Here at The Nerds Templar, we get a lot of movies sent our way to watch. Some are new, some are older. We get Blu-rays, DVDs, online screeners and everything in between. Sometimes we just don’t have time to write a 1000 words about every movie. Sometimes the movie doesn’t deserve a 1000 words. We do like to discuss the movie though and in those situations we do articles like this, Review Round-up. This article will include some movies that came out this week, but I got them after their release date and some older releases including lots of horror. I’ll start with the new releases.
Bluebeard hits Blu-ray/DVD this week from Well Go USA and it’s yet another solid drama out of Korea. A doctor hears a patient talking about a murder while under sedation. He starts looking around his neighborhood including a butcher shop. The doctor is new to the area and the neighborhood was once known for a series of serial killings. The doctor finds himself involved and tries to find a way out. This film reminded me a lot of the Chinese film The Great Hypnotist. As the story unfolds, the doctor may not be who he seems and the events he is looking into may have more to them than he thinks. I don’t want to hint at more because it has a fantastic twist in it. Or maybe it doesn’t as you watch all the way through. It’s well made, well acted and really smart and is just the latest Korean film I’ve completely enjoyed. If you are a fan of Asian dramas, especially the past few years, check this one out. I liked it a lot and even at close to 2 hours long, it didn’t feel slow at all.
Bull Season 1 also hit DVD this week. It shouldn’t be surprising that this was a hit for CBS. Michael Weatherly is a good TV actor and according to my mom, NCIS isn’t the same without him. The show is a mix of courtroom drama, medical drama and crime show. Weatherly plays Dr. Jason Bull and with his team use psychology, human intuition and high-tech data to get the right jurors and trials to make sure justice is served. When it come to CBS shows I use my parents as judges. They are both older and are the target audiences for these shows. My mom liked this a lot. She watched it every week and found Weatherly engaging and charming. To me it’s like a mix of House and C.S.I. which isn’t a bad combo. I expect this to run for multiple years.
Now for some films that have been out for a while. Jumanji The Complete Animated Series found its way on DVD for the first time. With a remake of the Robin Williams film coming out soon, it made sense to get the cartoon out ahead of the game. I remember seeing it as a kid and it was kind of fun watching it now. It doesn’t completely hold up, but it’s still quirky and odd. It’s a nice collection at a great price from Mill Creek. All 3 seasons, all 40 episodes come in one collection. It reminded me a lot of The Wild Thornberrys in terms of look and story. It starts out the same as the film with a brother and sister finding the Jumanji game and being transported to another land where they meet an older man who has been trapped there for years. I think fans will love this new collection. I’m surprised it hasn’t been released before and I can see it being picked up often.
Also from Mill Creek comes The Poseidon Adventure. This is the 2005 version that stars Adam Baldwin, Rutger Hauer, Peter Weller, and Steve Guttenberg. It’s almost 3 hours long and won’t be confused with the original or even the remake with Kurt Russell. This revolves around a terrorist act that capsizes the boat. You have a priest, a homeland security agent and others trying to survive. It’s not great, but I do have a soft spot for disaster films plus I like the cast a lot. If you remember this from TV, it’s worth a re-watch.
Now for a slew of horror releases. I’ll start with the best one, Alien vs Zombies. Hands down this gets a ton of credit for originality. It’s clearly a B-movie, but I’ve been talking about it since watching it. An alien visits Earth during his spring break, but lands during a zombie apocalypse. He expects Jersey Shore type fun, but instead finds humans in hiding and zombies walking around. He meets a young girl and decides he can use his powers to figure out what caused the zombie outbreak and help fix the planet he loved from afar. The lead actor is really good. He looks like an extra from a Social Distortion video and has a coolness and swagger to him. What is surprisingly good are the special effects. For a low-budget film the effects on the time worm/time travel scenes are really cool. There’s some spotty CGI with the alien invasion part, but overall I was impressed with what they did. A really good B-movie that wins a ton of originality points.
Next is Tsunambee. Overall I liked it even if the side stories bugged me (pun intended). It wants to be like a SyFy flick and I can respect that. It has the look and effects of one and I’m fine with that. I like those types of movies. Killer bees send Los Angeles into chaos and survivors have to band together to survive. That overall story is fine. We’ve seen it before, but I’m cool with it. My issue is the substories. One group of survivors are stereotypical black characters who don’t trust the police or pretty much white people. It shows why the one doesn’t and it just feels like a tacked on subplot that is popular today. These are B-movies with bad effects, I don’t want social awareness in them. If you got rid of that part, I would have liked this a lot. It still gets recommended if you are into animal/bug B-movies.
Getting a lot of credit for originality as well is American Mummy. Most mummy movies come from Egypt or the Middle East. This is actually about Native American beliefs. It’s not groundbreaking or anything, but it’s a fun watch. It gives me just enough in terms of what I want/expect from a movie like this. There’s nudity, blood, gore and some good kills. None of the actors will ever win awards, but I don’t expect that here either. The deaths are fun and there are some surprisingly good practical effects. I didn’t expect this one to be good, but I was pleasantly surprised.
Now we get into the ones I didn’t particularly enjoy. If you read me enough you know I hate found footage movies. The following two movies did nothing for me because of it. Wolf House would have been great if it wasn’t found footage. The story is there. The effects are definitely there. The creepiness is there. Why did it have to be found footage? It’s a crappy gimmick that ruined this film. If it was a straight forward narrative about friends going to a house seeing a weird creature and then creatures and creepy people start slaughtering them I would have loved it. Instead I get shaky cam, odd angled shots that I’ve hated ever since Blair Witch. It’s not found footage. It’s not video camera/cell phone camera video that was discovered. Nobody died. It’s all actors and nothing really happened. Ugh.
I feel the same way for Creature Lake. The effects at the end were cool and the story could have worked, but again, it relied on the gimmick that is found footage. Stop me if you’ve heard this before, a group of friends go to a lake/camp/woods for some fun. One friend wants to record everything for some reason. Then some weird stuff happens and they all end up dead, but the footage is found years later. It’s yet another unoriginal found footage film that is hurt because of the gimmick. Ok maybe the actors in it aren’t good in the first place, but the effects of the creature at the end was pretty good. There is some nudity and some gore, but it’s yet another film I lost interest in pretty quickly because of the shaky cam/fake documentary type style. It’s not real, they are all actors, they are always actors. Ugh again.
Last we have The Amityville Exorcism. I’m actually surprised I didn’t like this one. I tend to like Polonia films, but I think the main actress hurt it. It’s your standard low-budget indie horror exorcism, but that’s not my issue. My issue is the actress. She looks way older than what she’s supposed to be and she’s just not good. All her scenes were painful to watch unfortunately. I like Polonia films and their normal gang of actors (Polonia staple Jeff Kirkendall plays the priest), but her performance bugged me and made me lose interest. I did like the new spin on the Amityville story, possessed wood from the original house spread the evil to newer homes, I just wished someone else was in it.