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Dry and Arid, by Reed Lackey

12 Feb

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Death in the Desert is an odd little movie. It had all the potential of a genuine cult indie thriller in the overall tone, visual style and musical score. But it is hindered by a multitude of sizable problems.

Supposedly based on the true story of the murder of a tycoon in the outskirts of Las Vegas, the movie tries very hard to establish an ominous quality to its narrative and for the most part, the tone is where it should be. But early promise never quite becomes anything more than that.

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Down to the Bone, by Reed Lackey

24 Jan

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Some stories are as old as storytelling itself. One of them is this: a damsel, pure and fair, has been captured by a dragon. It then falls to a group of upright knights, none of whom are fully sure they’re a match for the beast, to enter its lair and retrieve her.

If you substitute the knights for old west citizens and the dragon for a tribe of cannabilistic savages, you’ve summarized Bone Tomahawk, the directorial debut of S. Craig Zahler starring Kurt Russell. I cannot recall a movie like it in recent memory, yet it feels almost mythologically traditional. It manages to somehow be epic in its scope and simultaneously two-sentence-tiny in its premise. It is relentlessly brutal in its violence, yet restrained in how rarely that violence presents itself. It has a constant tone of dread while somehow managing to maintain an ember of hope glowing at its center.

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Episode 149: Krampus

23 Dec

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In this episode, Tyler and Reed discuss Michael Dougherty’s Krampus and Clive Donner’s A Christmas Carol.

EPISODE BREAKDOWN
00:00:44- Intro, Reed’s website
00:05:40- Krampus
00:53:17- A Christmas Carol (1984)
01:32:08- Episode wrap-up

Christmas with the Muppets, by Reed Lackey

21 Dec

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I took a poll recently among my friends to discover what was their favorite adaptation of Charles Dickens’s immortal classic short novel A Christmas Carol. The polling group was no more than twenty people, but the votes yielded a nearly unanimous result. The landslide winner was Brian Henson’s The Muppet Christmas Carol.

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In the Name of the Father, by Reed Lackey

17 Dec

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Film franchises are far from rare, but what is rare is for a film franchise to still have something relevant and noteworthy to say once it crosses the second or third installment. What is even rarer about Creed is that it is part of a franchise which is original to film, is not set within a typically franchised genre, and manages to somehow retell the first story in a fresh way while also elevating the stories which followed at the same time.

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A Merely Good Dinosaur, by Reed Lackey

25 Nov

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There’s a somewhat unfair quality that most audience members have when they see a film produced by a proven creative team. When a studio’s filmography includes entries which thrive on originality, subverting viewer expectations, and breaking through generational boundaries, films which are merely competent are often treated poorly by comparison. The Good Dinosaur, the latest entry in the canon from Pixar Animation Studios, suffers by being merely a good movie rather than a great one.

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Episode 146: Jacob’s Ladder

19 Nov

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In this episode, Tyler and Reed are joined by Jim Rohner to discuss Adrian Lyne’s Jacob’s Ladder.

EPISODE BREAKDOWN
00:00:40- Intro, Jim Rohner, I Do Movies Badly, International Christian Film Festival
00:13:46- Jacob’s Ladder
01:29:35- Episode wrap-up

Episode 144: The Visit

29 Oct

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In this episode, Tyler and Reed discuss M. Night Shyamalan’s The Visit and George Waggner’s The Wolf Man.

EPISODE BREAKDOWN
00:00:44- Intro, spiders, Comedy Film Nerds
00:09:10- The Visit
01:08:50- The Wolf Man
01:37:35- Episode wrap-up

The Same Old Scary Story, by Reed Lackey

21 Oct

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There’s nothing inherently inferior about choosing to tell a story that everyone’s heard before as long as they love the way you tell it. The same goes with film, where style and craft will always trump a lack of originality. The Inhabitants, a new low-budget indie frightener from the writing and directing team of the Rasmussen brothers, aims for this target specifically. It doesn’t pretend to tell you a story you’ve never heard before, it simply wants to retell a classic scenario as well as it can. The film offers a great deal of promise in its early moments on which it sadly never quite delivers.

A young couple decide to purchase a remote bed and breakfast inn called “The March Carriage”. As they begin to settle in and renovate the building, they encounter a sequence of eerie spectral occurrences which seem to indicate that they are not alone in the house. As I said before, this is nothing new.

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Viewer Discretion is Advised, by Reed Lackey

17 Oct

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I can still remember the most blasphemous thing I ever said as an actor. My character believed in God, but had utterly rejected Jesus Christ. He was full of fury and bitterness and at a key point in the play, I had to look at the iconic image of Jesus, beaten and bloody for the sins of the world, pretending to be this angry man and yell, “If you are the Son of God, come down off of that cross and save yourself!”

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