I mentioned Veronica in the latest Watchin’ Stuff already, but now I’m here to subject you to an extremely lengthy analysis of this movie that has been so stuck in my head all week. Needless to say, there will be massive spoilers for the entire movie, so don’t click this one if you haven’t seen it yet (which you really should)!
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!
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.
Another excellent crime drama by the writer of Sicario and Wind River. Kinda funny, because I was just in the same area of Texas on holiday break and we drove by a lot of places that looked like the ones seen here. Anyway, once again, great story and dialogue. Top notch drama that, much like Wind River, doesn’t rely entirely on violence, but does have a few very intense firefight moments. Thanks to Red Metal for the recommendation.
Oh, the tricky nature of early IMDB reviews. This had a much higher score at the time I grabbed it (a 6 something, which is relatively high for a horror movie), but is now down to a 3.8 already. It actually started off decently, with some semi-amusing dialogue and acting from the family before they start being menaced. It all falls apart once the menacing starts though, as it quickly turns into a bad knockoff of Texas Chainsaw Massacre. Terrible acting from the villains, weak effects, and some bafflingly bad representations of real world physics with things like a guys hands exploding when he touches an electrified fence or when one of the bad guys snipes someone across a field with a shotgun. Another DNF!
I remember watching this as a kid and finding it pretty disappointing, so I’m not sure why I thought it would be worth watching again now. I guess I thought it would be good for a few laughs, but it’s just too terrible to enjoy. The story has a lot of potential, with a young outcast stumbling onto an alien weapon that ends up slowly taking over his mind and turning him into a murderous mutated killer, but the execution is just awful and the characters are all so miserably unlikable. Waste of time.
This one was directed by the writer of Sicario and Wind River, but not written by him. It’s a bit of a Saw knockoff and it’s not exactly terrible, but the plot doesn’t make a whole lot of sense when you stop to think about it. A bunch of strangers are drugged, kidnapped, and locked in a building where they’re told that they have to torture each other enough to fill the vials attached to their necks with valuable “brain fluids” within 24 hours if they want to be released. If the bad guys are just after the brain fluids in order to make money off them, this doesn’t really seem like the most effective method to get it. I guess the idea is to save money on labor, but all the effort it would take to set up and maintain this prison doesn’t seem like it would be much cheaper. At one point a lady brings up the point that these same chemicals are released in the brain during sex, but they all instantly reject the idea, even though there are a few couples there already, and jump right into torturing each other instead. Kinda silly.
This is a 90’s “classic”. Rutger Hauer has to catch a mysterious occult serial killer in the distant dystopian future of London, circa 2008. Ooh the far off future of 2008, where everything looks basically the same as the 90’s, just darker and dirtier and all the cars have cage windows! Anyway, the killer appears to be something more than human, and so gives Rutger and friends quite some trouble. He gets a comedic British sidekick and has Kim Catrall as his girlfriend, who has about the most pathetic British accent I’ve ever heard. It’s all very 90’s over the top and is more than a little ridiculous, but it’s an enjoyable enough movie for being basically a cheaper version of I Come In Peace. They never really bother to explain exactly what the creature is either. They hint that it was probably some kind of demon, but never actually confirm anything. Oh well.
I don’t know what it is about these Saw movies, but I could watch these things forever. Yeah they’re silly and it’s essentially just the same movie over and over again, but I just like all the inventive traps and plot twists. This one’s no different, despite the new name. It’s really just Saw 8, and feels just like the last 6 movies, but like I said, that’s fine by me. This one seems to pave the way for another pile of future sequels and I’m all for it. The creators of this series have this down to science by now, with great effects, great trap design, and a well written plot that keeps you guessing and feels fresh despite it following basically the same core formula as all the others. Good times.
This was…unusual. It’s not a particularly strange movie, it’s just strange in the sense that it’s such a non-traditional horror. In fact, it’s kind of misleading to call it a horror movie. It’s like a mainstream horror comedy chick flick. Really it’s just Groundhog Day with a light horror theme and a bunch of horribly unpleasant college girl film stereotypes. The horror aspect quickly takes a backseat to the main characters realization that she’s a horrible bitch and that she should probably try to use this opportunity to grow up and be a better person, which of course is going to be the ultimate solution to her predicament.
This all plays out exactly as predictably as you’d expect. Before she even gets killed and experiences the day resetting for the first time, all the stupid little things she’s going to end up fixing or using as proof of her situation or using to her advantage later are telegraphed so very hard and sloppily. You can see every little plot point coming 5 miles away, including the identity of the killer, but LOLZ THEY MADE A JOKEY REFERENCE TO GROUNDHOG DAY IN THE LAST MINUTE OF THE MOVIE SO IT’S NOT A RIPOFF, IT’S AN HOMAGE! Get the fuck outta here. Who wrote this thing? Scott Lobdell? Well, that makes a lot of sense.
Oh, and there’s also a scene where the killer comes after the girl at a frat party and finds her with a guy in a bedroom, kills the guy and jumps on her and they fall on the bed, and then some frat bro comes to the door and pokes his head in for some reason and the girl is screaming directly at him for help for a long, drawn out several seconds, and he sees this and he says “alright, bro!” or something and then leaves, with the implication being that he thinks “oh, it’s just a frat rape. Cool!”. FUCK YEAH! COOL FRAT RAPE JOKE, BRAH!
This didn’t look particularly interesting to me when it came out, but I figured I’d give it a chance since I’ve been watching all these other Blumhouse horror movies lately. It has an interesting premise, with the main character taking on demonic entities with the power of science instead of with religiously-backed exorcisms. He uses a strange method that allows him to enter the minds of the possessed to forcibly evict the malevolent presence from them, so it’s kind of The Exorcist meets Inception, at least in theory.
Unfortunately they show no imagination whatsoever when it comes to these mental realms. You’d think this would be an opportunity to show off some crazy mental landscapes and extravagant looking demons, but instead the mental realms just look exactly the same as real life. The only thing that’s different is the appearance of the main character. You’d think that these mental exorcisms would be more complicated too, and involve some big escape sequences or at least some kind of clever outwitting of the demons, but no, all the guy does is punch people out and run away. They’re in a mental realm where anything should be possible, and he wins by punching the mental representations of demons in the face. And you know what the demons look like when revealed? They look just like normal people, except their eyes turn black. It’s all just so lazy and generic. What a waste of potential.
A crime drama series by David Fincher and friends. Mindhunter takes place in the 70’s and deals with a pair of FBI agents’ research into the relatively new concept of serial killers. It’s not very visually graphic, but it does deal with some pretty dark subject matter. It’s extremely well written and acted though. Don’t expect this to be like Seven or anything, it’s more slow and methodical, and doesn’t play out in a flashy cinematic way. It’s more like if you took a procedural crime drama and made it much more realistic and R rated. I’d definitely recommend it to anyone interested in crime and/or psychology.
Don’t tell me how it ends though, we haven’t quite finished it yet!