Watchin’ Stuff

I got it into my head that I was going to watch The Cloverfield Paradox to see what all the fuss was about, but to do that, first I had to go back and watch the previous films in the “series”. I’ve seen this first one before, back when it came out, but wasn’t particularly excited by it at the time. I guess it’s another one of those movies that’s just so ridiculously over-hyped when it comes out that I couldn’t help but feel underwhelmed when it turned out to be so average. Going back and watching it again so much later without the surrounding hype cloud made for a little more enjoyable experience. It’s decent enough for a found footage movie, a genre that I think fails to be effective about 98% of the time.

Hadn’t seen this one before, but it was surprisingly good. It’s nothing like the first movie and makes for a pretty solid thriller, with some enjoyable, despite being pretty predictable, twists in the end. This was easily the best of the 3 for me.

And then there’s The Cloverfield Paradox, which seems to be the most hated movie of the year already. I thought the trailer looked interesting, and so was surprised to hear such strong hate towards it from what seemed to be the whole collective internet. You know what though? I didn’t think it was bad at all. I’m really not even sure what it was that people were so angry about. It’s not going to win any awards or be the next Star Wars or anything like that, but it was a perfectly decent sci-fi movie.

I don’t know enough about physics to know if any of it was technically scientifically accurate (I don’t know many, if any, sci-fi movies that actually are), so I didn’t have any problems there. The cast was fine, the effects weren’t revolutionary, but they were also perfectly fine. It didn’t look like a sci-fi channel original movie or anything.

I liked the story. Maybe it’s all the superhero comics I read, but all the strange alternate reality shenanigans throughout felt like pretty standard alternate reality shenanigans to me.

Ok, the part with the arm was pretty silly, but other than that I didn’t really have any complaints. I don’t understand the strong hatred towards it at all. I could see how people might have been mad if this had been in theaters as originally planned, but the people behind it realized that it wasn’t a strong enough movie to make it in theaters so they moved it to the modern equivalent of “straight to video”, and by straight to video standards, it’s perfectly fine if you ask me.

I originally wasn’t going to watch this. I had read so many strongly negative reviews that claimed that it was incredibly slow, boring, and pretentious, and it just all sounded like it would be too empty and artsy for my tastes. I can’t even remember why, but recently I suddenly changed my mind and thought fuck it, I’ll give it a try, let’s see what this is all about. Holy shit am I glad I changed my mind. What a great movie this was.

This is another one that’s difficult to discuss without giving anything away, and you should absolutely go into this knowing as little as possible and try to figure it out on your own, but I have to at least say a little bit about it.

Going in blind, it seems to be some kind of Cronenberg or Lynch type of surrealist dream-state, where every little thing clearly means something, but you’re not quite sure what. Everything that happens is very deliberately detailed and bizarre in such a way that evokes this sense of unease and dread, even if you have no idea what exactly is going on here yet. Eventually, you come to a point where you realize exactly what’s happening though, and suddenly everything you’ve seen before will make complete sense.

That’s about all I can say about it without getting into specific details. Just know that there is a very specific method behind what initially seems like madness, and it ends up being a truly fascinating and ambitious experiment in film-making that you will not soon forget.

This is a completely garbage ghost movie. Really unlikable dad Kevin Bacon brings his family to the Grand Canyon and their mentally handicapped son finds some magic ghost rocks and brings them home with them. I couldn’t help but think of that shitty old Brady Bunch special where they went to Hawaii and Bobby picked up that weird tribal statue in a cave and got them all cursed until he put it back. Anyway, their mental son starts acting strange because he’s being haunted, though he actually ends up being one of the least annoying members of the family. Their daughter is just a horrible bitch to everyone and has the most fucked up case of bulimia I’ve ever seen, to the point where she’s saving all her vomit in jars under her bed for some reason, and this doesn’t seem to even be related to the ghosts.

You’ll have to watch it yourself if you want to know more because I turned it off after almost an hour with almost no actual ghost activity at all, just a really unpleasant family whining and yelling at each other most of the time.

This always seemed like such a silly premise, and by all rights it’s not something that should work as a movie, yet somehow it does. Most of it is literally just Colin Farrell in a phone booth talking to Kiefer Sutherland, and that sounds so boring, yet they amazingly made it work with the power of a really good script. Pretty solid thriller.

Another attempt to get into the infamous cannibal sub-genre of horror movies, and I think it will be my last. I’ve heard so much about this movie over the years and always expected that it would be too grotesque even for me to sit through, but surprisingly it ended up being boredom that drove me to turn it off before it was over. Cannibal Ferox kept things somewhat entertaining by having such a horribly bad plot and cast of characters, that it was amusing to watch, but this one doesn’t even have that.

The movie starts off by explaining through a news report that 4 college students had gone to film a documentary in the jungle and disappeared, and so you expect this to be the story of how they ran into cannibals and were horribly killed. Instead the movie spends almost an hour just retrieving the kids’ tapes from the jungle and it’s just so incredibly boring. 3 guys go out to the jungle and try to make friends with 1 of 2 warring cannibal tribes so they can get their hands on the tapes, and surprisingly end up spending most of the time talking and observing various pointless tribal rituals. Occasionally they witness a scene of graphic rape and/or murder, but they don’t intervene, it just kind of happens because hey it’s the jungle.

I don’t know, the characters were just flat and boring, the plot was entirely uninteresting, and the graphic scenes felt like they were just randomly scattered in there for no reason other than cheap shock value. I gave up and turned it off because I didn’t care at all what happened to those 4 kids at that point, and I can’t imagine that the last half hour could have been amazing enough to make all the rest of it worth sitting through. Guess I’m just not into cannibal movies. Oh well.

Now this, this is what I imagined when I read all those bad reviews of Mother!. I don’t know what they were thinking with this movie. It wasn’t even that the pacing was slow and that almost nothing happened in my time with it, it’s that it felt like the script was generated by some kind of robot and that the actors had also all been replaced by robots. Everything was so painfully stilted and emotionless and the dialogue was so incredibly bad. It was like it was all written and performed by people who had never actually spoken to real people before. I’m sure that this was all intentional and meant to be some kind of commentary on the way people tend to conform to societal expectations and just go through the expected motions of their repetitive lives and etc etc, but it sure doesn’t make for an entertaining movie. It’s like trying to listen to an automatic text to speech program read a book to you. The book might even be good, but who the hell wants to hear a story told that way? Not me!

This is another movie that shouldn’t have been as good as it was. A low budget sequel to a goofy action movie from over 20 years ago? Under any other circumstances a project like this would be complete garbage, but somehow they actually did a decent job with this. Shooting this all in real locations in Myanmar and Thailand turned out to be a pretty smart move, as they managed to make this movie look pretty good for a straight to video sequel with such a low budget. It was well-filmed, had a mostly decent cast, and plenty of good action scenes. It felt like it was straight out of the 90’s, but in a good way.

And then there was Altered Carbon, which we ended up sitting through the entire season of in one sitting. Holy shit was this good. I had high hopes for this, but it was even better than I expected. They really took this all the way, with surprisingly good effects, a great cast, great plot, and some amazing action scenes. This series has it all and does cyberpunk better than probably anything else ever made so far. The only thing really missing was cyberspace decking. NOT ENOUGH DECKING!

Seriously though, this was an absolutely amazing show. Possibly my new favorite. Like Stranger Things, it also has a satisfying conclusion too, so just in case it doesn’t come back for some crazy reason, you could still at least re-watch this season again someday without regret or disappointment. Highly, HIGHLY recommended to anyone who likes sci-fi.

7 comments on “Watchin’ Stuff

  1. raistlin0903 says:

    Ughh…I seriously wish I could undo reading this post. Not because I didn’t like it, but now I have to go and watch Altered Carbon. I was trying to avoid it when it made it’s first appearance in the Netflix line up….but…I guess now after reading this, I am doomed.
    Glad you enjoyed Hard Target 2 as well. Totally agree with you. For a low budget action movie it looked pretty darn good.
    I was pretty surprised at the negative backlash for Cloverfield as well. But..that seems to be a trent these days. Will probably see that one somewhere later this year.
    I saw another pretty decent horror movie on Netflix this weekend: The Ritual. It won’t win in the originality department but I quite liked it. Will have a review on that later this week 😊😊
    Great post as always 😀

  2. I actually enjoyed Cloverfield Paradox as well! I read more in to it and apparently it began as a standard sci-fi flick called The God Particle and it was going to release in theatres this April… the Netflix picked it up and they shoehorned in Cloverfield references. Either way, I dug it.

    Mother! is easily the most fucked up film I’ve ever digested in my life. The biblical parallels packed a retrospective punch and it really felt like a 2-hour panic attack.

    Altered Carbon is on my list, as is the newly added The Ritual.

    • 10 Cloverfield Lane was the same deal. A totally unrelated movie that got absorbed into the Cloverfield franchise thanks to some footage they tacked on at the end. Hopefully Netflix won’t become a dumping ground for movies that studios don’t have confidence in. That said anyone who already has a Netflix subscription isn’t losing out by watching the movie. Better that than pay a lot for a cinema ticket.

  3. ignitedmoth says:

    I was debating if I should watch Altered Carbon or not, so now I’m actually pretty excited to check it out some time. 🙂
    I’m really curious about Mother! now too. I kind of figured it would just wind up being one of those movies I never made time to watch, but it sounds like I should try to give it a go sometime. Nice post!

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