We are going to be seeing a lot of Luke Evans soon. The actor, who starred with John Cusack in The Raven last year, was recently cast in upcoming remakes of Dracula and The Crow. In the short term, though, Evans can be seen in No One Lives, the latest offering from Midnight Meat Train director Ryuhei Kitamura. It opens on VOD and in 50 theaters nationwide on Friday.
In the credits he is Driver, but in the movie Evans doesn’t have a name. Along with his girlfriend Betty (Laura Ramsey), he is “relocating,” driving through back roads with a small trailer in tow. They are having serious issues with hints of an affair. Betty makes a few references to another woman and he swears that there is no one else for him. Tension is in the air as the couple stops at a cheap motel to rest for the night.
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Kiss of the Damned received a lot of positive notices after it played this year’s South by Southwest. Maybe seeing it with a crowd makes a difference. Or maybe there was something in the air in Austin when it was screened. Either way, this critic feels like they saw an entirely different movie than the one in those favorable reviews.
A vampire tale that is awfully familiar, Kiss of the Damned is like a Skinemax offering with marginally better acting and a slightly bigger budget. If some flesh and sex are all you ask of a vampire movie, you will be plenty satisfied. But it’s not quite ridiculous enough to fall into so-bad-it’s-good territory and for the most part it is excruciatingly dull.
Paolo (Milo Ventimiglia) is a screenwriter camped out in some small town in an effort to get some peace and quiet and focus on his writing. One night he ventures to a local bar for some Scotch and is immediately smitten with Djuna (Josephine de la Baume). Sparks fly and she takes him back to her place, a large house she is watching for a friend. Just when things start to get hot and heavy, Djuna pushes Paolo away. She claims to have a skin condition and says it is too dangerous and he must go.
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If you ever happen to stumble upon a woman in the woods, and it seems like maybe she hasn’t been exposed to civilization in a while, just run. Run as fast as you can and don’t look back until you’re surrounded by buildings and human beings. If she isn’t dangerous, and she probably is, danger is certainly nearby.
Elvis (Erlend Nervold) and Leo (Jon Sigve Skard) work for No Shit Cleaning Service. We meet them as they are cleaning up after a dead body has been discovered. Actually Leo is cleaning and Elvis is puking. It turns out he is only filling in for someone else but it appears that he and Leo know each other.
Leo gets a call about a new job, a very messy one in a rural area. An old man’s remains have been “spread around” by wild animals. Upon entering the man’s home they discover some kind of underground bunker. Among other things, it contains a bath tub and documents showcasing anatomical drawings. An attached room has a bed. Someone has been living down there.
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While it is only one pilot (and only 28 minutes long), having viewed Zombieland, it might be better if Amazon avoids producing its own programming. It is hard to believe that this comes from the movie’s screenwriters, Rhett Reese and Paul Wernick. It is forced and obvious and strains to be funny, and it fails miserably. You might chuckle once or twice, but it isn’t nearly as amusing or fun as the feature version.
The opening sets the stage for what’s to come, in that it takes a joke and doesn’t know when to quit. A couple of obnoxious office workers have a mundane conversation about personal electronic devices and Starbucks. As they ramble on and on, the world goes to hell right behind them. People are attacked by zombies and there is carnage aplenty. They of course fail to notice everything until it is too late. It goes on for way too long and the joke is beaten to death, a problem that resurfaces frequently.
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Crush is definitely the Swim_fan of the current “CW” generation of horrors. It’s a story that’s been seen again and again, whether in big screen adaptations such as The Roommate or made for teevee Lifetime over the top presentations, it’s a pretty worn out plot line. Luckily for Malik Bader and cast, they manage to breathe a little bit of fresh air into the horror trope and present an entertaining teen thriller.
The movie centers around Scott (Lucas Till, X-Men: First Class), an up and coming high school soccer star who is definitely catching the eye of numerous ladies in town. After an accident and surgery, Scott is training himself back up to speed when people around him start getting harassed, injured, and a number of other things that jump the scale of danger in every scene. Jules (Sarah Bolger, The Moth Diaries) is Scott’s best friend who has developed real feelings for him and Bess (Crystal Reed, Teen Wolf) is the new girl in town who has a full blown infatuation with Scott, a potentially dangerous one.
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By now most if not all of us have probably spent a weekend binge-watching a show. Last summer this writer spent a few days devouring 3+ seasons of Breaking Bad after neglecting to watch the show upon its initial release. It can be a lot of fun with the right show, and it sure beats having to wait a week or more for the next new episode. Already providing viewers with plenty of binge-viewing options, Netflix is doing the same with its original programs. Their second series, Hemlock Grove, debuts on Friday, April 19th. All 13 episodes will immediately be available.
The series, executive produced by Eli Roth and based on a novel by Brian McGreevy, is a somewhat awkward hybrid of Twin Peaks and True Blood with a little class warfare mixed in. There’s a murder mystery and a small town that has fallen on hard times full of people with secrets and strange powers. And while it isn’t without interest, having seen the first 3 episodes, Hemlock Grove is too much like an R-rated CW series and not nearly as disturbing or involving as shows like Hannibal and Bates Motel.
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One key element to reviewing movies is to take them for what they are. If you go in thinking that every horror movie is going to be Scream or Trick r’ Treat, you are more than likely going to end up a little disappointed. It’s easy to expect these things when we’re seeing advertisements during every other commercial break or reading about it consistently on our favorite website but when you get something that comes straight to DVD in the middle of April, remember to go in with your expectations within reach.
That being said, The Wicked is an amusing and entertaining teen thriller that is definitely aimed at the younger audience. It’s never truly frightening nor does it tread into the well known territory of topless females and unnecessary sex. We instead get teased with lots of shadows darting around in the peripherals and sexual innuendo but never to the point of frustration.
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This review was originally posted during our Fantastic Fest coverage in September 2012. With the film's U.S. release upon us, it is getting re-posted.
Brandon Cronenberg - son of David Cronenberg - knocks it out of the park with his feature debut, Antiviral, a poignant, subversive tale that, at times, provokes its viewer and stirs something within them as the film serves as a bitter, sometimes infuriating and intelligent reminder that the state of our celebrity-obsessed culture has grown steadily worse and could get a lot more horrifying.
Antiviral is also a deeply fascinating mystery set in an equally fascinating world created by Cronenberg that is reminiscent of his father’s early, angrier works. There’s no ignoring this familiarity when, in one scene, leading man Caleb Landry Jones is seen sprouting cables from the flesh of his wrists and a sporting a bleeding filter where his mouth should be. The nature of the story, itself, carries shades of David's ouevre, still, Brandon makes the film his own...and what a delicious, haunting ride it is.
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