6.28.2016

Midnight Confessions Ep. 96: "June/July Giallo Part 2 of 3"


This week the MC Crew take another look at two classic, albeit sleazy gialli flicks; STRIP NUDE FOR YOUR KILLER (1975) and THE SISTER OF URSULA (1978). Plus music by: Iggy Pop, Adam Ant, Prince and Dio.











 




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6.23.2016

[When Wrestlers Act] Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Out of the Shadows (2016)

DIRECTED BY
Dave Green

STARRING
Megan Fox - April O’Neil
Stephen Amell - Casey Jones
Pete Ploszek - Leonardo
Alan Ritchson - Raphael
Noel Fisher - Michelangelo
Jeremy Howard - Donatello
Will Arnett - Vern Fenwick
Brian Tee - Oroku Saki/ The Shredder
Tyler Perry - Dr. Baxter Stockman
Stephen “Sheamus” Farrelly - Rocksteady
Gary Anthony Williams - Bebop
Tony Shalhoub - Splinter (voice)
Brad Garrett - Krang (voice)
Laura Linney - Police Chief Rebecca Vincent

Genre - Action/Adventure/Fantasy/Science Fiction/Comedy/Comic Books

Running Time - 112 Minutes


PLOT
A year has passed since the Ninja Turtles saved New York City from the evil Shredder (Brian Tee) and the Foot Clan. Although the Turtles would love to live amongst the public, they know humans will fear them - allowing April O’Neil’s (Megan Fox) cameraman Vern Fenwick (Will Arnett) take the credit and making him a citywide hero. As they continue to wait in the shadows in case more people need saving, April lets them in on the fact that the Foot Clan is planning on breaking out Shredder from prison with the help of scientist Baxter Stockman (Tyler Perry). Even though the Turtles try to stop the escape, they’re shocked to see that Shredder has managed to teleport himself out of danger. This teleportation leads Shredder to Dimension X, where he meets Krang (Brad Garrett) - a slimy alien who wants to rebuild the Technodrome and conquer Earth with the help of Shredder. Shredder has also come across a canister of ooze - the same ooze that turned the Turtles into the humanoids that they’re now become - using it to turn Bebop (Gary Anthony Williams) into a giant warthog and Rocksteady (Sheamus) into a giant rhinoceros. Joined by suspended corrections officer, now vigilante, Casey Jones (Stephen Amell), the Turtles and April plan on stopping Shredder and Krang from achieving their devious goals.


REVIEW
  • TEENAGE MUTANT NINJA TURTLES: OUT OF THE SHADOWS was a film that left me feeling nostalgic since it resembled the late-1980s original cartoon with its childlike charm, silly action, and an abundance of characters who have finally made their cinematic debuts after five cinematic adaptations. A much better film than the 2014 reboot, OUT OF THE SHADOWS is a sequel that gets the origin story out of the way and is allowed to be over the top and build its own legacy away from previous adaptations. I’m not saying the script is fantastic or anything, but the characters felt and acted like the characters who I remembered. And the actual premise reminded me of a few cartoon episodes where the Turtles, April, and even Casey Jones would try to stop Shredder and Krang from taking over the world. The screenplay was written for children in mind, but it didn’t feel like it was insulting older fans who would be familiar with these characters either. It was colorful and energetic - which I liked more than I really wanted to.

  • Speaking of the characters, how cool is it to finally see some of these characters in a live-action feature for once? No offense to THE SECRET OF THE OOZE’s Tokka and Rahzar, but finally getting Bebop and Rocksteady as Shredder’s dumb lackeys put a smile on my face. And they acted pretty closely to their cartoon counterparts. Same with Krang, who I wish was in the film more, but I enjoyed what was done with him. Even Shredder, who felt out of place in the previous film, was much better characterized and actually given purpose and motivation this time out. Baxter Stockman was alright, although I have a feeling he’ll get more of a substantial role in the next film. Casey Jones was a nice addition to the story, being given cool moments in the film - especially towards the end. And the Turtles were pitch perfect, with each one getting their own character moments and acting very faithful to how audiences expect them to be.

  • The direction by Dave Green was a step up from what Jonathan Liebesman did in the 2014 reboot. While still stylish and definitely a Michael Bay produced product [EXPLOSIONS!! ACTION!!], the sequel felt a bit more grounded and focused than the previous installments. Scenes flowed a lot better. The tone was more consistent. And for the most part, the visuals were slightly improved. Unlike Liebesman, it felt like Green knew exactly how he wanted to visually tell this story, as you can tell he was a fan of the original cartoon. The direction won’t win awards, but I thought Green showed some confidence behind the lens.

  • I liked the action sequences here. The Turtle Van/prison escape sequence had some cool moments, especially seeing the Turtle Van in action for once. The river sequence in Brazil matched the snow sequence in the previous film, with some nice visuals. The Krang sequence was also cool, as watching the Technodrome almost form into completion was pretty nifty. I think the film could have used more action really, but what we do get is memorable.

  • The acting is slightly improved from the previous film. All the voice actors for the Turtles are great, as they capture the personalities of each one. Megan Fox is Megan Fox. She didn’t bother me, so I guess she was okay. Will Arnett is fine as Vern. Stephen Amell was charismatic as Casey Jones, playing the role more lighthearted than Elias Koteas did in the older films. It was great seeing him not play Oliver Queen. Gary Anthony Williams and WWE wrestler Sheamus do very well as Bebop and Rocksteady. They may have played the characters a bit too dumb, but I found them both likable in their roles. Tyler Perry is extremely hammy as Baxter Stockman, and I found his performance to be a mixed bag at times. Brian Tee doesn’t really get to do much as Shredder, but he’s more suitable here than he was in the last film. And Brad Garrett was cool as Krang. Neat cast that makes the most of what they’re given.

  • Even though OUT OF THE SHADOWS is a better film than the 2014 film, it still has issues. The special effects still look odd to me. Honestly, nothing beats the practical effects of the 1990s films for me. The characters look how they’re supposed to, but I guess they feel a bit too cartoony for me. That’s the modern age of big budget films for you, I guess.

  • OUT OF THE SHADOWS also introduces too many new characters, really limiting the necessary screen time for the newer folk. Baxter doesn’t get more to do than just act like a prototype mad scientist. Bebop and Rocksteady get more to do, but miss a chunk of screen time in order to highlight other characters. Even the meeting of Shredder and Krang seems a feel too easy and too quick, as their union only seems to be at play since fans would expect the alliance. And Krang disappears for much of the film, only really having a major presence during the final act. Plus other characters, like Police Chief Rebecca Vincent only come across as idiotic, denying the presence of mutated creatures even though she sees them with her own two eyes. I’m glad to see that Platinum Dunes wants to do some great fan service to make up for their previous reboot. But cramming so much into one film only proves that less is sometimes more.

  • OUT OF THE SHADOWS is also a film that’s more style than substance. Yes, many audiences aren’t expecting something deep in a film involving the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. But the 1990 adaptation proved that you can do a Turtles film with heart and soul, while catering to all audiences in an intelligent manner. I wasn’t expecting much out of this film and I had fun with the fluff and goofiness of it all. And while it was a bit more mature than the previous film, with themes of “wanting to fit in”, I don’t think younger audiences would be turned off by more substance. Especially judging by the success of the 1990 film that lasts even until today.


THE FINAL HOWL
I know some people are hating on it, but I had fun with TEENAGE MUTANT NINJA TURTLES: OUT OF THE SHADOWS. It’s a definite improvement over the 2014 reboot, resembling the original cartoon to create a nostalgic effect for older audiences, while re-introducing younger fans with characters many of us grew up loving. Dave Green’s direction is confident. The acting is mostly solid. The action works. And while the special effects are still behind the practical effects used for the series in the 1990’s, I’m sure children will love the colorful characters. OUT OF THE SHADOWS doesn’t cater to my audience, but I still found things I got a kick of. Sue me, but I dug this for the most part. Probably my guilty pleasure of 2016 so far.


SCORE

3 Howls Outta 4







6.21.2016

Midnight Confessions Ep. 95: "June Giallo Part 1 of 3"


This episode the MC Crew take a look at THE CASE OF THE BLOODY IRIS (1972) and SEVEN BLOOD-STAINED ORCHIDS (1972) in part 1 of a two part series on giallo films. This episode features music by AC/DC, Rolling Stones, Agent Orange and The Dwarves.











 




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6.15.2016

The Conjuring 2 (2016)

DIRECTED BY
James Wan

STARRING
Vera Farmiga - Lorraine Warren
Patrick Wilson - Ed Warren
Frances O’Connor - Peggy Hodgson
Madison Wolfe - Janet Hodgson
Simon McBurney - Maurice Grosse
Franka Potente - Anita Gregory

Genre - Horror/Thriller/Supernatural/Demons/Ghosts

Running Time - 134 Minutes


PLOT
In 1976, Ed (Patrick Wilson) and Lorraine Warren (Vera Farmiga) investigate the infamous Amityville house to see if the stories are a hoax or not. While their contributions to the case turns the Warrens into celebrities, Lorraine sees a vision of Ed’s death in the house - causing Lorraine to want to give up investigating supernatural occurrences. Ed reluctantly agrees, staying home with their daughter and continuing their lecture circuit in colleges.

A year later however, the Warrens are pulled into another case they can’t seem to get themselves out of. Apparently in Enfield, England (a town in London), single mom Peggy Hodgson (Frances O’Connor) and her four children are being haunted and terrorized by the angry spirit of a 72-year-old man who died inside of their house prior to the Hodgson’s moving in. The local church won’t step in unless they have proof the claim is real, hoping the Warrens will investigate alongside researcher Maurice Grosse (Simon McBurney) and skeptic psychologist Anita Gregory (Franka Potente). Usually able to pick up on things, Lorraine is having trouble sensing anything evil in the house - which complicates matters until it’s possibly too late.


REVIEW

  • James Wan does it again, directing a horror film that actually relies on atmosphere, mood, and the occasional jump scares that should feel cheaper than they do - but they don’t, adding to the experience. Wan really uses editing, framing, and mise en scene to provide creepiness and tension throughout the film, giving us glimpses of supernatural activity without revealing all until the time is right. I especially loved the fact that Wan didn’t always use loud sound cues during the jump scares, letting them come out of surprise instead of during moments you’d expect them the most. Wan even excels at the quieter, more human moments. I loved every scene involving just the Warrens together interacting, especially the “Can’t Help Falling in Love” moment with Ed doing his best Elvis impersonation. Just a really beautiful film directed by a man who knew exactly what he was doing behind the lens. Just masterful stuff.

  • The acting in THE CONJURING 2 is wonderful. More so than in the first film. the sequel really let Patrick Wilson and Vera Farmiga shine as Ed and Lorraine Warren. One of my minor issues in the first film was that we didn’t really get enough of Wilson and Farmiga as the Warrens, as that film was more focused on the Perron family. I’m glad the couple is more in the forefront here, as Wilson and Farmiga are fantastic as this couple of paranormal investigators. Their chemistry is extremely charming, loving, and realistic. Sometimes you get horror characters that just annoy you. And then you get some that just make you wish they get an entire franchise devoted to them and their adventures. The Warrens deserve this franchise, thanks to the charming and heroic Wilson and the warm and strong-willed Farmiga. The other actors, especially Frances O’Connor and young Madison Wolfe, are great as well. Wolfe, in particular, manages to bring some creep factor as the conduit to the evil spirits inside the Enfield House. I thought everyone in this cast brought it and truly elevated an already well-written script.

  • The narrative in CONJURING 2 could have just rehashed what was done in 2013’s THE CONJURING. Yes, we get a family haunted by demonic spirits inside of a newly moved in house. Yes, a family member gets possessed. Yes, we get the Warrens investigating and believing in the situation while others remain skeptical until they see things for themselves. But I thought the story was a bit stronger, and more fun, than its predecessor. I think what I liked most about it is that this sequel felt more personal for the Warrens, as the Amityville investigation [which is a great quick opener to the film] causes them to doubt their investigations, fearing for their lives. The demonic spirit Lorraine sees at Amityville has a connection to the Enfield house, giving the Warrens more of a reason to stop it - regardless of the danger it presents. I thought Hodgson family had great interactions with each other, as well as bringing in the neighbors as comic relief characters to bring up the mood a bit when appropriate. I even loved the scenes where the Warrens are on a talk show and are called frauds due to massive skepticism, which brings out some nice character development for Ed and Lorraine. While THE CONJURING was a bit more contained, the sequel needed to be a bit broader while maintaining the essence of what had already been established. THE CONJURING 2 could have played it a bit more safe, but the script lets this sequel play with things a bit more on a grander scale. I thought it worked really well.

  • Some people had issues with the special effects. Yes, some of it does look a bit like a cartoon at times - especially towards the end. But I still dug it for the most part and thought some of the demonic spirits were pretty creepy. There are too many scenes to put down here, but I loved the painting scene [reminded me of J-horror] and a scene involved a flooded basement. The special effects don’t look like a Marvel Cinematic Universe blockbuster, but they get the job done and manage to be creepy at times.

  • If there are any issues I had with THE CONJURING 2, maybe the film was a bit too long. A horror film that’s more than 2 hours is a bit much, even though it doesn’t hurt this film all that much since there is a lot going on. I also felt the ending was a bit too clean. Yes, it had to end happily as possible, but the resolution felt way too rushed, too easy, and too cliche. I get it was set up throughout the film, but the revelation just seemed to pop up at the most convenient time.

THE FINAL HOWL
THE CONJURING 2 is exactly what I wanted this sequel to be. It has more of a focus on the Warrens, portrayed wonderfully by Patrick Wilson and Vera Farmiga. While not as creepy as the first film, it does have its moments that will make you jump every now and then. I thought the script was pretty solid and James Wan confidently directs the sequel with a lot of style for its two-hour-plus running time. Sure the ending arrived a bit too easily, the film was probably longer than it should have been, and not all the CGI works. But I had a lot of fun with THE CONJURING 2 and I’m looking forward to another one if all the major players return.



SCORE
3.5 Howls Outta 4


6.01.2016

Midnight Confessions Ep. 94: "B&W 60's Exploitation part 2 of 2: Jack Hill"


This month the MC Crew are taking a look at B&W exploitation flicks from the 60's. We're ending with two Jack Hill classics; SPIDER BABY, or THE MADDEST STORY EVER TOLD (1967) and PIT STOP (1969). Plus music by Ministry, Fantômas, Primus and Bobby Bare.











 




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5.30.2016

X-Men: Apocalypse (2016)



DIRECTED BY
Bryan Singer

STARRING
James McAvoy - Professor Charles Xavier/ Professor X
Michael Fassbender - Erik Lehnsherr/ Magneto
Jennifer Lawrence - Raven Darkholme/ Mystique
Oscar Isaac - En Sabah Nur/ Apocalypse
Nicholas Hoult - Hank McCoy/ Beast
Rose Byrne - Moira MacTaggert
Tye Sheridan - Scott Summers/ Cyclops
Sophie Turner - Jean Grey/ Phoenix
Olivia Munn - Elizabeth Braddock/ Psylocke
Lucas Till - Alex Summers/ Havok
Evan Peters - Peter Maximoff/ Quicksilver
Kodi Smit-McPhee - Kurt Wagner/ Nightcrawler
Alexandra Shipp - Ororo Munroe/ Storm
Josh Helman - William Stryker
Ben Hardy - Warren Worthingston III/ Angel/ Archangel

Genre - Action/Adventure/Science Fiction/Fantasy/Comic Books

Running Time - 144 Minutes


PLOT
Ten years have gone by since the events of DAYS OF FUTURE PAST - Professor Charles Xavier (James McAvoy) has turned the School for Gifted Youngers into a place for mutants to embrace their powers and be educated at a safe place. Mystique (Jennifer Lawrence) is now considered a mutant hero, even though she refuses to live her life that way. Magneto (Michael Fassbender) has started a new life in Poland with a wife and daughter.

While they are trying to build new lives for themselves, the resurrection of the first and one of the most powerful mutants, En Sabah Nur/ Apocalypse (Oscar Isaac), bares potential for armageddon as he wants pure world domination. He gathers his Four Horsemen - Storm (Alexandra Shipp), Psylocke (Olivia Munn), Angel (Ben Hardy), and Magneto [whose wife and daughter are murdered after his past is unfortunately revealed]. Apocalypse decides to use Xavier as a conduit to let everyone in on his plans, as well as preserve Xavier’s body for a transfer to maintain his corporal form. Now led by Mystique and Beast (Nicholas Hoult), they recruit a new set of X-Men - Cyclops (Tye Sheridan), Jean Grey (Sophie Turner), Quicksilver (Evan Peters), and Nightcrawler (Kodi Smit-McPhee) - to combat the new threat and stop the world from being turned into Apocalypse’s image.


REVIEW

HITS
  • The great cast. Many have come out since X-MEN: APOCALYPSE was released, stating that the actors and actresses in the film were pretty much wasted. Yes, some of the actors don’t get to do much, which is a damn shame. But even so, I think the cast do very well with the material they’re given, with not one bad performance in the bunch.
       There are too many cast members to go through, so I’ll just highlight a few. Michael Fassbender, James McAvoy, Nicholas Hoult, and Jennifer Lawrence all return, being able to play their respective roles in their sleep. Fassbender, though, is the star of this bunch. He’s given the best material, crafting a fully dimensional character whose tragic life influences his decisions, both good and bad. Fassbender captures every single emotion perfectly throughout the film - his happiness when he feels normal, his sadness and anger when his world is taken away from him by accident, and his regret when he begins to realize that destroying the world around him is not going to change the past and take away the pain. Just really great stuff. Lawrence plays Raven more than Mystique [she must have gotten tired of the make up], but she does well. Hoult is still funny as the geeky Beast, while McAvoy is still the conscience of the film as Xavier. Add in Rose Byrne as the returning Moira MacTaggert, who doesn’t remember her role in FIRST CLASS to amusing moments, and you got a solid crew here.

      For the new crew, Sophie Turner is pretty great as Jean Grey, playing the character as stoic and wise beyond her years while afraid to unleash the full potential of her powers. Kodi Smit-McPhee is a surprising delight as Nightcrawler, being the comic relief of the film and working very well with the other actors. You’d really believe he’d grow up to become the Alan Cumming version of the character from X2. Alexandra Shipp is a more believable Storm than Halle Berry ever was, even though Shipp unfortunately doesn’t get more to do. Olivia Munn looks great as Psylocke, but not much else. But she handles herself well during the final act.

     Evan Peters returns as Quicksilver, expanding his character in a way that will probably be important in future installments. He’s part of another X-MEN film highlight, and you can tell he’s having a blast playing the character. And Oscar Isaac is a good Apocalypse, although I wish his character was more than just “I want to conquer the world now” villain. Still, he carries himself very well in the role and I liked that he tried to ham it up a bit. I still think he was a great choice for the role, but the script could have handled the character a bit stronger.

  • The visuals. While some CGI is troublesome at certain points - I felt like I was watching a cartoon sometimes - the direction and special effects are good for the most part. X-MEN: APOCALYPSE is probably the X-MEN film that felt the most like its comic book counterpart. It’s very colorful, capturing a 1980s feel at times with shots of Pac-Man arcade machines, perms, pastels, shoulder pads, and Jubilee. The Quicksilver slow-mo scene where he’s saving everyone inside the X-Mansion is another stunner, perfectly set to the tune of Eurythmics’ “Sweet Dreams (Are Made of This)”. While the last Quicksilver set piece was great, I felt that this one was more fun. The final act is pretty chaotic, but in an entertaining way, as the characters unleash their powers in various ways. The characters looked like their comic book characters for the most part, which was a vast improvement over past X-MEN films - especially those films from the original trilogy.

       I will admit that the middle portion does drag a bit somewhat. Plus there are multiple scenes with Mystique and Nightcrawler teleporting that ruined the flow and pacing for me during the first act, making me question when the hell these scenes were taking place since the rest of the film was moving forward in time. But overall, I thought Bryan Singer did a commendable job juggling a vast amount of characters and keeping it coherent for the most part.

  • Weapon X. The Wolverine cameo in APOCALYPSE is one of those moments that you’ll either like or you’ll either hate. I was torn where to put this moment since I do feel it was shoehorned into the story just to have Hugh Jackman portray the character one more time to bring in audiences. We saw this moment in deeper length in X-MEN ORIGINS: WOLVERINE. But it was great to see Wolverine wearing the classic Weapon X head gear, and watch him go in full berserker mode with blood even involved. And the Jean moment with Logan is an interesting one, as it deepens their connection for the future. So yeah - it was a forced moment that didn’t need to be in this movie. But it was fun - and the best part? I don’t need to watch X-MEN ORIGINS again because of it since it’s in a better movie. So thanks for that!

  • The potential for some cool stuff in the future. I think the real reason for X-MEN: APOCALYPSE is still introduce characters for another trilogy. Cyclops, Jean Grey, Nightcrawler, and Storm are now together again. One character unleashes their full power, most likely leading to the next sequel which will supposedly take place in space, as well as recreating the angle of THE LAST STAND in a more faithful way. And the end credits unveil the next major villain - a villain I’ve been anticipating since these films became a success. X-MEN is not my favorite comic book movie franchise, but the future has me excited for stuff we haven’t seen in an X-MEN movie before. So that’s a plus.


CONS

  • A cliche narrative. X-MEN: APOCALYPSE is a blast to watch unfold on screen. But how many times can we have a comic book movie where a villain just wants to destroy the world to change it into his or her image? This year alone, we’ve had three superhero films where the villains were more personal antagonists, not foes who were overly power hungry. It’s your typical good-vs-evil film that’s pretty generic and predictable. If you have no clue how this film will end, you probably never read a book or watched a movie a day in your life.

       It also didn’t help that a lot of characters didn’t get much development, due to the amount of them. What is Psylocke’s story? How come Angel was portrayed much better in THE LAST STAND than here? Why not explore Storm more? I also kind of wish Apocalypse had appeared in previous films, just to establish him as a more epic and dangerous villain. He mostly just stood around for the most part. Marvel has an issues with their villains in these films, and APOCALYPSE is no exception. Still, I had fun with the narrative, even if it has been done to death.

  • Continuity issues. As a stand alone film, APOCALYPSE is fine timeline wise. But as a person who has seen every one of these films, I keep wondering why certain characters appear younger in this timeline, but were older in the previous timeline - and vice-versa. Are you telling me that in the original trilogy that Jubilee was a 30 year old student, because she’s clearly represented here as a teenager? Same with Angel. Why is William Stryker younger in 1983 than he was in X-MEN ORIGINS? Same with Charles Xavier. Do Magneto and Xavier even age? Even Moira looks great after 20 years. I understand that in the last X-MEN film, Beast claimed that the timeline will eventually lead to the same future, no matter how much you try and change it. That’s a great excuse, but you also have to explain why this timeline is so convoluted. I guess I’m not supposed to think that deep about this, but it’s tough after you’ve watched all the films days before this movie.

THE FINAL HOWL
Not everyone is going to like X-MEN: APOCALYPSE. Some might find it too long. Some may think the actors and/or characters were wasted. The CGI won’t work for everyone. And yes, the narrative is pretty cliche and tired by this point. X-MEN: APOCALYPSE is definitely a flawed film that has nagging issues you can’t ignore. But even so, I had a lot of fun with this film. It felt like a comic book brought to life, with colorful characters and performances that I found enjoyable. Plus, it sets up new stories that could be really great if the right people are involved. It’s disappointing as a follow up to FIRST CLASS and DAYS OF FUTURE PAST. But as a popcorn flick for the Summer Movie Season, I was into it. I didn’t expect much out of this film based on the trailers, but I came out of it pretty satisfied. Not a complete success, but I was entertained. And that’s all that matters sometimes.



SCORE
3 Howls Outta 4



5.19.2016

Nurse 3D (2014)

DIRECTED BY
Douglas Aarniokoski

STARRING
Paz De La Huerta - Abigail Russell
Katrina Bowden - Danni Rogers
Judd Nelson - Dr. Robert Morris
Corbin Bleu - Steve
Martin Donovan - Larry Cook
Boris Kodjoe - Detective Rogan
Niecy Nash - Regina

Genre - Horror/Slasher

Running Time - 84 Minutes


PLOT
Abigail Russell (Paz De La Huerta) is an unstable nurse who enjoys picking up adulterous married men, seducing them and then killing them on her off hours. A new nurse named Danni (Katrina Bowden) joins the rotation, capturing the eye of Abigail. Infatuated with Danni, Abigail wants her to herself - enjoying watching Danni argue with her boyfriend (Corbin Bleu), and slipping her a roofie at a club to have her way with her with another man. As Danni struggles to remember what happened to her, Abigail sets her sights on all the men in Danni’s life who act like disgusting pigs. Danni figures out what’s going on, confronting Abigail about it. Feeling betrayed, Abigail decides to make Danni’s life miserable by framing Danni for everything she, herself, has done.


REVIEW

The last couple of years have been a bit rough personally, leading to yours truly really falling behind when it comes to movies and even television. When your horror friends talk about how good these new independent horror films are and you have no idea what they’re talking about, you sort of question whether to give back your Horror Credentials Card. As I gain motivation to write reviews again, I decided to check out stuff I may have missed within the last few years. Unfortunately, not all of them are as good as I had hoped, as is with the case of NURSE 3D.

HITS
  • The film looks nice. Douglas Aarniokoski, who directed HIGHLANDER: ENDGAME, visually presents NURSE 3D in a very colorful way that hides the fact that this film is darkly comedic [or at least it’s supposed to be]. The hospital looks like it was lit for a strip club rather than a place to heal people. The streets are almost lit by neon lights at times. I’m sure it would have looked better in 3D [I watched it in 2D], as certain shots do appear to have been shot with that extra dimension in mind - although these shots are never distracting. I also thought the white hospital backdrop during the final act really added to the gorier and bloodier scenes that took place, especially as the crimson stood out from the cleanliness of the background. If not for anything else, NURSE 3D is a beautiful looking film that will definitely please the eye.
  • The supporting cast. I’ll discuss the lead actress later in the review, but I thought the supporting cast did well with the material they were given. Katrina Bowden is pretty good as Danni, playing it straight amongst the more colorful characters in the film. Her confusion and naivety is dead-on throughout, turning from a vulnerable victim to a woman who takes it upon herself to investigate the drama surrounding her and trying to stop it. Plus she’s nice to look at as well. Judd Nelson is pretty funny as a sleazy doctor. Wish there was more of him. Same with Martin Donovan, who played a sleazy psychiatrist. Corbin Bleu plays the typical boyfriend role, but does it well. Niecy Nash has the best one-liners as Regina, bringing some much needed comic relief to a film that considers itself a “comedy”. Nobody will wow anyone, but they did what they could.
  • The gore. NURSE 3D has some good violence that keeps you invested, even while you struggle through it. We get some implied penis slashing, car accidents, skin carving, arm sawing, scissors through eyes and throats, and so on. The final act, alone, is pretty messy in terms of bloodshed. Some cool stuff here.


MISSES
  • Paz de la Huerta. Most films are as strong as their leads, and Paz de la Huerta is pretty weak as lead character Abby. She just didn’t fit the role of femme fatale for me, giving off a vibe that was more socially awkward than powerful, vengeful woman who is in control of her actions. Her voice annoyed me, as if she tried to sound sexy like a phone operator, only sounding like a fool who has no comprehension of what she’s saying and how to say it. Her line delivery did nothing for me and her overall performance was flat and memorable for all the wrong reasons. I think a stronger actress could have really elevated the material, carrying this film along in a more satisfying way. Yes, de la Huerta is an interesting actress with a unique look and presence. But she belongs in a quirky, supporting role like in THE EDITOR, where she fit right in and stood out for the right reasons. She falls flat on her face in NURSE 3D, only proving how mis-cast she is. I could see that she was picked because they wanted someone bad on purpose. That’s fine if everyone else in the cast played their roles just as campy and terrible, which they didn’t.
  • The tone of this film. The premise for NURSE 3D is pretty great: A nurse with a messed up past who lures cheating men into her seductive web, only to murder them as a way to get rid of the ghosts in her past. She also has a bit of SINGLE WHITE FEMALE in her, becoming obsessed with another nurse who she feels could save her from being constantly haunted, only to lash out when these feelings are reciprocated. That plot alone was a reason I wanted to watch this movie for a while now. Unfortunately, the screenplay and direction has no idea how to tell it to an audience.
NURSE 3D is obviously a horror film since our lead character is a serial killer with some emotional issues towards adulterous men. It’s not really scary, but I can instantly see why it would fall within the horror genre. However, NURSE 3D is also supposed to be a comedy. And… I didn’t really laugh much. Niecy Nash’s character had some chuckle-worthy moments, but nothing about NURSE 3D made me bust a gut or anything, even unintentionally. I guess it wanted to be clever and witty about something, but it just made me look at the clock wondering if it was going anywhere. And if not, when was this film going to finish? I shouldn’t be feeling that way when there are some decent looking women on my television seducing men before murdering them. I should be getting some sort of kick from that. But I honestly didn’t really care all that much.

NURSE 3D is really confused as to what it wants to be, which pretty much ruins the film in my opinion. It wants to be exploitative, like a MS. 45 type of film. It wants to be, like I mentioned earlier, SINGLE WHITE FEMALE. It’s a female AMERICAN PSYCHO. It wants to be so many things, trying to force it to audiences that this is meant to be a cult film that’s not meant to be taken seriously - instead of letting the audience make it a cult film naturally. It tries too hard, which is a shame because the premise is so great and all the elements are there for it to work better. But I just felt bored, wondering why I even bothered watching it most of the time. NURSE 3D suffers from an identity crisis.


THE FINAL HOWL
I may be in the minority, but NURSE 3D didn’t do much for me as a whole. The film looks nice and I thought the supporting cast was pretty decent. The gore [CGI or not] was above average and I appreciated the scantily dressed ladies. But the tone was totally off, as the film really had trouble balancing the horror from the comedy [wasn’t all that scary or funny to begin with, honestly]. And Paz de la Huerta is an interesting actress, but she didn’t impress me too much here as the lead. Maybe NURSE 3D is a film that I could enjoy on a second watch under the influence of alcohol, but I won’t be making that appointment anytime soon.



SCORE
1.5 Howls Outta 4




5.17.2016

Midnight Confessions Ep. 93: "B&W 60's Exploitation part 1 of 2: Russ Meyer"


This month the MC Crew are taking a look at B&W exploitation flicks from the 60's. We're starting with two Russ Meyer classics; FASTER PUSSYCAT! KILL! KILL! and MOTORPSYCHO! (both 1965). Plus music by White Zombie, The Cramps, Motorpsycho and Steel Panther.











 


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