If it's crap ... We'll tell you
CONVICTION (Blu-Ray and DVD)
I'm a sucker for films that provoke my outrage through portraying injustice. Doubly suckered in if it's got a 'spunky underdog who refuses to give up no matter what the cost' element. Welcome to my love for 2010's "Conviction". Based on a true story, the film follows Hilary Swank as said spunky underdog who, when her brother (Sam Rockwell) is convicted of a murder that he claims innocence of, despite a sizable heap of evidence to the contrary, gets his back in a more thorough fashion than anyone could ever possibly be expected to do. The single mom manages to get her GED, Bachelors, Masters, and her law degree, entirely fueled by the love for her brother and the anger at a system that shuffled him away as a 'non-desirable'. Her friends, her family, sympathetic members of the legal system: a point came that they had ALL given up on her and her brother's case. But you do NOT want to get in the way of Hilary Swank. Haven't we learned that by now? Just a note out there to my sister: I didn't do it. No matter what that hooker says. Or the evidence. Better start crackin' the books.
--CLICK HERE TO BUY Conviction [Blu-ray]
HATCHET II (Blu-Ray and DVD)
There are many different types of horror films and pleasures to be gained from them. You've got the films honestly trying to be frightening like "The Exorcist". You've got the 'jump scare' teenager body count films like "Halloween" or "Friday the 13th". You've got the slow atmospheric creeper affairs like "The Ring". And then you have the so-gross-whatareyagonnado but laugh films like "Hatchet". The story of a ghost/monster (?) named Victor Crowley (Kane Hodder) who stalks a forbidden swamp in Louisiana, killing any who dare to enter, isn't exactly breaking new ground here. It's the slasher movie formula but played for outrageousness and excessiveness, from the silly dialogue and asinine big personalities that line up to get carved, to the boobs and blood that, say what else you will about the films, the "Hatchet" series does NOT skimp on one bit. I felt like an idiot watching this at home for the first time, because if there were EVER films that called to be seen with a loud, lit, late-night audience, it's these; every spray of viscera...and there won't be any disappointment to gore-hounds there...is met with enthusiastic cheers and applause. Not so much in my living room with just me and my cat who, on the whole, seemed more concerned with the intricacies of his foot at the time. This sequel follows right from where the first film left off, with the one survivor (this time played by new scream queen, Danielle Harris) gathering a team with the help of the duplicitous Reverend Zombie (Tony Todd) to go back to the swamps for revenge. Yeah, that'll work out well. It's more of the same as the first only with a lot more Tony Todd. That can't possibly be a bad thing.
--CLICK HERE TO BUY Hatchet II [Blu-ray]
LET ME IN (Blu-Ray and DVD)
Now that our film geek world has largely finished going through all the expected hand-wringing and paroxysms of indignant anger at Hollywood blaspheming the all-too-recently released Swedish vampire film, "Let the Right One In" by remaking it barely two years later, upon actually watching the Matt Reeves helmed version, it seems like it was all a lot of silly fuss. Let's face it: sad as it is to admit, subtitled films just don't make a lot of money in America. It should come as no surprise to anyone that a sizable portion of the huddled masses will go well out of their way to not have to actually read anything. Thus, the preponderance of quickie remakes as opposed to classy and wide theatrical re-releases. But can we really be that surprised that the director of "Cloverfield" actually did a pretty good job here? The story follows a young nerdy lad named Owen (new super-creepy looking kid on the block, Kodi Smit-McPhee) who spends most of his time alone. Enter a new neighbor in his apartment building, the curious and suspiciously bare foot Abby (Chloë Moretz) who appears to be a peer to Owen, but not much time is wasted in revealing to the audience that she's something much more...a vampire. Naturally, an exploration of the tragedy of immortality in a young, pre-pubescent frame is called for, but "Let Me In" never indulges in angsty melodrama about it, merely establishes it as a reason why the immortal Abby might share a loneliness that would draw her to Owen for friendship as opposed to cuisine. Of course, she's still gotta eat and that's what her guardian/protector is there for, the obedient yet disturbed by her new friendship, Thomas (Richard Jenkins), who slaughters local townspeople and brings their collected blood back to the diminutive vamp. "Let Me In" differs from its source not in leaps and bounds but in subtle differences. Reeves has a few tricks to play, including an impressive first-person car accident scene, but attempts to make Abby seem more super-human using CG seem under-rendered and artificial. I'd still recommend "Let the Right One In" as the superior of the two films, but I can't imagine getting mad at someone for only having seen the American version either. On the whole, while unnecessary, still not too shabby.
--CLICK HERE TO BUY Let Me In [Blu-ray]