Movie Review: THE BOY NEXT DOOR

THE BOY NEXT DOOR movie poster | ©2015 Universal Pictures

Back in the day, there were a lot more “woman in jeopardy” medium-budget thrillers and far fewer people questioned their underlying messages (unless the movies were made by someone like Alfred Hitchcock, in which case they were generally considered to be in some other genre). In 2015, though, when Jennifer Lopez stars in THE BOY NEXT DOOR, it’s hard not to have questions about exactly what’s being said here, especially when an end tag informs us that the story is based on real events. Lopez plays high school English teacher Claire Peterson, separated from her husband Garrett (John Corbett) for …Read On »

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TV Review: GOTHAM – Season 1 – “What the Little Bird Told Him”

James Gordon (Ben McKenzie) fights Jack Gruber in GOTHAM | © 2015 Jessica Miglio/FOX

Cast: Ben McKenzie, Donal Logue, Jada Pinkett Smith, Robin Lord Taylor, David Mazouz, Camren Bicondova, Erin Richards, Sean Pertwee, Morena Baccarin, John Dorman, Cory Michael Smith, David Zayas Writer: Ben Edlund Network: Airs on Fox, Mondays @ 9 p.m. Original Telecast: Jan. 19, 2015 Everything came together in the mobster mythology arc on GOTHAM in “What the Little Bird Told Him.” It was a culmination of all of the episodes we have seen so far concerning Fish (Jada Pinkett Smith), Penguin (Robin Lord Taylor) and Falcone (John Doman). The mobster mythology has carried throughout the entire first season so far …Read On »

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TV Review: GOTHAM – Season 1 – “Rogues Gallery”

James Gordon (Ben McKenzie) after his demotion begins his tenure at Arkham Asylum in GOTHAM "Rogues' Gallery" | © 2015 Jessica Miglio/FOX

Cast: Ben McKenzie, Donal Logue, Jada Pinkett Smith, Robin Lord Taylor, David Mazouz, Camren Bicondova, Erin Richards, Sean Pertwee, Morena Baccarin, John Dorman, Cory Michael Smith, David Zayas Writer: Sue Chung Director: Oz Scott Network: Airs on Fox, Mondays @ 9 p.m. Original Telecast: Jan. 5, 2015 I have finally caught up on GOTHAM and it’s safe to say at this point that this show is one of the best new shows on television this season, as I predicted early last year. Not only does the show do a great job of balancing the “bad guy of the week” with …Read On »

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CD Review: ANGRY VIDEO GAME NERD: THE MOVIE soundtrack

ANGRY VIDEO GAME NERD: THE MOVIE soundtrack | ©2014 Sparks & Shadows

Film scores are going through an 8-bit revolution with the likes of Nigel Gordich’s SCOTT PILGRIM VS. THE WORLD and Henry Jackman’s WRECK-IT RALPH. But arguably non of these retro scores have the insane fanboy enthusiasm that Bear McCreary beings to a two-hour feature version of a game geek blog done good. Done with the same, blasting out of your parents’ basement energy of his epic metal-orchestral score for the RPG’er’s versus real monster score to KNIGHTS OF BADASSDOM, McCreary plays this unlikely hero’s odyssey of uncovering the equally deadly E.T. game from an Arizona landfill with the same level …Read On »

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Movie Review: THE WOMAN IN BLACK 2: ANGEL OF DEATH

THE WOMAN IN BLACK 2 poster | ©2014 Relativity/Hammer

Stars: Phoebe Fox, Helen McCrory, Oaklee Pendergast, Jeremy Irvine, Leanne Best Writer: Jon Croker based on a story by Susan Hill Director: Tom Harper Distributor: Relativity / Hammer Films Original Release Date: January 2, 2015 One of the better haunted house films in the last ten years was 2012’s THE WOMAN IN BLACK – an eerie period film that was produced by the newly rejuvenated British film company Hammer. Harry Potter himself, Daniel Radcliffe, starred in that film which was a great, old school British horror movie with just the right amount of scares and a truly great film ghost …Read On »

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CD Review: BATES MOTEL and PENNY DREADFUL soundtracks

PENNY DREADFUL soundtrack | ©2014 Varese Sarabande Records

Two cable hits have been busy re-inventing everyone’s favorite Mama’s boy and band of Edwardian monster hunters. But leave it to Chris Bacon and Abel Korzeniowski to make these often horrific exploits go down with orchestral elegance. For Bacon, it’s realizing that melodic empathy is the room key to loving Norman Bates as much as his mom, tenderness that suffuses his often beautiful, lush score to BATES MOTEL. Yet the spirit of Bernard Herrmann certainly inhabits this abode, not in stormily gothic (or stabbing) violins, but in BATES‘ long, drifting string lines and sympathetic piano. While there’s effectively uptempo percussion, …Read On »

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CD Review: THUNDERBIRDS ARE GO and THUNDERBIRD 6 soundtrack

THUNDERBIRDS ARE GO and THUNDERBIRD 6 soundtrack | ©2014 La La Land Records

Gerry and Sylvia Anderson’s marionette-centric genre shows like JOE 90 and SUPERCAR might have seemed like charmingly ingenious kids’ stuff in other people’s wire-holding hands. Yet it was the couples’ joyful, uncondescending commitment to their literally wooden characters, and ingeniously designed models that made them truly come to flesh and blood life, especially by filling them with the robustly symphonic scores of Barry Gray. Their imaginations truly took off to become the toast of England, and the TV-watching world with their series THE THUNDERBIRDS, which had the Tracy family and their International Rescue roster of rocketships coming to the near-future’s …Read On »

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Blu-ray Review: DOLLS Collector’s Edition

DOLLS Collector's Edition Blu-ray | ©2014 Shout! Factory

Stars: Ian Patrick Williams, Carolyn Purdy-Gordon, Carrie Lorraine, Guy Rolfe, Hilary Mason, Bunty Bailey, Cassie Stuart, Stephen Lee Writer: Ed Naha Director: Stuart Gordon Distributor: Shout! Factory Suggested Retail Price: $29.93 When RE-ANIMATOR hit theaters in 1985, it was one of those debut feature films that couldn’t be ignored. Director Stuart Gordon and occasional producing partner Brian Yuzna delivered an H.P. Lovecraft adaptation that has become legendary. A wild gory and memorable ride filled with imagination, perversion and a breakout performance by Jeffrey Combs as Dr. Herbert West. With over-the-top gore that was so extreme the film couldn’t even garner …Read On »

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The Year in Review: The Best Scores of 2014 – The Runner Ups and Composers To Watch

THE BEST SCORES OF 2014 – The Runner Up’s and Composers To Watch BIG BAD WOLVES  (Frank Ilfman / Movie Score Media) Stop me if you’ve heard the same cinematic tune about a perceived miscreant tied into a chair for all manner of mental, and physical torture to be performed upon him. Thankfully, the Israeli breakout film BIG BAD WOLVES whistles the genre song with smashing black-humored suspense, as captured with a thunderous score by Frank Ilfman, who twists a thrillingly mean symphonic knife as he relentlessly veers between frantic action and sly, Herrmann-esque strings as a set-up for ironic, …Read On »

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CD Review: BLOW OUT soundtrack

BLOW OUT soundtrack | ©2014 Intrada Records

After CARRIE and DRESSED TO KILL, DePalma and Donaggio were at the top of their ersatz Hitchcock-Herrmann game when they took a nihilistic detour into the paranoia-conspiracy territory that fueled such similarly bleak classics as THE PARALLAX VIEW and THE CONVERSATION. But while there was nothing remotely “meta” about those movies’ dark approach, the thrill of any collaboration between this director and composer was in seeing, and hearing just how close their homages could get to the originals and survive, while still being dazzlingly stylish in their own right. On that count, BLOW OUT is a terrific example of being …Read On »

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