Saturday, October 19, 2013

Hydra (2009)

Directed by: Andrew Prendergast
Starring: George Stults, Dawn Olivieri, Michael Shamus Wiles

MPAA Rating: Unrated (TV Movie)
Running Time: 94 Minutes

The Movie:
Former Marine Tim Nolan has been kidnapped - along with three ex-convicts - and forced to participate in a deadly game. Wealthy men have paid a fortune for the opportunity to hunt down men like him in the perfect place: a deserted island. However, this is no ordinary island - it is home to Hydra the Beast. As the hunters track down their prey, Hydra quickly turns hunter into hunted. With the island crumbling beneath him, Nolan finds himself in a race against time to stop the beast and get off the island alive.

This made-for-Syfy-channel movie will never earn an Emmy award, but it wasn't all that bad. I usually stay away from these cheesy made-for-TV science fiction movies, because I'm not a big science fiction fan and I usually walk away thinking 'What the hell did I just watch? Man I want the last 90 minutes of my life back!' This one was no different, it didn't contain a single recognizable face, and was overused in the CGI department but those are to be expected. On the other hand, this was a pleasantly surprising and very entertained creature flick. If you're a fan of low budget B-movies, this one is for you. A great movie to catch on the SyFy channel, that doesn't scream multiple viewing.

My Rating: 4.5/10
Hydra (TV Movie 2009) on IMDb

Sunday, October 6, 2013

You're Next (2013)

Directed by: Adam Wingard
Starring: Sharni Vinson, Joe Swanberg, AJ Bowen

Running Time: 94 Minutes
MPAA Rating: R for strong bloody violence, language and some sexuality/nudity

Synopsis (Provided by
When the Davison family comes under attack during their wedding anniversary getaway, the gang of mysterious killers soon learns that one of victims harbors a secret talent for fighting back. 

Watch the Trailer (compliments of YouTube)

A family get-together turns deadly when three masked men attack a house in the middle of nowhere. While everyone inside the house is panicking and being picked off one by one,  there's one house guest that to all their surprise has self defense training and fights back. First ones to go are the parents, then the offspring until there's only one-or-two left standing to collect the inheritance check.

Similar to "The Strangers," and "The Last House on the Left" this movie doesn't hold back. I wasn't sure what to expect from it personally, but I did enjoy it to an extent. Some of the acting, especially that of the masked intruders were poorly done and the story line isn't authentic by any means, it's quite obvious this movie won't be for everyone but it was a lot better than the recently released The Purge. If you're looking for a straight up filled-with-gore, slasher horror flick, this one is for you. The idea of a strong female protagonist is always pleasing to the audience, although what looks like a low budget film it took three years to come to the big screen, at least here in America.
My Rating: 7.5/10
IMDb Average User Rating:  6.9/10

Saturday, October 5, 2013

Session 9 (2001)

Directed by: Brad Anderson
Starring: David Caruso, Stephen Gevedon, Paul Guilfoyle

Running Time: 97 Minutes
MPAA Rating: R

Synopsis (provided by IMDb):
Tensions rise within an asbestos cleaning crew as they work in an abandoned mental hospital with a horrific past that seems to be coming back.

Spoilers ahead, you have been warned!
When a hazmat construction company gets a job removing the asbestos from an abandoned mental hospital, the horrific stories told about the place becomes a reality with personal life events of the crew. The job is supposed to be quick and easy, but as the relation among each of them takes a turn for the worse. Things get even more complicated as would-be lawyer Mike ( Stephen Gevedon ) plays the tapes from a former patient with multiple personalities, including the mysterious Simon who does not appear until Session 9.

The storyline was predictable, slowly reaching the climax without a cheap scare in the process. On the other hand, the actors did a fantastic job at portraying regular everyday people but aren't killed off in order of credits. I have to be honest, I only bought this movie because the the artwork looked creepy as hell, I knew nothing about the story line and didn't even read the synopsis on the back which is something I normally do before I blind buy something. The movie, to me, had that creepy feeling a little over the first 40 minutes or so, when Hank ( Josh Lucas ) mysteriously disappears when he goes into the asylum alone to retrieve the old coins. If you have a single bit of interest in horror, I can't recommend this title enough! Rating: 8/10.

Watch Trailer:

Thursday, October 3, 2013

The Messengers (2007)

Directed by: Oxide Pang Chun, Danny Pang
Starring: Dylan McDermott, Penelope Ann Miller, Kristen Stewart

Running Time: 90 Minutes
MPAA Rating: PG-13 for mature thematic material, disturbing violence and terror

Synopsis [provided by]:
An ominous darkness invades a seemingly serene sunflower farm in North Dakota, and the Solomon family is torn apart by suspicion, mayhem and murder.

It's been a long, troubling year for the Solomon family residing in Chicago. They decide it's time for a change when their life savings is gone in less than two years followed by a car accident driven by Jess (Kristen Stewart) that put her younger brother Ben (Evan and Theodore Turner) in the hospital. The change just happens to be a move to a farming town in North Dakota, where the father, Roy (Dylan McDermott) decides to become a sunflower farmer. One thing they didn't realize about the house they purchased was the fact that the family who lived there beforehand just disappeared one day, or did they? As they were settling in, strange things started happening. That is the big question, what happened to the family? Did they really leave? Are they dead? And most of all, is the killer still alive?

This movie wasn't perfect, but then again there aren't many movies one could classify as perfect. It was definitely not unwatchable. If you're looking for an original and scary horror movie, this one isn't it. However if you are just looking for some campy thrill-filled fun, this one shouldn't be avoided. Rating: 7/10

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

If I Die Before I Wake (1998)

Directed by: Brian Katkin
Starring: Stephanie Jones, Muse Watson, Michael McCleery

Running Time: 87 Minutes
MPAA Rating: R for strong, brutal violence including rape, unrelenting terror and strong language

A suburban family is held hostage and terrorized by three intruders while their sixteen year-old daughter first hides, then exacts her own brand of terror on the assailants.

Three burglars break into a suburban home while they are sleeping one night. The problem is, they're not there to rob them but to terrorize them. The only thing they didn't account for was the teenage daughter, Lori-Beth (Stephanie Jones), whom first hides before getting the courage to confront them. Armed with a baseball bat, a piece of broken glass, a kitchen knife, and a fireplace poker she starts defending herself against these three assailants while in the end keeping a promise to her younger sister that she wouldn't let anything happen to her.

Another movie based on a home invasion? What has Hollywood come to, to find it necessary to make these type of movies. While watching this movie, I kept thinking this movie was a made for TV special, but no place on the Internet provided proof to back that up, not that it matters anyway, right?
Stephanie Jones portrayed a very brave teenage girl, who wanted nothing more than to have her normal suburban family life back. While the head assailant seemed outright angry that people in the world had more than he did growing up, a loving family and a nice house.
The story was well directed and as a result I give this movie a 6 out of 10 star rating.

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

The Strangers (2007)

Directed by: Brian Bertino
Starring: Scott Speedman, Liv Tyler

MPAA Rating: for violence/terror and language
Running Time: 86 Min.

A young couple staying in an isolated vacation home are terrorized by three unknown assailants. 

On the way home from a wedding reception, a recently separated couple decides to stay at an isolated family vacation home. Soon after arriving, there's a sudden knock on the door. Which entails a violent invasion by three strangers, all three hidden behind masks. There's no real reason behind why these three masked invaders chose this house. It's like a game to them, first thing they do is haunt their victims before killing them. Surely the couple have to struggle beyond what they are capable of to survive.

This movie isn't for any horror fan, it is a violent, bloody game of cat and mouse. It is said to be a true story, fictionalized for the sake of entertainment. The Strangers isn't a movie I would recommend to just anyone, if you are interested in slasher thrillers based on real life events then pay this one a rent otherwise don't waste your time or money. The acting was well done by Liv Tyler, but I think Scott Speedman's character left plenty of room for improvement.
My Rating: 6/10

Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Fast & Furious 6 (2013)

Director: Justin Lin
Starring: Vin Diesel, Paul Walker, Dwayne Johnson, Jordana Brewster, Michelle Rodriguez, Tyrese Gibson

Released: 24 May 2013 (USA)
Running Time: 130 Minutes

MPAA Rating: PG-13
My Rating: 9/10

Synopsis, provided by
Hobbs has Dom and Brian reassemble their crew in order to take down a mastermind who commands an organization of mercenary drivers across 12 countries. Payment? Full pardons for them all.

Spoilers ahead, continue reading only if you've seen the movie!
As a fan of the Fast and the Furious franchise, this review may come across as biased. I enjoyed the movies back when they were all about cars and street racing, and now that they've incorporated them into action movies I enjoy them just as much. Sure, this movie had it's flaws but what movie doesn't?

Fast & Furious 6 brings the original gang from Fast Five to the United Kingdom where FBI Agent Hobbs (Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson) hires them to follow and take down a organization of lethally skilled mercenary drivers in exchange for full pardons so everyone on the team can return to a whole family again. One problem, the mastermind of the organization, Shaw(Luke Evans) is aided by the love of Dom, Letty (Michelle Rodriguez), who was believed to have been killed in L.A. while being undercover to take down a Mexican cartel to free Dom (Vin Diesel) in Fast & Furious. Come to find out, she wasn't dead only to have no memory of her past, which makes for an interesting reaction for Dom.

Typical with the rest of the franchise, this one doesn't leave anything behind: Speed, hot cars, and a heist of government weapons. A great combination for an action movie. Very enjoyable popcorn flick that you mustn't miss.

Sunday, March 3, 2013

Rain Man (1988)

Director: Barry Levinson
Starring: Dustin Hoffman, Tom Cruise, Valeria Golino

Released: 16 December 1988 (USA)
Running Time: 133 min.

MPAA Rating: R
My Rating: 9/10

Synopsis, provided by

Selfish yuppie Charlie Babbitt's father left a fortune to his savant brother Raymond and a pittance to Charlie; they travel cross-country.

My Thoughts:
I've always put off watching this movie because of the mixed reviews I've read and heard about. Why there was so much hate on this movie is beyond me, but I thought it was written and directed great. Dustin Hoffman, playing the role of a middle-aged man with autism, Raymond "Rain Man" Babbit, who has been locked away from society since 1965. Come to find out he has excellent number skills but have no sense in money. Charlie Babbit, played by Tom Cruise, is a self-centered automobile trader in Los Angeles who ran away from his father's home in Cleveland Ohio when he was 16 years old after taking his father's car without permission and being jailed for two days after his father refused to bail him out.

One day, not unlike the rest, Charlie receives a phone call notifying him his father passed away. After the funeral, he sits down with his father's lawyer to go over his father's will, when he finds out all he inherits is a rose bed and the car he once 'stole'. The rest of the estate, approximately three million dollars is put in a trust fund for someone, who turns out to be his long lost brother-Raymond.

A visit to the institute where Raymond's been staying at for the past 20-some years, leads to Charlie kidnapping his brother for half of the inheritance. Come to find out Raymond is afraid of flying, so they decide to take a road trip back to L.A. Raymond has a routine that cannot be broken, so this delays Charlie's plans remarkably, but in the end it's for the best. The two brothers never had an opportunity to bond growing up.

This movie was emotional even to the average movie watcher, the bond formed between Raymond and Charlie was extraordinary. This movie is definitely deserved the best picture award it earned back in 1988, and definitely has a place in anyone's movie collection.

PS: Personally I don't think it's necessary to own this film in high definition (unless you can find the BD for sub-$5 which I did). But beware if you buy the single-disc Blu-ray, the picture looked like a upconverted DVD and the audio was on par to say the least (I had to adjust the volume on my TV 4 times throughout the movie due to alternating quiet/loud scenes). It also didn't have any special features or a main menu, if that bothers you seek out the deluxe DVD edition.

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Looper (2012)

Director: Rian Johnson
Starring: Bruce Willis, Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Emily Blunt

Released: 28 September 2012
Running time: 119 min.

MPAA Rating: R
My Rating: 9/10

Synopsis, provided by IMDb:
In 2074, when the mob wants to get rid of someone, the target is sent 30 years into the past, where a hired gun awaits. Someone like Joe, who one day learns the mob wants to 'close the loop' by transporting back Joe's future self.

My Thoughts:
After hearing positive reviews, I wanted to check this out when it was at the second run theater, but due to a scheduling conflict I missed it. It's definitely worth the $1.50 rental from Redbox, even if you're not a fan of time travel movies.

Monday, January 14, 2013

The Dark Knight Rises (2012)

Director: Christopher Nolan
Starring: Christian Bale, Tom Hardy, Anne Hathaway, and Joseph Gordon-Levitt

Theatrical Release Date: 20 July 2012 (USA)
Running Time: 165 Min.

MPAA Rating: PG-13
My Rating: 8/10

Synopsis, provided by IMDb:

Eight years on, a new terrorist leader, Bane, overwhelms Gotham's finest, and the Dark Knight resurfaces to protect a city that has branded him an enemy.

My Thoughts (spoilers ahead!):
The third and last film of Nolan's Batman trilogy is now complete. We watched Bruce Wayne (Christopher Nolan) lose his parents to a armed robbery, lose his girlfriend to a psychopath, and now meet his maker with the assistance of one leader: Bane (Tom Hardy). As in the past, the dark knight has to protect the city of Gotham as well as himself from evil, the only difference between now and in the past is he's got some help: officer-to-be-detective "Robin" John Blake (Joseph Gordon-Levitt) and Selina (Anne Hathaway), otherwise known as Catwoman. This movie was fantastic, but that's no surprise when you look into the film history of Christopher Nolan. If you've seen Batman Begins and The Dark Knight, there's no excuse why you shouldn't check this one out, it's potentially the greatest Batman movie since Tim Burton's masterpiece in 1989.

If this wasn't enough, I believe the ending left a possibility of another sequel or at the very least a runoff of the Dark Knight trilogy, starring our newest introduced character Robin (or as pointed out to me, would be "Nightwing"). At the moment, I haven't heard of any talk of Nolan making another sequel or additional movie but it's definitely possible.

I'm solely disappointed I missed this in the theaters, but I couldn't find time during the scheduled showtimes at my local multiplex to go so I just waited until it hit Redbox and rented it for a buck-fifty. Granted this movie would have been worth the $10 at the multiplex, I've learned to just wait for movies to come out on Blu-ray and watch it in the comfort of my home.