Daylight-the Holland tunnel accidentally explodes and a dozen or so folks survive, but are trapped and in dire need of rescue. The lesson: don't go to New Jersey. Thankfully NYC Medical Services Chief Sly Stallone intervenes to save the day (well, some of them die, but still). The funny thing is he keeps doing insane stunts to try to save them, but they're all skeptical because he was previously responsible for someone's death, even though it totally wasn't his fault. Also, three of the crew are convicts who were being transported in a bus, and nobody questions them at all about their crimes.
Cliffhanger-fun actioner from Renny Harlin where this time Sly is depressed, because he let Michael Rooker's girlfriend fall to her death while trying to reach a chopper (a great sequence that was hilariously parodied in "Ace Ventura 2"). However, they must soon team up to take on John Lithgow (with terrible English accent) and his band of mercenaries who tried to steal three briefcases full of cash, but failed epically, and now need help finding the cases in the Rocky Mountains. Lots of people die in fun ways!
The Net-in which Sandra Bullock orders a pizza online in 1995! This thrillhouse sees her as an early internet whiz being pursued by cyberterrorist baddies, as she's got hold of some nefarious security system disk, though she gets some help from Dennis Miller of all people. Soon enough her identity has been stolen, and nobody will believe she is who she says she is. Will she outsmart everyone and expose the giant conspiracy? Yes.
The International-another action thriller with Clive Owen as an Interpol Agent that nobody wants to work with, and Naomi Watts as a DA, and together they want to bring down this evil bank that sells weapons to terrorists or whatever, but the main reason to see this movie is the insane 15-minute shootout at the Guggenheim that totally rules. Maybe just fast forward to that part.
Force of Nature-there's a hurricane in Puerto Rico, in the midst of which miscast Emile Hirsch is a cop trying to evacuate a building where Kate Bosworth needs help getting her ailing father Mel Gibson (the highlight, of course) to leave, but then there's a bunch of incredibly murderous thieves trying to find some expensive artwork to steal that they know is in some old guy's apartment, and lots of firefights ensue. There's a tiger locked up in one of the character's backrooms, if you wanna try and guess how this one ends.
The Silencing-Jamie Lannister actor guy is a hunter who stops people from killing animals in his territory, and he's also hella sad because his daughter's been missing for five years, but then more girls go missing, and then he engages in a fun cat and mouse game with the tracker/killer. Unfortunately there's a very stupid bit in here where the lady sheriff lets the killer go and shoots the good guy (!), because she thinks the camouflaged killer is her idiot brother, but it's definitely not. And even if it was, you can't just kill citizens to cover for him! Worst sheriff ever.
The Circle-seemingly forgotten movie from four years ago with Hermione joining a mysterious, but well-paying social media company who are a bit too invasive and want to know everything about everyone's life, to the point where her entire life is on camera for all to see, and Tom Hanks is the (kinda) evil owner, but then her friend gets driven off a bridge when they all play a game that involves trying to find anyone in the world in minutes, and then she turns the tables on Hanks in silly fashion. This movie has very obvious points to make that would still be worth making in a more creative way.
Sweet Girl-Netflix movie where Aquaman/Dany's rapist from Game of Thrones is a newly single father after his wife dies from cancer after being lied to by some jerk promising a cutting edge treatment that he can't deliver on, and then he calls CNN or whatever when the guy's on tv and threatens to murder him for all the world to hear , and soon there's a conspiracy where he and his daughter are both on the run avoiding death and killing those involved in the medical conspiracy that somehow ties into some lady's political aspirations. This sucks and has a monumentally underwhelming twist too.
Slumber Party Massacre II-really funny sequel where the surviving little sister from the first movie (recast as the annoying chick from "Wings") keeps having flashbacks from the ordeal in nightmare form. She's in a glorious all girl band where they rock out like The Bangles and play funny songs and sneak away to someone's vacant house and have topless pillow fights and all sorts of hijinx (annoyingly the only mega hot one doesn't show her hoots, but I digress). But anyway, the best thing about this movie is the killer who is a rockstar greaser who MURDERS PEOPLE WITH HIS GUITAR THAT HAS A DRILL BUILT INTO IT AND SINGS SONGS WHILE COMMITTING THE MURDERS! This is so bad it's good that I don't even mind the terrible twist this time.
Pacific Heights-Melanie Griffith and Matthew Modine (who both suck in this movie) rent out their apartment (kinda) to Michael Keaton (who is great in this movie), but then he proves to be the worst tenant ever (besides the chick that Tabs lives with), and succeeds in driving everyone else out of the building by doing wacky tenant things, and then Modine eventually gets so mad that he beats Keaton up and gets arrested, but then Griffith turns the tables on Keaton, who's revealed to be some kind of rich trickster who keeps conning people, but he certainly gets his just desserts at the end of this one!
The Tourist-famously made-fun-of-by-Ricky-Gervais movie where Angelina Jolie is an undercover Scotland Yard agent being pursued by both the police and a gang of baddies, because her missing husband stole lots of money and didn't pay taxes or something, and then she gets a message from him, saying to find someone on a train and pretend he's him, and so she finds Johnny Depp, who's a heartbroken math teacher (OR IS HE?) who soon gets dragged into the drama and almost dies a few times. I didn't think this was too terrible, but Depp and Jolie have zero chemistry, and she in particular is badly miscast and keeps looking like she doesn't want to be there, and the whole thing feels really slight and underwhelming.
When a Stranger Calls (2006 remake)-this time the movie only covers the famous opening sequence from the original, so it's that bit stretched out to movie length, and without the dead children too. Camilla Belle, while hotter than Carol Kane, is not unfortunately not quite the actor she is, and it's another PG-13 horror remake, and come to think of it the original idea of "THE CALL IS COMING FROM INSIDE THE HOUSE!!!" gimmick came from "Black Christmas," so the original was a bit of a ripoff itself.
The Haunting in Connecticut 2: Ghosts of Georgia-that's right, the sequel to "The Haunting in Connecticut" takes place in Georgia. Make it make sense! This time a young mom and dad and their daughter (who sees ghosts like every child in horror movies seems to) move into a country estate that they soon learn used to be the site of an underground railroad station, where some slaves got trapped by an evil stationmaster or some such, who keeps haunting them with various spooks, but the daughter and the mom (and the aunt) all have this vision power that keeps giving them nightmares, but with which they can battle the evil spirit. It's both a blessing and a curse, you see.
A Quiet Place Part II-boring sequel where the surviving mom and daughter and always scared son find Cillian Murphy and hide a while with him, but then the daughter learns how to find more survivors, and the movie ends with them figuring out a way to kill the monsters, but that's the same way the first movie ended, so this one felt super unnecessary. I understood the appeal of the original, even if I wasn't as gaga over it as most folks, but anyone who tells you this one is good is lying.
Winter's Bone-grim movie that made a young Jennifer Lawrence a star, as she's out in the Ozarks trying to take care of her young brother and sister while their mom has gone full Syd Barrett thanks to too many drugs, and she's got to locate their father, who was about to turn state's evidence, so the shady, druggy neighbors don't exactly want to help. Not the most enjoyable watch, but gritty, dark and dire enough to recommend.
The Edge-pretty good survival film where Anthony Hopkins is a billionaire married to Elle Macpherson of all people, and they're in Alaska with photographer Alec Baldwin and they go scouting a location with their assistant, but the plane crashes epically, and they have to survive out in the wilderness thanks to Hopkins' ingenuity, but watch out because there's a grizzly bear with a vendetta who totally eats one of them (guess which one). The bear is played by Bart the Bear, who's just amazing as far as animal actors go, but it's a fun movie anyway as it's got Alec Baldwin in it, and you're just waiting for him to be revealed as the bad guy, and the screenplay is written by David Mamet, so they keep saying witty things too.
Malice-speaking of movies where you're waiting for Alec Baldwin to turn evil, this one sees Kidman and Pullman rent out their apartment to his surgeon character, and things start getting really complicated when he removes her ovaries (she's in lots of pain for the first part of the movie) and she sues the hospital for millions, and you know where this is going, but there are just an absurd level of twists in this neo-noir type thriller with Aaron Sorkin involvement. Ebert sums this one up well: "one of the busiest movies I've ever seen, a film jampacked with characters and incidents and blind alleys and red herrings. Offhand, this is the only movie I can recall in which an entire subplot about a serial killer is thrown in simply for atmosphere." Funny enough, that killer is revealed as the jigsaw killer actor from the "Saw" franchise.
John Q-Denzel's son is gonna die if he doesn't get a heart transplant, so he holds up a hospital at gunpoint, and forces surgeon James Woods to operate, all while the media covers the story and makes Denzel into a hero, and Ray Liotta and Robert Duvall are the police chiefs trying and failing to defuse the situation. It's absurd, but Denzel tries his hardest to watch this watchable.
The Vault-this is a really forgettable heist movie (not to be confused with the other heist movie called "The Vault" that features James Franco and the undead) where some thieves court a young genius played by The Good Doctor and wanna steal some Spanish gold in Madrid during The World Cup. That's all I have to say about this.
The Woman in Black-atmospheric and non-gory gothic horror film set in the late 1800s in an English village where Harry Potter is a lawyer with a dead wife and a living son (the two are related) who goes to settle affairs at the mansion of a lady who offed herself (the title character) after her son drowned in a marsh on their property. Soon other children start dying in terrible ways, and it's up to Harry to solve the mystery. This is effective enough if you don't mind lots of jump scares, and it does have a ballsy ending.
The Lords of Salem-Rob Zombie-directed style-over-substance creeper where Sherri Moon Zombie works at a radio station, where they receive this creepy album by a band called The Lords that makes its female listeners start acting a bit wacky, and it's later revealed that the tune has ties to some witch's coven from back in the day, which we keep getting flashbacks to that involve ugly naked ladies being all witchy, and the movie ends insanely at the band's concert where Moon gives birth to a demon or something. This director's never going to have more than one good movie.
Cursed-werewolf movie from Wes Craven that was infamously butchered by the studio, and what we're left with is a terribly disappointing PG-13 horror/comedy blend where Ricci and Eisenberg are bit by a wolf (but don't become werewolves, despite some early teases?), and then the movie is about finding out which of the side characters is the wolf (it's Pacey from "Dawson's Creek") and trying to stop the non-scary murders. This movie has a comedic "lol the bully is actually gay" subplot that would absolutely not fly today.
2 Days in the Valley-I'd always assumed this was another "Pulp Fiction" ripoff, but it's only got in common the fact they're both crime stories with lots of intertwined characters. It's probably more like "Short Cuts." It sometimes focuses on James Spader (very good) and Danny Aiello as hitmen, but Aiello then has a weird subplot where he falls in love with Tess Trueheart from "Dick Tracy", and there's another one with Eric Stoltz as a rookie cop trying to further his career, but he's teamed with Jeff Daniels, who's a bad cop whose career is about to end, and there's other stories too that sometimes work, and sometimes don't, but most of all there's a really hot Charlize Theron. Worth a single watch for her and Spader.
Snake Eyes-Brian De Palma conspiracy thriller starring Nicholas Cage that has an absolutely awesome first fifteen minutes or so at a boxing match with Cage overacting as only he can in jazzed-up fashion and all kinds of neat camerawork following all sorts of stuff going on. Unfortunately once the murder of the politician happens at the fight the film becomes a boring procedural focused on Cage's cop character and his relationship with Gary Sinise's failed security officer, but of course it was an inside job that has something to with missile tests or something. But still, catch that beginning sequence!
Red Dawn-the US is invaded by Russia (yay, The Cold War!) and the Cubans and Nicaraguans, as it's time for World War III, and it's up to some high school students (Wolverines!) to save the day, in the form of Swayze, Sheen, C. Thomas Howell, Lea Thompson, Jennifer Grey and more. I don't know how I made it this far without seeing this one, but it's so insane that I kinda liked it, and I certainly didn't expect almost all of the main characters to die. lol@Jennifer Grey dying in Swayze's arms a few years before "Dirty Dancing." I like when the Cuban Colonel lets them go at the end, and Howell's ultra dramatic death scene. War is hell.
Shark movies: Great White (skip it), 47 Meters Down: Uncaged (skip it) and Deep Blue Sea-see it, because it's fun in its over-the-topness and features one of the all-time surprise death scenes in movies that comes completely out of nowhere. I had trouble caring about the plot (use shark brains to help fight Alzheimer's? now there's intelligent genetically engineered killer sharks on the attack?), but there's enough fun deaths (seriously, nobody is safe in this one) and action set-pieces to justify some innocent fun.
The Crow: City of Angels-incredibly poor sequel where a terrible actor plays a guy who gets killed along with his son by the ugliest gang I've ever seen. Iggy Pop in particular doesn't get enough credit as being one of the most hideous rock stars ever. You know what happens next: he comes back to life and kills them one by one, while kinda having a romance with a grownup Sarah from the original (she grew up nicely), and there's the same bad guy boss type character who figures out once again that you have to injure the crow to be able to hurt the reborn dude, and man I hate this movie.
The Crow: Salvation-this one is a little better; it's about a guy unjustly executed for the murder of his girlfriend, who gets brought back to kill the bad guy cops responsible. The kills in these movies are pretty underwhelming, but at least this actor appears to be trying, and he gets some support from Kirsten Dunst, though I'm not sure how they got her to sign on for this.
The Crow: Wicked Prayer-they saved the worst for last! Edward Furlong (!) and his girlfriend get murdered by David Boreanez (he's no Angel in this one), who leads a gang of Satanists with his beloved Tara Reid, and they wanna ritually bang to make him Satan reborn or some ridiculousness at the end. This is one of the most terribly made and cast (Tito Ortiz?) movies I've seen in a while, and it has a 0% rating on Rotten Tomatoes, which it deserves. Furlong looks like a total goth dweeb with his makeup on.
Return of the Living Dead III-okay, this one is kinda cute, as it's actually a romantic horror film and lacks the comedy of the first two movies almost entirely. A kid and his girlfriend break into his dad's military base, where they're experimenting on zombies by temporarily freezing their brains (lol@how badly they botch that). Sadly, our lovers wipe out on their motorcycle, and the girl dies, but the boy thinks he can save her by reanimating her with the toxin gas. Soon enough, she starts getting hungrier and hungrier...and starts eating people's brains, which he finds a bit of a turnoff. Things only get worse from there for the two, and it ends in pretty sad fashion, but I found this pretty entertaining, and the girl actress is pretty good, and it looks like she went on to play Mischa Barton's mom on "The O.C". of all things. One of the zombie-type things is really scary too. Seriously.
Finally, I went on a Lucio Fulci filmfest, having only seen "Zombi 2" (fun) and "The Beyond" (fun!) previously. The first four are gialli, which I guess are "murder mystery horror thrillers," but the emphasis is mostly not on horror here, especially when compared to his "Zombi 2" and later efforts.
One on Top of the Other-this one is from 1969 and it shows stylistically, as there's lots of naked hippie chicks and a groovy soundtrack. It's about a shady doctor who gets accused of killing his wife, but then he starts seeing a stripper who looks just like her, and unfortunately it's revealed it is indeed her, but he's being set up for murder by his even shadier brother. Will he meet his demise in the gas chamber or will the truth come out just in time? This movie isn't great, but it certainly shows Fulci was an interesting and talented director before all the horror stuff.
A Lizard in a Woman's Skin-as does this one where a lady keeps having a series of psychedelic nightmares and in one dream she kills her downstairs neighbor...and then we find out she was killed in real life. Did she commit the crime? Expect many red herrings! This one is solid, if not quite as good, but might be more famous for its scene where she's fleeing an attacker and winds up running into this room where there are a bunch of dogs hung up being terribly vivisected. Fulci had to go to court to prove this scene was fake. I certainly wish I could forget seeing that part!
Don't Torture a Duckling-really good giallo centering on the murders of some boys in a small Italian village. This might be his best movie, if not the most pure fun. There are lots of suspects, including a gypsy lady who gets killed in a tremendously violent scene that uses the neat gimmick of having a car stereo playing the soundtrack to the brutality. This movie also has the hottest pedophile I've ever seen (the lady who played Miss Moneypenny in the original "Casino Royale" crap spoof). Movie of the month.
Seven Notes in Black-this one is on youtube as "The Psychic," and that's what it's about: a lady keeps seeing a murder, but has trouble putting all the pieces together. Eventually her husband is accused of the crime, and she works to clear his name, though she comes to regret that! This is pretty slow, but still recommendable, with a good ending that's nice and underplayed.
City of the Living Dead-now we're in pure horror and gore territory, as this is the first of a trio that continued with "The Beyond" and the movie below. The plots of these movies don't matter too much, as it's really the gore and crazy death scenes that make them fun at this point, as Fulci stopped bothering being a good director and just went bonzo-gonzo with the craziness. This one has a scene where a girl starts puking up her guts after being put in a trance, and she doesn't stop for a long time (veal intestines, apparently!), as well as one of the best drill-through-the-head deaths I've ever seen. Tremendous fun!
The House by the Cemetery-this however is sadly by far the least successful of the trilogy, as the only memorable gore scenes are a silly bat attack and one throat-spurting bloody kill. It's mildly atmospherically effective (if you can forgive the poor acting and dubbing), but the people just want gore at this point, Fulci. So there's this thing in this couple's new basement that's later revealed to be an undead doctor who performed horrific experiments down there a hundred years ago. Anyway, so this babysitter shows up to watch this couple's young son, and she acts hella suspicious and is found trying to unlock the cellar door before they knew what was down there and secretly cleans up the blood from that murder victim...but then she goes down into the basement later and gets her throat slashed! lol these movies make no sense.