Wednesday, January 27, 2021

Psycho Goreman (2020)

Directed by Steven Kostanski

Notable cast Nita-Josee Hanna, Owen Myre, Matthew Ninaber, Adam Brooks


The Japanese tokusatsu genre has existed in some form or another for the better part of 75 years. Birthed out of films like Godzilla, they refer mostly to a style of special effects and codified in characters with international (if a bit niche) appeal like Jet Jaguar and Ultraman. The genre exploded with worldwide (emphasis on wide) popularity when producer Hiram Saban took the superhero series Super Sentai and inserted new western-shot footage in the non-costumed scenes and rebranded it Mighty Morphin Power Rangers. It’s nearly impossible to overstate the effect of this series on a specific generation of children born in the 80s and 90s with its ludicrous, over the top acting, silly but elaborate monster costumes, and bombastic, pyrotechnic filled fights. This is the energy that Steven Kostanski wants to capture with Psycho Goreman. A thoroughly hard “R” sci-fi/horror comedy, this movie hits on every cylinder it’s trying to with style, humor and panache to spare.


Monday, January 25, 2021

Synchronic (2020)

Directors: Justin Benson, Aaron Moorhead

Notable Cast: Anthony Mackie, Jamie Dornan, Katie Aselton, Ally Ioannides, Ramiz Monsef


Benson and Moorhead have certainly made their mark on genre cinema in the last ten years. Multiple films that bridged fantasy, horror, and science fiction with thoughtful drama, humor, and artfulness have all been met with critical and audience praise. Their approach to high brow angles on classic B-grade concepts makes for provocative and impressive filmmaking and their latest, Synchronic, only solidifies the pattern of their abilities as directors and writers. Dark, heartfelt, and character-driven, the science fiction thrills of the film inspires thought as much as it entertains. It’s an especially effective balance and the combination of skills provides a film that is lifted above what might have been a lost plot in less talented hands. Synchronic is anything but lost in time. It’s timely and timeless.


Wednesday, January 20, 2021

Southland Tales (2006)

Director: Richard Kelly

Notable Cast: Dwayne Johnson, Seann William Scott, Sarah Michelle Gellar, Justin Timberlake, Mandy Moore, Miranda Richardson, Wallace Shawn, Nora Dunn, John Larroquette, Jon Lovitz, Janeane Garofalo, Will Sasso, Zelda Rubinstein


When Donnie Darko miraculously found its audience on home video after an abysmal initial release, it put director and writer Richard Kelly on the map. His street cred skyrocketed as a bold voice in early 00s cinema and producers seemed incredibly willing to give him a blank check for his next film, Southland Tales. Even with its relatively low budget of $17 million budget, the film found disaster in the box office and in the reviews from critics and audiences. It was quickly relegated to the cinematic consciousness as a bold and utter failure and has been relatively buried despite its small but dedicated cult fanbase. 


Sunday, January 17, 2021

The Marksman (2021)

Director: Robert Lorenz

Notable Cast: Liam Neeson, Jacob Perez, Juan Pablo Raba, Katheryn Winnick


Let’s be honest here, Blood Brothers has certainly enjoyed the Liam Neeson action thriller boom post Taken. Whether it’s the stylish run with director Collet-Serra or his strange penchant for awesome snowbound films, The Grey and Cold Pursuit in particular, his choices as a leading actor lately have been fun even if predictable and formulaic. This is perhaps the reason that The Marksman seems a little off the mark. After finding huge box office success with 2020’s Honest Thief, a film that is quite charming in how it leans into Neeson’s strengths, The Marksman is a substantial regression. It’s an antiquated style of film that feels more concerned with satiating its audience demographic than telling a well-rounded story. The Marksman is a Cannon film without the fun and entertainment and it’s incredibly problematic.


Friday, January 15, 2021

Joint Security Area (2000)

Director: Park Chan-wook

Notable Cast: Lee Yeong-ae, Lee Byung-hun, Song Kang-ho, Kim Tae-woo, Shin Ha-kyun, Herbert Ulrich, Christoph Hofrichter


Park Chan-wook has become synonymous with the bright streak of artistic talent coming out of South Korea since the mid-90s. Even though Bong Joon-ho is the one that might be a more household name since he swept his Oscars last year, it was Park Chan-wook that was previously the name to know when it came bold cinema from the market. What makes the director’s career so interesting is that he has increasingly moved further from the mainstream with his films, despite attempts to break out in the international market with English language films like Stoker. And while his third film, Joint Security Area, might be one of his most mainstream ones, it’s a flick that doesn’t shy away from the style and themes that made Park Chan-wook such an iconic artist. With its most recent Blu Ray release, it was only the perfect time to revisit the dark military thriller to see if the film holds up.


Saturday, January 9, 2021

Castle Freak (2020)

Directed by: Tate Steinsiek

Notable cast: Clair Catherine, Kika Magalhães, Jake Horowitz. Genti Kame


*Editor's Note: Blood Brothers and its writers do not condone nor support the atocities that Cinestate allowed and promoted under their banner in the treatment of their staff. Their predatory actions are disturbing. We asked the author of this article to review the film on its own merits to fulfill requests we had from readers to cover this film. However, this film is produced by Cinestate and all of our readers should be aware of their actions. Here is a link to the original article from The Daily Beast concerning this issue: THE DAILY BEAST CINESTATE ARTICLE.  Thank you. 

There are few names in horror that stand as tall as Stuart Gordon. Even if you don’t know his name, his unimpeachable legacy, including most famously Re-Animator, left a mark on the genre I hold so dearly as one of the few who successfully managed to film any adaptation of HP Lovecraft’s work, much less to any acclaim critically or by the masses. One of his most oddball films, which he infamously took on after seeing a concept poster in the Full Moon offices and was loosely inspired by the Lovecraft story The Outsider - deep emphasis on “loosely,” and the infamous edict by producer Charles Band that it contains “a castle, a freak, and a low budget.” Released to little fanfare, and being a controversial at best cult classic, Castle Freak in many ways is exactly the kind of film that is ripe for a remake. And remade it has been.


Friday, January 8, 2021

Horrible Imaginings Film Festival: Smiley Face Killers (2020)

Directed by: Tim Hunter

Notable cast: Ronen Rubinstein, Mia Serafino, Amadeus Serafini, Crispin Glover


From the nineties through the early aughts there were a series of drownings of young men throughout the Midwest, and upon noticing a pattern of smiley face graffiti accompanying these tragic deaths, a few law enforcement experts, including two detectives, put forward a theory that these were serial murders. This has been shot down and ridiculed by the crime-fighting community writ large, but the basic idea of this inspired this thriller from director Tim Hunter and the mind of writer Bret Easton Ellis (Less Than Zero, American Psycho). If you’re familiar with Ellis’ work, broadly, a good portion of this movie feels very in line with his vision of the world. Young, upper-middle-class men and their many social struggles. His characters are, almost by definition, hard to relate to, which makes for a tough sell in what is ostensibly a slasher movie or, at the very least, a film styled as one.


Wednesday, January 6, 2021

No Franchise Fatigue Podcast: Ring in the New Year! (January 2021) [Ring Franchise Part III]

Hear Matt and Sean defend a film with a 7% Rotten Tomatoes score! Cower beneath the exploding hair of a spin-off! And then listen to them... wait, is that a magic well in Matt's backyard? Matt and Sean spent New Years watching cursed video tapes, and now, almost seven days later, it's time to discuss the final four Ring movies (for now) in what Matt lovingly calls “The Sadako Phase." Let's 'Ring in the New Year' with our third episode capping off the well of Sadako films. 

Max Cloud (2020)

Director: Martin Owen

Notable Cast: Scott Adkins, Franz Drameh, John Hannah, Lashana Lynch, Elliot James Langridge, Isabelle Allen, Sally Collett, Sam Hazeldine, Tommy Flanagan, Jason Maza, Andi Osho

Also known as: The Intergalactic Adventures of Max Cloud


It only makes sense that there would be a boom of video game movies in the aftermath of two very successful Jumanji sequels. Of course, by ‘video game movies,’ I mean movies that inherently involve deconstructing video game tropes and are not directly based on video game IP. And by that, I mean films that feel more like Jumanji 2 and 3, but aren’t Gamer, an underrated gem of a film that deserves a bit more credit, but I digress. This is where Max Cloud presses starts and joins the fray. In essence, this little can do low-budget film takes the same basic idea as the last couple of Jumanji films and then gives it a decidedly fun intergalactic beat-em-up spin. Quite frankly, if it wasn’t for the Scott Adkins casting, I’m not sure this would have made my list to watch. Yet the pleasant surprise of the film being a delightfully entertaining experience was a bonus and for those looking for a fun way to burn 90 minutes, look no further than Max Cloud and his rowdy band of intergalactic ass-kickers.


Tuesday, January 5, 2021

He Came from the Swamp: The William Grefe Collection - The Naked Zoo (1970) and Mako: Jaws of Death (1976)

Although I don’t claim to be a particular fan of the microbudget horror, fantasy, and science fiction films of this era – as I am most certainly reminded regularly from my reviews on Herschell Gordon Lewis’ films here on the site, part of me was excited to dig into this latest box set dedicated to the strange works of director William Grefe. All of these films were new to me and each disc of the set will be covered in a series of articles here on the site – which reviews the films on each disc. So, hop in your swamp boat with me, buckle in, and let’s take a dive into the works of Grefe in this gorgeous new release from Arrow Video, He Came from the Swamp: The William Grefe Collection!

Here is disc three: The Naked Zoo and Mako: Jaws of Death.