Watchin’ Stuff

I don’t get all the hype surrounding this one. Sure, Robert Pattinson plays a convincing criminal scumbag, but that’s about the only nice thing I can say about Good Time. It’s a really grimy crime drama where very little actually happens, it just focuses on how terrible the main character and his friends and family are. I suppose that’s why people like it, because the characters are so convincing in how repulsive they are, but that’s not much of a positive in my book. Terrible pacing, unpleasant characters, and an oddly blaring synthwave soundtrack that doesn’t feel like it matches anything that’s happening on screen. No thanks.

After watching Mother I realized that I hadn’t actually seen the last few Aronofsky movies for some reason. Black Swan is no Mother, but it was a decent thriller with some surreal reality-bending twists, even to someone with absolutely no interest in ballet.

Ah, I should have known. Pretty much anything that has to pad its title with “a much more famous director presents” is going to be shitfest, especially yet another “Wes Craven Presents” horror movie. Just another piece of typical late 90’s straight-to-video trash that was almost entirely filler that was trying to disguise the fact that the budget was about $500.

Well this was a strange one. Cast A Deadly Spell is a detective noir story in a world where everyone uses magic. The intro text is literally just “1948, Los Angeles. Everyone uses magic.”! It seems like something you’d expect to see in an old Vertigo comic, and it’s kind of surprising that they actually made a whole movie of it back in the early 90’s. It’s very ambitious, and while the budget isn’t quite capable of backing up everything they try to do here, and it’s more than a little cheesy, it still managed to be decently entertaining.

Now this is one that actually lives up to all its hype. This is easily Martin McDonagh’s best movie so far. It’s kind of hard to describe the plot. A woman is looking for justice for her raped and murdered daughter and gets into a weirdly complicated conflict with the local police and other townsfolk. It’s part drama, part black comedy, and it has an amazing cast of complex characters. Highly recommended.

This was a surprise. A Netflix horror movie that seemed to appear out of nowhere that’s actually good? Quite good, in fact. The Ritual had a great atmosphere that starts out feeling like a higher quality version of The Blair Witch, but then takes some strange, unexpected turns. Definitely check this one out if you’re a horror fan.

Ugh. Why do they keep making these? Why do I keep watching them? I suppose that it’s technically an improvement, since I couldn’t get through 20 minutes of the last Hellraiser, but it’s still a pretty bad movie overall. It’s a shame, because I get the feeling that the people behind this had good intentions and that they wanted to tell a better Hellraiser story than the last several barely-related sequels, but they just didn’t have the talent to pull it off. It has an interesting core concept, but it’s all just so shoddy, including the standard garbage horror movie move of padding most of the movie with a huge stretch of barely anything happening in the middle because they just didn’t have the budget to do anything more interesting. What a waste.

This seemed like it could be an interesting story, but it just didn’t work for me. I think most of the blame lies in the inexplicable decision to present most of the story as if it was a comedy, despite almost nothing actually being funny. None of the serious situations seem to have any tension because they’re too busy trying to play everything as a joke without actually putting any jokes in. Cruise just kind of fumbles around like Jack Tripper and there are some strange animated transition sequences, all of which seem like they’re supposed to be making you laugh, but just end up draining the tension out of what would otherwise be a pretty serious story. Oh well.  

Another movie from the horror crap pile, Cheerleader Camp is painfully 80’s, but in all the wrong ways. It feels more like some bad 80’s teen sex comedy than a horror movie. Not enough focus on the horror and the jokes just aren’t funny in either an intentional or accidental sense.

The latest Scott Adkins film, which is based on the 2000AD comic by Pat Mills of the same name. Pretty standard Scott Adkins movie, kind of mid-range quality, neither amazing or terrible, but with some pretty impressive fight scenes. This one has Adkins playing an assassin who suddenly finds himself up against all the other members of his local assassin’s club in a very John Wick kind of way (though the original comic came out almost 30 years ago). Pretty enjoyable if you’re into that sort of thing.

Awww yeah. It was even better than I expected. I don’t know why, I guess I felt a tinge of doubt because of the less familiar characters and setting. Silly, I know, but the sad truth is that there just aren’t a whole lot of good Black Panther comics out there, so I wasn’t sure how they would go about making something great out of mostly weak source material. They really did it though. They did a great job making this whole new unknown world and its culture strange and interesting, yet not so alien that it wasn’t understandable or relatable.

It was a little deeper, darker, and surprisingly light on comedy compared to most other Marvel movies too. It felt like something refreshingly different, yet still something that fits well in the greater Marvel Cinematic Universe. The supporting cast and villain were really done too. They didn’t feel like just background characters or plot devices, they had a lot more personality than a lot of secondary characters in superhero movies usually do. Good times. Can’t believe Infinity War is almost here already too! Wooooo!

Now Reading: Black Panther (the Priest run)


So…Christopher Priest’s Black Panther run. Probably the only time anyone has really given a shit about Black Panther up until recently, at least in my lifetime. This run brought Black Panther up from being a near-forgotten C-list character, to basically being Marvel’s Batman, at least until the next creative teams came around and flushed that all down the toilet.

There’s plenty of action, and comedy, and some impressively complex political and sociological intrigue (maybe a little too complex for the typical mainstream reader in its final days…). This is basically THE Black Panther series to read, of all of them, and I would say the best example of the potential of Christopher Priest’s writing as well.

Things get a little weird in the last book, with the focus suddenly shifting to the “new Black Panther” and the formation of The Crew, a team of oddball Priest characters that would never be heard from again afterwards (as far as I remember), but even that part was still an above average read. Highly recommended to anyone interested in Black Panther or even just Marvel in general.