Inside “Heroes of the Golden Mask” there’s a great film desperate to bust out. It has a cool concept, some solid animation, and a neat mythology behind it. It’s just once you get down to the nit and grit of the narrative and some lingering plot holes, it never rises above being just average. It’s definitely a direct to video kind of animated movie better suited for basic cable, despite its best efforts. That’s not for lack of trying, though. Director Sean Patrick O’Reilly has a large career in producing budget animation. He and Arcana Studios have helped engineer titles such as “The Steam Engines of Oz,” and the mildly amusing “Howard Lovecraft and the Frozen Kingdom.”
Category Archives: Movie Reviews
The search for meaning, and why we exist is a question that plagues most sentient things on the planet. Although we’d probably be better off merely surviving day to day there’s the curse of the conscious being that we have to know why. That’s basically the premise for “SILEO.” Three years in the making, director and animator Demeter Lorant has build a dystopian, cold world where everything and every facet of society is run by machines. The machines have evolved to such a point that even the older models are being rejuvenated bit by bit. When GEFF 325520-BD, a fixer unit robot, decides to halt production, he goes on a quest to figure out why he’s there.
Director Tina Satter’s account of the interrogation of agent Reality Winner is perhaps one of the more tense thrillers of the year. It’s filled with so much suspense and tension from the moment Reality Winner pulls up to her drive way. Although the movie is simplistic and relies on a very small cast, Tina Satter is able to evoke a ton of really edge of the seat interplay between the characters. Based on the play “Is This a Room,” the dialogue is based almost completely on the transcripts between the federal agents and Reality Winner, and the respective cast is remarkable.
Mad Heidi (2023)
Tickets are now on sale at Fathom Events; coming to theaters nationwide for a special one-night engagement on Wednesday, June 21st at 7pm, local time.
A lot of the media likes to use the words “Indie film” whenever referring to a movie that isn’t entirely mainstream. The word has been homogenized over the years, as films like “Mad Heidi” are lost in the shuffle. “Mad Heidi” is a real indie film that worked hard to get a distribution deal, and it is here for us to gorge on. According to the press release, “Mad Heidi” initially made waves for its innovative crowdfunded approach, bypassing traditional financing tactics to ensure that the film’s original vision was preserved while placing profits back in the hands of the creators and backers. Even if neo-grindhouse isn’t your cup of tea, “Mad Heidi” deserves a lot of love for its willingness to embrace its indie roots, while also being literally as cheesy as it can possibly be.
Renfield (2023): ‘Dracula Sucks’ Edition [Blu-Ray/DVD/Digital]
Chris McKay’s take on the Dracula dynamic with Renfield has a lot going for it, but it also has so much stacked against it from the starting gate. In a year teeming with Dracula iterations, “Renfield” has a real shot at standing out among the other interpretations of Bram Stoker’s lore, but never really rises to the occasion. That’s mainly because while the concept is interesting “Renfield” never decides what it wants to be. It wants to be a satire on “Dracula,” and a commentary on abusive relationships. It tries to be a cop action, a buddy comedy, a vampire film, and straddles the dangerous line of being a satire on the abuser and abused relationship at times.
The Angry Black Girl and Her Monster (2023)
Bomani J. Story’s horror film is one part family drama, one part Frankenstein, and one part Re-Animator. Deep down beneath its grue and gore is a very relatable and heartbreaking tale of a family divided by death and a girl determined to beat it. Much of “The Angry Black Girl and Her Monster” is centered around young Vicaria, a literal mad genius who is convinced that she can cure death, and like most mad geniuses, she finds out along the way that what is dead should stay dead, and that her madness might be symptomatic of the world she lives in.
Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse (2023)
While “In to the Spider-Verse” demonstrated Stan Lee’s philosophy that anyone can be Spider-Man, and anyone could be a hero, “Across the Spider-Verse” is an exploration of the hero’s biggest mantra. “Spider-Man’s” core philosophy has always been that with great power, comes great responsibility, and with the follow up to the immensely successful “In to the Spider-Verse” we garner a look at the fallout from the abuse of massive power, and how it can corrupt even the best of us.
Hollywood Dreams & Nightmares: The Robert Englund Story (2023)
For fans that are expecting another documentary about Robert Englund as Freddy Krueger, “Hollywood Dreams & Nightmares” ends up being much more about Englund the actor. While the documentary, clocking in at two hours, does explore a lot about Robert Englund’s time as Freddy Krueger, Gary Smart and Christopher Griffiths’ film is so much more about the actor and thespian Robert Englund. I’m quite happy that that’s the angle that they aim for, as “Hollywood Dreams & Nightmares” is able to set itself apart from so many other horror documentaries. Robert Englund is a seasoned actor and thespian who was classically trained and spent his life trying to perfect his craft.