Movie of the Week: ‘The Howling’

“The Howling” (1981) – If you haven’t guessed, “The Howling” is a werewolf movie, but 45 minutes into Joe Dante’s (“Piranha” (1978), “Gremlins” (1984)) 91-minute picture, you wouldn’t know it. He spends nearly half of his film’s runtime establishing his leads, supporting characters, and the setting, but it’s all worth the wait. Early in the movie’s first act, L.A. television reporter Karen White (Dee Wallace) plays the bait and helps police catch her own stalker, but the harrowing experience left her with a brief case of amnesia.  A TV doctor,…

‘Mass’ bravely dives into deep, emotional places in one confined space

“Mass” – Here’s my best advice to approach “Mass”, writer/director Fran Kranz’s first film.  Don’t watch the trailer. This gripping, conversational drama is almost entirely set in one location.  The four main characters confront a painful, deeply personal topic, one that has haunted them for years, but don’t ask a friend, sibling, your local movie critic, or the Internet the key matter that Jay (Jason Isaacs), Gail (Martha Plimpton), Linda (Ann Dowd), and Richard (Reed Birney) debate.  During an Oct. 10 interview with Collider, Kranz says, “Look, it has been…

Movie of the Week: ‘The Thing’

“The Thing” (1982) – “I don’t know who to trust.” – Dr. Blair (Wilford Brimley) We’ve all heard that phrase before.  Perhaps you attended MBA school, competed in a beauty pageant, or watched “Survivor”, the reality television show in which contestants compete for a million dollars in the remote locales of Borneo, the Pearl Islands, or Cambodia.  Although Richard Hatch, Sandra Diaz-Twine, and Jeremy Collins voted their “Survivor” castmates off the island, no one felt like their lives were in jeopardy. (Now, wear a Michigan Wolverines jersey to an Ohio…