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Monday, September 26, 2016

JeruZalem (2015)



After spending some time in the world of documentaries last night, I decided that I wanted to take a trip into something darker. After some debate, I decided on the 2015 found footage flick JeruZalem.


Plot/ When a couple of American young adults fly to Israel to visit the city of Jerusalem, a biblical nightmare falls upon the city.


This film is definitely one that will be polarizing, especially viewing it as strictly a found footage film. Yes, this one suffers from many of the flaws that plague the genre with overdone acting and a narrow view of everything that is happening in an around the city (yes, I would have loved to see more of the demons). To me, the historic references, biblical overtones, and some of the underlying social conflicts make it interesting on a higher level than most mindless horror that comes out in this age. While it is found footage, the idea of using something similar to Google Glass is a thought-provoking approach to filmmaking and there is just enough creepiness with the creatures (Nephilim?). Yes, the acting is a bit uneven and there are some giant holes in the storyline, but those should be expected with this type of found footage entry. In the end, this is not the best movie in the genre, but it is far from the worst. If you like this style of film, give it a shot. If you do not, I would likely stay away.


Sunday, September 25, 2016

We Are Legion: The Story of the Hacktivists (2012)



While I am fighting through this miserable cold, I decided to kick back and relax tonight. Luckily, Bren decided to find something interesting to watch. To my surprise, it was a documentary on a very polarizing subject. What was it? It was the 2012 documentary We Are Legion: The Story of the Hacktivists.


Plot/ We Are Legion traces the collective's breathtaking evolution from merry pranksters to a full-blown, global movement, one armed with new weapons of civil disobedience for an online world.


It has been a while since I ventured into a documentary, and this one may be one of the best I have seen in some time. This one is extremely informative and definitely is a great gateway inside the mind of the collective. Whether you are a fan of anonymous or not, the ideals that exist within the mutual voice should be applauded. Information is power and ideas are bulletproof, thoughts that the globalists that are attempting to overtake society fear and want to destroy. If you do not believe me, listen to some of the speeches by President Obama and candidate Clinton, they want to hand over control of the internet and control free speech to usher in totalitarian control throughout the world. This documentary does a great job at showing the hactivist movement from their humble beginnings, through their development through Reddit and 4chan, and to where they are today. One of the areas that were surprising was the overall lack of supervision or structure within the organization, creating a dynamic that could is both helpful and harmful to the organization. Overall, it does only focus on a few of the more notable causes, but it does show the viewer the power of the movement. In the end, if you would like to see a documentary that is informative and highlights a movement that is often misunderstood, you have to watch this. It is well worth your time!



Saturday, September 24, 2016

The Curse of Sleeping Beauty (2016)



After taking the night off to take Jolene to a Jake Bugg concert with Bren being sick, I decided that I needed to kick back today and relax. While I did catch a few new shows, I needed to get back to some movies to help pass some time this evening. My first choice was the 2016 adaptation of the classic fairy tale Sleeping Beauty, with The Curse of Sleeping Beauty.


Plot/ Thomas Kaiser inherits an ancestral mansion that has been in his family for generations, only to learn that he has also inherited an ancient curse stemming back to the Crusades.


Every once in a while, I decide to take a chance on something different and become extremely surprised by what I decided on. That was definitely the case with this one, as it was much better than I initially imagined. Yes, it did not come without some flaws with predictable characters, clichéd plot twists, and some of the movie felt rushed, but those issues do not totally bring the movie down. The performances are decent, the direction and cinematography work well to create some interestingly atmospheric moments, and the overall feel was much darker than I expected. In the end, this is definitely not your normal take on the Sleeping Beauty fairy tale being more of a horror flick than fantasy. As with many movies in this realm, a viewer will either love it or hate it, personally I enjoyed it. Give it a shot and make your own decision.


Thursday, September 22, 2016

The Beyond (1981)



There really is nothing better than the classic Italian horror films of the 1980s. Whether it was Argento, Bava, or Fulci, there understanding of the genre was incredible. Tonight, I decided to revisit one of those masters, with the 1981 Lucio Fulci entry The Beyond on Shudder.


Plot/ A young woman inherits an old hotel in Louisiana where after a series of supernatural accidents, she learns that the building was built over one of the entrances to Hell.


As a horror fan, growing up in the 1980s was a dream come true, as some of the best horror movies came from that era with the Italian horror maestros creating some of the greatest films of the genre. In this Lucio Fulci classic, you will find everything that made those films great. This is a great combination of atmosphere, gore, and storyline that created a movie that may be one of the most influential films of the era. The performances are solid; the special effects are outstanding, the cinematography flows perfectly within the atmospheric soundtrack, and there is enough gore to make every fan of the genre smile. Sure, the nonlinear storyline and structure may not agree with everyone, and some may seem slow, but those are but minor flaws in this entry. In the end, this movie is one of the best from the decade and a movie that has stood the test of time. Plus, with some Lovecraftian elements sprinkled in, there is a lot more to like than with most films from this period. If you have not seen it, you are missing out! Watch it now!


Wednesday, September 21, 2016

ARQ (2016)



Yesterday, I took a night off to deal with a miserable cold; I felt the need to find something different tonight for my evening entertainment. After some searching, I decided on the 2016 NETFLIX Original ARQ.


Plot/ Trapped in a lab and stuck in a time loop, a disoriented couple fends off masked raiders while harboring a new energy source that could save humanity.


ARQ may sound like a clichéd Sci-Fi interpretation of a loop film, but in many ways, it is much more than that. This is a solid, well thought out, and intriguing Sci-Fi thriller that is definitely worth watching. The acting is sound, the storyline has enough twists and turns to keep your attention, the scene progressions are logical, and the overall atmosphere offers some suspense. Yes, it may be a touch confusing to the passive viewer and some of it may seem a bit off, but that does very little to bring this one down. In the end, this may be one of the best time travel flicks to come out in some time, and it is a movie that solidifies NETFLIX as a viable studio in the Sci-Fi community. If you have not seen it, you should!  

Monday, September 19, 2016

Jaws 2 (1978)



Sequels are always difficult to venture into. While some exist that at least match the quality of the source material, most fall flat. Of course, this is usually the case when Hollywood is more concerned about money than originality. In my next review, I cover a sequel that was clearly more about money than an original concept: Jaws 2.


Plot/ Police chief Brody must protect the citizens of Amity after a second monstrous shark begins terrorizing the waters.


In many ways, this movie was doomed from the start. Think about it, no matter how good it was, there would be no way for it to live up to the bar set by the classic Jaws. Now, that does not make it a bad movie, but it does hamper its ability to stand on its own and capture the audience in the same way that the original. While there are some positives with decent performances, the awesome soundtrack, and some outstanding technical aspects, the overall atmosphere did not match the tension of the first. Add on the lack of memorable characters, an uneven storyline, and a predictable premise, and it is easy to why this one did not live up to the expectations set by the timeless Jaws. In the end, this is a perfect example of a movie franchise that did not need to add any sequels to secure its legacy in cinematic lore. Is this a bad movie? No, it really isn’t, but there is no way that it could have ever matched the depth or powerful impression left by the original. If you are in the mood for a shark movie, give it a shot, if not, watch the original; it has more bite.




Sunday, September 18, 2016

Don't Breathe (2016)



Tonight after catching the end of the Steelers game because of a high school softball game, I decided to kick back and finish review the movies I caught last night at the drive-in. Honestly, this was one of the better double features to play in some time with Blair Witch and Don’t Breathe. Since I did Blair Witch last night when I got home, it is time for arguably one of the best films of the year (in any genre) Don’t Breathe.


Plot/ Hoping to walk away with a massive fortune, a trio of thieves break into the house of a blind man who is not as helpless as he seems.


I had heard a lot of hype about Don’t Breathe and was unsure what to expect from such a simple premise. However, this one was one of the best thriller/suspense films I have seen in some time and does show what can be accomplished by a studio when they support an original idea of horror. This movie has everything that a horror fan should appreciate, featuring a intense atmosphere that builds throughout, solid performances from the minimalistic cast, and a storyline that offers enough complexities to keep the viewer interested. Sure, there are a couple clichéd moments and there may be too many plot twists sprinkled in, but the outstanding characters and powerful visuals easily shroud those flaws. In the end, this movie is one that must be seen to appreciate fully and is another example of what horror can be if studios would embrace original ideas instead of attempting to make a quick buck with a remake or reboot. If you have not seen it, you should definitely watch it (if for nothing else to see the turkey baster).


Saturday, September 17, 2016

Blair Witch (2016)



After staying home last night and enjoying Viral, it was awesome that Mother Nature decided to hold off the rain and let me head out to the drive-in to see Blair Witch and Don’t Breathe. I love horror double features and it is always such a good time when both movies offer something different. The first review of those will be Blair Witch.


Plot/ After discovering a video showing what he believes to be his sister's experiences in the demonic woods of the Blair Witch, James and a group of friends head to the forest in search of his lost sibling.


I have heard so many different opinions on the Blair Witch that I had to break down and see it. Luckily, it was playing at the drive-in  (with Don’t Breathe) and I was able to catch it earlier tonight. What I found was interesting. Yes, it was not perfect and I can see where some people would be turned off, but I could also see why people would love it. I really believe there was a nice mixture of homage to the original trip into the world and enough originality to create a tremendously entertaining balance. The way the movie built atmosphere and transitioned was done incredibly well and it created some intriguing elements that ensure the viewer paid attention to. The performances were decent, the storyline was developed, and for a found footage film, it had some new approaches to creating some new angles for recording. Sure, the ending is a bit odd and there were some jump scares that felt cliché, but those are easily overlooked. In the end, this one definitely took me back to the original and actually reminded me of what a real found footage film should look like. Of course, it is not a perfect movie, but it is one that should be seen and enjoyed. Check it out!


Friday, September 16, 2016

Viral (2016)



Now that the weekend has finally arrived, it was nice to kick back and watch a movie that was actually somewhat believable in the grand scheme of reality. Sure, something like this would be unlikely, but it would be possible. What was that movie? It was the 2016 independent entry Viral.


Plot/ Following the outbreak of a virus that wipes out the majority of the human population, a young woman documents her family's new life in quarantine and tries to protect her infected sister.


When I saw this one, I actually expected another typical outbreak type film. However, what I found was something different and somewhat refreshing. While this is more of a slow burn character driven drama than straight outbreak driven gorefest, it does have a few moments that jump out and bring some of the horror elements to life. The scripting is solid, the characters are at least somewhat memorable, and the cinematography is decent. Yes, it does not bring everything to life in a manner that would make it overly exciting or terrifying, the performances are average, and it felt somewhat predictable and cliché, but it is still extremely watchable. In the end, it was an interesting approach to a post apocalyptic/outbreak themed movie. If you like that type of movie, you will definitely enjoy this one.


Thursday, September 15, 2016

Blood Feast (1963)



There is nothing like watching one of those memorable films that helped shape my love of the horror genre, and that is exactly what I did last night. What was that movie? It was the 1963 splatterfest Blood Feast!


Plot/ An Egyptian caterer kills various women in suburban Miami to use their body parts to bring to life a dormant Egyptian goddess, while an inept police detective tries to track him down.


There are times where it can be difficult to trace the origins of a storyline or genre. That is definitely not the case with this movie, as it is one of the most influential movies of the splatter/gore movement in horror. This movie by Herschell Gordon Lewis may not be the most technically sound, it mat lack a coherent plot, and the effects are laughable at best, but its place in horror history is cemented by the blood, guts, gore, and beauties that became all the rage in exploitation and 1980s big box cinema. In the end, this may not be the best movie of its kind and it has some major problems besides what I already mentioned, but that does not matter one bit. This movie takes no prisoners and does not care that it offends, which makes it one of the best gorefests to ever grace the screen. If you have not seen it; you are wrong! Check this one out.


Wednesday, September 14, 2016

Discopath (2013)



After taking a strange nap yesterday, I was searching for something different to watch. After searching Shudder, I decided to roll the dice with the 2013 entry Discopath (Discopathe).


Plot/ The mid-70's: a timid young New Yorker leads an uneventful life until he is fatefully exposed to the pulsating rhythms of a brand-new genre of music: disco. Unable to control his murderous impulses that stem from a traumatic childhood experience, Duane Lewis transforms into a dangerous serial killer exiled to Montreal.



When I started this one, I had no idea what to expect. Although, from the description on Shudder, I hoped it would at least be entertaining. Guess what? It was much more than that and better than I could have ever imagined. While the storyline is ludicrous, and much of it is over the top, there is a lot to like and it is rather entertaining. Sure, this is move of an exploitation schlockfest with a ton of comedic element sprinkled in, but that is what makes it so fun, as it never takes itself too serious and it allows the film to develop in a lighthearted manner. The performances are uneven, the dialog and language varies scene to scene, and it is littered with disco music (which may turn some people off), but there is enough going on to make this a mindless trip into another time. In the end, this movie is much better than one would expect and it is a movie that really flues under the RADAR being from Canada. If you love schlock and classic mindless exploitation, give it a shot; you will enjoy it.


Tuesday, September 13, 2016

Terminus (2015)



Last night I stayed away from the Internet and the blog to watch, the Steelers take it to the Washington Redskins in their season opener. Honestly, there is nothing like opening weekend in the NFL and it is the greatest time of the year (next to Halloween). I did watch a few movies the day before and am now trying catch up. The next movie for review is the 2015 Australian Sci-Fi entry Terminus.


Plot/ Following a near-fatal accident, David Chamberlain makes an unprecedented discovery that will not only determine the fate of his family, but of mankind.


There are times where you can watch a movie, and not truly absorb it until a few hours later. That was the case with this movie. More of a drama than Sci-Fi You entry, this movie does paint a strange picture of society in a very familiar world that many of those who are awake will recognize. While the movie starts slow and has some sluggish moments, there are some interesting parts and enough atmospheres to make it a rather easy movie to watch. Unfortunately, the plot may be revealed too early, the performances are uneven, and some of the scripting is slow, aspects that definitely wear on you as a viewer. In the end, this is not a bad movie; it just does not live up to its potential and can feel unsatisfying. If you love Sci-Fi flicks, give it a shot; you could do worse.


Sunday, September 11, 2016

Jaws (1975)



After taking yesterday off to go watch West Virginia defeat Youngstown State, I decided that it was time to get some movies in this afternoon. While I did watch a variety of material, I figured I should change things up a bit and review a classic. After some internal debate, I decided it was time to look at the timeless 1975 entry Jaws.


Plot/ When a gigantic great white shark begins to menace the small island community of Amity, a police chief, a marine scientist and a grizzled fisherman set out to stop it.


I tend to stay away from classics here on The Ringmaster’s Realm, but today, I decided to revisit a classic. I know everyone has heard of Jaws, and really there is nothing more I can say that hasn’t already been said or written somewhere. However, this is a movie that clearly stands the test of time and has held up quite well over the past few decades. Based on the book by Peter Benchley (who also gave me my introduction to the Bermuda Triangle), the storyline and vision that Steven Spielberg created is still amazing. The cast is masterful, with the characters all endearing themselves into every scene, the soundtrack is perfect, the atmosphere heavy, and the scripting and cinematography are examples that should be used in every film class. Hell, I still don’t like swimming in the ocean (although, there is some of my Naval career that influences that as well). Yes, the shark itself has some issues and there are some points that make you scratch your head, but those are but minor in the grand scheme. In the end, Jaws is a movie that helped shape not only a genre but also a generation (and amazingly it was done with a PG rating). If you have not seen this original classic, you are wrong. Watch it now!