Sunday, July 20, 2014

Movie Review: The Purge: Anarchy

by Sherry Lipp

Last summer the horror flick The Purge was a surprise hit. Just one year later the sequel, The Purge: Anarchy, is already in theaters. Sometimes it’s best to strike while the iron is hot and judging by a strong opening weekend, the right choice was made in rushing out the second installment. But strong opening weekends don’t necessarily mean good movies, and this one isn’t. This film all but abandons the clever satire that made the first film distinctive in favor of escalating death scenes that only provide the most base level of thrills.

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Giveaway: The Purge: Anarchy Prize Pack – Enter by July 24, 2014

Sponsored by Universal Pictures

The sequel to last year’s horror hit The Purge hits theaters everywhere on July 18 - The Purge: Anarchy. We’ve partnered with Universal Pictures to offer the chance for one lucky winner to receive The Purge: Anarchy prize pack. The pack includes: one The Purge: Anarchy promo t-shirt (L), and one The Purge: Anarchy promo flashlight.

Enter by midnight July 24, 2014 using the Rafflecopter form below (U.S. only, must 18 and over, no P.O. boxes).

Each household is only eligible to win One (1) Purge Prize Pack via blog reviews and giveaways. Only one entrant per mailing address per giveaway. If you have won the same prize on another blog, you will not be eligible to win it again. Winner is subject to eligibility verification.

One lucky winner will be drawn at random and notified via email. The winner will have 48 hours to respond to our notification with their complete name and U.S. mailing address (no PO Boxes). Failure to respond within 48 hours will result in forfeiture and another winner will be selected. For complete giveaway rules, click here.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

TV Review: 24: Live Another Day - Episode 12: Day 9 10:00PM-11:00AM

By Chaz Lipp

What a ride. 24: Live Another Day ended its 12-episode run with an episode that embodied everything that made the show great in the past. Though the last 12 weeks inspired plenty of snark from some critics, much of it focusing on Kiefer Sutherland’s advancing age and the supposed tiredness of the real-time concept, LAD delivered classic 24 that, for better or worse, never attempted to reinvent the wheel. I would hazard a guess that the return of Jack Bauer did not win over an inordinate amount of new fans. TV has moved on in the four years since Jack disappeared. But it’s probably safe to say that millions of original fans got exactly what they were hoping for. But is there any more to follow? Should there be any more?

Friday, July 11, 2014

Movie Review: Dawn of the Planet of the Apes

By Chaz Lipp

Maybe it’s the relative lack of well-crafted spectacle at cinemas so far this summer that has so many critics falling over themselves to praise Dawn of the Planet of the Apes. This sequel to 2011’s Rise of the Planet of the Apes delivers admittedly awe-inspiring CG effects, with Andy Serkis deservedly top-billed for his motion-capture work as ‘head ape in charge’ Caesar. The depth of soulful emotion in the facial expressions of his and the supporting apes is among the closest I’ve seen to true photo-realism in digital characters. The impressive Golden Gate bridge finale of Rise was only the warm up for the full-on ape/human war we see in Dawn. But for those craving more than effects wizardry, prepare to be disappointed in this overlong (131 minutes), predictably-plotted sequel.

Thursday, July 10, 2014

Blu-ray Review: The Spike Lee Joint Collection Vol. 2: Summer of Sam + Miracle at St. Anna

By Chaz Lipp

If ever there was a movie in dire need of re-evaluation, it’s Spike Lee’s overlooked 1999 gem Summer of Sam (which makes its Blu-ray debut on the recently released The Spike Lee Joint Collection Vol. 2). The first thing to understand is that, despite any impression that might’ve been given by the original marketing campaign, Sam is not really a movie about serial killer David Berkowitz. Quick historical sketch for anyone unfamiliar with Son of Sam: between July, 1976 and July, 1977, Berkowitz murdered six individuals and wounded an additional 7 in New York City. It was his neighbor’s dog that told him to commit these acts, according to Berkowitz himself. He’s currently in the midst of serving six consecutive life sentences, one for each life he claimed.

But Berkowitz (played by Michael Badalucco) serves only a peripheral role in Sam. The real story is the paranoia gripping a group of friends during an intense NYC heat wave in the summer of ’77. Amongst the bickering and finger-pointing, the focus falls upon a very dysfunctional couple, Vinny (John Leguizamo) and Dionna (Mira Sorvino). Vinny is a compulsive cheater, compelled to fool around behind Dionna’s back because his religious beliefs make it difficult to see his wife as a sex object. Dionna is no babe in the woods, though – she tolerates him messing around, even as she struggles to figure out new ways to try to satisfy him. In a remarkable display of desperation, she even goes so far as to consult one of her husband’s exes for tips (“You can’t be his wife” is her curt evaluation).

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

TV Review: 24: Live Another Day - Episode 11: Day 9 9:00PM-10:00PM

By Chaz Lipp

Steaming towards the finale, the penultimate episode of 24: Live Another Day powered forward with confident energy. As with 24 seasons past, the mixture of action, drama, and occasional silliness has worked terrifically. I only wish Fox had committed to a full 24-episode season in order to allow for a tiny bit more nuance in the storytelling. With Margot Al-Harazi long out of the way, the classic villain Cheng Zhi (Tzi Ma) is in full command, holding Chloe (Mary Lynn Rajskub) hostage, ostensibly for her computer expertise but also because fans wouldn’t stand for her being disposed of the way her boyfriend Adrian Cross (Michael Wincott) was last week. Speaking of that, Chloe sure handles Adrian’s demise with surprising aplomb. But it’s the tension between Jack Bauer (Kiefer Sutherland) and President Heller’s Chief of Staff Mark Boudreau (Tate Donovan) that steals the show in episode 11.

Sunday, July 6, 2014

Movie Review: Deliver Us From Evil

by Sherry Lipp

If there’s one thing there’s never been a shortage since the 1973 classic The Exorcist, it’s films about demonic possession. I won’t say it’s not a good topic for horror storytelling but, in some ways, if you’ve seen one you’ve seen them all. There’s a certain set of familiar plot devices all these films seem to cycle through, with the only way to differentiate one from the other is to create interesting characters or a cool twist. Unfortunately, the exorcism film du jour, Deliver Us from Evil, fails to provide either.