Sunday, October 17, 2021

Halloween Kills (2021)


Director: David Gordon Green

Notable Cast: Jamie Lee Curtis, Judy Greer, Andi Matichak, James Jude Courtney, Nick Castle, Will Patton, Thomas Mann, Dylan Arnold, Robert Longstreet, Anthony Michael Hall, Charles Cyphers, Kyle Richards

 

The revitalization of the Halloween franchise with 2018’s self-titled sequel, one that ignores every other film post the 1978 originator, is one for the history books. It reset the already over-complicated franchise to go back to the roots but it still managed to progress the lore forward in its own ways and inject a bit of social commentary that hit a lot of the right buttons. Its massive success in the box office and a strong love from the overall horror community made it ripe for reigniting one of the archetypal slasher franchises. It wasn’t a shock that Blumhouse was quick to capitalize on its success by announcing a sequel. 

 

However, it was tempting fate that they would announce two sequels to cap off the trilogy...a trilogy of four films, for the record, if you count the 1978 original. Still, it was hard not to get expectations up considering the strength of Halloween (2018), and a title like Halloween Kills does sound pretty legit and stroked the excitement of my inner teenager. 

 

With a half-melted ghostly mask in tow, Michael Myers once again stalks the silver screen with Halloween Kills and returning director David Gordon Green (along with some returning writers a slew of other filmmakers) aim to jack up the body count and set up a finale with the upcoming Halloween Ends that will bring his portion of the franchise to an end. The results are, in a fitting twist, incredibly problematic in their ambitions. 

 

Thursday, October 14, 2021

Yokai Monsters Collection: 100 Monsters (1968)


After unleashing the Daimajin on collectors with their three-film box set only a handful of months ago, Arrow Video continue their Daiei run with the Yokai Monsters Collection. Complete with the original three film run of the Yokai Monster trilogy and auteur director Takashi Miike’s love letter to those films, this collection brings together four films that were not regularly available (if at all) to Western audiences. Whether you’re a fan of supernatural monster flicks, strange genre-bending slices of cinema, or Japanese film history, it’s hard to go wrong with this boxset as a collector.

 

The mileage that one gets from the films included in Yokai Monsters depends on their ability to roll with the shifting genres and a sense of artifice within their stories. This review covers the first film in the series, 100 Monsters, but stay tuned for more reviews for the rest of the series. 

Sunday, October 10, 2021

V/H/S/94 (2021)


Directors: Jennifer Reeder, Chloe Okuno, Simon Barrett, Timo Tjahjanto, Ryan Prows

 

Another Halloween and another horror anthology film. One might read that sentence as a bad thing, but - hey - I’m all in on this trend. Particularly when it’s a revival of the impressive V/H/S series that were rocking the rails on two different horror cinema trends. The fourth film in the series, V/H/S/94, is a hell of a return to form after the forgettable misfire of the third film, V/H/S Viral. It’s a fun horror mixture of stories and approaches, it features some fun new reasons for people to be recording their stories, and there is a ton of new talent in executing those stories. For fans of either anthologies or found-footage horror, V/H/S/94 represents some of the best of both and kicks off the October spooky season nicely. 

 

Monday, October 4, 2021

No Franchise Fatigue Movie Podcast - Extended Cuts on Patreon!


If you love what we do here at Blood Brothers and if you have already checked out our podcast cousin, The No Franchise Fatigue Movie Podcast, then can we recommend checking out our latest adventure over on Patreon!

The No Franchise Fatigue Movie Podcast goes further with Extended Cuts, where Blood Brothers writers Matt Reifschneider and Sean Caylor tackle film commentaries and add bonus episodes for the podcast for our Franchisee fans.


Click the link below to join now! We'll see you at at the next sequel!

https://www.patreon.com/nffpodcast 

Tuesday, September 28, 2021

No Franchise Fatigue Movie Podcast: The Ones That Mother Gives You Don't Do Anything At All [The Matrix Franchise Part II]


No Franchise Fatigue co-hosts Sean and Matt get RELOADED for the REVOLUTIONS of our discussion on The Matrix franchise. That's right, they are talking about the "end" of one of the biggest trilogies in modern cinema. Do the guys of NFF disagree on the films? Do they suggest you take the Red Pill or the Blue Pill? 


So join them as they chat about damn near everything under the sun including incredible car chases, machines who overthink drilling, how Colin Chou loads a gun, and whether or not floaty fights are real fights. 


Also, Sean declares war on Neill Blomkamp. Kind of.




Credits:
Hosted by Matt Reifschneider and Sean Caylor

Produced by Matt Reifschneider and Sean Caylor
Edited by Sean Caylor

bloodbrothersfilms.com

Reach us at:

nffpod.sean@gmail.com

facebook.com/nofranchisefatigue

twitter.com/nffpod

Thank you for listening.

Friday, September 24, 2021

The Boy Behind the Door (2021)


Directors: David Charbonier, Justin Powell

Notable Cast: Lonnie Chavis, Ezra Dewey, Kristin Bauer van Straten, Micah Hauptman

 

As a father, nothing is more terrifying than all of the horror that can happen to my children. As vigilant as I may be in security, safety, and instilling common sense into my children, there is always the possibility that something truly terrible could happen regardless of my effort or my children's diligence. The Boy Behind the Door is a realization of these greatest fears, as two twelve-year-old boys, Bobby (Lonnie Chavis, This is Us, Magic Camp) and Kevin (Ezra Dewey, Criminal Minds, Teachers) are abducted for nefarious purposes somewhere in rural (redundant) South Dakota. The ensuing game of cat and mouse is a terrifying testament to the dangers that children face in today's world, as well as their resilience in the face of seemingly comprehensive danger.

Thursday, September 23, 2021

No Franchise Fatigue Movie Podcast: Through the Looking Glass [The Matrix Franchise Part I]


Get jacked in, franchisees! NFF Agents Mr. Caylor and Mr. Reifschneider hack their back after hiatus to talk about one of the most influential franchises of all time, The Matrix! 

Part I of the two-part episode covers 1999's The Matrix and 2003's spin-off The Animatrix and we take a digital deep dive into why The Matrix works as a remix, who the real hero of the Matrix is, and how there needs to be anime anthologies for a lot more franchises. 

So get logged in, follow the white rabbit, and bend physics with the NFF team.






Credits:
Hosted by Matt Reifschneider and Sean Caylor

Produced by Matt Reifschneider and Sean Caylor
Edited by Sean Caylor

bloodbrothersfilms.com

Reach us at:

nffpod.sean@gmail.com 

facebook.com/nofranchisefatigue

twitter.com/nffpod

Thank you for listening.

Sunday, September 19, 2021

Malignant (2021)


Director: James Wan

Notable Cast: Annabelle Wallis, Maddie Hasson, George Young, Michole Briana White, Jake Abel, Ray Chase

 

There’s intriguing divisiveness that exists around James Wan and the popularity he has achieved with his films. The divisiveness that, in all honesty, I am not sure I fully understand. Perhaps it's one of those situations where individuals feel attacked because a non-mainstream genre has suddenly had some crossover into mainstream territory and that’s offensive to them. My love for the director, writer, and producer has certainly earned me some ill will from very boisterous negative commentators, but quite frankly, I find his style of modernizing classic genres and giving them his own auteur twist is fun and refreshing. 

 

After dropping one of the biggest box office hits ever (edit: I just looked it up - yes, it currently resides in the top 25 globally) in Aquaman, Wan - in all of his audacity - took his massive blank check and used it on Malignant. Granted, Wan has always been one to go back to his mid-budget horror films in between larger projects as a director. Not to mention, he always keeps one foot in the door as a producer to shepherd in new talent under his guidance, but Malignant is next level. Not only does this film deliver on the usual Wan elements - atmosphere, supernatural aspects, and sharp visuals, but its absurd blending of genres, mixed with a hyperkinetic build in its pacing, and a blisteringly outlandish third act make it one of the most potent “instant cult classic” films I’ve ever had the chance to see. Malignant is brash in its love letter to the past but also brings such strange energy to the fold that it slices n’ dices its way to being one of the best of the year. 

 

Copshop (2021)


Director: Joe Carnahan

Notable Cast: Alexis Louder, Gerard Butler, Frank Grillo, Toby Huss, Ryan O’Nan

 

Joe Carnahan has had a prolific career in stylish action flicks. Whether it was his debut film Smokin’ Aces or his other film in 2021 Boss Level, Carnahan is a fairly safe bet when it comes to entertaining action films loaded with interesting choices. His latest, Copshop, follows very closely in those steps and maybe, just maybe, perfects it. Built on the foundations of using 1970s cop thrillers as its basis, but also as some stylistic choices, Copshop is a romp and a half. It’s littered with broad stroke characters painted with bullets and quick banter, a slow-burn build to set the chessboard, and some fantastic performances. It’s a smartly written mid-tier action thriller with some scene devouring casting that ought to curb the craving for most genre fans. Copshop, like so many of Carnahan’s films, is already a cult classic. 

 

Tuesday, September 14, 2021

Vengeance Trails (2021) Part I: [Massacre Time (1966) / My Name Is Pecos (1966)]


Although most of the films included have been released previously, it’s hard not to be extremely excited for Arrow Video’s recent release of Vengeance Trails. This four-film box set includes a fantastic set of films for any western aficionado from some of the biggest directors and stars of the time period. The new high-definition restorations are gorgeous, the extras are solid as expected, and the packaging is a delight to have on a collector’s shelf. This review is meant to cover the films included in the set - although any previous coverage we have run at Blood Brothers will be linked below, but if you’re a fan of those classic Italian gritty westerns, it’s hard not to recommend Vengeance Trails upfront. 

 

For more information about the set, please see the details following the film reviews below. 

Saturday, September 11, 2021

Kate (2021)


Director: Cedric Nicolas-Troyan

Notable Cast: Mary Elizabeth Winstead, Miku Martineau, Woody Harrelson, Tadanobu Asano, Michiel Huisman, Jun Kunimura, Miyavi, Amelia Crouch, Ava Caryofyllis, Kayuza Tanabe

 

“Death is the time for beginnings.” 

 

Maybe I’ve said this before in one of my previous reviews, but it’s worth noting again. At this point, it’s hard not to look at action cinema as Pre-John Wick and Post-John Wick. While the film in reference is in itself a love letter to the action cinema of the 80s, a vicious combination of the untouchable heroes of Hollywood and the brutal action excellence of Hong Kong heroic bloodshed, the combination and stylistic choices have proven to be wildly influential since its release. 

 

Mid-tier action films, where this style lives, has been mostly relegated to streaming services and Netflix, in all of its domineering power, has delivered one of the best post-John Wick flicks. Kate rampages about in rapid-fire pacing, gorging on the Black Rain influenced style of a neon-soaked Tokyo night and immersing a classic yakuza war story with brash modern characters and enough action sequences to make John Woo jealous. Kate is a film built on the shoulders of giants, but it’s incredibly well-executed style, action, and pacing make it one of the best bullet-riddled pieces of genre cinema of 2021. 

 

Friday, September 10, 2021

Don't Breathe 2 (2021)


Director: Rodo Sayagues 

Notable Cast: Stephen Lang, Madelyn Grace, Brendan Sexton III, Stephanie Arcila, Rocci Williams, Bobby Schofield, Adam Young, Fiona O’Shaughnessy, Steffan Rhodri

 

Ten times out of ten, I’m the kind of person that will defend a franchise. There’s a reason that Blood Brothers is the mothership of the No Franchise Fatigue Movie Podcast and I’m one of the co-hosts of it. I am not the one to ever say that a sequel (or any other additional entry to a franchise) ruins the original. No one says Halloween (1978) is a worse film for the fact that Halloween 6 exists. With that being said, boy howdy, do I find Don’t Breathe 2 to be a wholly perplexing sequel that takes bold (and confusing) swings with its premise and rarely connects despite some solid execution on a visual and atmospheric standpoint. Don’t Breathe 2 is tonally more exploitative than its predecessor and yet the film feels the need to over-explain itself. 

 

Monday, September 6, 2021

Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings (2021)


Director: Destin Daniel Cretton

Notable Cast: Simu Liu, Tony Leung, Awkwafina, Meng’er Zhang, Fala Chen, Michelle Yeoh, Yuen Wah, Florian Munteanu, Andy Le

 

As a fan of martial arts cinema since I was, oh I don’t know, born, the recent obsession with the genre has been a roller coaster ride for me. A large part of me never expected that Hollywood or the American TV market would embrace the genre as it has in the last half of a decade. Whether it is shows like Warrior and the reimagined Kung Fu or Hollywood blockbusters like Snake Eyes and Raya and the Last Dragon, this latest boom is a welcome change of pace and to see mainstream audiences cheer for and consume one of my favorite and oft-maligned styles of filmmaking couldn’t make me happier. 

 

It’s not that cinematic martial arts on the screen doesn’t go in waves, it does. Anyone old enough to remember will note that it usually pops up every 20 years or so, with the last pop coming in the late 90s and early 00s with the arrival of Jackie Chan, Jet Li, and The Matrix (fight choreographer Yuen Woo Ping) in Hollywood. What makes this latest boom so fascinating is the arrival of the latest Marvel film, their 25th of the MCU if I’m counting properly, Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings

 

Not only is Shang-Chi a film that attempts to bring the newest kung fu craze to the world’s biggest franchise, but it’s one that sincerely wants to adapt - and sell, this is Disney after all - Chinese martial arts, culture, and their cinematic history to a wider western audience. It’s a film that often tries to rectify so many of the mistakes made by the original Shang-Chi comic, a cringe-worthy series at best, and thrust its audience into a mystical world of Chinese lore (made up or adapting popular elements) while retaining that now formulaic Marvel brand. The combination is thrilling, fun, dynamic, and most importantly heartfelt. I might be biased thanks to my love of kung fu cinema, but this is easily the best Marvel film to date. 

 

Sunday, September 5, 2021

Death Screams (1982)


Director: David Nelson

Notable Cast: Susan Kiger, Martin Tucker, William T. Hicks, Jennifer Chase, Jody Kay, Andrea Savio, Helene Tryon, Hanns Manship, Larry Sprinkle

 

As the boutique label wars continue to happen within the realms of genre cinema, more and more fans clamor for the next “long lost classic” from the slasher genre. Whether it’s Vinegar Syndrome, Severin, 88 Films, or Arrow Video, the labels are all happy to dig into the deep, dark caverns of horror to unearth what could possibly be the next classic. These forgotten films occasionally do reach that echelon, but more often than not, it’s a stretch. Don’t misunderstand me, I’m happy these labels are rescuing films from oblivion, but after watching Death Screams last night - just know that it can be a chore to get through some of them. 

 

Arrow Video’s track record has usually been fantastic in finding those lost classics. They’ve unleashed The Mutilator and Blood Rage. As of late, the label has been scraping some questionable pieces of cinema though and a handful of their latest stuff (sans The Slayer which is a film that I weirdly liked when no one else did) and Death Screams can be added to that list. Although this 1982 slasher has its moments, it’s a relatively meandering slog to work through and the overall story and characters are undercooked in a way that’s not nearly as fun as it might have been with more gimmicks or charisma. 

 

Thursday, September 2, 2021

The Snake Girl and the Silver-Haired Witch (1968)



Director: Noriaki Yuasa

Notable Cast: Yachie Matsui, Mayumi Takahashi, Sei Hiraizumi, Yuko Hamada, Yoshiro Kitahara

 

With most of his career dedicated to shepherding the Gamera franchise throughout its original run in the 1960s, 70s, and (unfortunately) 80s, it was a pleasant surprise that Arrow Video grabbed one of the few ‘other’ films that Noriaki Yuasa directed. Released the same year as Gamera Vs Viras (see my review for that film HERE), The Snake Girl and the Silver-Haired Witch is one of his best efforts. 

 

For a film that regularly feeds off of the same child-focused themes that he embedded throughout the Gamera franchise, he utilizes a fantastical horror story to sell thematic morals and he does so with an admirably odd and offbeat manner. There’s a child-like whimsy to much of its approach, but the balance of its silliness, creepiness, and heartfelt moments make it a refreshing watch that feels far more impassioned than his later Gamera entries. 

 

Wednesday, September 1, 2021

Candyman (2021)


Director: Nia DaCosta

Notable Cast: Yahya Abdul-Mateen II, Teyonah Parris, Nathan Stewart-Jarrett, Colman Domingo, Kyle Kaminsky, Vanessa Williams, Brian King, Miriam Moss, Rebecca Spence 

 

The original Candyman was a seminal part of my childhood and my growth as a horror fan. It was a staple of our weekly video store rentals as a family and watching it as an 8-year-old certainly elevated my love of horror. It’s a film that makes it into my rotation on a yearly basis and one that I still uphold as one of the iconic horror films to push the genre forward, particularly in 1992. The first set of sequels, however, sincerely fail to recapture so much of the original’s brilliance, although each one certainly tries to embed their stories with their own take on social commentary. They just lose a substantial amount of the themes and storytelling as they move further into generic slasher territory. 

 

The latest sequel, Candyman, following the titling scheme of the 2018 Halloween sequel, ignores Candyman 2 and 3 (Farewell to the Flesh and Day of the Dead respectively) to go back to what made the original one such an iconic horror film. The film is intentionally engrossed with taking the Candyman lore, expanding it, and deepening its engagement with the racial and social commentaries from the original and pushing them into a new century. It’s also a film that doubles down on the horror elements, moving further from the inherent sadness and gothic romance of its predecessor, and kicking the supernatural slasher elements to the forefront. The combination proves impressively buzzworthy, carrying quite the sting, and providing an instant classic that brings the mythological ghostly legend to the modern age. 

 

Tuesday, August 31, 2021

The Green Knight (2021)


Director: David Lowery

Notable Cast: Dev Patel, Alicia Vikander, Joel Edgerton, Sarita Choudhury, Sean Harris, Kate Dickie, Barry Keoghan, Erin Kellyman, Ralph Ineson

 

It ain’t easy being green. Although that phrase comes from a far different period of time and from a much different world of entertainment, the phrase seems fitting when looking down at the CinemaScore and Rotten Tomatoes audience reactions to The Green Knight. It’s a film that was relatively well-received by critics (and if you’re tempted to look down - you’ll see my own very favorable score for this one) and yet reads divisive among audiences. The appreciation for its bold visuals rings true across the board, but the rest… well, the rest of The Green Knight is up for debate. 

 

This is not an unusual place to be for film studio A24 or director David Lowery. Both have had their fair share of critical acclaim and audience push back through their careers. Having Lowery jump on board the A24 train is a natural progression, but it’s the choice of subject matter with The Green Knight that is most surprising. An artistic fresh and bold take on the classic Arthurian legend and poem, The Green Knight is both a heightened and abrasively artsy assault on its viewer, but it’s also a slow burn and grounded version of it that focuses on realistic character emotions. It’s not easy being green and balancing those two often very different approaches in one film, but The Green Knight smoothly accomplishes the task with striking effectiveness. 

 

Sunday, August 29, 2021

The Fatal Raid (2019/2021)


Director: Jacky Lee

Notable Cast: Jade Leung, Patrick Tam, Kristy Yang, Andrew Yuen, Jeana Ho, Lin Min-Chen, Michael Tong, Elaine Tang, Rosanne Lui, Sharon Luk

 

Nostalgia in cinema is not new. The 30-year window, where films will often look back 30 years into the past for period settings or cultural touchstones for current art, is real and relevant to most any time frame. Anyone that has been partaking in the sheer amount of late 80s and now 90s focused genre cinema in the last five years can attest to its power. The latest trailer for the upcoming Ghostbusters film uses it in all of the worst ways possible, but I digress. I’m already off track and I’m only four sentences into this piece.

 

This phenomenon is not just an American trend either. The Fatal Raid, a love letter to the 1980s ‘girls with guns’ subgenre of Hong Kong action cinema, reeks of a desperation to recapture the fun and flippancy of the genre with a modern sense of style and look. It’s a film with tongue often planted firmly in cheek, particularly with some of the secondary plot lines, that wavers in tone and effectiveness. However, for those looking for a fun and silly way to burn 90 minutes, The Fatal Raid is hardly a fatal choice. It’s just not the best one, even for the genre, but with the right mindset it suffices.

 

Thursday, August 26, 2021

Reminiscence (2021)

 

Director: Lisa Joy

Notable Cast: Hugh Jackman, Rebecca Ferguson, Thandiwe Newton, Daniel Wu, Cliff Curtis, Angela Sarafyan, Natalie Martinez

 

I've said it before and I'll say it again, I'm a sucker for strange and off-beat projects that attempt to do a lot of things. If they have an A-budget and attempt to slam multiple genres together, then even better. A-budget B-movies are my favorite and I refuse to just write them off even if they miss the mark.

 

Reminiscence is exactly that kind of movie. Big cash on the screen, strange combinations of genre work, and a film that regularly punts logic to the curb for the sake of embracing an oddity or two. Even with its many, many flaws, I found myself quite enjoying the weird of it all. 

 

Sunday, August 22, 2021

Rising Shaolin: The Protector (2021)


Director: Stanley Tong

Notable Cast: Wang Baoqiang, Ni Da Hong, Du Gui-Yu, Solange Maggie, Ng Man-Tat, Yu Hai

 

When the initial teaser dropped for Rising Shaolin: The Protector, a film that definitely doesn’t need such an unnecessary subtitle, the hype became overwhelming in my soul. As a massive fan of the Jet Li Shaolin Temple series, seeing a modern action icon like Wang Baoqiang pull off the series of Shaolin kung fu forms in various seasonal weather was all that I needed to justify seeing this film. 

 

Granted, that hype was tempered by the phrase “directed by Stanley Tong.” Just the thought that a Stanley Tong film would be a red flag appalled the 15-year-old version of me in my heart. His early work on Super Cop 3 and Rumble in the Bronx helped guide me into Hong Kong cinema, but his recent work - the inept lunacy of Vanguard and Kung Fu Yoga - is incredibly disappointing. Even with a passion project like Rising Shaolin, it was hard not to have traumatic flashbacks to his recent films.