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Wednesday, July 7, 2010

From Within (2008) - Horror

From Within (2008) - Part of the Horror After Dark series this small movie was captures enough creepiness to hold the audience. A curse on a small town where the residents start seeing scary versions of themselves. The alter people make the real people commit suicide. Lindsay (Elizabeth Rice) sees her friends die and then her boyfriend Dylan (Kelly Blatz) blame the local wiccan family. She defends Aidan (Thomas Dekker) and seeks his help when the curse reaches her. There are some plot points to spoil so let it be said that the curse is a tough one to break. Dylan the son of the local minister shows the painful ignorance of a true believer and just how corrupting religion can be. As the body count grows his all to strong faith has him scapegoating the only family that is different. The image of small town America in this film is one of fearful intolerance for anything except majority rule. The blame comes fast and hard to the family who is not in the local church. The film does a great job of turning Dylan into the antagonist even though by the end he was not so off in his thinking about where the evil was coming from. The dark ending was a refreshing change from the norm. Writer Brad Keene who wrote another favorite The Gravedancers has captured the scarey isolation of small town life. Definately creepy in content and context this film although not perfect was good for a small town scare.
Rating (6.3) Ratings above 5.0 are recommended movies.

Motel Hell (1980) - Horror

Motel Hell (1980) - Farmer Vincent Smith (Rory Calhoun) makes the best jerky in the area and his secret ingredient besides love is soylent green. Well sort of it is the unfortunate passerby who falls into one of his roadside traps. This is what happens to Terry (Nina Axolrod) and her motorcycling boyfriend. She wakes after the accident and is taken in with the Smiths, Vincent, Insatiable eater sister Ida Smith (Nancy Parsons) and local town sheriff Bruce Smith (Paul Linke). As she learns about the family and their strange way of being, she falls for the much older Vincent while being courted by Bruce. The love quadrangle with the boys Ida and Terry naturally has negative consequences. Added to this is the magic garden of people who have been planted in the ground by Vincent and Ida for ripening and you have a real mess.
The print I saw on cable TV was great and the story although goofy at times was very creative. There were a couple of cameo appearances by Wolfman Jack and John Ratzenberger that were fun to see. I have to say I enjoyed it for what it was.
Rating (5.8) All ratings above a 5.0 are recommended movies.

Sunday, July 4, 2010

Right at Your Door (2006) - Drama

Right at Your Door (2006) - Lexi (Mary McCormack) and Brad (Rory Cochrane) have their normal morning like they have a thousand times before. They get up have coffee and Lexi heads out to work, while Brad, a musician stays at home. Unfortunately for the couple this is no normal day, soon after Lexi heads out the news breaks that dirty bombs are exploding all across Los Angeles. Brad is in a panic and heads out to find Lexi, unfortunately the police are closing down all the roads into the detonation areas. He is in a panic without being able to get through to Lexi. When he returns home the handyman (Tony Perez) Alvaro from next store is in his house. He has no place inside to go so Brad lets him stay. They follow instructions and seal up the house with duct tape and plastic. The film then settles down, with Lexi finding her way home. The problem is that Brad now can't let her in. She has been exposed to toxins and virus in the attack and Brad thinks they will both could die if he lets her in. The drama centers around this the rest of the way. At one point Lexi breaks a window because she wants in. The writer Chris Gorak keeps the script taught and suspenseful introducing just enough characters and giving just enough information to keep the film interesting. Since the film has a twist I will not go into the ending even though it is an older movie. The twist although welcomed was a bit cliche in that I thought we suddenly changed the film into an episode of Alfred Hitchcock presents. Still it was a decent film that held my attention.
Rating (6.1) Any rating above a 5.0 is recommended

Saturday, July 3, 2010

Hot Tub Time Machine (2010) - Comedy

Hot Tub Time Machine (2010) - Hot tub as time machine puts three friends and a dork back in the 1980's. Their lives in various levels of dysfunction they have the opportunity to change there futures by changing their pasts. Lou (Rob Corddry) made a suicide attempt before the trip and now is still willing to try not to mess up the past. Adam (John Cusack) brings Lou to the place where there greatest weekend adventure of the eighties took place. Instead of finding the magic of that time in the now run down ski lodge, they find a night of drinking that leads to the trip in the hot tub time machine. With Nick (Craig Robinson) reeling from finding out his wife has been cheating on him Lou Adam and his nephew Jacob (Clark Duke) try to not destroy the future while in the past. Still it is impossible to get everything right and these guys are damaged from the start. When they wake in the morning in the eighties the gags are about the exaggerated 80s clothes and hair styles and although at times there are some funny bit they never quite get hilarious. Chevy Chase plays the hottub repair man who flits in and out with useless warnings about the machine, or is he talking in secret messages. The problem is that he never fully is explored as a character. The buddy movie aspect of this film does work but it is the laughs that come out flat.
Rating (5.2)