Thursday, December 26, 2013

Movie Review: Dust Up (2012)

Dust Up
DUST UP - Poster Image

Written & Directed by Ward Roberts

Jack...Aaron Gaffey
Mo...Devin Barry
Ella...Amber Benson
Buzz...Jeremiah Birkett

DUST UP - the Three Amigos

Former soldier Jack has given up his life of violence in favor of a life of tranquility, meditating in the High Desert, working as an occasional handyman, and chatting idly with his Native American comrade Mo. Jack is a one-eyed Zen master, calm, cool and collected, but the violence he keeps locked beneath the surface is about to bubble to the top.

Jack accidentally finds himself involved with Ella, a pretty young mother and her crank-addicted husband Herman, who is deep in debt to Buzz, the local crime lord. When Herman can't produce the money he owes, Buzz comes a-calling, and the dynamic duo of Jack and Mo are forced to intervene.

DUST UP - (Billy) Jack

To call Jack a modern day Billy Jack might be pushing things a bit, but there are definitely elements of that character to be found here. The Billy Jack franchise was a decidedly serious (albeit sometimes ridiculous) series, whereas Dust Up falls back on toilet humor a few too many times. I'm all for the few comedic elements in the film, but the dick and fart jokes seemed out of place and rather tiresome.

The poster and the premise may seem reminiscent of a sleazy 1970's picture (and indeed the hissing, slashing character of Mr. Lizard could have been written for Michael Berryman), but this is shot with a considerably modern flair with none of the throwback, retrosploitation trappings that you would expect.


It is fabulously scored, well acted and competently shot. The character of Mo is one of my favorite creations in recent memory, making a nice counterpoint to Jack's silent and brooding self. I thoroughly enjoyed this movie--much more than I was anticipating, actually. I just wished that it would have taken itself more seriously at times and not always have gone for the easy chuckle.


Monday, December 16, 2013

Movie Review: Here Comes the Devil (2012)

Here Comes the Devil

Written & Directed by Adrián García Bogliano

Sara...Michele Garcia
Adolfo...Alan Martinez
Felix...Francisco Barreiro
Sol...Laura Caro

While their children Sara and Adolfo go for a hike up a country hill, married couple Felix and Sol stay behind to exorcise their lust in the very romantic setting of a truck-stop parking lot. After the requisite post-orgasm nap, the children still have not returned. The police are brought in, and early the next morning, they are found safe and sound, having spent the night lost in a cave.

Felix and Sol try to return to their normal family life, but the kids are behaving somehow...differently. A visit to a medical doctor and a psychologist suggest that they may have suffered some untoward trauma in that cave, and the parents (if not the police) have one solid suspect. There is much to suggest that whatever happened to them was not the work of man, however, but something much, much worse.


This Spanish-language film is partly steamy, partly surreal, but all suspense. It's a dark journey full of unspeakable things--some blatant, some only suggested--and it will leave your nerves frayed and your teeth aching from being so tightly clenched. The performances are solid all around and the relationships completely believable. The musical cues perfectly suit each moment and serve to heighten the appropriate mood.

It may but be fast-paced enough for everyone, but the patient viewer will find plenty to enjoy here. It's a morbid and fantastic little treat.

Special thanks to Magnet Releasing for the screener!

Not Rated
97 Minutes
Spanish (English subtitles)

"We are the devil, and we've come for you."

Friday, December 13, 2013

The Crypt...IS HERE!

The much-anticipated Eli Roth-approved iPhone app THE CRYPT is finally available!  Want to get in on the action?  Just head on over to the ios app store and search for The Crypt.  Just look for the happy little fellow above--it should be the first result to pop up.  So what is The Crypt?

"The Crypt is your central mobile hub for horror news, video, images, articles and more - created by industry professionals and fans alike."

Meaning, that aside from the assemblage of staff writers (including yours truly, I am proud to say), all of the readers can become writers as well, submitting content at the click of a button.  So what are you waiting for?  Get up on it!


Friday, December 6, 2013

Movie Review: S#X Acts (2012)

S#x Acts
S#X ACTS - Cover Image

Written by Rona Segal
Directed by Jonathan Gurfinkel

Gili...Sivan Levy

When Larry Clark's Kids hit theaters in 1995, it was met with boundless controversy because of its graphic depictions of teenage sexuality, drug use and violence. That is to say, Kids was controversial because of its graphic depictions of reality. But that was (unbelievably) 18 years ago. This year, Larry Clark's movie is old enough to vote, old enough to buy cigarettes, old enough to star in pornography. Hell, Kids is finally old enough to go watch itself in the theater.

An awful lot can change in 18 years, everything from technology to social mores, so someone was bound to film the next generation of youth spiraling out of control. I suppose I just wasn't expecting it to come out of Israel. Not that it matters. With social media and mass communication, culture has been globalized to the extent that the kids are recognizable, the fashions are recognizable, and the music is recognizable--even if you can't understand the lyrics.

S#X ACTS - Pretty Gili

Beautiful high schooler Gili has recently transferred schools, hoping to improve her social standing in new surroundings. She befriends popular boys Tomar and Omri, and a little teenage lust quickly devolves into something darker. With every encounter becoming more and more sexual, it's not long before she's being passed around like a communal cigarette.

Not long ago, a teenage girl could sleep around and have only rumors to contend with. These days, everybody has a smartphone, and proof of these sexual encounters is only a sly slide of the finger away. The attention that one receives for indiscretions easily becomes negative attention, and although Gili seems like she wants to escape from this vicious circle, it doesn't appear as if she knows how. And because of this, she doesn't even try, relegating herself to being used and abused by a pack of would-be Frat Brats who have never been denied anything. It's infuriating and heartbreaking to watch innocence shattered in pursuit of a happiness that will never come.

S#X ACTS - The Threesome

Detractors of this film will say that it is rather plotless, and there is some truth to that. It floats along from day-to-day, offering up slice-of-life glimpses of Gili's exploitation, and then it ends rather abruptly.  You won't walk away from this movie feeling entertained...but you also won't walk away from it before the closing credits begin to roll.  You'll find yourself too entrenched in the despair to look away.  Don't think of S#X Acts as entertainment, don't even think of it as a movie.  Think of it as fictional reality, one that the majority of parents simply don't won't to acknowledge.

This movie should be just as controversial as Kids, however I'm willing to wager that it will come and go without nearly the amount of uproar.  This could be a sign of the changing societal mores previously mentioned, but more than likely there's another explanation.  It is a foreign film, and it is subtitled, and that brings with it a stigma that stings both ways: a large portion of the movie-going public will not sit down to watch a movie that requires reading; and those that do watch it will tend to think of it as an art film--never mind the fact that if all of the same actors spoke English, they would consider it exploitation.  In a case such as this, controversy works as publicity, and so I fear that not nearly as many people will see this movie as they should.

This isn't the type of film that I normally review here, but sometimes you have to expand your boundaries to see a bit more of the world around you.  Recommended.

S#X Acts is available on VOD, and is playing in select theaters.

Special thanks to Tribeca Film for the screener!


Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Movie Review: Snapped (2005)

SNAPPED - DVD Cover Image

Written by Steve Abbott
Directed by Jeff Prosserman & Julan Van Nil

Amy...Tiffany Amber Knight
Rose...Nataloe Van Rensberg
Trevor...Michael Bien

When does a crime scene photograph become art? According to Snapped, when it’s placed on a gallery wall instead of an evidence locker.

Amy McCanic is commissioned by a morbid museum curator to photograph the recently murdered. Sensing that this could be a turning point in her life, she leaves her junkie painter boyfriend Trevor and shacks up in a boarding house with her rather slutty best friend Rose. Reflecting on her relationship, she’s overcome with rage and inspiration. To earn her paycheck--and I mean really earn it--she takes it upon herself to supply the corpses she photographs. Sleazy landlords, paranoid winos, ape-like lady loansharks. Nobody’s safe from the slaughtering shutterbug. But when her boyfriend kicks the habit and concentrates on his painting again, a bitter rivalry springs up.

Or something like that.

The acting is mostly mediocre, except for the museum curator whose overblown grandiosity makes the others seem talented. The ladies are both delicious and jiggly, however it’s going to take a whole lot more than giggles and jiggles to save this film from itself. The concept is so ludicrous after a while that to try to sum it up could only make it appear more plausible, and the “twist” ending didn’t help matters along at all. In the end, it’s just another head-scratcher amateur outing that belongs in the throwaway bin.

Rated R
84 Minutes
United States



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