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Starbuck

A sitcom premise with spunk.


Comedy

Rod Lott
Thanksgiving brings Vince Vaughn's Delivery Man to theaters, but you can see it now, more or less, in Starbuck, the 2011 French dramedy that serves as the source material for the American remake.
 
Tuesday, July 30, 2013

The Canyons

True to its title, the film is a void.


Drama

Rod Lott
Paul Schrader’s The Canyons opens and closes with a montage of abandoned movie theaters. For this film in particular, that choice strikes one as symbolic in several ways: not only as a comment on the state of the industry, but on the state of The Canyons itself. You’re unlikely to find many 2013 films this empty.
 
Tuesday, July 30, 2013

The Fog

For a great ghost story, bank on it.


Horror

Rod Lott
Once considered a disappointment (because anything after Halloween unfairly would be), John Carpenter's The Fog today is a genre-audience favorite — well-admired if just shy of qualifying as a modern horror classic. Its Blu-ray debut from Shout! Factory cements that.
 
Saturday, July 27, 2013

Women Who Kill

More like maim.


Comedy

Rod Lott
An hour of stage comedy by female stand-ups, Women Who Kill errs in putting its not-so-secret weapon right upfront: Amy Schumer, who might just be the funniest person in America right now. Even her throwaway lines (“Do you ever have Oxycontin mouth?” she asks no one, rhetorically) pierce the flesh.
 
Friday, July 26, 2013

Gallowwalkers

Like ‘Blade’ with a badge.


Western

Rod Lott
One of the most fun movies of the summers isn’t even in theaters. It’s Gallowwalkers, a weird, wild Western starring Wesley Snipes, freshly sprung from prison after serving three years for failure to file income tax returns. The lesson: Even Blade can’t mess with the IRS!
 
Friday, July 26, 2013

Musicals on the Silver Screen: A Guide to the Must-See Movie Musicals — Leonard Kniffel


Nonfiction

Rod Lott
For a crash course in Movie Musicals 101, tiptoe no further past Musicals on the Silver Screen. Leonard Kniffel’s paperback guide traipses through hundreds, from 1927’s The Jazz Singer to 2011’s The Artist.
 
Friday, July 26, 2013

Under the Bed

Warning: May cure insomnia.


Horror

Rod Lott
Because monsters hiding beneath beds is a near-universal fear among children, it seems ripe for a horror movie to explore. Under the Bed does, yet provokes only yawns. That’s because the concept is best-suited for a youthful audience, à la an episode of Goosebumps, rather than an R-rated treatment. 
 
Thursday, July 25, 2013

The Jeffrey Dahmer Files

“Go look in the refrigerator.”


Documentary

Rod Lott
Understandably, a documentary about serial killer Jeffrey Dahmer that weaves fictional elements with fact sounds like a wretched, evil, exploitative thing. Instead, it's a small marvel of microcinema — and another argument for the storytelling power of the nonfiction format.
 
Thursday, July 25, 2013

Kiss of the Damned

Pucker up.


Horror

Rod Lott
As if HBO's True Blood had been scrubbed clean of all its suds and Southern accents, Kiss of the Damned explores the politics and passions of a vampire community.
 
Wednesday, July 24, 2013

The Kentucky Fried Movie

“I'm not wearing any pants. Film at 11.”


Comedy

Rod Lott
John Landis and the team of David Zucker/Jim Abrahams/Jerry Zucker may have made better movies directly afterward (National Lampoon's Animal House and Airplane!, respectively), but that's not to deny 1977's The Kentucky Fried Movie its rightful place in the all-time comedy canon. A career-launcher for all four, the scrappy Sketch Movie That Could holds up splendidly — in laughs, not fashions — in its Blu-ray debut.
 
Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Welcome to the Punch

Lands a weak ‘Punch.’


Thriller

Rod Lott
Overlook the confounding title of Welcome to the Punch; it's the least of the British film's troubles. And that's too bad, because its rip-roaring opening chase had its hooks in me tight.
 
Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Eddie: The Sleepwalking Cannibal

There’s someone we’d like you to ‘meat’ ...


Comedy

Rod Lott
Let’s at least give Eddie: The Sleepwalking Cannibal commendation from the start for not being a zombie movie. There are too damn many of those, but cannibals? Hmmm ...
 
Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Black Rock

This ‘Rock’ is semisolid.


Thriller

Rod Lott
Strangely, Katie Aselton of TV's extraordinarily funny The League is better at crafting thrillers than comedies. Her directorial debut, 2010's The Freebie, was insufferable mumblecore. Black Rock finds her taking a headlong leap into suspense, and while it's so-so, growth is growth.
 
Monday, July 22, 2013

The Incredible Melting Man

A trash classic lands on Blu-ray.


Sci-Fi

Rod Lott
In the trash classic The Incredible Melting Man, the titular creature — aka astronaut Steve West (Alex Rebar), returned home from a botched mission to Saturn as a walking pile of goo — claims his first victim less than 10 minutes after the MGM lion roars, but only after he's given a nurse such a shock that she jumps through a glass door. What’s not to love?
 
Monday, July 22, 2013

Detention of the Dead / The Demented

They put the “Zzzzz” in “zombies.”


Horror

Rod Lott
Ten years ago, we didn’t have enough zombie movies. Now, we have too many of them, which might not be a problem if most weren’t so bland and unimaginative. Detention of the Dead tries — not too hard, mind you — to distinguish itself by being a comedy. Technically, I suppose it is; in execution, it fails.
 
Friday, July 19, 2013
 
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