Wednesday, August 31, 2016


Why do critics hate Kevin Smith? Is this a war he's brought upon himself, and Internet personalities/critics are just bulling him? These are good questions to tackle another time, today we're just going to focus on his new movie YOGA HOSERS.

YOGA HOSERS is the 12th film from writer and director Kevin Smith. It is the second entry of Smith's 'Great White North' trilogy. It stars Lily-Rose Depp and Harley Quinn Smith (his daughter). High school BFF's Colleen Collette and Colleen McKenzie (better known as the Colleen's) work together at a convenience store and are both yoga enthusiasts. Forced to work on their day off the girls end up fighting off a horde of sausage monsters called Bratzis (Nazis made out of bratwursts).

The Colleen's team up with legendary man hunter from Montreal, Guy Lapointe (think Canadian Inspector Clouseau). The three unravel a fiendish by the Nazi Adronicus Arcane to kill every art critic in Winnipeg.

Kevin Smith was at one time my favorite filmmaker. His early film spoke to a generation of geeks way way before geek culture was cool. For a few years his first film CLERKS was my bible. That movie planted a seed in my brain that somebody like me could be a filmmaker.

Over the years his critical success has gone from bad to worse. At one point he decided to stop making movies, but ultimately chose not to care (sort of) what the critics thought of him films!

I have always enjoyed his sense of humor so it's easy for me to be bias. Maybe every single one of his films suck?

As a fan, I have yet to throw in the towel. His first stab at horror with RED STATE was one of my favorite films of 2011! And TUSK isn't that great of a movie but I loved the heart and soul Smith put into his strange-as-all-get-out Walrus picture.

YOGA HOSERS is a good example why I consider myself more of a film enthusiast rather than a critic.

I was thoroughly entertained by YOGA HOSERS! Kevin Smith made a (true) PG-13 midnight Teen Comedy. And I have a soft spot for that genre. The two lead actors had great chemistry together on screen. The fact that Harley Quinn Smith and Lily-Rose Smith are best friends in real life probably played a key role in how believable their characters were.

The tone of the film gets a little wonky here and there and sometimes the characters start to get long winded. A few more cuts to flashbacks instead of just one would have helped one scene of exposition in particular. I like listening to Smith's words but depending on the scene watching a person talk can get boring.

In conclusion, I recommend YOGA HOSERS to hardcore Kevin Smith fans. And for those who like silly midnight comedies, go ahead and give this one a shot.


If SAUSAGE PARTY doesn't become my favorite film of 2016, it'll definitely be the best comedy of the year. The film is a riot!

The last time I laughed that much in a theater was during THIS IS THE END, another Seth Rogan and Evan Goldberg masterpiece. I've been a huge fan of these guys since PINEAPPLE EXPRESS. So far their only speed bump has been THE GREEN HORNET. If I had to guess, I'd say the problem with that film was studio related and not the talent involved?

The beautiful thing about SAUSAGE PARTY is how politically incorrect it is. Did I get offended? Absolutely! Did I care? Nope, not one bit. I have pretty thick skin when it comes to comedy. We've become too soft and too easily offended as of late. Lighten up people, it's just comedy.

One of the many messages in the film I like is deep down ultimately we've got to start loving one another more and stop with the hate. If you disagree with someone it's fine, just move on, but most importantly don't be a douche about it.

To say that SAUSAGE PARTY is just a raunchy take on the Pixar films wouldn't be a incorrect assumption. I'm pretty sure Seth and company at one time or another watched TOY STORY stoned out of their minds? (Geez, I sound like that nerd from DAZED AND CONFUSED. Lame) Instead, I found SAUSAGE PARTY more of a parody of VEGGIE TALES.

The film slams the belief in religion pretty bad. In this day and age Christploitation films like GOD'S NOT DEAD, I don't blame them. This believer thinks those type of movies are a terrible representation of Jesus and the Christian faith.

Frank (Rogan) is a hot dog who along with his hot dog bun girlfriend Brenda cannot wait to be bought and taken to the great beyond. There the two can consummate their relationship. In fact, every item in the supermarket (perishables mostly) believe it is their purpose in life to be chosen by the gods (the consumer) so that they can live for eternity in the great beyond.

One day a jar of honey mustard gets chosen but is brought back and tells everyone that the Great Beyond is a lie!

This causes a great panic and Frank, Brenda, Sammy Bagel Jr., and others journey to the liquor aisle to learn the truth from Firewater, one of the elders of the supermarket. Many hijinks ensue as Frank continues one his quest alone, while Brenda and the others just try and make it back to their aisles/homes. All the while Douche, the films villian, is on the hunt for Frank to exact some payback.

SAUSAGE PARTY may be the best of it's kind since SOUTH PARK: BIGGER, LONGER, AND UNCUT and BLAZING SADDLES. I hope the movie continues to do well because Hollywood needs to continue to make comedies that take risks. And people offended just for the sake of being offended really need to grow a pair!

SAUSAGE PARTY is highly recommended!!

Saturday, August 27, 2016


Horror movie season is upon us. This is a time of year where I like to spend late August through the month of October and cozy up to some scary movies. I try to watch new ones every year, but mostly watch my favorites of the genre. And last night I welcomed a new classic. Fede Alvarez's new film DON'T BREATHE!

It's been awhile since I saw a horror movie at the theater, the best way to watch a scary movie. And last night was amazing. DON'T BREATHE had a good trailer and has been getting some positive buzz so the theater was packed. Before the movie started there was a video of the director thanking everyone for coming out to the movies. He also said that horror films are best seen in a dark auditorium full of strangers. I couldn't agree more!

Three robbers target a house in a run down part of Detroit, believing the owner has a large sum of money inside. The best part about it is that the guy is blind. But once inside, they discover the home owner has dark secrets and is pretty resourceful.

Like the trailer show, this movie is intense! We're shown fairly early in the movie the layout of the Blind Man's house. It's some very arty camera movement but the director isn't just showing off. These scenes are important for later. And it makes us comfortable alongside the robbers.

Things go bad fast for our main characters once it's revealed that the Blind Man is a bad ass. You quickly feel sorry for both the home owner and criminals. I rooted for them just to find a way out of the house as fast as possible and never return. But sooner than you think the film takes a turn, a very dark turn.

Again like in the trailers we see the home invaders trying to escape from the basement in pitch black darkness. This was a great juxtaposition from earlier and to the films overall narrative.

I can't tell you how the movie ends but during the finale DON'T BREATHE had women cheering and men grossed out. Speaking of the audience? The audience reactions were fantastic! And they were mostly for amazing reveals in the film. The dumb jump scares were minimal but when they did happen the scare was earned.

I highly recommend DON'T BREATHE. We're at the end of summer and what a film to kick off a good solid two months of horror movie watching. Too bad we've probably seen the best horror film of the year already. In October we get RINGS and OUIJA: ORIGINS OF EVIL. Both films look pointless and terrible! But hey, the new BLAIR WITCH film looks promising!

Good bye Summer, hello Halloween!

Thursday, August 25, 2016


THE LOBSTER is a 2015 film directed by Yorgos Lanthimos. It is a critical darling of 2016 and more than likely will receive even more acclaim at the Academy Awards next year. All the praise THE LOBSTER is receiving is well deserved because I too believe it's one of the best films of the year.

When I first heard about THE LOBSTER I wanted to see it. Colin Farrell turning into a lobster if he doesn't find love? That's a synopsis for a movie you don't hear about everyday. Count me in! Little did I know how great the film was actually going to be.

Not quite experimental enough, not body horror, and way better than I expected the movie to be, THE LOBSTER is a dark comedy set in a dystopian near future. If you're single you are sent to The Hotel to find a romantic partner in 45 days. Failure to do so results in being turned into an animal of your choosing.

Obviously a satire on the cultural and societal pressures of dating, marriage, and remaining single, THE LOBSTER felt like a film speaking to me. Yes, I want to find companionship and get married but the older I get the more I'm set in my ways. Especially if society keeps trying to tell me otherwise.

The story centers on recently divorced David as he searches for a new love. He just has 45 days, at which point, if he's still single, he will be turned into a lobster. David picked the lobster as his animal because they can live up to a 100 years old, have blue blood just like aristocrats, and stay fertile all of their lives.

The Hotel has several strict guidelines, for example; singles cannot mingle in couples areas, you cannot masturbate, and of course you have to be compatible with your mate. Failure to comply with these things leads to punishment or immediate transformation into your animal.

There is one incentive The Hotel offers and that is hunting deserters. Mixed with citizens who have left The Hotel or never went in the first place, these loners take refuge in The Woods. Guests can add days to their stay by hunting these strays.

This is the first half of the film. We see the inner workings of The Hotel and how they “help” singles find a match. David meets some interesting people during his stay. I found it odd (in a cool way) how David (Colin Ferrell) is the only character given a name. We're never told nor do we hear the names of the other characters. The narrator just refers to them as Lisping Man ( John C. Riley), Limping Man (Ben Wishaw), Hotel manager (Olivia Colman), and so on.

Limping Man's stay I found very telling of real life. Spoiler alert!! He fakes having chronic nose bleeds so that he'll be a match for Nose Bleed Girl. And later in the film we see that these characters are miserable, you can see it in their eyes. But I guess living a lie is better than being turned into an animal?

It's coming down to the wire for David as he only has a week left and still hasn't found anybody. I don't want to completely spoil it, but due to some events David goes AWAL into The Woods. While there he meets a group of deserters/loners and falls in love.

The second half of the movie really focuses on this, other singles hiding in The Woods. The vast surroundings of The Hotel become an exile all there own. Here, paring up is strictly prohibited and punishable by those in charge. The leader of these loners does her best by making sure no one falls in love. No matter where you go, your romantic life is strictly managed.

I took it as a statement of sticking-to-the man for forcing singles to “find love” at The Hotel.

Seeming not to be able to catch a break, David and his new found love decide to leave The Woods and try a new life in The City.

It's hard to talk about a film like THE LOBSTER without ruining it. The outcome of Limping Man was spoiler enough in my opinion. It's full of metaphors and allegory that is sometimes on-the-nose and other times worthy of analysis. For example, the name of the woman David falls in love with is Short Sighted Woman (rim shot). But overall there is something meaningful to this dark comedy.

Like I mentioned earlier, THE LOBSTER is one of the best films of the year. And it'll probably be one of my Top 10 favorites of 2016. I love the attention it demands from its viewers. It's weird, full of anarchy (screw society), and in the end is compassionate.

One of the most creative films I've seen all year. I highly recommend THE LOBSTER!!

Tuesday, August 23, 2016


Released in 2016, GREEN ROOM is a 2015 film from director Jeremy Saulnier. It also stars the late Anton Yelchin. Saulnier's movie is a midnight grindhouse flick disguised as a art house film, or vice versa.

I'm quickly becoming a huge fan of Saulnier's work. His film BLUE RUIN would have been my favorite film of 2013, but did not know about it until the following year. And GREEN ROOM is on the fast track to become my favorite of 2016. If not number one, then definitely somewhere in the Top 10.

Punk rock band The Ain't Rights are on tour. In true punk rock fashion they are a band that is barely getting by. You know times are rough when you have to siphon gas to keep the tour van going. During a interview for a promoter's local 'zine' the band mention they don't even have enough money to press a new EP record.

After some miss communication with the promoter and only making seven dollars a piece between them, The Ain't Rights decide to call off the tour and siphon their way back home. The promoter says he can make it up to them by setting up another gig in town. Reluctant at first, the band decides to play because after all a gig is a gig.

So The Ain't Rights show up to the venue and they find out their playing at a neo-Nazi bar. They make the best of it by starting off the set with a cover from The Dead Kennedys called 'Fuck Off Nazi Punks'. Once in a lifetime opportunity, am I right!

After the set they want nothing more than to get outta the place fast as possible. Sam, the guitarist leaves her phone in the green room. Pat, the bass player (and main character) goes and gets it for her. Witnessing a murder in the room, Pat tells them to run like hell while he calls 911. Extremely outnumbered, the band is forced to against their will to wait in the green room. What happens next is some of the most intense moments I've seen in a movie this year!

Like BLUE RUIN I was impressed with the use of color in GREEN ROOM. Set in the pacific northwest, we see lots of lush forest green. There is also subtle use of the color green throughout. Things like lime colored brake lines on a bicycle. BLUE RUIN was full of stuff like that! It'd be interesting to know how much of that was planned or just plain coincidence?

Another similarity in both films is the portrayal of violence and gore. BLUE RUIN is a revenge film that becomes a deconstruction of the genre, thus becoming an anti-revenge film. The violence and gore that the movie's protagonist dishes out becomes the opposite of cathartic. Saulnier really hit a home run with the message that when it comes to revenge, no one is a winner.

The violence in GREEN ROOM is no different. And what makes the tension so effective (in my opinion) is that this nightmare happening to the punk rock band feels real. This is how pacifists would act in a situation like this. And when the nasty things happen it's brutal. GREEN ROOM isn't as deep as BLUE RUIN. Maybe it is and I just need to watch it a few more times before it hits me like a ton of bricks. Until then, it's a shockingly violent but gorgeously photographed grindhouse film.

Highly recommended!!

Friday, August 19, 2016


Batman is probably my favorite comic book character. Yes, I went through a Superman and Spider-Man phase but the Dark Knight has consistently been champ.

In this day and age of comic book fandom it's practically cliche (or uncool) to say Batman is your favorite character. I might be off by a title or two but as of now there are 7 Bat-Family comic books on newsstands published by DC Comics. That's impressive and insane!

I've been a fan of Batman since seeing him and Robin the Boy Wonder guest star on the SCOOBY-DOO cartoon. Reruns of the 60's Batman television show was pretty common at my house too. And of course we cannot forget SUPERFRIENDS!

Once grade school started I was all about Star Wars, GI-Joe, and Master of the Universe. It wouldn't be until the mid to late eighties browsing a comic book store changed all that, and the Creature of the Night came calling.

This story has been told more than once on my blog, so I'll be brief.

One evening after having supper at the Heritage Cafeteria located inside the North Town Mall (now a Walmart Super Center). While dad was in line to pay the cashier my Grandpa took me walking around the mall. We stopped inside a store called Comic Empire and he bought me a FLASH comic book. That's what I wanted to buy but it was a standee of Batman holding a dead Robin that intrigued me.

Sometime later my dad would bring me back to that store and I found out the standee was for BATMAN: A DEATH IN THE FAMILY trade paperback, and it made me a comic book fan for life.

I remember it being a much longer period of time, but things seem that way when you're younger. The release of 1989's BATMAN and me starting to read the comic and trade paperbacks were all probably within the same year?


It took me awhile to read the popular graphic novel. For the longest time it was way overpriced and Comic Empire treated it like a R-rated movie. By the time I was sixteen, driving, and had a job that's when I finally purchased BATMAN: THE KILLING JOKE.

I loved it! Immediately it was my favorite graphic novel. And it's influence of future Batman stories was massive. So popular and well received that in became actual cannon in the monthly books. Back then graphic novels were for the most part stand alone stories.

The story is pretty simple. Batman visits Joker in prison (Arkham??) to have a one-on-one conversation about their future together. You see Joker is always going to break out and Batman is always going to put him back where he belongs. It can't go on forever, eventually one of them is going to die from it. And if Batman has to kill him, Bruce wants Joker to know that he at least tried to help his arch nemesis all these years.

After poring his guts out, Batman realizes the clown in the cell is a impostor and that Joker has escaped!

On the loose, Joker sets in motion a lesson for Batman by paralyzing Barbra Gordon and kidnapping her father Commissioner Gordon. After putting the Commissioner through living hell, Joker tries to convince him that the real criminal is the Batman.

Batman and the Joker fight in the end and everything ties in nicely with the beginning of the story. The ending is something still debated on message boards and in comic book shops still to this day. Highly recommended comic book reading!

So it's no surprise that fans everywhere got excited when it was announced that WB was making an animated movie adapted from the popular book. And to top it off the definitive voice talent of Kevin Conroy (Batman) and Mark Hamill (Joker) were returning. This was quickly becoming a must see/own feature!

For the most part I liked it. I like it a lot actually. The best parts are seeing the beloved graphic novel come to life in an animated movie. Very touching.

But my favorite part was when Batgirl and Batman have sex. Just like in the graphic novel. This makes perfect sense because of the bond these two characters have always shared in the comics. Right? No. Wrong! So wrong. I'm all for artistic license, but there are some lines you do not cross and having Batman knockin'-the-boots with one of the Bat-Family is fundamentally wrong.

I'm dumbfounded by this creative decision. Besides not making sense for the characters, the sub plot goes nowhere. There is nothing in the second half of the movie that screams Batman is mad at Joker for paralyzing Barbra, his now new girlfriend? What's done is done, nothing to do about it except filing it under Lame/Strange.

If fans of Batman ever read this I realize that I'm preaching to the choir, because like me a lot of fans are angry or scratching their head about the long Batgirl story tacked on to the beginning of the film in the first place. I didn't mind it at all with the exception of the sex scene. It would have made a lot more sense (in my opinion) if it was Nightwing rather than Batman.

Despite my complaints, I still recommend the DCEU Animated film BATMAN: THE KILLING JOKE. The second half is too good for any Batman or comic book fan to miss.

Sunday, August 7, 2016


There is a small movie out in theaters now called NERVE, the new movie from the guys that brought us CATFISH. And that alone was enough for me to check out the film. If I had seen the trailer beforehand I probably would've taken a pass on NERVE, because I think I got catfished on this one!

By the second act of the film, NERVE had me sold. Very entertaining! I kept thinking to myself this is what UNFRINDED should have been like. But the cracks started to show by the end of the movie. It's in the final moments where the film really lost me.

There is a new social media game that is all the rage, it's called Nerve. You're either a watcher or player. Contestants perform dares per users/watchers request. It's old fashioned Truth or Dare minus the dare part. The rules are simple; complete a dare and win money along with gaining 'likes', but fail a dare and you loose. The top two finalists compete in a dare to win it all. One important thing to remember about Nerve is never tell police about the game. Snitches get stitches.

Vee and Sydney are tow best friends in high school. Sydney is the popular and outgoing cheerleader. Vee is the more quite type who takes pictures for the yearbook. It's a stereotype in teen movies that's probably outdated by now, but I'm almost 40 years old so what do I know?

Sydney is an avid player of Nerve and a social media butterfly. She's constantly telling Vee to get out of her comfort zone and play the popular game. Vee persistently declines.

After an embarrassing but not too embarrassing encounter with the high school Quarterback, Vee signs up for Nerve to get her pride back.

Her friends can't believe it, Vee is playing Nerve! And she's good at it! She quickly becomes popular in the game and Watchers pair her up with Ian, who we find out is a veteran player.

At a certain point in the evening Vee and Sydney start throwing shade at one another possibly ruining their friendship. And Ian turns out to be more mysterious than we thought! Oh my! What's going to happen next!

Like I said earlier, once the second act starts rolling I found NERVE very entertaining. But the ending didn't work for me at all. At best I give the movie a Netfilx recommendation.


Before I get into potential spoiler territory I just wanna mention something that bugged me about NERVE and other Hollywood movies that deal with computers and hacking. Stop trying so hard to make hacking look cool. I'm ignorant on the subject but I know hacking a computer or the world wide web isn't glamorous. Thankfully you've got a standard to work from now, the television show MR. ROBOT. Watch it, learn from it. It's fake I know but they make hacking look somewhat real. Okay, rant over.

So here where NERVE looses me at the end. Vee gets in way over her head with the game and panics. It turns out that Ian is a slave to the game because he let someone die and told the cops. She tells the cops and immediately she looses the game. She has one last shot, compete in the final dare or her life is ruined forever.

I was still on board at this moment, but soon the movie just fell apart.

What probably would have been better is if a Watcher related to the player that died was getting revenge on Ian, forcing him to play until he dies. Something to that effect. But no, the movie wraps up everything very pseudo-nice and neat.

The movie ends with Vee having a friend who conveniently knows how to hack and shut Nerve down. She then gives a very preachy on-the-nose message about how a game like Nerve is wrong and do Watchers have nothing better else to do!

Saturday, August 6, 2016


My introduction to the Suicide Squad happened during one of my early visits to the local comic book shop. It was 1989 and I was big into Batman because of the Tim Burton film and BATMAN: DEATH IN THE FAMILY. I wanted to start reading the monthly book but Comic Empire (the name of the store) kept selling out of current issues, and back issues were way too expensive.

With the latest issue of BATMAN sold out my dad let me buy a comic book guest staring the Caped Crusader. It was an issue of SUICIDE SQUAD. I remember it being not very memorable but what I took away from the book was that the characters really didn't seem like heroes.

As time went on I understood more what Task Force X was about. The government takes super powered villains and sends them on missions too risky for military and or heroic meta-humans. When I started getting serious about comic book collecting I think DC Comics must have canceled the book? I don't remember it seeing on the rack or in the order catalog? If I had, then I would have definitely read it on a regular basis.

Before the review it's time to talk about the elephant in the room, I'm talking about the DC Cinematic Universe. Oops, the DC Extended Universe. They're late to the party no doubt about that but Warner Bros is on the fast track to fixing that mistake with making Geoff Johns the head of creative in the DCEU. He won't be able to make every fan happy but it's a change that will ultimately be for the best. Only time will tell, but judging from the WONDER WOMAN trailer and what I thought of SUICIDE SQUAD, this fan is happy.

SUICIDE SQUAD is a 2016 film written and directed by David Ayer. It is also the third film in the DC Extended Universe, also known as the DCEU.

The film is about Task Force X, a covert black ops team consisting of super-criminals. Organized by Amanda Waller, the purpose of this “Suicide Squad” is to take out threats that could compromise our nation or worse, the entire world. Too nasty for military and probably too political for the Justice League, that's where Task Force X steps in. Completely off the record, the team saves the day only to be rewarded with reduced prison time or death.

For inspiration, the film uses the “New 52” iteration of Task Force X. I am unfamiliar with this era of DC but without looking it up I believe the team consisted of Harley Quinn, Deadshot, and Boomerang. A quick Wikipedia glance shows other super-criminals on the team but are not in the film.

Here's the DCEU Suicide Squad line-up:

Amanda Waller (Command)

Rick Flag (Team leader)

Katana (Flag's bodyguard)


Harley Quinn



Killer Croc

El Diablo


That's a lot of characters for a film so Deadshot (Will Smith) and Harley Quinn (Margot Robbie) get the most screen time. And I'm not complaining, both actors knocked it out of the park! I'm want that stand alone Harley Quinn movie as soon as possible!

Amanda Waller gets approval from the government to green light Task Force X after a convincing argument that nothing is stopping a meta-human from attacking Capital Hill or the White House.

At the top of her list of Task Force X candidates is the witch Enchantress. Magic is a dangerous thing in the DCEU, Superman even has a tough time against it (in the comics that is). So what a perfect weapon for Waller to have against meta-humans!

Things go wrong and Enchantress goes rouge. So the teams first mission is to stop her magical havoc and bring the witch back. Simple enough, but things don't go as planed when you've got a group of super-criminals being told what to do. And no secret mission is easy when Joker arrives to save his girlfriend.

As a fan of comic books and comic book movies I highly recommend SUICIDE SQUAD. It's not perfect and has a fair share of pacing issues (studio mandated re-shoots), but the film is loads of fun.

Probably my biggest complaint about the movie is that I never got the feeling that Task Force X was a team of super-criminals. Degenerates yes, but not villains. Maybe I would have thought differently if the studio didn't demand that the director go back and give his film a lighter tone.

I find it kinda ironic that we got a “R-rated” BATMAN V SUPERMAN: DAWN OF JUSTICE on home video, but SUICIDE SQUAD according to the director is going to remain PG-13 because there is no alternate cut? Hopefully we'll get a ton of deleted scenes if anything. Come on, why did the Killer Croc and Batman scene get cut?

And that's it as far as complaints go.

Here's a condensed version of what I liked in the film.

Will Smith. I loved every second of him on screen! I geeked out way too much for a 39 year old when Deadshot and a very popular character tussled on camera for a bit.

Margot Robbie as Harley Quinn is a revelation, I can't see anybody else in the role but her. I'm happy for all the fans of the character, this is really your movie and I'm glad you finally got it!

The Joker! Now there is already a division of fans that love or hate Jared Leto's take on the character. I think it is way way too early to pass judgment seeing that we only get a taste of things to come. I thought that Joker was great in the movie. I love that it's a less anarchist and more modern day gangster approach.

The thing that caught my attention the most was Enchantress. The action climax of SUICIDE SQUAD is something we've seen a million times, but the magic element really captured my suspension of disbelief. And it made me wonder if magic is going to play an important role in future DCEU? I'm probably getting my hopes up, but instead of some CGI nonsense I actually saw potential.