Author Archive

Sunday, May 24th, 2015 | Author: Casey Criswell

This week Casey and Colleen lower the budget a bit to take on 2005′s “The Wickeds”! It stars Ron Jeremy, so how bad can it be?

You’ll have to listen to find out!

Tuesday, May 12th, 2015 | Author: Casey Criswell

Now, I know I ran my mouth a lot on last week’s episode about Colleen’s choice of “House of Last Things” so…I guess I have to man up and admit that this week? All my fault. We’re discussing the 2015 release of “Muck” written and directed by Steve Wolsh and it’s something else.

So sit back, grab your earbuds and tune in for a brand new episode!

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Monday, May 11th, 2015 | Author: Casey Criswell

I talk to a lot of people about a lot of shows and movies on a daily basis. I’m always interested to hear about things I haven’t seen and might enjoy! It’s how you discover new and entertaining things! The problem is…I watch so much stuff for various podcasts, articles and my own ambitions that sometimes, it takes me awhile to get around to something that’s been recommended.

It’s nothing personal. I can be simultaneously scatter brained and laser focused on nonsense things. What can I say, it’s a gift.

Such is the case with Paul Feig’s Other Space. It’s a new original sci fi comedy from Yahoo Screen. Yes, that Yahoo. Stop laughing, I’m trying to tell you something here. I’m generally down with just about anything sci fi and if it’s a comedy, even better. Galaxy Quest never ceases to entertain me, regardless of how many times I watch it. As I began to come across various articles singing the praises of this new show from a rather untested marketplace, I started to think it was worth checking out.

But i didn’t. Because…you know.

more…

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Saturday, May 09th, 2015 | Author: Casey Criswell

So, let’s recap where we were on the last episode. I’m old, getting older. A lot has changed in the world of fandom between the pre and post internet ages. Our circles of like minded friends have grown considerably and the art of word of mouth has gone from in depth discussions in somebody’s basement before, during and between movies to shouting on message boards while you’re taking your morning constitutional.

It’s a big big world out there, and now the entire thing is at our fingertips. Including the very movies we love to watch.

My experience in geeking out on horror movies started out much like many many other people. I didn’t have cable growing up; it didn’t come far enough down the road. We had three major network channels and two PBS channels. That was about it. Thankfully, VCR’s hit popularity fairly early on in my youth, so I was saved by that.

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Thursday, May 07th, 2015 | Author: Casey Criswell

I’m totally aware that I spend a lot of time on various podcasts and such whining about how I’m getting old. Truth is, I don’t really care about getting old. I also don’t actually think I’m ‘Old’. It’s just a fun thing to get worked up over. However, as I do grow older, I’ve come to notice some significant changes in the world of ‘fandom’ or ‘geekdom’, or which ever label you’d like to slap on those of us who get into…well, anything…a bit more than others.

As my body has aged since I first started losing myself in the world of movies in the early 80′s, so too has technology aged significantly over the same number of years. One could say that technology has aged a bit more gracefully than myself, but…let’s look beyond that. Where somewhere in the vicinity of 1980 I watched films such as Stars Wars and The Black Hole hundreds of times because that was the only VHS tapes that were on hand, now days I find myself often times crippled by sheer choice. Where once catching a rare film was a unique event in the development of one’s personal pop culture, these days said rare films can be found in a matter of minutes.

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Wednesday, May 06th, 2015 | Author: Casey Criswell

I know, I know, we’ve always been told to never judge a book by its cover. But, I can’t help myself. Sometimes, I make judgments based solely on a cover. This is a holdover of my youth, the heyday of the VHS rental store where I’d stand and study box art by the hour, if my parents would let me.

In the modern age, Netflix Instant Watch has come pretty close to replacing that nostalgic tradition of when I stood in the shadows of the horror section trying to make up my mind what I was going to watch next. The service is packed with titles. It’s filled with colorful cover art and broken into handy categories, sub categories and more. Let’s face it; we’ve all had those evenings where we planned to sit and watch something and spent the next forty five minutes just scrolling through the service to see what’s out there. The only thing missing is bad lighting and the smell of musty cardboard and stale popcorn.

That’s all a long winded way to say, sometimes when I sit down and start flipping through Netflix, I feel like a kid again. Eager to watch something new, something I may not have considered watching before. This typically leads to being mesmerized by all the pretty cover art. Which sometimes leads me to making the decision on what I’m going to watch, based solely on the cover art. Which is how I found myself sitting down and watching Preservation.

Released in early 2015, Preservation is a try to be smart thriller mixed with a healthy dose of revenge flick. Written and directed by Christopher Denham, the film has great aspirations in its story telling, but sadly feels a bit like two distinct stories mixed together. The challenging part is that both of these halves feel distinctly different in quality and storytelling. With the fact that the solid and more engaging part of the story fills the second half of the film, we are left with a bit of a chore in the first half of the film.

Sean, recently ousted from the military, is heading off for a hunting trip with his brother Mike and his new wife Wit. The setup is easy enough; the boys used to come to these woods as kids. Mike had originally planned on making the trip with Wit, but soon Sean shows up out of the blue and essentially invites himself along.

The first half of our film focuses on these three characters and their forced awkwardness, which leads to our first hurdle to get past. While none of the performances are particularly bad, neither are they overly convincing in their plight. There’s a secret Wit is keeping from Mike. There is Sean’s mysterious exit from the military. There is the forced awkwardness between these three as Sean meets his new sister in law for the first time and more. None of these traits come across in a fashion that leads the viewer to becoming emotionally invested in their tension. Instead, we’re left on the side lines waiting for these to finish having these uncomfortable little moments.

Thankfully, this problematic pace only lasts for the first thirty minutes or so of the show as soon, the trio wakes up and finds out somebody has been in their camp and stolen their gear. This is when we are introduced to the faceless antagonist trio that simultaneously ups the tempo of the film, but also brings the strong female character of Wit to the surface. People are hunted, revenge is sought and ultimately, the rest of the film plays out like your standard Strangers clone, in the woods.

The movie packs a surprising amount of violence for the initial setup. While it isn’t overly graphic, there will be scenes that leave you cringing from time to time. The biggest surprise though, is that after being forced to try and connect emotionally with these characters, we have a hard time continuing to be invested as the carnage starts. It’s Wit’s turn from a character you’re mostly overlooking, to one filled with conviction and one you can begin to empathize with that makes the second half of the film such a treat.

In the end, Preservation isn’t going to win any awards for originality. It’s not going to win any awards for mind blowing story telling. It will treat you to a fairly entertaining way to blow an hour and a half on a slow night though, which makes it a worthy add to your Netflix queue.

Plus, that cover is pretty great.

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Monday, May 04th, 2015 | Author: Casey Criswell

So, here we are on May the 4th, Star Wars day for those that are officially inclined. Star Wars played an important role in my growing up to be a big fan of science fiction and fantasy, movies, comics and more. It took hold of me at a young age and never really did let up.

Since it’s a special day, I figured it might be a good day to let some info slip on a top secret writing project that I’ve been working on over the last year or so. It’s important to me, not sure if it will be important to you readers, but you never know until you try, right? I won’t be releasing any specific details of this project here today, but take my word for it…some time later this year, or early next, you may be reading yourself a little book by the title of “My Life as a Teenage Geek, or How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Cinema Fromage” and finding out what leads a middle aged man to right and talk passionately about his favorite geeky films.

Here today, is chapter two of my soon to be book. (Memoir? Autobiography? I don’t know, that all sounds a little heady.) It explains what Star Wars means to me, so I hope you enjoy! Even if you don’t, May the 4th be With You!


In 1977, I had just turned 3. I remember nothing of this time of course, but I’m told my love of film had started roughly around this time. That year, a movie that would set in motion my love of science fiction, storytelling and genre fiction was thrust upon the public. George Lucas released Star Wars and the nerd populace was forever changed.

What does this have to do with a the story of a horror blogger and podcaster, one who wasn’t old enough to remember a cohesive memory of the time? I’m told I was there. I’m told I was there on opening night, waiting in line outside the theater, taken by mother.

While my mother was only tangentially interested in the science fiction opus, she knew at the tender age of three, I would be enthralled by the fantasy world filled with action, aliens and galactic menace. While my parents may not have the same passion for things like movies and books that I have today, Mom knew early on that it was something that would suck me in and take hold.

more…

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Sunday, May 03rd, 2015 | Author: Casey Criswell

Casey and Colleen are back once again, but you better buckle up because this is a rough episode! Our dynamic Duo take on 2013′s “House of Last Things”, and it’s a doozy.

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

Hey guys! We’re still here! I know, I know, it’s been over a month. But, things have been busy in Casa de Fromage! But fear not, because we’re back to discuss everybody’s favorite phobia…Clowns! Also, the 2014 Direct to Video flick, “Clown”!

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Tuesday, March 31st, 2015 | Author: Casey Criswell

A few days ago, the Internet erupted with speculation and reactions to a Hugh Jackman Instagram post in which he displayed his fists with Wolverine’s famous claws sticking out of one hand. The caption for the photo read “WOLVERINE… ONE LAST TIME. HJ,” naturally causing many to assume that the actor would be sheathing his claws, so to speak, and wrapping up his long-held role of X-Men figurehead Wolverine. Indeed, soon after the post went up, numerous sources confirmed this assumption: Hugh Jackman will play Wolverine in a sequel to “The Wolverine” in 2017, and thereafter be done with the role he’s held since 2000.

So what will we make of the longest-tenured Hollywood superhero when all’s said and done? To some extent, that will depend on the finale. Presumably, Wolverine will make at least a small appearance in “X-Men: Apocalypse,” coming in 2016, but the sequel to “The Wolverine” will really be an important last act. That’s particularly true considering the 2013 film received good, but not great reviews. In the meantime, however, a look back at the last 15 years reveals some pretty amazing work by Jackman.

For starters, he actually appeared in every single movie in the extensive X-Men franchise, according to the X-Men Wiki (and confirmed if you bother sifting through IMDB). That may sound obvious, but when you consider that X-Men movies have covered different timelines, entire groups of new characters, and a Wolverine spinoff that seemed to take the character in its own direction, it’s pretty remarkable that he was needed in every movie (even if his appearance in “X-Men: First Class” consists of only two choice words in an amusing cameo). All in all, that’s nine movies thus far, with two more to go, making Hugh Jackman far and away the most exposed superhero of the modern era, despite the popularity of characters like Spider-Man or The Avengers.

In the process, Jackman helped to reinforce Wolverine’s place as the single face of the extensive X-Men family of heroes. And that was never a guarantee. Consider The Avengers, for whom Captain America is (from a comic book perspective) supposed to be the lead protagonist. Well, as it happens, Robert Downey, Jr. is a bigger box office draw than Chris Evans, and the Iron Man movies are more popular than the Captain America ones. The result is that in the film, Iron Man has become the de facto face of The Avengers. The same could have happened with the X-Men, with big names like Patrick Stewart, Ian McKellen, Michael Fassbender, and even Jennifer Lawrence having been attached through the years.

And yet, Wolverine is still the face, and this fact is perhaps most evident in the video games industry. Just as the famous yellow-and-dark blue costuming of Wolverine from the comics (largely abandoned in the modern movies) is an iconic image on early arcade games, Jackman’s likeness has dominated modern X-Men games. “X-Men Origins: Wolverine” was arguably the worst movie in the franchise, and yet its game, featuring Jackman’s voice and likeness, got an aggregated 4/5 score at Metacritic. Meanwhile, the Betfair gaming platform features a number of different X-Men and Wolverine-related games, and Jackman’s image is there right alongside the cartoon version of Wolverine. In games featuring numerous X-Men, which generally take the place of icons on slot machine wheels, Jackman is front-and-center.

There’s also an argument to be made that Hugh Jackman gave us the purest form of a superhero in that he actually pulls off the reluctance associated with it. Generally speaking, popular superheroes are tortured individuals. With the possible exception of Iron Man, they fight evil because no one else can. After all, with great power comes great responsibility. And yet, most of them are also pulled back to it internally. Christian Bale’s Bruce Wayne needs Batman to feel whole. Peter Parker needs Spider-Man to be someone who matters. Bruce Banner hates the Hulk, but the Hulk loves smashing things. Every hero feels the pull… except for Jackman’s Wolverine. This is a character who would genuinely prefer holing up in some bar in Australia getting drunk and being gruff. He rolls his eyes, complains, argues, and basically kicks and screams when he’s dragged into superhero duty. In a way, it makes him the most unique of the bunch.

As for the comparison to Batman—the hero perhaps most like Wolverine in his reluctance to keep fighting the good fight—Jackman, for his part, doesn’t see them on the same level. Quoted by Comicbook.com, he jokingly addressed the idea of a Wolverine vs. Batman film by saying it’d have to be a short, because Batman wouldn’t stand a chance!

All in all, it’s safe to say we’ll miss Jackman’s Wolverine.

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