty early on.
This was a unique entry in the horror series and one that many hate for that very reason. I think it is a great film even though it is different.
The Liberal Horror Documentary
Nightmares in Red, White and Blue is a documentary, narrated by the great Lance Henriksen, about the evolution of the horror genre. We see clips of horror films from the beginning of film, like the silent version of The Phantom of The Opera, to the modern day films like Saw. This documentary uses American history and politics to compare what's on screen to what was occurring in real life. It's interesting to see how current events reflected in film, but some of the talking heads take things a little too far. One guy compares Ronald Reagan to Freddy Krueger. As someone who isn't on the left side of things more often than not, I can deal with the viewpoints of others, but some of the things said in this documentary just don't cut it for me. I enjoy seeing the clips from classics like "The Leopard Man", a film I admit I've never heard of, and the more modern titles, but I just don't like mixing politics with entertainment. If you don't like mixing the two, this movie isn't for you either.
How Sweet, Fresh Meat
The Dream Master is the fourth sequel in the Elm Street series. A few of the kids from the previous film show up in this one, although Patricia Arquette is replaced with actress Tuesday Knight. The Dream Warriors are beginning to have nightmares of Freddy all over again. Freddy is then resurrected, in an extremely wacky way, and returns to Elm Street to kill a new set of teens, after he finishes the last of the Dream Warriors off of course.
Whenever a character in this film dies, their powers are passed on to Alice (Lisa Wilcox), a shy girl who must stop Freddy Krueger once and for all, or at least until a new sequel comes along. The Dream Master is one of the best films of the series and, although this is the movie when Freddy starts to become more comical and less dark, this is still a really good movie.
Welcome To Primetime
"A Nightmare On Elm Street" is one of the greatest horror films of all time, and let's be honest, it is one of the greatest films of all time. Wes Craven made a masterpiece and then had nothing to do with the sequel that was released one year later. Craven comes back to the series as writer only for "The Dream Warriors".
The third film in the Elm Street series is about a bunch of suicidal teens in a hospital who are being terrified by madman Freddy Krueger. The final girl of the first film, Nancy Thompson, is back as a psychologist, sent to help the patients through their terrifying dreams. Nancy's father is back as well and this time we find out that he's become an alcoholic after the events of the first film.
As for the teens, we have the usual group; one girl is a drug addict, one is a nerd, one is a mute, one aspires to be an actress, one makes puppets, one is a tough guy, and one is having problems with her mother. The characters are stereotypical teens but as an audience, we really feel for these people and the connections they've made.
The kill scenes are really interesting and the story is quite good for a horror film. Robert Englund's Freddy begins using the comical one liners he would become famous for in future sequels, but this is still a dark film like the previous two entries in the franchise.
Killer Workout (1987)
Killer Workout Is A Good 80s Horror Flick
Aerobics was the most popular form of exercise in the eighties, long before the days of CrossFit. Killer Workout has no shortage of aerobics scenes and that's partly what makes this film memorable. I do enjoy the story. A woman is burned in a tanning bed and five years later, her twin sister is running a gym where the members are being offed one by one. I think Killer Workout is an entertaining 80s horror flick not to be missed.
Sorority House Massacre II (1990)
Sorority House Massacre 2 is Over The Top
I found the first Sorority House Massacre to be a boring film. I expected it's sequel to be better, but I was disappointed. This film could be considered entertaining but I found it to be stupid and too reliant on gratuitous nudity. I love a good slasher film and nudity is to be expected, but this was nothing but nudity and lacked any substance.
I also found it weird the footage used for the scenes of what happened at the house five years earlier came from a completely different franchise, Slumber Party Massacre, a film which is a thousand times better than Sorority House Massacre, and a film which spawned a much better sequel. There are no redeeming qualities in Sorority House Massacre Part 2.
Masters of the Universe (1987)
Maybe If I Had Grown Up With It, I Would Feel Different
Masters of the Universe is a controversial film. It was considered to be the film that ended Cannon Films. Regardless of its failure, I expected to enjoy this film, and yet, I couldn't really get into it. I enjoyed seeing Dolph Lundgren as He Man and Courtney Cox in an early role as the character Julie. Maybe if I had grown up with this film, I would feel differently about it, but I did not and I feel as though it is an alright film, but it didn't really keep my attention.
Slumber Party Massacre II (1987)
A weird but entertaining sequel
Slumber Party Massacre 2 takes place five years after the first film. Little Courtney is now 17 and played by Crystal Bernard. She's in an all girl rock band and goes with her friends to a condo in the desert for the weekend. All seems well until the dreams that have been haunting her are getting worse and she is now having terrifying visions while awake. Her friends think she's crazy and the police are not too happy when they are called and show up to find that no one has died. Things begin to take a turn for the worse when the crazy killer she's been having dreams about shows up and begins drilling her friends.
This is a wacky and weird movie but it's also very entertaining .