Wednesday, October 26, 2016

Oasis: Supersonic (2 showings October 26th and opens October 28th at the Cedar Lee Theater)

[OASIS: SUPERSONIC screens Wednesday October 26th at 7:00 pm and 9:30 pm, then opens on Friday October 28th for a week-long engagement exclusively at the Cedar Lee Theatre.]

Review by Bob Ignizio

There were any number of bands to come out of the nineties who seemed poised to become the next Who or Rolling Stones or Led Zeppelin or (insert enduring classic rock band of your choice here). Oasis certainly were one such contender.

The British pop/rock band had the looks, the songwriting chops, and the bad boy image. But the tenuous relationship between brothers Noel and Liam Gallagher, the group's lead guitarist and lead vocalist, respectively, eventually tore the group apart. Not before they released 7 albums and influenced numerous other bands, though.

It's a Zulawski Halloween at the Cleveland Cinematheque

[Press release from the Cleveland Cinematheque.]

The Cinematheque is showing some pretty cool—and different—films for Halloween this weekend, all directly by Polish/French cult favorite Andrzej Zulawski, who died earlier this year. Z’s films are being rediscovered in major cities around North America this year (NY, L.A., Boston, Toronto, et al.). New York even brought back ON THE SILVER GLOBE, his suspended, suppressed sci-fi epic that spanned two decades and two political regimes, for an encore engagement. Details below.

Possession (October 29th at the Cleveland Cinematheque)

[POSSESSION screens Saturday October 29th at 8:55 pm at the Cleveland Cinematheque.]

Review by Bob Ignizio

A marriage falls apart in spectacular and bloody fashion in Andrzej Żuławski's off the rails 1981 film POSSESSION. Mark (Sam Neil) has been deeply involved in his job as a spy of some sort (the specifics are kept vague), barely spending any time with his wife Anna (Isabelle Adjani) and son Bob (Michael Hogben). When Mark finally decides to leave work behind to focus on family, it's too late – Anna wants a divorce.

Although Anna claims there isn't anyone else, Mark doesn't believe her. Nonetheless, he agrees to move out and give Anna custody of Bob. Before long, however, both Mark and Anna begin spiraling into madness. Mark becomes obsessive about saving the marriage, even as all doubt regarding Anna's infidelity is removed. But is Heinrich (Heinz Bennett) Anna's only lover, or is there someone (or something) else? And why does Bob's teacher Helen look exactly like Anna, only with different eye and hair color?

Tuesday, October 25, 2016

The World Series pales in comparison to what's at GhoulardiFest, Oct. 28-30

Every October for the last several years, local impresario Ron Garstek and like-minded fans of old Cleveland TV have put on GhoulardiFest, a nostalgia convention, talent reunion and tribute to old-timey horror and fantasy flicks as promoted by legendary Cleveland TV personality Ernie Anderson, on WJW-TV's late-night "Shock Theatre."

From 1963 to 1966 Anderson would don a garishly phony goatee and Fu Manchu mustache and spice up B-grade horror and sci-fi flicks for insomniac viewers in beatnik-comic fashion. The silver-tongued announcer, unrecognizable in his fright-wig disguise, would do blackout comedy bits (some including a young sidekick named Tim Conway), sound effects, songs and the catchphrases. "Turn blue!" "Stay sick!" "Ovaday!" "Dorrrothy..."

Ernie Anderson left Cleveland to find national renown in Los Angeles as an ABC-TV announcer (he also put out a series of classic audio comedy LPs with Tim Conway, and one of his sons out west would mature into world-class filmmaker Paul Thomas Anderson). But he left a secret stash of himself behind in Cleveland that, like a ticking time capsule or Dr. Phibes, rises again in 2016 to haunt this Halloween weekend Ghoulardifest.

Filmmaker Delaney Ruston with local premiere of Screenagers, Oct. 26.

That stuff about the Indians being in the World Series was fun for a while, until everyone started jumping on the money train and grubbing for bucks in relation to the home games. No broke, laid-off Clevelander can really afford to attend (but they’re buying tickets at Progressive Field anyway), and even the viewing parties are prohibitively expensive.

For Cleveland Movie Blog readers looking for a cheap-or-free non-baseball diversion, here’s a good one; while the rest of the city goes sports-mad, a nationally known documentary filmmaker  is quietly sneaking into Parma for a personal appearance.

Delaney Ruston, of New York, has made acclaimed nonfiction features on mental health and society. Wednesday night at 7 p.m. she brings her latest documentary, SCREENAGERS, to Parma, for a showing and Q&A.

Using Ruston’s parental dilemma as a mother of teenagers, choosing to buy a new, tempation-filled smartphone for her daughter, the film addresses the world-wide web of headline-making issues over youngsters in the digital age: cyberbullying, sexting, getting lost in virtual-reality gaming worlds, and social-media alienation from family as kids lose themselves in little glowing devices that were unknown a generation ago.

Admission is free but registration in advance is requested. Call 216-661-4240.

It happens at the Parma-Snow Public Library, 2121 Snow Road in Parma. Unless someone has sold Delaney Ruston on a bargain $800 game-day ticket for a lawn chair in the parking lot, and she decides to head downtown instead.

31 Days of Halloween 2016: They're Watching (now available on home video, VOD, and Netflix Instant)

[31 Days of Halloween 2016: THEY'RE WATCHING]

Review by Bob Ignizio

An American reality show about turning trashed houses into beautiful homes goes to a small European village and gets more than they bargained for in the found footage horror comedy THEY'RE WATCHING. I don't know who the "they're" in the title is supposed to refer to, but as the movie wore on I found myself wishing it didn't include me.

The set up should be familiar to any fan of sixties/early seventies Euro horror. It's pretty much the same old plot as Mario Bava's BLACK SUNDAY, Michael Reeves SHE CREATURE, and countless other films: centuries ago, a witch was put to death by angry townspeople. Of course, she put a curse on her persecutors and promised to return for vengeance. But as always seems to happen in these things, witchy vengeance is slow in coming.

Monday, October 24, 2016

31 Days of Halloween 2016: Freaks of Nature (now available on home video and VOD)

[31 Days of Halloween 2016: FREAKS OF NATURE. Now available on home video and VOD.]

Review by Eric Sever

Full of teen angst, off-beat humor, and human-devouring creatures, FREAKS OF NATURE is like a John Hughes movie set during a gory, goofy apocalypse.

Mixing horror and comedy, the story opens in Dillford, OH, the home of the Riblet sandwich. It is also home to humans, vampires, and zombies, who all have to co-exist in the suburbs. No matter what species, the teens all have to go through the hell of being in high school together. This adds a whole other level to finding the right clique.

Then aliens show up, and the delicate balance between all of these groups is completely upended. The town descends into all-out chaos, and it’s up to our three teen heroes – a human, a vampire, and a zombie – to figure out how to defeat the aliens and restore peace to their little hamlet, all while dealing with the usual high school bullshit.

Sunday, October 23, 2016

31 Days of Halloween 2016: Vampyres (1974) (available on video and VOD)

[31 Days of Halloween 2016: VAMPYRES (1974). Available on DVD and VOD.]

Review by Eric Sever

There is a reason VAMPYRES is still remembered (and even dreadfully remade) this many years after the Hammer era flooded cinemas with countless similar gothic horrors. For being essentially an exploitation picture, this cult hit is atmospheric, sexy, and rather well made.

After two beautiful women are seemingly killed while making love inside a shadowy mansion, they begin appearing on the side of a road in the English countryside. The mysterious women ask motorists for a ride back to that decaying mansion, where the drivers are enticed inside and eventually used as food. Meanwhile, a young couple has made the mistake of setting up their RV right next to the doomed property.

Saturday, October 22, 2016

31 Days of Halloween 2016: Ouija: Origin of Evil (now playing in theaters)

[31 Days of Halloween 2016: OUIJA: ORIGIN OF EVIL is now playing in theaters.]

Review by Bob Ignizio

You have to admit, Blumhouse Productions has found a winning formula for modern mainstream horror. Their films are all slick, professional affairs geared towards a mainstream audience looking for horror films that take themselves seriously, but don't wallow in the gory, sadistic extremes of a Rob Zombie or the SAW series. And the films are all made for around 10 million or so, chump change by Hollywood standards, virtually guaranteeing a profit on the first week of release. Other studios could learn a thing or two, regardless of what kind of movies they're making.

The latest from the company is OUIJA: ORIGIN OF EVIL, a prequel to 2014's OUIJA that no one, as far as I know, asked for. And yet, here it is, and it's actually pretty good.

Friday, October 21, 2016

Jack Reacher

Review by George M. Thomas

Tom Cruise as former Army Maj. Jack Reacher
The latest installment in the Jack Reacher series, JACKREACHER: NEVER GO BACK, misses something.   Mind you, it’s better than the first film in the series which introduced Lee Child’s literary hero.

However, it lacks some fundamental element – zip – for the actioner it wants to be.

Reacher’s the unconventional hero in some respects – having abandoned his career as major in the Army military police – and living a life without roots. He’s a mystery man going from spot-to-spot wherever he finds trouble or wherever it finds him. This time around, Reacher’s only looking for dinner with the person who now has his job.