Friday, July 31, 2020

Movie Review: IN FULL BLOOM

As a film lover, I’ve dove into pretty much every genre there is - from cheesy rom-coms, to splattergore horror, to existential dramas - but two genres I don’t typically jump to are sports films and foreign language films. Now, that’s not to say I don’t watch them at all, because I do, just not on the level of some of those other genres. I mean, Parasite and Portrait of a Lady on Fire were two of my favorites from last year, but I’m still lacking in my film knowledge in both areas. So when I was offered the chance to watch a screener of this new film called In Full Bloom, I was worried a bit, as it falls into both of those categories.

Thursday, July 16, 2020

Movie Review: ONLY (2020)

Pandemic films have been around for years, bringing us hit or miss tellings of a world where some sort of viral outbreak ravages the population. Some take this genre and spin it in the horror direction, as seen in the hundreds, if not thousands, of zombie movies out there, while others take a more realistic approach, like Contagion or the film I’ll be talking about today… ONLY.

Thursday, May 7, 2020

Movie Review: THE HALF OF IT (2020)

Bookish introvert Ellie Chu is perfectly content with her life: watching old movies with her widowed father and ghostwriting papers for her high school classmates to help pay the bills. But her side gig turns personal when lovelorn jock Paul Munsky (Daniel Diemer) hires her to craft love notes to Aster Flores (Alexxis Lemire) — a smart, popular girl out of both of their leagues… and Ellie’s own secret crush. Just as the duo’s plan begins to work, a new wrinkle emerges: Ellie and Paul have fallen into a deep friendship neither could have anticipated, giving rise to a surprising love triangle. THE HALF OF IT is a heartfelt comedy-of-errors about searching for perfect love — and finding yourself in the process.

Thursday, April 30, 2020

SXSW 2020 Review: BASIC

Basic is a very, very, very short film about a dumb lil’ ho doing lil’ ho things. It’s a darkish comedy exploring the insecure lil’ ho in all of us.



**Warning: Spoilers Ahead**

This quarantine has left many of us at home looking for the next series to watch. A great series that I found is Little Fires Everywhere on Hulu, which contains some familiar faces, including Reese Witherspoon and Kerry Washington. I first tuned into the series because my favorite actor, Jesse Williams of Grey's Anatomy fame, had a small role in it.  However, I kept watching because of the intelligent dialogue and important social issues it discusses, such as motherhood, racism, premarital sex, and abortion, among others.

SXSW 2020 Review: DADDIO

Daddio is a comedy based on real death events. A year after the passing of their beloved wife and mother, a dad and daughter grapple with life after loss. Daddio is a love story between a father and daughter after the unimaginable has happened.

Thursday, February 6, 2020

Trailer for Hulu's UTOPIA FALLS is Officially Here!!

Hundreds of years in the future, in the last living colony on earth, a city called New Babyl, twenty-four teenage candidates are chosen to take part in an annual musical competition known as The Exemplar. For all of them it's a chance to write their names in the history books, but for Aliyah, the independent and adventurous daughter to a city government official, it's the beginning of an incredible adventure. Through the discovery of a mysterious archive, she is exposed to hip-hop, an ancient form of music culture, which will lead her to question everything she has ever known and change her world forever.

‘The Righteous Gemstones’ First Season Hits DVD This April

Danny McBride returns and reunites the creative team behind Vice Principals and Eastbound and Down with HBO’s latest hit comedy The Righteous Gemstones. Ahead of the show’s second season, Warner Bros. Home Entertainment is set to release The Righteous Gemstones: The Complete First Season on DVD April 14, 2020 for $24.98 SRP ($29.98 SRP in Canada). The two-disc set features all nine hilarious episodes plus an “Invitation to the Set” bonus feature.

Friday, January 10, 2020

Movie Review: 1917 (Non-Spoiler)

In the art of film, sometimes you come across one that, simply put, takes your breath away.  A film that grabs onto you from the first frame and doesn’t let go, not for one single second, until the credits roll.  Films like these are rare, but when you come across one, it leaves an impression on your soul.  I discovered a film like that today in the form of Sam Mendes’’ new war film, 1917.

Thursday, January 2, 2020

Movie Review: INTO THE DARK: POOKA! (2018)

Christmas-themed horror films are nothing new, with recent films like Krampus and Rare Exports gaining a strong following, and classics like the original Black Christmas, which launched the slasher genre of the 1970’s. So it’s no surprise that when Hulu launched their “Into The Dark” anthology film series, which included one new film each month centered around a holiday or significant event during that month, that Christmas would be tackled in December. And that’s where Pooka comes in.

Tuesday, December 17, 2019

Oscarmetrics Breaks Down The Math of the Biggest Awards Night of the Year

Do you love the Oscars? Do you love trying to predict the winner each year?  Well then I have the book for you!  Oscarmetrics: The Math Behind the Biggest Night in Hollywood takes you through the Academy Awards by way of mathematical statistics and analysis as Ben Zauzmer breaks down each category.

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.


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


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


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!