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Sharknado The 4th Awakens Ian Ziering, Tara Reid, Tommy Davidson, Masiela Lusha, Ryan Newman, Cody Linley, Imani A. Hakim, Cheryl Tiegs, Gary Busey, David Hasselhoff, The Chippendales,

Sharknado: The 4th Awakens. Let’s just start with that title, “the 4th awakens”… that’s a Star Wars reference, right!?!? But other than a couple of subtle riffs, there’s literally no connection to that franchise… Who the fuck is naming these movies!?!? The film begins – five years after Sharknado 3:Oh Hell No – in Las Vegas with a 15-minute action scene (that’s completely unrelated to the rest of the movie). It’s a shoddy ‘setup’ with almost no explanation and crammed with some of the worst CGI in the franchise so far (a fake shark-themed hotel, and flying car) and that’s saying something! Of the four movies, this one is by far the least cohesive and has the worst continuity… it essentially feels like a bunch of ‘that would be cool’ ideas very vaguely stitched together.  New characters appear, but are never introduced; the Grand Canyon is blown up and nobody seems to care; Tara Reid (how is she even still in these and Cassie Scerbo isn’t) ends up flying around with superpowers shooting lasers and shit; there’s a ton of sloppy references to things like Action Comics #1 / Alien / Wizard of Oz – all for no apparent reason; an actual advert – in the movie – for speech recognition TVs; everyone has a classic car for no obvious reason, and, most unforgivably, the film hops around from city to city (Kansas, Las VegasSan Fran, Arizona, Texas, Chicago, Ohio, Niagara Falls) where the real Eiffel Tower (What. The. Fuck?!!?) makes the best cameo in the movie. All in all; Sharknado 4 spectacularly fails to up the ante as much as the previous installment, and feels like idea has been stretched to the absolute limit.

Score: 3/10
B-Movie Score: 4/10

Sharknado The 4th Awakens Ian Ziering, Tara Reid, Tommy Davidson, Masiela Lusha, Ryan Newman, Cody Linley, Imani A. Hakim, Cheryl Tiegs, Gary Busey, David Hasselhoff, The Chippendales,
LIST OF CAMEOS – doesn’t include half of the z-listers, competition winners, family members etc.

Carrot Top (So-called comedian), Corey Taylor (Slinknot / Stone Sour frontman), Jedward (Irish dancing twats), Gilbert Gottfried (croaky / shouty comedian), Dog bounty hunter + family (peace be with you brah), Seth Rollins (Sports entertainer), Steve Gutenberg (Lavalantula & 2 Lava 2 Lantula Star), Lloyd Kaufman (Toxie’s dad. Troma founder), Gary Busey (Even he is better than this!), Gena Lee Nolin & Alexandra Paul (original Baywatch babes), Roy Nelson (professional punchkicker), Vince Neil (Motley Crew), Patti Stanger (Millionaire Matchmaker), Frank Mir (professional kickpuncher),

Sharknado The 4th Awakens Ian Ziering, Tara Reid, Tommy Davidson, Masiela Lusha, Ryan Newman, Cody Linley, Imani A. Hakim, Cheryl Tiegs, Gary Busey, David Hasselhoff, The Chippendales,

SHARK DEATHS

  • Chip n Dale punch
  • Cutlass / Swords
  • Fireworks
  • Ship’s Wheel
  • Fin-punch
  • Train Signal Pole
  • Chainsaw Family
  • Flaming Tree Logger
  • Tennis Racket
  • Treecapitation
  • Shotgun’d
  • Rifle’d
  • Chainsword
  • High-kicked
  • Mecha suit

Sharknado The 4th Awakens Ian Ziering, Tara Reid, Tommy Davidson, Masiela Lusha, Ryan Newman, Cody Linley, Imani A. Hakim, Cheryl Tiegs, Gary Busey, David Hasselhoff, The Chippendales,

Sharknado  –  Review

Sharknado 2: The Second One  –  Review

Sharknado 3: Oh Hell No!  –  Review

The Love Witch Banner Poster Samantha Robinson, Gian Keys, Laura Waddell, Jeffrey Vincent Parise, Jared Sanford, Robert Seeley, Jennifer Ingrum, Clive Ashborn, Stephen Wozniak, Elle Eva

The Love Witch: a modern-day witch is testing her potions on handsome men in a quest to find true love. I don’t think I’ve seen a more accurate and loving homage to retro-cinema… the saturated colours, audio fidelity, camera techniques, soundtrack, editing, clothes, lighting, stilted dialogue, and general B-movie tackiness… it’s all there, and it’s all immaculate; to the point where it’s difficult to accurately date. There’s also no other way to describe the fantastical / surreal / dreamlike / kitschy aesthetic than a “luscious eyegasm”. It is, however, disappointing that the actual content of the film is wafer thin: there’s a lot of super-shallow and tedious “but what IS love” type chatting and, more generally, it sticks far too rigidly to the 60s B-movie structure without adding or updating a single point. Picking up a 15-rating, it’s also a touch on the timid side for what could (and should?) have been a great gore-fest or sexploitation romp. The final complaint is that – although it’s absolutely gorgeous – the film is 30-minutes too long: the entire final act (renaissance fair / musical numbers) really tries the viewers patience. I’m not 100% sure it’s the feminist piece it’s being championed as (it’s a mental woman on a killing spree) but I will say that this is pure catnip for goth/burlesque/alternative people. The Love Witch is a film that puts everything in to its style and vision; leaving the rest of the film feeling slight… although blimey Charlie, it doesn’t half look beautiful.

Score: 4/10

The Love Witch Laboratory Samantha Robinson, Gian Keys, Laura Waddell, Jeffrey Vincent Parise, Jared Sanford, Robert Seeley, Jennifer Ingrum, Clive Ashborn, Stephen Wozniak, Elle Evans

The Love Witch Interior Samantha Robinson, Gian Keys, Laura Waddell, Jeffrey Vincent Parise, Jared Sanford, Robert Seeley, Jennifer Ingrum, Clive Ashborn, Stephen Wozniak, Elle EvansThe Love Witch Pentagram Samantha Robinson, Gian Keys, Laura Waddell, Jeffrey Vincent Parise, Jared Sanford, Robert Seeley, Jennifer Ingrum, Clive Ashborn, Stephen Wozniak, Elle Evans

Aftermath, Arnold Schwarzenegger, Scoot McNairy, Maggie Grace, Judah Nelson, Larry Sullivan, Jason McCune, Glenn Morshower, Mariana Klaveno, Martin Donovan, Hannah Ware, Christopher Darg

Aftermath [mild spoilers]: follows two men after a fatal airplane collision that changes their lives forever. The film starts with a relentlessly grim and drawn-out opening act in which both leads deal with the shock of their situation, frequently tipping over into forced melodrama; it’s all very burdensome and somber. Where the film really fails to deliver is after a 70 minute gloomy setup; the ‘climactic payoff’ is far too brief, and then we get a post-script ‘years later’ scene that you could see coming a mile off. Stylistically, the film is equally austere, with a grayed out colour palate; it starts at Christmas for no real reason than to crank up the sorrow-o-meter; and contains some rather clunky imagery & parallels between the leads’ lives. Strangely, the movie takes a powerful real-life story and changes core elements that ultimately lessens the story’s impact in the fictionalized movie version. I’m a huge Arnie fan – and think he’s a better actor than he’s generally given credit for – however this film asks a little too much of him: there are moments where you can see him struggle with the emotions. Scoot McNairy is rather good, but doesn’t get a lot of gears to change through. From the director of Bltiz (a solid police action/drama) the lack of action and tunneled focus on tragedy feels like a huge – but just-missed – leap. Aftermath is by no means a bad film, but it is a very heavy film about a very heavy subject that you’d need to be in a particular mood to watch.

Score: 3/10

Aftermath, Arnold Schwarzenegger, Scoot McNairy, Maggie Grace, Judah Nelson, Larry Sullivan, Jason McCune, Glenn Morshower, Mariana Klaveno, Martin Donovan, Hannah Ware, Christopher Darg

The Autopsy of Jane Doe Emile Hirsch, Brian Cox, Ophelia Lovibond, Michael McElhatton, Olwen Kelly, Parker Sawyers,  André Øvredal

The Autopsy of Jane Doe: two small-town coroners investigate a fresh “Jane Doe”, whose cause of death becomes increasingly difficult to pin down as they learn about the body. This film is the embodiment of tight and efficient: a brief 15-minute setup; 30 mins of live/real-time autopsy, and the last half the film shifts gears into a full-on supernatural horror / thriller. Not for the faint-hearted, parts of this are horrifying to watch; the autopsy is shown in all of it’s snapping, sawing, scalping glory, and is coloured with buckets of crimson – this will definitely root out the weak and the woozy. Although there are a couple of big (and cheap) ‘modern’ jump-scares the majority of the film’s tension comes through the satisfyingly old-school method of very slowly building a sustained and overbearing sense of dread; the film lets your imagination run wild, and shows some incredible restraint – a couple of moments even stray into ‘pure terror’. As mentioned above, it’s a very tight movie: tight script (tons of subtle clues that tie in together nicely); tight setting (claustrophobic, well-established, and inherently creepy morgue); tight cast (Hirsch and Cox are a great/safe pair of hands, with fantastic chemistry). In fact, the only thing that minorly lets the film down is the ending, which is good, but doesn’t do justice to the slow-cooker setup. A completely unrelated follow-up to the fantastic TrollHunter, Norwegian director André Øvredal is proving himself as a very strong and competent film-maker – once again his direction is meticulous, without being the slightest bit ‘auteurial’ or flashy. Few things excite me less than ‘modern horror’, yet because of its throwback sensibilities ‘Autopsy’ feels more a John Carpenter picture than the ‘Paranormal Conjuring 27’ films modern audiences are being served up.

Score: 7.5/10
The Autopsy of Jane Doe Emile Hirsch, Brian Cox, Ophelia Lovibond, Michael McElhatton, Olwen Kelly, Parker Sawyers,  André Øvredal

“Every body has a secret”

The Autopsy of Jane Doe Emile Hirsch, Brian Cox, Ophelia Lovibond, Michael McElhatton, Olwen Kelly, Parker Sawyers,  André Øvredal

De Palma - Brian De Palma, Noah Baumbach, Jake Paltrow, Martin Scorsese, Lauren Minnerath, Matt Ma Sisters, Obsession, Carrie, Dressed to Kill, Blow Out, Scarface, The Untouchable

De Palma: two directors plonk a camera in front of legendary director Brian De Palma, and he discusses his turbulent career, warts ‘n’ all. This kicks off with a brief history of his journey into cinema; starting as an indie director through to his studio system break alongside Lucas, Spielberg, Scorsese, and Coppola. The rest of the documentary feels like De Palma defending his stinkers and bigging up the films that initially underperformed, but have been subsequently lauded. My main issue with this documentary is that I don’t know who it’s supposed to be aimed at: the 2-5 minute recap of every single film is too high-level for De Palma nerds like me – even with the odd anecdote – yet it pretty much spoils the best parts of every film that ‘De Palma n00bs’ won’t have seen yet. As it’s just De Palma talking, it feels a touch self-indulgent – massaging his own ego – and coming over as a tad weird, bitter, & unhinged by the end. This is capped off with a final few minutes that turn into the biggest self-congratulatory handjob; where De Palma states that he is the only director keeping Hitchcock’s notions of “pure cinema” alive! This is the only time I’ve ever though that what I was watching could have benefited from more talking heads lending different perspectives and additional context. Don’t get me wrong, De Palma is one of the most under-rated directors out there; and although he’s had some stinkers, he’s also made some of the greatest movies of their times… but this isn’t the tribute that I was expecting; or that a masterful director like Brian De Palma deserves.

Score: 3/10

If you really want to explore De Palma, scrap this and go watch Blow Out, Femme Fatale, Scarface, or The Untouchables to see the damage this guy can do with a camera.

De Palma - Brian De Palma, Noah Baumbach, Jake Paltrow, Martin Scorsese, Lauren Minnerath, Matt MayerSisters, Obsession, Carrie, Dressed to Kill, Blow Out, Scarface, The Untouchables

Witchtrap (AKA – The Presence / The Haunted): before leasing out his family home, a warlock’s son calls in some parapsychologists to rid the house of evil spirits. For a low-budget late 80s B-movie the video and audio transfer are better than some of the bigger studio pictures from this period. The audio track – which was botched on the movie set – is particularly clear as every line and effect had to be re-recorded in post. The film itself is of a fantastically cheesy vintage; it went from inception to ready-to-shoot in under a week, so the plot is mechanical, (seven people enter a house – fewer leave) and the dialogue is massively overripe, but in a fun, corny way… and it’s not helped by the ‘detached’ ADR performances. Characters are all fairly stock, and are championed by a John McLean-style wisecracking hardboiled detective, who is – in all honesty – way too cool for this type of movie, but his constant jabbering helps the film remain on your good side. For the first few deaths it feels like the movie is wimping out of showing maximum gore, but the final act throws in a lot of blood and over-the-top kills, including an unusually long and graphic shooting and a monster melting sequence. It’s also surprisingly well directed; with slow and ominous camerawork (paired with an equally doom-laden soundtrack), plenty jumpscares, and some technical/dolly shots that you don’t usually get in this type of film. The new Blu Ray release is the first uncut/unrated version; it also boasts a heap of extras including an honest & interesting interview with the director. Nothing about Witchtrap is exceptional or original, but it’s better made, more entertaining, and as nostalgic as any other film in this genre. (Linnea Quigley also gets her waps out!)

Score: 5/10
B-movie Score: 7/10

Ghost int he Shell Signs Atsuko Tanaka, Akio Ōtsuka Iemasa Kayumi, Kōichi Yamadera, Tamio Ōki, Yutaka Nakano, Tesshō Genda, Mitsuru Miyamoto, Kazuhiro Yamaji, Shigeru Chiba,

Ghost in the Shell: in a future where people are ‘more cyborgs than human’ a criminal virus-entity known as ‘The Puppet Master’ is trying to find the perfect humanoid host to hijack. Watching this now, after experiencing +20 years of Sci-Fi it’s amazing to see how much influence this movie has had on the genre’s modern landscape: you’re continually reminded of things like The Matrix (pretty much just one big homage), Metal Gear Solid, Inception. A.I., Lucy, Ex Machina… The storyline is complex, and feels way ahead of its time – talking about computing, A.I. and robotics in ways that we’re not even doing yet, over twenty years on. Technically, the film is visually astounding; the way it captures light / reflections / textures, and blends 3D rendering with cell animation is truly mesmerizing. There are however a lot of ‘filler’ or stretched out scenes in order to hit the ‘feature length’ mark: very long credits; pointless (and long) montages; and even irrelevant scenes. The root of the film is the question “what makes us human?” Unfortunately, this leads to a lot of waffle between the characters about the ‘ghosts’ (souls), ‘self’, and brain/body connections… overlong and over-wordy scene after scene brings this up in a “Philosophy 101” manner; but ultimately, the question is never really answered. Peppered with brief and intense action set pieces, but primarily pop-philosophy; Ghost in the Shell is a film that looks fantastic and is easy to admire or respect, but it’s not particularly entertaining, and feels intellectually inferior compared to the ideas it’s struggling to wrestling with.

Score: 7/10

Ghost in the Shell Poster Atsuko Tanaka, Akio Ōtsuka Iemasa Kayumi, Kōichi Yamadera, Tamio Ōki, Yutaka Nakano, Tesshō Genda, Mitsuru Miyamoto, Kazuhiro Yamaji, Shigeru Chiba, Mamoru

Ghost int he Shell Reflection Atsuko Tanaka, Akio Ōtsuka Iemasa Kayumi, Kōichi Yamadera, Tamio Ōki, Yutaka Nakano, Tesshō Genda, Mitsuru Miyamoto, Kazuhiro Yamaji, Shigeru Chiba, Mam

Ghost in the Shell Camo Atsuko Tanaka, Akio Ōtsuka Iemasa Kayumi, Kōichi Yamadera, Tamio Ōki, Yutaka Nakano, Tesshō Genda, Mitsuru Miyamoto, Kazuhiro Yamaji, Shigeru Chiba, Mamoru Os