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Thor: Love and Thunder (2022) – Review

July 5, 2022

Quick Thoughts – Grade – C+ – There’s a lot to like in Thor: Love & Thunder, but the constant riffing and jokes destroy the momentum and create a disjointed and flat experience. 

Taika Waititi placed himself in a tough situation when he decided to come back to direct another Thor movie. In 2017, Thor: Ragnarok felt like a breath of fresh air that allowed Chris Hemsworth to finally have some fun (He’s a friend from work!) and introduced audiences to Tessa Thompson’s Valkyrie, and Waititi’s Korg (Both are favorites of mine). What made Ragnarok work so well is that it was able to infuse comedy into the Thor universe while still telling a relatively tight narrative about family and accepting one’s fate. The film went on to collect a 93% Tomatometer score, 7.9 IMDB User score, and it grossed $854 million worldwide. In other words, Thor: Ragnarok was a bonafide blockbuster that proved that Waitit was ready for the big leagues. It was neat seeing that the guy who directed Eagle vs. Shark, Boy, What We Do in the Shadows and The Hunt for the Wilderpeople, could step up and make a funky big budget blockbuster. Several years later, Waitti is now an Oscar-winning (2020 – Best Adapted Screenplay win for Jojo Rabbit) A-lister who also has produced excellent TV shows like What We Do in the Shadows, Reservation Dogs, Wellington Paranormal and Our Flag Means Death

Waititi’s tough situation is that anything he makes now will have insane amounts of expectations, and with Thor: Love & Thunder, he has to deliver another excellent Marvel film that has to somehow live up to the expectations that Thor: Ragnarok created. In the end, Thor: Love & Thunder is fun, but it lacks momentum and cohesion because the constant riffing grinds everything to a halt. Also, Christian Bale’s Gorr The God Butcher character looks great, and has a compelling backstory, but he’s largely ignored as the movie progresses and the majority of his abilities revolve around him sending shadow monsters into battle while he hangs out and waits for them to accomplish their mission. The narrative becomes a little overwhelmed as well as the movie focuses on Thor, Valkyrie, Korg, two screaming goats, and The Mighty Thor (Natalie Portman – getting much needed retribution as being wasted in Thor: The Dark World) attempting to stop Gorr before he’s able to locate *spoiler* so he can finish off all the gods. It sounds simple enough, but throw in Gorr’s backstory, training montages, fun cameos, the Guardians of the Galaxy, space battles, health scares, shadow planets, god planets, tourist destinations, hospitals, dry planets, child abduction, relationship montages, and final battles and you have a lot going on. What’s nice about Thor: Ragnarok is that it tells a simple narrative about Thor returning to Asgard so he can battle his sister Hela (Cate Blanchett – so good). It’s simple, easy to follow, and not overloaded with momentum killing gags. 

As always, reviewing MCU movies is tough because there are so many spoilers and twists that are best left unspoiled. I’d love to write more about Natalie Portman’s return, but a lot of her storyline was a surprise to me and I don’t want to wreck anything for you. It is nice seeing her back in the MCU after Thor: The Dark World left her pining for Thor and being a plot Macguffin. This time around Portman gets to wreck villains and have fun alongside Hemsworth, Thompson, Waititi, Bale and Russell Crowe (with a unique accent). Also, since the MCU is now dealing with gods and space travel, the CGI-heavy finales are becoming predictable (Truth be told I have no idea how to fix this because their formula works and CGI is necessary) as wildly powerful people battle other powerful people in fancy locations that need to be out of the public’s eye to avoid spoiler-tastic photos. Waititi and co-writer Jennifer Kaytin Robinson include a fun finale surprise, but the ending still doesn’t hold much weight because you know that good will prevail (and a famous rock song will be played). All in all, Thor: Love & Thunder is a good time, but it has zero momentum because of the constant riffing and gags that pump the narrative breaks. For instance, when Thor goes off on a quest he flies through the roof of a building and Valkyrie says “He’s paying for that.” Sure, it’s a funny bit, but it’s not necessary and does nothing for the narrative. Now, imagine dozens of these cheeky moments that will probably make you laugh, but will also slow down the narrative. Somewhere along the way the narrative took a backseat and Thor: Love & Thunder became more about having a good time and that’s why I gave it a C. It’s fun, but it comes nowhere near movies like Iron Man, Black Panther, and Thor: Ragnarok. I did love the Event Horizon and Interstellar references, which open up a fun can of cameo worms. Also, I’m pretty sure Chris Hemsworth used this movie to audition for a Big Trouble in Little China remake. 


Since it’s an MCU film with a gigantic budget, the production is top notch and special props should go to costume designer Mayes C. Rubeo (Apocalypto, Jojo Rabbit, World War Z) and production designer Nigel Phelps (World War Z, The Island), who do some excellent work as there are some interesting design choices and I really like the updated costumes for Valkyrie, Korg and The Mighty Thor.

The Movies, Films and Flix Podcast – Episode 435: Brotherhood of the Wolf, Rain Fights, and Mark Dacascos

July 5, 2022

You can download or stream the pod on Apple Podcasts, Tune In, Podbean, or Spreaker (or wherever you listen to podcasts…..we’re almost everywhere).

If you get a chance please make sure to review, rate and share. You are awesome!

Mark and David Cross (of the Award Wieners Movie Review Podcast – @ItsMeDavidCross on Twitter) discuss the 2001 action-horror movie Brotherhood of the Wolf. Directed by Christophe Gans, and starring Samuel Le Bihan, Vincent Cassel, Monica Bellucci, and Mark Dacascos, the movie focuses on what happens when a murderous monster terrorizes the French countryside. In this episode, they also talk about rain fights, cave fights, and monster fights. Enjoy!

If you are a fan of the podcast, make sure to send in some random listener questions (we love random questions). We thank you for listening, and hope you enjoy the episode!

You can download the pod on Apple Podcasts, Tune In, Podbean, or Spreaker.

The Movies, Films and Flix Podcast – Episode 434: Innerspace, Stomach Acid and Martin Short

July 2, 2022

You can download or stream the pod on Apple Podcasts, Tune In, Podbean, or Spreaker (or wherever you listen to podcasts…..we’re almost everywhere).

If you get a chance please make sure to review, rate and share. You are awesome!

Mark and Niall Moore (@elniallo on Twitter) discuss the 1987 cult classic Innerspace. Directed by Joe Dante, and starring Dennis Quaid, Martin Short, Meg Ryan, and lots of red blood cells, the movie focuses on what happens when Joe Dante is given a large budget for special effects. In this episode, they also talk about stomach acid, gross booze, and cowboys. Enjoy!

If you are a fan of the podcast, make sure to send in some random listener questions (we love random questions). We thank you for listening, and hope you enjoy the episode!

You can download the pod on Apple Podcasts, Tune In, Podbean, or Spreaker.

The 2022 Mid-Year Random Awards! A Celebration of Our Favorite 2022 Movie Moments

July 1, 2022

The Mid-year Random Awards are back! 2022 has given us a plethora of fun movie moments and we had a great time coming up with random awards to celebrate them! 

If we missed any moments, please include them in the comments. Thanks! 

Also, here are my 10 favorite (not best) films of 2022 so far. 

  1. Hustle
  2. Moonfall
  3. Everything Everywhere All at Once
  4. Kimi
  5. RRR
  6. The Northman
  7. The Lost City
  8. Top Gun: Maverick
  9. Ambulance
  10. A Montana Story

Best Musical Moment Award- Cyrano – I gave Cyrano awards in 2021, but it felt right to honor it again. I love the song Someone to Say

Best Thumb Drive Award – The Batman – Between Kimi and The Batman, Zoe Kravitz has been in some solid movies that feature thumb drives

One of My Most Favorite Movies Ever Award, Best Friendship Since Barb and Star Award, One vs Many Fight Award, and Music Award – RRR – Want to watch an extremely fun movie? Check out RRR

Best and Most Unfortunately Timed Fireworks Award – The Forgiven – John Michael McDonagh’s dark comedy features some of the best fireworks of 2022. Why? They are incredibly poorly-timed.

Best Pirate Ship in a Cave Since the Goonies OR Best Flying Pirate Ship Since Stardust Award –  UnchartedUncharted earned my undying respect when it featured a pirate ship in a cave that eventually becomes a flying pirate ship

Best Animated Cooking Scene Award – Turning Red – Not only does Turning Red featured the best fake band of 2022, it features the best animated cooking scene.

Best Training Montage Award – Hustle – Hustle is probably my favorite film of 2022 so far, and a big reason for that are the excellent training montages. Adam Sandler + sports movies = A good time.

Best Chapstick Eating Award – Everything Everywhere All at Once – EEAaO is a wildly inventive experience that features Ke Huy Quan eating some chapstick.

Best Excuse to Never be a Motorcycle Henchman Award – The Lost City If you’re looking for a fun movie that is loaded with laughs, treasure hunting and motorcycle henchmen falling to their deaths, look no further than The Lost City.

Best Chase Scene Involving a Jet Ski and Great White Shark Award – Shark Bait –  Shark Bait features a great white shark chasing a jet ski. Life doesn’t get any better.

Best Ugly Sonic Award – Chip N’ Dale’s Rescue Rangers –  If you’re looking for fun cameos look no further than Chip N’ Dale’s Rescue Rangers

Best Chainsaw That was Built by Magicians Award- Texas Chainsaw Massacre – The latest Texas Chainsaw Massacre movie is not good. However, Leatherface’s chainsaw is an unstoppable force that cuts through everything without ever catching, stopping or being halted in the least bit. 

Best Villain Dancing Award – Fresh – Sebastian Stan carries on a long tradition of villains dancing in movies. 

Best Gravity Wave and Best Drunk Patrick Wilson Award – Moonfall – Moonfall is a beautiful experience because not only does it feature gigantic gravity waves, it features a drunk (but still buff – think Jason Statham in the Meg) Patrick Wilson saving the day. 

Best Usage of Foghat Award – Top Gun: Maverick – I’m telling you, Foghat makes everything better. The clip below isn’t the moment, but I wanted to include something involving music.

Best Moment Involving Watching Someone Watch Someone Who is Watching Her Award – A lot of people get watched in The Watcher.

Best Zombie in a $200 Million Budgeted Movie Award- Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness –  I still can’t believe that the folks at Marvel let Sam Raimi make such a Sam Raimi movie. 

Best Iron Branding and Best Line of 2022 (So Far) Award – The Northman –  I love that Robert Eggers was given $70ish million to make The Northman. It’s wonderful. My favorite line of 2022 is when Alexander Skarsgard says he wants revenge because there is a “freezing river of hate that runs through my veins.”

Best Mom Talk Award- Cha Cha Real Smooth – Between Sh*thouse and Cha Cha Real Smooth, Cooper Raiff excels at having nice talks with his movie moms.

Most stressful 2 hrs and 16 min of 2022 so far (Also Best Sailing Sing Along) Award –  I love Ambulance. It’s wonderful, insane and I have a hard time believing Michael Bay shot it in 30ish days. 

Best Kissing Scene Award – Jackass Forever – Watching a snake bite a guy named Poopies in his face has really stuck with me. 

Best Overhead Shot of an Alligator Stalking a Person in a Gross Lake Award – X –  X features the best overhead shot of an alligator swimming since Crawl. 

Best Chic Looking Hoodie Award – Morbius –  Jared Leto would never wear a regular hoodie. In Morbius he wears a super stylish looking hoodie. 

Best Hangout session in Spiderhead Award -, Chris Hemworths and Miles Teller are hanging out and Hemsworth says “Jeff and Steve, Steve and Jeff, just hanging out.” It’s wonderful. The movie isn’t good, but I like the moment a lot. 

Best Pastry Suitcase Award – And Cutest Looking Deadly Beasts Award Fantastic Beasts: The Secrets of Dumbledore – I love the baby manticores in the latest Fantastic Beasts movie. 

Best Remake Featuring Andy Garcia Award – Father of the Bride – Andy Garcia is really good in the Father of the Bride remake. 

Zanadi Botes (@ZaNandi on Twitter) – Best Friendship – The Unbearable Weight of Massive Talent – Nicolas Cage and Pedro Pascal are a fun team in Cage’s latest film. 

Jonny Numb (The Last Knock Podcast – @JonnyNumb on Twitter) 

  • The Cat Comes Back! Award – Moonfall 
  • The Tunnel Echo Scene in Men

David (The Award Wieners Movie Review Podcast – @ItsMeDavidCross on Twitter)

  • Best Use of Hot Dogs in a Movie – Everything Everywhere All at Once
  • Best Dance Sequence: –
  • Best Cameo by My Childhood –  Chip and Dale’s Rescue Rangers
  • Most Quotable Movie-  Moonfall

Aaron Neuwirth (Out Now With Aaron and Abe Podcast – @AaronsPS4 on Twitter)

  • Best Use of Ground Pound as Survival Signal – RRR
  • Best Usage of a Flag – RRR
  • Best Drum Solo – RRR
  • Best Musical Torture Scene – RRR
  • Best Rock Fight – RRR
  • Best Tiger Throw – RRR

The Last Action Heroes Podcast (@TL_ActionHeroes on Twitter – Listen to their show!)

  • Best Loud Vehicle – The Batman My award for most charismatic hunk of metal goes to the snarling Batmobile. The threatening growls and fire-spitting from the darkness before it lunges into a full assault of screaming, rampaging aggression. I honestly laughed out loud like a giddy child at that scene. 5/5
  • Best Hair – The NorthmanThe Northman is a hairy film. Long, beautiful hair. Badly cut hair. Various colors of hair. Head hair. Face hair. Body hair. At one point I think there was even a hare. Even if you don’t like bloodthirsty folk-lore tales of revenge and vikings, go for the hair.

Joey Lewandowski (The 2 Fast 2 Forever Podcast – @soulpopped on Twitter)

  • “Take My Hand” plays in Top Gun: Maverick 
  • After Yang’s opening credits
  • The Worst Person in the World freezes time
  • “Kimi, play Sabotage” – Kimi
  • “Church” in Marry Me
  • Mustache origin story in Death on the Nile
  • “F**K THE MOON” in Moonfall

John Leavengood (@MFFHorrorCorner on Twitter) – The Most Convincingly Ungratuitous Use of a Butt Plug Award.” aka “The Least comfortable Kung Fu Ever Award.” – Everything Everywhere All at Once

The Forgiven (2021) – Review: A Worthwhile Journey From Director John Michael McDonagh

June 30, 2022

Quick Thoughts – Grade – B – Written, produced and directed by John Michael McDonagh (The Guard, Calvary, War on Everyone), The Forgiven is an engrossing film that is aided greatly by the Moroccan locations. While the stacked cast is reliably solid, it’s Ralph Fiennes who steals the show.

After the dreary gray of Calvary and The Guard, the hot seediness of War on Everyone, the beginning of The Forgiven let’s viewers know that McDonagh is ready for wide open terrain and a whole lot of sunlight (and more morally gray characters who say and do some gnarly things). The movie begins with some beautiful cinematography by Larry Smith (Only God Forgives, The Guard, Calvary) that showcases the beauty of Morocco and highlights the distance between the film’s main characters. When we first meet married couple David (Ralph Fiennes – who also appearend in In Bruges, directed by Martin McDonagh – John’s brother) and Jo Henninger (Jessica Chastain), they are on a ferry to the High Atlas Mountains of Morocco where they will spend the weekend drinking and eating at a lavish villa owned by their friend Richard Galloway (Matt Smith). Smith’s camera captures them ignoring each other while other couples have spirited conversations in the background. They are then framed alone (with nice central framing) to further highlight their separation. Throw in shots of a gin/vodka and tonic, and a pained smile from Chastain, and you immediately recognize that these two good looking people are not doing so well (However, it’s nice seeing Chastain and Fiennes playing another married couple after Coriolanus). 

Once they arrive, David has a few more drinks and then the couple drive through the Moroccan desert to find Galloway’s wildly lavish villa that sticks out like a sore thumb in the vast openness. On the way, they get lost and while arguing about directions and their car strikes and kills a boy named Driss (Omar Ghazaoui) who is trying to sell them some artifacts. They put the child in their car, and drive to Galloway’s villa with the body in the backseat, and tell Joey and his partner Dally (Caleb Landry Jones – a McDonagh favorite) that Driss ran into the road which made the collision impossible to avoid. The local cops are called, and after a brief interrogation, the deadly incident is deemed an accident and it allows the privileged couple to escape any prosecution. After the police leave, Abdellah Taheri (Ismael Kanater) the boy’s father arrives and he requests that David join him on a road trip so they can bury the child together. In one of the most cringe-worthy scenes of the film, David arrives to meet Abdellah with a drink in hand, and a devil-may-care attitude that makes it seem like he could care less about the life of Driss. The moment showcases how numb David has become after years of drinking, money and privilege. In an interesting twist,  David, a seemingly unredeemable human decides to join Abdellah and his driver Anouar (Saïd Taghmaoui – very good) on the road trip, which means there has to be some honor mixed in with the bitterness and anger he exudes. 

When he leaves, Jo sparks up a flirtatious relationship with an investment banker named Tom (Chritopher Abbott) who helps her loosen up and find motivation to continue writing after a long bout of writer’s block (she wrote children’s novels before she met David). From there, the film bounces back and forth between the debauchery at the villa where the guests have largely negative things to say about the country they’re visiting, and the road trip which sees David becoming an actual human being who doesn’t always say terrible things.


Since it’s a film directed/produced/written by John Michael McDonagh you can expect characters to say horrible things and spout dialogue that is meant to push buttons. However, his goal with The Forgiven was to highlight things that are rarely seen. In an interview with Deadline, he said  “It’s about the blindness, and the privilege, and the things you’re not seeing,” and he also made sure to flesh out Chastain’s role because in the book the film is based on (which was released in 2012) her character’s journey doesn’t have the same weight. The two storylines don’t always gel, but they are great to look at and they build towards a bittersweet ending that feels somewhat earned. The movie never hits as hard as The Guard or Calvary, but it’s very watchable and entertaining. Also, the Moroccan locations are beautiful and they add a level of believability to the movie that would be lacking if they shot anywhere else.

John’s Horror Corner: Amityville 3-D (1983), a boring slog of a haunted house movie featuring Meg Ryan.

June 27, 2022

MY CALL: I wasn’t a fan and don’t recommend this movie, whose pacing is just way too slow for me even to recommend to lovers of ‘so bad it’s good’ cinema. Not much happens until the very end, it’s very boring, and it pays little respect to its source material. MORE MOVIES LIKE Amityville 3-D: Uhhhhhh, stick to Amityville II: The Possession (1982) and wander no further in terms of franchise sequels. Part II has all the dumb fun you’re looking for with great pacing.

As with this movie’s predecessor, director Richard Fleischer (Soylent Green, Conan the Destroyer) wastes no time jumping into the action with this sequel. After the slaughter of now two different families in the Amityville house built over the Native American burial ground, reporters Melanie (Candy Clark; The Blob) and John (Tony Roberts; Popcorn) expose a charlatan medium operation during a sham séance… in the Amityville house. Their examination of the house reveals a sort of crude well in the basement floor referred to as ‘the gateway to Hell.’ And shortly after this discovery, John Baxter said “to Hell with the superstitions” surrounding the house and decided to buy it, so cheap they were practically giving it away. Estranged from his wife Nancy (Tess Harper), it just seemed like the best way for him to move on was to buy the haunted house.

If Amityville II: The Possession (1982) was using The Exorcist I-II’s (1973, 1977) playbook with some Poltergeist (1982) flair, then Amityville 3-D is using The Omen’s (1976) tactics along with a strong dose of Poltergeist (1982). With people alarmingly distorted in photographs, this utilizes the means we’d later observe in the Final Destination (2000) franchise. Appear distorted in a photo… you can likely expect to be dead in a few scenes. And while Melanie notices the correlation and fears a deadly supernatural link, John denies the existence of such silly superstitious things.

Following The Exorcist II (1977) and Poltergeist (1982), Dr. Elliot West (Robert Joy; Fallen, The Dark Half, The Hills Have Eyes) plays the resident supernatural researcher, a scientist who has made profession from disproving most unusual coincidences. As we’ve seen in the aforementioned movies, West and his team conduct an overnight paranormal investigation with loads of scientific instruments.

It’s not the most exciting and I’m not sure why it’s fatal (perhaps ‘fright’), but the first death scene is death by swarm of pestilence. Overall, I’d comfortably say that the haunted house stuff is all quite cheap and weak compared to part II. Moreover, part II had appreciably entertaining pacing, whereas 3-D is largely a boring slog.

I realize I just said it, but it merits repeating. This movie is horrendously boring. Outside of being dedicated to doing a full franchise rewatch, this movie viewing experience has proven wholly regrettable. The tail end of the movie has a few briefly satisfying visuals (e.g., the screaming corpse emerging from the well, a mongoloid demon breathes fire on a man’s face). But they do not make up for the sluggish, unexciting stretches leading up to them. The most interesting thing about this movie is seeing Lori Loughlin and Meg Ryan (City of Angels, In the Cut) in early career roles.

At this point I feel the need to identify that whereas part I showed us what a bunch of desecrated (and thus enraged) Native American spirits may do to those who reside upon their graves, part II shifts into a demonic possession that is treated as an evil spirit to be exorcised by a Catholic priest. Here in part III, the movie doesn’t even feign interest in the source material (i.e., angry Native spirits). The evil here is simply some basement demon hiding in the “gateway to Hell.” No one ever suggests righting the wronged Native people. It just becomes a truthseekers’ mission to prove the supernatural exists. Subsequent “sequels” (e.g., ’89 The Evil Escapes, ‘92 It’s About Time, ‘96 Dollhouse) seem to follow suite and simply treat the Amityville house as cursed or evil.

So that’s it. I wasn’t a fan. I don’t recommend this. And while many enjoy deliberately bad movies, this one’s pacing is just way too slow for me to recommend to lovers of ‘so bad it’s good’ cinema.

John’s Horror Corner: Amityville II: The Possession (1982), an entertaining and rather off-the-wall sequel shifting from a Poltergeist-ish haunted house to a possession and exorcism movie.

June 25, 2022

MY CALL: Taking some off-the-wall liberties in its storytelling, this is exactly the kind of high energy, high lunacy sequel that we sort of secretly want from our beloved horror classics. After watching this, you’ll have so much to take about. I promise. MORE MOVIES LIKE Amityville II: If you enjoyed this even a little bit and have not yet seen the original The Exorcist (1973) or its sequel The Heretic (1977), then that’s where you ought to venture next.

Not so long after the horrible events of The Amityville Horror (1979), Anthony (Burt Young; Rocky I-V, Rocky Balboa) and Delores (Rutanya Alda; The Stuff, The Dark Half, Mommy Dearest, Christmas Evil) move their four children into the cursed Long Island house on the water. The family’s dysfunction as advertised heavily before they even enter the house as teenagers Sonny (Jack Magner) and Patricia (Diane Franklin; TerrorVision) discuss their parents toxic bedroom life and Sonny is physically threatened by his father with dialogue identifying its commonplace nature. So the sins of the household are obvious. Anthony raises his hand to his wife and children with familiarity at the first signs of adversity.

About as soon as they enter the house, occasional visions of bloody plumbing, mini-assaults of pestilence and wind, cracked mirrors, and other minor poltergeisty goings-on abound as overt signs of a supernatural presence. This haunting rapidly advances to telekinetic displays, loud knocks and sacrilegious graffiti before they have even spend their first night in the house. That said, as wildly silly as this movie is right out of the gates, its pacing is truly energized.

Just as the original, we cover the main beats. Some weird things alarm the family, Father Adamsky (James Olson; The Andromeda Strain) is invited to bless the house, and the house… resists. Perhaps as retribution, the house possesses Sonny and he wanders to lecherous, incestuous places (yes, for real). Just as overt is the voice in Sonny’s head beckoning him to kill; much less subtle or abstract than the goading of part 1. A moderately interesting special effect is Sonny’s pulsating skin. When it flairs up it’s as if he’s trying to fight evil temptations or even battling becoming something. He somewhat behaves like someone turning into a werewolf, not wanting to be seen or near his loved ones.

Unexpectedly happening about the middle of the movie, the family slaughter scenes fell quite flat. Weak gunshot wounds, no chase or thrill; just summary execution. The death scenes are nothing special, and that sucks. But still, this movie’s pacing keeps things very entertaining overall.

This movie’s first half is better than the second half, for the second half of this movie is basically just trying to be The Exorcist (1973) or part 2 (The Heretic, 1977). We spend too much time with police and lawyers—any atmosphere once cultivated is readily lost. It’s kind of annoying. We begin with an enjoyable haunted house full of poltergeisty shenanigans, and transition into an Exorcist wannabe that tries too hard to be something it probably never should have been. By the end, Sonny has gone snot-faced Evil Dead-ite-Lite for a soft, largely forgettable exorcism. But you know what? After all the Reagan callback-style dialogue with the priest, the eventual finale effects are pretty cool. Sonny’s face swells, crusts, splits and pulsates into a Brundlefly-like gory mess to reveal the snaggle-toothed demon under the skin.

Not that this movie was serious enough for me to care, but I did find it somewhat confounding that a Catholic priest was attempting an “exorcism” on what should just be angry Native American spirits (who were probably good normal people) roused from their burial ground defiled by the building of the Amityville house upon their sacred resting place. Father Adamsky, as if speaking to a Biblical demon, even shouts “tell me your name!” So now we’re just treating these Native American spirits as pure Biblical evil? Or did an actual evil demon replace the Native spirits at some point? Maybe director Damiano Damiani (The Devil is a Woman, The Witch, Blood Feud) was just collecting his paycheck and couldn’t be troubled. But would an exorcism work against a collective bunch of Native American spirits lashing out against those who continue to torture their afterlife? Just a thought…

So maybe between the silly fun of the first half, the satisfying finale effects, and some theological and ethical preponderances to mull over after the fact, this sequel was well worth it overall. Despite a very slow 20-ish minutes before the closing scenes, I quite enjoyed myself.

John’s Horror Corner: Dashcam (2021), the delightfully wild found footage horror that keeps getting gorier and crazier.

June 24, 2022

MY CALL: If you enjoy found footage and impressive lower budget fare (that never feels low budget), this is for you. This film is wildly bonkers and boasts more impressive and gory special effects than we generally expect from the found footage subgenre. Plus, the characters are well written and very likable. Strong rec.

Driving around streaming live improv-rap to amuse her fans, Annie (Annie Hardy) is a social media entertainer living her best (and often hilariously rude) life during the pandemic lockdown. Annie is quite likeable and equally annoying from the start, very grounded and funny, raunchy and pushy. Annie reunites with her old vlog-mate Stretch (Amar Chadha-Patel; Willow, Doom: Annihilation) in the UK as a diversion from the monotony of Covid life.

An interesting dimension to the film is Annie’s subscribers’ comments perpetually populating the lower corner of the screen. Sometimes you read them when a scene is slow, other times the comments cue you to look at the screen to see what they’re talking about. It’s a mildly distracting dynamic that I find enhances my experience. We likewise observe the polarized range of safety considerations and conspiracy beliefs revolving around the Covid pandemic, from mask rage to preaching propaganda.

When a stranger pays Annie to transport an obviously sick older woman to a specific location, Annie’s day takes an interesting turn. The old woman is disoriented, incontinent, and doesn’t seem to speak English (or at all). Far weirder are the inexplicable occurrences that surround this old woman.

But oh my God the incredibly gross and gruesome things that happen to and around this old lady are jarring! The characters scream and I find myself slack-jawed, lost in the lunacy. There are multiple POV car crashes, bloody shenanigans, and some positively demonic goings-on as well. This movie also features an amazingly gory arm-break. Wow! Much better gore and effects than we generally expect from the lower budget subgenre of found footage. Many of the visuals capture powerful images from classic supernatural concepts, other brief monstrous images leave me wondering what the crap I just saw (in an awesome way). And like a Sam Raimi movie, Annie Hardy and her co-stars are really put through the ringer by director Rob Savage (Host). Aspects of this film fondly reminded me of Brightburn (2019), Willow Creek (2013) and As Above So Below (2014). All the while the movie leaves you in the dark as to whether this some sort of pandemic zombie movie, demonic possession movie, supernatural somethiorother… we don’t know and I don’t care.

I liked all the characters, whose dynamic relationships kept things entertaining even in the earliest scenes. Once the horror truly begins, this film manages to consistently remain incredibly tense while still occasionally funny. I was quite taken off guard many times and I never felt the low budget woes of found footage here either. There’s a lot of blood, and anything not clearly in frame (thus saving money on effects) is very understandable given the panicked hat-cam situation. This was good! I am so pleased with how this turned out.

The Movies, Films and Flix Podcast – Episode 433: Riddick, Hot Planets, Legendary Bad Days

June 22, 2022

You can download or stream the pod on Apple Podcasts, Tune In, Podbean, or Spreaker (or wherever you listen to podcasts…..we’re almost everywhere).

If you get a chance please make sure to review, rate and share. You are awesome!

Mark and Norbert (@eddiecaine on Twitter) complete their Riddick trilogy series by discussing the 2013 film Riddick. Directed by David Twohy, and starring Vin Diesel, Katee Sackhoff, Dave Bautista and a cute CGI jackal, the movie focuses on what happens when a group of mercenaries attempt to capture Riddick (it doesn’t end well for them). In this episode, they also talk about Vin Diesel, legendary bad days, and the best moments in the trilogy. Enjoy!

If you are a fan of the podcast, make sure to send in some random listener questions (we love random questions). We thank you for listening, and hope you enjoy the episode!

You can download the pod on Apple Podcasts, Tune In, Podbean, or Spreaker.

John’s Horror Corner: Alligator (1980), a huge animatronic alligator that is an absolute joy to watch.

June 18, 2022

MY CALL: No joke, this was way better than expected. And not totally in a “so bad it’s good” kind of way, which it is. But in a great animatronic monster movie kind of way. The animal attack scenes were wide shots full of monstrous glory swallowing victims whole on-screen. Just plain fun! If you don’t love this, then I don’t know what could possibly please you.

NATURAL HORROR SIDEBAR: Looking for more natural horror? Check out Night of the Lepus (1972), Frogs (1972), Bug (1975), Jaws (1975), Food of the Gods (1976), Grizzly (1976), Squirm (1976), Empire of the Ants (1977), Day of the Animals (1977), Orca (1977), Piranha (1978), Piranha II (1981), Of Unknown Origin (1983), Cujo (1983), Razorback (1984), Monkey Shines (1988),  Slugs (1988), Gnaw: Food of the Gods II (1989), Shakma (1990), Arachnophobia (1990), Ticks (1993), Mosquito (1994), The Ghost in the Darkness (1996), Anaconda (1997), Lake Placid (1999), Rogue (2007), Pig Hunt (2008), Chaw (2009), Piranha 3D (2010), The Grey (2011), The Bay (2012), The Shallows (2016), 47 Meters Down (2017), Boar (2017) and Crawl (2019).

12 years after a young girl’s pet baby alligator was flushed down the toilet, chewed up dismembered human body parts and dead over-sized dogs have been turning up in the Chicago sewers. A private research company has been doing experiments on dogs with growth hormones, and the dead dogs have been dumped where they’ve been feeding this now hormoned-up alligator. Nice one, mankind! We’re just lucky the sewer rats didn’t get into it as well for some Gnaw: Food of the Gods II (1989) as icing on that toxic pollution cake.

The investigating officer David (Robert Forster; The Wolf of Snow Hollow, Psycho, Scanner Cop II, Maniac Cop 3) goes spelunking through the sewers only to witness in horror as his rookie partner is dragged away by a tremendous alligator. Of course, no one believes what he saw. Not even herpetologist Marisa (Robin Riker)—who might have lost a pet alligator 12 years ago.

The huge animatronic alligator is an absolute joy to watch. The effects may have nothing on Crawl (2019). But these clunky 80s monsters are not without their charm. When the beast bursts through concrete onto the city streets from the sewers below, we see the whole beast lumbering its body past cars for a sense of magnificent scale.

The movie doesn’t breeze by with the best pacing. The slow parts are very slow. But I just get such a kick outta’ seeing this monster on the city streets or eating a small child in a swimming pool that it’s all worth the wait. At one point, the behemoth ambushes a man from hiding in a giant trash heap in an alley and we see the entire monster with the man in his jaws, and then working his body down his gullet just as you may have seen a gator take a whole chicken at feeding time at the zoo! We have the pleasure of seeing this beast chew on several victims. Few movies offer such man-eating joie de vivre as was so happily delivered by director Lewis Teague (Cat’s Eye, Cujo). If you don’t love this, then I don’t know what could possibly please you.

The finale defeat of the alligator is rather anticlimactic, but at least we see the gator’s head explode. And oh, of course, there was another baby gator left behind… dun dun dunnnnnn! Although I’ve heard nothing but warnings to avoid the sequel/remake.

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