Archive for January, 2020

Movies I Enjoyed in 2019

January 6, 2020

I know that we are nearly a week into 2020 but I felt like doing a wrap up of the year in movies in 2019 since we are headed into awards season. These are only the movies that I saw that I really liked. I did not feel the need to make a top 11 list because, honestly, I would be compelled to write a lot for each entry and I have already written about pretty much everything I have seen in 2019 (and will continue to write about what I see in 2020). As such, these are in no particular order. I also highly recommend each and every one of these movies.

Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker
I had a lot of fun watching this with friends. (more on Thursday) It wasn’t perfect but it was definitely enjoyable.

Child’s Play (2019)
A truly innovative remake done in an entirely different subgenre of horror. An added bonus was seeing Aubrey Plaza.

Us
Jordan Peele proved once again that he is truly a new master of horror. This movie was more of an adventure horror piece but it managed to sneak in a class warfare message.

Avengers Endgame
The perfect ending for the first era of the Marvel Cinematic Universe. It pushed things into a new direction that I am intrigued to keep following.,

John Wick 3
The John Wick franchise tends to pump out perfect action movies with interesting stories that don’t get in the way of the cool moments.

Spiderman Far From Home
The first step in a new decade for the MCU. The new Spiderman is so pure and I feel like it is still just getting started.

Captain Marvel
Finally, a female-led MCU movie! Brie Larson was perfect for the role and I can’t wait to see where she goes next in defiance of all the MRAs out there.

Rocketman
Elton John has led one hell of a life. This musical biopic had a lot of moments of unreality that really made me feel what was happening rather than just seeing it.

Detective Pikachu
A movie that could easily have been bad was a lot of fun with a lot of heart. It was also visually pleasing.

Aladdin (2019)
Forget the haters, this movie was a lot of fun for me. It put a new spin on a familiar favorite (my second favorite Disney movie of all time).

IT Chapter 2
I got to see this one in theaters and it was definitely worth it. Bill Hader alone made this movie so good but I liked the new take on a classic book.

Alita Battle Angel
A unique blend of CGI and live-action, this was actually one of the best anime film adaptations that I have ever seen. I want to see a sequel.

Hobbs and Shaw
A refreshing spinoff of the Fast and Furious franchise which managed to be its own thing. I love The Rock.

The Lego Movie 2
I did not think they could keep pace with the original but this franchise has defied my expectations from the start so I am a fool.

Shazam
Proof that DC movies can be good again. The movie had a lot of the goofy, fun energy that the original comics had with a modern sheen.

Fighting With My Family
As a pro-wrestling fan, I loved this walk through the fabulous Paige’s career (so far).

Velvet Buzzsaw
A criminally underrated horror movie that should be seen for its psychedelic visuals alone.

Happy Death Day 2U
I did not think the first movie could be topped but this franchise hit a new gear and somehow got weirder.

Extremely Wicked, Shockingly Evil and Vile
Unfairly shot down because it made a serial killer “hot” this was actually an interesting personal take on a familiar news story.

Dark Phoenix
I enjoyed this movie for what it was, a close to the Fox X-Men Franchise (more on Thursday)

Once Upon A Time In Hollywood
It was a meandering mess but I definitely enjoyed it for what it was.

I was able to watch only 5 out of 10 of the top 10 box office movies of 2019. Of the remaining movies that I really want to see are Frozen 2, Toy Story 4, and Jumanji 3. I have made my thoughts on Joker known. Lion King does not really interest me either.

Additionally, there are so many movies that I missed that I still want to see from 2019. Looking at the list really drove home what I did not get to see but reminds me that there is only so much time in each year. I have so much that I want to watch in this new year and it gives me joy that I will never catch up. I will never run out of good movies to see because there is still so much backlog and new movies come out every year.

The Christmas Killer

January 4, 2020

Marla took a deep drag of her cigarette and coughed before tossing it to the pavement and stamping it out. She had barely stumbled out of bed just thirty minutes before. It was New Year’s Day and the party had been out of control the night before. She had lost count of how many glasses of egg nog she had had and that was long before the champagne even showed up. She had thrown on some shades in order to hide bloodshot eyes and had done the best she could with her hair and makeup. An investigative reporter had to look professional. Apparently, there were no days off for a true professional even though she wanted to spend the day hovering near her toilet. Ah well.

The paper had not sent over a photographer which was either an oversight or a budget cutback. The Spotlight was always being overshadowed by the Tribune and television so things were getting a little tight back at the office. The accounting department was getting increasingly testy. So, Marla was surreptitiously snapping pictures with her cell phone from behind the police tape. It looked grim. Cops at crime scenes always looked grim but this one looked particularly bad. Everybody was walking around either ashen-faced or pissed. Not a single cop was lax in their duties guarding the crime scene. Marla suspected she knew what the cause of it all was.

It was the Christmas Killer. It had been more than a week since the killings had begun. On Christmas Eve, a young woman had been found dead in an alleyway. She had been stabbed in the carotid artery and had bled out. It had not been pretty. What was curious is that the deed had been done with a simple candy cane. It had been sharpened to a point and driven deep. It had certainly put an extra chill in the air just before Christmas. The next day there was a very similar killer only this time the victim was male and the target was their femoral artery. Christmas Day in broad daylight. Every day since then there had been another bloody killing, all done with the same sharpened sweet. It was a baffling serial killer case because there did not seem to be a pattern with the victims.

So far, Marla had been at every crime scene but she had gotten very few details. After the first two kills, the cops had done well clamping down on any information they had. Though, the killings kept happening so they must not have had much of an idea yet either. It was frightening that a killer like that could work with impunity in a big city. It made anybody a target. It was a fact that Marla knew all too well. She had made a point of never being alone in the open wherever she went. She moved through crowds and attended parties. Safety in numbers had been her hope as it had been the hope of a lot of people during the last week.

Marla spotted a familiar face near the police tape so she headed in that direction. She had already tried flagging down an officer or detective for a comment. None of them would comment but she had not really expected them to. At one point, like at other crime scenes, she had shouted at them the question of whether it had been the Christmas Killer. The flinch she had seen in one officer had told her all she had needed to know. She moved over toward Rick Friedman who looked almost as hungover as she did.

“Hey Rick,” Marla said. “What’s a private investigator like you doing here? Can’t you see the professionals are already on the case?” She smirked, loving to tease even her closest friends.

Rick sighed. “Good morning, Marla,” he said. “You know very well that I’m a professional. I’m at least as good at sniffing out the facts as you are.”

“Only too true,” Marla said. “I’ll give the devil his due but seriously what are you doing here? I wouldn’t peg you as a rubbernecker.”

“I’m here for the same reason as you and the cops are here,” Rick said. “I want to help figure out who keeps doing this.”

Marla’s eyebrows went up. “You had the same hunch that I did, huh?” she asked. “The Christmas Killer strikes again.”

“I did,” Rick said. “Two of the families have hired me to assist with the investigation.”

“The cops must not be happy with that,” Marla said. “You’re making as many friends as I am.”

“No,” Rick said. “They’re not going to be happy that I’m snooping around but maybe I can see something if I look from an outside angle. Which brings me to why I’m glad that I ran into you.”

Marla smiled. “Aw shucks,” she said. “Why are you glad to see me?”

“I have a proposal for you, Marla,” Rick said.

Marla laughed softly. “I’ve already been married, Rick,” she said. “It didn’t work out.”

Rick smiled. “No,” he said. “I suggest a team-up. You and me. We try to figure some stuff out.”

“Are you for real?” Marla asked.

“I am,” Rick said. “However, I have one caveat.”

“Only one?” Marla asked. “Brave man.”

“Whatever you get, you keep out of the paper until the guy is caught,” Rick said.

“Deal,” Marla said. “For an exclusive, I can stay quiet for a little while but we should really get to work.”

“Agreed,” Rick said.

Media Update 1/2/20

January 2, 2020


Detective Pikachu

I have been a fan of Pokemon since the first game out and I played Pokemon Red and then watched the anime. The world of Pokemon is an exciting place and it’s fun to speculate stories outside of the gym challenge. I knew when I saw the trailer for this movie that it was something I needed to see whether it was good or bad. Either way, the character designs for the pokemon were absolutely fascinating. The movie hit a lot of those good nostalgic beats but it also surprised me in being a story outside of the gym challenge. They managed to craft their own story while making it connect in a meaningful way to the world of the games and the anime. Like most games, it created a new region to explore but mostly spent time in a new city. Pokemon has often skirted away from showing Pokemon in an urban setting so that was exciting in itself. Ryan Reynolds was, of course, absolutely great as the title character. His snarky yet innocent character was so much fun to follow. Justice Smith plays the lead protagonist and I am happy to see him getting more roles in big-budget movies because I like him a lot. Kathryn Newton plays a quirky but intelligent wannabe reporter. Bill Nighy of all people plays a prominent role as does Suki Waterhouse and Ken Watanabe. I definitely recommend it and not just for all you fellow Pokemon fans.


Bad Times at the El Royale

I had seen a trailer for this what feels like ages ago but I forgot about it. I also definitely mixed this movie up with another movie, Hotel Artemis. This movie has an all-star cast. It is told in a non-linear storytelling style kind of like Pulp Fiction. It follows the stories of many different characters checking into a rundown motel on the border of California and Nevada near Lake Tahoe. The movie is set in the sixties. Nobody is quite who they seem to be. John Hamm is a snarky vacuum salesman and he is super charming. Jeff Bridges plays an old priest suffering from dementia. Cynthia Erivo (who was new to me) was excellent as the hard-luck singer who is doubting her direction in life. She seemed like the star of the movie to me. Dakota Johnson plays a dedicated sister to Calee Spaeny and both are interesting characters. Chris Hemsworth pretty much steals every scene he is in as a charismatic cult leader with a sinister edge. People were apparently down on this movie but I enjoyed the twists and turns and especially the surprises. It is an excellent character study. I recommend it.


Overlord

I had considered watching this movie for Halloween but it read more like an action-adventure movie than a straight horror movie so I set it aside. For some reason, World War 2 and horror really mix well so I was excited. This movie is grim and gritty with both the war and sci-fi horror atmospheres. Jovan Adepo is definitely the protagonist of the movie as a young, bright-eyed soldier who is in over his head. Wyatt Russell plays his corporal, a hard-nosed soldier who is focused on the mission. Mathilde Ollivier plays a young french woman who has sacrificed much in Nazi-occupied France. Iain De Caestecker (who shares my birthday) plays a young idealistic soldier. John Magaro plays a loudmouth New Yorker soldier (necessary in these sorts of films). The movie is definitely a wild ride from start to finish but it also has a heart. It feels a little like Inglorious Basterds mixed with Re-Animator. It is absolutely insane and I love it for that insanity. Nazis, zombies, and chaos. I recommend this as well.

 

Music of the Week:

Mystery Skulls – Far Away

BABYMETAL – DA DA DANCE

TARDIGRADE INFERNO – WE ARE NUMBER ONE

Leo Moracchioli – All the Things She Said

DaBaby – BOP on Broadway

 

Weekly Update:
– This week’s theme is “Birthday Week 2019”
– I watched Evil Bong: High 5
– I started watching The Imagineering Story
– I started watching Bob’s Burgers Season 8
– I watched more Runaways Season 1
– I watched more Elementary Season 1
– I watched more Prodigal Son Season 1
– I watched more Scream Season 1
– I watched more Penn and Teller’s Bullshit Season 3
– I watched more Brooklyn 99 Season 3
– I watched more Ducktales Season 1
– I watched more Carmen Sandiego Season 2
– I started watching She-Ra Season 2


Scary Studies

Horror is fascinating.

The Hidden Message

klaatu barada nikto

Growing a family

Im just trying to evolve

Panorama of the Mountains

Liam Sullivan's Ideas and Reflections

Boccob's Blessed Blog

A gaming blog with an emphasis on D&D 5e

wolfenoot.wordpress.com/

No Hate Only Snootboops

As Told By Carly

The Ramblings of a Geek Girl

Beyond the Flow

A Survivor's Philosophy of Life

Silvia Writes

Life is a story. Might as well write it.

An Artist’s Path

Art, Poetry, Prose, Spirituality & Whimsy

The Bloggess

Like Mother Teresa, only better.

%d bloggers like this: