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Editor's rating: 
Wednesday, 01 August 2007 |  Written by Christopher Joseph  | 
Covenant, The Not quite a thriller. Not really a horror flick. Definitely a piece of poop. Trailers for “The Covenant” showed promise of being a sort of “The Lost Boys” meets “The Craft” with an updated “Underworld” tonality. The product is more like a 97-minute straight-to-video “Dawson’s Creek” Halloween Special. Sorry, no cult classic here. It’s not even entertaining in a “so-bad-it’s-good” kind of way. Just so bad, it’s rancid. The story, acting, and special effects make it feel like a rejected pilot from the CW network. And while I may not be in “The Covenant’s” target demographic, even shows like the CW’s “Supernatural” carry loads more scares, thrills, and respectability, while still maintaining their teen market sensibilities. There’s no excuse here. This is unadulterated garbage from Hollywood hack director, Renny Harlin (“Exorcist: The Beginning,” “The Adventures of Ford Fairlane”) and direct-to-DVD veteran writer, J.S. Cardone. A motion-graphics montage, set to a remix of Rob Zombie’s ...
Editor's rating: 
Friday, 01 December 2006 |  Written by Bill Warren  | 
Sleepy Hollow “Sleepy Hollow” is another in the remarkable series of movies that unite director Tim Burton and actor Johnny Depp. They work remarkably well together, apparently sharing a somewhat macabre sense of humor and love of scary movies. This is Burton’s attempt to out-Hammer a Hammer movie—Hammer stalwart Christopher Lee is in the cast—and one of the best-looking films he’s done. Cinematographer Emmanuel Lubezki and production designer Rick Heinrichs (who worked with Burton when they were both film students) give the film a burnished sheen, with everything except blood in muted, autumnal tones. Forests are threaded with fog, every acre of ground outside the small town of Sleepy Hollow is ankle-deep in fallen leaves, and the trees are mostly bare. The visual and dramatic tones of the film are perfectly matched, with the design just at the verge of excessive, while the film itself introduces comedy at unexpected moments. The movie is hardly a comedy, ...
Editor's rating: 
Wednesday, 01 November 2006 |  Written by Bill Warren  | 
House of Wax This is not a remake of the famous Vincent Price horror movie of the early 1950s, which helped kick off the 3D craze. All that’s left is the title, the practice of encasing corpses in wax and putting them on display, and a character named Vincent. Although the Price film isn’t a classic, it’s much better than this steadfastly routine slasher movie that, sigh, again pits late teens/early 20s types against a murderous fiend (or here, two of them). On the other hand this movie boasts an exuberantly bizarre climax, a jaw-dropping combination of on-set and CGI effects that’s not like anything else you—or anyone—has ever seen. The movie scores big points for originality in the last 15 minutes or so, but to get to those 15 minutes or so, you have to sit through the whole damned thing. And that’s not much fun. Director Jaume Collet-Serra does a surprisingly good job ...
Editor's rating: 
Wednesday, 01 November 2006 |  Written by Bill Warren  | 
Devil's Rejects, The Rock singer Rob Zombie was long a fan of horror movies, particularly the “slasher” subgenre kicked off by “Halloween” and “Friday the 13th.” A couple of years ago, he persuaded Universal to back him in making “House of a Thousand Corpses,” but it was so gruesome the studio declined to released it. The movie became something of a minor cause celebre among horror movie fans, and it was finally released by another company to moderate results. It made enough money to finance Zombie’s sequel to “House,” “The Devil’s Rejects,” and that, too, did reasonably well at the boxoffice. If you are a fan of gruesome horror movies, or merely inured to them, you may find “The Devil’s Rejects” entertaining. It’s definitely well acted by a team consisting mostly of long-time Hollywood gargoyles, including Sid Haig, Michael Berryman and Geoffrey Lewis. There isn’t a single likeable or sympathetic character in the entire movie, which, ...
Editor's rating: 
Wednesday, 01 November 2006 |  Written by Bill Warren  | 
Stir of Echoes “Stir of Echoes” is another of the many Blu-Ray releases that make a critic want to throw up his hands in resignation. Why has someone gone to the time and expense of converting this film into high definition video? Very, very little is gained visually, although the DTS HD High Resolution ES Audio track is excellent. But that was due more to the production mixer than to the conversion of this film into video. There’s nothing particularly wrong with “Stir of Echoes,” and it’s a handsomely photographed film (DP: Fred Murphy). Care was taken with the Chicago neighborhood locations; it looks like a place real people live—because it is. But even the crispest, cleanest images here are still just shots of people in ordinary surroundings. Yes, you can make out the texture of the wallpaper, the grit on the cement ...
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