Peter Block

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Frozen Review


Good
As far as claustrophobic, high-concept B-movie thrillers go, this is pretty entertaining, throwing out logic in lieu of rampant, grisly tension. It's also extremely well-shot, making the most from its limited setting and three-person cast.

Joe (Ashmore) isn't hugely thrilled that his best pal Dan (Zegers) has invited his girlfriend Parker (Bell) along for a day of skiing. But she comes in handy when they need to charm the chairlift operator (Ackerman) into giving them a free ride. On the other hand, on their last trip up the mountain the lift is switched off for the week, and they're stranded in the chair. With a storm rolling in. And wolves braying for blood beneath them.

Continue reading: Frozen Review

The Midnight Meat Train Review


OK
Although the title sounds like the punch line to a crude joke ("...and they called it the midnight meat train!"), The Midnight Meat Train is in fact based on an early Clive Barker short story. The film is perhaps best known (at least in Barker fan circles) as a sterling example of what happens when studio politics gets in the way of filmmaking. While The Midnight Meat Train had a sizable budget and an edgy, young director (Japanese impresario Ryuhei Kitamura of Versus (a hyperactive zombie flick) fame), the movie was unceremoniously dumped into a hundred-odd budget theatres (quelle horror!) where maybe a hundred-odd people saw it. Maybe. The reasons this sad fate befell The Midnight Meat Train are legion, but most Barker fans (as well as Barker himself) seem to agree it had everything to do with infighting at Lionsgate. Whether the film was dumped due to internal politics or whether it was because Lionsgate no longer had faith in the picture, The Midnight Meat Train, despite its ridiculous title, is a decent horror flick. Slick and well-shot, it easily could have played first run theaters and may even have turned a profit.

Closely following Barker's original story (found in volume one of his Books of Blood collection), The Midnight Meat Train concerns a spate of subway disappearances. It seems a serial killer ("The Butcher" aka Mahogany) is offing commuters unlucky enough to be riding the late night trains he lurks on. Told he needs to kick his photos up a notch if he wants to be respected, photographer Leon (played by Bradley Cooper), heads into the bowels of the city looking for kicks. He finds them but he also stumbles upon The Butcher and begins a one-man quest to capture the killer.

Continue reading: The Midnight Meat Train Review

Wonderland (2003) Review


Very Good
It takes a bold filmmaker to splash the legend of John Holmes (aka porn star Johnny Wadd) up on the screen before his film has even started, giving the hard-to-believe basics of Holmes' legend (1,000 films made, slept with 14,000 women), and then say that the movie to follow isn't about all of that, it's about what happened to John afterward. One imagines many an aging porn connoisseur ducking out the theater door upon that announcement. But director James Cox has made a solid bet, for the events of the summer of 1981 on Los Angeles's Wonderland Avenue make anything that could have happened before in Holmes's life seem like the most inconsequential trivia.

On July 1 of that year, four people were savagely beaten to death in a Laurel Canyon apartment that had long been a party hangout and drug-dealing haven; a fifth person was put into intensive care. Holmes (Val Kilmer) was at the center of the tangle of paranoia, greed, and confusion that led to the massacre. Always hanging out at the apartment scamming drugs for his vacuum-like habit, Holmes incurs the enmity of the hard cases living there (played by Tim Blake Nelson, Dylan McDermott in a frighteningly unconvincing biker beard, and Josh Lucas). To make it up to them, Holmes acts as their inside man for a robbery of the palatial home of his buddy Eddie Nash (Eric Bogosian), who just happens to be one of the biggest club-owners in Southern California and a bona-fide gangster, to boot. Things go poorly after the robbery, to say the least.

Continue reading: Wonderland (2003) Review

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Peter Block Movies

Frozen Movie Review

Frozen Movie Review

As far as claustrophobic, high-concept B-movie thrillers go, this is pretty entertaining, throwing out logic...

The Midnight Meat Train Movie Review

The Midnight Meat Train Movie Review

Although the title sounds like the punch line to a crude joke ("...and they called...

Wonderland (2003) Movie Review

Wonderland (2003) Movie Review

It takes a bold filmmaker to splash the legend of John Holmes (aka porn star...

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