Friday, December 1, 2023

'Silent Night' (2023) Movie Review

Joel Kinnaman with a shotgun
John Woo is arguably the greatest action director of all time. So, you better believe when the master drops a dialogue-free Christmas-themed revenge movie, I am all over that. Silent Night sees Woo working in what closely approximates a low-budget 1990s direct-to-video action aesthetic. It’s a little sparser and a little less slick than in his heyday, and at times it’s very clear he’s working with a smaller budget, but the Woo still shines through. Though the finished product has been divisive, and certainly doesn’t live up to the director’s career highs, this is a blast of fun, high-octane holiday retribution.

Friday, November 10, 2023

'It's A Wonderful Knife' (2023) Movie Review

a young woman just saw a murder
For his first two features, writer Michael Kennedy has used essentially the same strategy. He takes an iconic movie plot and asks, but what if it was a slasher? There’s 2020’s Freaky Friday riff, Freaky, and now he teams up with Tragedy Girls director Tyler MacIntyre for It’s a Wonderful Knife. You can probably discern the premise from the title. The result plays something like an unapologetically queer Hallmark Christmas movie covered in blood and stab wounds. Which is as much damn fun as it sounds.

Thursday, October 26, 2023

'Boudica: Queen Of War' (2023) Movie Review

olga kurylenko as a warrior queen
Epic scope and scale on a bargain-basement budget. That might be the best way to describe DTV action auteur Jesse V. Johnson’s newest film, Boudica: Queen of War, starring Olga Kurylenko, who has carved quite a niche for herself in this realm. 

Friday, October 13, 2023

'The Elderly' Movie Review

old man doing a hobby
The Elderly, from Spanish co-directors Raul Cerezo and Fernando Gonzalez Gomez, taps into a number of primal, deep-seated fears. Ideas of our bodies aging and betraying us touch on body horror; there’s the dread of losing our autonomy, in both a physical and mental capacity. It has something to say about how society values, or more accurately, doesn’t value the aged, attends to the looming specter of Spain’s fascist past, which may not be as far in the rearview as many believe, and even copes with the threat of climate catastrophe.

Friday, September 22, 2023

'No One Will Save You' (2023) Movie Review

kaitlyn dever hiding from aliens
I think I love the way Brian Duffield’s brain works. Spontaneous is easily one of my favorite and most re-watched movies of the last few years; Love and Monsters, which he wrote but didn’t direct, is great; and now we can add his latest multi-hyphenated endeavor, No One Will Save You, to this pile as it does not disappoint. At a base level, this is an alien-home-invasion story, but the reality is so much stranger and more complicated than that. 

Friday, August 11, 2023

'New Life' (2023) Movie Review

sonya walger with a gun
A young woman, frantic and covered in blood, flees unknown pursuers. An older woman, a fixer with an as-yet-undefined degenerative condition, is tasked with tracking her down and stopping her from crossing the border. So begins writer/director John Rosman’s taut horror-thriller New Life.

Friday, July 28, 2023

'Restore Point' (2023) Movie Review

a detective and a corpse
What if you could save your life at a certain point and, if you die unexpectedly, can then reset to that moment, like a video game? That’s the general idea of director Robert Hloz’s Restore Point, a slice of dystopian sci-fi. A solid, sturdy neo-noir, the film combines a twisting mystery and cool world building with an intriguing idea that plays something like Chinatown by way of Minority Report, both thematically and aesthetically.