Bone Tomahawk - Review

132 min  |  Horror, Western 
Review - Rusty Ryan

**Now in theaters**

SynopsisFour men set out in the Wild West to rescue a group of captives from cannibalistic cave dwellers.

ReviewMy movie interests are extremely varied. I am very fond of Westerns with The Searchers being one of my all-time favorites. On the other end of the spectrum lies my love of Cannibal movies. Cannibal Holocaust comes to mind. And just like that, first time Director/Writer S. Craig Zahler,  has crafted a smart, witty, matter-of-fact, and ultimately terrifying “Cannibal Western”.

Don’t let that label fool you. This is no campy parody or exploitation mash-up. This is a legitimate cinematic experience deserving of a serious look. The dialogue is exceptional but delivered in such a casual way, you may miss some of the best lines. Or perhaps, the viewer might be slightly distracted because of the slow-burn sense of dread that builds up to the ending you are expecting and quite possibly dreading. I would not say it ventures fully into the Horror arena but it comes very, very close.

Kurt Russell is Franklin Hunt, a grizzled small town Sheriff who leads a very diverse and dysfunctional group of men on a rescue mission. Indians have abducted the town doctor (Lili Simmons), a Deputy (Evan Jonigkeit), and a Drifter (David Arquette). We are made aware early in the story, that these are not the ordinary Indians we have become familiar with from all those late-night Westerns. More on that later.

The other 3 men that make up the “posse” include: Arthur (Patrick Wilson), the abducted Doctor’s husband, who just happens to be extremely hobbled by a broken leg; Chicory (Richard Jenkins), the constantly chattering “back-up Deputy”; and John Brooder (Matthew Fox) a immaculately dressed Dandy who happens to be an outspoken racist that is very good with a gun. Each actor does a great job letting us into each of the characters’ psyches during the long trip to find the Indians.

This is a good role for Russell. He is completely at home with this role as a Sheriff in his twilight, that has seen it all. But he can’t fight his sense of duty that is taking him away from the security of his town and wife.

As usual, Richard Jenkins is fantastic as the older “Assistant Deputy” that has obviously been protected by the Sheriff who knows his usefulness has it’s limits. He compensates through conversation. This is where the writing really shines. Jenkin’s monologues are interesting and add to many scenes in a prolific way even though they are delivered like random prattle. The musings are just as important to the story as the standard “Tarrantino conversations”, but not so blatantly in your face.

The stand-out in the group is Fox as Brooder. His finely groomed mustached and well-kept outer persona hides a man that has deep scars that effect him and will effect the group. He has competing skills and flaws and he is well aware of them all.

There is a sneaky brilliance to the flow of the film. The opening shot fades into a vicious up-close murder. It’s a way of telling you: “yes, we are going there!”.  Right after that, one of the first actors we see is long time exploitation mainstay Sid Haig. So the foreboding seeds have been planted. Those seeds grow during a huge chunk of the movie dedicated to following the 4 men on their long journey towards the Indian hide out. Many movie goers may find this part tedious but it gives good insight into each character as the sense of fear builds.

The Indians they are seeking are described by a town local as a clan of cave-dwelling, inbred cannibals called “Troglodytes”.  They are scary and very efficient at taking out anyone quickly with their bone tomahawks. They adorn themselves with body modifications that include bones and tusks. They are unemotional killing and eating machines. The final 20 minutes within the cave play out a lot like a great horror movie where the hero must venture into the dark forboding house to rescue those trapped inside.

Bone Tomahawk passes quickly despite the extended “search” through the countryside. The occasional scenes of violence are shocking and very effective. Some of the action is shot a little too quickly to get a grasp of everything that is happening but once the dust settles, you are able to regroup. Many of the scenes and dialogue will stay with you long after the credits roll. It’s a highly effective film but not for everyone. It does contain very graphic scenes of mutilation. Afterall, it is a cannibal film.

4 out of 5 stars.


SPECTRE - Review

PG-13  |  148 min  |  Action, Adventure, Thriller 
Review - Matt Mungle

**In theaters November 6, 2015**

SynopsisA cryptic message from Bond's past sends him on a trail to uncover a sinister organization. While M battles political forces to keep the secret service alive, Bond peels back the layers of deceit to reveal the terrible truth behind SPECTRE.

ReviewBond films (yes Bond is an actual adjective) had a huge resurgence when Daniel Craig put on the white suite, signed his License to Kill card, and went to work thwarting maniacal syndicates. Much of what I would say about Craig and his positive addition to the role I expressed in my SKYFALL review. With  SPECTRE we get more than just a good Bond we get a wonderful addition to the franchise.

The 007 program has been reeling since the events of SKYFALL and James (Daniel Craig) especially seems to be as rouge as ever. M (Ralph Fiennes) tries his best to keep him under thumb but with little success. Making things worse is C, the new "boss" (Andrew Scott), intent on dissolving the 007 program in light of a new super monitoring system that is able to keep an eye on everyone and everything. As always Bond has to fly under the radar, catch the bad guys, save the program, get the girl; all while keeping his suit wrinkle free. 

Many people, film critics especially, like to hate on the Bond films. It is as if they go into them expecting something different or outside the normal 007 world. By now we know that, few exceptions aside, these films follow a very strict format and seldom stray from the template. You could take this installment and plug in characters or story arcs from the 70's or 80's and never miss a beat. But it works and in most cases better than ever. The main ingredient being the man in the suit. If he is a powerhouse then the film works. Fans have a small list of items to check off and in SPECTRE they get them and more.

If Bond is the main ingredient the spices come in three packets; the villain, the girl, and the gadgets. These are important staples and have been iconic elements in every Bond film. In Casino Royal and the Craig films that followed we didn't get a strong dose of the gadgets. Even though Q (Ben Whishaw) gets some ample screen time in this one and there are a few toys to geek out on I could have used much more. Granted Craig is the sort of Bond that isn't afraid to get his hands dirty and doesn't need all the bells and whistles that past 007's did. 

The villains in this one are fantastic though. Christoph Waltz joins the cast as a creepy little nuisance hell bent on revenge. Why he has such a hatred toward James Bond unfolds throughout the story. The "whys" get a tad muddy and may have you questioning a few plot holes. Waltz is a strong enough actor though that what he does with the character elevates it out of the murky waters of bad writing. Hinx (Dave Bautista) is the henchman that makes it all worthwhile though. He is a classic throwback to the bad guys of yesteryear, think Oddjob from Goldfinger. Like a human tank with ears he grunts and smashes his way through each scene. He is a worthy foe and one that might be able to outmatch James. Hinx is fun to watch and every implausible scenario takes on a new life.

Now to the Bond girl. (See, again an adjective). Many people have been excited that this one has the older more mature Bond girl with Monica Bellucci as Lucia. That may be the case but understand that she is not in the movie enough to even be listed as a BG. With less than 5 minutes of screen time I would feel amiss to try and convince you otherwise. Madeleine Swann (Léa Seydoux) is the girl to watch in this one and the one that James has to protect and love. Which is fine. Seydoux is great and fits the bill perfectly. Just be aware that if you thought this one was going to be a tad less misogynistic, think again. 

It looks very “Bond” as well. Rome, Austria, and London are fantastic backdrops for the adventure elements. Like most Bond films the locations are another character. SPECTRE is rated PG-13 for intense sequences of action and violence, some disturbing images, sensuality and language. It is action packed and full of wall to wall exhilaration. 148 minutes is a long time. This actually moves nicely and you will not feel every tick of the clock. I give it 4 out of 5 red arrows. I am a fan of Craig and he has given me reason to like the franchise again.






Collectible Editions Showcase 4K Restorations, Dolby Atmos® Audio Upgrades & 
Feature a Limited Edition Acrylic “Clear Case” with 24-Page Behind-the-Scenes Booklets

New York cab driver Korben Dallas didn’t mean to be a hero, but he just picked up the kind of fare that only comes along every five thousand years:  A perfect beauty, a perfect being, a perfect weapon. Together, they must save the world. Bruce Willis, Milla Jovovich, and Gary Oldman star in acclaimed director Luc Besson’s outrageous sci-fi adventure, an extravagantly styled tale of good against evil set in an unbelievable twenty-third century world. Now fully remastered in 4K, experience this dynamic action favorite like never before.

THE FIFTH ELEMENT has a run time of approximately 126 minutes and is rated PG-13 for intense sci-fi violence, some sexuality and brief nudity.

THE FIFTH ELEMENT Bonus Features Include (for both skus):
§  4K Restoration & Dolby Atmos® Audio (Dolby TrueHD 7.1 compatible)*
§  Behind-the-Scenes Featurettes Available on Blu-ray for the First Time:
o   “The Visual Element”
o   “The Digital Element”
o   “The Star Element”
o   “The Alien Element”
o   “The Fashion Element”
o   “The Diva”
o   “Imagining The Fifth Element
o   “The Elements of Style”

Jean Reno, Gary Oldman, Natalie Portman and Danny Aiello star in LÉON: THE PROFESSIONAL, a go-for-broke thriller about a professional assassin whose work becomes dangerously personal. Calling himself a “cleaner,” the mysterious Léon is New York’s top hitman. When his next-door neighbors are murdered, Léon becomes the unwilling guardian of the family’s sole survivor - 12-year-old Mathilda. But Mathilda doesn’t just want protection; she wants revenge. Training her in the deadly tricks of his trade, Léon helps her track the psychotic agent who murdered her family. From the electrifying opening to the fatal finale, LÉON THE PROFESSIONAL is a nonstop crescendo of action and suspense. Experience both the U.S. theatrical and international versions of this beloved action masterpiece, now fully remastered in 4K.

The theatrical version of LÉON: THE PROFESSIONAL has a run time of approximately 110 minutes, while the extended version has a run time of approximately 133 minutes.  The theatrical version is rated R for scenes of strong graphic violence, and for language. Clear Case packaging produced by Multi Packaging Solutions.

LÉON: THE PROFESSIONAL Bonus Features Include (for both skus):
§  4K Restoration & Dolby Atmos® Audio (Dolby TrueHD 7.1 compatible)*
§  Both the theatrical and extended versions of the film (both remastered in 4K & with Dolby Atmos)
§  Featurettes:
o   “Cast and Crew Look Back”
o   “Jean Reno: The Road to Léon”
o   “Natalie Portman: Starting Young”
§  Original Theatrical Trailer

New on Blu-ray DVD 11.03.15

Number of discs: 3
Rated: PG (Parental Guidance Suggested)
Studio: Walt Disney Studios
DVD Release Date: November 3, 2015
Run Time: 120 minutes
Review - Matt Mungle

Synopsis: After young Riley is uprooted from her Midwest life and moved to San Francisco, her emotions - Joy (Amy Poehler), Fear (Bill Hader), Anger (Lewis Black), Disgust (Mindy Kaling) and Sadness (Phyllis Smith) - conflict on how best to navigate a new city, house and school.

Review: The creative minds over at Pixar have decided to take on the human psyche in the new animated family comedy, INSIDE OUT.  It is a hilarious look at the thoughts and emotions that we take for granted every second. They spared no detail when it comes to how our brains compute, decipher and store data. It is this attention to the specifics that make this, like every other Pixar film, stand out. READ MORE...

Also releasing this week on Blu-ray and DVD

The NEW trailer for Universal Pictures’ BY THE SEA

Written, directed and produced by Academy Award® winner Angelina Jolie Pitt, BY THE SEA serves as her directorial follow-up to Universal Pictures’ epic UNBROKEN.  

The dramatic film stars Brad Pitt and Jolie Pitt, who are supported by an international ensemble led by Mélanie Laurent, Melvil Poupaud, Niels Arestrup and Richard Bohringer.