All posts by CJ

A pop culture devotee who is happiest watching any incarnation of Star Trek, reading Stephen King or Joe Hill novels, viewing great movies [primarily from the action, horror, adventure or science fiction genres], or flipping through a DC comic. Dream jobs would include: Starfleet Captain, joining the Green Lantern Corps, Pokémon Master, Disney Princess or plumber for the Mushroom Kingdom.

Dear Dracula (2012)

Review by CJ

Dear Dracula

Director:
Chad Van De Keere

Starring:
Nathan Gamble, Ray Liotta, Emilio Estevez, Ariel Winter

Other notable appearances:
Matthew Lillard, Marion Ross, Tara Strong, Yuri Lowenthal

Running time:
42 minutes

Watch this if you liked:
Hotel Transylvania, ParaNorman, Monster House, Frankenweenie

 

Sam (Gamble) is a classic horror movie aficionado who lives with his grandmother (Ross). When Sam begs for the latest Dracula action figure, his grandmother suggests that he writes to Santa and asks for the ‘doll’. However, with Halloween significantly closer than Christmas, Sam decides it would be a far better idea to write to Dracula instead. This leads to a washed-up Dracula (Liotta) deciding to pay young Sam a visit with his minion Myro (Estevez).

I watched Dear Dracula on a whim because it was free, available and looked like fun. I have never been more happy to judge a book (movie) by its cover (promotional image).

At only 42 minutes, Dear Dracula is a movie that is shorter than most television shows I watch. However, in doing so the creators have ensured it isn’t stretching for material that isn’t there. For the story that is told, the length is perfect and adding to it would only diminish the quality.

The story is endearing as Sam helps Dracula get his scare factor back and Dracula helps Sam get the girl. Dear Dracula also has some very funny moments, including Dracula explaining why vampires who sparkle are not okay.

The animation leaves a bit to be desired at times but overall the aesthetic is good, especially for an animation studio that isn’t Disney, Pixar or DreamWorks.

Overall, with its fun story, amusing characters and subtle undermining of the less than horrific horror/monster films, I would highly recommend Dear Dracula for kids both young and old.

Rating: 4/5

The Crazies (2010)

Review by CJ

The Crazies

Director:
Breck Eisner

Starring:
Timothy Olyphant, Radha Mitchell, Joe Anderson, Danielle Panabaker

Running time:
101 minutes

Watch this if you liked:
Dawn of the Dead, Dreamcatcher, The Thing

 

David Dutten (Olyphant) is the sheriff for Pierce County when a virus begins to spread that causes the affected citizens to become violent psychopaths. When the military arrive to contain the infection and relocate the uninfected, David’s wife Judy (Mitchell) is flagged as a threat and apprehended due to a pregnancy induced fever. David returns to the quarantine area with his deputy Russ (Anderson) to rescue Judy and her assistant Becca (Panabaker) who has also been wrongly detained. The four survivors must find a way out of their town through a military with orders to kill first, ask questions later; infected citizens in  psychopathic frenzies; and their own paranoia.

Continue reading The Crazies (2010)

Bait (2012)

Review by CJ

Bait

Director:
Kimble Rendall

Starring:
Xavier Samuel, Phoebe Tonkin, Sharni Vinson, Julian McMahon, Dan Wyllie, Martin Sacks

Other notable appearances:
Sharks. A tsunami. Bad CGI.

Running time:
93 minutes

Watch this if you liked:
Shark Night, Jaws, Deep Blue Sea, The Reef

 

A coastal Queensland town is hit with a tsunami leaving several survivors trapped in a flooded supermarket with a 12-foot great white shark. The survivors must band together and overcome their pasts to keep from being killed by electricity, aftershocks and, of course, the shark.

Continue reading Bait (2012)

Doctor Sleep by Stephen King (2013)

Review by CJ

2013 - Doctor Sleep

This sequel to Stephen King’s The Shining returns us to the life of the gifted Dan Torrance almost right from where the original story finished. Throughout the beginning of the book we see Dan, haunted by both real and emotional ghosts from his past, fall down the same abyss of alcoholism that plagued his father.

After spending decades homeless, drunk and desolate, Dan gets himself in a situation that forces him to reevaluate his life choices. He moves to a new town, joins AA and begins work at a hospice where, with the help of a prescient cat, he uses what’s left of his supernatural mental abilities (“Shining”) to comfort the dying patients.

As he settles in his new life, Dan begins to pick up mental signals from a girl named Abra. A girl with the strongest Shining Dan has ever encountered. A girl who has witnessed things she shouldn’t have witnessed. A girl who desperately needs Dan’s help to stay alive.

Continue reading Doctor Sleep by Stephen King (2013)

Sharknado (2013)

Review by CJ

Sharknado

Director:
Anthony C. Ferrante

Starring:
Ian Ziering, Tara Reid, John Heard, Cassie Scerbo, Jaason Simmons, Chuck Hittinger, Aubrey Peeples

Other notable appearances:
Giant, shark-filled tornadoes

Running time:
86 minutes

Watch this if you liked:
Sharktopus (2010), Dinoshark (2010), Shark Night (2011)

 

A hurricane has driven a swarm of sharks to the beaches of Los Angeles causing trouble for the surfers, swimmers and jet ski riders of the area. The trouble really begins when waterspouts begin lifting the sharks out of the ocean and flooding the streets of Los Angeles with shark-infested waters. The story centres on Fin Shepard (Ziering) and his attempt to save his ex-wife April (Reid), son Matt (Hittinger) and daughter Claudia (Peeples). He is joined on this quest by his employee Nova (Scerbo), his Australian friend Baz (Simmons) and his restaurant’s regular customer George (Heard).

Continue reading Sharknado (2013)