Archive for the ‘Featured’ Category

IT CHAPTER 2 wears out its welcome

Posted by Greg Butler On October - 31 - 2019

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Whatever the flaws the first IT movie made, it is amplified again by director Andy Muscutti inability to improve Stephen king’s second half of the novel. The main characters are grownup in the form of James McAvoy, Jessica Chastain, and Bill Hader. All the adults return after twenty-seven years to again confront the evil Pennywise, reawaken once more to terrorize kids in Derry. The actors are serviceable in their roles with Bader being the stand out as a comedian who hides a bitter secret from his childhood.

The storyline is no different than the first, only bigger, louder and annoyingly longer in its running time. Muscutti must have thought he was doing his own horror version of Endgame. Whereas at least with that behemoth there were some poignant moments that were earned after so many years. Here the past and present are piled on top of each other, flip-flopping between the entire cast having nightmarish visions, with that much abundance it drags toward the three-hour mark as if this warrants a clunky showdown that was done slightly better in chapter 1.

Bill Skargards as the antagonist Pennywise keeps the film on track as well as Hader whenever they’re on screen but their absences call attention to the structure that sinks it whenever their not. Mention should be made of the very noticeable CGI in making the kids young as they were in the original, The overused jump scares scattered about or the odd scene in the restaurant where the adult characters are smashing chairs over tables fending off Phantasmal images, with barely a reaction from the hostess/ patrons on the vandalizing carnage.

The beginning of the film starts promisingly enough, a horrendous hate attack shows the indifferent decline of empathy in Derry as Pennywise’s evil expands emotionally beyond and just not simply gobbling little children. Had the film dealt a bit more with the town, it would have given a little much-needed gravitas to the situation instead of cheap scares.

Admittedly the first IT wasn’t that impressive, but the kids dealing with their adolescent problems and Pennywise at least afforded some emotional connections. Here IT 2 is just a pretend horror epic with no substance.


I give it a quick domestic beer with very little taste.


Top Ten Halloween movies to binge (at least for that night.) Vol.5

Posted by Greg Butler On October - 31 - 2019

It’s that time of year again, so as you remove the razor blades from the apples and wonder why certain candies taste funny, check these flicks out.

BLACULA  ( 1972)

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Despite the black exploitation nature, it really isn’t a bad vampire picture with William Marshall giving a very commanding performance, A Nubian prince is bitten by Dracula himself,  reawakens to the present day to seek out his lost love now reincarnated again.

Nightlife will never be the same.



What keeps you alive  (2018)

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Two women in love realize they’re really not cut out for each other. See what I did there?



Wishmaster  (1997)

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This movie doesn’t get enough recognition. An evil djinn grants your most desirous of wishes, with the results of getting more than you bargained for. Plenty of cameos of horror icons like Robert England and Tony Todd passing through to give it a bit of class. There is a good deal of humor but the horror is played straight.



Crawl  (2019)

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In the tradition of JAWS, comes this triple down feature with Crocodiles munching their way through a river soaked town. Mangia everybody.



The Void  (2016)

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Possibly the most Lovecraftian story that Lovecraft didn’t write.  This throwback gives a nod toward old school practical effects and delivers in spades. Throw in killer cults, failed experiments and a doorway to wherever and you got a party going on. Sit tight, the gore is going to hit the fan.



Beyond the Door  (1974)

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Not remotely in the same class as The Exorcist,  but in an odd way it certainly sits at the back of the room. A young mother pregnant with her third child behaves erratically, which may be due to the unborn child being the antichrist. Expect the usual tropes that were already cliche even at that time. Still there’s a few creepiness to be mined here.



The girl with all the Gifts  (2016)

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Zombie films are such a tired genre, but along comes Train to Busan to give us a new perspective.  The Girl with all the gifts offers up another unique approach. The world is already ravaged by hordes of infected zombies because of a fungal disease, but hope lies with an intelligent but curious little girl imprisoned by a military/ science facility. Suffering from the same affliction, and being a hybrid may hold the key in finding a cure, only things don’t go as planned in this dystopian landscape.



The Body Snatchers (1945)

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Why get your hands all dirty digging up cadavers when they’re are live victims about. Mood period piece courtesy of Robert Wise and Val Newton. They don’t come better than this.




Overlord  (2018)

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What’s a world war 2 movies without a few nazi soldiers and inhuman creatures trying to obliterate our American GIs, Hey…would I be mistaken if somehow this seems like an adaptation of the video game Wolfenstein…no;  Nevermind.




Zodiac  (2007)

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If you’re ever wondering what inspired  Netflix’s  Manhunter series, look no further than David Fincher’s crime thriller, based on a true story on the procedural hunt for the real-life serial killer Zodiac. Not technically a horror film but the eeriness may have you looking over your shoulder now and then.


Top ten Halloween movies to binge (at least for that night ) vol.4

Posted by Greg Butler On October - 21 - 2018

A Cure for Wellness (2016)

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Possibly the most misunderstood  horror flick, dismissed by mainstream critics as being cold and uninteresting is quite the opposite, this picture is retro throwback to the Universal and Hammer films of old. Visually beautiful in every shot, it can actually be framed it into a picturesque novel. A management firm sends a very unscrupulous analyst to a wellness spa in the Swiss alps to retrieve a CEO representative responsible for the mishandling of company funds. What he finds there are rich residents dyhydrating despite drinking tons water, a young waif seemingly out of place, staff behaving strangely, aquatic eels showing up where they shouldn’t and a doctor straight out of a mad scientist handbook.  Planet fitness this isn’t.



Lake Mungo (2008)

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A faux documentary of a young girl’s suicide and the haunting that may be affecting a family, but there are some twists that prove something more mudane and even that is questionable. Layered in  puzzles, the film is a slow burn that has a scene at one pivotal point had the hairs on my head stand on end. Take note found footage fans, this is how you really do it right.




The leopard Man (1943)

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Like fine wine, this vintage movie just gets better and better. A leopard escapes from a dance act and wreaks havoc on a small town. But certain evidence might say otherwise. Horror aficionados take note of all the tropes that to this day is still used.



A train to Busan (2016)

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Tired of zombies yet?

Don’t give up yet, this gives new life  from the walking dead boredom from that cable show. Estranged father and daughter are traveling on a non stop train filled with infected passengers at one end. Terrific Set up that honestly play no games with heartfelt moments and kinectic thrills.



Annihilation (2018)

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It’s debatable, it leans more to Sci-fi than horror, but there are elements of Cronenbergian influence in parts coupled with a horrid mutated monster that chills  just based on the concept of it. An expedition of military and scientific women take a journey into a isolated spot called the shimmer, an area that transform all organic matter into something else as it slowly expands outward across the land.  A laid back film with a sense of maturity to the subject of what is life



Incident at ghostland (2018)

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I told you that Martyrs was disturbing as fuck, well the director is back to do it again,  so expect a little misogyny and sadistic violence in the process. Brutal rampage is visited on a mother and two daughters that survives a horrific home attack. One of the daughters years later returns to the same house to assist her mother in taking care of a still traumatized sister. But is the emotional scars really dealt with or is there’s a sinister reality ready to emerge that may be even worse. A decent psychological thriller.



The Green Room (2o15)

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The first mistake of a punk rock band to do is play anti nazi songs for a racist skin head crowd, the second is to witness a murder, which could lead to not getting paid but also not getting another gig …….permanently. Patrick Stewart almost steals the scene as a grandfatherly nazi, what more could you ask.




Don’t Breath (2016)

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Three young niave thieves break into one particular house too many. A grizzled blind war vet has a few surprises for them as well as a horrid secret kept in the basement. Villainous Stephen lang lookin’ buff and definitely taking no names, is kicking ass as a would be victim turn vicious predator.



The Autopsy of Jane Doe (2016)

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One of the few titles that lives up to its name. Witchery is afoot as a Father and son mortician duo tries tries to peel back (literally) the body of Jane doe, trying to find clues to who she is and the phantasmal events closing in around them. Straight up horror the way you like it.



Hereditary (2018)

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Few horror films very rarely deal with grief and loss with any real convictions. Toni Collette pulls a Academy award performance as a mother dealing with the unraveling of a family as tragic circumstances leads her down to even darker roads. A slow burner with a nasty nihilistic streak through it.

Beware the clucking sound.





Posted by Greg Butler On September - 16 - 2018



There are at least three requirements I need when it comes to big budget Hollywood horror films, I call it the Poltergiest (1982) test, either scare, creep or thrill me. Some films very rarely do all if any. IT based on Stephen  King’s novel of the same name, falls somewhere between being interesting enough  that I didn’t fidget to much in my seat and wasn’t  bored, fact is for all the money spent on this,  its very light on the scares or rather the ineffectivenes of it.  What works are the performances from the young stars  but the two that impressed me the most were ( Jeremy Ray Taylor ) as the bullied fat kid and (Sophia lillis) the lone female of this little band of outcasts, privately struggling with her own sexual maturity and the problems that comes with it. she is the shining star out of the group and probably the best jailbait ever on screen for teen boys since Ally Sheedy from Wargames.

The overall premise  is meshed with a coming of age tropes mixed with childhood fears.  A sewer dwelling entity called Pennywise ( played with obvious menace 101 by Bill Skarsgard ),  using various visages of a circus clown and other nightmarish images to terrorize the youngsters of Derry Maine, consuming their life and fears for immortality every 27 years. Director (Andy Muschietti ) telegraph the spectoral situations with a pedestrian eye suited more for a Halloween parade in daylight. As sadly suspected  loud clanging music and a generic jump scare style follow,  making no lasting impression.  The movie is listless, lacking a grounded urgency to give any gravitas to the events thát we the audience should be invested in. Despite all this the film still holds our interest when the kids are on screen dealing with earthly problems like social acceptability or personal  difficulties. It is the Stand by Me moments that actually work best.

Unfortunately when the supernatural starts getting in gear, the film falters, missing some really needed complexities to flesh out the town’s history and a few minor character aside, but at least IT has a reasonable running time.

Bring on part 2.

I give it a decent Pabst blue ribbon, but a chaser is neêded.


Top Halloween films to binge on (at least for that night) vol .3

Posted by Greg Butler On October - 25 - 2017

You’ve read the last blog so the ratings remain the same.  so a quick reminder to categorized the tone of each film.





now get those sickening sweets you collected from strangers and chow down and shiver with these chillers.

Horror Hotel 1961

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Probably the last place you want to vacation at, what with the constant fog and  murderous witches and all.




A tale of two sisters 2003

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The tragic complexities between  sisters and present family gives full range to ghostly events.



Prince of darkness  1987

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Lovecraftian in tone as evil entities lay out the red carpet in the form of possessed human bodies, a demon -god never had it so good under John Carpenter’s directorial style.



Island of lost souls  1932

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There’s been other updated remakes of HG Wells mad science gone wrong,  but this original got the frightening macabre tones just right. {see full review}



Horror of Dracula 1958

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Who knew someone could make a lively version of Stoker’s novel, Christopher lee makes the count to cool for school while Peter Cushing is a kick ass Van Helsing.



Homicidal  1961

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Tarantino  said this was better than Pyscho, ( spoiler alert?) a matter of opinion of course,  still a fine William Castle romp in shlock horror.



Audition 1999

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Dating is hard enough and made even more so when lying that your a casting agent. Results of mutilations have a way of  dampening a romantic evening.



The Wolfman 1941

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The great grand daddy of them all, this is where all werewolf  tropes originated from, which half a century later  is still used by  movies and writers today, not bad for bullshit pulled out of the screenwriter’s ass . Make note that Lon Chaney jr’s performance as the doomed protagonist is very strong.



The Babadook 2014

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A distressed  mother and her shrilly voiced young son is set upon by a frightful storyboard character come to life. Should have stuck with D.R. Suess. Possibly the most criminally underrated horror movie in recent memory.



Splinters 2011

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I’ll admit the camera work could have done less with the earth quake jerk about, but for the moments when we do get a look at the titled monster, its worth it. This is The Blob’s visisting cousin, a parasitical lifeform reanimates in a splintery mass and goes on a mindless rampage . fun for the whole family.



The Midnight Meat Train 2008

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Serial killer give new meaning to the words “dining car” . Probably the most unbelievable part is that the train runs on time.


Happy Halloween.

Stars Wars the force continues and continues…….

Posted by Greg Butler On December - 13 - 2015

If anything George Lucas’s space fantasy have taught us, is that the Star Wars saga is a work in constant motion, never quite completed to be one thing but rather morphing in many different ways, sometime dividing the communities in free fall battles in fan forums, youtube or Imdb commentaries.
The shoving match between the revisionists and the purists, the prequel lovers Vs the sequel romantics. Did Greedo really shoot first, did little Anakin Skywalker build C3PO and when did faith in the force turn into a trekkien science babble?
The idea of childhood dreams being assaulted because of some questionable interpretations always seem to me way over the proverbial top. Backlash of fans and critics have resulted in extreme opinionated articles and videos. Online examples as The Phantom Menace edit, whereas as a not very favorable character Jar Jar Binks is severely omitted, or Redletter Media’s hyperbolic (but hysterically amusing) deconstruction review of said prequels.
Is it reasonable to expect more than what was there, just a mercurial entertainment for the sake of a few escapist hours.  Comedians like Pat Oswalt and other unflattering comments from various Hollywood sources, has held up the original trilogy as the holy trinity. But then if one were to research it carefully the divide between fans really began with Return of the Jedi and those cursed Ewoks. Since then, the irregularities and contradictions of all six films been either ignored, not noticed, accepted or dismissed .

“There a really a lot of haters. BUT this is what art is: you release it and let it be judged. Some people don’t like the originals films. This one everyone is going to like, though by force” Actor John Boyega , Star Wars: the force awakens.Timeout Magazine.

Well Mr Boyega that remains to be seen.

A colleague of mine once qouted from the film The Big Chill, ” Sometimes you have to let art flow over you. ..” perhaps that is why there isn’t common ground among fans, art is subjective, who cares if it doesn’t make sense, or maybe our criteria of entertainment is low, fuck do I know. In the meantime despite my misgivings, I do prefer certain certain chapters more than others, so in celebration of awakens, let me and my fellow writer Sean give a quick rundown on the negatives and positives of a
galaxy far far away……..

The Phantom Menace
(What’s Lucas smokin?)
Midi- what?
Casting too many high powered actors with nothing for them to stand out (sorry Terrance Stamp).
The space station blowing up, undermines the original death star explosions as being trivial.

( What went right )
Double edged light saber and fight sequence.
Darth Maul.
Ian Macdiarmid.

Attack of the clones.
(What’s Lucas smokin’?)
The editing as a whole throws too many ideas without a cohesive direction to digest to what we are seeing.
No chemistry between All the actors, the romance being the worst.
Relied more on the cgi than usual.

(What went right )
Casting Christopher lee as Count Dooku
The fight between Jango Fett and Kenobi, something over due from Return of the Jedi.

Revenge of the Sith
(What’s lucas smokin’)
Knocking off Mr lee much to soon.
forcing the plot such as it is, in disposing the Jedi knights in a ham fisted way just to get to the main characters, again the key word is trivilizing.
The editing of the film is choppy and pacing disorganized.

Star Wars
(What’s lucas smokin’?)                                                                                                                                                                                        
Should have edited out the Biggs part during the original run, was fixed later in the revamped version but still unnecessary.

Repeating the threat expositions twice, the Greedo and Jabba scenes, basic 101 screenwriting mistake.

Greedo shooting first at close range, sorry Lucas you can’t turn Solo into John Wayne decades after the fact.

han shot first


(what went right)                                                                                                                                                                                       

  Screenplay with a Macguffin and character motivations, the best since The Wizard of Oz.

John Williams’s score.

Costumes and design.


The Empire strikes Back

 (What’s Lucas, Kasden and Kershner smokin’?)                                                                                                                                                                          

Not wearing pressure suits during the whale/asteroid scene, or rather the characters not questioning the gravity or air on a floating rock.

Ah Hell, who am I fooling, I luv the flick!


Return of the Jedi

(What’s lucas smokin’?)

Resolving the Luke and Leia relationship by making them siblings, creating a uncomfortable vibe affecting the first two films.

Ewoks; enuff said.

The Untapped potential of bounty hunter Fett/ The impressive imperial guards of the emperor, disappearing off the picture.

(what went right)


Speederbike chase through forrest.

Before the prequels and special editions, first appearance of Jabba the Hutt.

Again;  Ian Macdiarmid.


<b>Star</b> <b>Wars</b>


Phantom Menace


• The stakes are never really felt because no one seems to react like there are any, with the exception of Padme. She’s the only one who acts like she cares.

• If you erased the original trilogy and just had this film, you wouldn’t care for anybody or what is going on. Vice versa, you can erase this film and not lose anything in the original trilogy. Those films gave you a reason to care. Any investment you have in Phantom Menace is not earned by the film itself.

• For being wise, powerful peacekeepers, the Jedi have no qualms with putting a child’s life in danger by bringing him along when they go to fight.


• It expands the mythology of the universe and how some of the societies work with the introduction of the senate and the Jedi council, even if it doesn’t make the story interesting.

• The action is exciting and the light saber fights are very well choreographed.

• Darth Maul was a threatening villain, even though he had little dialogue and no background. He came off as more of a Sith terminator.

Attack of the Clones


• The dialogue is very poorly written (Ex. “Sand”), and the stilted acting makes it so much more apparent, especially since most of the actors are actually really good outside of this series.

• There is only one scene where Obi-Wan and Anakin act like friends—the elevator scene in the beginning, which kind of feels forced (refer to previous con)—and what little time they spend in each other’s company during the rest of the film is spent with Obi-Wan putting up with Anakin’s whiny bullshit. If they are such great friends, the film doesn’t do much to support it.

• How in the name of God does Padme fall for Anakin?! Everything he does screams unstable psychopath, and any sane person would’ve taken off running after listening to him rant about how he killed men, women, and children. With how Anakin’, it would’ve made more sense if Luke and Leia were the spawn of rape than forbidden love.


• The plot of the film is not as isolated at the first one and firmly plants the seeds for what’s to come in the original trilogy by delving into the Republic and the Separatists.

• The action is exciting and the light saber fights are very well choreographed.

• Palpatine’s plan, while convoluted, takes shape here and makes the Emperor all the more sinister because he was able to orchestrate the clones and the civil war from behind the scenes without drawing the attention of the Jedi and getting the Senate to actually back him up.

Revenge of the Sith


• The opening, while a thrilling action piece, is drawn out and serves only to have Anakin execute Count Dooku and build towards his turn to the dark side. This segment takes up a good twenty minutes or so, but the same goal could’ve been achieved with something more focused and less meandering (Ex. R2’s silly action scene), and more time could’ve been spared to developing other points in the story, like the ending or Anakin’s transformation, which leads to:

• Anakin’s turn, though built up over the past two films, still feels too quick and out of character. If he was the same whiny brat from Attack of the Clones, I would have bought it a little more, but in this film, his angst and psychotic tendencies are toned down quite a bit in favor of desperation for his love of Padme, which I still can’t buy into. It was as though his emotional arc was shown in reverse between Ep. 2 and 3.

• The ending is merely a rapid-fire checklist of things to set up the original trilogy and even contradicts future revelations (Leia remembers her mother, though she could also be referring to her mother on Alderaan). Padme dies, the twins are split up, Obi-Wan goes into hiding, and Darth Vader is born and watches the construction of the Death Star; we are shown “what” happens, but we aren’t really shown “why”. We aren’t really given a chance to digest the somber chain of events, and once again, much of the emotional connection relies on the viewer having already seen the original trilogy. It would’ve earned nothing if the prequels existed on their own.


• The opera scene. It is a beautifully shot moment, and while it’s meant to serve Anakin’s transition into the dark side, it works far better in adding a new facet to the Star Wars mythology with the introduction of Darth Plagueis and providing more insight into the soon-to-be Emperor. I wouldn’t mind if this bit of knowledge is brought up again in future Star Wars movies.

• The fall of the Jedi and is a grim, haunting moment. The montage of Order 66 is actually one of the most emotional scenes in the entire Star Wars saga as the light side of the Force get blindsided by Palpatine’s puppet-mastery, and Anakin’s march into the Jedi temple is cold, brutal, and extremely effective without showing the carnage, despite how alarming this shift in Anakin is.

• And to cap it all off, Palpatine uses the guise of safety to lure the Senate into siding with him and creating the Empire. It’s a moment that reflects everything going on in the world today, where the fear of terrorism has led to the people giving up certain freedoms in the name of security. As Padme so eloquently puts it, “So this is how liberty dies: with thunderous applause”.

A New Hope


• Leia seems a little nonplussed after watching her planet blow up.

• And the movie wants you to believe that Obi-Wan deserves more mourning than said planet.

• Wait, so Leia actually did know they were being tracked after they escaped from the Death Star, and they still went to the Rebel base?!


• Harrison Ford. Enough said.

• Despite the grave events that happen in the film (Luke’s aunt and uncle dying, Alderaan blowing up, Obi-Wan dying) the film maintains a rather consistent fun and light tone and never seems to dip in pacing.

• Though the effects are a little dated, they hold up much better after almost four decades than most CGI in films from the past five years. The practical look works in favor of making you believe in this sci-fi universe.

Empire Strikes Back


• The time duration of the film is murky at best. Luke’s training is happening at the same time as Millennium Falcon’s run-and-hide scenario, which means that Luke only trained for a few days, a week or two at best. Far too little time for Luke to make the progress he displays before he takes on Vader.

• C3PO’s bickering got a little annoying after a while.

• Parts with the Millennium Falcon running away dragged a little bit in terms of pacing.


• The Empire Strikes Back earns its title. The stakes are ramped up throughout the course of the film, leading to the powerful crescendo of Luke vs. Darth Vader.

• The story takes the characters into new and even dark places (Luke’s journey into the cave), and while most character arcs in any story have them overcoming their struggles and doubts by the end, here, the main characters don’t end up on top. They suffer for their flaws and desperation and barely make it out alive, showing them and the viewers that this is not just some light-hearted adventure anymore. Shit got real.

• Yoda is equal parts fun and wise and a better mentor than Obi-Wan not just because he was a superior Jedi but because he didn’t have to deliver that much exposition. He got to teach, to guide Luke way more than Obi-Wan ever did, since the latter had to serve as the exposition provider for Episode IV. Yoda does further elaborate on what the Force is, but it’s disguised so wonderfully as pure words of wisdom that you can attribute to real life obstacles.

Return of the Jedi


• Too much time is focused on how the Ewoks live with their savage cuddliness, and the subplot of C3PO being their deity felt like the movie was trying too hard to regain that light playfulness of Episode IV and became just childish.

• Han doesn’t really feel like Han anymore. I know he’s grown from the first movie, but the moment where he suddenly acts jealous of Luke on Endor just felt out of character.

• The ending was very short and seemed to undercut the enormity of defeating the Emperor and the Death Star by having such a limited perspective of the victory. The Special Edition, in one of the very few improvements, actually showed that what the Rebels did really affected the galaxy.


• The stories of Luke and Darth Vader reach a grand and heart-breaking finale.

• The final space dogfight outside of the Death Star is pretty awesome and intense.

• Despite knowing very little about the Emperor (prior to the release of the prequels), he comes off as quite threatening by doing very little. Perhaps it mostly because of how Vader interacts with him. Either way, the film sold that the Emperor was indeed the monster in charge.

TOP Halloween films to watch (at least for that night)

Posted by Greg Butler On October - 30 - 2015

Around this time of year just about every website ad nausea , roll out the their top ten or twenty horror films to  join in the over crowded recommendation pile. So we at Thoughts on Cinema might as well join in. Below are eight carefully selected suggestions to binge all night long. To help in the order to watch them, there is a fear meter under :   Scary fun-frights with a few laughs,   Downright Disturbing- well done but uncomfortable subject matter,   Chiller Suspense -moments of creepiness and mystery and old school classic - refined horror at its best.

If you don’t see the usual suspects like the Exorcist or the Shining, it was left off mainly because their already “go to” favorites everywhere else online, going to try some curve balls here and there. So get ready with your Netflix or illegally favorite torrent site, get that burnt popcorn going  and see what nightmares are really made of.


Diabolique (1955)

Diabolique (1955) Poster

Still of Véra Clouzot and Simone Signoret in Diabolique (1955)

Forget the remake with Sharon Stone, watch the french version instead. An abused wife and neglected mistress murders husband, only to find the body missing later and peculiar occurrences plaguing both women.{ Chiller Suspense}


Phantasm (1979)

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Mausoleums, flying finger monsters, the tall man,  spheres that drill into your head and  killer dwarfs  from another dimensions, What does it all mean, I haven’t a clue but this is the most original horror fantasy at that time and even now. { Scary fun}



Fiend without a face (1958)

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The  usual mishaps of science experiments  gone way wrong.One of the few Sci-fi with a creepy feel to it. The appearances of the creatures once invisible is especially high on the eek meter.{old school classic} 

Martyrs (2008)

Review: Martyrs (UK - BD RB) - DVDActiveChild abuse escalating  into  violent vengeance, which leads to something even worse. One of the few horror films that actually perturbed me. This is not for the squeamish.{ Downright Disturbing }


Carnival of Souls (1962)

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Forget its low budget minimalist leanings, it actually works in its favor. Woman survives a  drag racing accident that kills her friends, but the trauma has left her feeling disconnected to things and seeing strange figures that are not there. The atmosphere of unease permeates from scene to scene. { old school classic .}


The Descent (2005)

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How dangerous could cave expedition be, our women explorers are about to find out, Oh yeah there is something down there alright. { Scary fun}


Noroi: The Curse (2005)

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A found footage that actually has a story to it, this Japanese import deals with a paranormal documentarian investigating a case which in terms leads to his disappearance. The events are put together by the film evidence left behind.  After  awhile the unraveling tale creates a thick sense of dread to it. {Chiller Suspense }

From Beyond (1986)

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Based  0n H.P. lovecraft ‘s short story.   A machine called a Resonator is made to stimulate the human pineal gland, giving the person to perceive and enter another dimension where all sorts of big and small critters lurk. When the apparatus goes out of control…. well you can see for yourself. { Scary fun}

Happy Halloween folks!!





Body Double (1984)

Posted by Greg Butler On July - 26 - 2015




Subtle wouldn’t be Brian Depalma’s favorite word as he rummage through Hitchcock’s drawers for this mish-mosh update of Rear Window and Vertigo. Jake Scully (Craig Wasson) suffers from claustrophobia, fear of enclosed or crowded places. A bit actor working in a low budget vampire, looks for a place to crash, a chance meeting with another fellow actor Sam (Gregg Henry) offers him to house sit while away. Using a home telescope, he sets his peepers on negligee wearing female dancing provocatively in a neighboring window, cue the the Pino Donaggio erotic score just in case if you weren’t ĺawake. Voyeurism soon turns into pantomime drama via an open window, uncovering domestic abuse, menacing stalkers and finally her murder. Guilt ridden over the tragic event, he later stumbles across a porn commercial showing a video of actress Holly Body (an air- headed Melanie Griffith channeling Judy Holiday) using the same exact dance movements. Convinced the crime was a set up and the woman involved,  Jake enters ( double entendres are abound in writing this.) the adult entertainment as a performer, engaging in record time a role opposite the woman in question and a cameo in a Frankie goes to Hollywood Video. This is simple abc’s for this type of genre, but the camp moments are way over the top. It loses cohesiveness because its laughing at its own indulgence. Conventional cliches are being send up for sure but if the director couldn’t take it seriously why should we. However there is a thrilling scene with a street drill, realigning the balance of dark humor and violence. Unfortunately its the one decent aspect. The most awkward sequence that mars the film further is the climatic ending; interrupted by a flashback that disrupts the narrative. Uninspired; the movie plods along to a flat ending, on screen The whole thing feels lazy, maybe midway through the picture Depalma said fuck it……literally.

Somewhat a very disappointing  sex on the beach drink.


I don’t think we’re in Kansas Anymore: New York Comic Con 2013

Posted by Greg Butler On September - 30 - 2014

20131010_161435Halloween comes  twice a year in New York, so if you wander upon a horde fantastical creatures and maidens, strolling down the avenue, take notice that comic con has arrived. A four day event filled with memorabilia vendors,  nerd dating services, video movie hawkers and cos play shows. There is so much shit to keep every nerd fetishes entertain for days, and unless your focused on a particular subject, the entire experience can be overwhelming, even frustrating as you try to navigate between shows and seminars. Best to download the comic con app and plan accordingly before you go.


Some snippets of NYCC


Animal planet: Finding Bigfoot


A reality show that really has nothing to do with reality, but certainly has a hard core following, at least with audience I was with. The panel talked a bit with the fans after the presentation.  Ranae Holland with a manly handshake is the resident skeptic, although she seems to be pseudo critical, as if it’s just a performance act for the masses. On the other hand Cliff Barack man seem generally enthusiastic about the subject even has a calling card he gave out. I asked about  about the onslaught of bigfoot videos on Youtube, and if it hampers any serious research about it,  Barack hasn’t an issue with it, the plus side that it keeps the subject going in the public eye.








Breaking into Comics right now:


For those that dream about it, the title alone said it all.  Some quick notes, research company, eight page write up with drawings. Avatar comic might be something to look into. Web comics are another option. All in all, just hook up with some like minded individual,  pull talents together. One novice artist was looking for a writing partner and more than a few (including myself) volunteered. who said networking doesn’t work.


NYCC Thursday night kick off:

Everyone was on their game except Janeane Garofalo, she seems to wander in without an act.


Meanwhile at the fortress of Solitude……….20131011_200942


Star wars rebels: the might of the empire:


Full house on this panel, but what did you expect when it comes to this particular series, a quick design glimpse for ravenous fans.



CBLDF: The Secret origins of Comic Censorship!

A little history taught by scholar Carol Tilley…….20131012_162138_2



True blood with Kristin Bakers and Lauren Bowles:

Still wonder why the show was on this long, although the actresses were engaging.




Your opinion sucks! Rotten Tomatoes Critics Vs Fan:

Possibly the biggest disappointment, less of a in depth discussion about the value on film criticisms and its relevance today. Instead  the panel dialed it down to what sucks or didn’t suck. Did speak with Owen Gleibman  of Entertainment Weekly about the saturation of Internet critics on line, he felt it wasn’t a problem to his position,  and counted himself lucky to make a successful career of it.


Get set for NYCC 2014, seeya there.




Posted by Greg Butler On July - 16 - 2013

Bond is back … not that he really left.


Director Sam Mendes is up at bat in this 23nd go round with Britain’s greatest spy James Bond. This time the theme of betrayal and abandonment permeates in the background. Mendes have visited the subject before in Road to Perdition. In that movie a mob father’s doubtful faith in his son makes a crucial decision with disastrous results, (interestingly enough starring Danial Craig).  In Skyfall the Bureau chief M ( a take no prisoner Judi Dench)  also  makes  a sacrificial call that nearly cost Bond his life. Rethinking his priorities about the unit and especially M herself,  James takes a long sabbatical away from the agency.
He’s forced back in operation when a hard-drive disk containing information of secret operatives under cover is stolen, threatening a shut down of the organization and M’s forced retirement. Coming back into the spy game has James a bit rusty in his usual physical skills as well as failing  psychological  sessions  especially childhood memories of  something called Skyfall, leaving  doubts  from intelligence and security head, Gareth Mallory (Ralph Fiennes) , but confidence from M about the ability to handle said mission. The person responsible is Raoul Silva (Javier Bardem) , a rogue agent ( Shades of Goldeneye! ).  Decked out in blond hair and suited white tux and a bit of effeminate style,  probably the most interesting Bond villain in quite awhile. No global megalomaniac like Goldfinger Or Blofield, no; this is somebody hurt physically and emotionally.  The screenplay  pulls a sense of homo-eroticism between Bond and  Silva,  where  he massages  the captured agent’s  injuries in a gentle manner,  Challenging perceptions of  Bond’s masculine sexuality, subtlety planting the possibility  he would fuck for Queen and country regardless of gender.

Throughout the film, questionable decisions by M both past and present propels the plot of the story, in some way these events  are more about M than Bond,  but Mendes  made sure he gives a heaping shitload of baggage for just about everybody involved.

Craig continues to impress as Bond, a steely visage coupled with a not so pretty face, more of a street thug than GQ Pierce Brosnan   was.  No humor retorts for this spy, it recalls the attempt of Timothy Dalton’s take on a serious 007 decades ago.

The cinema photography by Roger Deakins is possibly the most gorgeous looking yet in the whole franchise. In one  sequence Bond fights an adversary, silhouetted behind glass walls with neon lights in the background, the glowing shadows  creates visual beauty to the choreography.  Another  is the lair of the villain, not a opulent palace of wonder, but some  island or scow adrift in the sea, Its decayed and muddling look is a nice contrast to the usual hideouts.

There’s enough eye- winking references to earlier films  of Bond, especially to the Sean Connery era, if anything in a retroactive or quasi alternative universe, this film actually is actually the first official start of the series…and  that is fine by me.


I give this your  4 best Absolute  Martini—shaken; not stirred.




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About Me

Thoughts on Cinema is dedicated to film reviews. An uncompromising opinion on the intellectual, artistic, and entertainment value to the consumer. With rising ticket prices, we dedicate ourselves to present to you content regarding what you should or should not be viewing. -Ronald H. Pollock Founder and Editor in Chief



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