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John Allman

If you’ve ever wandered the aisles at the video store or surfed the DVR pay-per-view options and seen a bunch of movies that you’ve never heard of, chances are John has watched them. Why? He loves movies. All kinds of movies. Good, bad, so-bad-they’re good, even the truly unwatchable ones. He mostly loves horror and science-fiction and drive-in exploitation movies that most upstanding model citizens wouldn’t dare watch. Then he writes up his thoughts so you can decide - watch, don’t watch or avoid at all costs. Sometimes he even gets to talk to the cool folks who make some of your favorite films.

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New Releases for Tuesday, Aug. 7, 2012

Posted Aug 18, 2012 by John Allman

Updated Aug 18, 2012 at 12:57 PM

What’s new in stores and on video shelves this week:

Grimm: The Complete First Season
Genre: Horror/Fantasy
Created by: David Greenwalt, Jim Kouf, Stephen Carpenter
Run time: 990 minutes
Rating: Unrated
Format: Blu-Ray

The Lowdown: Genre fans faced quite the conundrum during the 2011-12 television season when NBC made the decision to schedule “Grimm” on the same night, in the same time slot, as “Fringe” and “Supernatural.”

That sound you might have heard was the collective cursing of a small, but passionate, faithful whose quest for quality sci-fi and horror programming often results in frustration as most new shows each year are canceled quickly due to low ratings. The other sound was the destruction of most basic DVR boxes, whichonly allow for the simultaneous recording of two programs, while forcing subscribers to watch a previously recorded program and not another show airing live.

For this longtime fan of both “Fringe” and “Supernatural,” I was forced to keep up with “Grimm” through Verizon’s On-Demand service, which usually meant I was at least an episode or more behind by the time I finally got to watch the show.

I didn’t go into the show with high expectations. Despite a strong creative pedigree from David Greenwalt and Jim Kouf, two longtime veterans of Joss Whedon’s “Buffy the Vampire Slayer” and “Angel,” “Grimm” didn’t seem long for the tube with so many mediums turning to fairy tales for inspiration. On ABC, there was “Once Upon A Time,” and in theaters, not one but two variations on Snow White.

I should never have doubted the guys who managed to take the vampire with a soul Angelus and turn him into a modern-day Mike Hammer of the underworld.

“Grimm” defied expectations by taking its “monster of the week” construct and building a rich mythology in its first season, slowly explaining the backstories of both the Grimms, ancient hunters of the original monsters who inspired the Brothers Grimm fairy tales, and the creatures, called Wesen. There are also Reapers, who hunt and kill Grimms (get it, Grimm Reapers), Blutbads, Hexenbiests and more.

The main storyline follows Portland, OR Det. Nick Burkhardt (the very capable David Giuntoli), who learns in the Pilot episode that he is one of the last Grimm descendants. Nick meets early on a Blutbad named Monroe (the hysterical Silas Weir Mitchell), who becomes his unofficial partner as Nick finds more and more police investigations actually involve Wesen suspects.

“Grimm” works best when Greenwalt and Kouf keep the mythology front and center, but even the stand-alone “monster” episodes, which explore modern-day versions of such classic stories as “Rapunzel” and “The Three Little Pigs,” with a decidedly darker and bloodier bent.

Now that NBC has wisely moved “Grimm” to Monday nights, and “Supernatural” has moved to Wednesdays and “Fringe” remains on Friday, the decision for fans won’t be nearly as difficult.

“Grimm” is a show that you need to be watching. Buy this set and catch up, because the second season is already off to a wonderful start.

The Stuff You Care About:
Hot chicks – Yes.
Nudity – No.
Gore – Yes.
Drug use – No.
Bad Guys/Killers – All manner of supernatural beings.
Buy/Rent – Buy it.
Blu-Ray Bonus Features – Blu-Ray exclusive, Grimm Guide interactive book, Behind-the-Scenes featurettes, Deleted scenes, Gag reel and Collector Cards.
On the Web –

Knock Knock 2 (Lionsgate, 83 minutes, R, DVD): When does low-budget become no budget?

Apparently with a direct-to-DVD, “found footage” sequel to a movie I’d never even heard about. (Yes, in case you’re wondering, there is a “Knock Knock,” although I don’t think there’s any connection other than the DVD cover art and the title.)

“Knock Knock 2” is the epitome of what’s truly wretched about the “found footage” genre. There’s really no plausible reason for a character to be wielding a video camera throughout the film, other than an unbelievably long set-up that establishes the main character as a lovable goof who likes to document everything from his failed attempt to make a sex tape to his proposal with his girlfriend.

Everything about “Knock Knock 2” tests your patience.

The actual point of the film – four young adults locked inside an abandoned house, battling an unseen evil entity – doesn’t start until nearly 45 minutes in. That’s a lot of filler in a film that’s just 83 minutes long.

Instead of actual scares, you get treated to characters reading off of a website about various haunted locales in Los Angeles, CA, and then, for added measure, you get to tag along with the characters as they read – again – about the various locales while visiting them in person.

This goes on for what feels like forever with zero scares and no tension, whatsoever.

Once they actually arrive at “the house,” here’s what happens: They get locked inside. They immediately turn on each other for no good reason. They hear a baby crying. They discover cabinet doors that have been opened on their own after being closed. That’s it.

The kills all happen off camera, likely to save money. And there’s one lone shot of a ghostly female figure, named “The Shape” in the credits.

Avoid at all costs.

Also Available:

Spaceballs: The 25th Anniversary Edition – As my wife likes to say, “Barf?!? His name is Barf?”

Steve Niles’ Remains – A serviceable zombie romp in Las Vegas that could have used better acting and effects.

Strike Back: Cinemax Season One – Cinemax comes out with its first scripted series, and a shoot-em-up blast.

The Lorax

Clue: The Movie – Having just watched “Battleship,” I can say with complete confidence that “Clue” is a better movie. Having said that, I realize the distinction is incredibly minimal. But at least “Clue” didn’t have an alien kill Col. Mustard with a sonic laser in the study.


The Rookies: Season Two


Bel Ami

Ghost Hunters: Season 7, Part 1

Mia and the Migoo

Blue Like Jazz

Warriors of the Rainbow

Ladda Land

Jesse Stone: Benefit of the Doubt

Adventures in Babysitting – One of the defining films of the 1980s that shows how PG-friendly comedies should be done.

Grosse Point Blank – One of my favorite John Cusack roles, and exactly how I always thought my high school reunion would turn out, if I went.

High Fidelity – It’s all about the perfect mixtape.

The Preacher’s Wife

Romy and Michele’s High School Reunion – Mia Sorvino, Oscar winner and inventer of Post-It Notes.

Let It Shine

Squidbillies: Volume Five

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