Kicking Blood is a bland take on the vampire genre.

After falling for a recovering alcoholic, a modern-day vampire sets her mind and heart on quitting blood and becoming human again.

Kicking Blood is bad and not in a fun way, it takes the vampire genre and attempts to try and do something a tad different but ultimately fails due to mostly budget constraints. The acting in particular is what’s holding this one back from being interesting, granted there are a few “so bad it’s hilarious” moments that got a few chuckles out of me but that’s really about it, I actually liked Alanna Bale a lot even if her performance wasn’t good it was the best out of everyone. I do hope she goes on to be in far better movies because I definitely think she has potential, outside of that the writing is very empty with very little substance and just not enough for the cast to work with. Kicking Blood might be good for a trash movie night but outside of that there is really no reason to give this one a look.

Kicking Blood is available on all VOD Platforms.

3/10 D-

SXSW Review: Spaz (2022)

Steve ‘Spaz’ Williams is a little-known pioneer in computer animation. This intimate account examines his life story and events surrounding the historical moment when his digital dinosaurs walked onto the silver screen in JURASSIC PARK. Steve and a chorus of expert witnesses recount a dramatic tale of rebellion and revolution at Lucasfilm’s Industrial Light & Magic in the early 1990s–a time when creating realistic creatures with a computer was considered impossible. As the industry changes at breakneck speed, Steve’s longing for acknowledgement triggers a humble reckoning with his chaotic past.

Spaz is a very straightforward documentary about the pioneer of computer effects Steve ‘Spaz’ Williams, this is the man who gave us iconic moments from Jurassic World, Star Wars, Terminator 2 and many others. It’s very refreshing to see computer effects artists get praised for their work as it often does feel like they are put on the sidelines, there’s a lot of great archival footage and interviews in the documentary that really show how beautifully made Williams’s work was and still is. Plus Williams is a great speaker he’s the type of person where you could just listen to him talk to you forever and not get tired of it. The documentary does struggle when it comes to the last half, as it does struggle to to keep both conversations of Williams success and his career’s fall balanced. There’s a lot of one conversation talking over the other, however that doesn’t stop it from being a very interesting piece about someone who gave us some of the most iconic moments in film history.

Spaz currently has no release date.

7/10 B

SXSW Review: Jethica (2022)

When Jessica’s stalker surprises her in New Mexico, she must seek help from beyond the grave to get rid of him for good.

I really wish I liked Jethica a lot more than I did but for what the movie is it’s not bad. It’s a simple ghost story that has beautiful filming combined with it. What makes this movie is the atmosphere as there are a bunch of atmospheric moments that really capture the film well, the cast does a pretty solid job in their respective roles. What holds Jethica back from being far better is the pacing combined with the rather surface level execution, despite being a 70 minute film it feels much longer mostly due to it trying to be slow burn. Which is fine I love slow burn films especially slow burn horror films, however there is no reason for it to be one and when you combine it with a very interesting idea that is only explored a little bit but not fully realized it becomes a mixed bag. Jethica is definitely something I will have to rewatch once it releases maybe it will grow on me but for now it’s not a bad movie just one that could have been a lot better.

Jethica currently has no release date

6/10 C+

Turning Red is a beautiful film filed with meaningful metaphors!

Mei Lee is a 13-year-old girl who is torn between being her mother’s obedient daughter and the chaos of her youth. As if that were not enough, when she gets too excited, she turns into a big red panda.

Turning Red is Pixar’s most recent film and once again they hit it out of the park. There’s a lot to absolutely love here but I’ll keep things simple, right off the bad the animation is quite great especially combined with the characters who are truly fun in their own ways. What makes the film successful is the writing, it’s truly what turns what could have been just a solid Pixar film into something truly special, the use of several different metaphors for growing up and being yourself are really clever. There’s a lot for the audience to relate to as well each of the characters are given there moments that some may seem small but end up being very important. There’s so much charm that is put into the film to the point where you just can’t help but smile, Domee Shi does an excellent job in the director’s chair, she really brings the film together with surprisingly raw writing at times despite the movie you know being about a girl that turns into a Red Panda. Which leads me back to the metaphors, it’s such a unique way of telling the viewers to be themselves, there’s clearly a lot of love put into the film which only makes it that much stronger. It’s such a sweet blend of a coming of age film and a Pixar film that compliment each other beautifully. Definitely give this one a watch!!

Turning Red is available on Disney+

9/10 A

Sundown is a beautifully crafted film with a strong performance from Tim Roth!

Neil and Alice Bennett (Tim Roth, Charlotte Gainsbourg) are the core of a wealthy family on vacation in Mexico with younger members Colin and Alexa (Samuel Bottomley, Albertine Kotting McMillan) until a distant emergency cuts their trip short. When one relative disrupts the family’s tight-knit order, simmering tensions rise to the fore in this suspenseful jolt from writer/director Michel Franco.

Sundown has been on my watchlist since it released in January and I’m glad I finally sat down and watched it! I had my issues with Michel Franco’s previous film New Order but this was a massive improvement, Tim Roth does such a fantastic job here and gives one of my favorite performances so far this year. It’s a film that takes it’s sweet time to tell a story that’s quite powerful a story of a man grieving in his own way and what he plans to do for his final days, which in this case is spending time on the beach. His family however gets in the middle of it, it’s such a compelling film that has a lot of quite scenes where there’s little dialogue. It let’s the viewer absorb wants happening and how to feel, the cinematography is very well done during a lot of moments. There’s so much care and passion put into the film that leads to a ton of thought provoking and gorgeous moments! Definitely go into this one knowing as little as possible!

Sundown is available on all VOD Platforms.

8/10 B+

Three Months is a solid coming of age film with strong chemistry!

On the eve of his high school graduation, Caleb learns he’s been exposed to HIV. While he waits three months for his results, he finds love in the most unlikely of places.

Three Months is a gay coming of age story that’s really solid, what holds this movie together is mainly the cast and their chemistry between one another. Particularly Troye Sivan (who I was very unfamiliar with, apparently he’s an Australian singer who got noticed on YouTube) and Viveik Kalra (who was previously in Voyagers and Blinded By The Light) the chemistry between the two comes off as very authentic and leads to some quite powerful moments. The writing is overall pretty strong, there are some very familiar beats the movie hits but that really isn’t enough to hold back this movie from telling a very touching story. Brianne Tju (Scream TV series, I Know What You Did Last Summer TV series and 47 Meters Down: Uncaged) gives a very strong performance here and is by far the strongest performance I’ve seen from her. Three Months does take a bit to get going as the set up is a bit familiar and something we have seen before, but what follows is a very solid little movie that has strong chemistry, characters and a sense of rawness to it.

Three Months is available on Paramount+

7/10 B

Lucy and Desi is a solid documentary about the iconic Hollywood couple!

Lucille Ball and Desi Arnaz form an unlikely partnership to become one of the most prolific power couples in Hollywood.

Going to keep this relatively short because there really is not much to go over. But I got a hell of a lot more out of Lucy and Desi than I did from Being The Ricardos, while the documentary is surface level and doesn’t break any new ground for documentaries. It’s still a very nicely put together documentary that lays out all of the information for the viewer, the interviews of the people who knew Lucille Ball and Desi Arnaz are both very captivating and interesting to listen to, the movie goes through the ups and downs of the iconic comedy couple’s relationship over the years. It tells us how they felt, what they were thinking and what inspired them to keep moving their careers along, it’s actually a pretty inspiring documentary at times and really does a pretty solid job of telling the couple’s story. If you are a fan of Lucille Ball and Desi Arnaz you will definitely appreciate the documentary!

Lucy and Desi is available on Amazon Prime Video!

7/10 B

Blacklight is a lazy Liam Neeson action thriller that doesn’t do anything new.

Travis Block, a shadowy government agent who specializes in removing operatives whose covers have been exposed, uncovers a deadly conspiracy within his own ranks that reaches the highest echelons of power.

It’s baffling to me how each and every year these Liam Neeson action/thriller movies range in quality, it’s like flipping a coin sometimes you will get a movie that’s pretty fun (The Commuter, Non-Stop) and then other times you will get movies that are complete garbage (Taken 3 and The Ice Road). Blacklight falls down the terrible movie route for multiple reasons, as usual Liam Neeson is at least decent but he’s been doing these types of roles for years so it’s really not a surprise. The rest of the movie however? It’s a combination of the exact same plots we have seen in the other movies, what’s even more embarrassing is this feels more in line like one of those Bruce Willis VOD movies. The rest of the performances are terrible, the action scenes are horribly done, especially when combined with the lighting and the editing which turns it into a complete and total mess. It’s amazing that in the year 2022 we are still getting action films that release in theaters with piss poor action scenes that you can hardly see. Blacklight really feels like something that should have been a straight to DVD release but instead decided to go in theaters instead. I’m not exactly sure what else I’m supposed to say here, Blacklight is the exact same thing as Neeson’s 20 other last movies but far far worse.

Blacklight is available on all VOD Platforms.

1/10 F

The Batman (2022) is a masterclass of talent that brings something new to the iconic character.

Batman ventures into Gotham City’s underworld when a sadistic killer leaves behind a trail of cryptic clues. As the evidence begins to lead closer to home and the scale of the perpetrator’s plans become clear, he must forge new relationships, unmask the culprit and bring justice to the abuse of power and corruption that has long plagued the metropolis.

As always before I start it must be said this is a SPOILER FREE review, I’ve been waiting for The Batman ever since it was announced, especially it was revealed that Robert Pattinson would be the new Batman. Pattinson has shown over the years how talented he really is so I was definitely interested to see how great he would do here. Especially when you bring Matt Reeves into the mix who previously finished the Planet Of The Apes trilogy with Dawn Of The Planet Of The Apes and War for the Planet Of The Apes there’s bound to be something fantastic results. There’s a lot to talk about here so let’s start with the performances and characters, Robert Pattinson as Bruce Wayne and Batman is simply put brilliant casting, his portrayal of the iconic character just might be my favorite of any Batman film, he takes the character and does something completely different with the character. Although we don’t really get a whole lot of Bruce Wayne we still do learn a lot about him, we learn about his feelings towards Gotham, the pain he’s going through and his relationship with the other characters. Plus we learn a lot about his backstory, through Pattinson’s narration and through some of the other characters. What really makes Pattinson’s Batman work here is his acting and emotion he puts into the role, that’s complimented well by the atmosphere which I will get to in a bit. Zoë Kravitz is really strong as Catwoman, like Pattinson she takes her character and does something completely different, the same can be said with pretty much anyone in the film. Paul Dano as The Riddler is horrifying he’s a mixture of Jigsaw and the Zodiac Killer which absolutely works here. It brings a terrifying atmosphere to the film something that really caught me off guard, then there’s the rest of the cast Collin Farrell as The Penguin, Jeffrey Wright as James Gordon and Andy Serkis as Alfred all of which did a fantastic job. When it comes to the worldbuilding of Gotham this film does the best job, The Batman (2022) doesn’t waste a single opportunity to explore and develop Gotham. We learn about it through Pattinson’s narration, the other characters and just by looking at it which leads to the cinematography. The cinematography tells a lot of the story without the writing having to do all of the work, it’s incredibly detailed in every single way possible there’s so much to look at in each scene. The atmosphere is dark but done a lot differently, The Batman goes for a horror/thriller type atmosphere which works, sure there’s a ton of action scenes but even then it still matches the atmosphere. The characters themselves and the atmosphere compliment each other really well, they both have this sense of rawness to them which I actually think is what makes these characters so effective. Especially The Riddler who they completely changed and gave such a disturbing type feel to his character. With Batman they gave him also a raw type of feel but one that feels like he has no idea how to help out, which goes well of the film taking place a few years into Wayne being The Batman. The direction from Matt Reeves is absolutely phenomenal, he brings so much talent and atmosphere to the film, he truly knows how to build a world and have each scene tell a lot more than what is being shown. The score from Michael Giacchino is booming, there’s one particular scene that especially highlights how much it stands out which I will not spoil because this scene was just that incredible! Overall The Batman is an absolute masterclass of talent, there is so much to this film and a whole lot that I am still thinking about (saw it on Tuesday.) despite the several Batman films The Batman brings so much new to the table, it takes an iconic character and brings several different ideas and elements to the table. Hands down the best film so far this year definitely check this one out.

The Batman releases in theaters tomorrow!

10/10 A+

Livid is a decent follow up film to Inside (2007).

Lucie (Chloé Coulloud), Ben (Jérémy Kapone) and William (Félix Moati) search an old woman’s home for a hidden treasure and they encounter a series of supernatural events that change them forever.

So a little history lesson because this is needed, Livid is film directed by Alexandre Bustillo and Julien Maury directors of Inside (2007) this film was meant to be their follow up film but never actually came out until yesterday, it premiered at a bunch of film festivals back in 2011 and was dormant until Shudder bought the rights to the film. Why it never came out until now who knows..anyway let’s talk about the movie itself. Livid is a very interesting little movie, there really isn’t much story going on here it’s more of an artsy experience with some very strong gore. The acting is actually quite decent as well, particularly from Chloé Coulloud who gives a pretty raw performance, the atmosphere is very well done with some very creepy moments combined with the score that gives the viewer a haunting type feel. Livid is unfortunately one of those slow burn horror movies that has a ton of ideas but doesn’t properly explore them, I’m not against films leaving audiences to figure out scenes for themselves but when a huge chunk of the film is like that and it fails to do it in a interesting way that’s when several flaws come in. The plot also did lose me about halfway through, Bustillo and Maury obviously wanted to capture the magic that they had in first film “Inside” (2007) (which is one of my favorite films of all time) however Livid just doesn’t reach the heights of “Inside”. Sure there’s tons of gore and some disturbing moments, but due to the story being way too surreal it falls apart in the end. I definitely think Livid is a far better film than anything Bustillo and Maury would go on to do which would be Among The Living, Leatherface, Kandisha (although Kandisha is decent enough) and The Deep House. Despite my issues Livid isn’t a bad movie, it’s just something that could have been a lot better if you are fan of Bustillo and Maury I recommend checking this one out. Just don’t go in expecting this to be as good as Inside.

Livid is available on Shudder!

7/10 B