Robert Wm. Gomez's

Love on Delivery (7/10)

Man, Stephen Chow has been making the same movie over and over for more than two decades. Don't get me wrong, I usually like the end result, but maybe try something a little different? The basics, Stephen Chow goes from loser to kung-fu master with tons of slapstick and dated movie references along the way. I do enjoy how he can take a throw-away joke from earlier and then bring it back in to focus later on in a way that makes the original effort seem like it was somehow important to the story (Garfield mask?!).

What We Do in the Shadows (7/10)

A decent entry in the never-ending series of mock documentary films. This one follows the mundane lives of three New Zealand vampires. It has its moments and is a zillion times better than the various attempts to make a monsters in the real world story like True Blood.

Four Riders (8/10)

Not all Shaw Brothers martial arts movies take place in ancient China. Four Riders is set in Seoul during the weeks following the Korean War when bell-bottoms and disco hair were apparently all the rage. Not much in this movie makes any sense, but if you can take a deep breath and ignore the gaping plot holes, it's a fun ride with a wild climax. Features: a dart throwing hentchwoman, apocalyptic biblical references, gym-kata and a shorty-robe wearing crime boss.

Saturn 3 (5/10)

I remember seeing this movie in the video store with its super-cool robot on the cover and thinking, "This rated R so it is probably a super graphic and scary sci-fi movie like Alien." Alien kinda traumatized me as a kid so I was never in a rush to rent this one. Now, thirty years later I have finally mustered the nerve to watch it. Dear gawd, it's low budget crap. The R rating is mostly from the inclusion a seventy-year-old Kirk Douglass's naked bum.

Green Room (8/10)

The first fifteen minutes of this movie are noteworthy for accurately depicting what it's like to be a touring punk rock band. Sleeping on floors. Scrounging for gas money. Playing for nobody in the middle of the day. The rest of it is a thriller in which the band needs to figure out how to get out of a deadly situation involving a calculating club owner and his neo-nazi followers.

The Killer Is on the Phone (7/10)

Not that it matters, but the title of this film has nothing to do with what happens on the screen. There are maybe two seconds where we see the killer on the phone but it is just a throwaway moment. I wanted wicked taunts and heavy breathing! I assume the Italian producers were just trying to cash in on a 70s telephone-based murderer craze? In any event, this is a mystery thriller which is pretty light on the thrills and very heavy on the talky bits. Despite this abundance of dialogue, Telly Savalas is underutilized having maybe three lines.

Rage on PC (5/10)

Going Down to Brown Towne

Oh, how the mighty have fallen. This game is the epitome of bland first person shooters and Id Software should know better. They still seem not to know that there are colors beyond brown. There are no attempts at originality here. The post-apocalyptic setting is like a colorless, un-fun Borderlands. The barely-there plot is a rehash of the Fallout fish out of water structure.

The Last Jedi (8/10)

I went into this having avoided the trailers or anything that could potentially spoil this for me. Despite its flaws I really liked The Force Awakens and was excited to see the story continue. For the most part I enjoyed The Last Jedi, but the plot was extremely clunky. There's a whole section where Fin and annoying girl go to space Monte Carlo and rescue space horses. The entire fin plotline could be removed from the movie without consequence.

Grave of the Fireflies (7/10)

This classic Studio Ghibli cartoon is about the horrors of war. But it's really more about the horrors of a teenager who is too much of a stubborn jerk to get help for himself and his toddler sister.

To Build a Castle: My Life as a Dissenter by Vladimir Bukovsky (7/10)

A memoir of what living in The Soviet Union was like in the 60s and 70s. Bukovsky spent most of that time in prison camps and mental institutions. His big contribution was exposing the use of psychiatric evaluations to label dissenters as mentally unfit for trial. Despite being the harrowing nature of his predicaments, he makes it seem like routine daily life in the U.S.S.R.

Seven Chances (8/10)

I've never actually seen a Buster Keaton movie until this. Holds up very well and has some great scenes of Buster trying to outrun boulders and a mob of angry brides.

Room (8/10)

This starts as an engaging thriller and then tricks you by turning into a teary drama. A lot of the movie relies on an underwear-clad child actor and Brie Larson's zits. Both do outstanding work.

Free Fire (7/10)

This was a movie that I really wanted to see. It's directed by Ben Wheatley, who made the gangster-hybrid stunner, Kill List. The premise is great: a gun deal goes bad in the first fifteen minutes of the film and what follows is one gigantic standoff with bullets flying and dialogue shouted from behind cover. Unfortunately, it doesn't quite live up to expectations. The characters aren't particularly interesting and neither is their cross-talk. In the hands of Tarantino this could have been a masterpiece.

Arrival (7/10)

A sci-fi film about a bunch of space squids that communicate with coffee rings. Another blockbuster that steals plot elements from "The Demon with a Glass Hand" episode of The Outer Limits.

Journey to the West: The Demons Strike Back (6/10)

This would have been much better if it were just a cartoon instead of this live-action/CGI mess. There are tons of original visual ideas but the execution just looks stupid. Why in Buddha's name would you CGI a monkey face when a rubber mask would look a zillion times more realistic? Still, there are some fun moments between the incoherent plot points. Nothing will match the opening twenty minutes of the first Journey to the West.