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Dead Ringers (1988)

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David Cronenberg in the 1980s was known primarily as a director of horror films.  He had grown from writing and directing bloody, overtly sexual body horror on the cheap (and with a bit of help from the Canadian government, which caused controversy at times) to sneaking his way into mainstream theaters in the U.S..  With his adaptation of Stephen King's The Dead Zone and a remake of the 1950s creature feature The Fly , Cronenberg managed keep his horror credentials while expanding his audience.   The Dead Zone had already seen Cronenberg successfully melding drama along with horror, and it was obvious by the late 1980s that he wanted to do something new.  The idea of a movie about twin gynecologists with questionable ethics, given the content of many of his early films, would make one think that he would be pushing the envelope further than ever before.  Instead, what Cronenberg delivered was a slow-burning examination of co-dependency and loneliness.  Elliot and Beverly Mantle (J

Blood Rage (1987)

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Once a movie is in the can one would think that the studio that put forth the money to make it would want to get it in theaters as fast as possible.  That is not always the case.  There are times where directors or actors decide that they made a terrible mistake, such as Jerry Lewis with The Day the Clown Cried .  Pretty much the movie is done except for a few details, but Lewis soon realized what a tonally dissonant mess he had made, and decided that no one should see it while he was alive, and preferably not even after.  Other films are just held back to try and make the most money, and some because studios have no idea what to do with them.  Then there are films like Blood Rage , when someone realizes what a steaming pile of garbage they spent the money on, and that not releasing it is going to cost them less than spending the time trying to trick people into seeing it.  Blood Rage was made in 1983 with the idea that it would be released in 1984.  It received some sort of limited th

A Quiet Place (2018)

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I've held off on watching A Quiet Place for a long time.  Not because I thought I wouldn't like it - I was quite sure I would - but rather because it was never convenient.  It is classed by some as a horror film, but although it has survival horror elements, it's really an alien invasion film.  Thus, when it came time to do horror marathons I put it to the side, while at other times it just didn't fit into what I was watching.  Although many of the elements of the movie have been done before, this is still a bit more creative than either the normal alien invasion flick or survival horror.  It has received some criticism for showing the monsters early on, but I think that comes from the fact that this wasn't supposed to be something like Jaws   or even Halloween , but rather more along the lines of a typical 1950s sci-fi flick, except without the rubber suits. Lee Abbott (John Krasinski), his wife Evelyn (Emily Blunt) and their children Regan (Millicent Simmonds) and

Dead or Alive 2: Birds (2000)

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Director Takashi Miike stretched his original Dead or Alive into a trilogy, although it's not an ongoing story but rather three films somewhat based on the theme of the title.  Other than Miike, the main connection is its leads, Riki Takeuchi and Shô Aikawa, although they also play different roles in each movie.  The other connection is that they all take place at least partially in Yokohama.  The different films are also quite strange thematically, often feeling like multiple movies combined into one.  Mizuki Okamoto (Aikawa) is tasked by a magician (Edison Chen) who is working with a small organized crime outfit to assassinate a yakuza boss in order to start a gang war between them and the triads.  While doing so another assassin (Takeuchi) shows up and kills the boss and his entourage before escaping.  The news reports the assassin with Mizuki's name, but Okamoto recognizes him as Shûichi, a boy he was best friends with when they were both in an orphanage on a small island v

Dead or Alive (1999)

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Dead or Alive has a plot that sounds like numerous Asian gangster films.  An upstart crime lord decides to take on the yakuza and the triads, and a morally ambiguous cop with family problems is tasked with bringing him down.  Only, this isn't John Woo, Andrew Lau or even Shigehiro Ozawa.  This is Takashi Miike.   For good or for bad things never go as expected with the majority of his movies.  His seeming lack of style is his style, allowing him to seamlessly drift from genre to genre, whether it be horror movies, cheap crime dramas or expensive period pieces.  Even when he makes a movie with a straight narrative it is still not going to go in a direction one expects, largely because not even movies within a supposed trilogy of films stick to one simple plot line.  So, what should be a rote potboiler with some cool action sequences turns out to be - well, turns out to be that, but something much different as well.  After a montage of death and debauchery showing the rise of a new s

X-Men: Days of Future Past (2014)

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Bryan Singer was pretty much responsible for the quality of the first two X-Men films and, after a bit of an absence, started edging his way back in.  Although Matthew Vaughn was the director, Singer cowrote the screenplay for X-Men: First Class .  While it was in no way a big hit, at least in the United States, those who did see it started realizing there may be a bit of life left in the franchise after all. Vaughn was supposed to direct X-Men: Days of Future Past  as well, but one thing led to another with Singer returning.  The result was the last truly good X-Men film in the main series, as well as an opportunity for Singer to step in and clean the franchise up.  Between X-Men: The Last Stand and X-Men Origins: Wolverine , a whole lot mistakes were made.  Luckily for Singer the comics themselves presented a way to to make it all go away. In the near future the Earth is a devastated wasteland.  Robots called Sentinels have been designed to hunt Mutants, but they eventually changed

The Hills Have Eyes (2006)

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The Hills Have Eyes was one of a number of horror remakes that came out in the 2000s.  The difference between this and the slew of other money grabs was that Alexandre Aja already had an international horror hit with the interesting, if highly flawed, Haute tension.  Where many of the other movies had second-rate or unknown directors attached, this one had someone who truly liked the horror genre, and even seemed to have some love of exploitation films.  He also had the blessing of Wes Craven, who had written and directed the original The Hills Have Eyes in 1977.   Although there are definitely a number of changes, Aja was smart to leave most of the core story alone.  There is a little more explanation this time around, but nothing that takes up a good portion of the film or that truly undermines it like Rob Zombie's version of Halloween .  It just simply provides some backstory.  Aja understood the point Craven was making in his film, and just largely sought to update the story t