Saturday, August 24, 2019

Movie Review: THE ANGRY BIRDS MOVIE 2 (2019)


Animated movies are ones that, unless they’re from Disney, tend to get overlooked, even if they’re great (**cough** Kubo and the Two Strings **cough**). That seems to be the case here with The Angry Birds Movie 2, the follow-up to the 2016 film based on the popular app game. The first film tells the story of an outcast bird named Red who, with some help, saves Bird Island and all its inhabitants from the invading pigs who want to steal their eggs.  That movie was alright for what it was, not great, but not terrible either.  Kind of forgettable, to be honest. But not part 2... it’s quite the opposite.

Austin’s IDTV Action Fest Awards First-Time Director With Top Award


Dilan Jay, a first-time filmmaker, is making waves coming out of Austin’s Iron Dragon TV Action Fest, by taking home their top award, the “Best Action Film” award, for his film Hollow Point.

Sunday, July 28, 2019

Movie Review: CRITTERS ATTACK! (2019)


Horror films are what I, as a movie lover, am most drawn to, and sometimes that includes bad, B-rated monster movies, and a classic example of this genre is the Critters franchise. Since it’s release back in 1986, the original Critters has spawned four sequels and a short web series, including this latest installment, Critters Attack!

Now, before I dive into my review of this film, I felt it was necessary to let my readers know that I have only seen the first Critters film once, probably 25 years ago, and I really don’t remember much at all. So, needless to say, I did have a few questions that may have been answered had I seen at least the first one more recently, which I’ll get to as we go through the film. I did, however, go online and read the plot synopsis for the original film, just to have a little context about these creatures.

***SPOILERS BEYOND THIS POINT... YOU’VE BEEN WARNED!***

The film starts off with the obviously broken family of Drea, her younger brother Phillip, and their drunken Sheriff uncle, Louis. Phillip sees something he believes to be a UFO while stargazing one night with his telescope, though no one believes him. Not his uncle, not his sister... no one.

Drea learns that she was rejected, again, from the college she applied to, which we find out is the same college her mother was attending before getting pregnant with her. She’s obviously trying to finish what her mother started, out of love and honor, as well as out of a bit of guilt. She blames herself for he mother not finishing school and she blames herself for her mom’s death. This is a much deeper story thread than I was expecting the fifth film in the Critters franchise to have, but it was a pleasant surprise.

Then Drea is given the opportunity to babysit for one of the members of the school’s board of admissions, and as her Uncle Louis says, “Sometimes smarts just aren’t enough. Sometimes it’s the people you know in the world.” This is where we meet the Lacy family. Professor Lacy is in and out of the scene very quickly, never to be seen again in the film. We also meet her children, Trissy and Jake. I’m curious as to what Professor Lacy’s reaction would be to finding a dead Critter in her home, or the fact that her son suffers an injury on Drea’s first day of babysitting. I wish we had gotten more of an ending wrap up to address this, the death of Uncle Louis, and the alien attack in general.

While out for a walk, Trissy finds a wounded creature. Unbeknownst to them, this is the Queen Critter. As a foil to all of the other creatures in the film, the Queen seems to be kind and gentle, yet powerful and vicious when needed, like a true queen should be. This is where things begin to go sour for Drea and the others, as the legion of Critters want their Queen back and will stop at nothing to get her, while enjoying some bloody, gory snacking.

Speaking of blood and gore, one of my favorite things about this movie are all the practical effects used, from the aforementioned blood and gore, to the Critters themselves. It was great to see. I feel like recent films rely too heavily on CGI and forget just how cool and fun it is to see creatures like this done practically. It may seem cheesy at times, but I’ll take a cheesy practical creature over a poorly done CGI one any day of the week.

We also run into a bounty hunter, known only as “Aunt Dee”, played by the wonderful Dee Wallace. As I said before, I did go online and read about the first film, which is how I remembered that Dee Wallace played the main character in the original Critters film, and that it included two shapeshifting bounty hunters. At first, I wondered if this Aunt Dee was actually Helen Brown living a new life after the events of the first film, but then it’s revealed that she’s a bounty hunter, which makes me believe she’s one of the two from the first film and just chose to take the form of Helen after the attack. This is never confirmed, but it seems to be the most logical explanation as to why this bounty hunter looks like Helen Brown. I also think it’s a great way to link back to the original without forcing it too hard.

Throughout the film, the kids band together to take down these bloodthirsty Critters, and manage to succeed with the help of Aunt Dee. They also discover a weakness of the Critters, and it just so happens to be one of my negatives for this film. I don’t know if this is something used in previous films, but having the Critters become paralyzed and then blow up from loud, high pitches noises (police siren, air horn, etc.) seemed a bit of a cop out to me. It reminded me of Mars Attacks in that aspect, which is far more satirical than this. And another negative that really bugged me were the proposed ages of these kids. 

I buy Drea as a 19/20 year old, and I can even buy Trissy as a 12/13 year old, but both Phillip and Jake definitely look older than they are playing. It makes the little romance between Phillip and Trissy seem awkward because she can pass for 12, but he looks more like he’s 15 or 16. Maybe it’s just me, but it bothered me during the entire movie and I just can’t shake it. Also was the main Critter with the scars on its face from one of the other films? The way they focused in on that specific one and the scars make me think it is, possibly from the first film, which would make my previous theory about the bounty hunter make more sense.

Overall, this was a fun, entertaining b-horror flick to sit down and watch for an hour and a half. If you’re into that kind of thing or if you’re a fan of the Critters franchise, give this one a watch and let me know what you think.


The Merc’s Score: 6.5/10



Thursday, July 25, 2019

What's on Netflix?: DEAD TO ME - Season 1


Review by: Lisa Zimmerman

Netflix is known for its binge-worthy shows, new and old, such as Grey's Anatomy and Stranger Things. Dead to Me is another such series. I first tuned into Dead to Me because of Christina Applegate, but I kept watching because of the interesting plot and the onscreen chemistry of the actors involved.

Saturday, June 29, 2019

Short Film Spotlight: BREATHE (2019)


Welcome back to another installment of SHORT FILM SPOTLIGHT, where I highlight some of the best short films out there.  This week, I take a look at the powerfully dramatic short film... BREATHE.

I recently discovered this brilliant and emotional short film after listening to the writer and director, Devon Stewart, talk about it on an episode of a podcast I listen to called Collider Live. He spoke about this being his directorial debut, and if I hadn’t known that, I never would have guessed it. Breathe is a stunning piece of filmmaking, on every level. Devon Stewart proved that he is made for this, as his eye for composition and his ability to pull emotion from the audience is blatantly evident here.

Tuesday, April 30, 2019

SUMMER FILM CHALLENGE 2019


May is here, and you know what that means? The summer movie season has officially started, and what better way to celebrate than with a friendly competition! So I present to you all the Merc With A Movie Blog Summer Film Challenge!

Thursday, April 18, 2019

Talkin' Schmoedown #15: #1 CONTENDER MATCH BIBBIANI vs ERWIN vs ROCHA + JTE vs JONATHAN HARRIS


Episode 15 of Talkin' Schmoedown is upon us, and this week I breakdown the stipulation match between JTE and Jonathan Harris, the #1 contender match of William Bibbiani vs Ethan Erwin vs John Rocha, and I talk about some big news throughout the week, as well as last week's Inside Schmoedown with The Outlaw himself, John Rocha!

All this and more on this week's Talkin' Schmoedown!

Sunday, April 14, 2019

After Live #10: STAR WARS, SOUND CLIPS, & THE RETURN OF JOSH & SINÉAD


Episode 10 of After Live, the unofficial Collider Live after show, is officially here this week your host, Mike, breaks down the week in Collider Live with his co-hosts Shawn and Wade. They cover everything including Star Wars, Jon Favreau's Lion King, the return of Sinéad de Vries, and so much more!

So, sit back and relax, because After Live is back, and better than ever!

Saturday, April 13, 2019

Movie Review: PET SEMATARY (2019)


Throughout my years as a movie lover, there’s been one genre that has always grabbed my interest, and that genre is horror.  I’ve been a horror fan ever since I can remember, from watching classics like Nightmare on Elm Street and Halloween, to more modern day horror like Paranormal Activity and The Conjuring, and even sci-fi driven horror like Jurassic Park and Alien.  It’s the one genre where I’ll give just about anything a try, including remakes.

Tuesday, April 9, 2019

Talkin' Schmoedown #14: JEANNINE THE MACHINE vs STACY HOWARD + INKY & THE BRAIN vs THE MOVIE GUYS


Episode 14 of Talkin' Schmoedown is upon us, and this week I breakdown the tag team match between Inky & the Brain (Devon Stewart & Rachel Silvestrini) and The Movie Guys (Adam Witt & Paul Preston), the grudge match of Jeannine the Machine vs Sassy Stacy Howard, and talk about some big news throughout the week, as well as last week's Inside Schmoedown with "Tricky" Tom Dagnino!

All this and more on this week's Talkin' Schmoedown!

Sunday, April 7, 2019

After Live #9: KURT RUSSELL, ZOOBILEE ZOO & THE ROAST OF JOSH MACUGA


Episode 9 of After Live, the unofficial Collider Live after show, is officially here this week your host, Mike, breaks down the week in Collider Live with his co-host Wade. They cover everything from John Oliver's wrestling talk, Josh Macuga's controversial opinions, the 80's classic Zoobilee Zoo, and so much more!

So, sit back and relax, because After Live is back, and better than ever!

Talkin' Schmoedown #13: FREE 4 ALL III + JAY WASHINGTON vs KEVIN SMETS


Episode 13 of Talkin' Schmoedown is upon us, and this week is a big one, as I discuss one of the biggest events of the year... FREE 4 ALL!!! 40 competitors took the stage, but only one came out victorious.

I also breakdown the Innergeekdom grudge match between Jay Washington and Kevin Smets, some big news throughout the week, as well as talk about last week's Inside Schmoedown with Smets' manager Kaiser!

All this and more on this week's Talkin' Schmoedown!

Sunday, March 31, 2019

After Live #8: HEATED ARGUMENTS & THE DIRECTIONALLY CHALLENGED


Episode 8 of After Live, the unofficial Collider Live after show, is officially here this week your host, Mike, breaks down the week in Collider Live with co-hosts Shawn and Wade. They cover everything from Spielberg joining up with Apple TV+, the events of the Schmoedown Free 4 All, Roxy's distrust of her GPS, and so much more!

So, sit back and relax, because After Live is back, and better than ever!

Friday, March 29, 2019

After Live Bonus Episode: Exclusive Interview with David B. & Thrawn


The After Live crew is back with an exclusive interview with two of the most infamous Collider Live fans out there... musical sensations David B and Thrawn!

So sit back and enjoy this in-depth discussion with the guys who made Clickbait, Can I Come, and Chicken & Beer more than just some funny soundbites!

Tuesday, March 26, 2019

Talkin' Schmoedown #12: SHIREWOLVES vs CRITICALLY ACCLAIMED, JOHN ROCHA vs MARC ANDREYKO


On this week's episode of Talkin' Schmoedown, I cover all the happenings from the latest week in the Movie Trivia Schmoedown! We see Winston Marshall vs Emily Rose Jacobson in their debut Innergeekdom match, John Rocha vs Marc Andreyko, & the tag team title match between the Shirewolves (Clarke Wolfe & Rachel Cushing) and Critically Acclaimed (William Bibbiani & Witney Seibold)!

I also dive into some news throughout the week, as well as Inside Schmoedown with special guest William "The Beast" Bibbiani.

All this and more on this week's Talkin' Schmoedown!

Monday, March 25, 2019

After Live #7: STU, JUAN ROACHA, & THE RETURN OF AFTER LIVE!!!


Episode 7 of the unofficial Collider Live after show is officially here and with it comes a whole new cast of characters!

Join our new host, Mike, as he breaks down the week in Collider Live with co-hosts Shawn and Wade. They cover everything from Stu the Subway Poll Licker, their favorite places to get pizza, Reilly's hair, and so much more!

So, sit back and relax, because After Live is back, and better than ever!

Wednesday, March 20, 2019

Talkin' Schmoedown #11: KORRUPTION vs WORLD'S FINEST & LIZ SHANNON MILLER vs DEMI ADEJUYIGBE



On this week's episode of Talkin' Schmoedown, I cover all the happenings from the latest week in the Movie Trivia Schmoedown! We got Korruption (Mike Kalinowski & Chance Ellison) vs World's Finest (Winston Marshall & Eric Zipper), as well as the singles debut match between Liz Shannon Miller and Demi Adejuyigbe.

I also dive into some news throughout the week, as well as Inside Schmoedown with special guest Jay Washington.

All this and more on this week's Talkin' Schmoedown!