Masquerade (2021)

I’ll be honest, I have a soft spot for home invasion thrillers; most of the time they always entertain me, because I love how they can be twisted for various narratives by writers and or directors. It’s sad though when I was finished with “Masquerade” that I couldn’t get over how boring it was. This is a movie with a genuinely good idea that fails to derive much tension or suspense at every turn, and doesn’t make much of a case for caring about any of the characters. Even when it drops a big climax twist on us, I was generally indifferent toward the entire experience.

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F9 (2021)

The only thing worse than a bad action movie is a boring one; even with the “Fast and the Furious” series now reaching that point where it’s becoming self-aware and self-satirical, Justin Lin’s penultimate entry in to the long running movie series is terrible. I rarely see action movies with so much noise and activity that put me to sleep, but lo and behold, “F9” pulls it off. This is a movie that throws everything but the kitchen sink at audiences, bringing in the cast from “Tokyo Drift,” Helen Mirren and Kurt Russell for brief walk on roles, and jumping through hoops to explain away the big plot holes with something vaguely resembling logic.

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Army of the Dead (2021)

It’s no big secret how I felt and continue to feel about Zack Snyder’s previous zombie outing, and it’s not going to be a big surprise when I say that “Army of the Dead” stinks. A movie like this is virtually critic proof as it wears its silliness on its sleeves and flaunts it unabashedly to the very end. This is the zombie movie for the audience that grew up with “Left 4 Dead” or “Dead Rising 2” as their original introduction to the walking dead, and Snyder knows his audience. He even introduces our core cast like player profiles, even giving them signature weapons.

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Running Time (1997): Special Edition [Blu-Ray]

It’s not often that we get crime thrillers that unfold in real time, but Josh Becker’s indie “Running Time” takes a shot and does a great job of it. “Running Time” is true to its word, a movie that unravels over the course of a little over an hour, and the run time for the narrative is apt. The movie is not too long, refusing to pad the story, buts it’s never too short to where we’re left asking questions. It runs a good pace as a tense drama that feels kind of like a prologue to “Reservoir Dogs.” Campbell is stellar and the movie almost makes it to the finish line without a hitch. Almost, but not quite.

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Ashens and the Polybius Heist (2020)

Movies that are based on or around youtube personalities usually, for lack of a better word: suck. They’re awful, they’re terrible, and only mostly just vanity projects for the creators. So imagine what a shock it was to see “Ashens and the Polybius Heist” and find out that it’s actually quite good. I genuinely giggled during most of the film and loved how it all felt like a hilarious mutant amalgam of “Spaced,” “Ocean’s Eleven,” and “The Hot Rock,” in the end.

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