Category Archives: Film

Film and movie criticism, news and views at Sketchy Details

2014 Oscars Live Blog

Haven’t done one of these in a while. My old live blog plugin has not been updated and no longer functions on WordPress. The new one should automatically (ooh, fancy) update with the new news and photos (screengrabs with a cellphone camera) throughout the night. Fingers crossed.

2014 Academy Awards Predictions

85th Annual Academy Awards Live BlogCan you believe the Academy Awards are finally happening on Sunday? We’re almost a quarter of the way into the new year and we get to find out what Hollywood thinks the best films of the 2013 are.

We’re keeping it simple at Sketchy Details this year. Who will win? Who should win? And who did they miss? I will, for fairness sake, remove films from consideration that did not qualify for the Academy Awards. Just assume American Mary would be on more “Missed” lists than nots had it been eligible.

Full predictions after the jump.

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Horror Thursday: High Lane

Horror Thursday: High Lane

Horror Thursdsay: High LaneI was really in the mood for some of that new French brutality this week. I was craving a Frontier(s) or High Tension, but Netflix was not delivering. The closest I could find was High Lane, a little indie horror about five friends getting stuck on a closed mountain climbing course. Sadly, it played more like The Descent than Martyrs, but that turned out to be a good thing. I can deal with a first time feature film director clearly copying the beats and editing of The Descent for a sky-high horror film.

Horror Thursday: High Lane

The 10 Best Horror Films

The 10 Best Horror Films

I did a list a while back that I found to be a really rewarding exercise. This is finally a continuation of what could, and should, be a series of such lists. It was not an easy task to boil down the fantasy genre to 10 films, but I thought long and hard about it and came up with a list I felt comfortable defending.

Today, I present an even harder task. I’ve seen hundreds upon hundreds of horror films in my life. I’d say it’s pretty safe to say I’ve seen more horror in my life than most people see films, total, in their lives. It’s a lifelong obsession. I used to go to the local Suncoast Video Store and pick up the totally age inappropriate 10/20/50 movies for 5/8/15 dollar collections and watch them like someone in 2014 will watch a TV series: marathoned back to back with questionable quality due to the limits of technology and care. I try not to pass up any free horror film screening I can get to (no matter how bad), even if I’ve already seen the film at home. Like I said, I’m obsessed.

Narrowing that many films down to 10 is not easy. My initial brainstorm had close to 100 films to choose from. But now, I’m left with a ranked list of 10 that make me happy. I feel these are the 10 best horror films ever made while writing this, but the list would change if you asked me to do a final pass in an hour, let alone a day, a week, a month, or a year.

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Horror Thursday: The Haunted Strangler

Horror Thursday: The Haunted StranglerWhen I was reorganizing my records I use to keep track of what I’ve written about online, I came across a fact that disturbed me like no other. My film reviews since relaunching Sketchy Details a couple years ago have been overwhelmingly dominated by the 2000s. I do a lot more new release reviews than I did at the start of this back in 2004, but back then, I covered a lot of black and white films. I think it’s a shame that I’ve unintentionally abandoned classic cinema and will work on rectifying that in 2014.

Reviewing films like The Haunted Strangler is a good start. This Boris Karloff mystery/horror (oh, how I miss the mystery/horror as a genre) is so beautifully nuanced in a way that modern horror can never get away with. It’s not perfect (it just stops at the end instead of actually reaching a satisfying conclusion), but it’s a whole lot of fun to watch and dig into.

Horror Thursday: The Haunted Strangler