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Tuesday, Jun 3, 2014
It's been about four years since we offered up a look at the best examples of the found footage film. With a few additions, our feelings remain the same.

In hopes of persuading filmgoers to avoid the mainstream this week and seek out something unusual instead, a new horror movie is being released entitled Willow Creek. It’s the story of some investigators hot on the trail of Bigfoot, and it features the work of one of the unlikeliest auteur’s around - former stand-up turned filmmaker Bobcat Goldthwait. Unfortunately, this first foray into terror is yet another found footage effort filmed with POV shots of shaky backdrops and actors. While reviews have been positive, there’s a good chance that we may have a noble failure on our hands. That’s because there can be a significant struggle required to make a good first person, POV, found footage film. The list of pretenders to the throne—The Poughkeepsie Tapes, The Zombie Diaries, The Last Horror Movie—are many, and for every classic take on the material, there are dozens of desperate wannabes who can’t seem to create compelling characters (Paranormal Activity) or a suspenseful storyline (The Last Exorcism).


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Tuesday, May 27, 2014
The newest installment of the X-Men movie franchise is good, not great. Here are five reasons why.

Let’s get something out of the way right up from. Yours truly didn’t “hate” X-Men: Days of Future Past. Not by a long shot. Do I have problems with it? Absolutely. Do I think it stands as one of the best installments in Marvel’s movie mutant mythos? Sure. Is it the number one film in the franchise? No. That title goes to its predecessor, First Class. Why? Well, I liked Matthew Vaughan’s approach more than Bryan Singer’s (still unsure of why this hit or miss filmmaker gets so much fanboy love), I’ve grown tired of the overuse of some characters, and am not sure what I was supposed to get out of the experience except it being a set-up for yet another in a long line of “planned” trilogies. Still, I was entertained, intrigued, and in the end, capable of recommending it to any who still reads film reviews as a reference guide. So, you may be asking, why the caveat? If you liked it, what’s the problem?


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Tuesday, May 20, 2014
Sometimes, letting a screenwriter direct a movie turns out to be a terrific idea. Here are 10 examples, however, where that promise translated into something pathetic.

“But what I REALLY want to do is direct…”


It’s an adage so ancient amongst Hollywood types that the last time it was original, dinosaurs were battling leprechauns for control of Middle Earth. It seems like everyone in the business wants to sit behind the lens, offering up their unique vision to a world already weary of such motion picture promises. Actors who think they know better than those bellyaching at them turn to a place behind the camera all the time (and sometimes, they’re right!). In other instances, a stellar career in front of the lens or behind a laptop leads to a chance to cash in such commercial credits for your one (and often only) chance at celluloid self-expression. In either case, the results can frequently be very good. Several name auteurs both past and present got their start either playing a part or putting pen to paper. On the other hand, there are an equal number of would-be movie maestros who ended up insulting the artform with their foray into novice filmmaking.


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Friday, May 16, 2014
From album covers to motion pictures, H.R. Giger offered up a singular, inspiring vision. Giger was also one of the most influential surrealists of all time.

He is, perhaps, the most influential surrealist of all time, arguably more important than Salvador Dali and better known than movement’s founder, Andre Breton. For some, however, the categorization doesn’t fully give Swiss artist Hans Ruedi “H.R.” Giger enough credit. To them, he was more than just a critical delineation. As a genre prophet, his impact on science fiction, fantasy, and horror is unquestioned. As an inspiration, he’s the godfather of too many cultural connections (Cyberpunk, Goth, Future Shock) to name. While some consider his work borderline pornographic (and have persecuted him for such over the years), Giger remains an embedded part of our contemporary consciousness. After all, who can look at the dual mouthed monster from Ridley Scott’s Alien and not instantly distinguish the man’s amazing style. Both instantly recognizable and frighteningly foreign, it marks the culmination, and the mere surface, of his entire creative canon.


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Thursday, May 8, 2014
A look at 10 movies that were made, and then shelved, by their respective makers, becoming Hollywood myths in the process.

Hollywood has a long history of movies that were planned or proposed but never made. These often fascinating films inspire the imagination with a combination of “what if?” and “why not?” There are also a few examples of films that made it to the moment of production before being sidelined by some inexplicable or unexpected reason. Their legacy is usually one of last minute changes of heart or cast/crew. And then there are the MIA movies, the films that were completed, prepped for a general release, and then abandoned. These are the most frustrating of the bunch, actual projects that could be viewed and judged on their own merits if it weren’t for rights issues, estate arguments, studio stubbornness, or an overriding belief that whatever is contained on the shelved celluloid would ruin reputations and reap nothing but audience anger.


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