Monday, July 27th, 2015 | Author: Casey Criswell

It’s well known that I base a lot of expectations on a video cover and a plot drop. I know we’re not supposed to, but a good movie cover hints towards a lot of good things to come. In the case of “Crawl”, it’s plot drop hinted of a seedy bar owner, a Croation hitman and hostages and hijinks, all with a “humorous chain of events”. It’s listed as a crime thriller, so naturally, I was curious. As it turns out, “Crawl” is far from anything thrilling.

Pacing in films such as these is crucial, a point in which this movie missed the mark totally. In the case of a movie such as “No Country for Old Man”, a slow pace works well because you’re dealing with a movie that relies heavily on its characters. For “Crawl”, it feels like the director might have gone after some of the key elements that made the former movie more interesting, but failed to give us any characters that were interesting in the slightest.

Really, as I write this, I realize that the pace of “Crawl” wasn’t at all the problem. It’s a movie filled with one dimensional characters that simply aren’t given much to do. Nor are they given any real substance.

First we’re introduced to Marilyn, our damsel in distress. We get a quick blast of back story for Marilyn; we know she’s about to get engaged. We know the lady giving her a ride home from the bar wants her to have a good night for her engagement. Once Marilyn arrives home and the second act begins, she doesn’t have much to work with. All she does is stalk about her house wide eyed, then spends the rest of the film tied to a chair. No reason to connect with her, no reason to sympathize. She’s just kind of there. The same goes for her soon to be fiance. I’d give his name, but I already forgot it. We’re introduced to him through a mere flash back so that and a voice message. We have no insight to the character whatsoever. When the plot of the film over takes him, we barely know who he is. So it’s easy to write him off and forget.

Perhaps the biggest crime for “Crawl”, comes with it’s villains. A solid crime thriller relies heavily on its bad guys and here, they are more of the one dimensional type. Our seedy bar owner is mostly seedy because he snorts a bit of coke and hired this hitman. He also looks like he could use a shower. He also likes to spank the other waitress, for no reason at all. (This scene came completely out of nowhere.) Otherwise, he’s just bland. Our Croation Hitman, the mysterious man that our entire plot hinges upon…is flat out dull. He stalks around silently, everything he does wooden and slow. His face isn’t menacing in the slightest, nor is he imposing. He just seems like an old Croation stomping about and not in a hurry to get anywhere. It really took any of the “thrill” out of the thriller.

It’s a shame, because I think director Paul China puts together a nice looking film. It’s shot very well and has it’s on distinct look and atmosphere. There’s just some serious fault with characters that needs to be addressed.

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Monday, July 27th, 2015 | Author: Casey Criswell

Plague is not a bad movie in the over run world of post apocalyptic viral outbreak movies. It’s not quite a stand out either though. There isn’t much terribly new going on in this Australian zombie flick, but if you enjoy watching how the regular denizens of society change when dealing with such a traumatic event, this movie has some to offer.

Be forewarned, the movie is a bit dry. For a zombie film, there is a wee bit of gore, but it’s far from the focal point. There’s a lot of dealing with survivors interacting with each other, not to mention our main character dealing with some unpleasantness that some times pops up in these types of films.

Possibly the largest fault of Plauge comes in the second half when much of the story falls up on the shoulders of Evie’s husband John. To put it bluntly, the character of John is written to be fairly grating and comes off as highly unlikable as the film rolls on. While you can sympathize with Evie, you can’t sympathize with John it all. Thankfully for us, if you tough out the second act, it all corrects itself in the third with a nice little twist that I didn’t see coming.

Saturday, July 25th, 2015 | Author: Casey Criswell

It’s a new week, time for a new show! This week, Casey and Colleen take on their first anthology flick with 2013′s “The Penny Dreadful Picture Show”!

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Saturday, July 18th, 2015 | Author: Casey Criswell

Hey, we’re a few days late, but fear not! We’re here! This week, we take on fan recommended “A Little bit Zombie” and chat about video stores, the evolution of movie fandom, the movie and more!

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Wednesday, July 08th, 2015 | Author: Casey Criswell

Hey, it’s Colleen’s Birthday today! She’s feeling a ‘little’ under the weather though, so we’re going to keep it a ‘little’ low key as we get into this ‘little’ gem from Charles Band and Full Moon Pictures, “The Creeps”!

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Thursday, July 02nd, 2015 | Author: Casey Criswell

Another month is now behind us and the movie count goes up for 2015!

In case you don’t happen to follow me on Facebook, I’ve become hooked this year on keeping track of my watching habits over on Letterboxd. There is absolutely no point in this effort, other than I have a heavy hankering for making lists! Plus, it’s fun to see the numbers going up.

So, for June, we’re took in a total of 36 movies! Not a bad month! In fact, it’s a record month! I must have been on a role. My lowest month has weighed in at around 17 movies. This brings the total movies watched for the year to 155! Mind you, I don’t have a goal in mind for the year. I just like watching movies. Still, it’s fun to see how the year is stacking up to previous years!

Here’s my favorite watch of the month!

The Big Sleep

Having started a new online course on Film Noir, I’ve dove deep into the genre and found some true gems. Two of those gems are Humphrey Bogart and Lauren Bacall! It’s been a blast getting into these films I knew little or nothing about. “Big Sleep” has some fantastic dialogue in it!

And for the not so favorite, i.e. that one movie I regret watching last month:


I mean…I never expected this to be good. I’m not even that big of a fan of the “Taken” flicks. Sometimes though, I enjoy some stupid satire. This wasn’t one of those times! It’s probably worse than you may think.

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Wednesday, July 01st, 2015 | Author: Casey Criswell

Colleen and Casey take a trip to the middle of nowhere to take in the sites and abandoned cemeteries! Unbeknownst to them, there’s a old evil sorcerer in residence and voices his displeasure as they take in 1986′s Spookies!

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Tuesday, June 30th, 2015 | Author: Casey Criswell

While I can’t say there’s necessarily been a ‘buzz’ brewing over “We Are Still Here”, it’s safe to say that the name has been popping up here and there in various circles. My friend CC over at Bloody Good Horror gave it a 10 out of 10, which is a big deal. CC’s a strong critic, she doesn’t through 10′s out lightly. Needless to say, I was intrigued.

As I began to dig around for more info on the flick, I stumbled across the IMDb Listing. I quickly became more curious. This movie promised a stellar cast! Barbara Crampton is a genre veteran all the way back to “Re-Animator”. She’s a damn fine actress! You’ve probably seen Larry Fessenden in more horror flicks than you realize. He’s a pretty hardworking genre actor. Even Andrew Sensening and Lisa Marie are familiar faces throughout film in general. The listing really leads us to think that “We Are Still Here” might have some potential with a main cast so packed with experience. In fact, the only relatively unknown factor, at least to me, was writer/director Ted Geohegan. While the man has a number of producing credits and writing credits, I myself had never really seen his work, so I wasn’t sure what I was in store for.

What I found was a throw back horror film that packs a tightly woven slow burn that evolves into all out chaos that left me on the edge of my seat and dare I say…scared!

Pacing in movies of this type is often crucial and for “We Are Still Here”, the pacing was nailed. Throughout the movie we move slowly, but always feeling like something is lurking just behind us. Mixed with fleeting glimpses of something actually lurking in the shadows, without showing us a grand payoff of what we’re seeing until much later, we get a stifling atmosphere filled with tension and mystery. Just what has happened to this sad and lonely couple living out here in the middle of nowhere? What is it that that lurks in the basement, fleeting just off screen into the shadows? The film moves just slow enough and entices you with things off to the side so that your imagination runs wild on what could be over there in the dark.

As I mentioned earlier, the cast in “We are Still Here” is fantastic. The standouts being Barbara Crampton and Larry Fessenden. Barbara comes across as frail and disturbed, with a tragic happening in her past that has altered her state of being. We learn more of these happenings over the course of the movie, but she does a wonderful job of conveying just how broken up she is. You can’t help but feel sad for her and empathize from the very beginning, which leads to a heavy duty emotional punch by the end of the film. Larry Fessenden on the other hand, comes across as Larry Fessenden often does; disheveled, quirky and a bit hammy. His character takes a specific turn late in the film though that shows us just what this character actor is capable of, and when he’s running full bore, it’s hard to look away. The other actors in the film do well mind you. All of them have some twists and turns, though some have less of an impact than others. They simply don’t have as big a part of the story.

There are so many aspects to this movie, that lead to making it one of the more enjoyable horror films as of late. It drips atmosphere that will leave you unsettled and has a story that is plausible and makes sense, all while delivering some chills of its own. There aren’t too many twists and turns in the story, it’s fairly straight forward. For this type of film though, they deliver all of the needed back story for everything, doled out over time to keep the hook baited and keep you watching. It’s really well put together.

Then, comes the fun part of “We Are Still Here”. As I said at the top, this film is a slow burner. It takes a lot of time for things to unfold and play out, leading a meandering path to a final climax. When that climax finally comes, “We Are Still Here” erupts into chaos that manages to entertain, frighten and even surprise, all at the same time! There are great makeup effects at work as we are finally treated to full on imagery of what’s been lurking in the shadows. There are blood and guts galore. There’s violence, both surprising and gratuitous! There are many times that slow burner films tend to disappoint with too small of a payoff. Not with “We Are Still Here”. You’ll find yourself both a little giddy, maybe a little grimy by the end of it. You’ll definitely leave feeling fulfilled.

For a true sign of quality horror? I see myself as a bit of a hardened horror fan these days. Perhaps, a bit jaded. I’ve seen a ton of horror movies over the years and not much surprises me. While watching “We Are Still Here”, I had all the lights off in the living room for full effect. When Colleen walked into the living room, I didn’t see her having been too drawn into the movie. When suddenly she snapped on the kitchen light? I jumped about a foot off the couch while screaming, “Oh Shit!” That’s the sure sign of some quality scares!

Wednesday, June 24th, 2015 | Author: Casey Criswell

It’s Wednesday, that means it’s time for an all new Cinema Fromage! This week, Colleen and I sit down with the 2012 Ghostly Cemetary…er…epic? “Hold Your Breath”! It stars a whole bunch of people you don’t know, and that blonde chick from “30 Rock”!

It’s….exciting! Yeah, we’ll go with that!

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Tuesday, June 23rd, 2015 | Author: Casey Criswell

This past weekend was Father’s Day, which was an appropriate day for the 40th anniversary of the Grandfather of Summer Blockbuster films, “Jaws”! Thanks to the fine folks at Fathom Events, I was able to spend my Father’s Day in the theater catching this great white whale of my own on the big screen for the first time!

Let me tell you now…seeing this on the big screen was a treat.

“Jaws” is a bonafied classic, no arguments about it. It’s earned a spot in genre film history and for good reason. So, we won’t go into too many details of the actual film here. We’ve all seen it and heard it! The best part of this viewing for me though, was the experience of seeing the film in the theater.

I wasn’t expecting a big crowd at the showing. After all, it’s a forty year old movie! But owing a lot to it’s classic status, our 7pm showing was packed pretty well. One big thing that added to the viewing was the crowd itself. For such an event, it’s easy to assume to that most of the people going to see the film would be long time fans, which was the case. The crowd was into the showing, laughing at the jokes, reacting well to the shark attacks, and the like. It was an atmosphere that made the outing a lot of fun. Normally I’m the odd one out laughing at uncomfortable moments or cheering on a particularly juicy shark attack. This time around though, I was surrounded by my brethren!

The other plus to this particular outing was that the increased aspect ratio and such of the showing added a lot to the film. I expected to go in and see a movie I’ve seen a lot of times, just for the joy of seeing it again with a crowd. I was a bit surprised by how much of the film felt new and exciting though. There are particular moments in this film that used to make me jump, but I long grew desensitized after many viewings. These jump scenes were all new in the big screen presentation, which was fantastic! (Hull of the fishing boat, I got my eye on you!) Truly, it was a movie going experience that made me fall in love with a movie all over again.

Here’s a few things that translated so well to the big screen:

* Quint’s scene on the boats galley where he recollected his experience on the USS Indianapolis was down right captivating. As he starts into the tale of being thrown into the icy waters as schools of tiger sharks circled him and his ship mates left you hanging on every word as the shot pulled in tight on his worn and weathered face. As he talked of thinking his friend was asleep and finding out that he had been severed in half from the torso down left chills. After this moment, you couldn’t help but understand why Quint was the type of man he was.

* The beach panic had a much greater effect adding tension to the moment. While on home video you can see the chaos that ensues when the shark is first sighted, it pales in comparison seeing it all unfold on the big screen. Here, you can pick out the individual moments of danger as you see young kids trampled, thrown from rafts and more!

* I’m not one that jumps a whole lot at the theater these days. Again, that whole desensitization thing. In the late scene as Brody is working with one of the barrels and the shark comes out of the water just behind him caused me to leap from my seat and bump into my cousin who was setting next to me! Haven’t had a thrill like that in the theater for a long while!

* Roy Schneider is the shit. The guy oozed a rare blend of cool.

* I had forgotten about Quint’s toast to “swimmin’ with bow legged women”. “Here’s to Swimmin’ with Bow Legged Women,” indeed!

* For a film shot in 1975, the cinematography of “Jaws” is truly beautiful and holds up really well. I have to think that this is a quality that is enhanced greatly by the large screen format. The deep blues of the ocean, the whites of the sand beaches and the wide open shots of expansive skies really paint a picture of this small resort island being a bit isolated and on their own dealing with this large predator problem. There are times while Brody, Hooper and Quint are out at sea that truly radiate a sense of isolation. There are moments on the beach scenes that you can feel just how warm it is out there on that July 4th holiday. It’s really something you should see on the big screen at least once!

So there you have it. As you can see, my Father’s Day was pretty great! It had been some time since I last saw “Jaws” but it was such a treat to see it in a whole new way after so long. Should you get the chance to catch the flick on the big screen, I urge you to run to the theater and catch it before it disappears for another 10 years!