13 Days of Halloween: Day 2 – Branden Chowen on Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter (2012)

Abraham Lincoln Vampire HunterTitle: Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter (2012)
Director: Timur Bekmambetov
Runtime: 105 minutes

Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter gained fame back in 2011 when Seth Grahame-Smith released his novel of the same name. I remember my mom bringing me home the book after it started getting popular, but I never did get around to reading it. I missed the film’s theatrical release in the summer of 2012, but ended up buying the 3D Blu-ray when I bought my 3D television. Much like the novel, it just sat on my shelves for a long time. I honestly didn’t know what to expect with this film, and figured I would be disappointed, so I never bothered watching it. That was a huge mistake, and one I am ecstatic to have remedied.

Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter is exactly what it sounds like: a retelling of the history of ol’ Honest Abe set in an alternate universe where vampires are very real, and Abraham Lincoln is not only one of the country’s best political speakers, but one of its best vampire killers as well. Continue reading

13 Days of Halloween: Day 1 – Chris Ranson on See No Evil 2 (2014)

See No Evil 2Title: See No Evil 2 (2014)
Director: The Soska Sisters
Runtime: 90 minutes

Sometimes I can’t help but wonder why some films get a sequel. Back in 2006, the world got to “See No Evil”. It was a WWE film with their very own Glenn “Kane” Jacobs playing a serial killer that stabbed people’s eyes out. It had a biblical flair to it, and just wasn’t very good. You don’t need to have seen the original film to enjoy See No Evil 2, though, as you’re given a brief rundown of the events in the sequel. Please be aware, though, that this review will spoil a few bits from the original film due to necessity.

Taking a cue from Halloween 2, See No Evil 2 takes place the same night as the original film. Jacob Goodnight’s (Kane) corpse is brought to the hospital morgue after his killing spree and death from the first film. It’s Amy’s birthday, and her friends decide to throw her a surprise party while she’s at work, the same night Jacob’s body arrives. Well, it turns out that Jacob isn’t dead, and now he wants to kill some more. Continue reading

Movie Review – Chris Ranson on Annabelle (2014)

AnnabelleTitle: Annabelle (2014)
Director: John R. Leonetti
Runtime: 98 minutes

I went into 2013’s The Conjuring with very low expectations. The director, James Wan, had previously left a bad taste in my mouth. I was happy to admit, though, that I left that film impressed. It was obvious that we were going to get a sequel, but first up is this prequel, telling the story of the doll that is very briefly shown in the Warren’s museum.

Annabelle reveals how this not-so-pretty doll becomes possessed by a demon and ultimately ends up in the hands of a nurse who the Warrens interviewed and helped exorcise. A happily married couple is expecting their first child. The wife, Mia, brings home a doll that she had been eyeing in the store window. A satanic cult breaks into their house, and after some blood is shed on the doll and Mia ends up being put on bed rest, some crazy things start to happen. Continue reading

Movie Review – Chris Ranson on Gone Girl (2014)

Gone GirlTitle: Gone Girl (2014)
Director: David Fincher
Runtime: 149 minutes

When I think David Fincher I instantly think of Fight Club. It’s easily one of his best works. His most recent work was the so-so Girl With The Dragon Tattoo remake, which obviously could never be as good as its Swedish counterpart. As an avid reader I heard Gone Girl was amazing, and because I always appreciate a good book, I knew I had to read it before the movie came out and ruined all the twists and turns. Well, that was a mistake because the book starts out fantastically, but then hits the twist, and turns into one of the most unbelievable plots I’ve ever read.

Gone Girl has two plotlines unfolding. The first is that of Nick Dunn, husband to the beautiful Amy. It is their fifth wedding anniversary, and he comes home to find her missing. We watch as Nick follows the clues to a treasure hunt his wife puts together every year on their anniversary, while the police believe that he killed his wife. The other story is that of Amy, told through diary entries starting with the first night they met, and ending right before her disappearance. Continue reading

A Lifetime of Film: Ashe’s Top Ten from 1990

A Lifetime of Film covers one specific year of a Cinefessions’ writers existence, from birth to now, and goes over their top ten films from that year. It stems from a meme on Letterboxd, and is simply being expanded upon here. This week, Ashe covers 1990.

I was just 13 in 1990, turning into that teenage geek monster. Yeah, I was pretty geeky as a teen, and not much has changed. While we had left the ’80s behind numerically, some of that sensibility traveled over with the films as a lot of these were made in ’89 to release in ’90.  I’ve seen 52 films from 1990 that I can recall clearly.  Some Honorable Mentions include Robocop 2Days of ThunderRobot JoxEdward ScissorhandsDie Hard 2TremorsAwakeningsFlatlinersNight of the Living DeadRescuers Down Under, and Men At Work. While Robocop 2 has some big flaws, it was still a fun ride. I really liked the Night of the Living Dead remake, Robot Jox was a surprising, low-budget, direct-to-video find, and Men At Work has some great moments in it.  What about my top ten then?

Back to the Future Part III10. Back to the Future Part III (Robert Zemeckis)
I included Back to the Future Part II in my 1989 list, and while I think Part III is actually a better film than Part II, there is a lot of competition from 1990, so it only barely breaks into my top ten of the year. I love the change to a western setting and the fact that they worked so many of the western’s themes into the film while still treating it as a sci-fi comedy.  It’s definitely unique in that regard, and, once again, Lloyd and Fox make a great duo, playing off each other really well.  

9. Darkman (Sam Raimi)
Sam Raimi’s first foray into the superhero genre was a lot darker than Spider-Man, and involved Liam Neeson, who I’ve loved ever since this film. It’s a unique take on the genre, and Raimi’s sense of style abounds throughout the film along with some interesting effects work. I haven’t seen Darkman in a long time so I have no idea how it holds up today, but I do have a soft spot for this one as my friends and I loved watching it when it hit VHS.   Continue reading

Movie Review – Chris Ranson on Leprechaun: Origins (2014)

Leprechaun- OriginsTitle: Leprechaun: Origins (2014)
Director: Zach Lipovsky
Runtime: 90 minutes

For some reason, on St. Patrick’s Day this year, I thought it would be a great idea to watch the entire Leprechaun series, back-to-back, while getting trashed. Ah, the things I do for Cinefessions. Now, we get a prequel to the series, Leprechaun: Origins, brought to us by the fine folks at WWE. Yep, you can only imagine how this is going to play out.

Four American tourists arrive in Ireland on vacation. Soon they come face to face with a local legend: the Leprechaun. Seriously, that’s the plot. No one has stolen the Leprechaun’s gold, nor is he a wisecracking, creepy, little person. The cast is entirely unlikable, painfully white, and I really couldn’t wait for them to die. Trust me, it takes way to long for our tiny cast to start dropping. Continue reading

The Cinefessions Podcast – Episode 07 – Neil Marshall Retrospective


Welcome back to The Cinefessions Podcast! This month, Chris, Ashe, and Branden take on the entire filmography of English writer/director Neil Marshall. On the docket today is his debut feature, Dog Soldiers (2002), followed by the horror hit The Descent (2005). The post-apocalyptic thriller Doomsday (2008) is next, and we finish it off with a look at (the “and now for something completely different”) Centurion (2010).

Note that these retrospective episodes are filled with major spoilers for each film, and we highly recommend that you watch these films before listening to the show if you do not want major plot points, including the endings, spoiled for you. This episode also contains adult language.

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Remember that you can find The Cinefessions Podcast on Stitcher Radio, iTunes, and right here on the website. Be sure to send any comments, questions, or complaints our way as well, via twitter (@cinefessions or @psymin1), email, or the comments section below. Our email address is contact@cinefessions.com. As always, thanks for listening! Continue reading