Sunday, August 17, 2014

Salem's Lot (1979)

While I have been splitting time between Fringe and Ancient Aliens, I did find my way to Pittsburgh to hand out with my cousin Jennifer (visiting from Seattle) and her brothers, Jonathan and Jason, as they performed with their band, The Dumplings last night in the city. It was so awesome watched Jennifer hit the stage for an Alice Cooper cover to close the show. Today, I decided to venture back to my youth while doing some homework with the 1979 classic Salem’s Lot.

Plot/ Young novelist returning home to Salem's Lot after many years is disturbed by the strange behavior of its people. He begins to believe that the source of the trouble may be the eerie old Marsten House that overlooks the town.

Its funny, I had remembered much of Salem’s Lot, but almost forgot just how good this miniseries was. It is amazing to see exactly how much the quality put on our televisions has dropped over the past few decades. This was a solid entry that featured outstanding performances, solid scripting, dark and heavy atmosphere, and a soundtrack that backed it up perfectly. Sure, as a made for television entry, it lacks gore and nudity, but that does not bring this one down at all. In fact, it makes for a perfect vampire primer for the younger generation as it depicts the genre in the way they should be portrayed (sparkling vampires suck). In the end, Salem’s Lot may be one of the better King adaptations from the 1970s or 1980s, and it is a movie that must be seen. If you have not watched it, find it and check it out!

Friday, August 15, 2014

Art of Darkness (2012)

With the end of another week at hand, it was time to jump back into review mode. While Bren and Jillian finally broke down and watch Stage Fright last night, I decided to visit something different. My choice, the 2012 British import Art of Darkness.

Plot/ A young woman is held captive by an unhinged lunatic intent on transforming her into his latest blood-splattered masterpiece.

Art of Darkness (AKA Art House Massacre) is a low budget entry that definitely suffers from many of the ailments that plague similar movies from the genre. An interesting premise, the execution does not match the potential that is in place. The dialog is all over, the acting uneven, and the characterizations lack depth. Sure, there is a touch of gore and the pacing picks up as it moves along. In the end, this one is just another forgettable film in the horror genre. There are a few moments that are entertaining, but not enough to search it out.

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

I'll Follow You Down (2013)

This has been a weird week, with one of my students convinced that time travel is, in fact, taking place in this day and age. While I do not discount the idea or theory, I personally would love to see it for myself. Ironically, walking through Family Video, I stumbled on a movie with a similar theme, the 2013 entry, I’ll Follow You Down.

Plot/ After the disappearance of a young scientist on a business trip, his son, and wife struggle to cope, only to make a bizarre discovery years’ later - one that may bring him home.

Talk about a movie that was a huge surprise. While I did not know what to expect with this sci-fi / drama, I was at least hopeful that it would not be trash, and it was not. While it did lack blockbuster effects, it did not need them. Complete with outstanding cinematography, solid performances, and an intriguing storyline that drew you in, this atmospheric entry was definitely worth watching. Rooted in a believable context, the idea of time travel and wormhole theory is covered in a manner that many could at least understand, while adding enough emotion to draw the casual viewer past the scientific theories presented. In the end, I'll Follow You Down is one of the better Sci-Fi / drama entries I have seen in some time and was an entertaining watch. If you have not seen it, you should definitely check it out!

Monday, August 11, 2014

Devil's Bible (2008)

I have watched my share of crazy movies over the past few weeks, and decided that it was time to take a break from the different fictional worlds that I usually live in. Instead, I decided to venture into some documentaries for the week. First up for review is the 2008 entry, Devil’s Bible.

Plot/ At 165 pounds, and allegedly made from the skins of 160 donkeys, the Codex Gigas is the world's largest and most mysterious medieval manuscript. Filled with satanic images and demonic spells, according to legend, the cursed text sprang from a doomed monk's pact with the Devil. Now, Nat Geo follows a team of scientists as they embark on an unprecedented quest to unravel the secrets behind the book's darkened pages. Using ultra-violet fluorescence imaging, handwriting analysis, and a re-creation of the text, forensic document experts attempt to uncover the cryptic truth behind this ancient Devil's Bible.

Being a fan of the occult and the dark arts, when I saw this one on Netflix, I was sucked in. Of all of the artifacts that exist in the religious world, the Codex Gigas has to be one of the most interesting. While no one will ever know the truth behind the manuscript, this documentary does a great job at providing some clues while projecting some theories on who created it. It looked at religious history, some scientific theories, and the locations that house this amazing relic. Sure, this one is not perfect, as some of it is uneven and falls flat and some of the connections drawn by the filmmakers make little sense, but that is to be expected when dealing with an ancient and mysterious item. In the end, I did find this documentary entertaining and interesting, but it definitely is not for everyone. If you enjoy documentaries about a darker path, Hail Satan and check it out, if not, stay away.

Sunday, August 10, 2014

Compound Fracture (2013)

It has been a long weekend as we spent the majority of our time at the softball field for a local tournament. While I do not mind the game, there are times where enough is enough. I did have some time to catch some flicks; one of the first was the 2013 entry Compound Fracture.

Plot/ As a strange family reunion commences, an uninvited guest shows up and we learn bits and pieces about the real reason behind Chloe's death and why Brandon is so closed off from Michael. This fractured family will have to come together to fight the ghosts of their pasts and make it out alive!

This was a lot different than what I expected when I saw the box and poster, and that was a good thing. While it was not perfect as a film, the storyline was interesting, especially the way the occult overtones were thrown in. The acting was solid, the cast decent and there was enough pace and atmosphere to keep me watching. Sure, some of the characters appear flat, there was minimal gore, and some of it was predictable (especially the ending), but it was to be expected. In the end, as a low budget entry this one has enough entertaining moments to make it watchable. Yes, it is far from perfect, but it is definitely something different for a genre that seem to be stuck in either the found footage or people lost in the woods topics. You could undeniably do worse.