On Evidence film review

I recently caught Evidence on Netflix. The is a combo found footage/traditional film following a forensics team investigating brutal murders by hobbling together footage from two cameras and victims’ cell phones.

Cons: The whole a small group of friends on a trip in the desert are stranded with four other strangers while a masked killer picks them off one at a time certainly doesn’t reinvent the wheel. Nolan Gerard Funk was underused. Yeah, I know, I know, but I could have used some more Funk action. While some pieces really work, there’s a lot of standard paint-by-numbers action going on.

Pros: Good cast. True Blood’s Stephen Moyer plays the lead investigator (he’s troubled, but he wants back on the job before his supervisor is sure he’s ready… for some reason). I never cared for Billy on True Blood, but I’ve always liked Moyer. Characters are fleshed out enough. The ending was ambitious. The framing narrative works as a whodunnit and is ambitious enough that it works overall. I didn’t see the twist coming.

Overall: Decent slasher flick. Since I have a soft spot for the subgenre, I’ll go 3.75 out of 5 stars, but I’m probably being nice.

This is Elliot Arthur Cross wishing you happy viewing.


On Memorial Day book sale

Hey, all, for those book readers out there, just wanted to pass on a huge sale at JMS Books and it’s imprint Queerteen Press. All ebooks are discounted 35% off and paperbacks 12% off in honor of Memorial Day. The sale is already in place and runs throughout the holiday. You can check out my book right here, and then the other wonderful LGBT titles.

On Backwatch Lane cover

Hi, all. Happy to share the cover for my next book release. Backwatch Lane (Demonic Survivors, Book Three) is coming out June 29. The series follows Cody Langdon, a gay teen who moves to Florida to start over and discovers a frightening world.

Backwatch_Lane_400x600 (3)

More info coming soon. In the meanwhile, now’s a great time to check out Tanglewood Road (Demonic Survivors, Book One) at Amazon.

On Mr. Jones review

I caught this found footage horror flick on Netflix. I was a teen when Blair Witch hit, and I loved it. There have been imitators and cheap-rip offs since then. And btw, Blair Witch was not the first horror mockumentary, but it was the earliest smash success in the sub genre. Mr. Jones follows a couple of artists (he’s a filmmaker, she’s a photographer) who move to a remote cabin the woods for a year to work on their relationship and make a nature documentary. After a few weeks, they discover their only neighbor is the elusive Mr. Jones, who’s been sending random strangers scarecrow figures since the 1970s. All Hell breaks loose.

Cons: What the Hell did I just watch? I’m all about finishing a movie and having enough ‘well it could mean this’ theories to discuss with fellow viewers, but it was far too abstract. This is the type of movie that you show to twelve people, and you’ll get twelve different explanations. I feel like the found footage angle wasn’t needed; this story could have been told in a standard narrative without losing much, and possibly gain a lot.

Pros: Natural cast that really sold it. Super strong opening, decent middle, and then weak ending. But that shouldn’t take away from the first 2/3’s. Unlike Blair Witch, then went backstory, backstory, backstory, random woods stuff, slow scares, this movie goes intro, scare, backstory, scare, backstory, scare, random shit. It feels refreshing, it feels reel, and it works more often than it doesn’t. So often, with ‘found footage’ movies, it’s hard to justify the shots, and here the in-universe filmmaker creates a camera that shoots in two directions at once to capture his documentary, which really pays off later in the film when they’re using the same camera to learn more about the elusive Mr. Jones.  Star Jon Foster is a hottie, and talented. There’s an early montage of ‘nature is beautiful, everything is wonderful, wait it’s been two weeks now I hate it all’ that is perfectly shot and acted, it immediately won me over.

Overall: There’s so much going for this movie in the first two acts that I’m so frustrated by the weak finale. Three out of five stars. Give it a watch with a friend, and then spend a half hour discussing your theories to what it all means.

This is Elliot Arthur Cross wishing you happy viewing.

On cancelled TV shows

Okay, here’s what really grinds my gears: TV studios cancel shows way too early. I’m not talking about ‘hey, they could have squeezed one more season of How I Met Your Mother or Lost out’ but I’m talking about ‘hey, the premiere episodes wasn’t record breaker so we’re cancelling it after two episodes.’

Fun fact: If Seinfeld premiered this year, it would have been cancelled midway through the first season. Why’s that? Because most shows need some time to breath, to come into their own, and to find an audience. Even the much beloved Star Trek: The Next Generation started rocky and didn’t hit its stride until season 2 or 3.

Let’s take a look at he cancelled shows that I was watching this year:

The Neighbors
Cheesey? Sure, but the cast was delightful. The show harkened back to the good ole times when sitcoms were about witches, monsters, or genies. I should consider it lucky we even got a second season, but ABC shoved it in the Friday Night death slot, which only few shows ever recover from.

Another show that lasted enough to get me hooked on. At least it got Jane Levy enough exposure to star in the great Evil Dead remake/reboot/sequel/whatever it was.

Super Fun Night
A fat girl, her nerdy friend, and her lesbian friend star in awkward city misadventures? Count me there. But apparently I was the only one. One short season flew by, and I looked forward to watching more zany fun from the crew. Oh well.

Bad Teacher
Based on the movie of the same name, this series features a fantastic cast with great timing. This one had the potential of being a real super star, but CBS cancelled it after airing two episodes. Not cool.

Friends With Better Lives
Probably my favorite show on this list. Much hyped by CBS as the new Friends, they cancelled the show after three episodes. This was the biggest mistake on the list. James Van Der Beek, please find a vehicle that lasts. And Kevin Connolly, please continue to be hot well in your forties. Thank you.

I watched this one because hey why not? I liked the cast, but it was cringe worthy. Fox, this was a good decision. Well played, for once.

What do you do with a feel-good comedy about the military with a hot cast (I’m looking at you, Chris Lowell) and a quirky sense of humor? According to Fox, you throw it on at a random Friday Night Death Slot with little fanfare and air the episodes out of order. No surprise the show was cancelled after that treatment. The series should have been paired with Brooklyn 99 and found an audience. Poor move, Fox.

Raising Hope
Fox took the series, gave it a new showrunner and a new night, and only gave it one season. I guess we were lucky to have that one extra season. The show probably had run its course.

Surviving Jack
A victim of circumstances. American Idol’s been slipping, and the first season was shortened due to scheduling conflicts. This nostalgic look at the early 1990s couldn’t find the audience that The Goldbergs (similar style to the early 1980s) found.

For a series that’s been on the bubble since the first season, I considered every year to be lucky (even the year of the gas leak). Of all the series on the list, this one is the only one with a chance of continuing on somewhere else (I’m looking at you, Netflix).

The Michael J. Fox Show
I was a fan, mostly because of the star. Give him a better vehicle and start over. I agree with this one.

Sean Saves the World
I actually really liked this one, and it definitely got better as the season progressed. The cast started to gel together and the writing improved. Of all the sitcoms cancelled, I think this one had the best shot of really growing into a lasting series. I’ve no doubt Sean Hayes will find something new, and I’m pleased Tom Lennon’s already in for the Odd Couple remake.

That about sums it up for me. Any of you agree/disagree? Did you love one of the other dozens of shows that got canned that I never watched? Let me know.

This is Elliot Arthur Cross wishing you better luck for your favorite series next season.